To integrate or not to integrate is the option. Cyberlink has gone for the latter with its collection of graphics applications.
While Cyberlink is probably best known for its PowerDVD and PowerDirector products, the company also has developed a number of other titles covering different aspects of media management which could prove useful. You could, of course, purchase these items on an individual basis or opt for the less expensive route that is available with Cyberlink Media Suite. This product is a collection of various Cyberlink’s products.
Sometimes a games title can be slightly misleading. The latest offering from Alawar Entertainment to come winging its way to my computer could well be regarded in this manner.
Developed by cooperation between 3AGames and James Software, this offering is entitled Pearl Harbor: Fire on the Water. With such a title you could be forgiven for thinking that you would be taken back to that fateful day on the 7 December 1941. That was the date that an attack force made up of 353 Japanese fighter, bomber and torpedo planes attacked the American Fleet while it was at rest in Pearly Harbour. However the game’s developers have other ideas.
A Multi Function product as it has Fax so why is it described as a Home product. Surely virtually no one in the home used Fax. I always struggle to find office users who still use Fax, but I assume Fax is still popular somewhere.
The Kodak Hero 9.1 measures 44x39x21cm and apart from maybe adding a few centimetres to open the flatbed lid that is the full footprint of the unit. The paper input tray fits snug to the front of the unit and the dimensions include the duplex bubble at the rear. You can set it up to run, USB, Ethernet or Wireless. One little niggle for me is that you insert the CD and then it downloads the majority of files from the Internet.
Having looked at Samsung printers, smartphones and tablets, it is time to check out the companys photographic line-up with its WB750 model.
Combining an 18x optical zoom Schneider lens with a 12.5MP RSI CMOS sensor, the Samsung WB750 is a digital camera that offers a wide range of features. Reasonably compact in size with dimensions of 105.3 x 59.4 x 24.9mm (W x H x D), the WB 750 weighs 217g including the SLB-10A battery pack. Small and light enough to be easily managed one-handed, the WB750 predominately black in colour with some white and silver labels that helps give the camera a rather stylish appearance.
Its been a while since I have looked at an MP3 player rather than an iPod. It is also a nice small unit that is smaller than most of course size and weight mean the display is tiny in comparison to some units but this is from Sony.
The Sony Walkman NWZ-B173 measures 8.5x2x1.3cm and it weighs just 27grams. Perhaps the biggest thing in its favour is that you can plug the USB connection (remove the cap of the unit) into a PC it is read as a drive and then you just Drag and Drop items. We all take Drag and Drop for a given today but if you are old enough to remember times before it you still appreciate what it gives not least when certain products do their best with fancy installers to stop you using it.
Two more offerings from the kings of USB Brando in Hong Kong. Both are used for cooling the first also carry a message or messages that show while spinning. The second a little more novel it comes in the shape of a cannon.
This is a maximum of 27cm tall on its base but it is likely to be a great deal less at probably no more than 20cm as the link between the base and the fan is bendable in any direction as much as you like. The base is 9x9cm and triangular giving the fan reasonable stability. The total weight of the unit is less than 90grams overall. The actual head is 8cm across and the blades look floppy one is clear and the other has a brown strip down the centre.
A four letter acronym often heard with respect to computers is KISS -- Keep It Simple, Stupid. Homekey from Simplicity Computers follows this precept and actually provides a simple and easy-to-learn jargon-free approach to being able to send/receive emails, surf the web and doing other PC-related tasks. Furthermore, it does this without our needing to invest in the latest expensive technology.
In developing this product, Simplicity has concentrated on people’s needs rather than the means. Everything is on its Homekey which is a 16GB memory stick which plugs into a USB port on an existing desktop or laptop PC (not a Mac). It then enables users to lose their fear of PCs and carry out many of those tasks which so many of us just take for granted.
Sometimes the appearance of letters in a certain configuration can lead you off into flights of fancy when really there is a more prosaic reason behind the letters.
When I came across the letters ETS displayed in that order recently at an event, I could not help but imagine that extra-terrestrials were to be the subject under discussion and maybe they were due to arrive in the very near future. Fortunately, some would say unfortunately, in this case those three letters did not refer to intergalactic visitors but the latest series of notebooks from Sony belonging to the E, T and S series.
In comparison to the tiny phones of not that long ago this Android offering is huge. But as a friend of mine said it can do everything I want so I do not need a PC and if you are a light PC user then why not as the screen is huge.
Overall it is 14.5x8x.6cm and the viewable screen is 11.5x7cm, this last dimension means a lot of screens can be viewed with no or very little enlargement even with my old eyes. The weight of this lovely item is only 180grams. The one and only drawback I have found is that you will not get a full day of browsing from a single battery charge. The right side has the on/off button, the base the micro USB connector for charging, the left side volume up and down rocker button and the top 3.
While colour can add to the appeal of a document, it is not an essential requirement for every document. A mono laser printer can give you fast speeds and good quality output.
A few months ago I checked out a mono laser printer that had the smallest footprint I had seen for a device of this type. That printer was the Samsung ML-1865W. Now I have come across another mono laser printer that has an even smaller footprint. Admittedly this reduction is just 6.5% but it could make a difference when available work space is at a premium.
It hardly seems like yesterday, but actually it was a couple of months ago, that I first entered the House of 1000 Doors. On that occasion it was to solve the mystery of Family Secrets. Now Alawar Entertainment has released the follow-up title. This is House of 1000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster (surprisingly my spell checker did not object to that word as I had expected it would
For those who have not played the first game in this series, I should explain that the House of 1000 Doors is a magical building that keeps reappearing in different locations before vanishing after a short period.
The sound of almost anything small will be improved by this speaker system from Bayan. Designed for iPod or iPhone it also has an auxiliary input that means with the aid of a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack lead any MP3 player can benefit.
The Bayan Audio 3 speaker dock measures 29x22x17cm. Tthose are maximum figures as the first 10cm of the unit is the tweeter and below this the dock for your iPod or iPhone and this is only 8cm deep at the top and base with the central portion only 1.5cm thick. The quality of the sound is entirely due to the fact that almost all the unit is made of wood to give its excellent tone.
No matter how many USB ports you have, there could come a time when none are available for a new device especially when support for USB 3.0 is required.
If the various computer systems I have looked at recently are anything to go by then USB 3.0 is gradually overtaking USB 2.0 with regards to the available USB ports built into the box. While there has not been an avalanche of new peripherals supporting this new faster technology (presumably due to cost considerations and the fact that not all types of peripherals would benefit from the faster data rate available with USB 3.0), you could find yourself struggling to find an available USB 3.
The Canon Pixma MG8250 is a sleek black unit that will look good in any office. I fear however it will need to be discretely placed in most homes unless the lounge police are of Goff persuasion. It is a lovely six ink offering that prints, scans and copies.
When closed it is 44.5x38x18cm, double the last figure the height if you have A4 paper in the rear photo printing recess. Add 11cm to the middle figure the depth when the paper output tray opens automatically for printing. The overall weight is 10.7kilos so it would need to be a strong – and wide – shelf to take the weight of this unit. The screen is on top so great for viewing from above but it can be raised from the base to nearly vertical if required.
This is designed by Stefano Giovannoni. It looks very swish and is a high quality DECT product. When on the charging base it looks elegant away from the base it still looks smart, even lying on the sofa or the kitchen table.
This DECT phone from Alessi measures 18.5x5.5x5cm when base and handset are paired together. Individually only the last figure changes and that becomes a maximum of 3cm with the base unit and 3cm for the handset. It is a very stylish matt black colour. Even the User Manual has an air of quality about it. In Italian, English, French, German and Dutch. Not like a lot of such offerings each are in there own section and has its own numbering and of course is very easy to follow.
First came the Mystery of Joyville which was quickly followed by Souls of the Innocent. Now the third instalment of PuppetShow, which is subtitled Lost Town, has arrived to test your playing skills.
Originally developed by ERS Games Studio and published by Big Fish Games, PuppetShow 3: Lost City is now available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format. You will have immediate access to a Strategy Guide but the other bonus elements only become available once you have played the game to its conclusion.
Another item launched last year among glitz and glamour at no less a venue than Claridges. I was told it would be on sale in January maybe is was but review units only arrived with the UK agency at the very end of March.
Anything with the Prada name is a status symbol, however will this unit coming from LG a huge name in electronics as well as mobile phone make the perfect phone for use on the streets, I have tested it for the last month. It looks classy the mottled black back looks like a skin, the face is black a little reflective but not as much as most. Switch on and you see the theme as all the basic icons are monochrome, for colour move to the Google service screen.
As a long time user of WinZip, I am always keen to see what the latest version of this compression and archiving software has to offer
In common with a number of other products, I first came across WinZip when it was released as Shareware on a try-before-you-buy basis offering to reduce the size of files using various compression techniques. More recently WinZip has joined the Corel family of products. I had been sent version 16 for reviewing (actually at the time of writing WinZip stands at version 16.5 but more on this a little latter).
Have you ever wanted to take photos when tackling an Adventure game? This next title includes a camera for just that purpose.
Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker belongs to the popular Hidden Object Adventure game genre. Originally released by Big Fish Games, this title is now available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format. Included as part of the Collector’s Edition is a bonus chapter plus wallpaper and concept art. However these only become available once the main game has been completed.
Having recently reviewed the tiny Sony P Tablet. This offering is more the normal size; however the shape of a thin wedge is still totally different from anything from any other company. So with design and style does it perform?
The Sony Tablet S measures 17.5x24cm when in landscape mode and the thickness varies between 2cm at the back and less than 1cm at the front. The viewable screen is 20x12.5cm which gives the imperial diagonal measurement of 9.4inches. The screen display WXGA which is 1280x800. It is an Android device with version 3.2.1 and has 1GB of RAM and can support up to 32GB od storage dependant on model. However this is not all available.
Taking liberties with the first two lines of Pete Seeger and Joe Hickersons classic folk song Where have all the documentation gone, Gone to PDF every one.
Ever since Adobe introduced the Portable Document Format technology, more and more documents have made the transition from paper to the digital platform. While Adobe holds the high ground with its Acrobat product, other companies have produced their own offerings to read and create documents in the PDF style. One such product is Fusion PDF from Corel. A fairly lengthy installation procedure gives you the opportunity to select the destination drive and folder.
Powerline communications where mains cabling is used for local data transmission is an extremely useful tool that has been around for quite a while. However, at the same time as other LAN speeds have increased so have those for powerline. Now TRENDnet is offering 500Mbps adapters that enable one to speedily assemble an Ethernet LAN to provide connectivity in different rooms around the house as a viable alternative to wireless -- especially in those buildings where wireless connectivity is difficult.
TRENDnet’s Powerline AV technology is simple and convenient to use. Just plug an adapter into a local mains socket and it will automatically connect to other Powerline AV adapters on the same mains circuit. As it offers high speeds it can be used for tasks such as streaming HD video as well as more mundane, but important, tasks such as backing up files across the network.
Two tools for different jobs that can help you do them without disasters. The first locates those hidden things in walls like pipes and cables so you dont screw or drill into them. The second allows you to get a straight line to work from.
When was the last time you tapped a picture frame pin or a screw into a wall? A lot of newer houses do not have picture rails – very useful for hanging pictures from – in fact often walls in new houses are not solid at all. So you need to find battens in order to nail or screw anything in.
The first backed by the RAC gives a variety of ways for people to know you are there as a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian. The second from the USB kings in Hong Kong Brando that can sit on your desk or childs bed table to give that beam of light.
While the front illustrates it sitting on the ground – presumably guarding a broken down car – I see other uses dependant on which of its settings you use. The point of this is that they say ‘it can be seen up to 1km at night’. It is circular 10.5cm across and 4cm thick, each of the sixteen breaks in the rubber surround can show a bright light. These can be static or rotate according to the setting that you choose to suit the situation of its use.
Forget your five-a-day, there is an avalanche of fruit waiting to be put to use in this next game from Alawar.
According to the traditional nursery rhyme, the horticultural expert is a young lady called Mary who is asked the question “How does your garden grow?” However Alawar Games and e-Funsoft have come up with another candidate for this particular area of expertise as they introduce Alice to the game playing community.
The first of a new range of mobile phones from Doro. Doro from Sweden now have a good range of both mobile and home phones. The latter are great DECT units, the former as the one here they produce easy to use units.
Phones today from a number of major players are computers mainly and phones second. Doro however do not go down this path. In all probability the young will not be large users of these, such devices tend to concentrate on the basics and only recently have you been able to do more than call which includes sending texts. While this does the basics it is intended mainly for those who have problems using more complex units.
The unexpected arrival of a small device gave me the opportunity to give my regular MP3 player a break as I checked out this Archos device.
The Archos Clipper is an MP3 player with 2GB of internal storage that comes with the claim of being big in sound and small in size. As this is the smallest, although not by much, MP3 player that I have seen then I can certainly confirm the latter while the former claim is perhaps more debatable. The Archos Clipper, which features a spring clip on the back of the unit thus explaining its name, has dimensions of 53 x 27 x 10mm (H x W x D) and weighs just 14g.
For fans of vampires, hidden object searching and puzzle solving, Alawar has released the next title in this popular Vampire Saga series.
First it was Pandora’s Box and then came Welcome to Hell Lock. Now with the third title in the Vampire Saga series it is time for Break Out. This is a new Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure from that hot bed of casual game publishing we know as Alawar Entertainment. Do not worry if you have not played the earlier games in this series as each title is completely self-contained with different characters although the last two are located in the same place.
This is a very sleek unit almost flattened so while the height is tiny there is some width and depth increase. It is a six ink offering ideal for those who need to print decent images, however it still scans and copies.
The Epson PX730WD Epson All In One PX730WD measures 43x52x15cm, for those who place things on shelves – it would need to be a wide shelf so maybe the top of a low cupboard would be better - another 5cm should enable things to be slipped under the landscape scanner lid. The power lead enters back left and both USB and or Ethernet cables enter back right of this unit.
Not everybody will appreciate your choice of music but by using a headset you can avoid upsetting others. A new Sennheiser allows you private listening without tying you to a fixed point.
Checking my records revealed that the last Sennheiser headset I looked at was the PX100-IIi model which could be folded to take up less space when not in use. Prior to that model I had also run the rule over the Sennheiser RS120. This particular model gave the user cable-free listening so you can wander around without being physically tethered to an audio source. Now it is the turn of the Sennheiser MM 400-X model which combines the main features of the previous two units.