Just over a year ago I told you about my foray into buying a pair of boots by mail order. Yes I know it’s a man thing as most women I know delight in trying on every pair in the shop before buying the first they tried on anyway.
Here I purchased two pairs, a pair for best and a pair that will pass when trainers will not probably meet inspection. Like the rest of me, my feet are mature – ok old – so the main proviso as far as I am concerned is comfort. This rather goes against the name of the seller as it has leather soles; rubber heals and leather uppers to complete the shoe. This is perhaps the best shoe I have ever owned.
Having spent a fair amount of money on a new laptop it is important to get a suitable case. The Revolution from STM Bags is a backpack that will be easy to carry around and should provide adequate protection for the laptop even though its internal facilities for accessories could be improved.
There are tradeoffs in the design of any laptop bag as it must be kept as light as possible without compromising robustness and the protection that it needs to provide for the computer. At the same time it must conveniently accommodate all the various items that the road warrior needs. Hence, the design can be considered in two parts: the rucksack itself and then the facilities provided for the protection and storage of the contents.
Over the years, and numerous versions, as it has developed from a single application into a full-blown suite of graphics titles, CorelDRAW has arrived in different types of packaging. The latest version, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5, comes in the form of a hardback book with its own rigid slip case. The actual software is on a DVD attached to the inside of the book’s front cover while the book acts as the User Guide.
As you would expect from the Suite designation, this product consists of a number of applications. The main elements are made up of CorelDRAW X5, Corel PHOTO-Paint X5, Corel PowerTRACE X5, Corel Capture X5 and Corel Connect. You also get SWiSH miniMAX 2 and PhotoZoom Pro 2 plus sackfuls of images, photos, font, templates and 2 hours of training videos.
Unless you need to print colour pages this is a very efficient way to work, I often need to print single pages this has virtually no warm up time. I scan single pages to print again very quick and finally email the signed page once scanned also very efficient.
It has a small footprint at 36x30x22cm, you will need a little more space above the 22cm height in order to lift the scanner lid. 11cm of the 30cm depth is just at the base for the open input paper tray, face up input face down output. There are a total of nine buttons on the front top edge (in front of the scanner lid) but apart from the on/off button on the left of these you really only need to go near the unit to top up the input tray and collect the output when printing.
When showing off your latest power tools for the home, it makes sense to select an appropriate location. In the case of Bosch, this meant a location known as Home Sweet Home. Despite the recent adverse weather conditions, I was there on behalf of Gadgetspeak.
I must admit it was a little disconcerting to be ushered into a bedroom for my initial introduction to a Bosch product. However it was probably the right location to display the special limited edition of the company’s IXO cordless screwdriver. This limited edition was launched to celebrate sales of 10 million IXOs worldwide.
With 50 million units sold over all platforms and a new sale being generated every 4.3 seconds, the original Bejeweled title makes a welcome return with version 2.
This Pace unit (badged Philips) was the first HD unit I saw in a presentation in the spring, here now the production unit. If you need HD recording then this 500GB digital unit may just tick all the boxes on your wish list.
The Philips HDT8520 Dual HD TV Recorder measures 24x20x6cm but you will need at least another 2cm behind the middle figure the depth in order for the cables to be attached. Installation is quite straightforward, the easiest is just to attach the supplied HDMI cable and tune to that channel. The screen should show a Philips Welcome screen. There are a few simple questions to answer before the scan for channels but everything is explained in Quick Start Guide.
Taking over my recent printing tasks has been a new product from Brother. This particular model is the multi-function DCP-J125.
This multi-function device provides scan, copy and print functionality for both photographic and basic document hardcopy production. The DCP-J125 connects to your computer system via a standard USB 2.0 port.
This type of small camcorder has become very popular. The first I came across was the Flip with several incarnations. Then Kodak produced one and now Panasonic who are better known for high end cameras and camcorders. Panasonic call theirs a mobile camera.
The Panasonic TA1 measures 10.5x5x1.8cm and weights 110grams. Like most of these recent units it supports full HD and can capture still images. Mine was black and chrome, with the back and front black and the rest chrome. The face has the lens with the pin hole microphone just below. The base has a screw for a tripod. The left side has two doors in the chrome for A/V out and the slide out USB plug now favoured by most.
Unlike the unit recently reviewed from Tefal this does not require a stove just a 13amp socket to plug it into. These items used to be called pressure cookers as they cook quickly, now the name is a Multi Cooker as it is versatile.
The Tefal Multi Cooker is circular 29cm across where there are no handles and 34cm across where the handles protrude and close to 30cm tall. Plug the supplied mains lead into the rear of the unit read the instructions are you are ready to prepare a one pot meal. As with anything bearing the Jamie Oliver name there is a receipt book here it is a full colour 160 page offering. There is an instruction booklet with the first eleven pages in English.
Last time I met up with Nero, the company promised support for Blu-ray. With this latest version of its software, Nero has made good its promise.
Around 18 months ago I told you about the Kodak ZX1 their first foray in the very popular pocket (mobile phone size) camcorder arena. Here is - I think - their next offering the ZX3 which gives you the ability to capture movies underwater to 3metres depth.
The Kodak ZX3 measures 11x6x2cm and it weights 140grams. Mine had a cream front dark grey back and sides and it was black around the top. There is a substantial hole near the bottom for a wrist strap – very important if you swim – above this on the front four buttons in a semi circle and the ubiquitous five position joystick centered in the lower part of the front.
While Adobe Photoshop rules the roost as far as high-end, professional graphics is concerned, the company also has a more budget-orientated package with Photoshop Elements. The latest version of this graphics product is Photoshop Elements 9.
When firing up Photoshop Elements 9 you are presented with an option to view an introduction designed either for those coming new to Photoshop Elements or those who have used previous versions of the software. In both cases you are shown some of the program’s features. You could, of course, ignore both these options and head straight to the Organise or Edit features that form the main focus of this product.
It is time to visit the Whitechapel area of London in the late 1880’s as you attempt to solve the murders that continue to confound the experts.
If asked what I would consider to be the greatest unsolved crime then I would probably opt for those perpetrated by Jack the Ripper (I’m sure I would not be alone in this) closely followed by “Who took the last chocolate biscuit?” (I have my suspicions regarding the latter but the editor continues to protest his innocence). But, like with many others, the Jack the Ripper crimes have a certain morbid fascination.
It's a while since I've looked at a hard-disk video recorder so I was eager to see what innovations
the SmartBox 8320HD could bring to our family entertainment.
First of all the basics. The product name, "SmartBox 8320 ", should be the first clue that this is one of the recent FreeView HD receivers. It includes two independent tuners allowing various combinations or watching and recording different channels.
I requested to see this in the early summer, now shortly before Christmas after many delays it has arrived. I can see why a touchscreen notebook would be possible but unless short sighted I think reaching out to touch this screen puts it a little near.
The IdeaCentre B Series touch screen computer measures 56x42x8cm. The viewable screen is 50x28.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23 inches. Behind the screen – in and around the support – are power input, two HDMI ports, Ethernet, SPDIF, A/V in, two lines of two USB ports and Co-Axiel socket. The rest of the connections are found on the sides of the screen.
Calling all budding pop stars!! If you love Simon Cowell's flagship TV pop phenomena then this a fun item built just for you.
The X-Factor Lucky Voice Karaoke Party Box from Gear 4 is a straightforward kit comprising a microphone, a mixer and all connecting leads necessary to connect up to your laptop or PC. The mic and mixer are both well-built and very much up to the job. The little mixer features a great 'echo' effect to add a bit of production spice to the voice. You can connect up to your usual PC speakers with ease.
Those kind people at Laptops Direct were responsible for supplying this next product from the Acer stable of netbook/notebook catalogue.
When you add the suffix “Happy” to the title of a product, as has happened with Acer and the latest version of its Aspire One, you could be accused of tempting fate. After all while users might be happy when everything works as it is meant to; any mishap or connection issue could bring about a complete change of emotion even if the problem was the result of elements outside the direct control of Acer.
This gadget is highly recommended as a great value item - you could invest in several job-specific power tools and find that each one in itself was not as accomplished in its job as the Bosch PMF. This is a genuine all-rounder and it is hard to find fault with its design, ability and versatility
Teutonically solid and rugged in your hand, the Bosch PMF 10.8 Li power tool can tackle a multitude of jobs around the home and is also built well enough for professional use. Being a sawing, cutting, scraping and sanding tool, with just this and a power drill you could take on most of the DIY tasks you might need to tend to around your property.
A neat cube shaped coffee machine, with Douwe Egberts coffe pods, certainly packs a punch.
Since the Senseo Quadrante coffee machine from Phillips/Douwe Egberts arrived for review around two weeks ago I would say that I have become a little hooked. I've only drunk one cup of my usual Instant in that time. This little beastie makes tasty, strong coffee with the greatest of ease. Fill the large eight-cup water tank in seconds and then simply pop a Douwe Egberts coffee pod into the tray.