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Webroot Window Washer 2010 (PC CD)
Webroot Window Washer 2010 (PC CD)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, 27 Nov 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've had the same computer for six years, and in that time crap on the hard drive tends to build up. I though I was pretty good at keeping my system clean - I regularly empty my temp and cache, run adaware and spybot and so on, but over time the bootup sequence on my machine had extended to take almost ten minutes. It got to the point I'd turn my computer on and then go and make myself a cuppa, and when I got back we'd be just about ready to go.

Speaking personally, after running this tool I've seen a massive improvement in system performance from that very low starting point. I obviously wasn't as good at deleting useless junk files as I'd thought as it found and removed over 15,000 files and freed up 1.3gb in one go; this cut my boot time to 3-4 minutes, which isn't even enough time for me to boil a kettle.

As a programme, it's a bit of a blunt instrument and I'm now having to rebuild a few profiles and shortcuts which I rather liked. However, this is a small price to pay for the improvement in performance I've seen. If you're lazy at ongoing PC maintenance like I am, this is a pretty good buy.

Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
Price: £9.75

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Mutter" it ain't, 2 Nov 2009
This review is from: Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da (Audio CD)
According to interviews, the creation of this album was a fraught process with the band being pulled in different directions by the creative interests and directions which band members had developed in their two-year hiatus. Listening to it, you can tell. Unlike their signature (and best) work, Mutter, and even lesser but still corking stuff like Seinsucht and Reise, Reise, Liebe ist Fur Alle Da does not feel like a creative whole; there's no sense of theme or pattern in the tracks - instead they're just a bunch of songs which largely sound like the filler from Reise Reise.

So many of them start promisingly, or have storming riffs and upon first hearing them you start thinking "Aha! A return to form!". Unfortunately this promise never fully translates into something non-stop foot stomping like...well, like pretty much every track from Mutter.

A disappointment. From pretty much any other band I'd give this four stars, but from Rammstein (who have done so, so much better in the past) a lowly three simply because it pales in comparison with anything else they've done. According to the interviews I mentioned earlier, the band is considering no more albums and just concentrating on touring and playing live. On the face of it, if they can't do better than this that's not a bad idea.

Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
by Steven D. Levitt
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The law of diminishing returns, 29 Oct 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first book by these authors - freakonomics - was an unexpected success and so it stands to reason that one of the basic rules of economics (that people act in their own perceived best interests) would result in them churning out another in fairly short order.
On the face of it, it's more of the same - applying statistical analysis to everyday life and turning up some results which you felt you always sort-of knew but it's quite nice to see it demonstrated. It's a handy conversation piece in that regard, but the problem this this sequel turns up is that a large chunks of the book feel either underdeveloped in terms of interest (such as the section on spotting potential terrorists through their economic activity - apparently it's possible but the authors can't/won't tell you how, which makes the chapter largely unedifying) or overdeveloped in terms of the personal experience and interests of the authors (such as an interesting piece of supply & demand economics illustrated by Chicago prostitution, which goes off on a long and pointless tangent about a single case which serves little purpose but to show us that the authors interviewed an actual prostitute).

There have been a number of reviews being very rude about the chapter on climate change/global warming, and I don't know enough about the science to know who is right either way. Certainly the chapter didn't seem any worse argued or presented than any other part of the book, but I suspect that Climate Change is one of those subjects which makes normally mild-mannered people get very dogmatic so perhaps it's best to take both the chapter and people's reactions to it with a pinch of salt.

On the face of it, Superfreakonomics is simply more of the same as Freakonomics, but overall less interesting because a lot of the conclusions you could guess yourself if you've read the original and tried to think in the same way. As such, three Stars.
However, it contains so much interesting data and grounds for over-dinner arguments, that in terms of sheer potential entertainment and diversion it would be churlish not to give it an additional star just for that. It depends if you're reading for entertainment, content, education, or ammunition for a ding-dong row over dinner with some like-minded and witty friends.

The Temporal Void
The Temporal Void
by Peter F. Hamilton
Edition: Paperback

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seven hundred pages of not a lot., 1 Sep 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Temporal Void (Paperback)
I've reviewed Hamilton's work before on Amazon, and given it five stars. A five star review isn't something I give out lightly and it has to be earned, but I'm still disappointed in the decline in quality between The Commonwealth Saga and this, the followup trilogy.
The thing is, this is the difficult middle book of a trilogy and the bridge is always the hardest to write but even so I do rather feel that more could have happened in the sheer number of pages I just forged my way through.
I don't know about you, but when I buy a big, thick book with a spaceship on the cover I kinda expect it to be mostly about spaceships. More than half, perhaps, would be a fair request. As it is, the lion's share of the book concerns the ongoing quasi-fantasy story of Edeard the policeman and and his war on crime in Makkathran. When someone asked me how on earth Hamilton managed to write so many words in so little time, I observed that he just took his time describing his character's sex lives and what they had for breakfast afterwards and then tacked plot development on afterwards, and a lot of the time it feels like that. Hamilton's oft-noted weakness in writing women is at its most obvious here and I struggle to think of a female character who is more than a first name, a stunning figure, and a voracious sexual appetite.
The saga of Edeard might make for a mildly diverting fantasy tale were it not for the fact that we're told how it ends quite early on, and so the only real drama comes from the Space Opera taking place around it and unfortunately this isn't overly dramatic either. Instead it really has the feel of the various characters going round and round in circles, marking time and being positioned for the finale without actually doing much.

Apart from having breakfast, that is. We learn a lot about far-future dietary choices.

If you haven't started this trilogy, I don't know if I can reasonably recommend it so far and I think Hamilton will have to pull something pretty spectacular out of his hat for the last book to redeem it. After the quality of the Commonwealth Saga, this book just feels like...filler.

The Matrix Revolutions [DVD] [2003]
The Matrix Revolutions [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Keanu Reeves|Carrie-Anne Moss|Laurence Fishburne
Price: £2.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Matrix Reviled, 1 Jun 2009
You can imagine the creative process that started out the whole Matrix phenomenon:
"Hey, how about a film where Keanu travels through time and space in a telephone box, and has to save humanity?
"Nah, been done."
"Okay, how about one with an actor called Reeve who flies about with superpowers?
"Been done."
"Okay, how about BOTH."

Matrix Revolutions is a real curates egg of a film; visually remarkable and at times plain jawdropping, but with such a hokey, bloated script it is difficult to believe that the authors of the original taut sci-fi thriller wrote this as well. I suppose the problem is that every second film I see these days is a jawdropping technical achievement, and so I've got jaded to the fact that we can now create anything on screen. The thing that filmmakers now have to do is concentrate on the story and the dialogue because, darling, the script for the Matrix Revolutions sucks.

Surrounded by the SFX on offer, the risible dialogue (I can only assume they cut the sequence between the grizzled general and the 16-year-old recruit with a cheese knife) just shows that whilst you can raise the technical bar with a computer, you still need talented writers who know that they want to achieve, and my feeling is that the Warshawski brothers are no wiser about what the Matrix is than we are at the end of all of this. Frankly, I think they were winging it. Scenes that added nothing (the subway platform sequence) with characters who didn't know what they were talking about (but trying to sound portentous) tried and failed to distract me from the hamfisted religious subtext. As a bit of a Godbotherer on the quiet myself I've no problem with the occasional religious subtext, but start to object when the writers feel the need to knock it home with a mallet. Couple that with scenes lifted wholesale from better films ('Let's fly the ship down this narrow passageway!' "What, you mean like the Millennium Falcon inside the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, but with more budget?" "Hush!") and poorly paced plotting and you've got a film that I really wanted to like and get excited by, but ultimately spent my time watching it thinking of snide put-downs for the review.

It's a shame; the Matrix series started out so well, but the authors seem to have got so caught up in the possibilities of CGI and wire-fu that they haven't bothered to think through many of the ramifications of their ideas and the script suffers for it. When a Psychologist (me) and a Physicist (the friend I was watching it with) between them are left going 'that bit made no sense at all', then the author really has to concede that either their script perhaps is a little too highbrow for mainstream multiplex entertainment, or alternatively that it does, indeed, make no sense at all.

In the light of that, I'd like to suggest how the Matrix should have ended.

NEO arrives in his telephone box and steps out into the rain. Thousands of Agent Smiths line the streets. One steps forward.

SMITH: Welcome back, Mr. Anderson! Mr. Ted 'Theodore' Anderson!
NEO: Whoa. Strange things are afoot in the Matrix.

Stepping from another phone box comes Alex Winter.
BILL: Dude!
NEO: Dude!
BILL: We've got to totally save the world. Again.
NEO: But dude - we don't even know how to play our instruments!
NEO shakes and goes glassy-eyed for a moment before returning to normal. He looks at his fingers.
NEO: Whoa. I know guitar.

The film closes with Bill & Neo playing 'God Gave Rock & Roll to You', whilst millions of Agent Smiths wave cigarette lighters in the air. It stops raining and the sun comes out.

That's how it should have ended - it would have made just as much sense, and pleased the geek audience much more than the Jesus allegory that we got.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2011 4:42 PM BST

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (transcribed into Egyptian Hieroglyphic script)
The Tale of Peter Rabbit (transcribed into Egyptian Hieroglyphic script)
by Beatrix Potter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.97

3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great idea with a weakness, 8 April 2009
When I was little, I loved the stories of the pyramids of Egypt and Pharoahs and all that malarkey and I'm sure I'd've loved this book. The mistake made with it is that the text is only in hieroglyphs without comparison English text, meaning that it is difficult to compare and contrast and maybe even learn something without using two texts side by side.
Kids love trying to work things out and if this book had both English and Hieroglyphs this would be a definite five-star idea for the inquisitive mind of a child. As it is, I think it's a bit of a missed opportunity.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2013 1:39 PM BST

The Mist [DVD]
The Mist [DVD]
Dvd ~ Thomas Jane
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: £3.56

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A temendous film with a catastrophic flaw in the packaging., 11 Mar 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Mist [DVD] (DVD)
It seems that, during the preparation of the marketing of this film, the marketing team must have sat down and had a conversation which went something like this:
"So...the Mist. Frank Darabont proves that only he can adapt Steven King with any skill or consistency. It's a great film. Now we need an image for the DVD cover to sell it."
"Well, it's about the breakdown in human society in extreme situations. How people act when they're afraid. How extreme solutions suddenly seem sensible when the normal rules of society no longer hold true. How about something depicting that?"
"That's true, but there's also cool, scary monsters as well. Tentacled monstrosities. Spider-demons. Giant insects. Any one of those would sell the film to the horror fans out there."
"Or we've got sterling character work from a cast without any A-list names to steal the show and flag up who will survive. How about an image showing how anyone could die in this situation and you shouldn't make assumptions as to what will happen?"
"Tell you what - there's a shocking twist in the ending which few people will see coming - how about we put that on the cover?"
"Say, that's a good idea! We'll do that!"

And there you have it; The Mist is a script-driven character piece about how people react in terrifying situations and the conflicts which are created in small groups, with the added bonus of a very creepy situation and some really nasty monsters. However, if you don't want to know how it ends, I advise you not to look at the cover of the box it comes in.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2010 8:18 PM BST

Caligula [1979] (Imperial Edition) [DVD]
Caligula [1979] (Imperial Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Malcolm McDowell
Price: £5.70

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mediocre film, now with extra nudity., 4 Nov 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a film which could only have happened in the 1970's; Bob Guccione, owner of Penthouse magazine and flush with wealth after riding the sexual license of the preceding decade set out to remake himself into an artist. He certainly succeeded in creating a film which maintains a reputation thirty years on (and how many do that?), but what reputation? And did he create art? Not a chance.
On paper, Caligula has a lot going for it; the sets and visual design are sumptuous and must have cost a fortune and the casting is a list of a-class thesps including John Gielgud, Maccolm MacDowell and Peter O'Toole. The only thing that lets it down is that it really isn't a very good film. Guccione brought everything he'd learned from making porn movies to a big budget production and it shows. The script is wooden and the dialogue leaden; instead of any sort of insight into what made Caligula into the deranged dictator he was we instead get scene upon scene of bacchanalian excess with occasional moments of plot - for example, the decision to murder Caligula is a couple of lines in the middle of a 20-minute orgy scene. The quality of the scripting is such that if a washing machine repairman appeared with a 'large tool' and offered to Druscilla to 'clear her pipes' I wouldn't have been overly surprised.
Needless to say, historical accuracy is jettisonned to make room for plot-vital extra shots of ladies in the altogether.
It's common knowledge that the a-listers on the cast didn't know what they were getting themselves into and were unaware that Guccione was sneaking back onto set at night with some porn actors to film some explicit sex scenes which were then edited into the film later - the Imperial edition is the first UK release with these scenes inserted (as it were) and they really don't add much. I suppose if you have a thing for 70's Romano-porn they could be for you but at the end of the day, Caligula is little better than a curiousity. It's that film that John Gieldgud and Peter O'Toole were tricked into appearing with a lot of willies; it's all very pretty with great sets, but you won't want to watch it more than once unless your tastes are quite specialised.

Re-Education of the Female, The
Re-Education of the Female, The
by Dante Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute comedy gold., 27 Oct 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In the 1980's, back when he was funny, Lenny Henry created a character called Theophilus P. Wildebeeste, an outrageously sexist soul singer who was utterly unable to edit what his brain thought before it came out of his mouth.
I thought of this the other day when I was handed a copy of "The Re-education of the female". Only the fact that the name of the author and his picture were on the book stopped me being convinced that it was some sort of spoof, possibly written by Henry in his Wildebeeste persona. But no.

Dante Moore calls himself "The Re-Educator", and sees it as his given role to tell women - especially single ones - what it is they are doing wrong when it comes to getting and keeping a man. He claims that his book comprises everything he has ever learned about men, women and their relationships. I don't agree, as reading the book makes it abundantly clear that he could have done that in about four pages.
Sadly for him, Dante has not written an intelligent self-help book. He has instead unintentionally written what may well be the funniest book I've ever read in my life. "The Re-Education of the Female" is not a book to be read cover-to-cover, or on your own - it would rapidly get depressing were you to do that. Rather, it is a book to be read with a group of friends, opening it at random and reading out choice excerpts in silly voices because - and you have my cast-iron guarantee on this - every single page of the book has at least one laugh-out-loud moment on it.
Trust me: I just spent an entire weekend doing this and it didn't get old once. It's the cheapest entertainment you'll find on Amazon.

An American Nightmare (The Hard Corps)
An American Nightmare (The Hard Corps)
by Chuck Bainbridge
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the most homoerotic book I've ever read., 7 Aug 2008
I picked this up at an airport many years ago. It looked to be the most readable thing there, which says something about the choice of books in airports. Fortunately this impression turned out to be correct, as "An American Nightmare" is, without a doubt, one of the most unintentionally funny books I've ever read.
The heroes are a rough, tough band of muscular, shirtless mercenaries who seemingly live together in a single-room shack in the middle the forest and spend all their days talking about guns. How powerful and sleek their guns are. The length of their gleaming barrels, and their fast, mighty muzzle velocity. How any one of their guns could blow a man straight to heaven.
The entire book (which has a sort of plot about terrorists trying to kill random Americans because they're terrorists and, as we all know, terrorists don't need a reason for TERROR) is full of this sort of stuff. If you're a fun of unintended smutty double-entendres, really you can't go wrong with the Hard Corps. As it were.

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