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Profile for G. Wake > Reviews

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Reviews Written by
G. Wake "gregwake" (Newcastle, UK)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Lifetime 80305 6 ft (1.83 m) Fold in Half Bench - White
Lifetime 80305 6 ft (1.83 m) Fold in Half Bench - White

5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably simple, stable, safe and useful - great for families, clubs or any gathering, 7 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is going to be great for the family caravan holidays. It’s safe for the kids and pets to be around and light enough that it will not trouble the car and can easily be moved from outside to the awning and back as the weather requires.

The flat bars on the legs mean in sits atop most surfaces without sinking and somehow even 18st of me sat on either end doesn’t tip it over. It’s easily wiped clean, folds down into a neat ‘carry case’ shape and setting up and dismantling require no special tools, complicated instructions or any effort beyond lifting and folding. Folded it’ll fit in most car boots and it’s considerably lighter than an average shopping bag so carrying it is not a hardship. The centre hinge lock and locking rings on the legs mean I can’t see how it could accidentally fold in use, so you could lift and reposition it without risking jammed fingers.

All in all, it’s a great, practical piece of family furniture.


Philips FC8578/69 Performer Active Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, Pet and Anti-Allergen
Philips FC8578/69 Performer Active Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, Pet and Anti-Allergen
Price: £200.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the easiest cylinder vacuum I’ve used - great at cleaning, quiet, simple and light, 7 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This vacuum looks good, it’s a good strong colour made from a decent grade of plastic. It’s not something you need to be ashamed of.

I’m a double amputee so housework is something that I do with care and I find this is a good vacuum cleaner that works for me. I was very surprised by the lightness of this vacuum, I have difficulty with heavy things but this I can carry around with one hand and being so easily adjustable (with the telescopic handle and built in small nozzle that just slides into place) and you don’t need to carry around varied parts, it all goes with it. The hose is long enough to let me do about half my stairs.

Blockages are easily dealt with and hoses are quickly removed without fiddly clips or screw threads. It’s far more simple than I thought possible and the bags are easy to remove too.

Suction is good (it can lift my living room carpet if set too high) and variable, both by changing a strength dial on the cylinder and by opening an air valve on the hose, so if you accidentally pick up a sock or hadkie, you can easily release it without having to turn the vacuum off. Thus far I’ve not found any dry dirt it will not lift, even westie hair seems no trouble.

It’s probably not best for someone who has difficulty bending: it is low to the ground and things like the plug, power button and dial will all require you to bend over, well you could press the power with your foot, but it’s light enough that it is not hard to wheel round the house.


MAGIX Audio & Music Lab 2017 Premium - Professional sound for music, video and audio recordings
MAGIX Audio & Music Lab 2017 Premium - Professional sound for music, video and audio recordings
Price: £60.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice software to get back into audio editing with - one stop shop but doesn’t feel professional, 4 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first time I’ve used proper audio editing software for a number of years and this is rather fun. I used the Magix online video tutorials (which I very much recommend, they are short, explain things clearly and make it very easy to get to grips with the software) and after about thirty minutes I could use most features of the features and I’d started playing. I takes longer to become fully capable, but I had a track put together within an hour of starting. I admit it did help a little that I have some experience of video editing along with some experience of using software like this back in the 1990s.

Speaking of starting. Opening the box you are greeted by a small manual, telling you how to install in a few languages, a DVD and a card with a serial number attached. If you don’t have a DVD drive, there is a URL to download the software. Unlike some software, the registration key must be entered on first use so you don’t get x days without registering and it must be connected to the internet once a month to check it is still valid, so it’s probably not suitable if you’re planning on going offline for a while. It does seem to be possible to deactivate the software and move the licence to a different PC though, so you should not need to buy it again if you upgrade your PC.

This software is really very easy to use. The interface has some minor quirks, such as the electronic knobs that don’t move if you try and ‘turn’ them but do respond if you treat them like a slider bar, but the generally Skeuomorphic design (buttons and knobs look like they might on an old tape recorder and amp) makes it quite easy to find what you want and use it. It’s probably slightly old fashioned in these days of flat design but it does work and it lets you go all the way from audio capture, be it from your PC or older analog sources via a cable (it even tells you what kind of cable in the tutorials,) through editing and cleaning up to uploading to SoundCloud or burning to a CD. You should not have to leave Magix and can take your project from recording to mastering and uploading within the one piece of software.

If you get stuck, try typing what you want into the ‘search’ box at the top right. Depending on what you ask it can take you directly to the command you seek (e.g. typing ‘cassette’ can take you to the NRB Decoder for cassettes under the mastering section) or the help file. Surprisingly even the English version shows up the odd German term but as the English is there too I didn’t find it a problem.

While I really like Magix and intend to keep using it I believe it is firmly in the amateur camp and not the professional. Things like being unable to type values into some of the filters, you just have to adjust the knob to about the same place as last time, mean replicating results is going to be hard. The four track limitation also seems a little restrictive. I can work with it, but I was playing with four track editing back in the early 90s so this lack of breadth seems a little odd, though it seems to out spec Steinberg’s WaveLab elements with it’s support for only three tracks.

Those small points aside this is a good, practice piece of software aimed very much at the home market. It’s great for beginners and people who are somewhat more capable.


Post-it Recycled Notes - Pastel Rainbow Light Green, Grass Green, Grey - Tower Pack Of 16 Pads - 100 Sheets Per Pad - 76 mm x 76 mm
Post-it Recycled Notes - Pastel Rainbow Light Green, Grass Green, Grey - Tower Pack Of 16 Pads - 100 Sheets Per Pad - 76 mm x 76 mm
Price: £21.21

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pale colours may not be for everyone but these work as well as you’d expect, 3 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The colours are not the bright and lurid ones I’m used to seeing from Post-it notes, but otherwise the product is as usual. Small, manageable, parcels sticky notes of varied colours, that stick and may be unstuck

I’ve managed to get these to stick to everything from paper and cardboard, through glass and wood to leather and the paintwork of my car. They come off easily and without leaving a mark too, even on the paint or glass.

I can write on them with everything from my felt tip and biro to my fountain pen; the latter is not a given as some grades of paper have a shiny or waxed feel and the ink is not absorbed by stays on the surface. These are a better grade of paper and they successfully absorb the ink

The ‘tower’ box which contains the pads of notes it a little grey and shabby looking, so it’s probably something to keep in the stores rather than on your desk but it is a reasonable way to contain them in storage and saves them forming a pile on the shelf.


Brilliant Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Brilliant Business)
Brilliant Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Brilliant Business)
by Susan Hodgson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Not a short cut but good, solid advice., 2 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’m not very good at job interviews and this helped me understand a little about what I do wrong. ‘Brilliant Answers’ is 298 pages of meaningful advice, examples and ‘brilliant tips.’ The contents is well organised and broken out into appropriate sections. There is a lot of work here, you can skim read for tips but you’re unlikely to get the full benefit by anything other than reading it properly which I did over a few days. It gives you a lot of preparation to do so give yourself time and start reading a week or two before your interview.


Scotch Permanent Mounting Squares - Pack of 1, 96 Squares
Scotch Permanent Mounting Squares - Pack of 1, 96 Squares
Price: £1.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Diminutive but effective, 1 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These look far too small to work, but work they do. The packet opens easily, the squares tare off from the larger block without ripping in the wrong places and the peel off surface works well at helping you mount them on a photograph or poster. I’ve used them to adhere a few prints to my bookcases, at which they work just fine.


Persuade: Using the Seven Drivers of Motivation to Master Influence and Persuasion
Persuade: Using the Seven Drivers of Motivation to Master Influence and Persuasion
by Philip Hesketh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great technique to persuade with some questionable presentation - not for everyone, 1 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Jokey and informal in parts, to the extent it contains “only joking” every few pages, some may find the style a little annoying and perhaps a little too chatty, or the remarks a little risque or off colour. There’s nothing genuinely nasty here, but some of the jokes feel a little Jim Davidson in style which may not be enjoyable by all readers.

At first, the presentation looks a little dull being only text with nothing to catch the eye like box outs, headlines or diagrams, but the liveliness of the text and the relatively short chapters make it easy to read and follow. Some sections may need to read a few times to be fully appreciated, as some of the ideas may take a little thought, but it’s really not a hardship. Especially as the chapters are well divided into different topics and there is a reasonable index to help you find things. There is a nice section at the back with fifty questions that can help you influence someone, with instructions throughout the book.

‘Pursuade’ isn’t an academic text, it talks of academic studies to explain it’s point, but doesn’t provide references or dwell on any technical aspects of the studies but it does tell you what the author thinks you need to know.

If you can handle the jokes this is a laid back, easy read full of good advice on persuasion. It’s by no means dull.


Post-it 25mm x 43.2mm Index Sign Here Flags (50 Sheets)
Post-it 25mm x 43.2mm Index Sign Here Flags (50 Sheets)
Price: £2.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for highlighting anything on paper, sticks to other surfaces too, 31 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As ever with Post-it products, this works really well.
∑ The dispenser is sealed with some tape over the top, don’t do what I began with by trying to peel off the backing.
∑ Flags dispense with ease but giving a gentle pull to the free tab. The next tab follows so there is no digging around for an edge to grab.
∑ Tabs seem reusable, so they can be moved if you misapply them or even, so it seems to me, moved from one document to another.
∑ The pack I received did not have “sign here” markers nor arrows, but you can write on the yellow surface so you can leave your own message.
∑ All flags are yellow.
If you need to highlight particular areas of a document and later remove the marker without causing damage, this is a good tool.


AmazonBasics Packing Cubes - 2 Medium and 2 Large (4-Piece Set), Black
AmazonBasics Packing Cubes - 2 Medium and 2 Large (4-Piece Set), Black
Price: £15.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for organised packers, especially if they travel with fewer larger suitcases, 27 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The set consists of four dark coloured, lightweight, synthetic bags with double zips, small carry handles and about two thirds of one side is a mesh. This means they are not waterproof so would not be great for hiking or camping holidays, nor for storing dirty or damp clothes (e.g. swimwear) for your homeward journey, but the material feels strong all over and doesn’t require overly careful handling.

Each bag has a small handle, but it’s not padded so is not meant for carrying any weight or over any distance so don’t think you can replace a suitcase with it. The bags aren’t that strong nor, with the mesh front, are they able to protect your clothes from dust and dirty, so they should be used inside another, sealed and protective, bag or trunk.

If you’re not an organised person who plans their packing and lays out their suitcase with care I can’t see these being a great deal of use to you. If you are, then this is an effective way of managing space and separating items within your suitcase, which will make it very easy to unpack once you arrive at your destination.

My only concerns are the four bags (set of two small and two large) are only really enough for a long weekend, people travelling for a week or two or as a family are going to need multiple sets. Which leads on to the next: however small and lightweight they are, these bags will take up a little space on the way back, possibly about the same a flattened out bag for life from the supermarket.

I’m occasionally organised so I find these a good idea: they are going to live in my suitcase from now on.


X: The Experience When Business Meets Design
X: The Experience When Business Meets Design
by Brian Solis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Bit of an awkward shaped book, but the advice matches the customer experience practice of my FTSE 100 employer, 25 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When all’s said and done, you’ve read through ‘X’ and learned from it, ‘X’ is an attractive book to leave on your waiting room or meeting room table. Simple enough to flick through but good enough to be worth reading. People will want to handle it and look through the pages.

‘X’ did not look like an ordinary business text book, it’s an awkward shape, so it’s not really suitable for reading on the bus and is instead best read at a desk or somewhere else you can put it down and look at it without touching. It’s best not to touch the pages too much if your fingers are slightly greasy it leaves a mark on the paper.

That said it is a very pretty book, its design is a hybrid between a high end brochure and a children’s science book, so it’s a little like an adult Dorling Kingsley. There are big, grabbing images, break out bits of text and colourful diagrams to illustrate the author’s words. The content is meaningful and complicated enough to mean that you still need to read it (and not just look at the pictures) to get any useful understanding, but it helps me remember the message and makes the book a joy to flick through and revise.

It’s well broken up and you can get away with reading a section (perhaps five pages) at a time, then go on to the next when you’re ready. It gives links and references to related work and the sources for its ideas, so if you want to know more you can go to the source. The writing is clear and concise. There is a little jargon but it’s mostly helpful in simplifying what the book explains rather than confusing the reader. Though if you begin with the chapter talking about BX and CX you may find yourself a little lost: it’s best to read in sequence.

As to the accuracy of the book. I work for a firm that largely gets the customer experience side of things right and much of what it says here is what we do, or at least try to do. We also make some of the errors the authors warn about, and I can confirm such errors do cost you business. In brief it’s about paying close attention to your customers and the designing things that make their ‘experience’ better, not just upgrading to how you do things now or alternative versions of how your competitors do things, having the right measures and metrics in place and not putting a short term profit before doing something the right way. Read it, follow it and your business should do better.


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