When casting the role of Robin Hood, who would you select? The developers of this next game obviously would have a different take on the matter.
Having recently seen the St Trinians 2 movie which offers the theory that Shakespeare was a woman, I should not have been too surprised with the opening sequence of Robin’s Quest. This Gogii developed Adventure game has a similar gender switch as the popular folk hero, or should that be heroine, turns out to be a woman who stands up for the poor against the power and might of King John and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.
To me this name makes it sound large and it certainly isnt, in fact I am fairly sure its the smallest DAB, FM and iPod dock unit that I have seen, it is of course a tower shape but only very little, however the sound it gives is not small.
The maximum height of the Magicbox Tower is only 16.5cm tall (1.5cm less at the front) 8cm wide and 6.5cm deep, these figures do not include any iPod or iPhone that gets inserted 2cm below the top. The unit I reviewed was metallic red apart from the front and top that was black. I see that purple, blue and all black are also available. The front edge of the top has volume – and + buttons with a snooze control between them.
Not everybody can afford the premium price being asked by the market-leading video editing titles. Serif has a solution that might appeal.
While 3D technology struggles to make the hoped for impact with customer buying decisions, High Density (HD) has quickly been accepted by many as being a must-have feature. As a result numerous video editing packages now have built-in HD capability alongside all their other features. A recent addition to this software genre is MoviePlus X5 HD from Serif.
On first inspection the Melody 2 looks very like the machine I reviewed in December 2008. In fact the only differences are inside the machine as all the controls for it are in the same places; however I do not remember the first unit being called Melody.
The Nescafé Dolce Gusto Melody 2 coffee maker measures 30cm from back to front, 20cm from side to side and 33cm from base to the top of the silvered hot/cold switcher. The part number is all but the same with just the forth digit varying the original was KP210040 and this is the Melody 2 being KP210640 and this could be important as stocks of the old one are certainly still available in shops.
The first is a roll up keyboard designed to be used with Bluetooth devices. The second is even smaller but certainly preferable to using those phone keyboards, the first is possibly touch typeable and the second could be if you have small fingers.
This is 25.5x9x1.5cm the last measurement the thickness is only at the left end for just over 4cm, the rest is less than .5cm thick. It has 84 keys and as it is rollable it is made of rubber but there is a feeling when you depress a key. The alpha numeric keys are black with white lettering and are 1x1cm with around .3cm between keys. The function and other keys grey with white lettering and the function keys are rather small at 1x.5cm with around .3cm between keys.
Sometimes a products title can leave you completely in the dark as to the functionality offered. Take for example the PIS4.
While some software is now purely a licence to use for a period of time, most is still sold as yours for life. However more and more families have more than one computer so multi installation packs now have a bigger place.
Corel have always been innovators, in the early days when software came on floppy discs they bundled extra floppies with clip art. When CD’s first came in they gave a CD player and of course their CD was crammed full. So now it is no surprise that Corel are one of the first to allow you to install special versions of their software on up to three machines. Here I am looking at their first product CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X5 (version 15).
As I take my regular morning walk a new set of headphones have been keeping me company. This headphone set allows me to listen to the music stored on my Sansa Clip+ MP3 player.
While the company Lenco might be unfamiliar to you, this situation could be about to change. Lenco has a long history in the field of Hi-Fi and electronics. Included amongst the company’s range of consumer electronic products are turntables, micro and mini audio systems, portable DVD players and TFT television screens. Well known in the Netherlands where it has its head office, Lenco has now added the UK to its targeted territory.
One of my often visited locations is that of Egypt. I hasten to state that all these visits have been of the virtual kind and have involved numerous game titles that have been based on this particular geographical area. Taking on the role of tour guide on more than one occasion has been the Luxor series. The latest such excursion has involved Luxor 5th Passage.
While there is a downloadable version of this game available from various sites, this review is based on the Mumbo-Jumbo CD package which does include four bonus games of earlier Luxor titles. Along with Luxor 5 Passage, you also get the original Luxor title, Luxor 2, Luxor 3 and Luxor Quest for the Afterlife.
This is a DAB, FM, Internet radio that also has Flow technology that allows you to purchase what you are listening to. However there are other goodies from Pure Digital, this includes the ability to Media Stream and the Lounge.
The Pure One Flow measures 22x14x9cm, the unit is covered with a rubberised material so it could withstand the odd knock and even be able to withstand a wipe over with a damp cloth if you choose to use it in the kitchen. You can power it with a ‘ChargePAK’ or by mains; it comes with a 1.95metre lead to a small power brick plug. It does of course have alarms (both wake up and kitchen) sleep timers and more.
While I rarely play my collection of LPs, I would be loathed to loose their content. Fortunately MAGIX has a solution.
When, many years ago, we purchased our favourite music on vinyl and magnetic tape, little did we think that this type of media would not last for ever? How wrong we were. As new technology introduced new methods of storing and distributing the music that we love, so more traditional methods were consigned to the scrap heap with the result that devices required to play vinyl and tapes went the way of the dinosaur and were not longer produced.
This is a small neat Netbook with the faster Intel 1.66GHz processor and Windows Starter edition. Ideal for travelling as with the larger battery you could get a days use. While colour is not important to me this cream and grey offering is nice.
The Packard Bell Dot SE Netbook is 25.5x18.5x2cm and it weights just 1125grams in the provided slipcase, as stated mine was cream with silver grey surround to the keyboard, the keyboard itself was cream with black lettering, this means no visible fingermarks, the viewable screen is 22.5x12.5cm giving the diagonal 10.1inch imperial measurement.
If you have a PC or Notebook with poor speakers then your normal option is to lump it or use headphones/earbuds, here some rather nice headphones great for privacy but also a second option is external speakers.
First the headphone solution, this is not a cheap solution but one anyone who sees it will think a single word quality. In their non expanded state they are 16cm across 15cm high and a maximum of 5cm across at the earpieces. However the earpieces flip in and the whole will fit into a supplied zip up case 17x12x4cm so ideal for travelling. Apart from the supplied 1.2metre micro USB to USB lead and a 1.5metre 3.5 to 3.
While hard disk sizes have increased and Broadband allows for faster download speeds, the need to compress files is reduced. However I still feel there is a place for produces such as WinZip.
Over the years, and involving numerous computers running various flavours of Windows, a regular, you could almost say “permanent”, resident application on my system has been WinZip. Unlike a number of other titles in its portfolio, Corel has taken the decision with WinZip to retain the traditional numbering method rather than replace the “10” with an “X”.
This is the Worlds Smallest Laser unit, smaller than most basic inkjet printers, the main differences are that this is of course only monochrome but the claimed printspeed is the actual printspeed something you certainly cannot say for inkjets.
The Samsung Laser ML1865W measures 34x22x17cm with the paper input and output trays closed. Open these and the 22cm depth increases to 33.5cm. This is a unit with minimum connections and minimum controls but it does not mean it has little to offer the user. The ML1865W is rather like the ML1665 reviewed last summer. This unit has connections so it can be used as USB or Wireless. Both the power and USB connections are on the back right hand edge of this compact unit.
While multi-function devices tend to be based on an inkjet printer, this is not always the case. For example the Brother DCP 7055 is a multi-function device that provides print, scan and copy features based around a laser technology for providing hard copy.
Decked out in a fairly standard computer grey, the DCP 7055 expands from a base measurement of 375 x 365mm out to 405 x 398.5mm at the top. Brother has fitted a paper tray, laser printer and an A4 flatbed scanner into the unit’s height of 268mm. Although larger, especially with regards to the height aspect, than an inkjet multi-function device, the increase is not too excessive. Setting up the DCP 7055 is relatively straightforward.
While the description Hidden Object Adventure has a nice ring to it, sometimes a better description for a game would be Adventure with Hidden Objects.
Love Chronicles: The Spell describes itself as a Hidden Object Adventure game. Unlike other games of this type, which tend to concentrate on locating a list of items within a scene, Love Chronicles: The Spell puts its main emphasis on the Adventure aspect. In this game you need to travel through a kingdom that is held captive by a witch’s spell and collect objects that form the tools required to complete tasks as you set about rescuing a beautiful princess.
A webcam is normally something that notebook users take as a given, however for some reason I do not think I have ever seen one in the top of flat panel and certainly not one in a monitor, this then is for those who use these devices.
With most notebooks coming with a built in webcam it is likely that this will me used with a flat panel and the arm behind the camera is made for this purpose. Again the Face Vision FV TouchCam N1 is not a cheap alternative but it’s not only for still but also higher quality video use. With most modern video cameras smaller is more desirable.
As one of the survivors of the software developers, Serif continues to produce applications that provide functionality at a price point that should not break the bank.
If, twenty years ago, you were interested in DTP (Desktop Publishing) then you would have needed to hand over a very sizeable wedge of your disposable income for the necessary software to run on your hardware. Fortunately for those interested in creating their own magazines, brochures, flyers, catalogues and the like, along came a company entitled Serif with a software product that could handle these types of task at an economical price. That product was PagePlus.
Yes I know its been a long time since I have reviewed any HP PCs but once a company changes agencies it often takes a long time to get involved again. Now of course almost everything is Notebook, Netbook or touchscreen Tablet, here all three.
The HP TouchSmart TM2 measures 31x23x4cm as a maximum as it is only 2.5cm thick at the front. It’s not that light at two kilos and can be a little rear heavy. The left side has an HDMI out, a USB port and a headphone/earbud socket. The front is clear while the right side has a multi card slot, two USB ports, the DC power input and two buttons the first for on/off and the second for wireless both have bright LED’s built in.
Two of the latest offerings from Doro who make both mobile and home phones for those who difficuty in using a conventional phone for whatever reason, bigger buttons, brighter displays and louder rings are some of their features.
Here I am looking at phones for your home use, both the phones I am reviewing here look very similar and have very similar model numbers the main difference one has an answering machine built in the other does not. It is 18x5.5x3cm, white with black buttons that have white writing on and this makes then extremely easy to read. The display is 4x2.5cm made up of only two lines the top smaller line for symbols and the bottom line 1cm tall numerals. Below the display a total of twenty one buttons.
As many of us our now on our second (or even third or more PC) it is quite common to find that people have removed and kept the hard disc from the out-dated machine. However, having retained the drive, we may find that we dont have the means of taking data off it. Freecoms Hard Drive Dock Pro could well be the answer as it designed to connect a bare SATA or IDE drive to a USB port.
The Dock is roughly 145 x 90 x 60mm high and comes provided with its external power brick and a USB cable. A 2.5 or 3.5 inch SATA bare drive can be plugged directly into the aperture in the top of the dock and will appear as another drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer etc. It is then a simple matter to view files in the normal way and then copy and paste them as required. There are 3.5 inch PATA/IDE drive connections on the side of the Dock.
During a visit to the BETT educational show held each year in London, I was introduced to the latest animation software from Reallusion.
Many more years ago than I care to remember, I took my first faltering steps in the field of computer graphics animation. The software being used for this purpose was entitled “Do It On Your Desktop” from Moon Valley Software. Designed for use on the Windows 3 platform, this software allowed the user to create animated icons made up of a series of GIF images.
The numbers of people producing speech software are reducing and Dragon is the main player in the PC part of the market, they are now part of Nuance. So what advantages does version 11 have to make you rush out to purchase?
First the bit that may confuse, the various versions now have new names, what was Standard is now called Home, what was Preferred is now Premium (the one I am looking at) and then there is Professional and Legal. While I am not a heavy user of speech software I have used it in some form or other for around ten years. The main difference now is that ‘training’ is not essential to get reasonable results.
Computerised assistance in helping you get from point A to point B when travelling has come a long way (no pun intended) since the days when Auto Route was introduced. Incidentally Auto Route was the first product that I came across which required the user to activate the software with a phone call.
Now we have a number of GPS products that can provide almost instant feedback as to the route and current position plus offer details about points of interest, speed camera locations, traffic updates and different viewing modes. One of the companies offering this type of technology is Prestigio with its GeoVision range of devices. Recently the GeoVision 5120BT model has been taking on the role of my driving assistant. The results form the basis for this review.
Rescuing captured fairies and defeating a pirate named BlackLore is the name of the game with a title developed by BC Soft Games.
As its title indicates, The Magician’s Handbook II is a follow-up to the original offering that set you the task of exploring and rescuing a valley that was seeped in evil. This time you need to embark on a quest to release fairies that have been captured and held prisoner by the evil magician pirate BlackLore which explains why this game is subtitled BlackLore.
Another of the items received in part last autumn after a briefing, however they were not reviewed as the star item a potato/vegetable peeler despite requests never arrived, spring cleaning has taken place and so now the belated reviews.
First a 19cm green bowl designed by morph. It has two handles ideal for salad etc as the handles extend from the side it is easy to clean. For me the highlight is the black rubber .5cm ring around the bottom that lifts it just that smidgeon from whatever surface you place it upon. While I do not use a dishwasher there is nothing to say it cannot be cleaned in one. It does however warn not to use it in the microwave, for me anyway it’s for cold/cool use.
Combining your existing electronic cabling set-up and WiFi is the approach of the latest HomePlug product from devolo.
In the past I have looked at a couple of products from the dLAN HomePlug series that has been developed by devolo. Now it is the turn of the dLAN 200 AV Wireless HomePlug AV Starter Kit. This latest devolo product combines Powerline technology, whereby you make use of the already existing electric power cables running through your establishment to provide networking linking, and WLAN capability.
The first is somewhat unusual in that it is battery operated and stated to give up to 20 hours between charges. The second a far more conventional unit being a pair of speakers requiring mains power, both can have a useful place.
It is 12x6x2cm and weights 218grams. It comes with a mini USB to USB lead to charge its internal battery and this can take several hours. Once charged you can take it anywhere with any device that connects via a 3.5mm lead. So it can be an iPod MP3 player or other device you could even connect it to a notebook should you wish to improve sound. The only connections are on one end being the mini USB socket and the 3.5mm jack.
The first is a set of red and white lights to attach to yourself ideal for cyclists to be seen at night. The second who has tried using the modern touch screen in gloves? This normally will not work, however with these gloves it will.
Let’s first of all think cycling and then think whatever else they might be useful for. When I was growing up – long time ago – you did not leave your cycle pump on your bike - now it seems the whole bike will be pinched. So while dark mornings or evening require lights it seems the police are quite happy if a white and red light static or flashing are displayed somewhere. One such way is on the front and back of a helmet.