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.
While I rarely play my collection of LPs, I would be loathed to loose their content. Fortunately MAGIX has a solution.
When, many years ago, we purchased our favourite music on vinyl and magnetic tape, little did we think that this type of media would not last for ever? How wrong we were. As new technology introduced new methods of storing and distributing the music that we love, so more traditional methods were consigned to the scrap heap with the result that devices required to play vinyl and tapes went the way of the dinosaur and were not longer produced.
This is a small neat Netbook with the faster Intel 1.66GHz processor and Windows Starter edition. Ideal for travelling as with the larger battery you could get a days use. While colour is not important to me this cream and grey offering is nice.
The Packard Bell Dot SE Netbook is 25.5x18.5x2cm and it weights just 1125grams in the provided slipcase, as stated mine was cream with silver grey surround to the keyboard, the keyboard itself was cream with black lettering, this means no visible fingermarks, the viewable screen is 22.5x12.5cm giving the diagonal 10.1inch imperial measurement.
If you have a PC or Notebook with poor speakers then your normal option is to lump it or use headphones/earbuds, here some rather nice headphones great for privacy but also a second option is external speakers.
First the headphone solution, this is not a cheap solution but one anyone who sees it will think a single word quality. In their non expanded state they are 16cm across 15cm high and a maximum of 5cm across at the earpieces. However the earpieces flip in and the whole will fit into a supplied zip up case 17x12x4cm so ideal for travelling. Apart from the supplied 1.2metre micro USB to USB lead and a 1.5metre 3.5 to 3.
While hard disk sizes have increased and Broadband allows for faster download speeds, the need to compress files is reduced. However I still feel there is a place for produces such as WinZip.
Over the years, and involving numerous computers running various flavours of Windows, a regular, you could almost say “permanent”, resident application on my system has been WinZip. Unlike a number of other titles in its portfolio, Corel has taken the decision with WinZip to retain the traditional numbering method rather than replace the “10” with an “X”.
This is the Worlds Smallest Laser unit, smaller than most basic inkjet printers, the main differences are that this is of course only monochrome but the claimed printspeed is the actual printspeed something you certainly cannot say for inkjets.
The Samsung Laser ML1865W measures 34x22x17cm with the paper input and output trays closed. Open these and the 22cm depth increases to 33.5cm. This is a unit with minimum connections and minimum controls but it does not mean it has little to offer the user. The ML1865W is rather like the ML1665 reviewed last summer. This unit has connections so it can be used as USB or Wireless. Both the power and USB connections are on the back right hand edge of this compact unit.
While multi-function devices tend to be based on an inkjet printer, this is not always the case. For example the Brother DCP 7055 is a multi-function device that provides print, scan and copy features based around a laser technology for providing hard copy.
Decked out in a fairly standard computer grey, the DCP 7055 expands from a base measurement of 375 x 365mm out to 405 x 398.5mm at the top. Brother has fitted a paper tray, laser printer and an A4 flatbed scanner into the unit’s height of 268mm. Although larger, especially with regards to the height aspect, than an inkjet multi-function device, the increase is not too excessive. Setting up the DCP 7055 is relatively straightforward.
While the description Hidden Object Adventure has a nice ring to it, sometimes a better description for a game would be Adventure with Hidden Objects.
Love Chronicles: The Spell describes itself as a Hidden Object Adventure game. Unlike other games of this type, which tend to concentrate on locating a list of items within a scene, Love Chronicles: The Spell puts its main emphasis on the Adventure aspect. In this game you need to travel through a kingdom that is held captive by a witch’s spell and collect objects that form the tools required to complete tasks as you set about rescuing a beautiful princess.
A webcam is normally something that notebook users take as a given, however for some reason I do not think I have ever seen one in the top of flat panel and certainly not one in a monitor, this then is for those who use these devices.
With most notebooks coming with a built in webcam it is likely that this will me used with a flat panel and the arm behind the camera is made for this purpose. Again the Face Vision FV TouchCam N1 is not a cheap alternative but it’s not only for still but also higher quality video use. With most modern video cameras smaller is more desirable.
As one of the survivors of the software developers, Serif continues to produce applications that provide functionality at a price point that should not break the bank.
If, twenty years ago, you were interested in DTP (Desktop Publishing) then you would have needed to hand over a very sizeable wedge of your disposable income for the necessary software to run on your hardware. Fortunately for those interested in creating their own magazines, brochures, flyers, catalogues and the like, along came a company entitled Serif with a software product that could handle these types of task at an economical price. That product was PagePlus.