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E. P. Schlaikjer (London, UK)

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In the Mood for Love (DVD)
In the Mood for Love (DVD)
Offered by zoreno-uk
Price: £7.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars German only, 8 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In the Mood for Love (DVD) (DVD)
This particular edition (ASIN B00EJ95P1C) has only German or Chinese audio, and only German subtitles. It says right there in the description, which I did not read carefully. So English listeners or readers are out of luck. Viel Glück.

Offered by LP Supplies
Price: £53.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Annoying, 7 Dec 2014
Our builder, in his wisdom, installed three of these in our small house, one on each floor.
It is very loud, and would chirp occasionally for no good reason. I replaced the battery (they are not connected to the mains).
In doing so, I noticed that the battery chamber is very hard to open. You need to press a little lever inside the grill. This requires calm and patience. It is impossible when the alarm is going off, several feet above your head.
The good news is that if you strike the alarm sharply in the indicated direction, you can snap off the idiotic little plastic clasp.
I should perhaps have pushed the "Test and Hush" button instead, but it is hard to read when your ears are bleeding from the NOISE. Also, it doesn't always work. Also, it turns out that the three alarms are slaved to each other, and even if you hush one of them, the others may keep going, and then re-enslave the one which you are hushing.
Lately, the alarms have been set off by steam from the shower. Our builder says this "shouldn't happen", but it does. Perhaps something has corroded inside. They are only a year or two old.
So now I have disabled two of the alarms.
You know what? I wake up at the merest "ping" from a soft computer alarm. What is the real purpose of a smoke alarm that is as loud as the space shuttle on take-off, an alarm which is so loud that you can barely think? I reckon that if you put one of these in the basement of Buckingham Palace then it could evacuate the whole place.

Crewroom VX Microlight / Ultralight Cap - Black/White, One Size
Crewroom VX Microlight / Ultralight Cap - Black/White, One Size
Price: £13.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Too small, 21 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nice enough hat, but it is not one-size-fits-all. Even with the strap totally detached, the cap is too tight and high on my bald head. It pinches, so I don't wear it. Sometimes I guess you really need to try things on before buying.

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Price: £3.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tiny bit dull, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was pleased to get this book at Amazon's recommendation, because it arrived when I came down with a bad cold, so I could lie in bed reading it. Had I not been sick, I don't think I would have bothered to finish it.

I like the idea of a human fragment of an AI, but it is under-used here. Remember the "look behind you" scene in 2010? "There was no hint of genitals … a chilling indication of how far David Bowman had left his human heritage behind." Breq's trouble with gender pronouns should have led to a plot crux or at least some humor, but instead it just confused me a little, and made me indifferent to who was in bed with whom. Multiple elements of a personality were better handled in the Vernor Vinge Fire Upon the Deep novels.

The ice planet was much better done in Peter Hamilton's magnificent Commonwealth Saga.

The Radch empire and its annexations reminds one a little bit of a bad empire in a Culture novel, but a whole lot less is going on, and the tech level of the Radch is surprisingly low. The fancy gun is in the shade of Iain M Banks's Lazy Gun or Philip K Dick's Zap Gun.

In recent SF, I was much more excited by Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief, and much more enjoyably perplexed by Toh EnJoe's Self Reference ENGINE. I continue to find China Miéville original.

What did I like in Ancillary Justice? The emerging humanity of Breq was nice. I always like AI heroes. The single thread of flashbacks was well handled. The musical angle was good. I am not going to keep my eye out for sequels though.

Japanese Kanji Flashcards: 750 Intermediate-Level Kanji Cards: 2
Japanese Kanji Flashcards: 750 Intermediate-Level Kanji Cards: 2
by Max Hodges
Edition: Cards
Price: £31.07

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ought to be an Android app instead, 2 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these for my son who eagerly studies Japanese. When he went back to college I noticed that this box remained in his room unopened. Miffed, I took it to the smallest room in my house and studied it at my leisure. The cards are very good, but ideally you need to carefully keep them in order as they refer to other cards. That's when it hit me: my son obviously prefers to study Japanese on his handheld computers, where such info is hyperlinked. An app could also animate stroke order, and pronounce words. I had looked for good Android kanji applications, but most of them are amateurish and anyway (incredibly from a business point of view) one cannot give Android apps to people. I went over to White Rabbit Press online, but they don't seem to offer apps, just dedicated hardware. I think they are missing a big market opportunity.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2013 5:21 PM BST

Garmin Nuvi 1490 T Portable Satellite Navigation with Bluetooth
Garmin Nuvi 1490 T Portable Satellite Navigation with Bluetooth
Price: £94.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lifetime was about two years, 2 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This nüvi 1490T was £165 in May 2010. Plus £21 for a friction mount. Plus £77 for a European map. Plus £45 for a North American map. So £308 total. Note that maps are not transferable to new devices.

By less than two years after purchase, the USB connector got quite flaky and the unit only worked when someone held the cable in quite firmly. Now, in early 2013, it is dead.

So those "lifetime" maps should be called "two year" maps.

In the early days the 1490T was pretty good. The MyGarmin dashboard didn't work on Firefox, had to switch to IE. It took a few hours to download a new map and install it. The bottleneck is the Nuvi, not the internet or computer. After the firmware update, it still showed the same version numbers in Tools/System/About. Also the dashboard sometimes showed I was up to date, sometimes not. There was one permanent green pixel on the device.

The 1490T was slow to boot, and it did spontaneously reboot now and then. It did not accept the newer SD cards. The traffic feature never did anything useful. It beeped constantly in speed camera zones, notably in sections of the M25 where there were no longer any speed cameras. You could not control the volume separately for such features. The touch screen was fairly insensitive. The menu system was not great.

In the Nuvi's twilight days, I often received help from my son using the free mapping program on his Android Nexus. Before coughing up a few hundred pounds for another dedicated GPS unit and price-gouging maps, I will give my Android phone a serious try as an alternative route guidance.

Topping TP21 Class T Digital Mini Amplifier with Power Adapter
Topping TP21 Class T Digital Mini Amplifier with Power Adapter
Offered by Treasure Nova
Price: £69.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good desktop solution, 3 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you want both speakers and a headset with your desktop computer, then you have a problem to solve, if you don't want to mess about with plugging and unplugging cables when you switch between the two.

Twice I bought a "Plantronics PC Headset Speaker Switch", which was a simple solution, but not a great one because it often failed. I see that it is no longer available on Amazon.

I realised that I could just buy a stereo amplifier, and one day I wandered into a high street shop and lugged home a Cambridge Audio DR30+ amp, SL20 speakers and silly thick expensive cables. I was in a hurry so I accepted the floor model of the amp.

The first thing that I noticed with the new setup was the hiss. When I had had my headphones directly into the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 sound card, the sound was pristine. Now I had to accept hiss as the price of convenience and power. The big toroidal transformer in the amp took up a modicum of desk space, and could not have anything on top of it because it needed to vent. But it let me wake up my children with "Thus Spake Zarathustra" at full volume if I felt so inclined.

Then the left channel failed on the amp. It was within a year of purchase, but I had thrown away the paper receipt. What was I thinking, buying stuff from a physical store?

I noticed these Tripath amplifiers on Amazon. They are cheap and tiny so I gave the TP21 a try. It powers up more or less instantly. There is no hiss in the headphones. The speakers sound fine, although if I set the amp and computer volumes to maximum then there is some clipping and it doesn't blow out your eardrums or anything. Still, for normal sporadic listening this is a very good solution.

(I suppose another alternative to the switching problem is just to use a USB headset. I do use a simple Logitech USB microphone when I need one, with perfectly acceptable results. For headphones I have the Sony MDR-7506 Headphones,Wired, which are probably higher-quality than anything you could get for USB.)

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 14 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The pockets are not reassuringly safe -- I might worry about something small like a key falling out, so end up holding mine in my hand.

The shorts are totally unlined, with no inner support web. The fabric is also very limp, so unless you wear underwear your private bits are outlined more than you might like.

Die Weihnachtsgeschichte
Die Weihnachtsgeschichte
Price: £7.79

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much talking, 9 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I listened to the Radio 4 Composer of the Week piece on Orff, and determined to buy some more of his works to see if I liked any as much as the good old Carmina Burana.
The biography did mention that Orff was fond of setting spoken words to music. I am not so keen on recitative, personally. But I am a sucker for Christmas music, as a rule.
This work has many spoken tracks, and the musical tracks did not enthrall me right away. If I listen to it more, and I probably won't, I would need to eliminate the spoken tracks.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did the trick, 9 Jun 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I doubled the size of my boot SSD, upgrading to a Crucial M4 256gb, and used Acronis Home 2010 to clone the drive.
Then I happened across an article on Lifehacker that said SSD partitions need to be aligned on 4096 byte boundaries.
I checked using msinfo32 and found that partition 0 was at offset 32,256 and partition 1 (the big one) at 13,777,344,000. Neither is divisible evenly by 4096.
The builders of my PC (Scan) confirmed that it is a bug in this version of Acronis.
I tried using gparted under Linux as recommended by Lifehacker. For this I had to remove the drive, as Linux did not recognise it in situ. (The drive is not RAIDed, but the onboard RAID driver perhaps confused Linux). Gparted then said it was going to take 2 hours to memcheck the partition before even moving it, so I was looking at something like 8-12 hours to move the partitions back and forth. I aborted the attempt, because I had heard of another method.
The other method was to create a system image with Windows backup, reformat the drive and reinstall Windows, then restore the image. I thought this this might put the partitions back in their misaligned state, and so it did, wasting only an hour of my time.
Of course, I could have just left Windows in a newly-installed state, but then I would have to find all my various application licenses and reinstall those.
So finally I bought the Paragon Alignment Tool online. It marked my c: drive as badly aligned, so I told it to fix it. Its first attempt failed, and it did not say why, but I knew from gparted that I needed to run a "chkdsk /f". After that, Paragon aligned the second partition in only 15 minutes (now at offset 13,779,337,216). It refused to align the 0th partition (the boot partition) because it said it was not formatted. I figure I can live with this.
Very much a one-off tool, but it made me happier. I assume my SSD is now a bit faster, and will live a bit longer, although I don't notice much difference without measuring anything.

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