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Reviews Written by
D. J. Stevenson "hoagy" (earlswood, surrey, uk)

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Synology DS413j DiskStation 4 Bay Desktop NAS Server
Synology DS413j DiskStation 4 Bay Desktop NAS Server

2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, and with compatibility issues, 2 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The two basic problems I have with this are:

1: Performance. It has a seriously weedy CPU, an ARM chip that is less powerful than a few-year-old phone. This means that, given that it has software RAID, it fails to keep up with network speeds, and writing data was too slow for me.

2. Compatibility: The native file store it uses is case-sensitive, and in the default set ups this isn't hidden via SMB or AFP, so your Mac or PC is presented with the CRAZY world of case-sensitive file systems. And application s/w for Mac/Win doesn't expect that, and some apps get broken by it.

Regarding the latter, there's no control over this in the web gui. You can tell the SMB config to do the right thing (preserve case=yes, case sensitive=no), but if you have to ssh in to do this and many people wouldn't have the expertise to do this. Even worse, any subsequent config changes via the web UI overwrite and remove the custom options! Aarrgh! :-(

I've dumped mine and moved the disks to an old 2nd-hand Mac Pro, same price as a new DS413j. You could quibble that I'm comparing a 260 quid new thing with a 260 quid old thing, but the latter has massively better performance, is totally compatible, is quieter, can take a few background tasks off my main machine (b/g video encoding, albeit not massively quickly given its age). And changing drives is so much quicker.

The only downside of the new setup is that the MP, of course, is rather larger. That's a trade-off I can accept given the rest.

* Note: If there's a better way of turning off case-sensitivity, please post as a comment to this so that other people can see it and will hopefully have more success. It's not in Synology docs, despite clearly being a frequently-asked question judging by their forums that they don't respond to. My support request went unanswered, and it's five days after that that I gave up.

Learning RaphaŽl JS Vector Graphics
Learning RaphaŽl JS Vector Graphics
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars great introduction to Raphael, 8 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
covers what you need to know, and does it clearly and accurately. I am reviewing the Kindle version which has the diagrams and screenshots in colour, which also helps.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely display and useful dock, 1 Nov. 2013
It's a beautiful display, provided you're not in an environment where there's too much light shining directly onto it.

The 'dock' functions are enormously useful too - one cable (albeit two plugs) into the Mac Book Pro and it attaches everything, FireWire peripherals, USB, Ethernet, even other Thunderbolt peripherals.

It could do with an update for USB3, though, and I would like to see an audio out on it. Hence 4* rather than 5*

Catalyst: Accelerating Perl Web Application Development
Catalyst: Accelerating Perl Web Application Development
by Jonathan Rockway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

1.0 out of 5 stars A poor effort, and a truly awful index, 28 Jan. 2009
The weakest part of this book is the index. It really is quite useless.

The rest of the book is poor, too. It's styled as a tutorial, but I learned much more from the tutorials on CPAN. This book will give you some code, but tells you very little about why things are done as they are (for instance, how about explaining the all-important action attributes?).

Sparks: Lil' Beethoven - Live In Stockholm [DVD]
Sparks: Lil' Beethoven - Live In Stockholm [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sparks

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nearly superb, but it's an audio let-down, 27 Aug. 2007
I'm not going to review Sparks in general, you probably already know if you like them or not. I wish to comment on the specifics of this DVD.

Great editing, good extras, and a record of a fine gig. Everything is great except for the audio. And, given that this is a music DVD, that's quite a big issue.

Those of us old enough to remember such things have suffered at the hands of "automatic recording level" on cassette recorders - it used to boost the level of quiet bits and reduce the level of loud bits. Compression.

The audio on this DVD does that, and it does it to extreme.

If the audio was right, this would be a 5* DVD. But the audio is wrong. Very wrong. Listen to "Calm Before The Storm". If you're like me, then you won't be able to do, the compression makes it unlistenable.

Throwing Muses
Throwing Muses
Price: £13.75

4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form, 25 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Throwing Muses (Audio CD)
I should say that I'm a massive Throwing Muses fan - so it's not worthwhile just to say that this is good: I need to put it in relation to the rest of their material.
They've been away since the largely disappointing Limbo, with Kristin Hersh's solo career going fairly well Some of the songs here were previewed in the 'Gut Pageant' occasional reunion gigs, and the whole album was recorded over a year ago, with release having to wait until Kristin had her latest baby.
This is a 'power' album. It rocks. It rocks like the Muses haven't done since Red Heaven, the album that showed the loss of Tanya Donelly wasn't terminal. I think this is the strongest album since, at least, the aforementioned Red Heaven. Arguably since The Real Ramona.
Portia and Solar Dip sound like they could have been on Limbo - where they would have probably have been the best tracks. There's more, er, balls, to this.
The rest of Throwing Muses (this new album, not the previous one of the same name!) is new ground for TM, but still retains their distinctive style.
Give it a try. Make sure you get to the end - Half Blast and Flying are the best two tracks in my view.
Only the odd weak moment like Status Quo (how can a track with that title ever be any good!) stops it from getting five stars. To hear Kristin rock again is a treat.

Trompe Le Monde
Trompe Le Monde
Price: £5.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars years on, this is the Pixies album that really stands out, 11 July 2001
This review is from: Trompe Le Monde (Audio CD)
Surfer Rosa will remain a classic, but Trompe Le Monde completes a logical progression through the Pixies material. It takes everything just one stage further (to '11', in Spinal Tap terms!). This is more rock. It's more sci-fi. It's more surf. It's just more PIXIES.
A split after this makes artistic sense, if not monetary. This is the Pixies formula pushed to the max. Love it.

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