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Dave C (London, UK)

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Creative Inspire T3130 Speaker System
Creative Inspire T3130 Speaker System

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really big sound, 14 May 2012
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This is a comparison review, as I recently bought two pairs of speakers for my kitchen. I have Creative Inspire T3130 (35) and Trust Soundforce 2.1 Pro (22).

The Trust speakers sound good, until you hear the T3130 in the same room. The T3130 has much better volume and base. For talk radio you need to turn the Trust speakers up they start to drown out other sounds (conversation, kitchen noises). The Creative T3130 sounded clear whilst still easier to talk over. And music from the Creative speakers is a `bigger sound' due to the better bass.

I have the sub-woofer on top of my kitchen cabinets, with the volume control and MP3 hanging down the back to the counter, and the speakers in the corners of the room. These speakers have a wired volume control and power switch, so you can do this. The web sites don't mention that the speakers are wired together on a 3.5mm plug. If you want the speakers further apart than the cable allows, then you need to cut the cable.

Maybe not a fair comparison between 22 and 35 speakers. If you've got 13 spare, then buy Creative T3130.


TRUST 16548 SoundForce 2.1 Pro Speakers
TRUST 16548 SoundForce 2.1 Pro Speakers

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value and form factor, 14 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a comparison review, as I recently bought two pairs of speakers for my kitchen. I have Creative Inspire T3130 (35) and Trust Soundforce 2.1 Pro (22).

The Trust speakers sound good, until you hear the T3130 in the same room. The T3130 has much better volume and base. For talk radio you need to turn the Trust speakers up they start to drown out other sounds (conversation, kitchen noises). The Creative T3130 sounded clear whilst still easier to talk over. And music from the Creative speakers is a `bigger sound' due to the better bass.

I have the sub-woofer on top of my kitchen cabinets, with the volume control and MP3 hanging down the back to the counter, and the speakers in the corners of the room. Both these models have a wired volume control and power switch, so you can do this. The web sites don't mention that the Creative speakers are wired together on a 3.5mm plug. If you want the speakers further apart than the cable allows, then you need to cut the cable. The Trust speakers are on separate phono plugs, so you can be extended easily.

I'm currently using the Trust speakers. This is the slimmest sub-woofer I could find (hence, the lack of bass?) so it fits on top of my kitchen cupboards. The T3130 was too bulky for the kitchen, but sounds great in my living room.

Maybe not a fair comparison between 22 and 35 speakers. If you've got 13 spare and no space restrictions, then buy Creative T3130. Otherwise, the cheap Trust speakers are excellent value for money.

Now that I've removed the competition from the room, I am perfectly happy with the sound from these speakers.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 2, 2013 10:25 AM BST


Perl Best Practices
Perl Best Practices
by Damian Conway
Edition: Paperback
Price: 30.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into the art of programming, 10 Jun 2011
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This review is from: Perl Best Practices (Paperback)
This book addresses Perl's biggest problem - that it is unreadable. Here is a bunch of recommendations on how to make your code more supportable, starting with the use of parentheses, white space and singular/plural variable names. All recommendations are clearly explained and argued with examples to show why they are better than the alternatives.

I don't agree with many of his suggestions, but the most important thing with Perl is to have a style guide and that everyone on your team uses it. I'm not about to write my own rules, so I will happily adopt Damian's recommendations for the sake of standardisation.


Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but how original?, 17 May 2011
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Some interesting experiments and examples of how one's perception can be manipulated.

However, the book is quite wordy, the author discusses how experiments were set up and slips in unrelated anecdotes and unnecessary background for each story. I learnt a lot from this book, there are many useful insights, but much of the material sounded familiar. Maybe I had read them before in similar books, in magazine articles, or seen them in the author's TED presentation.

This is an enjoyable book if you fancy some light reading.


Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
by Niall Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 50% history book. Some interesting ideas about the future., 17 May 2011
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A good summary of the recent history of the American Empire - mostly WWII and after. I found the book to be an informative summary of US military interventions over the last 100 year. However, from an economic historian, I was expecting more about the alleged cultural and commercial imperialism (Coca-Colonisation).

The author points out the both the positive outcomes and good intentions of US military actions as well as the failures that influenced subsequent policy. The US comes off well (as the UK did in his history of the British Empire).

I expect history books to focus on the past, not the future. It must have been tempting for the author in 2004 to speculate on the outcome of the Iraq War, American policy post 9/11, and the weaknesses of the EU as he clearly holds strong views on these subjects. However, these chapters (about half the book) now look dated as he muses about the chance of oil reaching $30/barrel, the possibility of the US remaining in Iraq for 3 or more years, and laments the policies that have made Germany the sick man of Europe. This review was written in 2011, if you're reading it in 2018, then more fool me.

There is a chapter about the EU with very little to anchor it to the rest of the book.

A very good read, but too much irrelevant material and soapbox to be considered a good history book.


The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
by Norman Doidge
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but uncritical summary of brain plasticity, 17 May 2011
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A very readable introduction to brain plasticity. The book is full of examples about how the brain adapts to damage and changing circumstances and requirements of the body. Mr Doidge lambasts the long held view of brain "localization" (specialised areas for different functions, e.g. Broca's area), through case studies of autism and stroke treatments amongst others.

Unfortunately the book lacks any critical analysis of its subjects. All Dr Doidge's subjects are heroes who battled for years against mainstream science. One example is the Fast ForWord learning program - a quick Google shows that the program is maybe not as successful as the author claims (or has been commercialised into areas for which is less suitable).

There is a chapter on Psychoanalysis using one of Dr Doidge's former patients as a case study, which didn't seem to fit the theme of the book (and reminded me of Frasier!)

Dr Doidge has no moral doubt about the use of animals (even cute ones) for experiments. As a lay reader, I found the casual description of brain surgery and permanent disability inflicted on monkeys a little shocking. The experiments have value, but the monkey's rights shouldn't be dismissed quite so completely.

Still, a very interesting book.


Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow: The Future of Pensions
Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow: The Future of Pensions
by Con Keating
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A first principles look at sustainability, 10 Feb 2011
I've never seen the expression "intergenerational transfer" in the media, but they sure do talk about it a lot.

In the last few years I have heard that closing DB pensions is denying employees the opportunity of a comfortable retirement; public sector pensions are robbing tax payers; underfunded DB pensions are threatening future pensioners; public sector discount rates are not based in reality; and that the current generation has robbed future generations through increased public sector debt and QE.

Con Keating cuts through the noise and looks directly at the pension contract in terms of intergenerational liabilities. His reference point is not an analytical approach to a single pension plan or single one generation, but a sustainable system that will last for many generations. He points out zero-sum alternatives, and the often overlooked intangibles that pass from the young to the old (birth rights). He also correctly points out that the adequacy of a generation's pension saving is dependent in its liquidation on the level of the succeeding generation's saving (discounted by long term growth rates).

This is a clear and refreshing look at pensions.


The Origin of Species (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)
The Origin of Species (Wordsworth Classics of World Literature)
by Charles Darwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.39

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the book that you are expecting. No lightening bolt., 28 Jan 2011
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Darwin's theory is so simple that I often wonder why it wasn't invented (discovered?) earlier. 100 years after calculus, 60 years before General Relativity. Unlike most scientific advances this is one that I might have made myself if I had been in the right place at the right time.

It isn't the book that I had expected. It is a long description of the similarities between animals and the process of artificial selection (pigeon breeding). There is no lightening bolt, just the painstaking laying out of evidence, and a gentle, but unavoidable conclusion towards the end. In a historical context this makes perfect sense. If you're going to change the world order, then you had better do it carefully.

There are better books on natural selection. This was a first stab at a new theory. Many nuances and effects, and better examples have found since (and better explained). However, from an historical point of view it is unrivaled. Here you can see the most significant advance in science being discovered before your eyes.


Fifty Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips and Backpacks Throughout the Park (50 Hikes)
Fifty Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips and Backpacks Throughout the Park (50 Hikes)
by Barbara Mcmartin
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Manufactured, 28 Jan 2011
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The 50 Hikes series are popular in the US, but not nearly as good as the earlier the Rother Guides in Europe. The series seems to have been thrown together by a publisher rather grown organically by enthusiasts.

Another problem with this book is the Adirondacks. Having hiked extensively in Europe and the Western US, I was distinctly unimpressed. The Adirondacks is convenient for the population of New York, and maybe this is the reason for its popularity.


Spanish a la Cartoon : 101 Hilarious Cartoons for Understanding Spanish Language and Culture
Spanish a la Cartoon : 101 Hilarious Cartoons for Understanding Spanish Language and Culture
by Albert K. Small
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting extension to my Spanish lessons, 28 Jan 2011
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The cartoons provide a framework to hang some explanations of Spanish language and culture. I read the book cover to cover for relaxation and enjoyed it very much. Without the cartoons, this would have been the world's driest text book.


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