Trips to the cinema can sometimes be spoilt by unnecessary noise from other members of the audience so why not watch from home?
As a child, it was considered a great family treat to embark on an occasional trip to the local cinema with the possibility of being rewarded with a choc ice during the interval. There was also Saturday morning cinema with its diet of cartoons and Western films to look forward to for the princely sum of sixpence (old money of course).
When using your computer on a daily basis you may not immediately notice any slowing down but the difference will become more apparent as you sit waiting for tasks that were completed in seconds now taking minutes.
Like the rest of us (well at least me), a computer’s performance does tend to fall off over time. No matter how careful we are, our computers and the companion operating system will slow down, develop problems and collect unwanted items, sometimes as if they were going out of fashion. Left to your own devices the task of spring cleaning and bring back the computer to a reasonable standard could be extremely time consuming.
This is very close to what a professional photographer will use. In fact from my very amateur status it was rather frightening to review, mainly because most of the time I was hitting if not passing my knowledge levels.
The Nikon D300s Digital SLR (DSLR) camera measures 14x11cm, the thickness is 8cm to the front of the built in flash the most exposed bit of the camera body. The lens I was sent a 16-85mm offering can extend this by up to another 12cm and the total weight is 1.45kilos. I am not going to mention the thirty odd buttons and dials that surround the camera as while they all have letters of illustrations their use can vary according to the mode you are in, something that I am just about grasping.
At a loss for what to get the kids for Christmas? Bewildered by the array of boxes on the shelves of the local toy shop? Help is at hand!
Every Christmas the Toy Retailers Association tries and tests the best of the toys out there for this Christmas and tell us what this year's Dream Toys will be.
With the number of portable devices capable of showing video clips, it can be confusing when trying to decide on the appropriate video format.
Adding to its range of video editing, DVD player and multimedia software solutions, CyberLink has released a new video conversion software application. This is entitled MediaShow Espresso which immediately reminded me of visits to a local coffee bar in my youth. But enough of nostalgia, lets stick with the present day and this new application from CyberLink.
The most recent incarnation of Roxio's highly functional multi-media authoring package
For the purpose of this review I've installed Roxio on my fairly new 'average' laptop - this machine is by no means top of the range and is probably one of the lowest spec machines on which I'd expect to sensibly edit video : Intel Core2 Duo with 4GB RAM. Installation was particularly slow - but as long as you're patient it will get there in the end. The total installation takes around 1.6GB of disk space.
While I do not considered myself to be a tourist, this next game puts me in this role as I visit a famous London landmark
A put-in-your pocket memory card reader from the memory specialist Kingston that supports SD and Memory Stick formats.
While a good number of computers these days do come with built-in memory card readers this is by far from being universally the case. Here in the office my year old desktop machine for instance has no such card reader. While it's still common to see 17-in-1 card readers available, the industry has thankfully, for the most part, standardised on a couple of card formats, although with variations.
Snuggies are an ideal solution to some of the colder aspects of the British winter.
While not, strictly speaking, a gadget they can certainly be thought of as a gadget accessory although they will be a useful addition to many sedentary activities. A Snuggie can be thought of as a practical blanket. Your traditional blanket is just fine for keeping you warm in bed but has severe limitations if you want to do anything - like read. Or for that matter sit at a desk and... errrr... well write an article.
Do you ever make paper notes when out and about and then have to copy them into a PC. If so then this package might save you time and potential mistakes in transcribing.
I have reviewed a couple of such devices in the past with limited success. The IrisNotes product consists of a 7x3x1.4cm unit that receives the notes from what looks like a fairly conventional pen. You then plug the unit into a PC or notebook via the supplied micro USB to USB cable supplied. Open the first piece of software (more of this in a bit) and the graphic images of what you have written is imported.
Verbatim take advantage of bluetooth media players to ditch the wires!
Wires? Not needed - simply hook up the Verbatim Audio Cube to your favourite Bluetooth equiped media player and you're away! Bluetooth has migrated from the mobile phone to the media player, although in many cases it is in fact the media player that has migrated to the phone! Either way some very good quality, high capacity media players now come equipped with Bluetooth (with of course the notable exception of the iPod range - come on Apple - catch up!).
With the proliferation of small valuable gadgets you don't have to be of a nervous disposition
to worry that they may be liberated from you!
The Nio is a Bluetooth solution to put your mind at ease - being presented as you Gadget Guardian! With miniaturisation comes huge benefits of course. Not so long ago your mobile phone was the size of a brick, your 'laptop' required reinforced thighs and your reel-to-reel tape deck wasn't going anywhere. You didn't have to worry too much about someone wandering off with your valuables while you were out and about simply because those valuables weren't with you. Technology moves on.
Like fish & chips, bread & butter or UK Bank Holidays and their associated rain and traffic jams, the keyboard and mouse go together hand-in-hand.
While it is possible to purchase a keyboard and mouse as separate items, there are several desktop sets available that bring together these elements as your interactive tools for communicating with your computer. One such example recently arriving on my workspace for testing is the Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 product which comes with the claim of “Being designed for comfort”.
Speech recognition on mobiles hasn't moved beyond answering the odd call - Vlingo aim to improve matters!
One of my favourite moments in film history is Star Trek's Scottie, travelling back in time, sternly calling “Computer............ Computer...................” at a 20th century computer screen. Getting no response he believes the computer to be broken. Well we all know that technology has brought us voice recognition applications on computers and now Vlingo are making this part of our daily lives with their mobile voice recognition sotrware.
In the six weeks between this being first shown and my boxed copy arriving I have made good use of the DVD given to me at the time. I installed it on my Windows 7 system and it was great all my photos and videos are now properly tagged.
However I never review other than boxed products and I reviewed it on a Vista system and it also ran well on that. It takes around 12 minutes to install and just over 1½GB of hard disc space. However I know someone who installed it on an XP system where it took a great deal longer to install. This was designed for Windows 7 and even takes full advantage of touch screens when they are actually around in the real world.
A clear Perspex face (black letters on a clear background) and either a white of black surround. This is an alarm clock but an alarm clock that only wakes you at the required time should your sleep pattern not allow a gentle wake, up to 30 minutes earlier.
The clock is 12x12x4cm with the display area the central 5x5cm portion. The left side has the speaker while the right top corner has a wheel and two push buttons that make up the controls. Being of mature years (old) means I do not tend to sleep well and despite weeks of trying I was always awake when the alarm was due so although I was probably dozing my movements were too much for the early wake up to work. You can set two different alarms so this clock can wake two people at different times.
When is a laptop not a laptop? A general answer might be when it is a netbook while a more specific answer could be when it is an Aspire One.
Currently Acer has released six different versions of the Aspire One, starting with the Linux driven unit and followed up with Windows XP and the business targeted Pro model. This review is based on the Aspire One D250 product that includes the Android operating system with dual booting capabilities. Available in a choice of Ruby Red, Seashell White, Diamond Black or, in the case of the review model, Sapphire Blue, the Aspire One D250 measures a compact 258.5 x 184 x 25.
This is a rather nice 2.1speaker system. 2.1 means two satellite speakers and a sub woofer. The speakers could be used with a PC or perhaps more likely as an output from a device such as an iPod or MP3 with a 3.5mm socket.
The satellites are 13.5x12x10cm maximum at the base and the latter is only 3.5cm at the top. The sub woofer is 12x22x26cm but as it is side firing is the 26cm actually the face? The sub woofer is made of wood coloured matt black, it has a silver grey ring round the speaker and the feet are the same colour both are not wood. The satellites are plastic, black in colour with the same silver grey colour for the trim. A 1.5metre mains lead is hard wired into the back of the sub woofer.
You do have a backup schedule, dont you? If not then read on
Known as the Burning Company, Nero has put this expertise to work and come up with a backup product appropriately titled Nero BackItUp & Burn. Now up to version 5, this product is aimed at those who want to save their multimedia content through the use of secure automatic backup facilities. For those who like to taste before they buy, a trial version can be downloaded from .
Putting fish together with chips (the processor not the food type) makes an enjoyable and visual experience as Playrix demonstrates with this new offering.
There seem to be more new Netbooks around than Notebooks. Here a small offering from Sony, I wonder why part numbers need to be complicated W11SIE is hardly likely to flow off your tongue when you pop down to your dealers.
The Sony Vaio W11SIE netbook measures 26.5x17.5x2.5cm and weights 1120grams. Mine was a lovely matt white (with a hint of blue) colour apart from the silver vaio inset into the lid. The battery raises the base by around .5cm to give the keyboard some rake. The back is clear as the screen folds down over it. Front has wireless on/off slider, two card slots one for MS and one for SD, three LED’s and the slider to turn the unit on.
StarOffice 9 is an office suite that is file compatible with Microsoft Office and will meet the needs of the majority of people especially as it has the same look and feel with which we are familiar with in MS Office 2003. This could be an important benefit as many people find it difficult, in view of the major changes that have been introduced, to migrate to MS Office 2007.
Using it, one is able to carry out the usual range of tasks in: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases and drawing & graphics. Completed documents can be saved in a wide range of formats including PDFs. StarOffice 9 is based on the OpenOffice.org project and so is, in effect, a chargeable version of the free downloadable office suite. In fact, when comparing the two, with the exception of cosmetic differences, it is not easy to find the differences.
When is a mobile phone just a mobile phone, plaun and simple? The answer is when it is a Doro.
Mobile phones have quickly developed into a sort of Frankenstein monster with their multi-functional make up. Where ever you look, mobile phones are appearing with PIM software, email receiving and Internet browsing options plus photographic capabilities, music downloading and playing features, video watching and game playing activities. Just by checking on your own mobile phone you can see how true this observation is.
Sometimes having to wait a while to see something is a good thing. If it is still around a year after you requested it then it probably does the job it is meant to, sometimes however the world has moved on. Here I am looking at a very small projector either hand held or mounted on a tripod.
The projector is 12.5x5.5x2cm, silver grey top and bottom and matt black around all four sides. It weights 158 grams. Do not expect to get a huge image but I happily displayed an image 60cm away on a white wall and this gave a near 40x30cm image from jpg images, The stated resolution is 640x480 which is considerably better than its sibling the T10 that is only £80 less than it, it can also display movies and play MP3 files.
Two unusual items from those clever Hong Kong people. Neither of which will break the bank. First a combination lock to fit on a USB stick to keep your data safe. Second what looks like an old cassette tape but of course it isnt.
Basically the sort of thing you have to lock a bicycle chain. However no chain is attached. There is a small keyring on the edge so you can attach it to a bunch of keys. It is 2.7x2.5x1.2cm and weights just 5grams. Of course it will not stop your USB stick being stolen but it might deter people if they are just after ‘nicking the stick’. If you are using the two piece USB stick the top covering the connection is what normally disappears and this can replace that.
Wireless mice have many advantages but can cause frustrating when their battery dies in the middle of carrying out an important task. Perhaps a rechargeable mouse might be the solution.
Unless you are quite young you (or your parents) will remember the Polaroid camera. Take an image and it was printed on rather yucky paper and the image that soon faded if left in sunlight. This is something rather different.
It is 12x7.5x3.5cm and weights 315grams. It is predominately matt black with the tops and side silver grey. It is a conventional digital camera with the Polaroid Zinc printer built in. However unlike the earlier offerings you do not have to print everything. In fact should you wish take ten or twenty images and then only print what you want as it has a TFT screen where you can review everything you take.
To produce decent drawings a suitable drawing program is needed. Version X3, the latest incarnation of Serifs DrawPlus program appears to be easy to use as well as being very versatile and so can be used for a wide variety of different types of drawing.
It is quite easy to get started with the program and produce acceptable results. The on-line videos give one a good idea of what can be done even though they move too fast to enable one to really learn how to do things. On the other hand, I found the program’s help, accessed as usual via F1, was both appeared comprehensive and easily understood. This is due to a large extent to the fact that the text is often supplemented by illustrations.
A trend that is becoming increasingly popular is to use a laptop as a desktop replacement. Falling into this category is the Asus F70SL model.
On reflection I have to admit that reflective surfaces do not rank high in my list of attributes for a variety of devices. It is not just that they reflect images, including that of my visage, but they tend to become disfigured with finger smear and the like. However I shall put these feelings to one side as I report on the Asus F70SL laptop which definitely falls into the category of desktop replacement model.
Usually sequels follow on pretty quickly from the original offering. However there are exceptions but they do not normally take five years to make an appearance.