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Oliver! "Tea house warrior" (Saltaire, West Yorkshire, UK)
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Fractal Design Define R3 PC Case (Mini ITX, 8x 3.5 HDD/SSD, 2x 5.25 HDD, 2x 120 mm Fans, 2x USB 2.0) Grey
Fractal Design Define R3 PC Case (Mini ITX, 8x 3.5 HDD/SSD, 2x 5.25 HDD, 2x 120 mm Fans, 2x USB 2.0) Grey

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great build quality, lots of space, style and USB 3 front panel port, 15 April 2012
This is a great PC case and the best I personally I've had so far - and I had quite a few. It's priced quite modestly for the quality - it really belongs to the higher end of the market.

I prefer Titanium colour over more common black and it looks gorgeous. I am not sure about white colour they used for HD slots, would prefer total black inside and out. But at least it's original (and they are only seen from the back or inside).

There's plenty of room inside (8 HDD slots and 2 5.25 slots) with good cabling options.

There are 2 quality silent fans included with space for 5 (!) more. Personally 2 is well enough for my PC (6-core based) as it is running at 30C max. There are 8 HDD trays with rubber stands for silent HDD operation. They are not screwless but that's fine with me.

Case is fitted with noise-insulation along all panels so is very silent indeed.

There is a front USB 3 socket which is very handy (along with 2 USB2 and audio sockets). This was a selling point for me as I use USB devices all the time, inc USB 3 external drive and I do not like crawling under the table to put them in or out.

Some technical tips:

Supports graphic card lengths up to circa 290mm and CPU coolers with height of maximum circa 165mm

Supports PSU's with a depth of maximum circa 170mm, when using bottom 120/140mm fan location. When not using the bottom 120/140mm fan location, the case supports also longer PSU's, typically 200-220mm.

Can highly recommend this case for any PC enthusiast.


Fundamentals of Modern Photography
Fundamentals of Modern Photography
by Tom Ang
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What this book is (and what it is not), 6 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Don't get me wrong, this is a great book, both in terms of print quality, included imagery and content.

Just it's not what I thought it would be based on Amazon's description. It says that "Practical exercises and summaries are included in each chapter, providing a complete set of tutorials." - making me think it is a how-to book for beginners, which I am, and can be used as a practical guide to photography. As it seems description is slightly wrong here, as there are no practical exercises or tutorials in this book.

What it is, is a photo version of Encyclopedia Britannica - most complete and extensive collection of articles on each and every subject of photography.

Book is divided into 11 chapters:

What is photography
Fundamentals of light
The camera
Capturing the light
Using the lens
Manipulating light
Working with colour
Processing the image
Digitizing the image
Outputting the image
References

Each chapter deals with corresponding aspects of photography, ie chapter "What is photography" has entrance on types of photography: scientific, industrial, surveillance, forensic, medical, commercial etc. clearly explaining what they are. Later it describes all types of cameras, lenses, and other photo equipment. Then how photography works, how light is captured, transformed - well you have an idea now.

If you need complete and handy reference to anything related to photography, you need this book. But if you are looking for manual or tutorial, especially one for beginners, you will need to look for some other books.

Personally I am glad I found Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera - it is very concise, simple and easy to understand and follow.

Hope this review will help you to make an informed decision before buying this book.


Right Angled GOLD HDMI HD v1.4 Lead Cable 2 Metre 1080p
Right Angled GOLD HDMI HD v1.4 Lead Cable 2 Metre 1080p

5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality cable, 6 April 2012
I use this cable to connect my TV to a BD player and it works perfectly. You do not need more expensive cable, as simple as that. Do not let store salesmen fool you into buying 19.90 cables!


The Complete Studio Albums Collection
The Complete Studio Albums Collection
Price: 30.99

117 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remastered sound of a great collection, 3 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this set as a gift for my wife who now listens it all the time, and I can not help noticing the quality of sound on these records. All records have been fully remastered for this set. I am not an "audiophile" but I can tell when I hear good sound, and the sound here is simply awesome - very strong and deep. If you are a fan of Leonard Cohen this collection is simply a must, I am sure you will enjoy it.

The albums that are included in this collection (for some reason this information is omitted from description, I thought it is important, so here you are):

1. Songs of Leonard Cohen
2. Songs from a Room
3. Songs of Love and Hate
4. New Skin for the Old Ceremony
5. Death of a Ladies' Man
6. Recent Songs
7. Various Positions
8. I'm Your Man
9. The Future
10. Ten New Songs
11. Dear Heather
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2013 2:11 PM GMT


Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing: Anapana Dipani
Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing: Anapana Dipani
by Ledi Sayadaw
Edition: Paperback
Price: 2.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Buddhist treasure, 3 April 2012
This little treasure of Buddhist tradition was written by venerable Ledi Sayadaw in 1910 by request of Burmese king as a manual of breathing meditation for the king and his son.

It first gives a theoretical background of what is meditation and why it should be practiced by everyone wishing to liberate himself, and then proceeds to the most precise meditation instruction I have ever came across.

It is based on Buddha's Anapanasati Sutta (which can be translated as "Teaching on Breathing Meditation) with citations from the Sutta and following commentaries.

Whole book is less than 50 pages, but it can take a lifetime (or lifetimes) of practice to fully realize it's wisdom. That does not mean you won't have immediate benefits from reading it - on the contrary, it can help any serious meditation practitioner - beginner or even advanced master - better understand the practice and advance further in meditation.

I read this book together with Mindfulness with Breathing: A Manual for Serious Beginners by Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and I found them to be extremely complementary to each other. Mahasi Sayadaw's book is very brief, but extremely precise and thoroughly traditional while Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's book is more informal and suited for Western audience. Both are, probably, the best books on breathing meditation I was able to read and study.


Mindfulness with Breathing: A Manual for Serious Beginners
Mindfulness with Breathing: A Manual for Serious Beginners
by Phra Thēpwisutthimēthī
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.03

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breath of life, 3 April 2012
This is a book of a great Buddhist master and teacher from Theravada tradition Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, composed of a series of lectures and meditation instructions given by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in 1986. They are all dedicated to a subject of Buddhist breathing meditation (Anapanasti).

In Buddha's own words Anapanasati is the most powerful tool for advancing one's practice, and can not be underestimated. Buddha himself reached the Enlightenment while practicing meditation (more advanced stages, but still based on breathing meditation practice).

If you are not a Buddhist and/or new to meditation please do not be discouraged by Buddhist terminology - it is used very sparingly in this book with every term clearly explained and used only for giving better understanding of the subject (not all words have exact English equivalents as you can imagine, so use of Buddhist terms is very appropriate). Of course if you follow Buddhist path or familiar with Buddhist principles it will be easier for you to read this book and make full use of it. But even people from other traditions will benefit from Buddhadasa Bhikkhu very clear and precise meditation instructions.

I can not rate this book high enough - it is a very rare masterpiece on a very complex subject, which is meditation. Contrary to popular belief and various self-help books on meditation you do need a very good teacher to help you at every stage of your practice, be it first step or advanced stages. He will not only help you practice correctly, thus making faster progress, but he can also pull you through various obstacles that otherwise can slow you down quite a lot. Thus, a "real" teacher is really essential to start or advance your meditation practice, but this book can fill the gap if you do not have constant access to a very good teacher, say if you only visit few retreats or classes a year (or just been to one). Then this book will help you find answers to questions you did not have a chance to ask, or which you had later.

This book makes a very good reference to traditional (Theravada) Buddhist breathing practices, from first to most advanced stages. It is fairly short and very easy to read, so can be read once very fast and then used on a daily basis as a manual helping your practice.

I read it together with Manual of Mindfulness of Breathing: Anapana Dipani by Mahasi Sayadaw and I found them to be extremely complementary to each other. Mahasi Sayadaw's book is very brief, but extremely precise and thoroughly traditional while Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's book is more informal and suited for Western audience. Both are, probably, the best books on breathing meditation I was able to read and study.


Cool Master 1150/AM3 Cooling Fan for CPU
Cool Master 1150/AM3 Cooling Fan for CPU
Offered by IvoryEgg Limited
Price: 27.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent CPU Fan, 28 Mar 2012
This is one great CPU Fan. It is very slim and can be mounted vertically so it does not touch memory slots like some other coolers.

It was not easy to install and required youtube installation guide - you can easily find it there. Enclosed instructions are a joke, repeated in some 20 languages. But once installed I am totally happy with it (and my AMD FX 6200 CPU as well).

Fan is working at around 600-700 RPM most of the time which even triggered some MB alarms that it might not be working but with CPU running at 27 (yes!) degrees why rotate faster?
Please mind the dimensions - this baby is very slim but tall - 120 x 80 x 159 mm (4.7 x 3.1 x 6.3 inch) so did not fit into one of my cases (Cooler Master Silencio 550).


Be Quiet! BQT F1-600W PSU Efficient Power
Be Quiet! BQT F1-600W PSU Efficient Power

5.0 out of 5 stars Great top quality high-end PSU, 27 Mar 2012
This is a high-end power supply with lots of cables (all nicely braided):

1 x 20+4 Pin
1 x 4+4pin CPU +12V
4 x 4pin Molex
2 x 6+2pin PCI-E Power
2 x 6pin PCI-E Power
1 x FDD Power
6 x SATA Power

Quality is as good as it gets, as 80+ Gold certification suggests. It uses top of the range capacitors which will last for years. Fan is great and near-silent, can't hear it at all with case closed!

There are not many reviews out there as this a German brand and hard to find in the US (where most review sites are) but the ones you can find praise this PSU highly, so I am not alone to like it.

It comes with very nice box with 4 screws, UK power lug and cable ties enclosed.

Great alternative to more known brands, and great value for money.


Samsung NX External Flash Guide Number 15
Samsung NX External Flash Guide Number 15
Offered by TODO! TODO!
Price: 59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great flash for Samsung cameras, 27 Mar 2012
I received this Flash as part of the deal with Samsung NX100, not sure if I'd be buying it separately, but now I have used it, I can't go without it.

It is more powerful than most built-in flashes and has its own batteries (AAA) so does not draw on camera batteries.

There are more powerful guns out there but this one is just fine for me. Can't fault it at all.


Samsung NX100 Interchangeable Lens Camera - Black (3.0 inch AMOLED Display,14.6MP, 20-50 F51mm Lens) (discontinued by manufacturer)
Samsung NX100 Interchangeable Lens Camera - Black (3.0 inch AMOLED Display,14.6MP, 20-50 F51mm Lens) (discontinued by manufacturer)

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best camera in 200 price range, 27 Mar 2012
You might know that camera users are like football fans, with rivalry Canon vs Nikon vs.... going on for years. I am coming from a Fiji camp (happy user for 10 years of different models) so trying Samsung was not without hesitations!

Yet I had to replace my ageing Fuji s20 Pro which was a great camera at the time but is very outdated now, and new Fuji models (x100, x1 Pro) are great (imho) but well over my budget. I was going to wait till the price for any of the above comes down so that I could buy it, but then saw this Samsung at unbelievably low price, and I bought it right away.

It has APS-C sensor which is about 10 times larger than best point-and-shoot cameras have, and about 20% larger than M4/3 cameras. As you can imagine bigger sensor produces much more detailed and generally better pictures than smaller sensors. For me coming from an older model it was like night and day - and my Fuii was quite good camera!

Even if you stay in P&S mode ("Smart") where you don't need to do anything, just press the button, images are crisp, detailed, and with good colours. Autofocus is quite fast and accurate, which is important for photographing children (always running!). Start-up time and shooting speed are great too, no more waiting to make a shot. Menu is quite extensive, but very intuitive, which is the more important as user manual is very limited to say the least. AMOLED screen is a joy to use both for menu set up and taking pictures - very bright and clear even at sunlight. I am still learning to use the advanced settings and modes, but camera is very forgiving to my not always best settings. And I can always let it drive with Smart mode which works every time!

Camera is very light and small so can be carried anywhere. With another lens (30mm "pancake" which I highly recommend) it is even pocketable! Due to very reasonable price we can take it anywhere and not be afraid to damage 1000-worth of equipment - good to take cycling, hiking, on holidays etc.

20-50mm kit lens is absolutely respectable piece of glass, producing great pictures. You can check reviews, many users comment that they got this camera just for the lens alone. It retails at about 200 - so in my case I bought the lens and got a great camera free! In combination with great body it's a steal at this price!

While there are more advanced cameras on the market today, and even Samsung have a newer model (NX200) I don't think NX100 can be beaten in this price range. If you have limited budget and need a great, small camera - you definitely won't be disappointed with NX100!

UPDATE. I have been using this camera for a few months now and I love it more and more. I can take it anywhere and make great shots when I need it. Video option is great, too, much better than our Sanyo video-cam!
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2012 10:21 AM GMT


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