Another very mature product, as computers continue to get more powerful processors things that took a while to process can now be done almost instantly. Here is a good example you can manipulate your files easily and quickly and improve them effortlessly.
There are three versions of the latest edition of Magix Music Maker software the main difference between them is the number of instruments they come with. In the simplest terms this is electronic music creation software but as with all such software the simple part is putting the music down, the hard part is having the ear to know what is say an annoying earworm or perhaps just very occasionally a true classic composed piece.
Home security continues to be a hot topic with the next candidate offering a welcome.
Developed by Netatmo, a company founded in 2011, the Welcome is a security camera that comes with the promise of delivering face recognition without the need of a contract or subscription fees. The product consists of the camera unit, power lead, Ethernet cable and an 8GB micro SD card for storing any captured content. You also get a mini booklet which relies of illustrations to get its message across regarding setting up the device.
However big your desk is there never seems enough room. So things got moved away the tower or mini tower went under the desk, a lot of recent panels have USB hubs what else can you move away, possibly the keyboard or at least have a smaller one.
This unit from Penclic helps as it is small – about the size of that found on a laptop – and it has no wires to connect it as it uses a Wi-Fi dongle. It is 28.5x16cm and weights 345grams with its two ‘AAA’ batteries inserted in its back.
Well know for its range of home security products, Swann has released its SwannOne kit. This product is meant to provide the user with a range of security features that have been designed to protect your home whether you are present or absent for any reason.
Central to the heart of the SwannOne system is a Smart Hub which is provided with an Ethernet cable and power lead. This plinth shaped box, with dimensions of 220 x 135 x 60mm (W x D x H) acts as a half-way house between the resident router and any additional attachment elements making up the SwannOne system. The Smart Hub features connections for power, Ethernet and USB plus WPS, reset and speaker / microphone options.
A reappearing spirit, abducted children, flowers and skulls are all featured in this next Hidden Object Adventure game.
For many years the villagers of San Cristobal have held an annual festival entitled Flores de los Muertos (Flowers of the Dead). This festival’s purpose was to ward off the spirit of the Weeping Woman whom the villagers believed was responsible for the disappearance of young children. The story behind the legend of the Weeping Woman began with the marriage of the village beauty Maria Gonzales to Domingo who has a reputation of being a rogue.
When I first read the press release I thought I remembered the View Master name from the dim and distant past with a stereo projector of images from cards. This is a somewhat different idea that uses a viewer face but the images are 360 degree around a feature.
You get a quite well make headset which from the front looks like quality ski goggles, the rear has rubberised eye pieces to take away external sights. On the right side is a slider, the starter pack comes with a 9cm circular disc that you need to focus on in order the view the contents. However all these parts are dumb as they rely on a SmartPhone and App to activate the content each time you go on an experience.
How much time do you spend sat in front of your computer? It does not matter whether you are playing games or carrying out more productive tasks. I suspect that in many cases your answer could well consist of a number of hours. I know that my answer would definitely be a number of hours.
While not immediately registering on your consciousness, a significant word in my original question is that of “sat”, a position that could sometimes be replaced with or used alongside “huddled”. There are points of view which state that being sat or huddled in front of a computer plays a major factor in the cause of RSI or, as in my particular case, back problems.
An analogue watch with a step counter. Yes analogue I do hope younger children are still taught to read a watch rather than rely on digital timepieces. This is a very smart looking offering with a circular dial and absolutely no buttons.
When I reviewed an earlier model I found it difficult to setup this one was a joy, press the back of the case with the tool supplied and you link to the App that you have downloaded, enter a few personal details and then the App and the watch link via Bluetooth and the time is set and that is about it, around five minutes in total.
When a company decides that the blades cannot be improved they then look to what surrounds them and here Gillette work on what to you and me looks like the plastic shield that stops the blades meeting your face at anything but the perfect angle.
So having what think is the perfect set of blades and also the best arm to support the razor it only leaves what surrounds the razor blades. Did you know that the average number of strokes used during a face shave is 170 and 120 or those are made once the protective foam or gel has been removed, no, neither did I so this is why Gillette have brought out extra protection in the surrounds of their blades so stop you and me suffering irritation when we shave.
The Linksys AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi range extender model RE6700 is a convenient means of improving connectivity around the home. It can be used to expand Wi-Fi coverage as well as providing local Ethernet and audio connections.
The body of the extender is roughly 120 x 67 x 50mm deep and white in colour. There are two antennas, one on either side. They are hinged and are rotated downwards when in use lengthening the extender by a further 60mm. While this is perfectly satisfactory in modern homes, or recently rewired ones where the power points are well away from the floor, it may be a problem with older homes where power sockets are frequently mounted low down on the skirting boards.
Inanimate objects, such as keys, smartphones and other small personal devices, are not meant to have a life of their own. These items are supposed to remain where you last placed them. But, as can often happen, the location where you are certain you left them is not the same as the position where the particular item is to be found when you need it to complete an important task. If, like me, you have encountered such as situation then you might be interested in this next product. Even more so, if again like me, this is a regular situation then you could consider placing the TrackR.bravo device on your wish list.
According to urban legend, the TrackR device, and the company which manufacturers such a product, came about as the result of Chris Herbert and Christian Smith finding themselves locked out of a car because they could not find the car keys. As a result the TrackR Company was set up in 2009 to ensure this situation did not arise again for them and many others.
Not the smallest PC I have looked at but probably the one with the most connectivity from such a small box. Things did not start that well but after the initial problems I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed testing this product.
My first problem was it did not recognise the keyboard, then I was surprised that it did not have Wi-Fi – or so I thought – so after finding an Ethernet cable I was relieved to find that I could use the WPS button on my router to connect it to my Network. After that being online I could let Windows find a driver for my keyboard and unbeknown to me also one for the Wi-Fi so now I do not need the Ethernet cable. So now it runs as I expected it would/should out of the box.
If you want to brighten up the appearance of your keyboard when gaming, then this next offering might appeal.
Gamers, especially those who consider themselves part of the hardcore brigade, always feel that they need specially enhanced equipment to survive in the virtual gaming world of their choice. This equipment covers items such as the display monitor, mouse / controller and keyboard that have been developed to give gamers that extra edge to improve their performance.
Developed by GOGII and available from Avanquests GSP game label, Vault Cracker: The Last Safe is a Hidden Object Adventure game with the emphasis on the Hidden Object aspect.
Unlike most of the game of this particular genre that come my way, Vault Cracker: The Last Safe opens with a prologue as your character is involved in the crime of breaking into a safe when steel bars come crashing down trapping you in the vault. Fortunately there is a great deal more to this game than a failed break in as you are taken back in time.
The lasest offering from Philips should be able to support you whatever connection you need as it has VGA, Digital, HDMI and DisplayPort not to mention a rather nice USB3 Hub. So whatever and however you connect you are supported here with this 23.5inch panel showing 1920x1080.
It is 56x35x1.8cm the last figure at the edges. The stand is a circle with a section cut off at the front so its 28cm side to side and just over 23cm back to front. It has a telescopic arm that can raise the panel from a minimum of 5cm above your desk to a maximum of 17.5cm. The arm does stay within the confines of the diameter of the base. The base of the stand is metal but there are seven circular 1.
I have to admit that I was totally unaware of the company Myfox until I was offered the opportunity to check out a couple of the companys products.
Myfox is a French company, founded in 2005, based in Labège. The company’s stated aim is to redefine home security with unique solutions designed to safeguard families, their homes and possessions. Since developing one of the Worlds’s first connected home security systems in 2009, the company has gone on to develop its award-winning IntelliTAG™ sensor which forms part of the company’s new releases.
Last year I looked at a new high quality streaming service which also gave you a chance to download and save in 16 or 24 bit. Now with answers to some outstanding questions I look to a new version for Android (3.2) and more.
First for those new to Qobuz you pay a monthly fee and after that almost all the tracks they have are available to stream, in fact if you click a link you can also play them when offline. Their cheapest offering is for those happy with their music in MP3 quality. I was given a trial of their mid-range offering that allows you to stream in 16bit FLAC for most of their catalogue. Full details of all their offerings can be found on their site, link at the end.
This is a padlock with no keyhole or number combination. According to instructions there are four ways to open it, but in case you forget the pattern you select then when you register you answer three different memorable questions for another way.
For those with bicycles then they also do a U-Lock version. Perhaps the easiest way to open it – even without your phone being available – is a combination of short and long pushes down on the top of the locking part called the shackle, you decide how many and what combination but once you get beyond say eight the security is quite good. Inside the Noke is a 2032 battery which is stated to last for a year and is easily changeable when the Noke is unlocked.
Do you want a land line phone or a VOIP type connection? This next DECT phone provides both options.
Whether offering to “help” with PPI, repairing a computer with a non-existing problem or enquiring about an accident that has never happened, nuisance calls can be both extremely annoying and worrying especially for those of a nervous disposition. Offering to help provide some protection from these unwanted intrusions is the Gigaset SL450A GO Eco DECT phone.
Due to Apple in the UK being, shall we say, frugal with items they send out for review the whole Apple brand gets little coverage. Recently the same external source supplied me with an iPad to review and now the latest iPhone, the S6.
The Apple iPone 6s measures 12.5x6.5.6cm and weights 142grams. The edges are rounded so the viewable screen is 10.5x5.5cm the screen is 1334x760 pixels, this is called a 4.7inch display. A total of 24 icons are viewable in portrait mode, twenty above the line and four fixed items phone, browser, mail and music below the line. For those coming from Android the main thing to adjust to is that below the screen is just a single button. Going round the unit, the right side has the on/off button.
While the scanning element of a multifunction device works fine for many tasks. Sometimes you need the greater functionality provided by s standalone product.
Generally when flatbed scanners come my way, they form part of a multifunction device operating in partnership with an inkjet or laser printer. But there are still some standalone A4 flatbed scanners for those who prefer separate units. One such product is the HP ScanJet 2500F1 model that is currently taking up space on my work top. Before concentrating on this flatbed scanner I would like to comment on the packaging in which the unit arrived.
Rather than a faraway place or fairy tale land, this next game is based closer to home as you explore the mind of a disturbed young woman.
Developed by Elephant Games, and available from various websites, Surface: The Noise She Couldn’t Make is a Hidden Object Adventure game that involves the exploration of a mind. Both Standard and Platinum versions of the game are available. This review is based on the Platinum versions which includes a number of bonus items that are either available immediately from the title screen or when the main game has been completed.
Anyone who wants a very easy to use camera that takes extremely good images and can also take video from a unit which can slip into even the smallest pocket, should be looking at the Canon IXUS range and this tiny offering is no exception.
The Canon IXUS 275 compact digital camera measures 10x5.5x2cm, the last figure can increase by another 3.5cm when the lens is fully extended. The camera weights a tiny 144grams. The left side is clear, the right side also looks the same apart from the anchor point for the supplied wrist strap until you look closely when you see it is a cover behind which there are mini HDMI and AV sockets.
Hour glass or vase shaped are adequate descriptions of the speakers making up this next product.
The Edifier M3200 is a 2:1 speaker system for providing the audio output from a computer or other audio input device such as an MP3 player or multimedia system. Those familiar with the Edifier approach to the design concept of its products will not be surprised to hear that shape does have a part to play with this kit especially with regards to the satellite speakers. As the “2:1” designation implies, the M3200 kit consists of a subwoofer and two satellite speakers.
I was sent this from France and to be honest my French is non-existent so I needed to wait for a translation before I could start seeing exactly what it could do to achieve what we all want to save some money from household bills.
Both items in their own way hold things, the first could be a camera or phone and then you could wrap it round something. The second holds data and allows you to transfer it either to anything with a lightning connector on one end and a standard USB on the other.
I certainly remember reviewing other Joby items in the past with their ability to twist round any object to hold your camera securely via the standard screw. On this it works slightly differently the camera screw is still there but now it has a frame attached so that your SmartPhone can be held securely on the fence, lamppost or railing while you take your shots. In a way it becomes a long distance Selfie Stick.
Adding to its range of computer desktop accessories, Penclic has released its K2 keyboard model.
The K2 product from Penclic is a mini keyboard that has been designed to help alleviate any problems that might occur through Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and is compatible with either Windows or Mac systems. This mini keyboard communicates with a host computer via a nano receiver inserted in an available USB port. Included in the box with the keyboard are the nano receiver, extendible micro-to-standard USB lead, two rechargeable AA batteries and a small User Guide.
In September I told you about 1TB and 2TB WD portable drives and now I can tell you about the 3GB version that the press release said was released in July sadly it only arrived on my desk at the end of the year, still better late than never.
Most laptop and notebook computers still only have 500GB (½TB) hard discs. My desktop has 1TB and if you have 2TB you probably paid a large premium. So 3TB for a USB powered external drive is still a very large in capacity unit. My first surprise is that it is exactly the same size and weight as the 2TB unit, so unless I have gone further round the twist than normal it means that 1TB or additional memory is stored in more larger carrier but weights exactly nothing.
As mobile phones underwent a metamorphosis and developed into smartphones, so wrist-watches are now beginning to follow a similar path and emerge as smartwatches.
Arriving boxed, within a box, the Huawei Watch is a member of the new breed of offerings that combine basic chronology features with fitness tracking and a link to a paired smartphone whether of the iOS or Android variety. Supplied with the Huawei Watch is a charging unit, consisting of a circular magnetic platform for mounting the device at one end and a standard USB plug at the other end. There are also various items of documentation to help get you started.
Not all games have instant appeal. This next title took a while to draw me into its spell.
Developed by Space Monkey, Apothecarium: The Renaissance of Evil (now there’s a title to get your tongue around) is a Hidden Object Adventure game. This city, as part of the game’s title might indicate, has fallen under the influence of an evil force in the form of a powerful alchemist who has taken over the lives of others in order to conduct experiments. Your task is to rescue these unfortunates and defeat the wicked alchemist.