Backward compatible with previous versions of the technology, the latest incarnation of USB offers various enhancements that might appeal.
Originally developed back in 1996, the Universal Serial Bus (commonly referred to as USB) was meant to be the panacea for the connection issues between computers and attached peripherals that were causing users headaches. As often happens, especially in the field of computing, the first incarnation of the technology promised more than it could deliver as it struggled to cope with compatibility and the ever-increasing demands for more speed. USB 2.
Bringing together The Maze, Paranormal and the Guardians, Focus Multimedia has come up with a Haunting Mysteries Triple Pack. Originally published by Big Fish Games, these three titles of Urban Legends: The Maze, Paranormal Criminal Investigations: Brotherhood of the Crescent Snake and Guardians of Beyond: Witchville will need to be installed separately. Each title will add its own icon to your desktop.
When tackling Urban Legends: The Maze you are called into action to investigate the disappearance of the contestants who were taking part in the final of the televised The Maze. Actually I thought that the whole idea of such televised reality programs was for the contestants to gradually be eliminated and disappear. However in this case the disappearance was a wholesale vanishing and not part of a planned schedule. As a result your skills are required.
Rather than a book this is a software package that will work on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8. It has text to read this can also be read out and things to do after it has explained them using a dummy Windows 8 interface.
It will not proceed until you have clicked the correct item and whatever you are then meant to do correctly, a good way to learn. At this point let me say I have used Windows more or less since it first came out and gone through all the incarnations since. Yes I admit that Windows 8 is very different but I would liken it to driving an automatic car after driving a manual one for years.
While A3 printers can easily print A4 documents, it is unusual to come across an A4 printer that can produce A3 documents unless it is a Brother unit.
Like the Brother MFC-J4510 reviewed recently, the DCP-J4110DW belongs to the breed of A4 multifunction devices that adds the capability to print A3 documents along with its more basic scan and copy functionality. In order to achieve this expansive print option, Brother has turned the accepted print orientation through 90 degrees by opting for a landscape orientation rather than portrait paper delivery to the print mechanism.
Certainly a crossover device, as Samsung makes smartphones and Samsung also make digital cameras. So in theory anyway a digital camera that looks like a smartphone with a quality lens added to it has a good chance of being a winner.
If you add a micro SIM then the Samsung Galaxy Camera can be your device for use everywhere. Using Wi-Fi without the micro SIM means you can do most things that a computer can anywhere where there is a signal. So is it a camera or a smart phone, you decide. The camera measures 13x7x3.5cm but the last figure the width can expand by over 5cm when the lens is fully extended, the zoom can be up to 21x. The viewable screen is 10.5x6cm. Going round the unit there is little to see.
Over the years satnavs have got more user-friendly and more sophisticated. Garmins 2598LMTD is a vast improvement over products available even just one or two years ago. It comes with maps covering 45 European countries and free lifetime map updates so will meet the needs of the traveller both today and into the future. Consequently, as well as the first-time buyer, many existing users could well consider that it is s worthwhile upgrade.
The 2598 is matt black in colour with the exception of the silver styling strip below the 5 inch screen. It is provided with a windscreen suction mount and a 170cm “traffic-compatible” power cable terminating in a mini-USB connector at one end a cigar lighter plug at the other. The mount has a quick-release catch that it would be possible to leave the mount permanently on the windscreen and just quickly detach the unit itself.
Two companies offering devices to let you extend the range of your router by using Ethernet over your ring main, this means that if you have dodgy conectivity in part of your property it can be solved by using a plug in adapter.
I am looking at two solutions the first a basic offering from TRENDnet that does what it says. The second from Devolo that works faster and allows you use of a gang socket, and also has Wi-Fi. Of course the second is more expensive. These units are small at 7x5x4cm and on first glance look exactly like a slightly large 13amp plug. The base has an Ethernet socket with a small reset button beside it. The face has three LEDs on the right edge.
This next game offers you the choice of a male or female character as you set out to locate and explore the mysteries of a pyramid.
It was one of those typical dark, stormy nights so beloved of forthcoming catastrophic world defining events. You are relaxing, along with your business partner, in your Private Detective office contemplating whether to depart for the day when a knock is heard at the office door. At this point in time you get to choose which of the two detectives will be your role in the game and lead investigator in the next job.
Having recently looked at some 23inch and 27inch flat panels, here is a 22inch (21.5inch) offering that still supports 1920x1080 but is a lighter and cheaper unit, still this seems perfectly usable and if your budget is more limited
It is 52x31x5cm, only 2cm thick at the edges. It comes with a simple 22x9cm oval stand that raises the screen 9cm from your desk. There is around 12 degrees of back tilt and a couple of degrees of forward tilt available, there is no side to side movement but as it weighs only 3375grams on the stand it is very easy to turn when required. The viewable screen is 47x27cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 21.5inches.
With its stores within a store, Kobo is certainly making an impression within its designated field of eBook readers.
A few years ago I would spend my time when travelling on the tube either observing other passengers reading newspapers, books or, like me, being squashed by the early morning or evening rush hour crowds. Nowadays, however, newspapers and traditional style books are being overtaken by an influx of e-book readers, tablets and other electronic devices that provide distractions to many travellers.
For those with a strong interest with taking on the challenge of the Undead, Focus Multimedia has brought together three titles that originally appeared as part of the Alawar extensive catalogue of games.
With CCTV being everywhere perhaps it is time to consider it for inside or outside your property. This offering from Swann offers a wide angle view from a single static camera so you should be able to know who has called.
It is quite a small unit at 12x7x5.5cm and this includes the sun shield. The bracket is 9x4.5x3cm this is fixed to the units base.
There are three wires emerging from the back of the bracket and with a permanent fixing these would be channelled through a wall. For a less permanent fixing it could go through a door frame or perhaps even a window surround. The unit has an 80% sweep, the Connection Guide suggests you mount it high up as this will allow looking over obstructions and also deter vandalism if mounted outside. For inside use it is recommended to be placed on the longer wall so the widest area is covered.
The Epson Expression Photo XP-850 is a multi-function device that is aimed more at the photo enthusiast than a general purpose user.
The Epson Expression Photo XP-850 combines print, copy, scan and fax features with double-sided ADF (Automatic Document Feed) capability. With regards to connectivity, you have the choice of USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi. The latter option can make use of an automatic set up that can connect direct to other Wi-Fi devices without the need of a wireless access point. Decked out in lacquered black, this unit has dimensions of 390 x 338 x 191mm (W x D x H).
Having looked at a couple of larger Android tablets from Gemini here its the turn of one that can fit into a larger pocket. So for those who want something bigger than the screen on a phone but not one as large as a notebook.
It is 19x11x1cm, the last figure is less at the edges. The viewable screen is 15x8.5cm giving the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 7inches. It weights 276grams. This unit immediately has an advantage on others being handled by novices in that all the connections are on one landscape end. So first you are less likely to touch a button or connection and second less likely to suffer a non-requested ‘auto rotate’.
It only takes a moment of carelessness to break ones smartphone. A drop onto a hard surface that breaks the screen would result in a large repair bill and, even worse, one would have to manage without it while it was away being repaired. The Impact Shield multi-layer screen protector from Tech21 is claimed to offer the best available impact protection that doesnt inhibit a devices performance.
The Impact Shield screen protector is much more than just a surface veneer and is built up from three layers each of which has a particular function. There is a hard outer layer which spreads the impact; BulletShield impact protection inter-layer with BASF absorption polymer, which is also used in bulletproof glass, to absorb impact; and finally a soft base layer to further absorb impact force.
The first is something to aid the placing and fitting of hook in walls etc, in fact its the perfect complete kit of items. The second is something I will never wear in anger but maybe if you are half my age these are serious trekking shoes.
In crude terms its looks like a stapler for walls and what it sends out is pins, pegs and hooks. It is 17x10x4cm. I am sure we all have - at the very least - banged a finger with a hammer when trying to hang a picture on a wall. With Hang Buddy Pro it’s as simple as ‘Load’, ‘Level’ and ‘Press’.
Focus Multimedia has bundled together three titles originally published by Big Fish Games in a Dark Mysteries Triple Pack. The three games are The Secrets of Arcelia Island, Secrets of the Dark: Temple of Night, and Written Legends: Nightmare at Sea. In each case the game belongs to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. From a single front-end, each of the titles can be installed in turn. A separate desktop icon will be created for each game.
Your role in The Search of Arcelia is that of a young woman who embarks on an expedition with her father and a small crew to discover more about the mysterious island of Arcelia. Following a storm you find yourself anchored just off the shore of the island while all the crew members and your father have disappeared. You then need to embark on an adventure to discover what has happened and learn the secrets of the island.
Having recently attended a games event and told you about some rather nice headphones I was offered the chance to review a Bluetooth speaker set that works rather well via USB when connected to your PC its secret is that its a single speaker.
I am now really sure where the ‘10’ comes from in the name, a few months ago Michael Fereday got to review the ‘8’ in the same series. It is 30x9x8cm at the back of the unit, the front of this six sided unit is 27cm. All bar the back are covered in a fine mesh material. There are seven touch controls on top of the unit. The rear has three inputs Auxiliary In, Headphones Out and USB connection.
After years of going head-to-head with the Roxio Creator package, Nero now faces a different challenge following Corels buyout of Roxio.
Originally starting off in life as a burning software utility, hence its title, Nero has developed into a collection of applications and utilities that are loosely bound together via a front-end. Designed specially for media viewing, editing and sharing with others plus one or two extra items, the latest edition of Nero is now up to version 12 with Standard and Platinum offerings being available. This review is based on Nero 12 Platinum.
Based on a real location that was the home of a dead entertainer, this next game involves searching for a missing song.
It was a case of one of those coincidences that can happen from time to time. I had just finished reading a news article about a school putting on a musical and having to get permission to change the lyrics of an Elvis Presley because one parent had claimed it was too racy. This situation involved an American High School (obviously not Glee) and the 1957 classic All Shook Up. The coincidence came when I picked up the next title in the pile for review.
Having looked at numerous digital cameras, some Bridge units and only the occasional DSLR it is always nice to be stretched by one of the latter. A 300 page plus manual is always nice to digest as you try out some of the extras.
Mesuring 17x15x10cm the Pentax K-5 II will let you know this will not be light and indeed it weighs only a tad under 1200grams. The middle figure the width can increase by another 7cm when the 18-135mm lens is fully zoomed out, this is powerful.
Once regarded as an upstart as it offered graphics software at prices well below the accepted standards of the day, Serif is now an established software developer with a range of offerings such as this next title.
While you could easily spend several hundred pounds on a product for creating drawings and artwork (no names, no pack drill), there are more economically priced offerings available for the discerning user. One such title is DrawPlus from Serif. The latest version of this software is now up to X6, that’s 16 to you and me.
This is a three in one device as it scans copies and prints. Scanning can be done without any intervention once you start the wizard, at the other extreme I have never seen so many choices for copying should you wish to use them.
The Epson Expressions Photo XP-750 measures 38x32x12cm, at printing time you will need another 13cm in front of the unit to deliver the printed page face up on the automatically extending paper output tray. The touchscreen TFT also extends out to horizontal but that is within the extension of the paper output tray.
First a game that most will know from paper versions Wordsearch, here a version on themes. Second something intended for those of an age group that I represent the over 55s and this has a serious theme of what you can immediately remember.
This is a rather nice board game for two to four players, stated to be age 8 upwards. It is based on those found in puzzle books, here however no pen or pencil is required. Wordsearch as in the puzzle book version is normally a single player game. Here it is for two, three or four and often the younger players find the words quicker.
There are more smartphones currently taking up space on retailers shelves than you could shake a stick at. Many of the more high profile units tend to fall in the expensive category but that is not to say that the budget sector has been ignored by the various manufacturers (Apple apart).
A recent addition to the more affordable smartphone offerings is the ZTE Blade III model which combines a pleasant appearance with some useful features at a price that should not make you wince as you consider the hit on your budget. With dimensions of 120.3 x 63.5 x 10.
I have previously reviewed several offering from Orbitsound. However unless my memory is failing this is the first with a sub-woofer and is certainly a first for a wirelessly connected sub-woofer, the main unit can be connected several ways.
Recently I attended an event devoted to Bluetooth. Perhaps it should have been called an event for iPhone and iPad. Anyhow of the few companies present who had items available that did not require an ‘i’ device this was the only one who has so far come through on their promise to send an item or items for review. Orbitsound have two new models the M9 and the M12, both should be available by the time you read this review.
In the past I have looked at a number of Doro products of which the greatest majority were handset designed specifically for the older generation. These handsets, whether of the candy bar, slider or clamshell variety, feature an easy to use interface combined with large style buttons with a useful emergency facility.
The Doro experience has now migrated to the world of tablets and desktops. Doro has developed an application, suitably entitled Doro Experience, for use on the Android family of devices and the Windows desktop. My review is based on the Android version of this software, Currently the Doro Experience app for Android is available for downloading from Doro’s website and Google Play.
Fancy joining the FBI? You get the opportunity in this next title as you return to your home town to investigate a series of murders.
Classified as a Hidden Object Adventure game, Mystery Valley casts you in the role of Elizabeth Dark, an FBI agent who suffered from horrific nightmares as a young child. These nightmares continued until she left her home town which had the unusual name of Mystery Valley.
This is a wireless (Bluetooth) speaker system that can also import via 3.5 jack and i device dock. Pioneer is one of the better names in audio and the 30 watts output may convert you to this unit. So have they shrunk size to compete in this competitive area?
Pioneer XW-BTS3 bluetooth speaker measures 33x10x16cm, the last figure is without anything in the iPod device dock. My unit was white but they also do it in more standard black. Bluetooth is the main selling point here; it was easy to link to a range of devices. You can also use the ‘i’ device dock which of course will also charge your device while in place provided you keep the power lead connected to it.
Having recently finished running the rule over the PIXMA MX395, it was almost a case of de je vu as I unpacked the latest unit to arrive from Canon, The new unit is the PIXMA MX525 and, like the earlier model, is a multifunction device offering the user print, copy, scan and Fax capabilities. The PIXMA MX525 was extremely similar in appearance with its rounded corner plinth top and reflecting black coating. Even the dimensions of 358 x 200 x 455mm (D x H x W) were similar. However there are some cosmetic and functional differences that become evidence over time.
This one-box unit follows the usual arrangement of the inkjet printer with accompanying input/output paper trays supporting an A4 flatbed scanner that is topped off with an ADF (Automatic Document Feed). Tucked away out-of-sight at the rear of the box are connections for mains power, USB, telephone line, external device such as a telephone or answering machine, and wired LAN. A second USB option is at the front when you need to access material stored on a camera or flash stick.