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Andy_atGC (London UK)

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How Music Got Free: What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?
How Music Got Free: What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?
by Stephen Witt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

3.0 out of 5 stars Not well-written and lacks the expected excitement that surrounded the practice, 16 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is an exposé about music piracy and is written by one of the biggest of the early pirates.

Originally, piracy was solely based upon bootlegging or the illegal copying of commercially manufactured CDs. It may be small-scale and casual whereby I might copy a CD and pass it to you who may copy it again, or on the large-scale with production by the thousand of a single title or in similar quantities of a great many titles and spread between several illegal factories or copying shops. Some of it may have also occurred within authorised production facilities who, in addition to producing the authorised quantities, deliberately over-produced and sold their excesses through other channels. While the small-scale copying may have little worried the record companies, the others certainly did.

A major boost for modern forms of piracy was the MP3 file, which with other file formats such as FLAC, allowed CDs or selected tracks to be extensively distributed on CD. They could also be posted to web hosts from which anyone could then download them, although that did not immediately happen. Some formats could only be played on a computer but MP3s had portable players dedicated to the format. But piracy today is of a very different nature and not media-dependent, but is based solely on uploads to various peer-to-peer sites where the files are available for public download. This practice has been extensively affected by the industries' recent effort to shut these sites where they can, but to otherwise deny access by court orders enforced upon the larger ISPs; previous efforts were largely ineffectual but current methods are more effective, but not yet total as a few doors remain open.

While most of the disk-copy pirating made money for the larger copiers and sellers, the web-based alternative did not financially benefit any invidual or group other than the hosting sites selling advertising space where a tiny fee was paid for every access, and there were potentially millions of accesses every day! There was sufficient earned to encourage the launch of dozens of similar hosting sites, but few of the larger and once most-used of them remain.

This book is the story of three major individuals, each differently involved but essential in bringing the loose ends of piracy together. It makes for a potentially interesting read but is far too detailed and tends to wander off in multiple directions in an attempt to provide the widest possible picture but, in doing so, failed to maintain this reader's attention. There are just too many nooks and crannies being exposed, too many incidental sidesteps taken and side-stories explored, and the book quickly bored. There may be information within its pages that will be Eureka moments for someone, but the book is never going to be a Top Ten title.

It also is less well written than it might have been and may have benefitted from a professional ghost writer. Its poor writing and other failings do not make for an easy read.

Teemzone Genuine Leather Car Key Case Tag Chain Holder Cover Teemzone Unisex Real Leather Key Bag Key Chain Case Car Key Holder Genuine Leather Key Cover Remote Switch Blade Black Red Blue Green Brown (Y353, Black -red line)
Teemzone Genuine Leather Car Key Case Tag Chain Holder Cover Teemzone Unisex Real Leather Key Bag Key Chain Case Car Key Holder Genuine Leather Key Cover Remote Switch Blade Black Red Blue Green Brown (Y353, Black -red line)
Offered by teemzone_2013
Price: £13.39

3.0 out of 5 stars Overly expensive, incompatible with intended use, 16 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Claimed to be real leather but has neither the feel or smell and appears to be fabric-backed.

Due to poor design, about 1/3 of the length is wasted. It was required primarily for a car key/fob but does not have the usable length or depth to accommodate ours. It may accept a small number of Yale or Union flat keys but nothing bulky or particularly long.

Expensive for what it is!

Velcro Self Gripping Ties 30mm x 5m Black VEL60254
Velcro Self Gripping Ties 30mm x 5m Black VEL60254
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful for tidying all sorts of cables and leads, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Versatile and extremely useful. Extensively used to tidy up power cables, laptop power packs, device and signal cables. Also used with some power tools, kitchen equipment etc to tidy their power cables or chargers which would otherwise be a mess.

This is the size least often used, although there is a yet wider version (not true Velcro) that was previously used although much less 'sticky' than this.

VictorINOX Multiclip Belt Clip with 2 Loops
VictorINOX Multiclip Belt Clip with 2 Loops
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality, solid and unbreakable. Security for keys, wallet etc, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A solidly constructed belt clip with a locking mechanism for better security.

The two chains are heavyweight. The longer of the two is fitted with a medium-sized keychain, large enough for a few keys of various types, but it could easily be replaced by one of larger diameter and capable of containing many more keys. The shorter one is fitted with a lobster claw and intended for one of their multitools. However, it could be used with a chain wallet, pocket knife etc as wished.

Well made and fairly priced.

Mens key Wallets car key cases Cow leather cases black, brown (black)
Mens key Wallets car key cases Cow leather cases black, brown (black)
Offered by LeatherbagsDeal
Price: £12.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A tight or impossible fit for many car marques. Inconvenient to use, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This case makes little sense if your car has a standard ignition - needing to unclip the flap and open the zip to extract the key would be too much faffing around whenever the key is to be used and reversing the process after use would not help. However, if the vehicle uses keyless ignition, the case then makes potential sense as the key within needs to be within a certain distance of the sensor although not physically used. Unclipping and unzipping the case to lock or unlock the car doors, access the boot etc has not been properly considered. In short, the concept does not work well in practice.

However, the case has its faults. The inner chain is fitted with a small, 10mm keyring which may be too small to fit onto some key fobs - it depends how thick the plastic or metal may be and the size of the hole or slot behind it. With my own car key (Nissan, not keyless ignition but believed to be fairly typical in size), the key alone only just fits within the case although slightly tightly and the current keyring will NOT fit over and on the key fob and allow the case zip to close. Fitting a larger ring is a theoretical option for a better fit on the key and spares in larger sizes are available but there isn't the room within the case or the necessary internal depth to accommodate one; it would also add to existing problems in closing the zip. The leather is thick and inflexible which is good for long-term use but not if you need to stretch it to fit a key. The keys for some car marques and models are either thicker or longer and simply will be an impossible fit.

The case needs to be a few mm longer, wider and deeper for wider univeral fit but the concept remains weak.

Men's Black Biker's Wallet Kabana with 45 Cm Long Metal Chain to Hang
Men's Black Biker's Wallet Kabana with 45 Cm Long Metal Chain to Hang
Offered by First Leather Wallets Store
Price: £13.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A quality product, not exclusively for bikers, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an alternative to the hugely expensive branded alternatives from the likes of Harley Davidson, but which are also very thick and heavy cowhide.

In addition to accomadate different demoninations of paper currency, or even different currencies, there is limited space for coins within its small purse compartment. There is also space for a driving license on card or paper, a Euro ID etc and a few credit or debit cards and possibly a photo or two. There is also a small pocket for a spare key etc, that is zipped but not quite so easy to access.

A multifold design, it is fairly bulky even when empty but will quickly bulk out once filled as intended. The fitted chain is long enough to reach from a belt to an inner jacket pocket or a rear or side trouser pocket and rather heavy in itself and has a substantial 'lobster claw' fitment to attach to a belt loop or key chain which may itself be firmly fitted around a belt. It is unlikely to be snapped or easily broken and will, provide some additional security for your cash and essential documentation.

The two front poppers are a minor inconvenience, but several previous wallets had one; an extra will not be a major issue. The wallet appears well made and from quality materials and should provide many years of use.

Evoluent Vertical 4 Wireless Mouse
Evoluent Vertical 4 Wireless Mouse
Offered by Quantum Wireless
Price: £79.95

3.0 out of 5 stars An expensive possible solution for RSI-affected users; too oddball and poorly designed, 15 April 2015
A cordless mouse for both Mac and PC designed for those affected by RSI and similar disorders. This is also the 'small' version of the product and probably designed for a teenage or female hand, a fact not initially appreciated as it not reflected in the product description.

Although its basic concepts may work on paper, they do not as implemented here. The scroll wheel is located such that it does not fall where it will be useful or natural and demands a release of the mouse and a change in grip for the duration and then a return to the normal operating position - not good design or efficient use. The mouse is right-hand only which will not please those left-handed and RSI-affected who may wish to use it. This is also the 'small' version of two similar designs but the 'large' may well be too large for most male users.

The mouse is battery-powered by a single Lithium cell and uses a fairly large USB dongle. No drivers are provided but a web location is provided for download; there is a warning to remove drivers for any other mouse as they may conflict. The documentation is minimal and rather weak as it fails to cover all its controls, although some are labelled or obvious, but not all. One, the lower of the two thumb buttons, appears not to have a function as supplied but may be programmable but it is omitted from the documentation.

In practice, the design is supposed to be 'natural' but, as most prabable users will have extensive experience with using normal horizontally-operating mice, this will require a lengthy period of re-acclimatisation and re-adjustment. The poor design and odd placement of some controls certainly will not help the user. In practice, it was also found to need a far larger operating area than any alternative and that may limit its usefulness for those working with limited space.

Although feeling well made, and it is also rather heavy and bulky, the price charged seems unjustifiably expensive for the features it provides. It is a product likely to sell in rather small numbers as it may be just too 'oddball'. It urgently needs a rethink in relation to placement of its controls as it does not really work as is and a reduction in price - it is far too expensive for what it offers .

Casio MRW-S300H-1BVEF Men's Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Black Resin Strap
Casio MRW-S300H-1BVEF Men's Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Black Resin Strap
Offered by Find Jewellery
Price: £27.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Casio, solar-powered and excellent value, 14 April 2015
Purchased by a relative as an inexpensive everyday watch.

Solar powered, waterproof to 100m and easy to set, it has all the features that most even-minded buyers would want and comes at a very affordable price. It may not be the most attractive design, uses plastics and synthetics extensively within its construction but all are reasonable at the price. Its plastic front 'glass' may be more prone to scratches than sapphire glass and other alternatives, but these will be found in more expensive watches. It is unrealistic to crtiticise the watch because it provides value for money.

It is a classic Casio watch and it won't ever be mistaken for something that it is not. It is disposable; when it becomes extensively damaged or fails, just buy another!

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i for PC/MAC
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i for PC/MAC
Price: £196.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact and portable A4 scanner., 12 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a serious piece of kit, substantial in itself and weighty - it should not be confused with the several toy-like hand-held devices sometimes available. It can scan in colour or mono and at various resolutions and has an adjustable paper guide that will allow A4 and smaller (also a little wider).

This is a one-button device; it does not even have a power switch but powers ip when the lid and feed support is opened. There are two power options, via USB or mains adapter and both ultimately plug into the same socket. The scanner is USB 2.0 and does not have a Wi-Fi option. It is auto-feed only and there is no ability to scan a book or magazine page in situ. Its scan path is slightly bent at about 120 degrees and is safe for most documents if not on very thick paper and photographs. The scan head and feed assembly can be released and raised to clear any misfeeds and for cleaning - a kit for which can be purchased.

The machine is simple to operate and will allow up to 10 sheets to be stacked. The paper support needs to be extended one section at a time and the final one lifts and folds out. The single button, blue when ready, is used to start and to stop scanning and most of its functioons are controlled by its software suite which must be installed first (with Windows). Its software is DVD-based and both Mac and PC although the applications may differ from one OS to the other. One of the programs installed is an Updater package and you will probably find that there are updates to be installed.

The software suite is extensive and includes versions of DropBox and Evernote, both of which came as part of my PC's software suite so did not need additional installation. The ScanSnap Manager is its main interface and manager and it allows scanning to various software and locations, including support for several MS Office applications. I was surprised to find thet 'Scan to Email' was not included although it was included in the description a major reason for purchase and in preference to several less expensive alternatives. It is an addable option, as indeed are many others, although few need be used.

Curiously, although the DVD includes a facility to read the various hardware and software manuals, the PDF files appear to be well hidden. However, they were individually saved to my hard drive for ready access whenever needed and more conveniently than having to find and reload the disk. A printed safety guide is included but not the product manual (one of the PDFs) which would have ben more useful.

Although the scanner and its leads could be carried within some laptop cases together with a laptop, some may prefer a separate case. It is a little wider than A4 at about 29cm in width, 8cm high and 10cm deep without its leads so any case would need to be sizeable.

A very usable machine that needs minimal desktop space.

PhotoSEL BG411 Sling Bag with Rain Cover for DSLR Cameras and Accessories - Black
PhotoSEL BG411 Sling Bag with Rain Cover for DSLR Cameras and Accessories - Black
Price: £16.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A long and slim mini photo-system case, 11 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This sling bag is a weatherproof (when its rain cover is used) photo-system case for a camera plus at least a couple of lenses or one lens and a flash gun or something of a similar size contained within its larger compartmentalised section.

In that it will contain a minimal amount of equipment, it may also benefit those who wish to take photographs without needing to haul their entire multi-lens system. It could impose a degree of control and encourage some pre-decisions. The size of the items is not limited to a compact system camera or smaller SLR/EVF camera with system lenses but looks large enough to hold a full-size APS-C or full-frame camera but not with an external battery pack etc. You should also forget the 70-200 or 80-300 full-size zooms and think smaller zooms or prime lenses. Pancake-style lenses, should you own any, will not be a problem and a couple could easily fit in the top section if lightly padded out for protection.

The two sections are zipped, the larger one in an extended U-shape and the smaller one for about 3/4 of its diameter. The smaller top section has two pockets, one elasticated and the other closed by velcro and which can take care of smaller accessories, spare battery pack, SD-cards etc. Normally, the bag will be used as a backpack but the whole can be slid around frontwards for access to its contents, closed and then slid back again. The concept is simple and it works quite well. Its weather protector was initially loose within the packaging but can be tucked away in a corner until needed.

Protection offered by the bag is good but not exceptional. It does not have any rubber feet on the base and you may need to carefully consider that when putting it on the ground, especially when wet or raining. The protector is designed to provide protection against falling rain or snow but it will not help should the bag be placed in a puddle of water.

The bag will not suit everyone; it is small and the limitations on what it can accommodate will be a major factor for some users. There are bags, some from other manufacturers, that use the same design principles but this is one of the least expensive options. It may therefore be a good companion for a larger bag, which may be left at home or locked in the car, with this used to carry the immediate essentials but it would also serve well for those who don't and probably never will wish to extend their system beyond a second or possible third lens and want an easy to use system case.

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