While a new version of an OS (Operating System), such as Windows, might take a number of years to make a commercial appearance, utilities designed to keep the OS running smoothly operate on a short gestation period.
New versions of utilities are generally released on an annual basis with the year appendage being used to identify the current version. One such product that falls into this category is TuneUp Utilities 2012. Available with a three user licence this product provides a range of tools covering different aspects relating to the smooth running of your Windows computer system.
Keeping your customers satisfied is the aim of this next game as you run a made-to-order store in fashionable parts of town.
As the developer and publisher of casual games for various platforms, Youdagames has now ventured into the world of glamorous accessories for its next game playing offering. This is Youda Jewel Shop. Available for the Windows platform, Youda Jewel Shop is a time management game that contains over 80 levels of keeping your customers happy by providing the jewellery on their shopping list.
This consists on a pair of glasses with earbuds connected by a short lead to a small box. My thoughts go back to early handheld CD players however here you not only get sound but also vision and the box has an Android system.
The term ‘learning curve’ seems to have fallen out of favour, this revives it. While with help I managed to get it to do all it was supposed to do you get a chance to learn the art of touch as with the glasses on you cannot see the box and you need to control the cursor on the screen you may also need to use a button on two on the box so you do get the chance to see things as a blind of partially sighed person does, an interesting experience.
Aliph has recently introduced a big brother to its original Jambox audio device.
The Big Jambox, as its title indicates, is a much larger and heavier version of the original Jambox providing enhanced audio and speakerphone capability to your mobile devices. Available in a choice of Red, White or Graphic Hex (black to you and me), the brick shaped Big Jambox has dimensions of 256 x 80 x 93mm (L x W x H) and weighs in at 1.2kg.
The Doro Comfort 1015 is an attractive DECT cordless phone that incorporates an answerphone and other features, such as hands-free operation, that a user will find useful. It is convenient to use and is available in a number of variants. As well as the single handset option, there are the two, three and 4-handset packages listed which also provide paging and intercom around the house.
Handsets are 165 x 50 x 25mm approx. and fit comfortably in one’s hand. They are black in colour and the white characters on the keys are easy to read. The matt rear surface of the handset makes them easy to grip. Doro has taken a very practical approach in the design of these phones with the handset using two standard AAA rechargeable batteries rather than specials. The claimed standby and talk times are respectively 100 and 10 hours.
Canon does a lot of professional cameras however they also have two ranges, Ixus and PowerShot, suitable for home and pocket use. Here the latest offering, the Canon PowerShot A4000IS, in what used to be the larger of the two small units - the PowerShot, which has shrunk.
The PowerShot A4000IS measures 9.5x5.8x2cm and weights 150grams. However the width can increase to around 5.5cm what fully zoomed. My unit was silver and grey. The front has the 8x optical zoom lens and the bar flash above and to its left; it is never nearer than 2.5cm to the lens. I found this gave good images although they did initially look a little over exposed on the TFT.
Is your SmartPhone charged by micro USB? If so then this stereo speaker dock can allow you to listen to music while you are charging your phone. So just for a change the iLuv MobiDock is not an iPod dock but one designed for those with SmartPhones.
It measures 24x14x11cm, the middle figure is at the centre of the unit where the SmartPhone dock is at the sides its only 10cm. When you look at it you think you are looking at an iPod in situ as the dock has a back that stretches up by 3cm above the speakers. However investigate more fully and the arms stretch from 5cm when at the bottom to 16cm at their height (horizontal) and the small micro USB charging connector swivels through 180 degrees.
To some Bounty is a tasty treat that combines a chocolate coating with a coconut filling. Others will immediately think of Bounty as being a reward on offer for completing a specific task. Really the concepts are not all that different as a Bounty bar could be your reward for completing a job of work. Bounty is also the title of a match-3 and puzzle solving game developed by Total Eclipse.
This game is based on a pirate theme and begins with an opening introductory sequence that places you somewhere in the middle of Nowhere. Actually Nowhere is somewhere and is the name of an island that you would expect pirates to visit. Using a comic book style of story telling, this sequence involves a fight between a group of pirates, who have just finished burying their loot, and the forces of law and order.
For nearly all this programs twenty year life I have used it, right from its first incarnation as a flat file offering, this soon changed to relational and now many businesses are run almost totally from end to end on FileMaker Pro.
If my calculations are correct this is the forth file format. The reason for the first change was at around v2 or so. Then again after v6 then v11 and now v12. I had kept my files in v5 format as I have always used File Maker Mobile which was used by Palm and this was not available after that.
Blocking out unwanted noise while you listen to your favourite music is becoming a must-have feature of many new headsets. As yet I have not come across one that is 100% successful.
I have to admit that when it comes to my choice of headset listening pleasure, an over-the-ear style of unit will come first, second and third in my list of preferences. I find that this type of headset feels far more comfortable while delivering an audio quality that suits my ears. The iGO City product is one such headset.
Forget among a split personality, in this next game you can switch your role backwards and forwards between four characters.
When loading up a Wadjet Eye production, I can be fairly confident that retro style graphics and plenty of dialogue delivered by voice actors will play an important role in the game. Resonance is no exception as you enter a game world set in the city of Aventine. Your task will be to solve the mystery of the unexplained attacks on buildings around the world in this point-and-click adventure.
This LED display is light and easy to move something you could not have said for the CRT displays of much smaller size not that many years ago. It is also brighter has better contrast and all in all a very nice item on the desk.
It is 58x35.5x1.5cm and sits on a ‘Y’ shaped base that raises it 8cm of your desk. The ‘Y’ gives it a very stable base of 22cm in length and 25cm along the open edge of the ‘Y’ but at not much increase to the overall weight that is only 3.5kilos.
Speaker units have been a popular topic of late when I have been reviewing items. One such product is a speaker set from Sandberg.
Described as being designed for use with a PC and MP3 player, the Sandberg Play Speaker Set is a 2:1 unit. It is made up of a subwoofer and a pair of satellite speakers. All three units are predominately black in colour. The speakers have gone with a reflective sheen while the subwoofer has a more subdued matte appearance.
A major challenge faced by all travellers is how to keep all the electronic devices working that are now considered so important. The iGo Green Laptop Travel Charger offers a simple solution to enable the busy traveller to keep his laptop and USB devices charged irrespective of whether it is at the hotel or in a car or, increasingly, in the passenger compartment of a plane.
No matter how vital they are laptops, iPads and smartphones all need to have their batteries charged at regular intervals if they are not to die on us at a most inopportune moment. While we have individual chargers for each device, it is a nuisance to have to carry them all and a tangled mass of cables when travelling. This charger deals with this messy situation. The travel charger is essentially a black, rectangular block 171 x 72 x 17 mm with the “iGo green” logo.
While various versions of the Apple iPad have been around for a while their PR in the UK is less than happy to let journalists review their kit, so it falls upon others to loan out their kit, in this case it was T-Mobile who loaned the unit.
While I have had two iPods and most recently an iPod Touch no iPhone or iPad has come across my desk so whilst I have reviewed numerous Android devices with similar abilities I am a total novice with an iPad, here my thoughts. As you would expect both video and audio were excellent. Sound quality from the internal speaker was also loud enough for a normal room. My first cheer came when I discovered the side lock switch could be used to stop screen rotation. The top edge of the screen has a 3.
Here I am looking at a Bluetooth mouse from a company that makes PCs, Cameras, Phones and Audio Systems Sony. Second a Wireless offering that looks like a UFO and this one from Brando in Hong Kong is Wireless.
This oval shaped offering is 11x5.5x1cm and mine was a purple colour that in dull light can look nearer to dark blue. It runs on two ‘AA’ batteries (supplied) which are stated to last around three months. It is branded with the Vaio name. Looking at the Sony site I see it is available ten colours with the most normal Blue, Black and White. Orange, Pink, Light Blue, Two shades of Green, another shade of Pink and Red complete the range to suit all comers.
With a different company name and a newly designed interface, there is a new look to an old favourite with DIskeeper 2012.
Once upon a time there was a company called Executive Software. In 1981 this company turned its attention to the problem of data being fragmented on hard disks causing deterioration in the overall performance of the host computer. This was, and still is, a big “No, No” for users everywhere. The solution produced by Executive Software was a product entitled Diskeeper.
This unit is small, in fact so small you think it cannot support an A4 page but it does. The black colour may put some off but as it can connect by Wireless as well as USB the former will allow it to sit out of sight in a cupboard.
NASA technology and a branded set of ear-buds are just two of the features found on a new HTC smartphone.
As part of its One series of smartphones, HTC has released its One S model. My review unit, kindly supplied by Vodafone, has an appealing if understated aluminium body with dimensions of 130.9 x 65 x 7.8mm (H x W x D). Weighing just 119.5g (battery included), this smartphone fits comfortably in the hand and slips into a pocket or bag without causing an unsightly bulge or over-burdening you.
Time to join a school of magic and increase your powers through the use of words.
When I first came across the title of Academy of Magic, I was expecting a game that belonged to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. However I was wrong. While searching forms a central plank of this game, Academy of Magic has more of an educational slant as you attempt to find words from a random selection of letters arranged on a wall of tiles.
Mio have produced a GPS unit for cyclists rather than motorists, so now we non motorists have a unit that can more normally cope with day to day than trying to adapt a unit designed primarily for the car and lorry driver.
When you setup a journey it asks if you are using car or cycle. All the countries of Western Europe are input and for those with powerful legs you can enter a route to include other countries, I settled for short trips in the UK. It is 11.5x6.5x2cm and weights 153grams. It of course has a fitment to be attached either in a car or cycle, but can be handheld for when you have parked to finish your journey on foot, very useful in a strange town or city.
With a title like Jambox you might think it was a container to store your preserves but instead it is a device for enhancing audio.
What with the plethora of portable music players, smartphones and various tablets, our entertainment on-the-move needs are well catered for. However this generally only applies on a one-to-one basis due to the restrictive nature of a personal headset or the limitation of the built-in speakers that were never intended for group listening.
The Seagate Backup Plus is a quick and easy back-up system. Available in 500GB, 750GB and 1TB versions it supplied with Dashboard software which is designed to be simple to use as well as supporting social networks. It supports USB3.0 for high speed data transfer but is also backwards-compatible and so can operate at the lower USB 2.0 speeds. Hence, it provides a useful degree of future proofing for those who only have USB 2.0 at present.
These drives which are available in a number of colours are roughly 15 x 80 x 125mm and weigh, complete with the supplied 450mm cable, about 200gm. Hence, being this size and weight and, as they draw their power from the USB port and do not need an external power unit, they are readily portable. Furthermore, despite being USB 3.0 they do not demand more power than can be provided by a single USB 2.
Sometimes like here you see a product and many months elapse before it arrives. This is a laser colour multi function unit. You now probably think large and heavy, while a lot of inkjets are smaller it is not that heavy.
It is 38x42x35cm, no extras to add as paper is fed face down in the open paper tray and delivered the same way just below the display overhang so even cables are attached within the overall framework of the MF-4580dn. The ‘d’ stands for duplex and the ‘n’ for network however it can also be connected by USB but not by wireless. The weight is just over 13kilos. This is a mono printing and copying unit but it does scan in colour.
Regular readers will know I bemoan the lack of manuals in the box, many think the iPod is easy to use but it has more to offer. The second book in the same series is for Motorolas Zoom, both these tomes offer help and advice.
This covers all the numerous versions of iPods and it has been a very enjoyable and informative read. As the first iPods reach eleven this book reaches its 10 edition and apart from covering the Nano, Shuffle and Classic it also informs about iOS5 and the iPod Touch. A lot of what it covers is generic information but while most think plugging in and Syncing is all the iPod does especially with the iPod touch you can download Apps.
Doro continues to increase the functionality of its handset. Following the introduction of a camera with the last model I looked at, this time 3G technology is added.
An All In One unit at the lower end of the cost spectrum. However unlike others that have two inks this unit has four. So is this small low slung sleek unit likely to provide everything that you may need to Print, Scan and Copy.
The Brother DCP-195C all-in-one measures 37x36x15cm and cream in colour. This is a basic all in one unit that has a single line display – black on grey -. Power goes in at the back of the left side and USB connects inside the unit, the lead has a path from the back right edge. There are four copy option buttons just in front of the display. To the right of this a column of four buttons Menu, +, -, and OK, + & - are on a rocker button.
Towards the end of last year I attended the launch of a new product and then had to wait patiently for over six months before the promised review unit arrived.
While some companies (no names, no pack drill but they know and you know who they are) concentrate on a larger size with their tablet products, others, such as Huawei, have gone for a more pocket sized offering.
Alongside its normal catalogue of games, Focus Multimedia has introduced its BlackLime budget line of titles. This next game is one such offering
It seems a long time since I have been able to enjoy the extras of a DSLR camera. So the arrival of this Pentax offering that I first saw at a London launch last autumn was an eagerly and long awaited event to savour.
The Pentax K-01 compact system camera weights 765grams and is 12x8x14cm the last figure varies according to how much the lens is extended. I was sent the 18-55 option. As this unit does not have a mirror what the TFT sees is what you capture via the lens. Without the lens being considered it is a very ‘boxy’ unit. I remember at the initial launch taking images and then thinking where does the SD card go as it’s not in the battery bay.