Profile for Picky Bill > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Picky Bill
Top Reviewer Ranking: 26,761
Helpful Votes: 51

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Picky Bill

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (Intel Dual Core i5 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash Drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Mac OS X) Launched June 2013
Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (Intel Dual Core i5 1.3GHz, 4GB RAM, 256GB Flash Drive, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Mac OS X) Launched June 2013
Offered by mobohub
Price: £829.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as those dribbling journos claim they are, 10 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are classic machines; truly unbeatable by almost anything else. The battery life is amazing; the range and quality of Mac software (especially for information management, creativity etc.) is also amazing. The screens are very good (much better than the 11" MBA, although not quite as extraordinary as the MacBook Pro 13"), and they're exceptionally quiet.

My only criticism is the memory: they really could do with 8GB of RAM. That would make them perfect. As it is, just occasionally the fans will start whirring away when something really system-overloading happens (having said that, at first I assumed the machine was fanless, so rarely does this happen). And just occasionally Apple Yosemite (10.10.1) will crash out completely for no obvious reason (yes, right back to reboot status in less than a second, losing anything you've been working on in the process). But that's almost certainly a software issue (Mail and Safari appear to be the main culprits), and nothing to do with the actual machine.


Lenovo Q190 Desktop (Black) (Intel Pentium 2127U 1.9GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8)
Lenovo Q190 Desktop (Black) (Intel Pentium 2127U 1.9GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8)

4.0 out of 5 stars Love these little dudes..., 10 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've got a couple of them, both upgraded to Win8.1, and they are superb for use as simple intranet/mail servers. They work perfectly as headless machines accessed via VNC, and appear to be extremely reliable (one's been up and running for about 18 months, the other for approaching 9 months; no issues to speak of).

Just one minor criticism: the WiFi doesn't work under Win8.1. It worked fine under Win8.0, but there appears to be some kind of driver incompatibility. I haven't made huge efforts to chase down the underlying reasons (although I am using the latest version of the driver), because I prefer to hardwire desktop machines in any case. But it's a flaw that might put off some people.


Kingmaker
Kingmaker
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this very much – especially after taking one step back..., 10 Dec 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Kingmaker (Kindle Edition)
An excellent book, projecting a suitably dystopian U.S. scenario based directly on trends and developments that are in process (and accelerating) today. It's a call to action, basically, but also works as very effective fiction with attention-holding detail given to all kinds of technological/biopharmaceutical processes underpinning the power cartels in play. It's enjoyable as fiction, but just take one step back and contemplate the implications of what you're reading, and it becomes scarily prophetic as possible fact. To use the book's own analogy: Cantrell is sketching out what happens when the earthquake really hits, after the gradual buildup has taken place.

My two mild criticisms: occasionally the author would benefit from some competent copy-editing; although his language flows well and varies very effectively in tone and pace, there are occasionally clunky phrases that could have been tidied up by some capable copy-editing. But Cantrell is very much a self-publishing author, so has my respect for that. Second thing: the novel does skip about on its internal timeline occasionally, and this isn't always very well managed, sometimes resulting in apparent loose ends (whatever did happen to the mysterious piratical plastic surgeon and the two highly trained boys sent to deal with him?), sometimes resulting in incidents which don't fit very well into the overall jigsaw (assassination aboard aircraft; when, where, why?) But neither of these two issues is enough to detract from a very impressive piece of prophetic fiction.


Skagen Women's Gold Tone Mesh Band Watch 358SGGD
Skagen Women's Gold Tone Mesh Band Watch 358SGGD
Offered by Everluxe
Price: £74.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant as you could wish!, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very elegant. Bought one of these for my daughter on her 21st, and she loves it. It's a beautiful, simple design that radiates quiet class. Recommended.


Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ Starter Kit
Devolo dLAN 500 AV Wireless+ Starter Kit
Offered by Maplin_Webdeals
Price: £119.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant solution, especially if you RTFM, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What can I say? We've been using Powerline (Home Plug) systems for years, ever since they first came out. This Devolo system beats them all. However, there are a few caveats:
a) before you install them, scamper to the Devolo website and download the manuals for the AVplus and Wireless+ plugs
b) also download the astonishingly good Devolo Cockpit app for your PC or Mac (don't bother with the iOS app; they've done something dreadful to it which means that the current version can't find the network; hopefully an update will solve that in the near future).

I bought a couple of starter kits, so a total of two AVplus plugs and two AV Wireless+ plugs (we have quite a large building).
I'm a reasonably experienced network administrator, so I started by sitting down with the manuals and zipping through them (they're nice and clearly written; it didn't take me long).

I then installed the Devolo Cockpit app on my MacBook Air.

Then I put the plugs where I wanted them (switched off), and once they were all in place with the appropriate cables plugged in (we have a couple of broadband routers and various switches/machines that use Ethernet), I walked round the building switching them all on. I had an Apple AirPort Express plugged into one of the AVplus plugs; my MacBook Air was connected to it wirelessly.

To my considerable surprise, as soon as the plugs were switched on, the Devolo Cockpit utility launched itself and offered to update the firmware of the two AVplus plugs (not the Wireless+ plugs, for some reason, but hey, you can't have it all; I updated those separately via the Wireless+ plugs' configuration web pages after downloading a firmware update from the Devolo website – very easy). The Cockpit app showed all four plugs in place and immediately started analysing network speeds between them. Very impressive!

The network was available immediately. I was going to use the built-in encryption switches to generate a random network password, but the Cockpit app let me enter my own preferred admin password very easily. So all the hardwired network was immediately available. I suspect the wireless network was also available, but I didn't bother using the WiFi settings programmed into the two Wireless+ plugs (although they were eminently sensible ones); I set up my own instead.

The Cockpit app allows you to launch configuration pages for all the plugs; these appear in your web browser.

There are a lot of settings. They're very clear and straightforward to use if you've got some network experience. Possibly a little scary for a beginner (in fact, yeah, they are scary for beginners!). The good news is, you don't need to access them if you don't want to: you can use the plugs – ideally with encryption enabled – straight out of the box.

Best of all, you can name all the plugs individually, based on their location. The names show up immediately in the Cockpit app. They also appear in the configuration web pages. This is just so convenient!

Finally, the Cockpit app constantly monitors the flow of data to/from the plugs. You can click on any given plug in the network diagram to see what the connections between it and the other plugs are like. If the data rate seems a little low, you can move it to another socket and see if anything improves. It's amazingly simple and convenient.

Despite the relatively high price, I'm absolutely delighted with these. They've speeded up the flow of data across the network, talk flawlessly to both our broadband routers (hint: definitely a good idea to disable the WiFi Move function if you've got a relatively complex network setup), and picked up from where the older, failing network left off without a murmur. Totally recommend!


Transcend JetDrive Lite 130 128GB Storage Expansion Card
Transcend JetDrive Lite 130 128GB Storage Expansion Card
Price: £64.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful backup solution, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When I bought my nice new MacBook Air, I started by buying a Nifty MiniDrive. And it's good! But it's limited, because the largest microSD cards currently available only support 64GB. My main purpose in buying an SD drive was to back up my main system using Time Machine. And with just 64GB, my Nifty very soon ran out of capacity.

Then I saw the Transcend. And instantly bought it. The 128GB of space is more than enough for most of my files; I don't bother backing up stuff on Dropbox, OneDrive or Soonr, because that's already synced to remote servers. And the Transcend cooperates effortlessly with Time Machine, which is a big relief. What's more, it's a slightly more practical design than the Nifty, in that the 'cap' that seals the drive into the slot is relatively easy to pull out with a fingernail – the Nifty needs a special tool (actually, a pin or twisted paperclip would probably do, but still).

So: very happy with it. No, I've no idea what the data transfer speeds are – I'm just happy it gets on well with Time Machine.


The Complete SF Collection
The Complete SF Collection
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful compact format, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's absolutely brilliant to have the whole of Richard Morgan's current SF corpus in a single volume, in the convenient form of a Kindle eBook (i.e. searchable, annotatable, etc.). Mind you, I'm always hoping he's about to drop another one in the Takeshi Kovacs series... come on, Richard, you know you want to!


All You Need Is Kill
All You Need Is Kill
Price: £3.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Great action SF with some nice ideas, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Loved it. While fast-paced, this is also a very thoughtful action novel, with some amazing ideas. The idea of a species evolving the ability to use time/tachyons is brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and shall now go and see if the graphic novel does it justice...


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

5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding, 9 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The beginnings of a new Le Guin. A privilege to watch this author grow. I'm buying the next one immediately.


Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 Ultra Small Form Factor Desktop PC - (Silver/Black) (Intel Pentium 2127U 1.9GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, LAN, WLAN, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8)
Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 Ultra Small Form Factor Desktop PC - (Silver/Black) (Intel Pentium 2127U 1.9GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, LAN, WLAN, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8)

5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational machine, 15 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We actually use this as a micro-server, running our local intranet. It's a really nice little machine, and with Windows 8 as the main OS, very quick and efficient. Using the Windows 8 Storage service, we've got the Lenovo linked up to a big fat disk array composed of a wide variety of disks from old to new, and it treats the whole thing as a single store. Brilliant.

We've used Classic Start Menu to "force" Windows 8 to act exactly like Windows 7. And it does, but it's also much faster and more resource-efficient than Windows 7. Ideal, in fact, for a machine with modest resources like this one. Thoroughly recommended (in fact, if I wasn't using laptops as our main desktop machines, I'd be very tempted to buy a few more of these).


Page: 1 | 2 | 3