With paddle in hand and a ball under control, the latest Arkanoid-style game from Alawar has been keeping me busy of late.
Many years ago I had my first encounter with the game of Breakout which required you to destroy rows of bricks using a ball and a paddle. Little did I think then that this game format would survive and evolve over a period in excess of twenty years. Since those early implementations, the game has changed out of all recognition as multiple balls, power-ups, bonuses and all-manner of theme-based environments now appear as standard offerings.
Not small and not big this 13.3inch offering from Acer might be just the size for those who need to travel and also need to work in an office. The lid is a dark chocolate brown so may well appeal to the ladies.
The Acer Aspire 3935 is 32x23x2.5cm and weights a modest 1.87kilos. Apart from the dark chocolate lid and keyboard surround the rest of the unit is the more normal black. The left side has power input, VGA output, two USB ports and 3.5mm microphone and earbud sockets. The front is clear as the edge is feathered up to just a centimetre. The right side has the slot mounted DVD multi drive one further USB port a small Firewire port and the all important Ethernet port.
Whether you adopt the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra or can not help making adjustments, you could benefit from using a set o software tools from Avanquest.
As its title indicates, Fix-It Utilities is a collection of tools that offer to keep your computer system performing at its optimum capacity. The last time I took a look at this particular product was with version 7 which displayed a “Works with Windows Vista” logo. That logo has now changed to indicate the product “Works with Windows XP & Windows Vista” with this current version 9 (I seemed to have missed out on version 8).
A phone company perhaps better known in Europe, I have previously reviewed offering from them both for the home and mobile. Here I am looking at two different mobile phones aimed squarely at the older age group who might be new to the idea.
It is 12.5x5.5x1.5cm with a white face and black back. It weights 95grams. The screen is 3.7x2.2cm and a mono display. It has a total of 20 keys and perhaps most important three of the keys labelled A B and C are one touch dials ideal for those who perhaps struggle to remember numbers. So ‘A’ might be their daughter, ‘B’ might be a neighbour and ‘C’ maybe the doctor.
Yes two more useful USB gadgets from the people in Hong Kong that charge a flat rate postage and packing fee of $3 US no matter what the size of your order. First a Micro SD Card reader that is also an MP3 player and second a model plane that is a speaker.
Like a number of things from Brando this does two jobs. It looks just like a memory stick and is 5x2x1cm mine was transparent orange but they do other colours. It inserts in any normal USB socket (ver 1.1 or 2). Just above the bit that plugs in is a slit for you to insert a Micro SD card. The PC will then read it and you can add MP3 or WMA files to it. This action also charges the internal MP3 player. Remove the unit and plug earbuds (supplied) into the other end.
Unlike other Website design packages I’ve seen, a product from Mr Site uses the Web as its construction environment.
Fresh from a mountaineering trip up Everest, I set out once again but this time to explore the Amazon Rain Forest.
Following on from Hidden Expedition Everest reviewed recently, Focus Multimedia has now released the next title in the series, namely Hidden Expedition Amazon. Although this game takes a different approach in some respects, it still retains the basic hidden object style of game play.
Buy the BlackBerry Pearl from T-Mobile and the included SIM gives you 12 months worth of web access and emails included in the price. Yes this is still a phone as well (you do need to pay for phone calls) but it means you email can follow you everywhere.
The Blackberry Pearl 8110 is 10.5x5x1.2cm, mine was silver and chrome and it weights 90grams. It comes with a rather neat leather slip case. The TFT screen is 4x4cm. Below the screen there is a sort of QWERTY keyboard and this is the thing that might stop this unit being a roaring success. The keys are .8x.
A new product from Sandberg offers to add ease-of-use and increase functionality when linking devices by HDMI.
A few years ago, when linking together home entertainment devices such as a television, VCR, DVD player and games console, the accepted standard was to use SCART. With the television at the heart of the link-up, you could use a SCART lead to make the necessary connection to the appropriate device. However many televisions were designed with a single SCART socket.
Gardening and I have never been even closely compatible as partners but maybe after playing this game I should try even harder.
Whenever I have attempted to place any bulb or seed in the ground, the results have more in common with a buried rather than a planting. Fortunately this next game brings together these two types of event. Appropriately entitled Plants vs. Zombies is a game conceived and designed by George Fan (I would hate to share his nightmares), who was previously responsible for Insaniquarium (a title I seem to have missed out on). Supporting both the Windows and Mac platforms, Plants vs.
My own modem/router started playing up just a couple of weeks ago and a few days before this arrived it gave up working at all, the wireless side had stopped working some months ago and recently I had to reboot it often two or three times a day.
So when a modem/router suggests that you need no knowledge to attach a new unit I took this with a large pinch of salt. Insert the CD and it autostarts. A number of questions are asked – and answered – by the information already held within the PC. A range of tests are conducted – by the unit – and then it reboots itself. Done, no questions at all. However the one proviso is that your PC was live and then this scenario is correct.
As well as its takeover of Pinnacle’s PCTV line up, Hauppauge has added to its portfolio product with the release of its WinTV-HVR 900 offering.
This product is a hybrid stick receiver which means it is capable of delivery both analogue and digital television signals for watching and recording on your Windows XP system. Making up this kit is the USB stick device; IR (Infrared) remote control with battery; USB extension lead; audio/video input cable; portable TV antenna; folded Quick Installation Guide; and a software CD.
Another quality inkjet AIO (All In One) from Canon. When closed it looks like a grey box with a black trim round the top edge. However lift the small lid at the front and a large TFT is revealed together with the buttons to control it.
The Canon Pixma MP980 measures 44x38x19cm when closed, insert A4 paper in the rear tray and the last figure the height increases by 20cm, that is also enough to insert anything on the flatbed as it will enable the landscape lid to be lifted to around 45 degrees. The 9x7cm TFT display can be adjusted to anything just over 100 degrees from horizontal meaning if you are viewing from above or below you should be able to get a clear view.
It has been a long time since I have told you about some of the recent Naim offerings that come under the broad heading of Jazz. Jazz in itself is a word that means many things to many people, my preference is modern but not experimental.
If you have a general liking for Jazz then a Sampler is a good way – at a reduced price – to see exactly where your preferences lie. Here there are ten tracks from ten different groups. To give you an example of the ten three or possibly four were in my comfort zone. I will just mention the names on this sampler but beside each track it tells you the CD (and the number) each one comes from.
As the computer mouse develops and expands its functionality, there is still a market for the more basic model.
Walk into any computer store, whether it is part of a national chain or an independent outlet, and you will probably see a number of mice vying for your attention. Evolving from the basic two-buttoned, ball controlled model with a physical connection to the dedicated mouse port on your computer, the modern mouse now comes in an assortment of sizes and shapes with varying degrees of functionality.
Kodak sells a lot of cameras and I get asked why do I not review more of them? Well here is one I was recently sent that has amazing zoom capabilities and it looks like a quality unit around the size of a DSLR.
This is the Kodak Z980 camera and it measures 12x8.5x10.5cm, the last figure the width can vary substantially when in use as the zoom lens moves out between 2 and 6cm when the camera is switched on. It runs on four rechargeable ‘AA’ batteries and they and the charger are supplied. The weight with supplied neck strap attached is 540grams.
For those who feel that they do not want the full protection and functionality offered by Norton Internet Security 2009, Symantec has released Norton AntiVirus 2009 with AntiSpyware (NAS 2009).
As with its main Internet Security product, NAS 2009 comes with one year protection for up to three computers per household which should cover most family set ups. Installing the product on my notebook proved to be painless but not as quick as I expected. As part of its installation routine NAS 2009 checks for updates and downloads any found. In my case, this took 13 minutes.
Around 18 months or so ago photo frames were are the rage, ‘the new must have thing’ well at that time I was given one – well almost one – by Sony and now another has materialised by AgfaPhoto, so lets look at both.
First the explanation of my statement above. I attended a Sony event in the summer of 2007 where lots of new things were shown and indeed the camera division kept their word and you have heard about their offerings. However – despite numerous reminders – the PC side did not and while I asked for a 10inch photo frame this never happened.
It is only after one has been using a machine for quite a while that you start to wonder whether the memory can be upgraded and whether there would be any benefit in doing so. This is one upgrade that can be relatively straightforward and within the grasp of many technically aware PC users. It is made simpler by the informative web sites of memory suppliers Crucial and Kingston.
Both notebooks and desktop machines are modular in construction. This means that, in general, they can be fitted with different amounts of memory. As, when they are bought, the maximum possible is often not installed it can frequently be useful to increase the available memory. In general it is simpler to upgrade a notebook because the memory slots are just located under a cover on the underside of the machine while, with a desktop, it is necessary to open up the complete machine.
While you may recognise the name of Memorex, you might not be so familiar with the company’s new focus on your life with regards to in-home entertainment.