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.
Developed by Jaibo Games and published by Alawar Entertainment,Heroes of Hellas 2: Olympia is basically a match-three type game with an element of city building thrown in for good measure.
Played in a choice of Easy, Normal or Hard mode, you Heroes of Hellas 2 involves dragging your mouse cursor over tiles of the same colour to create chains of three or more tiles. Specific targets are set for each grid of tiles. You might need to collect all the precious and semi-precious gems; clear away golden areas; or remove a certain number of tiles within a specified time limit.
My recently acquired iPod Nano 5th generation got an outing here. However hands up those who remember the ghetto blasters those of a certain age carried on their shoulders that will give you an idea of the size of this interesting product.
The iMT800 from Altec Lansing measures 50x19x20cm at the front narrowing to 36cm at the back. While it is an iPod and iPhone player it does a lot more and has six mighty speakers built in, however it is designed for use on mains power and for good reproduction. For those who long for their ghetto blaster days it can also be run from eight ‘D’ cell batteries.
Continuing my report on the recent Panasonic event brings news of some Lumix digital cameras, camcorders, Blu-ray devices and a product to capture your own 3D content.
Following on from my earlier Panasonic report that featured televisions and the company’s push towards 3D content, it seems appropriate to begin with another product belonging to the company’s 3D family. Panasonic has developed the world’s first professional, fully integrated Full HD 3D camcorder. The lenses, camera head and the dual Memory Card recorder are all built into a single lightweight body.
This is a 64bit Windows Notebook that does not cost the earth. The first commercial (rather than an upgrade) product I used was an expensive disappointment, this however should made the juices move, and for an added touch it has touchscreen technology.
It is 38x24x4cm maximum as the edges are slightly curved and the rear is about one centimetre larger than the front it weights 2.3 kilos. Mine was an electronic blue colour meaning in certain lights it appears black in colour. The rear is clear as the lid opens over it. The right side has a Kensington lock port, Modem socket, the DVD multi drive and two USB ports. The front has a slider to lift the lid and a multi card port.
An outdoor (or roof space aerial) will always give the best picture. However sometimes it is not possible or practical to have this, so do you put up with a poor (or non existent) image or get a quality powered alternative?
One such device is the One For All SV9380 Full HD Indoor Aerial which is a million miles away from the metal twisted coat hanger alternative that used to be what a lot of people got by with. I tried the SV9380 with four different TV's two portables, a panel that is a TV, Computer offering and a TV card that fits in a desktop PC. The unit is 28x14x5cm at the base the depth decreases to 1.5cm once you are past the base. It is black apart from the bottom 2.5cm that is silver grey in colour.
Snow falls and the UK comes to an almost halt as we do not seem able to cope. Yet a recent visit to Munich, where there was several inches of snow all around, showed that it was possible to cope. But why was I in Munich?
With Munich as its chosen destination, Panasonic revealed a raft of new products to the European Press Corp. I was one of those fortunate enough to attend this event that had several new products and technologies fighting for our attention. The event was held in the snow covered Olympic Park Centre. Luckily no snow fell during the event as there was already more than enough to make us glad we were safely ensconced inside the event centre.
This is version two of the Wake Up Light. I reviewed the first one nearly two years ago (26-3-08) and this one is smaller and does extra things so it is certainly not only a lovely peaceful way to be roused from your slumbers.
The most important part is the light. I have tested Philips Wakeup Light extensively through the darkest days of the years. You can set the maximum intensity of the light but whatever power you set it at 30 minutes before the set alarm time it starts glowing at a very low level slowly building up (like a very fine light dimmer switch) to the maximum level you have set that coincides with whatever alarm you have set.
Rather than identify its new All-in-One purely by a model number, Lexmark has taken the decision to bestow on each model a specific name. As part of this policy, the models making up the companys 2009 Home Office series have been named Interact, Intuition, Interpret and Impact.
Forming the basis for this review is the Interpret which is a wireless 4-in-1 device designed for office productivity. Predominately black in colour with a computer grey top, the Interpret combines print, scan, copy and fax functionality within a box measuring 288.4 x 338 x 477mm. Connectivity issues are taken care of with a choice of wireless or USB.
Joining the list of titles now available from Focus Multimedia is Assassins Creed, a game in which you test your expertise at killing.
In Assassin’s Creed you take on the role of a character living in the present day or maybe a few years in the future. Your character is an ancestor of an assassin, named Altair, who operated his deadly trade during the period of the Third Crusade. The reason for mentioning this genetic connection between your character and Altair is that you will need to relive your ancestor’s memories as if you were actual carrying out the various tasks yourself.
I have had a satellite disk for years so long in fact it predates Sky however the box with it has long been faulty. Humax now have a service that installs a dish and your unit, when the installer arrived my original disk position was unsuitable because of trees in neighbouring gardens.
So he found a new position on the side of the property, fitted a new dish (with dual LMB’s) nearly fitted the cables and drilled through into my lounge. The Humax Foxsat-HD unit came out of its box and was switched on. It then tuned to the satellite (far faster than Freeview tuning) and that was it, less than one hours work and I was up and running.
Everybodys telephonic needs are different. For those looking for a phone with a range of features at a sub £100 price point might like to consider the Sony Ericsson W205.
In the past all the different Sony Ericsson handsets that I have looked at have been available in a choice of colours with rather descriptive names. However there has to be an exception and that is the Sony Ericsson W205. With this model the company has mimicked the Henry Ford Mantra. You can have any colour you like as long as it is black – in this case Ambient Black thus retaining the descriptive policy. The W205 is a slider handset measuring 92 x 47 x 16.
Not just another DAB radio for many reasons firstly it also has Internet Radio as well as DAB and FM but perhaps most interesting is the fact that ten buttons on top most controls are by touch on the front of the Pure Siesta Flow.
This is a mains only unit and probably it will sit by your bed a la the powerful clock radio as it has alarm and sleep functions. It is 18x15x6cm maximum, the sides move inwards and the 18cm front width is only 8cm by the back.
While the desktop PC often has up to six USB ports, a Notebook or Netbook rarely has more than three. So with more and more devices connecting via USB we all from time to time will need a hub to provide extra ports.
Since this arrived my desk has had this sitting on (or should I say clipping on) the edge of my desk. It takes 4cm of vertical height and 5cm of horizontal space. The total weight of the hub is just under 40grams. There are two well spaced ports on the top and one on each side. The rear has the entry point for the supplied USB lead and that’s it. The actual dimensions are 6x5.5x4.5cm mine was white but I see they also do it in black.
Completing my round-up of the latest security offerings from BitDefender is the companys Total Security 2010 title.
BitDefender Total Security 2010 sits at the top of the company’s current range of security protection titles. This product combines the features found in the BitDefender Antivirus and Internet Security offering with the addition of Tune-Up and Backup facilities. A couple of the elements in the product’s installation routine produced the standard dialogue box stating that they had not passed the Windows Logo certification process for Windows XP.
If you have seen other PVRs and press ahead without fully reading the manual then I suspect like me you will be rather disappointed with this unit, however after reading the manual you will find it does everything but some things are done differently.
The Sharp Digital TV Recorder TU-TV502H measures 36x28x5cm and the only visible button on the front is on the left edge and this is on/off. There is a door 9cm from the right edge that hides the entry point for (optional) Top Up TV card you might use and a USB port for upgrades. If you look closely there are eight buttons towards the left side of the front but all can be done on the remote control.
Exspect launch their pretty pink accessories to protect your iPhone with just a hint of Bling and give your support to Breast Cancer Campaign.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women to experience. Over 1 in 9 women are affected by breast cancer in their lifetime, with nearly 46,000 people being diagnised each year. Luckily research has improved both the awareness of breast cancer and an understanding of effective treatment - so now more and more people who are affected will have a better chance of survival. So it's always nice when we can do our bit to help support this fantastic cause.
Portable external drives come in all colours, shapes and capacities. Recently I have been using an external drive that offers an extra layer of security.
Generally sequels appear fairly quickly following the original offering. But there are exceptions (Zuma immediately springs to mind) with a new title from Alawar being a prime example of a longer period of gestation.
The Treasures of Montezuma 2 has taken over two years to appear following the original title (just subtract the “2”). Possibly one reason for this delay is down to the fact that many users found the difficulty level of The Treasures of Montezuma rose rather rapidly, to such an extent it put them off persevering with the game. I must admit that I fell into this category.
This is the third such device I have seen recently; it is probably good news for both the others that I have seen the Kindle third. However if I had not seen the Kindle third I would never have been able to recommend it for a highly commended award.
This is somewhat different from the other two, yes you can still buy books as you would expect and you can also upload documents and even PDF files to it. Firstly it has a keyboard (45 keys) and second when you purchase items they are sent wirelessly to the Kindle (normally in less than a minute) so you do not even need a computer. By wireless the service is called Wispersync and it uses the mobile phone network, you do not even need to own a mobile phone. It is 20x13.5x.
Available in the choice of Glamour Red, Lacquered Black or Techno White, the C903 belongs to Sony Ericssons family of Cybershot handsets.
Marketed as an entry-level 3G phone, the C903 is a slider phone with support for GSM/GPRS/EDGE-850/900/1800/1900 and UMTS/HSPA-900/2100 so that users can make use of roaming facility. As well as being a slider phone in one direction, it also has sliding capability in another area but more on this particular feature a little later. The C903’s dimensions are 97 x 49 x 16mm with a weight of 96g.
This is perhaps the complete All In One as not only does it scan, copy and print but it can be used via USB or Wi-FI, so should the lounge police object it can be stored away from the PC and live out of view in a cupboard.
The Canon Pixma MP560 measures 43x31x16 the last figure is without A4 stored in the vertical position in the back, but as the only need to have photo paper in that tray the main workhorse can be the underneath tray to print letters and documents from. I had one major complaint with the previous Canon All In One and that was the cartridge size (it was two cartridge) and they were tiny.
While most will buy this latest version of PowerDVD for its ability to play Blu-ray movies (providing of course you have a Blu-ray drive) it can and does support other formats. I am not sure why Windows 7 does not nativity support Blu-ray.
As part of its new season range of printing devices, Canon has released the Pixma MP490 All-in-One unit.
Unpacking a new product can sometimes be like a voyage of discover. In the case of a PIXMA MP490 from Canon, I was convinced that the mains power lead and ink cartridges were missing – that is until I opened the paper output tray and discovered them packed inside. Thinking about it, this was a sensible arrangement as it keeps all the relevant components safely together.
The first question I asked myself is why anyone would buy a stand alone scanner when there are perfectly good general scanners that are included for very little extra when you buy a perfectly decent All In One unit
Another minus is the extra space required, well lets cover that instantly this page scanner is 28x6.5x9cm when closed. In the open position the figure the depth increases by 7cm and the middle figure the height increases by 13cm with the supports raised to allow A4 sheets to be loaded, the sheets themselves are 15cm above the support but still sit perfectly positioned ready for you to press the one and only button on the unit ‘scan’.
Taking the opportunity to give my regular laptop pointing device a break from duty, I took a new mouse from Conceptronic on my travels.
For a while now the design concept behind notebooks, and more recently netbooks, has shown an increasingly interest is the areas of style. Colourful, decorative casings along with features such as bevelled edges and round corners have been used to make these types of devices more appealing to the eye and less likely to look out of place in the modern living room.