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SoundMAGIC E10 Earphones - Black/Red
SoundMAGIC E10 Earphones - Black/Red
Price: £34.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 24 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Top quality sound with great clarity and a lot of power. I bought these on a recommendation of a hi-fi magazine and was not disappointed. Great separation of notes worthy of much more expensive kit and comfortable to wear. Much better than the Shure or Sennheiser headphones that I had previously.


Flashback
Flashback
by Dan Simmons
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting sci-fi, weak political rant, 10 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Flashback (Hardcover)
On one hand we have a tautly written thriller set in a future dystopia that is all too believable. On the other, we have an appallingly clunky political polemic the lurches from accusation to accusation.

The main character, Nick Bottom, is beautifully rendered as a drug-addicted ex-cop desperately trying to make sense of the loss of his wife but many of the other characters are parodies - 2D representations that you do not care about. It is this shallow treatment that makes this book fall so short of what it could have been. Religions, cultures, science and political policies are selectively trashed but apparently done so not to set the scene or move the story forward but to further some other agenda. The author claims on his own website that this book does not reflect his own personal views but if not then whose?

This is a complex and interesting book, but only worth 3 stars.


Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design
by Stephen C. Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

25 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Barely a whimper..., 30 Dec. 2011
So a bit of background here, Intelligent Design arose from the desire of theists to see creationism taught in schools. They sought to get around court decisions stating that this was illegal by re-branding it as Intelligent Design (for proof - google "cdesign proponentsists"). Thus ID has no basis in facts or discoveries but only in the desire of creationists to insert their dogma into science classes and be seen as the equal of evolution. In a recent literature search reported by Lawrence Krauss of 20 million research articles, 115,000 were on evolution and only 88 where on Intelligent Design. Of these 88, all but 11 were from engineering journals where one would hope that bridges and hospitals were intelligently designed. Of the 11 papers, 8 were critical of ID and the remaining 3 were not from peer reviewed research articles. Hardly the stuff to overthrown current thinking.

The book claims that the appearance of design is the evidence of design but this is only a subjective claim. Irreducible complexity has never been demonstrated and previous claims of IC about the clotting cascade and the bacterial flagellum have been refuted as even their fragments have functional utility. This book cherry picks its evidence to fit its hypothesis and does a bad job of even doing that.

ID is not science, it is simply marketing PR and this book is just more of the same fluff emitted by the discover institute..
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 13, 2013 2:59 PM GMT


SOA Design Patterns (Prentice Hall Service-Oriented Computing Series from Thomas Erl)
SOA Design Patterns (Prentice Hall Service-Oriented Computing Series from Thomas Erl)
by Thomas Erl
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £44.64

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful but not a must have, 30 Dec. 2009
This book is obviously trying to do for Web Service/SOA what 'Enterprise Integration Patterns' by Hohpe and Woolf did for Messaging Architecture but doesn't quite get there.

Where EIP was so ground breaking was that it combined a new series of diagrams (a la UML) to explain how things connected in each design pattern and contained useful code examples in multiple languages with an associated couple of pages of explanation. SOA Design Patterns has copied the above ideas but the images are 3d icons which makes them difficult to tell apart, with no code examples and fairly ropey case examples rather than actual code.Some of the design patterns are given short shift, especially event driven messaging, but they cover the most important parts of SOA patterns, although what's with everything being prefixed with 'canonical'?

Also, I wonder about the sheer volume of plaudits from industry bigwigs. It starts on the front inside cover and carrys on for 6 pages! It feels as though someone is trying too hard to convince the potential buyer than this book is 'phenomenal', 'excellent', 'impressive' or some other superlative.

Overall it's a useful book rather than a must have.


Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions (Addison-Wesley Signature)
Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions (Addison-Wesley Signature)
by Gregor Hohpe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Brilliant, 30 Dec. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Along with Patterns Of Enterprise Application Architecture, this book holds the core knowledge for developers looking to get more involved in design and those looking to step up as an Architect in an environment that involves some level of messaging.

I came to this book while working on a project that required two disparate databases to be synchronised. The initial painful experiment of polling for changes was thrown out and we moved to an efficient event-based system using a message queue. Using this book allowed us to side step many issues (such as mutating table errors) and also provided us with a syntactically reference which created a common vocabulary. Such a simple thing but it saved hours of time as we were all aware of what each other in a large team mean when we discussed such things as Message Channels, Idempotent Receivers, Content Enricher and Even-Driven Consumers.

As a tip, I would recommend that all Java developers download Apache Camel which was designed around these patterns. This allows you to see first hand how and why these patterns are so useful and really compliment the book.


Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture (The Addison-Wesley Signature Series)
Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture (The Addison-Wesley Signature Series)
by Martin Fowler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £36.71

5.0 out of 5 stars All Developers should read this, 4 Jun. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With the increasing usage of higher level languages, the importance of design patterns is also increasing and this book is an excellent compendium of the patterns that you need the most.

While there are a lot of patterns here that can be found among those proposed by the Gang of Four or found at Sun's BluePrints website, the explanations of the significance of the pattern and when and where it should be used makes it invaluable to programmers. The patterns covered are almost perfect in that they cover the most commonly used patterns as well as the patterns that can make the biggest difference. It's not perfect though as there are a couple of patterns that you feel were included to make up the numbers ('Money' being the most obvious offender).

Incidentally, it's also a great source for disambiguation of terms too where disparate teams can use terms from this book as a common reference. Very useful when dealing with remote teams.


The Voyage of the Sable Keech
The Voyage of the Sable Keech
by Neal Asher
Edition: Paperback

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Neal Asher, 16 Feb. 2007
Following on from The Skinner and an off-shoot of Asher's 'Ian Cormac/Polity' series we are returned to the world of Spatterjay, where life on the planet is insanely vicious due to the regenerative effects of a common virus which gives those infected a massively increased resistance to pain and damage.

The Sable Keech of the title is a boat built for 'Reifications'. These 'Reifs' are people who have been killed but their bodies and minds held together by technology. The name of the boat refers to the only reification who ever successfully 'rose from the dead' through a combination of the Spatterjay virus and nanotechnology and whose re-animation has inspired a cult to follow in his footsteps.

Nothing is quite as it seems however: the WindCatchers getting 'auged' and waking up to the possibilities of their world, the re-appearance of a Prador adult, the robot drone Sniper getting his new (and fully militarised) drone body after 10 years as the planets AI warden and a coup amongst the Reifs and, of course the normal everyday issues of trying to survive on a planet where pretty much everything is lethal.

Neal Asher is one of the few British sci-fi writers that can be mentioned in the same name as Iain M Banks. He has a fluid writing style with a great sense of plot timing that makes for a gripping and exciting story set in an entirely believable possible future. If I have any issues with this book, it's the authors tendency to rely a little too much on the lifeforms of Spatterjay and other Polity planets at the expense of the developments of the main characters but that is really a minor gripe compared to the excellence of the book.

You will enjoy this book more if you have read the previous book [...], but this book is certainly good enough to stand on it's own. A definite 5 stars.


Polity Agent (Ian Cormac)
Polity Agent (Ian Cormac)
by Neal Asher
Edition: Hardcover

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb Cormac novel, 12 Feb. 2007
The forth book in the Ian Cormac series following on from Gridlinked, The Line of Polity and Brass Man is another fantastic book with Asher again showing that he is one of the few British authors that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Iain M Banks (who incidentally gets a nice acknowledgement in the foreword along with Richard Dawkins).

Set in a time where inter-stellar humanity is governed by enlighted AIs, this book sees Ian Cormac again thrown into the middle of trying to save the Polity from the threat of the Jain. To call Ian Cormac a super-agent undersells the character massively. He is no one dimensional futuristic James Bond but rather an interesting and flawed man with a hint of mystique that might explain why an unaugmented human is in charge of AI minds magnitudes more superior to his. Other previous characters are also back, such as Mika and Horace Blegg. The storyline of the latter is particularly good as it raises as many questions as it answers.

The Jain have been previously mentioned in this series as the source of Skellor's (a previous adversary) abilities. Polity Agent fleshes out more details of the threat these Von Neumann machine-like objects pose, the history of the Jain and who is orchestrating the current situation.

Polity Agent is a gripping read, both involving and exciting. All in all, this is another excellent book richly deserving of 5 stars


Bose Quietcomfort 3  Headphones
Bose Quietcomfort 3 Headphones

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 19 Jan. 2007
For fans of noise cancelling headphones, especially Bose ones, these are a lighter alternative to the fantastic QuietComfort2's without sacrificing audio-quality.

QC3's are the successor to the very successful QC2's. I've had a set of QC2's for about 3 years and absolutely love them. When I got a chance to compare the QC3's I jumped at it. From a simple design perspective, the QC3's are lighter on-ear headphones than the heavier, over the ear cup-type QC2's but you can't tell from wearing them. On the ear designs need to grip the head more firmly and this extra pressure seems to negate any weight loss. The headphones feel slightly less secure than over the ear models but have the benefit that your ears don't get as hot on long journeys.

The sound is what you would expect from Bose; clear fluid highs, a warm bass and good separation of tones across the entire frequency. These are superb headphones which faithfully produce all types of music. The noise cancelling technology is apparently stronger in the QC3's than the QC2's to account for the design differences between the headphones but I really couldn't tell any major difference. The QC2's may just have the edge but that is what you would expect from the over ear design. The build quality is also superb with a great carrying case supplied and as the battery is rechargeable they're also very convenient.

If you are looking for great sounding noise-cancelling headphones but are put off by the large size of many of the current offerings and can afford them, these are the ones for you. If you don't mind the slight size difference I would go for the QC2's.


Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose Quiet Comfort 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality from Bose, 9 Jan. 2007
I've had these for a couple of years now and there's very little bad to say against them apart from, obviously, the price. Firstly, the sound quality is superb: flexible across the entire frequency with great separation between voices and instruments and a warm bass that kicks in when required. Secondly, the noise cancellation technology really does work and the build quality is the usual Bose excellence.

The accessories that come with it are also excellent, with the carry case and various adapters allowing you to use these headphones is many situations.

I bought them originally at a time when I was going to be flying a lot. I don't normally sleep on planes but since I've had these I drop off almost immediately. When they are on, the basso profundo roar of engines becomes a gentle hiss. When you then listen to your music, you cannot hear the engines at all. When I go to sleep, I put in the little foam cylinders that the airlines give you, pop on the QC2s and that's that (the lead from the headphones also detaches at the top so that you don't find yourself waking wound in cabling). They are also perfect as commuting headphones dealing equally well with the noise of tubes and trains.

While they need a battery in them I've got at least 36 hours usage from a single battery so don't worry about having to carry around loads of AAA batteries just in case they die. The headphones have a useful feature where the red "on" LED starts to flash when the battery is starting to run down but even then you will have several hours further use so you won't have them suddenly die on you midway through a long journey.

A new version called the QC3 have come out now, and they are smaller and lighter then the QC2 (159g versus 200g) but they are on ear headphones rather than over the ear headphones so it depends on your preference. The weight of the QC2 is not an issue as they can be comfortably worn for the entire duration of a long flight. The only technical complaint is that they are sensitive to mobile phones, and a if a mobile phone is within a couple of feet you will hear the familiar sound of the phone checking in with the base station that you often hear with radios. I've not found them being sensitive to computers however.

All in all, if you can deal with the price, these are superb headphones that fully deserve 5 stars.


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