Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual Slot Reader – Review

I bought this from the website, hoping to get a reliable sd card reader with decent transfer rates. It turned out to be a massive disappointment. Despite the fact that my five year old netbook, laptop and £3 SD card reader I got from Amazon can do it, this reader is not guaranteed to work with micro sd cards in adapters. Incredible. So almost all branded adapters will confuse this expensive gadget into thinking the micro sd card is write-protected.  Only the Maxflash adapters work. I contacted Lexar, who told me that they don’tguarantee the reader will read anything other than Lexar SD cards, and MyMemory refused a refund for the same reason. You win some, you lose some, but I wanted to post this because this issue wasn’t mentioned in any reviews I looked at and the small print is very small.

Hackney Walk

Since it was a nice day and work was taking care of itself, I went for a long walk today. I also needed the exercise. I’m staying in Shoreditch and having lived mainly in North and West London, I’m enjoying exploring the East End during my stay. I’d lived in Aldgate for a few months, but I’d never made it out to Hackney Wick so I thought I’d check it out.

It was a good long walk, taking in Victoria Park (seen above) along the way which is just vast. Like most of London there’s an eclectic mix of people that you see along the way, from the scuzzy oddballs (like me) to the cool kids and the aspirational middle class mums with their little princes and princesses in their prams. One of the scuzzier types was wheeling a pram with some serious beatz blasting out of it; I couldn’t see if there was a child inside, I certainly hope not.I got a little lost when leaving the park and found myself walking along a canal. The area was becoming more and more visually interesting. I like old industrial areas, where you can see the history of human endeavour around you, as well as the poignancy that the areas of dereliction always bring. Time waits for no man.

There was a small industrial estate along the way with another little random visual gem of these boats. In the same industrial estate there was this German food warehouse. I went in fully expecting to buy some German stuff to try, but there wasn’t much in there to be honest. A bit disappointing actually, just a few shelves of uninspiring jars and packets. Randomly I saw the same outfit on selling sausages thenext day. Maybe that’s more their focus than retailing.

Then there’s this place. A boarded up multi-coloured pub. Beautiful really. So after a coffee and decently priced Polenta cake at the , I headed home to Shoreditch.

The Inconvinient Truth

This made me laugh at my local Tesco Express in Limehurst, Northampton.

There are many layers to this. Firstly I love the very neat handwriting that misspelled two words on a sign written sixteen times. There was a lot of endeavour put into this job, someone really diligently made these signs and I just wonder what the reaction would have been when they realised the mistakes. Because they had realised. I asked the checkout guy who the signwriter was and he replied “well it wasn’t me” in a kind of don’t go there tone. A touchy subject obviously. I must admit, I’d be reluctant to take all that hard work down despite the errors and obviously the staff in the store were still coming to terms with the whole thing.

I think I should point out that this store is staffed by native English speakers, so I’m not making fun of foreigners. Plus, it goes without saying that anyone can make these kinds of mistakes, I’ve probably made a few in this article alone. Still funny though.

Flat Out

I’ve been working pretty hard recently, it’s a busy time for surveys. So rushing around on a parking survey I clipped a curb and got a puncture. I’d hardly had any sleep for four days, and had loads of work still to do, so at the time it just felt like one of those downward spiral moments. Still, the rental company has a deal with AA and they sorted me out a new tyre in a few hours. What’s more I didn’t even have to pay for it, although I’m still not sure whether that’s a policy or an admin error on their part. I’m not complaining.

Bugged Out

Oh Lord. I heard Mark Kermode recommend this film on his weekly podcast and thought I’d check it out. It was a tough watch, even when it was relegated to the background after I started to lose interest.

The film is based on a theatre play and it retains an intimate, claustrophic atmosphere, with a small cast acting much of  the film inside a single, grubby motel room. Once the scene has been set, only the occasional exterior shot of the motel takes the viewer out of the room and acknowledges the outside world.

I don’t want to ruin it for you so look away now forplot spoilers. In a nutshell, this film wasn’t for me.

Bug depicts the extreme descent into paranoia of the central character, caused by her attachment to a stranger introduced to her by a friend. Her vulnerability and loneliness lead her to be supportive of, and ultimately seduced by, the disturbed man’s delusions, with tragic results for the both of them.

I didn’t enjoy it. I thought Harry Connick Jr was impressive as the abusive ex-husband, and Judd and Shannon were committed to the intensity of their characters, but life’s hard enough as it is without enduring this for entertainment. At least for me. I’m not sure if it was making a sophisticated philosophical point that went over my head; it just seemed to be a theatrical portrayal of some bad things happening to poor people. Visually it was well-shot, given the restrictions ofthe space, but a film like Requiem for a Dream, which deals with a similar theme, is much richer and rounder on every level. So, for me, this is a film for cinephiles and literary types, and not something the average viewer will really enjoy.


Linked In

It’s nice when you find a simple thing that sorts out a problem that’s being bugging you.

I have an old desktop that doesn’t have wireless capability, that is usually connected via LAN. Because of a move, that’s not possible anymore so I was using my netbook for internet use. But then the PSU died, forcing me to attend to the issue while the replacement PSU is on order. I need the internet for work.

I got this TP-LINK TL-WN725N from Maplin (product listing ) for £14.99. It’s tiny, about the size of a finger print, but it does the job. I wasn’t sure in the shop, but the assistant assured me it would work (“you don’t have metal floors do you?”) and I couldn’t be happier. In fact the download speeds are much better than the wireless adapter in my netbook were acheiving. At first I thought it wasn’t working, but luckliy I figured out that I’d disabled the Windows Wireless Service because I wasn’t using it. Then, it turns out, the software that comes with it is unnecessary, and actual interferes with Windows connecting to the signal so I uninstalled that. And away we go.

Big, Bad and Heavy

I watched an interesting documentary today called . The film follows Joe Cross as he tries a 60 day juice fast while travelling through the United States from Australia. He probably does this to market the film and finds a suitably obese American to feature in it too. It has a slight evangelical quality to it, one would expect that, but it isn’t too preachy and juice fasts aren’t quackery. The results claimed by the documentary are extraordinary.

I heard about it on the . Luke Burbank is trying the fast for a couple of weeks and I’m listening with interest. The two main protaganists in this documentary lost an incredible amount of weight in a short space of time, at a rate that I thought would be physically impossible (45kg in 60 days). Common sense tells me that  the diet would work but the results sound too good to be true. Let’s find out.

The title reminded me of an old Jungle tune called Big, Bad and Heavy by Leviticus. So here it is for your listening pleasure.



I’ve been listening to some old Fleetwood Mac this year and I thought I’d post this beautiful tune. Before the Beginning from the album Then Play On.


Sharpe Witted

I was bookish as a child and read some of the Tom Sharpe novels that were in my Dad’s little library many years ago. I’m sure I read this one too, but it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten it if I did.

They’re pretty funny. You can see how Terry Pratchett was influenced by him, the satire, the repressed characters and their internal monologues. He beautifully describes the passive aggressive way with which British people of a certain class communicate with each other; the damning insults wrapped in apparent politeness that still persists in modern Britain. As someone who didn’t grow up in that culture I’ll never get used to it but it’s nice to be able to laugh at it here.

Tom Sharpe’s use of English can be profound as well as comical. Through the character of Skullion he describes the quintessential English gentleman as ‘not what they were, but what they ought to be, like some battle standard that you followed because it was a symbol of the best. A ragged, tattered piece of cloth that stood for something and gave you confidence and something to fight for“. I love that.

Then there are more comedic lines like this one discussing the academic record of the college.. “they had steered Porterhouse away from the academic temptations to which all other Cambridge colleges had succumbed and had preserved that integrity of ignorance which gave Porterhouse men the confidence to deal with life’s complexities which men with more educated sensibilities so obviously lacked“. Beautiful.

If you haven’t read his work before I’d recommend it.

Ripping Hole

Okay, the title sounds a bit gross. Let me explain. I have a tendency to go down rabbit holes, that is to say becoming obsessed with a task that isn’t strictly a priority but somehow becomes very  important to me. Thus I’m spending my festive season ripping my entire DVD, CD and software collection.

This was made easier by a beautiful piece of serendipity. I walked out myfront door and found an abandoned PC. I took it upstairs and found that the DVD drive was still working, as well as a USB/flash drive hub thing. The DVD and CD drive on my desktop had both packed in and the external drive I got for my Netbook is a temperamental beast. So I took them out, installed them in my desktop and voila, the perfect gift from Santa.

There is an almost valid reason for doing it. I’m in a phase of my life where I’m moving a lot. I moved three times last year and I’ll probably have to do the same again this year. The reason being that I keep my rent down by staying with friends, either in their spare room or as a flatsit. I have too many things, so I’ve been trimming down as much as possible in order to make moving less of a hassle.

To rip the DVDs I needed a free software package. I found which rips discs to a video format called MKV. This format can keep hold of subtitles and different audioset-ups within the file and can be essentially lossless. It is with this software anyway. It’s very quick at ripping, the only drawbacks being that there didn’t seem to be an obvious way to change the quality of the rip to reduce file size and when I played back in VLC the subtitle file loaded automatically. There may be ways to change this but since I largely wanted lossless video and deselected the subtitles unless it was a foreign film this wasn’t a serious problem for me.

Some of the files, like extras, didn’t need to be such good quality so I used to reduce the file size. This process was very time-consuming, mostly due to having old computers

There’s probably a more efficient way to do this, but it works for me.

The leftover discs will be sent to .