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Trackballs have ben around as long as mice have but somehow, mice seem to be the de facto method of input into a PC alongside the keyboard and the trackball has become a sidelined peripheral.
Which is a shame because this Trackman from Logitech is fantastic. When you get it out the box, it's clear that this is a quality method of controlling your computer. Obviously, it takes some getting used to but once you do, you'll wonder why you used to use a mouse.
The trackman is simple to setup - plug the receiver in and put the 2xAA batteries into the device and press the button on the receiver base and the trackman base to sync and you're away. Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac OS X have no trouble using the device. Once it's working, it does make sense to install the Logitech software (not required to use) as this allows you to fully customise the 8 buttons to exactly how you want them as well as alter the sensitivity (and if you've never used a trackball before, you'll need to!)
Battery life is great with daily use, batteries can last over a month. You'll find you need to clean the ball every now and then as dust and grime builds up on the sensors but this is easily done by popping the ball out and just scraping away the filth - it's a pain but that's the downside to having you're greasy hands contacting the moving parts.
It's a large base and those with large hands should be quite comfy though those with tiny hands might want to consider a smaller device. In terms of stopping RSI, since I've had it, I've not had any issue with my wrists, where as I'd sometimes struggle with mice after a while.
The main downside is the cost - it's not fantastically cheap and I guess is due to the economics of scale (less people want them so less are made so it's more expensive). Also, the receiver is a bit big and ugly compared to the newer Logitech Unifying receiver (which this doesn't work with) but can be easily hidden.
Overall a fantastic device if you have limited desk space (you don't have to move it around) or for those that suffer from RSI. It's also a much nicer controller to use with CAD and other design software.
Cheap would be a good way to describe the San Francisco. Out of the box it performs reasonably well but is slowed down quite excessively by the addition of the Orange preloaded software.
If you know how to install your own version of Android to it, the device really shines. However, if you don't wish to install anything over it, you might find yourself wishing you'd spent some more on a phone in the first place.
The camera quality is pretty poor - you'll be looking elsewhere if you want to take pictures. The battery life is pretty good should you not have 3G running, otherwise it's comparable to pretty much every other smart phone out there. In terms of size, it's a nice size and fits nicely in your pocket, comapred to some of the larger HTC models and the more rectangular shape is possibly nicer than the iPhone however the lack of screen space really cramps using it online or even in text messaging.
Though the phone is locked to Orange, it's fairly easy and simple to unlock for free by googling on the internet so you can run it on whatever you want.
Overall, it's a basic smartphone that does the job but others out there perform better. If budget is your main reasoning for holding out on a smartphone, this little one will perform everything you ask of it and a price that wont break the bank.
That said, mine was sold on to fund an iPhone purchase.
Ok, so the newer iPhones are out now and so this little phone has been pushed to the sidelines as the ever present march of technology continues.
However does this phone still hold it's own against competitors? Yes! Whilst the iPhone 3GS lacks the faster processors and upgrade retina display of the 4 and 4S, it's screen quality and processing power is still ahead of some of the cheaper Android headsets being released. The benefits of Apple hardware and Apple software means that the phone is optimised incredibly well and I've noticed no slow down like I did on a previous Android phone.
iOS 5, recently released, has added some extra features to the iPhone that Android converts were quick to point out as flaws - for example, the iPhone can now set custom notification tones, something Androids been able to do for years. Battery life on the 3GS hasn't been affected, unlike reports of it affecting the 4 and 4S.
The app store is still full of apps that'll happily run on the phone, though this might potentially change over the next few years.
It's main flaw is it's battery life though this can be improved by disabling 3G and it's linking with iTunes (which can also be a huge attraction - it's just a shame that iTunes on Windows is terrible as most people will be running this)
In the meantime, the iPhone 3GS is a solid, dependable smart phone that continues to outshine alternatives.
After buying my first Mac, I wanted to get the most out of it and this is where MacFormat came in and filled a gap. It's well thought out, well researched and well written articles have made it an essential purchase for me to get the most from my new machine.
The magazine manages to strike a good balance between new users and more experienced users though does seem a bit more towards the beginner/intermediate market. Monthly articles on software is good but not everyone uses and wants the said software.
Subscribers get the benefit of being able to download high quality PDF versions of the magazine, before they are released to the general public. Pick when you join carefully though as the free gift varies in quality month to month.
Alas the coverdisc is no more but as Apple are killing off the optical drive in Mac's, it makes sense for MacFormat to drop this from it's cover.
Well worth a read and at the subscriber price, a fantastic bargain - especially with the eVersion thrown in as well.
I was always doubtful of eBooks but I bought this as a test in the hope I could return it if I didn't get on with it. However, that wont be happening!
The ability to carry a whole library with me is great. I recently went on holiday and was able to take 4 large books (one was 700 pages long had I read the paperback) with me and only had to carry this lightweight and portable device!
Battery life is fantastic - with wi-fi off, I get at least a month of reading from it before having to charge the batteries. I tend to buy most of my eBooks from the Black Library which can be read fine as well as any other .mobi books. It allows me to read academic papers for my PhD as well, as long as they're in PDF format. Overall, it's really helped me get back into reading as I can quite happily cart it around with me and not worry about space or how heavy the books I'm reading will be - it's nice and thin and so will take up less space.
The keyboard is nice to have should you actually want to search or take notes or use the Twitter functionality, otherwise it's fairly defunct.
The main reason I purchased this books was the fact that is was the basis for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl video game. However, if you're a STALKER fan, than this book might be a bit different to what you were expecting.
Firstly the book isn't set in Russia or even features the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. It's set in Canada (from what I gather) and features aliens instead. The premise is that aliens have visited Earth and left behind an area of unnatural anomalies and artefacts - similar to the Chernobyl explosion causing the formation of the Zone in the game.
The book focusses on a Stalker, a man who enters the zone to acquire artefacts. It follows him as he desperately tries to help his family and provide during tough times and how the risks he takes affect his family. Overall the book is excellent though slightly short and ends on somewhat of a cliff hanger.
Well worth a read and a well deserved sci fi classic.
If like me, you fancied trying a Mac out but could never quite justify the expense of getting an iMac, this makes an ideal starter Mac for people.
Purchased due to it's small, compact but powerful nature (similar size Windows PC's seem to be crippled with Atom CPU's which make for slow running machines), this machine has shone. OS X was a complete change of pace from Windows and was a breath of fresh air. It's different enough to need to learn, but similar enough to Windows that anyone with computer experience can get used to.
The Mac itself is pretty small - it happily sits on my desk and is only slightly larger than my external hard drive. The aluminium case and Apple logo add a touch of class. The machine is dead quiet - with it on, I can't hear it - only when I start doing some intensive CPU work (like some casual gaming) does the fan kick in and make itself heard.
Performance wise, it's plenty enough to play Team Fortress 2 and Fallout New Vegas (not at full settings but at a very playable graphics level) - New Vegas is only playable if boot-camped mind.
Overall, it's a risk free purcahse - Apple have a 14 day trial period where you're welcome to try out the Mac and return if you're unhappy with it. I think that's a pretty good deal.
I purchased this headset as it was a USB style connector and this would make it easier to attach to my PC (which has front USB panels and no front headset connector) - I wasn't expecting much at this price but I was blown away by how good they actually are.
The headband is adjustable, the ear cups are comfortable (enough so that I can wear them all day and not have any issues) - They even fit well with my glasses, unlike some other competitors.
Sound quality for the microphone is excellent and headphones are crisp as well, though possibly lacking some bass. Volume can be an issue at times though this is potentially the fault of the PC. The inline controls are helpful but sometimes in the way.
Works perfectly on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Mac OS X (Snow Leopard AND Lion) - Skype compatible (my main use for them) so you can be safe in the knowledge that you're buying some decent equipment.