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A. Deacon (Bristol, Britain)
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AU-RD105 35-105W/VA Round Dimmable Electronic Transformer
AU-RD105 35-105W/VA Round Dimmable Electronic Transformer

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Job done, 23 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Our Ikea ceiling lights failed. I read somewhere that this is the transformer I needed to repair them. Lots of warnings about getting a qualified electrician made me a little wary of tackling the job myself. But it turned out to be relatively straightforward. The wires took a little bit of coaxing into their new positions, but nothing that a bit of patience didn't sort. You need to make sure the input wires (probably one black one red (alternatively one blue one brown)) go into the "N" and "L" terminals respectively. These are not marked on the unit itself, but on the clip-on cover supplied. I just held the cover near to the unit for a moment to orient myself, then screwed down the wires into the appropriate terminals. The two output wires are less fussy - they are both the same colour (mine were anyway) and since their polarity doesn't matter they can go into their two terminals either way.

So, not as easy as sticking two bits of lego together, but a reasonably quick and easy DIY fix. And a lot cheaper and less hassle than buying a completely new lighting fitting.


Aryca Fashion Electroplated Corrective Myopic Optical Swim Goggle (Diopter -1.5 to -5.0), Price/Piece
Aryca Fashion Electroplated Corrective Myopic Optical Swim Goggle (Diopter -1.5 to -5.0), Price/Piece

3.0 out of 5 stars Good quality but..., 23 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very pleased with the quality. Silicon feel to the eye seals (so probably silicon!) and good quality double-straps with a fastener clip (not that I can see the point - why not just push the strap up and off?

But. Like a different pair I bought elsewhere a couple of years ago, the nose strap does not sit proud of my nose. So it cuts into my nose. And in doing so prevents the eye-pieces sealing properly. My other half doesn't have this problem, but then she has a smaller nose than me.

If you have a reasonably small nose, buy these goggles, they are top quality. But if you have a larger nose, they may not work for you.

(Edit) The photo on amazon makes these goggles look rather large. I can only assume the imitation head in the photo is on the small size; the goggles are barely any bigger than an average pair of swimming goggles.


Polar Obsession
Polar Obsession
by Paul Nicklen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £35.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome. Breath-taking. Page after page., 4 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Polar Obsession (Hardcover)
I love books of nature photography. I have a shelf-full of Dorling Kindersley and shelves of other publications including a few National Geographics. This book, however, may well take top spot. And I'm not even particularly interested in polar wildlife - I prefer wildflowers, and reef life, and butterflies and other insects.

In furtherance of my interest, as well as roaming the real world, I go each year to my local natural history museum to absorb what used to be called the Shell Wildlife Photography competition. I forget who sponsors it now. Each year I am enraptured by the images (though, frankly, the overall quality seems to have dropped off a bit in recent years). In Polar Obsession, there isn't a single wildlife photo that would be out of place in the gallery. More significant, however, is this: There are at least a dozen photos in the book would easily place as overall winner.

There isn't much text, but what there is humbling. Like you, I dream that in another life, I would rather fancy the idea of earning my living as a wildlife photographer. This book was a rude awakening from that idyll. What Nicklen had to go through to secure many of these images is little short of incredible. The book is well named; you would indeed need to be obsessed to endure the hardships and danger that Mr Nicklen has for his craft. And for his calling - his mission is to share with us the beauty he has seen, in order to make us care enough to act to save the polar regions. The obstacles he has overcome to collect these images makes them all the more precious.

One caveat: Nicklen does not shy away from showing nature red in tooth and claw. Some of the images in the book are truly gruesome. But never gratuitously so. Nicklen simply shows us Polar wildlife in all its raw and sometimes terrible beauty.

The words "Awesome" and "Breath-taking" are over-used these days. But. This book IS Awesome. And it WILL take your breath away.


Trust 16341 ComfortLine Bluetooth Optical Wireless Mini Mouse
Trust 16341 ComfortLine Bluetooth Optical Wireless Mini Mouse

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but every now and then loses contact with the laptop., 25 Sept. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lots of reviews about the mouse in general, I won't repeat the comments, I'll just add this:

Every now and then, the mouse (mine anyway) will lose contact with the laptop, that is, I lose the ability to control the cursor with the mouse. I have a newish, powerful Vaio laptop, Windows 7, a fresh battery in the mouse, and am right-handed, so the mouse is never far from the RH edge of the laptop, which is where the transceiver is located. I don't know why it loses contact. Maybe I have a neighbour with a more powerful bluetooth device? (I live in a terraced house).

It took me a while to find the easy way to regain control of the cursor. I wasted ages trying to change system settings. But eventually found the easy way to regain control: Simply manually turn off the mouse, pause, then switch it back on again. (The switch is underneath the mouse). Then click the mouse buttons a few times. (Moving the mouse across a mouse mat will not "wake up" the contact).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 5, 2010 6:07 PM GMT


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid like the plague, 10 Mar. 2010
This is just a cynical and opportunist grab of text lifted from the net - mostly from wiki. The publisher specialises in this technique. I had heard of them elsewhere, so was forewarned and did not waste my money; don't waste yours.

Some print-on-demand publishers fulfill a useful role; not this one.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Caution: Do your homework on the publisher, 3 Mar. 2010
I like Ruby and was idly considering buying this book.

I couldn't find any info about it, so Googled the name of the publisher: "Alphascript Publishing"

It turns out they have a nice little scam going: They grab text from wiki and print it out at an inflated price.

Save your money. There are plenty of good Ruby books out there. If you want a beginner's guide, I recommend Learn to Program: Using Ruby (Facets of Ruby)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2010 2:45 PM BST


The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots & Ropework
The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Knots & Ropework
by Geoffrey Budworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully presented cornucopia of knots of all types, suitable for everyone from beginner upwards, 16 Jan. 2010
This is not a book for the complete beginner who seeks only to learn a dozen knots for a dozen purposes and no more. The nearest you'll get to that is Knots (Klutz). Nor is it, as the title claims, an "Ultimate Encyclopedia". If you want that, you want Ashley's Book of Knots. But you don't want Ashley's book - whilst complete and authoritative, it's the knotting geek's equivalent of a telephone directory.

The book you are considering is a book for the complete beginner who wants to learn a few basic knots, but who is also interested in exploring beyond the reef knot, the clove hitch, and the bowline. (Which is a good thing - these basic knots are often neither as secure nor as strong as people generally believe). It's also a book for the person who already has the basic knots under his belt, and wants to learn more. It's a book for anyone who takes pleasure in the physical tying of knots and in their simple (sometimes) beauty.

The knots are arranged by type - bend, hitch, binding, loop, decorative etc rather than by typical user - climber, sailor, fisherman etc. This makes sense as some knots will be useful to more than one type of user. But each knot has a climbing ' sailing ' fishing etc icon next to it to indicate usefulness.

All the old favourites such as the bowline are there, plus variants - eg double bowline, water bowline, 6 other bowlines, and a justification, where appropriate, for bothering with their increased complexity. Sometimes, as in the case of the granny knot, the thief knot, and the grief knot, the justification is so that you can recognise a bad knot when you see it!

You'd think all these variants would make it more confusing, but I found the more knots I learned, the easier it was to remember them, and indeed to learn yet more knots.

What makes this book stand out from other knot books is the quality of the presentation. The photography is crisp and well-lit throughout, and rather than producing just a series of photos of knots against plain backgrounds, the photographer, Rodney Forte, has introduced rusty old anchors, driftwood, ancient oak working tables with battered surfaces, old sailing bits and pieces etc. This is never obtrusive, and lends the book charm, texture and colour. The knots themselves use all kinds of rope, including climbing tape, though sometimes I found that the multicolours of climbing ropes could make it harder to see which rope went where.

Whilst it's too big to take fishing or climbing, its size means it stays open while you tie your knots. Smaller books need to be spiral bound or they have a nasty habit of shutting just as you reach the tricky bit.

Flaws: (And I will be very picky here, as the book is otherwise superb)

1. Geoffrey Budworth appears to be left-handed. At least, the knots are usually tied left-handed. I had to mentally invert many of the images and instructions in order to match my right-handedness.

2. The knots are not tied consistently. That is, sometimes Mr B will start by looping the rope to the left, sometimes to the right. If there was a reason for this (beyond variation for the sake of it?) I could understand, but there appears not to be. Having to remember to start some knots one way and some another made it harder for me to learn them. Eventually, I went back and effectively re-wrote instructions to achieve a consistent approach.

3. Often, Mr B breaks the initial, simple steps of a knot into several stages and photos where one would do. A couple of times, conversely, he tries to do too much in one step at a later, more complicated stage. A change of emphasis would be beneficial.

4. Sometimes the working end of the rope is out-of-camera or obscured by a hand. This makes it harder to see what is going on.

5. Near the front of the book is a discussion of rope materials and a simple yet informative table showing, for nylon, polyester etc; Strength, Elasticity, Resistance to abrasion, UV light etc. A similar table, on an inevitably larger scale, would have been hugely useful for the knots themselves. It could rate each knot for Strength, Security, Ease of Tying, Ease of Untying, "Notes" - eg "Easily confused with xxx". Whilst most knots have their strengths and weaknesses pointed out in their accompanying text, a separate overview would have been beneficial.

In addition to these general points, a couple of more specifics:

The Alpine Butterfly (an important climbing knot) p185:
Step 4 jumps a step and is completely confusing.

The Midshipman's Hitch p195: Step 6 can mislead.

Page 14: "this century" needs to read "the 20th century" (told you I was being picky)

These criticisms combine to drop the book from 5 stars to 4. But it's still a great purchase. Of its type - "big book of knots", it's easily the best I've seen. The next-best is Des Pawson's Handbook of Knots: Expanded Edition. Smaller, more portable, better for splices, but overall not as good as Budworth's Encyclopaedia.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 17, 2011 8:10 PM GMT


Life [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Life [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ David Attenborough
Price: £12.00

15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir David does it again, 22 Nov. 2009
Four years and £10 million in the making. Ten 50-minute episodes - plus 10 minutes of "the making of" - gives a total of ten hours natural history at its finest. The Monarch butterfly footage was so stunning I thought it was computer generated - until I saw the "making of" section, with its bicycle-wheel Heath-Robinson camera mount whizzing along a trapeze wire between two trees.

Conversely, some of the "magic" was lost when I saw how they achieved the sequence for a year in the life of an oakwood. This was ostensibly filmed at Wistman's Wood - an enchanting spot, well worth a 30 minute walk next time you're crossing Dartmoor. Grid ref SX613770, two miles north of Two Bridges.

Written and narrated by David Attenborough, unless you're buying a US version in which case you get the voice of that well-known naturalist, Oprah Winfrey.

Episodes:

1. Challenges of life
2. Reptiles and amphibians
3. Mammals
4. Fish
5. Birds
6. Insects
7. Hunters and hunted
8. Creatures of the deep
9. Plants
10. Primates

Want more? wiki has plenty, though it cribs it from the official "Life" website.


The Making of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
The Making of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
by Tom McGregor
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Good for fans of the film, 18 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I enjoyed the book, Master and Commander, and several others in the series (I have yet to reach The Far Side of the World). And I absolutely love the film. It's one of my all-time favourites. So I bought this "Making Of" book.

You get a good account of Peter Weir's motivations in making the film. You get interviews with cast members, and some biographical details on Patrick O'Brian. You get information about the selection, training, treatment and contribution of the extras. This was of particular interest to me, having worked as an extra - sorry, "Supporting Artiste". Luvvie. You get information about the making of the set and about how the wardrobe team scoured the world for authentic cloth - and how after having carefully made the costumes they were dragged in mud to age them. There are several little interesting snippets about the books, the real Navy, and the film production process. So it does what it says on the tin.

And yet, unlike the books or in my opinion even more so the film, this "Making Of" book doesn't dazzle. It's adequate but not superlative. The other Books-of-the-Film in my possession are of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Those, whilst not exactly literary classics, are things of beauty (or in the case of anything to do with Sauron or his orcs, terrible ugliness). I can peruse them time and time again (not every month you understand, I'm not that much of a fan). Yet I cannot be sure I will ever again take down from my shelves "The Making Of M&C". Part of the reason for this is the (poor) quality of the photographic reproduction (cover image apart). I cannot blame the photographer, as several contributed to the book. So it must be down to the printer - shame on you Bath Press.

Unlike the film, and the original books on which it is based, this book does not ooze quality. Buy it if you're a big fan of the film. But otherwise give it a miss.


Nano Nature
Nano Nature
by Richard Jones
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars gilding the lily, 25 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Nano Nature (Hardcover)
There are many, many books on nature, most of which these days contain stunning images. But there are relatively few books which examine the natural world at the microscopic scale. Nano Nature is one of those few.

Many of the images contained within its pages are striking in their weirdness and bizarre beauty. My favourite was the close-up of a moss spore, looking like the eye of the Dark Lord Sauron in the Lord of the Rings films. But I wonder if something has been lost in the often extreme magnification. Electron microscopes, whilst powerful, do not give an image in colour. So how can this book be so colourful? Because colour has been added artificially to the images. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the author and/or publisher was a little too unrestrained in this. Okay, a colourful book is, all else being equal, more appealing than a less colourful one, especially to children. But when there is so much honest colourful beauty elsewhere in nature at the normal, non-microscopic level, it seems a shame to introduce artificial colour. Especially when that colour is often rather lurid.

Furthermore, whilst I trust the author to present the best images possible given the latest technology, I feel that some of them were not really sharp enough to justify being blown up to full-page. Maybe I am spoiled by the pin-sharp non-microscopic images seen in so many nature books these days.

If you are interested in the nano world, this would be an excellent addition to your bookshelf. I saw it in a bookshop and was tempted but did not buy. I will wait a few years in the hope that electron microscope technology will get just a little bit better. And in the hope that this author or another is a little more restrained in their use of artificial colour.


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