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Keeping active minds fully, and positively, occupied can be a difficult task at the best of time. The closure of schools due to the pandemic will not help matters.
Offering to help provide parents with the appropriate tools designed to encourage learning within the home environment are various companies including Geomagworld.  For those not too familiar with Geomagworld, this is a leading organisation in the toy industry which has been developing toys that are meant to stimulate creativity and learning in the young members of society.  Recently I have been given the opportunity to check out one of the Geomagworld products.
891129 debenhamssho

Shoes from Debenhams

I am not a huge fan of buying shoes online, but with no sign of the lockdown ending I bit the bullet and checked a few sites. I ended up with Debenhams – yes I know they will not reopen but any purchase with a Credit/Debit card should be safe – simply because of the price.
As the only way anyone can get around safely is by walking my shoes have taken a fair amount of punishment and with the cost of repairs such as ‘sole and heal’ being astronomical these days it becomes pointless to do so, it may not be good for the planet but when repairs are twice the price of a new pair it’s a no brainer. There is a good amount of information about the shoe and also several images available so if you are sure of your size it becomes easy.
Rather than rising from your favourite armchair, why not ask Alexa to carry out tasks.
The Alexa influence continues to spread its net wide as our households become more reliant on smart technology.  The latest member of this Amazon family to be released into the wild, and make its way to my home, is the 4th Generation Echo Dot.
891085 smart scree

Smart Screen Cleaning Cloth

Very few SmartPhones apart from the very expensive offerings have a matt back and I have yet to see one without shiny sides and screen surround and these of course show finger marks. While the screen more or less has to be shiny and as all but very basic SmartPhones are touch unless you wear special gloves every touch of your finger shows a mark.
Most people when the marks interfere with what they are doing rub the face of their SmartPhone on their trousers or jeans not that vital until a year ago when Covid reared its head but now it’s more important or the next time your finger moves from your screen to your face… At this time of year when out and about gloves are something I wear all the time and the ones designed to enable phone usage do help not only does this save your fingers freezing when you touch your phone but I t
891122 Screenshot 2021 02 08 at 00.19.1

Story Telling Time : Readmio

"Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin by reading you a story with the assistance of a new app entitled Readmio".
Readmio, the company, is a Czech start-up that has the desired aim of creating a meaningful bonding experience between the parent and the child.  This is through the natural process of the telling and listening to a story partnership.  To this end the company has developed an app, sharing the company name of Readmio.
Lets take a trip to a world where Kings, Queens, Prince and Princesses rule from large castles while witches and fairies ply their trade in the constant battle between good and evil.
Available at the cut-price of $2.99 from Big Fish Games, Witches Curse in the Princess Isabella series is a Hidden Object Adventure game.  While a little long in the tooth, this Gogii developed game makes a good choice for somebody taking their first steps into Hidden Object game play.  It does this by not only integrating its Strategy Guide into the story line but also allows the player to access its content that is relevant to the location being currently visited.
891059 Acer TC 885 Windows 10 Deskto

Acer Desktop XC-885

This is now becoming a rare beast a Desktop PC rather that a Notebook. Sadly it has one thing missing – from my point of view – an optical drive. However during my testing period it has performed well in all departments that will satisfy most people.
Acer XC-885 measures 32x29x9.5cm, the front of the unit has an on/off button at the top below this in a vertical line down the right side of the front are an SD card slot, always on USB ‘C’ port, an always on USB port and 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a microphone. The back has a kettle style mains input with a fan output beside it, below this are two HDMI inputs and D-Sub.
Unlike some graphics software titles available on a subscription basis, this next offering can be purchased with a single payment.
Developed by the French DxO company, PhotoLab is photo-editing software.  Now up to version 4, this software is available in either Essential or Elite offerings.  This review is based on PhotoLab 4.0 Elite which comes with several new features including the excellent DxO DeepPrime technology but more of that a little later. Firing up this application for the first time can be a little time consuming.
Rather than just looking at paintings, you can step inside them to explore what is happening.
Investigating crime can take up time as this next game proves.
In the past Secret Investigations have tackled the subjects of Nemesis and Revelations.  Now it is the turn of Heritage to form the basis of a series of investigations that make up this Hidden Object game.  As with the early titles, this Heritage offering covers various investigations.  In this case, the investigations are entitled Stolen Will, Ghost Mansion, Gold Legacy, Final Bill and Oblivious Art.
This is a 27inch flat panel 1920x1080 that shows everything just that little bit larger, it also has something that most other flat panels do not have a decent set of speakers so external speakers should not be required, so what else does this recent offering from Philips have to tempt you.
It is 61x36x1cm apart from the base of the screen surround that is 3.5cm and immediately you know why the sound is so good as the speakers are down facing in the base. The surround on the sides and top are .5cm with the base surround being 2.4cm and so the notional diagonal imperial measurement is as stated above, the full 27inches.
Add to your Match-3 playing skills as you attempt to become a Potion Master.
Developed by Green Sauce Games, Secrets of Magic 4 - Potion Master is a Match-3 offering.  The game places you in the company of an experienced witch, named Victoria, and her apprentice, named Beatrix, who is studying hard to become a Potion Master by collecting, and learning about, the different ingredients required for certain spells.  As the different ingredients are only to be found in the Forbidden Forest, this is the location where all the action takes place.
The League of Light is an organisation who has managed to become involved in a number of investigations. In this particular case, the investigation involves a return to Blake's Mountain in responses to a worrying message from Hank Hunter who felt he was being followed by an unknown entity. As a League of Light detective, you are sent to investigate what will become know as the case of the Gatherer.
Developed by Mariaglorum, League of Light: The Gatherer is a Hidden Object Adventure game.  This review is based on the Collector's Edition of the title that comes with a number of extra items.  In most cases these items, such as Music, Wallpaper and Concept Art, can be access immediately.  However there is a Bonus Chapter which remains locked until the main game has been completed.
Following The Tree of Life, The Living Mountain continues the Amaranthine Voyage saga as it relates the further adventures of Professor Burns.
I have been looking at the Collector's Edition of this Eipix Entertainment Amaranthine Voyage: The Living Mountain which comes with a number of bonus items.  While, in some cases, bonus items can be accessed immediately, other will require progress to have been made in the main game and there are some which only become available when everything else has been completed.
891070 Xiaomi Mi 10T Lit

Mi 10T Lite : Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite

Not actually a new company but one that that I have not reviewed before, the company is called Xiaomi, and like a lot of recent SmartPhones comes to me via Vodafone. As far as I can tell this company has not incurred the wrath of the USA as it comes with Google and G-Mail.
The Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite measures 15.3x7.5x.7cm apart from the circle of its back that has its four cameras that protrudes a little more and it weighs 219grams. The notional diagonal imperial measurement is 6.6 inches. 2mm down from the top of the screen in the centre is the front camera so it does protrude into the viewable area. However the items to the left and right are the housekeeping ones so it does not really detract. Boot up time is 14 seconds and shutdown is 2.5 seconds.
TCL continues to offer users a choice of handsets with its latest offerings announced at CES 2021
Looking for a holiday with a difference, then you might like to consider a visit to an Adventure Park.
Acting as a kind of digital travel agency, Casual Arts offers game players the choice of various Vacation Adventures.  In this case you are invited to join a Park Ranger as you visit the different locations that make up the gaming environment of this Hidden Object game. Profiles can be created so that different players can take their adventurous break when they fancy.  The profile will record their progress and score of the designated player.
891050 Charwego international travel adapte

A Power Adapter : Masterspace Charwego

When normality returns, and we can move about at will, the next product could be a useful aid.
This small heavily padded Tablet is something that should withstand rough treatment. There are three in the range with stories from recent Disney hits. There are other claims on the box that I could not always test as some external programs seem to require a controller that – after checking with the PR agency – I am told is not supplied.
The Pebble Gear kids tablet computer measures 19x11x1cm without the slightly flexible cover and weighs 285 grams; the cover fits snugly and adds 90 grams to the overall weight. The screen is 15.4x8.6cm this gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 7 inches. The controls and connections are on the right side, first the on/off button, next a 3.5mm socket for headphones and then the micro USB socket and finally volume rocker with a micro SD card socket to its side.
Adding to its range of Alcatel smartphones, TCL has announced two new models at the recent CES event.
While we are bound by the various restrictions imposed by the Lockdown procedure, the Consumer Electronics Show has gone on its merry way with numerous companies announcing new products and initiatives.  One such company is the global electronics TCL Communications with regards to its new additions to its suite of Alcatel products.  These handsets are the Alcatel 3L and the Alcatel 1S.
Looking for new locations in which to arrange hidden objects, Casual Arts place you on board an ocean liner visiting various locations.
Developed by Casual Arts, Vacation Adventure Cruise Director is a Hidden Object game.  As can be surmised from its title, this game involves taking a holiday on board a cruise liner.  All your activities will be organised by the cruise director and all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy yourself.  Well not exactly as you will be challenged to complete a variety of tasks aboard the liner and at the different ports of call established during the cruise.
Do you trust a ghostly figure when you are searching for a missing friend pulled back in time or rely on your own instincts.
As is my usual practice, this review is based on the Collector's Edition of the title which comes with a number of bonus items.  In some cases, such as wallpaper, music and concept art, you are granted immediate access to the bonus items.  However to make use of collectibles, achievements, archives and screen saver items, you will need to make progress in the main game.
890973 Shure MV5C Home Office Microphon

Shure MV5C Microphone

Since last spring most of us have discovered Zoom or other video streaming services. Those using it often find that while a built in camera on a notebook gives perfectly acceptable video sometimes the supplied pin hole microphone is not up to the standard required especially if the call is not just a meeting of friends but something more important then perhaps this offering from Shure can help.
The Shure MV5C microphone is round at 6cm across and comes with a stand that can raise it by up to 8cm from your desk. This can be set to adjust the get the perfect angle. As with most microphones the last thing you normally want to hear is yourself but there are occasions you might want to do so and so it has a mode where when you plug a set of headphones or earbuds into it you can. The connection to your PC or Notebook is by USB and there is a small 12x9.
Keeping your data safe and secure when transferring it between locations can be a worry. This next product could help.
Adding to its range of portable protective storage devices, iStorage has developed their DISKASHUR M product.  This is a Solid State Drive (SSD) with encryption delivered by FIPS PUB 197 validated AES-XTS 256-bit technology.  iStorage has opted to offer this device with storage capacities of 120/240/500 GB and 1 or 2 TB versions.  This review is based on the 1TB model of the DISKASHUR M .
Can you act as the bridge and the groom to ensure they get to the wedding chapel?
Dark Romance - The Curse of Bluebeard is a Hidden Object Adventure game.  However the game's developer, Domini Games, has opted not to base their game on the more obvious Bluebeard character but on one that is less well-known.  Rather than the pirate known as Bluebeard, this game has Count Bluebeard, a man whose servants have had their tongues cut out, as its central character.
When an old friend offers to help you find work, you should look before you leap.
Developed by BLAM! Games, Dangerous Games : Prisoners of Destiny is a Hidden Object Adventure game that involves a magical world filled with puzzles, unusual situations and an occasional weird creature.  I have been looking at the Collector's Edition of this title which comes with a number of bonus items.  Some of these items, such as wallpaper, concept art and music, can be accessed immediately while other need you to complete or made sufficient progress in the main game.
890963 Google Pixel 5 Android Mobile Phon

Google Pixel 5

This is the latest 5G SmartPhone from Google, in comparison to some recent offerings it is quite small and because of the lack of size it is also quite light. So apart from being one of the first units to have Android 11 what else does this have to offer.
It is 14x6.5x.7cm and weighs only 150 grams. The viewable screen is 13.6x6.3cm which gives the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 6 inches. The screen display is 1440x3040. Going around the outside has the on/off button and below that the volume rocker button, on the base are the speakers split by the USB ‘C’ port, the left side has the SIM entry point, the top has a pin hole microphone. The lovely matt black back has a finger print reader 3.
Fancy a trip to Australia? This next offering from Lazy Turtle Games might seem like a possible inducement to make the trip but, somehow, I seriously doubt it. Yes you do get some interesting snippets regarding popular locations in the land of "down under" but, unless you have an overwhelming desire to cuddle a koala or play fisticuffs with a kangaroo, you might think "so what!"
The game, entitled Travel to Australia, belongs to the Hidden Object genre with its various scenes spread through the antipodeans continent that, I'm reliable informed, were not featured in Neighbours.  Profiles can be set up to record the progress of individual players.  Adjustments can be made to the volume level for background music and sound effects.  There are options to select full screen viewing and use a custom cursor.
890905 Devolo Wi Fi AC REPEATE

Devolo WiFi ac Repeater +

If you have weak Wi-Fi or even parts that have no Wi-Fi then Devolo have solutions that can help. Here I am looking at an add on a new version of their Wi-Fi repeater. So even if you have a good signal at your Modem then this could help for the places that have less good signals.
The unit is 15x7.5x5cm and plugs into any 13amp socket. What was in that socket can then be plugged into the Devolo Repeater. You should not plug it into a surge strip and gang sockets are not recommended but may or may not work. The repeater has two Ethernet sockets on its top, Devolo were one of the first to react when people in the UK complained that skirting board sockets could not accommodate Ethernet ports on the base of the unit. Also in the box is a 14.5x10.
Providing Match-3 action, this next game involves breaking a curse that is affecting the world of magic.
E-funsoft's latest excursion into the world of Match-3 game play involves the Academy of Magic.  Subtitled "The Great Dark Wizard's Curse", this game deals with the adventures of Dennis Griffin.  However long before Dennis enters the picture, many years ago the hidden world of magic lived in fear of the human world.  Fortunately some witches and wizards got together and set up a pact with the human world so that peaceful harmony was established.
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