Posts Tagged With: review

How I Chose my Wacom Bamboo Tablet + Thoughts after 3 weeks of using the Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch

About a year ago I decided that, although I am not a professional artist, I was ready to take the next step and purchase a graphics tablet.  But as graphics tablets are a rather expensive treat (especially in a time of recession) I decided to spend a year saving for it.  I therefore had a looooong time to do my research. 

To all those who are trawling sites and forums sifting every single dreg of information they possibly can:

I have been there, I have done that, and I have got the T-shirt, or rather, in this case, the graphics tablet. 

My first problem was that I didn’t know anyone who had a graphics tablet so I didn’t really know where to start.  So after reading countless recommendations for “first tablet” “tablet for beginners” “tablets for amateur artists” etc. I found that overall the Wacom Bamboo series had the most recommendations. 

But here I encountered my first problem.  I found that the highest number of recommendations within the Wacom Bamboo series went to the Bamboo Create, the Bamboo Capture, the Bamboo Pen and Touch, and the Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch (small and medium versions). 

But nowhere could I find any people who reviewed the Bamboo Create AND the Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch!!

It seems silly that I did not make the obvious connection at the time, which is, of course, they are the same graphics tablet!!!  Yes, it’s true.  The bundled software may be different but the tablet and its features are the same.  Continue reading

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Categories: Art & Design, Graphics Tablets, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

A really great case for the Kobo Touch

When I bought my Kobo Touch I had a look at the available cases which were dedicated Kobo Touch cases.  Suffice to say they were all either horrible design, horrible colour, impractical or a mix of all three, and quite honestly far too expensive for (let’s face it) a case.  So I had a browse around online.  And I have to point out that I did not browse through the many thousands of choices on every website available to me, therefore, far be it from me to say there are “NO good official Kobo Touch cases available”.  HOWEVER, I will venture to say that of the ones I looked at, about 98% seemed to have a weird elastic string thing going on.  Rather than describing it I’ll just include a picture below:

Which, to me, looks pretty flimsy.  I mean basically there are just these 4 bits of string between your Kobo and certain e-reader death.  Plus elastic wears out over time so surely this is not a long term solution.  However, as I DO NOT ACTUALLY HAVE ONE, nor have I used one (apart from trying it in the shop), I can’t say how well this works or how long the elasticity lasts.  But I wasn’t about to risk it.

ANYway, this design did not impress and I was looking for a sturdy, practical case for my Kobo as

1.) – I tend to drop things a lot so it needs to be protected

and

2.) – I want to take my Kobo most places I go, so it must survive being shoved in a bag with keys and money and other stuff 

After searching unsuccessfully for some time I discovered an extremely crucial and vital detail.  The Kobo Touch and the 4th Generation Kindle are ALMOST exactly the same size!!  The Kobo Touch measures 165mm by 114mm (6.5″ x 4.5″) and has a depth of 10mm (0.4″) while the Kindle 4 measures 166mm by 114mm (6.5″ x 4.5″) and has a depth of 8.7mm (0.34″).

So in a box it’s something like this…

Kobo/Kindle Table

Aha!  The scope was vastly expanded due to Amazon’s stock of cases for it’s own e-reader. 

My final choice was the CaseCrown Regal Flip Case for Amazon Kindle 4th Generation.  The case itself is advertised to measure 165mm by 121mm (6.5″ x 4.8″) and has a depth of 13 mm (0.5″).  I have heard reports that this is too small to completely cover the Kindle 4 but it is perfect for the Kobo Touch. Continue reading

Categories: e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sherlock: A Study in Pink

“‘Do you include violin playing in your category of rows?’ he asked, anxiously.”

– A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The new Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Dr Watson (Martin Freeman)

As a devoted admirer and fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, I was naturally sceptical of a modernisation.  Particularly after seeing the attempt at a Sherlock Holmes film in 2009, where the adaptation of such fantastic literature produced a horrific failure which did not even remotely approach a decent or watchable film.  Casting Jude Law as Watson and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler were some of the most shocking mis-castings in the long shameful history of mis-casting.

However, such spectacular failure to do justice to the original is often encountered when film-makers and television producers attempt to adapt or modernise a brilliant and classic piece of literature.  Hence, I approached the first episode with a mixture of apprehension, curiosity, and a general raising of eyebrows.  Imagine then my surprise at finding the series not only watchable, but also interesting, well-cast and entirely enjoyable!

Traitor!  I hear you Sherlock Holmes devotees shout.  But it’s not so!  And this is why.

1.  Sherlock Holmes has been cast very well.

He (Benedict Cumberbatch) is tall and lean, just like Conan Doyle created him: “In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller.”  Moreover, he is excellently played by Cumberbatch as an arrogant, insensitive genius who loves knowing that his intellect is far superior to that of everyone around him.  We aren’t meant to like Sherlock Holmes for being a kind gentle character, or having strong morals, or being interested in the common good, because he neither is nor has any of the above.  On the contrary, he is often quite the opposite; a rather smug eccentric who is always right, and worse, always knows he is.  But we respect and admire his talents and admit to his having a superior intellect and incredible methods of deduction.

Aside: I actually love that Sherlock Holmes is so blunt and insensitive.  It means that on some levels we can know what he is thinking and I admire someone who isn’t afraid to say what they think or believe.  I suppose it helps when you are always right.

2.  Dr John Watson has, again, been cast well.

Martin Freeman provides an excellent rendition of Watson, suitably sceptical of Sherlock at first, but gradually converted, hearing the incredible methods of deduction, to astonishment, wonder, and admiration.  Just like the character in the book.  Marvellous!

Aside: I think it helps that Martin Freeman is easily recognisable as Arthur Dent from the film adaptation of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Not a very good film but the character is one who, in essence, has a lot in common with Dr Watson.  Mainly I suppose, that both of them are ordinary people who meet extraordinary people and their relatively normal worlds are turned into worlds of astonishing and exciting adventure.

3.  Many parts of the episode are easily recognisable as adapted straight from the book.

The conversation about flatmates and their vices.  The place the crucial murder takes place; “‘Lauriston Gardens, off the Brixton Road'” is straight from the text, as is the debate between “Rachel” and “Rache”, the direct quote being, “‘Rache’ is the German for ‘revenge'”.  There is the mobile phone scene which is an updated version of the Sign of Four scene in which Watson gives Sherlock Holmes a watch to test his abilities.  Sherlock’s rise in Watson’s estimation is shown the same way in both series and novel, by Watson’s praising “‘Wonderful!'”  and Sherlock’s expression giving away that he was pleased by Watson’s “evident surprise and admiration”.  And of course the notable first meeting comment, “‘You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.'”

4.  Finally, the comedy element.

There is an element of the humourous in all the Sherlock Holmes novels, which has been superbly adapted into the series.  My favourite quotes from the first episode are probably:

Watson:  That was ridiculous.  That was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.

Sherlock:  And you invaded Afghanistan.

and:

Sherlock:  Shut up, everybody!  Shut up!  Don’t move, don’t speak, don’t breathe!  I’m trying to think!  Anderson, face the other way you’re putting me off!

Anderson:  What?  My face is?

Ah, the wonderful witty intellectual talent.  It could really only be Sherlock Holmes.

So yes, it is a modernisation of classic literature, and no, Sherlock is not exactly the man of the book.  But he is a good and decent adaptation of the character, who does possess elements of the genius that is Sherlock Holmes.  This, the main characters being cast well, and the producers realising that it would be sheer idiocy not to refer to the text, have all come together to make this really work.  So well done on the first episode, and keep up the good work.

Categories: Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes, TV Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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