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Hahnel Triad 50 PG Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod with 360° Pistol Head and Free Carrying Case
Hahnel Triad 50 PG Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod with 360° Pistol Head and Free Carrying Case

3.0 out of 5 stars Very average, and not particularly well made., 15 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've used Hahnel batteries and Grips and found them pretty good, so when looking for a budget tripod I thought I'd give one of theirs a try.

Whilst the 'Professional' bit is most certainly a misnomer, it appears reasonably solid when you first open it. Unfortunately appearances can be deceptive. The legs look okay in the photos as they are covered in a generous layer of foam, so the metal bit is alarmingly thin allowing a fair bit of flex at full extension - once you hang your bag on the counterweight hook it settles down a little but anything more than a light to moderate breeze will set it wobbling. Just to give an idea of how spindly the legs are, the thickest leg section is the same diameter as the thinnest section of my Giottos monopod.

With the legs fully extended it'll go to a claimed 155cm, and for me at 5'10" that puts the viewfinder pretty much at eye level.

The combo of head and tripod is rated at 3kg.

The legs lock at 25°, 55°, 75° and 155° and have 3 sections with flip-locks. The locks feel reasonably robust and the supplied allen key allows you to adjust them as necessary. The rubber feet also conceal spikes and there is a small bubble-level just above the centre column thumbscrew.

The tripod is supplied with two centre columns, one approx 18" and the other 6", both of which can be inverted should you feel the need. In theory they can anyway, in practice mine required some minor trimming with a scalpel to bevel the underside of the collar before the column could be slotted in from below. The centre columns both have a 1/4 inch thread.

The main weak spot is the pistol grip head - it is awful. The finish is quite poor, the motion isn't very smooth and the the grip itself seems designed for a toddler or possibly that unexpected niche market of adults with really small hands. The QR plate feels flimsy and the dubious looking locking mechanism managed to fail within a fortnight of purchase despite very light use, requiring an almost herculean amount of effort just to move the lever in order to get the camera off.

Very average. I'll hang onto it for use with my remote flash but if this is going to be your main tripod, save up a bit and get a Giottos or Manfrotto, it'll be worth it.

The bag is pretty good though.

Nerd Herd® Premium Laptop Charger for Acer TravelMate TM5742-484G32MNSS TM5742-484G50MNSS 5742-334G32MNSS 5742-372G25MNSS 5742-373G32MN 5742-373G32MNSS 5742-374G32MN 5742-383G50MNSS 5742-384G50MN 5742-464G32MNSS 5742-464G64MNSS 5742-482G50MNSS 5742-484G64MN 5742-5463G32MNSS 5742-5464G32MNSS 5742-5564G50MNSS 5742G-374G32MNSS 5742G-374G64MN 5742G-382G32MNSS 5742G-384G32MNSS 5742G-432G50MNSS 5742G-464G50MNSS 5742G-484G50MNSS 5742G-484G64MN 5742G-5464G32MNSS 5742G-5564G50MNSS [19V 4.74A 90W]
Nerd Herd® Premium Laptop Charger for Acer TravelMate TM5742-484G32MNSS TM5742-484G50MNSS 5742-334G32MNSS 5742-372G25MNSS 5742-373G32MN 5742-373G32MNSS 5742-374G32MN 5742-383G50MNSS 5742-384G50MN 5742-464G32MNSS 5742-464G64MNSS 5742-482G50MNSS 5742-484G64MN 5742-5463G32MNSS 5742-5464G32MNSS 5742-5564G50MNSS 5742G-374G32MNSS 5742G-374G64MN 5742G-382G32MNSS 5742G-384G32MNSS 5742G-432G50MNSS 5742G-464G50MNSS 5742G-484G50MNSS 5742G-484G64MN 5742G-5464G32MNSS 5742G-5564G50MNSS [19V 4.74A 90W]
Offered by Apro
Price: £34.99

Ex-Pro Replacement Eye-piece cap/Eyecup [EF] for Canon EOS series [See description for models]
Ex-Pro Replacement Eye-piece cap/Eyecup [EF] for Canon EOS series [See description for models]
Offered by ExpressPro
Price: £3.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Fits perfectly., 19 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is an eyecup. Not really much more you can say about it, though it seems on a par with the Canon original at a much lower price.

Delta AC Adapter for Acer Aspire 5742G/5742Z Laptop
Delta AC Adapter for Acer Aspire 5742G/5742Z Laptop
Offered by Fippar
Price: £13.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not fit for purpose., 18 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Aspire 5742G requires 19v at 4.74A yet this charger is only rated at 3.42A, so not suitable for the 5742G at all. Misleadingly listed and potentially damaging to your hardware. Avoid the cheap no name cheap and get a decent charger instead. On its way back to Amazon.

Ramozz @ Time lapse intervalometer remote timer shutter for Canon DSLR 650D 600D 700D Camera
Ramozz @ Time lapse intervalometer remote timer shutter for Canon DSLR 650D 600D 700D Camera
Offered by Sunwood-UK
Price: £13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 5 Sept. 2014
Nice gadget. Admittedly you could probably use magic lantern to get the same functionality, but this won't cause any warranty issues and it works well as a remote trigger. A quick and easy way of going beyond bulb mode on the 600D.

Sony PlayStation 3 Replacement Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Mounting Bracket
Sony PlayStation 3 Replacement Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Mounting Bracket
Offered by Racksoy
Price: £4.09

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very easy install, 12 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The mounting bracket is very easy to use and supplied with clear instructions that anyone should be able to follow. All you need is a small phillips screwdriver, a 2.5" laptop HDD and 5 minutes of your time. Thanks to this I now have a PS3 SuperSlim 500GB for just over £150. (PS3 12gb for £110, £9 for this and £33 for 500GB HDD).

The Heroes (First Law World 2)
The Heroes (First Law World 2)
by Joe Abercrombie BA
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grim, Dark and Bloody. Bloody excellent!, 2 Jun. 2012
The valley of Osrung is the gateway to the North. At the centre of the valley is a steep hill, a rocky outcrop upon which a weather-beaten circle of stones known as The Heroes look down on their surroundings.

Black Dow and his Named Men, his Carls and their Thralls have been repeatedly scoring victories picking off Union forces in small hit-and-run skirmishes. The Union under the leadership of Marshal Kroy seek to draw Black Dow into a decisive confrontation and force his hand by marching on Osrung.

Over the next three days The Heroes will be at the centre of a bloody conflict, standing impassive over a vignette of barbaric slaughter for reasons meaningless to most of the men doing the fighting. The Heroes become the focus of the hopes and fears of those men at the sharp end - the competent, the inept, the reluctant, the psychotic and the scared.

The Heroes is the fifth novel by Joe Abercrombie, following on from the The First Law trilogy and the stand-alone novel Best Served Cold. The Heroes is another stand-alone novel but you will get more out of it if you've read the earlier books in the series as many of the characters have featured before.

The book deals with a number of themes in Abercrombie's typically bleak and cynical style, garnished with lashings of blacker than black humour. It muses on the nature and reality of heroism, the futility of war and the stark realisation that win or lose, the actual men swinging the swords will benefit the least from either outcome. The notion that the battle may little more than spill-over from the feud between Bayaz and Khalul is also suggested, serving to render the sacrifice even more pointless.

Whilst a good number of the characters are veterans of the first four books, Abercrombie introduces a number of new characters. For me, the most memorable was the young Beck - the son of a famous (but dead) Named Man that wants to prove himself in battle, oblivious to the harsh reality and confusion that is to come. His initial desire to earn a reputation as a Named Man is thrown into stark contrast by the bleak reality, a darkly ironic coming of age tinged with melancholy.

The other new characters include Finree dan Brock, the ambitious and capable wife of a Union Officer with a talent for exploiting opportunities to help her husband climb the political ladder; Curnden Craw, the amiable and world-weary leader of a small band of Named Men on the brink of retirement. The camaraderie of his Named Men is wonderfully rendered; the group discussion with Cracknut Whirrun trying to explain the earning of his Name had me in tears of laughter. Corporal Tunny is less well served by the narrative, feeling somewhat underused. I'd like to see more of him, as his ruthless practicality and casual attitude to property was quite amusing, with him shamelessly exploiting every instance to line his pockets.

The other POV characters are individuals we met in the first four books. Caul Shivers is back in the North after his fateful trip to Styria in Best Served Cold, large as life and twice as ugly. The craven Prince Calder is quite a revelation, beautifully fleshed out from his stock villain origins in The First Law, stuck between a rock and a hard place and scheming for his life. Despite his many flaws, his devotion to his wife and his brother make him immensely likeable. Bremer dan Gorst is back but in reduced circumstances, removed from the King's Guard after that incident in Cardotti's House of Leisure and determined to prove himself in battle - his only problem is he's the Royal Observer and instructed not to fight. Gorst is a fantastic creation. On the battlefield he's probably the closest thing to a Hero in the book - a veritable tide-turning killing machine, yet his internal monologues show us he's probably the most f**ked-up individual in The First Law world to date, which takes some doing. Black Dow gets some time in the spotlight, his rule undermined somewhat by rumours over the fate of the usurped Logen Ninefingers.

Speaking of Logen Ninefingers, the Bloody Nine casts a very long shadow in this book. The menace of his reputation is almost palpable as he is spoken of in hushed tones around camp fires, leaving us hungry for his next appearance (which should be in Red Country this October).

The battle scenes are excellent. The flowing `chain-of-death' POV shifts scenes along at a cracking pace, with POV jumping to that of the killer as the fatal blow is struck. It isn't an overused device but it does portray the frantic and rapidly shifting nature of the front line very well indeed.

The Heroes (*****) is a tour de force by an author at the top of his game. Admittedly, if the grimdark sub-genre doesn't appeal you won't like it but everyone else can spend some quality time with their fellow troops, shivering in the rain, waiting for the battle to commence.

Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Graphite
Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Graphite

4.0 out of 5 stars A god-send for cluttered shelves, 2 Jun. 2012
I recently treat myself to another Amazon Kindle, to replace the keyboard version that the bundle of joy destroyed. I opted for the current entry-level model, the £89 Kindle with Wi-Fi. I chose that model over the Kindle Touch after trying out the demo models in the local supermarket. The turn page buttons just felt better than tapping or swiping the screen but I guess it just comes down to personal preference. If you do decide on a Kindle check out your local supermarket and have a play first.

The new Kindle has pretty much the same functionality as the original Kindle Keyboard, the only real difference being that on the newer version the keyboard is virtual rather than physical. Text is entered via on on-screen keyboard using the 5-way controller to navigate around, but to be fair whilst it was slightly more time-consuming than using physical keys I never found it too much of an issue.

I did notice that the removal of a physical keyboard has allowed a reduction in size, and the new Kindle is more comfortable to hold as a result. The all important page-turn buttons fall naturally beneath your thumbs and at 170g it is lighter than most paperbacks, yet feels more solid than the Keyboard version.

If you haven't used an e-Reader before you may be initially distracted by the transitions between pages, as the entire display goes black for a split second before the next page appears. This is over much quicker than physically turning a page and after you've been engrossed for a few pages you'll probably not notice it anyway. The screen itself is very good; the text is sharp and easily read even in direct sunlight. If you've only ever used a tablet, mobile phone or laptop to read e-Books you will find the Kindle far more pleasant for prolonged use.

The Kindle can hold around 1,400 books but in the unlikely event you fill that memory, Amazon will archive your purchases so you can simply download them as and when you need them - this will however only work for e-Books purchased through Amazon themselves. If you buy any e-Books elsewhere or download content from Project Gutenburg you'll have to archive those on your own computer instead.

One problem you would have with 1,400 books is sorting them on the Kindle itself. Beyond creating Book Collections that essentially behave like folders, the Operating System is extremely clunky and Amazon really do need to sort out a more fluid and intuitive sorting feature in future updates.

The battery life is pretty good. I use mine quite heavily and only charge it up once every ten days or so, although I do have to use the charger I got with the Kindle Keyboard 3G. Don't bother with the optional £12 charger if you have a smart-phone with a micro-USB charger as that'll do the job just as well.

As I'd virtually stopped reading books due to the other half constantly complaining that my dog-eared paperbacks took up way too much shelf space and made the place look untidy, the Kindle(****) has been a god-send. I wouldn't want to be without one and would urge you to do the same, even with the interface quirks and missing charger.

The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora
by Scott Lynch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent romp in a wonderfully realised city., 2 Jun. 2012
The Thorn of Camorr is a legendary master swordsman, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. He is also a complete fabrication. Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn and whilst adept at stealing from the rich - after all only they have anything worth stealing, he never really got to grips with the giving to the poor bit. When it comes to swordplay, he's only a danger to himself. He does have enough wit and cunning to make up for his lack of physical prowess and his companion Jean Tannen is more than handy with a blade if trouble comes calling.

Whilst in the middle of an elaborate confidence scam, Locke is dragged into a bloody power struggle within the Camarr underworld. Capa Barsavi wants Locke to accompany him to a meeting in order to kill a shadowy rival, the Grey King. Unfortunately the Grey King has discovered Locke's talent for dissembling and wants Locke to impersonate him for a meeting with the Capa...

The Lies Of Locke Lamora is the debut novel of Scott Lynch, but from the quality of the writing you'd be hard pressed to tell. The opening with the Thieftaker and Chains in masterfully done, brilliantly setting the tone for what follows. The story is told with great economy and skill, fair rattling along at a good pace with a minimum of exposition.

The unfolding plot is interwoven with interludes to Locke's formative years, deftly illustrating his rise from cocky street urchin under the thumb of the thieftaker to become the leader of the Gentleman Bastards. These interludes also lay the foundations for his enduring friendships and flesh out the other members of his gang quite admirably.

If you like the Hustle tv show, don't mind a bucketload of swearing and enjoy a fast-paced action packed romp through a beautifully rendered city, you'll love this. The Lies Of Locke Lamora (*****) is well worth checking out, but probably a bit too sweary for your maiden aunt.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2014 12:23 PM BST

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars Well, maybe smouldering a bit., 5 May 2012
After winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping to put the nightmare behind her. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on their Victory Tour, Katniss begins to realise that her name and her mockingjay emblem have become the symbol of an uprising.

In a bid to assert their dominance over the Districts and neuter the growing power of the Mockingjay, the Capitol announces a special twist to the 75th Annual Hunger Games. As a Quarterly Cull, the standard selection criteria no longer apply.

This time only previous winners can participate, and Katniss is guaranteed a place as the only female victor that District 12 has ever produced.

Catching Fire is the second novel in the highly succesful Hunger Games trilogy, picking up shortly after The Hunger Games. The story expands from the narrow confines of the Hunger Games themselves to become a story of slow burning rebellion against a tyrannical state, and much of the first part of the novel is doing some substantial heavy lifting fleshing out the world to fit the expanded remit of the plot and set things up for the sequel.

We don't reach the 75th Hunger Games until well past the halfway point, and the games themselves feel rather a bit rushed as a result. However some of the issues that plagued the first book have been handled better this time around. The artificial environment seems much more deadly and menacing; the contestants are better fleshed out and their motivations and reluctance at having to compete again make them much better drawn than the largely anonymous contestants in the first book.

The ongoing story of Katniss and Peter is handled as deftly as ever, but the motivations of the Capitol are less well conceived. The Capitol uses the games as public relations and is supposedly media savvy, yet seem completely unable to defuse the symbolic potency of a media figurehead that they directly control. If anything, they seem to insist on tactics that pour petrol on the flames of rebellion rather than snuff them out.

The book maintains a brisk pace but the slightly clunky world-building and expositionary nature of the first half and the rather rushed account of the 75th Hunger Games make the book feel a bit more unwieldy than the first novel.

Despite these flaws, Catching Fire (***) is still an entertaining read and an enjoyable novel, setting things up well for the concluding volume in the series, Mockingjay.

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