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D. Milne "mpack30"

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Law & Order: The Complete Series [DVD] [US Import] [NTSC]
Law & Order: The Complete Series [DVD] [US Import] [NTSC]

5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted I bought this, 7 April 2015
I am so delighted that I bought this. First off, it's one of my favourite shows on TV, with Jerry Orbach (RIP) being my favourite actor. However, I've recently been getting P'd off that Universal channel and Channel 5 keep recycling the same last five seasons or so on tv. Don't get me wrong - those are great shows, but so are the earlier seasons so how about giving them an outing every now and then?

Even worse, Universal has now hacked down the syndicated version of the show to a ridiculous extent - sentences are cut off in mid stream, entire scenes are missing, little quips that make the show what it is are deleted, leaving just exposition. Also it's a daytime show for them, so even the mildest of expletives (damn!) is replaced by a clumsy audio gap. This doesn't exactly make for the best possible gritty crime drama! What would the Sopranos be without the F word?

So, I checked out what was available on DVD, ideally I want the entire show from first year to last. Here in the UK you can buy the first 7 seasons plus the "Exiled" one off tv movie, and nothing else has been released since 2007. I bought them, but I'll be through them soon!

So, with great reluctance I ordered this NTSC import. Of course the video quality is going to be lower than PAL offers, and I'd have to find a way to defeat the region coding, which my Sony DVD player takes seriously.

The package arrived from the states in due time, and just for the hell of it I tried one of the disks (from season 5) in my Sony player. It played! What on earth? ... I then took the disk up to my PC where I have an app that can check the region code on the DVD - and despite what the packaging said, the disk is actually region "all", NOT region 1. It is however NTSC, so you do need a TV that accepts NTSC signals (all TVs made in the last 20 years probably do, because they're all made in Korea and China!).

I emphasize that I did NOT check every disk. I have checked one disk in season 5 and one disk in season 20. Both are coded "region: all". I suspect that all disks will be coded the same, but only time will tell for sure!

In the meantime I am delighted to now have access to every show from the first season to the last.

I should mention that I did not pay the ridiculous £406 (used!) asking price currently being offered here. I ordered mine on eBay direct from the US, and it cost me around £180, including shipping and import duty. That works out at £9 per season, 0.41p per show! Listings come and go, so you may have to search to find yours.

Home Made Silicone Thermo Spoon
Home Made Silicone Thermo Spoon
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for heating while stirring anything - not just jam., 3 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I just tried this last night when sterlizing some milk. The (yoghurt) recipe called for me to raise the temperature of the milk above 90C and hold it there for 15 minutes, while stirring continuously. In the past I've done the stirring with a wooden spoon in one hand while holding a thermapen with the other. Lots of annoyances doing it that way - I knock the thermapen with my spoon, my temperature hand gets parboiled in the steam, and the thermapen switches itself off every few minutes. The task is SO much more pleasant with this thermo spoon!

Also, the spoon itself seems to be made of a stiff silicone formulation, and feels impressively robust - almost tough enough to dig holes in your garden lawn, it's certainly capable of stirring the stiffest of fudges!

I'm very pleased. Get one!

Snuggle Safe & Sound Microwave Heatpad
Snuggle Safe & Sound Microwave Heatpad
Offered by Cambridge Pet Store
Price: £21.00

5.0 out of 5 stars You can even make yogurt with it!, 22 Mar. 2015
I originally bought two of these almost by accident. I had the intention of providing a bit of supplemental night time heat in my small chicken coop, but it turned out to be completely ineffective for that job. In hindsight you need something (i.e. a duvet), to slow down the heat loss, otherwise the chooks just get real toasty for 5 minutes and then go back to freezing all night.

So, one night I'm shivering away in my bed with <10C temperatures outside, wondering whether to turn on the house heating - and worrying about fuel prices - when I remembered this thing. Does it only heat chickens? In fact does it work at all? So I pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, and the rest as they say is history! Now I don't even think about it. On any mildy chilly night I'll heat it up in the microwave just before going to bed, and look forward to a comfy night's sleep.

I don't really see why people complain that you can't cuddle it. First, I remember as a kid that rubber hot water bottles aren't exactly cuddly either, but in any case I just kind of curl around this and it's delicious - plus the washable cover makes it nice to the touch.

As to the yoghurt: first sterilize a quantity of milk as you would for a baby - lets say 2L. Cool quickly to around 30C, optionally add a tsp vanilla essence and then add a small pot of plain unsweetened yoghurt (the smallest you can find). Note that this is your starter culture so it MUST be "bio live" yoghurt. Put the covered container under a duvet along with a well warmed heatpad, and leave for 10-16 hours (the longer you leave it, the thicker it gets). Hey presto, more yoghurt than you can use!

TFA Indoor Digital Thermo Hygrometer
TFA Indoor Digital Thermo Hygrometer
Price: £15.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Generally pleased, but watch that humidity!, 9 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this for around 18 months. I bought it for use inside a chicken brooder, but never did that yet, so instead it measures temperature in my living room. It has a large clear display and seems accurate enough, i.e. the temperature reading matches my shiver index! It was still on its first battery too. Plus it looked stylish. In short I was very pleased with it.

I've never had much use for the hygrometer reading, but that changed recently when I got myself a mushroom kit, made myself a plastic tub terranium as an indoor high humidity chamber, and put this unit inside to monitor the humidity. After 24hours of room temperature 99% humidity, the display died. I was rather surprised at first... why have a capability to read up to 99% RH if it can't survive that environment? But I'm not going to knock more than one star off, because I'll bet it couldn't withstand 70C for long either, so in hindsight it was perhaps my expectations that were off.

I've seen people ask if these can be used in greenhouses, and I'd say beware - if the humidity might get this high in there. That said, I only have a sample of one to go one. Ironically I had just ordered two more of these because I planned to have more than one mushroom terranium. So, I may yet get a chance to confirm the result!

[Edit] The display partly came back after a few hours, but not all of it. Still, it hinted that the display itself was the only fault: so I opened the case, cleaned the display contacts with alcohol and gave the whole thing a good going over with a hairdryer. When I put it back together the unit was right as rain again.

Nutley's Fresh Mushroom Kit, Pre-Started & Growing (2)
Nutley's Fresh Mushroom Kit, Pre-Started & Growing (2)
Offered by Nutley's Kitchen Gardens
Price: £20.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeded my expectations., 7 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Wasn't expecting much, since I tend to have brown thumbs. However, I bought two, got them home on Monday, put them in a small west facing window, pulled their plastic socks all the way up, and gave them a misting from a water bottle whenever I passed by - all per the clear instructions. They went nuts! By Sat I was forced into a big mushroom omelette because otherwise I worried it would go to waste - I had a huge omelette but only used half the crop, so I guess another omelette is in my near future. What else can you do with an excess of mushrooms?

I'm interested in trying my hand at mushroom cultivation from scratch, so today I started by making a "shotgun fruiting chamber", which I've now put these two guys inside. Basically a (very) simply prepared plastic container to maintain humidity - Google has details. We'll see how they like the place.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 16, 2015 10:30 PM GMT

Makita Job Site Radio with DAB
Makita Job Site Radio with DAB
Offered by UKToolMart
Price: £134.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent workshop radio, 26 Jan. 2015
I bought mine off eBay, but it has no review system worth mentioning so I'm leaving my review here.

I wanted a radio for my workshop that would run off mains, stand up to the odd knock, and give decent reception and sound quality. A DAB radio looked like it would fit the bill perfectly. I'm running it as a simple radio off mains power, so the battery connections are not of interest to me - in fact I don't even own any Makita cordless tools.

What IS of interest to me is that I did not repeat the bad experience I had with a Dewalt site radio. That one needed a AA battery to back up the presets memory, and worse - the battery always seemed to go flat in no time - losing all my presets, practically every time I wanted to use the darned thing. I eventually gave up using presets, meaning I had to hunt for my preferred FM station every time I switched it on. In this day and age a £200 radio should be using flash to store settings, not battery backed RAM! A more minor complaint was that the Dewalt had poor reception whenever certain types of tools - or my new LED workshop lights - was turned on.

The Makita has no secondary battery to go flat, and reception doesn't seem to be affected at all by my workshop equipment - which is a bit of a surprise because I'd heard that DAB was finicky in that department. The only bit I'm not totally happy with yet is the audio quality. It seems too bassy to me, so when there's noise in the workshop the only thing I can hear from the radio is boom boom boom. However, maybe there's a bass/treble setting I haven't found yet.

DAB tuning was a doddle with this radio, my first experience with DAB in fact. Overall, I'm glad I bought it, and I certainly won't miss the vastly overpriced and oversized Dewalt.

Reptile Vivarium Ceramic Bulb Lamp Heater Holder ES (E27 1" 25mm)
Reptile Vivarium Ceramic Bulb Lamp Heater Holder ES (E27 1" 25mm)
Offered by Aquapet
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality., 14 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought a ceramic bulb holder from another supplier, and it was terrible quality - the metal insert was essentually tinfoil, and I had torn it off its mounts in no time.

There's no danger of that happening with this one. First it's the right size (I suspect the other was not), and second the metal insert in this one is a couple of mm thick, so much more substantial.

One tip: when I first tried this holder it appeared not to work. However testing across the plug electrodes with a continuity meter told me that in fact the bulb just wasn't screwed all the way in (this is my first experience of Edison fittings). Being new it was just a bit tight. An additional half turn and it all sprang to life. A further complication for me was that I was trying to use this with a ceramic heat bulb, so no visible light and hence no easy way to tell if I had the switch on or off: a sparkies electricity tester solved that problem. There's basically no way a simple light bulb circuit can go wrong, so I suspect that the "it doesn't work!" reviews here were probably caused by one of the two issues I just mentioned.

6X JACKYLED Original Super Bright Epistar Chips 28W Energy Saving LED T8 T10 5500K-6000K Tube for 48" 120cm 4ft Fluorescent 70W Replacement Light Lamp Fixture No Ballast No Uv & Ir Day White Bulb CE ROHS Listed
6X JACKYLED Original Super Bright Epistar Chips 28W Energy Saving LED T8 T10 5500K-6000K Tube for 48" 120cm 4ft Fluorescent 70W Replacement Light Lamp Fixture No Ballast No Uv & Ir Day White Bulb CE ROHS Listed
Offered by JACKYLED (All items shipped from UK)
Price: £89.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with them, but time will tell., 10 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm lucky enough to have my own workshop, previously lit by 6x 4ft fluorescents which were all approaching 10 years old and long past their best. I was somewhat dubious about the claims being made for these LED replacements (I've bought a 5ft LED tube for my kitchen before and was not totally impressed), so I decided to put them to an impartial test. Before changing the tubes I checked the old light level with a light meter: I got 35 lux (!) when first switched on, gradually rising to around 60 lux as they warmed up (all tests done at night, so the only light was the tubes). Mind you those tubes were dirty as well as old.

For my test I didn't remove the ballast since at this moment I'm more interested in good lighting: so I just removed the starter and swapped the tube.

With the LED replacements in place the lux reading jumped to ~300, right off the bat - no warmup time. Thats a x5 to x10 brightness increase - no mistaking that! It's going to make my workshop a much better place to while my time away.

Strangely, my workshop radio started giving a lot of static whenever the LED lights were on, implying a lot of radio interference. A tweak to the tuner did reduce the noise a lot. It's possible that my quick test with the ballast still in place is a possible cause of this - I don't know enough about that to say. Perhaps I'll update this review when I get around to removing the ballasts.

The things I like about this product are (1) nice and bright, (2) I'm told that the light quality doesn't degrade over time, (3) instant on. It also uses slightly less power, but I really don't expect to notice the difference between 28W and 36W per tube - fluorescents were always pretty efficient.

[Edit] I've since discovered that FM radio interference is a very common problem with LED lighting, caused by the switched mode AC->DC power supply inside the tube having inadequate RF filtering. It shouldn't really happen on CE marked equipment.

[Edit2] I took some time today to check out the FM radio interference. I confirmed that I also pick it up with battery powered radio headset, so the interference is transmitted through the air, not the power supply. On a happier note I also discovered that simply tilting my head a different way made a big difference, so I went back to my workshop radio and fiddled with the direction the aerial pointed, and sure enough I was able to adjust it to get rid of the interference completely - even with volume high I couldn't tell the difference between lights on and off. That leaves me happy to continue using these lights, which is great since they're /so/ much brighter than the old fluorescents.

[Edit3] I replaced my FM workshop radio with a DAB radio. I was worried because the antenna was not adjustable and DAB is supposed to be finicky. I needn't have worried - reception is excellent. I hasten to add that I got a new radio because I hated my old one, not because of the FM reception problems mentioned here - though that was the final straw.

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers
Price: £23.41

5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for all chicken keepers, 5 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to agree with the other 5 star reviews here. This is a man who writes well, and seems to well understand both the theory and the practice of chicken keeping. He makes it clear when his information is based on personal experience or hearsay, and he is brave enough to sometimes contradict common practice and explain why that practise is wrong (for example: there is no need to clean out the coop very often, and sterilization of brooders is /not/ necessary). In other words he doesn't just retransmit received wisdom, which unfortunately is the case with most other chicken-keeping books I've read.

I also feel that we are of like mind when it comes to the morality of keeping animals for meat. In my opinion - and I believe his - there is nothing wrong with eating meat provided the animal concerned was well cared for, including being protected from predators, treated with respect, and - when the time comes - dispatched as quickly and painlessly as we know how. That's a much better life than it could expect in the wild!

Spider Shaped Les Paul Guitar Flight Case With Brown Crocodile Finish
Spider Shaped Les Paul Guitar Flight Case With Brown Crocodile Finish

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The case looks nice, seems to be well made, and my Epiphone Les Paul fits perfectly.

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