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Peri Urban "periurban" (Scotland)
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MOFRED®-Micro USB Host Mode On The Go OTG Cable (Lifetime Warranty) for Nexus 7 / Nexus 7 2 II / Nexus 10 / HTC Nexus 9 / Samsung Galaxy S / S2 / S3 / S4 / S5 / S6 / S6 Edge / Samsung N7000 /Archos G9 80 tablet / Archos A70 tablet / NIKON D90 / XOOM / Toshiba TG01 / Nokia N810 / N900 / HTC ONE / HTC One M9 / Galaxy Note 8.0 Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition / Tab 3 -8.0, 10.1 / Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet / Moto G Phone / Tesco HUDL 7" and Android Micro USB 2.0 Data OTG Cable
MOFRED®-Micro USB Host Mode On The Go OTG Cable (Lifetime Warranty) for Nexus 7 / Nexus 7 2 II / Nexus 10 / HTC Nexus 9 / Samsung Galaxy S / S2 / S3 / S4 / S5 / S6 / S6 Edge / Samsung N7000 /Archos G9 80 tablet / Archos A70 tablet / NIKON D90 / XOOM / Toshiba TG01 / Nokia N810 / N900 / HTC ONE / HTC One M9 / Galaxy Note 8.0 Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition / Tab 3 -8.0, 10.1 / Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet / Moto G Phone / Tesco HUDL 7" and Android Micro USB 2.0 Data OTG Cable
Offered by MOFRED PRODUCTS
Price: £9.99


ColorCross CST-01 Universal 3D Vr Virtual Reality DIY Video Movie Game Glasses for iPhone Samsung Android 4-6" Mobile Smartphone Google Oculus Rift Head Mount with Headband
ColorCross CST-01 Universal 3D Vr Virtual Reality DIY Video Movie Game Glasses for iPhone Samsung Android 4-6" Mobile Smartphone Google Oculus Rift Head Mount with Headband
Offered by douself
Price: £13.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Occulus Thrift?, 19 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to use with a OnePlus One, which is a six inch monster! The ColorCross has clever extendible flaps to top, bottom and both sides, so I was able to adjust the thing to get the phone inside. It fitted perfectly.

The construction is very fragile. The moving flaps kind of grate as they move, and I expect they would wear out quite quickly with regular use. The lenses were adjustable from side to side and could be focussed by twisting. But I didn't manage to get good vision in the right lens, even though I adjusted it as far as it would go. It seemed to be a flaw in the lens, because although the centre remained blurred I managed to get good sharpness all around the edges.

The head strap worked fine, and that part was quite comfortable.

The main problem (aside from the lens issue) was that the contours of the part that hugs the face was all wrong. I don't have a large nose, but that part of the device was really painful, and even though there is a rubber flange around the face hugging part, I was never able to get a good fit. I believe it may have been designed for someone with a smaller face than me, perhaps a child would find it OK.

So, that accounts for the three star review, but now a word or two about the technology (the ColorCross loses no stars here).

I tried these out with google cardboard apps, and this device does not come with the google magnet switch, although no doubt you could cobble something together. Instead I attached a wired 360 controller to the phone.

I think you would really need to pair these goggles with a bluetooth or wireless controller for the best experience. The 360 cable pulls the goggles sideways. Also, despite my initial excitement there simply aren't enough cardboard (or equivalent) apps to make the whole thing worth any more than an afternoon's casual experimenting.

Occulus Thrift? Well, I've never used the Occulus Rift, so I cannot compare. But if it isn't at least ten times as good as google cardboard it will die a very quick death. This was all just a bit of fun. But hardly the future.


Buffalo
Buffalo
Price: £177.85

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No!, 11 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Buffalo (Audio CD)
This album is a big mistake. A carefully assembled and lovingly restored mistake, but a mistake nevertheless.

I have a problem with many of the posthumous releases made by the ZFT. I don't believe Gail Zappa is an effective custodian of the legacy of her husband, and this album exemplifies what's gone wrong over at zappa.com.

If this was a public domain free to play release, associated with the live music archive or some such, or even available as a "beat the boots" branded release then it might make more sense. But to lavishly package and present this as an official album puts yet another stain on Frank's once immaculate napkin.

I never met Frank, but I cannot imagine that he would ever have released this album, and whilst the family will defend this as a release for the fans I think you have to find another way to satisfy the fans' desire to hear this kind of second rate material. I consider myself a fan but I really didn't enjoy this album as a whole.

Sure, there are some moments that transcend, like Frank's heartfelt interactions with the audience, but for every one of those there is a depth of ugliness that does Frank's reputation no favours.

The sound quality is variable, with many sections being presented only in mono. Fine for completists and archivists, but not for an official canon release.

Frank's lead guitar playing here is terrible in places, to the point where I begin to wonder how much of what he did live actually ever worked out. Sure, Frank took risks and we can hear this in the Buffalo set, but do we need to preserve it forever as part of the official work? I don't think so.

Frank forgets the lyrics to "Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me". All very honest and true, but again should that moment be preserved for all time as part of what Frank was all about? No.

There's also the curious absence of Steve Vai, who is present but barely used. On the whole two CD set he gets no solo and only a brief eight bar break to show off his chops. Hardly a good reason to include this show in your collection.

Worst of all is a misanthropic monologue that really shouldn't have been resurrected. Frank was a benign sociopath and his perspective on human relations was normally somewhat emotionless and distant, but here it descends into gleeful cruelty, and it doesn't do his intellect any justice.

There are no significant new performances or alternative versions on display here, and despite the fact that this may be one of the only available complete shows I do have to question the artistic oversight that frank's work is being given.

Imagine if you are a young kid who's heard about this Frank Zappa guy, and Buffalo was your first exposure to his work, what would you think? You might think, here's a guy who employed Steve Vai and consigned him to the background whilst noodling his own out of key jazz improvisations; a guy who forgets his own lyrics; who apparently hates people; and who couldn't even be bothered to record the whole show in stereo!

None of which would be true, except for this show.

Sure, some fans will apologise for all of these mortal failings, but why should they have to? There is no need to release an album like this as part of the official canon of work. It only damages Frank's reputation and reduces his importance as a composer, musician and intellectual.


An Inch of Ashes (CHUNG KUO SERIES Book 6)
An Inch of Ashes (CHUNG KUO SERIES Book 6)
Price: £2.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 10 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love David's books. The Chung Kuo series is my favourite sf epic, and I think this re-launching of the original series is an inspired idea. Long may it continue.


Dragon Age Inquisition (PC DVD)
Dragon Age Inquisition (PC DVD)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £35.49

12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confusing Mess, 10 Dec. 2014
Twenty five hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition and I feel like someone who isn't quite getting to grips with a new job. I have a broad outline of the task at hand, but the details and mechanisms of the job are still at times quite mysterious.

The character I'm playing has no back story, adding further to the confusion, but still I am supposed to answer questions on the topic of his origin as the story goes along, leading me to wonder if that was the point, or did I miss something? Was the committee meeting that was supposed to flesh that part out cancelled at the last minute and overlooked in the rush to Christmas release?

The whole game has a hurriedly bolted together feel, with this part not visibly connected to that part, and the player given instructions that can mislead and kinda ruin certain aspects of the gameplay. Perhaps I'm just too quick to dismiss info screens and pop-ups. Maybe I like complex games like this to lead me through a few tutorial levels where I learn how to upgrade weapons and make potions and so on.

Yeah, I think that might be what I like, because I certainly have not appreciated how the game has looked after me so far. Because it hasn't.

I kid you not, I was about 17 or 18 hours in before I realised that I could go to Haven, and that was where I was supposed to upgrade weapons, fiddle with potions and speak to the NPCs I'd met and assembled. It turns out that's also where the War Table is.

Mind you, I was able to happily plug away at the various missions in the Hinterland without too much bother, which makes me wonder what the purpose of Haven is. I discovered it purely by accident after idling wondering for several hours what this "world map" might be. When I eventually looked at it there was a whole new game waiting to be explored!

But, the game told me to go to the Hinterlands! It never asked me to come back, unless it was in one of those annoying (and in my case oft ignored) pop ups. Sure, there was a mission that mentioned something or other about the War Table, but there was no indication that in order to get the juice out of the game I should head there ASAP.

If you are going to advance the story through carefully orchestrated filmic sequences, you cannot simply abandon that convention when you are passing on game-critical advice.

Why is Haven the only place to find a blacksmith, an apothecary and a stable?

Why is there a map for missions and a separate map for the War Table?

What are Inquisition Perks? I don't have any. Should I get some?

Why are some War Table missions completed by NPCs and some are completed by my guy and his chums? What's the difference?

Why do new characters bring no new skill into play? My new kick ass level 9 qunari tank, covered from head to foot in a six inch deep coating of pure muscle plays exactly the same as the waiflike supermodel who first took me under her wing.

Once you have one of each class what's the point in gaining others? The same four skill sets will apply regardless, and the level a character arrives with is determined by your own level. So, no matter when you acquire them they will have as many stats to play with as your main character and all the other characters you've gathered.

The tactical mode, when you freeze the action and issue orders, is fun, and really comprises the game's whole raison d'etre. It's fast and fluid when using a 360 controller, and I never had any problems with camera or responsiveness, but why are the tactics so dumbed down?

In the first game (I didn't play the second) the wealth of tactical options made that part of the game an exercise in instance based high level AI programming - "if this but not that then this". The player could craft some very complex behaviours. But in DA:I the options are much reduced, allowing you to switch priorities for each active skill between off, useable, or favourite. Then you can instruct each character to follow the attack of one other character, or defend that same character.

There's no out and out healer, with the mage the only class that can become one, but it takes forever to achieve and almost entirely relies on reviving fallen comrades, rather than healing before they fall.

All of this means you are relying on the programmed AI, which means your victory or defeat isn't so much about how you played but about how tough the game wants to be at any stage. There's no point in assembling a different team, because that team will likely have exactly the same skill set as the first team. You simply have to grind out a few more levels and hope the game flings a few new tougher weapons in your direction.

Sadly, those weapons never feel meaty and effective, and although the spell visuals are nice I never once in all those hours of gameplay saw anything amazing or awe inspiring. The combat animations are approximate, with melee blows that are not visibly landed having an effect and ones that apparently are landed seemingly having none.

The broader mechanics of the game seem to make no sense either.

You capture/discover camps, but to what end? Do they convey resources or make that part of the map safer? Not that I could see, with the possible exception of lumber camps. These allow you to fulfil mysterious "requisitions", but if their purpose was explained I missed it (again). I never felt that the world benefitted from any of these explorations, except to level my characters up by gaining experience and "power".

Power seems to be needed to attempt certain missions and may be used on the War Table…… maybe? I have used the War Table so infrequently it's hard to tell.

The best thing about this game is the story and the characters. Together they weave an interesting narrative that has managed to hold my attention, but it all comes falling down when there is no practical gameplay difference between the characters. They have bags of personality and charisma (each in their own way), but when in your party they may as well be cardboard cut-outs.

Or you could watch a movie, I suppose.

There are times when I feel that the story could flesh out the background a bit more, especially at the start. The big bang opening isn't effective because it has no context, and the reasons for my character's involvement at that point have so far not been made clear. Very frustrating. If I don't know my place in the world how can I know how I wish to affect it?

DA:I is a hodge podge of a game. It's a wee bit Dungeon Siege, a wee bit Assassin's Creed, a wee bit Skyrim, a wee bit Risen 3 and a wee bit Mass Effect. Disparate aspects have been bolted together into a largely incoherent and discontinuous tangle. Elements like the skill sets feel perfunctory, and the plot struggles at times to convey enough detail.

This is being talked about as "game of the year", but I think it would be a very poor year were it to achieve that accolade. For me it wouldn't even be game of the month.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2014 9:35 PM GMT


SoundMAGIC E10 Earphones - Silver/Black
SoundMAGIC E10 Earphones - Silver/Black
Price: £29.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty May Be The Best Policy After All, 30 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Given the popularity of these earphones, the attractively low price, and the hundreds of 5 star reviews I was expecting great things.

I tested these using a Oneplus One smartphone, and deployed the PA Tone oscillator to test frequencies. My reference budget in ear cans are the JVC HA-FX67, which currently retail as low as £15. I tested using a variety of compressed files at VBR or 320kHz sample rate.

On first listening I was less than impressed with the E-10s. The sound seemed flat and un-engaging. Brian Johnson sounded distant and boxy on Stiff Upper Lip, and the double Young guitars had been rendered crunch-less. The beautiful vocals of Lily and Madeleine fared better, but again the instrumentation seemed to lack detail.

Normally, I would do a lot more listening before turning to the test oscillator, but my curiosity was already tweaked!

A sweeping test tone proceeding from subsonics up to supersonics (above 10kHz for me these days!) revealed a very smooth response with no peaks or troughs, with only a slight emphasis at 5kHz.

Some reviews had criticised the bass response, so I turned to my standard bass test album, Public Image Limited's This is PiL. Sure enough, the bass appeared to be somewhat reduced at least subjectively. Returning to the oscillator test, I paid more attention to the bass and was able to discern no deficit, with the low bass especially well conveyed.

Curious!

I did notice that the stereo image was a little inconsistent, which is when the light began to dawn.

I had fitted the standard ear buds that came with the earphones, choosing sizes that were equivalent to those I've been using for years (large for my right ear and medium for the left, yes, I have different sized ears!) But I hadn't got the fitting quite right! The biggest bud that these cans are supplied with doesn't completely fill my right ear, so I resorted to some old buds from another set of cans and the problem was solved.

Turning to the infamous Gangnam Style I was able to confirm that the soundstage was now very accurate.

Stiff Upper Lip still lacked some bite, but the bass was now well balanced. And Lily and Madeleine were surrounded by articulate instrumentation.

Further listening revealed more details in the original signal, including some hitherto unheard amplifier noise on The Groundhogs’ Soldier. The more I listened the more I heard.

In summary, the E 10s are technically very accurate, with few identifiable weaknesses in terms of end to end faithful reproduction of the sound signal. As ever with in ear cans getting an accurate fit with the ear buds is essential. The soundstage from left to right is astonishingly well presented and much more precise than my reference cans, which sound brash and splashy by comparison.

At first hearing the E 10s may sound bass light, but that probably has more to do with the way most cans over emphasis the lower frequencies, often to the detriment of the overall signal. The E 10s are amongst the most accurate earphones I have ever tested, but that doesn’t mean they will sound good to all tastes. Accuracy isn’t what most people want. But the listener who is prepared to spend some time with them may learn to appreciate their honesty.


Duronic Black 20m CAT6 FTP Professional Gold Headed Shielded Network Cable - Black - High Speed 500MHz Premium Quality Cat6 / Patch / Ethernet / Modem / Router / LAN
Duronic Black 20m CAT6 FTP Professional Gold Headed Shielded Network Cable - Black - High Speed 500MHz Premium Quality Cat6 / Patch / Ethernet / Modem / Router / LAN

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value, 4 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This cable is of a very high quality and has been doing a great service without failures for a couple of months now. Great value for money.


7mm Round Black Cable Clips Pack of 100
7mm Round Black Cable Clips Pack of 100
Offered by BargainShop_London
Price: £1.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 4 Nov. 2014
Good quality plastic. Easy to use, and cheap as chips.


Philips MASTER LED 5.5W GU10 Spot Light Bulb, Very Warm White, Dimmable (50W Halogen Replacement)
Philips MASTER LED 5.5W GU10 Spot Light Bulb, Very Warm White, Dimmable (50W Halogen Replacement)
Offered by Philips LED Specialist
Price: £10.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! (Literally), 4 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm very impressed by the build quality and the light produced by this bulb. I cannot speak to the longevity, but it's been good so far. Much better value in the long run than the cheaper ones that always seem to die after only a few months use. Highly recommended.


Skullcandy Aviator 2.0 Over-Ear Headphones with Mic - Black
Skullcandy Aviator 2.0 Over-Ear Headphones with Mic - Black
Offered by E W Link Co Ltd.
Price: £89.00

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Depth Review - Skullcandy's Best Yet?, 17 Nov. 2013
This move away from slightly bizarre and outlandish design and colour schemes seems to mark a new direction for Skullcandy, and I welcome it. These nicely designed cans will offend no-one with their practical construction and pleasant comfort. They certainly fitted me nicely, with no annoying gaps.

The sound too was pleasant, but not impressive. Bass was underplayed, but this allowed the drivers to handle dynamics with ease. If anything, there was a bit of a mid range honk, which might become unpleasant for some with extended listening. It was a wee bit too much for me, but might not bother others.

To me the stereo image seemed a little weak, meaning that some production techniques were a little bit lost, and the acoustic space was restricted. But again, this can lead to a greater sense of cohesion for some listeners, so not necessarily a deficit.

Generally, I don't rate the Skullcandy headphones very highly. These have managed to achieve an average rating at the price (£80-£90), but you can add half a star if you get them cheaper. You'd have to go a lot cheaper before they could be rated highly, and there are much better sounding headphones out there for half this price. I see some vendors are selling them at almost exactly that, but even then you can find better.

At £20 these would be a bargain, at £40 they would be a reasonable buy, but at the current asking price they are simply average, but still the best effort I've heard from Skullcandy so far.

(But sadly that's not saying a lot!)
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 25, 2013 9:32 PM GMT


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