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Mr. A. R. Snape "a_snape"

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Photographer's Guide to the Sony DSC-RX100
Photographer's Guide to the Sony DSC-RX100
by Alexander S. White
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.95

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for a superb camera, 14 Nov. 2012
I downloaded this guide direct from the Publisher's website as, at the time of writing, it's out of stock on both the UK and USA versions of Amazon. I paid just under £8 for the pdf file which i've downloaded to both my main PC and my android tablet. The latter gave me the option to open the document either as a pdf (with linked bookmarks and a few bells & whistles) or as a kindle document. You can also download a sample of the guide for free.

Anyway, the guide is very well written and as in depth as you want it to be. Any owner of the DSC-RX100 is unlikely to just want a point and shoot digital camera as there are far cheaper alternatives out there for that market. The camera caters for P&S but also has a wide variety of modes and pre-programmed settings but also excels in letting the owner programme their own settings for their own compositions.

The initial chapters detail setting the camera up, batteries and good advice on memory cards. There was also a set of suggested default settings for the main "Intelligent Auto" mode that I really appreciated. The next chapter deals with the more basic settings before exploring other modes such as the panoramic shot, scene selection (there's a set of presets for events such as fireworks, night portaits) before the later chapters delve much deeper into the programmes and settings for the enthusiast. There's a section on accessories too which is always appreciated.

I found the author's style to be very good indeed. He's knowledgeable but the book is written in an easy to understand way and he explains why certain settings will be desirable in any given scenario. The book has a lot of colour images throughout which really come into their own when he delves into some of the colour presets and you can see the same scene and what each setting changes to the palette and effect -really good touch.

In summary, this is probably the first accessory you should buy with your camera (assuming you already added a memory card to your basket). The included documentation from Sony was woeful bordering on insulting and I would think anyone would benefit from learning more about how the camera works and how to get the most from it. This is an excellent guide and it comes highly recommended. Thank you.

Samsung RF711 17.3-inch Laptop PC (Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3 Ghz, 6GB RAM,  1TB HDD, WLAN, Webcam, Win 7 Home Premium)
Samsung RF711 17.3-inch Laptop PC (Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3 Ghz, 6GB RAM, 1TB HDD, WLAN, Webcam, Win 7 Home Premium)

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true desktop replacement Samsung RF711, 17 Jun. 2011
This is a review for the Samsung RF711-S03, delivered from Amazon in June 2011. This laptop replaces an aged 2006 Celeron that my 11 year old daughter finally managed to break with a 14Gb download of Glee from iTunes. I will have my revenge...

Build Quality - Its plastic, good quality, but plastic nontheless. Its a big machine and I suggest if you have any designs on carrying it around that you look elsewhere. Having said that, it feels solid, the hinges for the 17 inch screen are solid and I have no complaints. the keyboard is lovely, "island" style as they call it which means that all the keys have a small gap around them. they have a nice texture, a pleasing action and the "enter" key is nice and big. There's a separate numeric keypad with the usual "home, Pg up/down" keys too. The trackpad is reasonably accurate to use but I'm not a big fan of them - the first thing I plugged in was my trusty wheel mouse. The trackpad appears offset to the left of the computer (pedantic time - its in the middle of the main keys but appears offset because of the numeric keypad) which doesn't bother me - my wife's left handed and seemed pleased until I pointed out that she wouldn't be using the computer. She then pointed out that I was wrong (with her left hand).

Performance - There's a new build of Intel's I5 processor (chime) which together with 6GB of RAM and a very good graphics card with its own 1GB of video RAM means that this is comfortably the fastest computer that I've owned. I don't suppose it will play the latest 3D games in the highest quality but it probably will play them. I'll try and report back if I'm allowed to buy any games.
The 1TB (1 terabyte = 1000 Gigabytes) of hard disk storage is split between two separate 500GB drives. At first I was a bit concerned but it makes no real difference to performance and could be an advantage if one HDD were to fail, it would leave a working HDD behind. When you first turn the machine on, Windows 7 does the partitions for you - I just left it as the default Disk C:176GB Disk D:286GB Disk E:465GB ish (if daughter manages to fill those I'll officially give up)
Worth noting is that the computer includes a Blu-Ray drive rather than the DVD drive mentioned in the specs. it will read/write DVD's and play Blu rays which was a very nice surprise. The screen is wonderful and big and bright - absolutely chuffed with it, i think the resolution is 1600x900 but everything looks great. The inbuilt speakers are very reasonable too for a laptop.

Connections - there's 4 USB sockets. 2 x USB 2.0 on the left of the machine (where the power adapter also connects), 1 x USB 3.0 on the back and 1 x USB 3.0 on the right of the machine. There's also the usual VGA-Out, headphone, mic sockets, ethernet (again on left) and another socket that I don't know what it does. I'll edit if I find out. There's a High resolution camera in the middle top of the screen that I'm eyeing suspiciously for the social networkers out there.

Miscellaneous - there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of "bloatware" (free programs that come preinstalled on the machine by manufacturers to make revenue). There are some programs there but I'll tackle them in due course.

All in all, its not a cheap computer by any means, but for the specification, i think its fairly hard to beat. We're really pleased and hope to have a few years of service from our new computer. Thanks for reading.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2011 5:44 PM BST

Halo 3: ODST: Prima's Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides)
Halo 3: ODST: Prima's Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides)
by David S J Hodgson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.94

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good guide with certain limitations, 10 Oct. 2009
The guide is about 320 pages in length and is effectively split into two sections - ODST and Halo 3 multiplayer maps. For anyone not interested in playing Halo 3 online, bear in mind this guide will give you 150 pages on the 24 multiplayer maps, including tactics and weapon locations. In all honesty, its OK, but you learn maps by playing on them and I'm not convinced that this works.

The first 170 pages detail the ODST Campaign and it works very well. Each level is broken down into sections and you are given very good advice on completing the game on each of the game's difficulty levels. A run and gun technique might be offered for normal/easy; whereas a "use rocket launcher on this turret" would be offered on higher diffculties. The author recommends different weapon loadouts for each level and difficulty and it's comprehensive, if not essential to follow. I have my own favourites anyways (carbine as the battle rifle is sadly omitted).

Where the guide breaks down for me is with the audio diary collectables. There's a fascinating side story (detective story really) about a girl, Sadie and her efforts to flee New Mombasa during the Covenant invasion. Its really well told and there are achievements for collecting some or all of these Audio Diaries. You might think that buying the official guide would give you the locations of all 30 diaries, but, constant reader, you'd be wrong. Bungie, the game's developer are notorious about spoilers so you'll get vague reference to the diaries but not their locations. This is disappointing in my opinion for those who have invested in the guide, particularly as a map with each location is readily available from a Google search within hours of release.

So, all in all, this is an average guide. For collectors its probably essential. If you're struggling with the game, it will help you; but all in all I'm a bit disappointed with it.

Fallout 3: The Official Strategy Guide
Fallout 3: The Official Strategy Guide
by Future Press
Edition: Paperback

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware inadvertant spoilers, 1 Nov. 2008
This is an excellent guide to an excellent game and will no doubt add to your enjoyment of the game in finding all the items and achieving success in the quests.

However, there is one completely stupid thing in the guide. The Achievements section is in an Appendix with the location of the Bobble-Head figures that boost skills/Stats. On the facing page to this appendix is the various outcomes for the Game Ending!!!! It is extremely easy for a wayward glance during a scan of the appendix to see a game-breaking spoiler> Such a decision and not leaving a blank facing page has made me dock this guide a point.

So, caveat emptor. Enjoy the guide but take care it doesn't blow the whole game.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2: Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2: Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides)
by Michael Knight
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly realised guide, 19 Mar. 2007
Some games benefit from a strategy guide, others don't. There's precious little puzzles in GRAW 2, you're always given objectives and these are clearly marked on your map and HUD, so you always know what you're doing and where you're going at any moment in time. The single player game is short in GRAW 2 and with 3 difficulty levels, to be honest, the challenge is never off putting...yes, there's spikes in difficulty but little that this strategy guide will help you with.

There's a nice section on weaponry, but only reproduces whats in the EXTRAS section from the game. Where the game comes into its own is in multiplayer with 19 maps and I was hoping the guide would show these in detail. I was left wanting, they are reproduced in the guide but unfortunately they're tiny and very poorly realised and basically a waste of time.

All in all, I think this guide is a waste of money for this game.

F.E.A.R (Xbox 360)
F.E.A.R (Xbox 360)
Price: £23.90

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars F.E.A.R. - A superb FPS, 13 Nov. 2006
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: F.E.A.R (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
F.E.A.R. is a game that deserves to be played and enjoyed by anybody who loves good games, although the decision to release it in the same month as the massive Gears of War & Call of Duty 3 will certainly limit its success. The stigma of being a port of a 2005 PC game is another nail in the coffin from short-sighted gamers who criticise for the sake of it.

Make no mistake, as a first-person shooter F.E.A.R. is truly excellent with superb graphics, sound and gameplay. In my opinion the best feature is the artificial intelligence of the soldiers you face. If you've ever stood in a spot and held your finger on "fire" whilst wave after wave of enemies flung themselves onto your bullets be prepared for a shock with this. Enemies move in squads, they will flank you and try to get behind you at every opportunity. If you stay back in a safe spot, they'll try to flush you out with a grenade; they'll also respond to your flashlight if you're not careful when negotiating the levels - truly superb.

The storyline is suitably daft and there's a real supernatural theme running through the game with some good jump out of your skin moments - think Resident Evil 1 and the Dobermans through the window scene and you get the spoilers here though.

The game is a decent length, in addition to the campaign mode with different difficulty levels (changing how the guards react to you) there's a quick play mode, putting you in the driving seat of several set-pieces from the campaign and playing for a score which are uploaded to Xbox Live leader boards. There's also a multiplayer which I can't comment on as I haven't tried it yet.

In summary, some excellent games seem destined to failure through poor marketing, image and bad timing. If you enjoy this type of game there is loads here to keep you happy with good replay value, intelligent programming and a pace to the game that needs to be experienced. A lot of thought and effort has gone into F.E.A.R., all you need to do is give it a chance - you won't be disappointed.

Canon Pixma MP500 Photo All-in-One with LCD Viewer
Canon Pixma MP500 Photo All-in-One with LCD Viewer

176 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good quality all round printer/scanner/copier, 12 Nov. 2005
I've decided to buy this to support my current printer, a Canon S800 photo-printer. I've always found Canon printers to be well made, reliable and cost effective to own in term of ink costs etc. Whilst it early days for the MP500, I'm very impressed so far.
For starters, the price of this is very good when you consider all the features and quality of the thing. It looks fantastic in black and silver and complements any home or home/office set up. The print quality is very good indeed and with hardly any discernible difference with my old printer which uses "photo inks" in 2 of its cartridges. The speed is superb too and will surely satisfy anyone using it in the home or for light office work.
The copy and scan features work well, simply lift the lid, place document and press one button for black & white copy or another for colour - simplicity itself. Copying is very handy for the occasional times you want to keep a copy of a document for safe keeping or everyday use.
Perhaps the jewel in the crown is the LCD screen and memory card support, so you can quickly print images from cameras (Infra-red port for camera mobiles too) without having to download to computer first - extremely useful. The screen also makes the printer independant of the computer, so you can change things around without having to boot up the computer every time.
In summary, the cost of "all-in-one" printers has come down, whilst quality has gone up. They are extremely useful, neat solutions for the home. If you want perfect A4 photo-prints using specialist inks then look elsewhere. If you want an all round package that will meet the need of the family or home office, copy a signed contract before you send it back, scan in a nice photo from a friend that they want back etc. then you won't go far wrong with the MP 500.

Netgear DG834GT 108Mbps Wireless ADSL Modem Firewall Router with 4-port 10/100 switch
Netgear DG834GT 108Mbps Wireless ADSL Modem Firewall Router with 4-port 10/100 switch
Offered by NETWORK LTD
Price: £63.89

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Wireless Broadband in 30mins, 6 Mar. 2005
I wanted to link a single laptop to a new Virgin broadband account via a wireless connection - it had to go wrong, but it didn't.
After reading some of the reviews on here I was nervous, but glad I bought this Netgear system. Other people have put it better, but I was fully installed and wireless after 30 mins without any hassle. I've since had problems protecting the network but these have been down to my own lack of knowledge and nothing that I couldn't put right after referring to the CD manual.
I recommend you give this system a go and if you have any problems, fall back on Amazon's excellent customer service. I'm glad I made the leap and my laptop works wirelessly anywhere in the house. There's some excellent technical advice in other customer's reviews that worked well - its well worth having a look at all reviews for the various NETGEAR systems that Amazon sell.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD] [2001]
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Special Extended DVD Edition) [DVD] [2001]
Dvd ~ Elijah Wood
Price: £5.11

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful addition to the series, 17 Nov. 2002
I've been a Tolkien fan for most of my life and the recent translation of LOTR into film has accomplished a great deal and made the legend available to many people. This 4 disc set takes the cinema version and adds a great deal more to enhance that experience. This edition will not be for everybody, but I would suggest that if you enjoyed the books then this version is for you.
A great deal of the film's chapters have been enhanced, some briefly, and in my opinion the film has lost none of its balance or excitement as a result, despite running 30 mins longer. The new scenes are also incredible, the passing of the elves is particularly moving and its hard (in a way) to see how so much was left out of the cinema release.
I strongly recommend this edition, the director has ensured it stands on its own merits and it towers over the theatrical version. I look forward to the next films with great excitement.

Canon Powershot S30 Digital Camera [3MP 3xOptical]
Canon Powershot S30 Digital Camera [3MP 3xOptical]

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent buy..., 18 Jun. 2002
The S30 is an excellent digital camera for "advanced beginners" - there are simpler (and cheaper)cameras available for those who want to point and shoot, but the S30 gives you a whole host of features and settings for any interested amateur. I've used digital cameras from other manufacturers, namely Kodak and Nikon and been left wanting, but the Canon seems to do everything well with no major drawbacks.
The camera is very well made in a nice metal body, I really like the sliding lens cover - good protection and pretty much fool proof. The image quality is excellent - Please, please PLEASE don't get carried away on the megapixel issue, this camera produces superb 6" x 4" prints on one of the lower of its four resolution settings. Believe me, you won't be disappointed.
If I have one criticism - I wish the camera had a better battery life indicator - you only get a low battery warning, there's no "power bar" indicator like I have seen on some other cameras or mobile phones etc. This is a minor fault as other reviewers point out, the battery does last a good while.
Make sure you budget for an extra memory card, a 64Mb card is fairly cheap and gives you a lot more storage than the bundled card.
Conclusion - I'm delighted with the S30, its changed the way I take photos and since I've bought it I rarely leave a camera at home.

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