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Mr AI "Tell me what books I like, I can't decide." (UK)

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Draper 24920 230V Glue Gun with Six Glue Sticks
Draper 24920 230V Glue Gun with Six Glue Sticks
Price: £7.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hopeless., 16 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm a bit baffled by the glowing reviews here. My experience was dreadful.

1. The glue drips out the nozzle when it is melted. So when you pick it up, you get a big glob on the table. Then because of that, there is no melted glue in the nozzle ready to use. To use you have to wait for another drip to be ready.

2. The trigger seems to have virtually no effect, or at least no effect as hard as I could squeeze. Pumping it makes a little more glue, but only a little.

3. The feed is so slow that the glue has set before you get enough out, unless you only need a tiny dab, if you need a bead of glue, no chance.

4. If you do need a little amount, the globs you get are so variable in size and so stringy, this is no use for any fine work.

5. If you leave this plugged in for a while (for a half-hour craft session, say), not only would you get most of a stick's worth of glue wasted on the table, the device gets very hot, riskily so, and right down into the handle. As has been said elsewhere, this isn't safe.

6. The cord is short and the unit so light, that the flex is quite capable of pulling the device off a table under just its own weight. You should use an extension on the table. Combined with the heat, this is worrying.

My first glue gun, maybe lots are the same, but this was simply not fit for use. Maybe it was the price, but I can't imagine why you'd be happy with the price if the tool is no good.

Olfa 45cm x 30cm Heavy Duty Cutting Mat
Olfa 45cm x 30cm Heavy Duty Cutting Mat
Price: £12.15

1.0 out of 5 stars For rotary cutters ONLY, 13 Sept. 2014
Be aware that this mat has a warning label which states it is ONLY for rotary cutters, that it may be damaged by fixed blades.

So it is unsuitable as a general heavy duty cutting mat. Despite the product description stating that it is "suitable for all your cutting needs."

I can't speak to its quality as a cutting mat for rotary cutters, so feel free to disregard this review if that is your application. But it is not suitable as a general purpose cutting mat.

Black Metalworking Marking Circle Lines Divider Caliper Max Radius 6"
Black Metalworking Marking Circle Lines Divider Caliper Max Radius 6"

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor quality: rusted and unusable., 19 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This arrived with the tips corroded and flaking, and the hinge rusted shut. Unusable.

Modelcraft Pin Vice Double Ended Swivel Top
Modelcraft Pin Vice Double Ended Swivel Top
Price: £6.03

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomplete sets being sent out., 19 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I received one of these, had to return it, then received another with the same problem. Each time the vice came with two copies of the same collet (the metal jaws that hold the pin, wire or bit). So rather than four sizes ranging from tiny to fat, I could only use two sizes, the smallest and the largest, but the vice could not hold anything of an intermediate size. The pins I am using (c. 0.9mm) could not be inserted into the small end, and fell right out of the fat end, even when tight.

The packaging the vice came in, both times, appeared to have room for another collet on display, but instead the second collet was already housed in the vice. I wonder if this is significant.

Either way, clearly some purchasers have received the full kit, but it seems at least one batch of these devices have this issue. If you happen to be working only with thin wire, or fat drill bits, you won't care. If you want this to hold pins or needles or thicker gauge wire, then this will not work for you.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2016 6:26 PM GMT

ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook: Solutions for Flash Platform and Flex Application Developers
ActionScript 3.0 Cookbook: Solutions for Flash Platform and Flex Application Developers
by Joey Lott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.23

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not a cookbook, 25 May 2008
This book isn't what it seemed (at least what it seems to me).

It is an introduction to programming with ActionScript in Flex Builder 3. It may still be useful for those working in the free SDK and in Flash, but that isn't its focus and it doesn't discuss those tools. It also assumes you're working in pure ActionScript, so Flex authors (surely the biggest contingent using Flex Builder) will have to adapt as well.

But the things that annoyed me was the lack of real recipes here. To me cookbook should take a competent programmer and show best practice in common, but non-trivial areas.

Firstly, most of the recipes in the book are trivial. Things like "you need to iterate over the items in an array" - solution "use a for loop". or "you need to carry out an action conditionally" - "use an if statement". Most of the recipes just point to one or two API functions. That may be ok if you're completely new to actionscript - but in that case you'd want a proper guide that walked you throug the tech - the question and answer format isn't helpful if you're going through in sequence.

And secondly, the work isn't that well edited, and the solutions to some of the few more sophisticated problems are not optimal for performance.

I wouldn't recommend this book. It seems to not know who its audience is, and fall between the cracks.

The Map Book
The Map Book
by Peter Barber
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, 17 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Map Book (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book that has lasted on our coffee table for longer than most!

The book steps through history from the earliest maps to the latest digital offerings. Each page has a full size extract from the map in question and a facing page that gives background and often a small thumbnail of the context or some detail of the whole. The pages are arranged and cross-referenced in date order. Some of the more striking maps have additional double page spreads, and there are two-page commentaries on tangental topics from time to time.

The text is fascinating and brings lots of world history that I kind-of new about into a new context: the gradually expanding knowledge of the world. Seeing how california went from island to peninsula, how the fabled southern continent appears and disappears, how sea-monsters gradually die out, who spain, the netherlands or the UK is at war with, and so on.

I suspect this isn't a book that will teach map-fans much (but is so beautiful to own nontheless), but for those with a casual interest I think it is a complete gem.

Japanese in Mangaland: Learning the Basic Context (Japanese in Mangaland Series)
Japanese in Mangaland: Learning the Basic Context (Japanese in Mangaland Series)
by Marc Bernabe
Edition: Turtleback
Price: £42.50

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, but not great., 31 Oct. 2005
This is a similar book in scope to the much better 'Japanese the Manga Way'. If you only want one book, buy that one. If you end up with this, you may not be dissapointed, its not all bad!
I found this book confusing from the outset. I'm learning Japanese, and am a beginner. The structure of this book (and the second book in the series) is a little random to me. It also contains information that doesn't match with what is taught in other courses, and by my Japanese language tutor (who is a native speaker). This is worrying, but I don't know enough to say if its a real problem or not: I assume it got through editing, so itsn't. It does mean that if you use this book along with other resources you may get confused, as I did.
The worst thing about the book is that you are left to do so much work yourself. He'll give one page of introduction and then expect you to have absorbed and be able to use the contents. No sense of practicing: of seing the same thing in different ways. Part of the problem here is that there aren't that many manga panels in the book; typically 2-4 per chapter.
The exercises in the book are also weak: they test reading comprehension rather than genuine language ability.
But all is not bad. The course does contain some interesting examples, and as well as manga he illustrates some points with photos of japanese objects and explanations. There are some nice adjective and verb tables in the book, and the layout of the translations from the manga panels is good (borrowed from the defunct Manga-jin magazine, just like 'Japanese the Manga Way').
Overall I found this book dissapointing because I was reading at the same time as Wayne Lammer's book, and it doesn't compare. On its own it is okay, and if you couldn't find the alternative, you wouldn't be too dissapointed, I guess.

Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure
Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure
by Wayne P. Lammers
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb, 31 Oct. 2005
This is a great book, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone learning, or interested in learning japanese, whether or not you're a fan of manga.
The book is a complete course in basic Japanese taking examples and illustrations from a range of manga (japanese graphic novels). It starts tamely, introducing words like 'ooh' and 'I'll go', but moves through to the end of the book with complete and quite complex blocks of text.
Where this book shines above the hundreds of other Japanese courses available in book form is that everything is linked to pictures, so if you are in the slightest bit visual, you'll associate words with images.
I would say that this book doesn't help you speak japanese without some other input. I've been learning with a conventional tutor to help conversation practice. But time and again the book has taught me stuff that has been very useful. Because manga reflects real japanese as it is spoken, its full of useful idioms and phrases that aren't in dictionaries or some other text-books (which tend to teach a starchy formal version of the language).
The best bit about the book is its frequent reference pages. There are reference blocks on dates, times, numbers and counters, kinship words, and many many more. These have proved more than the value of the book alone: I have quite a few Japanese references, but photocopies of these pages are permanently in the front of my notebook.
I simply can't recommend this book enough. If you look at my other reviews you'll see I rarely give 5 stars: this is very deserving of all 5 of them.

Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction
Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction
by Aldren A. Watson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Helpful, 24 May 2005
This is a great how-to book. It steps through the process of producing a hard-back book binding, assuming nothing about what you know or your skill level.
The start of the book introduces the techniques and tools. The main part of the book steps through each stage in detail. The book is written to assume that you are going to take unlimited care of the book. The writer asks you to have lots of extra paper, waxed paper, and so on to make sure glue doesn't transfer to the wrong bit of the book and everything stays neat. I worked through with a little less care and got very good results.
The penultimate part of the book suggests projects to get you into binding. They start of simple and work up to full books. The how-to section at the start actually covers the most complex book project, so if you find the main bit of the book too complex you can skip forward and try something easier.
The final part of the book shows you how to create your own bookbinding equipment. This is a great section, and with a little bit of woodworking skill, you can save lots of money and avoid the difficult job of tracking down specialist tools.
I enjoyed this book, and would recommend it wholeheartedly. It helped me get good results with no prior experience and only a minimum of tools. My only concern is that it shows only one binding style, and could have done with a good section on the vast variety of different bindings that can be created. But that is just nitpicking when there's so much good content here!

Collins Dictionary and Grammar - Collins Latin Dictionary and Grammar
Collins Dictionary and Grammar - Collins Latin Dictionary and Grammar
by Geddens and Grosset
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but what happened to the grammar?, 24 May 2005
This is a good dictionary, with clear entries, and good choice of words to include (at least, I haven't found many words I needed that were'nt included).
It consists of four sections: a latin to english dictionary, a short introduction to roman culture (including facts like currency, weights and measures, and the structure of the roman army), an english to latin dictionary and a latin grammar.
The first three of these were very good. I also own the Langenscheidt pocket dictionary, which is nowhere near as clear.
The second section is interesting, and easily read in a half-hour. I'm not sure if it is of long-term or reference use, however, but its always interesting to learn new things.
I don't use the English to latin section, so I can't comment on that.
Then the last part of the book (which is why I bought this edition rather than another) is very weak. The grammar itself is okay, but it is organised strangely. There are no easy reference tables for noun declensions and verb conjugations, you have to chase through the main text. And it is printed sideways on with four pages printed to each two-page spread. Obviously they have taken an old pocket-sized grammar and simply copied it sideways into the new book. It is difficult to use, the page numbering is askew and the copying has left some words difficult to read. I can't understand (other than simple cost) why they didn't re-set these pages to fit the new book. In any case, although I needed a latin reference grammar, I've found this book isn't much use to me. Maybe if you knew more grammar to start with, you would find it easier, but I suspect it is just badly put together.
I thought about rating the book at 3, but the dictionary is so good compared to what I had before that I don't regret buying it.

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