Here I am looking at two rather nice webcams. First an offering from Blue Microphones that obviously features a quality microphone. Second an offering from Microsoft that is HD and offers far better images than most.
While everyone will see the large headed microphone that forms part of this device most will not be aware of the 2MP webcam in fact it can be invisible as it can be retracted inside the back of the microphone head when not in use. Describing the size is somewhat difficult but I will give the maximum and minimum sizes as it can be either and several in between for good measure. 15x7x8cm down to 8x6.5x7cm. The only thing that cannot change is the microphone head.
As part of its Casual / Snack Games portfolio, XING Interactive has released Pizza Deliciozo. As you might surmise from its title, this game features pizzas (not one of my favourite meals but then the food is not for personal consumption) which you need to make and serve to your customers as you build up your business in the quick food sector.
This I am told will give you 12 hours of battery life, I never got beyond six hours or so, so I assume there are two battery combinations available. I did test it several times hence the slightly longer than normal review period.
The Acer Aspire 4820TG measures 34x24.5x3cm and delightfully matt black so fingermarks do not show. The inside area around the keyboard is mostly grey but unfortunately the area around the screen is shiny black and the screen itself is very reflective. The weight of the unit with normal (six hour) battery is just over two kilos, I would assume around 2.3kilos with the twelve hour battery but please check before you buy as that figure is only my own guess. The viewable screen is 31x17.
While the various members of the iPod family and MP3 players are great for one-on-one listening, they do need help when group listening is called for.
The latest title from Playrix takes a break from aquarium building exercises and moves the focus to repairing storm damage inflicted on a chain of islands.
With all the unseasonable weather we have been having lately, it came as no surprise to hear that a devastating storm had wrecked havoc on the region of the kingdom known as Islandshire. When his Royal Highness first heard the news he was instantly dismissive of the fact as he felt it would not impinge on his life style in any way.
Not the first Freeview +HD box I have seen but it is the first with built in PVR. So what do you get that you do not get with a standard Freeview box that has PVR. In short its the ability to both watch and record HD via your TV aerial.
The Digital Stream DHR8203U Freeview+ HD box can record two streams (even two HD streams) at the same time but you cannot watch a third so assuming you still have an analogue TV signal you could watch one of the analogue stations whilst recording two digital ones. The more I use this box the more impressed I am with it. Yes it allows you to watch, play and rewind live TV, yes it can do that with the three terrestrial HD channels but it is the other little things that show what it can really do.
Those innovative people at Sandberg have come up with a device that turns your computer into a central hub for your audio needs.
The computer is increasingly being used as the central hub for home entertainment activities. Generally this involves television and video functionality but we must not forget about audio aspects. The Sandberg USB Sound Box 7.1 is a product that offers to provide the capability to turn your computer into the focal point and control centre for your audio equipment.
Sibelius is probably the best music scoring program around, professionals and music students alike both use it, however for the amateur it is rather expensive and to be honest it does a lot more than they might want so this is a good alternative.
While most will love what Sibelius has to offer one thing will make them choke – the price – so a product with somewhat less functionality is always welcome and the new owners of Sibelius Avid have been quick to produce it at a more palatable price so now the amateur musician can benefit from the ease of use of this great scoring package. Let’s start with something that you will not get with the new package free telephone support.
First a slim external 8x DVD unit from Lite-On at a reasonable price. Second a pair of quite decent earbuds from Creative (Labs) who those of you old enough to remember as, the biggest name in sound cards for computers.
A large number of notebooks and all Netbooks come without a DVD drive. While it is possible in most cases to transfer the contents of the DVD drive to a USB stick or hard drive and then install, having a DVD drive is still useful. It is 14cm square and 1.5cm thick. The only extra provided is a short 15cm micro USB to USB lead that fits in the back of the unit. There is an illuminated Stop button on the front and an open slider just below it on the edge.
Following my recent review of the Brother MFC-255CW multifunction inkjet unit, it is now the turn of the companys DCP-365CN model.
The Brother DCP-365CN is classified as a multifunction device that combines copy, scan and print capabilities within a single box that is network-enabled and connects via a USB link-up for standalone use. As with all the Brother inkjet units I have looked at, the USB port for the DCP-365CN is located inside the unit where there is less chance that it will be accidentally dislodged. The Ethernet port is similarly located inside the unit. Weighing 7.
The GE X5 14.1Mpixel bridge camera is aimed at that middle ground
between the digital SLRs and the compact cameras. As it is a very
competitively priced versatile camera it will be a very attractive
proposition for those on a budget who want the additional features
that it offers.
In appearance the GE X5 is just like a very small SLR and weighs under 500gm. As well as a 2.7inch screen it has an electronic viewfinder. The latter enables it to be held close to one’s face and thus more steadily -- so important when the 15X zoom lens is set anywhere near its 405mm (35mm equivalent) maximum telephoto even though the camera incorporates optical image stabilisation. The camera is comfortable to hold and the controls are well laid out.
BlackBerrys seem to be the unit of choice for the large amount of commuters I see on the occasions I travel back home during the evening. What I cannot really understand is why a good number of them need to have two.
Yes I know that one is probably issued by where they work and the other is their personal property but surely having two SIMS is possible so that the correct account pays the bill, anyhow the main thing here is their popularity. The BlackBerry Bold 9700 measures 10.5x6x1.5cm, as you might expect it is black with chrome trim round the sides and at the top part of the back. The back itself is covered with a black leather like material giving it a non slip feel.
Although Adobe Photoshop remains the popular and dominant choice in the field of graphic editing software, for many its price point puts it out of their budgetary range. For those who still want the kudos of working with Adobe software without the financial upheaval there is Photoshop Elements which is aimed more at the home enthusiast rather than the professional user.
Now up to version 8, Photoshop Elements offers the four pronged approach of allowing the user to organise, edit, create and share their photos and video clips. By default the program opens with a Welcome screen. This screen offers a choice of four tours to discover the highlights of Photoshop Elements 8 plus links to the Organize and Edit options.
Do vampires ever die or just hibernate until the next walking blood bank arrives on the scene?
While the names of Count Dracula and Van Helsing may be known to you, especially if you are a fan of the Gothic genre, those of Michael and Quinn Harker might not have the same familiarity. Yet these characters appear in the Tech Front Studios game entitled The Dracula Files now available on Avanquest’s GSP Click & Play label.
This is a program that I have known for many years. I think it was version two that I first used. Due to a change of agencies the previous version I reviewed (and in fact still use) was version 6. Now I am looking at version 11.
So there are numerous changes (including file type extensions) but on trying to open one of my much used databases it was only a case of renaming the file with an old extension and the new version had the required extension and opened with no problems in FileMaker Pro 11, while this database has only three fields one is a multi field entry and there are a total of close to 7000 files in the database, all were intact and opened without problem.
Although ratified towards the end of 2008, USB 3.0 devices are only just being to appear. An external hard drive is my introduction to the technology.
As sure as eggs are eggs, over the next coming months we are going to see various devices that come with support for the new USB 3.0 specifications. This technology has taken a little while to make the transition from ratification to device-enabled but the wait is over as products such as the Buffalo Ministation Lite USB 3.0 external disk drive make an appearance. This external drive is available in either 500GB or 640GB capacity.
Having looked at a smaller model the HC-20 around six weeks ago what has the bigger HC-30 got to offer that the HC-20 does not have? From the outside if you just think slighter bigger with all the fitments then you have it.
The Panasonic HC-30 measures 48x19x9cm and the last figure the width is less at the top of the unit. The 9cm only applies near the base where the aerial lead and mains power enter the unit on a protrusion at the rear of the unit. There are other differences the first is that it is wall mountable and quite a substantial bracket is provided to facilitate this.
Don't bother trying to link these two items, the best I could come up with is that with the hub you dont need to ferret round the PC and the Vacufresh you feel better because you wine keeps longer, yes I agree very tentative.
This is on the face of it another very simple (but nevertheless very useful) item. It is a vacuum wine bottle sealer. It is 8cm long and 3.3 wide at the base. It weights 45grams. The one I tested was black. As it says on the packaging ‘pump out the air … and lock in the freshness’. So any wines shelf (or fridge) life is extended as the vacuum in the bottle means that little or no air born contamination can get in to spoil your wine.
Free-to-air HD television is now with us and available from a device such as Sagemcom HD PVR that also includes dual channel recording.
With all the hype that is emanating from various quarters regarding 3D viewing, it is possible that you might have over-looked the announcement dealing with the arrival of Freeview+ HD. Although the various adverts featuring actors performing against high definition backdrops should have helped drive the message home that Freeview now offers support for high definition content.
A small, easy to use and reasonably priced camera from a maker who does lots of more expensive units both pocket and DSLR unit. Every maker has to have something at the lower end of the market both in price and functionality.
It is 9x6x3cm and weights 173grams with the two ‘AA’ batteries inserted. With the lens fully zoomed it adds close to 3cm to the 3cm width. The flash is almost above the lens (actually very slightly to the right) and is never nearer than 2.4cm to the lens. The top of the camera has an oblong on/off button and a larger round shutter release to its right, the latter has a very fine trigger mechanism so the normal half way down to focus before capture can need practice to achieve.
This is almost one of those big red London bus moments. You know the kind of thing. After a period of waiting patiently, two products delivering media control arrive within days of each other. First it was the recently reviewed Verbatim MediaStation and now it is the turn of Conceptronics FullHDMediaPlayer Gigabit offering.
In the world of magic, nothing is what it seems as you quickly discover in a new game from Alawar.
This is said to be the worlds smallest A4 laser printer, certainly I have not looked at a smaller one. However it is a 16PPM mono offering that works with later versions of Windows without even having to install any software.
It is 34x18x22+15cm when paper input tray is open. It is black and weights a little over 4kilos so should work on a shelf. The unit has a simple design the front folds forward to make the input tray, the top folds forward to make the out tray. At the back on the right edge are the two connections, power lead near the base with USB lead near the top. The right of the top has two LED’s and two push buttons as the only controls on the unit, all very simple and straightforward.
Tired of waiting for data to be transferred using USB; then the wait could be over with the arrival of the latest 3.0 technology.
Unless you have been particularly quick off the mark, it is more than likely that your current system, no matter how powerful a speed hog it is, will not be capable of delivering the delights offered by SuperSpeed USB otherwise known as USB 3.0. This is the technology that promises to increase data rate transfers by as much as ten times over the previous version as well as offering simultaneously sending and receiving data through its duplex ability. While the USB 3.
When this first came out Corel started a trend - which they still continue today of offering extra value. It came with lots of extra clip art and fonts. Remember initially there were very few of either around. They were also I believe the first to go from discs to CD.
However anything getting to version 15 must either have been rather naff in the first place – not so. Or have spread itself very thinly or added extra features. So if you already have version 14 (X4) should you spend on yet another upgrade. Having used CorelDraw from a very early time it bears little resemblance to early versions. It is a far broader product and in many areas now can challenge Adobe but of course at a smaller cost to the user.
Two rather different products the first for DIY fans that can save expensive redecoration bills as you can get an expect finish via good preparation. The second a tool that could save you a very expensive visit from a plumber.
It is described as a cordless multitool, at a maximum dimension of 17x6.5x4.5cm and weighting 294grams without any attachments. There are a total of 33 pieces all supplied in one bag. The tool, the charger and the accessories come in a single zip up holder. The base of the tool unclips to allow it to sit in the 13amp charger module to recharge the Lithium battery. The top of the unit has a two speed setting ‘hi’ on the left and ‘lo’ on the right.
Turn me, twist me, flip me over could well be the theme tune from a new addition to Acers Aspire series.
Unlike the netbook, which immediately gained popular acceptance, the panel PC has struggled by comparison when trying to ingratiate itself into the public consciousness. But maybe the arrival of the iPad, backed by Apple’s usual high profile marketing hype, could help kick-start this particular notebook concept.
Anyone with an Analogue TV will need either a new TV or a set top box when your area goes Digital. Some regions have already converted. While a few disabled and elderly will get some assistance others will need to deal with it themselves.
This is a very simple box with a SCART cable inserted in the back you need 21x21x3cm space to put the unit. In standby mode the EZBOX LT-105 Freeview Set Top Box uses less than one watt. It has a very efficient pass through enabling a fly lead to deliver perfect signals to the TV while analogue signals are still available in your region. It also means you can have the benefit of all the extra TV and radio channels now as soon as you switch the unit out of standby mode.
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.