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Symbianist (London)

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Little Tikes Pillow Racer Dino
Little Tikes Pillow Racer Dino

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unusable: Missing a wheel, 5 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this product and it arrived on time, and although the box was bashed about and taped up, it looked OK. But when we took it out of the box on his birthday there was a wheel missing, which upset my child as he expected to be able to use it immediately.

VTech Little Singing Alfie
VTech Little Singing Alfie

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Saccharine sweet, 31 Jan. 2012
This review is from: VTech Little Singing Alfie (Toy)
The bear is ghastly! It has a cutesy voice that is supposed to sound like a child but just irritates any adult in earshot. It repeatedly says 'I love you' and makes kissing sounds, but is itself decidedly unlovable (the hard body means it is NOT cuddly and the rictus grin is somewhat deranged). My son is not interested in it, and I wouldn't recommend it.

Ipad Made Simple
Ipad Made Simple
by Gary Mazo
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.50

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars iPad Made Simple, 9 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Ipad Made Simple (Paperback)
This is a comprehensive book for iPad users. Some people will ask, "Why do I need it? The iPad advert here in the UK says we already know how to use it!".

Indeed, those already familiar with Apple technology may not find it necessary. But while that's great for some, the iPad is a device for people who may not previously have bought an iPhone or used a MacBook. There are a number of people who, faced with the prospect of owning an iPad, are going to ask for an instruction manual, for help on how to maximise the value of their device. This is the book for them.

iPad Made Simple is a comprehensive user guide. It has over 700 pages of easy to follow instructions, graphics and information boxes. The annotated screen shots are handy for anyone getting up to speed with the hardware, while the chapters cover the common tasks, such as syncing with iTunes, playing music and surfing the web. The authors have shown good attention to detail, and I'd recommend this book to anyone who's not yet fully confident about using an iPad, but wants one anyway!

The Jeremy - Snaps of the Dragon
The Jeremy - Snaps of the Dragon
by Jo S. Wun
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Quirky!, 17 May 2010
The author of The Jeremy - Snaps of the Dragon has a deft style and a light touch, which turns a commonplace tale of a boy's childhood into an engaging read. The Jeremy is well-drawn; every quirk of his personality and environment is laid bare, he is an endearing character - or should I say set of characters? The book lost something for me in the introduction of these voices and I didn't particularly like the latter half of the book. I also found the quirky style gradually more grating. I think a more significant edit would have cut the page count whilst increasing satisfaction for the reader. But it's still a fine book and there's a lot to recommend it.

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author, Jo S Wun, through Goodreads First Reads.

The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights on
The Hot Topic: How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights on
by David King
Edition: Paperback

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced and rational, 1 Feb. 2008
The Hot Topic is an exemplary piece of science writing. It spells out the issues clearly and rationally, and presents evidence and analysis of supporting research.

I hope this book will reach a wide audience, because it educates the reader by informing but not by invoking mass hysteria (as, unfortunately, some mainstream media seems to view as essential when discussing this topic).

My only criticism would be that the subject is obviously very complex, with a number of interdependencies between climatic effects (e.g. positive feedback loops). More graphical representation of all this would be helpful for the layman. I found myself needing to go back and re-read some sections to keep all the concepts in my mind, and a few more diagrams would probably make for a useful, and more rapid, reference. However, the format of the book would probably need to be larger, and glossier, to do that successfully, and I suspect the cost would go up accordingly. This book is something that needs to be read by as many as possible, so producing it cheaply is probably wise. It would be great to see it on the national curriculum as a science text book in future.

Let's hope that Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King write a follow up handbook, for those that wish to pursue the topics further. They've certainly done a great job with this book.

Gentlemen & Players
Gentlemen & Players
by Joanne Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

10 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deserves a detention, 12 Nov. 2006
This review is from: Gentlemen & Players (Paperback)
This book was dull, unimaginative and full of cliches. It added nothing to the already vast range of books set in public schools. None of the characters were memorable - in fact most were indistinguishable - or likeable. The exposition was far too long in coming and the "twist" was visible miles off. I had the misfortune to take this with me as company on a 10 hour flight - and ended up watching the in-flight movie as better, more interesting, entertainment.

Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World
Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World
by Bruce Schneier
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, but where are the references?, 5 Mar. 2005
Bruce Schneier always writes about his subject with clarity and common sense. This book is no exception, it's an intelligent review of 21st century security for the man in the mall.
My biggest criticism is that, for a work of non-fiction, there is not a single reference to his sources. Similar works, such as "Security Engineering" by Ross Anderson, cite every reference they used. This book isn't an academic work, of course, but I would still have liked to follow up on the facts.

The Pragmatic Programmer
The Pragmatic Programmer
by Andrew Hunt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.99

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Don't Repeat Yourself"...repeatedly, 22 Jan. 2005
I liked the book. It's light reading and has sensible advice. But my enthusiasm wore off slightly from the middle onwards. I found it somewhat repetitious. It does help to have the same ideas reinforced (particularly "Tracer bullets", "Stone soup" and "DRY: Don't repeat yourself") but after a few different applications of the same points, I got the idea, and I found the book laboured.
It's a good book though and worth buying for a regular reality check. I think reading it solidly cover to cover once over may not be the best way to use it. To get the most from it, it's probably best to skim over quite quickly, to get to know where the information is, then kept on your desk to dip into regularly when you have ten minutes or so to spare.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2009 8:53 PM BST

Jacqueline Du Pre - In Portrait [2004] [DVD] [NTSC]
Jacqueline Du Pre - In Portrait [2004] [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Jacqueline Du Pre
Offered by Zentesi
Price: £24.99

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good show, 12 Jan. 2005
An excellent package. I particularly enjoyed the fact the DVD combines both documentary and performance.
The footage is, of course, dated but Jacqueline Du Pre's energy shines through, reflecting a love of both life and music that is, frankly, remarkable. There's nothing voyeuristic - though it is quite harrowing at times by virtue of the emotion her playing evokes. The content complements the film "Hilary and Jackie", by using interviews with Du Pre herself, which are particularly interesting.
The recordings of her performances are also excellent. I'd recommend it to all Du Pre fans and indeed anyone who loves cello music.

The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongues
The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongues
by Wendy Lesser
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Meditations on exile, 10 Jan. 2005
This book isn't about listing the difference between languages. It's not an academic etymological treatise and it's not going to teach you the "differences between Chinese and English are...".
Instead, the book consists of fifteen beautifully written essays on the subject of writing in English while having another language as a mother tongue. Though, as the editor Wendy Lesser points out in her introduction, this remit isn't rigidly adhered to. Some of the essayists grew up bilingual, or learnt their 'other' language after English. These are instead mediations on what it means to know more than one language.
The contributors chosen are diverse in both their backgrounds, ages, writing careers and the languages they write about (Bangla, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Gikuyu, Greek, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Scots, Spanish and Yiddish are represented here.)
The essays are all touched with a longing and a sense of exile: from country or childhood or both. It resonates with the opening line from L P Hartley's "The Go-Between": The past is another country - they do things differently there.
The writers independently describe the same themes: displacement, their relationships with their parents, politics and war - as well as describing their relationship with written English. Joseph Conrad is mentioned by several as an example of a non-native speaker who wrote only in English and considered that he may never have written at all if he had not come to the language. I was interested to read that, apparently, his spoken English was heavily accented and rather broken.
The book is wonderful as something to "dip into", but when I tried to read several essays back-to-back, I found the effect strangely incoherent. I was often disappointed that there wasn't more from each writer (and I'm definitely going to seek out more from several of them).
So, despite its excellence, I've given this book four stars rather than five. I think the edition should have had been longer or had fewer contributors and encouraged more from each. Whether this is praise or criticism, it is hard to say.
I certainly recommend the book to anyone reflecting on where they "come from". The contributors here have done so most poignantly.

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