With this next title you get two games that involve mechanical puppets, hidden object sessions and puzzle solving.
As part of the Hidden Mystery series, Focus Multimedia has bundled together two PuppetShow titles from Big Fish Games. These Hidden Object Adventure games are entitled PuppetShow Mystery of Joyville and the sequel PuppetShow 2 Souls of the Innocent. Separate installation routines are required for each title from an initial opening menu. You can run either game from the Big Fish Game Manager or directly from its own desktop icon.
This is an All In One (no fax) but I doubt if very many people still use that facility. This can scan, print and copy and while it is USB you only have to then convince the lounge police that black is the 2011 colour of choice.
The Canon Pixma MG5150 measures 45x35x15cm when closed, the front paper exit tray opens automatically when something is being printed and this adds 10cm to the 35cm depth. The USB lead exits back right while power goes in back left neither add to the size. This is a five ink offering with a small black for photos and a larger one for text printing as well as the standard three colour inks.
It can prove extremely useful if you can switch the orientation of certain Apple devices when they are attached to a speaker enhancing product.
According to a popular expression, “Love makes the world go around.” Now it might appear that music, or perhaps entertainment, would be a more appropriate suggestion, for attempting to take over this planet-revolving task with the arrival of a circular device from iLuv. This device, designed specifically for providing docking and speaker enhancement features for various members of the iPod family, has a circular shape.
I am told there is an earlier model that did not have the DAB radio. This has it all and just for good measure an external speaker and bed shaker for those who never seem to hear the alarm go off, this you will not be able to ignore.
The iLuv iMM178 main unit is oval measuring 25x10x9cm, the bed shaker unit is also oval at 11x6.5x2.5cm. The lead that connects the shaker to the main unit is 2metres long and this I found was adequate. The mains lead ending in the power adapter plug is 1.7metres and this to me is a tab short unless the electric socket is the same side of the bed as the table/stand. The extra 30cm that the shaker unit has just gives that extra amount to allow easy placement.
An interesting mix an executive toy and something that never existed in my childhood pens designed especially for use for left or right handed children, they even do different models according to the age of the child.
Match-3 titles have been around for quite a while using different methods of creating matches and various types of layouts. This next game allows you to pick and choose from these different features.
Developed by Seppia Interactive and now available as part of Avanquest’s GSP Click & Play series, The Lost Inca Prophecy brings together Match-3 game play with a sprinkling of Hidden Object interludes. In this game you take on the role of Acua, a young Spanish librarian and a dreamer, who lived around the time of Spain’s attempt to colonise the New World.
This is one of a long range of cameras with the PowerShot name produced by Canon. It is also a contender for one of the best; it allows both the novice and those more advanced to get the best from it as well as from themselves.
The Canon PowerShot SX30is measures 12x11.5x8cm however with the lens fully zoomed the 11.5cm can increase by another 6cm. It weights 635grams. This camera does not need a case – apart from keeping it dry – as the TFT rotates on itself as is the fashion with camcorders. It can be totally operated without the using the TFT so people who come from 35mm film can still use the viewfinder to capture and here even for quick review.
With so much of our favourite music being stored digitally, it makes sense to include a speaker system as part of your computer set-up.
Continuing with its preference for including a cylindrical shape within its design concepts, Edifier has developed its MP300 Plus product as part of its IT Lifestyle catalogue. This is a multimedia speaker system that is also known as the Aurora. I’m guessing that the reason for it being called Aurora is due in part to the rainbow effect as the product is available in a range of colours.
Time travellers need to be extra careful otherwise their actions could cause ripples that spread throughout time and produce inconsistencies that increase the ripple effect.
With the family name of Clumsy you know that there will be plenty of mishaps occurring due to the intervention of certain individuals. Grandpa Clumsy surely falls into this category especially when he embarks on his time travelling escapades. These trips can have global consequences which will affect the flow of known history and, as a result, change modern day into an environment we would not recognise.
Calling this an alarm clock is a vast understatement both in abilities and indeed in size. It has sat by my bed for several days and roused me in the morning even before the buzzer/sounds/radio has sounded simply by its built in light.
As more and more people take their tentative first steps into using video editing, developers, such as MAGIX, are producing software to help them in this task.
Last year MAGIX released a video editing product that was designed to appeal to the novice user. This product was appropriately entitled Video Easy. Now MAGIX has released a new version of the software and has added the letters “HD” to the title to indicate that there is support for high definition content.
Most people have the idea that A3 machines are big, this one is not, this is not just a printer but a multi function unit as it scans, copies, faxes and prints, also it can also print photos direct from a card or a memory stick.
It is 52x48x31cm when you have A4 paper in both trays, the top tray can also accommodate A3 paper and it expands to accept this making the depth 58cm, another 10cm only. Please note this machine prints up to A3 and A3+. Everything can be installed from optical media, two discs are supplied one with the manuals and the other with PaperPort 12 and other software but it still downloads other items from the web. Total install time was 12 minutes including a reboot and it took 1.
While most seem happy to say YES when completing a 1000 piece puzzle me included I started my quest before Christmas on two larger offerings a 3000 piece one eventually completed, meant time to start a 5000 piece offering.
Of course even these are tiny in comparison to the 32,000 plus pieces in the world’s largest jigsaw that they produce. See last paragraph. For me anyhow a 2000 piece jigsaw is at the very least ‘a challenge’, it also has an awful lot of various shades of blue.
With smartphones, mobile music devices and other electronic gadgets it can sometimes be difficult to find all the power points necessary for recharging purposes. One solution could be to use a universal desktop charger.
Several months ago I was introduced to a product from Inoitulos, a Spanish technology consultancy. This product was the . The “i3” part of the product’s title indicates that it was capable of charging up to three different devices simultaneously. Now the company has come up with an enhanced version of the product. This new version provides the means for powering four devices at the same time.
This is much more than just a phone, like all decent recent phones its cordless and DECT however it can connect to any Wireless network and using its Touchscreen you have a unit capable of Internet browsing or playing Internet radio.
The phone is 15x5x2cm it has a cradle that is circular at 14cm and 3cm tall it has a small stand to allow leads etc to emerge and this raises the height by another 2cm at the rear of the unit, both the phone and the cradle are shiny black. The viewable screen on the phone is 4.3x5.8cm. Below the screen are the green answer button and the red end call button above these a back button and another between these is the ubiquitous five position joystick control.
With a pile of paper, various images and electronic documents all ready and waiting, it is time to test a new multifunction device. This time the manufacturer is Canon.
Arriving as the replacement for its MP490 model, Canon is now offering users the PIXMA MP495. Like its predecessor, the MP495 brings together print, scan and copy facilities within a single inkjet unit. In addition the MP495 features wireless connectivity as standard but this does come at a cost with regards to other types of functionality. Canon has taken the decision to remove any support for memory cards and PictBridge.
Ever fancied a job as a shelf stacker at your local supermarket? Maybe this next game will give you an indication as to your suitability for this particular task.
This is exactly what a modern notebook should be, well specified and easy to use. The latter is handled by it having a full suite of touch modules built it so things that used to need the mouse can now be completed using your fingers.
The Acer Aspire 5745PG touch screen laptop measures 37x25x3cm and weights 2.65kilos. It is black with the area in front of the keyboard being grey. Unfortunately the black is that horrible shiny black that shows fingermarks and the screen is rather reflective. There is a 106 key keyboard with the alpha and numeric keys being full size, there is of course a separate numeric keypad.
A recent delivery at the Fereday household saw the arrival of three new headphone sets from Panasonic which might be of interest.
Available in a choice of black or white, the Panasonic RP-HX45 is described as being Hi-Fi monitor headphones. This product has been designed for use with MP3 players and the various members of the iPod family. The lightweight headset consists of a padded, expandable headband with ear-pads that can be swivelled through approximately 100 degrees to suit different head shapes and sizes. By swivelling the ear-pads you can also store this product flat when not being used.
Netgears N300 RangeMax wireless gigabit ADSL2+ modem router DGN3500 has been designed to provide the higher speeds that users increasingly demand. In addition to its wide range of LAN and WAN features it can also support an external USB storage device.
The DGN3500 is in a slim case 223 x 153 x 31mm which is accompanied by a mains plug type power adapter. Although the unit can be laid flat on its side, Netgear recommends that it is stood vertically using the supplied clip-on stand in order to get the best wireless coverage from the three internal antennas. Installation procedure is quite simple; just follow the step-by-step illustrated instructions on the provided CD.
Panasonic do two ranges of cameras the ones that could even be called professional and can be seen being used by keen amateurs, they also do a Lumix range that look like point and shoot but have far more functionality.
The Panasonic Lumix TZ10 measures 10x6x3cm, the last figure can increase to 6cm when fully zoomed. My test unit was black with silvered fittings, it weighed 215grams. It has up to 12x zoom and captures images up to 12MP in size, this model can even use GPS to tell you where your images were taken. So this is by no means anything like an entry level ‘point and shoot type’ offering. The right side has two connectors behind a flip open door for HDMI and AV out.
Brando from Hong Kong has cornered the market in quirky devices that are in some way powered by USB. Here a USB hub with a touch responsive Plasma Ball, the second DJ Mix Turntable, both these items are fun things.
It is 14cm to the top of the ball which starts 6.5cm from the base. The hub is the base and is 9cm across but there are the four ports - two on each side with the spaces in between filled by the USB to mini USB lead and a simple on/off switch that controls only the Plasma ball the USB ports are live all the time the cable is connected. Of course from the point of view of a man this is not perfect, the glass sphere is of course clear but the Plasma when idle is P I N K.
With a desert island, a castaway and a man called Friday, it can only be a title based on Robinson Crusoe.
Who better to be the central character in a hidden object adventure game than an archetypal survivor. In this case the survivor is none other than the Daniel Defoe created character of Robinson Crusoe and the game, not surprisingly, is entitled Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. As part of Avanquest’s GSP Click & Play catalogue, this game entrusts you with the task of helping Robinson Crusoe survive after ending up on a remote island in the Caribbean following a storm at sea.
Having looked at two earlier models that were only available from Amazon.Com, here after a very long wait I get to sample the joys of the latest sleek offering that at long last is available from Amazon in the UK.
The latest Amazon Kindle measures 19x12x.5cm and weights only 230grams, the viewable screen is 9x12.2cm giving a diagonal screen measurement of 6inches. When off the screen displays one of a range of wonderful monochrome graphics, these graphics use no power. The controls are simple, both the left and right edges have < and > keys to move page forward and page back. The bottom has a volume up and down rocker, 3.5mm headphone/earbud socket a micro USB socket and on/off slider.
While many pocket camcorders have been designed for general purpose use, the Kodak Playsport is aimed more at the more adventurous members of society. To this end the Playsport combines electronic image stabilising technology, to assist when capturing sporting events, with the ability to be waterproof up to a depth of 10 feet for recording aquatic expeditions.
With dimensions of 58 x 112.5 x 19.5mm (W x H x D), the Playsport should fit comfortably in a pocket or bag without causing an unsightly bulge (Kodak has produced a case for this camera but this an optional extra). Available in a choice of colours, including Abyss (Black), Wave Crash (Blue), Adrenaline Rush (Purple) or the orange of the review model, the Playsport stands apart from the other pocket camcorder that I have looked at, in that it does not feature a flip-out USB connection arm.
Sometimes a knock on the door or a ring of the doorbell can bring a pleasant surprise. However this is not the case when Sam Hunt answers a knock at the door in Alawars Stray Souls: Dollhouse title.
With a choice of Custom (one-minute Hint recharge and highlighted interactive areas) or Expert mode (two-minute recharge and no highlights), Stray Souls: Dollhouse is a hidden object adventure game. Currently the game is available as a Collection’s edition which features a number of extra items.
This is very slightly larger than a small point and shoot digital camera but a good deal smaller than most DSLR however in reality it is neither, it has good points and bad, two that stick out are no optical zoom and a poor inbuilt flash.
The Sigma DP1x Digital Camera measures 11x6x5cm with the last dimension, the depth increases by 2cm when you remove the lens cap and turn it on, it weights 280grams. Truly an oblong box with the lens protrusion being the only thing extending, the face has only the lens as the flash – such as it is – has a manual release mechanism on the top, I rarely mention its size but as it is 2cm long and less than .
Ever since taking a look at the Sony Pocket Reader I have made a conscious effort to watch out for similar devices being used in public areas instead of traditional books and other reading material. Currently these sighting stand at just two instances admittedly over a fairly quiet period with regards to excursions. In neither case was the observed device being the Sony Touch Reader which is the subject of this review
As its title implies, this Sony Reader features a touch screen allowing you to carry out a number of actions using either your finger or the supplied stylus. Following the same pattern adopted by the Sony Pocket Reader, this bigger sibling product arrives in a box that bears more than a passing resemblance to a traditional book.
Amplicon are better known for improving peoples hearing with devices and aids. Here they offer help from the other end by making a mobile phone with a high ringer volume and increased sound volume for the phones user.
The company whose phone the Amplicom Powertel M4000 most resembles to me is Doro who do a lot for those with disabilities. Here Amplicon have a phone with big buttons and large text on the screen to go with a ringer that will wake almost anyone so those who are hard or hearing are well catered for. Often however a loud ringer on its own is not enough as the volume of the caller is still not increased enough, that is certainly not a problem with this unit.
Over the last few months I have told you about various Oregon products but not the one they are best known for Weather Stations, I got one early in summer and just recently a second model both can prove extremely helpful.
If you just want a weather station to tell you the internal and external temperatures plus things like day date humidity and prediction for the next 24 hours then several fit the bill one such is the Slim Weatherbox BAR 800 received recently more of that in a bit first… I have been testing this since the summer, my main worry was that as the main unit is Solar it would die during the winter months, it has not done so, it is in my kitchen window and even with so few hours of light it kept