GadgetSpeak Articles

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While the telephone can be a life-line for the elderly, they might have a problem hearing the phone when it rings if their hearing is impaired
As we grow older so the wear and tear of life can affect out faculties without any outward evidence.  It is not until we struggle focusing on small text or mis-hear a comment from others that the penny drops (of course we probably would not hear it but that’s not the point).  Fortunately technology (along with a visit to an optician or optometrist) can help overcome some frailties.
Starting in Victorian London of 1889, The Clockwork Man is a hidden object game which has been developed by Total Eclipse and is published by GameHouse.
As is becoming increasingly standard with games of this genre, The Clockwork Man has a storyline of sorts and has a number of mini-games which take the form of puzzles that need to be solved in order to make progress.  In some cases the mini-games rely on finding certain objects so that the task can be completed. You are cast in the role of Miranda Calomy, a young lady whose appearance and attitude is completely at odds with what you might expect from a Victorian lady.
At last a Kodak printer that seems to resist the temptation to jam at the drop of a hat, however this is a far more sturdy machine and is actually a multi function unit (as it has fax) and not an All In One as Kodak call it.
The Kodak ESP9 is very black and measures 43x39x25cm, as the paper cassette pokes out behind the main body this covers any extension caused by the cables. Software installation is very straightforward and you come to a point where you have the choice of Ethernet, Wireless, USB or None. The latter can be useful if you are using a switch or print server and the hardware is not yet available. I connected by USB.
An iPod can keep you entertained during the day and help you awake from a restful night’s sleep.
The success of a product can sometimes be judged by the state of the add-on industry that it creates.  An obvious example of this is the third-party products that have been developed to add functionality to the ubiquitous iPod device in all its incarnations.  Numerous companies have taken advantage of this Apple phenomena to rack up sales for the various peripheral devices designed to enhance the user’s experience whether in-car, in-home or where ever they might be located.
574791 clickfree transformer USB hard disk connecto

Clickfree Transformer

A few weeks ago I told you about Clickfree a painless backup solution, that used its own external hard disk. This option allows you to use any USB drive you might already own it consists of a dongle with the Clickfree software on it.
The Clickfree Transformer comes in a 23x4x2cm box with the lead ending in the dongle in it, there is a tiny lable attached with the three connection steps attached that’s all. The back of the box repeats these three steps and adds the system requirements of a Windows Vista, XP or 2000 computer with USB port and 100MB of free hard disc space. I had a small 20GB USB drive doing nothing so this was formatted and called into use.
574790 water cloc

Water Clock and Special Socks

This may seems like a strange mix but such is life. The first a clock that runs on water. The second maybe suitable for anyone with back problems special ribbed socks, while running is not on my agenda if you were fitter you may be able to.
A pent house suite in Mayfair and an establishment in the heart of Soho were the locations for a couple of press briefings that dealt with initiatives designed to entice users to expand their mobile experience. Dragging my weary bones through the thoroughfares of London, as it basked in an unseasonably warm spell, I attended both events.
It should come as no surprise, with the wide spread influence of mobile communications, that two separate companies made announcements regarding their services within a twenty-four hour period.  What is slightly more surprising is that both these announcements relate to partnership deals with established hardware or software service providers.
A lot of notebooks – especially smaller ones – have limited ports, some manufacturers provide expansion docks but at a price. So any universal dock is certainly worth a good look, here one requiring a single USB port from Kensington.
The Kensington VGA notebook expansion dock measures 25x7x4cm and weights 270grams. Ideal for those who use a notebook out and about and at a desk. Leave the peripherals attached to the expansion dock when you are out and about and when you return to your desk you just need to connect the USB cable supplied to your notebook and everything should be ready to use. Looking at the notebook expansion dock you have a set of connections.
572343 logitect v450 nano portable mous

A Logitech Mouse : Logitech,V450 Nano

Once known as the Mouse Company, Logitech has not forgotten its roots and regularly updates its collection of pointing devices as can be seen with this offering.
575453 enkord totem trib

Totem Tribe : Enkord,Totem Tribe

Better known for its puzzle centric titles, Enkord has come up with a new game that sets you the challenge of bringing peace to a series of islands.
574788 hp elitebook 2730p tablet laptop noteboo

HP EliteBook 2730p

This Netbook sized notebook/tablet PC uses a low power Intel Centrino processor (all other netbooks seem to use the Atom processor that is not really powerful enough for Vista) so what has this HP offering got to get you buying it?
The HP EliteBook 2730p looks superb with the unit –apart from the base – being brushed aluminium. It is 29x21x3cm and it weights 1.72 kilos. You can shut the lid without turning it off or putting it into standby. However the weight gives the first problem walking around with 1.72 kilos in your hand all day soon becomes tiring. The 2GB of RAM and the dual core processor just about make Vista usable.
sometimes wonder whether you need to have had at least “one dead battery” episode for a mobile device before you really qualify for being a road warrior.
A favourite ploy used by script writers to create a situation ripe for all eventualities (horror, comedy, drama, romcom etc) is a dead battery for a mobile device.  I’m sure you can remember at least one story, whether portrayed on film or television, that has made use of this particular gambit.
Another item requested a long while ago; here the cameras can be external, internal or hidden. They all work using the same software that apart from the front end locally the recordings can also be viewed on any remote PC.
As always dimensions first, The External Cameras are 20x12x5cm, Internal Camera are 12x8.5x4cm and the hidden (clock) cameras are 15.5x10.5x6cm. All these dimensions are for the cameras in the housing and do not include any mountings or protrusions by cables as these are variable. Let’s start with the Clock Camera this is a rather nice mains powered digital clock.
574786 ravensburger branch line statio

Ravensburger Jigsaws

Perhaps what Ravensberger are best known for in the toy and games market is Jigsaws and here I am looking at two such offerings. To me two things matter the quality of the image and the quality of the pieces, both are excellent.
This has an idea new to me two 500 piece jigsaws in the same box. Don’t worry they are packed separately as otherwise even the real puzzle experts would be pulling their hair out. This box (ref 14093) has two different Riverside Cottage pictures and while 500 pieces is probably the level for a bright child they can be fun for older people two. Ravensburger have been making puzzles for very nearly 120 years and unlike some they make sure no two pieces are alike.
When opting to display your digital images, you are almost spoilt for choice. Yet another digital picture frame demands by attention.
XSU-00850B is hardly the most memorable or descriptive title for a product.  In fact it gives nothing away at all about the purpose of this particular piece of kit from Polaroid.  To clear up the mystery, this is an 8-inch digital picture frame with Alarm Clock/Calendar functionality.
If you have two computers why should you need to double up on peripherals? Here I am looking at a device that allows you to connect two the devices from two adjacent computers and use whatever they may be as if they are tied to one PC.
The Share Central 5 box is 17x11x3.5cm it can sit anywhere between the two PC’s or it has two screw holes in its rear to allow wall mounting. The top (or front depending on how you have it) has four push buttons each relating to a peripheral but it is possible to use it in Auto mode that can save the effort of pushing a button.
No matter how much storage space you have available for your computer, an additional wedge, presented in a stylish box, will always be welcome.
Following the migration of the computer from the study or office into the living room, more emphasis has been placed on appearance without negating performance.  Naturally designers/manufacturers of peripheral devices have followed suit.  We are now seeing devices being marketed on looks along with the other areas of price and performance.  Printers, scanners, desktop sets and external hard drives all fall into this category.
While some titles, passed their first flush of youth, tend to reappear on a budget label, others become part of a collection such as this offering.
First there was Hearts of Iron, a title that failed to register on my horizon.  Later along came Hearts of Iron II and yet again it passed me by.  A standalone expansion pack, entitled Doomsday, and the Armageddon booster pack joined this series of titles.  Now Ascaron Entertainment has bundled the expansion pack and booster pack with Hearts of Iron II thus giving me the opportunity to see what I missed first time around as I review Hearts of Iron II Collection.
573684 asus EeeTop PC ET160

Eee Top All In One PC

This seems to be a style that has been touched on by several manufacturers but that so far does not seem to be that popular. You have what looks like quite a thick TFT display and this hides the PC everything else is connected via USB.
The ASUS Eee Top 1602 measures 40x30x4cm and weights around 4.5kilos a good part of this weight is in the substantial carry handle and adjustable tilt balance that adds between 5-10cm to the 4cm depth. The screen is 35x19.5cm and gives a best resolution of 1366x768. This is Windows XP and another front ‘easy’ end for the real novice (very like the recent friendly Linux offerings) but it can be clicked away after booting. The biggest surprise is that it is also touch screen.
It was about 12 months ago that Logitech introduced the Pure-Fi Anywhere product to the UK. Now there is a new version of this portable compact speaker set for the iPod Pure-Fi Anywhere 2which is entitled, not surprisingly, Pure-Fi Anywhere 2.
573683 nikon d60 digital slr dslr camer

Nikon DSLR D60

Last August I requested to see this DSLR unit from Nikon and a series of miss communications means it finally arrived with me recently, was it worth the wait, it sure was! I always enjoy being stretched when I review a DSLR.
The Nikon D60 Digital SLR camera measures 12x9x7cm without a lens attached. Mine came with an 18-55mm unit and this increases the last figure by up to 10cm. It weights 820grams not heavy by some DSLR standards but enough for you to value the supplied neck strap. Unless you are a DSLR expect your first port of call should be the Quick Start Guide and this 60x42 double sided (four columns per side) sheet has more information than some cameras User Guide.
A stress ball shaped like a pear but is not new but having USB abilities is another clever item from Brando in Hong Kong. The second item is from Belkin a device that enables up to five people to fit their ear buds and listen to the same content.
The pear shaped ball (mine was red) is 10cm tall and 5cm across it is coated in rubber and it has three working actions. Before attaching the stress ball to the PC you need to install the software and on my XP system it took 2 minutes and 40MB of hard disc space. The instructions say XP SP3, Vista SP1 or Windows 2000 SP4. Connect the stress ball to a USB port it has a 1.2metre lead so it should have enough length to work from a rear port.
As well as the Eee family of netbooks and the like, Asus does have other irons in the fire. There is a video phone product, developed in conjunction with Skype, and the notebook that is the subject of this review to mention but two.
Generally when I receive a notebook for review, it has already served a similar purpose with others and arrives with the operating system up and running.  However with the Asus N80V model I was granted the privilege (maybe task or something even stronger would be a better description) of working through the final stages of the installation of Vista and the accompanying software bundled by Asus.
If you use a notebook on the move and at a desk then the latter is often a ‘pain’ as you are almost certainly looking down at the screen. With the addition of a keyboard and a mouse this item can solve the neck pain.
While the idea of Nero playing the fiddle as Rome burned is a matter of conjecture; Nero, that is the company formerly known as Ahead, has certainly been busy working away at developing the latest version of its flagship product. This is Nero 9.
Starting primarily as a burning tool, Nero has gradually developed into a full-blown suite for the creation, burning and distribution of digital media.  As a result of this multi-functionality, you should be prepared to allocate 1.5GB of hard disk space and be ready for a lengthy installation session as the various files are copied to your system.  You will need to enter a 39-character serial number in order to start the installation.
It would be appropriate if I could begin this review by relating the dream I had last night. Unfortunately, try as I might, I have no recollection of the dream or even if I dreamt at all.
If a full DSLR unit is either out of your pocket or out of your skill set then the next best thing is something like this Power Shot SX10 is. It outwardly looks like a DSLR and has superb 20x zoom on it’s built in lens.
You would need a copious pocket as the SX10 measures 12x10x8cm, fully zoomed this adds 5.5cm to the middle figure the width and it weights 670grams. Having attached the neck strap, insert 4x‘AA’ batteries and an SD card you are ready to go. As with all cameras I find it best to take a few shots with the ‘Auto’ setting while you familiarise yourself with the location of the controls and how they function.
Sometime a degree of patience is required during the interval between seeing a new product and getting your hands on a review unit. With this next product that wait lasted six months before I was able to confirm or adjust my initial impressions.
Classified as an Internet Media Tablet, the Archos 7 is the latest addition to the company’s portfolio of PMP (Personal Media Player) type products.  As its classification indicates, this product combines Internet access and media storage/playing facilities within a single device.  The number “7” of the product’s title specifies the diagonal dimension of its high resolution (800 x 480 pixel) touch screen.
Backups are boring, backups are annoying, backups are a pain the *%$#. However once you have had a hard disc crash and spent ages reinstalling your applications only to realise that the most important thing – your data – is no more then you start to think backups are ESSENTIAL.
Most backup programs require the average user to know things and probably they do not, so guess what they do not do backups. In a business, backups are forced but normally a expert installs the software and in all probability the backup takes place when you are not there. Any Soho or home user has to be their own ‘expert’ so when a package comes along that claims to be ‘Clickfree’ then it needs checking out.
573677 wiley after the shoo

After the Shoot by Mark Fitzgerald.

While I was listening to some music as I reading this book I realised that I had not told you about it so here I will tell you about Adobe Photoshop CS4 ‘After the Shoot’ ideal for anyone using Adobe Photoshop CS4.
The first thing you notice on opening this book is that each chapter has different blocks of colour on each chapter great when a reference work like this that needs constant revision for finding the part you require. The next is that the book is in two column format. The author Mark Fitzgerald comes from the USA and he is a certified Photoshop expert and instructor. This 370 page book has 14 chapters two Appendix a Glossary and an Index.
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