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Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom)
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GENUINE! New, Packaged, Aquila Nylgut Soprano Ukulele strings (key of C) AQ-4U - Beware of Imitations!
GENUINE! New, Packaged, Aquila Nylgut Soprano Ukulele strings (key of C) AQ-4U - Beware of Imitations!
Offered by Bandline
Price: £4.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Great strings, 20 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A lovely set of ukulele strings. The package is a paper folder sealed in a plastic bag, and inside the folder you'll find the four strings in individual plastic envelopes, marked with coloured stickers, and the paper folder tells you which colour represents which string. The strings are loosely coiled and were quick and easy to fit on my ukulele. Obviously make sure when buying new strings that you get the correct ones for your ukulele - these ones are clearly labelled as for soprano models.

As with all strings, they stretch a fair bit when new, but after a while they settle down and hold their notes well. I've noticed a little buzziness on some chords since changing my strings but again I'm hoping this will reduce over time. The tone is good, and I'm very pleased with my new strings. I'll definitely buy Aquila again.


Jim Dunlop 100SI Guitar String Winder
Jim Dunlop 100SI Guitar String Winder
Price: £1.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 20 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It was time for me to change the strings on my ukulele, and I'd watched various YouTube videos showing the process and in most of them winders were used. I'd read some bad reports of Jim Dunlop gear, but this was cheap and I thought I'd give it a go.

It comes shrink-wrapped on a card, and there are no instructions but it's obvious how you use this. It's small enough for me to keep in my ukulele case alongside my tuner and capo, and it works well too, making changing strings a quick and easy process. I'm sure other winders are available but this one does the job well enough for me.


byteStor Pro 32GB USB 3.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Black
byteStor Pro 32GB USB 3.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Black
Price: £9.22

4.0 out of 5 stars It's ugly, but it works well, 20 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was impressed by how this was packaged. Having bought various USB flash drives over the years they've tended to come in an impenetrable plastic shell which requires a Stanley knife to open, but this came in a cellophane pouch which, once torn open by hand, contained a plastic tray with the drive sitting inside. It's a shame the packaging was still plastic, but it was easy to open at least.

The stick itself is about the same size as any other USB drive, so it's not the kind you could leave plugged into your laptop and use as a semi-permanent hard drive. It's made of fairly cheap and nasty matt black plastic, with a cap that pulls off but doesn't remain attached (you can click it onto the back end of the drive if you wish though) so this may be lost, and unlike some others the USB plug part isn't retractable. There's a hole in the back end so you could always attach it to a keyring I suppose, or maybe a cord of some kind (not supplied.) It certainly won't win any prizes for its visual appeal.

But what about performance? My laptop recognized it straight away and reported it as being 28GB - a little less than the advertised 32GB - and it was named "USB DRIVE" by default, but obviously you can change this. I selected a bunch of large PDFs - about 100MB in total - from my laptop and sent them to the drive, and the file copy window barely had chance to open. The same was true when I moved them back to my laptop. It's a fast little thing, and I hope to try running a virtual machine from it soon, as I think it should perform just fine.

All in all, it's a USB memory stick, it's fast, it works well, but it's not exactly a looker. For the price it's a bit of a bargain too.


Hive Active Heating and Hot Water with Professional Installation
Hive Active Heating and Hot Water with Professional Installation
Price: £129.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive!, 10 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an intriguing system that offers the ability to control your central heating and hot water from wherever you are, via your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Potentially this could offer reductions in your heating bills, which can only be a good thing.

On arrival the package is surprisingly an empty cardboard box, containing a leaflet with a scratch-off panel, behind which is a reference number. You then contact British Gas to arrange installation. Annoyingly the installation can only be done between 8AM and 6PM Monday to Friday, which is extremely inconvenient for those of us who work and struggle to get time off, and British Gas don't offer any flexibility on this, such as paying extra for evening or weekend installations. As a result I had to wait a month to get the system installed.

When the engineer arrives they bring the gear with them, and the system consists of three items. First there is a small white box which plugs into your internet router (you need a spare port on your router, and a mains plug socket for this) which just sits there and you never have to touch it once the system is working. Secondly a similar plastic box is attached to the wall next to your boiler, and this requires a spare mains socket in the vicinity. On my system I was replacing a UP1 controller, and the Hive fitter simply replaced the old unit with the Hive receiver, so a mains socket wasn't required for us. The final piece of the system is the thermostat, which attaches to a wall in your home and contains two AA batteries. The front of the unit has a large LCD panel which displays the current temperature in the house, and four buttons allow you to make the temperature hotter or colder, or override the schedule entirely, for example if you just want to turn everything on or off centrally. Installation took around an hour for us, the biggest chunk of time taken up with pairing our system with the servers back at Hive.

Of course there is then the part of the system you'll see the most - the app. I've tried the Android and iOS apps, and they are both easy to use and intuitive. You can also control the system via a web browser, setting schedules and so on, and again it feels very slick. The mobile apps also offer a geospatial feature, where you can instruct Hive to, for example, switch your heating and water off when you are a certain distance away from home and getting further away, then come back on when you are getting closer. When you enable this you obviously require location access to be enabled on your mobile device plus have a working data connection, but if you cross the radius you set your phone will notify you and ask if you want it to change your heating accordingly. It's a nice idea but in reality it doesn't always work, and if you spend your day moving back and forth you could get a lot of notifications which could quickly get annoying! I asked the fitter about this and he said he tried it, but as he's constantly on the road it drove him crazy, his phone asking him to confirm again and again if he wanted his heating turning off or on as he went closer to then further away from home.

Worth mentioning is that you can also control your boiler by text message once the system is installed, so you can just text your boiler asking it to come on even without a data connection. I expect this will be an absolute boon when I go on holiday, texting my boiler when I get to the airport, and arriving home to a nice warm house instead of what feels like a fridge.

So does it save any money? I expect to see my bills drop a little now that this has been installed, and if I remember to do so I'll update this review accordingly over time.

All in all it's an impressive system, and looks promising. Minus a star for British Gas's infuriating installation policy.

UPDATE 28/4/15 - We've now been using Hive for about a month and it's working well for us. Our British Gas tariff requires us to submit monthly meter readings and comparing April 2015 to April 2014 our gas bill is £5.03 cheaper, and we've used 119.79 KwH less of gas. Not a massive cost saving, but a saving nonetheless, especially when prices have probably increased since last year. The flexibility of Hive is great too. We don't use the geolocation feature, but on a couple of occasions we've woken up on a chilly day and turned the thermostat up by a degree or two without having to get out of bed :-)

Some reviewers have mentioned the fact that the thermostat is battery powered. This is true. From the Hive dashboard (website) you can see the amount of power left in the batteries, plus this is also visible on the thermostat itself, and the engineer who installed the system told me that it sends alerts to your phone to warn you if the battery fails. If it is anything like the water tank thermostat on our system (separate to Hive) which is also battery powered, the batteries last a couple of years. I suspect that the Hive thermostat will have a similar battery life, especially if you control the temperature via your phone, tablet or computer rather than from the thermostat itself, which lights up whenever buttons are pressed. In my opinion the battery powered thermostat isn't a big issue at all.


Heavy duty UKULELE CAPO trigger - soprano, concert, tenor, baritone uke ukelele
Heavy duty UKULELE CAPO trigger - soprano, concert, tenor, baritone uke ukelele
Offered by Simpsons Guitars
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great little capo, 30 Mar. 2015
This is a nice little capo, reassuringly sturdy and weighty in its construction. The "trigger" opens the jaws and the capo clamps onto your frets and won't budge until you deliberately remove it. Yes it's quite big, but it only took me a few strums to get used to playing with it on, For the price, you can't go wrong.


H is for Hawk
H is for Hawk
Price: £3.66

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A curious mixture, 5 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: H is for Hawk (Kindle Edition)
I'm not a birdwatcher, nor have I ever been tempted by falconry, but after reading the praise heaped upon this book I was keen to read it.

It's... well, it's rather strange really. The book is essentially three things in one. In some respects it's autobiographical, dealing with Helen Macdonald's reaction to the death of her father. Secondly, it's a book about buying and training a goshawk, and how this helped Helen with her bereavement. Finally, it's a look at the life and work of TH White, especially his book "The Goshawk", and how Helen draws parallels between his experiences and her own.

So does this mixture work? For me, I enjoyed the sections about Mabel the goshawk the most, especially in the earlier parts of the book, but I found the parts about White incredibly tedious. Maybe if I was a falconry enthusiast I'd have enjoyed it more, but ultimately the book proved to be a bit of a slog for me. It also ends rather abruptly, especially when you also read the acknowledgements (you'll see.)

One final thing that did surprise me was that there were no pictures in the book. I expected to find at least one picture of Mabel somewhere but there were none at all.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2015 9:10 AM BST


Dead Man Talking (Quick Reads)
Dead Man Talking (Quick Reads)
Price: £0.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not great, 5 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm a big Roddy Doyle fan and whilst this had many of his trademarks, such as his gift for dialogue, it was somehow lacking something. It's a strange story of a man invited to the funeral of an old friend with whom he had had a falling-out some years before. When he arrives he sees faces from his past, and when he enters the room containing the coffin things become rather strange.

As with all of Doyle's books the dialogue here was superb, so real and believable, but this time it was free of bad language. As for the story itself, it's short (obviously - it's part of a "Quick Reads" series of books) and although entertaining I quickly guessed where it was leading, but the ending itself was rather odd. Not a bad little read, certainly worth the asking price, and a nice introduction to Doyle for those not familiar with his work.


ARCTIC F9 - 92 mm Standard Low Noise Case Fan
ARCTIC F9 - 92 mm Standard Low Noise Case Fan
Price: £3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Works a treat, and quiet too, 5 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My old case fan suddenly started to make a rattling noise which was extremely annoying, so I did my research and bought one of these. I was a little put off by comments that it was noisy despite the use of the term "low noise" in the product description, but for the price asked I decided to take the plunge.

On delivery it's a simple package - the fan, four screws, and nothing else. Simply unscrew the old one, disconnect the motherboard connector, then screw the new fan into place and connect it up. The whole process took maybe three minutes, and the hardest part was getting the side of my PC back on!

But what about the noise? Well it's absolutely fine for me, and my PC is quieter than it has been for a long time now. I've no complaints about the noise at all, in fact before I put the side back onto my PC I put my ear close to the new fan as it spun and it was extremely quiet - the two on my GPU, the one on my processor and the ones in my power supply made more noise than this one! A happy customer.


Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely outstanding, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Reasons to Stay Alive (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A book about depression? Surely that would be rather, well, depressing? Surprisingly, "Reasons To Stay Alive" is one of the most enjoyable, uplifting, and life-affirming books I've read in some time.

Matt Haig has written an outstanding book here, based on his own experiences of this terrible condition which is unfortunately misunderstood by so many. As one who has suffered from depression in the past I could relate to much of what he described, but this is a book everyone should read. It's not a scientific, scholarly book, but is written in a light and easy style, yet is full of wisdom. The chapters are short and it's a compelling read - I often found myself going to make a cup of tea and standing with the book in my hand as the kettle boiled.

I've read a few of Matt Haig's books in the past and found them to be enjoyable if not great, but this is just brilliant. A book to read and treasure, and hold on to in case you or anyone you know may need it at some point.


Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored
Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored
Price: £7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, 26 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I recently read an interview with John Lydon in which he said his least-favourite word in the English language was "nice". Well I'm going to upset him now. After reading "Anger Is An Energy" I was surprised that he came across as being a really nice bloke. I've never been a fan of his music, nor have I been a particular fan of the man, but while I was reading this I kept thinking I'd love to sit down with him and have a drink and a chat.

It's a totally surprising read. The early parts are harrowing, as he describes his childhood and upbringing, and at times it's unbearably hard to read, full of horrific images of poverty and illness. Then he forms the Sex Pistols and the world starts to listen, until their sudden collapse and Lydon's formation of Public Image Ltd. If I'm honest, despite not being a fan of the Sex Pistols' music I enjoyed this section of the book more than the considerably lengthier (for obvious reasons) coverage of PiL.

Towards the end the book did lose something for me, becoming a little repetitive (form new PiL line-up, record album, tour, fall out with PiL line-up, form new PiL line-up, record album, tour, fall-out with PiL line-up... etc.) but it was still enjoyable, especially when we learn more about the man behind the music. A thoroughly enjoyable read.


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