Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Are Amazon reviews useful?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 | Thoughts

I have previously written about why review sites, such as Trip Advisor, are nowhere near as good as books like the Leeds Restaurant Guide. The problem is that the reviews are inconsistent, lack quality and depth, and may be written by someone who works for the restaurant.

It occurs to be that Amazon reviews might be similarly useless.

Recently, I was searching Amazon for some cake tins. There was plenty of options. However, working out which was the correct choice was a tricky business. Some of them had plenty of five-star reviews with short comments such as “amazing cake tin”. But they would also be accompanied by the odd one-star review saying “it leaks”. The same pattern was repeated over and over.

Then other products had no reviews, so you either had to take a chance or exclude these as options.

This results in me having a huge array of options, but no quick way of deciding which was best. I had to spend time looking through the quality of the reviews to try and discern which ones could be trusted and which could not be. I had to weigh up what the required numbers of reviews were before I could assume the star rating could be trusted.

This also places a huge amount of cognitive processing time on my brain. This kind of decision making is frustrating and tiresome.

Amazon reviews certainly can be helpful in validating our purchasing decisions, or, given a sufficient number of them, helping us make the decisions in the first place. However, I think do not believe they are a perfect replacement for reviews from trusted sources and can often cause more problems than they solve.

Sherlock series 3

Friday, January 3rd, 2014 | Distractions, Reviews

Last Wednesday, Sherlock returned to our screens after two years.

It was an okay return. But I was less of a fan than most. Firstly there was the endless comic relief. I do not remember any from the first two series. It was a series detective show. Now you have Anderson is the crazy comic relief character. Not to mention everyone spent a great deal of time laughing at John’s mustache. Because anyone with a mustache must be an object of ridicule.

Secondly, the sweeping cinematographic changes made it feel like not-Sherlock to me. The first two series had a very distinctive style that stamped their brand on the episodes. This one departed from that significantly.

Thirdly, the mystery was not very good. It was almost an afterthought that they plugged into the story half way through. It was mostly about Sherlock turning up and all the personal drama surrounding that. You can say “that is fine, lots of shows do that”, but most shows produce more than three episodes per series. To waste one everyone hugging and making up, with a small mystery thrown in on the sidelines resulted in an episodes that felt crowded but unsatisfying to me.

That is not to say I did not enjoy it. It was very funny. But it did not possess the enthralling Sherlock qualities that I fell in love with.


Flight socks

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 | Life


Yet another xkcd comes to life in the real world.

Know Leeds re-launches

Sunday, May 27th, 2012 | Limited, News

Know Leeds

I’m pleased to announce the re-launch of Know Leeds, your guide to city centre living. The site has been going for six years now and was in much need of a refresh. It now has a stronger focus on restaurant reviews, but still has listings as well as local news and more to come.