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Sally-Anne "mynameissally" (Leicestershire, United Kingdom)

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7" NEW Dual Core M009S 4GB Epad Apad Android 4.2 Tablet PC - WiFi - Dual Camera - HDMI
7" NEW Dual Core M009S 4GB Epad Apad Android 4.2 Tablet PC - WiFi - Dual Camera - HDMI

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A difficult little blighter, 14 Sept. 2011
It's very inexpensive, so just remember this: you get what you pay for. The touch screen and the "manual" are my biggest gripe so far. The touch screen doesn't respond to the spot you touch, but somewhere about half an inch above. So the onscreen keyboard is a nightmare to use: press a character in the centre of an onscreen key and you get either nothing or the character above. If you want the numeric keys, you're in for a long and frustrating game. The number/symbols switch key is at the bottom of the screen so you have to press somewhere right off screen - and it's pretty hit and miss whether you can persuade the keys to change. Having finally succeeded in getting the number keys displayed, you then have to press the number/symbol switch key several times, stepping through several alternative key layouts, to get back to the alpha set... takes a LOT of patience!

It doesn't help that the "manual" doesn't help. There are no instructions in this 4 inch by 5 inch, 30 page, tiny tome, on grappling with the alpha-numeric aspects of the onscreen keyboard and its maddening little quirks. It took me about an hour to set up the wireless connection because my router password has more than just alpha characters in it.

When I finally managed to get online, I spent a frustrating half-hour trying to select links from a Google search, which were spaced so close together that sometimes it jumped to the link directly above and sometimes the link two rows above.

The time and weather are set to some town in China, so the time was some hours out. I changed the town to one just down the road from where I live and the time changed but not to the correct one. Currently (15.27pm) it's displaying about 22.50pm. And I can't find any way to alter this manually. Look up "Clock" in the manual and it tells you how to set the alarm - but not how to set the correct time on the clock. So the alarm isn't the least bit of use. Look up "Settings" and the instruction (if it's supposed to be an "instruction") for setting the time is "set the time". Very helpful. The manual is worded in such a way that it seems to be a direct translation from Chinese to English, with occasionally inscrutable meanings.

I'm giving it 2 stars because 1) it was cheap and 2) it was delivered impressively quickly.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2011 8:53 PM BST

More to William Morris: Two Books That Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien-The House of the Wolfings and the Roots of the Mountains
More to William Morris: Two Books That Inspired J. R. R. Tolkien-The House of the Wolfings and the Roots of the Mountains
by Michael W. Perry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.95

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy writing started right here, 9 Sept. 2006
There are two wonderful books between these covers. They are:

The House of the Wolfings

A people of the Goths, made up of family units living in the scattered communities of Nether-mark, Mid-mark and Upper-mark, along a section of river running through a forest called Mirkwood, are threatened by an army of Rome, marching from the south. They are not prepared to wait for the onslaught, but arrange a war council at their traditional gathering place, the Folk-Thing. There they choose battle leaders and formulate a plan of campaign. One of the leaders, the War-duke Thiodolf of the House of the Wolfings, has a secret lover called The Wood-Sun and she is a daughter of the gods. It is a matter of great concern to her that Thiodolf should not be killed in battle so she tries to protect him with a special dwarf-wrought hauberk. She is not entirely honest with Thiodolf about the powers of this hauberk and he has a bad feeling about it, so she has to use all her powers of persuasion to induce him to wear it. It's an act of selfishness on her part because she knows that Thiodolf is more concerned about the preservation of his people than the preservation of himself and her priorities are somewhat different. There are several battles and skirmishes and things could go either way. The Romans are courageous and disciplined and there are many of them, but they are fighting a strong and valiant people who know the local area and who, moreover, have more to lose than the Romans. One of the biggest dangers for the kindreds of the Goths, is the possible failure of morale. Thiodolf is a great hero of the people and if they should see his courage falter, all could be lost. The problem is that the magical artefact that gives a sort of protection also has a power to contort and diminish the mind of the wearer.

The Roots of the Mountains

Some hundreds of years after the battles between the Goths and Romans as told in The House of the Wolfings, their descendants are found in new locations at The Roots of the Mountains. Now there is a different persecutor threatening their peace and stability: the Huns. There are murderous hordes of these Dusky Men, as the folk of Burgstead and Shady Vale call them, sweeping all across the land from the east, killing and destroying as they come. They had already driven the kindreds from their forest home and forced them to find new lands to cultivate. A section of one of the families, The House of the Wolf, became divided from the rest of the kindreds during the course of their migration through the mountains and the two groups lost touch with each other. When the Huns' continued westward surge again threatens the newer settlements, the sundered community of the Wolf is the first to suffer and have to flee again. They find new hope when they discover the whereabouts of the rest of the kindreds and are able to join forces with them to try to drive out the usurpers and enslavers who have invaded their territory.

These two stories were first published in the 1880s and, as it says on the cover, Tolkien took inspiration from Morris's stories. Both authors loved the myths of northern Europe and the way they were written in verse. Morris was the first to try to translate the spirit of northern myth and legend into stories that could be understood and enjoyed by modern readers. His style is more difficult than Tolkien's. He employs a more archaic style of English and includes more and longer sections of verse. In The House of the Wolfings, people often even speak to each other in verse whereas, in The Roots of the Mountains, most of the verse is confined to occasions where people burst into song. The style does take a little getting-used-to, but the stories are wonderful and I just wish I'd found these books sooner. One thing I found a bit of a struggle, was the many descriptions of geographical location. I have no spatial ability worth mentioning but I can manage if there's a map or two. I hope a future publisher will commission some artistic cartographer to draw a couple of maps, like those helpful ones in Lord of the Rings.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 14, 2010 12:39 PM GMT

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp [Special Edition] [DVD] [1943]
Life and Death of Colonel Blimp [Special Edition] [DVD] [1943]
Dvd ~ Roger Livesey
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.96

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can hardly tell it's propaganda, 1 Mar. 2006
The film starts with a silly old soldier being affronted by the rude disdain of a young officer who is using his initiative - and cheating in order to win. The old fellow is made to look ridiculous. The message thrown in his face is that "fair play never won a war". Then the scene travels back 40 years to see the pathetic old fool when he was young and his ideals were the norm, at a time when fair ends didn't justify foul means. He's just returned from the Boer war with a Victoria Cross, but he's still young and impetuous. We accompany him through his own brash youth, when he annoys his grumpy elders, upsets the diplomatic apple cart for his government and has to fight a duel with an equally "good egg" in the army of Britain's enemy, in order to save face on both sides and restore the balance. Lifelong friendship blossoms from this violent ritual and love is almost found with the young lady who dragged him into the situation that led to the dual. He loses the girl with good grace to his new friend and returns to England. Then he goes off to distant lands to convert beautiful, live animals into sad, dead trophies for a few years, until another war comes along. He's the same man of honour through WWI, even though the lessons about doing whatever it takes to win are there if he should choose to learn them. He never changes. He'll never choose to do what's expedient over what's right. By WWII the atmosphere has changed and the young officer introduced at the beginning of the film, doesn't have any respect for a bumbling old buffoon who doesn't understand modern warfare. But by the time we come back to the scene of the disrespectful youth insulting and abusing the venerable old gentleman, we're seeing things from the old gentleman's point of view and sharing his sense of outrage.
I enjoy this film so much that I can watch it over and over. There are one or two things I could object to in it. For example, the reason young Candy gets in a bind in Germany and has to fight a duel, is that he's there to deny that Britain did some terrible things in the Boer war, involving concentration camps and the deaths of large numbers of Boer women and children. The concentrations camps and the deaths of the women and children are well documented and no longer denied. Churchill may have tried to have the film banned for other reasons, but it was still a propaganda film. It was made during WWII after all. General Candy seems such a nice old buffer though, it just seems he'd have been as shocked about the treatment of the innocent Boer non-combatants as any decent person, if he'd known. In order to really enjoy the cosy view on offer here, you have to accommodate a couple of uncomfortable carbuncles like the wildlife slaughter (not shown, but represented by a wall of mounted heads) and the concentration camp denial. Those bits only take up two or three minutes of this almost 3 hour film and both offer us a bit of information about what went on back in "the good old days" that Blimp harks back to with such nostalgia and detachment from reality. It's nice to share the rosy view of an idealised past from time to time. I recommend it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 2, 2012 9:38 AM GMT

Silent Running [DVD] [1972]
Silent Running [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Bruce Dern
Price: £4.84

37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but inconceivable, 20 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Silent Running [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
A fleet of space ships carrying the precious cargo of Earth's plant biodiversity has been sent into space because humans have caused some sort of ecological catastrophe and no vegetation will grow there any more. At the point when the ships are somewhere in the vicinity of Saturn, they receive an order from Earth, not just to abandon the biological cargo stored in the 3 geodesic domes per ship, but to jettison and then nuke the domes and then return home. It's not clear why they had to be sent so far from Earth, why the plants couldn't have been housed in geodesic domes on Earth (since humanity is still apparently able to live there), why it was necessary to blow the domes up in addition to abandoning them or how it was possible for human life to continue on Earth in the absence of any vegetation. The crews of the ships are all eager to follow the orders and return. All except for Lowell, who is the only person in the entire crew with any sense of mission. He cares about everything but himself. The rest of the crew care about nothing but themselves. He's obviously going to have to do something drastic if any of Earth's riches are to survive. It's not at all clear how the whole crew of this space armada (apart from Lowell) could have been recruited to do a really important job that none of them care in the slightest about. Even though none of this made any sense to me whatsoever, I was still drawn in. I identified with Lowell, knew what he would have to do long before the insane order to destroy the cargo was received, shared his hopes and sorrows. Daft really. The little drones: 1, 2 and 3 he named Huey, Dewey and Lewey, even though Lewey had already been lost in space before the naming. I tired to work out why these little fellas were so endearing. They didn't even speak. They moved a bit like human toddlers. The thing was, Lowell cared about them, sympathised with them, treated them as people. Everything mattered to him. Whereas he cared about the plants and animals in his forest dome, jungle dome and desert dome, the other crew didn't care about any of it.
There's an emphatic message in the film. The scenario painted by the film is pretty incoherent but the exaggerated mindlessness of all the crew except for the one rational individual, shouted the message loud and clear so the nonsensical situation couldn't drown it out: "Some things, like our ecological environment, are vitally important and too many of us are too self-obsessed to see or care what is happening or indeed do anything to ensure that the worst doesn't happen. One person alone can't save the world in opposition to an uncaring society. It takes planning, co-operation and commitment to preserve and heal a damaged environment." Well, that's what it said to me anyway. I would have enjoyed it more if the actual story had made more sense though.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2013 2:20 PM GMT

The Living Planet [DVD]
The Living Planet [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Attenborough
Offered by Find it Fetch it Ferret
Price: £12.21

86 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All life is here, 19 Feb. 2006
This review is from: The Living Planet [DVD] (DVD)
In almost every type of environment on this planet, no matter how seemingly hostile to life, some sort of life can be found. David Attenborough visits some of the coldest, hottest and roughest parts of The Earth - areas that have the appearance of paradise and others that are more like our idea of hell. In this series of 12 programmes (55 minutes each) he shows us the astounding variety of plants and animals that have adapted perfectly to all kinds of conditions. The final programme of the series is followed by an excellent "Making of The Living Planet" 40 minute documentary. The 12 programmes are:
1) "The Furnaces of the Earth" takes us on a tour of the hot-spots where you wouldn't think life would dare to venture: deep in the oceans where hot gases and minerals gush through cracks in the sea floor; on land where hot, toxic springs bubble up; volcanoes that kill everything in their path when they erupt.
2) "The Frozen World" looks at life in the polar regions and high up on mountains. A surprising number of animals have managed to adapt to the harsh conditions and thrive in the freezer. They use a variety of strategies, such as thick fur, feathers, blubber, antifreeze in the blood and hibernation.
3) "The Northern Forests" that used to cover vast areas of land in the Northern Hemisphere, now somewhat reduced, support some hardy populations. There are hordes of busy, breeding and feeding animals in the summer months. When winter comes some migrate to areas of gentler climate, some hibernate and others continue to scratch a living as best they can.
4) "Jungle" - girdling the planet is an area of steaming jungle, fabulously diverse, teaming with life from the floor to the canopy. David takes his life in his hands to film from the top of the canopy (dangling from ropes!) right down to the forest floor.
5) "The Seas of Grass" where rainfall isn't sufficient to sustain forests of trees but there's enough to water vast plains of grass. Great herds of herbivores are pursued relentlessly for miles by packs of dogs (hyenas, wolves, etc) or crept upto and pounced upon by cats (lions, cheetahs, etc). Smaller animals burrow.
6) "Baking Deserts" call for some extreme adaptations. Some plants and animals can store huge amounts of water when it's available, in preparation of long, dry periods. Under the cracked mud of dry lake beds, dormant fish and toads wait to be brought back to life by the next rain, to breed and feed and then to sleep again. Just amazing.
7) "The Sky Above" provides David with the excuse for some 'fairground' fun discovering how some animals defy gravity? In a special plane he experiences the zero gravity sensation of weightlessness. Then he rises to the edge of the biosphere in a balloon to see what life is up there.
8) "Sweet Fresh Water" makes up only about 3% of the world's water - the rest is salty. Even so, an enormous variety of life is concentrated in our rivers, lakes and ponds. Small, isolated bodies of water harbour small, isolated, unique species of plants and animals. Rivers teem with life.
9) "The Margins of the Land" are constantly shifting as the sea erodes cliffs, sweeps away sand and shingle and deposit the dislodged material further up the coast. Mangroves hold onto their soil and help the land to advance. The margins can be hard areas to make a living but many try and succeed.
10) "Worlds Apart" is about island life. Diversity goes extreme as animals adapt to island conditions in isolation. And it's not just that the rate of speciation is high - species tend to get large on islands, like the giant tortoises, Komodo dragons and large flightless birds (remember that unfortunate relative of the pigeon, the dodo).
11) "The Open Ocean" Most of the surface of the planet is covered by ocean yet it's our least explored environment. It harbours an incredible amount of life, swarming in the sun-lit upper regions but sparse, mysterious and strange in the depths.
12) "New Worlds" brings us up to date with human environments. Even though city scapes look unpromising places for animals to live, many have managed it. Rats and cockroaches have done very well of course, but also pigeons, some hawks, foxes, racoons and so on. Other species have not adapted to or benefited in any way from human alterations to the environment. David suggest that we should be more conscious and careful in the future about how we use and abuse our environment so that we hang on to the biodiversity and beauty that still remains.
Fascinating as usual. David Attenborough and his team never put a foot wrong. Anyone who's interested in our planet will enjoy this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2010 9:32 PM BST

by Richard Matheson
Edition: Paperback

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the footsteps of the master, 18 Feb. 2006
Bram Stoker took a similar 'scientific' approach to his vampire horror story. And he made a pretty good job of it, using the science and psychology theories that were fashionable at the time. Richard Matheson follows the master, setting his hero to hunt, not just for vampires, but for scientific answers to the problem of vampirism and, if possible, a cure. If you happen to know anything about biology, medicine, bacteriophages etc, there are parts of the book you will need to skip swiftly past in order to maintain your suspension of disbelief. But the science is not the main point of the story, so it's quite safe not to pay overly close attention to the more dodgy elements of Robert Neville's scientific discoveries about the vampires. Robert Neville is utterly alone in a world where creatures that look like humans torment him by night and he has to hunt them down by day. He dare not go far from his fortress home because he cannot be caught outside at night. As he finds and eliminates sleeping blood-suckers in his immediate neighbourhood, more pour in from surrounding areas. They skulk around his house. One of his old friends is out there too, calling for him to come out, reminding him of his old life. He stays indoors from dusk until dawn, drinking whiskey, growing his rage, dwelling on his losses, trying to understand what happened and why? He turns to scientific investigation as much to occupying his mind and avoid insanity as to find any real hope of solving the problem of vampirism. His anger, impotence and loneliness are pushed out of his mind by the pursuit of knowledge - answers to the how and the why. Fear and isolation can be forgotten while he's absorbed in his studies. But will he also forget how to be human and how to be humane?
Excellent story. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror stories and also to those fans of sci-fi who aren't too critical and demanding about the sci in their fi.

Sourcery: (Discworld Novel 5) (Discworld Novels)
Sourcery: (Discworld Novel 5) (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Panic! The end of the discworld is nigh!, 17 Feb. 2006
A terrible thing has happened. Now it's become clear why wizards should remain celibate. One wilful wizard, Ipslore the Red, in defiance of tradition, marries and has children. Sons in fact. And his eighth son, Coin, is a sourcerer (the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son = a wizard squared = very powerful magic). But surely it's not that bad - it's not the end of the world, is it? Yes, it could be. The shade of Ipslore, through his sourcerer son, instigates wizard war. Hellish, apocalyptic events are set in motion. The four horsemen are abroad. The denizens of the dungeon dimension are struggling to rise. Ice giants are tearing across the plains. The gods are imprisoned. All that stands between the discworld and armageddon, is a spineless wizard, a barbarian (hairdresser wannabe), a grocer (barbarian wannabe) and a librarian ape. It doesn't look good. You shouldn't laugh ... but you will. And guess what. Rincewind, who is very well known for his complete lack of courage and over-developed instinct for self-preservation, does the most suicidally brave thing imaginable in an effort to save his beloved university library and the world.
It's another Pratchett gem. Doctors might consider prescribing these books instead of anti-depressants for some patients. They always work for me.

Intempo PG-01 DAB Digital Radio
Intempo PG-01 DAB Digital Radio

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopes satisfied, fears unfounded, 17 Feb. 2006
The Intempo PG-01 is nice to look at, quite chunky, heavy and sturdy, smaller than it looks in the picture (10 inches across by 6.5 inches tall and 4 inches deep) but most important: it's very easy to set up and use and the sound output is clear and loud. I live in an area with really rotten reception. Anyone wishing to use a mobile phone in my house, has to go outside to get a signal. My old radios only get a few stations and are permanently tuned to BBC Radio 4 on FM because if you ever change the station it's a devil of a job to find it again. And what you hear from my old radios is a lot of crackle and hiss that makes it hard to hear the programme. In the meantime I've become addicted to BBC digital Radio 7 that I get through my Sky digibox. However, this signal is frequently lost, replaced by a message telling me that no signal is being received. I've had Sky for years. I'm on my 4th digibox and my 2nd dish. It's always been the same coming-and-going signal. My neighbours have similar problems. So I was trembling with hope and fear when I ordered this radio. When it was delivered I tried to take a relaxed attitude to the prospect of failure, read and followed the brief and simple instructions and .... IT WORKED! I can get all the BBC digital radio stations I enjoy listening to on my telly, and loads more. You just plug it in, switch it on, press a button and it goes off and finds a large collection of radio stations and stores them in its memory. You can choose four of your favourites to select at the touch of a button. The rest can be scrolled through with the up and down buttons and selected with the select button. It's so easy. There's only one problem and it's not much of a problem at that. I can't get anything but crackle and hum on the FM option - but that's probably because of where I live. Who needs it though? BBC Radio 4 is now available as a DAB digital station, so now that I have all these DAB digital stations, I'd never bother with FM anyway.
The price is very reasonable, as you can see, and it comes with an unusually generous 2 year guarantee. Brilliant!

Ice Cold in Alex [DVD] [1958]
Ice Cold in Alex [DVD] [1958]
Dvd ~ John Mills
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: £14.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Human decency 1, Insanity of war 0, 17 Feb. 2006
This is not the usual 1950s sort of 'big' WWII story full of perfectly heroic good guys and perfectly villainous bad guys. Instead of the usual stereotypes, there are complex individuals who start off reserved strangers and gradually build up trust and friendship. A hero is allowed weaknesses and a villain can be heroic. The North Africa campaign is going badly for the allies. The Germans are about to besiege Tobruk and so the Brits must move out. Captain Anson and Sergeant Pugh of the military ambulance service have been ordered to take their ambulance and leave. Everything goes wrong from the start. Because a bridge is blown up before they are able to cross, they find themselves isolated on the wrong side. And with two nursing sisters to get to safety they are forced to take a difficult and dangerous route across the desert in order to reach Alexandria on the coast of Egypt. They encounter a South African who introduces himself as Captain Van Der Poel and persuades them to let him join them. To start with, his contribution to their efforts seems a mixed blessing. He's one of those brash, domineering types who doesn't like to waste time on prudence and caution so he soon gets into trouble in a mine field. He also seems to be carrying a large quantity of gin which he shares generously with Captain Anson. Poor Anson has developed a serious drink problem as a result (probably) of what they refer to nowadays as 'post traumatic stress'. One of the nurses, Sister Norton, seems to be suffering the same kind of stress, but she is driven to hysteria by those terrors that cause Anson to hit the bottle. The only solidly uncomplicated characters are Sergeant Pugh and Sister Murdock. Pugh and Murdock have to worry about keeping Anson and Norton straight and balanced and they all distrust Van Der Poel, who speaks German rather well and keeps disappearing at regular intervals with his heavy, rectangular looking back-pack. They don't appear to be a very promising team but, as the saying goes: 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going' - and that's what happens in this case. Events drive them and they have to pull together to survive the hostile environment of the desert and the constant threat of capture or worse by the advancing Germans. Each time it seems that adversity is going to grind them into the desert sand, they reach inside themselves and find further resources to overcome it. Remember Sisyphus, who was condemned to endlessly push a huge rock up a hill? Well, he'd certainly sympathise with one of their trials. I found myself fully engaged with them: pushing with them, pulling with them and identifying with all their hopes and fears.
Finally, trust, friendship and common humanity triumphs over the insanity of war. And everybody gets a cold beer. Lovely.

Scrabble Interactive 2003 Edition (PC)
Scrabble Interactive 2003 Edition (PC)
Price: £8.99

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly absorbing, 16 Feb. 2006
As a previous reviewer suggests, this is a good way to play scrabble and the program is simple to use. To my surprise, I'm content to wile away an hour or more at a time playing this game. Speaking as someone who never plays board games if I can avoid them, for the simple reason that I'm absolute rubbish at them and my weak and feeble ego can't stand the constant failure to win, I have to say it doesn't hurt quite so much to lose against the computer (which doesn't dance and gloat as a human adversary is inclined to do). This suits me. Perhaps it won't suit people who are good at scrabble because I don't suppose the computer will display feelings of defeat and dejection in the satisfying way a proper human opponent will do, either. On the other hand it will undoubtedly provide very good practice to help you crush and humiliate your next human victim more mercilessly than ever. In any case, I'm hoping that the next time one of those scrabble sharks corners me into a game, they won't thrash me quite so comprehensively, because I'll also have had a bit of practice.
I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys scrabble, but most especially to people like me, who are not very good at it (yet).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2009 11:26 PM BST

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