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G. Thulbourn (England)
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Flight Of The Titans: The Inside Story of the Airbus A380's Incredible Battle to Beat Boeing
Flight Of The Titans: The Inside Story of the Airbus A380's Incredible Battle to Beat Boeing
by Kenny Kemp
Edition: Paperback

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dull book about an exciting business, 19 May 2006
If you want a book covering the history of Boeing and Airbus then this might be worth reading. However, if you want to read about the A380 or 787 as aeroplanes then there is practically no material in here whatsoever.

Within the first few chapters the author admits to not being "an anorack" and therefore reveals his true colours as a disinterested journalist. This is reflected throughout the book, which generally seems disinterested in the aircraft themselves and purely focused on sales deals and politics.

Whatsmore, the book is heavily biased towards reporting from Boeing: clearly the author got more interview time with them, and there is very little Airbus interview material in comparison.

The author's dull writing style is accentuated by his desire to descend into quoting figure after figure: one page alone is almost occupied by quoting practically every 737 model variant's range and passenger numbers. And remember this book is supposed to be about the A380 and 787!

There were many highs and lows in the development of both aircraft (e.g. the first failures of the airbus undercarriage to deploy safely under gravity alone). And were any of these covered here? No.

So, in conclusion a pretty dull book written by a disinterested journo about a subject that bears little relationship to the title of the book. If you love information about real aeroplanes that fly then look elsewhere.


Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but not a 'great' one, 30 April 2006
This review is from: Fahrenheit 451 (Paperback)
A fascinating view of the world to come; a few points of which seem to be coming true (media control and people with headphones in all the time).

The basis of the book is a simple story (perhaps too simple) wound around this dystopia, which makes for a good read which won't take you too long to be carried through. A good alternative to Brave new world, but not quite up to that high standard.


Fermat's Last Theorem
Fermat's Last Theorem
by Simon Singh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, well written, 29 April 2006
This review is from: Fermat's Last Theorem (Paperback)
A well written back about Fermat's last theorem. Covers lots of background; in fact, possibly a little too much background. Has some interesting examples for the user. I think it is a little lacking on personal side of the people involved in the solution of the problem; and the 'looking forward' section was disappointing, but generally very interesting, engaging and straightforward.

If you're a scientist/engineer/etc. you'll enjoy this book; otherwise you might find it a bit heavy going.


The Origins of the Second World War
The Origins of the Second World War
by A.J.P. Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but narrowly focused, 18 April 2006
Fascinating book which broke down a lot of the myths I had learnt about the 2nd World War. However, it looks at the situation purely from a political point of view and covers little background as to: the economy, the public, the USA and the preparations for war.

If you're after a casual more rounded read I'd look elsewhere, but as a focused 'text book' this is pretty definitive.


No Frills: The truth behind the low-cost revolution in the skies
No Frills: The truth behind the low-cost revolution in the skies
by Simon Calder
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.60

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into budget travel, 20 Mar 2006
An interesting, and well written, story of low-cost air travel focused mainly on the UK. It covers a brief history of all commercial air travel per se, so gives a good general background.
It is let down by the fact that it is a straight 'facts' book, and takes very much any interviewees statements as fact. It is also non-judgemental and doesn't seem to be concerned by things like the hypocrisy of budget airlines complaining about unfair pricing practice from the traditional airlines whilst selling at below cost price against their own competitors.
In the section looking at the future of low-cost air travel it also brushes over the environmental factor. Can the world afford low-cost air travel?
These points aside, this is a well written factual book which if you're interested by the phenomenon of low cost air travel you'll find an enjoyable read.


Journeys in the Dead Season
Journeys in the Dead Season
by Spencer Jordan
Edition: Paperback

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good idea; bad implementation, 20 Mar 2006
An interesting idea of intermingling two stories from past and the present (the latter also itself splitting into past and present). I guess that the two stories were supposed to interlink, mingle and support one another, but apart from a few minor common points they don't mix at all: there is no point in there being two threads!
The book also provoked in me a thought that two characters were in fact split personalities of the same person, but the writing wasn't good enough to support that, and this idea seems to have got lost later in the book.
Finally the epilogue of the book ends in a completely and utterly bizarre few pages completely unrelated to the book; ruining the ending. I thought I'd missed something, but a friend agreed with me on this!


Palm Z22 With Sudoku Game
Palm Z22 With Sudoku Game

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great price, shame about the hardware AND the software, 8 Mar 2006
Just a couple of weeks after my previous posting, saying 'great hardware, shame about the software' (see below), the device, like the previous reviewers, has now failed completely: it will not turn on. It has led a cosseted life in a Proporta case (lovely cases, well worth the money), and has hardly been used.
I'm so annoyed, I'm pondering whether we bother getting it replaced under warranty or not: I really don't think it is worth the trouble it has caused so far.


The Optimists
The Optimists
by Andrew Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

9 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally weak, 27 Feb 2006
This review is from: The Optimists (Paperback)
Far from being 'exceptionally powerful', this is an 'exceptionally weak' book. It lives up to none of the promises on the back cover. Seems like somebody had a powerful idea for a book and then wrote a dull, detail-less GCSE level implementation of it. There are no detailing, no plot, no real emotions...
I'm surprised I made it to the end; but when I did I wasn't surprised by a feeble ending.
Avoid.


Palm Z22 With Sudoku Game
Palm Z22 With Sudoku Game

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great hardware, shame about the software, 23 Feb 2006
Hardware-wise a cute simple little device. Software-wise a confusing nightmare of awful software, badly written and badly debugged. There seem to be two ways of doing everything, and an insidious nasty program called Add-It which loads your device with Spam at every opportunity and continually tries to sell stuff to you. Eventually on our device this nasty little program managed to stop the sync backup working; and then, boy oh boy, do you realise the flimsy software the whole system is built on. There is no information on what is going on nor what is going wrong (it only writes a log file after completion of a successful sync: not helpful!). Disconnect the cable and you need to reach for Windows Task Manager to kill the PC process; pathetic. Hours later I finally managed to fix it by cleaning out various files; spending far more time than we have ever saved by using the device: I wish we'd just stuck with a pen and paper!


Canon PowerShot A620 Digital Camera [7.1MP, 4 x Optical Zoom]
Canon PowerShot A620 Digital Camera [7.1MP, 4 x Optical Zoom]

60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good in-between camera, 5 Feb 2006
If you want a compact 'snappy camera' look elsewhere: there is huge competition in that market and this camera is too chunky to compete (try the smaller Canon IXUSs for example).
If you want full control and top quality photos, buy a D-SLR: you will get far better quality photos.
However, if you want a bit of both worlds: a relatively small 'budget' camera that can fit in a large pocket which snaps picture that look great out of the camera (many more 'pro' cameras need significant amounts of post processing in Photoshop to sharpen and enhance colours) AND which lets you take control of the camera; then this is definitely for you.
Pros:
Full control when you want it, excellent snaps when you don't.
Quick processor makes camera feel very fast.
AA batteries (buy 2500mAh for HUGE battery life) and can run on normal 'consumer' batteries if they ever run out.
Excellent photos right out of the camera.
Manual focus.
4x zoom
Software that comes with it is well rounded.
Good movie mode for occassional video.
Has panorama stitch mode.
Minuses:
Quite chunky and heavy (mainly due to 4xAA batteries)
Manual poor (ubt when aren't they).
Zoom only has 7 or so steps.
Lovely camera you can throw in a bag, take great snaps, but when you see something interesting you can take a bit more time to compose the perfect photo. I've had mine for several months now and am liking it more and more. Maybe one day I'll buy a DSLR, but I would still keep this camera.
PS. Takes particularly great portrait shots.


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