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Evan (London)
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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series)
by Jesmond Allen
Edition: Paperback
Price: 19.03

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid UX design introduction for the newbie or recap for the industry pro, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a book on UX Design. A term that has sprung up in the industry recently. What used to be more commonly referred to as usability, it has evolved into a more specialised role, much as SEO did a few years back. UX design is now a 'must have' for any web designer or UX designer as the job title seeking lot prefer to call themselves these days. Regardless, UX design is here to stay and a valuable skill set to have. Why? Because it forces you to properly plan a web site from the get go, and your website creations are better for it.

Like other Smashing books, it offers some guidance on the business side of things which may or may not be of use to you, depending on whether your client or agency side.

The book feels like if waffles on a bit which I find with most Smashing books. Almost as if they have a word count they're trying to achieve. It kind of makes me skim the book more than I should but that's just me...

Give it a go if you're new to UX or if you're in the field already.


VANGUARD Skyborne 51 Backpack for DSLR Camera
VANGUARD Skyborne 51 Backpack for DSLR Camera
Price: 167.89

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bag, good space usage, not so bulky, 3 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this bag a while now and have taken it on a road trip through Europe as well as out and about on shoots wandering the country side of Wales.

Firstly, the bag is big. However it's not as big as I had envisaged from its measurements. I spent a while researching bags as I needed one that had side access and was big enough to house a big zoom - a 50-500mm with camera body attached. This bag does exactly that. I didn't want a bag that could just carry all the bits, but I wanted one that carried all the bits put together. Now that I've had it a while I don't notice its size anymore. The weight is good and it's not heavy at all when empty of camera gear.

There is enough configurable room to store say two DSLR bodies, a big zoom and 2-3 other lenses all at once. And then it has a compartment at the top that could house about 3-4 other lenses if you don't mind them rolling around. I use this space to store an air filter, lens hood and other maintenance bits. The side access panel has a waterproof pocket accessible from inside and out that contains space for two memory cards.

The front pocket is big enough to house a 17" MacBook Pro with room to spare. However, the sleeve that comes with the bag is only big enough to store a 15" laptop. I don't need the sleeve so have taken it out. However, this pocket is surprisingly roomy and stores iPads, books, Kindles etc with ease and protective padding.

The bottom of the bag is firm and has some foot stoppers so the material of the bag doesn't touch the ground when put on flat surfaces. The bag has lots of supporting straps for securing the bag around you, however I have only ever had need for the usual shoulder straps. Haven't used the waist strap at all. I only see a need for this if you'd be running while out shooting.

I've never had use for it but there is also a secure strap to house a tripod or monopod on the front. Also tucked away on the bottom side is a useful rain cover in case of downpours while out and about.

The quality of the stitching and material is also of very high quality.

I've very happy with this bag. I did a lot of research whilst looking for a suitable camera bag for my needs and this has fit the bill perfectly. I'd never heard of Vanguard before finding this series of bags but now I would consider them in other areas of photographic equipment based on the design quality of this bag.


Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens
Nikon AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens
Price: 109.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lens - my first prime, 26 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An awesome lens this is. It's my first prime lens too.

I was debating a 50mm or a 35mm prime but settled on the 50mm due to its tighter frame. I figured it'd give more of a 'challenge' to my shooting.

Having recently upgraded to full frame D800 from a lowly D40X the 50mm is wider than it would have been previously. In fact, I've been shooting with a 50-500 sigma for some time now and found it to be too tight (not to mention heavy) for street photography which I do more than any other. However, the full frame makes it a true 50mm so it's definitely a good fit now.

The sharpness, even with my exaggerated hand shake, is very good. I imagine on a tripod with a shutter release it'd be pin sharp. I was testing it out when I first got it and was shooting around the flat. I snapped a shot for depth of field comparison of the top of my computer chair and was stunned when I zoomed in to see a pin sharp hair sticking off the headrest that I didn't even see with the naked eye!

That brings me to depth of field. On this lens, it is amazing. I've always achieved this in the past partially with the zoom of other lenses. However, you don't have this luxury with a prime so have to use focus coupled with apeture.

I'm blown away with this 50mm and it is now my default walk around lens. Buy it now if you're doubting it in any way. The sharpness is better then a 1000 zoom at 50mm and you won't be disappointed.

In fact it has inspired me to seek out another prime in the future, maybe I will go for the old school 35mm next.


Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Ion Gaming Headset (XBOX360 / PC / MAC)
Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Ion Gaming Headset (XBOX360 / PC / MAC)
Price: 29.98

2.0 out of 5 stars Not so decent budget headphones, 23 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The sound on these is pretty decent given the money. I've also tried the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigmas and I think these are better than the Tactic Ion pair. Just.

The cable is quite long so allows sitting back away from the TV. The separate volume controls work really well allowing you to boost a friends chat over the game volume which is handy. I've had quite a few headphones over the years and these aren't the most comfortable to wear after having been worn for a decent sitting.

I wouldn't really recommend these as they're not comfortable and sound quality isn't the best I've had. There are better headsets to be had out there but for the money, these are acceptable. If you're on a budget these will be fine.


Frommer's England with Wales 2012 (Frommer's Complete)
Frommer's England with Wales 2012 (Frommer's Complete)
by Nick Dalton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good travel guide for the overseas visitor to England and Wales, 22 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must say I have always tended to go with Lonely Planet guide books for no other reason than they're (or at least were) Australian so would give a like minded view on places through out the world. Having now had a good amount of time to peruse this Frommer's guide and refer to it from time to time it is for the most part more than adequate.

It doesn't cover every part of England in depth but instead gives an over all assessment of places the worth a visit. It covers the best of Wales (as the title would suggest) so don't expect a thorough guide to everything Wales has to offer either, in fact less so. But, if you're after a solid guide to each of these countries you'd be better off buying dedicated guides. Frommer's isn't trying to achieve this so I don't hold it as a negative for this book.

Some other reviewers are giving this book a hard time for not covering every little town in their part of the country. This is not the point of the book. The guide book is more a quick guide on places to visit in England and Wales for the overseas visitor. Overseas visitors just want the highlights.

Overall it's not a book that can be faulted as it achieves what it sets out to do. If you're after a complete and in-depth guide to either England or Wales then you'll need to buy such a book.


HTML5 Games: Creating Fun with HTML5, CSS3 and WebGL
HTML5 Games: Creating Fun with HTML5, CSS3 and WebGL
by Jacob Seidelin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.54

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to a simple HTML5 game, 21 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book basically takes you through the journey of building a Bejewelled style game in HTML5. It presumes a knowledge of HTML and isn't a beginners guide to HTML itself. Covering all basic elements like presentation and audio as well as the WebGL behind it the book takes readers through step by step.

The book is useful for beginner and experienced HTML5 programmers. With code samples available for download it makes sense to check them out as an aid to learning like I did.

It's well written (with just a few annoying typos) too. Easy to follow and a good entry point to pursuing HTML5 as more than a markup only language. Recommended if you're into more of the development side of things otherwise, if you're looking to just build sites it's not required.


Epson Stylus SX445w All-in-One printer with Wifi and email Print (Print, Copy and Scan)
Epson Stylus SX445w All-in-One printer with Wifi and email Print (Print, Copy and Scan)

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great little wireless printer scanner, 13 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this about a week or so now and have printed and scanned a few things. Firstly, setup was easy, did it over the network (wireless) with no hiccups. Printing and scanning can both be done on WIFI. Not sure why some reviewers are stating you need a USB to scan. You don't. Both printing and scanning can be done over WIFI meaning you can tuck the printer away somewhere out of site if you're limited with desk space like I am.

I haven't and never will print photos with this. I use it for documents only. If you're into printing your own photos read up on this on other reviews. Otherwise, if you're serious about the quality of printed photos, use a professional internet service like photobox or snapfish or similar. They're probably cheaper when you consider ongoing ink and paper costs.

Also prints from my iPad and iPhone so a very handy feature there.

Anyway, the printer so far has been top notch, fast enough and quiet. Recommended.

UPDATED REVIEW

As of November 2013, this printer broke and when turned on makes a fizzing sound followed by a series of beeps that accompany an error message that says to turn the printer off and then on again. When I do this it repeats the sound and message and has done for two days now.


Philips SHL5605GY/10 CitiScape Downtown On-Ear Headphones - Grey
Philips SHL5605GY/10 CitiScape Downtown On-Ear Headphones - Grey
Price: 33.05

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid, comfortable set of headphones with good quality sound, 21 May 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First impressions:

In the flesh these headphones look slightly feminine. The head rest part is made of fabric rather than plastic as I expected from the picture. Though this nicely protects your head from the metal part inside and it's much softer then the padded plastic of my Sennheiser headphones and many other headphones I've had in the past.

They're also very lightweight and sit on the head very well. They don't feel heavy or like they're squeezing your head from the sides. They also feel nice on the ear.

Down to business:

As soon as I put these on, the sounds of the outside world seemed to disappear. Even as I type this, I can only hear the muted taps of the keyboard, the sounds outside the window are non-existent. Very pleased with this as they'll be great travelling head phones.

Probably most importantly, the sound quality is quite good. I'm not a sound professional so can't rate these compared to high-end headphones though I am an avid music fan and can compare them to sound system output and other headphones I've used, primarily and most recently, Sennheiser headphones and Skullcandy earphones. These are better than my Sennheiser HD 205 II headphones and obviously way better than any earphones. Bass and high ranges are all well represented. The thud of the bass feels slightly less ear hurty than those Sennheisers but the sound is better.

After a while of wear you realise that these are on your head, as by the nature of the design of the ear piece, it rests on you ear rather than around it on your skull as with ear cup style headphones. After prolonged use it may begin to hurt but that isn't a specific fault of these headphones, but all on-ear style headphones in general.

Overall thoughts and use:

Comfortable headphones to wear but not for prolonged use. They block outside sounds well and sound is clear and all ranges are represented well. The cord is a good length and comes with a button control that is for iPod use to stop/start and also controls the volume, though the button press length seems erratic as to what it controls - in theory a quick press starts/stops the music while a longer press adjusts the volume (though I could only get it to turn up, not down!). The cord is also nice and flat rather than the standard round style. Whether or not this lasts the test of time and use is to be seen.

I would recommend these for anyone after a good comfortable set of headphones for use to/from work on the tube or train or while at your desk working or around town. I rate them better then my Sennheiser HD 205 II headphones which I rated well.

-- Note --

Very happy with these headphones after nearly a year, but unfortunately, today (18th Feb) the right ear piece no longer works.


Urban Explorers [DVD]
Urban Explorers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nathanlie Kelley
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: 2.45

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars standard horror film, 27 April 2012
This review is from: Urban Explorers [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Let me start by saying I`ve seen far worse films in this genre. It's not a bad film, just not very good. And it's a case of almost everything here has been done before. The only difference being that this is based underground in Berlin. A fairly standard suspense horror with the usual thrills and high tension moments. If you've seen Hostel or The Descent you'll find familiar elements here.

Simple horror fun if you don't have too high an expectation when watching this.

For those who like extras, you wont find any with this films DVD release.


AmazonBasics Sling Backpack in Black for SLR Cameras
AmazonBasics Sling Backpack in Black for SLR Cameras
Price: 18.49

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad piece of kit!, 26 April 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not going to bother explaining the setup of the bag like some other reviewers. Given Amazon have done this themselves in the product description, there's not much point. I'm just going to tell you how I found it after my use of it.

I own several camera bags and pouches. I primarily use my Vanguard Skyborne 51 to carry around my SLR and lens combos. It works great and is certainly worth the 130 or so I paid for it. That's why I was pleasantly surprised with this little sling bag. Now, it is an Amazon basic range and it shows. It's not overly aesthetic nor that well finished. That's not to say it looks shoddy, it doesn't. It just doesn't have the finish of the more expensive bags.

What it does have though is decent padding and a pretty good design. It comes complete with a side access panel for easy 'sling-action' to access your camera, with lens attached, without the need to take off your bag and for anyone who goes on shoots, this is invaluable. The sling strap feels well balance and is soft and wide enough not to dig into your shoulder when loaded with SLR and gear. The bag looks like it's water resistant but I haven't tried it. The internal padding is decent enough to hold a smaller SLR and lens in place but I wouldn't trust it if the bag was to get knocked around a bit.

All in all, it's a product I'm glad I have as I can keep my older SLR and a lens plus some gear in it for storage or if my wife wants to come out with me on a shoot, she can use this while I stick to using the Vanguard. I'd even use this bag for times when the Skyborne 51 is just too big for the shoot at hand - like wandering the streets of London.

I give this bag 3 stars. It's not the best bag out there, obviously, but it's certainly good value for money. Buy one if you need to store your gear safely and want a smaller second bag for shoots where a larger pack will will be too much..


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