It hardly seems like yesterday, but actually it was a couple of months ago, that I first entered the House of 1000 Doors. On that occasion it was to solve the mystery of Family Secrets. Now Alawar Entertainment has released the follow-up title. This is House of 1000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster (surprisingly my spell checker did not object to that word as I had expected it would
For those who have not played the first game in this series, I should explain that the House of 1000 Doors is a magical building that keeps reappearing in different locations before vanishing after a short period.
The sound of almost anything small will be improved by this speaker system from Bayan. Designed for iPod or iPhone it also has an auxiliary input that means with the aid of a 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack lead any MP3 player can benefit.
The Bayan Audio 3 speaker dock measures 29x22x17cm. Tthose are maximum figures as the first 10cm of the unit is the tweeter and below this the dock for your iPod or iPhone and this is only 8cm deep at the top and base with the central portion only 1.5cm thick. The quality of the sound is entirely due to the fact that almost all the unit is made of wood to give its excellent tone.
No matter how many USB ports you have, there could come a time when none are available for a new device especially when support for USB 3.0 is required.
If the various computer systems I have looked at recently are anything to go by then USB 3.0 is gradually overtaking USB 2.0 with regards to the available USB ports built into the box. While there has not been an avalanche of new peripherals supporting this new faster technology (presumably due to cost considerations and the fact that not all types of peripherals would benefit from the faster data rate available with USB 3.0), you could find yourself struggling to find an available USB 3.
The Canon Pixma MG8250 is a sleek black unit that will look good in any office. I fear however it will need to be discretely placed in most homes unless the lounge police are of Goff persuasion. It is a lovely six ink offering that prints, scans and copies.
When closed it is 44.5x38x18cm, double the last figure the height if you have A4 paper in the rear photo printing recess. Add 11cm to the middle figure the depth when the paper output tray opens automatically for printing. The overall weight is 10.7kilos so it would need to be a strong – and wide – shelf to take the weight of this unit. The screen is on top so great for viewing from above but it can be raised from the base to nearly vertical if required.
This is designed by Stefano Giovannoni. It looks very swish and is a high quality DECT product. When on the charging base it looks elegant away from the base it still looks smart, even lying on the sofa or the kitchen table.
This DECT phone from Alessi measures 18.5x5.5x5cm when base and handset are paired together. Individually only the last figure changes and that becomes a maximum of 3cm with the base unit and 3cm for the handset. It is a very stylish matt black colour. Even the User Manual has an air of quality about it. In Italian, English, French, German and Dutch. Not like a lot of such offerings each are in there own section and has its own numbering and of course is very easy to follow.
First came the Mystery of Joyville which was quickly followed by Souls of the Innocent. Now the third instalment of PuppetShow, which is subtitled Lost Town, has arrived to test your playing skills.
Originally developed by ERS Games Studio and published by Big Fish Games, PuppetShow 3: Lost City is now available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format. You will have immediate access to a Strategy Guide but the other bonus elements only become available once you have played the game to its conclusion.
Another item launched last year among glitz and glamour at no less a venue than Claridges. I was told it would be on sale in January maybe is was but review units only arrived with the UK agency at the very end of March.
Anything with the Prada name is a status symbol, however will this unit coming from LG a huge name in electronics as well as mobile phone make the perfect phone for use on the streets, I have tested it for the last month. It looks classy the mottled black back looks like a skin, the face is black a little reflective but not as much as most. Switch on and you see the theme as all the basic icons are monochrome, for colour move to the Google service screen.
As a long time user of WinZip, I am always keen to see what the latest version of this compression and archiving software has to offer
In common with a number of other products, I first came across WinZip when it was released as Shareware on a try-before-you-buy basis offering to reduce the size of files using various compression techniques. More recently WinZip has joined the Corel family of products. I had been sent version 16 for reviewing (actually at the time of writing WinZip stands at version 16.5 but more on this a little latter).
Have you ever wanted to take photos when tackling an Adventure game? This next title includes a camera for just that purpose.
Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker belongs to the popular Hidden Object Adventure game genre. Originally released by Big Fish Games, this title is now available from Focus Multimedia in Collector’s Edition format. Included as part of the Collector’s Edition is a bonus chapter plus wallpaper and concept art. However these only become available once the main game has been completed.
Having recently reviewed the tiny Sony P Tablet. This offering is more the normal size; however the shape of a thin wedge is still totally different from anything from any other company. So with design and style does it perform?
The Sony Tablet S measures 17.5x24cm when in landscape mode and the thickness varies between 2cm at the back and less than 1cm at the front. The viewable screen is 20x12.5cm which gives the imperial diagonal measurement of 9.4inches. The screen display WXGA which is 1280x800. It is an Android device with version 3.2.1 and has 1GB of RAM and can support up to 32GB od storage dependant on model. However this is not all available.
Taking liberties with the first two lines of Pete Seeger and Joe Hickersons classic folk song Where have all the documentation gone, Gone to PDF every one.
Ever since Adobe introduced the Portable Document Format technology, more and more documents have made the transition from paper to the digital platform. While Adobe holds the high ground with its Acrobat product, other companies have produced their own offerings to read and create documents in the PDF style. One such product is Fusion PDF from Corel. A fairly lengthy installation procedure gives you the opportunity to select the destination drive and folder.
Powerline communications where mains cabling is used for local data transmission is an extremely useful tool that has been around for quite a while. However, at the same time as other LAN speeds have increased so have those for powerline. Now TRENDnet is offering 500Mbps adapters that enable one to speedily assemble an Ethernet LAN to provide connectivity in different rooms around the house as a viable alternative to wireless -- especially in those buildings where wireless connectivity is difficult.
TRENDnet’s Powerline AV technology is simple and convenient to use. Just plug an adapter into a local mains socket and it will automatically connect to other Powerline AV adapters on the same mains circuit. As it offers high speeds it can be used for tasks such as streaming HD video as well as more mundane, but important, tasks such as backing up files across the network.
Two tools for different jobs that can help you do them without disasters. The first locates those hidden things in walls like pipes and cables so you dont screw or drill into them. The second allows you to get a straight line to work from.
When was the last time you tapped a picture frame pin or a screw into a wall? A lot of newer houses do not have picture rails – very useful for hanging pictures from – in fact often walls in new houses are not solid at all. So you need to find battens in order to nail or screw anything in.
The first backed by the RAC gives a variety of ways for people to know you are there as a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian. The second from the USB kings in Hong Kong Brando that can sit on your desk or childs bed table to give that beam of light.
While the front illustrates it sitting on the ground – presumably guarding a broken down car – I see other uses dependant on which of its settings you use. The point of this is that they say ‘it can be seen up to 1km at night’. It is circular 10.5cm across and 4cm thick, each of the sixteen breaks in the rubber surround can show a bright light. These can be static or rotate according to the setting that you choose to suit the situation of its use.
Forget your five-a-day, there is an avalanche of fruit waiting to be put to use in this next game from Alawar.
According to the traditional nursery rhyme, the horticultural expert is a young lady called Mary who is asked the question “How does your garden grow?” However Alawar Games and e-Funsoft have come up with another candidate for this particular area of expertise as they introduce Alice to the game playing community.
The first of a new range of mobile phones from Doro. Doro from Sweden now have a good range of both mobile and home phones. The latter are great DECT units, the former as the one here they produce easy to use units.
Phones today from a number of major players are computers mainly and phones second. Doro however do not go down this path. In all probability the young will not be large users of these, such devices tend to concentrate on the basics and only recently have you been able to do more than call which includes sending texts. While this does the basics it is intended mainly for those who have problems using more complex units.
The unexpected arrival of a small device gave me the opportunity to give my regular MP3 player a break as I checked out this Archos device.
The Archos Clipper is an MP3 player with 2GB of internal storage that comes with the claim of being big in sound and small in size. As this is the smallest, although not by much, MP3 player that I have seen then I can certainly confirm the latter while the former claim is perhaps more debatable. The Archos Clipper, which features a spring clip on the back of the unit thus explaining its name, has dimensions of 53 x 27 x 10mm (H x W x D) and weighs just 14g.
For fans of vampires, hidden object searching and puzzle solving, Alawar has released the next title in this popular Vampire Saga series.
First it was Pandora’s Box and then came Welcome to Hell Lock. Now with the third title in the Vampire Saga series it is time for Break Out. This is a new Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure from that hot bed of casual game publishing we know as Alawar Entertainment. Do not worry if you have not played the earlier games in this series as each title is completely self-contained with different characters although the last two are located in the same place.
This is a very sleek unit almost flattened so while the height is tiny there is some width and depth increase. It is a six ink offering ideal for those who need to print decent images, however it still scans and copies.
The Epson PX730WD Epson All In One PX730WD measures 43x52x15cm, for those who place things on shelves – it would need to be a wide shelf so maybe the top of a low cupboard would be better - another 5cm should enable things to be slipped under the landscape scanner lid. The power lead enters back left and both USB and or Ethernet cables enter back right of this unit.
Not everybody will appreciate your choice of music but by using a headset you can avoid upsetting others. A new Sennheiser allows you private listening without tying you to a fixed point.
Checking my records revealed that the last Sennheiser headset I looked at was the PX100-IIi model which could be folded to take up less space when not in use. Prior to that model I had also run the rule over the Sennheiser RS120. This particular model gave the user cable-free listening so you can wander around without being physically tethered to an audio source. Now it is the turn of the Sennheiser MM 400-X model which combines the main features of the previous two units.
This is the second large TV that I have recently had the pleasure of sharing my lounge with. Both were 40inches, the last one was a Smart unit, this one perhaps is more affordable as it is what most call a large TV.
Four screws attach the base of the stand to the TV, attach the power lead and your aerial lead and you are ready to switch on. You should be taken to a screen to run through the setup but this does not happen if it has been used before but all the relevant screens can be easily accessed the most important is the channel scan and this took only 57 seconds to find 111 digital channels that is made up of TV, Radio and Data, extremely rapid.
Its been a while since I have reviewed a watch with hands. In the last couple of years my life saving heart rate watch and the rather stylish if strange Nooka offering have taken my time, here a Casio Chronograph but it has hands.
My starting point for most reviews is size and weight so 5cm wide, 5.5cm top to bottom - with strap lugs – 1cm thick. The weight is a not insubstantial 176grams this is with the rather bulky metal strap attached to the unit. It’s been a while since I have worn a stainless steel bracelet as the two mentioned above had basic plastic offerings. While I assume it is politically incorrect to call this a mans watch surely the weight alone will discourage many ladies from wearing it.
It is time for some deep sea exploration and then some seaside development work with a dual title offering from Avanquest.
With the title of Ghost Fleet you might be expecting the subject matter to concern the Bermuda Triangle or other seafaring stories of ships having been abandoned to sail the oceans with earthbound spirits as their crew. However nothing could be further from the truth with the National Geographic game of Ghost Fleet which takes you into the murky depths of the Atlantic Ocean as you explore the remains of various ships in their underwater burial ground.
With care and a decent recipe anyone can make acceptable bread, the trick with a Breadmaker is that it can work while you sleep rather like a baker so you can wake to the smell of fresh baked bread for breakfast.
I have reviewed a couple of such units in the past, the last two years ago was worth a highly commended. The Russell Hobbs 17887 is currently getting on for 30% cheaper than that so all things being equal it should rate well. It is 42x26x27cm and weights around seven kilos. It consists of an oven that opens at the top; it has a fitted loaf tin with paddles in the base. All the mixing and proving is done by the machine in the loaf tin.
It wasnt so long ago that personal media players were restricted to playing just MP3 tracks. Now such a device needs to offer music, video, recording and photographic capabilities.
A recent addition to the Archos range of personal multimedia players is the company’s MP4 device entitled 3cam Vision. This unit arrives with 8GB of storage for holding music, video, pictures and other content. This is a small device measuring 97 x 52 x 10mm (H x W x D) and weighing 64g so it is eminently portable and will not cause an unsightly bulge when stored in a pocket or bag.
Faceless men, hidden objects, a Forbidden City, kidnapped victims and a train wreck are just some of the elements of a new game from Alawar.
Developed by Friday’s Games and published by Alawar, Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers belongs to the popular Hidden Object Adventure genre. This title has been released in Collector’s Edition format. Among the additional items making up this Collector’s Edition is a Strategy Guide which is immediately available from the Main Menu plus concept art, desktop wallpaper and bonus chapter that is offered as a reward for completing the game.
With Flips now a discontinued line there is a gap in the market for a small pocket size camcorder, this one from Kodak is waterproof to ten feet and has a range of special features as well as the ability to take stills as well as video.
The Kodak Play Sport ZX5 video camera measures 11x5.5x1.5cm and weights 125grams. Like most cameras and small video units the storage medium is SD card and this can accept cards up to 32GB. The on/off button is on the top of the camera, the right side has whatever SD card you use behind a snug fitting door. Bottom corner has two holes for you to feed a wrist strap though very useful for underwater use. The base has the normal tripod screw fitting.
When a mobile phone arrives in a green box you can be pretty certain it is a Doro product such as this new handset.
While there are a large number of users who would feel undressed if they did not have the latest and specification-rich smartphone in their possession, there is still a sizeable percentage of mobile phone users who would be more than happy to have for their communication needs a basic device. It is for this latter group that Doro aims its various mobile phone offerings. Included in a recent batch of new additions to the company’s product line up is the PhoneEasy 505 model.
The majority of us are not natural designers who know HTML and can produce an attractive and effective Web design at the drop of a hat. We need all the help that we can get. Xara Web Designer MX -- which is available in two versions -- is a WYSIWYG template based program that brings the design and publishing of effective web sites within range of most people.
Web Designer MX offers a wide range of templates, each of which comes with linked pages, from which to choose. Once one has selected a particular template as a starting point from which to develop one’s ideas there is a full range of tools to manipulate text, graphics and photos without having to struggle with, or even concern oneself with, the underlying HTML.
Another recent release from Canon, this one definitely for those who print a little, scan a little and copy occasionally. Just the single open input tray with the non automatically opening exit tray above it and just two cartridges.
The footprint of the Canon Pixma MG2150 is 45.5x30x15cm. If you place it on a shelf you will need maybe another 5cm to the 15cm height to slide items under the flatbed lid. Both the USB connection and the power lead enter at the back left of the unit. There are a total of nine buttons all in a column to the left of the landscape flatbed lid.