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Reviews Written by
C. A. Austin "chezza99" (England, UK)

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The Murder Bag
The Murder Bag
by Tony Parsons
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not so thrilling, 7 July 2014
This review is from: The Murder Bag (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tony Parsons writes in a conversational style - undemanding language, relaxed pace, random bits of domestic detail. It's easy to imagine him as a Sunday lunchtime raconteur, shooting the breeze over a lazy pint or three. Unfortunately, this doesn't suit a thriller. His pace is too slow and his story's too full of holes. Giving the overall effect of an easy-going chat around child abuse and violent revenge, he fails to impart horror or intrigue but shares more than enough information about all the characters' pet dogs.

There are almost as many dogs in "The Murder Bag" as there are clichés; both take up far too much space without adding to the plot. Officers of the Metropolitan Police have lovely homes in the more expensive parts of London - quite an achievement on their salary - and eat Korean food at dinky Soho restaurants. Detectives are surprisingly well-read but completely miss enormous clues. They don't even solve the mystery.

Not recommended for: thrills, tension, emotional engagement or mental stimulation.
Might be good as: easy holiday reading for dog lovers.

Super Legend E27 Edison Screw 7 Watt LED Super Smart App Controlled Bluetooth Light Bulb, Warm White
Super Legend E27 Edison Screw 7 Watt LED Super Smart App Controlled Bluetooth Light Bulb, Warm White
Price: 25.45

2.0 out of 5 stars Supports Bluetooth 4.0 and android OS 4.3+; iOS 6.0 or later; optimized for iPhone 5., 3 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having become slightly obsessed with Philips Hue system - which I can't afford - I was dead excited to be offered a chance to try this! Unfortunately the app isn't compatible with my phone. I'm going to have to wait until I upgrade in October.

I'm quite sad about this. App compatibility should be stated in the product description.

Oral-B 5000 Braun PRO CrossAction 5-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Wireless Smart Guide
Oral-B 5000 Braun PRO CrossAction 5-Mode Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush with Wireless Smart Guide
Offered by SPARES-2-GO
Price: 149.99

5.0 out of 5 stars If these had been available 20 years ago ..., 2 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
... My teeth might be in significantly better condition! I have an illness that weakens my teeth & gums, though I didn't know it back then, which has led to my near tragic possession of a proper set of "British Teeth". Discoloured, eroded, cracked and broken, the poor things get filled until they crumble. And then they get taken out. I'm telling my story as a warning, for incorrect brushing caused the accelerated demise of my teeth.

I started using electric brushes about 10 years ago after my dentist told me I was pressing too hard, should be brushing in circular motions, and was failing to clean adequately round the edges of gums. I can't perform the required precision circling by hand, and rotating electric brushes do that. I still press too hard, though, and my gums are getting worse so I can't be doing those right either.

This brush really feels like a major development. The different heads perform complementary tasks - including a darn good scrub around the gums - and the ability to alter the brushing 'mode' (speed) means you can choose to spend longer, working in more detail around tricky areas. Two-thirds of the bristles move, brushing across one another to give the 'criss-cross' action that gets into nooks & crannies (I've got a lot of those!) and explaining the 'tri-zone' description. There's a massaging option for gums and tongue, and a super-fast 'whitening' mode. Toothbrushes can't whiten teeth but, having briefly tried this energetic program, I can well believe it removes extra plaque. Unfortunately it would remove my enamel too, so I'm sticking with the slower, more precise options. And massaging; lots of massaging!

It's quite handy to have the 30-second timer for each quarter of the mouth, particularly as I tend to skimp on the backs of my teeth. The wireless indicator gadget is kind of cute, but I'm not using it as I brush in the shower. The pressure sensor's a major benefit in my opinion. It was going off like a set of big, red fairy lights, proving that I'm still abusing my teeth as warned by the dentist.

I am uniquely placed to judge the efficiency of tooth cleaning, thanks to the variegated sepia tones of my gnashers (or what's left of them.) I can assert that the paler parts of my teeth look noticeably paler after carefully using this brush for about a week.

It took a long time to charge up - early evening to late morning - but the charge has lasted 8 days with 2 or 3 daily uses, and is still going. Subsequent charging should complete overnight - every Braun product I've owned has featured excellent battery performance. The brush is guaranteed for two years if you register it on the Oral-B website. All standard Oral-B brush head replacements will fit.

It's expensive for a toothbrush at 170 at time of writing. I'm not qualified to say whether the Cross-Action 5000 is worth twice as much as the Braun Oral-B Triumph 5000 Five-Mode Power Toothbrush with Wireless Smart Guide. To quote another reviewer, though: it is solid and well made, with an air of authority about it. You only get one set of natural teeth to last your adult life and, as I know too well, you can't be sure of their strength. It's worth taking very good care of them - and I am convinced this brush does so.

Netgear A6100 Wi-Fi USB Mini Adapter
Netgear A6100 Wi-Fi USB Mini Adapter
Price: 24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good connection to my R6100 router, 17 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a new Netgear R6100 AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router downstairs and an extremely old (12 years!) PC upstairs in the spare room. While this is a small house, wifi between the two rooms has always been unreliable, probably due to a brick chimney stack. The old computer has no built-in antenna; I was hoping this new dongle and its counterpart router would find a way to 'bend' their waves synchronously. I don't know whether this is what they're actually doing, but my connection's much improved.

Finger Pulse Oximeter With LED Display (Includes Carrycase, Batteries and Lanyard)
Finger Pulse Oximeter With LED Display (Includes Carrycase, Batteries and Lanyard)
Offered by Ana Wiz Ltd
Price: 59.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Health essential, 3 Jun 2014
This little gadget's great for anyone with cause for concern about their pulse rate and blood oxygen level. Since these are life-and-death factors, an oxymeter's not just for fitness freaks and those with chronic health conditions - although these are most likely to use the device frequently. Sleep apnoeia sufferers can experience severe oxygen deprivation; get them to sleep with the oxymeter on, and check their levels when they snore.

It takes 2 AAA batteries. You pop it on the end of your finger (it doesn't work properly on painted nails). Press the button and wait a few seconds to see your pulse rate, oxygen level, and watch your heart beating. Healthy pulse tables by age, weight and sex can be found all over the internet and on the wall at your gym. Oxygen saturation of less than 92 damages body tissue; you should see a doctor urgently if you get this reading more than once. Below 85 is critical.

As you see, this could save a life after an accident, heart attack or stroke. Outside of emergencies, it's a valuable fitness measurement. Get one.

Natural Long Wood Wooden Body Brush Massager Bath Shower Back Spa Scrubber
Natural Long Wood Wooden Body Brush Massager Bath Shower Back Spa Scrubber
Offered by feichen
Price: 3.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 2 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Imperfections aside, it's real bristle and on the firm side of medium. As it also has a hand strap, you can use it for body brushing if you like a bit of stiffness, and it's ideal for tougher areas like feet and elbows. The handle's plenty long enough - I'm 5'8" and it reaches all my back. The handle sometimes slips out of its slot - a few bristles have detached - the wood's slowly splitting with all the getting wet and drying out. It's not the highest quality brush, but quite good enough and a bargain!

Toshiba THNU08HAYBL5 8GB TransMemory USB 2.0 Flash Drive - White
Toshiba THNU08HAYBL5 8GB TransMemory USB 2.0 Flash Drive - White
Price: 3.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slightly wider than the port connector, 2 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought two of these - 8Gb and 32Gb. They're good. They feel nice in the hand (not that it matters) and have an internal green light that flickers reassuringly when the drive's in use. The housing is 13mm wide by my measure - it won't fit next to another connector on my laptop's adjacent USB ports. There's one on the other side, so I used that, but this could be an issue with small devices.

I'm using mine as swap memory to help my laptop and PC work faster. On Windows Vista/ 7/ 8 - Plug it in, right click on it in 'Computer', select Format and choose NTFS with a 512 byte allocation unit. Click Quick Format. When that's done, right-click on it again, select Properties then Ready Boost. To use all the stick's memory, select 'Dedicate this drive to Ready Boost' and OK. It does make a difference, especially with media streaming.

Netgear R6100 AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router
Netgear R6100 AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router
Price: 80.12

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amateur experiments ... It's made my printer wireless!, 1 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
NETWORKING ENTHUSIASTS: It should be obvious that my review won't interest you ;) I'm writing this for ambitious amateurs like myself!

The Netgear R6100 AC1200 can't create an internet connection directly from the DSL feed through your phone line, as it has no modem. I'm using my Sky hub as a modem. I disabled wireless on the Sky router, then connected it to the R6100 using the supplied cable. Waited two minutes while new router identified 'internet connection', and all is good! Next, I'll be connecting all my devices (I only have 5) and seeing what I can do with that.

Wireless is stronger in the garden & upstairs than it was from the Sky hub, which is what I mainly wanted.
The R6100 has been on continuously for five days now; unlike Sky's device, it has never dropped the signal.
I haven't yet figured out how to share documents & stream media, etc ... more later.

IF YOU HAVE FIBRE BROADBAND you can use this router by plugging in the ethernet cable from your modem.

The Netgear Genie Android app installed fine on my ancient Galaxy Ace (running Gingerbread.) I can now control my router from anywhere around the house! I could even control it away from home: there's an IP address to use for remote access.

My TV isn't 'smart' but I do have a Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player, which was very upset by the fact I'd changed my network name. After re-running the installer several times and following dead end advice from Web forums, I hit on the brilliant idea of creating a Guest Network with my old network name & password. Bingo, it connected.
This is clearly a fault with the Chromecast, not the router: it would be a good idea to give your 'new' network the same name & login as before, to avoid such issues.

This is magic! My old-style USB printer is now a wireless printer! I plugged its USB into the R6100, installed Netgear's ReadyShare Print driver, and printed something straight away. It took 1 minutes. Painless! The printer no longer needs to be attached to a computer - I can print & scan from my laptop in the garden or the PC upstairs, without having to move anything physically.
Using Google Cloud Print, I can print stuff on the printer at home from anywhere in the world, as long as the router's on. I've tested this by printing something from my phone - again, it worked seamlessly.

To me, this is a good enough reason to buy the R6100. USB wireless print servers/converters cost from 20 to 80 and most, like the TP-Link TL-PS110U Single USB2.0 Port Fast Ethernet Print Server, are tricky to install with older printers. The R6100 handled it perfectly.

Exploring my new router's abilities is rather eating my life at the moment - I didn't intend to put myself on a crash networking course, but keep getting sidetracked by thoughts of "I wonder if ...?" I'll be taking a break for a few days. For anyone actually reading this: I'll get cracking on more of my 'What if's next week :)

Totes W/light Auto O/C Double Canopy Blk/charcoal Black/ Charcoal 7017BCH One Size
Totes W/light Auto O/C Double Canopy Blk/charcoal Black/ Charcoal 7017BCH One Size
Offered by totes ISOTONER UK
Price: 20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy & reliable, 28 May 2014
I delayed reviewing this Totes brolly until it'd served me through the winter (or not, as the case may be.) It's great! The umbrella holds off rain, as it should, and definitely keeps its shape in winds that would wreck a weaker model. The true test, in my view, is what happens when it does blow out - it passed with honours! I just tugged it back gently and my brolly sprang back into shape, still as wind-resistant as before. After six months of fairly heavy use there is no fraying, spoke weakness or any other kind of damage.

This umbrella has a release button, which I find helpful on leaving the house, and needs to be closed manually. Closing it does take a small effort, which could be a caution to users with hand or wrist disabilities. I think it probably needs to be a bit heavy: a collapsible umbrella with such resilience is quite an engineering feat.

Of the hundreds of umbrellas I've owned, only one was better than this. It cost 130 (I lost it.) That was both prettier and larger than this one; I've deducted one star for the boring colour scheme along with the reduced - but still plenty big enough - size. All my other brollies have broken in strong winds, including the supposedly windproof Fulton Stormshield Men's Umbrella. Don't buy that, buy this. It's fantastic value!

Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System
Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System
Price: 15.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did you know ..., 23 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A THIRD of women aged 35-55 wet themselves, and about half of women over 55? You thought you were alone, didn't you? Well, you're normal! Now let's do something about it!

I'm not going to dwell on the details of using Aquaflex - it's weight training for your pelvic floor. You put a plastic thingy in your fanjo, increase the weights as your PF gets stronger, then graduate to the smaller thingy and do the same again. You do have to keep it up (in more ways than one, haha) for life. No probs, it's only a few minutes and you carry on as normal while using the weight.

I'm only giving it four stars, because who "loves" accidentally expelling a white plastic weight when laughing too hard?!

Please google Elaine Miller, affectionately known as 'Gusset Grippers'. She's a women's physio, comedienne and pelvic floor evangelist. #doyerblardyexercises

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