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.
Headsets are very popular ways to listen, here a choice of two. The first both conventional and unconventional as it lets you roam as its Wireless. The second intended more for gaming means you are tethered buts its USB.
Until you try a wireless headphone set you do not know the extra freedom it gives you, you could make a cup of tea, fetch a book from another room or visit the loo while still listening to your favourite music from the living room. It is 20x23x9cm while the sides can be 4cm less if required. The right earphone has five buttons on the bottom edge, all well marked, but of course you will probably use these while on your head so it will be a case of feel.
Walk into any branch of Dixons, Currys or Comets and you will be faced by numerous laptops from various manufacturers. One of them could well be the topic of this review.
A great deal has been said and written about Intel’s Sandy Bridge technology with its enhanced performance and subsequent recall due to a possible problem with certain batches of the product but its support from every major manufacturer has remained solid and is not in question. One such company supporting this technology is Acer and it is this company’s Aspire 5750G which has given me my first opportunity to check out aSandyBridgelaptop.
Pure Digitals Bug designed by Wayne Hemminway is a very futuristic early DAB radio with extras. Some have its Re-view feature but almost none have what is for me its best the ability to save timed recordings to SD card.
I have used it for years to record certain radio programs that I am unable to listen to at the time they are broadcast. I started using a 16MB SD card and this worked fine but on saving it always displayed a spurious error message. Some years later I tried using a 256MB card and this needed a lot of hard work to get it to record but eventually I managed to get reliable saving and all was well but it did still give the same spurious error message.
This is a tale of a struggle with uncooperative cables and a piece of kit that did its best to frustrate me until technical support came to my rescue.
In the past I have a used a number of KVM devices. For those not familiar with this type of product, I should explain that this kit allows you to set up a keyboard, video and mouse so that they can be shared by two different computers. You simply switch control between the two computers either by a hardware toggle or hot key combination. Recently I have had the opportunity to work with the Belkin OmniView SOHO KVM Switch with audio.
At the start of last year I told you about an early SSD unit from Kingston. Now around 18 months later the next generation of units are available in sizes giving a much larger capacity and of course the real advantage faster access.
This to me is the ultimate upgrade as once the supplied disc cloning software has done its job you have your original drive available to be formatted and then with the drive enclosure provided a new external drive available. So while you now have a – in this case – 128GB SSD drive installed in your PC the original hard drive is still available in the drive enclosure which can then be connected to any PC you may own as a USB drive unit.
Tragedies, ghosts and betrayal are mixed in with a selection of hidden object game play and puzzle solving in a game from Alawar.
It is now time to meet Rose. Just in case you were wondering I should explain that Rose is a young woman who has suffered four main tragedies in her life. While managing to initially suppress the memories of these events, a recent “accident”, which results in Rose being rushed to hospital in an unconscious state, has resulted in these past events simmering to the surface.
Rocky Nook has just published two books on digital photography: one is aimed at children and the other aimed at the rest of the family. The latter provides explanations of various factors involved so as to provide a better understanding of what is happening and, often, why. The former, Photography for Kids; A Fun Guide to Digital Photography, will open the door for the youngster to the potential of the camera and photography.
With Capture: Digital Photography Essentials, which is not for children, the authors recognise that there are two classes of people: digital natives, who have always known and used digital imaging technologies; and digital immigrants who, on the other hand, learned their photography with film and bring their historical knowledge and experience with them. Consequently, many chapters open with text aimed at providing a useful perspective.
Now part of the MAGIX family, Xara continues to produce a range of graphics offerings including a tool for producing eye-catching titles.
While you may lack the expertise, equipment and budget resources to produce your own 3D movies to thrill friends and family alike, that is no reason to give up on your dream to produce eye-catching 3D animation. With the appropriate software you can easily create 3D titles, headers and buttons to enhance printed and online publications with the latter also featuring some animation that will certainly impress your audience.
The name Nikon to anyone who knows anything about cameras means quality. Does this quality extend to pocket cameras? Here I am looking at one of their latest that is little more than an oblong black shape how does it perform?
The Nikon Coolpix P300 measures 10x6x3cm, the last figure the width increases to 5cm when the 4.3-17.9mm lens is fully zoomed. It weights 184grams. Given that Nikon made their name in cameras with large and complex DSLR cameras this is a very simple and easy to use unit. Other manufacturers might like to note that you do not need a plethora of buttons to make a decent unit.
I think the last FREE software package I reviewed was Skype in October 2004, while this may not be as all consuming as Skype was in those days, for a manufacturer who produces paid software to release a free version
First of course this cannot do all the things that Nero full products can do and just like other such packages from other manufacturers it specialises in sorting and displaying your photos however this can also burn audio CD’s and should you want more functionality you can purchase the bits that you require from their site. The free download (link at the end) was 174MB in size.
Hidden Object games generally involve a series of scenes containing a jumble of objects and a shopping list of items that you need to locate in order to receive a reward and make progress. However not all games of this genre follow the general pattern, there are some exceptions which take a different approach.
Recently added to Focus Multimedia’s extensive catalogue of games is Nightmare Adventures - The Witch’s Prison which relates the tale of Kiera Vale and her attempt to discover the truth about her ancestor’s history. The game starts with a static opening sequence as Kiera Vale is being interrogated by some mysterious strangers who want to know why she was discovered at the Blackwater Asylum.
Now 1 and 2GB USB sticks are common and cost not a lot, 4GB and 8GB are almost normal but 16GB are still something a little bit special. The smaller sticks are coming in fancy clothing even as a small paperclip type device.
The size of hard discs continue to rise so people expect the size of memory sticks to keep pace. With USB3 starting to attract attention moving larger files quickly is getting ever easier. Of course the more data you carry the more disastrous the outcome should unencrypted files fall into the wrong hands. Here lets deal with size. I have seen two of these such devices at 8GB and 16GB they are not light as they are made of metal and the USB plug slides out of the casing when required.
Not so long ago I took a look at the Livescribe smartpen. This was the Pulse model and I was impressed with its functionality. Now Livescribe has produced a new model which goes by the title of Echo.
If you are unfamiliar with this type of device I should explain that a smartpen, at its basic level, saves a digital copy of any notes you make and then allows you to transfer them to a computer for editing purposes so that they can be integrated into other work. In the case of the original Pulse you could also record the audio from a conversation or presentation while you were taking notes. This audio recording would be digitally linked to the transcript of your notes.
Do you believe in voodoo? Whatever the answer, you might like to check out a title involving disappearing family members, ghosts, treasure and just a touch of black magic.
Joining the well-established Mystery Case Files series is 13 Skull. This Big Fish offering is a hidden object and puzzle solving adventure game play. Set inLouisiana, you embark on the task of solving the mystery of a disappearing husband and father who has been immersing himself in tales of the ghost of a vengeful pirate, lost treasure and the threat of a curse.
I know I have a weakness for reviewing flat panels and then buying them. So here I will try to avoid it, lack of funds makes it easier, however when you use a panel without problems for a couple of weeks then you become attached.
The HANNS G HL245 measures 56x33x5cm, the last figure the thickness is only half that at the edges. It sits on a 20cm circular stand that raises the panel by 5cm from your desk or whatever you sit it on. The screen surround is very dark grey but not shiny. The viewable screen is 52x29.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23.5 inches viewable. Assembly is just a matter of a twist screw to connect the base to the panel arm.
It has been a long time since I last had the opportunity to check out an Epson printer. If memory serves me correct (actually it was a more reliable Filemaker database that provided the information), the last model was one of the Perfection series that were current four years ago. The arrival of the Epson BX320FW model saw an end to this situation.
Opening the fairly large box revealed a predominately matt black multifunction unit offering print, scan, copy and fax features with an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) unit. Looking like it might put a strain on my fragile back, I was pleased to discover that the actual weight of the unit was less than its initial appearance suggested. Weighing 7.
Over the years I have been one of Nortons fiercest critics. In fact I could not even manage to complete a review of an earlier version. Windows still warns of incompatibility but with this version I have yet to find them.
I am not a fan of the ‘licence’ principle but for certain products like anti virus being able to get updates is essential. The product I was sent is a licence to use Norton 360 v5 on up to three PC’s for a year, hopefully without nagging. I have reviewed numerous PC’s, Notebooks and Netbooks that all have 60 or 90 day trail versions, what used to be the main problem was access to and closing down took far longer with various versions of Norton installed.
Yes the Hong Kong USB kings have produced a small real fish aquarium but of course it does much more. Second a small phone and other portable devices charger that uses solar power to provide the power to charge.
This unit is a small real tank but it is likely that most will use it for effect and the other features of clock and thermometer. It is 24x10x21cm, all the non fish activity is on the right side with the clock display, light and the water pump. The mini USB to USB lead is 80cm long. The aquarium part comes with pebbles and even some plastic greenery. There is a six LED light on toughened wire that allows it to be suspended either above the aquarium of to shine elsewhere even towards the clock.
My latest look at a Canon multifunction device took in the companys budget entry model.
Decked out in the familiar livery of matt and reflective black, the Canon PIXMA MP280 is another model in the company’s range of multifunction devices. Currently this product is taking on the role of the company’s budget entry model.
Powerline, which provides Ethernet connectivity over the local mains cabling, is an easy and convenient way to extend Internet access and network connectivity in situations where conventional wired access is inconvenient and wireless does not work satisfactorily through building walls. Netgears Powerline AV+ 200 offers both high speed and security and, as the data throughput can be in excess of 80Mbps, it is ideal for gaming and multimedia file transfer.
The basic kit consists of a pair of adapters each of which is 65 x135mm and has standard 13A mains plug on its rear face, a 13A socket on its front and an Ethernet connector on its top surface. The pass-through mains connection to the socket on the face of the adapters means that they can just be used without the need for extra power sockets. It is, essentially, a plug-and-play solution.
A lot of men are obsessed with size; here perhaps the ladies will like this because of its lack of size. This computer from Prestigio is tiny and can be shipped either with Windows 7 or as was here with a version of Linux.
It is 17.5cm from front to back and 18cm from top to base, the width apart from the bottom 1.5cm is only 2cm, should you fit the metal clip that acts as a stabilizer this extends the width to 6cm. I was also supplied with a USB DVD drive that does not add to the overall footprint as it clips onto the side of the computer and fits above the 1.5cm bottom piece, this requires no external power as a USB to USB clip is supplied that supplies power.