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William Smith (Edinburgh, UK)

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De'Longhi EC330S Machine
De'Longhi EC330S Machine
Offered by Alex Shanks Ltd
Price: £121.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Loud, weak, luke warm, tasteless, 3 Mar. 2014
Purchased this De'Longhi EC330S and have concluded that its a total waste of money.

Firstly a normal 'mug' will not fit under the machine unless you remove the entire drip tray, so you'll have to either use tea cups or wide-brimmed coffee cups similar to those found in High Street coffee shops. If you remove the drip tray and place a normal mug on the plastic part below the tray, then when the machine starts to heat up the water, there is so much vibration that the empty mug will move from under the spout allowing the emerging coffee to miss the mug and pour onto the work surface (and without the drip tray it'll go everywhere of course).

The double-spout which emerges from the coffee grains holder are SO close together it is almost impossible to get two cups (mugs or cups) under each spout. When you do position them right for each spout, the machine vibrates so much when heating the water that the cups constantly 'chink' together adding to the incredible noise from the water boiler/pump.

As mentioned above, the noise that emanates from the coffee maker when it is preparing the water is intolerable. Its not the steam-pressure water-boiling noise that you might imagine from a coffee maker, but a loud drill like bang-bang-bang noise. I'm given to understand that this is the water-pump presumably building up pressure to emit the water/steam for the coffee.

It seems you have to click a button on the front to heat/pressurise the water and wait till the green OK light comes on (all the time it is banging away and vibrating like crazy). This then forces the water to 'trickle' its way through the coffee grains and into the vibrating pair of cups.

You then have to press another button and wait till its green OK light comes on before you can start to froth the milk. The steam frother worked okay, but its not so impressive as to make up for the ludicrous amount of noise generated by this coffee maker. And the spout for the frother is so low down on the side of the unit it makes it somewhat tricky to get anything but a small mug/cup or very small jug of milk underneath it.

We've tried various coffee's from this machine and i'm not impressed by the quality of any of them. Even allowing for the 'learning factor' required for this particular machine, it simply isn't a good coffee maker.

You'll find it on offer at Tesco for £89 (March 2014) but even at that reduced price its not worth buying. The poor resulting coffee, vibration and extremely loud water pump make it an unwelcome addition in my kitchen.

Veho VCC-003-MUVI-BLK MUVI Micro Digital Camcorder for Action Sports/Surveillance (Includes 4Gb Memory)
Veho VCC-003-MUVI-BLK MUVI Micro Digital Camcorder for Action Sports/Surveillance (Includes 4Gb Memory)
Offered by total digital stores
Price: £36.46

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small DVR but consider alternatives, 19 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Delivery was uneventful, so cant fault the reseller.

However, I have some criticisms of the product itself and some recommendations for alternatives.

The device is small (about the size of a USB memory stick, slightly fatter) but its quite compact and sturdy with the case being of metal rather than plastic. There are no protruding parts, so nothing really to snap off. The power button and VOX button on each side are small slider buttons which are a bit fiddly (a finger nail will help) but fine. The record button is a tiny square press button on top of the unit, it works fine. The USB connector is at the bottom (not the flat mini-USB style connection now common on mobile Phones, its the older style D shaped connector).

The camera fits quite snugly into the small crocodile-clip holder but the clips 'grip' isn't quite tight and weighted correctly which means that if you clip it to a shirt or jacket the camera will probably droop downwards or off to one side. Not the end of the world. If you want to attach it to your car dashboard or bike then perhaps a piece of velcro-fastener would be most suitable.

I found the video quality to be satisfactory but not outstanding. Audio recording wasn't great.

One thing that has annoyed me is that I cannot set the 'time' in the device - it doesn't have a clock! Every video .avi file has a creation time of 31st Dec. 2000. I believe the more expensive Pro model has a clock.

So far battery life seems okay but I haven't had it long enough to know if it begins to drop off with use.

If you want to use this device as an in-car DVR then perhaps you should consider something cheaper such as the "Car Dash Vehicle Recorder" (, its £14.62 at the time of writing (although you should be aware that it is a typically cheap mass produced product shipped from China; not that the Veho isn't!).

If you want a personal DVR for whilst out walking or cycling consider the Toshiba Clip ( I haven't tried this device myself but it does have a better spec and is slightly cheaper. It also has a small screen to see what you have recorded.

Alternatively, for in-car dash or biking consider a cheap mobile phone (you can get an Android phone for £59 at Tesco) and install the FREE DailyRoads Voyager app on Android or the FREE Road Eye app on Windows Phone (haven't checked for an iPhone equivalent). With built in GPS you can even track your journey, upload to DropBox and its a phone too!

The Veho VCC-003 is a neat little DVR but they need to do better in terms of its capabilities in order to beat the alternatives.

Sony RDR-HXD870 - DVD Recorder With 160GB Hard Drive - With Freeview - Black
Sony RDR-HXD870 - DVD Recorder With 160GB Hard Drive - With Freeview - Black

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor interface and abilities compared to cheaper Freeview recorders, 13 Feb. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm afraid I can't give this recorder a high score rating - I don't feel it deserves one in comparison to the alternatives that are now available.

The recorder works well but I rather wish I had bought something like the hard drive recorder available from the TopUpTV people and available for around £95 in a certain large UK supermarket.

1) The menu/interface on the Sony is less than intuitive - it's difficult to find the one option you want to change amongst the significant variety of menus and options to choose from (and I'm a computing science graduate!)

2) The hard drive records about 70hrs in standard mode (the TUTV box does likewise)

3) you can 'pause' live TV but unlike the TUTV box you cannot rewind live TV (the TUTV is constantly spooling the channel you are watching to its 30min hard drive buffer allowing you to rewind by up to 30mins at any time).

4) The Sony manual is very comprehensive. It's more of a small book (all in English). Unfortunately is seems to have lost any semblance of structure - it's difficult to find your way through the book and chapters/titles are poor (as one of the previous reviewers comments it seems obsessed with instructing you on how to wire up your separate Freeview set top box to the Sony - if I wanted to do that why would I have bought a combinded Freeview/hard drive recorder!?)

5) The Sony provides TWO types of EPG - the built in Sony one and a Guide+ (digital teletext) one. The Sony one is poor - the main issue is that as soon as you open it up it switches off the TV picture & audio (it's not picture-in-picture or superimposed) - you have to peruse the channels in total silence. Also you have to press another button to read the programme synopsis. The Guide+ EPG is better (it provides picture-in-picture allowing you to keep an eye on the programme you were watching) but it's plagued with ugly graphics and irritating programme adverts using up valuable screen space.

6) here's my biggest reason for scoring down the Sony in comparison to the TUTV box (apart from the price!). The Sony only includes one Freeviewe tuner - as mentioned by other reviewers you cannot record one Freeview channel while watching another. The TUTV not only flawlessly allows you to record one and watch the other but it can simultaneously record TWO Freeview channels at the same time!!

The TUTV box of course does not include a DVD drive and the Sony is certainly fast at dubbing recordings from the internal HDD to a DVD but on the whole I'm very disappointed with my purchase. For less than half of the price of the Sony recorder, the TUTV box does everything I could have wanted. For the difference in price between the Sony and the TUTV box (or other similar cheap Freeview recorder) I could have bought a good DVD only recorder as well.

To be balanced I should say that the Sony is near silent in operation whereas the TUTV box I bought has an annoying fan/case vibration problem.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2008 3:15 PM BST

Edinburgh (Pevensey Heritage Guides)
Edinburgh (Pevensey Heritage Guides)
by Malcolm MacDonald
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read; well informed; crammed history of Edinburgh, 25 Dec. 2005
I've had this small book for some years now and have read and re-read it a number of times. Its so easy to read and is crammed with a high paced potted history of both the Old town and the New town. This is my definitive 'tour guides handbook' of Edinburgh. Everytime i have friends coming to visit for the first time I flick through this book as a quick refresher and then take them on an informed walk around the city. It has less than 100 pages and lots of colour photos so its not difficult to read. If you want a short 'tour guide' to the history of Edinburgh this is the book for you.

HP Color Laserjet 2550N Laser Printer
HP Color Laserjet 2550N Laser Printer

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice but noisy, 27 Jun. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This colour laser printer seemed to get excellent reviews based on its quality of printing, affordability and the length of time the colour toner cartridges last. I cant fault it on any of these counts.
However it is very noisy while printing. Most of the time it sits in silence but every now & again or whenever you send something to the printer it makes quite a 'racket' as the toner cartridges are revolved around inside the printer. Perhaps it'll quieten down with use!

Upgrading and Repairing PCs (Upgrading & Repairing PC's (W/DVD))
Upgrading and Repairing PCs (Upgrading & Repairing PC's (W/DVD))
by Scott Mueller
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could possibly want to know about PCs, 20 Jun. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is designed for PC engineers - its full of technical information and schematic diagrams covering ALL imaginable PC hardware. The text is very readable but if your new to PC internals then you would do better to look at other books (eg. Mike Meyers All-in-One A+ Study Guide).
The accompanying DVD contains PDF (Adobe Acrobat) versions of previous editions of the book which are easy to search through and also approx. 1hour of DVD video presented by Scott Mueller himself. He's not the best of presenters and the 10 or so topics presented seem an odd combination but quite informative (i enjoyed watching him 'fry' an AMD Athlon CPU!)
Its a BIG book containing BIG information. The field guide is much smaller but quite comprehensive too.

Robin Williams Web Design Workshop (Robin Williams Design Workshop)
Robin Williams Web Design Workshop (Robin Williams Design Workshop)
by Robin Williams
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.50

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st Class web DESIGN book, 23 Oct. 2002
This book ranks as one of my all-time best technical books! Its wonderfully well presented - plenty of illustrations and photos, and is written in a jargon free manner (infact its almost like a novel!)
The book covers all the DESIGN aspects of creating web sites and gives plenty of insight into HOW to build them. If you are a techie-head and want to know all the coding tricks, then forget it - this ISNT the book for you. If you have any kind of flair for design or even just an appreciation of what makes a GOOD web site AND you can handle technological explanations (not heavy code!!), then this IS the book for you.
Its glossy, its easy to read and packed with examples. If you want to know what makes a GOOD web site then you MUST buy this book.
PS. Another good choice is "Web Design, Tools and Techniques" by Peter Kentie. It however is a bit more 'application' oriented and less 'design-y'

Networking by Example
Networking by Example
by Barry Press
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro & reference with LOTS of examples!, 12 Oct. 2002
This review is from: Networking by Example (Paperback)
This book takes the reader quickly through the basics of Networking and provides plenty of 'concrete' examples of how to configure your own PC. The book uses examples in Win95/98 and NT/2000 and also Linux. If you arent interested in Linux (or vice-versa) then the book is STILL good reference and provides an insight into how other systems are setup for networking. There is also a wealth of information on hardware and plenty of pictures showing exactly what a router looks like, or a how to wire-up an ethernet cable etc.
Dont worry if you are new to networking (I am!) - this book really will teach you with examples. The examples used are still very up-to-date and relevant.
An excellent book which i STILL return to for reference on how to change my home network. Also good for new staff learning about how to administer the office network.

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