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C. Nation "chrisnation" (Bristol UK)

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Philip's Road Atlas France, Belgium and The Netherlands: Spiral A5
Philip's Road Atlas France, Belgium and The Netherlands: Spiral A5

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's teeny-weeny!, 12 July 2013
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When I read 'Road Atlas' I think of something at least A4, more like A3. My mistake for not checking the specs. I see some other atlases of the same size are helpfully titled 'Mini-Atlas' or 'Glovebox Atlas'. This is what this edition is. It is tiny. Each page is A5, with a 17mm spiral binding separating adjacent pages. As the binding is the same size used on the biggest atlases, it takes up a disproportionate amount of a pair of pages.

The scale is 1cm to 10kms - that's 1:1,000,000. My A4 atlas for the whole of Europe [northern-most point of Norway to Gibraltar and W.Turkey to Ireland] is the same scale.

Maps have always been part of my working life. I've always been a fan of Philip's maps. They're clearly printed, with white backgrounds everywhere except green patches for national parks or similar. This atlas has this design, so, for all that the scale is tiny, it is as legible as any mapping at this scale is ever going to be. The problem, at this scale is, of course, detail. The area of Holland bounded by Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Apeldoorn, Arnhem has so much m/way that the mapping looks like a snake-pit of blue snakes. Other roads and place names are difficult to make out amongst a great spaghetti of m/ways. I defy anyone to use this atlas for local routing in this area. Other areas suffer the same problem. The m/way system centred on Dusseldorf is another blue snake-pit.

Philips do the same atlas at 1:250,000. This is the scale you need for a sensible amount of detail and legibility and the ability to navigate down to the most local level.

I suppose this atlas would be OK for back-packing or cycling. It will get you around the principle routes and centres of the three countries but anyone with more space to carry a map book would be well advised to avoid this edition.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 16, 2013 1:14 PM BST

Ex-Pro® Nikon MH-25, MH25, EN-EL15, ENEL15 - Dual (Twin) Battery Fast Charge Digital Camera Charger for Nikon 1 V1, D600, D610, D750, D800, D810, D7000, D7100, D7200 SLR Camera
Ex-Pro® Nikon MH-25, MH25, EN-EL15, ENEL15 - Dual (Twin) Battery Fast Charge Digital Camera Charger for Nikon 1 V1, D600, D610, D750, D800, D810, D7000, D7100, D7200 SLR Camera
Offered by ExpressPro
Price: £12.97

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential bit of kit in your camera bag., 6 July 2013
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All DSLRs now do HD video. This takes a lot more juice than stills, so additional batteries are essential. This means you need an additional charger. It is great to be able to charge two batteries at once, rather than having to queue them up. My two new ENEL15s are now both ready to go from a single charge. Great stuff.

The charger comes with adapters which fit your particular battery. The adapters fit onto the body of the charger and the batteries go into the adapters. I'm not sure if you can release the adapters for one type of battery and fit others - the fitting lugs seemed a non-reversable fit but if are removable, alternative adapters for different batteries would certainly be a big help in cutting down gizmo-clutter.

Black Sleep Eye Mask Blindfold for Sleeping
Black Sleep Eye Mask Blindfold for Sleeping
Offered by Demarkt
Price: £0.61

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It does the job., 6 July 2013
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It is comfortable, a good fit on my face and the straps hold firmly but not over-tightly. One thing that is an improvement on other masks I've had is that the mask has a decent amount of padding, so it does not fold up into a thin strip across your face under tension from the elastic. The trick with these masks is how long it takes for the straps to lengthen until they get too loose and you have to start a process of shortening them up. We'll see.

PS. After several months' wearing every night, the 'spaghetti' straps not only go slack but start degenerating into a sticky, rubbery substance that will actually come off onto your fingers. I have cut off the original straps and sewn on elasticated tape from the haberdashery section of Tescbury's.

JJC compatible Nikon HN-2 Lens Hood for NIKON AF NIKKOR 28mm f/2.8D
JJC compatible Nikon HN-2 Lens Hood for NIKON AF NIKKOR 28mm f/2.8D

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly good for the purpose., 5 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It fits. It's robust. It does not cut off at f22 on my 28mm lens. It's all good. That's about all you need to know.

Hama 00005369 NI-3 Wireless Remote Control Release for Nikon Camera
Hama 00005369 NI-3 Wireless Remote Control Release for Nikon Camera

3.0 out of 5 stars Beware - old new stock. Mine was d.o.a. - most likely dead batteries, 5 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a warning about buying this model. It may be 'shelf worn'

I give this thing 3 stars because is is impossible to write a review with no stars. Not that the device deserves no stars - it doesn't deserve 3 or 5 or any stars at all because it was new old stock - the previous model to Hama's latest - and was d.o.a.

This may be because the batteries supplied with it are dead from old age. Hama told me that this model was replaced by a new model 'at the end of last year', so the batteries will have been hanging around with the batt'y maker>supplier>Hama>Amazon vendor until fitted into the unit yesterday. If the last of these went out from Hama towards the end of last year, the batts will be about a year old, long enough for the transmitter one, at least, to go dead. Its standby life is rated at <12 months.

Hama very kindly offered to replace my unit with a brand new latest model. They could have told me to buy new batts and call them if that didn't work but I'll take their offer, chop-chop.

If yours doesn't work, batteries are likely to be the problem.

Addendum 29/07/13 The vendor has contacted me asking if I would withdraw this review, although they acknowledge it is a review of the product not of them. I replied thus:

What I have written to date will stand. If you feel that my comments about the product reflect adversely on your company I can only suggest that you either a] stop selling this product, it being an old model with possibly dead batteries b] supply fresh batteries with any more you sell.

JJC 82mm Snap On/Clip On Lens Cap Protection Cover with Keeper for DSLR Camera - Black
JJC 82mm Snap On/Clip On Lens Cap Protection Cover with Keeper for DSLR Camera - Black
Offered by ares-foto
Price: £3.66

5.0 out of 5 stars It's a lens cap. It works, 3 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
No more to be said, really. I dispense with the keeper bit. I try not to lose these things but sometimes I do. If so, I know where to get another one. I'd rather not have a lens cap dangling about the place.

Fotodiox 3-Section Rubber Lens Hood, 52mm
Fotodiox 3-Section Rubber Lens Hood, 52mm
Price: £10.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job just fine, 3 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It screws onto the filter thread of my UV filter. It works as a hood should. It folds back on itself to get out of the way. Your lens cap fits on OK as well. The reason I reduct 1 star is that it is not as good as a metal or decent plastic hood for warding off impact. But then, it is rubber, innit?

by Lyn Macdonald
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not military history. It is written as fiction., 3 July 2013
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This review is from: 1914 (Hardcover)
I don't expect many people will find my review 'helpful' because it flies in the face of the 5* high praise of other all other reviewers. However, before you throw up your hands in disgust at my criticism, let me tell you that I am a battlefield guide, a member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and it is my job to know as much as I can - and then learn yet more - about all things concerning British involvement in armed conflict, with particular reference to WW1 & WW2.

I am going on a battlefield tour to Mons in Sept to cover the very topic of this book - 1914. I have been many times before and I have read a great deal of material on the subject. McDonald's book was one of 6 [six!] more I ordered last week to augment my knowledge of the BEF's first 6 months of WW1.

The problem with McDonald's approach is that it is written like fiction. Her anecdotal narrative and colourful descriptions, which seem so attractive to the general reader, does not lend itself to the exposition of historical events. There is far too much putting things into people's heads and mouths, making thing up that she cannot possibly know, reporting conversations that could never be recalled in any sort of detail, and reliance on hearsay and personal verbal recollection. This is the way she writes all her books - giving the soldier's view - and although there is merit in this, it is not suitable for an accurate account of historical events of any kind. How many of us could recall, many years after the event, something that happened on our holidays when aged 14, to the extent that it is suitable to include in a book of military history? Yet McDonald has the best part of a page devoted to the recollection of a 14 year old.

In case you feel inclined to argue "but the survivors told her their stories and she wrote them down" let me tell you that even Regimental Diaries, written up in the field as soon as circumstances allowed, have large gaps, contradictions with themselves and with other units' diaries and pure error.

To illustrate this point - I am to present a talk on the firing of the first BEF artillery salvo of WW1 by 3 Section, E Battery, 1st Royal Horse Artillery. There is no disagreement about the fact that it was this unit that fired the first salvo but from there on all is confusion. The date is either 22nd or 23rd of August 1914 [a historical event if ever there was one but not mentioned in this book], depending on what source you consult. As for the location, my colleague went out to Mons to recce this site 2 weeks ago, with the available evidence we could find to that point [without going to the National Archive at Kew, which we will] and the location of E Battery's position is in doubt to the tune of over 1 mile. As the maximum range of the RHA's 13 pounders was only 3.3 miles, a mile or more discrepancy in their firing position is a serious matter, in establishing this historic moment when the BEF artillery commenced hostilities.

An example of a factional conversation. 'Barry glared, scowled and barked back "I only ....Orderly Room!" He added with masterly sarcasm, "And may I remind you ..." ' This is pure fiction. This is making things up to generate colour. It makes for an enjoyable read but not as history.

How about a line like this, describing the enthusiasm of local girls in collecting British cap badges? "The progress of the [BEF] towards Mons could easily be deduced from the amount of hardware that gleamed on their generous bosoms". 'Gleamed'? Generous bosoms'? This is sheer make-believe.

She is also of the school that has swallowed the Schlieffen Plan myth hook, line and sinker. "The plan was drawn up by the German Chief of Staff, Field Marshall Count von Schieffen, with such precise attention to detail and with such clarity of logic and it seemed such an infallible blueprint for success that no attempt was ever made to revise it or even alter it in the smallest detail". This is nonsense.

Papers in the German Military Archives have 'war games' and planning analyses by Schlieffen from every year he was in post until his retirement in 1906, complete with commentaries and critiques and suggested amendments by his colleagues. Moltke the younger then continued war gaming and planning from 1906 to the outbreak of the war. German planning for the next war underwent considerable 'revisions' and 'alterations', depending on the political and intelligence assessments of the day. In addition, we must note that McDonald has Schlieffen drawing up his plan "long ago" in 1892. Wikipedia [not an authority to take as gospel, viz: "This article needs attention from an expert in Military history Wikiproject]" has it as 1905. John Terraine, in his book, "Mons: The Retreat to Victory" has it at 1902.

So if there is disagreement amongst historians about something as fundamental as the creation date of the Schlieffen Plan, the verbiage in McDonald's book about the minutiae of life and events of thousands of soldiers and others in 1914 must be regarded as entertainment based on a real historical period.

This book is of a type similar to "Shindler's Ark" by Thomas Keneally, which won the Booker Prize for Fiction: "A Historical Novel which describes actual people and events with fictional dialogue and scenes added by the author". And it is interesting to note that "Schindler's Ark" also won a non-fiction prize in Australia, though Keneally never claimed it to be other than a novel.

I have read other McDonald books. Her approach is the same but in this one she has overdone it by a large margin. I need more on 1914 but I have abandoned this book as entirely unsuitable as a cogent, accurate, historically sound account.

Read for enjoyment - I'm sure you will. But do not read it as a sound description of the BEF IN 1914.

MACRO EXTENSION TUBES FULL Set Adaptor fits NIKON DSLR SLR D3400,D3300,D3200 D3100 D5600 D5500 D5300 D5200 D5100 D5000 D7000 D7100 D600 D610 D800 D810, 40X D40 D80 D90 D800 D300 D700, 0, D1,D2,D3 DSLR.
MACRO EXTENSION TUBES FULL Set Adaptor fits NIKON DSLR SLR D3400,D3300,D3200 D3100 D5600 D5500 D5300 D5200 D5100 D5000 D7000 D7100 D600 D610 D800 D810, 40X D40 D80 D90 D800 D300 D700, 0, D1,D2,D3 DSLR.
Offered by BV-electronics
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A no-brainer at this price but mind how you go., 2 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Clearly, the real thing from Nikon is champ. For a start you get auto exposure connection. But for what this kit is - a series of plain metal tubes with a camera connection one end and lens connection at t'other, Nikon want way too much dinero.

This set works. With my 105mm Micro Nikon lens on all the tubes, I can fill the frame with a 35mm tranny + just a tad of the mount showing all round. Once I make up a black mask, I will be able to copy all my 35mm trannies at 24Mp RAW. Not quite as good as revisiting all the places round the planet where the originals were shot over 35 years and shooting them again on the D600, but the next best thing.

The different size tubes - 28mm, 14mm, 7mm, the tube<>lens adaptor and the tube<>camera adaptor rings - are threaded and screw together in whatever config you need. The adaptors bayonet onto your camera body and lens in the usual way. It decouples just as easily. It is true that the knurled knob to release the lens from its adaptor takes a moment of off-camera practice to make sure you really know that it will work, but sure enough, if you slide it back towards the camera body, a tiny pin withdraws from the rebate in the throat of the lens and the tube twists comes off. It's exactly the same mechanism as the normal camera<>lens release.

As the tubes have nothing to lock them in position once screwed together, you can find that the rings start to unscrew if you twist focus on the lens. My 105mm Micro has a focus brake which seems to be stuck on max, so I have to hold the barrel of the lens whilst focusing to prevent the macro rings unscrewing. However, as others have said, it is better to move the camera to focus than fiddle with the focus ring. At high magnifications this m.o. just works better.

As for exposure, it's Manuel all the way. Focus with your lens wide open, stop down to something sensible, given the lighting available, and run off a series of shots with various shutter speeds and pick one you like. My D600 manual exposure indicator works with the lens stopped down, so the guesswork is minimal. I also succeeded by setting the camera on aperture priority and letting the camera work out the shutter speed. Don't forget that if you do it this way you must stop the lens down manually. But it works fine.

So, extremely cheap and does the job perfectly well given an appreciation of how it all works.

The Real German War Plan, 1904-14
The Real German War Plan, 1904-14
by Terence Zuber
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Part ? of an academic cat fight., 1 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I can't get enough of trying to understand what drove Europe to 'civil war' in 1914. I'm a WW1 battlefield guide. It's my job to know this stuff.

What continues to interest me is the local European political decisions that war was the best option to settle the differences between France, Germany and Russia.

This was what I hoped to find in this book. A war plan - the military side of things - must also deal with the political reasons why a war plan should exist at all. This is touched on by Zuber in his presentstion of each succeeding year's German war plan but as the engine driving the military machine, the political situation over the years 1900-1914 in Europe receives far less attention than it deserved.

This book is a detailed analysis of plans and war games drawn up by Schlieffen, both Moltkes and others of the German High Command from late in the 1890s to 1914. This comprises about 80% of the book. It makes tedious and repetitious reading for anyone not involved with the academic analysis of this subject. An irritatingly common problem in this book is the copy & paste of sentences and paragraphs that have been lifted out of the author's previous work. He does acknowledge that some material from earlier books has been used but it has been used very badly, with minimal editing.

The author does not believe "The Schlieffen Plan", as illustrated by the West Point Academy 'Schlieffen Plan map' and accepted as 'common knowledge', existed. He goes to great lengths to prove his point. Much of this is refutations of other authors' books and papers, with references to newly available German archives. However, I was less than impressed to find that one reference was to one of the author's own previous books which also refuted the existence of the "Schlieffen Plan." This is clearly the author reinforcing his point simply by repetition, something he is scathing about in the work of others. There may be other examples of this self-referencing by Zuber. I may get round to checking.

Zuber has a massive problem. In trying to refute the existence of The Schlieffen Plan he is undone by events. Whatever you want to call it, the German forces in 1914 executed the move through Belgium and the great 'right hook' that Schieffen had originally drawn up. Zuber attempts to explain that Schlieffen offered it up as a plan that was without merit - a strategical coconut deliberately set up to be knocked down. But the German armies did indeed execute the very move that Zuber would have us believe Schlieffen thought was worthless.

It may be useful in academic circles to clear up any misunderstandings and misinterpretations in the analyses of events, particularly if new documents become available. If the German plan before August 1914 was to respond to French and Russian aggression, it is a point well worth making, in fact essential to understanding European history 1900-1989. However, I did not find this book did so with a view to having this theory accepted by a wider audience other than the authors whom Zuber wishes to refute and in that I believe he failed. An opportunity wasted.

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