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.
If you just want to transfer LP content to a PC and then create MP3 files then he ION USB Record deck reviewed in December will do what you want. However should you want something that does the lot without the aid of a PC and lets you end up with audio CD’s then this could be for you.
This is quite a substantial unit and has a far more solid feel than the previously reviewed USB version ( ). It is 44x42x16cm with the mains lead inserted in the rear. It also has a pair of Line Out and a pair of Line In sockets and a USB socket on the rear. The Line In to allow you to input signals from other devices such as a Mini Disc or Cassette deck.
Sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that mobile music was the sole preserve of the iPod but there are other devices often with a far more attractive price point.
Size, as we all know, isn’t everything – a truism that is perfectly illustrated by the Sansa Clip. This is a tiny MP3 player measuring 55 x 35 x 16mm. The Sansa Clip is available in a choice of colours such as Black, Candy Apple Red, Hot Pink, Silver and Ice Blue with capacities of 1GB, 2GB or 4GB. This review is based on the silver 4GB model.
For those who have not already encountered him, let me introduce you to Mortimer Beckett. Following his first appearance in the episode of the Spooky Manor, our intrepid adventurer is once again called upon by his uncle to help resolve a problem of chronological significance.
Developed by Paprikari and published by Real Arcade, Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox brings together elements of hidden object, puzzle solving and object replacement spread through various time periods and geographical locations. This time the task involves a trip through time to find a Time Bomb which has been broken into pieces. Our hero will need to bring together the pieces of the Time Bomb and close a time portal before disaster strikes.
This is described as a ‘Wide LCD TV Monitor’ but apart from being able to display Analogue and Digital TV it can also be used as a computer monitor and can also accept both Analogue and Digital input and has a range of other connections on its back.
The LG Flatron M2294D is 51x39x7cm and totally black and has a 19x26cm stand that raises it around 6cm from whatever it is resting on. It has no side to side movement but can tilt back close to 20 degrees and forward by around half that. The actual screen size is 30x47 giving the notional 22inch diagonal measurement. It is very light to move around at under 5.5 kilos.
Put together an 18-inch display, Blu-ray drive, Intel Core 2 Duo processor packaged inside a Gemstone Blue design and the result will be the Acer Aspire 8920 which is currently residing on my work space.
Unlike most Medion kit that is sold through Aldi where if you are not queuing on the day they go on sale before the store opens you don’t get one this tiny notebook is one of two currently being sold by Sainsbury’s both online and in their larger stores.
This is the third Netbook I have reviewed both the others (Acer and Asus) were running Linux this however runs Windows XP Home. It is 25.5x17.5x3.5cm and weights only 1130grams. It is totally black apart from the area surrounding the keyboard that is silver/grey. The screen is 22.5x13cm giving the notional diagonal measurement of 10.2inches. The screen resolution runs in 1024x600 but it has a VGA port and runs a second monitor/panel without problems at a higher resolution should it be required.
Here I am looking at iPod docks from Pure (the DAB radio people) and from Gear 4. Both seem to work with most iPods and of course both will charge the iPod while it sits in place playing or not providing you have mains power. Similar products but aimed for slightly different jobs.
When this arrived it was a shock – as I had not asked for it – but mainly because it was a new departure for Pure. There are certainly the best known name in DAB radio and indeed certain of there units do have docks. Pure EcoPlus is their stab at saving the planet. Reduced power consumption in both operation and standby, materials from sustainable sources and or recycled. Less packaging and components selected to lessen environmental impact. More details at . The dock itself is 7.
As befits technology, its sphere of influence continues to spread through the use of different mediums. While wireless and cable connectivity continues to hold sway, sometimes these methods do not meet the need of users.
When setting up a home network you do need to consider which connectivity method is most appropriate for your particular circumstances. If the though of laying cables from system to system located in various rooms does not appeal and your environment is not conducive to wireless connectivity or you are worried about security issues then a third alternative might appeal.
A 22inch panel from Hanns-G that looks pleasant enough with its silver/grey surround. It has small powered speakers that are probably enough for beeps and notifications but not really enough for music or for conversations via Skype.
It is 51x34x7cm, the latter figure is the maximum width. There is a circular stand (22.5cm) that lifts the panel 6cm from the desk. The screen itself is 47x29.5cm giving the notional 22inch diagonal measurement. Although there is no side to side movement there is good backward and forward movement so providing you are located within about 150 degrees of a central position you should be able to view the screen clearly.
The needs of multimedia and telephony based applications tend to differ with regards to various settings. Sandberg believes it has a possible solution to circumvent this problem.
Recently I have looked at a number of products from Sandberg, a Danish company involved in the development of various computer accessories that are distributed in the UK by Interactive Ideas. Generally the purpose and functionality of these devices is fairly evident from their title but not always. For example this next product is a USB device that goes by the name of ChatSet.
Where do toys go when left to their own devices? It is a question that has confounded some of the world’s greatest thinkers but not those who are young at heart.
As any child will tell you, toys have a habit of moving from where ever they were left at the end of play time. In some cases this movement is as a result of mum doing the tidying up but not always. Rather than being returned to a central storage area such as a toy box, some toys simple disappear altogether. One theory is that these missing toys reappear in a mysterious location known as Neverland.
Say the word ‘A3’ and most immediately think too big or too heavy or probably both. Well it will not fit where I review A4 units – no surprise there – but it sits in the doorway to my office quite happily and it just needs an extension on the USB lead, I am no superman but I unpacked and moved it into place on my own.
As one of the main means of communicating with the computer, the keyboard offers manufacturers the opportunity to devise various combinations of features.
Joining the numerous keyboards that have spent time on my desktop and being unjustly blamed for my poor typing skills is the Wireless Touchpad Keyboard from Sandberg. This is a USB device that combines standard keyboard facilities with multimedia and application short-cut keys plus the touchpad feature that is standard on notebook / laptop units.