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Jack Chakotay "Ender Brazil" (Northern Ireland)
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Crucial CT128MX100SSD1 128GB MX100 SATA 2.5 Inch 7mm SSD Includes 9.5mm Adapter
Crucial CT128MX100SSD1 128GB MX100 SATA 2.5 Inch 7mm SSD Includes 9.5mm Adapter
Price: £52.18

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good. I also present choices and tips in this review., 18 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Cheap and cheerful, this is one of the entries that you should be looking at if you're looking to upgrade your conventional hard disk drive. 128Gb is considered the minimum in today's standards- to allow you to install programs without requiring regular maneuvering. (Windows versions and their updates are notorious)

The MX100 is the latest refresh from Crucial and for normal consumers, its replacing the MX 500 (at time of writing in second half of 2014). The 128Gb version suffers from a 150MB/s write speed compared to the higher speeds of 256 and 512 Gb brethren (330 and 500MB/s respectively) but the seqyential read is equivalent across the board at 550MBs. For the unintiated, this 128Gb slower at writing data but it will start your programs as fast as most as its bigger brothers. Stay with me here- I see some eyes glazing over!

So what do you get with this latest offering?

Its cheaper at RRP compared to equivalent RRP/storage space from other companies current offerings (previous clearance lines don't count). At 128 Gb you don't get the improvements over the MX500 lines it replaced that the bigger brothers see. But its unlikely you'd see that in everyday loading up of programs. Against a normal laptop HDD, you'll be plenty fast so much so you would wonder why you didn't upgrade earlier. Chances are it will be more silent and less hot (dependent on your fans).

Why this particular product kit? The 9mm adapter is a pretty important element that allows snug fitting into the 2.5 cm HDD storage space most laptops use. You could get it separately but that's another thing to wait for. A decent one costs anywhere from 2 to 3 pounds on fleabay. You need something else entirely for a 3.5cm HDD bay.

What would I recommend as market leader? Its hard to look outside Samsung's EVO series. You've got some niche software to monitor and tweak/optimise the SSD. The Data migration is pretty handy and painless. Both only work with Samsung drives. I think it was worth the slight extra (at time of review <10 pounds)

What would I recommend for migrating your OS for non-Samsung drives? I know there are free solutions and cheap solutions. Most involve using another computer with free SATA sockets and maybe a HDD dock or two and removal of the original drive. Paragon Migrate OS to SSD let me install the program on the computer (my laptop) whose HDD I wanted to migrate and just hook up the drive (I used a dock). Very easy.

This is good value for this price-point. The Samsung EVO line is good value for its price point but includes migration software. If you don't need it (ahem Linux/ ahem, ahem clean install) this proposition becomes tastier. You probably will not notice the difference in program loading between this and the Samsung. You're doing yourself a great favour either way by whacking out that slow laptop HDD.


The Supermodel and the Brillo Box
The Supermodel and the Brillo Box
by Don Thompson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and understandable work about the market for art in the past and present., 18 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was easy to read and understand with masses of examples that are easy to relate to. The art market and the value of pieces are nebulous and the folks involved are mostly strangers aside from very well known names (usually in fron of the word "- Collection")

My wife looked in askance at the cover upon its unwrapping and her frown only deepened when I read through the book in one sitting. The larger than life artists actually got the same or less coverage than the folks who bought into them/discovered them/ became their patrons. The evolution of the current market from its past was discussed in detail. I enjoyed in it great detail. The write had a nice breezy style and I felt I had a friend who was initiating me into a new world.

I started this review off wanting to take a star off for the grief my wife gave me for the darned cover. But my dear, its ART!


Revell Control Sky Fun RC Helicopter
Revell Control Sky Fun RC Helicopter
Price: £20.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Good starter level., 18 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was a wonderful rival to the market leader Syma s107. While those can be bought fairly cheaply, this one comes with spare blades and much better instructions. The LED lights are flashy and classy but eats into flying time.

The three channel and battery charging via USB is similar to the Syma, as is charging time. The flying time quoted is actually truthful with any attempt to stretch seeing the chopper responding sluggishly.

To the uninitiated, this is a good start. Your spares are present but I the aftermarket sourcing is harder. I would recommend this alongside the Syma. A major ding does affect the assembly so all the spares in the world won't help things like balance or airframe repairs (I shudder at my first syma memories)

I would recommend an empty living room with at least a 4x4 foot carpet clear as a base for the first flight. Avoid the temptation to see how far up /how fast the chopper can go. Any time you leave the carpet- its time to land, pronto. Learn your trim and rotation, master flying from corner to corner. Do that until you get the hang of it and you are ready for altitude checks ie landing on a table. Never be cocky.

I think its a great bit of kit that puts a lot of awareness and control compared to an RC car. The teenager would benefit from the acquiring technique of small constant adjustments and anticipation as well as responsibility. However, remember: it is very likely the very first kit will be a write-off sooner or later so you have to balance between price and functions against a certain level of "disposability"


The Art of Purring
The Art of Purring
by David Michie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely sequel, 18 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Art of Purring (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am going to start by saying I loved the first book with the introduction of the Dalai Lama's kitten. I thought it was similar to a young boy meeting a Master for the first time and learning to be an acolyte. The format was a perfect vehicle for the Master to put forth pearls of wisdom to be savored.

Now the acolyte is grown and matured. The good master sends her forth into the world with a quest. I thought this was very well done and a natural progression. The quest for self-contentment is a worthy one and I enjoyed Snow Lion being let loose on this journey.

The exploration of the tenets already absorbed by Snow Lion and application to the real world is played upon lightly and probably not as easy to read as the "Dalai Lama's cat" but those aware of the principles will smile knowingly.


Mad Catz F.R.E.Q.3 Headset - Black (PC DVD)
Mad Catz F.R.E.Q.3 Headset - Black (PC DVD)
Price: £55.68

3.0 out of 5 stars Good entry level, hard to justify. A series of tradeoffs, 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Going for a boxy, grungy techno style, these Mad Catz are conforming to the series with 5 and 7 being the more professionally featured headset entries. I liked the light weight construction but this comes at the cost of a plastic build. There is a noticeable difference in flex with a metal counterpart.

The microphone is embedded in the right ear speaker which does muffle recorded sounds in comparison to a boomed mic. It does mean that it mainly records your voice and not ambient sound.

Slightly confusingly the volume slider on the right ear cup. If you’re using this headset with your phone the microphone mute switch and a call answer button is on the left

The one thing that isn't a tradeoff is the interchangeable leads 2 metre and 1 meter respectively. This allows for length according to usage which is handy for tablet or mobile gaming. This is for conventional audiojacks only though.

Sound quality is pretty good. Explosions really hit home with the bass. However the bass dominates when listening to music, so you can see what the makers were trying to do with the driver- make them game orientated.

If you're gaming on the cheap, there are cheaper headsets that sound better (hint hint the FREQ 7 with 3D surround through 7.1 audio systems). If you are gaming as a pro, the feature set is too limited. The integrated mic is that weird red herring setting it off from competitors- has some advantages but not great.


Your Life Plan: How to Set Yourself on the Right Path and Take Charge of Your Life
Your Life Plan: How to Set Yourself on the Right Path and Take Charge of Your Life
by Erica Sosna
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very basic, youthful exuberance., 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nice little self help book enthusiastically written. For a weary reviewer like me, it is a rehash of the generic strategies, written with some verve and "look at so and so do it right!" feel. That itself is a step up from the usual junk.

I think this is very well meaning and reads easy. The target audience is the young initiate to life planning, possibly female or someone who isn't turned off by the feminine touches. I can see how that is a different target audience than the stuff I read targets so I am giving a higher than average review.


RockJam Digital Keyboard with 54 Keys and 100 Voices
RockJam Digital Keyboard with 54 Keys and 100 Voices
Price: £50.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful for sing-alongs!, 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nice keyboard aimed at folks who just want to play some tunes. Any further aspirations should be fulfilled elsewhere.

Here are some cons:
plasticky,
light weight,
moderate sound quality at best.
limited keys.
slightly short powercord.

here is the overriding pros:
good feature set for price (rhyhm programming, recording and playback!)
cheap.

And the pros means that the Yamaha doesn't need to be brought out unless the occasion is special. It can run off batteries which allows those sing alongs in the bus or car (and the limited keys become an advantage). Don't be a snob and sniff, this has its place.


NOCO G3500UK Genius Smart Battery Charger
NOCO G3500UK Genius Smart Battery Charger
Price: £29.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Handy. 12 volt battery charging., 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nice little number for charging 12volt batteries. Straight out of the box, there is a UK plug, crocodile leads and terminal tipped leads.

I have not needed to use it on my car battery thankfully but I have however tried it on the old tried and trusted motorised golf trolley and it has worked brilliantly. This was my first thought on receipt of this and I have to say that there seems to be slightly more distance capability than using the old charger. I also note that I would have to leave it on overnight with the old charger whereas this does the job in around 6 hours or so. My nephew has also started borrowing this to charge up the battery he uses for various home experiment kits.

Its a small enough package that is handy to be stored away. Aside from retractable leads its hard to think of any solution which will tuck away the mass of wires during charging.

PS I thought my golf trolley buggy charging was pretty unique but sadly with the advent of lithium ion jobs a few years into the future, its a time limited solution


Willis's Elements of Quantity Surveying
Willis's Elements of Quantity Surveying
by Sandra Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.27

4.0 out of 5 stars This is a reference for Quantity Surveying. It provides ..., 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a reference for Quantity Surveying. It provides for the estimation of construction materials as well as valuation and covers the economic aspect of tendering albeit briefly. In digging out previous editions from the university library, I found a totally new approach to presentation alongside the expected new units of measurement.

As a layperson, I can see how this would be a go to guide for anyone in this field. I know of at least one contractor who has an the Practice and Procedure counterpart on hand, presumably to make their own rough guesstimates for subcontracting. This is more of the up- to date reference book.


Spain: What Everyone Needs to Know
Spain: What Everyone Needs to Know
by William Chislett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Q&A format for a guide to Spain, 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is a nice addtion to the format, where a country is discussed through a Q&A format. Not great for an actual tourist book, but strangely well presented to allow the initiate a grasp of most common topic of interests (so that you can impress someone at say- the dinner party)

Interestingly, this book is top heavy on the current era (post EU), albeit with heavy nods to Catalan nationalism and Franco. I am uncertain whether the cultural and "fun "aspect is to accessible to the English reader, but I found some notable absences of certain topics.

I would recommend for the person who is interested in an overview of Spain.


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