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Andrew (South Wales)

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I-ON Vortex-D Mini HD 1080p Multimedia Player - by Zoombits
I-ON Vortex-D Mini HD 1080p Multimedia Player - by Zoombits
Offered by zoombits
Price: £23.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and video playback quality is excellent., 1 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Got this box plugged into a small TV upstairs. All of the files I've used are either .mp4 or .mkv and so far it has played them both flawlessly in both 1080 and 720 resolution. Got it plugged in via HDMI and it worked flawlessly first time. The picture quality is excellent and I haven't noticed any frame rate or audio sync problems. If your brand of TV doesn't have USB input and decent video file playback support then this is the box you are looking for.

iGadgitz Premium Pouch Sleeve Black Leather Case Cover for HTC One M8 2014 with Pull Tab
iGadgitz Premium Pouch Sleeve Black Leather Case Cover for HTC One M8 2014 with Pull Tab
Offered by iGadgitz
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality and very good value for money., 1 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very nice case. I was using the gel cover that came with the phone for a while but that was looking a little grubby and even when new it spoiled the look of the phone. With this case I can give it a little protection when it's in my pocket and still be able to show off it's good looks without popping a shell case off. It is a very snug fit to start with and I hat to put a bit of pressure on the phone to push it all the way down. After a few days the material seems to have stretched a little and whilst it's still a snug fit it's a lot easier to get in. So far the pull strap to get the phone out is holding up well and doesn't feel like it's going to break any time soon. This case is very well made and definitely worth the money for a little bit of extra protection without having to keep your phone permanently covered with an ugly shell case. I don't know how well it would protect your phone from a serious drop. but it will stop the aluminium body from getting scratched by your keys when it's in your pocket.

Rama: The Omnibus: The Complete Rama Omnibus
Rama: The Omnibus: The Complete Rama Omnibus
Price: £8.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Unable to put it down despite it's many faults!, 8 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The journey that these books take you on absolutely astounding. The ideas presented on both the Rama spacecraft and the alien races encountered is some of the most fascinating science fiction I've ever read. The epic scale of the discovery of Rama as it's presented in the first book was absolutely mind blowing, as was the journey made by the characters in the following three books.

The first book was written solely by Arthur C. Clarke with the following three written by Gentry Lee using Clarke's suggestions and ideas. There is a big difference between the two writers: Clarke is all about the wonder and excitement of exploring Rama itself and Lee is all about the characters. Although the two styles compliment each other very well, Rama itself seems to take a backseat in the three following stories, which could also be read as one very large story.

Despite this being one of the most gripping page turners I've read in a while, it does have plenty of faults. Arthur C. Clarke has always (in my experience) had issues with characterisation. The interactions with many of the characters feels a little flat and his writing is much better when he's describing vast, technological marvels. Gentry Lee on the other hand is all about the characters, however I think he goes a little too deep into them and ends up with very uneven personalities who sometimes make inexplicable decisions over the course of the story. He's also a little too obsessed with sex, and tries to fit a lot of it in. But what he does put in feels passionless and unnecessary.

Despite it's faults, the Rama series is an amazing journey and one that's well worth embarking on.

HeroNeo® String Aktion Spur Ruler Führer Setup Gitarre Mess Fork Bass Gitarrenbauer Tool
HeroNeo® String Aktion Spur Ruler Führer Setup Gitarre Mess Fork Bass Gitarrenbauer Tool
Offered by accecity
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality for the price, 9 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Much easier than using the end of a standard steel ruler to set your string action. I was surprised at how good the quality was for the price. Each measurement is etched into the metal so the markings shouldn't be wearing off any time soon. It has measurements in millimetres and parts of an inch, which is handy if you want to follow the guitar manufacturers recommended set up which is almost always in parts of an inch.

If you like to give your guitar a complete set up whenever you change the strings then is is a worthwhile investment.

DIGIFLEX HDMI Male to Female 90 Degree Right Angle Adaptor
DIGIFLEX HDMI Male to Female 90 Degree Right Angle Adaptor
Offered by Digiflex
Price: £4.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Before you buy check that you need this type or the other ones (One is 90 degrees and the other is 270 degrees) as I've noticed a couple of reviews saying that theirs is the wrong way around. You can easily tell by looking at the back of your TV which ones you need. On my Panasonic this type of connector plugs in and has the wires trailing straight down. The connection is nice and tight and despite the HDMI cables I used being quite sturdy they don't feel like they're going to fall out any time soon without physically pulling the leads. Much cheaper than replacing my HDMI cables with the ones that have right angle connectors or swivel heads.

3m Kettle Lead - IEC (C13) to UK Mains (3 pin) Cable - 5A (amp) - Moulded - Black Coloured - Approve by A.S.T.A - N14586
3m Kettle Lead - IEC (C13) to UK Mains (3 pin) Cable - 5A (amp) - Moulded - Black Coloured - Approve by A.S.T.A - N14586
Offered by World of Data Ltd
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good quality long lead, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is as good a lead as you'll get with any electrical item except that it's a lot longer making it very useful if you've decided to put your flat screen TV in the wall. The cable is nice and thick and the ends are very sturdy. Well worth a few quid.

Yin and Yang Trolley / Locker Coin Keyring
Yin and Yang Trolley / Locker Coin Keyring
Offered by UrK Limited
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Almost essential in the modern world!, 29 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I find myself increasingly caught out looking for change for trolleys. These days it is far to convenience to use a debit card when I'm out and about doing my shopping so I never seem to have change on me. I've noticed that a few large supermarkets have started re-introducing the coin release on trolleys and it's very frustrating having to get money out to buy something small on the way to the super-market just to get a pound coin in your change!

The token itself is solid and they keyring looks solid too. I had it for a bargain price considering the amount of agro it's going to save me in future!

Killing Them Softly [DVD]
Killing Them Softly [DVD]
Dvd ~ Brad Pitt
Price: £3.79

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining dialogue-driven mob film, 7 May 2013
This review is from: Killing Them Softly [DVD] (DVD)
I wasn't sure what to expect from this film. The trailer appeared to show a mashup of action and comedy (or so it seemed to me) and I found it a little off putting. However, the film was directed by Andrew Dominik who also did the amazing semi-fictional Chopper way back in 2000 with Eric Bana. So I decided to view the film with an open mind. Its also based on a book which I haven't read, so I won't be making any comparisons.

At the beginning of the film we are introduced to two characters: Frankie and Russell. Frankie is a petty criminal who is currently down on his luck and looking for a nice score; Russell is an unstable, drug addicted Australian crook who is currently making ends meet by stealing pedigree dogs and selling them on in another state. Russell has been approached by Johnny `Squirrell' Amato about a job involving robbing a local mafia card game. The plan is simple enough: A man named Markie Trattman (played by Ray Liotta), who looks after the card games, hired two robbers to take the card game he was a proprietor of. Although he did not confess under duress to questioning about his involvement, it was something he later openly admitted but was not held to account for. Squirrell decides that a similar robbery to the one Markie admitted to would land all blame on Markie leaving them home and dry with the takings. Although the job is pulled off successfully, Russell inadvertently brags about it so someone who is connected to the mob.

Enter mob hitman Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) who has been brought in to deal with the situation. Cogan quickly works out that Markie is a scapegoat and quickly puts a plan together to eliminate all the guilty parties. As he knows Squirrel he decides to bring in another hitman Mickey Fallon (James Gandolfini) as it would be too personal. Unfortunately Fallon brings his own set of personal problems with him.

What you get with Killing Them Softly is a neat, very contained storyline set against a backdrop of betrayal, murder and mob politics. Brad Pitt is an actor who seems to get better with age, showing great restraint as a very cool and collected hitman and showing that he is more than a pretty face. The supporting cast are also very noteworthy, especially Scott McNairy as hoodlum Frankie. Even actors who get only a small amount of screen time such as Ray Liotta make their mark. The film shows some heavy influences from Tarantino, but not too much that you would think it was a rip off. The dialogue is smart and snappy, the characters show little or no morals as you would expect from career criminals; and the visual style is both gritty and elegant. There is one slow motion sequence that has to be seen to be believed.

Maybe it's just me, but the impression I got from the trailer was for more of an action orientated film with a comedic overtone. This isn't a comedy film or an action film. It has some funny moments, some violence but this is a dialogue driven film and a very good one at that.

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: £7.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Seventh album is a winner for Maiden, 5 May 2013
Maidens seventh album is the aptly titled Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, A concept album about good and evil (which just happens to be a big part of most Maiden albums) with a lot of magic and mysticism thrown into the mix. I've always thought that the preceding album, Somewhere in Time, had a slightly too digital sounding production of the guitars. It wasn't overly obtrusive; it just sounded like they had some new 80's rack mounted effects that weren't comparable to the modern sounding wonders that were built in later years. On this album the production is a lot warmer and more natural sounding; and whilst some synth sounds that debuted on the previous album have returned, this time they are keyboard rather than guitar based and they are fleshed out a lot more and I think they fit in well.

Kicking off with a slow, acoustic strummed intro with Dickinson singing of things in sevens (such as `seven deadly sins, seven ways to win...' etc Moonchild kicks the album off spectacularly with a frenetic energy and enthusiasm from the band that was slightly lacking from the previous album. I've always marvelled at the range of influences in Maidens writing and this album is no exception. Although it is a concept album to be taken as a whole, each song has it's own distinct influence. In this case it's Aleister Crowley, or more specifically, a book he wrote called `Moonchild'. Not having read the book I can't comment on how close it follows it, but from what I can gather it just takes a few lyrical cues with regards to imagery and some names/places in the story. Aside from the Crowley influence, Moonchild is the beginning of the Seventh son tale and introduces us to the concept of the original seventh son whose unborn seventh son's soul is being fought over by angels and demons.

The slower, almost tender, Infinite Dreams where the seventh son is just starting to realize who is is and what he is capable of. Slow by Maiden's standards but very good. It's just a pity that it's followed by the abomination that is Can I Play With Madness - a terrible filler that stinks of radio airplay friendliness. The mixing on the vocals and instruments are so geared towards chart assault that it almost sounds like a song off a different album. By a different band. Although lyrically it sort of fits in with the story (the protagonist goes to see a prophet to try and get some answers about his visions that are driving him to madness). If they took this song out and gave the album a much neater (and concept affirming seven songs) it wouldn't have lost anything worth losing.

It takes the excellent The Evil That Men Do to bring the album back on track. The lyrics are tantalizingly vague, but all the better for it. Although it seems a loose end with regards to the albums main storyline (but vague enough to be easily fitting in all the same). It seems that the woman referred to in the song is the mother of the next seventh son. It's hard to pinpoint her exact role in the fathers life (is she the also the mother of the other six sons?), is the father really in love with her or did he possibly force himself on her, the evil that men do being his own actions; and now it is something he regrets and wishes he could change? It's something I'd never thought of until I just re-read the lyrics. If love is a razor does it cut too deeply and become uncontrollable lust? I'm not saying it's gospel, but to me it does add another, much darker layer to the song.

The title track is where Iron Maiden shift into the progressive rock/metal gear in a similar vein to many of the other lengthy and complex songs they have done on previous albums (Phantom of the Opera, To Tame a Land, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, etc). They keyboards are back in force on this song and they really help flesh out the ominous mood of the song. This is where the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son finally appears. The song is absolutely epic in it's scale, from the narrative to the many complex pieces and time signature changes the band goes through. Nicko McBrain is on fire here, and this song really showcases his talents as a drummer. I've never been a fan of over the top drum solos; if you want to hear a brilliant drummer just listen to how they play rhythm and what little touches and nuances they fit in behind the band whilst simultaneously leading the pace of the song. The only bit of the song that I've never been a fan of is Bruce Dickinsons vocal narrative in the mid section of the song. It's novel the first time you hear it, but after repeated listens it just sounds a little cheesy. I think that it was done better on Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It's all quickly repaired by having one of the best instrumental outros ever.

In the Prophecy the Seventh Son has realised his power and is presented with a vision of impending disaster that is about to befall a village where he is staying. The villagers don't believe him and when the disaster does happen instead of believing him they blame him for bringing about a curse. Featuring a fantastic call and repeat chorus and some great vocal work by Dickinson this song keeps the album up on a high that lasts through the two remaining songs too. The Clairvoyant is a brilliant number musically even if the lyrics don't really go anywhere. I'm not in any way calling it a filler, it's just not as fleshed out as some of the other songs and like Only the Good Die Young it doesn't seem to close the story. You're left wondering at the end what did happen to the people in the story (I know Only the Good Die Young could be taken as self explanatory but it still offers little in the way of story progression). Maybe Maiden could do a follow up album?

I'm not taking a star off for Can I Play With Madness - I don't see any reason to mark something down based on one track you can easily skip.

By the way, I've owned this album on vinyl, tape and CD at one point or another in my life but the version I listen to now is 256kbs AAC (which sounds absolutely fine if you play it back on equipment designed for digital playback) so I can't comment on the actual CD sound quality, just the quality of the songwriting. I would review a digital version but Amazon don't seem to have it available at the moment.

Somewhere In Time
Somewhere In Time

5.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag from Maiden, but still very good, 4 May 2013
This review is from: Somewhere In Time (MP3 Download)
1986 saw the release of Maidens sixth album, the very futuristic looking Somewhere in Time. Featuring one of the best album covers of all time (possibly surpassing the amazing artwork of the previous album: Powerslave). The artwork takes a lot of inspiration from the film Bladerunner and features a cyborg Eddie gunning someone down in some futuristic dystopian city. The artist Derek Riggs has hidden quite a lot of Easter eggs in the artwork (such as the pub where the band performed their first gig and Dr. Who's Tardis) and it's worth digging out a vinyl copy or a hi res scan to appreciate it.

Somewhere in Time is a mixed bag for Maiden. It has a lot of standout moments but also a lot of filler. Kicking off with Caught Somewhere in time we're treated to a lovely lead guitar intro that is undercut with an almost droning synth sound. I know that Maiden received a bit of flak from some fans and critics for including synth sounds as it's not in the spirit of Metal - so much so that Bruce Dickinson even addresses it on the Maiden England concert. Personally I thought it was fine, and looking back if you're going to have Bladerunner as artistic inspiration why not also have an element of the fantastic Vangelis soundtrack too? If my memory serves me well I'm sure I read in an interview that the synth sounds were guitar based, not keyboards (I used to have a similar set of effects on my old Boss GT-6). Although the serve their purpose on the song, they haven't aged too well and sound just like 80's digital effects. I'm not sure what guitar set-ups Dave Murray and Adrian Smith were using at the time but they also seems to have suffered the dreaded adoption of 80's digital effects, giving an unnaturally processed sound to the distortion and delay. These days the DSP chips in digital effects are so good you'd never tell, but back in 1986 they were very apparent.

Going back to the song itself and you'll find it's still the beating heavy metal heart of Iron Maiden underneath the sounds. Caught Somewhere in Time is a very good song structurally, but a little bit weak lyrically (sings about getting caught somewhere in time, doesn't mention if that's time travel or stuck in a moment). Although I've been critical of the guitar sound, Steve Harris' bass is very bright and punchy, his thundering style even more prominent in the mix on this album.

We follow it up with the amazing Wasted Years. From the classically inspired intro through to the give it all chorus, this song is brilliant from beginning to end. Although Harris maybe the songwriting powerhouse of the band, Adrian Smith shows he is a very talented songwriter in his own right, and this is the first of no less than three songs he contributed to this album. He's like Maidens equivalent of George Harrison - when he does have something to add you can guarantee its going to be something special. Lyrically, he is often a lot more coherent than Harris, although Harris is a better storyteller. Following on into his second contribution, Sea Of Madness, we are given a cracking intro riff and verse that it only slightly let down by a cliché ridden chorus. Still a very good song though.

Heaven Can Wait has been a live favourite of the bands since it's release, probably due to the middle eight where the band usually get an assortment of backing singers on stage made up from roadies and sometimes fans to sing the oh-oh-oh parts. Even without the live gimmick it's still a solid number. Harris gives us a tale of a near-death experience where the protagonist feels like they are leaving their body and wondering if they will go to heaven or hell.

Loneliness of the Long Distance runner is very loosely based on the novel of the same name and concerns itself only with the actual running in the book and not the historical setting and social climate. It's a bit of a filler for me, as well as Deja Vu and Alexander the great. For some reasons these songs have never gripped me like the rest and I find myself skipping them. Alexander the Great should have been an epic like Powerslaves To Tame A Land, but I find it a lot less interesting.

The only track remaining is the Smith penned Stranger In A Strange Land, based on a conversation he had with an explorer who found a frozen body. Smith explores the final thought of a desperate man driven to his death by his ambitions and the thoughts of another expedition who discover his corpse a hundred years later. Despite the rather macabre tone, this is quite an upbeat song; I absolutely love the driving riff moving the chorus along.

As I said earlier its a mixed bag for Maiden, with what I consider to be 3 sub-standard tracks (for Maidens high standards anyway) but the album is definitely a winner.

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