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Reviews Written by
Paul Bowes (Wales, United Kingdom)

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Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
by Sebastian Junger
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A thin book in both senses, 20 Sept. 2016
Journalistic musing on the subject of PTSD and its wider implication for our forms of social organisation. The author constructs a shaky edifice of anthropological and sociological speculation on a narrow base of anecdotes and selected evidence. Junger's affection for soldiers and male bonding - this is a very male book - and his reasonable outrage at the way in which we treat our young leads him largely to overlook the negative side of 'tribal' thinking. Is it unreasonable to suggest that in an age of resurgent nationalism, religious intolerance and identity politics the idea of 'belonging' has caused at least as much harm as good?

This is essentially a long magazine article - less than 30,000 words - inflated into a book, and I came away thinking that it would have been unlikely to have been published in this form had the author not been a famous journalist. Junger's sincerity isn't in doubt, but his argument is neither new nor carefully thought through. There is an enormous literature on PTSD and its wider social significance, and only a reader completely new to the subject would be likely to get much from this. Disappointing.


KOOKYE Mega328 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR Meter MOS/PNP/NPN L/C/R with Clear case
KOOKYE Mega328 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR Meter MOS/PNP/NPN L/C/R with Clear case
Offered by EasyHouse
Price: £15.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Potentially useful tester sabotaged by unreliability, 10 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This tester is one of many similar products. It was supplied in minimal but safe packaging, and with the minimal clear perspex case not assembled, which I wasn't expecting. There were no instructions for assembly, and, more importantly, no instructions for the use of the tester.

Assembly proved straightforward. The single PCB has to be screwed to the case backplate, and the front plate attached to the backplate via standoffs. The case plates and the LED display were all protected against scratches by transparent plastic film, which had to be removed before assembly.

Operation is by a single press of the only control - a large yellow button. Once a new 9V battery had been attached, the unit powered up immediately. It appeared to work as expected, correctly identifying a resistor, a diode, a capacitor and a transistor. Unfortunately, after testing fewer than a dozen components over fifteen minutes or so, the unit failed to power on, and still refused to do so after a change of battery.

I returned this article for a refund. The two star - rather than one star - rating reflects the fact that Amazon's returns procedure worked perfectly, and also my awareness that I may have received an isolated bad sample. I would consider purchasing a similar unit again, under the same conditions, as the tester worked fine until it failed to work at all, but I remain to be convinced about reliability. The lack of instructions for use is worrying.


Stagg PSU-SV1AR-UK Power Adaptor for Effect Pedals and Boards
Stagg PSU-SV1AR-UK Power Adaptor for Effect Pedals and Boards
Price: £14.70

4.0 out of 5 stars A decent PSU for your pedals at a reasonable price, 1 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a regulated 9 volt DC power supply, intended to power devices that require up to 1 amp (or 1000 milliamps) via a standard centre-negative 2.1mm DC plug. This includes most modern guitar pedals, and some keyboards. By using a splitter cable of some kind, up to eight separate devices can be powered, so long as the total power draw doesn't exceed 1000mA. I used a cheap daisy chain cable (Stagg 17742 S Series Pro 5 Way Power Supply Cable) to power five pedals.

The power supply coped with my five pedals quite easily. So far as I could tell, most or all of any noise present was introduced by the pedals themselves: the power supply itself was virtually silent. This may be because of the "stabilised, switching mode C-MOS technology" to which the manufacturer refers. (I believe this is a transformerless PSU similar to those used to power modern laptops. This would also account for its unusually light weight.) Reliability will have to be proved over time. The plastic case is obviously intended mainly for home use, but would suffice for light gigging so long as protected from trampling feet. As always with this type of supply, the weak point is the cable, and particularly the point at which the cable enters the PSU case. The Stagg is no better or worse than most others in this regard.

This is a decent regulated power supply for a reasonable price. Cheaper 'brand X' PSUs can be had, but in my experience quality control is variable and noise can be a problem. This Stagg unit is about as cheap as one can go for a recognisably-branded item. It's about two-thirds of the price of the Boss equivalent, which for a long time has been as near to an 'industry standard' wall wart as one could buy.

Recommended, particularly for the home user.


Stagg 17742 S Series Pro 5 Way Power Supply Cable
Stagg 17742 S Series Pro 5 Way Power Supply Cable
Price: £2.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A cheap daisy chain for your pedals., 1 Aug. 2016
An inexpensive 5-way daisy chain adaptor that allows the user to run up to five pedals (9 volt, centre negative polarity, 2.1mm DC plug) off a single power supply. Aimed at the home user rather than the gigging guitarist, who will want something more substantial. I have used this with a Stagg 9 volt regulated power supply (PSU-SV1AR-UK) to power five pedals, and it coped without fuss. Made in China.


Klondyke 2-Inch Wide Deluxe Series Hand Stitched Soft Leather Guitar Strap - Red
Klondyke 2-Inch Wide Deluxe Series Hand Stitched Soft Leather Guitar Strap - Red

4.0 out of 5 stars A decent strap at a reasonable price, made in the UK., 1 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good quality leather guitar strap. It has the all-important unfinished leather underside, which provides a good grip on the shoulder: the upper side was more definitely red than the sample photo suggested, but that's fine. I see no reason why this shouldn't last as well as the last such strap I bought, which is still going strong over 35 years later. The example I purchased was at a reduced price, but that simply made it a bargain: around £25 is quite typical for a properly-made strap like this, and you'll have to pay quite a bit more for better quality. The fact that it is manufactured in the UK will be a plus for some.


ZEBRA HORN GUITAR PLECTRUM - STANDARD SHAPE - RIGHT HAND - DIMPLE FOR THUMB AND GROOVE FOR INDEX FINGER
ZEBRA HORN GUITAR PLECTRUM - STANDARD SHAPE - RIGHT HAND - DIMPLE FOR THUMB AND GROOVE FOR INDEX FINGER
Offered by WOOD4MUSIC
Price: £5.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely made handed horn pick with asymmetrical bevelled tip, 27 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This pick is stated to be made from zebra horn ('zebra' refers to the striped appearance: the type of horn is not given). It has been cut from a 4mm blank, which has then been deeply carved on one side with a dimple for the thumb and on the other side with an arc-shaped groove that fits the natural line of the forefinger. The single tip is asymmetrically bevelled. This means that the pick is handed, and you should be sure to specify whether you want a pick for a right- or left-handed player.

I found this pick to be very nicely made. The tip is well polished, and the smooth asymmetrical bevel helps it to move from string to string without 'grabbing'. Because of the deep dimple and corresponding groove, it feels almost moulded to the hand, and completely secure. The position of these features assumes that the player will be using the conventional 'thumb and forefinger' grip in which the last joint of thumb and forefinger lie almost at right angles to each other: but the width and curve of the finger groove allows for some adjustment for the individual grip. The sound is clear and round.

In my opinion, this pick is well worth investigating. Only the individual can decide whether it will suit him or her, but there are many more expensive picks on the market, and I felt that the price was fair given the hand work that has gone into shaping this pick.


Gypsy Tones - Black Horn - Individual Plectrum
Gypsy Tones - Black Horn - Individual Plectrum
Price: £4.00

4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting large horn pick, 27 July 2016
This is a very large - 35mm across its largest dimension - triangular pick made from black horn (stated to be buffalo horn on the packaging). It has been cut from a 3mm blank, and retains that thickness everywhere but on the edges. The pick offers three points, all symmetrically finished and pointed to the same profile, which potentially makes it a very economical pick.

Fears that the sheer size would make the pick awkward to use proved to be unfounded. My hand adapted naturally, and as with other horn picks this pick felt secure in the hand while never clinging to the string. The sound is softer than that of a rigid artificial pick such as the Jazz III, but not quite as warm or round as a clear horn pick I own which is slightly thicker (4mm) and has a single, more pointed tip.

This is a well-made, usable pick that might suit somebody who likes a smooth-edged sound, or who feels that smaller picks are always 'getting away' from them.


Jazz Tones Fat - Clear Horn - Individual Plectrum
Jazz Tones Fat - Clear Horn - Individual Plectrum
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-made pick, 27 July 2016
This is a single-pointed pick cut from what seems to be a 4mm horn blank (species not specified). Almost the full thickness is left under the thumb: there are no indents on either side. The point is symmetrical and polished. The pick I received measures 22mm across at its widest point, and 25mm at its greatest length. This makes it roughly intermediate in size between the Jim Dunlop Jazz III and the larger version.

The pick is pleasant to hold. The horn seems to have a natural tactile 'grippiness' that artificial near-equivalents like the Big Stubby lack: this may be a plus for players inclined to perspire. The 4mm-thick holding portion immediately made the pick seem more secure in the hand and more controllable than thinner picks, and I didn't feel the lack of dimples or grip holes to be a disadvantage. The polished, rounded edges of the tip don't cling on to the string. The sound, on standard roundwound electric strings, is slightly warmer, softer-edged and less trebley than that of a stiff artificial pick like the Jazz III. This might be a very good choice indeed for players who prefer a warm, clean, smooth sound and are already using a rigid pick of some sort. The price is not unreasonable for the quality - especially when you consider that there are now picks made of high-tech materials on offer for more than £50 each.


New Balance MX624AW4-624, Men Fitness Shoes, White (White 100), 9 UK (43 EU)
New Balance MX624AW4-624, Men Fitness Shoes, White (White 100), 9 UK (43 EU)
Price: £41.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent basic trainer, 27 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've purchased this model of New Balance trainer before, albeit in black. It's an excellent trainer, hard-wearing and with a good range of width fittings. I would buy it at full RRP: at the price I paid here, it was a steal.


Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical USB Wired Mouse 1000 / 1600 DPI, 5 Buttons VerticalMouse.
Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical USB Wired Mouse 1000 / 1600 DPI, 5 Buttons VerticalMouse.
Offered by AnkerDirect
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a convert to the vertical mouse, 27 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Purchased as a replacement for a cheap and very nasty conventional mouse supplied with a new Asus PC. This Anker mouse is the first vertical mouse I have used. It fits the hand neatly, with the buttons all falling naturally under fingers or thumb. All five buttons have a light, positive action except for the scroll wheel button, which requires a firmer press: the scroll wheel itself operates smoothly, with just enough of click to feel without impeding. The mouse has been given a matte treatment that mimics something of the feel of very smooth rubber - much more pleasant than the usual plastic, and grippy without being sticky.

On my Windows 10 PC it was true plug-and-play, and the learning curve was almost non-existent: the only thing I had to remember was that the mouse is taller than a conventional mouse, and so you need to learn to lift your hand over it. It takes up no more space on the desktop. The ergonomic effects claimed seem to be real: my arm immediately felt more relaxed all the way up to the shoulder, and I've been using it ever since. If you find that you suffer from wrist or shoulder pain from protracted mouse use, this may be a better solution, and for little more than you would pay for a decent wrist rest.

Only time will tell if it is reliable, but at this price I would be prepared to replace it annually. I'm a convert.


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