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The Fat Monk (UK)

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Besdata? New 4 Pcs Nimh AAA Rechargeable Battery 2600 mAh - Ultra High Capacity - Overcharging Protecting - Top Quality - UK Stock
Besdata? New 4 Pcs Nimh AAA Rechargeable Battery 2600 mAh - Ultra High Capacity - Overcharging Protecting - Top Quality - UK Stock
Offered by laptopadapterseller
Price: £10.99

2.0 out of 5 stars NOT 2600mAh - more like 750-800mAh, 20 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was looking for replacement batteries for a couple of digital cordless telephones that had AAA batteries that would no longer charge properly.

I have a charger that can refresh NiMh batteries. The charger works brilliantly and has revived a number of AA and AAA batteries that I have that failed to fully charge after a while.

One feature of the charger that is of particular interest here is that it displays the capacity of the battery in mAh after it has completed its refresh process (a process of discharging and slowly recharging while measuring the stored capacity).

All four of these cells achieved only between 750 and 800 mAh after two or three refresh cycles on the charger. (I have compared with other big-brand rechargeable batteries (such as these and the charger shows very accurate readings)

2600mAh seems a pretty ridiculous claim for a AAA battery anyway, and I can only assume that this number is there for marketing purposes only - it is certainly NOT a true reflection of the capacity of the battery. (Consider that an expensive mobile phone battery is of similar capacity to what these batteries claim to hold for less than a couple of quid each!)

In this case they are replacing batteries with a 550mAh capacity, so the 750-800 is an improvement anyway, but beware that these are NOT as advertise and the big-brand batteries I purchased are cheaper, have similar capacity as these REALLY have, and the big-brand batteries are honest about it.

Holy Cow
Holy Cow
by David Duchovny
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars No Animal Farm, 20 Nov 2014
This review is from: Holy Cow (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was a fan of the X-Files back in the days, so was interested to read this, David Duchovny's first novel.

I didn't know much about the author other than having heard rumours around the time he starred in that show that he was perhaps a little 'eccentric' in terms of his beliefs.

When I got about half way through this really rather short tale, I decided to consult t'internet to have a quick read about the man himself, and my suspicions were confirmed. Not that I am suggesting that your dietary choice make you an eccentric in and of itself, but the soap box never seems far away in the telling of this tale and the general tone seems to approach the more extreme end of anti-meat preaching at times.

Of course many many novels have a message - Animal Farm being the most obvious for comparison here - but the use of allegory and metaphore can be far more subtle than that which is employed here.

The target audience for the story also seems somewhat vague - and maybe that is where the problems come from, the story is lacking in a well defined identity. Is this just a silly tale with a message, a kids book about anthropomorphasised farm animals or a light-hearted adult book that doesn't take itself too seriously and expects you, the reader, to do the same?

The kids book tag, which Elsie the narrator alludes to directly in the tale itself, doesn't quite fit as there are some scenes which you may feel uncomfortable with your younger ones reading - these scenes are not to do with animal slaughter by the way and are of a more sexual nature! And yet the simple language and lack of depth in character and plot development will likely see older readers feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

It IS readable, and as a short tale you won't waste a lot of your time on it, but it is barely entertaining with the story simply playing out a sequence of predictable short set pieces. There are some clever gags and word-play, but they all too often feel a little forced, the story taking a particular meander just to fit in the joke.

I was a little disappointed overall. I was expecting something a bit more Christopher Moore from the jacket notes, but this felt more like a daft comedy sketch from 'The Kids in The Hall' or 'Saturday Night Live' that had been strung out to a publisher's minimum word count.

It was an OK read, but no more than that. If I hadn't read it my life would be no worse but I can't say I feel enriched either - and I'm afraid I still eat meat.

Corel PaintShop Pro X7 Ultimate (PC)
Corel PaintShop Pro X7 Ultimate (PC)
Offered by SoftwareDirect2u
Price: £64.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some big improvements over previous versions and some great new features., 4 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)

I've written a lot of reviews of the various versions of PaintShop Pro over the years, and it remains my graphics package of choice without a shadow of a doubt.

If you want to read a more detailed review of what PSP can do for you (in short it's a fully featured and very easy to use photo editor and full vector graphics creation tool) then take a look at my reviews of X3, X4, X5, X6 etc.

If you don't already own PSP, then I wholly recommend the package in general for pretty much any graphics use (unless you specifically need Pantone compliance for professional printing) and this is the version to buy.


X7 brings a number of improvements over previous versions. These include UI tweaks and more control over various tools.

The stand-out changes for me are in the photo editing/retouching functionality.

Recently I've had reason to dig into this side of the package more deeply than I have had before - previously I primarily used the vector graphics side of things for creating web and video graphics, logos etc.

Some of the retouching tools appear almost magic in effect these days.

Tools such as red-eye removal and scratch removal are all still there, but the tool that amazes me is the aptly names 'Magic Fill' tool.

While this tool is a little hard to find (rather than being a specific tool it appears as an option on the 'selection' toolbar), it is deceptively simple to use.

Using any of the standard selectio tools (magic-want, rectangular select or freehand select), simply select an area to remove from a photo (a large scratch or blemish, an unwanted sign-post or vehicle, for example). Then click the 'Magic Fill' button and PSP will have a think for a few seconds and the object will disappear, being replaced by what PSP has calculated to be a suitable replacement piece of image. Obviously the quality of the result will vary depending on the complexity and content of what is around the object being removed, but even if not perfect this gives you a great starting point for using the clone brush to mask the removal even more effectively. In many cases, though, I have found magic fill to be more than satisfactory on its own.

The software still installs two separate versions on a 64 bit machine, and some plug-ins are still 32bit only, but X7 seems to me to be more stable and quicker than previous versions and the enhancements to the tools over previous versions make this the best version yet.


As with any of Corel's upgrades, it can be difficult to justify the cost of an upgrade for what is effectively an incremenetal upgrade to a piece of software. While I would not consider X7 to be a major version change from X6 (I know technically v16 to v17 IS a major change in version number, but that's Corel for you) I do actually think the enhancements this time may actually justify the cost of the upgrade.

Certainly if you are running X4 or earlier I would say buy this version now.

Bosch Quigo Cross Line Laser Level
Bosch Quigo Cross Line Laser Level
Price: £44.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the perfectionist DIYer, 22 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first one I received was faulty - the self-levelling detector did not work so even when on a perfectly flat surface (confirmed with bubble spirit levels) the 'not level' warning light remained flashing.

The replacement, however is perfect for my needs

The laser light lines are bright enough to be seen indoors in daylight, though you may struggle a bit outdoors in bright sunlight.

Note that unlike some laser levels, the lines from this level are actually dotted. This is not a criticism, just an observation. The lines work perfectly well for direct use or for marking pencil lines etc.

The on-off switch, lens cover combination works well and when closed locks the self-levelling pendulum in place to prevent damage - though the instructions do warn against dropping in case of damaging the self-leveller.

The leveller can be used directly on any level-ish surface (up to 4 degrees off level in any direction) or can be used with the very nice positionable bracket. I found the bracket very easy to use an the quick release clip is very handy. Both the quick release bracket and the leveller itself also have tripod screws (different size on each) so may be attached to a suitable tripod as well if required.

In terms of accuracy I have tested this against a professional, £200 Bosch Cross Line Laser Level Bosch cross level and it's every bit as accurate (though the range and width of the beam is not as large).

For the perfectionist DIYer who wants to easy get things level and true this is a great buy. The one star is only knocked off because it doesn't come with any kind of storage case or bag which is a shame for something that is sensitive to damage (the auto-levelling feature).

Hama Mobile High-Definition Link Adapter
Hama Mobile High-Definition Link Adapter
Price: £21.26

5.0 out of 5 stars Easily mirror your phone's screen on your TV or projector, 19 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A really handle little adapter that lets you display your compatible phone's screen on any display with an HDMI input (or, presumably, a DVI-D input if you have an HDMI to DVI cable). Oh, and it takes the audio as well, which is nice.

The phone needs to have an MHL compatible Micro-USB connector (or the Samsung equivalent for which there is a small adapter supplied) and use is very very simple. You just connect the adapter to the phone, a mico-USB power supply (i.e. your phone charger) to the adapter and ten connect an HDMI cable between the adapter and the display (TV, monitor, projector etc).

Your phone's screen is then mirrored on the display.

Note that this is not content streaming, screencasting or mirroring as you get with DLNA or Chromecast. These technologies are wireless methods of sending media content wirelessly from your device to a compatible smart TV or DLNA renderer.

This adapter simply reproduces you phone's actual screen content (including menus, apps, email, web browsing etc etc etc) on an HDMI output for display on a big screen.

One thing to note, however, is that app developers have the ability to disable this functionality. The only one I have come across that has done this is Sky Go - when you run up Sky Go with the adapter attached you get a message saying that HDMI output is not allowed. You can see why Sky have done this - it would effectively give you an additional free set top box without paying Sky for the box or multi-room subscription - but it's a little annoying all the same.

That said, I can display anything else I like from my phone on a big screen TV or projector - and it looks great.

Tested with the following devices (feel free to add more in the comments):

+ HTC One (M7) - WORKS
- original Google Nexus 7 tablet- DOES NOT WORK

[See the first comment to this review for a link to a list of MHL enabled devices]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 20, 2014 1:57 PM BST

Philips BT9280/33 Series 9000 Laser Guided Beard Trimmer
Philips BT9280/33 Series 9000 Laser Guided Beard Trimmer
Price: £74.99

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Going against the bulk of reviews, but I found it absolute rubbish, 3 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
While the trimmer feels like a solid, quality piece of kit I'm afraid I found in practice this to be the worst trimmer I have used.

I realise that this goes against most of the reviews here and I am risking serious down-voting in contradicting so many people's views, but I have to give an honest opinion of what I have found.

I've been using a cheap, £16 Remmington for about 3 years now without any problems. That trimmer cuts evenly, hold its charge for ages and hasn't gone in the slightest bit blunt in that time. This is also the second Philips trimmer I have tried.

I can't comment on whether the Philips will blunt quickly as I won't be using it, but in terms of how well it performs its primary function this trimmer is miles behind.

+ Seemingly very high build quality
+ Can run cordless or corded
+ Quick charge times

- Uneven length trimming
- Ineffective shape trimming
- Clumsy, awkward guard attachment and removal
- No storage, carry bag/case
- Utterly pointless, distracting laser gimmick

The primary function of a trimmer such as this is to shape and tidy a beard or stubble. As hard as I tried I could not get an even length trim nor a neat edge to my beard shape with this. I tried both the long and short edge of the shaper - with and without the laser, but more of that later - but it just didn't work very well at all. The length trim was completely uneven and actually made my beard look less tidy than it was before - it looked like week old random length growth.

Maybe you'll say I was doing it all wrong, but as mentioned I have a cheap Remmington which has been doing the job very well for about four years. I've also previously tried and reviewed a [[B00AF4LLB8 Phillips QG3362/23]] trimmer and found that pretty lacking, so maybe I just don't get on well with Philips trimmers.

When attaching the guards that set the trim length you have to shove the plastic stubs into slots in the side of the trimmer. These are pretty snug to push home, however on inspection you can see that this is because of a couple of small plastic nobbles on the guard stubs. After time these are going to wear down leaving the guards a bit on the loose side - not ideal when that is what set the depth of trim.

These guards are also really awkward to remove. When you pull them off you invariable pull off the trimmer head as well. That's easy enough to re-attach, but it shouldn't happen in the first place.

The packaging is also a bit misleading about the adjustment of the trim depth. It shows what looks like a digital LCD/LED display indicating the trim length. The adjustment is actually a wheel that runs through the middle of the trimmer. Within that wheel are transparent numbers on a black background with a white light shining through. Not a problem as such, and it does show you the apparent trim length - it's just not as high-tech as the packaging would lead you to believe. I cant vouch for accuracy though I dare say one or two of my beard hairs may have been the right length as there were plenty of different hair lengths in my beard after it was butchered with this trimmer.

The trimmer can be used plugged in or cordless with a 60 minute charge apparently giving you 60 minutes of trimming. This suggests that it may be used as a travel trimmer, however with no carry pouch for the trimmer and guards that's a bit less attractive an option. In fact in terms of storage in general you'll have a trimmer, two plastic guards and a wall charger all floating around loose somewhere.

And then there's the laser. Following the trend of adding pointless things to devices to make them stand out (see also the [[B00L7U4TCW Toothbrush with BlueTooth]] Philips seems to think that a laser guide on a beard trimmer is a USP. Not only is it not needed, but it doesn't even work very well. As another reviewer has pointed out, the bright glowing line is a distraction rather than an aid to shaving. However, the laser thingy on the back of the trimmer doesn't always pop up properly either, leaving you with either half a wonky laser line or just the end of the bean visible. And it only works when you are shaping with the guards detached as well (though it is possible to accidentally pop up the laser thingy by accident when the guards are attached - you then need to remove the guard to push the laser thingy back in to switch off the laser).

After making a complete mess of my beard with this I reverted back to my £16 Remmington to tidy things up. The quality of trim for the Philips was so bad that I didn;t even need to go shorter with the Remmington to rectify things!.

H2D iR Ionic and Infrared Professional Hair Dryer
H2D iR Ionic and Infrared Professional Hair Dryer
Price: £77.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good and well built hairdryer - just a bit on the heavy side, 3 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The hairdryer itself feels very good quality although it is very heavy (0.87kg with diffuser, 0.76kg without). The build quality is very high and it feels very solid and well made.

The diffuser head works quite well although it is quite hard to attach to the hairdryer. The fitting is just a push fit and on the new hairdryer it is quite stiff to click into place and remove. This suggests that after repeated attaching and removing it may well become loose - you might expect a 'professional' hairdryer to have a twist-lock attachment to improve the durability.

The concentrator nozzle is again quite difficult to attach and detach as it attaches in the same way as the diffuser.

The weight of the hair dryer makes drying straight hair quite tiring with the concentrator, though shorter bursts with the diffuser are obviously a bit easier.

Putting aside the slightly gimmicky pseudo-science of using ions and infra-red (remember, you can't see infra red, so having an orange light glowing inside the hairdryer doesn't actually mean very much) this is a very good quality piece of kit. It dries well and the power and temperature settings are on separate switches which is a good thing that is often lacking on cheaper hairdryers. There is also a 'cold shot' button for a blast of cold air (or at least room temperature hair) which, apparently, 'locks in style'!

As some have mentioned, the packaging also looks quality - a big, embossed box in a cardboard sleeve - though the pastic insert inside the box is a bit flimsy. The hairdryer does have a hanging hook but a carry bag would have been a nice addition.

In addition to the dryer, diffuser and concentrator you also get a de-tanging brush (like the Tangle Teaser as seen on Dragon's Den on TV). The brush is very effective, but sadly the quality isn't great - after just a couple of uses the bristles have started to fall off!

Add a bag, better attachment system for the nozzles and a a better quality brush and this would be five stars easily. (It's just a shame that this kind of quality seems to only come in 'heavy')

BT Mini Wi-Fi 500 Home Hotspot Powerline Multi-Adapter Kit - ( Pack of 3)
BT Mini Wi-Fi 500 Home Hotspot Powerline Multi-Adapter Kit - ( Pack of 3)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great starter kit, some drawbacks if you already have a Power line network, 30 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First of all its important to note that this is a starter kit that consists of TWO powerline WiFi hotspots and one powerline adapter that acts as a broadband extender only. (It is not three powerline WiFi hotspots)

The two powerline hotspots are great. They will readily link to any existing pipeline adapters you have and well create their own WiFi hotspots on that Powerline network.

That's not really where this kit is assumed though.

This kit is aimed at those who don't already have a Powerline network but who want to extend their broadband WiFi into areas where they have poor or non-existent signal.

The non-WiFi adapter in this kit plugs into a wall socket near your broadband router and also into your router. (Pretty much any router with an Ethernet port on it will do - it DOES NOT need to be a BT router and you don't need BT branded broadband).

This creates a wired version of your WiFi on your mains power cabling that can be picked up by the other adapters.

When you plug in the other adapters and link them to the first adapter (following the simple one sheet instructions) the WiFi adapter picks up your network and creates a new WiFi hotspot thereby extending your WiFi coverage

The WiFi adapters also have two wired Ethernet ports on top fir connection to wired networking kit such as desktop computers or even unmanned switches to extend your network further.

The non-WiFi adapter is a bit of an oddity, though, and it is this adapter which drops this kit a star for me. You should be able to use this as just another wired only powerline adapter - linking it to any existing powerline adapter network you already have with the link button. However this adapter does not seem to want to link to any existing network - indeed the sole purpose of the link button on this adapter seems to be to initiate a connection to new adapters ie the WiFi adapters in the pack.

This was frustrating for me add I already have a fully functioning powetline network based on TP-Link and other kit. This means that I either have to not use the supplied non-WiFi adapter at all our I have to use this as the powerline access from my router rather than the existing adapter. The problem with this then being that I would need to pair all of my existing adapters again with the new adapter. In my case it just doesn't seem with it so that adapter will not be used.

A clever feature of this kit is the WiFi cloning option. This functions means that with just an extended push of the link button the WiFi adapters will read your WiFi network name and password from your main hub/router and use that instead of the default SSID and password in the adapter. This means that any WiFi kit you already have well automatically connect to the new extended network and can titan felt between the hotspots without you having to enter a password or use the WPS button.

There is a problem though. This WiFi extend function only seems to work if you have used the supplied non-WiFi adapter as the link between your broadband router and your powerline network. As I use a TP-Link powerline adapter to connect my Home Hub 3 into my powerline network this function fails, giving me the 'WiFi extend failed' flashing lights.

This is a shame - especially as the packaging says all you need is a WPS capable router for this function to work.

There may be more to this issue than I have discovered so far, do feel free to add anything in the review comments if you find more. In the meantime I'm happy using the very neat and solid little WiFi hotspots to give me better coverage in some patchy locations.

There are cheaper brands on the market (TP-Link being my favoured brand at the moment) and there is nothing BT specific about this kit other than the badge, but even if a bit on the expensive side these do seem well built, and if you don't already have a powerline network this is a really good, very useful kit to get started with.

Oral-B Trizone 6000 Smart Series With Bluetooth Technology Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Oral-B Trizone 6000 Smart Series With Bluetooth Technology Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush Powered by Braun
Price: £89.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant toothbrush - interchangeable with the 5000 series - but do you need the gimmicks?, 22 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Essentially an update to the Trizone 5000 and costing and extra £60 list price, but just an extra £6 (at he time of writing) on Amazon.

If you thought that having a wireless 'Smart Guide' display to tell you that you were cleaning your teeth was a bit gimmicky, then having a BlueTooth connection so that you can use a Smart Phone app to tell you when you are cleaning your teeth is really going to impress you!!!

The 6000 comes with a different set of heads to the 5000, but it is worth noting that they are entirely interchangeable.

The 6000 comes with '3D' heads (again with the gimmicks, are they HD as well?) - essentially that means that rather than rotating like most electric toothbrush heads, the heads supplied with this brush move from side to side - but get this.. the top section moves in the opposite direction to the main brush head!!! I guess that's what makes it 3D. [EDIT: Actually it doesn't move in the opposite direction it just shows it that way on the box. The top section, which is a different colour, actually moves in exactly the same direction as the other moving bristles!]

As the heads are completely interchangeable, you can actually use these 3D heads on an old 5000 series toothbrush and they will work exactly the same - counter-rotate 3D head-wobble and all. Or you can use your old rotary 5000 heads on this brush.

The 6000 adds an extra 'mode' to the mix - a whitening mode - but I'd guess this is actually down to the heads rather than any particular action of the brush. In fact all of the 'modes' seem pretty pointless as they are just variations on a 'pulsing' pattern between fast and slow motor speeds.

All in all these are very high quality electric toothbrushes. Time will tell whether the 6000 improves the battery endurance though, as that was a major fault with the 5000. After about 6 months of daily use and recharging the 5000 dropped to holding charge for barely a couple of days. Amazon actually replaced a 5000 series for me because of this, but the replacement did exactly the same. Thankfully this Vine review item arrived just in time for me to try the next generation to see if that improves things - looking at the handset, though, I doubt it as other than the BlueTooth logo (and BlueTooth radio inside I guess) and a different coloured panel they look almost identical.

Android Hacker's Handbook
Android Hacker's Handbook
by Joshua J. Drake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Heavweight and fascinating, 1 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is absolutely not a 'get started in hacking Android' book.

Neither is a beginners guide to making your Android Apps secure.

This is an in-depth look at ow security works (and has failed in the past) on the Android OS platform.

I'm not a security professional, nor am I a professional programmer - though I do dabble in a bit of coding for web, PC, Linux and Android - but being a geek at heart I find dipping in and out of this fascinating.

For a professional this book certainly seems to have a lot of information that you should be aware of. If you are aware of it already, great. If not then you need this book. It's one of those 'if you don't know what you don't know' situations... you need this book to make sure you've at least thought of what others have though of before.

You're never going to be completely ahead of the hacking curve, but this book tells you how the OS has been hacked in the past with general methods and specific details. The examples, though, are backed up with a wealth of general information about how the OS works which should give you the best chance of plugging some holes before they are exploited.

To the novice it may be surprising just how similar some of these previous attack methods have been. To the expert it should be a lesson in how not to get bitten twice.

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