Profile for R. F. Stevens > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by R. F. Stevens
Top Reviewer Ranking: 16
Helpful Votes: 5399

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK)
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30
pixel
Classic Dan Dare: Trip to Trouble (Dan Dare (Graphic Novel)) (Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future)
Classic Dan Dare: Trip to Trouble (Dan Dare (Graphic Novel)) (Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future)
by Frank Bellamy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood memories rekindled as Dan Dare rights wrongs in deep space, 26 Dec 2013
This is the thirteenth book in the series of Dan Dare reprints from Titan Books. Dan and his friends have finally managed to reach the planet Terra Nova in search of his father. But life is not that simple because his father moved on once landed and Dan follows his trail through the story `Trip to Trouble'. After this he is briefly back on Earth before rocketing off to trouble shoot the `Project Nimbus' ships and is confronted by hostile aliens.

Additional extras include an overview of 'Dan Dare's Solar System' by Jeremy Briggs, a 'Who's Who in Dan Dare' for those too young to have enjoyed it first time round, and two Dan Dare stories from the Eagle Annuals; 'Space Race' (no 7, 1958), and `Operation Moss' (no 8, 1959). All the books also include a 'Checklist' of all the main Dan Dare stories, when they were published, who they were written by, and which artists were involved.

The Trip to Trouble set was originally published in Eagle from 28/11/1959 (Vol 10, no 41), to 12/03/1960 (Vol 11, no 11). The Project Nimbus set was originally published in Eagle from 19/03/1960 (Vol 11, no 12), to 09/07/1960 (Vol 11, no 28). Frank Bellamy is the lead artist setting the style, with help from Don Harley on alternate weeks. The print quality and colour fidelity is excellent, and my only remaining wish is that the pages could have been as big as the old 1950s Eagle page was. As it is older eyes need glasses to read the smaller lettering and appreciate all the superb detail of the drawing.

This is a definite trip down memory lane for the sixty-year-olds among us, and I was reminded also of many of the surrounding happenings at the time I first read these particular stories. So I found it was a very welcome 2013 Christmas present.


Case Logic SnapView Folio for 8.0 inch Galaxy Tab 3 - Anthracite
Case Logic SnapView Folio for 8.0 inch Galaxy Tab 3 - Anthracite
Price: 28.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent protection, but can be uncomfortable in use, 26 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Used with a Galaxy Tab 3 8" it fits nicely, offers good protection, and folds to the most convenient angles, while still allowing easy access to all the controls. It tends to be a bit slippery when adjusting it, and some of the plastic bits (the tabs which engage in the base for the different angles) are obtrusive and can make it uncomfortable to hold.

There is a carefully positioned hole in the back cover for the high res camera; some might think this is a useful advantage, others (including me) consider it a disadvantage because it allows the dirt to get in, right on to the lens. At the moment the hole has a bit of tape stuck over it to protect the camera. I'm open to constructive ideas about the best way to fit a practical flap.

Only the passage of time will prove how durable this case is. I expect the hinge points to be the weak spots, having seen other lesser cases on friends' tablets beginning to split along the folds after a few months.

On balance I am happy Vine offered it to me to try because I might not have bought this one.


WD 1 TB 3.5-inch Desktop Hard Drive Including WD Extended Warranty (Frustration Free Packaging) - Blue
WD 1 TB 3.5-inch Desktop Hard Drive Including WD Extended Warranty (Frustration Free Packaging) - Blue
Price: 46.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quiet, reliable, fast, 25 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have several of these 1TB Western Digital drives in various pieces of equipment, mostly the Green variety, and this was the first Blue, thanks to Vine.

It initialised and quick formatted in mere seconds, once I had set the PC BIOS to enable a second SATA drive. I then asked the PC BIOS to use it as the mirror drive in a RAID configuration to offer me a more reliable system than just using the original single 1TB Green drive, so it spent the first half an hour in use setting itself up as the mirror of the system disc, most impressive. The speed is excellent, and it does not seem to rise much in temperature even when working hard.

Recommended.


Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity
Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity
by Zygmunt Bauman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good? Evil? Modern society? Discuss..., 25 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The pair of learned academic authors discuss Good and Evil in our modern society with reference to the deep philosophy of the thinkers of the past. I found the print in my copy to be on the small side for such a thorough and philosophical work, which, with the long self-justifying paragraphs, made it hard going to keep the reasoning all balanced in my mind. One needs quite a few big lumps of several hours of undisturbed peace to be able to appreciate the careful thought that has gone into this book.

Yes, it is worth reading and the investment in our time is rewarded. But it is too much like hard work for most of us, and if I had not had a couple of rainy days away when I was stuck with nothing else to do, not even TV or radio, I don't think I would have finished it.

I lent my copy to some friends at a Philosophy group and the few that read it thought it was excellent, but again most passed on it and it returned home relatively quickly. I've been dipping into it since then to revisit and try to convince myself of the sense of some of the points in it we discussed, but in the long run I think it is going to be another dust gatherer on a back shelf.


A Short Book About Drawing
A Short Book About Drawing
by Andrew Marr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.50

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very personal account of an interesting man and his fascination with drawing, 25 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like this little book. As usual Marr does not waste words in relating his experiences and how his life has centred around his desire to draw. It is not a manual on how to draw, far from it, more an enjoyment of what he draws and why. All the pictures in the book were created by him, and they all have an impact even if one would not call them high art.

From an early age, when others wanted toys, he would ask for pencils and paper. When he suffered a nearly fatal stroke his first real interest was again in drawing, and this therapy was what helped him in his recovery. It might seem a simple thing, but as he said "Try drawing with just one hand." You need the other hand even if just to hold the paper or steady yourself.

The book is an easy read and one can finish it in a relaxed evening, but recently, almost a month after my first sight of it, I have found myself dipping into it again to re-read snippets and have another look at some of his art. Bits of it have stayed in my memory, which cannot be a bad thing.


No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No CE approval, potentially LETHAL. Don't Buy., 22 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This generic Chinese PIR-triggered auxiliary switch fits on a flat surface and has three flying leads for Live (RED) and Neutral (BLACK) feeds from the main switch and has a controlled output (YELLOW) to the lamp along with the un-switched Neutral. Safety issues mean it is Electrically Unsafe and will fail CE testing. Be Warned: Do NOT buy this LETHALLY Unsafe unit.

Safety Problem 1.
Electric Shock Risk. There is the risk of LETHAL Electric Shock to the user when operating the two control potentiometers. This is because the necessary screwdriver can touch the wiper contact of the control, and this wiper contact is directly at the 0V DC of the internal 12V DC control circuit floating up near the 230VAC mains voltage, with only the rectifier diodes between the user and Live. The watt-less dropper capacitor is connected to the Neutral so that the whole circuit is near mains Live. See the Pic 2441c and its notes.

Safety Problem 2.
Fire Risk. The relay inside the unit is only rated at 125VAC, but with plenty of current in hand. Here in the UK, with our 230V mains, the under-voltage rating could lead to it being unsafe if it fails to disconnect the load when switched off and instead an electric arc is maintained resulting in a Fire Risk.

Safety problem 3.
The connections on my sample were by three wires in non-standard colours Red, Black, Yellow, as shown above. The label on the plastic back shows the wiring suggestion and load specification (220VAC, 500W) in Chinese and English.

Safety Problem 4.
It is possible to access the live circuit though holes in the rear of the casing with the adjustment screwdriver, should the unit be inadvertently detached (all too easy) from its mounting plate on the surface while connected to the mains.

Safety Problem 5.
It is not possible to conceal the wiring connections such that tools are required to gain access to them. This is because the three wires are brought out at the side of the unit with no option to take them through to the rear of the mounting plate.

The instructions on the data sheet are only in Chinese. The item is supplied direct from Shanghai and takes about ten days to arrive.

It has two controls, one for Time On after trigger and the other for Darkness Threshold when it can become active. It actually works quite well some of the time, but is prone to spurious triggering and this is probably because of the way the circuit is configured.

It has a 360 degree field of view all around it, but this solid cone of view only has an included angle of about 120 degrees, so if it is on the centre of a ceiling in a room much wider than it is high there is a good chance it might not see motion off the floor at the edges. The switch would not be any good in the hall or at the back of a porch, where instead I use these.

I have binned my sample after applying a hammer to prevent anyone else using it.

I've fitted a slightly larger, much better made and significantly safer alternative in the downstairs loo, a small relatively tall room where the light was forever being left on.

Addendum 23rd December 2013.

I contacted the distributors LED Light Store and they immediately withdrew the product. Well done LED Light Store, and many thanks.
However there are still a few of this manufacture lurking around via other outlets, so remain cautious when buying.


Kanlux ZONA White PIR Motion / Movement Sensor 360 deg 220-240V 1200W IP Rating 20
Kanlux ZONA White PIR Motion / Movement Sensor 360 deg 220-240V 1200W IP Rating 20
Offered by The Internet Lighting Store
Price: 6.95

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works well, but a bit too bulky on the ceiling, 19 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Kanlux ZONA JQ-37 is a simple PIR-triggered auxiliary switch that fits on a flat surface and requires Live (Brown) and Neutral (Blue) feeds from the main switch and has a controlled output (Red) to the lamp along with the un-switched Neutral. This an IP 20 unit so it is rated at internal use only and not for use in a condensing atmosphere, and definitely not one where there might be any spray such as a shower room. It claims to have all the necessary safety approvals such as CE, etc.

The connections on my sample were correctly coloured. Even the plastic back has the correct wiring indications unambiguously embossed into it, always provided the three wires from the innards of the PIR to its connector block have not been shuffled. See my Pic 2440-c. This is much better than some of the cheaper two wire switches which are effectively using a dimmer as a switch and are not suitable for small loads and non-dimmable LED lamps.

There is a mounting plate that is fixed to the ceiling, house wiring dangling through a hole in the centre, and then the wired switch clips on to this with a bayonet twist action. It is also possible to break-out the side of the mounting plate for surface mounted wiring.

The wiring instructions on the micro-type multi-language data sheet also relate to a completely different style of product that happens to share the same electronics; this is confusing and should be corrected. A magnifying glass is required to read it.

It has two controls, one for Time On after trigger and the other for Darkness Threshold when it can become active. The actual switch contact is a relay, which means it will work with any kind of lamps so long as the inrush current does not exceed the contact ratings. Hence it being 1200W for a nice boring tungsten filament load, 700W for more exotic Compact Fluorescent (CFL) (start electronics can have a high pulse current) and 180W for hi-tech LED (some of the really cheap ones have dropper capacitors making for a very sharp inrush spike).

It has a 360 degree field of view all around it, but this solid cone of view only has an included angle of about 120 degrees, so if it is on the centre of a ceiling in a room much wider than it is high there is a good chance it might not see motion off the floor at the edges. The data sheet shows a cone 2.75m high with a base 8m across on the floor. My loo ceiling is 2.4m high and the floor is 1.5m square, giving excellent coverage. But the switch would not be any good in the hall or at the back of a porch, where instead I use these.

I've fitted this in the downstairs loo, a small relatively tall room where the light was forever being left on. That ceiling has a thick insulation layer, so it would be possible to recess the sensor, but the requirement for access to controls on the side prevent this. So the switch looks bulky and obtrusive in the centre of the ceiling, especially when compared with the four flush mounted LED lamps spaced out around it.

To begin with it was fun to have it set on too short a time (fifteen seconds); whereby a tardy occupant, soon after pausing to settle and linger on the throne and savouring the moment, needed to break into their contemplation and wave their arms to keep the lights lit. Fortunately it can be set for as long as ten minutes, and there is bound to be enough random movement in that time to re-trigger it for uninterrupted reading. So the distaff side of the house is now happy, even if the appearance of the bulge on the ceiling is still unsightly.

I'm still looking for an unobtrusive, safe, flush-mounted shallow PIR switch that works as well as this one does. Beware of some badly made alternatives without CE approval that have leaked into the market; they might be electrically unsafe or even cause a fire.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 5, 2014 5:36 PM GMT


12x Zoom PTZ CCTV Camera - 700TVL Sony Effio-E - 5-60mm Dynamic Optical Varifocal Lens - Pelco B/D
12x Zoom PTZ CCTV Camera - 700TVL Sony Effio-E - 5-60mm Dynamic Optical Varifocal Lens - Pelco B/D
Offered by Teckstar
Price: 164.13

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent PTZ CCTV camera, EFFIO-E chipset, brilliant lens, 19 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is one of the best standard definition CCTV cameras I have installed recently. The well-established and popular EFFIO-E chipset guarantees good sensitivity and a wide range of picture control options, the 12:1 zoom is very good and maintains centre well, the auto focus is brilliant (if a little bit slow), and the pan and tilt motors do exactly what one wants.

The lens is a great improvement on that in my Swann PRO750 PTZ camera. It is very sharp and focuses well, both by manual control or, as I have left it, on Auto. It does not seem penalise the camera with loss of sensitivity in low light. The geometry fidelity is excellent when considering what a wide range the zoom covers. The excellent 12x lens is the specific reason I chose this camera instead of buying another PRO750.

The pictures are super, even in low light when it switches over to monochrome. There is no IR LED supplementary lighting on this camera, but the sensitivity is good enough that normal street lighting or bright full-moonlight is adequate. If there is no street lighting then PIR activated lamps will be needed for observing miscreants up to no good in dark places.

The EFFIO-E on-screen menu system is comprehensive and offers a wide range of control, all that is needed. Just remember that for the usual 'Enter' function you actually need to select the 'Open Iris' button and not the Enter.

The leaflet that comes with the camera uses peculiar English and is full of typos, and could be a lot better, but it still makes sense after a while, and it refers to a remote control that is not part of the kit of bits supplied for this camera, however it does happen to match the remote control that came with the RS485 controller in my Swann PRO750 kit (result!).

To use this camera the following items will be required.
1. A PTZ control cable carrying 12V on a 2.1mm power connector, BNC video and a balanced pair for RS485. I used this excellent Swann 15metre cable. Do not use the widely available cheap CCTV Power/Video/Audio cables, chances are they will not let the RS485 work.
2. An RS485 controller. I use the Swann DVR8-4000 recorder in the installation, but for testing I also have a small standalone controller that came with the Swann PRO750 camera kit, both work well with the camera. I have the camera set up using its default protocol of Pelco D and use 9600 baud.
3. A monitor and/or recorder. I first tested the camera with my 40" TV and a waveform monitor to check everything was to standard.
4. A 12V DC regulated power supply. I'm actually sharing one power supply between the DVR and several cameras using a splitter lead.

The mountings and camera chassis are solid castings with a thick coat of paint, and should withstand the weather well. My box of camera bits was missing the circular top bracket (needed to fix it up under the eaves on a corner, and not on a wall), but the suppliers (Aban) sent me one by return when I contacted them through Az. Excellent service.

Mounting it was fiddly, and it was just as well I rehearsed the fitting in the comfort of indoors before going up a ladder to mount it under the eaves, because the three connectors to meet the extension cable will not pass through the hole in the mounting. It is a bit stressful unplugging the very delicate tiny connector on the top of the camera; again do this indoors, in comfort with warm fingers and a couple of very small screwdrivers to gently, gently lever the ears of the fragile tiny plug to ease it out from the fragile socket - DON'T pull on the ever-so-thin wires.

Overall, I am delighted with the camera. Recommended.


SWANN SWPRO-15MCAB-GL (15m) 3-in-1 Multi-Purpose BNC Cable for Pro Dome and PTZ Cameras
SWANN SWPRO-15MCAB-GL (15m) 3-in-1 Multi-Purpose BNC Cable for Pro Dome and PTZ Cameras
Offered by Wiziwoo Limited
Price: 15.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal triple function PTZ CCTV cable, 19 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This Swann SWPRO-15MCAB-GL is a well made CCTV cable with proper strain relief on each connector, designed specifically for the purpose of powering and controlling a PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) CCTV camera and returning the TV signal from it.

It is arranged as a figure-8 with all three functions (BNC TV, 2.1mm DC, RS485 control) electrically isolated from each other on six distinct conductors, unlike many other lesser CCTV cables which share the 0V power and signal screens as one common conductor. This means that the TV picture will have no interference from the RS485 control signal or any ripple or noise on the power supply.

Included also in the package is a Male BNC - Male BNC "barrel" to allow this cable to be used as an extension as well as the usual point to point connect between camera and control box.

I am using two of these `3in1' cables, a thinner 20 metre one was included in the Swann Pro750 PTZ CCTV camera kit and this excellent 15 metre sample controls a much superior 12x Zoom PTZ CCTV camera.

The loop resistance of the 2.1mm power cable (ie both conductors considered in series with the load) is 3.2 Ohms which means that it will drop about 0.27V for the normal 80mA-90mA of camera power and about 0.7V for the 200mA-250mA when the motors are active. The plug and socket both work well with my other 2.1mm connectors; on the camera and a power splitter and a standard 12V power supply.

The BNC cable is a proper coaxial cable for the whole length so it will not degrade the signal or produce any pings because of impedance mismatches. I was able to set the sharpness control on the camera to a low figure and have no pings on the edges of the images giving a nice clean picture making the most of the 700TVL resolution.

The RS485 is a balanced pair sharing the same outer shell as the power pair, but uses a much thinner wire at 25 Ohms DC loop resistance. A quick and dirty test of the characteristic impedance (Z) at 9.6KHz suggests it is close to the correct 110 Ohms but I don't have the right test gear for an accurate measurement. What matters is that both the camera and controller are happy to talk with each other at the lowest and highest baud rates I tried (2400, 9600) and my 'scope showed that the control waveform was clean at each end of the cable.

The plastic clamshell packaging will require strong scissors to cut away the rim to allow access, but this also means it will survive the UK post!


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK CCTV cable, but the 0V is shared between all three functions, so no PTZ, 17 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a reasonably well made cable with proper strain relief on each connector, BUT there are effectively only four wires in it because the 0V (outer) of the 2.1mm Power lead, the screen of the BNC video, and the screen of the RCA Audio are all commoned together in the main 20metre piece of cable.

This allows the minimum impedance for the power ground, but also means that there is more crosstalk between the three signal wires, +12V, Video and Audio. Video frame buzz and line whistle can be heard lurking in the background when the audio is quiet. The lower impedance video seems to be immune to crosstalk from the audio, but a poorly regulated 12V power supply did interfere with both audio and video.

The shared return also absolutely rules out using this cable as the sole link to a PTZ camera, since in this case the audio pair cannot be used for the balanced RS485 signal.


Page: 1-10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21-30