Many more years ago than I care to admit or can even remember some of them, I came across a piece of software that had been released as unprotected Shareware. The software had been developed by somebody whose main interests were jet planes and developing software which explains why he named his company JASC – that software was Paint Shop Pro.
Since those early days, Paint Shop Pro has developed into a well-respected commercial product which now forms part of the Corel family. It has also been a permanent fixture, through numerous versions, on my various systems. As I write this introduction, the current version of this photo and image editing package is installing itself on my work system.
If you own an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad then this app together with the headband and software can tell you how well you are sleeping. I am perhaps not the best to review this as my sleep patterns are to say the least erratic.
If you do not own one of the devices above I see Zeo also do a bedside unit that I understand works more of less the same way but this is currently unavailable to review, as soon as it becomes so I will arrange to trial it. I was leant an iPod Touch and several of my initial problems were caused by not knowing the interface of this iPod. There is a six step instruction card that should really get you ready to use the product for the first time.
Here something brand new and LED light that can also be a flash that has just been released. The second item also from Manfrotto is something all serious amateur photographers need is a bag to keep all their items in.
This is the largest of three arrays recently launched but this is the only one that can also be used as a conventional flash. It is 13x7.5x3.5cm and with the required 4x‘AAA’ batteries inserted weights 168grams, this in the overall size. It can be fitted either vertically or horizontally as there are two shoe fitments. There are four rows of nine LED’s and intensity can be adjusted by on/off twist wheel, there is a separate flash button on the back.
Put the words “Samsung” and “Galaxy” together in the same sentence and you could start thinking that the subject matter was going to be a tablet device. However by inserting the word “Mini” into the sentence, the device under consideration would metamorphosis into a smartphone.
The Galaxy Mini is Samsung’s latest attempt to be the model of choice for those looking for a budget price handset. With dimensions of 110 x 64 x 12mm and weighing 107g, this handset is fairly unremarkable with regards to its general appearance. The off-white plastic casing might not suffer from a finger print affliction but the 3.1-inch capacitive touch screen more than makes up for this as it collects smears at a rate.
The latest range of Kodak All In One devices, USB and Wireless and software that can do more than the average software package. Here I am looking at the basic All In One offering units cost less than they did and ink is cheaper as tanks are larger.
The Kodak Hero 7.1 All-In-One printer measures 45x41x19cm, all black and rather boxy, certainly not something to please the lounge police but it can be USB or Wireless and of course the latter means it can live out of sight in a cupboard or maybe behind a settee.
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary a “tab” is a small flap, strip, tag or tongue; an account, tally; and keep an account of. However in more recent parlance, a tab is also the abbreviated form used to describe the latest hot topics with regards to computer hardware. In this particular case it is the Liberty Tab from Packard Bell.
The Liberty Tab is a Tablet PC built around a 10.1-inch touch screen that delivers a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. The actual unit’s dimensions are 260 x 179 x 14mm (H x W x D) which does mean you will not be able to slip this device in a pocket when not required. The weight is 766g allowing you to balance the tablet on one hand while working away with the other.
It is time to take charge of your miniature work force (that physical size and not quantity) as you set about rebuilding some of the mythical wonders of the world by embarking on a Magical Mystery Tour.
Adding to a series that includes the original title plus 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and Treasures of Seven, Mumbo Jumbo has released 7 Wonders Magic Mystery Tour. As with the other titles in the series, this is a match-3 game that involves earning resources for creating Wonders such as Bimini, El Dorado, Atlantis, City of the Caesars, Camelot, Valhalla and Shangri-La. Four levels of game play are available.
It’s been a while since I have reviewed anything from Philips; I think the last thing was their Sonicare Electric Toothbrush. Here I am looking at their latest battery operated shaver although it is far more than a simple shaver.
I was attending an event at a posh London hotel and as I left I happened to see that Philips had the adjoining room, I spoke to the PR lady on the door and asked to be sent information and as a result I got a chance to review this. A mixture of chrome, rubber and plastic it is 17x6x7cm and weights a comfortable 178grams in the hand, either hand. It stands vertical in the charger unit and there is also a range of other bits and pieces to allow the man to claim some of the bathroom clutter.
Touch is the current hot topic when features are mentioned. Now Microsoft’s latest mouse joins the party.
While Microsoft would be only too happy to wave a fond farewell to Windows XP, there are many users who are determined to continue using this familiar friend on their computer. As the end of mainstream support for this operating system has failed to encourage these XP fans to switch to Windows 7, maybe Microsoft has decided to offer a different type on inducement with the launch of the Touch Mouse which will only run on Windows 7 and subsequent versions.
While there are hundreds of iPod/iPhone docks around few products are currently coming to market that are in the hi-fi category. This product currently available in Aldi stores has CD and FM radio as well as the iPod iPhone capability.
The main unit is 26x16x24cm the last figure the depth is with mains and speaker cables inserted. The speakers are slightly bigger at 31x18x23cm. Both the main and speaker units have the same matt black colour. The speaker faces have two wire (effect) grills and the rear has a small indent and the speaker wires are hard wired. The only change from the matt black are two small silver grey areas between the speaker grills that match with a circular knob just above the central area of the main unit.
Little did I think three months ago that this feature would run to thirteen parts? First something large – not costing a fortune – and second something rather small that you will see all over London in 2012 transport with the Olympic logo.
Fancy letting your six year old loose with saws, hammer and nails? No nor would I, but here it is reasonably safe and the wood provided is made of expanded polystyrene (like the packing round almost any product you buy) but brown instead of white and grained so it looks like wood. The saw has plastic teeth and when I ran it over my hand I did not even graze my skin. Perhaps another important fact there is no saw dust when the material is cut.
The iGo Memphis is a solidly made over-ear stylish stereo headset with built-in microphone for those who don’t like in-ear headphones. With its nicely padded -- but not too large -- ear cushions and headband it will provide a convenient companion for smartphone users who want something better than the headset normally provided with their phone.
This headset is ideal for regular use when one wants to listen to music or the radio on one’s smartphone and yet be able to be readily accessible on the phone. Calls can be accepted, and then terminated, just via the push-button on the in-line microphone. I have no way of checking on the 20Hz to 20KHz claimed frequency response of the 40mm drivers.
Adding to its already impressive range of laptops is the Aspire Timeline X from Acer.
While first impressions, especially when they are visual ones, are not always totally defining, they can have a positive effect. The Timeline X 5830T model certainly gets off to a good start with its sleek appearance enhanced by a blue, black and silver colour scheme plus a top that has a downward slope at the rear along with circular hinges. In its closed state the Timeline X dimensions are 380 x 245 x 28mm (W x D x H) and weighs around 2.
The Sony NEXC3KB is described as an Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera, what a lot of people would call a DSLR, it is small and easy to use but still has most of the ability you would expect from a DSLR unit, meaning excellent images.
Before I go on to describe this rather neat small unit there is one thing that dissuade some from buying it. While it can capture both RAW and JPG images (at the same time should you wish) it does not have any 4:3 options. Your choices in a range of capture sizes are either 16:9 or 3:2 so should you want to print an A4 image you will need to think before you capture about how you frame your shot.
While not a fan of his music, I was keen to check out a headset bearing Bob’s Marley’s name especially due to its eco-friendly slant.
Bob Marley, the Jamaican Reggae star who died in 1981, had a vision of One Love, One World. This vision inspired the setting up of The House of Marley to develop a range of eco-conscious, innovative products based on the guiding principles of superior quality, sustainably sourced, cause minded and waste conscious.
A recent arrival from Mumbo Jumbo reminded me of a game I played many years ago on a computer system that was long assigned to the scrapheap of failed brands. While I have forgotten the game’s title, I do remember that it involved guiding a submarine through a series of underwater caverns avoiding land mines, depth charges and laser beams while destroying enemy vessels.
With the Mumbo Jumbo title of Glowfish, you take control of an aquatic hero as you embark on an underwater adventure. An introductory sequence with colourful graphics and layered scenery leads you through a story of how an underwater paradise was turned into a dangerous environment with enemies lurking in every nook and cranny, behind rocks and plants plus waiting to pounce of our unwary hero as he swims through passageways.
This is a multi function unit (it has fax) and it can connect either by USB or Wi-Fi. In fact I used both with equal success. I did however have a failure as no matter what I tried it refused to feed photo paper in any way.
The Brother MFC-J430W measures 40x37x18cm, the last figure the height will need a little extra to slip an A4 landscape page onto the flatbed, probably around 5cm which is around the same amount as using the ADF which flips open from the top. This is a four ink and four cartridge unit.
DAB radios come in all shapes and sizes including the ET appearance of the BUG. While the Pure Twilight model does not quite fall into the BUG category, its shape does help it stand out from the pack.
My first thoughts on seeing this DAB/FM radio were “was it modelled on the Kilroy graffiti of old or maybe the top half of Humpty Dumpty”. The Twilight is a domed shaped unit with a translucent lamp module perched on top of the main radio component and is certainly eye-catching with its modern day styling. Measuring 360 x 180 x 120mm (W x H x D), the Twilight is a fairly sturdy piece of kit that weighs in at 1.65kg.
I hesitate to use ‘entry level’ about any camera from Nikon. The Nikon Coolpix L23 is a small digital camera and probably the nearest thing they do to ‘point and shoot’ however this is still a more than competent piece of camera equipment.
This is the only Nikon unit I know that is powered by two ‘AA’ batteries. It weights 165grams and is 9x6x2.5 cm. The unit was a glorious matt black meaning that even the TFT is matt and therefore does not show finger marks. The only non black bits are the lens surround, the two buttons on the top and a central line all in chrome. This is still a Coolpix camera and it takes excellent images while ‘Easy Auto Mode’ is the default a single button press can change this.
First a toy for the pre school child that is very clever and will help the child to recognise letters and even three letter words, the letters are magnetic hence Fridge Words. Second a game for two teams of two or more Best of British.
Here a toy for a younger child that even three has a great Edutainment use. It uses large letters that fit into a pod and as they are inserted the letter is spelt out, it claims that over 250 three letter words can be produced and there are three games included to make spelling fun. It is 23x15x4cm and joy of joys it comes with the required batteries installed. Each letter is 4.5x3.5x2cm; all letter surrounds are identical and with the rounded top will only fit one way.