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Steve Craftman (Neath)

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August MB300 - Clock Radio with MP3 Alarm - Portable Stereo System - Alarm clock - Aux Input / Card Reader / USB In / 2x3W Speakers / Internal Rechargeable Battery
August MB300 - Clock Radio with MP3 Alarm - Portable Stereo System - Alarm clock - Aux Input / Card Reader / USB In / 2x3W Speakers / Internal Rechargeable Battery
Offered by Daffodil UK
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If only I hadn't thrown the packaging away, 6 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a shame as this clock gets so close to getting it right, but I honestly couldn't recommend it. It seems impossible to get a music playing alarm clock without a radio built in, which is what I really wanted as I never listen to the radio. For music input, it has a card slot, a USB slot and a line in - a cornucopia of inputs. Unfortunately, with each of the input modes, there's what appears to be a bleed-over from the radio, sometimes a noise like a conga being hit irregularly every couple of seconds, sometimes a very low volume electronic warble, ignoreable (just) when listening to modern ambient music, but intrusive when listening to baroque chamber music when there's no way you can pretend it's part of the music. On the plus side, both card and USB stick inputs have a shuffle function.

The control buttons are difficult to push and setting up the clock and using it not terribly intuitive. The volume control is something of a blunt instrument: zero is silent, 1 is a little too loud to be comfortable to play me to sleep and 2 is about living room volume. I'm afraid I don't know how far up it goes, as I'd fear for my hearing, which isn't terribly keen anyway. Fortunately, even at what it considers a low volume, the sound is good, if you ignore he bumps and whistles.Unless I've missed something the sleep control doesn't work: twice I've set there reading aloud each step of setting it up to turn off after a couple of hours and twice it's woken me up playing music several hours after it should have turned itself off. Of course, that doesn't include the "rehearsals" when I tried to set it for ten minutes to check how it worked.

It needs an odd viewing angle for the time to be visible, which rather defeats the purpose of a bedside clock: to my mind, you should be able to open one eye, see that you've got another ten minutes and go back to sleep rather than move to pick the unit up and tilt it just right. I can see its future being as a simple clock: I bought it to have a sleep function for music after reading in bed and to have a clock in the room. It fails on both counts. If I still had the packaging I'd return it.

Curved Space / Infinity
Curved Space / Infinity
Price: £11.13

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Illustrating the improvisation, 11 Dec. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Curved Space / Infinity (Audio CD)
The Curved Air rarities series isn't meant to be viewed in their main sequence of albums, more as a background or insight as to how they work. No, Sonja Kristina doesn't appear on either of these CDs (which, incidentally, get as near to the 80 minute limit as is possible - good value!), but they do show Curved Air's other big selling point: improvisation. Yes, Sonja Kristina has an incredible voice which has matured extremely well with age, but being the only woman in the band has meant that she is too often the focus of reviewers (and sometimes fans) to the detriment of the instrumental side of things, something which this release and its predecessor in the series, Tapestry of Propositions, put to rights. As far back as the early seventies the band were stressing the value of improvisation in their work and here we get an account of two different eras of the band, firstly with Francis Monkman playing only guitar, rather than his more usual mountain of keyboards with a little guitar, and members of the current lineup, two of whom played on 1973's Air Cut (incidentally, Sonja's absence makes Florian Pilkington-Miksa the only member of the band to appear on every release).

Of the two discs I prefer Infinity over Curved Space, for the simple reason that Infinity employs a wider range of sound: guitar has never been, for me, the be-all and end-all of rock. Ideas bounce from instrument to instrument and both discs have a "one take" feel to them. Perhaps a way of listening to both albums in this set is as ideas in the making (compare Young Mother (In Style) from the BBS Sessions to the track it eventually became on Second Album, and also witness the way its instrumental break differs on every live version...). Perhaps a "history for the fans" release rather than a project designed to make money, and certainly not to be viewed as a follow-up to North Star.

Xiaobi Dual Bay USB 3.0 Hard Drive Docking Station with Offline Clone Function for 2.5 Inch & 3.5 Inch HDD SSD SATA (2 x 8TB Support)
Xiaobi Dual Bay USB 3.0 Hard Drive Docking Station with Offline Clone Function for 2.5 Inch & 3.5 Inch HDD SSD SATA (2 x 8TB Support)
Offered by Finerolls-UK
Price: £88.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile piece of kit, 6 Dec. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to replace a similar docking station which only had room for one hard drive and was limited to 3Tb discs (or maybe I misunderstood the comments on that docking station as 3Tb were as far as affordable technology went at the time). With 4Tb inside my machine and 2.25Tb hanging off the machine from the rear USB ports, I still don't have enough space to back up everything. What doesn't get backed up by Windows back gets backed up manually onto hard drives ripped from the guts of machines past their sell-by dates, as well as a couple of bare hard drives bought instead of expensively packaged external hard drives.

I've not tried the off-line clone function, simply because it's something I don't see myself needing. Writing to two drives at once produced a respectable 35 to 40 Mb/s transfer per drive, with about 70 to 80Mb/s when writing to just one drive. A charging only USB port on the front is handy, freeing up a USB port that otherwise would be dumbly charging an mp3 player of a phone, and as a bonus there are two USB3 ports - an advantage when many cheaper PCs only have one USB3 port.

The power supply is in a separate box that the power lead plugs into, presumably so that only the power lead needs to be changed for different markets. At first I cursed the thing for having an unusually shaped "in" micro-USB port on the rear, especially when USB devices are uniform enough to make a USB charger with a number of outlets a viable option, but then it occurred to me that although the port is non-standard, a large part of it consists of empty space, thus a greater surface area for both plug and socket which will help hold the connecting lead in place.

A worthwhile, reasonably future-proof solution to back-up and storage...

CurtzyTM 42 Colourful Crochet Cotton Thread Reels- 3990 Metres- Crafts Knitting Lacing
CurtzyTM 42 Colourful Crochet Cotton Thread Reels- 3990 Metres- Crafts Knitting Lacing
Offered by Kurtzie - Fast Shipping
Price: £24.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea gone wrong, 28 Sept. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Three or our flowers from one ball? They must be pretty small flowers. I bought these with the intention of making something in Pride colours, but the pack I received was heavily weighted to shades of green and even fewer yellows and oranges than in the example photo. Although the cotton flows smoothly enough as you work, the frequent breaks in the thread, as the small ball size mean I won't be a returning customer.

Gay: Shifter Romance:  Torn by the Alpha (Paranormal Alpha Male Bear Shifter MMM Menage) (New Adult Contemporary Gay Fiction)
Gay: Shifter Romance: Torn by the Alpha (Paranormal Alpha Male Bear Shifter MMM Menage) (New Adult Contemporary Gay Fiction)

1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written and badly presented, 28 Sept. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I take no pleasure in saying this as taking a risk has led me to discovering writers I'd never have thought of reading, but this is bad. I'd suggest that both the author and the editor read a book or three on writing, and learn little tricks of the trade like not switching the narrative tense from present to past and back again in the same paragraph for no apparent reason. To be fair though, some of those tense changes could be some of the ubiquitous spelling errors. Deleting the book from my devices wasn't enough. To avoid accidentally downloading the book again in the future, I've deleted it from my account.

Price: £19.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredible music, incredible errors, 14 Sept. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sleep (MP3 Download)
The music is wonderful, as I'd expected having bought "From Sleep", a single hour's worth of music extracted from this enormous eight hour work. It differs slightly from Brian Eno's concept of hologrammatic music (in which once you've heard five minutes, you've essentially heard the lot) in that themes do develop, however slowly. The work has more than enough publicity for me to attempt to describe it.

Instead I want to question its transferral from the audio masters to mp3 file. I've long got used to the idea that any piece of music you buy in mp3 form that's part of a sequence of tracks will have little "jumps" or "cracks" in the sound usually at the start of each track: somehow a small moment of silence leads the music off. For that reason I have become quite practiced at editing such tracks together and removing what would on vinyl be the sound of scratches. "Sleep" unfortunately not only suffers from this problem, but also from the fact that a number of tracks end abruptly. Generally with a piece of music you'd have a second or two of studio ambience: you don't really notice it, but when it's not there you sure as hell miss it! A number of pieces just stop abruptly as though someone flicked a switch. This is counter-intuitive to the whole nature of the project: even dozing, you register the sudden change in tone or atmosphere, or register a click and you're alert again.

Had I been aware of this problem beforehand, I would have made do with the extracts album. The music simply doesn't flow as it should and therefore is very disappointing, hence my three star rating. I do hope that if this problem is corrected in a future release Amazon will replace the files on the server so that those who have already paid for this get a corrected version (much as Kindle books are corrected).

Transforming Berlin 1973
Transforming Berlin 1973
Price: £13.42

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Embarrassing, 5 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the same material as Rock'n'Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live and from the same tour. Although the band are as tight as they were on the seventies albums, Lou is in trouble on this recording, whether drunk or off his face on something else, I don't know, but whatever it is, Lou ain't coping well with it. The bonus tracks on Rock'n'Roll Animal were originally withheld because Lou wasn't satisfied with his vocal performance: the performances that have finally appeared are as good as, if not better than, anything on this album. Save yourself from being embarrassed for Lou and get the seventies releases instead. While we know that he had nights like this, he's better remembered by the nights when he was in control and on fire.

Tapestry Of Propositions
Tapestry Of Propositions
Price: £12.89

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The diva who isn't, 5 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Every incarnation of Curved Air has emphasised the virtues of live performance. One of the problems, for me, is that the setlists can be a bit samey, even if songs are sometimes given a makeover. Here they've gone to the extreme and taken a song with the structure vocal bit, improvisation, vocal conclusion and they've extended it to 64 minutes from its original (on "Airconditioning") 3 minutes. Although the album appears to have 17 tracks, it's actually a single piece of music as improvisations from different performances have been sewn together in the studio.

Propositions isn't a sit back and relax song, and it's improvisations are pretty energetic, making for an energetic hour of music. There are a couple of times when the main riff re-emerges a little too strongly, leaving the feeling of musical coitus interruptus, but it basically works well. I'm not sure how often I'll play the record as it demands attention: background music this isn't. The band are tight throughout and if there were improvisations that didn't work so well they were left out. The one run through I've had I didn't watch to see where the track divides happened: there were a couple of places where I thought I could spot the join when the music suddenly seemed to lurch.

Sonja Kristina only appears on the first and last tracks (I'm sure she used to noodle around one a keyboard in the improvisation section sometimes) and after the show's over she introduces the band without mentioning her own name. A classy touch, I thought.

Inconstant Moon
Inconstant Moon
Price: £2.39

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware!, 25 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Inconstant Moon (Kindle Edition)
This is not the anthology as was published in the seventies, simply the title story of the book (and even then not the best story in the original anthology). It is NOT 208 pages long as Amazon suggest. Until Amazon alter the description to match what actually gets delivered, stay away.

SanDisk Clip Sport 4 GB MP3 Player - Black
SanDisk Clip Sport 4 GB MP3 Player - Black
Offered by MyMemory
Price: £24.99

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just one disappointment - otherwise damn good, 9 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My 30Gb iPod is starting to wheeze a bit when the disk starts up (yes, it's that old - bought ten years ago) so time for a replacement I thought. Firstly, I had to return two other mp3 players because my PC simply refused to admit that they existed and this was the third. I decided to play it safe and go for a make I'd had before as a spare so that the aging iPod was spared being carried around.

I noted from reviews for this model that it accepted cards up to 128Gb and I had a spare 64Gb card in search of a purpose. I prepared the files I wanted and had around 9,000 songs ranging in length to thirty or forty seconds (some of Bach's canons) to a eighty minutes (experimental electronic stuff). The player was easy to set up, and remembering my experience with a previous model, I'd copied all the files I wanted to the card, intending leaving the on-board storage empty as the previous model didn't allow you to use both on-board storage and a micro SD card. The correct address for the device's homepage, by the way, is [...] not as given in the quick-start booklet.

The sound was excellent to my ears, which admittedly suffered some damage when I used to spend most evenings in a bar. Given that I expect to be using the player on trains and other noisy environments, the quietness of my living room is a good testing area for sound quality. To be honest I don't hear any problems with 128kbs mp3 files, so that's what I use to encode my music at. The controls are improved from the last Sandisk player I had and the colour screen showing the artwork associated with/embedded in the mp3 file is a delight, but the loss of the sort-by-genre feature is a shame. While the iPod has a nice heavy feel to it so you can tell it's in your shirt pocket, the Clip stubbornly hangs in there quite securely without damaging clothes. No chance of losing it even though it only weighs a few grams. And this model, unlike the previous model, has a stardard small USB socket rather than the inconvenience of a non-standard one.

The disappointment comes in the directory limitation, not mentioned in Sandisk's advertising at all and on perhaps page 3 or 4 of Amazon's questions about the player, and who looks through every page of the questions about an item? It can only hold 2,000 entries in memory at a time, the sort of limitation which, to my mind, should be mentioned in the specs. I'm a great fan of the shuffle control and like to leap from, for example, a Beethoven string quartet to The Velvet Underground to something electronic. And there I was with 9,000+ files on a 64Gb card: when I looked at the display and saw that only 2,000 were available my first thought was that there was something wrong with the card. After all, the card from my previous Sandisk player has over 4,000 files on it. Even my Amazon-bought mp3s come to over 6,000 (I switched from shiny round things to files a while back for space reasons) is only a gigabyte or two over the capacity of the card.

The workaround (which also seems to work for the lack of sorting on the genre field) is to be careful about your directory tree structure; it's probably best to have half a dozen or more top level folders, so that none of them contain more than the 2,000 limit. You can use either the internal storage OR the SD card, and there's no option, other than making sure that all the files fall into the same upper folder, of selecting several artists for random play.

So while it's streets ahead of players that cost half the price, it is worth paying the extra for, but at the same time the corners cut, presumably to keep the price down, are irritating. I just wish I'd waited a few days before buying: the price has just dropped by a fiver!

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