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This is an old mouse now, but it is still one of my favourites.
Under Windows 98 this mouse was amazing, and I was glad to see that Logitech provided OSX drivers when I switched to Macs - and that's where the fun ended. Logitech removed one piece of vital functionality from the drivers - the ability to set the orientation of the mouse. By this I mean the ability to 'tell' the mouse which direction of ball movement you think should be 'up'. I believe this feature was removed from Windows drivers at the same time, making this mouse unusable for me, as I didn't agree with the direction Logitech set as 'up'. This really is a vital part of mouse setup for a trackball, and I cannot imagine why they thought it would be a good idea to remove it (maybe it has been reinstated now - I don't know).
So, now the mouse lives on my old Windows 98 machine while all my other PCs/Macs have 'proper' Logitech mice, not trackballs. It sits in your hand perfectly and you can comfortably mouse on your lap or a desk etc. The ball pops out easily enough to occasionally clean the grime from the rollers (purely mechanical, as this is an optical mouse).
This trackball would be no real use to left-handers. It could do with an update too, as it has been around for many years. More buttons (at least Logitech's fwd/back buttons) are needed, and horizontal scrolling would be good too. The receiver unit is pretty vast by today's standards.
A great mouse in the good old days, but ruined for todays operating systems by poor drivers.
The 8Gb model is the smallest capacity in the 3G iPhone range, but is perfectly adequate for my needs as somebody who doesn't use the phone as an iPod - therefore I will not comment on the iPod features of the device.
If you subscribe to Mobile Me (formerly .Mac), then the iPhone experience is enhanced further by seamlessly synchronising various features with your Apple computer. This includes Safari (the browser) bookmarks, contacts, Mobile Me mail and calendar. Mobile Me costs about £60 per year.
One BIG downside of this delightful looking phone is the SMS capabilities. They are shockingly bad. For example, you cannot extract contact data from text messages, nor include it in ones you send. You cannot delete individual messages; you have to delete every message you and that person have ever exchanged, or nothing at all! You cannot easily copy messages, sent or received, to other recipients. Apple really ought to take a look at SMS features on a Nokia and simply implement them all i the iPhone - Nokia know what they are doing, they have making phones for long enough!
I would recommend buying some sort of cover for the iPhone. It's a shame to spoil its looks with a cover, but I wouldn't fancy its chances of surviving being dropped in the street many times! 3G owners beware - although the new phone appears similar to the original, the proximity and light sensors are actually in a different place, so covers for the old phone may not necessarily be suitable for this one. You can just about see the 3Gs sensors as 3 small dots to the left of the earpiece, under the glass, in the right light. And yes, it IS glass!
You can also add all sorts of applications from the iTunes store if you wish, some free, some certainly not free! Reviews of these are another subject altogether though.
This model has recently been replaced in the Apple range by a laptop of all aluminium construction. The price of the new model has soared compared to these plastic models, but it is probably worth paying the extra considering what I am about to say of these models:
From the day I bought this Macbook I had reservations over its build quality. I have several Macs and other Apple products, and the white plastic Macbook simply isn't up to Apple's usual standards. Mine is less than a year old and already has two large cracks on the wrist support area, where the two raised lumps on the lid have penetrated the flimsy plastic cover surrounding the keyboard and track-pad. In general, the Macbook just feels flimsy.
Also, the Macbook gets far too hot on the underside, around the processor area (left hand side as you look at the display). The only ventilation is hidden within the display hinge, and this appears not really to be up to the task, as you will discover when you find your leg gently cooking under the Macbook!
The display isn't the finest I've seen fro Apple either. Viewing angle is pretty poor compared to their desktop displays, and colours look relatively washed out alongside almost any other displays.
I think in several ways Apple have simply concentrated on making the Macbook look clean and sleek, while neglecting more practical concerns. So, would I go back to a PC? No. Of course I wouldn't.
The Macbook may be a bit flimsy and too hot, but the operating system (OS X Leopard) is years ahead of what Vista struggles to offer (and you can always install Vista as well, if you wish).
The spec for these machines is easily available elsewhere online, so I have concentrated on commenting on issues relating to my experience with this product.
When it comes to mousing, Logitech are the Daddies. Fact.
My bin is full of original equipment mice, and my desktop littered with cordless Logitechs. The process is simple: you buy a computer, you throw the mouse in the bin/cupboard/whatever and you buy a Logitech to replace it.
The LX8 features the usual Logitech feature set - i.e. 2d scroll wheel, and thumbable fwd/back buttons on the side. A top mounted LED alerts you to battery low conditions, and the whole thing just fits snugly in your (right) hand.
Logitech's laser tracking is smooth and creamy, as always, and will work on pretty much any surface, unless you're prone to computing on a mirrored desktop. It beats wires, and it beats IR technology.
Just stuff the mini receiver into a vacant USB socket, and away you go - hassle free mousing. Buy one, and see for youself just how good these mice are.
The day I made this purchase, my shopping trolley was full of useful items: a pack of new guitar strings for my violin, and some sanitary towells for uncle Bernard to name but a couple.
Having used Apple computers for many years, I observed that they had never been troubled by any viruses or malicious software, so I purchased this software. The transformation was stark: my Apple computers are still not plagued by any viruses or malicious software. Norton have isolated and exterminated all the viruses which had previously never existed on my machine - and all this for only a considerable annual subscription fee!
Given that, in my experience, Apple computers are not prone to collecting viruses, I can't imagine who would not want to spend a lot of money protecting their computer against such threats. Buy it today folks, and you won't regret parting with a lot of cash to protect against something which won't ever happen.
The catchily named RSA1WTMH from Samsung is likely to be another winner from the company who really define the art of domestic refrigeration.
The French may not be to thank for many things on this life, but they certainly know how to hang a door on a fridge. In fact, traditional English hingers are difficult to find now. And with a total volume of 544 litres (198 for the cryo closet), you ought to be able to chill enough Port Salut and Villagiose to see you through the fast approaching Christmas season.
Frost free cooling is, of course, standard on all Samsung models since 1998's RS440K, and styling has been dragged into the noughties by means of a silver finish to the exterior of the closet.
Cooling duties are handled by Samsung's proprietary SoftTherm system, which eases the closet's burden on the environment by introducing thermally inducive silicates to the coolant.
There's one thing you can be sure of when buying a flash memory stick, and that's that in a few months time you will be able to buy one with 8 times the capacity at one eighth of the price!
This pink trimmed 16Gb beauty from Sony will set you back around £35, which is about the same price that I paid for a 128 Mb stick a few years ago!
I use these things for transferring data between PCs and Macs, and find that some makes of stick are quite temperamental about working with both operating systems. However, I have had no such trouble with the Sony.
A minor irritation with these devices is that as their storage capacity becomes ever more vast, they seem to place heavier demands upon the USB buss in terms of power. In the good old days, memory sticks could be plugged into USB extension ports (i.e. on keyboards/monitors etc), but the larger capacity devices of today tend to demand full-on USB bus power.
Dell's budget boxes certainly ain't the prettiest PCs you'll set eyes upon, and they probably aren't the cheapest either. But, where Dell really come into their own is in terms of ease of ordering, efficiency and prompt service.
Sure, a PC at this end of the market isn't going to get anybody very excited, and it is likely to be purchased just to sit under a desk and do a job. And that is what Dells do. This machine is likely to sit on/under your desk and provide many years of dishing up Office documents ad web pages, largely untouched and unnoticed. What more can you ask from a budget machine?!
Looks wise, it is about as standard as a PC gets. A spray of silver gives it a hint of 'modernness', but essentially this is a beige box from the 90s transported to 2008. I expect Dell would even be able to fit a 3.5" floppy drive as an optional extra if you really wanted to relive the windows 95 days.
These in-ear, noise-isolating headphones feel be a little strange when you first start using them - but don't let that put you off.
Sony and Sennheiser have been offering this headphone technology for a few years now. It has stood the test of time, and is probably here to stay for a few more years whether you like it or not!
The concept behind the CX 400s is simple; block out all the ambient noise with snug fitting rubber in-ear phones and let the sounds from your MP3 player spurt directly into your ear, unhindered by spillage from the outside world. And it works. So well in fact, that you cannot hear nearby cars, or people trying to talk to you in the street.
Bass tones are delivered full and punchy, while trebles are pristine and glossy. Headphone technology has progressed an awful lot on the last decade, and products such as the CX 400 are testament to the extensive research and development carried out by those at the forefront of audio reproduction, and Sennheiser can proudly claim to be in that elite group!
I'm a firm believer that for any serious graphics work, 1680 x 1050 is the minimum resolution that one can get away with. With that in mind, how does the budget LG stack up against more esoteric models?
Firstly, I feel that 22" is really stretching the boundaries of what a 1680 x 1050 display can get away with - I prefer to see such resolutions confined to a 20" workspace - maximum!
Positioned next to an ageing Apple Cinema Display, it is immediately apparent that the budget end of the LG range is not likely to be up to the task of any serious design work - the colour definition simply isn't there, and the cathode bleed at the vertical extremes would simply not be acceptable to the professional.
Treat this monitor as an auxiliary 2nd display, or a domestic workhorse and it will probably see you through many years of happy computing, but for serious design work, look elsewhere.
How many times have you done it? Ironed your shirt for work in the morning, and left the iron on all day! Well that simply is a no-go-zone for the "Auto Shut-Off" equipped 40740 from the might MR.
Think ironing, you think Morphy Richards - that simple. True, with a wet-stuff capacity of only 12.32oz, this smoother won't keep the more trigger happy crease slayers at bay, but it's more than adequate for the average family load - providing it's not junior's big high-school prom night!
Horizontal steaming has been relegated to the dark and dingy realms of yesteryear, and all manufacturers are now offering at least one lump with true vertical steaming capability (beware of pseudo vertical steaming variants, which merely redirect the horizontal flow!). While on the whole effective, I felt the steam travel at times fell a little to the acute of the perpendicular, but this ought not be a worry for the casual domestic user at whom this lump is aimed.
At a mere 550 Watts, the Philips HR1854 was always going to struggle in the newly developing league of the "super-juicer", but it has a few tricks up its sleeve...
We've all been there: Late at night, or possibly a Sunday when the local stores are closed for business, you fancy a juice. The fridge is bare, the bin is heaving with discarded Tetra packs. But the bin is not the only overloaded vessel in the kitchen - your fruit bowl is bulging with a host of delights, yet for one reason or another you don't fancy actually eating the fruit. Enter the HR1854.
With only 550 Watts at its disposal, the seasoned juicemeister may be tempted to walk by this rig. But don't be fooled! What appears to be super-linear blade technology, coupled with Philips' wealth of experience in this field yield amazing results. And the built in pulp ejection mechanism is almost unheard of in this price bracket.
Seriously, this must be near the top of any juicer wish list.
Siemens were one of the early adopters of the much hyped DECTGAP wireless domestic home telephony protocol, and their undisputed experience in this domain shines through in this offering.
Extending upon the original DECT protocol, the addition of GAP enhancements has, for many, made true domestic wireless phone calls a reality.
Physically the handset and base-station will not set hearts racing, nor are they likely to be troubling the likes of BT or Thorst when design awards are being handed out! But it is in the functionality of their products that Siemens have always been foot and ankle ahead of the rest.
The C385 is conventional i its design, featuring the usual decade of numeric buttons (arranged in the conventional manner), as well as a number of ancillary controls placed to enhance, rather than hinder, the dialling process. Meanwhile the somewhat retro display provides ample in-call feedback, yet without distracting the user.
Once hailed as the future of recorded music, Sony's MiniDisc format failed to deliver in almost every area. Its lifespan artificially prolonged by its adoption in the broadcast industry, this relic has struggled in the consumer arena from it very conception.
However, with the JE520, Sony might be onto a winner...
Alongside the expected features, such as Play, Pause, Fast Forward, Fast Rewind, Stop, Record, Eject, Power On/Off etc, Sony have introduced some new, and most welcome features. Foremost among these is the ability to program the device to play tracks on the inserted disc in any order you chose, as well as a "random" (or shuffle - for the iPod generation) mode - handy when you feel a bit crazy, and crave the suspense of not quite knowing what you are going to hear next.
The "lossy" ATRAC compression algorithms have also moved on in leaps and bounds since the "grainy" tones of yesteryear graced our hifis, offering a viable alternative to the phillips compact cassette format.
You know the scenario: Fresh baked bread from the bakers, you opted for it not to be sliced in the shop, you get it home, hack it yourself, only to find that the slices are too wide - or irregularly sawn - to fit in the slots of your work surface toasting machine.
In steps the mighty Russell Hobbs to the rescue. Not only does this offering from the masters of toast preparation feature "extra wide slots", but also crumb tray and integrated easy reach "cancel" button - to avoid those embarrassing late night moments!
And this truly is the wide boy of the toasting world; no matter how carelessly one slices that yeasty sponge, the 13767 will not fail to accommodate!
If, like me, you are prone to "habitual toasting syndrome" form time to time, you will be relieved to learn that the 13767 has an easy reach, fast action "cancel" button. No more accidentally toasted sandwiches!