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The Happy Space Invader

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TP-LINK TL-PA8010PKIT AV1200 Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (1200 Mbps, Multiple HD Streams and No Configuration Required) - 2 Units Pack
TP-LINK TL-PA8010PKIT AV1200 Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (1200 Mbps, Multiple HD Streams and No Configuration Required) - 2 Units Pack
Price: £74.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable devices, Windows-only management utility, can be insecure., 30 Jun. 2015
I've tried 4 generations of TP-Link Powerline adaptors now, and none of them have performed adequately. The biggest problem is that the devices themselves are often very unpredictable - in the management utility.

While trying to secure them, one reported that the password was wrong, even though I copied it from the label on the device. So I plugged the computer directly into that device and found the same password reported... but now another device on the network reports the password (which was previously accepted) is wrong!

Several resets of all devices later and one device now consistently reports the wrong model number, and will not join the network. Is it broken? Who can tell... as there's no physical way to reset this device; you can only restore it to factory settings from the Windows-only management utility (which I have to run via Parallels desktop).

Some things to bear in mind before using this product:

The quoted speed is only a theoretical maximum across the chipset. There are many things in a home network that can (and will) attenuate the signal, such as consumer units and junction boxes. I live in a modern house that has recently been rewired. I get around 200Mbps between rooms on the same floor, but only 60Mbps

The quoted speeds are in bits, not bytes (which is what the file sizes on your operating system are displayed in). Whatever speed you're getting, divide that by 8 to see how much file data you can transfer per second.

These devices can only be managed via a Windows-only utility. If you don't run Windows, then there is no easy way to factory reset these devices in the event that you run into problems. You can run it via Windows Parallels or VMWare, so long as your virtual network device is bridged from your physical ethernet device.

Finally, and most importantly: unless you live in an extremely remote area, with no other houses nearby, it is essential to secure these devices! I set my 4 devices up in their default mode, and before I'd had a chance to secure them, my network scanner reported a neighbour's computer accidentally acquiring an IP address on my network! Use these devices unsecured at your peril.

Nanoblock NAN-NBC024 Nanoblock Drum Set
Nanoblock NAN-NBC024 Nanoblock Drum Set
Price: £5.03

4.0 out of 5 stars I consider this a nice display item though, 9 Jun. 2015
These Nanoblock kits are lovely to look at, but be warned: the resulting model is extremely fragile compared to Lego models. The blocks do not lock together as snugly, and the designs do not help either (frequently missed opportunities for overlapping bricks, many brick precariously connected).

If you're "fat of finger", you will find tweezers indispensable, particularly for pushing some of the pieces into place.

I consider this a nice display item though, and good fun to build if you have the patience (and the eyesight).

Tru Virtu Cash & Cards Aluminium Wallet - Black Magic
Tru Virtu Cash & Cards Aluminium Wallet - Black Magic
Offered by Europens
Price: £26.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Catches broke; doesn't hold £sterling notes, 12 April 2015
It looks nice from the outside.
It is apparently RFID proof (so your contactless cards can't be scanned)

Doesn't hold UK notes without folding them many times (it will only hold 2 x £20).
Coin section is too narrow for £1 coins, so they get stuck
Card holder requires you tip all the cards out to access any single card
Cheap plastic catches are prone to breaking, making the wallet completely insecure
Very thick, and creates a pronounced bulge in any clothing (they should have made it larger, but flatter!)

Tile for iOS and Android - Bluetooth Tracker For Finding Anything and Everything
Tile for iOS and Android - Bluetooth Tracker For Finding Anything and Everything

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depends entirely on becoming unrealistically popular. Never going to happen., 24 Mar. 2015
"While Tile does NOT have GPS real-time location information, the app does automatically record the last place your phone saw your Tile. Because if you have to retrace your steps, it's good to know where to start looking."

True story: when I first got this, I temporarily lost my house keys that had a tile attached. I used the app that helpfully gave the address as "1 Canada Square" ... which is a 50 storey building. Fortunately, I work in that building and was therefore able to isolate the location down to the 2 floors I work on, but tracking it down was a nightmare, as I was worried about what a colleague might do to the keys to stop the annoying tune from playing!

Anyway, read the other 2 star reviews here, because they corroborate some of the flaws I'm going to point out here:

1. The feeble noise this thing emits is easily muffled once it's inside a handbag, rucksack, some coat pockets and... between two cushions of your sofa.

2. It's too thick to stick to small devices like a remote control without compromising the comfort of holding that device.

3. The crowd-sourced location is unlikely to take off outside the USA for several reasons:

i) The company that makes Tile does not ship outside the USA.
ii) The tags are $20 each, and the battery only lasts a year, so you have to keep buying new ones (no indication as to when the battery will die though)
iii) There are other far cheaper Bluetooth tags that most people will opt for, as they better perform the simple task of tracking something down in your own house.
iv) even if Tile managed to file an injunction preventing anyone else from selling anything at all similar... or licensed their technology so that more vendors' Bluetooth tags would work with their smartphone apps... the Maths still doesn't work out... even in densely populated areas. Bluetooth connections from mobile phones are notoriously patchy, and you could in fact walk straight past someone else's Tiles and it might fail to register, and in fact....
v) I tried this with a college at work who bought his tags from the Kickstarter at the same I did. We set our tags into "lost mode" and then saw if the app picked up each other's tags. My app picked his tag up only when I got within 2 feet of it (it was in his locker) and his did not pick up my tag until I held it against his phone and waited 5 minutes.

So, like so many Kickstarters: great idea... utterly flawed implementation.

Anker® [3-Pack] Matte High Response Screen Protector for iPhone 6 (4.7 inch), Anti-Glare & Anti-Fingerprint [Lifetime Warranty]
Anker® [3-Pack] Matte High Response Screen Protector for iPhone 6 (4.7 inch), Anti-Glare & Anti-Fingerprint [Lifetime Warranty]
Offered by AnkerDirect

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality matte screen, and the installation aids have been upgraded!, 5 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First thing to note - the iPhone 6's glass top curves over all four edges to meet the aluminium back. This design means that it's impossible for a tough plastic adhesive screen protector to cover the entire glass. All that's possible is for the screen protector to stick to the flat area. I see here several complaints about this - I really don't see what Anker could have done differently. Additionally, if you're going to the trouble of protecting the screen, you should certainly be protecting the back of the iPhone 6, which is far more vulnerable to scratches than the ion-strengthened glass on the front. Most of the back protectors wrap round pretty much to where the Anker protector ends. Problem solved.

With that out of the way, this is Anker's finest product. The screen is of the usual outstanding quality I have come to expect from Anker - I got the matte option, and there is as little visible graininess to the screen image as is possible, given that a matte protector does have to refract some light!

But what really makes this one stand out is the tools provided to assist installation - they have all been upgraded.

The "bubble scraper" is no longer made of credit card plastic (which could sometimes damage the protector screen under pressure). Now it's made of a kind of polystyrene (I'm guessing); it's very strong, but soft on the outside and far less likely to scratch.

The cloth provided is of far superior quality to previous kits I've bought from them; one side is suede-like and gives much more friction, allowing easy removal of greasy fingerprints and dust.

Two stickers are now provided - one for removing dust specks, and a slightly stronger one for assisting in removing the screen if it needs repositioning - a nice touch and I ended up using it.

Here's hoping Anker now provide these upgraded installation aids in their other screen protector products, such as the iPad Mini protector (they currently don't).

Halloween [Blu-ray] [2007] [US Import]
Halloween [Blu-ray] [2007] [US Import]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well made, but misses the point, 4 Mar. 2015
I'm in two minds about this remake.

On the one hand: I'm a huge fan of Rob Zombie's films and music, and can at least appreciate Halloween as a "cover version". It's visually striking, and contains a great mix of Zombie's own style and respectful homages to Carpenter's style. I personally think the acting is much more naturalistic than in most horror movies; the only dialogue that made me cringe were the same parts that made me cringe in the original Carpenter movie... i.e. the scenes with Loomis and the town sheriff.

But, on the other hand: I'm also a massive fan of John Carpenter's early movies, in particular Halloween which happens to be one of the first horror films I ever saw. In comparison to the original, Zombie's version disappoints on several levels.

What made the original scary is the supernatural aspect to "The Shape": it appears and disappears so silently you might suspect teleportation, and its motives remain unclear, right until the end of the movie. This allows enough suspension of disbelief to allow Myers to be completely invulnerable (although later Halloween films took that aspect way too far).

Zombie's movie largely dispenses with the "now you see him, now you don't" motif, and any of those aforementioned creepy scenes. Instead, what we have is just a run-of-the-mill psychopath. This makes some of the faithfully recreated scenes nonsensical, and his resistance to bullets far less plausible. Also, because the film spends so long in the Michael Myers backstory, the second half feels somewhat rushed. For example, there's an inexplicable leap from the daytime graveyard discovery to the first nighttime murders, with no interim scenes to remind us that this is actually happening on Halloween.

However, what it lacks in actual scariness, I think it more than makes up for with the disturbing (and uncomfortably familiar) portrayal of a psychopath's early childhood. There's one pivotal scene in which you see the exact moment where Michael lets go of any last remaining social conscience and begins his downward path, and the cause is so frustratingly trivial and caused entirely by the thoughtlessness of the people around him. Rob Zombie's no apologist for psychopaths, but a common theme in his films is to challenge our black & white notions of good versus evil. In managing to make us feel some sympathy for Michael Myers, despite what he does, he exposes us to a far deeper horror than you can ever get from the "jump-scares" in the original John Carpenter movie.

In conclusion: despite initially hating it, I now like this film; however, it's still one of Zombie's weaker efforts.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2015 10:12 PM GMT

Tucano Filo Case for Apple iPhone 6 - Black
Tucano Filo Case for Apple iPhone 6 - Black
Price: £18.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish case, but makes the phone bulky. Stand feature is disappointing., 10 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just got mine today, and I'm a little underwhelmed.

I take issue with the claim: "With just one gesture the case turns into a handy tilt free landscape stand". That "one gesture" involves snapping the phone out of 2 of the corner bumpers that hold it in place, and there's no way to do this without feeling like you're about to break the spine of the cover. Then you find that you need to bend the case a bit before the iPhone will stand up... it doesn't naturally form the stand position, I think over time this will all get easier, but I was disappointed more effort hadn't been put into this aspect of the design.

Secondly, the packaging advertises that it carries credit cards (plural). It's a neoprene inner cover that *will* stretch, but with more than one card, the case doesn't close very neatly. Also, given the location of the magnetic clasp, I think it would be reckless to put an actual credit card in there. I put my Oyster (RFID) card there instead.

The magnetic cover is a neat idea, but do be aware that the iPhone does not behave like the iPad... closing the cover does not lock your screen. I knew this in advance, but many might not realise this.

On the positive side, the case is very sturdy and the materials are very high quality, and there's no doubt that this will protect your entire iPhone, particularly the screen. The front of the case flips right around the back, and although holding the iPhone for a call feels a little odd at first, you do get used to it. The outside of the case is very smooth, and therefore the phone slides easily in to (mens!) jeans pocket or a suit pocket. And out of the pocket, I think it looks very stylish.

The case does add to the overall size though - 2mm to the height, 3mm to the width and 3mm to the thickness. That last one is quite significant, as it takes the phone from 7mm to 10mm, a 40% approx increase. If you bought the regular iPhone 6 for the unobtrusive way it fits in your pocket, you may be disappointed with this case. Also the hard edges of the case make it more visible in a trouser pocket than the smooth curves of the iPhone itself. However, you can throw your phone in a bag or backpack and never worry that it will be damaged. I do this an use Bluetooth headphones to use the phone (and later this year, the Apple Watch!).

SanDisk SDCZ80-064G-G46 Extreme USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 245 MB/s Read - 64 GB
SanDisk SDCZ80-064G-G46 Extreme USB Flash Drive USB 3.0 up to 245 MB/s Read - 64 GB
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning performance., 5 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Stunning performance, exactly as described and well worth the money if you have large files to copy in a hurry.

PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller (Glacier White)
PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 Wireless Controller (Glacier White)
Offered by Signyt
Price: £42.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent controller, 5 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fantastic controller, and striking design. Just make sure your kids wash their sticky its before using it though!

TP-LINK TL-PA551KIT AV500+ Gigabit Powerline Adapter with AC Pass Through Starter Kit
TP-LINK TL-PA551KIT AV500+ Gigabit Powerline Adapter with AC Pass Through Starter Kit

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware! - These become obsolete very quickly., 5 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The biggest problem with this, and all TP-Link items, is that you can pretty much guarantee it will be obsolete within 6 months. For an item like this, (a Powerline Ethernet starter kit) it's a particular problem as subsequent models are not backwards compatible.

I bought the starter kit only a couple of months ago, but not find that the individual plugs are no longer available, except from one joker on Amazon UK who is selling them for £5,002 each!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 9, 2015 12:20 PM BST

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