On occasions a product can be rather shy when it comes to proclaiming aspects of its functionality from the user. This type of situation is definitely not the case with a new external drive from Plextor. The PX-LB950UE may give little away with its title but it is far more forthcoming with its appearance.
With dimensions of 163 x 51.5 x 224.7mm, this product is a 12X Blu-ray Disk Writer. It combines a lacquered black (just right for collecting fingerprints from all and sundry) body with a large blue logo on the top panel. If the presence of this logo was not enough indication to get the message across, Plextor has already placed the words “Blu-ray Disc” written large and in the same shade of blue beneath the logo.
Vampires and their blood drinking activities have been the focus of a number of entertainment projects recently including a game from Avanquests Click & Play label.
Generally games that feature vampires tend to cast these blood-drinking creatures in the role of villains that need to be avoided at all costs. However this is not always the case. An example of this sea-change in attitude with how vampires are perceived can be seen in Vampireville from the iWin stable of titles. This game, which is described as a Hidden Object Mystery, is now available on the Avanquest GSP Click & Play label. Vampireville is set inMalgoryCastle.
A company perhaps better known for photocopiers and large printers but they have produced digital cameras for a while. However this is the first of their units to have come my way, but all decent recent units have similar features.
Ricoh CX5 Digital Camera is a black unit that is a bit larger and heavier than some. It is 10x6x3cm and it weight is just on 200 grams. It has a 10.7 optical zoom lens which is probably in the region where you need a wall or tripod to hold it still, however just because the camera has that amount of zoom there is no reason to try and use it on every shot you take. The lens extends by 4cm from the 3cm width when fully zoomed in. To the right and above the lens is the small 1.5x.
Apps stores are becoming a popular means of supplying software. Nero has entered this particular market sector with some free-to-download software.
A popular expression claims that “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Nero obviously does not adhere to this belief as it launches its Kwik Media software. Described as an all-in-one media manager, this software can be downloaded free-of-charge from the Nero website ( ). Once installed, the Kwik Media’s opening interface divides its media manager functionality into four main categories.
Although we have all known that LED lamps offer the benefits of robustness and high efficiency, they have been long awaited in the field of general lighting. One of the main issues is that they cannot compete on price with the compact fluorescent lamps (CFCs) which, in smaller wattages, can be obtained at seemingly ridiculously low prices. CFCs have been widely adopted despite the fact that they emit UV and contain mercury. Now, however, Verbatim has launched a range of replacement LED lamps -- so far in a limited range of wattages and fittings.
Although these lamps (as well as those from other vendors) are appreciably dearer than CFCs they should find a number of immediate applications, despite their price, because of the benefits they offer and the fact that they can be used as direct replacements of existing lamps. Furthermore, it is sensible to avoid exposure to UV wherever possible. In particular the Verbatim LED Classic A 6.
A three band outdoor radio, but it is so much more, its a torch, it can charge your mobile phone and is also an Altimeter, Compass, Barometer, Thermometer, Chronograph and it even has an alarm and it can recharge using Solar power.
I was going to say this rivals the Swiss army knife for functionality but perhaps with the Swiss Knife they become a formidable team. It is a maximum of 20x7x3cm and has a snap clip on the top to clip onto a belt or rucksack. It is rubberised as being an outdoor item it must expect the odd knock. So predominately black with orange bits the latter for high visibility.
The first is USB and will cool a can for those hot days. The second is a peeler not just for potatoes but for all those items, so if you want a serrated pattern this three blade triangular piece of equipment can probably do it for you.
Mine was red and funnily enough shaped like a can it was red with the top having a dummy ring pull and the rim in grey metal look, in fact apart from the lack of any logo the red colour matches exactly that of a famous cola brand. It is 19cm tall and half that across. Towards the base there are four columns of four slots for cooling or heating ventilation. The can itself has no controls these are a three position toggle switch in the hard wired USB lead.
Adding to its range of AIOs (All-in-Ones), Kodak has released its ESP C310 model. Offering wireless and USB connectivity, the Kodak ESP C310 combines print, scan and copy facilities for the home user.
One of the first things you notice when unpacking this matt black unit with a couple of orange highlights, is its weight or perhaps lack of weight would be a better description. Having recently put my back to the test with some heavy lifting, I was more than pleased to discover that the C310 model was relatively lightweight at just under 11lbs with out the power lead and ink cartridges which were packed separately.
It is difficult not to make comparisons having recently reviewed the excelled Magicbox Tower that was only a smidgeon short of the rarely awarded 5x5 award. Here is a different beast, the Magicbox Parabola, a DAB/FM radio with alarm and sleep timer.
This radio measures 29x8x15cm shaped like a half circle with the unit ending 4.5cm before the top making a very nice carry handle. You need to add another 2cm to the 8cm width when using the unit on mains for the mains lead to stick out. Apart from the D/C lead the back also has a 3.5mm socket for earbuds or headphones and an on/off slider switch. There is a 75cm eight piece rod aerial that is near the top of the back.
In the past I have used a number of methods to ease the discomfort that can be caused by heat emission from a laptop. Now it is the turn of a product from Belkin.
As a fan of match-3 games I always look forward to the next title in the Jewel Quest series. This time the game covers locations such as the American West andEngland.
Each time I come across a new title in the popular Jewel Quest series, I am convinced that the developers will not have been able to come up with some new features to enhance the basic jewel swapping concept. Each time I have been proved wrong as new board designs, types of game play, bonuses and well-constructed storylines have been implemented into various titles. The latest Jewel Quest offering to take up residence on my hard drive is Jewel Quest 5 The Sleepless Star.
While in the past some Brother units have been extremely slow at photo printing this has now improved. This is an extremely thin All In One unit, meaning it not only prints but also scans and copies the later without need of a PC.
The Brother DCP-J315W measures 38x35x15cm and it weights under 7kilos. The front edge – in front of the landscape scanner lid – has fifteen buttons including the ubiquitous joystick layout. To the left of this what looks like a 6.3x3.8cm screen however it is actually only 4x3cm. Just below the scanner lid and above the output tray are two card slots one for various memory sticks and the other for SD. To the right of this the entry point for the four inks.
Many years ago I purchased a new hard drive with a capacity of approximately 100MB. The drive costs nearly £200. How things have changed.
Sometimes a product can arrive for review with a problem that has more to do with the reviewer (myself) than with the actual product itself. This type of situation occurred recently with the arrival of a portable hard drive from Freecom. The product in question is the company’s Mobile Drive Mg which is available in either 320GB or 750GB versions. However before dealing with the problem lets cover some aspects of the product. The Mobile Drive Mg is a 2.
An iPod or iPhone dock with a battery backup for the alarm clock should you have a power cut the ability to use it as MP3 or other auxiliary sources amplifier and FM radio all in one curved rather swish looking black unit.
The i-Station 26 from Logic3 measures a maximum of 28cm long 12.5cm tall and thickness has a maximum of 16cm with the retractable iPod out and power adapter lead inserted. This is not just a basic stereo system as it has two speakers front facing and a sub woofer rear facing to give decent sound. The top has a total of nine bar buttons to control the unit and there is also a fourteen button remote control that duplicates the controls. There is a 5x1.
While I personally am quite happy using a Trackpad I know a lot of people do not like them but in certain situations such as using a laptop on your lap there is nowhere to put the mouse not so here. Having a mouse platform then this is the ideal mouse to use with it.
Do not be put off by the terrible instructions this is a simple product and I have used it with a 10inch Netbook and two larger laptops, whatever the size the setup is the same, and yes I am left handed so it can fit either side of your machine. In all you will need around 20cm of space to one side or the other of your machine but this does not need to be firm space as it grips the side of your machine. The total depth required is 21cm meaning that there is 13x12cm area to move your mouse.
Founded in 2001, XING Interactive has built up a substantial; number of titles. Three of the latest additions are entitled Sushi Bar Express, Old McDonald had a Farm and The Flying Dutchman.
While most other small digital camera manufacturers use SD cards for image storage, Samsung have always used the micro SD, a little fiddly to get in and out and of course the other problem is they are always more expensive.
The Samsung SH100 Digital Camera measures 9.5x5x2cm and weights 130grams. It is black but not that horrible shiny black, if only the screen did not show fingermarks. This is made worse by the fact that this unit is almost totally touchscreen so keep a cloth handy to clean the TFT. The left side just says 14.
As file sizes increase in size, so the media developed to store these files have increased in capacity accordingly. Blu-ray now holds the mantle of providing storage for those requiring even more space on which to store their media.
While various desktop and notebook computers now come with a Blu-ray drive as part of their standard feature set, these systems are still outnumbered by the majority of products that feature a DVD drive for optical media use. Plus there is a vast reservoir of legacy machines in regular use that do not have a built-in Blu-ray drive for playing movies and backing up important data.
A bizarre fair, punk airship and a dinosaur museum all feature in a hunt for a mythical creature that uses mirrors to hide its existence from would-be trackers.
For those who have not previously encountered the Snark, I should explain that this is a creature that has the ability to use mirrors as portals to travel between different dimensions in time and space. As well as this unique (if you ignore Dr. Who), the Snark also has a weird sense of humour and likes to lead selected individuals on a merry chase as they attempt to capture it by collecting items to complete tasks.
This Nevada DAB/FM radio is easy to use. While most will use it on mains it is possible to run it from 6xC batteries. The plastic finish makes it easy to wipe down so ideal for use in say a kitchen where there could be spills.
The Sinfonie II DAB/FM Radio measures 20.5x14x7cm and weights 730 grams without batteries. The size I have given is without the rod aerial being raised. The eight piece rod aerial is 70cm long and should pick up stations even in low reception areas, where I live I used it successfully with around half that height but you should fully raise it for the initial channel scan process.
As files become larger they tend to take longer when transferring them between devices. One way to speed up this process is through the use of the latest technology.
By far the most common method of attaching peripherals to a Windows computer is through the use of USB connectivity. This technology, which initially promised the ability to daisy-chain units but failed to deliver this feature, in its various guises has appeared in approximately 6 billion devices sold to date since it was first introduced in January 1996 with a transfer rate of 1.5 Mbits/s. Moving forward to September 1998 saw the arrival of version 1.
The first a name often coupled with expense and more normally with headphones rather than earbuds. The second a name that I associate mainly with speakers but they do of course also make earbuds amongst other items.
Not a flash back to the past in posh schools but a rather nice set of earbuds of course the fittings of them are gold plated. The leads are 1,2metres long and feel rather like post shoe laces rather than plastic as the actual leads are coated. You can use them as a microphone as well as the left bud incorporates a microphone 15cm down the lead. There is just over 32cm before the two leads join and then there is a clip to attach to a shirt or blouse, the lead ends with a fairly substantial 3.
Medical devices to help both, the first something most will encounter on a visit to their doctor a blood pressure monitor. The second something most will get in a hot summer a mosquito bite and they normally itch a lot.
Earlier this year I had been feeling unwell for a few days, I was due routine visit to the Asthma clinic, the nurse remarked that I looked very unwell – although my Asthma was fine – and she insisted I see a doctor. The doctor examined me consulted with a senior colleague and although both had no idea what was wrong insisted I went to hospital as I had extremely low blood pressure.
As it had provided me with excellent service over a number of years, I was only too pleased to grant my laser printer a short break as I checked out a new arrival from Brother.
The arrival of a new version of Windows can result in some casualties. I am referring to those peripherals that, while working fine with the previous version of the operating system, refuse to operate when faced by the new version due to the lack of an appropriate driver. Occasionally waiting for a while will see an updated driver appearing but this is not always the case. This situation arose when, several years ago, I took the decision to move from Windows 98 to Windows XP.
If I keep saying it long enough I might believe it, its not pink, its not pink its purple. Here I am looking at one of Canons latest Ixus cameras, the 115HS. Its purple but I am very pleased to say that is only one of the colours it comes in.
The Canon Ixus 115HS measures 10.5x5.5x1.5cm and weights 138grams. Mine was pink sorry purple. This full HD offering has 4x optical zoom. The Ixus range has always been small and recently so few controls that you might think that it is a basic unit it certainly is not. Let’s start with the face the silvered lens surround dominates and the tiny 2.7x.4cm flash mounted above and to the side of the lens is only 1.7x.
While Ciscos plans for a multi-faceted consumer brand may have suffered a hiccup and not been as successful as it had hoped, the company has still managed to produce a number of stylish products that are both easy on the eye and functional. Into this category falls the Cisco Linksys E series of wireless routers.
The latest model in the Cisco Linksys series is the E4200 Wireless-N Router. Making up this product are the Router device, power adapter and lead, Ethernet cable, software set-up CD and a multi-language Quick Start Guide. Adopting a slate shape, with dimensions of 224 x 29 x 157 mm (W x H x D), the E4200 is predominately matt charcoal grey in colour.
Sometimes ghosts can hang around because they need help and offer to reward those who provide this assistance. This is the concept behind a new game from Alawar.
Ghosts have become a popular feature around which many games have been developed if the titles I have seen recently have anything to do with it. I seem to have been fed a game playing diet that has been heavily flavoured with spirit entities that need releasing from the ties that bind them to an earthly attachment. The latest such offering to come my way is The Treasures of Mystery Island: The Ghost Ship which, despite its title, contains many more ghosts that just a ship.
The first item is from Iomega and is the first 1TB drive that I have seen that does not need external power even on a Netbook. The second is a device around the size of a credit card and as such will probably be kept in a wallet.
While in some quarters size is said to be important, lack of size can in others be desirable. Here a sleek black hard drive the first I have seen at 1TB that does not require external power. I tried it on desktop, Notebook and Netbook the latter two both running on battery and I could both read and write without any problem with the unit.
Currently sitting next to my work desk is a new multifunction device from Brother. This unit offers laser printing with duplex capability.
Adding to its range of printing devices, Brother has released the DCP-7060D. Mixing together a combination of charcoal and light grey, the Brother DCP-7060D is a mono laser multifunction device that provides print, copy and scan capabilities. The “D” part of this product’s designation indicates that this multifunction device has duplex functionality for automatic printing on both sides of the paper.
Often for the person who just does Word Processing, works the family accounts using a Spreadsheet, sends and receives Email, and of course browses the Internet a Netboot is all one will need. One to consider might be this Samsung offering.
I had the Samsung NC110 netbook for a few days before I moved it into daylight and realised it has a violet top. I knew it had a white keyboard with the screen surround make up of black with tiny grey dots and the base is of course the standard black. It is 25,5x17.5x3cm the last figure is the thickness and the 3cm applies at the back that curls down over the battery at the front it is only 2cm thick. The total weight is around 1170grams, this enables one hand to carry it comfortably.