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R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK)

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Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Protective Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Protective Case for Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1
Price: 83.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, ergonomic, tough, protective case and keyboard, feels solid and heavy., 7 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Useful and protective, this good sized keyboard and tough case also feels surprisingly heavy almost doubling the weight to be carried around. The keyboard has a nice action responding with the feel of a click on each key-press. The Amazon blurb seems to be accurate.

The feel of the cover is generally good, with a smooth rubbery plastic masking a strong core within to protect the tablet, but maybe it is not as easy to grip as the old fabric case we were using before. The case folds neatly and there are gentle magnetic 'locks' to hold it closed, and also when opened to the easel position the edge of the display is again secured by a magnetic strip to prevent it wandering about. However the closed case is not a dust-tight cover and there is a gap on three sides to allow unwanted stuff to creep in if rattling around in a bag with other things.

Opening or closing the case allows the tablet to be powered up or down without needing to find the button on the edge of the tablet. The Preferences offer various options for customising these functions.

It was charged when received and after allowing Bluetooth to work from the tablet it was easy to pair with the tablet once the password presented by the keyboard had been entered. While paired the tablet then does not bother to show its own on-screen keyboard. Interestingly the cursor keys allow one to navigate around the screen without needing to touch it so often - useful for fast typists who do not wish to leave the Home position.

We are actually using this with a Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition, which is a strange size, very slightly different from Samsung's various other 10.1 tablets. Our Note is about 3mm less tall (landscape mode) than the intended tablet but the correct width, so it does fit and, while not enjoying a click to retain it securely, it is still not keen to fall out. Because of this the rear camera is not centred in the hole in the case, but it is not obstructed.

The instructions supplied with the keyboard/case are minimal; a single sheet with a few cryptic images indicates only the obvious - fortunately it is not needed. The function of the micro USB socket and the nearby two tiny recessed switches on the side are obvious; On/Off slider and Bluetooth connect button. The range of the Bluetooth is impressive; the link was established with more than fifteen feet and two walls between keyboard and tablet while I was playing around with charging and the connect button, much to the surprise of the person using the tablet in the other room.

There is also a short (1metre) 'USB A to USB micro' lead supplied, the same style as that for most of the Samsung tablets, which allows the Samsung charger to be used, or any USB socket. The Logitech website suggests a one and a half hour charge should last for three months of two hours a day usage. Time will tell. I gave it a few hours of charge to make sure, but could not see any indication if it was full or not apart from the usually Blue 'On' light being a steady Green.

The case weighs 464 grams, making a big addition to our 544 gram tablet, and it is this big subjective increase in the weight coupled with the lack of a proper seal around the sides when closed which lost the star. Our previous fully zipped closed case without a keyboard weighed almost as much at 360 grams, but being bigger and fabric covered gave the impression of being much lighter and easier to carry.

Addendum. 11th November 2014. Packing Shims

I've made up some plastic packing shims to go between the upper and lower clips and the tablet. These were bits of insulation (from CT100 coax) cut in thirds (ish) lengthways and then vinyl-glued (ABS adhesive) while clamped nested together to make up the right thickness in about the right cupped shape. After a couple of days in use to make sure the dimension was right the shims were dressed with a file to look and fit neater and then glued to the clips. Now the tablet is properly secured, even though the holder was not really designed for it.

Addendum. 24th January 2015. Battery charge

The battery seems to last for about two months of daily use before needing to be recharged. Not bad at all.

QuickBooks Pro 2015 (PC)
QuickBooks Pro 2015 (PC)
Price: 109.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good standard accounting software., 31 Oct. 2014
This review is from: QuickBooks Pro 2015 (PC) (DVD-ROM)
The disc version of Quickbooks Pro 2015 without the payroll option is a reasonably easy to use software suite that installed quickly on a rather basic W7 PC without fuss. Vine had offered me all variations on the install (except the one with Payroll) and I much preferred this stand-alone disc version to the subscription or download options, mainly because the accounting PC is mostly used away from the web in a private network.

Most of the standard business financial features one needs are incorporated in this Pro version, and someone starting up in a new business will find the report generating functions for stock tracking, cash-flow statement, orders, invoices, and tax returns etc are very easy to use. If they also have to manage a payroll for several members of staff, possibly on part-time, then it gets a bit more complicated and QB offer a version with the Payroll add-on, but I've no need for that.

I was able to port my existing Excell records across without too much grief and it all seems to work well. Right now both systems are running in parallel on two different machines. I did not need the help line. In a few months time, year end perhaps, I'll make a decision whether or not to jump entirely to the commercial package or return to my own tightly customised software that has evolved over the last few years. In my simple application QB is a bit of a sledgehammer to crack a nut and I don't think I'll be able to justify the cost of an update in a year's time if the original Excell softs are still OK, and so far I've not found anything in QB that is a lot simpler or quicker to use. But time will tell.

QB has the advantage of being current and follows UK IR good practice on the forms etc. If you don't want to fiddle about with custom software, then this is a good way to keep your business flowing smoothly

GM550 Non-Contact IR-Infrared Digital Thermometer - Measurement Range: Between -50 C and 550 C (Between -58 F and 1022 F)
GM550 Non-Contact IR-Infrared Digital Thermometer - Measurement Range: Between -50 C and 550 C (Between -58 F and 1022 F)
Offered by SEEM
Price: 11.15

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly accurate, if you choose the right surface, distance, etc. (while it still works), 21 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For a simple point and click optical IR thermometer this can be surprisingly accurate, but only if you follow the sound advice given in the instruction sheet and use it intelligently.

It can be used to take a spot reading centred on (or near to) the place indicated by the laser pointer and this is held on the display for seven seconds after releasing the trigger, or it can be used to sweep across a surface while holding the trigger and show the continuous variation in temperature.

It has three buttons; to toggle between C and F, to turn on/off the display back-light, and to turn on/off the laser. The last two options produce a worthwhile power saving doubling the battery life, if one knows where the device is aimed and has enough ambient light to see the display.

Distance is significant, and being closer to the object in question increases the accuracy by choosing a smaller spot. However, it seems to work well at quite long ranges too, provided the target is big enough. The diameter of the spot measured is about 1/12 of the distance to the spot; eg about 8 cms across at about 1 metre distant. For really close targets be aware of the parallax error because of the offset between the sensor and the laser.

As with all these devices it matters what the surface consists of and how much reflectance or not, emissivity or not, etc. For example: three adjacent surfaces in my freezer gave three different indicated temperatures despite all three having been in there for a few days; one was a white plastic ice-cream tub (-17.6C), one was the dark-printed cardboard top of a ready meal (-21.4C), and the last surface was the metal foil pot for that same ready meal (-15.1C). The old fashioned freezer thermometer indicated -21C.

A similar range of results were obtained with hot surfaces; the blackened dark matte surface of a well seasoned baking tray consistently gave the highest reading in the oven and this also corresponded with that indicated by the digital meat probe and the simple oven thermometer, both sitting on the tray. A shiny new tray was about 20 to 30C lower and never twice the same reading.

Where this tool really comes into its own is in the scanning for variations in temperature or hot spots or cold spots on things like walls or doors or windows or radiators or brake discs or an exhaust manifold.

It uses a PP3 9V battery and the claimed life is 22 hours of use with laser off and 12 hours with laser on, which in real terms means maybe even years of normal occasional use.

It loses a star because it requires forethought and care to make an accurate measurement, and it is not a simple random click away from the right answer.

Addendum. 31st December 2014. Poor manufacture.

I was using it yesterday to look at the outside temperatures on the walls of my house, and comparing them with the equivalent inside points as a prelude to an attempt to improve the insulation, and it all worked perfectly. Today it was dead as a dodo, battery only 0.2V instead of 9V. New battery, nothing doing, and then I also noticed the switch no longer clicked. A check with the multimeter showed it was taking 6mA when Off and nothing when On! So I dismantled it and found a very thin loose wire about 2cms long shorting out the power switch and converter chip. Removing the wire allowed it to measure a temperature with an On current of about 5mA (suggesting about 100 hours life in use), and standby current when Off is now only 4uA (about twice as long as the shelf life of the battery).
Alas, it is now walking wounded; the laser and back-light no longer work, it forgets the options chosen on the buttons, and all that is left operational is the temperature reading and the LCD.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Down to 3* from my initial 4*.

Addendum 2. 2nd January 2015

Amazon has refunded me the cost, provided a free return label to send the faulty one back, and I have bought another. Back up to 4*.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2015 11:32 PM BST

Tacwise Z3 Stapler 4-in-1 Nailer Kit
Tacwise Z3 Stapler 4-in-1 Nailer Kit
Price: 33.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Handy lightweight combination tool, with a useful assortment of small fastenings, but can damage cables, 16 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Tacwise Z3 is a a useful lightweight combination tool that accepts a variety of small fastenings, packets of which are included in the kit. The kit also includes an extractor which is a well designed strong tool capable of safely removing big heavy staples as well as the small ones inserted by this stapler.

The force required to operate the stapler is not too much and in many cases will allow single handed use. Two hands are needed with harder wood (one hand to hold the tool against the work) if one wishes the nail or pin head to be flush with the surface.

It is easy to load, simply pull back the spring carriage by squeezing the pair of small levers together, drop the chosen fastener strip into the channel closest to the 'are there any left' window, and push home the spring carriage - click.

The safety lock is a bit indecisive, and is really only useful to store the tool back in the moulded pack. For real safety the tool should be unloaded after each session.

The pins, nails and flat staples all work very well.

BUT I am not impressed by the round-top cable clips as with my sample of the stapler they are punched in too hard, even with the 'type' lever in the correct position and the +/- force lever set on minimum, and will damage most small multi-core or coax cables. For example a piece of burglar alarm cable (admittedly designed to be a little bit fragile to highlight tampering) lost five of the six cores when clamped by the staple, while in a standard domestic phone cable two of the four cores were shorted. A piece of CAT5 survived, but looked to be crushed, so I'll not be using this for that either. A piece of normal safety Earth wire (almost too big for the staples) was fine, but that is heavy duty and can shrug off most kinds of hardship. Satellite cable was too thick, so I did not try that.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 18, 2014 9:11 AM BST

Airfix 1:72 Scale RAFBF Design a Hawk Scheme Gift Set
Airfix 1:72 Scale RAFBF Design a Hawk Scheme Gift Set
Price: 12.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent detailed kit, but the instructions are not suitable for a beginner to modelling., 16 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a superb version of the Hawk, one that should probably be in most collections, and some of the profits go to a very good cause.

The level of detail is excellent, including numerous tiny decals for all the legend to be applied after painting, and the mouldings are mostly very clean with very few obvious casting-edge lines to be cleaned off. The snap-off points are small and can easily be dressed with a craft knife or fine needle file. Six different coloured pots of acrylic paint are supplied along with two fine brushes and a small tube of adhesive. The acrylic paint is washable from brushes and clothes simply with water while still wet, but once set it is permanent.

This is a small model with a lot of very small parts and decals to be applied, and both good eyesight and a big magnifier will be very useful in achieving the best finish. Also necessary, but not included, are a pair of very fine tweezers and a small art knife, both are essential with such detailed working and small parts, and maybe some needle files could also prove useful. Some small rubber bands, matchsticks and masking tape might also help in holding parts in place while the glue sets.

The pictorial diagram assembly instructions and suggested painting scheme will be sufficient for an experienced modeller, but several normally understood points are missing and will trap a first-timer, and should be laid out in more detail if the model is to be aimed at youngsters.
For example: some elements of the kit should be painted and even finished before or during the general assembly for best access and to prevent cross-contamination of colours, such as inside the cockpit; others are best painted afterwards to help hide the glue joints, such as along the wings and fuselage. A typical small boy will whack it all together and only when he then tries to paint it will he realise he has glued the canopy in place. I know this all too well, I was once that small boy, and only learnt through experience.
And then how does the small boy lift the tiny fragile decals from the sheet they are supplied on? Nowhere does it mention floating them off with a damp cotton bud or one of the brushes before transferring them to the model.
And then there are some choices on how it should be presented for display; the illustrations on my box show the plane as in flight, but the kit also includes all the landing gear so it could be parked as on the hard-standing. The beginner will not even think about this if the possibilities have not been mentioned.

This is an excellent kit that has the potential to be a superbly detailed model in the hands of an experienced modeller, but the suggested 9 year old needs to have done this many times before or be prepared to accept expert guidance from someone who has.
It loses the star specifically because of the limitations in the instructions.

Philips LED Light Bulb (B22 6 W) - Warm White
Philips LED Light Bulb (B22 6 W) - Warm White

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice B22 LED, with a pleasant and slightly pink warm white, 78 lm/W, 14 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A nice 6W 2700K B22 470lm LED Frosted glass lamp with a slightly pinkish light, claiming a reasonable efficiency of about 78 lumen per Watt. This one runs comfortably warm and not too hot, so should last for at least the claimed 15,000 hours (just under two years if left On 24/7).

In common with most LED pendant lamps the light only falls downward over a less than 180 degree cone (here 150), not as good as most CFLs; it is instantly on at full brightness, much better than a CFL; it will light happily when freezing cold, unlike a CFL; and best of all it is not prematurely aged by frequently being switched on and off, again much better than a CFL. And it uses slightly less electricity than an equivalent brightness CFL and a lot less than the old Tungsten bulb.

Do not let it get too hot. Heat is the single biggest enemy of any LED bulb. It must be hung in a well ventilated space to allow it to stay cool.

This B22 version of the three types of "40W" equivalents offered on this page is NOT dimmable. Do not use it with a remote-control solid-state switch or phase control dimmer as these will quickly hasten its demise. However, it is very happy with a relay based PIR automatic switch and will long outlast any CFL in that same situation.

Personally I don't like the pinkish light (although it is much less harsh than a CFL), and prefer the slightly yellow light of a conventional 40W tungsten light-bulb or the 3000K Auraglow 6W LED which has a similar brightness at 480lm and a claimed life of 35,000 hours.

The Geoff Hamilton BBC Collection (40th Anniversary Gardeners World DVD Box Set)
The Geoff Hamilton BBC Collection (40th Anniversary Gardeners World DVD Box Set)
Dvd ~ Geoff Hamilton
Price: 9.20

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three distinctly different opportunities to enjoy the enthusiasm and expertise of Geoff Hamilton., 14 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Warm, informed and with attention to relevant detail, interesting and enthusiastic, professional and concise, these are all qualities required by an expert broadcaster. Geoff Hamilton had them all and more, and he was also a consummate gardener; he is much missed.

In this collection of three of his Gardeners World series the Amazon blurb is to the point. Each is quite different from the other two, and yet they are linked by Geoff's clear professional delivery and warm enthusiasm. Technically speaking all are in old-fashioned 4:3 standard definition and mostly mono sound, and some compression artefacts are sometimes visible from squeezing three hours of video onto each DVD.

My favourite is the earliest series about the Ornamental Kitchen Garden which was obviously filmed for at least three years, yet broadcast over just six weeks around October 1990. The whole of it is linked together with a seamless script that uses great planning and forethought to neatly illustrate how each particular part of the garden was designed, created, and grown through to maturity. The garden is a typical size for behind an average detached house, and so the ideas are feasible, and Geoff shows us how to do it without fuss or drama, while keeping it all simple and economical. It is not quite the same as the VHS we recorded at the time, but there is nothing significantly different except for the DVD generally having better picture quality.

The pair of Cottage Gardens, for a Gentleman and an Artisan, are each slightly smaller and more detailed, such as might be found behind a semi, and make the most of the space. When I visited Barnsdale a few years ago with our Garden Club I was surprised to see how small they are in real life, crowded with the planting and features, when compared with how they appear on the screen. Where these come into their own is the imagination in the structures and choice of planting, and the ability to maintain a good show of colour for such a long time, while still being practical and economical.

The Paradise Gardens approach the topic from yet another angle, and again there are several fresh ideas combined with his usual sound advice and good practice making it interesting from start to finish. But this is my least favourite part of the collection.

In a nostalgic way I think that with their excellent structure these more traditional programmes, despite being made a couple of decades ago, compare very favourably with the more hi-tech modern gardening programmes.

May I suggest you ignore the slightly lower definition (mostly on the earliest DVD) and smaller 4:3 picture, and just enjoy the brilliant gardening.

Philips LED Light Bulb (A60 9.5 W B22 Bayonet Cap) - Warm White
Philips LED Light Bulb (A60 9.5 W B22 Bayonet Cap) - Warm White
Price: 7.95

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable pinkish 2700K LED light, but runs too hot. 85 lm/W, 12 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The light performance is as one might expect from an LED bulb, instantly on to full brightness with a decent amount of lumen per Watt, in this case claimed at about 85 lm/W. It gives a slightly pinkish light for a nominal 2700K but runs very, very hot. However it does seem to have only about the same brightness as an equivalent 8W Auraglow I have running in the other light fitting in this room. I've posted Pic 2773c which compares the colour and brightness of the light from these two bulbs.

In common with a lot of LED bulbs (but not all) there is some flicker in peripheral vision, and this is especially noticeable if such a bulb is providing background lighting when watching "3D" TV with the usual L/R shuttered glasses.

This Philips bulb is NOT dimmable. I expect it would fail rather quickly if a remote control solid-state switch or a phase control dimmer was used on it. Of course it will be fine with a relay type auto switch, and because a LED does not suffer ageing effects at start-up like a CFL does, it will last much, much longer than a CFL in this situation.

I have some past experience with the slightly larger but similar shaped 10W LED bulbs from Osram, which ran too hot to touch and died prematurely. Heat is the main enemy of all LED lamps, the hotter they run the very much shorter is their lifespan; Auraglow put a big heat-sink on their bulbs and claim 35,000 hours with a five year warranty. I will be interested to see if Philips manage to achieve anything like the claimed 15,000 hours of life (a bit less than two years if left on 24/7).

The slightly pinkish light, and maybe not quite as bright as claimed, and the very hot running all combine to lose it a star.

Addendum. 22nd October 2014

I've just measured the temperature of this 9.5W bulb and after being on for an hour in an 18C room it is running at about 70C. The 8W Auraglow runs at about 45C.

Transcend Extreme-Speed Memory Card Micro SDHC Class 10 32 GB
Transcend Extreme-Speed Memory Card Micro SDHC Class 10 32 GB
Price: 9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent high speed chip, suitable for HD video., 11 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This excellent Transcend 32GB class 10 SDHC chip passed the usual speed and capacity tests on my PC with flying colours and is now installed in a E-Prance G1W Novatek chip-set car camera.

As with all electronic chips and memory I was careful not to touch the contacts, so as to avoid finger acids corroding the very thin metal of the contacts and electrostatic discharge (ESD) damaging the chip. The ESD sort of damage is usually called 'walking wounded' where the chip seems OK for a while but is actually silently suffering and will eventually die.

E-PRANCE® New Blue G1W Novatek FHD 1080P 30FPS Car DashBoard Camera Driving Recorder + 2.7 Inch Screen + G-sensor + Car License plate + MOV + 120 degree wide angle lens + Night Vision + H.264
E-PRANCE® New Blue G1W Novatek FHD 1080P 30FPS Car DashBoard Camera Driving Recorder + 2.7 Inch Screen + G-sensor + Car License plate + MOV + 120 degree wide angle lens + Night Vision + H.264
Offered by EPRANCE
Price: 36.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good car camera, also a good camera for the PC, 11 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This G1W Novatek is a good car camera, and also a surprisingly good camera for the PC. (Make sure you buy a genuine one, there are a lot of fakes on sale from Marketplace etc.)


I tried it first as a web-cam partly to charge its internal battery from the USB2 and partly to see how good the pictures were on a bigger screen. To begin with nothing happened, but a second try with the memory chip not plugged in and then pressing the power and take buttons simultaneously forced a driver download (it did not happen automatically the first try with chip in place).

Subsequently the PC always recognises it with or without chip and I was able to use it and its own microphone with Skype on both my W7 machines. The back display does nothing when it is used as a web-cam other than say PC Camera.

The memory appears as a USB drive just like any other storage, with the video and photos stored in the usual DCIM folder.


This is really what it was bought for, and apart from the cigar lighter socket not holding the plug tightly enough it all works as advertised. There does not seem to be any interference, either on the FM radio or on the camera picture or sound.

The sucker mount works well provided the windscreen and the plastic sucker are both spotlessly clean and wiped with a damp tissue. The thumb latch only works correctly if the sliding part is fully home in the slot in the camera body.

The motion detector is surprisingly good and records some of the time held in memory before the event as well as going on for ten seconds after everything is still again.

Night time driving is not so good with the picture being quite noisy, but it is adequate for most purposes if the headlights on the car are working.

Number plates are clear enough if using the 1080p highest video resolution (2Mp HD), but not good enough using mere basic VGA (0.3Mp SD).

The Digital Zoom is a useful 4:1 range allowing the field of view to be optimised for both coverage and amount of detail.

Still photos can be a much higher theoretical resolution, up to 12Mp, but here the tiny lens is the main limitation.

The menu system is a lot simpler and easier to understand than the microscopic print in the Chinglish instruction leaflet. Once one is familiar with what which button does then it is all quite simple.

This one is using a Transcend class 10 32GB SDHC memory chip, which the on-screen display suggests will give me more than 5 1/3 hours of recording at 1080p before overwriting the oldest recording.

It does not have GPS.

Battery life is better than some reviewers have suggested, my sample lasted more than twenty minutes after the first charge while fiddling about doing tests and set-up. But then it is intended to be mostly powered from the car and the battery is really just to maintain the housekeeping functions and keep it going for those odd occasions when it is briefly out of the car.


I have a mini-HDMI to HDMI lead for use with my Go-Pro camera, and with this lead the G1W can be accessed from a 'Smart' 1080p HD TV both for playback and live pictures. But so far I have not yet managed to get the G1W to play 1080p recordings or show live 1080p on a dumb 1080p HDMI HD computer monitor.

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