This is my first look at ArtRage now on version 3.5. Before delving into the manuals I always try to see what it can do with just the icons on the screen, the results are of course strange, sometimes great sometimes not what you thought.
Gardening is often regarded as a relaxing pastime or so they tell me but not when you are faced by the plants that inhabit a new game from Alawar.
I have long been a fan of the Science Fiction genre. One of the first novels of this type that caught my attention was John Wynhams’ Day of the Triffids which dealt with plants that moved about and killed people. I was reminded of this story when starting to play Natural Threat: Ominous Shores. This is a Hidden Object game from Alawar based on plants that have been genetically enhanced with some rather disastrous effects.
This is another in a range of decent good sized panels recently seen. This one from Viewsonic offers a not particularly reflective screen and joy of joys someone has produced a panel surround that is not reflective shiny black.
The Viewsonic VX2336S panel measures 55x33x6cm but only 2.5cm thick at the edges. The viewable screen is 50x28.5cm giving the diagonal imperial 23inch measurement. Under the viewable screen are five clearly marked buttons to allow any adjustments you may wish to make, these are on the face and not hidden on the bottom edge where knowing what each does means trial and error.
Headsets tend to be a very personal choice with regards to style and functionality. I prefer the over-the-ear style for my listening pleasure.
Time for some destructive action as Alawar releases a new title in the popular Arkanoid genre.
One of the first, some would say the actually first such offering, computer game was that of Pong. For those not old enough to remember this ground-breaking, black & white offering with simplistic chunky graphics, the object of the game was to direct a constantly bouncing ball into your opponent’s protected goal playing against another human being or the computer.
Once again Birmingham has five days of mayhem with the Gadget Show taking centre stage, amongst the outrageous and unlikely are some more grounded items. In the storage arena these are shown by Verbatim on their stand.
You can see everything at the show between today and Sunday although please check before travelling as I understand some days are sold out. So when I say Verbatim what comes to mind, well for me anyway it is CD and DVD media. Of course they also do larger capacity flash drives, SSD drives - review of one such item coming shortly – hard drives, floppy discs - yes some people still use them – digital video cassettes, UDO discs which have a capacity of 30GB three times that of MO discs.
Maybe because I have a sweet tooth, this next product reminded me of a monster-sized Liquorice Allsorts but it was definitely not for eating.
While watching digital content on a computer screen may be fine when it is being conducted on a one-on-one basis, there are often occasions when the audience consists of more than one person. You could be watching a movie, viewing family photos in a group, or maybe demonstrating a particular application. Then again you could be indulging in a brainstorming sessions with others gathered around a screen.
At last shiny black all over is not what all notebooks seem to be. Here a 15.6inch screen offering with a quad core Intel i3 processor. While the base is matt black the lid is patterned grey, sadly the screen surround is still shiny black.
The Acer Aspire Notebook 5749 measures 38x24.5x3.5cm at back and 2.5cm, it weights 2.3kilos. The right side has a DVD multi drive and two USB2 ports. The front has a card port and two 3.5mm sockets for external microphone and earbuds. The left side has DC power input, VGA output, Ethernet, HDMI out and a USB port. Open the lid and the screen can tilt back to around 150 degrees slightly over the back of the casing so no ports there. The viewable screen is 34.5x19.
The first is a board game for teenage to adult based on a popular TV gameshow called The Million Pound Drop. The second is a box of shocks; in fact it is called The Box of Shocks, the idea to get your victim to shriek.
If my memory serves my right the last one of these type of games I looked at was Deal or no Deal and I suspect everyone has watched that at some time or other. Here I must admit that I have never watched – more than a trailer – for The Million Pound Drop. It is a team game for those aged twelve to adult.
Butterflies, a fairy, dragon and a princess combine their talents to defeat the evil machinations of a wicked witch.
Witch’s Curse 2, as you might expect from its title, is the follow up to Witch’s Curse. As with the original title, Witch’s Curse 2, subtitled Return of the Curse, continues with the adventures of the very determined Princess Isabella. With this offering developed by Gogii, the story is taken up after a year’s interval. Not only is Princess Isabella now married but she also has a baby daughter who has becomes the new target of the evil witch.
A lot of these Smart TV’s are too big for the average room but Samsung have a 40inch version. This fits remarkably easily into the space my heavier older 32inch offering took. It has so much more than TV to offer.
The Samsung UE40D6530WK television is a thin 40inch TV, it measures 92x54x2cm, it comes with a stand 47.5x25.5cm that raises the TV 8cm from whatever you stand it on. If you prefer you can purchase a wall mounting kit and it is not as heavy as you may think. The initial tune of this Freeview HD unit found 115 channels made up of 75TV, 24Radio and 16Data. It took around four minutes and gave you the option to exclude Analogue where it also found the standard five channels.
Serif has always targeted those who operate on a limited budget while looking for ease-of-use with their software. The latest Serif product to take this path is MoviePlus X6.
Now up to version X6, MoviePlus is Serif’s video editing software that features support for high definition among its feature list. To be honest the high definition feature is not actually new as it appeared in the previous version of the software but it is a must-have feature for the modern video editing fraternity.
Counting all the doors in my home, I arrived at the total of 11. Why, you may wonder, was I spending time in this unusual stock taking activity? The reason for this door counting exercise was the arrival of a new game entitled House of 1000 Doors: Family Secrets from Alawar Entertainment. This could make for an awful lot of opening and closing when it comes to playing this game.
House of 1000 Doors: Family Secrets is a Hidden Object Adventure game which is supplied in Collector’s Edition format. This means that, along with the main game, you get a bonus chapter, available when you complete the game, and a strategy guide that you can access whenever the need arises. When playing the game you have the choice of Casual or Expert mode.
Several people have pointed out to me that it has been a long time since anything from Lenovo has been reviewed so here is one of their latest notebooks a very powerful Intel i5 quad core machine with 6GB of RAM.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 measures 37.5x24x3cm the latter at the rear and only 2cm at the front. It weights 2.6kilos. The viewable screen is 34x19.5cm which gives the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 15.6inches. Mine was two shades of grey except around the screen where it is the normal shiny black. The screen is reflective but a lot less than some. The left side starts with Kensington Lock port, then the DC input, VGA out, HDMI out, e-SATA and finally a USB2 port.
Rather than add to cable clutter, why not make use of existing cables such as those used for electricity when setting up a network.
Although standards do exist, and are sometimes held to, in the world of computing, we do tend to have different needs and set-ups with regards to our personal choice of equipment combinations. Often the actual physical set up of your equipment will be governed by the environment in which you plan to operate. This is particularly true when needing to create a home network system as walls and other obstructions have a habit of getting in the way.
The first such device I remember using was a Sunbeam Mixmaster and that was certainly more than fifty years ago. So how have such machines developed and evolved over that time scale, certainly they have a lot more tools.
This device offers to do almost all the jobs that you do not do by hand and also those jobs that you can do by hand – such as whipping cream – but take time and are tiring. This machine does all those jobs as well as some you may not have yet thought of. It is not just a mixer, it’s a juicer, a mincer and much more, so far the only things it refuses to do are the washing up and hovering.
Here two items from different companies that apart from their individual uses also will work extremely well together. E6 is a headphone amplifier so is great when output is just too low, and, Bondi will hold lots of things like an iPhone in position for all sorts of uses.
This is a tiny amplifier supplied with two 3.5mm jack leads – different lengths - and a USB lead to charge the internal solid battery. Connect one 3.5mm lead to the earphone outlet of the device that needs a boost, connect the other end to the input on the E6, next connect your earbuds/headphones to the output on the E6, switch on the E6 and your music device and you can have a much raised volume level. A simple one purpose device that does what it should. It is 4x4x.
When faced with Murder, Mystery & Madness you might well go for the whole hog and tackle a triple pack offering from Focus Multimedia.
This three game pack bundles together Shades of Death Royal Blood to take care of the murder aspect; Time Mysteries Inheritance for a dose of mystery and Doors of the Mind Inner Mysteries to add the ingredients of Madness. Apart from the fact that each of these games was originally published by Big Fish Games and belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure category, there appears to be no obvious connection between these titles. Each of the three games has its own installation routine.
Another in the range of All In One units from Canon. This is a five ink offering (two sizes of black), if you of Goff persuasion the all black finish will delight, for everyone else – apart from the lounge police – who cares about colour just performance.
The Canon Pixma MG5350 measures 43x35x16cm, these figures are with paper in the rear paper tray but with the exit tray closed, opening that (a task that happens automatically at print time) adds 10cm to the middle figure and you would also need another 10cm clear in front for output to stack. The scanner lid would need around another 6cm to let you insert or remove items. So total area required to use it would be 43x55x22cm, the last figure the height means a strong shelf should be fine.
Last year Alawar Entertainment published Behind the Reflection, a game that I missed out on for some reason. Now I have the opportunity to catch up on the game’s main characters who reappear in the follow-up title which is also published by Alawar. Nor surprisingly this follow-up game is entitled Behind the Reflection 2 and sub-titled Witch’s Revenge.
This is a Hidden Object Adventure game that takes in 36 locations which often need to be revisited several times. The game opens with a short video sequence that links the two Reflection titles together as the Witch manages to escape from prison. She immediately sets about getting her revenge as she kidnaps your young son Jacob. It is now up to you, in your role as Jacob’s mother, to rescue the boy and thwart the Witch yet again.