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.
Whether the subject is an Album, Draw, Movie, Page, Photo or Web with a Plus attachment then you can be pretty certain that it is a Serif product that is under discussion. In this case the product is Serifs latest WebPlus title which is now up to version X6. This title comes with the tag line of Professional Quality Websites made Easy.
Following its normal practice, Serif delivers WebPlus X6 without any printed documentation to cut down on costs. A User Guide is supplied in PDF format on the product CD. The product’s installation will hardly win any races for speed but it is straightforward and requires little user input apart from entering the product’s 25-character serial number which is located on the cardboard packaging.
Without the subtitle Real Science, Great Nutrition, and Good Health to Bruce W Perrys book Fitness for Geeks I would not have even bothered to look at this most interesting book. It is not just for the fitness fanatic, it is also worth reading by anyone -- even a couch potato -- who is interested in getting or keeping healthy.
Although the style may be disconcerting at first, and the fact that the book is in general targeted at the “Geeks” who are obsessive about their health, the rest of us can dip into it on any particular aspect that interests us. However, it does point out that: “A geek is someone who spends a huge amount of time analyzing the fine points of what interests her, ad infinitum, to a level that no one around her can possibly understand.
First a set of 2.1 speakers shaped like a helmeted head single unit and no doubt will be sold on the Angry Birds name. Second a set of high specification 7.1 headphones designed predominately for those who are into gaming.
When does a toy or game become a serious product? Here we have a rather nice iPod dock with speaker but I suspect the initial sales potential will be round the ‘Angry Birds’ name and with pester power being what it is… It is 13cm wide and 16cm deep with DC lead inserted, 15cm tall before your iPod or iPhone is inserted my iPod Touch adds 10cm. This is a 2.
The first from USB Kings Brando in Hong Kong and yes you can also charge it from USB as well as from Solar power. The second is something we all need to protect the most delicate part of your phone the tender screen.
It is 19.5cm tall, 6.5cm across at the base and 5cm at the top where the solar receptor sits. It comes with a rather garish shade (mine was red) but without it you have a small but stylish uplighter to give you enough light to see by in a power cut or to make a decent night light for a child. There are six LEDs and these shine down from below the solar panel through a frosted inner shade so no eye damage even from prolonged gazing at the light.
Placing your valuable data on a small portable device can be risky unless the device comes with plenty of protection.
Portable hard drives offer you an easy way to increase the storage capacity of your computer system. You simply need to connect one of these devices to a free USB port. Often you will not even need a separate connection to provide power as the USB port will handle this along with the transfer of data. As well as providing data storage, an external drive can offer portability by allowing you to take your data with you and use it on computers in different locations.
Hands up those of a certain age such as me who used WordPerfect as a Dos product and then as an early Windows offering before Microsoft Word seemed to rule the world, but still in the legal and medical world WordPerfect rules.
Looking good is often a prime consideration especially when distributing images to others. Airbrushing out imperfections is possible with this next product.
The camera never lies or so we are led to believe – or does it? Perhaps we ought to focus (no pun intended) on the photographic evidence produced by the device rather than the camera itself. What with make-up experts and the numerous software tools readily available, what you see is not necessarily the scene or person as originally captured.
With a yet-to-be princess and two of the leading popular singers of that period, High Society was a musical remake of the Philadelphia Story. Now High Society is a Hidden Object Adventure game.
The Snark is back. For those who missed the first two titles in this series (Welcome to the Club and Revved Up!) published by Alawar Entertainment, I should explain that the Snark is a mythical creature that can move so fast you could often fail to spot it. The Snark possesses the useful ability (especially when it comes to avoiding capture) of popping in and out of mirrors in order to travel between different dimensions in time and space.
This book reader is one of the backlit type and so colour is available. Archos have a background in screens, often smaller than this as it was with early devices just larger than phones, but of course they also do computer type items.
The Archos 7od eReader measures 17.5x12.5x1cm, this last figure is at the edges but it bulges so slightly more towards the centre of the back. It weights 277grams. The viewable screen is 8.5x15cm. The top right corner has a 3.5mm jack, just round the corner at the top of the right side are a micro USB port and a micro SD card port. The bottom right edge has the on/off button. All the other controls are to the right of the screen in a single column.
This next product is described as the worlds fastest drawing program and I am not going to argue with this statement.
Described as “the world’s fastest drawing program”, Xara Photo & Graphics Designer MX is now up to version 8. Xara (part of the MAGIX family of multimedia products) is targeting this offering at the graphics enthusiast, small company or academic user looking for general purpose photo and graphics design tools that will not overstretch the budget in times of cut-backs.
Think back a generation and perhaps your TV had a basic remote to change the channel or increase/decrease the volume. Now almost any electrical item that is not tethered to you has a remote. So here a control that uses your i device to control most of your device whose remotes have vanished, been eaten by the dog or just stopped working.
The one device that most – especially the young - never lose is their music player and all the ‘i’ devices can do that, of course it may run out of power but that’s another story. Here a device that turns your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad into a remote control so whether it is a TV, Blu-ray player, Hi-Fi or other such device your ‘i’ can control them all.
The AOC Model E2251Fwu Portable 22inch LCD display can be configured to work as a duplicate monitor to that on the PC or to provide an extended display so that it is a versatile solution for those who need to be able to use large spreadsheets or give presentations when away from their home base.
The monitor provides a full 1080p display in the 16:9 format and is unusual in that it draws its power from the USB ports of the PC to which it is attached. Roughly 51 x 32cm in size and just 10mm thick over most of its area and only about 25mm at its thickest and weighing a little over 2.5kg it can easily be carried under one’s arm even though, obviously, care must be taken not to damage the screen.
A recent trip to the London Book Fair was to see the launch of a new book reader. However when walking round waiting for that presentation I found a very interesting stand with a number of gadgets to aid book reading.
It is 30cm long, less than 2cm wide at one end and only 1.5cm wide at the head (light) end, 15cm of the length is only .5cm wide tightly twisted wire that can be formed and turned as you wish, it weights only 39grams. The back end where a single ‘AAA’ battery is inserted also has an opening jaw that can grip anything up to 2cm deep. So it can be clamped to a table or a headboard or even a book. The whole purpose is an LED light to provide a reading source.
When you take up residence at the Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital you enter the world of the television series known as House M.
Now available as a computer game developed by Legacy Interactive and part of the Focus Multimedia extensive catalogue of titles, House M.D. features the same team of characters beloved by fans of the television series. Not only will you meet up with Gregory House but also the doctors Remy Hadley, Eric Foreman, Chris Taub, Robert Chase, Allison Cameron, James Wilson and Lisa Cuddy.
It used to be that Canons smallest cameras were the Ixus brand. When this PowerShot arrived I had to look at the box to be sure it was a PowerShot as it is truly tiny and only the Canon Ixus offerings have been this small.
The Canon PowerShot A3400IS measures 9x5.5x2cm, the last figure can increase to 4.5cm with full zoom but unlike some other small cameras the amount the lens expands varies little according to the amount of zoom. While 5x is not huge by some recent cameras it means that you should be able to hold the unit securely in normal conditions. The unit weights 140grams.
Unlike my usual desktop flatbed scanner, which copies single-sided documents, this next scanner can copy both sides of a document simultaneously.
The Brother DS-700D was almost one of those chicken and egg situations when I opened the packaging encasing a new scanner from Brother. There was no Set-up or Quick Start Guide in the box. Should the hardware be connected before or after the software, I asked myself? Fortunately on examining the supplied USB cable, I noticed it had a sticker on one end that advised me that the software installation should come first.
Having appeared as a book, film and television series, this classic fairy tale of love conquering adversity reaches the gaming platform.
Although the titles might be the same, the actual content is decidedly different. I am referring to Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s original novel and PlayPond’s take on the tale of Beauty and the Beast as the developers have turned it into a Hidden Object Adventure game. Described as “a dark twist on a classic tale”, this game is available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format.