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.
This is the second large TV that I have recently had the pleasure of sharing my lounge with. Both were 40inches, the last one was a Smart unit, this one perhaps is more affordable as it is what most call a large TV.
Four screws attach the base of the stand to the TV, attach the power lead and your aerial lead and you are ready to switch on. You should be taken to a screen to run through the setup but this does not happen if it has been used before but all the relevant screens can be easily accessed the most important is the channel scan and this took only 57 seconds to find 111 digital channels that is made up of TV, Radio and Data, extremely rapid.
Its been a while since I have reviewed a watch with hands. In the last couple of years my life saving heart rate watch and the rather stylish if strange Nooka offering have taken my time, here a Casio Chronograph but it has hands.
My starting point for most reviews is size and weight so 5cm wide, 5.5cm top to bottom - with strap lugs – 1cm thick. The weight is a not insubstantial 176grams this is with the rather bulky metal strap attached to the unit. It’s been a while since I have worn a stainless steel bracelet as the two mentioned above had basic plastic offerings. While I assume it is politically incorrect to call this a mans watch surely the weight alone will discourage many ladies from wearing it.
It is time for some deep sea exploration and then some seaside development work with a dual title offering from Avanquest.
With the title of Ghost Fleet you might be expecting the subject matter to concern the Bermuda Triangle or other seafaring stories of ships having been abandoned to sail the oceans with earthbound spirits as their crew. However nothing could be further from the truth with the National Geographic game of Ghost Fleet which takes you into the murky depths of the Atlantic Ocean as you explore the remains of various ships in their underwater burial ground.
With care and a decent recipe anyone can make acceptable bread, the trick with a Breadmaker is that it can work while you sleep rather like a baker so you can wake to the smell of fresh baked bread for breakfast.
I have reviewed a couple of such units in the past, the last two years ago was worth a highly commended. The Russell Hobbs 17887 is currently getting on for 30% cheaper than that so all things being equal it should rate well. It is 42x26x27cm and weights around seven kilos. It consists of an oven that opens at the top; it has a fitted loaf tin with paddles in the base. All the mixing and proving is done by the machine in the loaf tin.
It wasnt so long ago that personal media players were restricted to playing just MP3 tracks. Now such a device needs to offer music, video, recording and photographic capabilities.
A recent addition to the Archos range of personal multimedia players is the company’s MP4 device entitled 3cam Vision. This unit arrives with 8GB of storage for holding music, video, pictures and other content. This is a small device measuring 97 x 52 x 10mm (H x W x D) and weighing 64g so it is eminently portable and will not cause an unsightly bulge when stored in a pocket or bag.
Faceless men, hidden objects, a Forbidden City, kidnapped victims and a train wreck are just some of the elements of a new game from Alawar.
Developed by Friday’s Games and published by Alawar, Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers belongs to the popular Hidden Object Adventure genre. This title has been released in Collector’s Edition format. Among the additional items making up this Collector’s Edition is a Strategy Guide which is immediately available from the Main Menu plus concept art, desktop wallpaper and bonus chapter that is offered as a reward for completing the game.
With Flips now a discontinued line there is a gap in the market for a small pocket size camcorder, this one from Kodak is waterproof to ten feet and has a range of special features as well as the ability to take stills as well as video.
The Kodak Play Sport ZX5 video camera measures 11x5.5x1.5cm and weights 125grams. Like most cameras and small video units the storage medium is SD card and this can accept cards up to 32GB. The on/off button is on the top of the camera, the right side has whatever SD card you use behind a snug fitting door. Bottom corner has two holes for you to feed a wrist strap though very useful for underwater use. The base has the normal tripod screw fitting.
When a mobile phone arrives in a green box you can be pretty certain it is a Doro product such as this new handset.
While there are a large number of users who would feel undressed if they did not have the latest and specification-rich smartphone in their possession, there is still a sizeable percentage of mobile phone users who would be more than happy to have for their communication needs a basic device. It is for this latter group that Doro aims its various mobile phone offerings. Included in a recent batch of new additions to the company’s product line up is the PhoneEasy 505 model.
The majority of us are not natural designers who know HTML and can produce an attractive and effective Web design at the drop of a hat. We need all the help that we can get. Xara Web Designer MX -- which is available in two versions -- is a WYSIWYG template based program that brings the design and publishing of effective web sites within range of most people.
Web Designer MX offers a wide range of templates, each of which comes with linked pages, from which to choose. Once one has selected a particular template as a starting point from which to develop one’s ideas there is a full range of tools to manipulate text, graphics and photos without having to struggle with, or even concern oneself with, the underlying HTML.
Another recent release from Canon, this one definitely for those who print a little, scan a little and copy occasionally. Just the single open input tray with the non automatically opening exit tray above it and just two cartridges.
The footprint of the Canon Pixma MG2150 is 45.5x30x15cm. If you place it on a shelf you will need maybe another 5cm to the 15cm height to slide items under the flatbed lid. Both the USB connection and the power lead enter at the back left of the unit. There are a total of nine buttons all in a column to the left of the landscape flatbed lid.
It is not often that a pair of quality headphones arrives at the same time a quality set of earbuds. Regular readers will know my aversion to the in ear stuffing of so many earbuds, so it was nice that the earbuds were over ear.
Focal have been a top brand of speakers for some time and more recently known for excellent Studio Monitors, here their first headphones, described as lightweight and able to remove most external sound and best of all deliver accurate sound. My one slight difficulty with the statement above is the term ‘lightweight’ as they weigh 250 grams with lead attached. The dimensions are 9x7.
Some games immediately grab your attention while others tend to grow on you. This next offering falls into the latter category.
Mystery Trackers: The Void is a Hidden Object Adventure game available in Collector’s Edition format from Focus Multimedia. The game is based on the Void Mansion which was built in 1890 for the Void Family. Originally regarded as a residence to be desired, the building fell into disrupt following it being inherited by Dr Mallens Void who used the mansion to conduct terrible experiments before abandoning the building.
I recently spent a couple of hours at the Broadcast Video exhibition, a great deal of what was on show was very expensive Broadcast equipment but then some stands had almost the opposite. I know Manfrotto for various photographic accessories. I have reviewed portable flash units, tripods and monopods, here something different.
Walking by their stand I saw a clothing rail with a several reinforced jackets and for want of a better word waistcoats – jackets without sleeves – all seemed to be toughened with Kevlar. I asked surely you are not producing these for war zones, I was told no just for normal photographer use. I know some fashion shoots can get tough and of course those photographing Celebes must expect the odd bodyguard to get a bit physical.
The arrival of this next game from Alawar Entertainment immediately brought back memories of a film I saw in my youth. This film was based on a story from the pen of Mark Twain. Both the story and film are entitled A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court while the game has adopted the title of New Yankee in King Arthurs Court a subtle difference that permeates throughout the game version of this story.
Time has a major influence to play in this latest title developed by Alawar Games and published by Alawar Entertainment. Like Twain’s original offering, the game’s main character, and your role, is transported from their own time period and location to a distant past when King Arthur ruled Camelot. This time travelling feat is brought about as the result of a lightning bolt striking you while you are busy with your farming activities.
A quick check of my work system revealed 3762 MP3 tracks. Further investigation brought to light that these tracks occupied just over 12GB of storage space and, if played continuously, would take 9 days and 13 hours in order to work through the full list. This information came courtesy of MAGIXs latest MP3 deluxe software.
Following its recent practice of replacing version numbers with its product titles with the letters “MX”, this latest release of this product is entitled MAGIX MP3 deluxe MX. Installing this collection of tools for organising and managing your digital music collection is straightforward if a little time consuming. You can select the destination drive and folder for the software while a 30-character serial number will need to be entered when you first fire up this product.
This little black offering fits into the smallest pocket but can take HD video as well as rather nice still images. Even if you have a larger and more powerful unit, this can be ready even before that comes from the bag.
The Canon PowerShot S100 measures 10.5x6x2.5cm and weights 192grams. 12.1MP, 5x optical zoom, a highly sensitive CMOS, ability to shoot RAW, GPS function, Full 1080P videos, high speed burst, 24mm ultra wide lens and intelligent IS for better low light capture. The face has the 5.2x26mm lens with the 2x.5cm flash emerging from the top when required and it is never nearer than 4cm from the lens, even then there is a tiny cut out on the bottom left of the flash to avoid flashback.
This next product arrived with a two-pin power lead which was hardly the best start. Fortunately I was able to work round this problem.
The Samsung ML-2955DW is a mono laser printer. The “D” and “W” designation part of its title refers to its Duplex and Wi-Fi capability. This mono laser gives the user a choice of Ethernet, USB or Wi-Fi connectivity with you providing any leads (other than for mains power) that are required.
This sometimes called Mi-Fi - allows you to create a wireless network with up to five devices all using the same mobile signal so if your broadband dies or maybe you live in an area where dial up is your only solution providing you have mobile this could be the answer.
If you run a small business what do you do in a power cut, unless you have a standard BT type phone that will be down, Broadband will be down as your modem requires power, unless you keep your notebook charged you will not even have that. So what do you do, sweep the floor – you certainly can’t Hoover it – as you have no power. This then can keep you going for the - hopefully short - time without power providing you have charge in your notebook or Smartphone.
Internal SATA SSD drive v external USB3 drive. The second is four times the capacity of the first. The first is very fast, but the second is no slouch. The first is a bare drive but cased, the second shiny black and silver with lead.
This small unit overall size 10x7x1cm looks like an external device as it is sealed and other ‘bare’ drives have been exactly that with the component parts on view. This however has just one thing open that is the fitment to attach to a SATA port. A nice idea as some people are less than careful when they handle bare devices and can damage then during installation.
Success in game playing often requires you to keep your cool so it is vital you do not loose your head in this next offering from Focus Multimedia.
Inspired by a Washington Irving short story first published in 1820, the PlayPond developed Mystery Legends Sleepy Hollow game relates the story of The Headless Horseman who is out for revenge for the removal of his upper appendage. The game is described as a Hidden Object Adventure but I will have to take issue with this.
This is a Tablet designed for business use. This means that it will not be cheap and just for once the screen surround will not be shiny black so although the fingermarks will still be there they will not show up unless you look.
I saw a very slick demo early last summer with promises that it will be available ‘within two weeks’ if you made a baby around that time it would probably now be close to birth. Still I remembered the important demo points. While there was a raft of documentation including the thickest ‘safety instructions’ book I have ever seen no documentation.
It is a fact of Windows life that your computers performance will decrease directly proportional to the use to which it is put much to the delight of those who develop software to remedy this situation
Checking my records, which tend to be far more reliable than my memory, revealed that I had first come across iolo’s collection of utilities, known as System Mechanic, eight years ago with the arrival of version 5. Back then the product made great play of the software’s toolbox approach and even used a desktop icon showing a red toolbox.
A missing wife and a black cat are just two of the elements making up a game based an Edgar Allan Poe story.
Following the successful conclusion of the Murder in the Rue Morgue, Chevalier Dupin returns to lead the investigation into the disappearing and possible murder of Sara, wife of Monsieur Mark Davies. Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, this is a Hidden Object Adventure game with the player cast in the role of Dupin’s assistant.
Small and light is not something that used to be applied to 24inch monitors or for that fact to early 24inch panels, however both can be applied to this offering from Hannspree the HL249 Hanns.G with LED Technology.
The first joy is a not very reflective screen although the screen surround is still a somewhat shiny black finish. The screens dimensions are 55.5x35.5x2cm. It comes with a one screw base that is oval at 29x22cm and this raises the screen 6cm from your desk. There are five buttons sitting just proud of the base near the right side these are there to make any adjustments needed. Power input is just to the right of where the base fits onto the screen. To the left of this are 3.