Now part of the MAGIX family, Xara’s flagship graphics photo and designer product has reached version 9.
I first came across Xara when the company so impressed Corel, with the rate at which its software handled tasks that tended to be time consuming when run on CorelDRAW, that the Canadian Graphics company licensed the UK software to release under its own banner. Ever since this event, which took place at an early Windows show, Xara has continued to emphasise the speed aspect of its graphics software over numerous releases.
The most recent notebook I reviewed had Windows 8 – sadly without touch – it also had a Gigabyte motherboard. This is an All in One PC from HP with Windows 8, touch and it has a Gigabyte motherboard and even a TV tuner.
Windows 8 no longer contains Media Centre, so here the card required for TV is provided by Aver Media and of course the remote control to make channel changing easier. Here ‘All In One’ means that the screen contains the PC as well as being a touch flat panel. The external parts are only the Wireless Keyboard, Mouse and Remote Control. The screen is 57x40cm and the stand is attached to raise this by 7cm above your desk.
A rather large remote controlled car that some children may find difficult to stop their parents using, it is stated at 8+. The Second a reaction testing device designed for children or almost any age and even those of pre-school seem to love trying it.
This is a 1:18 scale car that works by remote control on the 2.4GHz band. It is 29cm from back to front and 14cm wide at the rear wheels, the maximum height is 9cm. It weights 550 grams. Apart from the car you also get a rather large remote, a charger unit for the cars battery and a plastic coin that allows you to turn the screw on the battery bay to remove it for charging.
One-eyed stone heads, a town that is only visible for a short period every 300 years and a missing boyfriend are all present in this next game.
The Cyclops was not, as we have been led to believe, a one-off monstrosity found in Greek mythology. The Cyclops was, in fact, a race of visually restricted beings that were based in a town located not too far from Skye. In case you are wondering why this fact is not common knowledge then I should explain that this Cyclopean town was, and is, in the grip of a magical force which caused the town to be visible only for a short period every 300 years.
First a handheld vacuum to get where the normal cleaner cannot like behind central heating pipes and into those congested corners. Second a very bright LED torch to see into those corners that always manage to hide the dirt from sight.
This is a handheld cordless vacuum, unlike a lot of other units that often get consigned to cleaning out the car this has a place in any home or office. It is 42cm long, at either end it is less than 2cm thick this increases to around 10cm for the central 20cm of the unit and it is 7.5cm in the same central area. The weight is 612grams. It is equally useable by those like me who are left handed as the on/off button is on the top and can be controlled by either thumb.
Monitors are increasingly becoming multifunction devices as can be seen with a Philips model with a built-in USB 3.0 Hub.
If memory serves me correct, which does happen occasionally, my first dedicated monitor had a single connection on the rear. Not only did this single input provide the conduit between the display and computer for the video signal but also the power needed to drive the monitor. Now computer displays have started to spout various physical connections to offer users a choice of facilities.
With different types of tiles, multiple layouts and two styles of game play, this Mahjongg offering might well appeal.
This is a four in one device and somewhat larger than recent items of this sort. Being black it will either need to work in an office, in the home of a Goth or be secreted away behind a sofa or in a cupboard, with Wi-Fi or Network it can be.
It is 48x42x35cm, you will need to add a few centimetres to the last figure if you wish to use the flatbed scanner rather than the page feed. The front is dominated by the pull up 9.5x5.5cm TFT display. Just above this are five LED lights with clear markings. The on/off switch is towards the base under the TFT overhang. A substansial paper input tray is in the central part at the base with the output being delivered on top of this. A USB stick input is to the left of the paper tray.
Tablets have been able to offer users the ability to act as an eBook Reader for quite a while now. You just need to download the appropriate free app and your tablet can transform itself into a Kindle, Kobo or Nook in the blink of an eye. Now, with the arrival of products such as the Nook HD+, we are beginning to see a turn of the tide as devices, whose primary function is that of an eBook Reader, appear with tablet-like capabilities to enhance their appeal to the discerning user fraternity.
Recently I visited the London Transport museum, surely one of the cleverer places to launch some Satellite Navigation devices. They launched three and I was allowed to take the top end device and give it a good testing.
At first glance two items with little in common. However all those original recipes mixed with the hand mixer need to be written down somewhere and of course it’s not only recipes but also designs and patterns that it can hold for posterity.
As it approaches its one hundred year anniversary, John Buchan’s classic tale of murder and spies makes its appearance on the Windows PC platform.
First published in 1915, John Buchan’s classic adventure spy novel, entitled The 39 Steps, has appeared in a variety of guises including print, of course, cinema, theatre and television. Now a further format is added as this tale of skulduggery and a German invasion plot makes the transition to the PC platform. Classified as a digital adaptation, the PC version of The 39 Steps is available on Avanquest’s GSP label.
Two methods of listening to music, first a rather nice Bluetooth speaker that can also work with a 3.5mm lead. Second a pair of earbuds from Sony that seem to stay in place without swelling the ear canal as so many do for me.
With the functionality now available from various devices such as smartphones and tablets, the manufacturers of SatNav products face an increasing challenge to persuade would-be purchasers to loosen their purse strings. Why should customers spend their hard-earned disposal income on a new SatNav product when they already possess the tools that are capable of providing basic navigational information through the use of GPS and mapping apps? Garmin’s solution to this conundrum is to bundle free lifetime services with its new SatNav line up of models.
The latest Garmin product line up consists of its nüvi SatNav devices categorised as Essential, Advanced and Premium models. This review is based on the Advanced range of which there are three distinct models. My review sample is the 5-inch version rather than the 4.3-inch or 7-inch units.
Time to enter into the spirit (no pun intended) of the game as you attempt to solve murders committed in two different locations and time periods.
Angelica Weaver is a detective on Chicago’s Special Task Force. This detective has the dual ability of being able to communicate with dead spirits and use super-sensory visions to jump back and forth between crimes committed in a historical London and present-day Chicago. Known as the Psychic Detective, Angelica Weaver sets out to solve the mystery of a murderer who taunts the Special Task Force with the message of “Catch me when you can” in this next game.
Duplicating a drive is something that can normally only be done by specialist software and certainly not from within Windows. Here a piece of hardware that can duplicate two bare drives or a single bare drive and one connected via eSATA or USB2.
It is 14x13x7cm with grey sides and base and black top. The rear has the DC input, USB and eSATA sockets. The other three sides and the base are clear. The top has two flip down lids where you insert either one or two drives and in front of those three touch buttons, power, duplicate and start. All the buttons have LEDs in them and the colour varies according to what is being done.
Normally when I get to see a colour printer, it is an inkjet model but in this case the printer is a laser unit.
Decked out in a rather subdued combination of light and dark grey, the HL-3140CW is a Brother laser printer. Unlike my own Brother HL-2030, which has provided sterling service for several years, this new Brother unit features two major differences which are indicated by the “CW” part of the unit’s model number. The HL-3140CW supports wireless connectivity and is a colour laser printer.
This is a small DSLR unit ideal for the amateur who enjoys their photography or for someone coming on from a Digital Camera wanting to improve. The most ‘different’ thing for the latter group is that there is a viewfinder available.
It is 12x8.5x12.5cm the last figure with the 18 to 55lens fitted and fully in, fully out it extends another 3cm. It weights 618grams without the supplied neck strap. The right side has a flip door behind which are micro USB and micro HDMI connections. Both sides have anchor points for the supplied neck strap. Moving to the base the flap door has the solid battery and any SD card you might use behind it.
Three different items from Breffo, two that grip, first a Smartphone and second a Tablet. The third device allows your camera to get a hold in places where it normally could not, round a pole on top of something with no flat edge etc.
It has eight legs and these surround the device, either with four extended to make a stand or with two extended to make a slope. This is a simple device that works well to do just a single job. Each leg is around 8cm and each has three joints. My unit was white and the soft touch grippy plastic outer covers a wire inner so it can bend to almost any shape. The box shows it’s obvious use on a desk but also on a bicycle and in a car.
Simple ideas are often the best especially when the solution can be applied to different problems.
I recently came across a company called Mobio at an IT event. This company has launched itself with the strap line of “The smart way to use mobile devices”. With its headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, this American company has set itself the task of developing innovative, high-quality products that have been designed to enhance the use of mobile devices.