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Reviews Written by
Lewis Graham "lewisgraham" (East Anglia)

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USB 2.0 Active Repeater Extension Lead Cable 5 metre
USB 2.0 Active Repeater Extension Lead Cable 5 metre
Offered by Northeast Cables Ltd
Price: £5.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Did the job, 26 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
USB cables were always meant to be short-distance affairs: the cables for mice and keyboards and - perhaps - a printer. However there are times when a 5 metre cable isn't enough. Although it might seem obvious to connect two ordinary cables together, this may not work. Very long cables cannot reliably carry the data and if the device is driven by the computer, it may not receive enough power.

This is where an extender cable, like this one, is useful. The bulky socket is, in fact, a device to resend the data and power down the USB cable. It is powered by the computer it is pugged in to and, in my case, worked without a hitch. I would be reluctant to put this under a carpet, but otherwide it is small enough to be inconspicuous.

Aves Air AIR8021010 Digital Handheld DAB  DAB+ FM Radio with LCD Display
Aves Air AIR8021010 Digital Handheld DAB DAB+ FM Radio with LCD Display
Offered by eHome
Price: £34.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Idea Well-executed, 28 Feb. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is potentially a very useful radio for anyone who wants to listen on the move. As the performance of this - or any - radio depends on signal strength, I have tried it out in two locations. Central London - where there is a good FM and DAB signal - and home in Hertfordshire where coverage is patchy.

The unit itself is nicely built and very compact. The display is clear and the buttons a decent size, given that the whole unit is about the size of classic iPod. The only thing needed to start it up is 2 AAA batteries.

Traveling by bus in Central London both FM and DAB were very good. The ability DAB has of overcoming odd patches of poor reception was on display and Radio Four came through very well. Sound quality was good and there was no background noise. FM on the same route showed some fluctuations in signal strength including drop-outs.

Listening at home, DAB suffered somewhat with drop-outs. FM struggles as well, although it overcomes the weak signals and allows the listener to hear something. It was useful to note that it can also be switched into Mono that helps the audio no end. Providing there was some signal, both DAB and FM gave a good account of themselves.

A few things need consideration. The first is that although the FM section is RDS enabled (like car radios) it doesn't offer Alternative Frequency (where the radio retunes to the strongest local frequency.) If you're using the radio in one area that isn't a problem but is an issue if you're traveling with it. The other thing is the AAA batteries. The manual quotes an 8 hour life: that is not much when iPods run 20+ hours and the traveler might want to carry a spare set. I also tried a good quality set of in-ear phones. The DAB sound quality is very good, but the volume control is a bit too coarse: one setting isn't quite loud enough but the next notch is too loud.

All in all, for anyone who wants a personal radio on the move - and doesn't need AM - this light, sensitive and compact unit would be difficult to beat. The addition of DAB with its better performance in urban areas and the extra stations is a major bonus.

Black Lamy studio Fountain pen - Model 067
Black Lamy studio Fountain pen - Model 067
Price: £36.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Jeeves in Pen Form, 29 Nov. 2012
Jeeves quietly ran his master's life. Well here is a fountain pen in the same vein. This is a well made, weighty pen that writes superbly well. The colour is a matt black: very chic and very discrete.

The clip is elegant and tactile: I spent part of a meeting today stroking its elegant shape. Like all Lamy pens it doesn't shout needily "here I am", it simply looks good and rewards the owner who has a moment to admire it. Even the maker's name is small, as though Lamy has no need to show off.

Should you feel the need to part with ten times the price of this pen for something a bit glossier, I suggest you try this first. It writes beautifully and will, quietly, grace any boardroom you find yourself in.

Old Television (Shire Library)
Old Television (Shire Library)
by Andrew Emmerson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's a Good Book in Here Somewhere, 2 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a richly illustrated book, filled with excellent pictures and a range of interesting nuggets of information. The content, such as it is, is well put together and it zips along at quite a pace.

But there's a problem with this speed - lack of depth. At every stage the enquiring reader asks of themselves "great - but why?" For example, in the back is a list of important dates and a mention is made of German forces reviving French television and how the British monitored it from Sussex. At the time that would have been an amazing technical achievement, but it is left hanging in the air as to how or why it was done.

If you wish to have a modest dose of nostalgia (remember ATV? Remember how exciting a video recorder was?) this is the book for you. If you want a nuanced or detailed history, it is not.

This is a subject that Andrew Emmerson could - and should - write about in more depth. IF he does so, I look forward to reading it.

The People's Post
The People's Post
by Dominic Sandbrook
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £16.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Radio Four Series, 4 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The People's Post (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I put a stamp on a postcard and send it to someone half a world away by dropping into a postbox. The card will be hand delivered to their door at no expense to the receiver. Sounds familiar? Well, like all of the most familiar things it all had to be invented.

This series, in 15 jaunty episodes, takes the listener through the history of the Post Office. The politics, social history and impact of the post office - including Victorian junk mail - are all admirably covered. Whilst it touches on telephone and the telegraph, it is the post that is the main focus.

For the buyer of the CD, the repetition of the opening music could start the grate after a while but it's a modest complaint. As a means of passing a long car journey it is absolutely terrific. As a history, it is also a reminder of a service that is coming to an end in its current form.

McLevy: Behind the Curtain & A Voice from the Grave (BBC Radio Crimes)
McLevy: Behind the Curtain & A Voice from the Grave (BBC Radio Crimes)
by David Ashton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

3.0 out of 5 stars A Scottish Sherlock, 2 Feb. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is pleasant enough radio drama: a murder, a detective who annoys his boss, a clever - and younger - sidekick. Brian Cox is good as Inspector McLevy with a decent supporting cast to make the story tick along.

The stories themselves are a little light on plot. Without risking a spoiler it's hard to give an example but I guessed the guilty party quite early on. That doesn't spoil the experience too much, but it shows up the lack of twists and turns.

If you're looking for something to accompany a long car journey, this is very good material indeed.

Stephen Fry on the Phone
Stephen Fry on the Phone
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £9.25

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Modern History with SMS Brevity, 2 Feb. 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"I'm on the train!" may be faintly annoying, but the story of how this exciting sci-fi device became utterly mundane is an intriguing tale of money, politics, rubber boots and Spanish guitar music.

Fry's passion for new technology comes through with every interview and link. The choice of subjects is excellent - we hear from all of the leading lights in this very modern story. Where something technical needs to be explained to help the story, it is handled with a light touch so non-nerds can enjoy this as well.

Some areas are skated over a little lightly - such as who on earth decided to add a phone to a camera - but in the end this is an excellent potted history of a modern device.

Auschwitz - The Nazis And The Final Solution [DVD]
Auschwitz - The Nazis And The Final Solution [DVD]
Dvd ~ Laurence Rees
Price: £5.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, Saddening, Essential, 1 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is very hard to treat this subject rationally, like another piece of history, given the appalling nature of what happened. It is also perhaps too easy just to tell the story of the deaths at the camp as though it were an aberration, an individual dystopian act, without looking at how it came about and the aftermath.

Rees takes the viewer through the history of how the camps came about. The camps did not spring from nowhere: how they evolved and became plausible only through the prism of a highly distorted view of the world is very well explained. Original documents are shared and interviews conducted with both the survivors, guards and others to explain the story. Some of the stories are unexpected - how Jewish children were left behind without food or water in a squalid Paris apartment block because the camps only wanted adult workers, how SS guards looted the belongings of camp inmates and covered up the fact when investigated and how a letter to Hitler in 1938 - combined with a drunk driving SS officer - started the idea of killing "undesirables". Saddest of all is the final episode of what happened after liberation in January 1945: how survivors lost their pre-war houses and lives, of the trials of SS guards and how Soviet POWs were treated as traitors and often imprisoned.

This is a fine documentary not only of Auschwitz but of how a society went wrong. Perhaps the most important lesson is that those involved did not start out as monsters - it could happen again.

Project DAC-Box-USB BLACK - Digital To Analogue Converter
Project DAC-Box-USB BLACK - Digital To Analogue Converter
Offered by A1 Sound Hi-fi and AV store
Price: £149.99

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Companion to a PC, 12 Jan. 2012
Since buying an iPod, my main source of background music has been iTunes running on a slightly elderly PC. Sound quality - using an Arcam Alpha 7 amplifier and Musical Fidelity speakers - was OK, but the launch of BBC Radio Three HD made an upgrade to the sound important. Being able to use an offboard DAC with equipment other than the PC - and not having an audio stage in an electrically noisy box like a PC - made the choice of this device over a new sound card very simple.

Build quality is solid: this is a well-constructed device which is pleasingly heavy to hold. The connectors are all good quality and it feels well-made. Installation was quick and simple. The instruction sheet lists additional software for download, but so far I have not found it necessary. The instructions also have clear directions on the ordering of device power-up and connecting the PC with a USB lead. I followed the instructions; the device (under Windows XP) was found right away and began working without difficulty. Note that the supplied USB cable is only 1 metre long so consider where you are going to put the DAC.

The device doesn't have a buffer op-amp with the D/A converter, so output levels can be lower than normal hi-fi, but all this means is having to turn up the volume a little to find a good listening level. The sound quality is excellent: compared to the sound from the PC it was a step change in performance. Music and speech both came alive - the clarity and frequency response are very good and the soundstage is perfectly good: there is a clear sense of instrumental placement. It is also forgiving enough not to make more compressed audio files or internet radio stations unlistenable. As for Radio Three HD (384 Kbs AAC), it is close to being as good as my Denon TU260L tuner fed with an external aerial, perhaps with slightly less sense of air but very good indeed. The difference between this device playing a WAV file on the PC and the same CD being played on my Arcam Alpha 7 CD player is also small enough that - listened to standalone - it would be hard to tell.

This device comes with a strong recommendation. It would partner any good quality hi-fi well and breathe life into older digital equipment, perhaps a 20th century CD player, as well as making an excellent partner for a PC. It is possible to spend a great deal of money on D/A converters, but given the environment most PCs are used in and the background noise they create, this one is quite good enough.

AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to Mini-B Cable 6 Feet / 1.8 m
AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to Mini-B Cable 6 Feet / 1.8 m
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Use in Seconds, 7 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It seems odd reviewing a USB cable - after all, what is there to say? Nonetheless, this cable scores highly on two fronts - The cable itself is solidly made and has the flexibility to allow it to be tucked away no problem. Best of all is how it comes packaged - a plain cardboard box that can be opened in a few seconds with a thumbnail.

Providing you know the cable you want - Mini-B and micro-USB can look alike in pictures - you really can't go wrong.

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