I think the last FREE software package I reviewed was Skype in October 2004, while this may not be as all consuming as Skype was in those days, for a manufacturer who produces paid software to release a free version
First of course this cannot do all the things that Nero full products can do and just like other such packages from other manufacturers it specialises in sorting and displaying your photos however this can also burn audio CD’s and should you want more functionality you can purchase the bits that you require from their site. The free download (link at the end) was 174MB in size.
Hidden Object games generally involve a series of scenes containing a jumble of objects and a shopping list of items that you need to locate in order to receive a reward and make progress. However not all games of this genre follow the general pattern, there are some exceptions which take a different approach.
Recently added to Focus Multimedia’s extensive catalogue of games is Nightmare Adventures - The Witch’s Prison which relates the tale of Kiera Vale and her attempt to discover the truth about her ancestor’s history. The game starts with a static opening sequence as Kiera Vale is being interrogated by some mysterious strangers who want to know why she was discovered at the Blackwater Asylum.
Now 1 and 2GB USB sticks are common and cost not a lot, 4GB and 8GB are almost normal but 16GB are still something a little bit special. The smaller sticks are coming in fancy clothing even as a small paperclip type device.
The size of hard discs continue to rise so people expect the size of memory sticks to keep pace. With USB3 starting to attract attention moving larger files quickly is getting ever easier. Of course the more data you carry the more disastrous the outcome should unencrypted files fall into the wrong hands. Here lets deal with size. I have seen two of these such devices at 8GB and 16GB they are not light as they are made of metal and the USB plug slides out of the casing when required.
Not so long ago I took a look at the Livescribe smartpen. This was the Pulse model and I was impressed with its functionality. Now Livescribe has produced a new model which goes by the title of Echo.
If you are unfamiliar with this type of device I should explain that a smartpen, at its basic level, saves a digital copy of any notes you make and then allows you to transfer them to a computer for editing purposes so that they can be integrated into other work. In the case of the original Pulse you could also record the audio from a conversation or presentation while you were taking notes. This audio recording would be digitally linked to the transcript of your notes.
Do you believe in voodoo? Whatever the answer, you might like to check out a title involving disappearing family members, ghosts, treasure and just a touch of black magic.
Joining the well-established Mystery Case Files series is 13 Skull. This Big Fish offering is a hidden object and puzzle solving adventure game play. Set inLouisiana, you embark on the task of solving the mystery of a disappearing husband and father who has been immersing himself in tales of the ghost of a vengeful pirate, lost treasure and the threat of a curse.
I know I have a weakness for reviewing flat panels and then buying them. So here I will try to avoid it, lack of funds makes it easier, however when you use a panel without problems for a couple of weeks then you become attached.
The HANNS G HL245 measures 56x33x5cm, the last figure the thickness is only half that at the edges. It sits on a 20cm circular stand that raises the panel by 5cm from your desk or whatever you sit it on. The screen surround is very dark grey but not shiny. The viewable screen is 52x29.5cm giving the notional diagonal imperial measurement of 23.5 inches viewable. Assembly is just a matter of a twist screw to connect the base to the panel arm.
It has been a long time since I last had the opportunity to check out an Epson printer. If memory serves me correct (actually it was a more reliable Filemaker database that provided the information), the last model was one of the Perfection series that were current four years ago. The arrival of the Epson BX320FW model saw an end to this situation.
Opening the fairly large box revealed a predominately matt black multifunction unit offering print, scan, copy and fax features with an ADF (Automatic Document Feed) unit. Looking like it might put a strain on my fragile back, I was pleased to discover that the actual weight of the unit was less than its initial appearance suggested. Weighing 7.
Over the years I have been one of Nortons fiercest critics. In fact I could not even manage to complete a review of an earlier version. Windows still warns of incompatibility but with this version I have yet to find them.
I am not a fan of the ‘licence’ principle but for certain products like anti virus being able to get updates is essential. The product I was sent is a licence to use Norton 360 v5 on up to three PC’s for a year, hopefully without nagging. I have reviewed numerous PC’s, Notebooks and Netbooks that all have 60 or 90 day trail versions, what used to be the main problem was access to and closing down took far longer with various versions of Norton installed.
Yes the Hong Kong USB kings have produced a small real fish aquarium but of course it does much more. Second a small phone and other portable devices charger that uses solar power to provide the power to charge.
This unit is a small real tank but it is likely that most will use it for effect and the other features of clock and thermometer. It is 24x10x21cm, all the non fish activity is on the right side with the clock display, light and the water pump. The mini USB to USB lead is 80cm long. The aquarium part comes with pebbles and even some plastic greenery. There is a six LED light on toughened wire that allows it to be suspended either above the aquarium of to shine elsewhere even towards the clock.
My latest look at a Canon multifunction device took in the companys budget entry model.
Decked out in the familiar livery of matt and reflective black, the Canon PIXMA MP280 is another model in the company’s range of multifunction devices. Currently this product is taking on the role of the company’s budget entry model.
Powerline, which provides Ethernet connectivity over the local mains cabling, is an easy and convenient way to extend Internet access and network connectivity in situations where conventional wired access is inconvenient and wireless does not work satisfactorily through building walls. Netgears Powerline AV+ 200 offers both high speed and security and, as the data throughput can be in excess of 80Mbps, it is ideal for gaming and multimedia file transfer.
The basic kit consists of a pair of adapters each of which is 65 x135mm and has standard 13A mains plug on its rear face, a 13A socket on its front and an Ethernet connector on its top surface. The pass-through mains connection to the socket on the face of the adapters means that they can just be used without the need for extra power sockets. It is, essentially, a plug-and-play solution.
A lot of men are obsessed with size; here perhaps the ladies will like this because of its lack of size. This computer from Prestigio is tiny and can be shipped either with Windows 7 or as was here with a version of Linux.
It is 17.5cm from front to back and 18cm from top to base, the width apart from the bottom 1.5cm is only 2cm, should you fit the metal clip that acts as a stabilizer this extends the width to 6cm. I was also supplied with a USB DVD drive that does not add to the overall footprint as it clips onto the side of the computer and fits above the 1.5cm bottom piece, this requires no external power as a USB to USB clip is supplied that supplies power.
Like big red buses, you do not see one for ages and then two arrive in close proximity. This type of situation arose with two Epson multifunction devices.
With a model number that is similar to the previous Epson All-in-One I reviewed, the Epson Stylus Office BX305FW does have a strong sense of de je vu about its appearance. While not as identical as two peas in a pod, you could be forgiven for mistaking the BX305FW for the BX320FW at first glance. Both models provide print, copy, scan and fax capabilities for the home office / small business user.
If your car broke down would you venture into a cemetery for help? Maybe not but that is what the central character did in this next game.
Described as a Hidden Object Adventure game,Redemption Cemetery: Curse of the Raven is now available as the Collector’s Edition from Focus Multimedia. As well as the main game, this Collector’s Edition contains a bonus adventure, strategy guide, concept art, wallpaper and a screen saver. For some of the extra items, you will need to complete the main game before they become available. When playing the game you have a choice of Regular or Expert mode.
Often not being the first to market is a plus as is the case here. The Flip has long been the best pocket camcorder around; many have tried to copy or improve. Here with the best bits from several is this offering from GE.
GE have been in the small –pocket size- digital camera market for a few years now, last year they brought out a DSLR like unit that was a good bit larger. Here they go smaller with a pocket camcorder that has bags of features. It is 10x5.5x1.8cm and weights 146grams. It is stated to take full HD movies (1920x1080) but importantly it can take lesser sizes. It is stated to be shockproof with a 1.
As we own more and more mobile devices, so the logistics regarding recharging can increase. Belkin has a solution for this problem.
This is a small All In One unit, it can print, scan and copy. For anyone needing to do all three then an All In One unit has the biggest advantage of stating the oblivious being a single unit, so only one power plug and one PC connection.
The Canon Pixma MG6150 measures 47x37x17.5cm, the last figure increases to 32cm when paper is loaded in the rear upright tray, for standard plain paper there is a small internal tray in the base of the unit, so unless you use letterhead or print on photo paper the initial figure is the space required with or course some space in the front for paper delivery. Other things it can do that often get missed are the ability to print direct from cards, mobile phones and onto CD or DVD.
External USB drives like internal ones are getting larger in capacity while in a lot of cases are getting smaller in dimensions. Until recently external drives over 500GB required an additional power source, not so here.
Recognising that winning the argument of who is the better driver could well be grounds for divorce; Ford is now offering Active Park Assist on its latest Focus models. Enabling one to sit back, without touching the steering wheel, while the car steers itself into a suitable gap APA ensures that one can park first time, every time and so avoid these acrimonious arguments.
Available as a standard feature on the Focus Titanium X and as a part of the £525 Convenience Pack (which also includes powerfold mirrors) on other models in the Titanium series, it is simple to use. As one drives along the street at low speed (19mph or lower) while looking for a parking space, the APA ultrasonic sensor low on the front wing checks on the size of any gaps between parked cars. A gap only has to be 20 per cent longer than the car i.e. about 5.25m (17.
Acronis has a well-earned and long-established reputation for developing disk imaging and back-up software. Recently the company has brought out a new version of its Backup & Security title which, not surprisingly, is identified by its 2011 suffix.
Installing Acronis Backup & Security is, perhaps, not the easiest procedure that I have worked through. After deciding whether to opt-in or not with the Acronis Customer Experience program which assists Acronis in its future development program for its software, you will need to supply a valid email address and password so that your Acronis account can be set up giving you access to various features.
This is another from the range of small pocket cameras produced by Canon. The Ixus range normally has solid batteries and the PowerShot range as with this normally are controlled by AA batteries to power the unit.
The Canon Powershot A800 9x5.5x2.5cm and weights 184grams; mine was a muted crimson with a black band around the top and the sides. By recent standards it would be regarded as entry level as its 10MP and only has 3.3x optical zoom capability. The right side has a rubber bung covering A/V out and Digital and two holes that allow you to thread the wrist strap through, the left side is blank.
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.