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brainleek007 (Bracknell)
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Rogue FlashBender Large Positionable Reflector
Rogue FlashBender Large Positionable Reflector
Price: £24.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent if a little overpriced, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These flash diffusers really help dealing with one of the most often unwanted traits of using a flash - harsh shadows.

By pinging your flash into the panel and then onto your subject you effectively increase the size of your main light and voila - more flattering light and less hard shadows ensue. If you're shooting portraits you can angle the reflectors down to give a version of the classic butterfly lighting on your subject with virtually zero effort. They are great for giving a less harsh fill light also. Being light they are easy to transport and can be folded so are a relatively easy addition to a kit bag

These things are also great because they can be bent to suit almost any situation and angled to give interesting lighting effects - I find use for these in a table top studio situation also . These flash panels are perfectly adequate for shooting smaller things.

They attach to the camera with a velcro elastic strap. This might not be to everyone's taste. The weight of the panel (which isn't unreasonable) can occasionally make the flash head droop at an inopportune moment. Overall though it's not a deal breaker.

They come with sample gels.

Guitar Tab White Pages: Volume 1
Guitar Tab White Pages: Volume 1
by Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.95

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great selection and epic value, 19 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This selection of tabs offers something for everyone in terms of musical tastes and playing ability. Where else would you find Blink 182'S "All the Small Things" tab in with Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover"?! Everything is covered from hard rock to pop.

The biggest thing with these tomes is their value for money. I bought mine bought on the basis of about 10 songs that really jumped out at me but since then I've founds many, many more that I'll be learning over the coming years.

About the only negative is that these books probably won't stand up to much abuse. The paper is not of a high quality but the printing itself is very clear. They are something along the lines of a phone book.

I bought this and volumes 2 and 3 at the same time and between them I have nearly every classic tab I've ever wanted.

BLACKSTAR HT5R Electric guitar amplifiers Tube guitar combos
BLACKSTAR HT5R Electric guitar amplifiers Tube guitar combos
Offered by Musik Produktiv GmbH
Price: £313.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great tones and value, 19 April 2014
This is my first all valve amp and it's been a great purchase so far.

I've never really been blown away before by the design of something which is essentially a black box but the Blackstar does look really good. The quality isn't just skin deep as the general build is superb. The highlight is the control panel which sports a polished panel and some beautifully made chromed adjustment knobs. The carry handle on top is also very well made; this little amp feels like it will be around for a very long time.

But let's be honest, it could look awful as long as it sounds good right? And of course the Blackstar scores again here as the range of tones on offer is amazing. The clean channel is controlled by a volume / tone pot and is very easy to use. The Overdrive brings in a 3 channel EQ plus something called the ISF (Infinite Shape Feature). The ISF is another adjustment that is applied over the top of whatever other settings you have dialled in. The labelling on the amp itself show this can be used to get an easy vintage British rock sound vs a vintage US rock. It's good and leads to a huge degree of options for tone. Once you figure into the equation all the tonal possibilities added by tweaking with your own volume, tone & pickup selections and you have a vast tonal palette at your disposal. Also built in is a reverb - it's a little woolly at the higher setttings but dialled back a bit can give a very pleasing sound.

I've had my Fender Mexican strat through this and my Gibson LP Studio and both sound amazing. The clean tones on the fender are to die for, everything from super bright twang, glassy "between the pickups" quack to full and round neck pickup smoothness. The Gibson easily asserts it's 'chunk' and sounds amazing also - especially on the OD where riffs sound fat and powerful. The Strat on the OD channel on the bridge PU has the clarity and bite I was looking for. I can reproduce many classic tones with this basic setup.

Connectivity is also very well catered for. You can run this amp out to a different (larger) speaker cab if required. There's an effects loop and also MP3 in + Headphones output as well as a 4 x 12 / 1 x 12 cab emulator switch. Playing along with a recording of a track you're learning is easily possibly with this amp.

So, the next question will a 5W ammp be loud enough? Like everything, it depends! If you want to play large gigs then no (but you could go through the PA...). If you were playing a pub in front of 20 people it's absolutely perfect. But don't forget this amp was designed to be a practice / studio amp and in these areas it excels. This amp can be played at realistic practice volumes without upsetting everyone in the house and your neighbours whilst still giving you juicy fat valve tone. If you were recording this amp it will give you more than enough volume to obtain the sound you want. Saying that, you'll be suprised at the volume it can produce when cranked - especially on the OD - it definitely has the potential to upset a lot of folk!

The amp comes complete with a little footswitch for changing from clean / OD as a nice extra so out of the box you won't want for anything.

£350 is considerably more than you'd pay for other small amps, especially solid state amps. But when you figure in this is genuine valve tone and the overall build quality you're actually getting something of a bargain.

Try on - There's a reason this has been one of the best selling amps over the last few years.

Last Starfighter [Blu-ray] [1984] [US Import]
Last Starfighter [Blu-ray] [1984] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Lance Guest
Offered by nagiry
Price: £6.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, 18 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I remember watching this on VHS - it must have been around 1985 / 86 and I absolutely loved it.

Revisiting it on Bluray was a real treat after re-aquainting myself with the film on lovefilm. If you're not familiar with the story it's about a young guy, Alex Rogan, who is trapped by circumstance working as the maintenance man on the trailer park his mum manages. The one outlet he has away from the drudgery of his life is a video game outside the convenience store which he eventually beats prompting the arrival of "Centauri" who convinces Alex to come along with him and be a real life star fighter.

When Alex realises the enormity of the situation he asks to be taken back home, at which point the starfighter base is attacked and nearly destroyed completely. After being hunted down on earth by an alien hit-man Alex is convinced by Centauri to return to Starfighter command and pilot the one remaining Gunstar and defeat the Ko-Dan empire.

At it's heart the film is really about seizing opportunities. As Otis says in the film about grabbing on with both hands and holding on tight. It's also a coming of age story about accepting responsibility for your life and having the courage to make it what you want. It may seem a bit sentimental but in the conext of this film it works really well and I found it's message sincere.

The film was a pioneer in the use of early computer graphics for the special FX and at the time was truly ground breaking. Some of the effects look dated today but I have to say the Gunstar still looks awesome! The dated effects only add to the overall charm, much like watching the original Tron. In fact it's amazing comparing those 2 films. With Starfighter coming just 2 years after Tron the improvement in the effects was astounding. The film was made a time when video gaming was nowhere near as popular (or sophisticated) as it is today but it's a perfect product of its time. Remember also that It was up against sc-fi films with bigger production budgets and Star Wars was reaching it's climax with Jedi but this film does offer something genuinely different to those films.

Picture quality is decent (remember it's 30 years old!) - It's the best looking version you will see for the home versions without doubt. Sound is also excellent with a lossless HD track.

The music is also really good!

For a UK buyer be aware that the bluray works fine but the DVD is region 1 and the digital copy won't download because that's also only for American buyers.

Brings back very fond memories of carefree Saturday afternoons watching films!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 7, 2014 1:10 AM BST

6 x Jim Dunlop Small Stubby guitar picks - 2.00mm
6 x Jim Dunlop Small Stubby guitar picks - 2.00mm
Offered by Dirty Riffs Guitar Shop
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great picks, 18 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been using these for years now. I love the small size.

If you're used to larger picks these will probably require a technique adjustment but I use them for strumming and lead alike with no issues.

For fast lead lines there's little else to recommend - a pick that doesn't flex is the no.1 requirement and these at 2mm thick are totally rigid and give a great feel when picking. Freshly minted ones come with a very sharp point leading to excellent definition in the notes and a pleasing percussive effect whilst picking.

Try a few and see what you think!

D'Addario EXL120-3D Super Light 9-42 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings with Free Pick Holder (Pack of 3)
D'Addario EXL120-3D Super Light 9-42 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings with Free Pick Holder (Pack of 3)
Offered by Aire Guitars
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Love these strings, 18 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've always liked D'Addario strings - especially because they come in the corrosion intercept packs meaning they stay super fresh until you open them.

I put these on my Strat and they are pretty much perfect. Super bright and a great match for this guitar.

They are also excellent value given that you can 3 sets for little over a tenner.

GHS Fast Fret
GHS Fast Fret
Offered by RST Music
Price: £6.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recently converted to this product but would never be without it now, 17 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: GHS Fast Fret
I thought this product was a bit of a gimmick. After I received some as a gift I thought I should at least use it! It's been a revelation.

The biggest plus is that it appears to halt the corrosion my strings would suffer in between playing sessions.My strings have definitely lasted much longer and only really wear when I am using my guitar, not when I put it back on its stand. It also seems to stop the crud building up underneath so even when the strings are at the end of their life they are still relatively smooth.

Good stuff.

HTC One M8 UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Gunmetal Grey
HTC One M8 UK SIM-Free Smartphone - Gunmetal Grey
Price: £377.95

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Smartphone' promises finally realised, 17 April 2014
The last three phones I've have have all been HTC. How things have moved on since the early HTC smartphones!

The M8 has so far thoroughly exceed all realistic expectations I had of a new smartphone. It really was love at first sight -the phone looks amazing and this only gets better once you hold it in your hand. The brushed aluminium body feels every bit the premium device it was designed to be. The screen is vibrant and responsive and super sharp. It's ridiculous to think that this screen has the same number of pixels as does my 42 inch full hd TV set. It means that text of almost any size is super sharp on this screen and images are stunning.

I got myself a 64gb micro SD card as my main storage for this phone but it comes with 16gb in the phone itself which is not bad. Fitting the card into the phone requires the use of a special little tool (a small pin essentially- supplied) to unlock a tiny cradle to slot the SD card into before sliding into the phone. The nano sim has a similar cradle on the other side of the phone. Once those are in you're ready to go.

The phone starts up very quickly compared to what I'm used to (upgrading from dual core HTC sensation XE) and the screen is really gorgeous. Once I started using it I was very impressed with the totally lag free operation of the phone. There's no questioning the power under the bonnet. Every task / game has been handled with ease.

The 5 inch screen is,I feel, as big as I'd want to go for a phone. Hopefully future upgrades will be about functionality rather than sheer screen size. The screen has a thin border and the phone has to accommodate the two front facing boomsound speakers which adds to the overall size. However, it's still a reasonably sized phone. The screen is big enough to make using the keyboard easy. The size also makes watching content a real pleasure - big enough to really enjoy the details of what you're watching thanks to the full HD spec.

The sound from the phone is very impressive. You can actually appreciate the separation of left and right speakers on tracks! The volume is also very impressive for such a small device. I quite often play music / movies on it in the kitchen whilst making tea and it's surprisingly good. The supplied headphones are HTC branded but are also good and offer a balanced sound with masses of volume.

Internet functionality is excellent. Download speeds over both wi-fi and 4G are excellent. I've streamed movies from Ultraviolet collection over my phone out and about and it's pretty amazing!

Battery life for my use is good. I don't live my life on my phone and I'm not on it every 5 seconds. I might use 20% in a day that includes light use on lunch, checking emails, playing a couple of games for a few minutes, using the kindle app - nothing major. If you were really hammering it I think this phone may not last a day on 1 charge. Doing anything intensive on the phone does drain the battery very quickly such as 3d gaming and using the sat nav functions. A car charging kit would be essential if using it as a sat nav as would an external power pack if you couldn't get to a charger during the day. I'm not expecting miracles as the tech this phone crams in can't run on fresh air so there has to be a trade off with the current battery technology. The phone does charge noticeable quicker than any I've had before.

The camera is also perfectly adequate for my needs. It's biggest plus is that it takes the shot the instant you press the button! I'm not fussed about megapixels as I know more is not always better. There's enough on here to get exactly the kind of shot you can reasonably expect from a camera phone. The built in flash is pretty powerful. There's plenty of nice in-phone edits you can do including re-focusing your shots afterwards!

The phones itself is also perfectly decent. Call quality is very clear and plenty of volume is available if required from the earpiece. It might take a second or two to align the earpiece to the best position for your ear when you take a call but it's a minor niggle.

My old HTC's always felt good right at the start of their life, responsive and powerful but after about a year started to feel horribly sluggish and unresponsive. I know part of this is clogging the phone up with apps but even after factory resets my outgoing phone soon slowed down again. I've loaded my M8 up with masses of stuff and there's no sign of any slowdown anywhere - it's early days but fingers crossed.

There's too much on this phone to cover here but if like me you're an average user who likes their tech and appreciates modern day connectivity then this phone will easily satisfy your needs.


Power / Responsiveness


Current battery technology (not really htc's fault!)
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2014 1:19 PM BST

Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A161TMAKK Intel® 2200 MHz 1000 GB 16384 MB GeForce GT 750M
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747A161TMAKK Intel® 2200 MHz 1000 GB 16384 MB GeForce GT 750M

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Powerful and Capable Laptop, 1 Sept. 2013
A Very Powerful and Capable Laptop

The Acer V3 range consists of a huge range of models with slightly different specs that share a common chassis. The model shown here is the closest I can find to my spec - the only difference being that my machine has 12gb of ram fitted where this one has 16gb so if anything the model I'm reviewing on Amazon is a shade better than my own.

When I was looking to upgrade (from a core 2 duo 2.2 ghz, 3gb ram, 16 inch 1600 x 900 screen with radeon graphics) I needed a beefy processor to handle Photoshop CC so the quad core 4th generation i7 here certainly fits the bill. It's rated at 2.2ghz but ramps up to 3.2ghz when required. I also needed a lot of ram; 8gb bare minimum so the 12gb in my model was adequate and a huge upgrade from the 3gb I had on my old 32 bit Vaio. The machine is also easily upgradeable where ram is concerned. Take off the bottom panel and you can put more memory modules in (Max 32gb) down the road. In fact there is a bay for a 2nd hard drive / SSD also. The next most important thing was graphics capability and this machine comes with the thoroughly decent Nvidia gt750m graphics card with a whopping 4gb of DDR3 ram all of its own. Many models of the V3 have the even better 760m card but with 2gb graphics memory albeit of the faster DDR5 type. If you do more gaming get a 760m equipped model - although the 750 is no slouch. The motherboard is fitted with the intel 4600 hd chipset too which is really quite capable on it's own. To cap it off there is a 1 TB HDD. There are 4 USB slots 2 (2 left, 2 right) of which 2 are USB 3 capable and one of which is always on for charging devices. There's also a hdmi output, an SD card reader built in, ethernet socket, microphone + headphone jack + vga out. The bluray drive is a BD-RE too.

The screen is a great size for viewing hd media or editing in Photoshop or playing games for that matter. Out of the box the screen does display a fairly obvious blue green cast which needs adjusting out. Windows 8 does have a option for this built in, it's a little buried in a menu but if you search for colour cast removal you should eventually get the a screen where you can tweak a red, green and blue slider to adjust your profile. I had to make adjustments by eye for my display and ended up adjusting out some blue and green. If you have a screen calibrator it will certainly make it easier to adjust. The screen has a good viewing angle but as ever will respond best when you're face on. It does however have an excellent contrast ratio. I ran my external monitor (a BenQ) from the HDMI to test the expanded desktop function and the other screen simply couldn't match the laptop screen for contrast and colour saturation.
The computer boots very quickly < 30 seconds to the login screen and maybe another 30 seconds to be in Photoshop - pretty impressive. The drive HDD is fairly basic being a 5400 rpm model but have I honestly felt like I've been waiting around for it - No. 1TB is a great amount of space for pretty much anything though.

In terms of niggles the computer lacks any buttons for controlling media players. It lacks a caps lock & num lock light also which is a minor annoyance.

The mouse pad is also a bit of a pain. The bottom left / right areas of the pad are your left and right mouse buttons but they are not a separate area - it's all one continuous touch sensitive area. It's so easy to move the mouse pointer off the thing you're trying to click when using this pad. I use a bluetooth mouse instead.

The biggest gripe overall is really aimed at Windows 8. It's not intuitive because it's built for touch input and of course the start button has gone. It takes getting used to, which of course will happen given time, but I can't wait for the start button to come back in the October service pack.

The keyboard has a nice response and weight to the individual keys and the numeric keypad is a well spaced and welcome addition.

I should also mention the sound from the system. The system has the Dolby Home theatre 4 speakers and software meaning even the tiny laptop speakers sound reasonable. The sound through the headphones is quite possibly the best I've ever heard. Movies and music sound genuinely expansive, truly like you're right there in the action. I was watching my Starwars DVD's via the headphones and it was probably the best viewing experience I've yet had of those films because the quality of the sound was so much better than I'm used to.

In terms of raw performance this computer is something of a beast. The quad core processor has blazed through everything I've thrown at it. The gaming performance is also impressive; I've run The Withcher 1, Half life 2 (ancient so was never likely to stress this system), MotoGP 13 demo at full res max detail, and Aliens: Colonial Marines at full detail without the system dropping a frame and DOTA 2 with everything maxed out at 60fps. The 750m card is generally accepted to be the No.1 card in the mid-range tier of laptop cards. It should therefore easily let you play any game from the recent past at high detail and should enable to play the very latest games at medium settings.
If you look online (PCW) you can find this laptop for the stunning price of eight hundred and ninety nine (the online spec quoted a DVD-RW but the machine actually came with a BD-RE drive so this was a huge bonus). You can get 99 cash back before the end of October 2013 bringing it down to the ridiculous sum of eight hundred - great value for a very good machine. Please don't pay the £1400 here.

Overall I'm very happy and I haven't had to compromise on anything. The 12gb ram is vast and easily upgradeable, there is a spare slot for an SSD which would turbo boost boot times further so this laptop is able to stave off becoming obsolete for a while. Gaming performance is more than adequate for my needs and BD-RE drive is a great addition. It's such a huge improvement over my old machine that I'm actually simply enjoying the process of using a computer again because I don't have to wait 5-6 minutes for it to boot up and take ages to open programs or save a file.

Gangster Squad [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Gangster Squad [Blu-ray] [2013] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Ryan Gosling
Price: £7.51

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than the sum of its parts, 1 Jun. 2013
How to sum up Gangster Squad in one word: Disappointing

I found it impossible not to compare it to L.A. Confidential from the outset for obvious reasons - it's a re-telling of Mickey Cohen's attempt to take over the rackets in LA. Where L.A. Confidential scored with great performances, great characters and immaculate presentation Gangster Squad is like it's louder, dumber and far less subtle relative.

That's not to say the film is totally without merit - I thought Sean Penn's performance was good, he stole the show although his make-up in some scenes did almost bring the whole thing into farce.

Probably the weakest element with the film is a general lack of cohesion with the storytelling. Things feel like they just 'happen' to move the story along a bit - it's far too obvious what's being set up. 2 examples being the death of the kid who does the shoe-shining which ultimately tips Gosling's character into making the choice to join the gangster. Also the whole of Emma Stone's relationship with Gosling are very clumsy attempts to give the character a motive but relationship in particular lacks the subtlety between Basinger and Crowe in LA.Confy for example.

And really, Emma Stone as a gangster's moll? There's no explanation as to how she came to be under the Spell of Cohen and it frankly just doesn't feel believable - quite possibly because Stone herself looks like a 16 year girl. This part needs a woman, not a girl - Christina Hendricks would have been great. And that's not even a negative reflection Emma Stone - more the casting director; what were you thinking?

The action sequences were unbelievable; more cartoon style spraying of bullets and the violence was quite bloody and gratuitous in some parts (near the start a guy is tied up with 2 cars pulling on him - the film leaves nothing to the imagination at the conclusion of this scene).

All the male characters are pretty heavily stereotyped and feel a bit throwaway. The gangster squad itself is quite large something like 8 members but none of the characters are ever developed beyond expressing a basic hatred of Mickey Cohen for trying to take over their idyllic Los Angeles. Towards the end of the film I found myself playing on my mobile on the internet - I was getting bored as the film was totally predictable and I didn't really feel much for the lead characters.

The other major plus with the disc is image quality and sound. Obviously these have been taken full advantage of by the bluray format so no complaints their.

So who would I recommend this too? At this price (15 sheets) nobody to be honest. Not even fans of Gosling have much to get excited about. I would be more inclined to anyone thinking of buying this film to Watch L.A. Confidential instead.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2014 3:53 PM GMT

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