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Profile for Dr. Michael Heron > Reviews

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Content by Dr. Michael Heron
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Reviews Written by
Dr. Michael Heron (Brechin)
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ByJoy 925 Round Cut Emerald Sterling Silver Pendant of 45 cm Curb Chain
ByJoy 925 Round Cut Emerald Sterling Silver Pendant of 45 cm Curb Chain
Price: £58.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very pretty, 21 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very pretty necklace, consisting of a nice, albeit short, chain and a round cut synthetic emerald in a delicate housing. The gem is a nice size. It's not so big as to be distracting, but at the same time it's not so small as to appear miserly. It's a pretty simple necklace, but that actually adds to its appeal.

It comes in a presentation box, although I can't say that it has the quality of other jewelry boxes at a similar price-point. That's a bit of a shame as this would otherwise make a fine piece as a gift.


Myfox Wi-Fi Security Camera, Wireless Smart home & Video Monitoring With Privacy Shutter & Night Vision
Myfox Wi-Fi Security Camera, Wireless Smart home & Video Monitoring With Privacy Shutter & Night Vision
Price: £159.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great camera with a few minor issues, 18 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's not much to complain about here, and an awful lot to like. It's a doddle to setup and a doddle to check whenever you want to see what's happening. The camera itself is very high quality - well built, attractive to look at, and with a set of great features to go with it. Some of these cameras, of which I have installed a number, require you to take on trust that they're not recording - this one comes with a welcome shutter that gives an additional layer of peace of mind. While it requires an in-built power source, it also comes with a battery backup - if someone wants to cut the feed, it takes more than just unplugging it from the wall[1].

The motion detection is a tad too sensitive, and the in-built microphone is not really up to the task, but everything else about it is first rate and I'd be very happy to recommend it.

[1] Again, in contrast to other cameras I have tried.


Igenix IG2380 23 Litre 800W Digital Microwave - White
Igenix IG2380 23 Litre 800W Digital Microwave - White
Price: £79.15

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good microwave, with some build quality issues, 17 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Igenix range, in my experience, is characterised mainly for no-frills design and effective functionality. They're never going to be the greatest appliances in the world, but they're a long way from the worst. This is no different. The internal capacity is reasonably generous, certainly more so than other microwaves I have owned. It's a little less intuitive than other devices, but it's not like you have to look up the manual every time you want to use it. Really, the only significant flaw is that the build quality on the control panel is pretty shoddy - within minutes of setting it up, the power button had stuck in position and needed a bit of a whack to release. Now, I need to be careful when using it if I don't want it to become lodged once more.

Otherwise, it's a fine piece of equipment.


skinChemists Placenta Serum 30 ml
skinChemists Placenta Serum 30 ml
Offered by Feel Like Beauty
Price: £33.55

3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't seem to offer much for the price., 9 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor.

Leaving aside the name, which is... unfortunate... it seems like this is really just the same kind of materials as you'll find in much, much cheaper alternatives with an addition of a little cow placenta. It's certainly effective, moisturising the skin well, but it does so at what seems like a cost that exceeds the benefit. It's a little awkward to apply too, as it comes with a thick, congealed viscosity that takes a while to properly absorb into the skin. I can't really recommend it as it doesn't offer much more, as best I can see, than other products do at a fraction of the price.


Revelation Space
Revelation Space
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A poor start, with a great finish, 6 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: Revelation Space (Paperback)
The first Reynolds book I read was the sublime House of Suns, which just blew me away with the depth of the vision and the pitiless adherence to the limitations that our understanding of science (currently) puts on our celestial ambitions. Revelation Space then was a little bit of a disappointment. It starts off slow - glacial, even - with protagonists that are difficult to like. It has the same merciless hard sci-fi conventions as House of Suns, but wrapped up in a backdrop of factional in-fighting on the planets dispersed through the galaxy. Sounds great, but much of the extensive world-building that is done at the beginning turns into something of a grind. At numerous points, I was ready to just give up on it because there was so much exposition and so little progress in the plot - it seemed needlessly self indulgent. I am however glad I stuck with it, because once you get past the half-way mark the pace starts to pick up admirably. I'm not saying the world building was unnecessary, but Revelation Space seems like it could have been a shorter book and been much better for it. Towards the end, various threads start to come together in a way that is utterly beguiling - unfortunately, some of the impact of that is lost when you realise how little you'd read was actually relevant to the story.

Nonetheless, the ending was sufficiently good that I'm going to read the next one - it's a book that was very much saved by the dismount. I'd give the first half a two, and the second half a solid four.


Daft Wee Stories
Daft Wee Stories
by Limmy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I especially liked the backstory about his mate Rennie, 5 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Daft Wee Stories (Hardcover)
Well, there's no false advertising here - Daft Wee Stories are what you're promised, and Daft Wee Stories are what you get. They're all pretty engagingly written, with a light touch and just bags of Scottish charm and Glasgae patter. Some of the stories really show that Limmy has a gift for narrative[1] that the form really doesn't let him fully express - some stories have dark, sinister overtones that suggest if he put his mind to it he could scare the bejeesus out of you with some first rate horror writing. Many of the stories are farcical, but farcical in the way that the best kinds of stories are - an escalation via small, sensible steps into something wild and bizarre. There's a beautiful merging of the sublime and the mundane in some of the tales - they're like little moralistic vignettes that capture the protagonists at their worst, or at their most mundane. Many of the stories embody a loss of control, where our rules of every day social etiquette break down.

Having said all of that, there is something a little insubstantial in most of the stories, and the twists (which are well executed) lose something by being somewhat predictable after you've gone through half the book. They never lose their charm, but the impact is sometimes a little dissipated by expectation.

Very much recommended, and I'll certainly be keen to sample more of his stories in the future.
[1] There you go, big man.


Honeywell HZ-823FE Turbo Fan Convector Heater - 2 kW, White/Grey
Honeywell HZ-823FE Turbo Fan Convector Heater - 2 kW, White/Grey
Price: £61.27

3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but functional, 5 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This has a lot to recommend it, but it's surprising given the sheer bulk of it that its output is so miserly - I have small, compact portable heaters that offer more, albeit with more intensive management required. It's pretty well featured, although certain base functionality is mysteriously missing - no timer, for example. It's also quite noisy when the fan is on - not surprising, but given how many other heaters manage better output with less noise, it's something of a drawback.

It's also pig-ugly, unfortunately - I know, very few people care about the aesthetics of their heaters, but I have a free-standing column heater from Honeywell that is actually attractive enough to stand out happily in the living room. This looks like something you'd find in a 50s Soviet gulag - austere and stern, and vaguely depressing.


Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2015 Windows EU English for Retail 1 User
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC 2015 Windows EU English for Retail 1 User
Price: £427.89

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far too expensive for what you get, 3 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The software itself is as functional as it's ever been, and that's not nothing - the acrobat application really does making using PDFs as easy and straightforward as using any other format. However, look at the price tag for what you're getting - all it is is a tool that gives you the same flexibility that almost every other every day format can get with a free tool. It's just too expensive for what you get, made all the more frustrating by the fact that if you need it you have very few real other choices - all the alternatives, such as the new Office import facility, or products like Nitro, are substandard approximations at best in my experience. As such, the product feels exploitative.

It's genuinely a good piece of software, I wouldn't dream of arguing otherwise. It's just the eye-watering price-tag that knocks the stars off of the score.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 15, 2015 1:02 AM GMT


You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
by Felicia Day
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and dorky by turns, 2 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Felicia Day is as charming in print as she is on the screen - that's important in a book like this, which combines odd-ball historical context with some pretty dark exploration of the interiors of her own psyche. I've admired Felicia Day's work for a long time, and I'd say the only real flaw in this is book is that it ends quite a bit before I was ready to part company with the story - I'd happily have read a book that was twice as thick, and then some, without tiring of her storytelling. It reminds me in that respect of Tina Fey's memoir, which is written with a similarly sure and confident touch. There's a lot of darkness in the book though - it's obvious that she has suffered for much of what she has achieved, and that shines through in a lot of the anecdotes.

There's also a lot in it that must have taken a lot of guts to write - especially the chapter on Gamergate and the odious misogynistic campaign that it wages against women. Having written on that topic myself in my own small and academic way, I know first-hand how unpleasant many in that particular 'movement' can be. She was brave to write about it then, and brave to write about it now. It just shows how she can merge big issues with personal revelation into a wholeheartedly engaging memoir.


So You've  Been Publicly Shamed
So You've Been Publicly Shamed
by Jon Ronson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The internet runs on outrage., 30 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's no secret that the internet runs, in many ways, on self-righteous outrage. It's tweeters rounding on tweeters, facebook demagogues whipping up the credulous into frenzies. It's cats versus dogs, Jets versus Sharks, Montagues versus Capulets. It's a never-ending war of one-upmanship, where a significant proportion earn their kudos through the aggressive denouement of those virtual entities they have considered to be beneath contempt. I'm no angel in that respect - I've been scarred in a hundred internet wars, and scarred plenty of people in turn. Recently though I've started to become more troubled by the fact that outrage on the internet is wielded so casually and so easily against the caricatures that we construct of 'the enemy'. Ronson's book is a very good exploration of the actual lasting damage that kneejerk outrage can cause, and how the self-righteousness of vindictive shaming can leave the participants looking, in almost every respect, like the villains of the piece. It's an important book - a sobering book. It's not a perfect book, but it has the same Ronson quirks that are present in every book of his I have read - the book's main flaw is that it leaves me wanting to know more about each vignette he sketches.

The insights into Justine Sacco in particular are fascinating - a woman who made a stupid joke to a tiny audience, and had her life systematically dismantled as a result. I find that particular section chilling, because almost every day online I will make jokes that make hers look like the kind of somber, respectful, deeply appropriate comment one might give to a grieving widow at a friend's funeral. My only defence against a similar mass shaming is that I choose my audiences carefully, making sure they're comprised of people who will understand the context of the joke, and construct different personas depending on how broad my audience will be. That's an unfortunate state to be in, when even the anonymous must constantly fret about reputation management just in case the wider, ravenous public decide that you're the next meal to be savoured.

Very much recommended.


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