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Profile for S. P. Long > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
S. P. Long "Simon Long" (Cambridge)
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Dirt Devil HandiMate Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, 9.6 V, 0.4 Litre, 50 W, Red
Dirt Devil HandiMate Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, 9.6 V, 0.4 Litre, 50 W, Red
Price: £42.44

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful, but slow charging lets it down, 16 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a small handheld rechargeable vacuum cleaner. It uses a comparatively powerful 9.6V motor, and the built-in battery is good for around 15 minutes of cleaning. Unfortunately, the battery is also glacially slow to charge, a full charge taking 6 hours when the supplied power adapter is connected. This involves plugging in a charger similar to those supplied with mobile phones - no nice docking station or wall bracket here.

Suction is adequate, if not spectacular - it's on a par with other rechargeable cleaners I've tried. It's very noisy in operation though - more so than other models. A crevice tool and dusting brush are included, but there is nowhere to store them on the cleaner itself, which is inconvenient and pretty poor design.

The bin holds 0.4 litres of dust - this is better than average, reflecting that the cleaner is fairly big. Unfortunately, the filter is quite small, and as soon as it is covered with dust, suction drops off. It's easy to empty and clean, though.

This is basically a product aimed at the budget end of the market. It's adequate for what it is, but it might be worth paying a bit more for a model with a storage bracket and a faster charger.


No Title Available

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great PSU for the money, 15 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I needed a cheap PSU to put into a case with the bits of my old PC to use as a spare while I was setting up my new one, and this looked to be a suitable candidate.

It's awesomely light and flimsy in construction - a plastic case means it weighs next to nothing, and it is also fairly thinly supplied with outputs - other than the standard ATX connectors, there are only a couple of Molex and a couple of SATA connectors. This is in some ways no bad thing, as it keeps the great mass of unused cabling in most PC boxes to a minimum. The cables are all pretty short as well - they do just about reach their sockets, but there really isn't any more cable provided than the bare minimum. Again, this actually helps with keeping the clutter down in the box.

It's not as quiet as a proper "silent" PSU, but it's still hardly noisy, and it's really cheap. If you need something for a budget PC build, it's perfect.


Manuka Doctor Manuka Honey 18+ Total Active 250 g
Manuka Doctor Manuka Honey 18+ Total Active 250 g
Price: £22.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Tastes much nicer than other Manuka I've tried, but no idea as yet if it works!, 8 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For several years now, Manuka honey has been my remedy of choice for sore throats - dissolve a teaspoon in a mug of hot water and drink; I find that two or three mugfuls during the course of a day gets rid of a sore throat faster than anything else. Ordinary honey has always been good for throats, but I assume that the antibacterial properties of Manuka make it particularly good for this.

With one snag - I normally use Rowse 10+ Manuka, and it tastes terrible - you'd barely recognise it as honey, as it isn't that sweet and has quite a nasty, sour taste. This Manuka Doctor honey is rated 18+ - so higher in the active ingredients than the Rowse honey - and it's over twice the price. But strangely, this tastes much better than the Rowse honey - it tastes pretty similar to regular honey, and is far more palatable as a result.

Of course, the proof of the pudding is if this is at the cost of its ability to deal with a sore throat! The next time I have one, I'll try it and report back.


Mr. Robot - Season 1 [DVD] [2015]
Mr. Robot - Season 1 [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Rami Malek
Offered by Games Without Frontiers UK
Price: £6.65

15 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Needlessly graphic - I gave up..., 6 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This series was recommended to me by several people, so it was the first thing I watched with my new Prime subscription. It started out promisingly enough - an intriguing premise, a morally ambiguous hero, the appearance of being actually slightly more rooted in real IT than most Hollywood hacker tales.

And then, a few episodes in, the writer seems to have decided it wasn't "edgy" enough, so we get graphic scenes of sadomasochism, anal sex, drug abuse, physical assault. Were any of that actually relevant to the cause of furthering the plot, I wouldn't object, but it all seemed completely gratuitous to me - I have no idea why any of it was necessary in what was ostensibly a drama about computer hacking. When series like "The Wire" and "Generation Kill", to take two examples of series actually set in environments where violence and drug abuse are part of the plot, manage to be less graphic (and a lot more interesting to boot), this was just sensationalism. I turned off - I didn't care enough about the characters or plot to want to have to sit through it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2017 1:20 PM GMT


3M(TM)  Platform for Keyboard and Mouse with Leatherette Gel Wrist-Rest
3M(TM) Platform for Keyboard and Mouse with Leatherette Gel Wrist-Rest
Price: £62.16

2.0 out of 5 stars Impractical and not worth the money, 6 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a large (and I mean large - it's about 2 feet long) sheet of plastic with a long gel wrist-rest on the front. It is designed to hold a full size keyboard with a space at the side for use of a mouse. A stick-on "3M precision mousing surface" sticker is include to be used under the mouse - this is left for the user to attach, presumably so that it can be correctly positioned for either left or right-handed users.

The blurb on Amazon mentions a "tilt function" - this is conspicuous by its absence; I can find no way of adjusting the tilt of the platform at all. The underside of the platform has some non-slip feet to stop it sliding around the desk, which do lock it down securely.

I've got to be honest - this thing borders on useless. The imitation-leather covered gel wrist rest is too high to be comfortable with my Apple keyboard. The constraint of having your mouse pad tied to the end of your keyboard actually makes using both uncomfortable, and the huge size and non-slip feet make arranging your desk comfortably a lot less convenient than having a separate wrist rest for the keyboard and mouse pad. Finally, the wrist rest itself had already torn off the base at one end on my review sample.

The price is far too high - there's nothing here to justify the price tag, I'm afraid - at a third of the price, this would still be quite expensive for what you get. Save your money - buy a gel wrist rest for your keyboard and a decent mouse pad.


Rapid Stapler, 30 sheet capacity, SuperFlatClinch, Pink, Effortless Omnipress, High quality ergonomic body, Includes staples, SO30, 5000548
Rapid Stapler, 30 sheet capacity, SuperFlatClinch, Pink, Effortless Omnipress, High quality ergonomic body, Includes staples, SO30, 5000548
Price: £20.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Very pricey for a stapler, but some useful improvements over a budget model, 26 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Let's be honest - £20+ is rather expensive for a stapler when you can buy one that is perfectly adequate for less than a tenth of that. So what does the extra get you?

First off, this feels extremely well built, and looks as if it will last for years. It has two features which help to justify the high price. First off, the mechanism amplifies the amount of pressure you apply, meaning that you can get a staple through multiple sheets of paper without having to push down onto the stapler with your entire body weight. Second, it folds the bottom of the staple flat, rather than leaving two v-shaped lumps sticking up - this means that paper stapled with this device lies much flatter when piled up.

Both of these features seem to work pretty well. Whether they are worth £20 is up to the purchaser, but having now tried this stapler, I'll be sticking with it and throwing away all the cheaper ones I own!


Tiny Friends Farm Russel Rabbit Tasty Nuggets
Tiny Friends Farm Russel Rabbit Tasty Nuggets
Price: £15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The rabbit enjoys it..., 14 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This rabbit food is in the form of small pellets; it's not the more varied-looking muesli type. Nonetheless, Biggles (our rabbit) seems very happy to eat it in large quantities. (Not that you should necessarily conclude anything from that - he does, in general, seem happy to eat most things, from garden plants to the hose pipe, not to mention having a good go at last year's Christmas tree before it was recycled...)

The large bag (10kg) should last a good few weeks, although it's a bit too heavy to conveniently carry around and pour from - best to get a scoop or similar that you can use to transfer it to your rabbit's bowl.

But as rabbit food goes, this seems reasonable value compared to the smaller bags sold by pet shops, and the rabbit seems to like it!


Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future
Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future
by Svetlana Alexievich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 2 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Alexievich's book is a series of interviews with survivors of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, recounted (as far as I can tell) verbatim. These are with the workers at the plant, with their relatives, with the conscripts drafted in to assist with the clean-up of radioactive debris, with scientists, journalists and residents of the surrounding area. Every one has a story to tell, and many of them are horrific - while few people were killed by the explosion itself, many hundreds died or were made ill in the aftermath, and this book captures those stories in detail.

This book makes compelling if often gruesome reading. I'm not sure it can prevent such a tragedy occurring again, but the stories deserve to be told nonetheless.


3M 4800 C1 Hand Painting Safety Goggle - Clear
3M 4800 C1 Hand Painting Safety Goggle - Clear
Price: £8.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much more expensive than own-brand equivalents and hard to see why..., 28 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These googles are designed to provide protection against paint splashes and the like; they are not designed for protection against sharp impacts, although the polycarbonate front will probably resist minor impacts.

They are reasonably comfortable to wear and the front piece doesn't noticeably distort vision; how well that remains the case once they have had a bit of use remains to be seen.

But I would say that there is nothing here that makes these look to be worth the extra money over own-brand DIY store versions of the same thing at well under half the price; these are fine, but I can't see what justifies the high price. I'd be inclined to save my money and go for a cheaper version.


Kindle Oasis E-reader with Black Leather Charging Cover, 6'' High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi
Kindle Oasis E-reader with Black Leather Charging Cover, 6'' High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expensive. Gorgeous., 28 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the third Kindle I've owned - I had a Touch and then an original Paperwhite. The Oasis is ludicrously expensive, so I ordered one to see what it was like, half intending to return it and stick with my Paperwhite. And then it arrived...

Within 30 seconds of opening the box, there was no way this thing was going back. This is the first Kindle which has the desirability of something from Apple - as a piece of industrial design, it is streets ahead of the utilitarian designs of all previous Kindles. The first thing that strikes you is how tiny it is - even the box it comes in seems to be half the size of those used for previous Kindles. The screen is the same size as on the Touch and Paperwhite, but the bezel has been slimmed to the point that this is basically all screen. Everything about the design screams quality, from the feel of the page turn buttons to the way the Kindle snaps magnetically into the charging cover. Even in the cover, it is slimmer than all previous Kindles, and although with the cover on it is slightly heavier than the Paperwhite, it doesn't feel weighty at all.

My only gripe is that Amazon really need to do something with the user experience on the Kindle - the home screen user interface is a mess, and I cannot believe there is still no way to just download all the documents and books you have in the cloud with one click. But this is the same on all Kindles; it's just not a problem with the Oasis, and it's just software, so maybe Amazon will actually sort it out one day.

The Oasis is ridiculously expensive for an ebook reader (although bear in mind that the price includes a leather case, which reduces the sting a bit). But it is also, hands-down, the most gorgeously designed reader I've seen - it's up to you if that makes it worth the price, but for me, it does.


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