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P. White (Cambridge, United Kingdom)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bulletproof but very useful ..., 19 Oct 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've owned a CH Products Pro Throttle for several years and until yesterday I've had no trouble with it.
The plethora of buttons and controls are relatively easy to program and assign in sims (using the downloadable manager software) and it will be supported by Windows 7 64 bit if you need it.
The construction is good (see later for caveat) and once calibrated using the manager software it's highly accurate (ie throttle off is indeed throttle off and full throttle is just that).
Each button or control can have 3 uses because the side mounted ministick has a centre button that switches between 3 modes. There are 3 coloured leds to indicate which mode you're in.

And that leads me on to the subject of reliability. The aforementioned ministick is very very useful. It's a tiny analogue joystick that can be assigned (amongst other things) to the mouse controller. So, for example, in sims that allow you to look around using the mouse (eg IL-2) you can use the ministick instead and never take your hand off the throttle. The ministick self centres and that is VERY important because it's side mounted vertically and gravity is not something you want involved in the equation. in other words without the self centering it'll flop downwards and you'll permanently be looking down in the sim, see? That being the case I was rather disappointed when yesterday (after several months of no usage) my ministick broke and won't self centre anymore.

24 hours later and the ministick centering is back! I've not done anything to fix it, it just resolved itself and is working fine again. Most odd. I've no theory but it really seems OK now so I'll change my criticism to: 'can temporarily malfunction under some (unknown) conditions'.

The Big Knights [Blu-ray]
The Big Knights [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Brian Blessed ( Voice )
Price: £9.11

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lost classic ..., 8 Aug 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
'The Big Knights' is one of my favourite series and I'm 45 years old. It was first transmitted in December/January of 1999/2000 on BBC1, got a 50% of the series VHS release and then vanished.
The series tells the story of the two largest and bravest (ie most reckless) knights of a bizarre country called Borovia that is clearly in the late 20th Century but only just. The Big Knights are loveable and extremely well meaning two man mobile disaster areas that tend to cause more chaos than they solve. They also have armoured pets, a dog and a hamster. The series is ideal for people of all ages but there's a slightly sly wit to it that appeals to adults as much as children. Add to that the excellent vocal performances from the whole cast, especially Brian Blessed as Sir Morris and David Rintoul as Sir Boris and you have a gem.
Aficionados have been awaiting a DVD release (with increasing frustration and eventual despair) for a decade and we'd have been happy to see a DVD with the original episodes in 4:3 aspect ratio as transmitted and seen on the VHS cassette, BUT: Astley Baker Davis who made 'The Big Knights' have recently completed a project to take the original CG based animation and prepare it for a DVD release. When they did so they were delighted to discover that the original series was created in 16:9 widescreen and cut down to 4:3 for the BBC. That means that this release, for the first time, is indeed full 16:9! Marvellous, but it gets better. They also were able to scale the images up to 1080p HD and you'll notice that a 'Free' Blu-Ray comes with this set. Fantastic. I expected to pay for a Blu-Ray and a DVD so getting both for an rrp of [...] (less on Amazon as I type)is astounding.
In conclusion: this appears to be the long awaited 'perfect' release of one of the most engaging and entertaining animated series ever made.
Oh ... did I mention it has the best theme tune in the world (maybe)? Thank you 'Rostov Balalaika orchestra'.

I've just watched the entire series on Blu-Ray and it's been transferred very nicely. The audio is a big improvement from 1999 too! A bargain.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 13, 2010 12:09 AM BST

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best boot I've ever owned ..., 24 Jun 2010
I've owned 4 pairs of these boots, 2 worn and 2 in storage for future use because I like them so much.
They are light, comfortable, reasonably weatherproof, hygienic and visually appealing.
The soles do NOT make a lot of noise except (possibly) when wearing them in. I can easily sneak up behind anyone wearing my pair!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2011 9:07 AM BST

Evangelion 1.11 - You Are (Not) Alone [Blu-ray]
Evangelion 1.11 - You Are (Not) Alone [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Hideaki Anno
Price: £21.04

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior ..., 17 May 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a positive result.
I own the full TV series and this rebuild version is an alternate but seemingly superior (thus far) version.

Winged Migration (Exclusive to [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Winged Migration (Exclusive to [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Jacques Perrin

5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous on Blu-Ray ..., 19 April 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had a DVD copy of this film for years and whilst I enjoyed it I was always aware that the true beauty of the scenery and birds depicted would require an HD source.
I watched my Blu-Ray copy of the film last weekend and what a difference! It's wonderful now and worth every penny. The birds are actors (mostly), recruited for the task and trained but that's not really a problem. Don't think of this as a wildlife documentary, think of it as a fictional film that mirrors reality. Then it works just fine.
(Anyway, many scenes in Attenborough's documentaries are filmed indoors, particularly the insect and small animal work. It's a necessity to get the shots.)

Cable Mountain HQ 2m Optical TOSlink Cable with Gold Pins and Metal Case
Cable Mountain HQ 2m Optical TOSlink Cable with Gold Pins and Metal Case
Offered by Cable Mountain
Price: £4.24

14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous ..., 14 Feb 2010
Whenever I see an optical connector with 'gold plated pins' I start to get very angry. The only reason for gold on any connector is to maintain analogue ELECTRICAL connectivity and as an optical connector makes no use of electricty whatsoever (it's laser light in an optical fibre with a durability casing wrapped around it) then this is both a waste a precious metal and a con to the uneducated buying public. I can 100% assure you that the cheapest toslink cable on the market, with NO gold on it, will behave exactly as this one does. I find it difficult to trust a manufacturer who would behave in this way. You have been warned.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 23, 2014 10:18 PM BST

Nokia N900 Sim Free Mobile Computer with Maemo 5 Software
Nokia N900 Sim Free Mobile Computer with Maemo 5 Software

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and impressive., 31 Dec 2009
Having finally obtained an N900 direct from NOKIA and having cancelled my 3 month old Amazon order (thanks guys, nice work) I have to report that I'm very impressed with the device.
Setup is easy and I had my GMail and NTLWorld email accounts running quite quickly just by using the automatic configuration application. The browser is stunning and very quick, it's easy to browse any site and even small links can be clicked on using a finger rather than the stylus so the resistive screen is really not an issue. I particularly like the way that SMTP servers can be set up as connection dependant, so I can use a different SMTP server depending on what data access point I've got (3G, WiFi routers etc) and the device automatically sends through the correct one. It also gets a data connection from whatever is available automatically so here in my friends house it's prioritising her WiFi and not the GSM connection. It was always a nuisance using my N95 to have to manually tell the phone what connection to use, the N900 just does it all for me, great!
The UI takes a few minutes to become intuitive (do read the manual) but really is very simple. The contacts are marvellous. Set up a contact and they populate throughout the relevant apps on the device. Include a mobile number and there's an automatic SMS button on the contact entry (etc).
The phone app works well and I've had no problems but be aware that the microphone mute button has a permanent red line through it. I was pressing it to remove the line and unmute the mic but that's not what happens. The mike mutes/unmutes but there's no graphical change so be warned. If you think your mic is not working then try pressing the unmute button!
The hard keyboard is really good and reviews claiming that there's not enough space above the top row of keys are incorrect in my opinion. I can type quite easily. It's possible to lock the number keys into number mode by pressing the blue fn key twice and that helps a lot.
The display resolution and general clarity is excellent and I can read all the text of the top half of the BBC News website on one page (for example).
Battery life is 'interesting' but not catastrophic. It's no worse than my N95 and there's a lot more going on.
It's a slightly chunky paperweight kinda thing too but that's exacerbated by having to hold it horizontally, it's really not that bad.
I've downloaded 'Bounce', a demo game that uses the accelerometer to control a rolling ball across a beautiful landscape. The stereo audio and graphical quality is amazing and this has the potential to be a good gaming device.
What really impressed me is the option for internet radio. 30 or so internet radio stations are pre-configured and sound really good. Now I can listen to the World Service anywhere I choose, Rock & Roll eh guys!
So, it's a fine device and I'm impressed. I've only had it a day so I'll be more impressed still when I've got thoroughly used to it and the firmware has been updated to improve the (already good) experience. Recommended despite NOKIA's release incompetence!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2010 3:25 PM BST

Let the Right One in [Blu-ray]
Let the Right One in [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ Kåre Hedebrant
Price: £5.80

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exemplary film making and very moving., 8 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm not a horror film fan in fact I tend to avoid them because of the cliches and the fact that there's enough horror in this reality as it is without inventing more of it but under recommendation I purchased the Blu-Ray of 'Let the right one in'. I'm so pleased that I did! This is an amazing, nay, stunning film that is as far removed from Hollywood dumbed down film making as a snowball from Hell. The astonishingly good performances from the 11 year old leads (yes, really) would win Oscar nominations if they were born in the USA and the look, feel and style of the cinematography is delightful. The transfer is very good. It's difficult to light snow scenes at night but the Blu-Ray reveals the correct exposures and level of detail.
Regardless of all that, this is a great story and very profound. I urge you to see it, at night.

Ranex Maxima LED Plastic / BlackTable Lamp, 100 x 100 x202mm
Ranex Maxima LED Plastic / BlackTable Lamp, 100 x 100 x202mm
Offered by Dragonfly Optical

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful ..., 4 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I liked the look of this purely because of the design and because I had a vague desire for a fully portable table lamp.
For the price I wasn't expecting too much to be honest but I was delighted by this item and immediately ordered another.
The construction quality is good and the materials, whilst obviously plastic, are of high quality. The lamp arrives with
3 AA batteries and has a simple red click switch on the base. It's very much a downlighter (just what I wanted) but the
level of illumination is ideal for a table top without being over bright. It'll not light a room you must understand, it's
a feature light for small areas but in that role it's near perfect. I got the black one but I presume the other colours are
as well finished. A real bargain this.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 (PC)
Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 (PC)

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could be essential but instead deeply flawed., 26 Aug 2009
I've used every incarnation of Premiere and the accompanying Encore so I'm qualified to comment here. Adobe also includes their 'Media Encoder' that runs independantly of Premiere to transcode clips. Encore is the DVD/Blu-Ray creation application that used to be sold on its own but now comes packaged with Premiere.
On the whole these application work well and I'd be happy to recommend them were it not for some astonishing flaws that seem to be aimed directly at the target audience, more of that later.
So, Premiere rarely lets me down. I'm running a very high end machine so I can edit HD footage (HDV and AVCHD) and it just breezes through it. Even with my machine (Intel i7 975 clocked at 4.15Ghz with 12Gb RAM) trascoding takes quite some time but we're talking an hour as opposed to all night on my old machine. Premiere takes full advantage of multi core processors as does the media encoder, I can tell because my cpu temperature rockets when using this stuff. So, Premiere and the encoder are good so what's the problem? ENCORE and Dolby Digital!
Firstly Dolby Digital. You'd presume, would you not, that an application that costs nearly £700 and that is directly targeted at a pro or semi-pro audience and is capable of handling multi channel audio during the edit process would therefore be able to include that multi channel audio in the transcoded final output? Right? Well no. Premiere can do it only with the aid of a third party plugin that is included on a 3 shot trial basis. After that it's nearly $300 (dollars) to buy a license and then only for one PC. It's probable that reinstalling Premiere (if you upgrade to Windows 7 or just have a bad day) will lose that licence and you'd better hope the third party software house is still in business to supply a new one after you've jumped through the verification hoops on the phone! This is ridiculous. Adobe claim that they don't include the Dolby Digital capability by default because the Dolby license would add a couple of hundred dollars to the price of their software. So what?! It's overpriced to start with and most likely a business expense so what difference would it make other than the user ending up with a fully functional application?! I was incensed by this when I realised why every time I transcoded 5.1 sound it ended up as stereo. It makes the app near useless for Blu-Ray or DVD work. Amazingly the FREE DVD/Blu-Ray burning software that comes with my SONY AVCHD camcorder DOES fully utilize Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Go figure: Adobe ruins a high end product by not including it and SONY gives it away for free. Amazing!
That leads me on to Encore.
When it works, Encore is good. I know how to get around most of its 'issues' now but again, don't bank on 5.1 sound. In theory it can do it if you give it exactly the right audio file but you'll be sacrificing goats and waving magic wands before that happens. More importantly I spent 4 days last week going half mad with frustration (sincerely) because no matter how I tried I could not get Encore to build what appeared to be a perfectly acceptable Blu-Ray. Encore's built in checker said it was OK and yet for days and days of seemingly endless attempts it failed with a generic and uninformative error. Eventually, I pinned it down to a couple of frames in the raw HDV footage that Premiere was ignoring, no problems and no failure on the edit but that Encore refused to transcode. Basically Encore is a fragile dog of an application. When it works, great, but when it fails you'll be hard pressed to know why and it fails a LOT. EVERY version of Encore I've used has been the same, riddled with bugs, and it's not pilot error.
So. In conclusion. This could be what it appears to be: a professional editing and disc creation suite. But it's not. It's an amateurish bug ridden mess that'll give you grief and cost you a small fortune. Adobe makes some stunning products, PhotoShop for example but they've NEVER got their video production software right and probably never will. Avoid.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2009 8:40 PM BST

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