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Profile for Mr. Julian B. Berks > Reviews

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Mr. Julian B. Berks "Jules" (Leeds, UK)
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The Tomb of Sharakir (The Silent Blade Chronicles Book 2)
The Tomb of Sharakir (The Silent Blade Chronicles Book 2)
Price: £2.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas here and some potential but, 8 Dec. 2013
The plot and character ideas in these books are good and I believe David Graham has some real potential as an author, but I do have some criticisms that have spoiled these books, at least for me.

Firstly the characters. They appear and for the most part immediately set off on their quest. A little more character development wouldn't have come amiss. Perhaps a chapter or two on Amvaar and Jagahin's lives before launching into the story proper. (Priff and Hoog would be tricky I guess). Tricky or complex issues are often skipped over, When they find this 'impossible to find' tomb, it's all a bit too easy in the end. First we are told that Garrain is a great wizard, feared even by Quatho, then he makes a foolish error and is chastised by her. Which is it? The book ends with a shock statement as the protagonists realise whats happened, only we all knew chapters earlier. Not much of a shock/cliffhanger.

Secondly, the humour is a little childish, in fact I kept finding myself wondering what age range these books are aimed at. I suspect he had children in mind at times. "Poo head" isn't particularly amusing to a grown up.

Then I'm afraid comes the writing. Ok, I'm no English professor (I have nothing more than an average O level) and perhaps I've been spoiled by Gemmel and Pratchet but the standard of English, whilst at times reaching for higher peaks, often comes across as, for want of a better word, amateur. Basic mistakes I was taught to avoid at high school, such as not repeating the same word in sentences, appear frequently. There are also schoolboy punctuation errors. Ok for your average email, but I expect more from a published author.

Also, in terms of creative writing, to coin a phrase, too much "stating the bleeding obvious". Even to the extent of adding ' said X" when there are 2 people in the conversation and one is replying to the other. Most authors know we know, and leave it unsaid.
I get the impression that Mr Graham, whilst creatively talented, could perhaps do with attending some creating writing and higher level English writing courses. The talent is clearly present, but it needs some polishing.

He could also do with a decent proof reader as there are spelling mistakes and typos. It all comes across as a bit rushed.

I did enjoy the books on a basic story level but I couldn't help wondering whether the author was 14 or if he thought I was.
You have clear talent Mr Graham, and with some polishing, you could go places, but for me at least, you have a little way to go.


CPO 2 m FireWire 800 Cable 9 - 4 Pin - Black and Blue
CPO 2 m FireWire 800 Cable 9 - 4 Pin - Black and Blue
Offered by The LACH Group
Price: £5.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for Mac, 18 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought it to connect my old Sony DV camera to my 2011 MacbookPro.
Impressed at the quality of the lead, especially given the price. I'd not be disappointed at 3 times the price in a store.
Plugged it in and it worked perfectly.
what is there to say - if you want to get your dv firewire camera working with a Mac, this is just the job.


TomTom GO LIVE 825 5" Sat Nav with Europe Maps (45 Countries) (discountinued by manufacturer)
TomTom GO LIVE 825 5" Sat Nav with Europe Maps (45 Countries) (discountinued by manufacturer)

5.0 out of 5 stars TomTom has come a long way, 3 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had a tom-tom one for many years and always found it excellent but having sat in several long jams recently I felt the time had come to get traffic updates. I initially borrowed an 820 and found it better but had to agree with reviews, it was very slow to calculate and would have been frustrating to use, especially if you couldn't go where advised. I could see scenarios where you'd be driving for a long time with no guidance.

So, the 825. Route calculation is done within a few seconds so speed issues have certainly been resolved. The windscreen mount is perfectly adequate and a big improvement on the One's.

The live services can take up to a minute to sort themselves out but once online they're invaluable. I've only had it 3 weeks but I've been re-routed several times already. Most recently, yesterday on a trip from Leeds to Newcastle where it took me off the A1M onto the A68 as the A1M was having issues. All too often, radio traffic news is out of date and motorway signs are notoriously unreliable (If the matrix signs say a lane is closed it's pretty much a guarantee it's open) I've found tom-tom to be very accurate, often pin pointing the start of a hold-up to the yard, I travel from Leeds to London and use the M4 to get to the office. Last week It warned me that the M4 was blocked and re-routed me another junction down the M25. Locally based colleagues arrived half an hour after me, annoyed after having been sat in the jam. Faults? Well, when there is a holdup, the estimated delay is a bit out - 3 mins on the screen is more like 6-10 in reality but at least you have a rough guide.

Traffic camera warnings so far are also excellent too. Older systems such as the warnings I had on the One were prone to false alarms, either for cameras that weren't there or else for cameras that were actually on a bridge above the road you were on. These only register for roads you're on. Plus it tells you what the limit is, so there's no excuse.
The M1 has a lot of gantries with variable limits. Some gantries have cameras and some don't. Tom-tom is accurate enough to only warn when there is a camera present. Dummy gantries are ignored. You also have the option to update the info back, to help improve accuracy.
The wider screen is a big improvement and the added info such as lane guidance are a boon too.
Going into a strange town, it offers to find you a carpark and the google search means you can easily find any local business or location you're looking for.
The voice guidance is probably ok, though I don't really need it and I'm sure the bluetooth handsfree kit would be handy if you didn't already have one.
All in all, very pleased with the upgrade and a lot better than any vastly more expensive built in unit that I've tried.
Issues - only one. The active speed readout disappeared. Did a soft restart and it's back.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2012 10:18 AM BST


Visual Basic .NET and XML w/WS: Harness the Power of XML in VB.NET Applications (Computer Science)
Visual Basic .NET and XML w/WS: Harness the Power of XML in VB.NET Applications (Computer Science)
by Rod Stephens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £33.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars heavy going, 19 Feb. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I dare say that if you want a book to read that explains xml then maybe this would do it. It goes into detail about XML formats,XSL, web servers and the like.
But I wanted a book to help me solve a specific problem. Namely the most efficient way to search and read values from a complex xml doc. For this I'm afraid it fails miserably and is very frustrating. The code snippets are few and far between and the explanations of the commands weak. For example, one section explains 3 times that they have used an error trap (I know!!) but skims over what the xml object call is doing. There are no excercises. There are long sections with lots of xml but no VB code at all.

In a nutshell, it attempts to explain the concepts rather than attempting to teach you how to program them so if you know most of it already it could be a useful refresher. If you don't, avoid it.


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