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hfffoman (Kent)
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Sharp Combination Microwave, 40 Litre, 900 Watt, Silver
Sharp Combination Microwave, 40 Litre, 900 Watt, Silver
Offered by Southern Electric
Price: 207.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves a medal for good design and reliability, 14 Sep 2014
This must be the most robust and reliable microwave on the consumer market. Mine has just conked out after working, without any repairs or servicing, for 26 years. Most of that time it was being used every day. I have immediately bought another one.

One of the things I like about it is that it is so easy to use. You want 3 minutes of full power - just hit the start button 3 times. Oh, you only wanted 2 minutes - hit the "less" button once. When I think of the complicated controls some manufacturers devise, I offer a silent prayer of thanks to whoever was in charge of design in Sharp.

Whether you buy this one or not, I would caution against the dial-type timers. You can't set the time more accurately than the nearest half minute at best. In my long and lazy experience of doing all my cooking on a microwave, you need it to 10 seconds - something that was well understood by the good men and women at Sharp.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2014 11:45 AM BST


SAMSUNG SH-S222A Internal Super-WriteMaster 22x DVD-RW Rewriter
SAMSUNG SH-S222A Internal Super-WriteMaster 22x DVD-RW Rewriter

2.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable, 14 Sep 2014
Mine failed completely after 18 months. It had only very light use and I had never used the DVD write capability. There was nothing wrong with the installation. When I took it out and put a different one in its place, everything immediately worked.


The Martian
The Martian
by Andy Weir
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very strong on research and realism - but some weak writing, 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Martian (Paperback)
This is the story of a Mars mission that goes wrong, and the attempts to pick up the pieces (I give that much away as it is revealed right at the beginning).

It is an unusual novel as it is so well researched and steeped in realism - to the extent that nearly every page contains details of some calculation or engineering explanation associated with survival. I found that interesting, though I am sure some people will find it too much like a science lecture so please don't be misled by the high ratings - the reviewers may be people with a leaning in that direction.

I found the dialogue extremely poorly written. It doesn't ring true at all. I wondered if the book was written not by a professional writer but an amateur who just knew about space travel. (Checking on wikipedia I find this is indeed true). Again and again I winced as one of the characters said something unnatural that was obviously an explanation to the reader. Sometimes the author was even aware of it and made a feeble apology. After one character gives a basic science explanation that was obviously completely unnecessary to the person he was talking to, someone says "You don't need to tell him that - he's got an astrophysics degree". As though, just for a moment he thought he was in a pub, not a room full of NASA rocket scientists. Then there's this: "Do you believe in God?" "I believe in many Gods, remember I'm a hindu". If the reader needs an explanation why someone called Venkit Kapur believes in many Gods, Venkit's colleague certainly doesn't. I am surprised this wasn't caught by the editing as it is really bad writing and there is a simple solution - put your explanations direct to the reader. By magic, excruciating dialogue turns into ok narrative.

The monologue is quite well written, which is fortunate as there is much more monologue than dialogue.

There is one other thing that struck me although I guess it was deliberate. It is totally rooted in the time of writing and before. There is no reference to new technology or culture. People use USB sticks, JPEG files and spreadsheets and constantly refer to seventies TV and disco music.

The weak dialogue slightly spoiled it for me but as the sense of realism was so good I still give it 4 stars.

PS I don't want to be a smarty pants but given how well researched it seems to be, I was surprised to find a basic error of science. It isn't important but for anyone interested, here is the point. Someone is talking about letting air out of a container to give it momentum. He says that it doesn't matter how big the hole is because the change in momentum is the same. Anyone who has studied fluid mechanics and thermodynamics (I confess, I have) will know that this is completely incorrect. The change in mass is the same but the change in momentum will be very different. Just try putting your finger over the end of a hose - the water comes out faster.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2014 11:01 AM BST


Kent's Kitchen Thai Green Curry Meal Kit 65 g (Pack of 1, Total 4 Kits)
Kent's Kitchen Thai Green Curry Meal Kit 65 g (Pack of 1, Total 4 Kits)
Price: 6.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This will never take off, 30 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This comprises three little pots of ingredients. You still have to buy coconut milk, fresh coriander and the main ingredient. So it doesn't save you much time thinking, planning, shopping for ingredients or cooking.

It tastes good but it is expensive for what you get.

I am sorry for Kent Kitchens because it is a brave try but I don't think it will ever take off. A few people may like the approach but it is caught in between the existing options: buy a ready meal, cook from ingredients, or make a quick curry from a jar of curry sauce. It doesn't offer any real advantage over what you can get in the supermarket.


Round Cord Waxed 3/4mm Hiking Walking Work Boot Laces
Round Cord Waxed 3/4mm Hiking Walking Work Boot Laces
Offered by TZ Laces ltd
Price: 2.49 - 3.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Be very careful over the size, 30 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I wasted ages looking in shops for the replacement laces I needed. Foolishly I thought Clarks, who sold me shoes requiring very specific laces, would stock them. This is exactly what I wanted. BUT:

The size says 3/4mm. The eyes in my shoes are a good 4mm, so they should fit perfectly, but they are too big to go through.

A very nice note came with the delivery assuring me of excellent service and explaining how to do a return should it be necessary. I asked for a return. 10 days later - no reply.


The Player Of Games (The Culture)
The Player Of Games (The Culture)
by Iain M. Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable science fiction, 30 Aug 2014
If the name doesn't give you enough of a hint, you will know right at the beginning, because the author tells you, that this is the story of a game that takes on significance of astronomical proportions. It was obvious that this significance would be revealed at the end and it would be something clever and surprising. The question I was wondering throughout the book was whether it would be genuinely clever and convincing or just a corny device. I won't give more away.

I enjoyed the book. It is entertaining throughout and an interesting exploration of technology and psychology and the link between the two - in other words good science fiction.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2014 11:08 AM BST


Empire Falls
Empire Falls
by Richard Russo
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A delight from beginning to end, 27 Aug 2014
This review is from: Empire Falls (Paperback)
This is my third Richard Russo novel and all three have been a delight from beginning to end. I was sorry when I finished it and had to stop. If you have read it and feel the same way, I recommend Risk Pool and The Straight Man, both in a similar style to this.

I won't give away anything about the story. It is a vast portrait of humanity in colours that are both serious and funny. It is mildly comedic, which I don't usually like, but this is different from most funny books. The funny things are funny because they are so real, and if you took away the funny side you would still have a moving drama full of sadness.

I notice with Richard Russo that about once a page, maybe more, I encounter a sentence that is so perfect it makes me smile, usually an observation that is accurate, witty and beautifully phrased. Enjoy.


Brabantia 50 Litre Laundry Bin with White Body/ Plastic Lid and Removable Black/ Grey Laundry Bag
Brabantia 50 Litre Laundry Bin with White Body/ Plastic Lid and Removable Black/ Grey Laundry Bag
Price: 72.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Expensive but the design is exactly right, 27 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is expensive but just right. It looks nice. The lid is plastic but doesn't feel cheap. It has a hole to put the laundry in which is great for lazy people who tend to throw dirty washing on top of the laundry basket instead of putting it in, or put it in but don't put the lid back on properly. Even for people who don't do those things, the hole is quick and convenient.

The best thing is the bag. I am used to a wicker basket which was awkward to carry downstairs. Carrying a bag of laundry is so much better, and the bag is neatly attached with velcro. You can take it off and put it back with no fiddling. This is really good design. If only emptying my dustbin was that easy.


Nocs NS500 Aluminum Earphones with Remote and Microphone - Gold
Nocs NS500 Aluminum Earphones with Remote and Microphone - Gold
Price: 60.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable and good sound - not just for Apple products, 24 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although this is presented as for Apple products it works on other types of phone and MP3 players except that the volume buttons on the earphone cable do not work. However, the middle button for pausing and unpausing does work - a really useful feature.

It is nicely designed with ribbon cable and a quality look about the plugs themselves. The question is whether you get better sound to justify the price. I did some careful comparing with the plugs that came with my phone (a high end Samsung Galaxy Note 3), listening to the same music and swapping every few seconds. I did notice the sound quality of these were better, although I had always found the ones that came with phone perfectly good enough.

Then I tested them against the earphones that came with my old MP3 Player, a Samsung YP-U6. To my amazement, the old MP3 player phones sounded clearly better than either. This uses the open style of earpiece, which has a bigger speaker and maybe that's why it gave a more resonant sound.

One other thing to remember when choosing earphones is how they feel in your ears. Some people don't like this style, with the rubber plus that goes in your ear. Personally I find it more comfortable than the open type. I compared the plugs of this and my phone by putting one of each type into one ear. Although they look the same, this one definitely felt more comfortable.

So overall, this is a good products and I give it 5 stars though I do have reservations about whether it is worth paying so much for it.


Samsung YP-F3 2GB Sports Clipper MP3 Player - Black (discontinued by manufacturer)
Samsung YP-F3 2GB Sports Clipper MP3 Player - Black (discontinued by manufacturer)

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful sound quality, 24 Aug 2014
I am so sorry this has been discontinued. I have just been reviewing a top of the range earphone set and compared it with my old Y6 and with the sound quality I get from my top of the range Galaxy note 3 phone. It seems nothing comes near to the sound quality of the Y6. 5 stars+


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