Like fish & chips, bread & butter or UK Bank Holidays and their associated rain and traffic jams, the keyboard and mouse go together hand-in-hand.
While it is possible to purchase a keyboard and mouse as separate items, there are several desktop sets available that bring together these elements as your interactive tools for communicating with your computer. One such example recently arriving on my workspace for testing is the Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 product which comes with the claim of “Being designed for comfort”.
Speech recognition on mobiles hasn't moved beyond answering the odd call - Vlingo aim to improve matters!
One of my favourite moments in film history is Star Trek's Scottie, travelling back in time, sternly calling “Computer............ Computer...................” at a 20th century computer screen. Getting no response he believes the computer to be broken. Well we all know that technology has brought us voice recognition applications on computers and now Vlingo are making this part of our daily lives with their mobile voice recognition sotrware.
In the six weeks between this being first shown and my boxed copy arriving I have made good use of the DVD given to me at the time. I installed it on my Windows 7 system and it was great all my photos and videos are now properly tagged.
However I never review other than boxed products and I reviewed it on a Vista system and it also ran well on that. It takes around 12 minutes to install and just over 1½GB of hard disc space. However I know someone who installed it on an XP system where it took a great deal longer to install. This was designed for Windows 7 and even takes full advantage of touch screens when they are actually around in the real world.
A clear Perspex face (black letters on a clear background) and either a white of black surround. This is an alarm clock but an alarm clock that only wakes you at the required time should your sleep pattern not allow a gentle wake, up to 30 minutes earlier.
The clock is 12x12x4cm with the display area the central 5x5cm portion. The left side has the speaker while the right top corner has a wheel and two push buttons that make up the controls. Being of mature years (old) means I do not tend to sleep well and despite weeks of trying I was always awake when the alarm was due so although I was probably dozing my movements were too much for the early wake up to work. You can set two different alarms so this clock can wake two people at different times.
When is a laptop not a laptop? A general answer might be when it is a netbook while a more specific answer could be when it is an Aspire One.
Currently Acer has released six different versions of the Aspire One, starting with the Linux driven unit and followed up with Windows XP and the business targeted Pro model. This review is based on the Aspire One D250 product that includes the Android operating system with dual booting capabilities. Available in a choice of Ruby Red, Seashell White, Diamond Black or, in the case of the review model, Sapphire Blue, the Aspire One D250 measures a compact 258.5 x 184 x 25.
This is a rather nice 2.1speaker system. 2.1 means two satellite speakers and a sub woofer. The speakers could be used with a PC or perhaps more likely as an output from a device such as an iPod or MP3 with a 3.5mm socket.
The satellites are 13.5x12x10cm maximum at the base and the latter is only 3.5cm at the top. The sub woofer is 12x22x26cm but as it is side firing is the 26cm actually the face? The sub woofer is made of wood coloured matt black, it has a silver grey ring round the speaker and the feet are the same colour both are not wood. The satellites are plastic, black in colour with the same silver grey colour for the trim. A 1.5metre mains lead is hard wired into the back of the sub woofer.
You do have a backup schedule, don’t you? If not then read on…….
Known as the Burning Company, Nero has put this expertise to work and come up with a backup product appropriately titled Nero BackItUp & Burn. Now up to version 5, this product is aimed at those who want to save their multimedia content through the use of secure automatic backup facilities. For those who like to taste before they buy, a trial version can be downloaded from .
Putting fish together with chips (the processor not the food type) makes an enjoyable and visual experience as Playrix demonstrates with this new offering.
There seem to be more new Netbooks around than Notebooks. Here a small offering from Sony, I wonder why part numbers need to be complicated W11SIE is hardly likely to flow off your tongue when you pop down to your dealers.
The Sony Vaio W11SIE netbook measures 26.5x17.5x2.5cm and weights 1120grams. Mine was a lovely matt white (with a hint of blue) colour apart from the silver vaio inset into the lid. The battery raises the base by around .5cm to give the keyboard some rake. The back is clear as the screen folds down over it. Front has wireless on/off slider, two card slots one for MS and one for SD, three LED’s and the slider to turn the unit on.
StarOffice 9 is an office suite that is file compatible with Microsoft Office and will meet the needs of the majority of people – especially as it has the same look and feel with which we are familiar with in MS Office 2003. This could be an important benefit as many people find it difficult, in view of the major changes that have been introduced, to migrate to MS Office 2007.
Using it, one is able to carry out the usual range of tasks in: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and drawing & graphics. Completed documents can be saved in a wide range of formats including PDFs. StarOffice 9 is based on the OpenOffice.org project and so is, in effect, a chargeable version of the free downloadable office suite. In fact, when comparing the two, with the exception of cosmetic differences, it is not easy to find the differences.
When is a mobile phone just a mobile phone, plaun and simple? The answer is when it is a Doro.
Mobile phones have quickly developed into a sort of Frankenstein monster with their multi-functional make up. Where ever you look, mobile phones are appearing with PIM software, email receiving and Internet browsing options plus photographic capabilities, music downloading and playing features, video watching and game playing activities. Just by checking on your own mobile phone you can see how true this observation is.
Sometimes having to wait a while to see something is a good thing. If it is still around a year after you requested it then it probably does the job it is meant to, sometimes however the world has moved on. Here I am looking at a very small projector either hand held or mounted on a tripod.
The projector is 12.5x5.5x2cm, silver grey top and bottom and matt black around all four sides. It weights 158 grams. Do not expect to get a huge image but I happily displayed an image 60cm away on a white wall and this gave a near 40x30cm image from jpg images, The stated resolution is 640x480 which is considerably better than its sibling the T10 that is only £80 less than it, it can also display movies and play MP3 files.
Two unusual items from those clever Hong Kong people. Neither of which will break the bank. First a combination lock to fit on a USB stick to keep your data safe. Second what looks like an old cassette tape but of course it isn’t.
Basically the sort of thing you have to lock a bicycle chain. However no chain is attached. There is a small keyring on the edge so you can attach it to a bunch of keys. It is 2.7x2.5x1.2cm and weights just 5grams. Of course it will not stop your USB stick being stolen but it might deter people if they are just after ‘nicking the stick’. If you are using the two piece USB stick the top covering the connection is what normally disappears and this can replace that.
Wireless mice have many advantages but can cause frustrating when their battery dies in the middle of carrying out an important task. Perhaps a rechargeable mouse might be the solution.
Unless you are quite young you (or your parents) will remember the Polaroid camera. Take an image and it was printed on rather yucky paper and the image that soon faded if left in sunlight. This is something rather different.
It is 12x7.5x3.5cm and weights 315grams. It is predominately matt black with the tops and side silver grey. It is a conventional digital camera with the Polaroid Zinc printer built in. However unlike the earlier offerings you do not have to print everything. In fact should you wish take ten or twenty images and then only print what you want as it has a TFT screen where you can review everything you take.
To produce decent drawings a suitable drawing program is needed. Version X3, the latest incarnation of Serif’s DrawPlus program appears to be easy to use as well as being very versatile and so can be used for a wide variety of different types of drawing.
It is quite easy to get started with the program and produce acceptable results. The on-line videos give one a good idea of what can be done even though they move too fast to enable one to really learn how to do things. On the other hand, I found the program’s help, accessed as usual via F1, was both appeared comprehensive and easily understood. This is due to a large extent to the fact that the text is often supplemented by illustrations.
A trend that is becoming increasingly popular is to use a laptop as a desktop replacement. Falling into this category is the Asus F70SL model.
On reflection I have to admit that reflective surfaces do not rank high in my list of attributes for a variety of devices. It is not just that they reflect images, including that of my visage, but they tend to become disfigured with finger smear and the like. However I shall put these feelings to one side as I report on the Asus F70SL laptop which definitely falls into the category of desktop replacement model.
Usually sequels follow on pretty quickly from the original offering. However there are exceptions but they do not normally take five years to make an appearance.
This is not just an Analogue and Digital TV but also (as far as I know) Panasonic are the only manufacturer to put Freesat inside the unit, so just add your satellite dish for the complete solution with both Freeview and Freesat.
The Panasonic TX-L37G10B TV measures 89x55x10cm the latter figure with leads inserted in the back. The viewable area is 82x46.5cm giving the notional 37inch measurement. The base raises it by 6cm and is 40x28cm. First tuning on Digital also finds however Analogue channels you have. In my case six as I still have my video recorder connected. The channels on Digital are shown in four categories. TV ‘Free’ 59 ‘Pay’ 5 ‘Data’ 11. Finally Radio 23.
Although my laptop has the standard touchpad for controlling the cursor, it is a device that I have never felt comfortable with despite several attempts to adjust. As a result I always attach a mouse such as the one which is the subject of this next review.