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Reviews Written by
Stephen Hampshire (Huddersfield, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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Designing Typefaces
Designing Typefaces
by David Earls
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and illuminating, 27 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Designing Typefaces (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this. It's basically a set of interviews with prominent type designers about their views on type. It includes lots of examples of their work, and it is really quite fascinating to see how their differing (and sometimes contradictory) views on the philosophy and techniques of type design lead to different, but equally good, typefaces.

Don't expect a "how to" guide (though there is a little one at the end), it's more about the philosophy of type design.


Step Lightly: Create Out Loud
Step Lightly: Create Out Loud
Offered by Books-and-Sounds
Price: £2.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice voice, not my cup of tea, 21 Jan. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
He has a good voice, but this really isn't my kind of music. I found it terribly dull, to be honest. If you like Jack Johnson it might appeal.


In Control
In Control

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but nothing new, 21 Jan. 2008
This review is from: In Control (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This sounds like a talented band doing quite a good impression of Evanescence. They really need to show a bit more innovation to be taken seriously as a band in their own right. The singer has a nice voice, though. Perhaps they will push into new territory in the future?


There Will Be Blood OST
There Will Be Blood OST
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly ordinary, 4 Jan. 2008
This review is from: There Will Be Blood OST (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's nothing actually wrong with this as a soundtrack album. It's quite good. In places it's even very good, and rather beautiful.

Ultimately, though, I felt let down by how ordinary it is. It's a bog-standard orchestral soundtrack, like every other film. As with most such soundtracks, you can't shake off the feeling you've heard it a thousand times before.

From Jonny Greenwood I was expecting something genuinely innovative and different, perhaps something more like Neil Young's wonderful soundtrack for Dead Man.


20Q Version 2
20Q Version 2

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 20 questions...on your own, 2 Jan. 2008
This review is from: 20Q Version 2 (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is basically a little device that plays 20 questions (or animal, vegetable, mineral) with you. It's surprisingly good, but you should soon be able to come up with some things to stump it.

Plays very similar to the Burger King viral where Darth Vader reads your mind, if you remember that.

It's good fun, and keeps you occupied trying to beat it. A bit on the expensive side for what it is, but you will keep picking it up.


The Tin Roof Blowdown
The Tin Roof Blowdown
by James Lee Burke
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Drama with a tragic backdrop, 5 Dec. 2007
This review is from: The Tin Roof Blowdown (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It was a very brave move to use the tragedy of hurricanes Katrina and Rita as the background for a detective novel, but it pays off well. Burke deals with the catastrophe sensitively, with genuine empathy and anger at the inaction of Washington and the greed of those exploiting the aftermath.

The action of the novel weaves in and out of this background, a dizzying mixture of characters all with their own personal demons. Excellent, tight, writing holds it all together and drives inexorably towards a very tense finale. Cracking stuff, and more thoughtful than your average thriller.


Wacom Bamboo MTE450KEN Pen Tablet
Wacom Bamboo MTE450KEN Pen Tablet

80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My first tablet, 23 Nov. 2007
This is my first foray into the world of graphics tablets, and I'm still getting used to it, but I'm already in love. It may not be the biggest or the best tablet out there, but this device works beautifully.

It's most at home in graphics applications, of course, and using it in the Gimp or Photoshop is a revelation. Combining a tablet and pen with keyboard shortcuts is SO much better than using a mouse I can't even begin to recommend it enough. For editing pictures it's the best £50 I've ever spent.

Even as a pointing device you quickly come to appreciate the speed, precision and intuitive nature of how it works. It took me about 20 minutes to learn to stop treating it as an oversized track pad, but as soon as I started using it properly it was great.

The zoom scroll pad thing and the four customisable function buttons are a nice addition that make you even less likely to reach for a mouse again.

Touch interfaces of some kind are clearly going to be the future of interacting with computers...and this is a great place to start with a low cost, high quality, device.


Type: The Secret History of Letters
Type: The Secret History of Letters
by Simon Loxley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offbeat but wonderful, 21 Aug. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all I have to admit to being a bit of an (amateur) typophile, which might explain why I enjoyed this book more than anything I've read for a long long time.

Written in an very engaging style, Type is a whirlwind tour though the entire history of typesetting from Gutenberg to the launch of the Apple Mac, Pagemaker and the birth of digital type.

Along the way it touches on the evolution of new technologies and fashions in typefaces, providing an education as well as lots of anecdotes - the history of type is littered with larger than life characters.

A very well written and engaging book, beautifully typeset and printed in itself, it should appeal to a much wider audience as well as those with a professional interest in type.


Essential PHP Security
Essential PHP Security
by Chris Shiflett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.89

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, structured, collection of advice, 12 Jun. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Essential PHP Security (Paperback)
Probably nothing new here for most PHP programmers, but it's nice to have it all collected in one place.

The structure is also cleverly thought out, dealing chapter by chapter with specific types of activity (e.g. forms, databases, sessions etc).

It's a thin book for the money, but much clearer than anything less specialist I've come across. Thin enough that you can check through all of it before your site goes live - just in case!


Data Crunching: Solve Everyday Problems Using Java, Python, and more.
Data Crunching: Solve Everyday Problems Using Java, Python, and more.
by Greg Wilson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pragmatic and useful, 8 Jun. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I nearly din't get this book for the simple reason that I felt my library already covered most of the topics. I've got books on Python, XML, Regular Expressions, MySQL and so on - so why would I need this?
In the end I decided that I might as well get it (after all work was paying!), and that was defnitely the right decision. The strength of the book is not so much to introduce techology like XML as to point out when to use which data type, and how to work with them.
The author clearly has a lot of hard-earned experience in handling data, and that's where the practical examples can help. Unlike most texts the examples aren't "perfect" ones designed to showcase features of a language, but reflect real-world issues like inconsistent formatting.
It'll definitely be my first port of call when I next get asked to crunch some data.


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