For those with an Analogue TV you will soon either need to buy a new TV or – a cheaper option if it is working well – purchase a digital box. If you are disabled or certain elderly then you may get help, if not you need to pay, and, this offering from Philips may fit the bill.
Philips DTR 5520 Set Top Box black and measures 28x15x3cm. The front has a blue display that once on displays only the channel number that you are viewing. The installation consists of inserting your aerial lead in the back of the box. Philips provide a fly lead (something that a lot of other manufacturers do not) and this is essential for you to still view analogue signals while they are still available.
Regular readers will know that I looked at some rechargeable batteries and chargers earlier in the year (12-5-10). Since then it has become apparent that I was not the only person who did not know Duracell did rechargeables.
When I looked at the ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ I was told they also did ‘C’ ‘D’ and 9volt so here the even better guarded secret the rest of the Duracell range. Since reviewing the ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ I have seen the former in the wild. Finding ‘C’, ‘D’ and 9volt rechargeable batteries of any make is difficult and chargers for other than ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ is also not that easy.
Fancy a change of style? Then maybe this next product will help you experiment with your appearance.
I had just installed this on my test system when my own modem/router decided to pop its clogs. So what would have been a ‘test’ suddenly became real life with my day to day communications relaying on the Play Max.
It is 19x16x3cm and sits on a 18x5cm base that raises the vertical unit .5cm from the desk but as cables protrude 3cm from the back its really 19x19x5cm for its overall footprint. There is a small angle cut from the front edge that has a large green (or orange) LED and a single push button, these are the only controls on the unit. The whole system is sold on ease of installation and as leads come attached the three point install is exactly that.
Keeping your computer running at its optimum capacity can be time consuming. Fix-It Utilities offers to take over this task.
Now up to version 10, Fix-It Utilities has been around for a good number of years during which it has racked up impressive sales figures and won a number of awards. This latest version of software that promises to “keep your PC running like NEW”, supports both 32 and 64-bit Windows including Windows 7. As with some of the previous versions of this title, you are granted a three-user license allowing you to run the software legally on more than one system.
A puzzle solving adventurer is required to help a girl with the power to produce paintings that let you enter the depicted scene as a new game in the Drawn series appears.
A sleek and slim DAB and FM radio with Auxiliary input. It is black with a two line display top right and various touch controls below it, the other controls are on the right side of the unit. It is ideal for a bedside table.
It is 31x15x4cm. There are two swivel feet that can increase the last figure the width by up to another 6cm dependant on the amount of swivel. The rear of the unit has DC input and the 3.5mm jack socket beside it, on the top left of unit is a six piece (42cm) rod aerial that gave good reception wherever I used it including my office that on occasion is not that good on DAB reception especially with units that use wire aerials rather than the rod type that to me always seem superior.
I've been a convert to HomePlug networking for quite some time now - it wins over Wireless in so many ways. Devolo have recently introduced a new range of adaptors adding some useful features.
For those that don't know, HomePlug is a way of creating a network in your home (or small office). The is the latest adaptor from Devolo and supports the faster 200Mbps data rate of the HomePlug AV standard. You can . To recap , rather than string long pieces of wire around the place HomePlug instead sends the data over your mains electricity cables.
With the digital switch-over already under progress, the thoughts of many viewers are turning towards the subject of a set-top box to work in conjunction with their existing analogue television set.
One company in the forefront of producing set-top boxes is the UK-based TVonics. Recently released by the company is its MDR-240 model which is the first unit I have seen that conforms to the Government’s “Core Receiver Requirements”. This initiative decrees that digital receivers should be suitable for the elderly and people with disabilities by including features such as automatic retuning when the need arises.
Speech recognition has come of age with the launch of Dragon Naturally Speaking version 11. After just a few minutes training I was able to achieve a very high level of transcription accuracy and was starting to get acquainted with the voice commands for editing and other purposes. This program could well change the way that many users interact with their PCs.
Although speech recognition has been around for many years the increased sophistication of the software combined with the improved performance of today’s PCs has resulted in far more effective technology. In particular, this new version of Dragon recognises the presence of multiple processors, and both 32- and 64-bit systems and is thus able to take advantage of today’s multi-core PCs with 2GB or more of RAM.
Apparently these units have been available in Australia and China for two years, now they are available in the UK. Full HD 32inch TV’s are still quite rare with most only starting at 37inch and ‘HD Ready’ still being the norm at 32inch.
The Pangoo S700 LCD television measures 77x47.5cm with the attached stand raising it 3cm above whatever you stand it on. Thanks to edge-lit LED back-lighting the unit measures only around 2cm deep. The first surprise was that the stand comes attached and it is quite easy to just remove from the box as the mains lead is hard wired into the unit you only need to put in place and attach the aerial lead and you are ready to switch on. Find the menu on the remote control and then set up.
As more eSATA devices arrive those with eSATA on the motherboard could find this solution from Lindy very useful. The second is another item from Brando in Hong Kong this time a 13 (yes thirteen) port USB switch.
The Lindy USB 2.0 eSATA Adapter measures 6.5x3x1cm and plugs into any USB port. Reading the blurb I see it will work (at a slower speed) with USB 1.1 systems and even with versions of Windows as early as ME, it is also stated to work with Mac OS10 but I have not tried this as I do not have a Mac. It will work with both Desktop and Notebook (even Netbook) PC’s; this will work with any single SATA/eSATA disc drive but will work with Port Mtiplier functions.
With over 15 million players worldwide, the Jewel Quest series can justifiably claim to be one of the most popular games in the Match-3 genre. To the original Jewel Quest I, II and III titles plus a couple of offerings in the Jewel Quest Mysteries series, we can now add Jewel Quest Heritage.
Jewel Quest Heritage reverts back to the original format of completing numerous Jewel Boards that are completed by creating groups of three or more similarly coloured jewels. In the earlier Jewel Quest titles, Rupert Pack and his wife Emma searched for and discovered the fabulous Golden Jewel Board treasured by the ancient Aztecs. This board was then presented to the Rupert Pack museum where it could be seen by the general public.
At the start of the year it appeared as ‘betas’ on some magazine discs. Then absolute silence until June when I saw a couple of distributor adverts, it transpired the launch had happened, a quick skim of my journalists friends and no one knew, so now it seems Microsoft – or do I mean their numerous PR agencies - tells no one about the arrival of products.
There are three paid for versions available. They are Home and Student at about £100, Home and Business at around £200 and Professional at about £400. All these figures are ‘ball park’ but it gives an idea of the differential. All these versions now have the ‘ribbon’ interface, the Office interface called Backstage are still opened from the ‘File’ menu as not even Microsoft would dare to change that Holy of Holies.
What do you call a device that combines an external hard disk with an iPod docking station? To answer my own question – the device is called Dualie.
So just what is a Dualie when it is at home? Developed by Buffalo Technology, the Dualie consists of a brushed aluminium and black docking station with two bays and an external hard disk. The front bay is used to mount your chosen iPod device while the rear bay is for the supplied 500GB external hard disk. Measuring 70 x 101 x 96mm (H x W x D), the docking station features the connections for attaching the iPod device and the external hard disk in the appropriate bays.
They are small, cute and loveable – no I’m not referring to the people responsible for Gadgetspeak but the characters of a puzzle game from Wadjey Eye.
While not in the same class as the robots envisaged by Isaac Asimov in his numerous science fiction novels, the creations developed in Dr Hugo’s Robot Family are both loveable and amusing in their antics and appearance. These micro-characters are never put off their failures as they attempt a range of tasks that form an important part of their existence. But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here as we take a look at Puzzle Bots.
During the recent long summer spell of hot weather this was a lifesaver to me. The main difference between a fan and air conditioning, the latter costs a fortune to cool the air down, the former does not cool the air but you feel cooler.
Yes you can buy a fan for £20 – in fact I have even seen small ones advertised for under a tenner – but of course they have blades and in most cases only a single power setting. A blade is lethal to birds and nasty for children. Open the box and there are two parts the top ring with a portion of the stem and the rest of the stem including all the electronics and the power lead. The two parts just fit together, site the unit and switch on that’s all you need to do.
It has been a while since I got my hands on a LiteOn product but the arrival of an external DVD Writer brought this wait to an end.
This is a very different mouse from the ones we have all been using since the early 80’s when the first graphic interfaces were produces. This works by protecting the wrist from the dreaded RSI (repetitive strain injury).
Forget the normal size and shape this is designed to fit your hand size (small, medium or large), in fact there are three categories so nine possible combinations exist. First the size as above, then the colour black, white or silver and then type transparent, corded or wireless. My hand fits a medium mouse, it was black and cordless. It looks a little like a stealth jet with the whole hand lying over the unit and most importantly this includes your wrist. It is 17cm long 12cm wide and between .
First a rather nice small Bluetooth earpiece from Plantronics. The other item is from Brando those clever USB people in Hong Kong; it is a natty Bluetooth Audio receiver to allow you to remove the wires from almost any audio device.
It is 5x1.5x2cm this does include the clear plastic hook that fits over the ear to keep the unit in place once twisted into position in the ear. Not only is this small but also very light at only 10grams. It is black with silvered edges and a silver stripe down the front.