From its early beginnings with flip-books, animation has developed into a skilled art form that can take full advantage of a computer’s processing power.
Animation was once the preserve of skilled artists with access to expensive equipment. Then computers came along and animation was made available to those who could afford powerful systems with top-of-the-range graphics capability and oodles of memory. Fortunately computer prices fell as performance improved and along came Reallusion. This company is responsible for a product entitled iClone which was priced within many users’ budget constraints.
Last year I reviewed the Edirol from Roland (25-7-08) it got a well earned highly commended. In some ways this is less easy to use, in others it offers more bells and whistles. So the choice if you want a serious portable .WAV and MP3 recorder that does not break the bank the choice lies between the two.
The ZoomH2 Handy Recorder is a little larger at 11x6x3cm but the first difference is that it has four microphones built in. It weights 158grams (with two AA batteries inserted). You can record from the front 90degree angle. The rear 180 degree and all round great for placing the recorder in the middle of a larger group. The right side has USB socket, Line In, External Microphone Input and three position Microphone Gain Switch.
Adobe Photoshop is probably the most full featured image manipulation package on the market. The latest version is CS4 in fact there are two versions CS4 and Extended. Here I am looking at two books the first ‘for Dummies and the second Digital Classroom.
I have read a good number of the Dummies books and while certain of them might be classed for novices it certainly is not the case here. While the bulk of the book is for the standard version it does mention the Extended version in the last of the main chapters, but if you have the extended version and want to get the best out of it then more detailed (heavier) books are for you. This is written by Peter Bauer who knows more about Photoshop than most.
While the main focus on Acer’s acquisitions of companies last year was on the Gateway and Packard Bell deals, it was all too easy to miss one further acquisition. Almost slipping under the radar was Acer’s take over of E-Ten Information Systems Co. Ltd.
This is the first 32inch full HD TV I have reviewed, not ‘HD ready’ but showing full HD and I can assure you it gives a far nicer view even when viewing standard TV down your aerial and is the first digital TV I have seen where I prefer the digital image to that available from the Analogue channels.
This is the first 32inch HD TV I have reviewed, ‘HD ready’ but showing full HD and I can assure you it gives a far nicer view even when viewing standard TV down your aerial and is the first digital TV I have seen where I prefer the digital image to that available from the Analogue channels. The unit is 80x51.5cm with the viewable area 70x39.5cm giving the diagonal measurement of 31½ inches.
Adding television reception to your computer has never been easier with various companies offering products. This next product was developed by Pinnacle but now forms part of the Hauppauge portfolio
You could almost sat that this is another example of “dig for victory” following last week’s look at farm management for the casual gamer.
The first is described as an easy mobile phone with SMS ideal for those with poor sight. The second is a Wi-Fi phone giving low cost calls via Wireless Lan or Wi-Fi. These two show that Doro are not just a home/office phone company.
This phone has a rubberised finish and gives the immediate impression that it would withstand the odd knock or three. It is black and 10.5x5.5x1.5cm it weights 92grams. The screen is 3.6x2.7cm. There are 15 keys below the screen with the numeric keys being 1.5x.8cm and the top row (answer, return and hang up) being even larger at 1.5x1.2cm. The screen can display up to eight lines of text that is very clear and easy to read.
Small is better when it comes to storing data or sending it via email. Compression software can help.
Apart from a brief flirtation with another compression utility many years ago, I have been firmly committed to using the various versions of WinZip as my utility of choice for compressing data for emailing and other purposes. Now part of the Corel family, WinZip is up to version 12 with both Standard and Pro versions being available. This review is based on the Pro version which offers the ability to compress data and carry out various management tasks.
I can safely say this is the most powerful Vista notebook that I have reviewed. So should you be requiring speedy graphics you might like to cast your gaze in this direction as the Nvidia Geforce 9650M GT 1GB can help you in your pursuit.
First the size, the battery does stick out in the centre of the back so I will give the depth including the battery. It is 35x28x4cm. The viewable area of the screen is 33x21cm giving the notional diagonal screen measurement of 15½ inches. It weights 2.9kilos. Next a quick move around the outside, on the left there are two USB ports a full size Firewire, PCI Express and an E-Sata. On the front a card slot for SD and MS and mini Firewire port and three audio sockets.
Here I am looking at a traditional board game which is great when several of you have an hour or more to spend around a table. The other offering is for the Nintendo DS Lite multiple versions of the Rubics Cube.
This is a board game from Ravensburger one of the biggest names in games in the world. Certainly a game for the family it is stated as age 10-99 and for 3-6 players. Timing is given as 45 minutes but maybe because those who tried it were all novices we found it took at least an hour. The contents of the 37x27x5cm box are the game board, six player tokens, eighteen starting cards, 127 transport tickets. One travel log and a baseball cap. The board is 66x40cm (stored in the box folded in four).
While we are often encouraged, and sometimes make the effort, to be energy efficient with regards to our home and car environment, the home computer is generally an area that is neglected in this respect.
For those who cannot afford or need the complexity of Adobe Photoshop, then Adobe Photoshop Elements has long been one of the major alternatives. Here I look at both the latest ‘Elements’, Photoshop and Premier.
It seems an a very long time ago (a hot summer day) when I saw a demo of this at Adobes London office, the box product was delayed and only arrived just when I was in the middle of so many special Christmas items. I finally got to look at it over the Christmas break and then delved deeper during January. It took 17 minutes to install on a reasonably fast Vista system and it needed just over 1GB of storage space.
Recently I have been talking to my computer. This should not be regarded as a sign of any mental disturbance but more to do with testing the latest speech recognition software from Nuance.
Nuance, the leading provider of speech solutions, has released the latest version of its best selling speech recognition software. This is Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS from now on) which is now up to version 10 and arrives just over two years after version 9. The product is available in Standard, Preferred, Preferred Wireless and Mobile, and Professional flavours. This review is based on DNS Preferred.
In the past I have played numerous games dealing with the management of various types of businesses and involved the building and running of hotels, theme parks, airports and even a prison or two. Now I have the opportunity to try by hand at farming with Ranch Rush, a game developed by Fresh Games and published by MumboJumbo.
This mobile phone has the back sliding to the right to reveal a full keyboard, great for those of us not exactly fast as multiple presses of the numeric type keyboards to send a text message, mind you the keys are red on red with both white and black lettering a bit garish.
It is 10x4.5x1.5 closed and the second figure increases to 8cm when slid open. The weight is 109grams. It is a red sandwich with the front and the back black with this red area in the middle. The screen is 5x3.7cm. Below the screen are nine buttons, the central five arranged in the form of a ‘+’ with the normal green answer and red hang up the lower ones each side and two hot keys above these.
Although its main purpose is to play music and videos, my iPod also comes in useful when testing products such as a speaker system from Logic3.
The presence of an “i” as a suffix to a product’s title can certainly give the clue that it belongs to the numerous offerings developed with the iPod market in mind. Falling into this category is the i-Station25 product from the UK company, Logic3. The i-Station25 is a speaker system that has been designed for use with the iPod and iPhone products. Decked out in black with a silver trim, this wedge shaped speaker system measures 154 x 170 x 103mm (H x W x D).
This is a small dual recorder unit. That means you can record either one or two channels simultaneously and even replay something else already recorded at the same time. Being a modern unit it can also be set to record a whole series of a program whilst setting it only once.
The TVonics DTR-Z250 measures 18x24x7cm with leads plugged in, so a lot smaller in width and depth than most such units. It weights less than a kilo and a half. This is black and the only thing you see on the front is one of two red LED’s and possibly a couple of smaller green ones dependant on the mode, however, everything is shown on the screen of the TV. The one thing I miss is a visible clock.
These four items are all tiny and each would fit in the pocket without a bulge. The first to give light, the second for those little important jobs, the third another torch but this charges using Solar power and lastly something to look after your digits.
This is a small torch designed to fit on a keyring or attached to a clip in a bag or purse. It is 5.5cm long and less than 2cm round at the front. It has three LED’s that give an extremely bright light. It is powered by a set of four AG15 watch type batteries. Twist the front to turn it on/off and the beam lights up an area over ten metres away. The package does warn you about shining it in your eyes. Excellent light and it now resides on my keyring.
Asus certainly created a stir when the company launched its original mini-notebook that was the flag bearer for the various netbook models that have appeared from a range of manufacturers. Now fashion forms part of the latest Asus product.
With the tag line of “Fashion-on-the-go Made Eeeasy”, Asus has released its Eee PC S101 model which will be available in various colours. The review unit featured a metallic brown top with silver crystal-adorned hinges. Despite the propensity of the top cover to attract finger prints (they are easily wiped away using a supplied cloth), the S101 has an attractive, stylish appearance. Measuring 264 x 180.