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All You Need Is Kill
All You Need Is Kill
Price: £3.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant sci-fi short story, 24 Oct 2012
With not a lot of time to read books, I do like interesting topics. All You Need Is Kill is an excellent short story, based on a sci-fi war where the protagonist relives the same day over and over, with an interesting twist. Excellent book to read in a few hours or on travel. I read it all in one go and loved it. Recommend.

Bush at War (Bush at War Part 1)
Bush at War (Bush at War Part 1)
by Bob Woodward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written insight into how the US Presidency worked post-911, 13 Aug 2012
This book is a well written insight how things functioned immediately before, and straight after 11th September 2011 when the USA planned to retaliate against Al Qaeda and the taliban. The author had good access to the Bush cabinet as well as Bush himself to get good accounts of what was said, and what happened. It gives you a good taste of how running the country and planning a war can be difficult. The book is a litte short and can sometimes be light on detail, but is a good journalistic account of the time.

Gear4 Black Ice Hard Plastic Case for iPhone 4 4S IC402
Gear4 Black Ice Hard Plastic Case for iPhone 4 4S IC402
Offered by total digital stores
Price: £6.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Good all round protection with additional front screen cover, 4 Jun 2012
It took me a long while to settle on a case for my iPhone 3 and I went through a lot of cases. So when I got an iPhone 4 I was worried I would have problems with finding a case. Thankfully I got this case straight away and there have been no problems. This is a snap on case where you put the iphone between the layers. The ends clip on securely and have not slipped off. There are areas on the shell which are empty for the camera/charger port/buttons etc. for easy access. The shell itself has a built in screen protector (so no more stick on layers). The shell is quite durable and the phone has survived a few drops already. I haven't found any faults. Highly recommend for a new iphone 4/4s case.

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power
by Rachel Maddow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.15

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing book on how separating military from civilian life has caused problems with US military power, 3 Jun 2012
I read this book as I had nothing to do during the holiday - however I do recommend reading this as it has an interesting central idea: namely that the US has been moving to separate civilian life from 'martial life' which has caused problems in a wider range of US politics. Without going into too much detail it spends a bit of time coming from the US constitution how all wars should be fought with civilians to allow the people to know what they are fighting for (loosely paraphrased). It spends a bit of time showing how various legal manoeuvres have ensured that civilians are not involved in understanding what the military does any more so that they are not involved in what is presented as major policy issues.

It gives a summary of why this has happened, and it shows the rise of private military contractors. The methods that successive US presidents have used to unilaterally declare war, or even what it sounds like illegally or clandestinely conduct 'wars' is quite scary. The descriptions of the private contractors as worrying suggesting that the US can "outsource" the war without taking responsibility, and there is sections suggesting that these contractors are immune from laws, and seem to not actively help the military but also contribute to sexual slavery if not outright paedophilia.

I'm not sure what the only other current review that is 1 star is on about because it doesn't even seem to review the central thesis of this book. I would state that it is better to actually read the book (lend it from a library if you need to) than fall into the right wing/left wing trap.

The argument seems to be well written down, and seems to suggest that the US needs to connect their people again with the idea of war so that wars are waged for the right reasons and everyone is behind it rather than paying mercenaries to wage war by proxy.

I highly recommend this interesting book to read. It is at least thought provoking even if you do not agree with its idea.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 9:25 PM BST

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Networked Attached Storage - extendable and useful, 3 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Synology DS212J is a great network attached storage unit (NAS). To actually review this I have to explain a few things, especially as the differences between the types of NAS are quite difficult to see.

What is a network attached storage unit - It means that instead of having a hard disk you can plug into the computer to save or backup documents, you plug it into the network so it can be accessed from any computer on your network. When I say network this is useful into your wifi router.

Why do this? - It means that you can share files between computers easily. Also with modern computers you can automatically set them up to backup to the hard disk in the NAS

Why the Synology NAS? - Because it seemed to be the best reviewed on amazon, the register etc. on looking at reviews (which you can also see on synology's website). Another recommended manufacturer was QNAP. Another reason was that I didn't trust the hard disk manufacturer's offerings that you can get through PC world etc. after having bad experiences with some of their products. Also the machine runs it own mini-operating system so you can load in additional packages to extend the basic functionality to do things like backup, run your own website, run your own email server, stream music and video to your tv, share photos, as well as making your own 'cloud' (like dropbox or google drive) that you can access your data from anywhere

What's the difference between the different NAS types from synology? - i write this as it took me a long time to understand the model numbers for synology. The last 2 numbers are the year it was made, and the number in front of this is how many spare hard drive bays there are to fill - so 212 means that it is the 2012 model with 2 bays. Apart from this models are termed with no suffix, with a plus ("+") to indicate a more powerful model, or "J" to indicate a more consumer focused model

So it comes with a hard disk? - You can buy it with hard disks but I bought the basic roughly £160 model with no hard disk as I had a spare 1TB hard disk. You need to have (I think) a serial ATA type of disk. But you can put in as much hard disk as you can afford. It means that I also have a spare bay to add more capacity later

What can it do? - I haven't done very much with this yet. I have done basic backup, file sharing, and got it to stream things to my computer, and to the playstation 3. You can easily set it up so that any video on the disk can be streamed to 'DLNA' compatible machines so that you can see it anywhere in the house. Since smart TVs can do this it means you can view your videos etc anywhere. I have also moved data from an old hard disk via the usb port on the synology onto the machine itself

What pitfalls are there? - You need to have a slight bit of elbow grease to get things going to actually click the hard disk in place, and then to set it up. The one thing that I need to share is that whilst the machine works well in itself, sometimes spending too long accessing the machine via the web interface seems on my machine (maybe I am unlucky) to make it crash, however accessing it other ways the machine is stable. Once it is set up it chugs along fine.

What do you still need to do? - I need to set up the backup so that I can use my mac's time macine function to backup data to the machine. Also there are approved applications for the machine which you can get from synology to do other things but I think i'll try them slowly in the future.

Should I get one? - if you want to backup data properly this is great, although you should also keep off site data if you truly want to keep all those memories safe. there is a bit of an upfront expense in getting this but I certainly recommend it. you even keep control of your own data rather than putting it on some of the online sharing sites

I will try and update this as things go by

Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine (Oxford Medical Handbooks)
Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine (Oxford Medical Handbooks)
by Jonathan P. Wyatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £31.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4th Edition - good update to great handbook, 3 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The new 4th edition of the Oxford Handbook of Emergency Medicine (Oxford Medical Handbooks) is a great update for anyone working in an emergency department. The book is an update to the old books, but contains updated protocols. It is not the most comprehensive book, but then again it does not claim to be so as it is a handbook. It contains all the basics and is still in the same small format. I cannot find any fault with the book. Recommend

Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy
by John Julius Norwich
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all history of the papacy, 9 April 2012
I have to say as a general interest history book this is quite fantastic. The book is a history of the papacy from the earliest recorded times. It actually deals with how the papacy was actually formed and the power and money struggles as well as the intrigues of how everything worked. It was quite an eye opener in how the early papacy wasn't really "holy" and how a lot of things were done for money. Some of the really shocking tales are of the selling of indulgences, and the massacres of the Cathar population. The book is quite easily readable and will take a week or two reading chapter by chapter. Overall quite a nice easy reading book for general knowledge. Recommend!

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Price: £6.22

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story on how common sense isn't actually true and using statistics to succeed at baseball, 8 April 2012
The title says it all. The book is a story of how statistics was used in baseball to try and succeed in the game. It defies the "old conventional wisdom" on what makes baseball success, and on what people used to look for, and then explains what actual measures in baseball actually lead to success. The book is highly recommended by many and I was interested on what it actually said.

Boiling it down it is a story of how many old style baseball managers and fans have outdated views of what makes success, and how by measuring individual players movements and comparing them to how often they win, the manager made a team which beat the odds. By essentially buying low and selling high the manager managed to gain the team success over the course of a few seasons.

The book does have an interesting parallel to football in the UK as money here does seem to buy success as in the USA. The book is a great supporter of using performance measures to make the best team, however in the end it does seem to state that you can beat the odds over a long season but in individual games luck does seem to play a part.

Overall it is a very interesting read, albeit I had to look up some of the baseball terminology every now and again. Highly recommend.

Locked On (Jack Ryan Jr Book 3)
Locked On (Jack Ryan Jr Book 3)
Price: £3.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay story for Tom Clancy fans but quite stagnant plot otherwise, 19 Mar 2012
I do like Tom Clancy however I just feel that while there is no major change to his writing, the whole "story-world" that he creates is stagnating. The book seems like an obsessives guide to current military equipment and there is nothing really outstanding about the book. He does try and bring current politics into the book again to frame why the story as it is. Again the story seems to be one of a secret US spy agency trying to prevent further middle east terrorism. It is not a bad book and for fans of the genre it will be a good read, however if you are not interested into this genre I would avoid.

Walking a Golden Mile
Walking a Golden Mile

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sobering autobiography of an underrated wrestler, 28 Nov 2011
Walking a Golden Mile is a great autobiography. It gives you a good insight into the life and career of 'William Regal', but also delves into the background of pro-wrestling and what it took for him to get to the top. This also has a good insight into the horrors of drug abuse that he faced, and why he hasn't quite lived up to his potential. I always wondered why this guy hadn't been given such a prominent role and this book does reveal what had happened, but how he has also had lucky breaks. A good read for fans of this wrestler.

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