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Sony NW-HD3 20GB Network Walkman / MP3 Digitial Audio Player - Silver
Sony NW-HD3 20GB Network Walkman / MP3 Digitial Audio Player - Silver

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, but beware, all is not rosy underneath., 26 Jan. 2005
As a long time user of Mini Discs and a long-time sufferer of the now in-famous early Mini Disc "Open MG Jukebox", i was aware that Sony made devices that looked and sounded good but as for the software, oh dear.
I was swayed though to upgrade to the Network Walkman NW-HD3 as i often read that the new sonic stage 2.3 software was now pretty stable and easy to use.
Here are my good and unfortunately many bad findings, after living with this device for nearly four weeks now:
Good:
1. It looks and feels amazing and the tiny size of it for a 20gb unit is incredible.
2. If you encode at 64 atrac plus, you can get about 8000 tracks on it.
3. The display is clear and well presented
4. It has a "shuffle all tracks" capability (Lets face it, this is the best reason to have one of these things - your own personal radio station!)
5. Long battery life when in continous play, (this quickly changes if you use the controls a lot though).
Bad:
1. The volume is way too low, this is an EU restriction and it cannot be changed. Even with good exepnsive ear-buds, the volume is not high enough, especially on older CD's that haven't been compressed very well. My hearing is fine and this is soooo annoying.
2. There is no remote - this is terrible considering the price of these things, shame on you Sony.
3. The playlisty facility (bookmark as they call it) is very difficult to use.
4. It does not tell you that you have transferred a song/album twice.
5. On the PC software, it only shows you the tracks in the date order you transferred them. If you want to find all of one artists albums quickly, forget it, you have to scroll up the whole list of date specific entries to find anything. The trick is to transfer everything of one artist at once, but why should we have to do this?
6. The mid range on the sound is very poor, There is fairly good base and sharp trebles but nothing much in-between, even on the high 256 bit rate.
7. The various music settings and equlaizers are all so bad that they are practicaly redundant.
8. Sony's DRM (Digital Rights Managemen) system. Want to download and listen to tracks on your work or friends PC? forget it, this little device will only work on one computer. Once you have hooked it up to your home PC, that is all it will talk to. The dreaded DRM at it's terrible controlling best.
My last bit of advice to anybody who buys this device is to back up their library often using the softwares "back up library facility". If you don't and your PC crashes like mine did, all of you music files that you may have encoded on your seperate large hard drive will be useless. This is because if you upgrade your system for any reason, the NW-HD3 will not recognize files that were created in an earlier version of the PC you were using - USE THE "BACK UP LIBRARY FACILITY" often. I would hate anybody to have to reapeat the weeks of hard work that i had to encode everything again.
In summary, this little device has great potential, but many serious flaws. If you want my advice, steer clear until the sound and software improves and hopefully the DRM lobby groups get some results. I was really looking forward to getting into the portable digital hard drive revolution for a long time now and quite frankly this has left me feeling very dispatointed and just a little bit cheated.


Great Tales From English History: Cheddar Man to the Peasants' Revolt
Great Tales From English History: Cheddar Man to the Peasants' Revolt
by Robert Lacey
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History designed to read as pure pleasure, 25 Mar. 2004
This is a wonderful popular history book that forgoes with boring details such as social and political trends and gets right down to the business of describing clearly and concisely the great stories from English history. Cutting them of all of the boring details much loved by so called high brow history academics who patronisingly think this is too simplistic in style and tone but avidly read it anyway (you know who you are). It is simple in style and that is its strength. A quick glance at the size of the book will tell you that its is not an in-depth overview but a brief, straight to the point work, that is wonderful to dip into now again and is a great refresher on various highlight from our past. I can imagine that this book wil inspire numerous people to go and study in more depth some of the topics covered. I personally can't wait for volume two and long may the popular history movement, instigagted by Simon Schama, roll on and over all of the snobby sceptics who want to keep history locked up in musty old halls of privilege and dust.


Star of the Sea
Star of the Sea
by Joseph O'Connor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully involving novel, 25 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Star of the Sea (Paperback)
Joseph O'Connor deserves high praise indeed for the even-handed manner in which he portrays such a horrific and painful chapter in Ireland's history. He vividly shines a light on his myriad of fascinating characters all fatefully intertwined on the perilous voyage of the Star Of The Sea. I urge you to read this book, its a wonderful histroy lesson with lots to say on the human condition in general - Wonderfully engrossing stuff.


Patience
Patience
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.75

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Patience hasn't paid off, 19 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Patience (Audio CD)
It is foolish to underestimate the public affection the UK has for George Michael (see optimistic reviews below). Toilet indiscretions or not, he will always have a special place in peoples hearts due to the fact that he soundtracked most of our lives. And what a soundtrack, the man covered all bases: fun (Club Tropicana), sentimental (Last Christmas), romantic (Careless Whisper) cool (Everything she wants) and i haven't even mentioned the glory early days of his solo career. The most crucial glue that held it all together was melody, the man could write a tune. Unfortunately ever since those early Wham days, each subsequent solo release has had less and less memorable tunes and now we reach Patience and the only memorable tunes George can now find are in other peoples samples. This album is frankly disapointing, even with the glossy production that Older had, it still contained three or four great tracks, but it is hard to call any of the songs on Patience even fairly good. If you stripped all of Patience's songs of their flashy production and played them acoustically they would just vanish into thin air, there is simply no structure, melody or most crucially of all soul in any of these songs. His main tactic these days seems to be to find a derivative dance groove/lick and repeat it throughout each song. Over this he does add his still highly impressive voice, but its not enough this time. Critics have rightly pointed out that this is his most personal album yet lyrics wise. I agree, but unfortunately, George's recent trial and tribulations over the last few years have been so well documented that its all becomes very dull and familiar. To be fair there are two or three good tracks - "Round Here" is a nice mellow lament on past days and "Flawless" is a real disco stomper, but frankly most of this album just washes over you without any impact. George has stated that he is going to retire from music after this album because he doesn't need the money anymore, i think the real truth of the matter is that he just doesnt have anything new or interesting to say to his audience anymore and comfortable superstar living has dulled his art like countless others before him. Thanks for the memories though George.


1972
1972
Price: £9.28

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodic bliss in a world of plastic pop, 28 Nov. 2003
This review is from: 1972 (Audio CD)
Wow, what a breath of fresh air this is. Saw a favourable review on this and decided to chance it and boy am i glad i did. This album has the rare distinction these days of not having a duff track on it. Josh deals with the same earnest aldut themes as a Coldplay or a Travis, but it's all passed through a 1970's Steely Dan filter, so the message and the feel of the songs are all drsssed up in lovely sugary tunes and faultless melodies. You know you have found something special, when the minute you hear it, you know you have to get everything else the artist has done. Why is this man not a superstar?


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