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Reviews Written by
Amazon Customer "larsbar" (Glasgow)

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Roberts Stream 83i Stereo DAB/FM/WiFi Internet Radio with 3 Way Speaker System
Roberts Stream 83i Stereo DAB/FM/WiFi Internet Radio with 3 Way Speaker System

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cessation of last.fm streaming services loses this radio its USP, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this radio for nearly 5 years now and it's given great service as a DAB radio as well as an internet streaming device. The low-resolution display makes searching for stations a bit cumbersome, but otherwise the hardware is well designed and integrates nicely with the firmware. BUT, and it's a big but, the 83i has just lost its USP, which was integration with the last.fm radio streaming service. This was the main reason I chose this radio over others, and over the years I've probably used it to stream last.fm personalised stations more than anything else. Last.fm have recently stopped their streaming radio service, so this particular USP is sadly a selling point no more. In an ideal world Roberts would release a firmware upgrade linking the radio to another streaming service (eg Spotify or Amazon Cloud), but as this is an old product I can't see it happening. Which is a shame, because it's a great looking and sounding radio that has the potential to do a lot more.


The New York World's Fair, 1939-40 (New York City)
The New York World's Fair, 1939-40 (New York City)
by Richard Wurts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the world of tomorrow, yesterday, 20 Nov. 2012
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155 b&w photos of the extraordinary buildings and exhibits of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Lovely techno-utopian architecture and design. The world of tomorrow....

The photos are reasonably well reproduced (I read the Dover Thrift edition, which is a medium-format paperback). I would have liked a bit more in the way of exposition, but I guess there are other books for that.


If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
by Jon McGregor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the war against quotation marks, 20 Nov. 2012
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Double quotation marks have always annoyed me, single less so, but nothing beats prose that omits quotation marks altogether. Without the stifling effect of quotation marks, dialogue seems freer, more naturalistic and poetic. So, I usually have high hopes for novels without quotation marks, and this one did not disappoint. Humane, touching and poetic. The key scene at the end was so vividly written it had me blubbing over my coffee in public....so maybe best to read the last few pages at home


Roadside Picnic
Roadside Picnic
by Boris Strugatsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strange but good, 20 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Roadside Picnic (Paperback)
Strange but good. Striking imagery and sharp social satire. The only criticism I'd make would be that it ended rather abruptly - by no means a cop-out ending, just a bit sudden


Economyths: How the Science of Complex Systems is Transforming Economic Thought
Economyths: How the Science of Complex Systems is Transforming Economic Thought
by David Orrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good expose of laissez-faire capitalistic guff, 20 Nov. 2012
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Do the proponents of laissez-faire capitalism really believe the guff they spout, about the self-correcting nature and fundamental rightness of the market, the desirability and sustainability of continuous growth, etc? Or are they all, like Bernie Madoff, knowingly colluding in a massive Ponzi scheme, safe in the knowledge that they won't be the suckers on the bottom floor taking the hit? Either way, this very readable book demolishes the bizarre and wrong-headed assumptions of neoclassical economics in an entertaining style, and offers what sound to be reasonable alternatives, based on rational, scientific principles rather than ideology. It reminded me of Nassim Taleb's 'The Black Swan', only without the egotism and self-satisfied posturing.


Once More, With Feeling: How we tried to make the greatest porn film ever
Once More, With Feeling: How we tried to make the greatest porn film ever
by Victoria Coren
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars cuddly and wholesome, 20 Nov. 2012
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All the blurbs on the cover of this book were about how 'surprisingly heartwarming' it was, so I shouldn't have been surprised at how heartwarming it turned out to be. But I was pleasantly surprised. As someone who has always believed in the potential for porn to be cuddly and wholesome, this was a nice affirmation. If you have ever spent any time enjoying the ridiculous aspects of porn, then you will probably enjoy this book, and might even find it surprisingly heartwarming yourself.


The Library Book
The Library Book
by Anita Anand
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Libraries gave us power.....", 20 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Library Book (Hardcover)
Libraries gave us power! This collection of essays and short stories is, as these collections usually are, a mixed bag - some are very slight indeed, but most are good and some excellent - Alan Bennett's stands out. The essays are split between childhood memories of libraries and thoughts on what libraries could and should be in the future, but a sense of urgency unites them all. Libraries are under threat and this collection serves as a call to arms against the neoliberal / barbarian hordes who would have them closed. As one of the contributors says, "we need to shift our national view of libraries not as luxuries, but as necessities".


Sex, Bombs and Burgers
Sex, Bombs and Burgers
Price: £8.54

3.0 out of 5 stars good, clean, fun for geeks, 20 Nov. 2012
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An enjoyable, geeky read. The premise - that most advances in technology are driven by the military, or fast food and porn industries - is reasonable, though at times seems a little overstretched. A more honest title for the book would have been 'some cool gadgets and how they came to be', but I accept that rather lacks the punch of 'sex, bombs and burgers'. Still, very interesting nevertheless, and written in a nice, journalistic style that kept my interest up. Best on older technology (eg microwave ovens, digital imaging) where the facts aren't clouded by military or commercial confidentiality - most of the newer (and possibly more interesting) stuff is touched on only briefly


Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism
Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism
by Mike Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too much politics, not enough architecture, 20 Nov. 2012
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I love reading about the evils of neoliberalism, and I'm attracted to the notion that architecture reflects the ideology that commissions / produces it...so this book should have been right up my street. Sadly, it proved to be a real disappointment. While each of the essays focused on one or another aspect of international dysfunctional neoliberalism, the corrupting influence of this ideology on the built environment was often tacked on as an afterthought. A few essays failed to mention it at all.

It wasn't all bad - the penultimate essay, 'Floating Utopias' by China Miéville stood out, and if the book had ended at that I probably would have been charitably minded to award a generous three stars. But the whole thing was ruined by the final essay, a wantonly pretentious piece of deconstructivist guff about...who knows...a real throw-the-book-on-the-floor ending, hence the two stars. Sorry


Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics)
Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics)
by John Updike
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliantly uncomfortable, 20 Nov. 2012
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Compared to 'Rabbit, Run', the second book in the Rabbit tetralogy is a lot harder to love. For a start, it's infused with casual misogyny and racism, which probably reflects the time it was written as much as the time in which it was set. The character of Rabbit is morally ambiguous to a much greater extent than in the first book, although as the story develops this moral ambiguity becomes more or less the point - he's a weak character as well as a product of his time, yet he does manage to transcend these limitations, at least part way.

I loved this book, found it utterly absorbing, and lived inside it in a way I haven't with a novel for some time (I've probably been reading too much science fiction recently). John Updike was an incredible writer, even if his sexual politics can appear suspect to your average, 21st century Guardian-reading liberal. There are just so many unforgettable characters and vividly drawn scenes in this book - the politics, sexual or otherwise, are beside the point. In summary, an intense, sometimes disturbing, but unforgettable read. Highly recommended, and then some.


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