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Richard Beddard

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Motorola Google Nexus 6 32GB SIM-Free Smartphone - Midnight Blue
Motorola Google Nexus 6 32GB SIM-Free Smartphone - Midnight Blue

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy camera focus means mine's going back. Otherwise, loved it., 6 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love every aspect of this 'phone except the camera, which is why I have returned it. As a previous Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 owner, I adjusted to the increase in size quickly and I have no trouble carrying it in pockets etc., although I'm still a little terrified I might drop it as it's so big that I don't always feel I have a good grip on the odd occasion when out of habit I'm tempted to try and operate it one-handed, which is not really possible (unless you use voice). The screen is wonderful, but the sound is the first major improvement I noticed. No need for external speakers any more. The battery lasts all day if I don't use the screen continuously for very long periods. It charges very quickly.

Unfortunately most of the time the camera just will not focus. I've asked for a replacement, rather than a refund in the hope that this is an unusual problem, but having surfed the web I notice I'm not alone. Even if it manages to focus, the Nexus 6 doesn't hold focus long. We still have the Nexus 5 to compare it to, and it doesn't have the same problem though it has the same android version and the same camera app. I've also tried different camera apps, which are little better. Top marks to Amazon of course for sending me a replacement and allowing me 30 days to return the original. This is why I buy from Amazon.

When the replacement comes, I will update this review as I would dearly love to give the Nexus 6 **** or *****.

*****Update*****

The replacement Nexus 6 has arrived and the camera has functioned perfectly well over the week end. I assume I just had a dodgy unit. Therefore, I have upgraded my review to *****. For me the proof of the pudding is how cramped and difficult to use more normal sized phones feel in comparison now I have made the adjustment. I use Chrome and Apps a lot so the benefits of a big screen outweigh the disadvantages substantially. I wouldn't want to go back.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2015 9:35 PM GMT


Sharpe's Tiger: The Siege of Seringapatam, 1799 (The Sharpe Series, Book 1)
Sharpe's Tiger: The Siege of Seringapatam, 1799 (The Sharpe Series, Book 1)
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable action, interesting history, 19 Jan. 2014
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This was my first Sharpe book. I came into it with fairly low expectations, not having seen the TV series either, and not being particularly interested in military history. I really enjoyed reading it. Sharpe is an agreeable character, and although some of his exploits were mighty, and some of his cunning erring, I went along with it.

By the end, I wanted to know how much of the story was real, and was pleased to find a postscript explaining a lot of it was.

I'll be reading more.


The First 20 Minutes: The Surprising Science of How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter and Live Longer
The First 20 Minutes: The Surprising Science of How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter and Live Longer

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It moved me, 18 Jan. 2014
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I thought this was an honest book, contradictory at times, but that I think is the state of the science. Gretchen Reynolds makes a good case for increasing the amount of light exercise we do. I believe what she says, that active people are less likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions. The striking point she makes is that although intense power, strength and endurance training has advantages in terms of athletic performance, it isn't necessarily going to stop us keeling over because of a heart attack. If we are otherwise sedentary, we are at risk. The key to health and longevity, is to be mobile: walk, stand, fidget even. The book has some ideas how office workers, taxi drivers, and couch potatoes might achieve this by standing on one leg using a toothbrush, walking while you talk on the 'phone, and squat jumping up the stairs instead of walking up them. Simply doing more vacuuming and gardening would help. It's motivated me to move more, and not take it for granted that a long run at the weekend is sufficient to undo the damage done by five days in a chair typing.


Asus USB-N53 USB Dual Band Wireless Dongle
Asus USB-N53 USB Dual Band Wireless Dongle
Offered by EXTREME HARDWARE
Price: £21.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Brought new life to my computer, 16 Jan. 2014
Had this: B004S7WTJQ

But WiFi was slow and dropped out a lot. My computer is on the other side of the house, separated by many walls.

Asus dongle arrived today. Installed driver. Plugged in dongle as per instructions. WiFi has been faultless for three hours since.

It's twice the price, but the experience is 100 times as good.


Seoul Survivors
Seoul Survivors
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, 12 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Seoul Survivors (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed Seoul Survivors. It does descend into the gutter but that's the story. If we feel repulsed, as well as thrilled by the fast-paced ending and transported by the author's imaginative depiction of the near future then she's succeeded in my view. I was repulsed, thrilled and suspended disbelief of the more fantastic elements so full marks. Almost. Halfway through the book I almost gave up because of an unbelievable plot development. Momentarily it all seemed a bit ridiculous.


The Waterproof Bible
The Waterproof Bible
by Andrew Kaufman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, meets the true definition of the word, 26 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Waterproof Bible (Paperback)
I really didn't want to finish this book. The characters, even the not strictly human ones, are fascinating and their adventures are entertaining and thought provoking. I think the plot may have been strung together by unlikely coincidences but I barely noticed them and easily forgave the odd Kindle typo. I was carried away by the tale, you see.

Reading Waterproof Bible was like eating a box of sublime chocolates, each short chapter a unique delicately wrapped sweet. I didn't know whether to savour every one or gorge the lot. I tried to do both, but gorged mostly.


The Worst Date Ever
The Worst Date Ever
by Jane Bussmann
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 5 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Worst Date Ever (Paperback)
The jacket cover says "how it took a comedy writer to expose Africa's secret war" and I guess that left me with high expectations. The civil war in Uganda isn't a secret. From my armchair in Cambridge I knew about it, but it's under-reported and Bussmann has an arresting theory that perhaps other people are not prepared to articulate, at least so boldly. She thinks the Ugandan government tips off the terrorist leader of a conscripted child army, hence his miraculous reputation for avoiding capture, ensuring the war continues and so does the flow of money from Western donors. Complacent aid workers come into it too.

But I was expecting the smoking gun, the tapes, or emails, or confessions proving collusion between hunter and hunted, transforming Bussmann from travel hack to investigative journalist and exposing President as a man who sanctions the kidnap, rape and torture of the children of the citizens of the country he governs. I was expecting more at least than the fact a company run by the president's daughter has supplied grain to the agencies running protected villages, that the colonel in charge of hunting down the rebels owns a hotel frequented by aid workers, and the glaring inability of the Ugandan army to protect its children and hunt down its nemesis.

By the end of the book Museveni is still ruling, Kony remains at large, and Bussmann has turned her circumstantial case into a comedy show.

As a comedy, it works, kind of. At times it's Frankie Boyle meets Catch 22 and at times it's like Romancing the Stone, although Michael Douglas is never there when you need him and Kathleen Turner has sweat patches and an infection in her mouth that makes her lisp. Bussmann is totally out of her depth, and puts herself into scary situations, and this can be funny and revealing. The interviews with some of the victims and perpetrators are heartbreaking. It's a sometimes funny, sometimes vulgar, often revealing travelogue, not an exposé.

If I'd bought it expecting to read a travelogue I might have given it 4*, but I judged the book by its cover.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2012 7:03 AM BST


A Little History of the World
A Little History of the World
by Ernst Gombrich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effortless journey down the river of history, 18 Dec. 2011
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I read A Little History with my eleven year old daughter, taking it in turns at bed time. We've taken an effortless journey down the river of history, a metaphor Gombrich uses, and arrived at its mouth: a final chapter written possibly fifty years after the rest of the book in which he corrects some mistakes, reflects on events since the Great War, makes a plea for tolerance and expresses hope for the future. As I read it my voice wavered with the emotion Gombrich must have felt as he wrote, reinterpreting history he, an Austrian Jew, had lived through.

British readers will be surprised at how little we feature in Gombrich's work, a European history with chapters on other civilizations, especially when they impact on European history. We were, as we are now, bit players in the great events on the continent.


Childhood's End
Childhood's End
by Arthur C Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

4.0 out of 5 stars The end justifies the means, 18 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Childhood's End (Paperback)
Childhood's End is not a long novel but it's ambitious.

Alien spaceships park themselves over major cities and their leader imposes a benign dictatorship enforcing peace and prosperity. Mankind thrives as subjects of the Overlords, and there's no apparent cost in the form of tax and tribute. There are doubters, who resent their loss of freedom, even if that freedom would leave them worse off, but most people acquiesce readily. The big question is Why? Initially, why won't the aliens show themselves? And once that question is answered, why have they come?

Wanting to know the answers drives the reader towards an awesome conclusion, through some rather pedestrian story telling. It seems heretical to say it of a classic novel, but I found its episodic nature jarring. Three sets of characters are introduced and dispensed with, before their characters are realised. They exist to propel us to the Big Idea. Fortunately it is an idea worthy of capital letters, so we are not let down. But Childhood's end might well have ended anticlimactically.

I found myself vaguely annoyed by the middle part of the story, almost as if it were a barrier to finding out what happened. That's both a testament to the power of Clarke's ideas, and a criticism that he could have made more of the journey.

The novel is bracketed by a foreword that gives too much away (though probably no more than you've read in the reviews here on Amazon), and an afterword by Arthur C Clarke on his changing attitude to the paranormal, which is a major theme.


Stardust
Stardust
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars And then..., 18 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Stardust (Paperback)
I was sceptical as I started reading Stardust. A charming young man from a charming village in a charming period of history seeks his fortune. He's propelled from scene to scene in hundred league boots or their equivalent, that magically keep him out of trouble. He's charmed, and, barring the sex and the easy and graceful writing, it felt like a story written by a child with this happening, and then that happening, and then this, but nothing really bad happening to any character you care about...

But a funny thing happened to me as I read. I settled into the rhythm as one magical event followed another, later ones making sense of earlier ones, and I found myself reading the last chapters in a hurry, when I should have been doing other things. Far from being bludgeoned by the procession of events, I couldn't wait for the next one in this world where shooting stars fall to earth and walk, or at least limp, away.

It's a bit lightweight, and while I wished various characters well, or ill, there was no emotional thunderbolt.

Stardust is, however, a satisfying and effortless read that took me to a wondrous, funny, unexpected and yes, charming, place. I'd go back there.


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