I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Free things I have reviewed, perhaps the most famous is Skype. Here an App for Android users that allows you to capture an image possibly a selfie and then use the tools provided to enhance it.
Cyberlink are a company that produce a range of very good software for PC users here however it’s a free App downloadable from the Google Play Store it is around 40MB so quick to download on a Wi-Fi link. I saw this shown when I was attending an event for their latest version of Power DVD a review will follow later.
While Nuances OmniPage is the dominant force in the field of OCR, it is not the only option as this next offering clearly indicates.
FineReader is an optical character recognition (OCR) software package. It has been developed by ABBYY to convert scanned paper documents into an editable format. The latest version of this software is FineReader 12 Professional. Despite the Professional tag, this appears to be the standard version of the software and it is available from DownloadBuyer.com priced at £89.10.
These are new to the UK although a sister company brought out a very good Blood Pressure watch some years ago. Here I am looking at Smart Scales, Smart Blood Pressure Cuff and a Smart Pedometer these with a free App that can monitor your health.
Currently the App is only available to work automatically with IOS devices using the recent version of Bluetooth. A version to run on Android is promised shortly. However those with older IOS units can enter their details manually. These are very smart bathroom scales, they have a wipe clean safety glass top and the rubber feet make it feel quite secure but perhaps best of all the scales are easy to read.
While ruling the roost on tablets and smartphones, touch screens have yet to do more than scratch the surface with computer desktop monitors.
Monitors often have a habit of hiding their functionality behind a model number which means little or nothing to the average purchaser. Take for example the current monitor sitting on my workspace and providing feedback as I type in this review. AOC, in its wisdom, has decided that this particular monitor should be known to all and sundry as the i2472Pwhut/BK model.
In the Dreamatorium of Dr. Magnus game, you are cast in the role of Sarah Green, a young detective about to embark on her first solo case. She is given the task of solving the mysterious disappearance of a local doctor. This is Dr. Magnus, of the games title, who has been acting strangely following the tragic death of his wife and daughter in a car accident.
The opening sequence of The Dreamatorium of Dr. Magnus is less than inspiring as a series of static images and printed text introduce you to your character, a victim of some strange dreams that are relevant to the story, and the case that is about to be investigated. Options are available to adjust the volume level of the background music and sound effects plus play in widescreen or windowed mode. Two levels of game play difficulty are available.
This is a Multi-Function Device in that it can print, scan, copy and for those who still use it fax. Unlike the recent offering that was monochrome this is colour and of course somewhat larger but in real terms really not that much larger.
The HP Colour Laser MFP M177fw measures 42x41x32cm, the only figure that needs a little more space is the last one if you are raising the lid on the flatbed, but as there is a rather good sheet feed then you only really need the flatbed to copy pages from books or magazines. The paper input tray is at the base and paper is inserted face up, it is delivered from the output shelf just under the scanner face down. All the connections power/network/USB/phone are back left.
I first came across wireless charging for mobile phones about four years ago. The device was called the Powermat, and it worked with my BlackBerry Pearl. Unfortunately the phone had to have a bulky new back attached for this to work, making the phone too thick to fit into its nice leather case.
Times have changed. A few of today's phones come with wireless charging already enabled; others, like my Galaxy Note 3, have internal connections already in place to accept a wireless charging receiver as an after-market add-on. These can either come as an external protective case, or as a paper-thin internal attachment that fits under the existing removable back and adds hardly anything to the overall bulk of the phone.
The internally attached wireless receiver supplied by Luxa2 for this review is skimpy enough to allow the Galaxy Note 3's flexible back to be reattached, giving this otherwise straight-backed phone a barely perceptible curve. Fitting the receiver was a cinch, the electrical hookup being only a pressure connection between a set of three contacts, with a sticky adhesive strip to hold the new addition in place until you replace the back.
The Android operating system and touch capability go together like fish & chips even when served up on the desktop.
The ViewSonic VSD241 is an All-in-One (AIO) device that brings Android functionality to a 24-inch touch screen enabled monitor. With dimensions of 604 x 419 x 187mm (W x H x D) and weighing around 7Kg, the VSD 241 is definitely a product that will be more at home when seated on a flat workspace. An adjustable book stand attachment enables the VSD241 to be positioned upright on an appropriate work area for easy access when carrying out various tasks.
A virtual system has been launched which enables people to access a GP and other healthcare services via their smartphone. Named babylon not to be confused with the online translation service or the Babylon Search toolbar it will enable users to be put in touch with an experienced GP or, as appropriate, a specialist consultant. It is the first organisation of its kind to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and receive designated body status from NHS England.
First an apology these arrived sometime ago and a friend said great could he borrow them for a couple of days as he was compiling a quiz. I forgot and he forgot and it is months later when I got them back so this is a very late review.
For those times when mains powered speakers or even large headphones are not acceptable then maybe a thumb sized speaker that enhances sound through what it rests on or maybe a set of decent earbuds may answer your needs.
This is shaped like a barrel being 3.5cm wide at the top and bottom and 4.5cm at the widest part in the centre it is also 4.5cm tall. The central 3.5cm strip is rubberised as is its lid. It weights a tiny 47grams and this includes the metal clip that allows you to fit a strap and it also holds the lid when flipped open. There are just two connections a micro USB (for charging) and a 3.5mm socket should you want to output music from any device that does not have Bluetooth.
The Canon PIXMA MX535 is a multifunction device that offers print, scan, copy and Fax capabilities. Other features include an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) and automatic Duplex printed to help save on paper. There is support for both wired and wireless connectivity when adding this device to your computer set-up.
Predominately black in colour with white labels, the PIXMA MX535 has dimensions of 458 x 385 x 200mm (W x D x H) and weighs in at 8.5kg. Rounded corners and a tapered top help give the unit an element of style but, even so, this product would be more at home in an office environment or, at a pinch, a study room for the home worker. Built into the scanner lid, sitting on top of the unit, is the AFD module.
A lot of my time recently has involved showing screens of one device on another device (Mirroring) this is a young task and the solutions sometimes do and sometimes dont work. This tiny device from Kingston is rather better at transferring data between two incompatible devices.
A few Android devices had a simple cable that connected a micro USB port to one that allowed you to insert a standard memory stick into it as if it was a standard USB port; this was a great feature that for some reason did not work with all devices. If you can persuade your Android device to show USB storage then this will normally work. To do this I found that a free App from the Play Store ES File Explorer is the most likely to give you this functionality.
With the adverse weather conditions we have had to endure of late in the UK, we should not be surprised at the arrival of waterproof devices such as this next product.
“Splish, Splash, I was taking a bath” is the first line of a pop song of the last century. It was a hit for both Bobby Darin (better known for his Beyond the Sea and Mac the Knife hit records – check Google for some of his performances) and Charlie Drake (a comic 5 foot 1 inch bundle of energy with red hair). Obviously I am showing my age with these memories as both performers have been dead for a number of years now.
Atlantis has long been a popular source of inspiration for those creating different types of entertainment including computer-based games. One such offering is Legends of Atlantis Exodus. Developed by Boonty Nexway Games, this title, belonging to the Time Management genre, is now available from Avanquests GSP catalogue of titles.
According to legend, the island state of Atlantis was a centre of civilisation and a haven of culture far beyond that which had been obtainable by the rest of the known world. However disaster struck and this idyllic paradise was swallowed up by the surrounding water. This game concerns the events that led up to this destruction.
My first task here is to find a category to place this in. It could be computers, PDAs, Phones or the one I choose Cameras. The reason is it has a proper lens and 10x optical zoom but it is also an Android device doing all that does as well.
It is 12.5x6.5x2.5cm and weights 210grams. The width is when the unit is off or not being used in camera mode, with the full 10x zoom in use this figure increases by 4cm. You can use it to capture selfies in 1.9MP, 1.3MP, 1MP or VGA. Using the standard lens to capture images there are ten different resolutions available. 16MP, 14MP, 12MP, 10MP, 10MP, 9.2MP, 5MP, 3MP, 2MP and 1MP these are in a range of sizes 4:3, 16:9 and 3:2.
Many of the scanners that come by way, for testing, form part of an All-in-One or multifunction devices. However there are exceptions and this is one of those occasions.
The Brother ADS-1100W is a compact personal page scanner which means it is restricted to scanning single pages rather than a book or magazine. As the “W” part of its model number might indicate, this scanner can connect to a computer system, whether of the Windows or Mac family, via wireless. There is also an option for a wired USB connection when setting up this device which has the capability to scan both sides of each page simultaneously.
This is a simple box to do a simple job. However probably through no fault of the box it has been a VERY FRUSTRATING and time consuming review which involved three separate phone calls with Netgears technical support, one lasting well over an hour.
The aim of the box is via an HDMI cable to display the contents of your mobile phone or tablet on your TV screen. It is called Mirror Casting. The box is 10.2x5x1cm. It has two connections on the back one for HDMI (not supplied) and the other for a mini USB lead that goes into a mains plug. A single button lies flush on the right side. As sometimes happens this arrived without instructions and I was sent a PDF version which I knew the salient parts of by the time I started to get results.
This is a three in one cable, you can charge your device, you can mirror your device on your PC and even use your computer keyboard and mouse to move around your Android devices screens and even type on it should you need. Finally you can transfer data between the two.
It has been quite a while since I last had the opportunity to check out an Archos device. This lengthy period was brought to an end with the arrival of a product with a slightly unusual title.
The 79 Platinum is not a precious metal mined in a particular year. Instead it is a member of the Archos family of Tablets. As the “79” part of its title might indicate, this is a Tablet with a 7.9-inch screen. While wishful thinking might hope for casing constructed of Platinum, the reality is that this device, running Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), has a sleek aluminium casing.
A dual SIM Android phone almost as large as a Tablet could be the solution to solve a multitude of problems to suit a range of users. This offering from Prestigio gives a large clear screen as well as letting you choose how to communicate.
It comes with a fitted flip case that blanks the screen when closed. It weights 260grams (including case) and it is 16.5x10.5x1cm. It has speakers front and back, the front one is at the top above the screen to the left of the front facing ‘selfie’ camera. The rear one is at the base of the back, both have cut outs in the case so they can be clearly heard. The other cut out is for the higher capacity rear facing camera.
Rather than keeping their head in the clouds, users are increasingly using this virtual environment for storing their data which is then accessible from various locations.
When considering Cloud storage, your basic choice is either to make use of storage supplied by somebody else, whether it is a paid for service or one of the free offerings with limited capacity, or manage your own Cloud storage. With this latter choice, you retain full control over the data and avoid any issues that might arise such as the Patriot Act for data stored on servers based in America.
Taking its lead from a popular television series, this next game challenges you to discover who is responsible for murders based on classic novels.
Castle is a Hidden Object Mystery game based on a popular American produced television series. The game, developed by ABS Studios and originally published by GameMill Entertainment, is now available from Avanquest as part of its GSP catalogue of titles.
A rather different Camcorder in that it is very slim and fits easily in the palm of the hand. There are various angles to have the screen so you can capture images from various positions. There are two shooting modes one normal and one almost fish eye like.
The Canon Legria Mini measures 9.5x7.2x2cm when closed; the last figure the thickness can increase to 6cm with the viewing screen raised to 90degrees. It weighs only 174grams. The front has the lens that is covered when off and beside this two rather good stereo microphones. The right side has the on/off slider, then a flip open door that conceals a mini HDMI and DC input, next the on camera playback button and finally a wrist strap anchor point. The back is clear.
While most All-in-One devices are based on an inkjet printer, this next model from Brother features a laser printer.
The Brother MFC-1810 is an All-in-One device. Combining an A4 flatbed scanner with a printer, this product provides the user with print, scan and copy facilities plus Fax capabilities and an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) feature. Rather than the more common inkjet variety, the printer in this model is a mono laser unit making the product more suitable to the small office/home environment. Connectivity is via a standard USB lead which you need to provide.
Having recently told you about a JML Halogen Cooker this is rather different. Most people will know of a Microware and those like me or a certain age know about a Slow Cooker but what does this 8 in 1 have to offer.
Glass, Ceramic and Non Stick all words in today’s vocabulary how to they fit into the GoChef. The GoChef can be used to Boil, Slow Cook, Fry that is Flash Frying Shallow Frying and Pan Frying, Sautéing, Steaming, Roasting, Fondue, Reheat and Defrost. Unlike a Microwave you can use metal utensils and two racks and a frying basket are supplied. The twelve page Instruction and User Guide has five pages of description and useful hints.
While this is a box of magic it is not innocent stuff but often lives up to the box title of Gross Magic. The box states 8+ but perhaps its best for those of even more mature minds as we dont want to give children any ideas.
I find it strange the number of young children who are traumatised by pigeons, certainly if your child is affected by them then the magic in this box will certainly make them puke or worse. Perhaps for a company who makes their name on board games and other such delightful and harmless offering this offering from Hankypanky-toys.com is a step in the wrong direction but you must decide.
If you do not have enough storage space on your Android device for your music and videos then this next product could solve your problem.
Recently I was introduced to OTG (On The Go) technology with the arrival of a small piece of kit. This kit consisted of a lead with a male micro USB plug at one end and a female standard USB plug at the other end. The purpose of this product was to allow the user to add additional storage and content to their Android Smartphone or Tablet. You attach the OTG kit to the mobile device and then plug in a flash stick to the vacant USB plug.
First an item for those who remember or maybe like me those who still have a collection of cassette tapes and a use you maybe put one to. Second a Coffee Mug with attitude that will certainly be a talking point around the office.
For those of you of the younger vintage before the CD were cassette tapes, these contained audio like an LP – hope vinyl is in your memory – however they were the first easy way to copy music so buy a 45 and copy it for your friends. Here is the up to date version for those trying to woo (impress) a friend and perhaps promote more than a friendship so in modern parlance they become an item or partnership through music of whatever style or type happens to be that persons taste.
It was nearly three years ago that I first encountered CrazyTalk Animator at the BETT Computer Show and wrote my review of the product. While many titles tend to be updated on an annual basis, it is not until now that Reallusion, the products developer, has released a version 2 of this particular title.