Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Fire Kids Edition Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now
Profile for Mark Pack > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Mark Pack
Top Reviewer Ranking: 647
Helpful Votes: 1648

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Mark Pack (London, UK)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Cotton Rich Anti-DVT FLIGHT SOCKS UK Shoe Size 9-12 BLACK
Cotton Rich Anti-DVT FLIGHT SOCKS UK Shoe Size 9-12 BLACK
Offered by W Brewin & Co Ltd
Price: £5.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Promising, 25 Sept. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Promising - look well made and seem to work well, though of course hard to know for sure how you'd feel without them on.


Platform for Design
Platform for Design
by Hugh Pearman
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mix of fascinating detail and boilerplate design brochure speak, 25 Sept. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Platform for Design (Paperback)
Platform for Design, Hugh Pearman's book about the design work that is going into the stations and trains for Crossrail to ensure the stations are efficient, pleasant and long-lasting, is at times a frustrating mix of the fascinating detail and boilerplate design brochure speak.

There is much to enjoy and be impressed by as the book shows the care being taken over design details, revealing also the subtle (and otherwise most likely missed) links between many of them and the local history of the station where they are located.

People who have lived through the farce of the roll out of indicator boards on the London Underground which were often obscured from view by other signs will also be glad to find the care being taken to ensure clear views of signs and to minimise clutter on platforms.

Wrapped around this information is the sort of conventional design jargon and formalities found in many a brochure pitching a development plan. Transformed urban spaces restoring civic pride with enhanced urban focus are promised and regularly illustrated. All, of course, without the bins, traffic lights and other realities of life which are - as with guttering and drainage pipes on CGI renderings of property developments - the profession's standard omission from such imagery. (Although, oddly, one house in this book is blessed with being allowed to show a drainage pipe down its side.)

One particular oddity about the design brochure conventionalities is the waistline of the people who populate the book. It is stuffed with high quality colour images of what new stations and platforms will look like. These are populated by a carefully balanced range of people - all ages, genders, races and levels of physical mobility or eyesight are there. Yet they are also slim. It's a multicultural world of people using Crossrail 2, as long as you are below average weight - an omission is all the more striking given the care that has gone into making the figures balanced in all sorts of other ways. As with bins and traffic lights, normal waistlines do not exist in this world.


Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications
Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications
by Rob Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction for those not familiar with a world it is increasingly difficult to ignore., 12 Sept. 2016
Rob Brown's guide to how the Web 2.0 world is changing public relations is a straight-forward summary of the main trends, the main issues and the main tools as they were at time of publication. It fills a niche between inspiring, hectoring books on the one hand and detailed books about one particular tool or issue on the other. Instead, it acts as a general introduction for the uninformed.

That makes the decision to publish a traditional book sensible. It is a medium the suits the audience likely to be interested in its contents. Those naturally at home in the Web 2.0 world, who consume information digitally, are not going to be particularly attracted to a book, but then this book isn't aimed at them.

The book does a good, competent survey. The lead times for publication mean that in one or two areas the book was already dated by publication, though this doesn't seriously undermine any of its sections. Consider it more a useful warning built in to the text that the world keeps on changing.

Although aimed more at the beginner end of the market, it has enough interesting examples that any reader is likely to find a few new gems for future use. The point about how mass communication technologies add to each other rather than replace each other is well made. As he points out, only the telegraph has been made completely redundant by its successors. Changing attitudes towards media relations is neatly exemplified by the case of a company that changed its name. "Spin Media" was a good name in the 1990s; a few years later the presence of "spin" in its name was a drawback and led to it changing name. Other examples will catch the eye of other readers.

The balance of the book struggles slightly when it goes through the various tools such as blogs and podcasts, giving a very brief "how to" introductions. I suspect those completely new to the tools will find these either insufficient or add little to what they can find elsewhere, whilst those already familiar will not have need of them, save for the wise guidance on how those in PR should approach Wikipedia.

The book also quotes a little too uncritically from US politics, highlighting the online dramas and achievements but not going on to talk about how some of them flow from very specific circumstances. The difference between online fundraising in the US and the UK is about much more than application of technology. It's about different political cultures and structures too. The real lesson from US politics shouldn't be (just) awe at some of what has been done online but a reminder of how you can't just take an online success from one context and automatically expect it work as well in another.

That said, Rob Brown's book acts as a good introduction for those not familiar with a world it is increasingly difficult to ignore.


Second Nature Champagne Bottle and Flutes Pop Up Greeting Card
Second Nature Champagne Bottle and Flutes Pop Up Greeting Card
Price: £4.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun!, 20 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fun, unusual card which is easy to unfold and then fold up again.


Hozelock Multi Spray Watering Gun
Hozelock Multi Spray Watering Gun
Price: £8.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but doesn't last long, 20 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When you first get this, it seems great. Five different, and useful, settings along with a high/low speed control. But the thin plastic around the rim is liable to cracking, especially if left outside over the winter. So enjoy this during the summer and expect to have to buy a new one every few years even if the rest of hose pipe etc. continue to last far longer.


Bryant & May - London's Glory: (Short Stories) (Bryant & May Short Stories)
Bryant & May - London's Glory: (Short Stories) (Bryant & May Short Stories)
by Christopher Fowler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.94

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious tour of murder mystery formats, 13 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
London's Glory is a departure from the norm for the Bryant and May London detective series by Christopher Fowler. This time his two ageing stars of the Peculiar Crimes Unit feature in a series of short stories, rather than the usual full-length novel treatment that has been the norm until now.

A bonus feature of this change of format is that each gets an introduction by Christopher Fowler, letting us readers gain some insights into where the ideas come from and what the author was trying to achieve with each piece.

The eleven short stories range more widely than simply London, with an Agatha Christie style murder on a yacht off Turkey, but even those in London show a fair degree of imagination in their staging, such as the one where all the action takes place on a London bus and the one with a dead body surrounded by pristine snow.

As with the recent novels, Arthur Bryant is a little more 'normal' than usual, in that for all his eccentricities he no longer causes implausible technical malfunctions, reverting 'just' to those of a clumsy person with a fractious attitude to technology, and his interest in the supernatural is just that, rather than a route to actually solving a crime. For me, that makes his character all the more enjoyable: being that bit closer to plausible makes his eccentricities that bit more funny and moving.

All highly enjoyable, as well as being an impressively proficient tour around the differently styles of murder mysteries - locked room, country house, precinct and so on - especially as each is delivered with a twist.


Bose QuietComfort 3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Black and Silver
Bose QuietComfort 3 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Black and Silver

4.0 out of 5 stars Good headphones, though not quite as good as the price would suggest, 11 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are a huge step up from my previous and much cheaper noise cancelling headset. Great comfort, better audio quality - but surprisingly, not that big a step out at excluding background noise when flying. They do a very good job at that, but only a little better than my previous and much cheaper headset, which is one reason why the Bose set only gets a 4 rather than 5 star rating. The other is that the travel case for them does not easily take power adapters - rather an omission given what you're likely to need when travelling away from home and using the case.


Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's Series)
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's Series)
by Jodi Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Promising start, but shows too many of the perils of new authors self-publishing, 11 Aug. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Early on, I thought I would be a great fan of this book as there is a very more-ish quality to this lively tale of time-travelling historians stumbling from scrape to scrape.

But the enjoyment faded as the book went on, because it increasingly showed the perils of many self-published books - namely the absence of a skilled editor who can help guide a new author through issues with uneven pacing, inconsistent characterisation and gaps in the imaginary world created.

In this case, the main gap is any real thinking through of an internally consistent vision of a world in which time travel occurs. Why can't the characters simply just pop back into the optimal moment in time to prevent a bad thing happening, and why can't those try to do do bad just pop back into time a little earlier? Such questions are always a bit of a struggle for time travel novels, but the best of them come up some sort of explanation, whilst this one unfortunately simply gives one brief reference to 'I couldn't over-ride your security settings' and leaves it at that.


The Unbelievable Truth, Series 1
The Unbelievable Truth, Series 1
Offered by Audible Ltd

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 11 Aug. 2016
Very funny and very enjoyable, even if occasionally this first season shows the concept hadn't yet been completely honed into the highly polished comedy routine it later became.


Operation Sea Lion - An account of the German preparations and the British counter-measures
Operation Sea Lion - An account of the German preparations and the British counter-measures
by Peter Fleming
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic book which comes in a fine audio version, 11 Aug. 2016
Peter Fleming - brother of the creator of James Bond, Ian - was himself lined up to be a 'partisan' causing trouble behind the lines in the event of a German invasion of Britain in 1940. His subsequent history of the German plans and British counter-preparations is rightly a classic and despite being published as long ago as the 1950s has remained in print and acquired an audio book version.

Although more recent research has since filled out many details of the story, Fleming's basic account still holds well - and his myth busting is still relevant.

Perhaps most importantly, he avoid the temptation to go into long lists of bizarre anecdotes or technical detail, and instead keeps a clear eye on overall strategy and the thought processes of the key figures.

His conclusion is that the German plans were never close to being up to the size of the challenge involved, and given what we now know about the huge complexity, resources and extended planning required for D-Day, it is hard to believe Sea Lion would have been anything other than a major German defeat if it had gone ahead.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20