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P. Wilkins "Phil Wilkins" (UK)

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Time of Dust
Time of Dust

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ed, we want more..... Play it again Sam, 10 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Time of Dust (MP3 Download)
So we're not even 2 weeks into 2014 and its time to get excited about a new album release. Ed's latest is more of a mini album available now as a download and physical media at the end of month.

Unlike the more acoustic work of late, this release takes the piano lead performance to but leverages rich orchestral and synth layers giving a more of widescreen drama.

The widescreen drama coupled with some really amazing lyrics from the horrors of war (Parliament of Rooks) "we were only doing what the captain said, we all went down with the ship" to the safest of love songs "love is like a minor key, a jaded weeping willow tree, it hooks its claws until blood is drawn".

Finally a bonus of Kathryn Williams on backing vocals you really can't go wrong.

Ed, we want more..... Play it again Sam

Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting
Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting
by Brett Milano
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.09

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the music fan this is Mills & Boon reading, 9 Jan. 2014
This book is about, record collectors, the act of record collecting and the general love for music both mainstream, obscure and just down right freaky. For the music fan this is Mills & Boon reading. For those related or taken on the challenge of a partner who is a record collector an insight into the mind of your loved one.

The books tries to explain the passion of collecting from many different perspectives, through the eyes of collectors (some famous - like Peter Buck (of REM fame), Robert Crumb (cartoonist) and Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), others not so famous but equally obsessed. From a psychologist point of view - clinical (relationship to low sertraline) to psychotherapy. As a result we get discussions about the sensuality of vinyl and wonderful quotes like "CDs are like sex with a condom".

We explore the kinds of collecting that go on - from types of records - old pre-war 78s, 1st issues of records, special prints like shaped coloured vinyl, those quickly taken out of circulation through to records that just seem to be rare and then the plain odd like albums commissioned by Listerine (the mouthwash) advocating the product's wonders to people thinking they're going to make it big putting out just tuneless oddities, to the child like contributions like Sammy Squirrel Teaches the Multiplication Tables (Which apparently has a publisher's address on the cover of The Metaphysical Motivational institute, Drawer 400, Ruidoso, NM) and psychotic wonders such as "Sit on My Face, Stevie Nicks" by the Rotters and Naughty Rock 'n' Roll by the P-Verts or maybe various artists on the Sugar Tits Label.

As the book progresses we get a chance to be taken on an exploration of the validity of the portrayal of collector/obsessive music fan portrayed in Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity by the character Rob Gordon (portrayed by John Cusack in Stephen Frears' cinematic adaptation); music collectors are geeky single men that can't sustain a relationship etc.

The book is however 10 years old - and sadly doesn't reflect how the rise in Mp3s has impacted. As everything get ripped and becomes for ever available (legally or illegally) on the web, what is happening to the passion of the hunt for the mysterious, weird and rare? Who knows, but its fun hearing the stories.

Apache Camel Developer's Cookbook (Solve Common Integration Tasks With Over 100 Easily Accessible Apache Camel Recipes)
Apache Camel Developer's Cookbook (Solve Common Integration Tasks With Over 100 Easily Accessible Apache Camel Recipes)
by Jakub Korab
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Apache Camel - would recommend, 30 Dec. 2013
This book can only be described as a very very good, authoritive guide in cookbook format for Apache Camel. I have to admit I went into reviewing this book with high expectations given the fact I've worked with Jakub and know the calibre of his output whilst he was consulting for FuseSource (now part of RedHat JBoss) and I've not been disappointed.

You can read the book as either a guide to Apache Camel as each recipe builds upon the preceding recipe; or as a dive in as you need a solution to a problem as each recipe pretty much stands up in its own right (cross referencing other supporting recipes or key preceding recipes). The book explains not only how to do something - from simple routing & filtering through to XA transactions with one of the leading orchestration technology frameworks.

Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts
Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts
by Jools Holland
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jools' adventures in music, 1 Nov. 2013
A good read, any interesting insights into the how Jools Holland came to be part of Squeeze and blundered into television presenting with The Tube and then onto Later ... It reflects his love of music (particularly the work with his big band) and architecture, and some insights into the troubled soul of Paula Yates. An interesting and easy going read.

The Man Who Recorded the World: A Biography of Alan Lomax
The Man Who Recorded the World: A Biography of Alan Lomax
by John F. Szwed
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive look on Lomax's contribution to music, 1 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you've not come across Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, their contribution to music was the work to captured music initially in the US, but Alan also worked in Europe for a while. Their story starts out in the 1920s and 30s. Alan's influence on music perhaps isn't as widely appreciated, as more recent figures such as Berry Gordy, Jerry Wexler and so on. But actually it is astonishing, from the `discovery' of Lead Belly; to breaking Jelly Roll Morton, setting Muddy Waters onto the road to blues fame; to introducing Dylan to early folk music.

The book itself is a substantial volume, and at times feels very scholarly in nature - but then Alan approached his subject in a manner that was scholarly. It does however make the reading a bit dry at times, but ultimately very rewarding. If you want to seriously understand some music history you can't go wrong with this book.

more at [...]

Perfecting Sound Forever: The Story of Recorded Music
Perfecting Sound Forever: The Story of Recorded Music
by Greg Milner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5.0 out of 5 stars For those just interested in who recorded music has changed, 1 Nov. 2013
You don't need to be a music geek or audiophile to find this book fascinating. This is a great read, with Greg Milner's writing and passion for his subject carrying you along - so much so you'd think you're being carried along by a good thriller if you didn't know better. The book although not scholarly, is rich in its factual content focuses on key points and events in the evolution in the recording of music from the early days of Edison upto the digital age.
What is fascinating is how just a few individuals have had such huge impact upon the world of recorded music.

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The Diving Board
The Diving Board
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £7.31

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elton John back to 70s Classic Form, 1 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Diving Board (Audio CD)
For those of you who think that Elton John was at his peak with the likes of Madman Across The Water, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road then this album is a must buy. Too early to say if the lyrics will become classics like Tiny Dancer, but the performances are in a class of their own. Stripped back to a simple band, and then recorded with minimal studio magic has resulted in John's vocals and piano work to the for.

MySQL Workbench: Data Modeling & Development (Oracle Press)
MySQL Workbench: Data Modeling & Development (Oracle Press)
by D.CS. Michael McLaughlin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably a good book for the database newbie when combined with a good SQL language book, 2 Aug. 2013
I was offered the chance to look at MySQL Workbench: Data Modelling & Development by Michael McLaughlin which I took up as I was interested to know more about the Workbench tool (despite having worked with MySQL on and off for about 10 years, I've only really used command line and SQL editors or Eclipse plugins when working with MySQL).

From a pure readability perspective, this is undoubtedly technically well written. My difficulty with the book comes from the style, and presumed level of intelligence of the reader. The difficulty comes from several perspectives' firstly the author can feel a little condescending, to illustrate my point on page 180 the book says `Select Schemata step (that's a fancier word for the fancy word schema) `. Do you really need such a statement? Further the book spends the best part of the first 100 pages on walking through UI based installers for Windows 7, Linux (Debian and Fedora), and Mac OS X. Although the look and feel of these installers will differ slightly, aside from some of the environmental considerations (configuring your hosts file for example) the installation process is consistent enough (and obvious enough given it is UI wizards) to only need to explain the end to end process for one platform, and then just address the differences for the other platforms, not repeat the entire process. The only blessing in these first couple of chapters the author has thought to highlight a few common install issues and their resolutions (addressing my classic complaint people only think about the happy path).

during the installation, the book makes reference to the use of DNS, but I don't believe the use of DNS in a production environment is particularly well explained.

Having waded through to chapter 3 we can get started with the modelling aspect of the workbench. The chapter sets out first to explain some modelling concepts - starting with Object Orientation (OO) but doesn't do a great job of it, starting out making reference to a number principles but then talking about the `principle of the one', given my experience I did understand what the author was trying to express but, for someone experienced it could have been more simply expressed. after OO, Normalisation is explained, and what defines the different levels of normalisation, but not the mechanics that can be followed to go from the levels of normalisation (something I was taught over 20 years ago). Given that book talks about modelling, I had expected the book to at-least touched upon other modelling approaches used for delivering the needs of data warehousing (star schemas etc), but his didn't even obtain an aside. Having spent nearly 100 image heavy pages on installation, all of these concepts are introduced in a single very text heavy chapter, which feels like we've swung too far the other way.

As the book goes on into development aspects it errs away from addressing SQL at all, and focuses entirely on designing with INNODB table behaviours. Admittedly INNODB is the common engine (and the default assumed behaviour when thinking about database tables) but isn't the only table type. All of which is a shame as if you want to get the most out of MySQL the other table types have their value and benefits.

So, what value does the book bring. Well for a student learning about databases for the 1st time (hard visualize when you think how pervasive the technology is today - even smart phones carry DBs now) this book along with a good guide on SQL and you'd be well on your way to getting some practical experience with MySQL. to be honest the book would have setup far better expectations if it had been called MySQL Workbench for Dummies. For the seasoned engineer who has worked with MySQL, understands database design then you might want to think twice about getting this book; that said I did pickup a few useful titbits - but getting them was hardwork.

OSGi in Depth
OSGi in Depth
by Alexandre de Castro Alves
Edition: Paperback
Price: £47.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on OSGi, 10 Jun. 2013
This review is from: OSGi in Depth (Paperback)
When I first came across OSGI In Depth (was originally called Enterprise OSGi In Action during its Manning draft stages) I had to ask myself whether the same publishing house could justify another book on OSGi when they had already published OSGi In Action a year or so before.

Having now read both I have to say that there is a case for both, yes there is a degree of overlap - but that is necessary to set background. The In Depth book is very much geared up for architects and looks at the technology from a architecture and design consideration with some very honest insights and good practices. The In Action is better suited to developers that need to know about all the different interfaces. The two books are very complimentary, where to start obviously depends upon where you're approaching OSGi from.

In Depth can at times feel feel a little be discouraging read, but upon reflection what you're reading is actually very honest worts and all set of insights. Lets be honest how many J2EE books go into the challenges, and headaches of getting entity EJBs to be highly performant, not to mention the deployment challenges that could be faced with versioning of the underlying database if your selling production solutions that should be easy to upgrade.

When you get past this, there are some seriously valuable insights into possible dead ends that you could go down or catch you out later on if you don't do that up front thinking about how you want to package, deploy and upgrade during the earlier phases of a development programme.

The book illustrates the way to address a number of these, and provides a number of design patterns. The book does miss a trick of providing these patterns as an appendix where they can be easily referred to for reference only.

Over all this is a valuable read, particularly you're looking at OSGi from an architectural perspective (as I am).

Getting Started with Oracle Event Processing 11g
Getting Started with Oracle Event Processing 11g
Price: £22.79

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Introduction to CEP and the Oracle Offering, 10 Jun. 2013
Although the book's introduction says that its target audience is developers and architects the first few chapters are a very good introduction to the ideas and goals if Complex Event Processing (CEP) that would be easy to get to grips with by anyone in the IT industry, explaining the ideas and illustrating them with easy to grasp real examples.

As the chapters go on the book increasingly delves into the specifics of the Oracle solution providing illustrations of the different aspects of the product from Continuous Query Language (the heart of the CEP capability) to OSGi and how it can be used to effect easy deployment. That said, there is a lot here regarding general good practice, and provide insight into what should be expected from a good CEP platform.

Unlike a number of Packt books I've seen, this doesn't simply take a step by step, screen by screen tutorial approach where you tend to get sucked into following the steps, the book focuses on what and why. This does mean that a bit more throught is needed to follow the examples through - but that is no bad thing in my opinion.

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