Following her introduction in The Mystery of Meane Manor, Becky Brogan returns in The Institute. As with the first title, The Institute is a Hidden Object game with some puzzles thrown in for good measure.
With just one level of game play, The Institute opens with a comic-book style sequence. This lays the groundwork for the story and explains how Becky has come across a report of a missing doctor and nurse as part of the research she was conducting as part of the Investigative Journalism & Criminal Science course she was attending. As this case had never been solved, Becky’s curiosity was piqued and so she sets out to investigate.
A phone from a service provider, not I think unique but certainly most seem to come from third party companies, often a phone for a period anyway are only available from a single provider, here the Vivacity from T-Mobile.
The T-Mobile Vivacity measures 11.2x5.6x.8cm and weights 120grams. Front and back are black with the edges all in silver grey. The viewable screen is 7.6x4.6cm that is 3½ inches diagonal for those who still think imperial. All the controls are touchscreen with the exception of the on/off on top of it and volume up/down on the right side of the unit. There is a fold out Quick Start Guide that covers most of the basics for anything else a mini CD is provided with a User Guide.
Music, photos and video clips make up a sizeable portion of the storage devices attached to our home computers unless, of course, you are in the minority. Managing and making use of the vast store of multimedia data can be quite challenging especially if you attempt this task without the appropriate tools.
Offering to help manage and deliver your multimedia content is Cyberlink’s PowerDVD software. Regarded by some as the daddy of multimedia management (earlier versions are often bundled with external drives), PowerDVD is now up to version 12 and comes in three flavours with a choice of Standard, Pro and Ultra. This review is based on the top of the range Ultra software which includes Blu-ray, 3D and social networking features.
For those who have laptops with an HDMI out then I guess this will be of little interest. However for those with a Desktop who want a second display then this little piece of kit from HIS, this could well be what you are looking for.
Often to connect a second display to a PC will require a second graphics card. Here HIS have developed the first USB3 box that is capable of giving a signal to another display – it will work with USB2 – in fact they claim that up to six of these devices can be used from one PC giving the notional ability to connect seven displays from a single PC.
While Christmas is of course the biggest selling time for games, presents for other things such as Birthdays come at any time of year, two very different offerings here a box game of Angry Birds and a board game His and Hers.
Most things today tend to become ‘Apps’ here however is something that started life as an ‘App’ and has come the other way to become a physical box game that can be played without any electrical device required at all. I have come across many games that have been converted from board/box to computer or ‘App’ but this is the first that has gone in the reverse direction. I think this is a great idea otherwise kids will think only the screen can entertain.
With innovative scrolling and zooming scenes for searching, The Clockwork Man 2 is now available with a bonus game.
Introduced to the game playing public in The Clockwork Man ( ), Miranda Calomy and Sprocket, her robot companion, return for a second dose of Hidden Object Adventure action. Not surprisingly this second outing is entitled The Clockwork Man 2 with the subtitle of The Hidden World. Available as part of Avanquest’s GSP casual game catalogue, The Clockwork Man 2 comes bundled with the original Clockwork Man title.
I wondered when I saw a range of MFU items recently why Hero 6.1 was not in the range. They were all designated "home" products. Here is the exception the 'office' offering, scan, print, copy and fax all in the one package.
The Kodak Hero 6.1 measures 46x39x24cm and is not sleek, but as it is an office machine looks are not important only user functionality. I am no fashion guru but alongside the Hero 7.1 it looks bulky – probably because of the page feeder – and dare I say it a little last year in design. Still in an office the only thing that matters is its performance.
As the movement from analogue to digital gathers apace, it makes sense to further enhance the audio quality with tools such as MAGIXs Audio Cleaning Lab.
Now up to version 18 (exceeded only by the number of awards the program has won – 19 at the last count), Audio Cleaning Lab MX is MAGIX’s all-in-one solution for digitising and restoring your music collection stored on a variety of media in different formats. Supplied with an English language manual in small booklet guise, this MAGIX software comes on a single disk that also contains a free copy of MAGIX’s Mufin 2.
With a title that begins with the words Elementary my dear, you might think that Sherlock Holmes was involved in some way. However with Elementary My Dear Majesty, this is not the case. Instead the game has more of a fairy tale feel to it as it arrives with the claim of being the first 3D Hidden Object Adventure game.
Developed by Dream Dale, powered by the Neoaxis Engine and published by Alawar, Elementary My Dear Majesty can be played in either Casual or Expert mode. With the former mode the Hint feature will recharge faster, there will be fewer objects to find and you will be allowed to skip any puzzles that you might find to be too difficult. In Expert mode, there are more hidden objects, a slower recharge time and you can not skip a puzzle.
The Canon Ixus 230HS is another offering in possibly the best range of small pocket cameras around. This is the latest Ixus offering, Canon do another smaller unit the PowerShot apart from their many offerings in the DSLR market place.
The Canon Ixus 230HS measures 9.5x5.5x1.5cm and the last figure can expand by another 4cm when fully zoomed out. It weights only 138grams. While on the face of it a lot of other units have greater than 8x optical zoom, the quality is in the sensors within the camera and anyone wanting to zoom to that sort of level will need a tripod to get reasonable results.
My doctor suggests I should exercise and move about more. So I put his advice to good use as I checked out a set of Sennheiser headphones.
The Sennheiser RS120 headphones have not been designed to be used as your listening method of choice when out and about as you are entertained by your favourite portable music player. Instead this headset is meant to free you from being physically tied to the source of your listening material when in the home. The Sennheiser RS120 achieves this feat through the use of wireless technology to deliver the audio from the source to your ears.
The title above may be the understatement of the year, yes it is powerful and it is a torch but it is also so much more. The box calls it Bright Light Ranger Ultra bright, heavy duty LED light. It can be charged by mains, car cigar lighter or hand crank.
The box contains the light and mains lead as well as an Instruction sheet. So you will need to purchase a cigar lighter adapter should you wish to charge it in this way. The unit is 21x18x8.5cm and weights 1400grams. The 12 LED light 8x7cm is stored face away against the face of the unit to avoid possible damage. While the most typical action is to flip it through 180 degrees this will add 8cm to the height. It can be used in any point during the 180 degree flip it has no side to side movement.
On a very cold day at the start of February Microsoft launched a free app for Android. Those with long memories will know they recently purchased Skype a free online telecommunications product and also offered everyone a free 5GB Sky Drive.
One Note first launched in 2009 and my version was an option within Office 2010 (Office 14) in fairness it was not something I have used much until now but as we all have numerous devices using different ways of control, moving shared files around is something that one device on the Cloud (Sky Drive) is ideally suited to do. First some background to One Note, it comes as a part to most paid versions of Microsoft Office.
Have you noticed that when a game starts with a raven taking
off in flight or a car pulling up at iron gates then spirits and evil forces
will not be too far behind? If you have
managed to avoid this type of situation then this next game will remedy the
omission. In fact you get both the car
pulling up and the raven taking flight.
Released in Collector’s Edition format, Fear for Sale: Mystery of McInny Manor is now available as part of Focus Multimedia’s extensive catalogue of titles. This release gives you the main Hidden Object Adventure game plus a bonus playable level, wallpaper, screensaver, concept art and eight fun achievements which can be unlock. Also included is a Strategy Guide that can be access from within the main game to help you make progress as you set free various captured souls.
Two more offerings from Hedkandi, first a set of Headphones and amazingly they are blue and not pink. Second a small and compact travel speaker ideal for those occasions when you want to share your music with others.
A headphone set in turquoise blue with a pink extension lead should give you the idea that this is aimed at those in their teens. Interestingly enough there is quite a bit of technical information about the headset on the side of the box; this is often missing – even in the small print – from a lot of more well known names in the headphone marketplace.
As part of its Home initiative, Archos has developed a DECT handset that uses Android software.
In an attempt to add some French flair to a handset, Archos (better known for its Portable Media Players (PMP)), has launched its 3 Smart Home Phone. This is a DECT device that is powered by the Android operating system. As with the Binatone Android device I reported on recently, this Archos model uses 2.2 (FROYO) rather than a more up-to-date version of the Google software. As its title indicates, this is a home phone rather than your constant companion when out and about.
Regarded by some as the City ofLove,Parisis the setting for a game involving people aging rapidly to the sound of haunting music.
Available in Collector’s Edition format from Focus Multimedia, Maestro Music of Death is a Hidden Object Adventure game. As usual with a Collector’s Edition title, Maestro Music of Death bundles an integrated Strategy Guide with the main game. This Strategy Guide can be accessed at any time. You also get concept art, wallpaper, screensaver, a sound track with sheet music –plus a bonus chapter.
This has been around for a while, but for one reason or another I never got to look at one. This device can take a signal from Freeview, Freesat, DVD, Blu-ray and most other things and send it by your router to almost anywhere.
Having recently spent far too much time trying to make sense of a simple device I approached this far more complex product with more than a little trepidation. There is a setup sheet consisting of six points, all the required leads are supplied, all went well until it asked me a question whose answer was not immediately obvious, never fear it offers advice and soon, I had two red lights on the front of the SlingBox Solo box as it says I should.
Adding Wi-Fi connectivity and the Android operating system
to a portable media player is the design concept behind the Archos Home Connect
As one of the leading players in the field of PMP (Portable Media Players) for consumers, Archos has used this expertise to produce its 3 Home Connect offering. I must admit that when I first saw this product encased in its packaging, I though that it was entitled 3s Home Connect. This just goes to show that it is probably time I paid another visit to the optician rather than being any criticism of the product.
This is a small All In One unit capable of working via Wireless or USB. Often in the home space is a problem and a small unit capable of sitting on a shelf or in a cupboard is the answer not least to satisfy the Lounge Police
The Brother DCP-J725DW measures 37x35x17cm and weighs around 9kilos when the cartridges are installed and with paper in the built in tray. The front edge has a column of three buttons plus a home button and on/off button and what looks like a huge TFT. In fact the 8x3cm screen is actually 4x3cm and the other half (right) is where you can program choices. The home touchscreen (left) will display copy, scan, menu and photo with ink levels and wireless state above them.
Here two totally different things that both cut, the first from Bosch that can cut felt, card and best of all those plastic containers that normally require industrial scissors. Second a nifty device for men of a certain age whose hair grows everywhere but on their head.
It is 23x5x10cm and has a built in rechargeable battery, it weights 430grams. It is predominately green with the top being a black rubber grip, ideal for those who suffer with sweaty hands to give a nice solid grip at all times. According to the instruction book (12 pages in English) it is intended to cut flexible items up to 6mm in thickness.
A match-3 game takes you on a journey from a house through an enchanted cavern to your destination.
As the title indicates, Enchanted Cavern 2 is a follow up title. Unfortunately as I missed out on the original offering, I have no idea how the current title differs from the first game. Published by Alawar, Enchanted Cavern 2 belongs to the genre of match-3 game play. Although the game consists of three modes, only the Adventure mode is initially available.
Looking like an old fashioned alarm clock the sort with bells on the top this is a digital clock with FM radio. However you can place an iPod in the dock in front and play content out of some quite good quality speakers.
The clock itself looks like the clockwork alarm clock I grew up with just after the war. It is 13x13x7cm, However the face is digital (no hands) and at the back where you would have the winder you have the DC power input and below this a semi circle of five items four buttons and a 3.5mm Auxiliary input. There is no external FM aerial. So plug in your clock and let the fun begin, I say fun because the manual only describes what these four buttons Mode, Set, Down and Up do.
No sooner do I complete my review of the Eminent EM7280
hdMEDIA RT3 product than the
next version of this high definition multimedia player arrives for
testing. This new member of the hdMEDIA
RT3 family is the limited
edition EM7285 HD media player which offers a range of additional features over
the previous model.
With dimensions of 196 x 180 x 55mm (W x D x H), the media player’s aluminium body is predominately black in colour although it does feature a raised silver Eminent logo prominently displayed across the top of the box. As with the previous model, the rear of the unit is well populated with a full complement of connection options. There are jack sockets for coaxial, AV OUT / Composite, optical audio and Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr). You get a USB 3.
Rather than a single title, this next offering from the Focus Multimedias game catalogue combines two Mystic Diary games. The first game in this Hidden Object Adventure series is subtitled Lost Brother while the follow up game is subtitledHauntedIsland. Each of these two games has its own separate installation routine and adds its own icon to your desktop.
Mystic Diary Lost Brother casts you in the role of a Victorian-era magician who sets out on a quest to locate his brother who has gone missing. To this aim you must complete the 12 chapters that make up Lost Brother by tackling 29 Hidden Object hotspots and solve 12 puzzles set in locations such as the brother’s study, a beach, jungle, cave, campsite and a dark manor. In order to move between the different locations that make up this game you will need to use the Mystic Diary.
Nero started life as a method of burning CDs. Now it is far more than that as not only does it work with CDs and DVDs but also Blu-rays. In fact it is a one stop shop for all your music, photos and videos in one box.
Like a lot of software today this can be purchased as a download, but as long as box products are easily available that is what I review. There are two versions of Nero 11 the basic where things not covered by the basic product can be purchased – should you need them – as add-on or as here included in this the Platinum version. Briefly Nero 11 Platinum can Burn, Play, Sync, Manage, Create, Share, Convert, Restore, Edit, Backup for your Photos, Music and Video in SD, HD and Blu-ray.
Adding to its range of router products, Cisco has released the X3000 which provides modem and wireless functionality.
While looks may not be everything (as I tell myself every time I look in the mirror), they can give you a reassuring feeling as you unpack a new product such as the subject of this next review which is the modem router sitting on my workspace. This is the Linksys X300 which provides ADSL 2+ modem capability and a 2.4GHz wireless connectivity with support for 802.11b/g/n WiFi. The X3000 certainly does have an attractive appearance with its founded corners.
Microsoft OneNote, which is an integrated part of Microsoft Office 2010, is arguably the forgotten application. Even though a great many MS Office users probably know that it exists, and that they installed it as part of the suite, quite a proportion dont take advantage of it. The Plain & Simple book Microsoft OneNote 2010 by Peter Weverka, and which was published last October, will enable the uninitiated to get to grips with this most useful program as well as enabling existing users to make the most of its features both as a standalone application or as a cooperative tool.
OneNote is a digital notebook that, once you have learned how to use it, is able to provide a single place where you can gather all of your notes and information. These notes can be moved, arranged and re-arranged as needed and even quickly searched. Furthermore, the search facilities enable one to find what one is looking for as well as bringing together related items.
This is probably the largest DAB radio I have reviewed, but to be fair it is also FM, Internet, Media Player, Wi-Fi and has an iPod and iPhone dock. However as yet it has stubbornly refused to do the washing up or the ironing.
Moving this around is something you think about before you do it, not simply because its not light but also because it has no handle and so unless you are a skilled waiter you will need two hands as there are no grip points. Recently –around four weeks ago - I reviewed the more normal size Pure One Flow that does much the same as the Contour. However the larger size means that of course you have larger speakers and of course a fuller sound.
Kingston produce a slightly oversize memory stick and this can easily be 32GB, they also produce one that the cap is bigger than the memory module think tiny USB receivers for keyboards and mice and these can be 8 or 16GB.
With cap in place it is 7.5x2.2x1.5cm and weights 20grams. Doing a range of tests data was transferred to it nearly six times faster than with the USB2 below. Same machine and same data and even using the same USB port. The only difference was that this was a 16GB unit and the USB2 one is 8GB, the data was a range of MP3 and video files totalling just over 5GB.