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M. J. Barber "matt_b2" (London)
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Powercool HTPC-006 Case with Remote - Aluminium
Powercool HTPC-006 Case with Remote - Aluminium

4.0 out of 5 stars Looks the part, 4 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're looking for a case for your HTPC, this is one of the nicest looking ones I've seen, with a brushed aluminium finish and barely a hint of black plastic. Despite the modest price, it wouldn't look out of place in a stack of hi-fi separates. Alternatively, as I've done, the low profile and relatively small depth allow you to slot it into a TV cabinet.

It's relatively roomy inside, and I had no problem fitting a microATX motherboard with an AMD A10 APU and its stock cooler. It's a little more cramped between the drive cage and the PSU though, so make sure you connect the cables to the hard drive before putting it into the case, as you won't be able to get at it afterwards. In operation it runs cool and quiet. I managed to keep the CPU below 50 degrees despite some lengthy media and gaming sessions, with modest fan settings.

For its size, there's a reasonable amount of expansion capability, with four half height slots. There's only room for one optical drive and one hard drive though.

On to the, relatively minor, quibbles. The door for the optical drive is held on with a loose spring and has a habit of catching. The remote control isn't great, and can do little more than turn the machine on and start Windows Media Centre; that's not much of an issue to me, as I've got a wireless keyboard for it, but don't have any expectations of getting by on it alone. Finally, there are a few rough edges inside - as you might expect for the price - but they're safely tucked away once the lid is on.


The Dragon in the Sea
The Dragon in the Sea
by Frank Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.03

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting a little dated, but overall a gripping read, 3 Sept. 2008
This review is from: The Dragon in the Sea (Paperback)
This is Herbert's first novel, written nearly a decade before he made a much greater splash on the literary scene with Dune. It's a shorter and less ambitious work, but it's still told in a highly effective manner and the dense, cramped personal spaces of the futuristic submarine serve to bring out a set of distinctive characters in its crew. Obviously, with the cold war now over, the setting has perhaps become a little unrealistic, but other than a few minor details you could still pass it off as an alternate history without particularly needing to see it as a product of its time. Very much a sign of greater things to come, but still a good read in itself.


The Best Of Radiohead
The Best Of Radiohead
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £4.75

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not "the best" of Radiohead but still pretty good., 28 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Best Of Radiohead (Audio CD)
Record company squabbles aside, there are a couple of problems with this album. Firstly, it's heavily skewed towards a particular period in the career of the band, now over a decade past, skimming thinly over the bulk of their career in the process. Secondly, it's not a representative selection of the songs that you'd be likely to hear at a concert, and you'd think that most bands would tend to play the songs they regard as best.

That said, if you're the sort of person who really liked the band in the mid to late 90s, and has little more than a passing interest in their more experimental albums of the present decade, then this might well be the CD you're looking for.


Radiohead: The Best Of
Radiohead: The Best Of
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £14.14

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A better bet than the single disc version, but still far from perfect, 28 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Radiohead: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Enough has been said about this compilation not being representative of what the band are about, but for an objective test I compared the track listing with what they performed live when I saw them at Victoria Park earlier this week. They played just five songs from the first disc and another four from the second out of a total of twenty five performed. Were it not for the second disc that would be a terrible hit rate for a supposed "Best Of" album; even with it that's barely over a third of their live set covered. There are no two ways about it; this is a fundamentally backward-looking compilation.

That said, the songs are still great and stand on their own merits even outside their original album contexts. If you want a Radiohead sampler, this is about as good as it gets at the moment, despite the flaws.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2009 4:57 PM GMT


Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia
Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia
by Samuel R. Delany
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up there with Delany's best, but still very good., 24 July 2007
Although not one of his most critically acclaimed works, this is still a personal favourite amongst Delany's novels. The city of Tethys on Triton is an excellent venture of speculative sociology and provides a strong backdrop for the story. As ever, with Delany, themes of sexuality are prevalent too; the main character being a former male prostitute. Coming after the loose and rambling Dhalgren, Triton also represented something of a return to the tight plotting of his earlier books. Although not nearly as much of a rollercoaster ride as the likes of Babel 17 or Nova, we're treated to a story of interplanetary intrigue, mixed in with a more personal relationship story, and a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion to both. An enjoyable read throughout.


Nova (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Nova (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Samuel R. Delany
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delany's best novel, 24 July 2007
This is Delany at his absolute best. The backdrop is pure space opera, but the human drama in the foreground is what engages most. The characters are vivid and driven, and their passion drives the plot along at a breakneck pace. This is a book that can, and arguably should, be finished in a single sitting. Close out the rest of the world, keep your head down, keep reading, and be prepared to be swept away. Then re-read it and see what subtleties you missed the first time around.


Dhalgren
Dhalgren
by Samuel R. Delany
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of style, not so much substance, 24 July 2007
This review is from: Dhalgren (Paperback)
This is Delany's most controversial work, and has something of a paradoxical nature to it. It's a lengthy tale but not much of consequence seems to happen. Instead, the many characters indulge in everyday things; oh, and plenty of sex. Many enigmas are introduced towards the beginning that will keep you reading. However, don't get your hopes up too high of them all being resolved. The story frequently seems to hint at a deeper meaning but never delivers anything without ambiguity.

From a lesser writer, such a book would seem a total write-off. However, Delany's prose is good enough to carry it off, even if only just at times. Still, from a writer who made his name with tightly plotted masterpieces like Nova and Babel 17, it's inevitably going to come across as rather pedestrian in comparison. If you're looking for an introduction to Delany, I'd recommend those books. Dhalgren will go down better with those that just like the way he writes, and aren't particularly expecting much else.


Basic Maths for the Physical Sciences (Physics)
Basic Maths for the Physical Sciences (Physics)
by Robert Lambourne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £36.00

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 31 Mar. 2004
I really like the design of this book. Every section pre-tests you to find out your strengths and weaknesses, so you'll know whether you can skip it or have to backtrack to an earlier section. This means that you can tackle the book at your own pace; either following in meticulous detail when you need it or just getting straight to the point when all you need is a refresher course. A lot of other textbooks could benefit from this sort of approach.
This book covers the basic algebra, vectors, geometry and calculus. There's also a second book that covers complex numbers, differential equations and vector calculus that's every bit as good.


University Physics with Modern Physics with Mastering Physics (International Edition)
University Physics with Modern Physics with Mastering Physics (International Edition)
by Francis Weston Sears
Edition: Paperback

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent comprehensive introductory physics textbook, 26 Mar. 2004
When selecting this book, I had a good look at all the one-volume introductoy physics books on the market and although others (such as those from Halliday, et al, Cutnell and Johnson, and Benson) are as comprehensive, this one wins hands down in terms of readability and presentation: Both the main text and the accompanying diagrams are first rate.
The only real drawback with this book is its sheer size. At 1500+ pages it's very heavy and its bulk also makes it less than suitable for idly skimming through. However, that goes with the territory, as you don't get too many physics textbooks that come in pocket editions. I'd echo the other review's comment that a multiple-volume edition would be a good idea, although I'd suspect many thrifty students would be prepared to live with this rather than pay the extra.


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