Irrespective of what Microsoft may claim, Windows 8 is not truly intuitive – even on the touch screen of a tablet computer. Consequently, Windows 8 for Tablets in the Plain & Simple series from the Microsoft Press is of great value in getting started with a Windows 8 tablet and then customising it to meet your needs and then being able to get the best out of it.
This book is task-orientated so that one can dip into it as and when required. This will, no doubt, start when one first gets the tablet and needs to get to grips with the start screen and the new vocabulary of tiles and charms as well as learning how to use a touch screen.
I am sometimes asked ‘what is a gadget’ my answer is anything produced to make a job easier. Both these products fall into that category, first a microphone aimed at a vocalist and second a very flexible five port gang socket.
While the quality of this good it is not aimed at professional musicians for one basic reason it is supplied with a 3.5mm jack suitable for insertion in an ‘i’ or Android device, which would using the free downloadable software be ideal for practice or for getting a rough draft of your song onto media. The microphone itself is of good quality and suitable for vocalists because it only accepts sounds from the front of it, spurious sound from behind or the sides are not carried in.
Taking you back in time, with regards to both period and style of game play, this next game opens with your character being shot at point blank range.
The first is an item I saw at the Wilkinson’s Xmas In July event, an ideal stocking filler for those who expect their tea to be stirred for them. The second is another stocking filler this time from Brando in Hong Kong to get your Smartphone at the correct viewing angle.
Both these items are value purchases for the person in your life who has everything – even when they do not – and best of all can say it without costing too much. It is 13cm tall with the removable lid attached. It has a handle made in the same see through plastic material as the mug which will hold just over half a pint of liquid. It is circular 8.5cm across at the top and 6.5cm across at the bottom.
Packaging can play an important role when presenting a product to a customer. Take this next Bluetooth speaker for instance.
When the product has the word “Jam” as part of its title then you should not be too surprised to discover that it arrives in a jam jar. I am referring to the more stubby style of jam jar appearing on retailers’ shelves rather than the slim type that I can remember from my childhood and is still used by some firms.
Now up to version 4, Farm Frenzy is the latest offering from Alawar’s popular series with titles available on various platforms including iOS and Windows. Along with the main titles, there are six add-on packs. Since its original launch back in 2007, the Farm Frenzy series has been responsible for over three million copies sold worldwide. According to Alawar over 200 million people have played Farm Frenzy, a game that has been localised into 35 languages.
While the previous editions of Farm Frenzy titles that I have look at were developed by Melesta, this latest offering arrives bearing the SPL banner. Perhaps as a result of this change of development team, the role assigned you in this latest version has undergone a change. Rather than play as the green-fingered Scarlett, you take on the role of a grandchild visiting grandparents.
It is rare that a single set of headphones produces a press briefing. Here however it does mean that the focus is on exactly them and not other items brought along to make up the numbers, the only variant the range of colours available.
While these are designed to work with Apple devices they also work perfectly well with Android and for that matter even humble MP3 players. For many reason weight can be important and these are very light at 160grams. First job is to extract from the packaging, not like I so often moan with industrial scissors as this has a sturdy box and then a foam surround followed by a zip up case and then a drawstring bag. You might think you are unpacking a valuable piece of fragile glass.
They say things come in threes – well actually some say bad things come in threes but let’s stick with my original statement and omit the negative aspect. First it was Kingston who provided a product that made use of external devices to provide content that could be streamed wirelessly to smartphones and tablets. This product was closely followed by a Verbatim offering which added password protection to the streaming capability. Now D-Link has sent me its Pocket Cloud Router which has some similarity to the other two products.
The Pocket Cloud Router kit consists of the actual device, a micro-to-standard USB lead, a 1700 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery, Quick Install Guide and a CD containing the User Guide in electronic format. About the size of a pack of cards, the Pocket Cloud Router certainly lives up to at least part of its name with dimensions of 105 x 80 x 20mm (W x H x D) and a weight of 127g (battery included).
This is an Android device the screen size you might guess from the title is 9.7 inches. The colour is creamy white rather like those of another manufacturer whose name is taken from a popular fruit.
The Archos 97b Titanium measures 24x19x.8cm and it weights 633grams. It runs Android 4.1. The viewable screen is 19.7x14.7cm. There are three buttons near to the top on the left side, the on/off that you need to press and hold for five seconds to turn it on and volume up and down just below it. The other connections are on the base, headphones, pin hole microphone, DC input, micro USB and micro SD card port. It has forward and backward facing cameras.
While it shaped life a pen it is not one, it is a scanner – a rather good one – for scanning items into such things as Microsoft Office, it also has another function in that if you right click an image it converts it into a small PDF.
IRISPen Express 7 measures 15.5x2.5x1.5cm, a 1.4metre USB lead is hard wired into the tail of the unit. I used it in a USB2 port but it will work in USB3 but at no faster speed. In fact while the head is 2.5cm wide it will only read a single line at a time. In the initial setup you are asked a very important question ‘are you left or right handed’. It determines what the scanner should expect.
Sticking with the same name followed by a unique number does provide a manufacturer with an easy choice of options when it comes to naming its various products. One company that has taken this approach is Doro with its range of handsets designed with simplicity in mind. The latest of these products to come my way is the PhoneEasy 622 which adopts a clamshell style of appearance.
Available in a choice of burgundy and white or black and grey, the PhoneEasy 622 is certainly not going to be confused with any of the numerous smartphones that are appearing by the bucket load for use by the fashion conscious members of society (and yes I do have a smart phone despite being a total stranger with regards to fashion).
Pure have long been a top name in DAB radios, others have followed and here is an offering from Dixons own label brand Sanstrom as well as the latest offering from Pure. So is the technology any different in the branded product to that on offer from the own label offering?
The Pure Evoke F4 DAB/FM radio measures 21x9.5x16cm excluding the semi circular handle that adds 3.5cm to the last figure the height. Mine was black. The handle acts as a snooze setting. It can be either mains or battery powered, the latter by fitting an F1 ChargePAK. The DC lead is 1.5metres long ending in a mid sized power brick. There are two knobs Volume and Select with seven touch buttons all below the 6.7x3.5cm six line white on black display.
Now part of the MAGIX family, Xara has released the latest version of its flagship graphics product.
Another year and another version of a product, which has been around for a good number of years, makes its appearance. In this case the product is Designer Pro X from Xara. I should clarify that the “X” is part of the product’s actual title and does not have anything to do with the version number as happens with the version numbering adopted by some other companies.
And now for something completely different as the saying goes. I can promise you that this next title is certainly not the usual fare.
A game is a game is a puzzle. This rather confusing thought impinged itself on my consciousness when I first took a look at the game of 7 Grand Steps. Just what was going on and what was the point of this game that was confusing me to such a degree that I wondered whether I had stepped inside an Alice in Wonderland type environment. I must admit that at this point in time I had not bothered to RTFM.
Asus are a company that I think of for computers and motherboards. So when the opportunity to look at a mobile phone from them it seems an interesting option. The name puzzled me for a moment until I related the ‘Pad’ part to a tablet.
I think of Asus as a computer company but then a modern Android phone is more of a computer than just a phone. It is 13.5x6.5x.8cm and weights 135grams. It is shaped like a wedge and I have quoted the maximum thickness at the base it is less than .5cm.
A high altitude location was the site for the launch of a new headset with a touch of colour for the fashion conscious.
When the topic turns to headsets or headphones, one of the first names that springs to my mind is that of Sennheiser. With its headquarters in Germany and subsidiaries in various locations including Great Britain, America, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, France and Belgium, the company has built up an extensive range of headsets and headphones. The latest addition to this product portfolio is the company’s new Momentum On-Ear Headphones.
A four in one device is normally called multi-function, while a three in one device is often called an All In One, this is from the former category as not only does it scan, copy and print it also has a fax ability for those who still use it.
The Canon Pixma MX455 measures 46x37x21cm so it is a chunky unit and that is without the page feed being extended on the scanner. You also need to add another 13cm to the middle figure the depth to have the drop down output tray and the paper input trays extended. Power and USB inputs are back left of the unit. You can probably do without the USB lead assuming you have a Wi-Fi connection but for some you may need a USB to complete the setup as sometimes it fails to find the Wi-Fi without one.
The Prestigio Multiphone 5430 is a competitively priced Android smartphone. It is being launched into the UK market to capitalise on the recognition achieved by the brand with its range of tablets over the past year or so. It has a 4.3inch display and 8MP pixel camera and is targeted at those users who want the flexibility that an unlocked phone brings in the increasingly competitive tariff jungle.
Prestigio is a brand of the eastern European ASBIS group which launched the 5430 in its home markets in June and so there has been the opportunity to get over teething troubles (if any). There are not likely to be many in view of the fact that the phones are manufactured in China by the BYD Precision Manufacture Company which is no stranger to the mobile phone business.
A set of earbuds from a comparative newcomer to the audio market and I think their first buds as opposed to headphones. Second something that any keen photographer needs a quality tripod suitable for a good sized DSLR unit.
The headphones I reviewed earlier this year were certainly a set worth considering. Here a set of earbuds that seems to have a lot going for them. The first thing you notice once you have extracted them from their box is that the cord is white and flat. Why flat well simply because it is less likely to knot up when the lead is twirled round your fingers and placed into a pocket or bag.
Unlike the dance of the same name, the Charleston Curse involves witches, ghosts and some suspicious deaths.
The Collector’s Edition of Witches’ Legacy The Charleston Curse, available from Focus Multimedia, is classified as a Hidden Object Adventure game. As is usual with Collector’s Edition games, you get some bonus items that include an extra game chapter plus music soundtrack, wallpaper, screensavers and concept art but these items only become accessible once the main game has been completed successfully.