Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's
Profile for kernel32 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by kernel32
Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,697,925
Helpful Votes: 138

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
kernel32 (UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
The Lion Awakes
The Lion Awakes
by ASHISH J. THAKKAR
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Clear your mind of pre-conceptions about Africa, 11 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lion Awakes (Hardcover)
For anyone interested in the world about them, and Africa in particular - a continent of 54 nations, this is a recommended and inspirational read. It is also a very easy read and was unputdownable once started.

Amongst the many things you will learn are that the continent is home to six of the fastest growing economies in the world (p53); that British foreign aid from DFID primed mobile banking that was transformational in Kenya (pp67-70); that in an African population of about 1 billion today some 80% are under 35, and that by 2050 the population will double (p93); and that the continent has 60% of the world's uncultivated arable land and could feed the world from it (p192).

It is a slim tome of about 220 pages and the shortish main text takes up only about 180 of them after an excess of blank pages for chapter and section breaks plus references and indexing. It is the better for it, though: it is tightly edited and doesn’t lose tempo or get repetitive half way or two thirds through like so many of this genre. The author is a British-born East African Asian who lives in Dubai but spends most of his time in Africa. He runs a sizeable Company and is well-connected. There are useful references to web-sites and twitter accounts for further inspiration.

I’m planning a few more copies for Christmas presents. Highly recommended


Oregon Scientific TR 112 Timer with Memory
Oregon Scientific TR 112 Timer with Memory
Price: £17.19

1.0 out of 5 stars The item I got was a fake and not as ..., 25 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The item I got was a fake and not as pictured. It had a tiny stick-on label saying Oregon Scientific TR112 but the main box said "Courtdown Timer" (sic) which is an indication of its origin. Furthermore it didn't work! Most of the LCD segments were not working - e.g. "0" showed as "L". I can't get a refund - only a replacement. I'm expecting the same to come back and go through it all again. One star is too much.


Nokia 860mAh Replacement/Spare Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
Nokia 860mAh Replacement/Spare Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
Offered by T-UK
Price: £2.97

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can a battery get 5 stars?, 22 Dec. 2010
Because it was an original with hologram, came quickly and was priced very keenly when I bought mine. But it is still just a battery.


LG L246WH 24-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor, HDMI, 5ms
LG L246WH 24-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor, HDMI, 5ms

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent monitor, 13 May 2009
An excellent monitor delivered on time with the usual excellent Amazon service. It has a matt black surround and pillar with a shiny circular black base. Very businesslike. This is probably the smallest size you can get with 1920 X 1200 resolution. It performs very well as I expected and replaces a several-years old but still perfect 17" LG L1710B that will be pressed into alternative service.

I researched this first because, as usual, the brief tech specs on Amazon never quite tell you the fact you need. I have a PC and a Mac and like to switch between them on a single monitor. The L1710B has a source button that makes this possible with a single press. The L246 still permits this, but needs 3 button presses because there are now 3 possable inputs (RGB, HDMI and component) needing an up/down and an OK as well. I can live with this for the flexibility of inputs (including direct HDMI with an appropriate lead - not supplied).

A few techie notes: the HDMI/DVI adapter referred to at the time I ordered it is actually a cable with HDMI for the monitor end and DVI for the computer (Mac) end; the 15 pin D-Sub is the normal "IBM PC" RS232 connector with 3 rows of pins.

When you unpack this one it is big and won't stand on its own as the base has to be attached - so have a table prepared with a blanket/towel or some such on it as you will have to lay the monitor face down to attach the base and won't want to damage the screen surface.

I downloaded the manual from LG UK before buying and it said L246WH on the front cover. The box said L246WHX and the manual on the CD with it says L246WH/WHX on the cover - so not the same as the on-line one (at the time of writing in mid-May 09). Ever curious, I wondered why. There are separate specifications listed for the WH and WHX. I could not, despite trying, see the difference until I actually printed the two pages out and held them to the light (I'm sad like that). The answer, for the real cognoscenti amongst you, is that the L246WH weighs 9.6kg (21.16lbs) and the L246WHX weighs 9.57kg (21.10 lbs). The reason why remains a mystery. Don't worry about it!


Descent into Chaos: How the War Against Islamic Extremism is Being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia
Descent into Chaos: How the War Against Islamic Extremism is Being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia
by Ahmed Rashid
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening, 23 April 2009
The other reviews explain the book adequately. It is a major contribution to understanding this vital area. The point of it is not that you have to agree with everything but that it is enlightening, stimulating and provides a viewpoint.

The main section is 404 pages divided into four parts. An additional 22 page introduction is outstanding and should not be skipped. It is odd that Kashmir is not really discussed and is not even indexed.

It is well written but detailed. Given the time to work through the detail the whole is well worth the effort but I have recommended to several busy people that they read the introduction and part 4 only, rather than not read it at all.


What Next?: Surviving the Twenty-first Century
What Next?: Surviving the Twenty-first Century
by Chris Patten
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better, 23 April 2009
I am a great fan of Chris Patten and much enjoyed "Not quite the diplomat". This book does not match it. The puzzle is: why?

It was a good concept to review the challenges facing our world. The issues covered include: climate; crime; drugs; energy; epidemics; food; free trade; globalisation; migration; water; and weapons. What is more, there are many interesting and useful facts about each. In fact at times it is like reading an encyclopaedia but without the ability to easily return to the facts.

I think the problem lies in poor structure and excessive length. At 448 main pages it could have been 200 fewer and the better for it.

It is a stimulating read but harder going than it need be. Maybe it is because I read it sandwiched between two much better books (Descent into Chaos and Bottom Billion) that I reluctantly only award it 3 stars.


The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
by Paul Collier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.81

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rightly famous - countries listed in the sequel, 22 April 2009
This book is famous and rightly so. It is outstanding for its rigorous academic analysis and for the way it draws its conclusions. As a previous participant in Interrnational standard setting (albeit in telecommunications) I particularly warmed to the proposals for the development of Charters. This is painstaking, and sometimes painful, work but repays the effort: we should lobby our politicians to support this approach.

The other reviews deal with this book adequately. My main comment is for readers and potential purchasers who, like me, are interested in exactly which countries are included in the bottom billion. The information is to be found in an appendix of the sequel, which is as good if not better and called "Wars, Guns & Votes".


Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places
by Paul Collier
Edition: Hardcover

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even beter than the Bottom Billion?, 22 April 2009
I came late to the Bottom Billion and by the time I had finished it this sequel had just arrived. I got it straight away. It follows the same approach of using rigorous academic analysis and then drawing conclusions and action plans.

The analysis of elections, ethnic identity, coups and wars is stimulating and set in the context of UK, US and European developments, not least in that mysterious period in UK history between the end of the Romans and somewhere around 1500 - which is much like Africa today. The proposals for progress are sensible and are built around accountability and security. The penultimate chapter title is "Better dead than fed" and sums up the relationship between food (survival) and the opportunities from federations.

Readers of the Bottom Billion will be pleased to know that this book includes a full list of the countries in an appendix. Both books went to press before the "Lehman disconnect" and the onset of the latest financial and economic crisis: we must hope that the third in the series will not be called the bottom two billion. Some countries, such as Pakistan which gets a passing mention, seem determined to join Afghanistan and the five Central Asian states in the list - and none seem inclined to leave.

In truth, the book mostly concentrates on Africa - anyone wanting to know more about the likes of Bolivia, Cambodia, the Central Asian states or Haiti will not find much here other than general principles.

Professor Collier has an engaging style and as well as being stimulating it is a good read as well. He is a master of the colon: I know of no other book with as many. His occasional intemperate outbursts are a joy. This is a really good book for anyone interested in the world around them, Africa, aid, the application of academic research to real-life problems - and on many other levels too. Recommended.


Silva Step Counter
Silva Step Counter

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied repurchaser, 9 April 2009
This review is from: Silva Step Counter (Sports)
This is a very compact step counter. I have had a similar item clipped into my wallet (which I keep in my trouser pocket) for the last 6 years, but it got a bit hot in India recently (40 deg C outside) and is not what it was: although still working the front window got detached and despite efforts to glue it back I gave up. As I needed a replacement I sought this type out again because others are mostly bigger and I was very pleased with it.

In the six years I had its predecessor I never used the distance counting features - which rely on setting step length - I only looked at the steps each day and reset it for the next. So why pay for what I don't need? Monitoring steps is the main aspect of monitoring activity for the non-sporty and very revealing it is too.

The new one came with a spare battery - the last one only needed one new battery in 6 years - and an optional lanyard (as stated I prefer the clip).

Strongly recommended - just beware hot countries when it is old! Still 5 stars though.


The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century
The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century
by Thomas X. Hammes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A contribution to debate not an answer, 15 Oct. 2007
This is quite an easy read for non-military people and ought to be on the reading list of politicians in particular. It undoubtedly does what it says on the tin by spelling out the developing nature of war into the 21st century.

It is probably not worth getting hung up on the definitions of the phases - they are just a useful structure. Nevertheless, the book provides a good summary of how fourth generation warfare (as defined) started with Mao before World War 2 and focuses on the direct destruction of the enemy's political will. It charts progress and refinements from Mao through Vietnam, the Sandanistas, the Palestinian Intifada and into Al-Qaeda, Iraq and Afghanistan and shows how insurgents form loose networks that are resilient and difficult to destroy.

It is made clear that 5GW has already started but worrying about that is to miss the point that modern "opponents" seek to win by wearing down political will through a long drawn-out struggle. They don't have to "win" - only stay in the struggle until the other (democratic) side gives-up and goes home. There are lessons here for policy makers and the military.

No book can cover all aspects but this is a useful contribution to the debate to be taken with other inputs. There is an extensive reference section, but no mention of Gunnar Heinsohn and his demographic theory of war (Sons of World Power etc., in German but still not in English) despite a clear lead into the subject on page 183 about "angry young men with time on their hands". A pity - it would be interesting to compare demographic profiles for the listed countries/campaigns and to suggest alternative policy responses as a result. Perhaps someone else can oblige?


Page: 1 | 2