Diamonds, according to the song, are a “girl’s best friend”. They are also a popular topic of interest when developers are looking for a hook on which to hang the storyline of their latest game.
The latest example of a game with a diamond theme to make its presence felt on my desktop is Amazing Adventures Around the World. This is a Popcap re-release now available from Focus Multimedia. Those familiar with the SpinTop Games developed Amazing Adventures series will not be surprised to discover that this title combines hidden object and puzzle solving game play. The game sets you the task of finding the World Diamond.
A phone with a keyboard that slips out of the side. It of course does everything else a phone does nowadays such as email, messages, Internet, camera, ironing and washing up, well maybe not the last two but they well could soon.
The GW520 from LG measures 10.5x5x1.5cm, with keyboard out the middle figure the width increases to 8.5cm. It weights only 125grams. It has a black screen surround and sides the rest is silver grey. The touchscreen is 6x3.5cm. There are just three buttons below the touchscreen, these are ‘call’, ‘multi-tasking’ and ‘end’, the last mentioned is also the on/off button. It takes four seconds to switch it off and sixteen seconds to switch the unit on.
One way to keep your computer virus-free is to invest in the protection offered by a product such as BitDefender Antivirus.
It is always nice to be stretched by a DSLR unit. This one from Nikon would make an ideal stepping stone for a competent Digital Camera user before going on to a professional unit if indeed they intend to progress further.
The Nikon D3000 Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera measures 12x9.5x15cm to the end of the closed lens. This unit is a kit and comes with an 18-55mm lens. The total weight with neck strap fitted is 840grams. Unusually for a DSLR it has a Quick Start sheet to help those you have not used one before. There is also a 64 page User Manual to let you adjust to doing more than ‘point and shoot’.
With Christmas no longer a distance away, time for serious thought. Here first a game suitable for either two players or solo. Second another of Ravensburger’s great jigsaws maybe a gift for someone on their own to enjoy.
The recessed game boards are 22x22cm with a playing area of 14x14cm that is exactly the same size as 16 labyrinth tiles (four by four) that fit in the space. Although the tile faces are cardboard they fit in red and blue plastic holders so to protect them from wear. If you add two magicians, sixteen 7x7cm object cards and the book of rules (24 pages in six languages) you have the contents of the box. It is based on a game by Prof. Dr. Max Kobbert that is now over twenty years old.
No matter how much hard disk storage space we start with, there will come a time when more is required either for local use or as a means of transporting data.
Described as a compact, lightweight, portable storage solution, the Buffalo MiniStationLite is an external hard drive. This product is available in Crystal Black, Ruby Red or Pearl White with a choice of 250, 320 or 500GB capacity. This review is based on the Ruby Red 250GB model. Comparable to the Seagate’s FreeAgent Go with regards to size and weight, the MiniStationLite dimensions are 129.6 x 80.6 x 15.5mm and weighs 190g.
This is a Netbook but not with the normal 1.6GHz Atom processor. This has a 1.33GHz Atom processor meaning it uses less power so you should be able to get eight hours of battery life. The slightly larger screen displays 1366x768.
This Acer Netbook measures 28x21x3cm and weights 1.35kilos. It has a shiny lid (shows fingermarks) a matt black base and silver grey keyboard surround. The larger battery (to give the eight hour battery life) sticks out 2cm from the back and the back of the sides are chamfered slightly meaning that the items at the back of each side (Ethernet and VGA) protrude back slightly. The left side has Ethernet, AC input, two USB ports, and microphone and headset sockets.
Described as “archaeology meets adventure” style offering, Barrow Hill: Curse of the Ancient Circle is an adventure-style game that is set in Cornwall.
According to Sod’s Law, the battery on your mobile device will run out when you need it the most. But, like a boy scout, you can be prepared.
At the beginning of the year I reported on my first encounter with a product from Powertraveller Ltd. This is a company that supports the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation ( ) which funds long term projects in Africa and Asia aimed at species survival in their native habitat. The product was the unusually named powermonkey-eXplorer.
Two very different approaches to music through a speaker. First the rather grand Yamaha offering that enables your iPod to be located away from the speaker. Second a small (fits in pocket) speaker to give a good sound for iPod or MP3.
This seems like an easy mix. Place your iPod in the wireless sender that fits around your iPod it sends signals to the speaker and sound comes out. Not what happened for me, I assumed (wrongly) that the speaker was faulty and a replacement was sent, still no joy. Then it was suggested I upgrade the firmware in my series one iPod Nano, now upgraded to version 1.31 all works correctly.
Time travel, friendly animal characters, hidden objects and numerous mini games all features in this Alawar title.
Recently my nightly slumbers have been interrupted on a number of occasions by shrieking sounds. It didn’t take me too long to discover that the sounds were coming from a family of urban foxes as they explored the local rubbish bins. Maybe the developers of this next title encountered a similar state of affairs thus giving them the idea of the trouble that two inquisitive fox cubs could get up to without too much effort.
First another in the range of Doro mobile phones for those less agile and or with disabilities. Second a DECT cordless phone suitable for anyone’s home and it includes a built in answering machine for those times you are not there
This is almost like a normal mobile phone except it has the larger buttons and an easy to read display. It has Bluetooth and MMS and even a built in FM radio. It is a flip phone and when closed the black back makes it look like ant other phone. However open it up and the white face with vibrant green piping around the edges make it stand out for the visually impaired. There are just 18 keys all well spaced apart. The bottom four rows are the normal 1-0 and * #.
Either of these items would make a great Christmas gift, but give some thought to the receiptant as the first one runs backwards. The second is a more conventional al la Wallace and Gromit ‘conventional’ both are great fun.
At first look this may seem bizarre, however it works exactly like a normal Quartz clock with the twelve at the top and the six at the bottom but there the similarity ends as to the right of twelve is eleven and the sweep second hand goes anti clockwise (as do the hour and minute hands) if you are still confused look at the clock in a mirror and all will make sense. This is great talking point and during my tests it kept perfect time.
Photos and video clips are meant to be viewed not hidden away on your hard disk. So put them to some productive use.
Having recently looked at a LG offering that had Ethernet options, I now see the latest Sony offering the BDP-S360 that also allows Ethernet to play a part. However first and foremost it is a rather nice full featured Blu-ray player.
The BDP-S360 measures 43x22x5.5cm and weights less than two kilos. It is matt black with the exception of the drop down front and top front edge that are both shiny black plastic that of course shows every finger mark. Somewhat surprisingly you do have to visit the unit not only to insert and remove DVD’s or Blu-ray discs but also to open the door to insert and remove as much to my surprise there is no open/close button on the remote control.
No matter how careful you are, modern devices often show evidence of any handling by the user. Instead of wearing gloves you might consider this solution.
Lex, the cute and friendly bookworm, returns for his third outing in a Popcap developed word creating game. This time Lex stars in the sequel to Bookworm Adventures which, appropriately enough in the style of Hollywood blockbusters, is entitled Bookworm Adventures 2. Yet again your ability to form words from alphabetical tiles, while managing health and power resources, is put to the test as Lex takes on another batch of characters in a series of one-on-one (well some of the time) contests.
Much to my surprise this bigger unit was launched before the Zx1 that I reviewed earlier this year (10-6-09). For some reason it was long after the Zx1 that I found out about it. So what does it have going for it apart from a larger screen?
This unit was far from new when it arrived and certain of the items were missing. However as it works on the same principle as the so I was able to use it without problem. Not only is the screen larger but to accommodate that so is everything else. The Kodak Zi6 measures 11.5x6x2cm and it weights 160grams, my unit was black but I see they do other colours including pink for the ladies. The face has the 5x3.
When a game plan proves popular, it makes sense to return to fertile ground (especially when the subject matter involves farming) by creating further titles for the enjoyment of users. The result of this type of approach can be seen with Farm Frenzy 3 from the Alawar Entertainment and Melestra stable.
Having just reviewed a rather nice Vista PC with a 1.4GHz Intel processor the next unit in has exactly the same processor and memory configuration, this unit also has a very thin screen and is also quite nice and light.
The MSI X-Slim X-340 measures 33x22.5x1.5cm and weights less than 1.3kilos. It is black, matt on the base and keyboard surround, but rather strangely fingermark showing shiny black for the screen surround and lid. It has an 87key keyboard with all but the top (function keys) full size. The only things behind the keyboard are the hinges with the power on button on the top right edge. The trackpad is in front of the keyboard 10.