Two more items from those clever USB people in Hong Kong. The first a Star Trek type webcam that allows you to fix the position unlike those built into the screen. Second a device to tell you when you have received email.
The dividing line between desktop systems and their laptop brethren is becoming increasingly blurred as manufacturers incorporate more power, functionality and features into their portable offerings.
One product that falls into the desktop replacement category is the Acer Aspire 5942G laptop. With dimensions of 382 x 174 x 26mm (W x D x H) in its closed state and weighing 3.0kg (including the 6-cell battery pack), this reflective black encased model cries out for a permanent home on your desk space with, perhaps, an option for occasional travel privileges. Driving this laptop is an Intel Core i5 520M 2.4GHz processor that supports Intel 64 architecture.
A pull along cleaner with two major differences, first the suction tube really stretches and second it can run for up to twenty minutes on its inbuilt battery. So if the lead is just long enough to get to that place there are two ways to access it.
With a battery built the Miele S4812 hybrid vacuum cleaner is naturally a little bit heavier than other products but with a 6.5metre flex and the very stretchy tubing it will not need to be picked up that much. It is 45x24x20cm (these are maximum figures as the unit is curved), the base unit weights around 8Kg without the tube.
According to Sods Law, the odds against a hard disk failure, whether due to outside influences or not, decrease substantially the moment you neglect to carry out a backup of your data. While disaster might not strike immediately, when it does you will be sorry and to paraphrase an old saying It is no use crying over lost data.
While backups of old (as I well remember) could be long drawn out affairs involving copious amounts pf disks that were of the removable media of the day; the modern backup process is automated and can be scheduled to take place at a time that will not inconvenience you. Offering to carry out this type of task is True Image Home 2010 from Acronis. Described as PC Backup & Recovery software, this product arrives complete with Windows 7 compatibility and an online backup option.
A trip on a luxury liner is not to be sniffed at especially when you get to learn about one of your ancestors. Of course you will be expected to do some work.
It is common knowledge that the unsinkable Titanic failed to live up to its reputation and sank in 1912 with a loss of life that included 1500 passengers. However you will not be aware, in order to celebrate the 100 anniversary of this horrific event, a replica of the original luxury vessel will be launched ready to undertake and complete the route that the Titanic was meant to take and you will be one of the passengers on this anniversary voyage.
While this in no way is the same as Adobe Photoshop, a very specialist tool for editing and enhancing files, this product does the basics and can improve an image from terrible to Okay or from Okay to quite reasonable.
Photoshop Elements 8 from Adobe comes on a DVD and I found that it took 8 minutes to install on a reasonably fast Vista system and it took 1.5GB of hard disc space. It insists on a reboot before you can start to use it. The system requirements on the outside of the box are a 2GHz or faster processor, Windows XP (SP2) or later, 1GB RAM and 2GB of hard disc space. DirectX 9 a monitor with at least 1024x768 resolution and 16bit or better.
A recent check on my mail for a week revealed that 97% of the items were monochrome and probably produced on a laser printer. Maybe in some cases that printer was a Samsung model.
While a splash, or even a dollop, of colour can add an attractive, eye-appealing look to your printed work not every document needs such a fillip. Many business and even some personal documents are equally effective when presented in black and white format. When you factor in the needs for superior print quality and operation speeds into the equation, the possible solution could well be a mono laser such as the Samsung ML-2525 model currently taking up a portion of my work space.
Some small notebooks and almost all Netbooks come without optical media. I certainly still have a PC that only has a CD drive and a more recent one with a DVD reader (no ability to write) so this unit can be useful to many
Plug it in to a USB port and it should be recognised almost immediately and you can then immediately use it to transfer programs and files to the PC. It comes with a CD-ROM including Nero 8 SE. To install this insert the ROM in the drive. It comes up with two options Install Nero 8 SE or an install for Linux. The install is not the fastest. I attached it to an XP system and to a Vista one.
Last autumn I was sent two new items from Serif. First their DTP item PagePlus that has been around for as long if not longer than most other that sell for considerably more. Second a package of British Clip Art.
Anything that gets to version 14 - however it is written – must be doing something right. I am not a big user of DTP products but this is certainly easy to use. My first page took only a few minutes to create from scratch and once printed I was more than happy with the look of it. As it says on the DVD case ‘All In One’ – normally reserved for a multi function printer unit – but here it means all your tools in a single package.
Recently I heard from a reliable source that this type of product had been recommended by a doctor as a solution to overcome a medical problem. However, to the best of my knowledge, the product in question is not available on the National Health.
Like many users my dominant hand is often found in close contact with my computer mouse. While the mouse is the undoubted most popular pointing device for different types of computer tasks, it is not the only choice available. For some a trackball is the optimum tool as they control the on-screen cursor and activate a range of tasks. One such product is the Kensington SlimBlade Trackball which arrives with the promise of offering multi-function capabilities.
Somewhat smaller and a great deal lighter important when you need to move it about than the MFC-9320CN that I reviewed recently. This looks nice and while of course this is just a printer for a lot of people that is what they want.
Using the normal forget the first and the last page test always used with inkjet printers I am somewhat puzzled by the 16PPM claim for this unit. I got over 19PPM for the nonsensical 200 word test document used. The first thing you have to allow for is time to first page out and this – even when warm – is close to 15 seconds. This means that although the time for multiple copies of a single page are very good a single copy is less than 4PPM.
As a long-standing user of a Brother laser, I was keen to check out one of the companys inkjet models. The opportunity arose with the arrival of the MFC-255CW.
For a variety of reasons, some still unexplained, it has been quite a while since I last had the opportunity to get my hands on a Brother printer for review purposes. Fortunately the long wait has ended with the arrival of a Brother multi-function inkjet unit. This is the Brother MFC-255CW with the “CW” presumably referring to the fact that this model can link via a cable (USB) or wireless.
According to the box you need to get ready to solve one of the strangest cases of your life as you take on the challenge of Strange Cases The Tarot Card Mystery.
This game is a Hidden Object Adventure that casts you in the role of FBI Agent Claire Ellery who is called in to investigate the kidnapping of three girls. Aiding you in your investigation is a mysterious and anonymous informant who leaves a trail of tarot cards to help guide you in your investigation. After arriving in a rather out-of-the-way town, where local police officers hardly make you feel welcome, you receive your first message from the tarot card sender.
This is the first phone I have reviewed using the Microsoft 6.5 operating system launched in the autumn of last year. It is not only almost entirely touch but also has the slide and drop movements to allow you to reposition items.
Three things worry me about reviewing ‘test’ units, first will they be exactly the same as the ones available to purchase, second will the operating system/performance change and third no user manual. Here at least I could download the manual. It is 10x5x1cm and weights just on 100grams. It has a black face surround with chrome effect edges the black has a brushed metal finish. The top of the phone has 3.5mm earbud socket.
Rather than increase the version number by one, Nero has added the word Reloaded to its recently enhanced flagship product.
Like the Matrix, and a previous version of its flagship product, Nero has added the word “Reloaded” to Nero 9. Not only has the title received an addition but Nero, that’s the company not the product, has added some new features and bundled another of its products with Nero 9 Reloaded. However before moving on to these new features and bundled title, lets have a quick recap on some of the functionality of the original version 9 before it became Reloaded.
Duracell has recently launched a range of LED torches mainly targeted at technicians such as electricians and plumbers. However, a great many more people who need a bright light will feel that the superior performance of Daylite torches justifies their extra cost over the cheaper torches that are on the market.
Using the company’s TrueBeam optical technology, which is claimed to capture 100% of the LED’s light output, these torches produce a brilliant evenly-illuminated white beam. Depending on model, Duracell claims that they are 20X or 10X brighter than “standard 5mm LEDs”. The Daylite Tough 4AA and the Daylite 2AA, which are conventional in appearance, are most probably the two torches in the range that will appeal to most people.
When I requested this it was the only Blu-ray recorder for use with a TV, as far as I know it still is. However it also has dual Freesat receivers built in as well as a hard disc and it is even possible to transfer items via SCART from another PVR.
My first task was to get items from my PVR onto the hard disc of the Panasonic unit (real time) and then transfer them (real time) to a Blu-ray disc. The second part allows several items to be transferred at a time so I used to move six to eight hours of recordings in a single day while working elsewhere. You can even do it while watching something else on the TV. The unit is long and thin at 42x30x5cm.
Panasonic announced two new innovative DSLR cameras at Focus On Imaging today (the show runs until Wednesday 10th March at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Birmingham. Also on show were the developments with Blu-ray and 3D technology; however this was first launched in Munich and was covered by Michael Fereday in his recent pieces.
The G2 and G10 will be on sale in June, a number of other units were also launched at the show but not in scope of this item. I was allowed to take a G2 around the show for an hour; hardly the best test but on first study of the images I took it seems to be a decent unit. These were taken using the Intelligent Auto setting as trying to work out how to do what on a brand new camera in a busy show is certainly ‘shall we say less than’ easy.
This is by no means a new program but it is still available from the link at the end and also possibly from their dealers. Bridge is a game I enjoy however I would be the first to admit I am lousy at counting cards, so if this is you as well then this could help.
Downsides first it will not work with 64bit Windows. If you have Vista then the help module will not work out of the DVD case it comes in. Next I found that the installer hangs so I suggest you run Setup.exe from the provided CD-ROM. You might think it is not worth the trouble but having tried several Bridge games I find this the easiest to use (once it’s installed). I installed on both an XP and a Vista system, it takes three minutes (from running setup.exe) and 17MB of hard disk space.
Following the Interpret comes the Intuition as the next model in Lexmarks new home/small business series of All-in-One devices.
Adopting the standard approach of an A4 scanner positioned on top of an inkjet printer, the Intuition combines print, scan and copy capabilities with the additional ability to print duplex. Connectivity is via USB or Wi-Fi. As with the Interpret, the Intuition is predominately black in colour with computer-grey piping around the top of the unit.
A British assembled Full HD 32 inch TV with direct access to iPlayer and You Tube either via Ethernet or Wireless with no computer required. It can also act as a media server. Sadly it has so far refused to make the tea.
While this works fine as just a standard analogue/digital TV it is far more than that and providing you do not have a low usage allowance for your Broadband it is a far nicer way to watch the previous weeks BBC TV offerings than on a PC. It has a far smaller footprint than a lot of other 32inch offerings I have reviewed. It is 79x50x10cm and add in the 4cm that the stand raises it above whatever you sit it on. The stand itself is oval with maximum measurements of 50x25cm.
It has been a while since I last looked at a Kodak printer but the companys promotion regarding cost saving provides the ideal opportunity to check out one of the companys models.
Kodak has recently been making a great deal of noise regarding the ability of its printers to save you money with regards to the cost of ink replacement. Like me, you have probably seen the adverts that appear on television at regular intervals (I saw my first one within an hour of getting back from Kodak’s official announcement of this feature) or in newspapers and magazine.
Dr Who is not the only time traveller around. You can indulge in this type of activity as you take on the challenge of correcting anomalies in time
What do Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, Queen Hatshepsut and Abbey Road Studios have in common? To save you the trouble of Googling the answer, they all appear more than once in Flux Family Secrets – The Ripple Effect. Developed by Shunk Studios and Big Fish Games, Flux Family Secrets – The Ripple Effect is now available from Focus Multimedia.
Having recently looked at a small printer this is even smaller than that. However this is designed to scan pictures and or read items on SD cards. So unlike the aforementioned printer this is not designed to scan an A4 page.
The Pandigital Photolink scanner measures 15.5x8.5x4cm and weights only 200grams. Perhaps you should forget the way a standard scanner works as this is designed to work standalone meaning you insert a photograph in the unit and it scans the image to a card in the built in SD card slot. Once the LED on the unit stops flashing (a few seconds) you can then scan another photograph and then another for as long as you have photographs to scan or to the capacity of the SD card.
And you shall have music and video where ever you go could well be the theme for various pocket size devices currently appearing on the market. Joining the ranks of these types of products is the Archos 3 vision.
With its black and silver trimmed fascia, the Archos 3 is available with a choice of metallic red or chocolate backing which does displays a warning regarding possible hearing damage due to excessive volume levels. Weighing just 63 grams and having dimensions of 95 x 52 x 9mm, this media player can fit easily into a pocket without causing an unsightly bulge or weigh you down.
A lot of people think that Adobe are the only name in PDF. Here I am looking at Nuances offering. This is a company who are best known for speech to text products such as Dragon and various OCR products.
Installation took 8 minutes on a reasonably quick machine. The total hard disc space required was 1500MB, the install media was a standard CD. While the software still comes in a box the size gets smaller to the point that the CD will only fit corner to corner in the box. The only other content is a six language notes sheet of paper. It will work on XP, Vista and 7 and it even works fine on 64bit Windows.
If the Windows solitaire offerings just do not cut it for you then there are lots of places willing to sell you a game or three on the Internet. Here however you can play (with no limits) 1000 different Solitaire games for less than a tenner.
In the space available to me here I could not even list all the available games. However providing 1000 games is not all it does, it even allows you to create your own unique game and for those who care there are even more than 80 different card backs provided and if that is not enough you can even import your own images. Installation is from a CD and for me took around five minutes and used 656MB of hard disc space, it creates a desktop shortcut.
Take a dose of magic; add in some works of art, an imprisoned girl with more than a dash of evil forces and the result is a puzzle adventure game from Focus Multimedia.
Drawn: The Painted Tower is a puzzle adventure game that is available from Focus Multimedia. As you might expect from the product’s title, this game has a strong artistic element running through the storyline. The game revolves around the ability of a young girl, named Iris, to produce sketches and painting of magical kingdoms and mythical creatures. These works of art then take on a life of their own, thus opening up a range of possibilities.
Sometimes one thing overrides everything else, size. Here a portable printer that even takes its power from the PC or notebook. Not only can it print from a PC or MAC but also from certain devices such and Blackberry and Mobile Phones using Bluetooth.
It is 28x5x2.5cm. It even comes with a zip up case as it is designed to travel. The only connection is USB and the cable provided is one of the pull out from a reel jobs but it will work with a standard mini USB to USB lead. The weight of the unit is under 700 grams even with the USB lead attached. The printer driver is provided on a DVD, surely a case of overkill as even with all the information and the manual it uses less space than a very small memory stick.
Are you ready for the switch-over? Maybe it is time you considered how best to make the move from analogue to digital television.
As the move towards digital television gathers apace, so manufacturers are developing products to temp users to part with their hard earned cash. Recently I looked at a Freeview set-top box from the British Tvonics company. Now it is the turn of the company’s DTR-Z500 model which combines Freeview digital viewing with a 500GB hard drive for storing recorded content.