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Martin A (Normandy, France)

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The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert
The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert
Price: £8.39

96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What were all the other journalists of the world up to while this was happening?, 19 Oct. 2011
Some years back, I believed that man-made global warming (AGW) had been established as firm reality by physical measurements and the application of the laws of physics. I had no reason to believe otherwise - I had read in newspapers that the UN had summarised numerous scientific studies and there was no doubt about the results.

Then I decided to read up on the subject myself and understand what it was all about. With a background in advanced engineering, and experience of statistical analysis in communication systems and modelling a range of physical systems, I had enough background to read and understand what it was all about.

There seemed to be two main themes:
- The global average temperature was rising at an unprecedented rate.
- Rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were the cause.

I started to read up about the "hockey stick" graph, famous from its use by Al Gore. Immediately, alarm bells sounded. Most of the graph had been produced by tree-ring temperature proxies. But the last bit, showing rapid temperature rise, had been produced from actual temperature measurements. If you produce a graph where the appearance changes at the exact point where you change the data source, would you have confidence in the graph? Few engineers would.

I quickly came across the work by Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. Quite apart from the question of switching data sources at the crucial point, their work showed that the "hockey stick" graph was based on faulty statistical methods and essentially an artefact of the analysis method devised by Michael Mann. Here was something that just did not make sense - global temperatures have been shown to be rising at an unprecedented rate but the analysis showing this is based on flaky statistical methods?

Then I tried to pin down the physics relating global temperature to atmospheric carbon dioxide. Alarm bells again quickly sounded for me. This conclusion is based on predictions from computer models. Oh - oh... I have enough experience of constructing models of physical systems to know that, even when the physical system is well understood, validating a model so that you can have confidence in its results is very difficult. A model that has not been validated, if you start to believe its predictions, puts you in a far worse position than if you simply say "we don't know".

How can models of the climate be verified, when there are many aspects that are - at best - only partially understood and where observations of the real system are available only for a very brief period? Even more alarm bells rang for me when I read the UK Met Office's statements that their climate models are verified by checking that they correctly reproduce the historical data used to construct them. For any engineer who has constructed models of engineering systems, such a statement is a joke (a bad one). If a model cannot even reproduce the data used to construct it, then it is clearly worthless - but reproducing the training data is far from confirming that the physical model is correct and will produce reliable predictions.

Then I found that things were even worse yet. To predict significant warming based on increased carbon dioxide, the models incorporate positive feedback effects, where the effect of carbon dioxide is assumed to be multiplied by a large factor. Any engineer who has had to cope with the ticklish instability of systems incorporating large amounts of positive feedback has extreme difficulty believing that planet Earth's climate incorporates significant positive feedback.

By this point, I had become a sceptic of AGW. It seemed to me that there were elements of religious belief in its proponents ("knowing" a thing to be true, even in the absence of evidence). They were talking the talk of science - but walking the walk of a new religion.

Yet, how was it possible that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could present all this stuff as "rigorous science"? I had the beginnings of an understanding of this question towards the end of 2009, when I downloaded and read the "Climategate" emails. It was very clear that IPCC lead authors had been conspiring to keep out anything that cast doubt on the AGW orthodoxy.

I have greatly enjoyed reading Donna Laframboise's book "The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert." It explains in detail how all this nonsense has been passed off as rigorous science by the IPCC.

My question now is this: What were all the other journalists of the world up to while this was happening? There were enough clues that something very wrong was going on.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 21, 2013 11:39 AM GMT

Rhythm Riffs: Over 200 Riffs in All Styles [With CD (Audio)] (Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Songbooks))
Rhythm Riffs: Over 200 Riffs in All Styles [With CD (Audio)] (Hal Leonard Guitar Method (Songbooks))
by Greg Koch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.95

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not about rhythm guitar technique - and a matter of taste whether you like the riffs., 19 May 2011
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Like another reviewer, I bought the book in the belief, from its title, that it is about rhythm guitar technique - I should have investigated more carefully, I guess.

Some samples are played with quite a high distortion level - ok if it's your taste, but it makes it a bit more difficult to hear note-for-note what is being played - and it grates a bit if you don't like heavy distortion.

Biggest drawback for me was that I found I simply did not like the riffs - many of them sound to me like odd bits and pieces pasted together and I did not find any that I yearned to play. A matter of taste, I suppose, but on the assumption that other potential readers might have a similar reaction, I can't give a strong recommendation to the book.

Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass
Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass
by Merlin Blencowe
Edition: Hardcover

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has good points but not for everyone wanting to know about guitar preamp design, 26 April 2011
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As someone with a sideline interest in restoring, designing, building and using guitar amplifiers I looked forward to reading "Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass" by Merlin Blencowe. I have formal training in electronics at the highest level and have made a career in the area but I am well aware that there are always new things to learn and new insights to be had, especially in an area such as guitar amplifier design.

Overall, I was disappointed - primarily because the book is mistitled. It is mistitled in two ways. Its scope is in some ways wider than just preamps - the three chapters on phase inverters and on feedback are more relevant to power amplifiers than to preamps. On the other hand, it does not cover preamp design comprehensively enough to justify its title.

I think it has both good points and deficiencies. For some potential readers, the good points will greatly outweigh the deficiencies. For other potential readers, the opposite will apply.


I think that many enthusiasts will appreciate being able to read in detail the descriptions of valve circuit operation and will get a very good physical understanding of what is actually happening and thus be able to make genuine design decisions, rather than blindly following cookbook recipes with no real understanding. Such enthusiasts will probably find the book very helpful.

The author, apparently self-taught, is enthusiastically willing to share the knowledge that clearly required hard work over a long period to gather. Generally he explains things very clearly. Just occasionally, the explanations get bogged down in a swamp of words. His enthusiasm shines through and I think that many readers will find this inspiring.

The book contains many oscilloscope images, showing actual waveforms and many readers will find this very helpful. A scope image will often show what is really happening far more clearly than any number of words, as well as being more convincing.

I was delighted by the author's comments on writings that talk about the relative tonal superiority of (for example) ECC83 valves from a particular manufacturer. Someone without formal training in circuit analysis is liable to absorb such nonsense as if it were fact. After all, it is widely put about on the Internet - especially by so-called audiophiles. Merlin Blencowe writes:
"These subjective differences are not a consideration for the circuit designer and will not be mentioned here again. (...) Real tonal control comes from the choice of topology, frequency shaping and manipulation of overdrive characteristics, and from a complete understanding of the circuit's functionality, not from the particular manufacturer or vintage of the actual components used."
How very well expressed.


>>Does not address the overall design problem

Although the book gives lots of information on (for example) deciding the component values for a circuit, it hardly touches on the major choices that a designer needs to make before ever getting to detailed circuit design. Such choices might include:

- the sensitivity required from each input
- frequency shaping characteristics to be provided built in to the preamp.
- what controls are to be provided in addition to the tone controls (gain? drive? sustain?)
- what effects (such as tremolo or reverb) are to be incorporated into the preamp
- how many stages are needed, the signal voltages to exist at each stage and which controls should be placed between which stage.

>> Slags off other books and makes unjustified claims

The preface states: "Of the handful of books which are available, they are at best only descriptions of pre-existing or 'classic' amps, and at worst badly written, badly presented, rife with errors and heavily overpriced". It is unbecoming for the author of a book to speak badly of the work of their fellow-authors like that.

The dust jacket states: "Designing Tube Preamps for Guitar and Bass is the world's first comprehensive guide to the design of tube-based preamplifiers, specifically for musical instrument use, in a single volume". This statement of uniqueness is unjustified and comes across as hollow boasting. Two predating books which cover the topic of preamp design for guitar are:

"The Ultimate Tone" by Kevin O'Connor (1995)
"Guitar Amplifier Preamps" by Richard Kuehnel (2007)

>> Editing deficiencies

The book seems not to have benefited from professional editing. One sign of this, which gives it a somewhat amateurish air, is the excessive use of quotation marks and exclamation marks. The book frequently puts words in quotation marks for no apparent purpose except that the word is a bit vague. Professional editors usually eliminate all such so-called scare quotes.

Exclamation marks are grossly overused in the book - there is probably not a single instance where their used is justified. Some readers find repeated use of exclamation marks irritating.

The level of typos is quite high - most seem to be where a typo has apparently resulted in a different word than what was intended, so that it would not be been found by a spelling checker.

Editing deficiencies such as these do not invalidate the information in the book but they will, for some people, greatly mar the enjoyment of reading it.

>> Structure

Another sign of the apparent non-involvement of a professional editor is the structure of the book. An editor would probably have insisted on an introductory chapter. As it is, chapter 1 dives straight in to dealing with analysis of the common-cathode triode, without covering things that you might have expected to find in an introductory chapter, such as:

- Motivation for why you might want to use vacuum tubes in a preamp
- Explaining the scope of the book - what it covers and what it does not cover.
- Outlining the steps involved in designing a preamp and the trade-offs that need to be made.

It would have been good to have had a brief biography of the author, such as many books include on the inside of the dust jacket. The title page carries the letters MSc after his name - but the subject of his master's degree is not revealed.

>> Misconceptions

If I come across a fundamental misconception in a technical book, this greatly reduces my confidence in the book's treatment of other topics.

Chapter 7 is titled "The Cathodyne Phase Inverter". This circuit is more widely known as a phase-splitter - a triode with equal valued load resistors in the cathode and the anode circuits. The author is confused about the output impedances of this circuit and yet he states that "many authors" have been puzzled by the matter.

He states (p. 161):

"The output impedance of the cathodyne is a troublesome subject, as it varies hugely depending on whether or not it is equally loaded. (...) The fact that not only is the output impedance equal at both outputs, but also very low in value (...) has puzzled many authors, yet it is true. The theory behind this is beyond the scope of this book; interested readers are referred to Jones and Preisman."

But if you look at the quoted papers by Jones and by Preisman, you will find they make no such statement. In fact, they explicitly state that the output impedance from the anode circuit is high and the output impedance from the cathode circuit is low.

That is how it is - from a stage that, from its cathode output, is essentially a cathode follower with a cathode follower's low output impedance and, from its anode output, is essentially a triode whose unbypassed cathode resistor ensures a high output impedance. Anyone doubting the facts can look them up in Langford-Smith (formulas 33 and 34, section 7.2) or they can make an actual measurement of the output impedances of a phase-splitter stage - you'll find one in a Selmer Zodiac 50 power amplifier.

The chapter on feedback gets the author skating on thin ice here and there, when he mentions poles and zeros and output transformer high frequency characteristics.


I think that an enthusiast who could already build a guitar amplifier and understands a bit about electronic circuits and who is willing to make the effort to read this book in detail could get a lot of benefit from it and I would recommend it to them - subject to the reservations I have made.

Someone who is not already familiar with circuit design would probably find it over their head and get no benefit from it - notwithstanding the rear dust cover statement "An essential reference text for any amp enthusiast!" .

Finally, an experienced electronics designer who wanted to get clued up on valve guitar preamplifier design would, in my opinion, find that it does not give them the information they need. I'd suggest potential readers in that category should give it a miss.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 12, 2015 3:29 PM GMT

Riley: The Legendary RMs
Riley: The Legendary RMs
by John Price Williams
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strange omission..., 11 Nov. 2009
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I very much enjoyed this book, as a life-long Riley fan. When I was a little lad in the early 50's, my dad drove a delapidated 1936 Riley Nine Kestrel. I watched at weekends as he worked on it, to keep it in running order. On my daily walk to school, I greatly admired two shiny new RM Rileys of well-to-do neighbours. I remember, as a nine-year old, reading reviews of the Pathfinder, in my dad's copies of Motor and Autocar. Today, from time to time, I have the pleasure of seeing some of the many lovingly cared-for Rileys that still exist.

The book is packed with information that I found fascinating - detail about the cars and anecdotes illustrating the chaos of the British motor industry of the 1950's.

About ten years ago, I bought and avidly read "Riley RM Series" by James Taylor, which I greatly enjoyed. "The Legendary RMs" covers, inevitably, much the same ground as the book by James Taylor - although the two books are, in many ways, complementary and reading them both gives a fuller overall picture.

The overlap between the two books is illustrated by some of the chapter headings. To give some examples:

"The Legendary RMs" by John Price Williams
ch 5. Major improvements and Abingdon
ch 6. The roadster and the drophead coupé
ch 9. The Pathfinder
ch 11. Sporting success
ch 12. Buying, maintaining, restoring

"Riley RM-Series" by James Taylor
ch 5. Saloons from Abingdon
ch 6. The Dropheads
ch 10. The Pathfinder
ch 11. RM Rileys in competition
ch 12. The RM Rileys today Purchase, restoration and maintenance

The similarities between the books are so striking that someone might think that one of the books had been derived from the other.

"The Legendary RMs" contains a bibliography of sixteen or so books but, for some reason, "Riley RM-Series" by James Taylor is not included in the bibliography nor, so far as I can find, is it mentioned anywhere else in the book. Because of its relevance to anyone wanting to learn more about RM Rileys, I find the omission very strange and hard to understand.

The Bicycle Wheel
The Bicycle Wheel
by Jobst Brandt
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you could want to know, 8 April 2009
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This review is from: The Bicycle Wheel (Hardcover)
This is an excellent book - a masterpiece of clear writing and a delight to read.

If you have ideas of inventing a new way of spoking a wheel that has never been done before, the author suggests not bothering, as it will already have been tried by someone. Instead, he suggests letting your contribution be in building wheels of excellent quality.

Since buying my first copy of the book (later replaced after I lost the first copy), I have built maybe six wheels by following the instructions. They varied from a front wheel for an old Moulton bike with a front hub brake (with spokes only a few inches long) to 27-inch wheels for a vintage Carlton racer. In every case, I simply followed the step-by-step instructions - result, a perfect wheel, every time.

For anyone wanting to build bicycle wheels, or who simply wants to understand how they work, I recommend Jobst Brandt's book without reservation.

Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Hardcover

58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A collection of interesting essays - but oversold as a book., 4 Feb. 2009
Malcolm Gladwell, I learned from his website, is a writer for the New Yorker. His website has an archive of his New Yorker articles.

I found "Outliers" an interesting read, starting off with the theme that successful people happen to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right talent, the right motivation and the right accumulation of experience already under their belt. From then the book jumps around, each chapter having an interesting theme but without much connection with the other chapters. The last chapter recounts how Malcolm Gladwell's mother, born and raised in Jamaica, eventually came to live in a beautiful house on a hill in the Canadian countryside.

I got the feeling I was reading a succession of "New Yorker" articles, each one interesting but slightly superficial - and with no common theme being built up.

Overall, I was disappointed and felt that the book had been oversold. The back cover says:

"This book will change the way you think about your life. And it will challenge you to make the most of your own potential".

In my view, that is simply overselling the book. It provided a pleasant read, whiling away a couple of evenings, but no more than that.

Simplified Guide to Custom Stairbuilding & Tangent Handrailing: Revised Edition
Simplified Guide to Custom Stairbuilding & Tangent Handrailing: Revised Edition
by George Di Cristina
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.45

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A highly specialised book - not for the amateur carpenter, 13 Jan. 2009
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I bought this book because my girlfriend wanted to construct a staircase in the old house she was converting from a barn and I needed to renovate a staircase in my old house.

This calls itself "a simplified guide" to custom stairbuilding and tangent handrailing. Be warned that it is packed with pages and pages of abstruse geometric diagrams and theory. It is intended for a professional who needs to be able to build curved staircases. However, I rather suspect that, today, even a professional stairbuilder would use a computer program for designing staircases, rather than work out all the dimensions, curves and angles from geometric principles.

This is most certainly not a book for the amateur carpenter who wants to build one or two staircases. Nor, I believe, is it a book for an ordinary professional carpenter who needs to build custom staircases.

And my girlfriend's staircase? In the end, she commissisoned a local woodworker to build her staircase. He measured up, took notes of what was wanted and went away to use his PC to make the design. A week later, he came back and assembled the staircase whose parts he had cut according to the computer's output. It is a beautifully staircase turning through 270 degrees and it fits exactly. I wish I had not bought this book - its contents were not even useful to us as background reading.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 21, 2017 9:37 PM BST

Brother HL-2035 Compact Mono Laser Printer
Brother HL-2035 Compact Mono Laser Printer

132 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent escape route from slavery to inkjets, 13 Jan. 2009
November 2013 - printer still working perfectly.


April 2011 - printer still working perfectly. So pleased I bought it.


I wrote this review when I had had the printer for about three months. I have now had it for over a year and I have used it almost daily, printing several pages per day on average. It has worked perfectly during that time, without a single paper jam nor any other problem. The original toner cartridge it came with was replaced after some months of use and the replacement cartridge is still going strong.

The saving of time compared with an inkjet printer is a very real bonus. You save time in both not having to wait minutes while a document is printed and in not having to mess around cleaning printing heads and changing cartridges whenever the inkjet decides to start printing streaky documents.

I am delighted that I bought this printer and I recommend it as reliable, economical and trouble-free.

12 November 2009

Original review...

I had got very fed up with inkjet printers - drying up if not used for a while, gobbling expensive ink cartridges, frequently needing head cleaning - which takes time and gobbles up more expensive ink. I had also felt ripped off by the inkjet printer makers doing their best to make it difficult to use third party or refilled cartridges. I had thought of laser printers as something for business users - not for the individual who might print only a few pages in a week. But a friend suggested I look at laser printers.

I ordered the Brother HL-2035 from Amazon in France [where I live] and it arrived in a day or so. That was early October 2008. I also ordered a spare toner cartridge, ready for when the cartridge supplied with the printer expired. Three months later, after printing probably more than 500 pages with the original cartridge, the spare toner cartridge still remains in its box.

A very nice feature of the printer is that, after you have plugged it in for the first time, it will (on command) print a test page before you even connect it to the computer, so you can have confidence it is working. [This feature disappears once the printer has been connected to the computer, if I remember correctly.]

I followed the installation instructions and had no problems whatever installing it on my PC (windows 2000). I used a long USB cable, so it can sit where there is space at the other side of the room.

I have now been using it for over three months, probably averaging several pages daily. I think I have used more than a complete pack of 500 sheets since I have had it. It sits there silently, permanently switched on and it comes to life within a few seconds when required to print. Unlike the office laser printers of some years back, it does not make any unpleasant smells.

It prints much faster than an inkjet printer, something I now appreciate. I had not foreseen how useful its greater speed would be. There is also the benefit that you can touch its printed pages with wet fingers without having the ink run.

The prints, whether black/white pictures or text, are delightfully crisp and clear. Black is black, dark grey is dark grey, light grey is light grey, white is white and there are never any streaks or bands across the page.

Criticisms? It does not print colour - but no-one expects a B/W laser printer to do so. I miss not having colour less than I imagined I would. It prints envelopes OK, but some makes of cheap envelope come out a bit wrinkled at the edges - the handbook warns you about this. I overcame this problem by finding a make of envelope that works fine with the printer.

Overall - I am delighted with the printer. It has been completely trouble free so far and, assuming my experience is typical, I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone who prints a moderate quantity of output and for whom colour printing is not essential. Its lower operating costs and freedom from problems make it an excellent escape route from slavery to an inkjet printer.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2011 10:28 PM BST

Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details (Conran Octopus Interiors)
Mid-Century Modern: Interiors, Furniture, Design Details (Conran Octopus Interiors)
by Bradley Quinn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.93

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful pictures. Text......heavy going., 21 Nov. 2008
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What I liked about this book: It is well organised and it has lots of well-chosen, well composed, colourful and clearly printed photographs..

If you want inspiration and ideas, the excellent photographs will give you what you are looking for. Only one picture contains a human figure - the others let you concentrate on the design and the furnishings, with no distracting sign of any occupants.

Where the book falls down....

I found the writing is very heavy going.

On the dustwrapper, it mentions "Bradley also completed a master's degree in History of Art at the University of London".

It seemed to me that the book reads like a master's degree dissertation in which the writer's aim is to show his professor that he has thoroughly mastered the subject - rather than a book aiming to inform and entertain a general reader interested in the subject.

I'd read a paragraph and think "that sounds impressive - but what does it mean?" Then I'd read it again more carefully. At a third reading, I'd give up, not knowing whether it meant something profound or whether it was impressive-sounding but essentially meaningless twaddle.

A typical paragraph:

"The new styles of furniture took centre stage with the distinctive shapes that continue to typify the look today. While mid-century furniture is often recognisable by its balance of form and function, its impact resulted from its ability to convey the dynamics of lived experience in static form. Mid-century designers regarded furniture as tactile art intended to cradle the human form. Although the use of new materials and techniques pioneered a change of direction for furniture - with moulded and glued plywood, and plastics reinforced by fibreglass, among the exciting developments - the forms continued to take shape in relation to the human body. Designers used furniture to articulate the tension between movement and stillness, which can never be separated from the human body. Consequently, 1950s furniture often expressed a body-consciousness unknown to other traditions."

"... the dynamics of lived experience in static form." Huh?

".. to articulate the tension between movement and stillness, which can never be separated from the human body". Does this actually mean something that can be expressed in simple words? Dunno. Beats me.

The text is not always linked to the pictures. Descriptions of stylish objects in text, without linked illustrations is hard to follow. As just one example:

"In Isamu Noguchi's hands abstract art became applied art, In one of his sculptures, wood and glass were moulded into an arrestingly curvaceous silhouette that caught the eye of George Nelson, who identified the shape of a table in its form. An American manufacturer shared Nelson's view and in 1944 collaborated with Noguchi to transform the design into a coffee table. Organic in style, Noguchi's Coffee Table was manufactured with two wooden legs that interlocked to form a tripod, which supported a plate-glass top 2cm (3/4in) thick. Both parts of the design were reversible: the tabletop could be placed upside down or back to front, while the mirror effect of the tripod's design enabled it to maintain the same profile even when turned upside down. Needless to say, Noguchi's considered balance of sculptural form, design innovation and durable function inspired other designers of the period to pursue abstract shapes."

On checking the index, I found that there is actually a photo, earlier in the book, in which a part of such a coffee table is visible.

I recommend this book for its masses of interesting, clear and well-composed and chosen pictures of mid-century design. If you are like me, you'll finish up skipping over the text and enjoying it simply for its illustrations, which I found inspiring and first class.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2017 4:48 PM BST

Epson Perfection V200 Photo A4 4800X9600 DPI 35MM TPU
Epson Perfection V200 Photo A4 4800X9600 DPI 35MM TPU

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Impertinent Little Scanner (with a built-in Jobsworth), 28 Aug. 2008
After having placed the following review on Amazon, I found that the scanner's software will occasionally crash, after which the scanner cannot be switched off. If you then switch it off by removing its power connection, it crashes Windows 2000 Professional with a "BAD POOL CALLER" Blue Screen Of Death. [In seven years of using W2000, I have never before had a program that crashes it.]

In view of the overall quality deficiencies of the product and its software, I recommend not buying this scanner - there must be others available for a similar price that don't have such defects.

My original review follows:

I bought this scanner from Amazon.fr to replace my previous Epson scanner (GT-7000) which, after ten years of use had started to produce slightly defective colour scans.

The new scanner works but....

- If the paper has slight folds in it, such as a document that has arrived folded, the resulting scan shows the shading on one side of the fold much more vividly than the previous scanner did. I imagine this is because it lights the document obliquely. Whatever the reason, I find it unsatisfactory that a page with a flattened-out fold comes out looking is if I had not bothered to close the lid of the scanner.

- Its cables (USB and power from the wall socket transformer) plug into the front right of the scanner, so they are trailing across the desk, rather than being plugged into the rear of the scanner.

- If you place a page on the scanner in the normal position (top of page at rear of scanner) the scan that appears on the screen is upside down.

After a day of using the scanner it dawned on me that if I turned the scanner so its buttons were at the rear of the desk, I'd no longer have the trailing cables AND the scans would come out the right way up. (Its four buttons and its labels would now be upside down but that is no big deal.)

Presumably, Epson's marketing department decided, at the last minute, that having the buttons at the rear was not a good idea. So they redefined the front as the back by turning its various labels upside down. But they did not bother to reposition its sockets at the new "rear" nor to correct the orientation of the scans, even though this would presumably have involved changing only about one line of code in its firmware.

However, by far its most annoying feature is that it has a built-in Jobsworth monitoring what you do with it. I wanted to scan some banknotes, so that I could provide firm proof those particular notes had been in my possession. Instead of completing the scan, it popped up a window on my computer saying "This application does not supported (sic) the unauthorized processing of banknote images". What a cheek! What an impertinence!

Summarising: It works OK but is let down by these deficiencies. If I'd known about all of them, I would not have bought it.

Since posting the above, I have noticed, like another reviewer, that sometimes it will not switch off when you push the correct button for three seconds. When this happens, you have to unplug it. Another little design error that should not have been released to the customer.

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