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scruffy bob (UK)

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Parrot CK3000 Evolution Bluetooth Car Kit
Parrot CK3000 Evolution Bluetooth Car Kit
Offered by Dynamic Sounds Ltd.
Price: 71.41

2.0 out of 5 stars Far too many corners have been cut., 10 Jan 2013
I chose this because I wanted a reliable hands free kit, but didn't want another display mounted anywhere on my dashboard. So I picked the cheaper end of the Parrot line, there are several problems.

Firstly there is no echo cancellation, unacceptable in this day and age.

Secondly the voice controll has a hair trigger, I've set the controls to obscure words and it false triggers on conversation and even the radio!

Thirdly the manual is very terse, the menu system is a bit flakey and the manual expects you to bluff through it. Not good.

Fourthly, the bundled cables are far too long, particulalry once you've bought adapters to attach it to your radio, unless you're comfortable trimming and splicing them this leads to miles of cable squeezed into gaps behind the dash.

The higher end products might be better, but to be frank this product is so close to unusable, I'm glad I didn't trust Parrot with any more of my money!


Cat and Mouse (Alex Cross)
Cat and Mouse (Alex Cross)
by James Patterson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.39

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The very worst book I have ever read, 13 April 2012
Imagine the scene, someone is about to throw a book in the bin, you can't bear to see it happen so you stop them, and they make a challenge... take the book, but when you read it you have to leave it somewhere for someone else to take. I took that challenge.

So Alex Cross... Genius profiller, loving father, pillar of his family, single parent, good in bed, great in the kitchen, indestructable, athletic, and the entire book is written in the first person.

James Patterson "Has Issues".

And so does this book. The dialogue is mind numbing, the sex scene is best forgotten, there's no particular reveal. All of the characters are one dimensional, unsympathetic and opaque, if there is any flash of inspiration in any of their heads... well that's where it stays.

This book was a waste of a few mendiocre ideas that weren't explored because Patterson was more interested in fawning over his superman than telling a story in any meaningful way.

Right now I'm looking for somewhere that deserves this book... No-one has been that mean to me though.


Linux Kernel Development (Developer's Library)
Linux Kernel Development (Developer's Library)
by Robert Love
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.84

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maddening..., 25 Dec 2011
This book covers a lot of the kernel API and inner workings in depths and use-cases that the kernel's own Documentation tree and general online discussions don't even begin to cover. (Good Luck googling kthreads, for example!) And few, if any, other books match it.

As such it's indisputably required reading for anyone in their first couple of years of kernel hacking, and is handy for people who've done it before but need reminders...

But it has problems! Introduction of terminology is patchy. (For example process groups and namespaces are mentioned in an early chapter, but aren't explained until much later.) Cross referencing swings between excessive and non existent, prior knowledge leaps between basic compsci principles to experienced linux developer, and I've found more than a few typos and other glitches. Despite these the book is still a damn fine resource.

It waffles, but then enthusiasm always does, and I've a high enough opinion of this book that I wouldn't be ashamed to lend it to someone who needed help, indeed I've annotated my copy against that time.

None of the glitches in this book will waste much time of a good reader, my only complaint would be that it's a shame that the author didn't have enough respect for his own (remarkable!) expertise to check the details, this is a third edition, the wrinkles should be out by now! And it is for those reasons that I must give this four, rather than five, stars.


How to Pass the UKCAT: Unbeatable Practice for Success in the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test: Unbeatable Practice for Success in the 2009 United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test
How to Pass the UKCAT: Unbeatable Practice for Success in the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test: Unbeatable Practice for Success in the 2009 United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test
by Mike Bryon
Edition: Paperback

1.0 out of 5 stars Is this a joke?!, 20 Nov 2011
This book fails in every way possible.

As a quick sample of failings. The numerical section cautions readers that questions rise to "A level", but confuses "average" with "mean", while also talking about median and modal, a mistake no A-level student would make! Typos in some of the questions render them impossible, perhaps most damning, despite claiming to "prepare" students for the tests it does not mention if a calculator or rough paper are provided, it simply doesn't describe the test environment! The abstract reasoning tests have an incredible number of inconsistencies and ambiguities.

Many of the questions and options are framed in a hopelessly obtuse or even sloppy way.

An otherwise able and intelligent student may be far more nervous about the conditions of the UKCAT than the content, this book will do nothing for such students, and leads to my final, deepest problem with the book: The final section discusses personality tests, and the reader is encouraged to answer tactically rather than honestly, To consider that their answers might swing assessment boards.

Reading this book is at best a waste of time, at worst it is despiriting. I must admit that I am now tempted to see what else these authors and publishers have produced, just to see where else such poor workmanship flourishes.


Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning
Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning
by David E. Goldberg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 45.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Vague and outdated., 13 Jun 2008
Although the author's style of writing is pleasant, the book leaves much to be desired.

Initially the most basic concepts are spelled out, and even derived in the early chapters, the later chapters stray from this, and some of the important results differ from the suggested derivation.

Admittedly no single website would provide as much information as clearly, and this book is a usefull start for those new to the field. But it should be read with critical attention to the details, and without any compunction about closing the book and getting on with the task in hand.


Essential Linux Device Drivers (Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development)
Essential Linux Device Drivers (Prentice Hall Open Source Software Development)
by Sreekrishnan Venkateswaran
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 27.98

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! I'll probably wear this book out!, 4 Jun 2008
This book starts by covering the kernel architecture, placing drivers in their context and discussing the support structures that exist for them, with that start everything else follows naturally, and logically.

This book is bang up to date and addresses every significant class of driver, and many of the idiosyncrasies of the driver models. While old hands will know much of this material already, this is the one stop reference for 90% of the details you'll need for the task in hand, and has excellent pointers for where to find the rest.

This is one of the best "working knowledges" available on paper, and is both a great starting point on the road of experience, as well as a worthy reference for those en-route.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 23, 2008 3:12 PM BST


Regular Expression Pocket Reference: Regular Expressions for Perl, Ruby, PHP, Python, C, Java and .NET (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
Regular Expression Pocket Reference: Regular Expressions for Perl, Ruby, PHP, Python, C, Java and .NET (Pocket Reference (O'Reilly))
by Tony Stubblebine
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.05

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute, but not what I'd hoped for., 4 Jun 2008
It's handy to have a quick how-to for using regular expressions under different circumstances. But I'd rather have had more comprehensive cover of fewer languages!


The Cylons' Secret: Battlestar Galactica 2 (Battlestar Galactica (Paperback))
The Cylons' Secret: Battlestar Galactica 2 (Battlestar Galactica (Paperback))
by Craig Shaw Gardner
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating., 4 Jun 2008
Although the concepts and events of this book have all been superseded or contradicted by the third season in general, and "Razor" in particular, that is the least of the problems with the book.

Firstly it's almost pure dialog, or inner monologue, and there isn't much narrative, this gives the book a frankly childish feel to it. Since the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is directed at an adult audiance, the style doesn't fit with the rest of the franchise.

The author frequently slips into a very specific American Dialect, which isn't typical of the show, and adds another irritation. Typo's on the back cover do nothing to endear this book either.

There were some good ideas there, but it ignores some of the obvious questions, and doesn't make particularly good use of Zarek, Adama or Tigh, any characters could have been used in the place of these three, and the book doesn't make any real use of the characters' histories or hint at their ongoing motivations.


Lions' Commentary on UNIX with Source Code
Lions' Commentary on UNIX with Source Code
by John Lions
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definition of "Operating System"!, 4 Jun 2008
With so many philosophies and platforms around today it's hard to determine what we might expect from an operating system. Micro-kernel advocates deny that filesystems are essential, while Microsoft claims that window managers belong in the kernel!

This book shows how much "bang" you can get out of a system with a tiny memory footprint. It gives a flavour of what using and developing for an old unix system would have been like.

While it leads the reader through the anatomy of unix, and provides insights into mechanics and compromises of a functional system, it also hints at an unspoken challenge. Even liberally commented, Unix as described here sits in ten thousand lines of code. A mass comparable to university courseworks, and dwarfed by all but the simplest open source projects. Any geek that doesn't enjoy the rattle of that flung gauntlet needs to change career!


Building Embedded Linux Systems
Building Embedded Linux Systems
by Karim Yaghmour
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very usefull, but not definitive., 4 Jun 2008
Although most embedded projects are based on fairly old versions of the kernel, there are still developments and applications that will eventually render this book outdated, hopefully these will be addressed in the new edition due this autumn.

That said, this book can be thought of as a well researched digest of the hits that you would find on google. All facets of embedded system development are discussed, as are potential target platforms. The reader is even encouraged (and shown how!) to "home brew" and embedded system.

This make book makes a good reference and "cook book" for different approaches, and will be a wonderful aid to anyone starting to develop embedded Linux systems.

I feel that embedded engineers who are new to Linux will find more kernel-specific works to be a better starting point, but once they have that familiarity they will find this book to be invaluable.


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