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Russell Thomas (London, UK)

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D-Link ShareCenter Pulse 2-bay Network Storage Enclosure
D-Link ShareCenter Pulse 2-bay Network Storage Enclosure

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pain in the proverbial to set up, but working like it should now, 25 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Welcome to the world of NAS fun (ha!)....

I have never owned/used a NAS drive before, but wanted to get on for my media collection (movies, music, etc) to play on my home cinema system. I have a LG 42LM620T and a Samsung BD-E6100, and was hoping I could simply pop the SATA drive I had out of it's enclosure and pop it into this and I would be done. Oh, how silly am I!

Firstly, you have to insert the drive into some slots and make sure it sits in the base, otherwise the NAS can't see the drive. It's a little tricky to do, but eventually I got it right.

Then, you go through the setup wizard - which is not a wizard at all and more of a headache as it was very technical. Anywho, made it past that until the final stage where it says you must format the drive before proceeding any further! Whoopsie - cancel cancel cancel. Take the hard drive out, put back in enclosure & then backup on another drive, then rinse & repeat - Bob's your uncle... Nope! After the formatting procedure you end up with Volume_1 and you can't rename it. Then you have to copy all that data from the backup to the drive again... This is NOT a fast process - took me 12hrs for 250GB.

Data is on drive, but I cannot see it on my Blu Ray player over DLNA. Really? So I go through the settings again and then enable UPnP AV server. That should do it; Nope! It didn't work for the DLNA products I had. Now I am rather irritated. Time to call in Uncle Google for some help...

So there is this program called 'Twonky' that will rest inside the NAS (did you know the NAS is basically a Linux computer??) and do the streaming and is compatible with most clients & formats. Wait a sec - this is a paid app. You do get a free trial for 30 days, and it too was a right pain to install. You need to install a plugin called Fonz_Fun (something like that), then use a terminal program in both telnet & SSH, use command line installation to install the server, then configure in a web browser. Sigh.

Once I got Twonky running, all was good. But it was a 8hr process of trial and error and quite a few cigarettes in frustration. Mission Accomplished.

So this item is not easy at all to set up. The documentation that comes with it is not simple, the software seems archaic, but it does the job. I have read that the NAS becomes quite noisy, but I haven't experienced this yet. The noise I heard was my swearing and cursing. But now that it is running (on 100Mbit Sky N Router- slow!) it works. I sadly would only recommend this item if you have a blank hard drive and a fast network - I would say a gigabit Ethernet router would be much more satisfying and better performing. The blank hard drive saves you the trouble of having to back it up and then reinstall the backup.

The box comes with the NAS, Ethernet cable, international power supply (Euro & UK) and of course the cryptic documentation (including bright orange paper that says the drive will be formatted during install and all data would be lost - funny I didn't see that) and the CD-ROM with software.

I don't feel awarding this product more than 3*'s as it doesn't have a good DLNA server built in, is very technical to set up, and the frustration was barely worth the £50 I paid for this. But I guess if you are a technical computer geek, then perhaps this item is a 4* purchase. If only the process was easier... It works just fine now, but hardly worth the trouble when it all sounded so easy - it's a right mess to figure out.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Food Truck Business (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback))
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Food Truck Business (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback))
by Scott Baitinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.30

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is for the US market, but still useful to read, 13 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got this book as a good basis for starting in the street food business. Yes, I am gonna be selling Hot Dogs (LOL)! So without further ado...

The book is packed with information. All of it is for the US market, not the UK market, but this is irrelevant as the information contained is valid for the industry. I knew this when buying (and I am half American so it makes sense to me) but also knew that the concepts are the same in the UK as USA. So keep this in mind before dismissing the usefulness of this book.

It is an idiots guide - Complete Idiot - to getting into the mobile catering market. I am familiar with this range of book when I lived in the States, and they are renowned for speaking in plain English (not the Queen's English) and they are tremendously helpful for breaking down concepts into small digestible bits. The concepts are then explained in further detail and I find this info to be very helpful as it gets the wheels in the head turning - helping you to fully develop your idea.

The book is broken down into parts, then chapters, then subsections - much like a textbook. Then you have a glossary at the end, case studies and resources - remember that this is USA related - so the recommended websites are USA based. After the appendices, you have an index to find what you are looking for quickly. For the price, you get 280 pages - all in b&w, no colour except for the cover. The book is a paperback, so care must be taken to not thrash it too badly. It is very informative and gives you a good fleshing out of the industry. It also gives you a general business plan information which I have found to be nearly identical to the UK method. Food safety is obviously American as well as labour laws, but again these concepts are very similar. As this book is relatively new, it has loads of information on social networking for the marketing side of business, which is universally useful. It also semi-flushed out plans to grow your business.

All in, this is a great book to have at hand. However, as this is USA info, it would be prudent to probably get a UK guide (Google Bob Fox, NCASS for their handbook - pricey by very useful) to assist you. Also, I would recommend getting some books on marketing your ideas, it is a tough market out there. The Food Standards Agency will provide you free literature on Food Safety, so you can apply this in lieu of the USA laws in here, just give them an email and they will send you everything you need in that aspect.

I am giving this book 4*'s, not because it isn't 5* information, but is geared to Americans, and hopefully if someone sees the missing star they will take the time to read my review and know it is not UK oriented. For the price, this book is a bargain. If you are serious into getting into street food I would recommend you get this book for the information (in people speak) contained, also get some UK oriented books - the more information you have the better.

Good luck with your venture!

The World's Best Street Food: Where to Find it & How to Make it (Lonely Planet Street Food)
The World's Best Street Food: Where to Find it & How to Make it (Lonely Planet Street Food)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very colourful and informative, bit complex though, 12 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am in a quest to do my own street food business so I am soaking up as much information as possible. This book inspires, seems to be great but of course there's a few downsides...

- The book is not broken down into regions, instead recipes are all over the place. The book is broken into sweet & savoury parts, which is the only level of organization in the book.

- The recipes are a bit of a mix between metric and imperial measurements, so you will have to do some conversion stuff depending on the region you live in.

- Some of these recipes are VERY complex... I am not kidding...

- South African Chicken Heads & Feet 'Walkie Talkies' sound absolutely revolting... Really? Well, I suppose this is a matter of taste, but I could do without a cookbook that has a recipe for chicken heads... Shudder

Then the upsides! And there are loads!

- Very colourful & informative, got the ol' salivation glands working away with some of the recipes.

- If you know how to cook, then this book is fab for you! If you don't know how to cook, get some lessons (YouTube is a good place to start) but if you can master some of these dishes, you will definitely gain some mates, and perhaps a few pounds as well (weight wise, money too if you sell)

- Makes you get a travel bug! Mouth-traveling to taste some of these dishes... I am keen to open my mind up to even more experiences and this book is inspiring to do just that (when I am in my 60's lol, done enough over the mis-spent youth)

- Cultures & educates you in different ethnic cuisines.

- Lots of different stuff to make, 90% sound delicious! 10% of the dishes sound naff..

So for a good-sized book that is packed with delicious recipes (and some naff ones) this book is great. You get 220ish pages of recipes, a glossary, index and lots of commentary. It's all colour and well worth the price I paid... I see a lot of disasters in the making but if I can master a few I will be well stoked. Go for this book. The only knocking of a star is from the semi-disorganization of the cuisines, I would have preferred the cuisines to be divided regionally instead of being all thrown together. Now this could be intentional so you don't focus on a specific region, but still it is a bit strewn... All in I would give this book 4.5*'s - nasty recipes aside. Well chuffed with this purchase!

The Complete Guide To Profitable Catering (PREORDER New 2015 Edition!)
The Complete Guide To Profitable Catering (PREORDER New 2015 Edition!)

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book to start from..., 9 Sept. 2012
I got this book to guide me in my quest to get into street food and will have to say this book is brilliant.

The book is broken down into very easy to understand sections and then they too are also broken down into further relevant bits. The book applies to most mobile catering operations and gives good sound advice. I was hoping for some more guidance in some areas but the groundwork has been laid so I can expand my own ideas and use this guide as a reference forward. This book does an excellent job being that sort of checklist you need when sussing out an idea. I have ordered other books on the industry and glad to say this one is for the UK- some are USA focused.

Of course there is more research to do that is not covered in this book eg detailed business planning, accounting, marketing - but this book does touch on the basics. I found information that I didn't think of or consider so this will help me fully flush my idea out.

The book is a good size, not magazine sized, but perfectly adequate. There were a few typos as well but that happens. If you need a beginners guide to help you out then I can't think of any other book to buy. It is a bit pricey but completely worth it. Also, if you want to save 80p order direct from the NCASS website! Every penny counts lol! Go for it, great guide for starting up.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 2, 2013 11:57 AM BST

TP-LINK TL-SF1005D 5-Port 10/100 Mbps Unmanaged Desktop Switch - White
TP-LINK TL-SF1005D 5-Port 10/100 Mbps Unmanaged Desktop Switch - White
Price: £6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars just what was needed, 25 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I must say the item that arrived is not the one pictured here, but is exactly the same. So, on to the review...

I needed a way to get Ethernet to my home cinema system without breaking the bank on wifi dongles. So I found a 10m Ethernet cable and this little guy and strung the cable from my router (sky) to the input on this hub and then cables to telly, sky box and blue ray. Super easy!

Everything works just like it should. No bottlenecks, lots of unsightly wires behind TV cabinet but that is the wired way. For £10 including 10m cable I scored here! You would do well to go this route if you have the other half's permission and don't want to spend loads on dongles... well recommended, just 4*'s though as the item received is not the item listed, but pretty much exactly the same. Oh, the power plug is UK and for some weird reason the plug on the box is on the side... its pretty small and you can wall mount it as well. Seems to be a keeper.

Gembird 10m CAT5e Molded Strain Relief Patch Cord Cable with 50 Micron Plugs
Gembird 10m CAT5e Molded Strain Relief Patch Cord Cable with 50 Micron Plugs
Offered by MHP Computer Services Ltd ®
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars cheap and fit for purpose, 24 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was skeptical on buying this cable as the price was quite cheap. Fortunately, my concerns were unwarranted. This cable is long enough to go from one end of my small flat to the other and so far it has worked just fine with my sky router and the hub I got to connect my home entertainment system to the net.

The product was delivered quickly in easy enough packaging. It does have a cheap feel to it and I fear it may not last forever, but for less than a few quid I am happy to say go for it. Just keep caution in your mind so you don't break it, as the clips on the ends seem a wee bit weak... but if you leave it and don't connect/disconnect frequently it will hold up. Also, didn't notice any interference in the signal... a bargain find, just don't expect it to last long if you're rough with it.

Animal Men's Jekyl Logo Black Sandal FM2SA022-002-11A 11 UK
Animal Men's Jekyl Logo Black Sandal FM2SA022-002-11A 11 UK

4.0 out of 5 stars Good and comfy!, 22 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I needed some new flip-flops and unusually decided that I would buy here on Amazon. I was originally looking at Quicksilver as this is the brand I usually buy but was drawn to these for styling and they were a good price.

I am flopping & squeaking these to break them in (squeaking meaning when I walk I get that annoying new shoe squeak) and so far so happy. They seem a little lightweight, but that doesn't bother me too much. They certainly are comfy and I haven't developed that raw between the toe issue I sometimes get from new floppers... They look good and feel well made. Will post in a few weeks to update if there are any issues, but I am rather happy with purchase. Good value though the lightweight feel may knock a half star off as I am a teeny bit worried these might be a bit cheapo. Like I said, will update if issues develop.

I recommend if you need a pair of flops that are cheap & comfy. Go for it!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 12, 2012 4:30 PM BST

Belkin AV Isolator Home Cinema Surge Protector, 8 Sockets, 3m Cable
Belkin AV Isolator Home Cinema Surge Protector, 8 Sockets, 3m Cable

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid AV Power Centre - and it is BIG!, 22 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I ordered this to prep for my upcoming massive TV purchase and I needed a solid power centre. THIS FIT THE BILL PERFECTLY!

The item arrived in a surprisingly large & heavy box. When I opened it up I was impressed with the unit. Having used cheaper plastic hubs I didn't expect a monster like this at all. It's metal in construction and it feels like it is a keeper. Hopefully this item will live long & protect!

It comes with a bag of cable ties, aerial/satellite (single LNB) cables & phone line protector. I haven't used any of these as I have Sky+HD, my phone line is on the other side of the room and I don't use an aerial so this will sit in the box. I haven't bothered with the velcro cable ties as there is no hope for the mess of cables behind the TV stand - maybe an exorcist might be able to help that out. There's a instruction manual in the bag but I do not need it - it's pretty obvious what you need to do.

The aluminum/steel unit is a big boy! It has a very long 3m mains cable that you can wrap around in the grooves to tidy up unnecessary cable length, though like I said in the previous paragraph - there's no need for me to even bother... Each outlet is labelled for it's use as there are specific filters for the electrical current (or maybe that's a gimmic) needed. To clarify - it says DVD, AV RECEIVER, SAT BOX etc. so you know where to plug those items in. You can wall mount this as well (a possibility for me when I get new furniture & de-clutter my wire disaster). Typical neon power switch to turn it on & off and little lights indicating protection circuitry is active/faulty.

It works! I get this annoying issue when watching movies off my laptop (via HDMI to telly), and when the fridge turns itself on/off it causes the picture on the telly to shut off for a few seconds - this has now been corrected with this device and so no more annoying pauses... That was a big issue for me. This thing does what it says and cleans up the electric going out to devices and the juice coming in - no more random 'pauses'.

I expect this thing will last forever - maybe at least for a few years & beyond. If it fails and your junk gets blown up - you're protected from loss as the box claims ££ UNLIMITED ££ insurance for items connected to it! I secretly hope it does blow my stuff up in a few years so I can get a new home cinema system lol!

For £23 you can't do any better! HIGHLY recommended!

Ryobi CSD4107BG 4V 1.3Ah Li-Ion Screwdriver with Bag and Accessory Set (6 pieces)
Ryobi CSD4107BG 4V 1.3Ah Li-Ion Screwdriver with Bag and Accessory Set (6 pieces)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Bosch IXO!, 4 July 2012
I got this item from B&Q as it was only £29.98 and that is a huge savings over the price here on Amazon!

So I was looking at seriously getting the Bosch IXO and kept reading how great the IXO was. Then I heard of some 'whoopsies' caused with the Bosch as it doesn't have a clutch. Asked my mate if I should get a clutch and he said an emphatic 'Yes' so this tool came up in my searches.

Ryobi is known for quality tools so I had no issues there. The bits that come with the set are only the Posi/Philips & Flat Head (three of each) so you do NOT get the Ikea hex bit (but I understand that these hex-base bits are pretty much universal) so be aware of this. The Ikea bit is easy to find - really easy - I have loads of them floating around and I didn't even know it - those interchangeable bits from cheapy manual drivers work.

The unit is Lithium Ion - charges quick and holds it. You can get a lot of work done with this tool. The bag that came with it is a bit of a gimmick - but it works so there - I certainly didn't buy this for the bag! Oh that work light on it is another plus! The clutch is excellent and I have NOT stripped any screws that happens with the Bosch - though the drive is not variable speed. The clutch protects! The unit feels solid & even though it is plasticy it feels good in the hand.

So, If you're looking for a quality power screwdriver - you have a winner here!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2012 10:14 AM BST

Vax C90-M1-C Mach 1 Complete Multicyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner
Vax C90-M1-C Mach 1 Complete Multicyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner

4.0 out of 5 stars great..., 28 Jun. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's been loads of reviews on this item so I am not going to write much. The vacuum works a charm sorting out dog hair on my hardwood floor flat that I couldn't sort with the broom. Didn't find the Hoover to be overly loud, cable length good and loads of attachments. In operation its an excellent product... no more hair puppies all over the place. It does blow hot air out so maybe don't turn it on midday if it is middle of summer...

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