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My Little Pony DJ Pon-3 Vinyl Figure
My Little Pony DJ Pon-3 Vinyl Figure

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make some noise for the queen of the decks ..., 13 July 2015
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Fillies and gentlecolts, I proudly give you DJ Pon-3, aka Vinyl Scratch
Probably my favourite pony of all, she now sits on top of my synthesiser rack with Octavia so I can be inspired to produce some cello dubstep.

Well made figurine with some moulding lines but I'm not going to get bent out of shape over that - every brony should have one.


Tornado of Sparks (Bitterwood Trilogy Book 0)
Tornado of Sparks (Bitterwood Trilogy Book 0)
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Danger! Here be spoilers!, 15 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you haven't read at least some of the Bitterwood Trilogy (and if you haven't, you should ... James Maxey's dragons are Different) then at best you'll be wondering what this short story is about, and at worst it'll provide some major spoilers for the 'main' trilogy.

Without giving too much away, the rather confusingly entitled 'Tornado Of Sparks' fills in a bit of the back story behind Vendevorex and Jandra, two of the Bitterwood trilogy's main protagonists, which had only previously been hinted at.

It's a prequel of sorts, set 15 years or so before the events described in 'Bitterwood' and is a short, yet very satisfying, read - I finished it in around 45 minutes. If anything does let it down, then it's that it really isn't a standalone story - without knowing some of the background of the Bitterwood 'universe' it's probably not going to make a lot of sense.

As it stands, there's a tantalising glimpse into the back-story of some of the trilogy's major characters - it'd be nice if the material herein could be expanded to fill the gap between 'Dawn of the Dragons' (a 'true' prequel, set around 1000 years before 'Bitterwood') and 'Bitterwood', the first of the trilogy, as well as covering the background of some of the other major characters (eg. Kanati/Burke and Blasphet are two characters just ripe for similar treatment)

So, 5 stars if you've already read at least one of the Bitterwood books, probably 1 star otherwise as it probably won't make a lot of sense.


The Steep Approach To Garbadale
The Steep Approach To Garbadale
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not "The Crow Road", but not bad either ..., 11 Feb. 2014
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I'm a relative newcomer to the non-scifi works of Iain Banks (RIP) having read, and enjoyed, the Culture novels immensely starting with 'Consider Phlebas' way back when.

After taking advice from fellow Banksophiles, I started with "The Crow Road" and then moved on to "Steep Approach ..." despite some people warning me that it tried a little bit too hard to be like its predecessor. To be sure, there are lot of similarities between this and "The Crow Road" - quasi-dysfunctional protagonist with an equally dysfunctional family with a dark secret, and a plot which seems to gather steam throughout the bulk of the book before dropping off a cliff right at the end; I can't help feel that Banks never really got the hang of endings and the tying up of the various loose ends.

The story is enjoyable enough, although the interweaving storylines and timelines do take a bit of getting used to - his writing was on typically good form, too; the description of the protagonist's mother's suicide manages to project an air of abject despair and I don't mind admitting that it was pretty difficult to read - as to *why* she committed suicide, this is left more-or-less hanging right until the last few pages whereupon the reason hits you like a train - quite unsettling. Even so, there are still quite a few loose ends which are left untied - whether this was by accident or design only Iain Banks knows, and sadly he's in no position to enlighten us.

Whilst "The Crow Road" is rightly held up as one of his best non-scifi works, I can't help feeling that "The Steep Approach To Garbadale" cops an unfair amount of flak - comparisons to "The Crow Road" are inevitable, but I don't think that Banks was trying to rehash the same formula - it still stands as a mightly fine thriller.

If you're new to Banks' work, sci-fi or otherwise, "The Crow Road" is probably the best place to start but don't discount "Steep Approach ..." either.


i-Blason Google Nexus 5 Smart Phone by LG Prime Series Dual Layer Holster Case with Kickstand and Locking Belt Swivel Clip (Black)
i-Blason Google Nexus 5 Smart Phone by LG Prime Series Dual Layer Holster Case with Kickstand and Locking Belt Swivel Clip (Black)
Offered by I-Blason EU
Price: £4.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad piece of kit, 1 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Decent quality semi-hard case for the Nexus 5 - the belt clip is a bit like the old-school Blackberry holsters, although once the outer 'jacket' is on the phone it is a very tight fit, so whilst it seems to be fairly secure you won't be removing your phone very quickly; in addition, the belt clip seems to double as a prop-stand of sorts.

The phone cover itself consists of a rubber cover with cutouts for the rear camera and raised areas for the power/volume buttons and a second, plastic part which clips over the top, keeping the rubber in place. The kickstand is a little bit fiddly, and could do with a wider range of usable angles, but it works and is handy if you need to keep the phone propped up on a desk or similar.

I'm the sort of person who just throws my phone into a bag when I go out, and with the belt clip protecting the screen there's very little chance of the phone's screen getting damaged - whilst my case now has a few scuffs and scratches on it, the phone is still unscathed.

Good value for money, and a lot better than some far more expensive 'brand name' cases.


CushCase Acer C720 Chromebook Sleeve Case Cover for Acer C720 11.6 inch Water Resistant Canvas - Black
CushCase Acer C720 Chromebook Sleeve Case Cover for Acer C720 11.6 inch Water Resistant Canvas - Black
Offered by CushCase
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value and very well made., 24 Jan. 2014
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Very reasonably priced and well made slipcase - can't comment about its waterproof-ness (yet) but the fleece lining ensures that the shell of the Chromebook won't get scratched. The velcro closure is handy too, although I feel a waterproof zip might have been a better choice.

Even better, since the canvas is fairly pliable I can easily get my Nexus 5 phone in there as well, which is handy if I need to use it as a portable hotspot. Clearly, a canvas/fleece case isn't going to be as good as a full-on hard case, but it's a lot better than nothing if you're the sort of person who chucks their laptop in a bag prior to going out.

Whilst this case is sized for the C720 Chromebook there's absolutely no reason why it couldn't be used with 11.6" laptops of similar thickness - it's certainly a lot better made than cases costing a lot more.

Definitely recommended.


Nano USB Bluetooth Dongle Compatible all PCs, Driverless USB Bluetooth Dongle Adapter
Nano USB Bluetooth Dongle Compatible all PCs, Driverless USB Bluetooth Dongle Adapter
Offered by YOUmeSKY
Price: £3.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheap bluetooth dongle with hassle-free installation, 12 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The title of this review pretty much sums up this item - would be cheap at twice the price.

Installation is as simple as it gets: plug it in and, if you're running Windows, wait for the drivers to install. Worked straight off the bat with Windows XP, Window 7 (64-bit) and Linux - didn't try it with OS X because my Mac already has Bluetooth.

It's very small, too - put it in one of the USB ports at the rear of your machine and you'd hardly know its there.

If you've got a desktop machine which doesn't have Bluetooth as standard, you could do a lot worse for a couple of quid.

Heartily recommended.


HTC Desire TPU Gel Skin Case / Cover (Desire "HD", Solid Black)
HTC Desire TPU Gel Skin Case / Cover (Desire "HD", Solid Black)

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value case., 23 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Can't really fault the case for the price - doesn't add a massive amount of bulk to the phone and the material is nice and grippy. The only real fault is that the volume buttons feel a little bit imprecise, but you can't really complain for less than a fiver. No problems attaching a charging cable, although some of the material around the headphone jack might need trimming away if your headphones have a particularly bulky connector (no problems with my usual Sennheisers, though)

The screen protector is, well, a screen protector. It does the job, and since the Desire HD doesn't have any 'hard' buttons or a front-facing camera to work around applying the screen protector in one go is actually quite easy.

Recommended.


Trust 16132 USB 2.0 Hub for PC, Laptop with UK-Plug - 10-Port
Trust 16132 USB 2.0 Hub for PC, Laptop with UK-Plug - 10-Port
Price: £17.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relatively cheap, and does the job., 2 Nov. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It seems that USB ports are a bit like memory - you can never have enough.

There are quite a few el-cheapo hubs on the market, but the biggest problem with many of them is that they rely on bus-power, which isn't a lot of good if you want to connect things like external hard disks. It also doesn't help that many machines have a limited number of ports on board and if, like me, you have something like a Mac Mini then adding PCI USB controller cards is a bit of a non-starter.

The hub itself is about the size a cigarette packet, with the 10 ports arranged around three sides along with the power input jack and a mini-USB socket for connection the host machine. Also included are an appropriate USB-mini USB cable and a mains power supply. A blue LED on the top of the unit shows whether or not the hub is receiving power, but individual indicators for each port are absent (not a big deal, really)

In terms of build quality, it seems sturdy enough, and USB sockets are a nice, tight fit (no wobbly leads here). Functional, reasonably priced and, to swipe one of Apple's advertising blurbs, "It Just Works".

Finally, despite having "Requires Windows XP or Vista" plastered all over the packaging, it works fine with OS X and Linux (and Windows 7, of course)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2012 7:35 AM BST


Rough Guide Map Australia
Rough Guide Map Australia
by Rough Guides
Edition: Map

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for overall route planning, not so good for navigation, 22 Aug. 2010
This review is from: Rough Guide Map Australia (Map)
I bought this map in order to plan a 6000km cycle tour through Western and Southern Australia, and for planning purposes it's ideal since it not only shows the main highways and minor roads but also quite a few of the desert tracks as well.

However, Australia is a *big* country and compromises had to be made - for a start, the scale is 1:4m (or 71 miles to the inch in old money) meaning that for detailed navigation around the bigger cities it's next to useless. Similarly, if you're planning to take to the outback roads (eg. Canning Stock Route, Gunbarrel Highway, Great Central Road et.al) then the level of detail is nowhere near good enough.

So, for planning purposes its ideal, but if you're planning to head off the beaten track then the UBD state maps or the HEMA 4x4 maps or "Desert Track" packs are a far better bet, and there are plenty of city guides out there if you're heading for places like Perth, Adelaide or Sydney.


The Hell of It All
The Hell of It All
by Charlie Brooker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally funny, 17 Feb. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Hell of It All (Hardcover)
Charlie Brooker is a modern-day hero - a curmudgeonly, cynical, misanthropic git who hates reality TV, psychics and the human race in general. He's also has an uncanny knack of mercilessly shredding modern-day culture whilst being hysterically funny at the same time.

My first experience with Charlie Brooker was through "Nathan Barley", co-written with Chris Morris, which so brilliantly skewered the trendy new-meedja Hoxton types around 2005. Now imagine "Nathan Barley" in print form but with added vitriol and you'll get some idea of what Brooker's writing style is like.

Short. Sharp. Brutally to the point.

Like "Dawn of the Dumb", "The Hell of it All" is a mixture of his "Screen Burn" columns and more generalised rants in the Guardian covering (roughly) 2007 to 2009. As usual, he mercilessly skewers celebrity 'culture', reality TV, TV 'psychics' and those who sail in them - even better, in the minds of most right-thinking people the his targets are thoroughly deserving of his opprobrium and vitriol, and Charlie won't let you forget it. I'm not a big telly watcher, so the finer points of some his "Screen Burn" articles are lost on me, but that doesn't stop them being hilariously funny - I'd defy anyone not to have had at least one dose of hysterical laughter by the middle of the first chapter. His reflections on life in general are not only hysterically funny but sadly very true as well.

Best of all, since the articles are, at most, a couple of pages long, it's a good book to dip in and out of at random, say whilst you're sitting on the loo. On the down-side, it's not really a book you can read in a public place unless, like Charlie, your heart is a "black, onyx cricket ball" because you'll spend a lot of time laughing.

His other books, "Screen Burn" and "Dawn of the Dumb" are also well worth checking out and make perfect bathroom reading material. And get "Nathan Barley" on DVD while you're at it.

Charlie Brooker, I salute you!


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