Holding your valuable data, your hard disk does deserve consideration and help when it comes to performing its various functions.
Whether you have purchased or built it yourself, a new computer will do its best to impress you with its speed of operation. However, during the normal course of events, the computer’s performance with regards to speed will start to degrade. One reason for this state of affairs will be the condition of your hard disk. Whereas the original files will have been written contiguously to the hard disk, subsequent files will tend to be slotted in wherever space exists.
Somewhat different from the previous two Freesat units I have looked at from Humax and Panasonic. The first things I noticed are that it has no visible clock on the front and also no obvious means of knowing how far into a program you are.
The Grundig Satellite Recorder I'm reviewing measures 29x25x6cm and black in colour. The only noticeable controls are three buttons and the ubiquitous five position joystick. On the left of the front is an LED (red on standby, blue when on) and another on the right that shows red when recording.
As somebody who spends a great deal of time typing, my choice of keyboard does need to combine functionality and, more importantly, ease-of-use.
Keyboards have come a long way since these heavy clunky models, decked out in computer grey, that were attached to my early computers via a cable with a 7-pin plug. They really made their presence felt with the less-expensive models suffering from keys that lost their letter identification through the effect of finger pounding.
Describing itself as “The Most Beautiful Hidden Object Game Ever”, Jewel Quest Mysteries combines puzzle solving and match-3 game play with plenty of hidden object searching.
Joining the popular Jewel Quest franchise is Jewel Quest Mysteries: Curse of the Emerald Tear. In this game you join the famous husband and wife archaeological team of Rupert and Emma in their hunt for the Emerald Tear which is an ancient Jewel Board that is rumoured to have mystical powers.
This is the larger version of the Kindle (reviewed around six weeks ago) A lot of the features are the same and should you already have some Kindle books you can view them on either unit, the main advantage more words per page.
The larger Kindle DX measures 26.5x18x.6cm and weights 460grams. The viewable screen area is 20x14cm. Below the screen is a 35 key alpha numeric keyboard spread over four lines. Great for making electronic notes in whatever you are reading. The top edge has the on/off slider as well as a 3.5mm earbud jack. The right side has a volume control rock. The base has a pair of small but effective speakers for those who prefer their special books read to them as well as the USB/Mains lead entry point.
Sometimes a product’s title can give you a clear indication as to its purpose and functionality but this is not always the case as this next product illustrates.
The KRG-D50 gives nothing in the way of evidence to explain what is in the box. You could easily indulge in flights of fancy as you come up with numerous suggestions as to what the KRG-D50 actually is and still not come anywhere near the fact that this is a radio-alarm with iPod docking and charging capabilities. Even then there is one important feature still to be revealed.
Seeing when your toast is done to the colour you desire is nice, having a toaster with cool sides is important especially if you have young children. The Magimix does both of these as well as allowing you to toast things others do not.
Close to a year ago I reviewed a toaster from Tefal that also had a fitting on the end to poach – or boil – eggs. Here this is more traditional – in that it only toasts – but the conventional two slices in parallel is gone replaced by the ability to place two full sized pieces of bread side by side in the only slot, but it will also do far thicker things like bagels and crumpets even traditional muffins and even refresh French sticks I tried them all.
Two more items from those clever USB people in Hong Kong. The first a Star Trek type webcam that allows you to fix the position unlike those built into the screen. Second a device to tell you when you have received email.
The dividing line between desktop systems and their laptop brethren is becoming increasingly blurred as manufacturers incorporate more power, functionality and features into their portable offerings.
One product that falls into the desktop replacement category is the Acer Aspire 5942G laptop. With dimensions of 382 x 174 x 26mm (W x D x H) in its closed state and weighing 3.0kg (including the 6-cell battery pack), this reflective black encased model cries out for a permanent home on your desk space with, perhaps, an option for occasional travel privileges. Driving this laptop is an Intel Core i5 520M 2.4GHz processor that supports Intel 64 architecture.
A pull along cleaner with two major differences, first the suction tube really stretches and second it can run for up to twenty minutes on its inbuilt battery. So if the lead is just long enough to get to that place there are two ways to access it.
With a battery built the Miele S4812 hybrid vacuum cleaner is naturally a little bit heavier than other products but with a 6.5metre flex and the very stretchy tubing it will not need to be picked up that much. It is 45x24x20cm (these are maximum figures as the unit is curved), the base unit weights around 8Kg without the tube.
According to Sod’s Law, the odds against a hard disk failure, whether due to outside influences or not, decrease substantially the moment you neglect to carry out a backup of your data. While disaster might not strike immediately, when it does you will be sorry and to paraphrase an old saying “It is no use crying over lost data.”
While backups of old (as I well remember) could be long drawn out affairs involving copious amounts pf disks that were of the removable media of the day; the modern backup process is automated and can be scheduled to take place at a time that will not inconvenience you. Offering to carry out this type of task is True Image Home 2010 from Acronis. Described as PC Backup & Recovery software, this product arrives complete with Windows 7 compatibility and an online backup option.
A trip on a luxury liner is not to be sniffed at especially when you get to learn about one of your ancestors. Of course you will be expected to do some work.
It is common knowledge that the unsinkable Titanic failed to live up to its reputation and sank in 1912 with a loss of life that included 1500 passengers. However you will not be aware, in order to celebrate the 100 anniversary of this horrific event, a replica of the original luxury vessel will be launched ready to undertake and complete the route that the Titanic was meant to take and you will be one of the passengers on this anniversary voyage.
While this in no way is the same as Adobe Photoshop, a very specialist tool for editing and enhancing files, this product does the basics and can improve an image from terrible to Okay or from Okay to quite reasonable.
Photoshop Elements 8 from Adobe comes on a DVD and I found that it took 8 minutes to install on a reasonably fast Vista system and it took 1.5GB of hard disc space. It insists on a reboot before you can start to use it. The system requirements on the outside of the box are a 2GHz or faster processor, Windows XP (SP2) or later, 1GB RAM and 2GB of hard disc space. DirectX 9 a monitor with at least 1024x768 resolution and 16bit or better.
A recent check on my mail for a week revealed that 97% of the items were monochrome and probably produced on a laser printer. Maybe in some cases that printer was a Samsung model.
While a splash, or even a dollop, of colour can add an attractive, eye-appealing look to your printed work not every document needs such a fillip. Many business and even some personal documents are equally effective when presented in black and white format. When you factor in the needs for superior print quality and operation speeds into the equation, the possible solution could well be a mono laser such as the Samsung ML-2525 model currently taking up a portion of my work space.
Some small notebooks and almost all Netbooks come without optical media. I certainly still have a PC that only has a CD drive and a more recent one with a DVD reader (no ability to write) so this unit can be useful to many
Plug it in to a USB port and it should be recognised almost immediately and you can then immediately use it to transfer programs and files to the PC. It comes with a CD-ROM including Nero 8 SE. To install this insert the ROM in the drive. It comes up with two options Install Nero 8 SE or an install for Linux. The install is not the fastest. I attached it to an XP system and to a Vista one.
Last autumn I was sent two new items from Serif. First their DTP item PagePlus that has been around for as long – if not longer – than most other that sell for considerably more. Second a package of British Clip Art.
Anything that gets to version 14 - however it is written – must be doing something right. I am not a big user of DTP products but this is certainly easy to use. My first page took only a few minutes to create from scratch and once printed I was more than happy with the look of it. As it says on the DVD case ‘All In One’ – normally reserved for a multi function printer unit – but here it means all your tools in a single package.
Recently I heard from a reliable source that this type of product had been recommended by a doctor as a solution to overcome a medical problem. However, to the best of my knowledge, the product in question is not available on the National Health.
Like many users my dominant hand is often found in close contact with my computer mouse. While the mouse is the undoubted most popular pointing device for different types of computer tasks, it is not the only choice available. For some a trackball is the optimum tool as they control the on-screen cursor and activate a range of tasks. One such product is the Kensington SlimBlade Trackball which arrives with the promise of offering multi-function capabilities.
Somewhat smaller and a great deal lighter – important when you need to move it about – than the MFC-9320CN that I reviewed recently. This looks nice and while of course this is just a printer for a lot of people that is what they want.
Using the normal forget the first and the last page test always used with inkjet printers I am somewhat puzzled by the 16PPM claim for this unit. I got over 19PPM for the nonsensical 200 word test document used. The first thing you have to allow for is time to first page out and this – even when warm – is close to 15 seconds. This means that although the time for multiple copies of a single page are very good a single copy is less than 4PPM.
As a long-standing user of a Brother laser, I was keen to check out one of the company’s inkjet models. The opportunity arose with the arrival of the MFC-255CW.
For a variety of reasons, some still unexplained, it has been quite a while since I last had the opportunity to get my hands on a Brother printer for review purposes. Fortunately the long wait has ended with the arrival of a Brother multi-function inkjet unit. This is the Brother MFC-255CW with the “CW” presumably referring to the fact that this model can link via a cable (USB) or wireless.
According to the box you need to get ready to solve one of the strangest cases of your life as you take on the challenge of Strange Cases – The Tarot Card Mystery.
This game is a Hidden Object Adventure that casts you in the role of FBI Agent Claire Ellery who is called in to investigate the kidnapping of three girls. Aiding you in your investigation is a mysterious and anonymous informant who leaves a trail of tarot cards to help guide you in your investigation. After arriving in a rather out-of-the-way town, where local police officers hardly make you feel welcome, you receive your first message from the tarot card sender.