Solid State Drives (SSDs), which have been talked about for a long time as alternatives to hard drives, are now starting to become a reality so that users are increasing able to take advantage of the their higher effective speed, robustness and low power consumption. Although this is mainly in netbooks and high end laptops, an SSD can also often be used to rejuvenate a machine which is not in the first flush of youth and make it the ideal tool for carrying around. Crucial makes this task relatively straightforward.
Despite SSDs being available with a fast SATA interface, and the process of upgrading from a hard disc to an SSD is very similar to a hard disc upgrade, it is important not to jump in without an understanding of what is involved. In principle, the upgrade is straightforward. Using an adapter cable, one connects the new drive to a USB port on the machine and then transfers a disc image to it. Then, disconnect the existing hard drive and replace it with the, now imaged, SSD.
Here I am looking at two rather different USB hubs. The first is branded with the Highstar name and not only is a hub but also a memo pad and has a clock and temperature sensor. The second is far more normal both come from Brando in Hong Kong.
Not only is this a hub but also a clock a temperature gauge an alarm clock and an erasable illuminated memo pad. It is 14x7x12cm overall size. Where the hub is at the back of the unit it is 9x2cm, at the front where the clock is 10.5x5cm. The illuminated Perspex is 14x10cm set 1.5cm behind the clock, a pen to write on the Perspex is included. This is a USB2 hub and unless you set the clock at 90degrees to yourself then the ports will always have the Perspex between you and the ports.
Now up to version 16, Serif has released the latest edition of its PagePlus software for those wanting to create different types of documents containing images and text.
This box connects to your TV via an HDMI lead. Then the box connects to your network. The box itself can also have a hard disc or just stream content. It can also attach other hard discs with content or USB sticks to play music or video.
The box is 22x16x6cm but you need to allow up to another 5cm to the 16cm depth for the attachment of various cables. The top, sides and base are all smooth while the face has one small blue LED when the unit is on. All the connections are at the back. These are in a line, DC input, USB2 (host), USB3 (client), HDMI, Ethernet, Coaxial, Audio out left, Video, Audio out right (these last four in two rows of two) and finally Optical.
Building up a network can be made easier by using existing facilities in the home in conjunction with Homeplug technology.
Time to put on your planner’s hat as Alawar offers you the opportunity to visit the American Old West and build a township.
Back in the early days of growing up (some would say it is still an on-going process for me), Saturday mornings were a time to look forward to as the local cinema put on a special show for the younger generation. With a clear distinction between good and evil, a staple diet of these shows were the popular cowboy films set in various shanty towns and churned out by the truck load.
A waterproof camera that can by the aid of GPS tell you where you were when you took the image or movie. I did not get a chance to test if the two features worked together; in fact the only waterproof tests were in my bath.
he Pentax WG1-GPS measures 12x6x2cm, these are maximum figures the zoom works on the periscope principle required for a waterproof offering. It is also quite sculptured with either end being 6cm tall but the middle only 5cm, it weights 165grams. The right side has a substantial wrist strap which is useful if you take it underwater. The base has a slide door behind which is the solid battery and any SD card you insert.
Media content can arrive in different formats which are not always compatible with all your devices. Helping cope with this problem is the stated aim of a product released by Binary Distribution.
Binary Distribution, a traditional software publisher and distributor, has released the mediAvatar Media Toolkit in theUK. This product concentrates its main functionality on the conversation between different video and audio formats with a range of pre-set and customisable settings. Currently available as a download (DownloadBuyer.com) or physical boxed offering (Amazon.co.
If you only listen to Internet Radio then this could be for you. It also means providing you have a decent Broadband connection almost any station anywhere in the world is available to you even if normal radio reception is naff.
The Stream 105 from Roberts measures 26x8x15cm and weights 700 grams (without batteries). There is a 2cm difference between back and front and the whole unit is a stretched oval, with the carrying handle raised the height is increased from 15 to 21cm. The rear has a battery bay should you wish to run it on 6x‘C’ cell batteries. Above this are USB (for upgrading only) headphone socket, auxiliary input and the DC input, the supplied lead 1.85 metres long, just adequate.
With the wrist watch seeming to go the way of the pocket watch nearly a century ago – most people now seem to check the time on their phone – a new offering needs something different about it to raise more than a glance.
This is different, very different. The one sent to me was lime green with a light grey strap fixed tightly so the watch can stand vertically even when not attached to your wrist. It is slightly wider than it is tall and still reasonably thin. It weights 60 grams and the face is 4x3.7x1cm, however the moulded strap is so thick and tight near the watch that the 3.7 becomes a lot nearer 6cm. I suspect it could become a fashion accessory if worn by a few models/pop stars.
While better known for its DAB radio products, PURE offers an Internet-based service called the Lounge that you can inspect.
Owners of one of the more recent PURE DAB radio models with Wi-Fi and Internet radio capability will have already encountered the Lounge. For those unfamiliar with this feature, I should explain that the Lounge is PURE’s online portal providing a gateway to an environment of Internet radio and on-demand content made up of podcasts, listen again programmes and a collection of ambient sounds captured from natural phenomena.
Nokia have recently jumped off the Simbian bandwagon and joined forces with Microsoft. Here is their first offering together Nokia’s phone expertise and Microsoft’s mobile operating system when Windows 8 arrives on the PC it is rumoured to lot a lot like this.
My first surprise is that it uses a Micro SIM and so many phone providers think it is only Blackberry and Apple that use this smaller SIM. My own opinion is that it is fiddly to fit, but another journalist friend of mind thinks it is the way all phones will go. Still once in, it need not move. Technically I am told it is possible to cut a full size SIM.
Continuing my look at various Epson multifunction devices, it is the turn of a model smaller than the other units seen recently.
Rather than the usual “All-in-One” classification, the Epson Stylus SX235W is described as a “Small-in-One” device. The reason for this slight change is that this particular Epson multifunction unit is smaller than some other print, copy and scan devices that are currently available from the company. The SX235W has dimensions of 390 x 300 x 145mm (W x D x H).
As its full title indicates, Lonely Dream is the third offering in the Specialbit Studio’s Haunted Hotel series. I missed out on the first two episodes and so came to Lonely Dream without any preconceptions as to what to expect from this Hidden Object Adventure game originally published by Big Fish Games and now part of the Focus Multimedia catalogue.
Like most games, Lonely Dreams has various options, including the volume level for background music and sound effects plus screen brightness, which can be adjusted to suit your taste. There is also an option to play in either Casual or Advanced mode. In the former you get a quicker refresh of the Hint feature plus the opportunity to skip some of the puzzles with less of a delay.
Very few DAB radios have the ability to record (in MP2) to SD card, the original Bug by another manufacturer was one and here from Roberts their RecordR offers this extremely useful feature both for timed and instant recording.
While this is a perfectly acceptable DAB and FM radio the main selling point is its ability to save (pause) or save for replay later anything broadcast on any DAB or FM radio station so if you are a fan of a regular program that you always seem to arrive home just as its ending never fear you can set it to record it and then listen whenever suits you.
Helping bring together your collection of digital photos, music tracks and album plus videos so that they can be directed towards an appropriate output medium, such as a television, is the role ideally suited for a multimedia player. These types of devices tend to come in a range of shapes and sizes with some variety in their feature set. The latest such device to make its presence felt on my desktop is the ACME Portable Media Centre (MPO1).
With its dimensions of 142.5 x 85 x 23mm (L x W x H), the ACME Portable Media Centre (MPO1) could easily be mistaken for a small portable hard drive. This mistaken is easy to understand when you realise that it is possible to insert a 2.5-inch SATA drive, of up to 1TB capacity, into the body of this brushed metallic silver multimedia player. However this particular feature does not form part of this review which will concentrate on other aspects of this product.
Netbooks continue to be a useful solution; however this one nearly did not get reviewed. It was slow to boot almost as slow to shut down and as for opening any applications, luckily I am known for my determination so read on.
As always these come in preconfigured to a point, in theory all you need to do is enter your passcode for your wireless router activate the Norton trial and off you go. One thing I do first is to switch off and then time the boot. At this point I knew things were not right. The boot took 90seconds and shutdown from desktop took 45seconds. During the next three days I did just short of 100 updates as soon as I thought I had done them all more arrived.
Another product that is certainly mature once they got beyond 12 they started using roman numerals, most people thought that was to avoid 13 but a year so later X4 comes so what does a mature product have to offer that is new?
Paintshop Pro X4 comes on two discs, the first will install various updated Microsoft bits like Direct X etc and then the program this took 12 minutes on a reasonably fast Windows 7 PC and took 381MB of hard disc. Disc two is a range of bonus features (something Corel have always given even when the product was on floppy discs) and this took another 3 minutes and a further 310MB of hard disc space, so 691MB and 15 minutes to do the install.
As one of the major anti-virus companies, Kaspersky has created a product that enables the user to protect different devices.
Rather than stick with a single device, we are becoming users who regularly call upon a number of devices to satisfy our computing and communication needs. In some cases we might rely on a Windows computer, smartphone and an Android Tablet without giving it a moment’s thought. As each of these devices is capable of communicating with the Internet, some form of security should be in place to ensure you are protected from malware and other anti-social attacks.
With all the coverage given today to inkjet solutions it is often forgotten what a good job a laser can do. Until quite recently a colour laser was very expensive, very large and very heavy, none of those things apply to this unit.
It is 39x40x22 with the detachable A4 input tray in place. Paper is laid face up in the input tray at the base of the unit and delivered face down onto the top of it. The on/off button is near the base of the front to the right of the input tray and the other button and five well marked LED’s on the right of the output tray on the top. The power lead and USB lead are both on the back of the unit near the left side. This completes all the units’ controls.