Time to join a school of magic and increase your powers through the use of words.
When I first came across the title of Academy of Magic, I was expecting a game that belonged to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. However I was wrong. While searching forms a central plank of this game, Academy of Magic has more of an educational slant as you attempt to find words from a random selection of letters arranged on a wall of tiles.
Mio have produced a GPS unit for cyclists rather than motorists, so now we non motorists have a unit that can more normally cope with day to day than trying to adapt a unit designed primarily for the car and lorry driver.
When you setup a journey it asks if you are using car or cycle. All the countries of Western Europe are input and for those with powerful legs you can enter a route to include other countries, I settled for short trips in the UK. It is 11.5x6.5x2cm and weights 153grams. It of course has a fitment to be attached either in a car or cycle, but can be handheld for when you have parked to finish your journey on foot, very useful in a strange town or city.
With a title like Jambox you might think it was a container to store your preserves but instead it is a device for enhancing audio.
What with the plethora of portable music players, smartphones and various tablets, our entertainment on-the-move needs are well catered for. However this generally only applies on a one-to-one basis due to the restrictive nature of a personal headset or the limitation of the built-in speakers that were never intended for group listening.
The Seagate Backup Plus is a quick and easy back-up system. Available in 500GB, 750GB and 1TB versions it supplied with Dashboard software which is designed to be simple to use as well as supporting social networks. It supports USB3.0 for high speed data transfer but is also backwards-compatible and so can operate at the lower USB 2.0 speeds. Hence, it provides a useful degree of future proofing for those who only have USB 2.0 at present.
These drives which are available in a number of colours are roughly 15 x 80 x 125mm and weigh, complete with the supplied 450mm cable, about 200gm. Hence, being this size and weight and, as they draw their power from the USB port and do not need an external power unit, they are readily portable. Furthermore, despite being USB 3.0 they do not demand more power than can be provided by a single USB 2.
Sometimes like here you see a product and many months elapse before it arrives. This is a laser colour multi function unit. You now probably think large and heavy, while a lot of inkjets are smaller it is not that heavy.
It is 38x42x35cm, no extras to add as paper is fed face down in the open paper tray and delivered the same way just below the display overhang so even cables are attached within the overall framework of the MF-4580dn. The ‘d’ stands for duplex and the ‘n’ for network however it can also be connected by USB but not by wireless. The weight is just over 13kilos. This is a mono printing and copying unit but it does scan in colour.
Regular readers will know I bemoan the lack of manuals in the box, many think the iPod is easy to use but it has more to offer. The second book in the same series is for Motorolas Zoom, both these tomes offer help and advice.
This covers all the numerous versions of iPods and it has been a very enjoyable and informative read. As the first iPods reach eleven this book reaches its 10 edition and apart from covering the Nano, Shuffle and Classic it also informs about iOS5 and the iPod Touch. A lot of what it covers is generic information but while most think plugging in and Syncing is all the iPod does especially with the iPod touch you can download Apps.
Doro continues to increase the functionality of its handset. Following the introduction of a camera with the last model I looked at, this time 3G technology is added.
An All In One unit at the lower end of the cost spectrum. However unlike others that have two inks this unit has four. So is this small low slung sleek unit likely to provide everything that you may need to Print, Scan and Copy.
The Brother DCP-195C all-in-one measures 37x36x15cm and cream in colour. This is a basic all in one unit that has a single line display – black on grey -. Power goes in at the back of the left side and USB connects inside the unit, the lead has a path from the back right edge. There are four copy option buttons just in front of the display. To the right of this a column of four buttons Menu, +, -, and OK, + & - are on a rocker button.
Towards the end of last year I attended the launch of a new product and then had to wait patiently for over six months before the promised review unit arrived.
While some companies (no names, no pack drill but they know and you know who they are) concentrate on a larger size with their tablet products, others, such as Huawei, have gone for a more pocket sized offering.
Alongside its normal catalogue of games, Focus Multimedia has introduced its BlackLime budget line of titles. This next game is one such offering
It seems a long time since I have been able to enjoy the extras of a DSLR camera. So the arrival of this Pentax offering that I first saw at a London launch last autumn was an eagerly and long awaited event to savour.
The Pentax K-01 compact system camera weights 765grams and is 12x8x14cm the last figure varies according to how much the lens is extended. I was sent the 18-55 option. As this unit does not have a mirror what the TFT sees is what you capture via the lens. Without the lens being considered it is a very ‘boxy’ unit. I remember at the initial launch taking images and then thinking where does the SD card go as it’s not in the battery bay.
Originally developed for the business community the BlackBerry mobile device has now gained popularity with many young users who appreciate its messaging capability.
The BlackBerry Curve 9320 is a smartphone that RIM has positioned at the budget end of its product range. As you would expect from the product’s title, the 9320 has curved corners for its rather squat looking body. The unit has measurements of 109 x 60 x 12.7mm (H x W x D) and weighs in at 103g so should fit comfortably in a pocket without over-burdening the user too much.
Beyond Point-and-Shoot which is subtitled Learning to use a digital SLR or interchangeable-lens camera is a very useful book that provides a large amount of useful photographic information without assuming that the reader has any previous knowledge. In addition to its target audience, who will find it invaluable, it provides many of the answers to questions that one has not dared ask and so will be of value to anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of photographic principles.
Written by Darrell Young and published by rockynook it addresses topics concerned with the camera itself ranging from pixels and the size of the sensor through to how to choose what lenses will suit your needs as well as explaining the underlying technologies and showing how they can be used so as to achieve the desired results. Although Young admits to being a committed Nikon fan, and Nikon figures heavily in this book he stresses that, honestly, brand doesn’t matter.
For some, the Windows interface is not easy to understand. So Simplicity together with a mature persons icon Valerie Singleton have made an interface with just the options you need, email, photos, documents and Skype.
The notebook I used to try their software was circa 2004. I found a printer of around 2006 and I printed something with it from the software. So it seems you do not need up to date hardware to work with this software.
First from Revell a very light remote control radio car that can even do tricks in the hands of a skilled child. Second something that may encourage a child to use their imagination rather than require something to imagine for them.
A company best known for kits, this is a remote control model car –very light- and easy to control, best of all it can work inside or outside. The car itself weights 41grams, it is 10.5x7x5cm, the last figure at the rear the front is only 3cm the size of the wheels. Both the front and rear has suspension so you can -with practice- get it to perform tricks, while these can be done indoors they are best performed outside as the car can often go off in unexpected directions.
A products installation routine not only sets up the software for your use but also provides you with your initial introduction to the particular title. Generally installation routines fall into the category of joy-to-use or bring the user face-to-face with various problems. Sad to say the installation for this next product under review was more inclined towards the latter type. The product in question is PDF Converter Professional 8 from Nuance.
As with most recent small mobile phones it is touch, the only exception is the volume up and down controls and the on/off button. Just two visible connections the 3.5mm jack for earbuds and the micro USB to recharge it.
The LG Optimus 3.0 measures 10x6x1cm and it weights 108grams. However it does have a smaller visible screen than most as it is 6.5x5cm. This smaller sizing means that the unit fits better in the palm of all but those with the smallest hands. It feels nice and comfortable in the hand, strong with the metal casing and smooth with the slightly ridged skin type back. The screen surround delightfully is not the very shiny black and while the finger marks are there they do not show.
Despite the popularity of touch screens and virtual keyboards, many users still prefer a physical keyboard for inputting text to a tablet or mobile devic
I have noticed recently that there has been an increase in the number of emails that I have received that have included the words “Sent from my (device name) mobile, please excuse my brevity”. Obviously I am not alone in finding that typing using a mobile device’s keyboard, whether physical or on-screen variety is not as convenient as when using a proper keyboard.
As its title suggests, 4 Elements II is the follow-up to 4 Elements. Developed by Playrix and available from Avanquest, this game belongs to the match-3 genre but is unlike any other that I have played in the past.
Set in a magic kingdom, you are called upon to help put right the misfortune that had befallen this land lead by the friendly wizard and his four fairy helpers who represent Air, Fire, Water and Earth as you tackle the challenge of 4 Elements II. Following a charming introduction, which does seem to be aimed more at the younger members of the family, you set out to release the first fairy from its captive state.
SSD drives are more expensive than standard hard drives but they are faster. Here I am looking at an internal unit from Kingston and also the first USB3 external unit I have seen, this from OCT technology it is called ENYO.
This is described as a performance upgrade kit and everything that you will need is in the box, apart from the screwdriver. Included are the 240GB drive, all the brackets, screws and cables and even a caddy to place your old hard drive in so it can finish its life as a USB drive the cable is supplied. Finally a CD-ROM with rather good disc cloning software.
You could almost imagine a tiny voice whispering Take me and hold me as you open the box containing the Samsung Galaxy S III. Perhaps thats a slight exaggeration but the Galaxy does have a certain appeal that makes you want to explore its functionality when you first lay eyes on it.
Available in a choice of Pebble Blue or Marble White (the review unit), the Galaxy S III has dimensions of 70.6 x 136.6 x 8.6mm (W x H x D) and weighs 133g. As you would expect with a Samsung product, some thought has gone into this smartphones visual style appeal. The unit’s curved corners, silver metallic trim running around the body of the device and the reflective white surrounds combine to make the S III’s 4.8-inch touch-screen really stands out.
It matters not if your device charges from mini or micro USB or uses the iPod 30pin connector. Here are two separate devices the first for your USB items both those of micro and mini type; the second for almost all i type items. The third a device for those you manage to drop their phones.
Almost every ‘i’ device comes with a white lead one end is the 30pin connector that charges your ‘i’ device the other goes into a USB socket to charge and or transfer data to the device, however they also seem to be very adept at escapology. I have two iPods (one no longer works) and an iPod Touch so in theory I have three leads.
Sometimes unusual locations can be used for companies to make announcements regarding new technology. Cisco, for example, choose a museum.
While you might consider that the British Museum is the ideal place to concentrate on the past, it does have the capability to be forward looking as well. An excellent example of this was demonstrated recently by Cisco using this location to announce new products and services. These announcements were made to European journalists gathered in the Museum’s Stevenson Lecture Theatre.
Here two items that relay sound, first from Sennheiser the Travel MM 550-X with rather good noise cancelizing. Second a pair that has a secondary function as ear warmers, they also carry out their main role well.
These can be used as standard earphones by just plugging the 3.5mm jack into your music and the other end the 2.5mm jack into the right earphone. Even without the noise cancelling effect you still get an air of peace around you. There is an amazing 4.5cm of expansion on each arm. The padded headpiece is comfortable even for those like me who have a lack of hair. The earpieces likewise are also extremely well padded, all totally black in colour.
Serifs PagePlus has been around for a number of years and has established itself as a useful and versatile DTP package that is relatively easy to use. This latest version, PagePlus X6 adds a number of additional features which increases its scope so that, if anything, it has become more versatile and easier to use.
To a large extent PagePlus is targeted at people such as club secretaries and busy professionals for whom DTP is not their sole occupation but still need to produce good quality documents. It incorporates useful context sensitive help files to make it easier to come to grips with features that one only uses occasionally.
At the time of writing this review, a major topic of conversations was a hose-pipe ban being implemented in the midst of heavy downpours and flooding.
A popular topic of conversation, especially when in the mood for complaining, is the weather. It is either too hot or too cold; there is not enough rain for the farmers or too much rain despite a hosepipe ban being enforced in certain areas; and do not mention the wind which is so changeable that you do not know whether it is coming or going. If you feel that you are forever at the mercy of these natural phenomena then this next title could help you turn the table on nature.
I am not talking a printer, scanner, copier here, but a screen that has a computer and all the connections built into it, the screen is controlled either from the supplied Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or touch should you wish.
While Desktop PC’s seem to have lost out to Notebooks or even smaller offerings the Touch panel is still emerging. This is all things to all. With the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse provided you can use it hands off but it is still perfectly useable hands on as the screen supports multi touch. For good measure its also a Media Centre. The overall size is 51x40x19cm on its easel type base. The viewable screen is 47x27cm which equates to 21.5inches diagonal.
Although a fully paid up member of the MAGIX family, Xara continues to release its graphics products under its own brand name. The latest title is Designer Pro X.
Ever since Xara first introduced its graphics software to the world, the company has had a deserved reputation for developing software capable of fast performance for the user on a variety of Windows-based systems. The same is true today with the release of its dual offerings of Photo & Graphics Designer MX and Designer Pro X. This review is based on the latter title which is Xara’s flagship product.
It is time to visit an island that has been used for scientific research that appears not to be all that successful.
The game entitled The Missing is described as “a search and rescue mystery”. Actually the game could just as easily be classified as a Hidden Object Adventure. Developed by Sulus Games, The Missing now forms part of Focus Multimedia catalogue of Casual games and is available in Collector’s Edition format.
First a drive to let you easily stream files to an i device and it has USB so getting them from the PC to wi-fi drive is easy too. Second a new generation of internal SSD drive small in size and above all very fast transfer rate.
Transfer files between a PC and an ‘i’ device wirelessly. If your PC does not have wireless then transfer the files photos, videos etc by the supplied USB cable. In both cases download the App from the Apple store. However should you own an Android phone do not worry as there is an Android App for you as well. This 32GB capacity device looks like a small external hard drive which of course it is but it is also a wi-fi device. It is 12x6x.5cm and weights 84grams.