Combining functionality with stylish appearance is becoming increasingly important as computer set-ups are often to be found in the living rooms of many users. One product following this concept is a router from Linksys.
Way back when adventure games with a wicked sense of humour were all the rage. Now thanks to ex-employees of a company that led the way in this field we could see a resurgence of the genre.
Telltale Games is a company that was set up by ex-employees of LucasArts. It therefore should come as no surprise to those familiar with the work of LucasArts, to discover that this new company had chosen to follow a similar path by producing cinematic style adventure games with more than a touch of near-the-knuckle humour as part of the storylines behind its titles.
Most would love a robot to do the washing up, ironing and vacuum cleaning. Well here is a circular device that can do the last named, some would class a dishwasher as the first that leaves the ironing yet to be sorted out.
This unit is not designed to replace your vacuum cleaner but to work alongside it, lets assume that once a week everything gets a thorough vacuum, this could then be used for the in between time to do the light work. I have used it like this for the last few weeks and my carpets never now look dirty, the only problem I have found is if you have something that it can just get under it can possibly get stuck.
Handwriting notes stuck on objects might do the job but they hardly look professional. A new Dymo printer produces stick on plastic labels that could be the answer.
Many years ago, around about the time programmable calculators were the hop topic, I purchased a DYMO labelling device. Shaped like a futuristic ray gun, this hand-held device had a circular component which you turned to get the alphanumeric character you wanted and a pistol-grip handle that would emboss the current character on a piece of plastic tape when you squeezed the handle.
Someone who is new to PCs -- yes, there are still some -- find that getting to grips with their new machine is rather daunting. They need a book which will enable them to get started and guide them through the various tasks they want to perform. Simply Windows 7, by Paul McFedries, which is described as a Step-by-step introduction to Windows 7 covers most things that the new user will need in a clear manner which is well illustrated with screen shots.
This 200 page book begins with starting and shutting down Windows, what you see on the screen and using the mouse. This is an important starting point as these are totally confusing tasks for the new user. It also explains how to get help and, rather simplistically I thought, lists some of the things that one can do with the PC. The next chapter cover programs: launching, switching between them and then working with program windows, e.g.
I see only a few A3 printers mainly because of size but after the recent offering from Brother this Epson unit was offered, it is bigger (wider) than the Brother and is only a printer and not an All In One but it can print A3+.
The overall dimensions of the Epson B1100 A3 printer, when the paper input and output trays are open, is 61x45x34cm when closed it is 61x20x32cm. The top front edge has a round on/off button with internal LED and three rod buttons are the rest of the unit’s controls. The back right is where the power lead enters and about 1/3 of the way along the back from the left is where the USB lead enters.
Not as yet a single product, the first an analogue clock that looks like it is a phone, the second a device that is likely to more required as global warming increases even in the UK for removing the discomfort of insect and mosquito bites.
This looks like a rather shinny telephone of around 60 years ago, the dial is an analogue clock controlled by batteries in its base it has a sweep second hand and an alarm (however remember being analogue it’s a 12 hour clock). It is 20cm wide (the length of the receiver), 15cm deep at the base and 14cm tall, the clock dial is round at 6cm.
Missing girls, strange behaviour and tales of witchcraft are just some of the elements that can be found in a game based on Salem in the late seventieth century.
The year is 1692 and rumours are beginning to spread regarding the strange behaviour of four young girls in the village of Salem. In order to dampen down the hysteria that the rumours are causing, the Governor of Massachusetts sends one of his agents, that’s you as the player, to investigate and bring matters to a successful conclusion.
I first saw this when USB3 was very new, now a number of months later it still seems new. However the thing that stuck out for me then and still does now when I finally got to review it are the superb Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The Asus Notebook N53J measures 39.5x26x4cm and weights just on three kilos. It is not just a straight back meeting a straight keyboard as the area behind the keyboard is hollowed out and the area below the screen is slightly curved at the ends for the hinges. The viewable screen is 34.5x18.5cm giving the diagonal imperial measurement of 15.6inches, the screen resolution is 1366x768. There is a rather nice webcam built into the top with an on/off switch to protect privacy.
One of the first names that spring to mind when considering the subject of computing security is that of Norton with its range of anti-virus and Internet security titles.
The launch of the latest version of the company’s Norton 360 product was an event that I had planned to attend. However, despite arriving at the correct location at the designated time, the security was such that that I was unable to find the actual event in the vast expanse that is the Westfield shopping centre in London’s Shepherd Bush.
It all began, as can sometimes happen, with the act of a simple favour. But I am getting ahead of myself with a tale of magic and hidden object adventure game play.
Hidden from the sight of mere mortals, such as you and I, is the Magical Realm. This is a land where dragons and humans live in perfect harmony. However old prophecies state that there could arise a situation when the magic disappears completely forever. In order to forestall this state of affairs from happening, the King orders that all the magic should be stored in a Dark Crystal. Yet still danger threatens. The only hope is for a second prophecy to be fulfilled.
This was one of the few interesting items to emerge from this years BETT show. While it of course has its use in education in schools and colleges it could well have a use in the workplace as well as providing a fun use in the home.
Almost everyone is drawn to a cartoon type character that has a human look be it whole body or just say head and shoulders. It needs a GB of hard disc space and on a Windows 7 machine took just eight minutes to complete its installation. According to the box the main users of CrazyTalk Animator are Movie & Video Creators, Cartoonists & Illustrators, Web & Game Designers, Educators & Students and for me anyway anyone who wants to have fun.
Having recently been introduced to Lenco, I was given the opportunity to test a DVD player while on my travels.
While watching movies is made more enjoyable when a large screen and all-round sound system is the delivery medium, this type of equipment is not always available or appropriate for some circumstances. For example when travelling by car, bus, tube or train to various locations, compromises will need to be made with regards to the method used to watch your choice of entertainment. This is where the portable DVD Player can come to your aid.
Unlike the Tefal Actifry that is almost totally for potato type products this can work with a whole range of products including meats and fish, perhaps the only restriction is that they should be large enough not to fall through the grid.
The Philips HD9220/20 Air Fryer measures a maximum of 37cm from the handle at the front to the plug at the back; it is 26cm from side to side and 31cm tall. All cooking is done in the basket that pulls out from the lower part of the front of the unit; it is a basket within a basket. The outer dimensions are 25x23x8cm while the inner basket is 19x19x5cm the substantial handle on the front does not get hot.
First a name that has been around for longer than me but here with a new and totally different product, the second used for decorating and the third when a quick and fast join is required, all worth a try for their own tasks.
If I mention the name Brasso it is synonymous with a rather abrasive product to clean brass. Here they have produced a product that does clean but certainly without any abrasive content. In fact I fear for their sales because of the name.
While your computer is capable of providing a multitude of features, they are not always required for every task. Sometimes they can slow down the computer in certain circumstances. This next product offers to help alleviate this type of situation.
The Brother DCP-7065DN multi-function device is a combined mono laser printer, copier and (full colour) scanner that occupies a relatively small footprint and has all the features, including both USB and 10/100 Ethernet as well as automatic document feed, that one has come to expect from machines targeted at the small office sector.
Overall, the unit is 405 x 400 x 320mm high and is finished in the now ubiquitous black. It looks a little top-heavy as the sides taper outwards from a slightly smaller base. The ADF accounts for it being higher at the left hand side. In the centre of the control panel, which is set at a convenient angle for viewing, is the 2-line LCD display. Above the 250-sheet capacity paper tray, which is within the body of the machine, is the single-sheet manual feed slot.
This is the latest offering from TVonics, the 500GB machine has what some would describe as a bare interface with the front showing up to three pin hole LEDs these appear in different combinations of red and green.
The TVonics DTR-Z500HD measures 18cm long by 22cm deep (with cables inserted) and it's 7cm tall. The unit is black and the corners are rounded off. It is totally controlled by the remote – so don’t lose it – the only connection on the front is a USB socket.
For some time I have been looking to replace my existing food processor with a stand processor. I had considered the well known UK range of stand processors but negative comments by some users had put me off. After a further search I found a German company, Severin and their KM3888 food processor.
Severin produce a series of food processors, including the KM3888, within a larger range of home and kitchen items. This model seemed to fit my requirements but there was little information or comparisons available. Severin started as a small business in 1892 before expanding into a major manufacturer through Europe and Asia. The company started producing electrical appliances after 1951. In 2006 Marketeer (London) Ltd.
A new netbook from Asus comes with two "firsts". One was to do with Asus while the other was a first for me.
As part of its Seashell range of products, Asus has released the Eee1015PEM. Available in a choice of white or black (the review model), this netbook is the first Asus model to feature Intel’s dual-core Atom processor within its slim line casing. With dimension of 262 x 178 x 23.6mm (W x D x H) in its closed state and weighing 1.27kg (6-cell battery included), this netbook should not inconvenience the user too much in its role as a travelling companion.
When casting the role of Robin Hood, who would you select? The developers of this next game obviously would have a different take on the matter.
Having recently seen the St Trinians 2 movie which offers the theory that Shakespeare was a woman, I should not have been too surprised with the opening sequence of Robin’s Quest. This Gogii developed Adventure game has a similar gender switch as the popular folk hero, or should that be heroine, turns out to be a woman who stands up for the poor against the power and might of King John and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham.
To me this name makes it sound large and it certainly isnt, in fact I am fairly sure its the smallest DAB, FM and iPod dock unit that I have seen, it is of course a tower shape but only very little, however the sound it gives is not small.
The maximum height of the Magicbox Tower is only 16.5cm tall (1.5cm less at the front) 8cm wide and 6.5cm deep, these figures do not include any iPod or iPhone that gets inserted 2cm below the top. The unit I reviewed was metallic red apart from the front and top that was black. I see that purple, blue and all black are also available. The front edge of the top has volume – and + buttons with a snooze control between them.
Not everybody can afford the premium price being asked by the market-leading video editing titles. Serif has a solution that might appeal.
While 3D technology struggles to make the hoped for impact with customer buying decisions, High Density (HD) has quickly been accepted by many as being a must-have feature. As a result numerous video editing packages now have built-in HD capability alongside all their other features. A recent addition to this software genre is MoviePlus X5 HD from Serif.
On first inspection the Melody 2 looks very like the machine I reviewed in December 2008. In fact the only differences are inside the machine as all the controls for it are in the same places; however I do not remember the first unit being called Melody.
The Nescafé Dolce Gusto Melody 2 coffee maker measures 30cm from back to front, 20cm from side to side and 33cm from base to the top of the silvered hot/cold switcher. The part number is all but the same with just the forth digit varying the original was KP210040 and this is the Melody 2 being KP210640 and this could be important as stocks of the old one are certainly still available in shops.
The first is a roll up keyboard designed to be used with Bluetooth devices. The second is even smaller but certainly preferable to using those phone keyboards, the first is possibly touch typeable and the second could be if you have small fingers.
This is 25.5x9x1.5cm the last measurement the thickness is only at the left end for just over 4cm, the rest is less than .5cm thick. It has 84 keys and as it is rollable it is made of rubber but there is a feeling when you depress a key. The alpha numeric keys are black with white lettering and are 1x1cm with around .3cm between keys. The function and other keys grey with white lettering and the function keys are rather small at 1x.5cm with around .3cm between keys.
Sometimes a products title can leave you completely in the dark as to the functionality offered. Take for example the PIS4.
While some software is now purely a licence to use for a period of time, most is still sold as yours for life. However more and more families have more than one computer so multi installation packs now have a bigger place.
Corel have always been innovators, in the early days when software came on floppy discs they bundled extra floppies with clip art. When CD’s first came in they gave a CD player and of course their CD was crammed full. So now it is no surprise that Corel are one of the first to allow you to install special versions of their software on up to three machines. Here I am looking at their first product CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X5 (version 15).
As I take my regular morning walk a new set of headphones have been keeping me company. This headphone set allows me to listen to the music stored on my Sansa Clip+ MP3 player.
While the company Lenco might be unfamiliar to you, this situation could be about to change. Lenco has a long history in the field of Hi-Fi and electronics. Included amongst the company’s range of consumer electronic products are turntables, micro and mini audio systems, portable DVD players and TFT television screens. Well known in the Netherlands where it has its head office, Lenco has now added the UK to its targeted territory.
One of my often visited locations is that of Egypt. I hasten to state that all these visits have been of the virtual kind and have involved numerous game titles that have been based on this particular geographical area. Taking on the role of tour guide on more than one occasion has been the Luxor series. The latest such excursion has involved Luxor 5th Passage.
While there is a downloadable version of this game available from various sites, this review is based on the Mumbo-Jumbo CD package which does include four bonus games of earlier Luxor titles. Along with Luxor 5 Passage, you also get the original Luxor title, Luxor 2, Luxor 3 and Luxor Quest for the Afterlife.
This is a DAB, FM, Internet radio that also has Flow technology that allows you to purchase what you are listening to. However there are other goodies from Pure Digital, this includes the ability to Media Stream and the Lounge.
The Pure One Flow measures 22x14x9cm, the unit is covered with a rubberised material so it could withstand the odd knock and even be able to withstand a wipe over with a damp cloth if you choose to use it in the kitchen. You can power it with a ‘ChargePAK’ or by mains; it comes with a 1.95metre lead to a small power brick plug. It does of course have alarms (both wake up and kitchen) sleep timers and more.