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C. L. Dixon (England)
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ALESIS Core 1 USB Audio Interface
ALESIS Core 1 USB Audio Interface
Price: £39.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, great quality audio interface, 31 July 2015
I record music with GarageBand on my Mac and needed a new audio interface to connect my guitar. As a class compliant device, no drivers or software need to be installed - it's just plug n' play. I was hesitant about the connection at the back, but it takes either 1/4 cables (i.e. the kind used with guitars - see picture) or XLR. Then the unit just connects straight into a USB port on your computer (cable provided). All I had to do was change the input in GarageBand to say that I wanted it to come from the Core 1. To top it all off, it has a lovely aluminium casing and solid feel (which Mac users will certainly be familiar with). Couldn't fault this device and would definitely recommend it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 29, 2015 11:08 PM GMT


Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
by Maryanne Wolf
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, 27 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Let me preface my brief review by saying that I've just finished my masters degree in Educational Psychology, in which I wrote essays about dyslexia (and Wolf's own research). Having studied reading, I can appreciate how difficult it must be to write about, given its interciplinary nature and burgeoning literature.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. I have to agree with a lot of what Donald Mitchell says, especially as regards the writing style and the weakness of the 'Proust and the Squid' metaphor - it's nothing more than an attractive title to pique interest. I also found that the author liked to blow her own trumpet a little too much - naturally, she focuses on her own research and any other work that backs it up, but unlike true scientific spirit and philosophy would decree, she does not admit much to the great inaccuracy and inconsistency in the field. Her theory does not represent the consensus in the literature, although you'd be forgiven for thinking that was the case by the way she writes about her work! At times the book felt like a desperate attempt to impress the reader, either with her research, her family history, or her use of vocabulary.

The big focus on neuroscience and brain imaging is hardly unsurprising given her background, but neuroscientific findings are so limited on their own. There is good evidence for the Phonological Deficit Hypothesis as an explanation of dyslexia, which, as a cognitive-level theory, is not mentioned in the book.

The book did teach me about the development of writing systems (cuneiform, hieroglyphics, etc.) and about Socrates' contention with written language, representing "unguided and uncritical access to information". I'm not sure whether to view the internet debate as positive or negative - it certainly speared me on to further work on the subject (e.g. Untangling the Web, Aleks Krotoski), although on the other hand it did seem as though perhaps the book had enough on its plate as it was.

Above all, the book reinforced the message that "reading never just happens" - learning to read is a long and onerous process that relies on so many 'primitive' capacities. As a result, there is a lot of possibility for malfunctioning and cross-wiring, which have disasterous consequences in societies that place huge emphasis on decoding and extracting meaning from text.


Transcend 8GB JetFlash 300 USB Drive [Frustration-Free Packaging]
Transcend 8GB JetFlash 300 USB Drive [Frustration-Free Packaging]
Price: £5.50

3.0 out of 5 stars When it works, wonderful!, 23 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have found this pen drive to be unreliable. It may be my computer, but quite often when I have the drive plugged into a USB port and I'm typing, it becomes disconnected (I don't type particularly aggressively!). Also sometimes it isn't recognised by my computer, or takes ages to be recognised. Unfortunately this has put me off buying Transcend devices in the future.


Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens
Offered by Matik
Price: £213.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Nikon Glass, 29 July 2012
I use this lens with a Nikon D3000 (i.e. bottom of the range DSLR) and the results are astounding. The VR sometimes takes a couple of seconds to properly activate, but when it does, it's very steady. Having VR on a powerful zoom lens like this is essential in my opinion. I'm not sure if it would be a good buy for someone with a 55-200 or even 18-105 since there isn't really a massive stretch from there to 300mm, but if you're on a prime lens or basic kit lens, it would definitely be worth your while.
Highly recommended zoom lens!


Driving Test Success All Tests 2012 Edition (PC)
Driving Test Success All Tests 2012 Edition (PC)
Offered by b68solutions
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but not perfect, 2 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Overall I think this is a great product. I've used it alongside the Highway Code (I prefer it in written form). It's great to get immediate feedback on your mistakes. However, quite often in the tests the questions are repeated. One other minor gripe is that when you're doing the tests, a voice reads out every question and all of the possible answers too, meaning that you may need to put your computer on mute.
Nevertheless, I'd definitely recommend it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 2, 2012 5:26 PM BST


Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe
Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe
by Marcus Chown
Edition: Paperback

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking illustrations, 25 Jan. 2012
Obviously quantum theory is a difficult topic for anyone, and therefore there's quite a challenge to make it accessible. I think Chown could have made it MORE accessible by including illustrations. A lot of the ideas he talks about are very difficult to visualise - I found myself looking up things online all the time to get my head around them. Having said that, it's still a good read but you may need to re-re-read some parts.


Belkin USB 2.0 High Speed 4 Port Hub
Belkin USB 2.0 High Speed 4 Port Hub
Offered by eli4781
Price: £9.80

2.0 out of 5 stars Great at first..., 7 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used the hub to connect a webcam and mouse, and it functioned flawlessly to begin with. Just less than a year after buying it, however, it no longer allows me to connect both of these devices simultaneously - my mouse isn't even recognised on my computer.
For this reason, I wouldn't recommend this hub.


JVC High Quality Lightweight Headphones - Black
JVC High Quality Lightweight Headphones - Black

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good!, 29 Oct. 2011
After using ear buds for a number of years, I decided to invest in some proper headphones and I'm quite impressed with these.

QUALITY: Very good, catering well for a large frequency range. They don't include any kind of bass boost system, but the bass level is appropriate I'd say. They also feel well built.

COMFORT: Around-ear padded earphones, so pretty comfy. There's a strip of padded leather which sits on top of your head as well, and of course the phones are adjustable.

USAGE: Although not designed to be noise-reducing, they pretty much are. This means that they're great when you're walking alongside traffic, on the underground, or generally in noisier-than-usual situations. I think you'd annoy someone if you used them inside though.
The phones fold in, using less space than otherwise in a bag/suitcase.

In summary I'd definitely recommend these.
Comment Comment | Permalink


Tourist History
Tourist History

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, intelligent, bouncing, 25 July 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tourist History (MP3 Download)
Great quality song-writing runs all the way through this album like a stick of rock. I can corroborate other reviews on here in that the listener will find track after track of great songs.


The Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary: French-English, English-French
The Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary: French-English, English-French
by Oxford Dictionaries
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dictionary of dictionaries, 25 July 2011
It may be big, cumbersome, heavy, more expensive than other dictionaries, but that's a small price to pay for the sheer quality you're INVESTING in. Yes, this is an INVESTMENT! When will you EVER need to buy a bigger or better dictionary? Never. I upgraded from an Oxford pocket dictionary to the Hachette monster. I think having both gives you the best of both worlds - a pocket dictionary when you're out and about (e.g. in your bag), and a big hachette dictionary for reference when you're at home. I don't even need to mention the robust credibility of Oxford dictionaries...
Go for this. You won't regret it. But bare in mind its size and ask yourself whether it suits your needs.


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