If you are dreaming of a PURE Christmas (with apologies to Irvine Berlin) then the following products might be of interest when deciding which presents to give and possibly receive.
Making up this Christmas wish list are nine products plucked from the company’s range of DAB radios. All the various models in this roundup provide the dual functionality of DAB and FM reception with many offering additional features to tempt different types of user. In a couple of cases, with the EVOKE Mio and EVOKE-1S, there are two different versions of the model available.
A small very small digital camera from one of the best camera manufacturers. In fact if you are well built you may find some of the controls a little fiddly this is as a direct relation to the small even by modern standards size.
Although I have looked at one or two similar products in the past, this is my first opportunity to check out a Powerline product from Belkin.
Powerline technology makes use of your current electrical cabling as the conduit for a home network system. Rather than run a new set of cables between rooms, Powerline allows you to send data along the wiring that already exists by making the necessary connections through available wall sockets. Belkin has a number of Powerline products and the one I have been looking at is entitled Share Powerline AV 3 Port.
It is time for the fat arse of the law to return to our computer screens as Telltale Games releases the second of its Badge of Carnage point and click adventure game that features the drunken and flatulent Detective Inspector Hector.
As with Episode One, entitled We Negotiate with Terrorists, this second outing of Senseless Acts of Justice combines cartoon-style graphics with wise-cracking humour that is often at a crude and rude level with enough puzzles to ensure you become involved in several head-scratching sessions and midnight oil-burning playing.
This is one of five new BlackBerrys recently launched. It looks similar to a lot of current offerings from them but it has a faster processor so your email, Internet and messaging can be moved from one place to another even faster.
The last BlackBerry I looked at was the Pearl which although it bore the BlackBerry name had the drawback of a less than perfect keyboard as it was both small and each key represented at least two characters so slow input. Here there are 35 keys each .5x.5cm and if you look closely those on the left half of the keypad are chamfered to the left and those on the right to the right, its subtle but it does mean than input speed is enhanced.
They say you net forget your first time. So putting this theory to the test, I cast my mind back to one particular first time. The theory was correct.
I could clearly remember the first Hidden Object game that I played several years ago. The game was entitled The Lost Tomb and it was the first offering in PopCap’s Amazing Adventures series. Coincidentally (as if you would believe that) the next title under review is also from the Amazing Adventure series and is entitled The Forgotten Dynasty.
During a recent PC review for a product that came without keyboard, video, speakers and mouse I suggested that if you were planning a purchase to run along side another PC that a KVM switch would be a cost effective purchase.
Not only does a KVM switch save the purchase of another keyboard, mouse and flat panel but also a lot of desk space. As both sets of leads are 1.5metres long the technical distance between the two PC’s would be 3metres but in practice probably somewhat less. Looking back it’s a while since I reviewed one and that was an offering where keyboard and mouse were probably PS/2 and not USB, the design was somewhat different with leads not being integral but connecting to the switch.
Yes I am well aware that September has only just dawned, but with the recession now biting hard those presents need even better planning and so the sooner you start
. Here two more items seen from a recent event.
Here I am looking at presents that may appeal to the older members of the family with a couple of jigsaws not this time from Ravensburger but here from a British company Gibsons who have been making quality puzzles for many years. Two puzzles to remind people of the way things were first a delightful unspoiled view of Castle Combe and second Grandad's Workshop perhaps as seen through the eyes of a child who has now become a Grandad himself.
If you are looking for inspiration for selecting Christmas gifts, either for your own wish list or for giving to friends and family, then Altec Lansing and Plantronics have provided me with details of some products you might like to consider.
With the popularity of the Apple iPod / iPad family of products, it is not surprising that kits supporting these devices are well represented. The Altec Lansing Octiv™ 450 lets you dock, charge and play music from your iPad / iPAD 2 / iPhone / iPod unit. The Octiv 450 product uses Altec Lansing's Audio Alignment technology to deliver superior sound quality for playing HD video and music.
Having recently reviewed the Marshall Minor it seems natural to try the Marshall Major. Almost at the same time one of the latest offerings from Sony the MDR-570LP so here I give my thoughts on both these headset units.
A name that has been around in music for over 50 years – initially in amplifiers – the headsets came later but have always been at the better end of the market. Even now they do not go in for glitzy packaging just a cardboard box. The headphones sit comfortably over the ears without being huge so they are wearable for long periods a thing musicians often need to do. Sound quality is of course uppermost but then comfort comes very close behind.
While your laptop or desktop computer may have an optical drive, it is probably that is does not support Blu-ray. Plextor offers an upgrade solution.
With Blu-ray becoming increasingly popular as the means to distribute media, it does make sense to ensure that your computer system has the means of handling this type of optical media. While manufacturers are now adding this feature to new models, those with legacy machines will need to upgrade their computer with an appropriate drive. One option would be to go for a drive such as the Plextor PX-B120U.
Normally when you awake from a dreamless sleep you find yourself in the familiar surroundings of your bedroom. However that is not the case with the opening scene of Sacra Terra: Angelic Night. In this Alawar game you awake to find yourself in an insane asylum without any idea as to how you got there or why you are there
Sacra Terra: Angelic Night belongs to the popular genre of Hidden Object Adventure game play. Alawar has opted to introduce this game as a Collector’s Edition. Not only do you get the main game but a bonus chapter, concept art, wallpaper and a Strategy Guide all bundled together.
Two different products for two different market sectors the link they are both produced by Jabra. The first for conference calls including Skype, the second to fit over your cars sun visor to allow the user hands free phoning.
This is a flat circular unit at 12cm across and it stands around 2.5cm tall, it comes with an 87cm USB lead hard wired that can curl round the base off the unit when not in use. It has a small white LED when power is received, around the edge at 9 is a – sign to reduce the volume, at 3 a + sign to increase the volume, at 12 a microphone mute point and at 5 a call end button while 7 has the call start button.
If disaster strikes are you fully prepared. Freecom offers a product that could help rescue data from an old hard drive.
As its title might suggests, the Freecom Hard Disk Dock allows you to attach a hard drive to your computer without the necessity of opening up the system box. This might seem like an unnecessary device as you could easily attach additional storage with one of the numerous external hard disks, including those from Freecom, that are currently available at reasonable prices.
A rather neat All In One (not multi function as it does not have fax) from Brother. This unit not only, prints, scans and copies but also prints photos and for good measure not only does it has USB connection but also Wi-Fi.
It is 38x37x16cm the grey and black design on the scanner lid is nice but the glossy black elsewhere means finger marks will show. Installation is straightforward your choice is USB or wireless with the latter supporting the more recent routers with one touch activation, but if yours does not that is not an insurmountable problem. Either way its quite simple.
Yes I am well aware that September has only just dawned, but with the recession now biting hard those presents need even better planning and so the sooner you start
. Here two items seen at a recent event to start you off.
I have never heard of T-Pain but I assume from information on the box that the kids of today will have done so. This is a portable microphone that can transform your voice to sound like he does, he has – so says the box – had 16 top ten singles. The microphone is 23cm tall and has inbuilt batteries. The front has an on/off button near the base and a line of three blue, red and green near the top.
Christmas might seem many months away to most of us but Sony has already come up with a list of gadget gift ideas that could feature prominently on your Christmas wish list. The following examples from this collection feature products from the Sony Network, Essentials, Digital Imaging and Home ranges.
Described as the world’s first “Double Full HD” 3D consumer camcorder, the has an integrated dual lens system for creating 3D content. This product can play back Full HD 3D on any 3D capable HDTV or 2D on non-3D displays. For a smaller viewing experience you can use the camcorder's Xtra Fine 3.5-inch LCD touch screen that can deliver 3D footage without the need for special glasses. The HDR-TA10 has a 10X optical zoom and comes with 64GB of flash memory.
Here I am looking at a 32GB external USB3 SSD drive from Verbatim and a more normal 32GB stick type flash USB drive from Kingston. While lots of people make stick drives in all sizes 32GB is certainly a serious size.
While I have reviewed a number of internal SSD drives this is the first that I have looked at that is designed as a USB offering, to get the best speed out of it you will need USB3 but it will work on a USB2 port quite well. It is small enough to fit easily in a top pocket. Its dimensions are 9x4x.6cm; the USB3 lead provided is only 13cm so it will need to be placed close to a port. It comes in brushed aluminium with the two ends in a light grey plastic.
While Windows comes with its own built-in media player, it does not support the full range of media options by default. For example it fails to perform when faced with Blu-ray and 3D. A possible alternative is
Describing itself as “The Player for all your media on PC, Device, Home & Social Cloud”, Cyberlink’s PowerDVD 11 product is the company’s latest movie and media player software. The product is available in Standard, Deluxe and Ultra versions. This review is based on the top of the range Ultra product which contains all the bells and whistles that you could hope for including Blu-ray and 3D (if you have the necessary hardware components).
Taking on the role of Detective Sergeant Cuff, you are set the task of recovering the Moonstone and identifying the perpetrator of the theft.
Credited with being the first true detective novel, Wilkie Collins “The Moonstone” is the basis for a hidden object investigation game now available as part of Avanquest’s Click & Play label. As I have not read the Wilkie Collins novel I can not comment on how closely this game follows the original version.
Anyone who has seen wildlife shows on the TV will have seen larger versions of something like this. What has made that hole, who has done that, where has this come from, all things that this still and movie offering may solve.
It is 12x10x4.5cm grey in colour and weights 315grams with the canvas strap attached that allows fixing to trees etc. It takes colour images during the day and monochrome ones at night, it is really down to the available light level. While it is described as waterproof this does not mean you can immerse it in water.
Everybody should be responsible for the protection of their data where ever it is stored. This next product could help in this respect when data is stored on an external hard drive.
External hard drives provide an easy way of solving your storage needs. You simply attach the drive via USB to the appropriate system and then transfer data in whatever direction you require as you access or add files. This type of drive also brings the useful functionality of allowing you to move data between different locations.
This is the latest version of the excellent voice recognition software from Nuance. Dragon were at one time a competitor and some years ago they became a Nuance purchase, now it is not only the best speech software but the easiest to use.
Installation is straightforward, it took 12 minutes and installed 3.5GB of files including extra Microsoft files not already on the PC, you will need to speak into the provided headset to test your audio, and somewhat surprisingly to me it said my audio test failed. I repeated it and it failed again but I saw it also said I could continue. While training is no longer essential you do really need to speak some sentences to allow it to get used to your voice.
Prize won for the first to mention 2012 not in terms of the Olympic Games, however when people launce 2012 versions half way through 2011. Second a different approach from Viper offering whole (PC) life cover for a single fee.
Not quite sure what people think they gain by giving a year date like 2012 half way through 2011. Mind you some magazines do it with the month, as I write this at the start of August October issues are already in the shops. While most of us still think of these packages as Anti Virus most now do far more including Firewall, Identity Theft and even Parental control. Installation from the CD took only two minutes on a reasonably fast PC.
Wireless technology has allowed users the freedom to work untethered with their keyboard and mouse. The same technology can also give greater freedom when listening to music.
When checking out a new headset I usually take it for a walk and/or visit to a location where there would be plenty of noise before concluding with sessions in my favourite armchair listening to different types of music. These tests allow me to check out features such as audio quality, external noise elimination and how comfortable the headset is over a period of time while tethered to an appropriate source of audio content.
Tefal is well known for its kitchen ware but, if you buy it, are you just paying for a brand name? A test on stew pots from its Preference and Sensorielle non-stick ranges showed that they make it easier for the experienced cook and would probably enable the beginner to avoid disasters.
The pots were 24cm. This is a large size as the pots have a useable capacity of roughly 4 litres -- large enough to make a batch of soup for a fairly large family and yet could also be used for cooking far smaller quantities. Although the internal non-stick surfaces look the same, externally they are quite different. The Preference has the traditional vertical sides with a matt finish, a heavy machined base and weighed 1.3kg. The Sensorielle was a stylish design which is pleasing to the eye.
No obvious link but two very useful items, the latter can go on your keyring without damage risk. The first could possibly have saved my life at the start of the year, well certainly my sight according to an A&E doctor.
When I first saw this I assumed that the ‘heart rate’ function was a toy – based on the look of the watch – but I found it accurate and it may even have pointed out a heart problem I had that normal medical checks had not. The last fifteen months have been a bit of a health rollercoaster for me; a nasty virus last year took me months to get over and caused the loss of 20KG of weight.
While not as well known as some of its other products, Serif does have a website design package for those looking to create an online presence.
Continuing its policy of adding the suffix of “Plus” to all its products, Serif’s latest website designer package is entitled WebPlus X5. This product promises to allow the user to create professional-quality websites without needing any skills in the lingua franca of HTM. As with other products in the Serif family, WebPlus X5 comes without any printed documentation. You do get a User Guide but this is in PDF format which is located on the product CD.
This next title places you in the role of an inquisitive young woman as she tries to solve mysteries in foreign lands as part of a two-game pack.
As part of the Hidden Mysteries Collectives series, Lost Realms 1 & 2 is, as you might expect, a two-game pack. This dual offering consists of Legacy of the Sun Princess and The Curse of Babylon with both titles belonging to the Hidden Object Adventure genre. You will need to install each game individually from the same front end. Both games feature Alexia as your on-screen presence as you tackle hidden object scenes plus solve puzzles and riddles.
Two rather different sets of PC speakers both using USB one self powered and the other also needing mains connection. One pair looks kind of normal while the other is definitely more on the side of being a designer product.
You get a pair of speakers that will be equally at home with a Desktop or a Notebook PC. They are predominately cream with silver grey base front and top. They are 3cm taller at the back than the front and 1cm deeper at the base than the top. Overall they are rectangles with the metallic grill stretching over the entire front. So the base is 8x7cm, the top is 7x7cm with the units being 15cm tall at the front and 17cm tall at the backs of the units.