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James G

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KYOCERA SIM-Free Smartphone
KYOCERA SIM-Free Smartphone
Price: £372.81

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All Right if All You need is a Phone - forget about a camera, 14 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was looking for something rugged and waterproof to replace my Galaxy S4 (which was frequently spontaneously rebooting and had been acting quite buggy with many of my favourite apps).

I thought I would be a bit different and go for the relatively obscure Kyocera brand. Have to admit I am a bit disappointed that I did not come to the following conclusions sooner, as it is too late to return it.

First, the pros:
- It does feel like a solid piece of kit - I really like the feel of the construction and it doesn't feel as if it will break easily
- The manual buttons are much more practical than touch screen for many common activities (like the back button and the button that shows all your open screens
- It fits in the front pocket quite comfortably - I like the size
- My go-to apps aren't anywhere near as buggy as they are on my Galaxy - that could be down to an older version of Android, but no untoward crashes have happened on any apps over the past month or so I've owned it.
- Signal strength is really good. I can make calls and use 3g/4g in many places my Galaxy couldn't before.
- The speaker is loud and there is no need to attach an external speaker if I want to listen to podcasts without headphones.

So just taking the above alone would be enough for at least a four-star review from me, but...

The Cons:
- The camera is crap, no matter what setting I put it on and no matter how steady I hold my hands, about 50% of photos come out blurred and really lack colour - it was like I had gone back in time fifteen years with the quality of digital cameras from back then (and part of wanting something a bit more waterproof and rugged was to be able to take photos at the beach and in other active situations)
- The phone does not like it when you are on a call when you are travelling (like, say, on the train) - there is a very audible popping sound made when changing masts whilst on a call
- Power management - I've had to do some major active power management throughout the day, such as manually turning mobile data, location services, and open apps on and off. It burns through some battery power if left alone; leave mobile data and location services on, and you'll be lucky to make it 10 hours (even with all of your apps disabled or shut down) - This is a major inconvenience (first world problem, I know).

If you don't require good smartphone functionality (mobile data, camera, etc.), then this would be a good rugged, waterproof phone. However, that sort of functionality could be found in other phones for a fraction of the price of this phone. I regret I've passed the return window for this phone. I have been severely disappointed.

Aspire CF-G Power Battery (1600mah, Black)
Aspire CF-G Power Battery (1600mah, Black)
Offered by SNS Supplies Ltd

3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointed., 11 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Loses its kick after about an hour or so. Slightly disappointed.

CTRL ALT Revolt!
CTRL ALT Revolt!
Price: £0.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics and humanity..., 11 Feb. 2016
This review is from: CTRL ALT Revolt! (Kindle Edition)
I like Nick Cole's work and have been following him for a couple of years now. And I was lucky enough to get a copy of the ARC for this book before its release.

Nick has a way of creating heroes within semi-plausible dystopian worlds and giving them a deep humanity which often makes you ask yourself "Would I do the same if presented with the same options?"

I'll not provide any spoilers here as others have done so already. But suffice it to say, that if you are offended by what may be considered "political" opinions expressed in this book, you have missed the point of the book altogether. If you subscribe to "right-thinking" ideals, and can't get past that when reading what is essentially a ripping good yarn, then you are part of the problem that could lead to this dystopian vision of the future. Sure, he labours some ultra-uber-libertarian-American viewpoints, but for those of us here in Blighty, those ideals actually began life here, and many Brits have forgotten what liberty might actually mean. (Disclosure: I broadly agree with the polemical points made.)

Enough of that, though.

Nick Cole has a habit of creating characters that one can care about no matter how improbable the situation may be, and puts them to immense personality tests/quests to show us just what humans can be capable of.

And this book is also entertaining political satire. I have seen others compare it to Orwell; I would say this is a close second to Orwell or some of Anthony Burgess's dystopian works. I only say "close second" because I would not want to embarrass Mr. Cole. But additionally, the work comes close to the polemical of Orwell or Burgess, but is injected with more than enough humanity (i.e., heroism) to make one forget about the polemic aspects. Which is something Orwell and Burgess never seem to have set out to do.

It is a great story with great characters and an interesting twist to the typical SkyNet scenario. On that dimension, alone, it is worth five stars, but there are more dimensions to this book than just that, and I recommend you approach it with an open mind if you have acceptable political opinions (you know, the kind that won't elicit silence at Islington dinner parties...)

'Nuff said...

Creative Aurvana in-ear3 Premium Noise-isolating in-ear Earphones with Balanced Armature Tweeter and Woofer Design, includes Travel Case and Cable Holder
Creative Aurvana in-ear3 Premium Noise-isolating in-ear Earphones with Balanced Armature Tweeter and Woofer Design, includes Travel Case and Cable Holder
Price: £129.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sound, unfortunately I can't get a good seal ..., 18 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good sound, unfortunately I can't get a good seal on my right ear, which seems to be bigger than most large buds, and there are no compatible foam buds from other manufacturers.

Surviving Off Off-Grid
Surviving Off Off-Grid
Price: £5.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the Bible verses, listen to what he is saying..., 18 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Michael Bunker is a unique individual who has unapologetically chosen to break from what the rest of us would call "normal".

He offers polemical advice about how to begin to live off-grid, and not just the type that says, "hey, I have a generator and will survive a few days without the electricity". He also offers his faith-based approach to it. No doubt, many will find offence at what he is saying, but the reality is that, even leaving his "extreme" Christian Separatist views out of it, we are part of a system that dehumanises all of us. This is a call to break from that system and become a better person for ourselves and for our families and others around us.

He challenges those of us who are hesitant to join him in that lifestyle with the fact we are fearful...He's hit the nail on the head there. You don't need the Bible verses he quotes in order to condemn the way we are living now - they only add another dimension to the polemic. This is real. And he doesn't hold back, and he can be forgiven for ranting or for quoting almost whole chapters from the Bible, because the advice he does give is solid and borne out by experience. Highly recommend it.

LEGO DUPLO Build & Play Set 6130 + 5509
LEGO DUPLO Build & Play Set 6130 + 5509

5.0 out of 5 stars This comes close to being enough - Highly recommend it for the toddler (and Daddy) in your life, 18 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are never enough pieces in a pack of Lego (Lego aficionados will know what I mean)....This comes close to being enough - Highly recommend it for the toddler (and Daddy) in your life.

Apocalypse Weird: The Dark Knight
Apocalypse Weird: The Dark Knight

5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a dad, it will make you verklempt..., 18 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been (quickly) making my way through the Apocalypse Weird series, and I can wholeheartedly recommend every book; each one has its own theme and sci-fi/horror genre to recommend it. (so read them all, you won't be disappointed!)

This one, however, really stood out for me. In it, we are introduced to Corey, a "special needs" child of 19 who goes around in a Batman mask.

We follow him on a classic hero's journey, where the only thing keeping him alive is the code imbued in him by his policeman father about what to look out for in dangerous situations and how to get through them, because Corey's father knew that there would be a day when he wouldn't be around to protect Corey (as all of us fathers are acutely aware with our own children) - only it is more pronounced because of Corey's special needs.

I felt compelled to leave a review because it has been a while since a book has brought more than one lump to my throat. Actually, not only a lump in my throat, but the odd tear had to wiped from the corner of my eye. I tried to tell myself it was allergy season, but the cold hard truth is that Nick Cole made a character whose journey touches upon the father in me and I see my two children, though not special needs themselves, in Corey. And I can only hope that a quarter of the things I try to teach my children stays with them, the way Corey's father's teachings stayed with him.

And, because it is Apocalypse Weird, we get the usual dose of zombies, time travel, magic, allusions to alien visitation, and murderous robots (in the form of Skynet-style Terminators) that we have come to expect. Unlike the other books, though, this one seems to focus on the single character and the action is less of a team effort and more about how Corey moves through life at the dawning of the Zombie Apocalypse.

I challenge anyone who is a father to not mist up at those key points, and you'll know them when you see them. I even found myself getting verklempt just describing it to my wife.

What a book.

Brother, Frank
Brother, Frank
by Michael Bunker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, Cinematic, and Deep, 25 April 2015
This review is from: Brother, Frank (Paperback)
I have been reading as much Michael Bunker as I can get a hold of in the past month or so, and was quite chuffed when I got the chance to get an advanced review copy of this book.

Having just completed the Pennsylvania Omnibus, I was wondering where his next work would take me (the WICK series - which was the first series I read from him - takes place in a different "universe"; at least, I think it does). And not disappointingly, we see the Transport Agency of the Pennsylvania universe make its nascent cameo at a point about halfway through the book. This does not appear to be a prequel, though, and as with all of Mr. Bunker's work, gives one a lot of food for thought.

I think the other reviewers have covered enough of the plot, so I'll not go into any of those details here. The thing that stands out about Mr. Bunker's fiction, like all good fiction, is character development, and he provides it in spades. Combined with tight, taught action and suspense, I found this very difficult to put down, perhaps taking a little longer on my work breaks - where I was furtively reading it - than I should have!

And clearly, from the title of the book, some of the questions he wrestles with revolve around the same things found in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - with the main one being: what does it mean to be human? (Clue: the monster isn't found in the scientifically engineered HADroid.)

And the author also offers a tip of the hat to the other cultural icons he borrowed from to make this piece (Transformers and the Incredible Hulk, for instance). What is refreshing is that this hat tip is explicit and warm - rather than a cool post-modern wink at the reader - with the narrator early in the book saying something to the effect of: "We can learn a lot from science fiction."

There was one concept referenced - the CAIN protocols that trained Frank whilst he was powered down - which, due to the name, I kept thinking would be a foreshadowing of something else to come later; but what I was thinking did not turn out the way I though it would, and I think I now get why they were called that. I'll not go into detail here, but to say that the biblical reference in the end puzzled me but then became clear when reviewing the final action scenes and Frank's motivations.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that. Bunker is darn good writer, he can tell a story and keep you gripped to the very end, and it would be a shame if this didn't become a blockbuster motion picture: his cinematic style in the actions scenes would make a great film, even if the deeper concepts he tackles in the novel were to be left out (not that I'd want them to be!).

Wick - The Omnibus Edition
Wick - The Omnibus Edition
Price: £4.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Storytelling and Philosophising...Definitely something to chew on intellectually..., 7 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am now a fan of Michael Bunker after reading this. Really good story, great characters, and wonderful philosophic asides about the End of the World as We Know It.

Definitely a different take on it, and a darned good read. Couldn't put it down.

SPOILER ALERT: (And you can tell the strength of a storyteller by his ability to allow some of his strongest characters to die.)

Glenglassaugh The spirit drink 50cl
Glenglassaugh The spirit drink 50cl

3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the weak of palate..., 27 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought as a curiosity and on the basis of being in 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. It is an interesting strong taste, and has to be tried at least once, as this is supposedly apparently what our great grandparents considered whisky back in the day. It's a good thing this is not in a full 75 cl bottle, though. I couldn't see this being a tipple of choice for anyone.

After a couple goes of having it straight, I now resort to using it to blend with the odd leftover bits at the bottom of other whisky bottles. Which is a bit of fun to see what you can come up with.

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