Nero and Roxio have been competing for domination of the disk-burning marketplace for several years. Both companies have added feature on feature with the result that the original disk burning facility could be regarded as a minor function.
Naturally this latest version of Roxio’s flagship product comes bearing the Windows 7 logo and supports a wide range of import/output formats for video, audio and photos. Installing the product seemed to be a little quicker than the Nero product on the same system although I neglected to take precise timings to prove this and have to rely on my perception. However both products fire up in 10 seconds to present the user with a front-end.
Every once in a while a game comes along that adds an individual twist to a popular genre. This next title could be said to fall into this category.
In the past I have played numerous games that were firmly entrenched in the Hidden Object genre. I can honestly state that each one of these games was based on a storyline of some sort that would lead the player through a series of scenes requiring items to be located with some mini-games mixed in to add some variety. Often the mini games would have little to do with the encompassing story.
Most people say if it has fax its a multi function unit, why then do Kodak call this an All In One? That I cannot answer but I can be more helpful by telling you about the abilities of this ESP Office 6150 unit from Kodak.
The Kodak ESP Office 6150 measures 41x37x22cm, add another 10cm to the depth when the paper output tray is pulled fully out. It weights 8.5kilos. There are five connections all in a vertical row on the back right of the unit but none protrude as the paper handling causes a protrusion on the rear of the main unit. From bottom up they are phone line in, phone line out, D/C power in, Ethernet out and USB out. The front has a panel that clicks up 45degrees from vertical that has a TFT screen (4.5x3.
The Garmin 1490T is a 5 inch screen GPS unit which offers, as well as the basic features, Bluetooth connectivity, traffic alerts and maps of Europe and not just the UK and Ireland. It is intuitive in operations, provides spoken street names and has a high contrast colour screen which is easy to read under most conditions
At first sight the 1490T appears enormous and one wonders whether, once it has been fixed on a car’s windscreen using the provided suction mount, it will obstruct one’s view and will prevent you from actually seeing the road. However, after a few minutes experimentation one finds a place on the windscreen where it can easily be seen, swivelled to a suitable angle and yet does not get in the way of one’s driving vision.
While the original Flip Ultra camcorder allowed you to capture up to 60 minutes of standard definition video, the latest member of the family increases the capacity to 120 minutes and boosts the quality to 720p high definition.
Now part of the Cisco family, the latest Flip device to enter the ever-growing pocket camcorder market is the Flip Mino HD. As its title suggests, this camcorder is capable of capturing content in 720p high definition mode. The new model, with its brush metal body and reflective black front plate, comes with 8GB of internal memory that will allow you to record up to 120 minutes of video content. With a weight of 4.
Like most quality Microwaves of recent vintage it is far more than a Microwave. It is a grill, convection oven and Microwave in one and the secret lies in its ability to use any combination of the three at any one time.
It is 51x52x32cm. Mine was stainless steel but I believe they also do a white unit. The drop down door allows items to be easily removed to turn as you would say a chicken. As a taster this can be cooked in 30 minutes. There are a couple of metal items supplied with the unit but these should only be used when the grill or oven are being. Do use them when in Microwave mode. A rather nice glass dish is supplied that can be used with all modes.
When you use high end products for high end projects its nice sometimes to use a simple easy to use program that works as you expect it to. However should you need it, then it has all the help you require and much more.
Having recently spent 55 minutes installing one such program it’s nice too when another program that does a lot of the same things takes 8 minutes to install. This requires 1190MB of hard disc space and only a 25 key serial number. The opening screen has offers to show you videos etc but clicking past that gives you an A4 page and if you click the ‘A’ Artistic Text Tool from the iconised menu on the left of the page you can simply start imputing text.
Recently I reported on the diskGenie
, an external hard drive from iStorage
. This device adopts a "belt and braces" approach to security by incorporating AES 256-bit encryption with a PIN Number being required to gain access to the drive. In fact without the correct PIN number being entered, the drive would remain invisible to the operating system.
My original review was based on the 250GB model while the highest capacity available at that time from the company was 500GB. Since then iStorage has added to its range of external drives. One of the new models is the 640GB diskGenie which is currently attached to my computer system. The actual drive is encased within a black rubberised substance with added protection comes from the 16-point, omni-direction shock mounting system.
So many peoples music collection now resides on large capacity iPods that for many a decent speaker system for their iPod replaces the traditional audio stack system to play both CDs and Records as well as the old radio.
This is the first such unit that I have used that your iPod can be either inside or outside the casing of the actual unit. The Intempo Perform measures 35x14x16cm (when the iPod is inside). The rear has sockets for an auxilery input as well as the DC input and the hard wired wire aerial. The top left side has the on/off switch. The right of the top has almost all the controls in an indent and this indent is also a storage space for the 21 button remote control, a novel idea.
Finally small hydro power is available in a custom format! FSP has a free calculator that you can view or download (see www.fsplimted.com) to figure out how much power your stream can produce, plus it provides target RPM based on the turbine diameter that you are using. This which means you can match the perfect turbine to the perfect motor to make an incredibly efficient and very affordable micro-hydro power plant. Their basic kit is available for just over $400, but pays for itself very quickly.
If you have a stream in your backyard, FSP can provide a customized kit to get the maximum energy potential out of it. Their kits are great for off-setting your electric bill, or for providing power to remote areas. The kit can be used with a grid-tie inverter, and many utility companies will begin paying you! Turbines work best when they are spinning at 48% of the velocity of the water stream.
An unexpected offer of a short-term loan gave me the opportunity to try out a Nokia handset that combined 3G functionality and Carl Zeiss optics within a slider format.
The Nokia 6700 Slide is, as its title indicates, a Nokia handset (what else) and of the slider variety. This 3G handset is available in a variety of colours that should appeal to different types of users. Those looking to make a fashion statement can choose from Pink, Petrol-blue, Red, Lime or Purple while, I feel, the greater majority will opt for the aluminium model such as the review unit I have been trying out recently. In its closed state the handset’s dimensions are 95.
Making a complete change from other games I have seen from Alawar is a title that takes its inspiration from Shakespeare.
Described as “the last game without MMORPG features, shaders and product placement”, Hamlet is a new game from Alawar. Developed by MIF2000, this version of Hamlet takes Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of murder and betrayal as the basis for a cartoon game that consists of a constant stream of puzzle presented in a retro style that need to be solved in order to make progress to the next scene.
HD TV down your aerial is now possible, some people do not want it with a PVR and this solution from Humax is one such option. So currently apart from all the standard definition stations channels 50-52 are HD channels.
The Humax HD-FOXT2 is 27x20x4cm but the middle figure the depth will need 5cm added to insert a standard SCART plug in. It has a 57 key remote that for most will need some explaining as it tries to cover items not included and also futureproofing as well as current use. The 16 page Quick Star Guide should get most up and running. The 92 page User Guide starts by repeating the Quick Start Guide but when you delve further you should get your answers.
Unlike the box shaped speakers that those of us of a certain age will have fond memories from our music enjoyment sessions, todays speakers come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit in with more modern living environments. One example of this trend is the Portable USB Tube speaker which is part of Conceptronics Lounge Collection. The USB part of the title immediately gives the clue that this speaker set is for use with a computer rather than a Hi-Fi system.
As the product’s title indicates, this speaker set comes in the form of a tube. Measuring 140mm in length and a diameter of 75mm, this black tube features speaker grills at either end plus a diagonal cut running round the middle section of the tube. Following a firm twist, the tube separates into the two speaker units at the point of the diagonal cut. The sloping end of the two speakers enables them to be positioned so that any output is directed upwards at an angle.
This is a Sat Nav unit from one of the best known names in that field. This is also an in car TV capable of receiving all the digital channels. Why put both in one unit? Well if you have ever travelled with children you will know why.
The Garmin Nuvi 1490TV SatNav measures 14.5x8.5x1.8cm the weight without any holder is 250grams. It can be used in the front of the car as a sat nav, in the back of the car as a TV and should you wish still as a sat nav where it can still give directions. Finally it can be used in Pedestrian or Bicycle mode as well as Car mode. I tested all but bicycle as I no longer ride a bike. The viewable screen is 11x6cm and even with one single aerial attached indoors. I found this amazingly good.
This product is a MUST for every mad scientist. FSPs affordable science kit has three experiments in one, all powered by a high voltage step up transformer. The main portion of the kit is a jacobs ladder, commonly seen on old horror movies due to the huge spark it creates...
I first saw what they were proposing nearly three months ago. After a few days to let things settle I tried their service. Not with a brand new up to date photo (stated minimum of 2MP required) but with a scan of a near 40 year old image.
I am suggesting that anyone should try to send a low quality image such as I used. It was rejected almost immediately by their first check, it was also rejected by a second check and then by a personal email. This was however all that was available for my nephew at that age. After much arm twisting they agreed to do their best.
The World Cup has raised the profile and interest in High Definition TV which, in turn, has increased the attraction of monitors with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The Acer H234H is a quality 24inch monitor that meets this demand as well as giving the user a reasonable degree of future proofing.
The downside of the move to widescreen monitors is that they have a relatively low vertical resolution so that, while the resolution of an old “square” 17inch monitor is 1280 x 1024, even a 20inch widescreen one will typically be 1600 x 900. This is definitely a retrograde step and so one has to go to a larger screen to get adequate vertical performance.
Having built up a popular fan base, the World of Warhammer 40,000 introduces more forces capable of causing death and destruction.
When is an expansion pack not an expansion pack? In the case of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Soulstorm (now there is a title to sink your teeth into), it is when you do not need the original title in order to play this strategy war game (originally launched in 2004). Set in the 41 Millennium, this battle to the death extravaganza now has two new armies, namely the Sisters of Battle and the Dark Eldar, to throw into the mix of death and destruction.
This is an All In One (copy, print and scan) unit that is smaller than a lot of equivalent ink jet printers. At last manufacturers realise that fax is not required by the majority of small businesses as email has long overtaken it.
The Brother DCP-365CN measures 37x36x14cm but space will be required in front of the unit for printed pages to be ejected as they are printed to a shelf above the input paper tray, around 15cm should be plenty making the actual second figure 50cm. This is a four cartridge and four ink unit, swapping cartridges is easy as they fit into the front right edge of the unit. All the controls are on the front edge, 15 buttons and a small one line display black on grey.
Originally set up in 2003, Cygnett is an international company with its headquarters in Australia. The company has recently added the Cygnett Micro to its product portfolio.
The Cygnett Micro is a rechargeable mini speaker unit for use with any device with a standard 3.5mm headset socket and not, as some might think, a new computer brand (“Micro” seems to be used less these days as a contraction of micro-computer). Described as allowing hours of ear bed-free music, this small unit can be connected to a range of devices including the iPhone / iPod family, MP3 players, PMPs or even your computer.
A ghostly apparition, missing students and an ancient Celtic legend come together in a Mystery Case Files titles designed to keep you looking over your shoulder.
In April I told you about a nice Nikon unit just under the DSLR level. Here I will tell you about something from Nikon above the point and shoot level but below that of the April offering. Thus helping those not yet ready to progress.
The Nikon Coolpix L22 digital camera measures 9.5cm long, 6cm tall and between 2 and 2.5cm thick. The unit I was sent was silver grey with chrome on the face and sides and matt black on the rear. The TFT screen is also matt in finish making it easier to read in strong sunlight. The sides are clear of sockets except for the wrist strap anchor point on the right side. The base has the solid battery door where you also place any SD card you might use.
With a name like Pogoplug you might just wonder what kind of device this might be. Maybe it could jump up and down or provide power on the go? In fact neither of these possible options comes close to describing the functionality offered by the Pogoplug. Describing itself as Your Personal Cloud, the Pogoplug is a multimedia sharing device that allows you to access and share content with others over the Internet.
Unpacking this device could be a little disconcerting especially if you were expecting to find a reasonable sized Getting Started / User Guide. There is one there but it is small enough for it to escape your attention. Once located this concertina style booklet provides the brief instructions required for connecting the device to a Mac, PC or iPhone.
In fact no larger than a Netbook but do not think of this as an entry level product. It will be both thinner and lighter than any Netbook I know but it is also quite a powerful offering so you have been warned its not cheap.
This Sony X Series Laptop, the VAIO X11S1EB measures 27.5x18.5x1.3cm and weights 760grams. Now at that weight you really can carry it around with you all day. The right side has VGA out and Ethernet socket. The left side has power in, Kensington lock port (very important as it will easily fit in a poachers pocket) two USB ports and headphone socket.
Everyone thinks of Microsoft and software in the same breath, mainly for the operating system but of course there is Office and other programs such as AutoRoute as well. Here I am looking at two items released recently.
Overall this takes around 50% of the space a normal keyboard takes. On a desk this may not be that important but in the lounge or on the move every inch (or lack of an inch) counts. It is 31x15.5x1.5cm.with the supplied 2x‘AAA’ batteries inserted. The tiny 1.8x1.1x.4cm wireless dongle fits under the keyboard when travelling. Plug it in to any USB port and a few seconds later you are typing. It has 76keys including a single four way action key for the direction arrows.
No matter how careful you are, or think you are, your Windows-based system will tend to slow down as it struggles to cope with the demands you place upon it.
Another item that I discovered at a recent Panasonic white goods event that I my ignorance did not know they produced. However as they have been big mainly in Asia for around 50 years it is certainly worth a look.
I first saw it at a recent presentation by Panasonic; it looked interesting and powerful so I requested to look at it. In fact since then I have seen it advertised on TV so they are pushing the items now in the UK so look for offers. Described on the box as black and silver this does not include the head brush head that is white a strange mix I assume it was boxed up at that event and went back into storage before it came to me a bit later as it arrived without instructions.
By putting together features that include photo, video and music plus burning and sharing software, you end up with a product entitled Digital Studio 2010. This is Corels attempt to tackle the photo and video market for those with limited experience in this particular area.
Time to dust off your business management skills as you buy and sell plots of land, construct hotels and make money for your recently divorced boss.
I have to admit that this is the first game that I have come across that features a pre-nuptial agreement. As a result of this agreement Lynette finds that she has been cheated out of her family hotel business following a marriage that collapsed after just a few months. Determined to regain control of this family business and its sentimental attachments, Lynette plans to set up a rival chain of hotels with the eventual aim of being able to buy back her original property.