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Mr. R. C. E. Stevenson "sbob" (UK)
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Castro
Castro
by Reinhard Kleist
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Graphic Bio-pic in book form, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: Castro (Paperback)
Like a film, the book features flashbacks and cut-scenes. I enjoyed it immensely and think it is a good introduction to this major figure of 20th Century politics. It is generally sympathetic but not as much as the wholly partisan (but nonetheless very entertaining) the "... For Beginners" series by Icon Press.


Technique Of The Saxophone, Volume 2
Technique Of The Saxophone, Volume 2
by Various
Edition: Paperback
Price: 16.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Good exercises, wasted paper, 24 Aug 2011
This book has some nice ideas to develop facility with scales allowing players to overcome the root-note bias. However there are two problems, at least as far as I'm concerned:

1) Huge waste of paper. An idea is introduced, e.g. a pattern starting on each note of a major scale in turn (i.e. working through the modes). However rather than just showing the pattern through two or three examples, every variation is written out... and then re-written in 11 more keys. For jazz inclined players this is reinforcing the tyranny of the dots.

2) Despite a stated aim of moving away from root-note bias the book still shows an overwhelming bias for scales that start in ascending form. To be fair, most books always ascend before descending. No idea why? Many compentent amateur players can't play a descending major scale without first playing it ascending.

Not a lot of money however, and with the caveats mentioned above, still probably worthwhile, though for aspiring jazz players, Oliver Nelson's Patterns for Jazz is a better bet.


Sennheiser HD201 Closed Dynamic Stereo headphones
Sennheiser HD201 Closed Dynamic Stereo headphones
Price: 17.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for the money. Good isolation but all boom & tizz, 23 April 2011
For the very low price these are a decent pair of headphones. I bought them for my son to use on the computer so he didn't damage my 20 year old Quart MB90s, which were expensive then (90). I kind of hoped economies of scale and modern production techniques (in reality this means Chinese wage slaves) would have closed the gap so that these would end up not too bad.

They are OK, definitely, but they are very boomy (not bassy exactly, the pitch of the bass notes are very difficult to detect) allied to a fizzy top end.

They are closed cans however (meaning they isolate the outside world by making a good seal around your ears), and if this a required they are good at listening without external distractions, without needing high volumes.

Like another review here, it seems a bit churlish to criticise such cheap cans, but so long as you realise headphones could actually sound tons better, albeit for considerably more money, then you won't go too far wrong.


Verbatim 44094 16GB Retractable USB Drive Blue
Verbatim 44094 16GB Retractable USB Drive Blue
Offered by K Direct
Price: 9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Contents unreadable, 1 Mar 2011
On two separate occasions in the past fortnight I have inserted this memory stick only to find the disk has become unformatted & my data has been lost. I'm a teacher and both occasions were when I had prepared something for use in class - not a good start to a lesson. I have used other memory sticks in the same context for several years, always ejecting the drive in the System Tray before physically pulling it out. After the first problem I reformatted as NTFS thinking that was a more robust filing system, but to no avail - it's just done it to me again. Used for a while successfully on Win 7 and Vista.

I'd choose an alternative.


Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: A Visual Introduction to Digital Photography
Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: A Visual Introduction to Digital Photography
by Philip Andrews
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent "missing manual", 30 May 2010
I am new to Elements, having used Photoshop briefly a few years ago, and this book was ideal. I bought it in a bookshop after perusing all their selection. It covers each of the options simply and without fuss, but with a full colour illustration of each technique, and suggestions of where to use it.

Since my copy of Elements came without a paper manual, this is an ideal reference to have on the desk, for those of us who prefer to read things on paper.


The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking
The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking
by Edward B. Burger
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most mathematical maths text books, 11 April 2009
This is a fantastic introduction to all things mathematical. The emphasis is on mathematical *thinking* rather than methods, and numerous puzzles and props allow the maths to be really understood.

But... the book is an introduction to the methods of a professional mathematician, so the topics aren't algebra, trigonometry, calculus. Rather there are loads of interesting and challenging examples from knot theory, topology, chaos theory, equivalence classes, number theory, voting maths. Comes with 3D glasses, non transitive dice, CD-Rom etc.

Well worth the not-insubstantial price. Perhaps accompanied with the other expensive but excellent book Mathematics from the Birth Of Numbers, which is far more 'traditional' (lots of algebra, proof as well as history of maths).


Sony Walkman NWZ-S639FB 16GB Drag & Drop MP4 Video Player with FM Tuner - Black
Sony Walkman NWZ-S639FB 16GB Drag & Drop MP4 Video Player with FM Tuner - Black

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK - sound quality not audiophile though & interface could be better, 12 Jan 2009
Like another reviewer here I bought this player to replace my old iRiver H320 which has died (at least the battery has). It's very small though I'm not one to fetishize such things, the iRiver was much bigger but fitted in any pocket very easily. There comes a point where smaller is just pointless.

The Sony works really well in Vista - seamless and error free with WMP11, iTunes and Explorer. The interface is OK, but I was surprised it can't do half the things the 4 year old iRiver used to do - shuffle within a folder, for example, or play for 30 mins before switching itself off (ideal for sending me off to sleep).

The clock screensaver spends most of it's time as a blank screen, only showing the clock for about 3 seconds every 20 - so I pull the machine out of my pocket to see the time and have about 5 keys to press to get it.

It can't display text files, which I have found useful on the H320. And the most annoying thing is it can't 'queue' files - ie you can't select the track to play next without immediately switching to it.

On the plus side, it has a very fast startup (instant!) and handles podcasts well when used with iTunes - great for Radio 4 junkies.

Finally, it must be said that it does sound a bit 'boxy' - a little bit like listening to music through a toilet roll. It's not *bad* (and by all accounts is still better than iPod sound) but the iRiver sounds SO much more natural - both machines were compared through a decent amp/speakers and through Etymotic headphones.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2009 11:22 AM GMT


Undaunted: The True Story Behind the Popular Shock-Jock
Undaunted: The True Story Behind the Popular Shock-Jock
by Jon Gaunt
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.48

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In insight into knee-jerk reaction politics, 2 July 2008
I'm not a fan of Gaunt's show, but the book was useful in showing how such simplistic worldviews - and a desire to press them upon others - come about. Worth a few nights reading.


The Night & The Music
The Night & The Music
Price: 14.42

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the world's great jazz pianists, 4 Jun 2008
This review is from: The Night & The Music (Audio CD)
Fred Hersch was the tutor of two young individualistic pianists making great waves in jazz today, Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson (from The Bad Plus). I'm reluctant to compare Hersch to Bill Evans, since every piano trio seems to get lazily compared to Bill's (for example Brad is often compared to him, but Brad's contrapuntal approach has very marked differences). Fred Hersch though to my ears does have some of the lightness of touch allied to sudden, surprising melodic flights that exemplifes the 1960's Bill Evans trio.

This is a solid album that bears many repeated listenings. His tour de force in my opinion is his other CD, Leaves of Grass - one of the greatest albums of the decade.


Key Account Management in Financial Services: Tools and Techniques for Building Strong Relationships with Major Clients
Key Account Management in Financial Services: Tools and Techniques for Building Strong Relationships with Major Clients
by Peter Cheverton
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide, 19 April 2008
If you're looking for KAM information, you really should read the main man on the subject Peter Cheverton. This book includes most of the information you'd pay hundreds for on one of his popular masterclasses, so save yourself the time & expense and learn these important strategies and techniques on the train!


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