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.
The portable computer family continues to expand. First we has laptops/notebooks, then came
netbooks closely followed by tablets.
Now Ultrabooks join the party.
Originally coined by Intel, the term "Ultrabook" refers to a notebook-style computer that conforms to certain specifications. The unit needs to be no more than 20mm (0.8-inch) in thickness and be powered by an Intel Core i5 or better processor. Storage can be in SSD format with battery life giving at least 5 hours rising to over 8 hours in some circumstances. The unit’s graphics should be capable of delivering HD quality.
I had to find my long lost feminine side to review this and endured many a ribbing while reviewing it, mind you there were certain parts of London I avoided as a man of mature years with a very pink digital camera could cause problems.
Of course if you are female it will be more than acceptable not least for the fact that it is unlikely to be nicked by most men. The Nikon Coolpix S6200 measures 9x5.5x2.5cm the last figure can increase by up to another 4cm when the lens is fully zoomed out to its 10x maximum. This is a 16MP offering but you can of course take perfectly respectable images at far less than that figure.
Depending upon your view point, a hero could be a mythical character of old, a comic book creation with super powers, a member of the armed forces or just an ordinary person with special qualities.
In the case of Kodak, a hero is one of the company’s new range of multifunction devices designed for the home or small office. One of the models in this new series is the Office Hero 6.1 product. This particular model certainly catches the eye with its bulky appearance and dimensions of 465 x 420 x 255mm (W x D x H). The Office Hero 6.
If it is not vampires providing the threat in computer games
then it is zombies who take centre stage as being creatures to avoid. However in this next case both branches of
the living dead fraternity take the leading role in a new game developed by
Five.bn and published by Alawar. The
game, appropriate enough, is entitled Vampires vs. Zombies.
Set in the immediate future, the current year of 2012 actually, a local dictator named Boombata has plans to conquer the world from his base in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. His plan involves televisions as the delivery medium for a combination of voodoo and tam-tams that will have the effect of turning populations into zombies under his control.
My 32inch TV is light in compassion to my previous offering, at 28inches this is only slightly smaller but is so much lighter again. Going back still further my TV before was also 32inch but a CRT and this far heavier again.
It is of course HD a scan finds 112 channels. So providing 1080p is what you want or need this certainly has things to recommend it, however the built in Freeview is not Freeview HD. It is 66.5x45cm with the stand raising it by 5cm from whatever you place it on. The stand is 35x21cm and provides the stabilizing weight. The viewable screen is 60x36cm giving the notional imperial diagonal measurement of 27.5inches.
Brother has recently added new functionality to some of its multifunction devices. One of these models is the DC-J525W.
The DCP-J525W is a multifunction device from Brother. This product provides scan, print and copy functions from a single unit. There is a choice of USB or wireless connectivity when setting up this device with the host computer. With the A4 flatbed scanner mounted on top of an inkjet printer with 40MB of RAM, the DCP-J525W is predominately black in colour with dimensions of 405 x 160 x 378mm (W x H x D).
Anyone who tends to want fresh juice really should have a juicer as they tend to get far more from items than the manual alternative. This unit claims to get 10% more juice out than other such products; I have tested this over Christmas.
In fact even though I trained for two years as a chef it was over 50 years ago and although the various kitchens had huge mixers I do not remember any with juicing ability. Certainly at that time the only things that got juiced were oranges and lemons. While recent years have allowed the juicing of almost any fruit, vegetables still seem to be more of a novelty.
Solid State Drives (SSDs), which have been talked about for a long time as alternatives to hard drives, are now starting to become a reality so that users are increasing able to take advantage of the their higher effective speed, robustness and low power consumption. Although this is mainly in netbooks and high end laptops, an SSD can also often be used to rejuvenate a machine which is not in the first flush of youth and make it the ideal tool for carrying around. Crucial makes this task relatively straightforward.
Despite SSDs being available with a fast SATA interface, and the process of upgrading from a hard disc to an SSD is very similar to a hard disc upgrade, it is important not to jump in without an understanding of what is involved. In principle, the upgrade is straightforward. Using an adapter cable, one connects the new drive to a USB port on the machine and then transfers a disc image to it. Then, disconnect the existing hard drive and replace it with the, now imaged, SSD.
Here I am looking at two rather different USB hubs. The first is branded with the Highstar name and not only is a hub but also a memo pad and has a clock and temperature sensor. The second is far more normal both come from Brando in Hong Kong.
Not only is this a hub but also a clock a temperature gauge an alarm clock and an erasable illuminated memo pad. It is 14x7x12cm overall size. Where the hub is at the back of the unit it is 9x2cm, at the front where the clock is 10.5x5cm. The illuminated Perspex is 14x10cm set 1.5cm behind the clock, a pen to write on the Perspex is included. This is a USB2 hub and unless you set the clock at 90degrees to yourself then the ports will always have the Perspex between you and the ports.
Now up to version 16, Serif has released the latest edition of its PagePlus software for those wanting to create different types of documents containing images and text.
This box connects to your TV via an HDMI lead. Then the box connects to your network. The box itself can also have a hard disc or just stream content. It can also attach other hard discs with content or USB sticks to play music or video.
The box is 22x16x6cm but you need to allow up to another 5cm to the 16cm depth for the attachment of various cables. The top, sides and base are all smooth while the face has one small blue LED when the unit is on. All the connections are at the back. These are in a line, DC input, USB2 (host), USB3 (client), HDMI, Ethernet, Coaxial, Audio out left, Video, Audio out right (these last four in two rows of two) and finally Optical.
Building up a network can be made easier by using existing facilities in the home in conjunction with Homeplug technology.