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Mr. R. Gibson "Dr Rod" (Horncastle, Lincolnshire)

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Motor-racing's Strangest Races: Extraordinary But True Stories from Over a Century of Motor Racing (Strangest Series)
Motor-racing's Strangest Races: Extraordinary But True Stories from Over a Century of Motor Racing (Strangest Series)
by Geoff Tibballs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frothy, 15 May 2009
If you're looking for an insightful, well written book which takes you into the weird world of early motor racing you won't find it here.
It's divided into short chronological chapters, each of which delivers an amusing anecdote about the whacky exploits of those daft early Grand Prix drivers. Though there are many potentially useful facts buried in here for the serious historian, the whole thing is written like a series of sidebars for The Sun. It's a trivial and frothy approach which I find tedious and unengaging. It might amuse your average 14 year old car nut for half an hour, but that's about all you can say.

Intelliplug - TV/Audio version
Intelliplug - TV/Audio version
Offered by Hoodmania
Price: £5.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and green gadget, 15 May 2009
This is a smart little device that can not only save you money but can help save the planet too. It also lets you turn on complex A/V systems with a single press of a button.
It looks a little bit like an old style three way mains adaptor. The TV set plugs into the top socket, one side socket supplies 'switched' power when the unit is 'on', and the other side socket supplies power all the time. With a six way junction block plugged into each side socket you can use it to feed power to anything from Freesat boxes to phone chargers.
I plugged my Freesat box, amplifier and ambient lighting to the switched side, and my DVD recorder (which needs to be left on standby for late night recordings etc), laptop charger and phone charger into the unswitched side (for overnight charging). That still leaves me plenty of spare sockets on each side for adding extra devices.
The Intelliplug comes with a small remote receiver unit wired to it. The last step in installation is to point your TV remote at it and follow a simple procedure which programmes the Intelliplug to recognise the 'on/off' signal from the remote. Then simply position the little receiver unobtrusively by the TV.
When you press the TV 'on' button once everything turns on and the TV set comes on in 'standby'. A second press turns on the TV. When you've finished watching for the evening you press the TV 'off' button once. There's a delay of around 30 seconds (to allow sensitive electronics to power down gently, presumably) then everything on the 'switched' circuit turns off.
The only reason I've rated this at four stars instead of five is that on two occasions I've turned it on and its mysteriously switched itself off again a minute later. Switching it on a second time seems to do the trick, and as long as this foible doesn't develop into a fault I'm very happy to keep using it.
I'll be buying a couple more of these for other uses around the house.

Sony RDR-HXD890 Freeview+ 160GB Hard Disc Drive DVD Recorder - Black
Sony RDR-HXD890 Freeview+ 160GB Hard Disc Drive DVD Recorder - Black

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant once you get the hang of it, 20 April 2009
I've been using this DVD recorder for a few weeks now and am beginning to get the hang of it, though there's a few features I've still to explore such as recording from Freesat via the Scart connection. Overall this is a fantastic device. It's dead easy to use, though the handbook is complicated and confusing in some of the terminology ("Dubbing" means copying from the hard drive to a DVD or vice versa, for instance). You also need to remember to switch between the hard drive and the disc drive depending on what you want to watch/record to. But that dazzling blue telltale light for the hard drive serves as a good reminder, as well as providing enough light for an ambient effect in the room. The amber light for the disc drive is a little more subtle, thankfully. I've still to make sense out of some of the figures which appear on the display, but that's probably down to me not paying it enough attention. Setting it to record programmes is an absolute doddle and makes our old VHS recorders look like dinosaurs. Another unexpected benefit is radio via Freeview and the ability to play CDs, which means I've been able to bin my monolithic stack of 70s hi-fi separates. I'm running interconnects into a hi-fi amp direct from the line-out sockets on the back of the recorder, and sound quality is excellent, better than my old CD player. Problems? Only one, really. We're in a very poor signal area for Freeview and some channels such as BBC4 suffer from picture breakup which makes them unwatchable. Oddly our Sony Bravia TV set produces much better results from it's own built-in Freeview tuner, which leads me to wonder if the electronics in the recorder give the built-in Freeview tuner a hard time. I'm hoping the addition of a Freesat box will nail the problem. But overall I'm delighted with this recorder - it does more or less everything you could possibly need and it produces top quality pictures and sound. Recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2009 3:50 PM BST

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