Have you ever wondered about the origin of certain high-tech devices that appear in the various James Bond movies? Often these devices are based on actual equipment available today as I discovered on a recent shopping expedition.
It may come as a surprise to discover that a visit to a certain shop located in Central London (actually in Portman Square just off Oxford Street), is high on the agenda for those involved in coming up with the equipment for these flights of fancy.
As in many areas of technology the humble digital picture frame, a fresh idea only a couple
of years back, has evolved to take on more functions.
This particular incarnation from Linx includes a slide-show picture viewer along with an MP3 and Video player. First of all the hardware. The screen is a bright 8 inch display with a viewable area of 18cm by 10cm givin it an aspect ratio of 16:9. Resolution is 800x600. All of the controls and connections are on the rear of the unit, including the two small 1.5W stereo speakers.
Not a Sonic Screwdriver but a Sonic Toothbrush, this will not Ė as far as I know Ė open locks and solve the secrets of the universe but it will according to Philips get your teeth two shades whiter in two weeks.
Due to a dentist drilling on a nerve when I was seven it was a long time before I went again and because of that my teeth were in a state. I have been fortunate since my early twenties to have the same dentist (over forty years) and now I trust him totally. I have been using this offering from Philips for over a month and while my yellowed offerings may or may not be lighter they do feel cleaner as do my mouth gums and tongue. The unit is 25cm long and the main body is 10cm in circumference.
Fashion has reached even the most mundane of computer peripherals with Toshiba, amongst others
launching a fashionable range of external hard disks to either transport or simply back-up your data.
Interesting for a fashionable product - there doesn't seem to be a product name - it's just a
"Toshiba External Hard Drive"
With fashion in mind Toshiba are shipping their drive in four sizes, with each getting a distinctive dash of colour, that also denotes the size : ; ; ; and the latest member of the family - . My test unit is the 320GB grey version. As well as the colour you have a shiny black case measuring approximately 16x 81 x 127mm (DxWxH) and weighing a very slight 155g.
As part of its recent updating of its product portfolio, Polaroid has added to its range of digital photo frames.
In the past I have looked at a couple of Digital Photo Frames from Polaroid. These have been of the smaller (7-inch) variety. Now it is the turn of a larger model. This is the Polaroid 10.2-inch Digital Photo Frame (XSU-01050B model) with support for MP3 music files. The products 10.2-inch display screen, with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution of 1024 x 600, is surrounded by a bevelled reflective black frame that increases the unit’s dimensions to 12.625 x 8.25 inches (W x H).
Just wonder whether a certain Hungarian Professor of Architecture and Design realised how long lasting his creation would be.
For some, the defining memory of the Eighties could well be that of the fiendishly clever, or perhaps you prefer the description of annoying, puzzle – namely the Rubik Cube. I have to confess to being one of the many who fell under the spell of this contraption and spent many hours in attempting to solve this puzzle developed by Erno Rubik, a Hungarian Professor of Architecture and Design.
This looks very like a DSLR but it isnít. In some ways itís a poor mans DSLR accept that the lens is fixed but what a lens and it has over 14x optical zoom. The other big bonus it is a lot cheaper than a DSLR.
It is 12.5cm wide 9cm tall and between 15 and 21cm wide dependant on where the lens is. It is not light at 970grams. So the neck strap is all important, in fact it will look exactly like a DSLR but it will cost a great deal less. Anyone who has focused using the sides of the lens on a DSLR will love the fact that’s exactly what you do here. Most DSLR come with the basic 18-55mm lens and should you require more that’s another lens to carry around.
The Franklin 12 Language speaking global translator is a small easy to carry tool for those who want to travel extensively and lightly. It comes with lots of other handy features including calculator, MP3 player, currency converter and address book - so may be the only gadgetry you need to carry with you.
This product is ideal if you travel often on business or for leisure but don't have time to learn the language. The Franklin 12 Language speaking global translator will translate to and from 12 languages in any combination. You choose the Source and Target language from: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. So not only can you translate from English to French and so on.
Storing your music collection in MP3 format is just the first stage as you let your creativity take over with help from a product from Magix.
Although various competitive formats have appeared since its introduction, MP3 remains the choice for many when storing their music. It does not matter whether the original tracks were stored on vinyl, tape, CD or Internet based sites, the content generally ends up in MP3 format on a computer’s hard disk. But once it there, what do you do with it? Magix MP3 Maker offers a range of features designed to help you take the next steps.
Like most people I'm very aware of the existence of Research In Motion (RIM) and their BlackBerry products. This is the first time I've used one in anger, and I'm pleased to say it's not all hype!
In this case I've been provided with the Blackberry Bold 9000. This is one of the wider variants that has a small, but full qwerty keyboard and a landscape orientated screen. Total dimensions are 114 x 66mm with a 16mm depth and a weight of 136g. The device feels very solid and well built. The rear of the device has a leather-like textured cover that is removed to insert the SIM card or to access the battery. For once it's good to see a cover with a proper clip that makes removal simple.
So at long last I get to see for a few days one of the biggest talking points of this year. It came with no documentation a Linux operating system and apart from an initial problem with Wireless connectivity it worked flawlessly.
It is 22x17x4cm and weights 1140grams. The screen is 19.5x11.5cm giving the notional 8.9 inch diagonal measurement. The screen is 1024x600. The processor is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom. It has 1GB of RAM. 20GB of storage. A 1.3 mega pixel webcam. 3xUSB ports. 2 year warranty. External VGA and Ethernet ports. Headphone and microphone sockets. SD card port and a very easy to use copy of Linux. It also has wireless and Bluetooth.
When the High School Musical Build-a-bear arrived in the Gadgetspeak office the editor and I had a short discussion over whether it counted as a gadget. It went like this: I said "Well it's not really a gadget" and our editor, Pete, said "But it's a fantastic product, and we like good products!" So here it is - the Build A Bear review.
I didn't have to go the Build A Bear workshop specially to do a review as my kids have already been several times. If you have kids under 10 it's a very special experience. And in fact whenever we've been there we've seen quite a few girls in their 20s putting their heart into their bear too. Build-A-Bear is a truly lovely concept. There are Build A Bear workshops (stores) all over the country now.
First an Energy Reducing Kettle and then a power saver device Audio Visual Standby. This is the third of my reviews from the Marks & Spencer Christmas In July event. The first two were of reasonably priced useful items, here I am less sure.
Is it just me but for many years I have added just the amount of water I want to the kettle not just for the point of view of saving the cost of electricity (a great deal more now than previously) but also for the fact it takes far less time to boil. The Marks & Spencer energy reducing kettle claims that it increases the efficiency of your kettle by up to 31%.
Computing for the Older and Wiser, by Adrian Arnold with the sub-title Get Up and Running on Your Home PC will not be of direct value to most GadgetSpeak readers. Nevertheless, I can recommend it to keep the Older and Wiser out of your hair.
All too often, we are called upon to assist someone who has just bought a machine. While this is not a problem in itself, frequently, the result of answering one or two simple questions can be the thin end of the wedge with the newbie just calling again instead of trying to resolve the problem themselves in the first instance.
Up until very recently the mention of the company Teufel would have meant nothing to me. But that was before I was introduced to Thorsten Reuber, Managing Director at Lautsprecher Teufel GmbH which should give the clue that this is not a UK company.
In fact Teufel is a German company which started life as a single Berlin store back in 1979. Since then the company has developed into Europe’s leading direct seller of loudspeaker systems. Now Teufel is bring its direct selling approach of combining quality products with a more aggressive pricing attitude to the UK via the Internet.
An eco friendly hairdryer that is great value, will save you money on electricity, dry your hair fast and give you a smoother than normal finish - unbelieveable but true!
The Babyliss Eco Dry is a lightweight hair dryer that saves you half the energy of a normal 2000W hair dryer. I love being impressed by the products I review - and much to my surprise this one did. Whilst you might normally associate a powerful hair dryer with weight, this one is incredibly light. I was equally surprised by just how much power comes out of this neat hair dryer with quite a blast.
I have not seen the Disney film myself but I still know it is the hit of the year as far as the kids are concerned so I have little doubt that these robot toys will be the top of Santaís list for a great deal of pester power generation.
I must start with a warning these products are extremely difficult to remove from the packaging. If you are giving this as a gift I suggest that it is extracted from the packaging first as by the time you have done it the child will be bored. I found six ties that go right through the packaging and need to be fed out to allow Wall.e to look as if he can be extracted.
We all know we should backup our important data. We all intend to back up our important data. We'll
definitely back up that important data... tomorrow.
The issue of how to back up your data is not new but also has not been solved for the average user. Despite a huge number of software solutions I've yet to find anything that actually works and is practical. Want a solution that will save your data from the most common problem - hard disk failure? A solution that doesn't actually require you to remember to do anything? I thought so.
As the size of software increases, so the capacity of hard drives grows to provide the necessary storage space and the price being asked for such devices tend to fall.
During one of my infrequent clear-outs of kit that was of little use other than being a repository for dust, I came across one of the hard disks that had formed part of an earlier computer long since consigned to the scrapheap. I hate to think how much this item of equipment would have cost when I purchased it.
Whatever your age, the fantasy of being the guitar playing rock star can easily be indulged with this next product.
Having mastered an air guitar you might feel the need to move on to the next level. This is where Guitar RockStar from Tomy could enter the picture. Guitar RockStar is constructed of plastic and consists of the head of a guitar and two and a bit frets overlaid by various controls. Power is provided by two AAA batteries (not included) which fit into a compartment on the back of the guitar’s neck. Also located on the back of the guitar is the speaker grill; 3.