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PERFECTLY PRODUCTIVE IPHONE APPS
Buying a BlackBerry? Into the iPhone? A Sneak Peak into the Future
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VOL02 ISSUE #03
FEATURES 10 Smart, Phone? What makes a smartphone clever and why you would need one
16 At Home With Acer Have a sneak peek at exciting new technology from Acer
18 Get Excited About Office 2010 Before you upgrade, learn more about Word, Excel, Outlook and Office
22 The iPhone App Essentials The most useful productivity tools all lined up
24 Facebook Privacy Everything you need to know about keeping your privacy secure
28 How To: Not Break Your Printer Take care of your inkjet and laser printers so they never break
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Editorâ€™s Letter News Trouble-free Technobabble Tamsin the Tech Tannie Competition Disconnect
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4 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
’m going to BBM you. What did you download from the app store? Do you know how Internet tethering works? From BlackBerry to iPhone and everything in between, there are a lot of questions and jargon floating around if you use a smartphone. How clever do you need to be to use one and do you need one at all? What makes a smartphone, well, smart? After all, mobile phones are not as simple as they used to be. They’re so much more than communication devices – a phone is now a camera, a handheld gaming device, an on-the-go email checker… the amount of features coming out and downloadable applications only gets bigger every day. Even the most basic cellphone models are more than a number-dialling machine. So what’s the major difference? This month in Connect, we take a look at the not-so-simple Smartphone to discover what makes them belong in a category all on their own. Read more on page 10. If you’re already the owner of an Apple iPhone, you’re more than likely overwhelmed by the thousands of applications available for download. In fact, there are over 200,000 to choose between. How do you choose the mostly useful tools and avoid the dodgy ones? We’ve done it for you. Flip to page 22 to find a quick look at our top productivity and utility picks that can turn your iPhone into a virtual computer. From social networking to business, we’ve rounded up a fine (and mostly free) selection of awesome apps. Without realising the implications, there is a good chance you’re part of a social network. From LinkedIn to Twitter, MySpace to Facebook, there are many ways to virtually interact with friends, family, work colleagues
(and sometimes strangers) over the Internet. Recently, there has been a lot of news about privacy issues surrounding Facebook and where the information you share goes and whom it goes to. For those unsure on how to beef up your personal security, on page 24 Connect will easily explain how to keep your private information under lock and key. If you know the ins and outs of a program, it can really make a difference. One group of programs we all use is Microsoft Office. Made up of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, Office 2010 has just made its debut on shelf with exciting updates to all of the fantastic four mentioned above. Are you going to upgrade? First, read our Office feature on page 18 to discover the exciting highlights of each program. You may update your Office, get the latest anti-virus software and pay special attention to your cellphone… but do you really look after your printer? If you properly care and maintain your printer, most of the problems that crop up are unavoidable. Be sure to read our handy guide on page 28 – you’ll come out knowing everything about keeping your inkjet or laser printer in tip-top shape. Connect Magazine was lucky to jet off to Beijing to take a sneak peek at some of Acer’s upcoming products. Turn to page 16 to read more. Don’t forget our resident tech tannie, Tamsin, who is always there to assist on any IT-related queries. And for those wishing to quickly brush up on their jargon, we’ll bust a few beauties every month. Keep Connected, Tiana Cline EDITOR
iPhone, number 4 With Apple releasing it’s latest version of the iPhone in June, it would have been easy for owners of its predecessor to turn green with envy. Fortunately, the company also announced an update to the iPhone operating system, thereby adding many features that upgrade software functions of the older 3GS to a level comparable with the latest iPhone. The most notable feature is the ability to multi-task, a bugbear suffered by users of the older operating system. This will significantly improve the usability of the phone as a stand-in productivity tool for mobile workers as they will now be able to swop between apps without shutting them down before opening another app. Another feature that will be welcomed by mobile workers, especially those with multiple email accounts, is the new, unified email inbox. No longer will you have to flip back and forth between accounts to read all your mail, it is now delivered into a single inbox. Apple has also introduced App Folders that improve the management and sorting of applications, allowing users to more easily find and move between apps. Mobile workers will be equally impressed with the addition of Bluetooth keyboard support, which means that if you do have to type or capture long documents, you can now do that with the convenience of a full, separate keyboard. Non-business users of iPhone are also in for a treat, with Apple introducing its Game Center that enables networked games with friends or complete strangers. A whole online gaming environment has been created that allows you to also compete on leader boards and achievements with players from around the globe.
Street View goes local Locals and tourists alike can now experience South Africa like never before thanks to Google Street View. South Africa is the first country in Africa to receive Street View from Google, following in the footsteps of more than 50 US cities as well as large areas of Australia, Japan and Europe that are currently visible in Street View Street View adds richness to the useful Google Maps, with its seamless 360° panorama of street-level images taken by the Google cars and trikes around the country. The local version of Google Street View also provides users with opportunities to view and navigate panoramic images of celebrated attractions including the Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon. Google Street View has also captured all the 2010 soccer stadiums. Street View cars and trikes covered over 60 000 kilometres of roads across South Africa, including the following Cape wineries: Bouchard Finlayson, De Rust Estate, De Wetshof, Fairview, Jordan, Hamilton Russell, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Morgenster, Rustenberg, Vilafonté and Warwick. To access Street View in South Africa, visit http://maps.google.co.za.
6 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
Ride the Gautrain! More than 11 000 Gauteng residents supported the Gautrain’s first day of operations. Bombela CEO, Jerome Govender said the service operated generally smoothly with the trains operating at 96.7% punctuality and 100% availability. The first trains departed Sandton Station on time at 05:24, and the OR Tambo International Airport on time at 05:30. Trains during the first hour of operations of the Airport Service were full, carrying approximately 1 000 passengers. No safety or security incidents were reported, and commuters have been encouraged to use the Gautrain bus service that operates in surrounding areas up to 15 kilometer of the stations. No cash is accepted on the Gautrain trains, buses or at the parking exit gates, with a contactless smart card – the Gautrain Gold Card – allowing seamless transfer between Gautrain’s train, bus and parking services. The
8 Road Trip Soccer Apps If you’re looking for the perfect road travel companion that will help you enjoy a stress-free and pleasant time at the soccer, a BlackBerry might be the answer. They’ve thought of everything, from planning your trip and getting directions to finding out about the weather and following the scores for the games you couldn’t watch live or on TV. HERE ARE EIGHT GREAT, FREE APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE FROM BLACKBERRY APP WORLD. 1 Nav4All Need directions? With Nav4All, you will never need a map book again. Nav4All is the most advanced and inexpensive navigation system on earth, accessible on your own BlackBerry smartphone whenever you need it.
Gautrain Gold Cards are available at a once-off cost of R10 from ticket offices and ticket vending machines at all stations, as well as at selected retailers. Value can then be loaded onto the cards as required and can be re-used to pay for Gautrain services. Passengers also have the opportunity to register their Gautrain Gold Cards at a ticket office that will enable them to blacklist the card should it be lost or stolen. Un-used value on the card can then be transferred to a new card. The train and bus services operate from seven days a week between 5:30am to 8:30pm, with services every 12 minutes during peak times (5:30 to 8:30am and 4:00 to 7:00pm), and every 20 minutes during off-peak times. On weekends the train service is available every 30 minutes. For further information visit the Gautrain website on www. gautrain.co.za. The Gautrain Customer Contact Centre is available on 0800 GAUTRAIN (428 87246).
FNB Connect gets Apple App Store approval First National Bank’s ‘Connect Talk’ is a VoIP application that is now available for free on the South African Apple App Store. This is in addition to the range of phones on which it is already available. Now iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users can make calls to cellphones and landlines, both locally and internationally, at significantly reduced rates. The company claims this is the first proudly South African application to be available on the world-renowned Apple App store. Launched in 2008, FNB Connect is the bank’s virtual Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides easy-to-use and affordable telecommunications services to FNB customers. However, non-FNB customers are not restricted - they can also open a non-transactional account online in minutes when applying for FNB Connect to get them started. FNB ‘Connect Talk’ is a no-contract, pre-paid only system with call rates ranging from 33c to 49c per minute for local calls, 25c per minute for international calls, and 99c per minute to any South African mobile number when making calls via an Internet connection.
2 WorldMate Live WorldMate Live can turn your BlackBerry smartphone into a personal travel assistant taking the stress out of travelling. The application gives you instant access to all trip details including itineraries, weather updates, currency converters and more. It enables you to create itineraries that sync between your BlackBerry smartphone, Outlook Calendar, personal website and WorldMate Live website, making sure you keep up to date with your schedules. 3 BeWeather BeWeather is one of the best weather apps available for a smartphone. You can check current weather conditions plus a five-day forecast for any part of the world. Current conditions information includes “Feels like” temperature, wind, pressure and dew point, humidity, while the forecast offers data like high/low temperature and precipitation probability. 4 SameCell Search Get to know what’s happening around you while on the road. SameCell Search is a simple and efficient application for BlackBerry smartphones that uses GPS and Cell-Tower positioning to provide single click searching for nearby places, services, weather and events. 5 BlackStar Using your BlackBerry device and BlackStar, you will be able to keep track of your current Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, Speed, Direction and the distance to your destination. As long as you brought your GPS capable BlackBerry, you’re all set.
6 DriveSafe.ly DriveSafe.ly reads your text messages and emails out loud so you can concentrate on the road. Eliminate the temptation to reach for your phone by letting DriveSafe. ly read to you and automatically respond for you. Stay connected by listening to your messages without texting while driving or reading emails in your car. 7 BeBuzz Listening to music on the road and don’t want to miss a call? BeBuzz allows you customize the LED color and create repeating audible reminders for incoming and missed calls. Plus it adds customizable vibrate for incoming calls.
8 In Case of Emergency This simple app has saved lives, and it could save yours in case of an emergency, providing emergency personnel with critical personal and medical data: your name, who to contact, important notification telephone numbers, blood type, allergies, your physician’s name and number, the meds you take, existing medical conditions – even the name of your health insurer, so you get the medical attention you need now.
To download BlackBerry App World direct from your BlackBerry smartphone visit www.blackberry.com/appworld
techno jargon // BY DEON DU PLESSIS
Tech Jargon More nerdy words have been deconstructed back into plain English for your reading pleasure. I bet youâ€™re feeling smarter already.
8 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
SPONGY: When a keyboard’s key feedback is described as ‘spongy’, it means that when you press a key, the key feels like it sinks into something soft rather than clicks. Depending on who you talk to, this can be a good and a bad thing. In our context, i.e. the review of the Acer Timeline X 4820T, it’s not a good thing. Fortunately, a laptop’s built-in keyboard can be replaced with a USB keyboard of your choosing. We’re big fans of Microsoft’s range. DEDICATED VS. INTEGRATED GRAPHICS: In a desktop PC, dedicated graphics are things like add-in PCI Express graphics cards that exist independent of your motherboard, and integrated graphics is the display chip that has been built onto the motherboard itself that allows your computer to display 2D images. In the review of the Acer Timeline X 4820T, dedicated refers to a graphics chip that has been built into the central processing unit, which uses a minimal amount of power and is responsible for the Timeline’s graphics output. It’s not very powerful, and cannot cope with 3D applications. Integrated graphics in this context refers to the ATI graphics card which is only responsible for 3D graphics; it uses more power but makes game graphics look good and move smoothly. AUTOFOCUS: As the name suggests, Autofocus is the function of a camera that adjusts the lens to bring your subject or scene into sharp focus. Modern point and shoot and DSLR cameras do this quickly and easily, whereas in the past focus was the responsibility of the photographer, who had to adjust the lens with his hand in order to get the focus of the shot just right. WIDESCREEN: Any screen or image that is referred to as “widescreen” is generally considered to have a 16:9 aspect ratio. The aspect ratio is the relationship or ratio between the number of horizontal pixels in the scene/picture and the vertical pixels. When the resolution can be divided by a ratio of 16:9 exactly, the screen it is showing on qualifies as “widescreen”. Example resolutions are 1024 x 576, 1280 x 720, 1366 x 768, 1600 x 900 and 1920 x 1080. HD-READY: This deceiving description has afflicted marketers (and consumers) ever since the HD revolution began some years ago. It denotes a television set that cannot display 1080p content, but which can
display 720p and 1080i content. Thus, it’s “ready” for HD but not “Full HD”. As you may have deduced, “Full HD” means the ability to display 1080p content. You probably also know that 1080i video doesn’t look as sharp as 1080p video, thus making “Full HD” the most desirable TV designation. LAMP LIFE: The lifespan of a projector’s lamp, its primary source of light that helps project moving images onto a large, clear surface, is referred to as its “lamp life”. A long lamp life indicates a high-quality projector; “long” in this case is anything over 3000 hours. Be aware, however, that this is also the maximum amount of time a lamp will last under very specific operating conditions, which is usually only through use of the “econo” modes that require less light but which project a fainter image when compared to the regular usage mode. D-SUB: This odd-sounding term is made all the more odd by what it actually represents – D-Sub is just a fancy way of saying “VGA connector”. Yes, all this term means is that 9-pin blue plug that a monitor cable plugs into. COMPONENT VIDEO: This is a video signal split into three separate signals. Modern HDTVs can accept component video signals, as they are capable of transmitting images in a multitude of resolutions that includes High Definition 720p, 1080i and 1080p. Component video cables do not transmit sound signals at all; a separate audio cable is required. COMPOSITE VIDEO: Composite video signal can be transmitted over a single cable, and is usually denoted by a cable with yellow RCA plugs on either end. An RCA connector is a cable made up of two stereo audio cables coupled with a composite video cable, and can be identified by the red, yellow and white RCA plugs on both ends. This is commonly found on the average standard definition TV and can be used to connect DVD players and DSTV decoders to TVs. BURST: In the context of the Sony notebook review, “burst” means a sudden but temporary increase in the speed of an Intel Core i-series processor that occurs when the computer is performing CPU-intensive tasks. The reason it is done is to provide performance when necessary while maintaining a lower CPU speed in times of lower load or when the CPU is idle. This helps conserve power, which in turn helps increase the battery life of notebook computers that make use of Intel’s Core i-series processors. OVERCLOCK: Overclocking is a term used by computer enthusiasts to indicate the squeezing of more performance out of a computer system than is
available from its default configuration. This is done by manipulating components like processors and graphics cards, and increasing the amount of data each can process. It’s a fairly complicated procedure that involves boosting the internal frequencies of each component (frequency referring to the amount of operations each can perform in a second) so that the system performs faster overall. It’s dangerous, however, and can lead to catastrophic failures when not approached properly. EXPRESS CARD: Express Card slots can be found on most modern laptops; these allow for extra components to be added to the laptop’s arsenal, like 3G modems, wireless network cards, solid-state hard drives and more. ESATA: SATA stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, and is the modern hard drive connection standard. SATA-II is the standard most widely used in the world today and offers a 3gbps transfer rate (approximately 300 megabytes per second), and SATA-III has recently been ratified and deployed as its successor. It should come as no surprise, then, that eSATA stands for “external SATA”, and refers to a way of connecting external hard drives to a computer in a way that maintains the transfer speeds of SATA hard drives. GOOGLE ANDROID: Android is an operating system for mobile devices. It competes directly with Apple’s iPhone OS, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile (soon to be Windows Phone), Nokia’s Symbian and Blackberry’s BlackBerry OS. It has been developed by Google, and aims to make using a mobile phone easy, responsive and fun. Based on its success so far, it is safe to say it is largely succeeding at these goals. Android version 2.2 will be released soon, offering expanded functionality over previous versions as well as improved performance. CAPACITIVE VS. RESISTIVE: Capacitive touch interfaces rely on pressure from your finger to tell the device where you’re pressing, whereas capacitive touchscreen interfaces use a small charge that is conducted through your finger to determine finger positioning. iPhones use a capacitive touchscreen interface, and they have arguably the most sensitive and accurate touchscreens on the market. WIRELESS ACCESS POINT: When you extend the range of a wired router by connecting it by a network cable to a device that broadcasts a wireless networking signal, you are creating a wireless hotspot using hardware referred to as a “wireless access point”. It is an access point into your core network, created using wireless technology.
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buying advice: smartphones // DEON DU PLESSIS
I’ll have a… aphone smartphone 10 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
Cellphones are no longer as simple as they once were. Every year, more and more features are integrated into even the most basic of handsets to the point where the line between a “smartphone” and a regular phone is decidedly blurred. This month, Connect delves into what makes smartphones so different in an effort to bring clarity to the matter.
Features that distinguish smartphones from their not-so-clever brethren: The ability to synchronise data (contacts, appointments, schedules etc.) with a PC
ack in the early 2000s when cellphone technology was just starting to take off, mobile phones were relatively simple. You could make and receive calls on them, send text messages and if you were really larney, your phone had a colour screen. Times have changed, and today every phone that launches has a camera, colour screen, music player and more. But not every phone produced today qualifies as a “smartphone”. This title is reserved for complex and powerful phone-like handsets that have more in common with yesteryear’s computers than today’s average cell phone. A “smartphone” is, according to Wikipedia, “a mobile phone offering advanced capabilities, often with PC-like functionality”. These PC-like features include the ability to install and run applications, physical keyboards or a touch-screen equivalent, and hardware that can out-perform PCs of 10 years ago. High-speed Internet connectivity is a given, as is the kind of productivity software you’d find on any office desktop PC, i.e. mobile versions of Microsoft Office and the like. What this means for consumers is a mobile device that not only handles calls and text messages, but also e-mails, spreadsheet and document manipulation, appointment and contact management. Often, if not in every case, a hi-res camera is also present that can take amazing photos and crisp videos. In short, it’s a PC in your pocket, allowing you to perform most of the tasks available to you when sitting in front of your computer in your office, and even some you can’t.
Smartphone operating systems and application stores The software that runs your smartphone is not something you would have had to think about even four years ago. Today, however, it’s a big deal – committing to any of the major smartphone operating systems essentially locks you in to one specific platform. This is potentially critical as not all platforms are created equal. Think about choosing your smartphone as you would about the choice between a PC and a Mac – once that choice is made, you’re kind of stuck with it for the duration of your ownership. This wasn’t a problem six years ago, because there were no such things as “online mobile app stores”, virtual online marketplaces where customers can buy fun programs specifically for their phones. Today, the ways in which applications, games and multimedia content are purchased and delivered to smartphones is one of the biggest differentiators between platforms, and will probably play a big role in helping people make up their minds as to which smartphone platform to go with.
Enterprise-class e-mail facilities (i.e. the ability to work with corporate e-mail services like Microsoft Exchange) Support for adding, use and removal of software applications Full QWERTY keyboard, either real (physical) or virtual (courtesy of a touchscreen) Lots and lots of storage (think 32GB and up) Links to an online marketplace of some kind from which new applications and multimedia content can be purchased Wireless networking capabilities with support for the latest wireless security protocols The ability to edit Office documents, or at the very least to view them Access to instant messaging programs like ICQ, Windows Live Messenger etc. Powerful processors providing fast and responsive interface performance
RECENT AND IMPENDING MOBILE OPERATING SYSTEMS UPDATES Development of mobile operating systems is an ongoing challenge; here are some the updates that have been or will be deployed soon by three of the major mobile OS developers.
WINDOWS PHONE 7
APPLE IPHONE OS 4
GOOGLE ANDROID 2.2
Microsoft is going to be releasing a massive update to its Windows Mobile operating system (currently on version 6.5) this December, focusing on a brand-new interface, one-finger touch-screen operation and a whole slew of under-the-hood refinements that will likely make it the fastest mobile MS OS yet. Hard work is being poured into the total redesign of the interface, so expect Windows Phone 7 to look more like the Zune HD interface than anything seen before. Best of all, Microsoft is doing away with the Start button, drop-down menus and checkboxes. Deep integration with social networking applications is also on the cards, making Windows Phone 7 devices more lifestyle-friendly than previous Windows Mobile 6.5 phones.
Version 4 of Apple’s iPhone OS 4 will update the most recent iPhones and iPod Touch devices with multitasking, the ability to run more than one application at the same time. Other additions include better e-mail functionality, the ability to arrange applications in folders and integration with the iBook store (a service offering ebook purchases) along with performance tweaks and enhancements. The release date is summer in North America (i.e. July/August 2010).
Developers have focused on improving the performance of Google’s Android OS, and speed increases of anywhere from 2x to 5x have been reported. Further MS Exchange capabilities have been integrated into Android, like account auto-discovery and calendar sync, and a more powerful browser has been developed, resulting in a smoother Internet browsing experience. 2.2 also introduces ‘tethering’, which is the act of pairing your Android phone with your notebook and using its 3G or GPRS capabilities to connect your notebook to the Internet. Android 2.2 might be released by the time you read this; the currently-projected timeframe is June/July 2010.
WWW.CONNECT.CO.ZA | 11
buying advice: smartphones THE RUNDOWN: Here are of the most popular app stores from the various smartphone manufacturers.
APPLE APP STORE
GOOGLE ANDROID MARKET
NOKIA OVI STORE
BLACKBERRY APP WORLD
Apple’s App Store, the portion of iTunes dedicated to applications for mobile devices, for instance, has more than 150 000 applications and games to choose from. The catch is they only work with Apple’s iPhones and iPod Touch devices. Where the App Store is strongest, is in Apple’s commitment to only making available for sale those applications that make the grade, meaning only top-quality applications for the App Store.
Google’s Android operating system, which appears on several different smartphone makes and models, also has an online marketplace and many of its applications and games are 100% free. The catch is that there aren’t as many as there are in the Apple store, and many of them are not up to the same standard since Android applications are not human-reviewed before release. The Android Marketplace makes up for this with a generous refund policy, meaning you can apply for a refund within 24 hours of your purchase if you’re not satisfied.
Earlier this year, Nokia announced that its mobile application store, Ovi, experiences 22 downloads per second. That’s a whopping 1.5 million downloads each month! The average cost of an app is only slightly higher at the Ovi store in comparison to Apple and Google’s offerings, and Ovi’s numbers are growing at a good rate. Nokia appears to be honing the Ovi Store into a services platform, providing consumers access to services like maps, music, applications, games and instant messaging; for South Africans, Nokia’s Comes with Music service offers one of the cheapest ways to legally obtain digital music.
We won’t speculate as to why Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace does not yet offer as much content as its competitors or why the average cost of its apps is so much higher. With just over a thousand apps available through the Windows Marketplace and an average cost of $6.99 per app, Microsoft isn’t making any friends. The coming year will probably see good growth from the software giant, but for the moment, its mobile app offerings are less than compelling.
The popularity of RIM’s BlackBerry phone has led to it being referred to as “CrackBerry” by many of its fans. It is the number one smartphone used by American businesspeople and the pioneer of sending e-mail from anywhere with cellular signal coverage. BlackBerry App World is RIM’s online store where applications and games can be purchased; possibly due to its target audience of business people, the App World has the highest average cost per application. There are more than 5 000 apps to choose from.
Percentage of free apps: 25 Average cost per app: $3.25
Percentage of free apps: 57 Average cost per app: $3.27
Apple’s iPhone is very fast with a responsive touchscreen, it supports the most popular app store and is a sheer pleasure to use.
12 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
HTC Hero (Google Android)
HTC’s very attractive Hero phone runs Android, and is as responsive as it is pretty. It’s all-touch, so no physical keyboard, but the nippy interface makes you all but forget the need for one.
Percentage of free apps: 22 Average cost per app: $6.99
Percentage of free apps: 24 Average cost per app: $8.26
Percentage of free apps: 15 Average cost per app: $3.47
The N97 has both a touchscreen and a physical, slide-out keyboard. Its large screen is great for web browsing, and call quality is exceptional. Works with MS Exchange, too.
Providing business users with stylish multimedia capabilities and consumers easy access to business based functions.
BlackBerry Curve 8520
While it has no 3G capabilities, the Curve 8520 can connect via Wi-Fi, has a physical keyboard and trackpad, and is as good for e-mail as any other CrackBerry phone.
Oh Appy Days!
Whether youâ€™re looking for the latest scores and sports news, celebrity gossip, the latest share prices, time and expense tracking tools or weather updates, youâ€™ll ďŹ nd a world of apps to let you carry your whole life with you virtually everywhere you go.
Do U speak BlackBerry?
www.blackberry.com/za/appworld Not all 3rd party applications make use of the â€œzero ratedâ€? BlackBerry APN for data connectivity. Some 3rd party applications (including some of which are available on BlackBerryÂŽ AppWorldâ„˘) might make use of the carrierâ€™s WAP service which could be chargeable. ÂŠ2010 Research In Motion Limited. All rights reserved. BlackBerry ÂŽ, RIMÂŽ, Research In MotionÂŽ, SureTypeÂŽ, SurePressâ„˘ and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited and are registered and/or used in the U.S. and countries around the world. E&OE.
Now, ďŹ nd and download loads of FREE apps designed to work seamlessly with your BlackBerryÂŽ smartphone â€“ all from one convenient place, the BlackBerryÂŽ App Worldâ„˘ storefront.
Microsoft: With Windows Media Center, your PC is a powerful TV, bringing your shows and entertainment to one place. Enjoy broadcast and Internet TV right on your PC. Whenever and wherever you want. Windows Media Center is included in Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate, Professional, and Enterprise; and in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate. SideWinder Mouse: Elevate your skills with a revolutionary mouse designed to provide you with unprecedented performance, handling, and adaptability. Customize your mouse with every game you play using advanced software and adjustable accessories. Use the first ever LCD display on a gaming mouse for macro recording and DPI settings to reduce on-screen interference during game play. SideWinder X4 Keyboard: A virtual command center at your fingertips, this new keyboard gives you powerful programming and versatility to enhance your work or game play. ? Press up to 26 keys simultaneously without ghosting—what you
press is what you get! ? Manually toggle the keyboard from standard mode to either of
two gaming modes. LEDs show the selected mode.
Jump Start World: JumpStart is an award-winning adventure-based 3D virtual world that is super-personalized, wildly imaginative and really fun, but don't let that fool you - it also teaches math, reading, and critical thinking skills so kids get a real jump start in life. Jump Start World is a colourful, musical neighbourhood where you can play games and safely explore an enchanting 3D world. There is a new adventure to be discovered every day,and comes in 4 exciting editions: ? My First Adventure (Ages 3 – 5) ? The Legend Of Grizzly McGuffin (Ages 4 – 6) ? Trouble In Town (Ages 5 – 7) ? Quest For The Colour Meister (Ages 6 – 8)
Nuance: Nuance is the leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Our technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with information and how they create, share and use documents. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses, experience Nuance by calling directory assistance, getting account information, dictating patient records, telling a navigation system their destination, or digitally reproducing documents that can be shared and searched. Making each of those experiences productive and compelling is what Nuance is all about. Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010 has the tools you need to stay connected and productive — at home, the office, and on the road. With powerful e-mail, scheduling, and task list tools in Outlook 2010 you can access virtually anywhere, you'll always be in touch. With rich media editing and visual effects in Word 2010 and PowerPoint 2010, you're ready to create professional-looking reports and presentations that command attention. Manage finances smoothly with the data analysis tools the pros use in Excel 2010. And with OneNote 2010, you have a place to collect notes, research from the Web, documents, and other resources to organize projects for home and work. Microsoft Windows: If you use your PC for work, you'll want Windows 7 Professional. It helps you be more productive and protects the critical information you work with. Many routine tasks just take a couple of clicks, so you can spend less time setting up projectors, printers, and networks. Advanced backup options help you protect your hard work with automatic backups to your home or business network. And with Windows XP Mode, you can use virtually all of your Windows XP programs in Windows 7.
Norton: Norton 360 Version 4.0 gives you all-in-one security: protection against fraud, identity theft, viruses and other online dangers, as well as protecting important files and data by automatically backing up to internal/external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, US B, Blu-ray disc or to iPod. There's also the option of secure online storage as well. You'll need this solution if you want to: ? Connect wirelessly to a network without worrying abouthackers or intrusions; ? Guard against identity theft with Norton Identity Safewhen shopping, banking or filling in forms online; ? Protect valuable files from disastrous crashes or computerfailures; ? Restore damaged/deleted files or folders; ? Store valuable files online, securely; ? Tune up your PC and optimise performance without doinganything yourself – problems that slow your PC down arefound and fixed; ? Remove unwanted Internet clutter and temporary filesand cookies. McAfee: With the daily emergence of new and more sophisticated Internet threats that could disrupt your digital life, you need more than a simple anti-virus program to protect yourself, your computer, and your family. You need feature-rich and simple-to-use McAfee® Internet Security 2010 software.
the acer advantage // BY TIANA CLINE
This month Connect was lucky cky enough to go to Acer’s Source Home conference nference in Beijing.
This is what they launched:
SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Acer’s clear.fi is more than hardware and software – it’s an entire entertainment experience redefined where every product you own recognises each other over a network. What’s more,is that content can be stored centrally and then easily distributed to any compatible device via your clear.fi console. In other words, real-time sharing and playing of multi-format content can happen over multi-platform devices. So if you’re
The Acer Revo series is an all-in-one multimedia experience that contains a number of building blocks to help you manage your home network. From the RevoPad (for one-touch control and navigation) to the RevoView (for managing your HD content in every way), the main RevoCentre is the future hub of your digital library.
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NEED TO KNOW: 6-inch display Store 1500 books 2GB flash memory ISBN scanner QWERTY keyboard Built-in Internet browser
If Amazon’s Kindle reading device and Sony’s iPad are anything to go by, tablets are a trend currently taking over the technology space. For literary loves wanting to have thousands of books, magazines and journals in the palm of their hands, this makes perfect sense. Next up, capturing the current content revolution, is the Acer LumiRead. Offering a seamless reading experience as well as the clear.fi interface, the LumiRead is the ultimate travel companion. Instead of choosing which books to carry and negotiating precious space, especially when you consider today’s restrictive travel regulations, you can have a full library (approximately 1500 books) at your disposal. And if that is not enough, you can connect (via 3G) and download the next bestseller. Acer has signed up with Barnes&Noble as well as Libri.de to offer multilingual titles. The LumiRead device has a 6-inch display and features a non-glare, backlit, e-Ink display. Equipped with 2GB flash memory, this can easily be increased by adding a MicroSD card. A really nice element is the ISBN scanner so you if you come across a book you like, you can quickly add it to your wish list.
The Acer Stream is a high-end multimedia smartphone. Why the multimedia tag? This mobile phone has been optimised for watching movies, listening to music and web browsing. In just 11.2 mm, you can expect a phone that is both stylish in design (a minimal, modern look) but made out of reliable and highly damage-resistant materials. Like the LumiRead mentioned above, the Stream features the same, updated and easy-to-use interface which means quick access to all the phone features. The operating system behind the Stream is Android version 2.1, better known as Éclair. If you’re trying to wrap your head around why you should look at the Stream as opposed to another Smartphone model on the market, it has the following:
looking at setting up an entertainment hub using your home network, then clear.fi will help you do this. It works like this: Device icons automatically appear onscreen when connected, which means you can easily find pictures, TV, eBooks and music. You can also share all of these items across every device connected to the home network. When it comes to actually playing or storing a media file, this is also straightforward using clear.fi. Choose “Play To” and you can play music, watch videos and display photos where you need them to be. Saving digital media is just as trouble-free – content in your Media library can be accessible and enjoyed across your personal network, even in rooms that don’t have a computer. From notebooks to smartphones, desktops and eBook readers, you’ll immediately notice the stylish and accessible new design of the Acer product interface. Not only is it easy to use, its across every platform with clear.fi preinstalled, promising to make sharing, storing, and playing media across a home network easy for everyone.
Smooth animations and detailed graphics in a 3D interface Widget information is always accessible, even when the screen is locked One-tap to open applications and quick shortcuts Full customisation from the wallpaper to the icon layout and sound Over and above this, the Stream comes with three predictive keyboards, the Nemo multimedia player and Acer’s UrFooz, an application to create your own avatar to use in social networking sites. On the music side, there is a free streaming service called Spinlets to listen to major music labels and record companies. NOTEWORTHY SPECS: 1.67 million colours in a 3.7-inch WVGA display 3G connectivity, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 1GHz processor with 512MB Ram 5MP camera
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MS office 2010 //BY DEON DU PLESSIS
GET EXCITED ABOUT
Office Office 2010 is available on store shelves, and it might be tempting you to buy it with its new looks and attractive packaging. But aside from all the headline features what are the new gems that make upgrading an absolute necessity? Connect has a look-see....
THE NEW RIBBON
BACKSTAGE B A VIEW
OOne ne of the key focus areas around Offi Office 2010 is collaboration and sharing. sha That’s the reason one of the biggest changes you’ll notice when bi using usiin us ing this ing thi th hisis update uupd pdate t surrounds saving files. The new ‘Backstage view’’ is accessed by clicking on the File tab (where vi (whe all your Save, Open, Save As and PPrint i t commands d are found) f d) andd isi useful f l for f setting tt and viewing document details. These include permissions (as in, who is allowed to edit what etc.), sharing settings (you can even save your document to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s online storage service) and the viewing of all kinds of hidden info about your documents.
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When Microsoft released Office 2007 a couple of years ago, the biggest change to look and feel was the new ‘Ribbon’ interface - that little strip at the top of the screen that groups together commonly-used functions and commands. It was a great idea, but in practise the ‘Ribbon’ wasn’t the instant success Microsoft hoped it would be. While some users thought it was awesome, others claimed it was difficult to work with and that the task groupings weren’t logical or customisable. With Office 2010, Microsoft took that idea back to the drawing board – and has delivered. The Office 2010 version of the Ribbon is easier to use and completely customisable. This means you’ll like the default layout more and where it doesn’t meet your exact needs, you can group functions together in a single tab, or create your own tabs from scratch pulling together the functions you use regularly.
POWERPOINT BROADCAST SERVICE
People are trying to save the environment and keep a little more change in their pockets by travelling less and using the Internet more. With Office 2010, you can conduct a presentation remotely. The PowerPoint Broadcast service uses the ‘Windows Live’ platform to publish a file to the Internet, effectively allowing you to broadcast a presentation right from your computer. When activated, this feature creates a single link to a live version of your presentation that you can either e-mail to a bunch of people, or send out over instant messaging or Twitter. When someone clicks on the link, the presentation loads in a web page, meaning it’s accessible from any device with a web-browser. And the best part is, when you’re done presenting, you turn off the broadcast and the purpose-generated link no longer works.
‘WEB APP’ VERSIONS OF EXCEL, WORD AND POWERPOINT
Office 2010 doesn’t just improve the applications you know and love. Microsoft has also taken 2010 into the cloud, allowing everyday users to share documents with each other via the web. You’ll need a ‘Windows Live ID’ to use these web-apps and simply put, they’re scaleddown, Internet-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. As such, they allow for basic document creation, sharing, and even live
collaboration. And they integrate perfectly with Office 2010 – which lets you save files onto the web from your desktop and of course, open documents created by other folks, online. While web-apps aren’t fully featured versions, they offer enough functionality to be useful in times when no Office 2010-equipped PC is available.
P PASTE PREVIEW
D you know that the ‘Paste’ function is the most-used and the mostDid ccorrected function across all Office applications? Even more interesting is the fact that the Undo button is the most-clicked button after a Paste ffunction has been used. Do some thinking around this and you’ll discover (like Microsoft did), tthat this is because people don’t get the results they wanted after pasting ssomething into a document. To address this, Microsoft overhauled the Paste function, something tthat resulted in the all-new Paste Preview feature. As the name suggests, whatever you are pasting into your document can bbe previewed and modified in ways that ensure you get the desired result. WWW.CONNECT.CO.ZA | 19
MS office 2010
EMBEDDING VIDEO IN POWERPOINT SLIDES
While prettying up a PowerPoint presentation is a fine art, one of the best ways to break monotony is to show a video, mid-presentation. With Office 2007, putting a video into a PowerPoint presentation meant endless battles with codecs (the software that encodes and decodes various formats of video) and created a file too large to e-mail around, upload onto the Internet, or in some cases, conveniently place on a flash memory stick. 2010 changes that by allowing you to embed online videos into presentations. All you have to do is copy the ‘embed’ link from YouTube or other video sites and insert it into your presentation as am embedded video and you’re done. Now, the video file doesn’t actually live on your hard disk and instead, is streamed via the Internet when it comes time for it to be played in the presentation. Apart from convenience, the ability to embed online content and pull it from the Web while you’re presenting
as opposed to storing the video file on your hard drive is a nice step forward, considering the wealth of useful information available from online video sources. While Office 2010 doesn’t appear to be all that different from Office 2007, the moment you look at its overall polish, improved performance and the ease with which certain tasks can be accomplished, it becomes a no-brainer. Do you absolutely need it? Not if you already own Office 2007. That said however, I doubt anyone could possibly be disappointed with this new offering – it is honestly the best value for money Office has offered in years. That’s also partly because the upgrade pricing for 2010 is extremely attractive and the plain retail pricing has gotten substantially cheaper in the past couple of years. If you are buying a productivity suite from scratch, this is the best choice. If you’re upgrading, it should be a strong consideration.
IMPROVED PICTURE-EDITING TOOLS
Inserting images into documents created in earlier versions of Office used to require some pre-editing in a third-party application. With Office 2010, Microsoft has included some new image-editing tools that allow users to cut, crop, add border effects, reflections and lots more inside the Office applications themselves. Outside of basic picture edits, users can even apply various artistic effects like pencil shading (which makes images look as if they were sketched by a pencil), paint brush shading (similar), and even use their images as SmartArt objects, or apply 3D rotation, glow, soft edges and bevel effects. Previews are also nicely supported here, so as an effect is chosen, users can get a real-time idea of what the final result will look like.
OUTLOOK SOCIAL CONNECTOR
WORD TEXT EFFECTS
Replacing the previous “WordArt” feature, ‘Text Effects’ in Office 2010 gives users the same control over their text as what they can get with pictures. In addition to the text styles that can be applied, there are now shadow, glow, reflection and outline effects, which provide further customisation to the selected text.
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Social media and social networking are everywhere. So it makes sense that Microsoft’s collaboration focused tool, Outlook, starts integrating these features. Outlook 2010 allows users to enter their social network credentials and matchh their e-mail contact list with known friends, relatives and business associates automatically. This means instead of looking at your dull contacts list day in day out, you’ll see Facebook profile pictures and other basic information automatically being updated for the contacts you’re friends with on Facebook. Services like Twitter and Windows Live can also be used for this purpose.
OUTLOOK K QUICK STEPS
Outlook is fast becoming the most important application in the Office suite and with 2010 Microsoft has gone to great lengths to cut through the clutter, giving users access to the features they need, quickly. Outlook Quick Steps is simply put, a shortcut-creator that can be used to automate multi-step tasks. Tasks like moving an e-mail to a folder once it has been replied to, for instance, can be created, as can opening a new mail addressed to a specific recipient and much, much more. Quick steps are pretty much rules that are activated by a mouse-click.
Microsoft® Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Discover the Difference: Microsoft BlueTrack™ Technology
Sure, I like desks. But I also work on tricky surfaces like carpet, granite, and wood.
I work on virtually any surface. With the world’s most advanced tracking. One look at my blue glow and you’ll know I’m different. My BlueTrack Technology gives you the world’s most advanced tracking, on virtually any surface*. I’m also wireless and portable with my Plug-And-Go Nano Transceiver that stays in your mobile PC – so that you can work and play wherever you want. I’m even available in pink.
www.microsoft.com/hardware/ *BlueTrack Technology does not work on clear glass or mirrored surfaces.
mobile tools //BBYY JOOHHAN HAN NN BA BARN R AR RN ARD
Perfect e iPhonp Ap s l a i t n Esse
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With more than 200 000 iPhone apps to choose from, itâ€™s easy to get lost in a maze littered with very useful tools.
hile games, books and educational apps lead the pack, there are very many useful productivity and utility tools that can turn your iPhone into a virtual computer away from your computer. Connect explores popular social networking apps, as well as the more businessoriented tools that allow you to work and live seamlessly in a mobile environment.
STAY CONNECTED Facebook
PayPal User Rating: Price: FREE
Miles2Go is a mileage and fuel consumption tracker that allows you keep a log of fuel and associated costs with powerful analysis and reporting capabilities that ease the burden of doing so manually.
User Rating: None yet Price: FREE
Fring is truly the all-in-one social networking chat tool, offering a single point from which to chat to friends and contacts across Facebook, Twitter, Skype, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, Yahoo! and AIM. It also allows you to make phone and video calls using Wi-Fi and 3G networks.
This social networking app allows you to connect with friends by location, with users tagging popular or noteworthy hotspots such as good restaurants, sales or specials on at a store. Find friends from Facebook and Twitter in your location and meet them face-to-face.
This social networking is aimed more at the business user, with the iPhone version providing the ability to manage your LinkedIn contacts so that you’re always in touch.
YOUR VIRTUAL OFFICE Quickoffice Mobile Suite
Mobile Air Mouse
Download the official Twitter for iPhone app to enjoy the full experience. Realtime search, Top Tweets, trending topics and maps showing tweet locations in a simple and snappy interface.
Transform your iPhone into a trackpad to control your computer or into a universal remote to control your media applications and even presentations.
Draw on the convenience of this electronic money transfer service by paying for goods and services, sending money to friends of family and (if you’re an FNB customer) withdraw funds. This fully-functional app places the management of your PayPal account at your fingertips.
The Facebook app brings all the functionality and features of the web version to the iPhone in a familiar design and layout. Update your status, upload photos, chat, check out your friends’ status and photos, all within the palm of your hand.
WordPress for iPhone
View, e-mail and edit attachments in Microsoft Word and Excel on your iPhone, meaning you are virtually never away from your desk. Features such as password protection, full editing capabilities position this as a must-have for mobile office workers.
User Rating: None yet Price: FREE
This is a great productivity tool that stores your files ‘in the cloud’ so you can access, edit and save documents from any computer or device, no matter where are – and as long as you have Internet connectivity.
Another great utility for users with two or more devices they use to work and surf the web. Sign up for Evernote and tag web pages, voice and written notes and even photos to the central service that you can then sync and access from your devices, now even the iPhone.
This is the perfect tool for those bloggers who simply can’t help themselves and feel the need to blog from anywhere, on their iPhone. This fully functional app has been optimised for iPhone so that you never feel disconnected.
User Rating: None yet Price: FREE
PASSWORD SECURITY mSecure
mSecure for iPhone allows you to safely store important information like web logins, credit card numbers, frequent flyer numbers and any other data you may need while on the go.
User Rating: None yet Price: $2.99
Achieve piece of mind that your web site login credentials, personal identity information (including names, addresses and telephone numbers), personal details and notes are safe from prying eyes.
DataVault Password Manager
MobileRSS This is a great tool if you use Google Reader to keep track of your favourite web sites through RSS feeds. These feeds allow you to collect updates from your favourite sites remotely and view them on your iPhone
Make use of your iPhone’s memory by mounting it as a wireless drive on a Mac, Windows, or Linux machine and drag and drop files between your iPhone and your computers. You can also view documents in many common formats.
This tool securely stores all your confidential information, with a unique interface helping you easily navigate your encrypted data. Features include customisable passwords, password strength meter, security timeout and master password hint.
User Rating: None yet Price: $9.99
Keeper Password & Data Vault
Boasting 128-bit encryption, this popular app keeps your information safe, even while synchronising data across a wireless network. Best of all it has a self-destruct feature that erases all Keeper data after five unsuccessful attempts.
User Rating: Price: FREE
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secure social networking // BY TAMARYN WATKINS
Does what happens in Facebook stay in Facebook? Everything you need to know about controlling your privacy Facebook privacy seems like nothing to be worried about, right? After all, you get to pick who your friends are, and only your friends see your profile, right? Wrong. The next time you lose out on a job because the HR manager viewed your questionable Facebook photos or saw something inappropriate a friend posted on your wall, you may have second thoughts. But why wait until something bad happens before you address the issue? We take a look at a few quick ways you can beef up on your personal information security.
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A step-by-step guide want to reclaim your privacy from Facebook
CONTROL WHO SEES WHAT YOU SHARE ON FACEBOOK
acebook is great for sharing photos and status updates, and keeping family and friends informed on the latest news in your life. But what happens when you let loose for a few hours one night (or day) and photos (or videos) of your moment are suddenly posted and tagged for all to view? Up until recently, these were the only privacy concerns that Facebook users had. That is, until changes were made to user privacy policies in April that raised public concern that private information was being shared without user knowledge or consent. These changes were made in an effort to allow Facebook to compete with “open” social media platforms like Twitter, by allowing applications and other users to access all sorts of personal information that was previously unavailable to outsiders.
Public by default: There are some pieces of information that you can never hide on Facebook. These include your name, profile picture, location and even your connections and hobbies. If you are uncomfortable with this information being displayed, delete or edit the content directly on your profile.
Probably the most critical changes made by Facebook was the change made to status updates - although there’s now the option beneath the status update field that lets you select who can view each update as you make it, the new Facebook default for this setting is “Everyone.” And by everyone, they mean everyone. When Facebook did its privacy makeover, if you accepted the recommended settings, then you voluntarily gave Facebook permission to share the information about the items you post with any user or application on the site and, depending on your search settings, you may have also given over the right to share that information with search engines, too.
How to claim your privacy back: 1 From your Profile page, mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and click “Privacy Settings” from the list that appears. 2 Click “Profile Information” from the list of choices on the next page. 3 Scroll down to the setting “Posts by Me.” This covers anything you post, and includes status updates, links, notes, photos, and videos. 4 Change this setting using the drop-down box on the right. We recommend the “Only Friends” setting to ensure that only those people you’ve specifically added as a friend on the network can see the things you post. If you want to control certain content and would like to customise sharing beyond friends only, then you need to click on “customise settings.” This brings up a new page, where the setting for each element of your profile can be tweaked individually.
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secure social networking A step-by-step guide want to reclaim your privacy from Facebook cont’d
Keep Out Of Trouble! Our Top 5 Privacy Tweaks
1 AVOID THE NOTORIOUS TAGGED PHOTO MISTAKE: Under
Privacy Settings go to the “Photos and Videos of Me” section and click on the drop down menu, and click the “Custom” and select “Only Me” so you’ll be the only one to see them. 2 PROTECT YOUR ALBUMS FROM PRYING EYES: Unless you are a
professional photographer, there’s no reason to make your albums visible so that the whole world can see them. Visit the visiting the photos privacy settings page and limit the access of each of your albums to “Only Friends”. 3 CONTROL WHAT INFORMATION APPLICATIONS CAN ACCESS:
More restrictive you make your profile settings, applications are able to know about you, avoid your friends inadvertently sharing your information with annoying applications by adjusting your “Applications and Website” settings, under your Privacy Settings. Here you can remove unwanted applications and select how much info to share, or you can even turn off all applications entirely. 4 PREVENT YOUR BREAK UP FROM SHOWING UP IN YOUR
How to be selective about personal information: 1 From your Profile page, mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and select “Privacy Settings” from the list. 2 Click “Profile Information” from the list of choices on the next page. 3 Then follows “birthday,” “religious and political views,” and “family and relationship.” It might be smart to change birthday to “Only Friends” especially considering how important this information is for identity theft. 4 Select these settings based on how comfortable you are with sharing your relationship status and religious and political views with complete strangers.
Keep in mind, any setting besides “Only Friends” means that your info will be visible to anyone, even strangers. While “Friends of Friends” sounds harmless enough, it refers to everyone your friends have added as friends and all it takes is one careless friend in your network to give an objectionable person access to your information. 26 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
CONTROL WHO SEES YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
Your profile has a section called “personal info,” but it only includes your interests, activities, and favorites. Other information that could be argued to be even more personal is not included by the “personal info” setting on Facebook’s Privacy Settings page. That other information includes things like your birthday, your religious and political views, and your relationship status. After recent privacy changes, Facebook set the new defaults for this other information to viewable by either “Everyone” (for family and relationship status) or to “Friends of Friends” (birthday, religious and political views). Who gets to see what, once you’ve fiddled these settings a bit, depends on your own preferences - you can update each of these fields as you see fit. However, we would bet that many would want to set these to “Only Friends” as well.
CONTROL YOUR FACEBOOK SEARCH RESULTS
When you visit Facebook’s Search Settings page, a notification message pops up – this is Facebook’s way of clearing the air about what info can be indexed by Google, and they tell you that: “there have been misleading rumors recently about Facebook indexing information on Google. This is not true. Facebook created public search listings in 2007 to enable people to search for your name and see a link to your Facebook profile. They will still only see a basic set of information.”
FRIENDS’ NEWS FEEDS: If your status has recently changed from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’ or ‘it’s complicated’ people are going to want to know why. Avoid the discomfort by unchecking the box next to “Remove Relationship Status” in the News Feed and Wall Privacy page. 5 AVOID EMBARRASSING WALL POSTS: Just because you use
Facebook for business doesn’t mean your friends do. That’s why you should control your wall postings visibility or even which friends can post on your wall. You can configure these settings directly from your profile page, using the Options link under the publisher and selecting your desired settings.
While this is not untrue, it’s not exactly accurate either as the second setting listed on this Search Settings page relates exactly to what you’re allowing Google to index. If the box next to “Allow” is checked, then you’re giving the go-ahead to search engines to access and index any information you’ve marked as visible by “Everyone” and if you haven’t changed any of the settings discussed above you’ll be sharing quite a fair amount with search engines, probably more than you would normally be willing to share. It’s simple to keep your data private from search engines. keeping your data private and out of the search engines is simple.
How to be un-searchable: 1 From your Profile page, mouse over the Settings menu at the top right and select “Privacy Settings”. 2 Click “Search” from the list of choices on the next page. 3 Click “Close” on the pop-up message that appears. 4 On this page, uncheck the “Allow” box next to the second setting “Public Search Results” to keep all your publicly shared information (in other words, items set to viewable by “Everyone”) out of the search engines.
printer maintenance //BY TAMARYN WATKINS
How not to break your printer Very few people take care of their printers. Everyone is concerned about the computer screen, the keyboard, and just about everything else, except for the printer. The only time most people give their printer a second thought is when it breaks or needs to be replaced. 28 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
or the most part, printer problems are avoidable with proper care and maintenance. Read this handy guide in order to know everything there is to know about keeping your printer in tip-top shape. Proper care for inkjet and laser printers is slightly different â€“ for obvious reasons. Letâ€™s take a quick look at each.
How to keep your Inkjet printer happy 1. Make sure your printer drivers are up-to-date: A printer driver is the application that allows your computer to communicate with your printer. It’s also what lets you change your printer settings, such as paper size or print quality, for any given print job. Printer drivers are your secret weapon against diminishing print quality over the life of your printer.
QUICK TIP: replace empty ink cartridges immediately as ink is a lubricant for the printheads, so printing with one colour missing could result destructive friction.
Q: How do I find/update my printer drivers? A: Simple. If your printer came with an installation CD, loading that into your PC and following the instructions should give you the printer drivers. If you’re looking to update your printer driver, you can usually find the most current version of your printer’s driver software on the support page of the printer manufacturer’s website, along with installation instructions.
2. Keep it clean on the inside: When printouts become faint or certain colours fail to print, it’s time to test whether the print heads are working properly, and you’ll do this by running a nozzle check (and later a print head clean) – a nozzle check is done by printing a test pattern to demonstrate which (if any) ink cartridge is clogged and needs attention. Keeping your print heads in good working order is essential for print quality when it comes to using an inkjet. Important to know: Print head cleaning and nozzle checks use a fair amount of ink, so only do it when necessary. Q: How do I perform a nozzle check? A: Like so - Click Start > Control Panel > Printers and Faxes > Right click the printer icon > Select Printing Preference > Maintenance > Nozzle Check > Print. If the nozzle pattern is perfect: click Finish If the nozzle pattern is not perfect: click Clean.
3. Use genuine consumables for your printer: Generic ink cartridges prevent you from getting maximum print quality from your printer. Manufacturers design their hardware to operate under optimum conditions – the most important of these being that genuine ink cartridges are used in the printer – in order to achieve the best results. While it might seem a cheaper option to buy generics or to refill using the as-seen-on-TV injection kits, this will probably cost you more in the long run, as this ink is of lower quality, is more likely to clog
the printheads, which will eventually lead to irreparable damage. If you’re looking to save on consumables, most manufacturers produce an XL version of their ink cartridges, which works out to be much more cost effective. Combine this with some smart print practices (only print best quality when you need it most) and you’re more likely to save this way. There are also recycle programmes that offer you a discount on your ink cartridge purchase, if you hand in your old ones for recycling.
Q: What’s head cleaning and how do I do it? A: Head cleaning is needed when the nozzle test pattern results are not perfect and you’ll need to do this when you’ve used your printer excessively, or you’ve replaced or refilled the cartridges. A: Under the same Printer Maintenance window you accessed when performing a nozzle check, simply select the ‘Head Cleaning’ option, then click Start. You’ll want to print a nozzle test pattern once you’re done cleaning, just to check the inkflow. QUICK MAC TIP: In any program that prints, select File > Page Setup > Utilities > Test print > Nozzle Test
Q: Where do I need to know when buying Inkjet? A: Write down your printer brand and model number to make it easier for you when you get to the store.
DON’T FORGET TO:
How to love your laser printer Laser printers are generally lower maintenance than inkjet printers, but even they need some TLC from time to time, so don’t forget to make the following tips and tricks a part of your office maintenance routine.
1. Make sure your printer drivers are up-to-date: Drivers hold an important key to smooth functioning of the printer, so it’s recommended that you check the manufacturer’s website regularly for updates and install them as and when they are released.
2. Clean your printer regularly:
QUICK TIP: Before beginning an internal clean, unplug the printer and allow it to cool down for an hour or so, as the internal components can be VERY hot.
Frequency of this task depends on the environment it is used in - in an office environment, it is bound to be cleaner than when placed at home. Cleaning not only refers to the inside, but also the outside. Use appropriate cleaning material for cleaning the interior parts (never ammonia) and be very careful. You might want to refer to the manual for instructions, but for most printers you can remove the toner cartridge and use a lint-free cloth to wipe down the inside and the toner cavity.
Q: How should I clean the inside of my laser printer? A: Once you’ve unplugged the printer and it’s cooled down, you need to remove paper trays and open the printer to remove the toner cartridge. Place the cartridge on some newspaper and be careful not to tip or shake it, as this may cause a leak. Clean the inside of the printer with a dry lint-free cloth and use a dry paintbrush for those hard-to-reach places and then clean the rollers with a slightly damp cloth to remove dirt buildup.
1 Replace toner cartridges before they’re completely empty to avoid damaging the printer. 2 Remove paper jams carefully and follow the instructions in the manual when performing this operation 3 Check for toner spills, as these can be very dangerous as the chemical toner should not be inhaled. 4 Handle paper smartly – try not to put too much paper into the feed tray, as this can lead to paper jams.
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The whole Internet has just become Print-Friendly The Step-By-Step Guide on HP Smart Web Printing Software
is known for designing print solutions and devices that work actively to make life much simpler and to have a positive impact on workflow and productivity. This is achieved with the environment front of mind, with HP placing great store on its carbon footprint. A superb example of this dedication is HP Smart Web Printing software. While most new HP print devices are Smart Web Printing-capable, if yours doesn’t come with Smart Web right out of the box, you can download the free browser plugin off the HP website that enables this feature. WHAT IS IT? HP Smart Web is print software intended to enhance printing in Microsoft Internet Explorer and FireFox that lets you ‘clip’ elements of web pages, aggregate them, re-size and re-arrange them on a preview page before printing or saving them as a PDF document. This program provides full clip-and-paste functionality for any content found on a website, and allows you to collect only the parts of a webpage (or multiple web pages) that you actually want to print. So you don’t have to print five pages of filler, banners, text and adverts to get one page of worthwhile information. Your content is automatically resized to fit onto standard-size page to give you reliable, predictable print results.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? The HP Smart Web printing software: 1. Makes it easy for you to select, modify and preview selected web content before you print it. 2. Allows you to save paper and cartridges by printing only the content you need. 3. Ensures that you get usable printouts without cutoff edges or wasteful trailing pages. 4. Makes it easier to accumulate, absorb and assimilate large quantities of web-based content and information. HOW DOES IT WORK? This tool integrates directly with Firefox or Internet Explorer by updating the Print and Print Preview buttons on the browser toolbar. The new selection button lets you toggle between HP Smart Selection and Standard Selection, which is your browser’s printing standard. Smart Web Printing delivers consistent print results by automatically adjusting web pages to prevent the rightedged clipping that usually occurs when printing web pages, and adjusts page layout to save paper. WHAT MUST I DO TO MAKE IT WORK FOR ME? It’s easy to use and when you select the HP Smart Selection tool in your browser, the cursor changes to a crosshair that allows you to select portions of content from the site you’re viewing. A pop-up menu will then present itself and you’re given the option to – 1. Clip: click if you want to add your selected content to your Clip Book 2. Print: click if you want to immediately print that content 3. Use Standard Selection: click if you want to revert to standard browser printing You can collect content from anywhere on the Internet and from as many different sources as you like. If you want to build a custom document, it’s as simple as selecting clips from your Clip Book – this is where you’ll preview, finalise and print your document. WHAT IS THE CLIP BOOK FOR? Your Smart Web Printing Clip Book is your convenient central place to store and coordinate your clips gathered during online research. Your clips will appear in the righthand panel, and there is click-and-drag functionality for ordering your clips. Quick Clip Tip – if you want to return to the source of your clip, simply double click on it, and it will take you back to the original website. WHAT IS THE PRINT CLIPS WINDOW FOR? Once you’ve selected one or more clips to print (by checking the box next to each clip), click the Print Clips button at the top of your Clip Book window. From the Print Clips pane you’ll be able to combine your clips into one print-ready document that you can preview, edit and review, before you print. You can save your document as a PDF for future reference or sharing and you’ll see exactly what will print before you click the Print button.
HP SMART WEB PRINT-READY DEVICES: HP OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless [Inkjet printer, scanner, copier and fax] About: This is a device that is intended to meet the demands of an office where users deal with a large quantity of web-based information. Capable of scanning, faxing and copying, this device has high print cycles and comes with wireless connectivity options. To this end, Smartt Web Printing software will help users gather, assemble and process information in a manageable, environmentallyconscious manner. Smart printing @ 35ppm mono/34ppm colour prints.
HP LaserJet M1522-NF [Laser printer, copier and scanner] About: An affordable all-in-one device that helps you take care of business. This device offers time-saving features, like Smart Web Printing and professional output results, proving its value way beyond its price tag. Itâ€™s easy to use and delivers prints quickly and reliably and is made even more useful with th built-in networking capabilities and broad compatibility with Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, making it the perfect device e for a shared workspace. Smart printing @ 23ppm print speed/600 x 600 dpi print resolution.
PRODUCT REVIEWS WS // / BY DEON DU PLESSIS
VUVU-WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!
y ears haven’t stopped ringing since the start of the World Cup thanks to South Africa’s noisiest invention ever, the vuvuzela! It’s by far the greatest teaminspirer ever, although I’m not sure our visitors appreciate it as much as we do. This month we bring you more reviews on everyday products; everything from cameras to projectors to notebooks are covered, and we hope you enjoy our selection. Of particular note was Apple’s Time Capsule, a very handy wireless backup device and network access point that works on both Mac and PC – discovering that little tidbit caused us much joy and celebration, although nowhere near as much as Bafana Bafana drawing that amazing opening game against Mexico! Here’s to more World Cup memories, and great reviews! See you next month. Cheers Deon
While we make every effort to ensure pricing is accurate before we go to print, sometimes through circumstances we have no control over, the prices in Connect may differ from those you’ll see on store shelves. In all cases, shelf pricing takes precedence.
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Acer Timelin Timeline X Vivienne Tam Netbook Apple Time Capsule Microsoft Lifecam Cinema Acer emachines V700 Projector or Sony Vaio Notebook Acer Veriton X270 Desktop Archos 5 Internet Tablet Netgear MBR624GU Wireless 3G Router Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 HP Printer Sony Xperia X10i Nokia E72 FujiFilm Finepix HS10 Canon PIXMA MP560 Sanyo Xacti HD2000E FujiFilm Finepix S1800 Shox iFootball Logic3 Screenbeat USB speaker Logitech Professional Presenter 2Simple 2Create A Story B Books
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SONY VAIO VPC-Z11
This is another small laptop with great gaming capabilities, a brilliant screen and very good battery life.
Acer Timeline X 4820T NEED TO KNOW
Targus Mouse and Keypad Touchpads are nice and all, but nothing beats a mouse for precision cursor-control. Also, having a USB keypad beats using the number keys above the laptop keyboard.
Targus Corporate Traveller Even though the Timeline 4820T is thin and light, you’d still do well to carry it around in its own carry bag to avoid scratches or damaging it while in transit.
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• An evolution of last year’s Timeline series • Retains the same thin and light design • A great mix of performance and power-efficiency R9 999.95
LAST year, Acer brought out its new Timeline range of ultra-thin and power-efficient notebooks to much fanfare. They were slim, looked great and delivered on the promise of longer-lasting batteries, but at the cost of amazing performance. This year, Acer has brought out new Timeline laptops, called the Timeline X range, that offer a much better balance between good performance and solid battery life. The one on review, the 14” 4820T, sits nicely in the middle of the range, as it has great hardware, its battery lasts around five hours of average use and it doesn’t cost the earth. The first thing you’ll notice is its very attractive, polished aluminium body. The metal gives the laptop more structural integrity than last year’s plastic did, plus it makes it looks just that much more refined. The ports dotted around its edges (USB, card readers, a VGA and HDMI output) have not been sacrificed for the sake of the 4820’s waistline; even so, the notebook is pretty slender at a wispy 24mm. On opening the lid, you’ll undoubtedly notice just how thin the screen is, thanks to LED display technology. LED-backlit screens are thinner than their CCFL forebears, use less power and look far better. This one has a native resolution of 1366 x 768, and it’s just gorgeous to look at. Its surface is rather reflective, which may annoy outdoor web-surfers somewhat. The keyboard is very black, and the keys are separated by a small space which is also black. Typing on them takes a bit of getting used to as the feedback is a little spongy, but it’s no major flaw. The touchpad is slightly wider than those on older Timeline models and is smooth to the touch and very responsive. Where this new model gets its power is in its choice of processor – Intel’s Core i3-350M. This very clever processor also has an integrated graphics unit that handles all visuals when the laptop is unplugged from the mains, which in turn saves power. Acer has also included a dedicated ATI HD5650 graphics card for more intensive 3D applications, and to access it users must manually switch between the integrated graphics unit and the ATI card. Using the ATI card drains the battery much faster, but the trade-off is the ability to play games with detailed and smooth graphics. This great combination gives the 4820T excellent versatility as a notebook for work as well as play. Switching between dedicated and integrated graphics manually might prove annoying, but if a compromise has to be made to achieve such great results, it’s a small one in the grand
scheme of things. Battery life on the 4820T is pretty good. At idle, doing absolutely nothing and using the integrated graphics chip, it lasts just under 10 hours. Using the wireless network card to browse the web and do some light office work drops that down to just over five hours, watching DVDs drops it further to just under three and a half hours, and with the CPU at full load, the screen at full brightness and using the ATI cards, the battery keels over at around the one hour mark. This is rather pleasing, really, and means the average user can expect around five hours of up-time. This balancing act between power and battery puts the 4820T squarely in the sights of anyone looking for a notebook that performs well, lasts more than just three hours on a charge and looks great to boot. It’s a solid evolution of the Timeline concept, and betters its forebears in every way that counts. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • • •
• • • • • • •
CPU: Intel Core i3 350M 2.26 GHz Memory: 4096 MB, 2x 2048 MByte DDR3-8500 (1066 MHz) Graphics adapter: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1GB Switchable Graphics: Intel GMA HD Display: 14.0” 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, LED-Backlight Storage: 500GB 5400rpm Connections: 4 USB, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones/Line-out (including S/PDIF), Microphone, 5-in-1 Card Reader Networking: Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless b/g/n, Bluetooth Optical drive: DVD-RW Weight: 2.1 kg Battery: 66 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cell Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Extras: Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition Webcam: 1.3 Megapixel
• Great performance thanks to Intel’s Core i3 CPU • Graphics good enough for gaming • Very respectable battery life • Aluminium shell is strong and looks great
• No automatic switching between graphics modes • Keyboard feedback is a bit spongy • Screen surface is very reflective
Vivienne Tam Hewlett Packard Mini 210 Netbook NEED TO KNOW • Small, slim and exceptionally lightweight • Surprisingly powerful and capable for such a small device • More connectivity options than most bigger notebooks • Aimed squarely at the female market R4 999.95
THIS is one of those gadgets that is truly girls-only, and everything from the glossy, gold exterior to the features and functionality speaks of being designed with the fairer sex in mind. The Butterfly Lovers-themed netbook is the lovechild of fashion designer, Vivienne Tam and was launched on the runway at New York Fashion Week, proving to the market that this piece of technology is more than just a computer – it’s the latest fashion accessory that finds itself classified as a digital clutch. Small, slim and compact, this netbook fits perfectly into a handbag and is comfortable to carry, being no heavier than a novel and little thicker than one too. It’s the ultimate in chic mobility and weighs a mere 1,2kg and is less than an inch thin. It has a 93% near-full sized keyboard, with comfortably spaced keys that are embedded in the chiclet style – which makes for quick, easy touch-typing. The touchpad is a pleasure to use, with two click buttons on the bottom. Don’t let the small size of this netbook fool you – it works as hard as it can play, and with 5.5 hours of untethered battery life, this is the perfect companion to take to conferences, lectures and to be your work companion and personal assistant when on the road. In terms of thinking power – you’ll be pleased to know that this netbook isn’t all beauty on the outside; it also has beautiful brains on the inside. It runs on an Intel Atom N450 processor that delivers surprisingly reliable performance and the operating system is the familiar yet pleasantlyupdated Windows experience that is Windows 7 Home Premium. This netbook is more than capable, and has 2GB of system memory as well as a 320GB hard drive. This little device is all about integrating and fitting into your lifestyle, perfectly. It will soon become an extension of your person, and the centre of your digital universe – with three USB ports (that’s more than on a MacBook, in case you were wondering) and a VGA port for connecting a monitor or projector – making it simple to plug into your desktop when you’re stationed at home or the office, or plugging into a projector when you’re about to give a presentation. There’s also a 5-in-one memory card reader slot, which is not something usually even seen on bigger notebooks. As a networking tool, social butterflies won’t be disappointed by the HP Mini 210. The HP QuickWeb application gives you instant access to
the Internet, allowing you immediate entry to your email, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Skype tasks – made manageable through a central application, Seesmic Desktop. In terms of connectivity, there are also numerous options available, which is only fitting as this is a netbook, after all. Connect to any Wi-Fi network using Wireless LAN 802.11b/g or tether your mobile phone to create a connection using Bluetooth. There’s also an Ethernet port to allow you access to a wired network. We were really impressed with how simple it was to join existing Wi-Fi networks, and when we plugged in our mobile phone as a modem, set-up was hasslefree. Surprisingly enough, everything else we plugged into this HP simply worked. Something else that really caught our fancy was the attention to detail. HP seems to be taking this digital personalisation trend very seriously – the entire operating system on this netbook has been finished with little thematic decorations and effects. Butterflies flit across your Start menu, and your wallpaper is a vivid rendition of the gorgeous butterflies on the exterior. The Windows 7 experience was pleasant enough – and Clean Windows Desktop software kept the clutter off the desktop and made the interface much easier to manage. So if you’re looking for the ultimate workmate/playmate and you’re all about flair, fashion and having fun with your digital devices, you won’t be disappointed with the Vivienne Tam Butterfly Lovers HP Mini 210 netbook – it’s more than just pretty, it’s pretty impressive. NOTEWORTHY SPECS:
LOGITECH CLEARCHAT STEREO HEADSET
Make use of the built-in webcam on this netbook and participate in video chats with colleagues, friends and family.
LG SUPER MULTI CD/DVD WRITER
Enjoy CDs and DVDs, as well as the freedom to burn the disks you choose, quickly and efficiently.
• Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit • 10.1” LED Anti-glare Widescreen 1024 x 600 and Intel GMA 3150 integrated graphics • Intel Atom N450 processor with a Mobile Intel NM10 Express chipset • 2GB DDR2 Memory • 320GB storage. PROS
• Very compact, with excellent battery life – very mobile • More USB ports than we’re used too, which is very useful • Also acts as a compact mirror, perfect for make-up checks
• Internet Explorer is not a very pleasant experience, and we installed Firefox first chance we got • Travel charger is very bulky in comparison to the netbook itself – it takes up the most space when packed
FLEXIBLE USB KEYBOARD
This flexible keyboard rolls up and stores away easily and is entirely spill-proof and portable.
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APPLE MAC OS 10.6 SNOW LEOPARD
The Apple operating system with built-in in Time Machine backups, makes best use of the Time Capsule and Intel powered Apple computers.
HP PHOTOSMART A826
Portable and purpose-built for photo printing, this modern-looking printer will work perfectly, shared between multiple Windows and Mac users.
VERBATIM EXECUTIVE 500GB EXTERNAL HARD DISK
For when the storage space on the Time capsule runs out, this external drive not only looks good, but delivers the goods when it comes to reliability.
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Apple Time Capsule NEED TO KNOW • 500GB or 1TB storage capacity • 802.11n Wireless Networking • USB port allows for printer sharing • Windows and Mac compatible 1TB – R3 199.95 2TB – R5 299.95
NO small business should be without a wireless network today. And the same should be said for backups. And while more small companies and home offices are becoming kitted out with these features, generally speaking these requirements are considered separately and catered for with separate devices. There are exceptions though– and Apple’s Time Capsule is the perfect example of this in practice. Originally designed as an accompaniment to Time Machine – an automated backup solution Apple bundled in with its Leopard operating system in 2006 – the Time Capsule was released in 2008 as a wireless access point and server-grade backup hard disk in one. Essentially, by combining wireless networking with a robust hard disk, the aptly named Time Capsule allows users to perform their Time Machine backups with far greater ease than ever before. Since Time Machine’s automatic, unattended backups are triggered by connecting a Mac to an external hard disk, under normal circumstances users have to remember to plug their external disk in periodically. With a Time Capsule all they have to do is connect to the wireless network. Time machine automatically detects the presence of the Time Capsule and takes care of business. And since the wireless network created by the Time Capsule makes use of the 802.11n standard, it’s faster than most wired connections today. But this is just scratching the surface of what this device has to offer. Flip the Time Capsule over and apart from a power socket it is equipped with a USB port, a Gigabit WAN port and three Gigabit Ethernet ports. As expected, the three Ethernet ports make you able to add three wired devices, such as PCs or networked printers to the wired/wireless network created by the Time Capsule, while the Gigabit WAN port allows you to connect the Time Capsule to pretty much any Internet connection.
Things get interesting when it comes to the USB port, since this allows you either share a USB printer to all users on the network, or add an additional hard disk, when the storage space in the Time Capsule is exhausted. By default, the Capsule ships with either a 1TB or 2TB server-grade hard disk. Something we didn’t know, but found out in testing is that the Time Capsule is also a pretty piece of kit when it comes to the Microsoft ecosystem. All of the wired and wireless features supported by the Time Capsule’s networking feature set are compatible with Windows. In fact, the device even ships with Windows versions of Apple’s preferred configuration and networking software. What we found even more astounding however is the Windows support built into the Time Capsule’s storage module. Using the bundled configuration tools, you can set portions of the Time Capsule’s drive for backup (although you have to use a Windows backup tool to perform the actual backup) and other portions for private file sharing or sharing files between a group of users – rendering the need for a server in small business environments moot. And the best part is, all of these shares can be read by Windows and Mac users with the same relative ease. So, while the price tag might seem a little excessive for a networkbased hard disk, the features of the Time Capsule ensure it outshines pretty much anything else in this category. An overall outstanding device, it gets top marks from us. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • •
802.11n/g/a/b wireless Three Gigabit Ethernet ports 500GB or 1TB capacity Printer sharing via USB port
• Apple build quality • Great for backing up and file sharing • Supports Windows and Mac • Enables file/printer sharing • Speedy 802.11n networking
• Slightly pricey • Limited expandability with 1 USB port
PRODUCTS HD VIDEO IS NOT FOR WEAK PCS Be aware that creating and viewing HD content, even 720p movies, will challenge the performance of older PCs and HD videos may appear choppy if your computer is more than five years old. LOGITECH WEBCAM PRO 9000
Logitech’s HD webcam offers much the same features as the Lifecam Cinema, but it also ships with Logitech Vid HD, a communication program that lets you video chat in high definition.
Microsoft Lifecam Cinema NEED TO KNOW • The first HD webcam from Microsoft • Captures videos at 720p resolution, stills at 8MP • Compatible with most Instant Messaging clients R999.95
NOBODY with their finger on the pulse of modern technology will deny that high-definition multimedia is slowly becoming the norm, even in South Africa where technology trends sometimes take a while to grab hold. Not even video chats on the web are immune to the march of HD; and so it’s no surprise that Microsoft has added to its excellent line-up of hardware peripherals with the release of its first HD webcam, the Lifecam Cinema. It’s a barrel-shaped webcam with a flexible base that lets you mount it just about anywhere; at its best quality setting it shoots video at a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 30 frames per second. This makes it excellent for shooting YouTube videos now that the popular video-sharing site has expanded its functionality to accommodate widescreen videos. The Lifecam Cinema’s HD resolution helps make webcam videos sharper than ever before, so when you shoot yourself reviewing your favourite gadget or ranting about whatever issue has you hot under the collar, you’ll look far clearer and in focus than you did on your old standard definition webcam. The box says the Lifecam Cinema records at “up to 30 frames per second”, but this really doesn’t translate to ultra-smooth motion. Yes, the webcam does record motion far better than a regular SD webcam does, but it’s not at the level we expected from a camera with “HD” on it. This gets worse in low-light situations where it is trying to compensate for the lack of light. Since the Lifecam Cinema is only really intended to be used for Internet chats and recording videos for YouTube, this is no major problem, just be aware that it’s there. Speaking of Internet chats, you’d also expect that HD video functionality will have been integrated into all popular IM clients by now, but you’d be wrong. It is probably coming in future updates, but for now, and as of the time of writing, the only hint of HD support came from Skype, and only in a future release (not the current version, v4.2). Thus, buying the Lifecam Cinema to speak to friends and relatives using high definition video is not a great idea. You can still use it for SD video chats, of course. If, on the other hand, you’re an avid YouTuber and you have your own channel and you like posting videos regularly, the Lifecam Cinema is a truly
excellent buy. The bundled software (Windows Live Movie Maker) lets you create your own videos and do some basic editing, and videos shot in HD are a big step up from webcams of yesteryear in terms of clarity and image quality. Microsoft has done well with the camera’s Autofocus function as well – it takes only a second or so for the camera to focus on new elements in your shot. The Lifecam also has a built-in microphone that’s sensitive enough to pick up your voice from a few metres away. It is a little disappointing that HD video chats are not the norm in all the popular IM clients, but that will soon change (with any luck by the end of 2010). Buying a Lifecam Cinema now is still a great idea, though, especially if you enjoy shooting your own movies from your PC and uploading them to video-sharing websites. NOTEWORTHY SPECS: • • • • • • • • • • • •
720p HD widescreen Auto Focus High-precision glass element lens Digital Microphone ‘TrueColor’ Technology Windows Live Movie Maker included Windows Live Photo Gallery Windows Live Call Button Aluminium Body Flexible Stand Works with Windows Live, Yahoo! Messenger, Skype Connects over USB PROS
• You can shoot widescreen HD videos for YouTube • 720p movies are noticeably clearer and sharper than SD movies • Can still be used for SD video chats in existing IM programs
• HD video conferencing is not the norm in IM programs yet • Webcam footage quality degrades a bit in lowlight situations • Captured motion is not as smooth as “up to 30 frames per second” implies
Packard Bell iMedia Desktop This beefy desktop computer has more than enough power to display HD content smoothly.
Samsung 2233SWN 22” Widescreen LCD What’s the use of HD content if your screen is puny? This widescreen LCD from Samsung is your ticket out of the SD doldrums and into the world of stunning HD.
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EPSON EB-X6 PROJECTOR
This non-HD projector will cost you around the same as the V700, but it has no HDMI inputs and is better-suited to business presentations than entertainment purposes.
Office 2010 Standard For all your productivity needs, from spreadsheets to documents to presentations, Office 2010 has you covered.
Vivienne Tam Netbook It’s just the right size and speed for presenting while you’re on the go. It looks good, too!
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Acer emachines V700 HD Projector NEED TO KNOW • One of the cheapest HD-ready projectors available • Native resolution of 720p; 1080p also supported • HDMI input connects to consoles & Blu-ray players R7 999.95
YOU’D be right in thinking that this ‘new’ emachines V700 projector bears more than a passing resemblance to Acer’s 5360 model. While the two projectors are near-identical in terms of their respective appearances and what they can offer, the emachines V700 differs in one very important way – price. Now, for the first time in South African history, you can purchase an HD-ready projector for less than eight thousand Rand courtesy of Acer’s new ‘value’ brand. With home entertainment taking off in a big way, an HD projector is a big deal. What we liked about the V700 is the fact that it not only has a native projection resolution of 1280 x 720 (i.e. 720p), but it can also handle other resolutions, all the way up to 1920 x 1080 (1080p). Of course, images projected at 720p look the best; fortunately, many people battle to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p content displayed on an HDTV, so the fact that 720p content looks best on the V700 shouldn’t be much of an argument against its purchase. The projected image is excellent. The V700 has a 3 200:1 contrast ratio and a brightness rating of 2 500 ANSI Lumens, so movies and presentations will be visible even in well-lit rooms. Naturally, the darker the room, the more intense the image will be, and we found the best results were to be had in very dark rooms. With such a good contrast ratio, though, the V700 is good for both business presentations in bright boardrooms as well as HD movie-viewing at home. What’s important to consider when buying a projector is its rated lamp life. The V700 clocks in at 4 000 hours, respectable for such an affordable projector, but of course that depends heavily on how often you use your projector and which settings you choose. Using the projector in well-lit rooms, for instance, will hurt your lamp life compared to using it in a darkened room that doesn’t require full brightness. 4 000 hours is 1 000 hours above the average projector’s lamp life, so the V700 is not doing badly. Since the V700 has its roots in Acer technology, expect to get the usual range of Acer’s projector features. This includes keystone correction, handy for adjusting the image’s edges when the projector is at an angle, as is ‘ColorBoost II’, Acer’s image-enhancing technology. Plenty others are there too, but are too numerous to mention. Suffice to say there’s lots of
cool tech inside, all working hard to give you great image quality. Notably absent, though, is support for nVidia’s 3D Vision technology, which uses a kit to create a 3D image. So no 3D movies on the V700, then. The projector is ceiling-mountable, has a built-in speaker for those times you want sound, but one of the best features on offer is ‘Instant Resume’. For a period of two minutes after the projector has been turned off, you can press the Power button again and immediately pick up where you left off without waiting for the projector to warm up again. Sheer genius! We think the emachines V700 projector is a really good place to start if you’re a budding home cinema enthusiast or business person. It can accept input from gaming consoles and Blu-ray players via HDMI, setup is very simple and the image quality is very good even in well-lit rooms. For less than eight grand, you’ll be getting a very good bargain. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • Projector Type: DLP (Digital Light Processing) • Native resolution: 1 280 x 720 • Other Supported Resolutions: 1080p (1 920x1 080), WSXGA+ (1 680 x 1 050), WXGA+ (1 440 x 900) WXGA (1 280 x 800, 1 280 x 768), UXGA (1 600 x 1 200), SXGA+ (1 400 x 1 050), SXGA (1 280 x 1 024) XGA (1 024 x 768,) SVGA (800 x 600) and VGA (640 x 480) • Supported Aspect Ratios: 4:3, 16:9 (Native) • Contrast Ratio: 3 200:1 • Brightness: 2 500 ANSI Lumens, 2 000 ANSI Lumens in Eco Mode • Dimensions: 268 x 192 x 80 mm • Weight: 2.2kg • Inputs: HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video, D-Sub • Lamp Life: 4 000 hours • Remote control: Yes, wireless PROS
• HD projector for home or work, for cheap! • HDMI input allows HD devices to connect • Good image quality even in low-light situations • 4 000 hour lamp life
• Resolutions above 720p don’t look as good • Doesn’t support nVidia’s 3D Vision 3D technology
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Sony VAIO VPCEA16FG/P NEED TO KNOW • Consumer-focused notebooks in a variety of colours • Backed by solid specifications • Sony’s signature build quality R10 999.95
iPod Nano Take your audio, video and pictures on the road with you, and maintain your stylish looks by choosing from the variety of matching colours.
Iomega eGo External Hard disk No menagerie of technology is complete without an external hard disk for backup and file archival purposes. Iomega’s eGo range is cost effective and good looking.
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COLOUR has become an overriding part of the modern computing experience and looking at Sony’s new range of consumer focused notebooks, it’s clear that the aluminium and black-clad notebooks that so many vendors have standardised on are beginning to look a little tired. Sony’s new 14”VAIO notebooks are clad in a choice of blue, pink, white and black. In any of those colours they’re head-turners though, owing a ton of their appeal to the clear resin the top-shell of the notebooks are coated in. This resin coating, aside from making the machines more durable to every bump and knock, allows the silver VAIO logo to almost float a couple of millimetres above the screen, casting a small shadow and adding a truly stylish touch to the mix. These machines also just as colourful on the inside as they are on the outside and their striking tones and resin coating follow through to the palm rest and other internal surfaces. Adding a stark, but welcome constrast, the chiclet keyboards on the blue and pink models are black, where the white and black models carry their base colour through on the keyboard. This new range is about far more than looks however. Sony’s VAIO brand has generally been known for strong specifications and the VPCEA16FG range is no exception. Equipped with a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 that can burst up to 2.93GHz, 4GB of DD3 memory and an ATI HD5650 Mobility Radeon graphics card, these notebooks are capable of some seriously heavy lifting. Microsoft Office, web browsing and online tinkering will be a pleasure on this machine and even more demanding analytical tasks - like complex Excel spreadsheets and databases - will fly on this computer. And from a multimedia or perspective, other than a Blu-ray drive you really couldn’t ask for much more. Gaming is well taken care of with a
powerful graphics card and 1GB of graphics memory, while multimedia buffs will be blown away by the 1366 x 768 resolution backlit monitor that, true to Sony’s style, delivers a crisp, clear and bright picture. Throw in a 500GB hard disk and usual refinements like a multi DVD-RW, wireless N networking capabilities and ports for literally everything from USB devices (four of them), to eSATA hard disks, HDMI screens, Express Cards and all of the major memory standards, and you’d truly struggle to find a more complete package. The 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium rounds out the mix of specifications and delivers the sweet spot in terms of performance and feature-set. Sony’s new VAIO machines squarely represent what the upper third of the market is looking for when it comes to performance, price and build-quality, and for this reason, they will undoubtedly do extremely well in South Africa. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • •
2.40GHz Intel Core i5 Processor ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 Graphics 4GB DD3 Memory 500GB hard disk 14” wide 1366 x 768 LED display Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
• Great looking, colourful machines that break the mold • Powerful processor, graphics and memory mix • Ample disk space • Crisp, clear, bright visuals
• Pricing above the magic R10k mark makes it difficult for some to justify • Absence of a Blu-ray drive is lamentable
ACER VERITON M265 Q9400
Acer Veriton X270 Desktop PC NEED TO KNOW • Inexpensive, but fast desktop PC • Ideally-suited to a business environment • Now shipping with Windows 7 Professional R5 999.95
IN these tough economic times, it’s always prudent to keep an eye on the bottom line. IT managers looking to do just that would benefit greatly from this modest, yet powerful desktop PC from Acer. It’s compact, so it won’t take up much space under desks, and it’s powered by better-than-average hardware that will keep performance-hungry users beavering away at their Excel spreadsheets with no reason to complain about speed. Best of all, it’s just plain affordable. Acer has also recently upgraded the X270 to Windows 7 Professional, which will please anyone who has ever used Windows Vista Business. Windows 7 Professional runs faster than Vista ever did even on the same hardware, so the fact that the X270 still has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and “only” 2GB of RAM is not a limitation in the slightest. Plus, you’re getting a more streamlined interface with more emphasis on userfriendliness, which might even serve to reduce calls to the helpdesk asking how to access the Control Panel. By today’s standards, a 160GB hard drive is pretty small, but in a business environment it’s more than enough to store the operating system and the applications employees will need. The X270 comes with a 7200RPM SATA-II drive, so its performance characteristics are more than a match for the rest of the system. If more space is required, the DVD-RW drive that is included can always be used to back up data that can then be deleted off the hard drive to free up additional space. Each DVD stores up to 4.7GB of data and can be burned in less than seven minutes, making for quick and easy data backups. Where the X270 could do a little better is in the keyboard and mouse department – Acer’s default set that accompanies it is really plain and unremarkable and made of rather lightweight plastic. Sure, you can use it, but better comfort and even productivity can be obtained from a superior set with a more comfortable design and keys that feel better to type on. The front of the X270 is festooned with handy and easily-accessed ports. In addition to four USB ports, there is a headphone and microphone jack
This desktop PC boasts more power thanks to a quad-core CPU and 4GB of system RAM. It also has a Terabyte hard drive.
along with a very useful 5-in-1 multimedia card reader. Having these at the front of the PC will save you the effort of scratching behind the PC to plug your peripherals in, and will make retrieving photos off memory cards that much more convenient. The one omission that bears mentioning is the lack of an LCD screen to accompany the X270. You will need to purchase one separately, as Acer has not included one in this particular deal. As far as PCs go, the X270 is squarely a middle-of-the-road offering. It can handle office tasks with ease, it’s got all the functionality an employee will need, but it can’t really play games due to the absence of a dedicated graphics card. For an office PC, it’s a great choice. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • •
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual Core E2220/2.4GHz, 1MB L2 Cache; Onboard graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 7100/nForce 630i, 800MHz; RAM: 2GB DDR2 SDRAM Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Business; Storage: 160GB Serial ATA-300; DVD-RW; Ports: High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI); 5.1 channel surround; Ethernet connector; Bundled Software: Cyberlink PowerDVD, Adobe Reader, Acer Empowering Technology, AntiVirus software, NTI Media Maker • Dimensions: 315x100x265mm
• Compact build means it fits almost anywhere • Solid processor, RAM and hard drive options • DVD writer allows for data backups • Front panel ports are conveniently accessible
• No included screen • Keyboard and mouse set are not the greatest • Games are not its forte
PACKARD BELL ONE TWO 20” TOUCH
A touch screen sets this home PC apart from others. It’s powered by Windows 7 and boasts 4GB of system memory to keep your Touch experience responsive.
Samsung SyncMaster P2070 20” of screen plus a really attractive price make this desktop monitor a great buy for business or home.
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APPLE IPOD TOUCH 8GB
Apple’s media players have a great reputation for a good reason – they are excellent at everything they do.
Archos 5 Internet Tablet NEED TO KNOW • Tablet-style computer that uses the Android operating system • Large resistive 4.8” TFT LCD touchscreen • Great for Internet browsing and other light computer tasks R3 299.95
ARCHOS CLIPPER 2GB
If all you want is a music player and you think screens are overrated and unnecessary, the Archos Clipper might just be the player for you.
Archos DVR Station To hook your Archos 5 up to your HDTV, you’ll need to grab the companion DVR station.
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ARCHOS is a European company that has been making portable multimedia devices for years. One of its more recent efforts at capturing the hearts, minds (and wallets) of media-obsessed consumers is the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, a very thin device with a large touchscreen that has been designed to primarily play back movies and videos and surf the Internet. It’s the size of a smartphone, but has a bigger screen and no phone functionality. First impressions of the device are very good - it’s very flat and thin and has a large 4.8” touchscreen, is powered by Google’s user-friendly Android operating system, and has a rather impressive range of storage options. This one has an 8GB SDHC card, expandable to however big SDHC cards get (currently around 32GB), and just looking at it inspires a desire to own it. It’s larger than Apple’s iPod Touch, and performs many of the same functions. Its primary advantage is its large screen, which makes viewing websites much more natural as most of them fit the screen just perfectly. Some websites direct the device to their mobile versions, but thankfully these are in the minority. You’ll probably find yourself using the Archos 5 more for music and video, though, as it is a brilliant media player with plenty of support for the most popular file formats. Even HD video is supported (but only 720p), and watching on the 4.8” screen is a better experience than on other media players – size really is everything when it comes to movies. The Archos 5 has a 3.5mm headphone jack for on-the-go listening and a mono speaker. It even has a small stand that can be used to position it on a desk, for use either as a screen for movie-watching or as a photo-frame type device that displays your photographs in a slideshow. While we loved the Archos 5’s build, it attracts fingerprints like big crowds attract people that want to sell things. Using the interface is a pleasure, thanks to Android. We just wish the screen itself was capacitive and not resistive; resistive touchscreens
require more pressure to respond, and the fluidity of its use is undermined somewhat, which wouldn’t happen with a capacitive screen like that of the iPhone and iPod Touch. There are plenty of connectivity options, too, like Bluetooth, N-class Wi-Fi, USB, and the Archos 5 can also hook up to your TV. Unfortunately, TV hook-ups require an additional docking station, which is an extra purchase. There have been reports of the Archos 5 freezing for no apparent reason, which requires a reboot to address. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s a known issue that will hopefully be addressed in future updates. As far as desirable devices go, the Archos 5 Internet Tablet is definitely something for gadget-lovers to consider. It looks amazing, its big screen is a pleasure to navigate the Internet on, and it plays music and video very well. Given its price tag, however, you might still be better off with an iPod Touch. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • • •
Screen: 4.8” TFT resistive touchscreen @ 800 x 480, 16 million colours Processor: 800MHz ARM Cortex CPU Storage: 8GB SDHC RAM: 256MB Operating System: Android 1.6 (Donut) Connectivity: N-class Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 Battery life: Up to 22 hours of Music Playback, up to 7 hours of video playback • Dimensions: 143 x 78.8 x 20 (mm) • Weight: 286g PROS
• Nice big screen is excellent for viewing movies and websites • Android operating system is easy to use and responsive • Great movie and music file support
• Resistive touchscreen not as good as capacitive screens of other players • More expensive than competing devices with similar capabilities • Random freezes requiring restarts can be annoying
NETGEAR WI-FI DONGLE
A USB wireless dongle comes in handy when you want to connect desktop PCs to your new wireless network.
Netgear MBR624GU 3G Broadband Wireless Router NEED TO KNOW • 4-port router that uses 3G for Internet connectivity • Useful for creating wireless hotspots wherever you are • Can function as a backup for when wired broadband services fail • 3G modem not included R1 399.95
NETGEAR has a router for just about any usage model. This is made apparent with this 3G wireless broadband router, which hooks up to a 3G modem and distributes that signal to four computers on a wired network and up to 16 computers on a wireless one. For a list of compatible 3G modems, navigate your browser to http://www.netgear.com/3g. If you’re wondering why you’d want something like that, it’s because it makes for a very handy backup for those times when ADSL falls over, for whatever reason. ADSL users have, since March, experienced several service disruptions due to various activities on the new Seacom undersea Internet cable, like upgrades resulting in temporarily reduced capacity. This left many with poorly-performing ADSL connections to the Internet; at times like this, having a backup Internet connection is essential, which is where the 3G functionality of Netgear’s 3G Broadband Wireless Router can come in handy. While it functions just like any other router, offering four ports for wired networking and up to 16 wireless connections, this router connects to a 3G modem (not included) via a USB port, and uses that to connect to the Internet. The price you’ll pay for this convenience is the cost of mobile megabytes (data received over our local cellular networks), which tend to work out more expensive than data downloaded over ADSL. This places the MBR624GU router’s usage model firmly in the realm of “only if you absolutely have to”, but this does not negate its usefulness. With ADSL Internet connectivity sometimes falling over, you’ll be very grateful to have backup, even if it does rely on pricy mobile bandwidth. The other disadvantage of this router is that it works at a maximum wireless speed of only 54Mbps. This results in transfer speeds of only around five megabytes per second, which may cramp your style if you need to transfer a lot of data between the wireless computers on your network. On the other hand, if used only as an emergency backup, this lower speed shouldn’t cause much concern at all – the important thing is to remain
connected to the Internet. You can also always use the wired ports if faster transfers are a must-have. Setting the router up is easy, particularly if your wireless computers are Wireless Protected Setup-compatible as this means they can make use of Netgear’s Pusn ‘n Connect function. Push ‘n Connect is a clever and simple setup technique that involves pressing a button on the router and running a WPS setup utility on computers you’d like to connect. This automatically configures the connecting computer’s wireless security settings and joins it to your wireless network. The most effective use of this particular router is as a wireless access point in places that don’t have ADSL Internet access (say, out in the field at a construction site), or as a backup for a home-based Internet connection for those times that ADSL Internet connectivity is degraded or not available at all. It doesn’t offer the most cutting-edge features, but it will certainly work in a pinch.
VODACOM MYMEG 300 DATA PACKAGE
Sign up for 300MB of monthly bandwidth courtesy of Vodacom for only R119 per month. It’s not a lot, but it should get you through those annoying times when ADSL performance is degraded.
NOTEWORTHY SPECS • Dimensions: 175.3 x 27.94 x 119.4 mm • Weight: 0.3 kg • LAN ports: Four (4) 10/100 Mbps auto-sensing, Auto Uplink™ RJ-45 ports • WAN port: USB 2.0 • Wireless: 802.11g Access Point auto rate capable up to 54 Mbps • Firewall: Stateful packet inspection (SPI), intrusion logging and reporting, denial-of-service (DoS) protection • VPN functionality: VPN pass-through for IPsec, PPTP and L2TP VPN • Wireless: WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WEP, WPA-802.1x, WPA2-802.1x
• 3G is a reliable backup when ADSL connectivity degrades • Setting up wireless clients is relatively simple thanks to WPS • Car charger turns the router into a truly mobile Wi-Fi hotspot
• 54Mbps wireless speed is not very fast • Cellular bandwidth is more expensive than that of ADSL • Not all 3G modems are supported, no 3G modem included
Belkin ADSL Router ADSL has its share of problems, but if you’re not worried then a Belkin router will do a great job of providing wired and wireless connections to an ADSL-enabled telephone line.
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PRODUCT REVIEWS RELATED
IOMEGA SCREENPLAY PRO HD
Combining network storage with multimedia playback capabilities, the Screenplay Pro HD can play back HD multimedia files stored on its hard drive or from a network location.
IOMEGA EGO 1TB
For just plain old storage that can connect to a PC via USB, look no further than an eGo 1TB drive.
VERBATIM EXECUTIVE 500GB USB HARD DRIVE
Graceful design and a lovely rubberised finish makes the Executive 500GB drive from Verbatim a serious contender for your portable storage budget.
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Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 2TB NEED TO KNOW • Network storage device with lots of capacity • Works as a server for many different kinds of media • Easy to set up and use R3 999.95
IF it’s storage you’re after and you own a network, Iomega’s StorCenter could well have the kind of qualities you’re after. It’s a big, chunky device that you connect directly to your network, and it has two terabytes of space waiting for you to fill. That’s two thousand gigabytes, for all your music, videos, documents, games, and whatever other data you happen to have. Once it’s set up correctly, which takes but a few minutes, you can access the files on the drive from your networked computers. Running the software sets everything up for you, and within minutes you’ll see a new network drive become available in your Computer window in Windows and in the Finder in Mac OS X. From there, it’s a simple matter of using it as you would any drive on your computer, with the added advantage that anyone who you have authorised to view it, can also see and use the files it contains. Iomega apparently enjoys throwing all the features it can think of at its storage products, and the ix2-200 is no exception. In addition to mere storage, you can use your ix2-200 to download Torrent files without needing your computer, you can use EMC’s Retrospect Express backup software to schedule regular backups of your critical data, and you can share media files with your gaming consoles and even set up an iTunes server on your network. You can also hook up a security camera (or seven depending on your budget) to the ix2-200, but this requires specific Axis security cameras, and the options are a bit limited – all you can really do is view live images and set a recording schedule. Still, it’s a nice idea for small business owners looking to beef up their security on the cheap. The ix2-200 can also be accessed remotely, over the internet. Setting up this kind of feature is usually a bit tricky, but Iomega makes it easy. With a few mouse clicks, you’re set up and ready to go, and your drive is now accessible from anywhere that has an Internet connection. It’s not an advanced feature, though, as the ix2-200 limits you to only downloading or uploading one file at a time and video and music files can’t be played from a remote location. We did notice that the drive would sometimes disconnect from the network for no reason and would need a restart in
order to re-appear; this is a quick process and not a huge bother, but it was sometimes necessary. The rest of the time it was fast and responsive. Advanced users will be impressed with its RAID capabilities. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Indepedent Disks, and it’s a hard drive management technique that uses multiple drives either for redundancy (data protection), or to create a single virtual hard drive with a capacity equal to the total capacity of all drives in the RAID array. The latter is the least safe way of using RAID, as if one drive fails, the array is unusable, but setting up a RAID configuration that uses two hard drives to redundantly store your data means if a drive fails, the other one simply takes over as the data on both disks is identical. The ix2-200 can do both of these, and its drives are completely user-replaceable so you can upgrade to bigger drives in the future if you feel the need to. Iomega’s efforts at creating decent network storage have paid off, and the ix2-200 is as good an effort as we’ve seen from them. It’s user-friendly, easy to operate and has tons of extra functions to make the purchase that much more value-packed. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • • • • •
Desktop, compact, form factor Marvell 6281 CPU at 1GHz with 256MB RAM 2 x 3.5” Easy-Swap SATA-II Hard Disk Drives RAID 1, JBOD 1 x RJ45 10/100/1000Mbps (GbE) Ethernet port LAN standards: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u 3 x USB 2.0 ports (to connect external HDD, printers, Bluetooth) Windows PC, Mac OS, Linux Acoustic noise – 28 dBA maximum PROS
• Lots and lots of storage for your home or office network • Very easy to set up and use • Tons of add-on features provide good value • Hard Drives are user-replaceable
• Drops off the network periodically for no reason • Remote access allows only one file at a time to be up/downloaded • Files cannot be played remotely – they need to be downloaded first
Lexmark Platinum Pro905 Multifunction Inkjet Printer NEED TO KNOW • Lexmark’s flagship business inkjet printer • Fax, scan, copy and print in colour or black & white • Low-cost individual ink cartridges deliver business savings per print R3 999.95
A few months ago we reviewed a fair few of Lexmark’s mid-range printers, but we didn’t cover the granddaddy of them all, the Pro905. After having given the Pro905 a few months to mature, we now have the opportunity to add it to our review list. We discovered that while it has all the characteristics of a really top-notch printer, it’s not perfect. It’s still a solid printer for a busy work environment, though, and offers some good cost-savings in the ink department. Starting with its capabilities, the Pro905 is another all-in-one inkjet printer that faxes, scans, prints and copies. It’s a big beast, far bigger than any of the other printers in the Pro range, and it has two automatic paper feeder trays that hold up to 150 pages each, but only the top one can accommodate envelopes. It has a top-mounted scanner that also has an automatic paper feeder, and all the action is controlled from a large (4.3”) touch-sensitive LCD screen. Its design has incorporated a lot of black and silver, which lends it a more serious business-like look. For the entire Pro range, Lexmark has implemented a “one set of cartridges fits all” philosophy, so there is no need to shop around for the correct cartridges for your printer. This cuts down on confusion as well as cost for businesses, as IT managers don’t need to keep track of different inkjet cartridge models in order to keep their printers stocked with ink. Central to the Pro905’s design is a 4.3” touchscreen that controls everything. From here, the network can be set up (an easily-accessed task) and settings can be tweaked, SmartSolutions accessed, copies and scans performed and much more. It’s simple to use, but is mounted at a static angle so it cannot be adjusted at all. SmartSolutions are essentially shortcuts to tasks, and they can be downloaded off the Lexmark website or created from scratch by you. Things like “Scan to PDF”, “Scan to e-mail”, “Copy in Black & White” can all be created and accessed, making common tasks a wee bit simpler and quicker to perform. While a nice idea, these are functions that should have been implemented by default rather than as add-ons. Print speeds are surprisingly pedestrian for a printer whose quality is hinted at by its price, managing just over seven pages per minute of text
HP OFFICEJET PRO 8500 WIRELESS
documents and three pages of colour graphics per minute. Its graphics and photo quality is not as nice as, say, HP’s excellent OfficeJet Pro 8500 Wireless printer that costs five hundred Rand less. Text is sharp and favourably comparable to laser prints, however, and businesses that deal in a lot of print-heavy documents will have nothing to complain about. Photographic professionals should probably look somewhere else, though. Access options are as manifold as you might expect from a highend office printer. The Pro905 connects via wireless networks, USB, has PictBridge support for printing from PictBridge-enabled cameras, and can print from USB flash drives and memory cards. Using the touchscreen to make this magic happen is easy and straightforward, as long as you’re aware that not all document types are supported – the Pro905 works better with photos and PDFs than it does with, say, Word documents stored on Flash drives/memory cards. Overall the Pro905 has some good qualities, and some not-so-good ones. It’s a pretty solid office printer, but it’s neither the fastest nor the one that prints the nicest graphics and photos. It is, however, the most expensive. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • • • •
Print Technology: Thermal Inkjet Colour Technology: 4 Colour Inkjet - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black Print Resolution, Black, up to 2400 x 1200 dpi Print Resolution, Color, up to 4800 x 1200 dpi Maximum Print Speed (Draft, Black): Up to 33 ppm Maximum Print Speed (Draft, Color): Up to 30 ppm Memory, Standard, 64 MB Memory, Maximum, 64 MB
• Single cartridge model for all Lexmark printers • Cost per ink cartridge is lower than the competition • Touchscreen is responsive and easy to use
• Print speed is not as good as the price would have you believe • Graphics and photo quality is good, but it could be better • SmartSolutions are handy, but should be default features not add-ins
The 8500 is HP’s cream-ofthe-crop all-in-one office printer, and for R500 less than the Lexmark Pro905, it really delivers on print quality, speed, ease of use and functionality.
LEXMARK PREVAIL PRO705 MULTIFUNCTION INKJET PRINTER
The Pro705 uses a slightly slower print engine than the Pro905, but it’s also less than half its price. Expect solid, workmanlike performance from this value-packed printer.
What is a printer without paper? A very expensive paperweight. You’ll need some A4 paper to make the most of the Pro905, so go ahead and grab a few reams!
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Picking the perfect Symantec solution for you In today’s interconnected online world a computer without Internet security is like a mansion in Houghton without high walls and an electric fence. An invitation for any opportunistic threat to enter, steal and destroy. The personal information, documents and photographs you have stored on your computer are priceless and very difficult to replace. So you need something to keep it secure.
< Option one: Norton Antivirus 2010 Q: What does it do? A: Defends your PC and its data from viruses and spyware.
< Option three: Norton 360 Version 4.0 Q: What does it do? A: Delivers the ultimate balance of automated and customisable flexibility for users looking to comprehensively protect their PCs, online activities and vital data.
< Option two: Norton Internet Security 2010 Q: What does it do? A: Gives you the ability to stay protected in real time, every time you’re online – whether browsing, buying or banking.
ou need Symantec, the complete, versatile Internet security solution to keep your computer and your personal data as safe as houses. There are three options for you to choose from, when it comes to picking your protection: 1. Norton AntiVirus 2010 2. Norton Internet Security 2010 3. Norton 360 Version 4.0
Choice is good, but your security needs are unique and your solution needs to be tailored to your exact requirements, so how do you decide what you need? Your needs dictate your solution, and your usage determines your security needs, so it’s a simple matter of analysing these areas in more detail.
YOU NEED THIS SOLUTION IF YOU WANT TO: • Prevent threats from entering your PC; • Exchange documents freely, using e-mail and IM; • Remove viruses from e-mail; • Prevent spyware from tracking your activities or hijacking your computer; • Browse the Internet and play online games, without worry; • Be alerted when suspicious files are downloaded and block threats; • Safely download photos, music and software.
From the moment you install Norton Antivirus 2010, it will automatically and continuously detect, remove and block spyware, malware, viruses, worms and other security risks – giving you efficient basic antivirus protection.
YOU’LL NEED THIS SOLUTION IF YOU WANT TO: • Connect wirelessly to a network without worrying about hackers or intrusions; • Exchange documents over e-mail and IM without worrying about viruses; • Block and stop spyware from accessing any of your information; • Guard against identity theft with Norton Identity Safe when shopping, banking or filling in forms online; • Remove and block suspicious threats and files from being downloaded; • Only allow certain applications to connect to the Internet; • Protect valuable files from disastrous crashes or computer failures;
• Restore damaged/deleted files or folders; • Store valuable files online, securely; • Tune up your PC and optimise performance without doing anything yourself – problems that slow your PC down are found and fixed; • Remove unwanted Internet clutter and temporary files and cookies.
YOU’LL NEED THIS SOLUTION IF YOU WANT TO: • Connect wirelessly to a network and prevent threats from entering your PC; • Block hackers from accessing your computer; • Remove viruses from e-mails, block worms from entering; • Stop spyware from having access to your data; • Inspect websites and detect phishing traps; • Bank and shop online without worrying about identity theft with Norton Identity Safe; • Fill in forms on websites that require personal information without worrying about it being harvested and used illegally; • Remove, block and alert new threats automatically; • Safely download music, photos and software.
Norton 360 Version 4.0 gives you all-in-one security: protection against fraud, identity theft, viruses and other online dangers, as well as protecting important files and data by automatically backing up to internal/external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, USB, Blu-ray disc or to iPod. There’s also the option of secure online storage as well.
Norton Internet Security 2010 gives you the flexibility to customise your security settings, while delivering extensive antivirus protection and online security that does not impact on system performance.
Copyright © 2010 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, Norton and Norton 360 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affi liates in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista and Internet
Copyright © 2010 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, Norton and Norton 360 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affi liates in the U.S. and other countries. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista and Internet Explorer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. | *Based on Symantec internal data comparing features of competitors all in one security solutions.
NERESW ION V
Give a hacker a hand to steal your identity? Allow
Every click matters. Fake emails cost consumers more than £85 billion in 2009 1. Norton™ 360 offers the industry’s most comprehensive*, all-in-one protection against digital dangers. It helps guard against online threats, automatically backs up important files, and keeps the PC running at optimal performance. Get more information at www.norton.com 1
**Based on Symantec internal data comparing features of competitors all in one security solutions.
CS-00153-IN indd 1
PRODUCTS While the X10 only uses version 1.6 of Google’s Android operating system, Sony Ericsson has announced that a version 2.1 update will be coming in late 2010. Advantages of the newer operating system include better performance, HD video recording like that of the Vivaz and DLNA compatability.
HTC makes fine phones these days, and the Desire is one of its current bestsellers. For good reason, too – it runs Android version 2.1, it looks amazing and it’s fast and responsive.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 NEED TO KNOW • The first Sony Ericsson smartphone to use Android • Stunning ultra-flat design with huge touchscreen • Powered by a beefy 1GHz processor R6 999.95
A full QWERTY keyboard and a big screen make using the E63 both fun and easy. It’s also got all the business functions you need to stay in touch when you’re on the road.
Motorola’s latest and greatest smartphone packs in so many features and so much processing power that it will probably be love at first sight.
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THE Xperia X10 is Sony Ericsson’s first attempt at a smartphone that runs Google’s Android operating system, and it’s a fine effort indeed. The lines of the phone are slim and sleek, it has a very large 4” capacitive touchscreen, it responds beautifully to touches and its phone functions are executed flawlessly. It also has so many entertainment, social media and business telephony capabilities that you’d be hard-pressed to find something it can’t do. In short, it’s the kind of smartphone savvy communicators should take a closer look at. In the looks department, the X10 falls somewhere between a supermodel and an Olympic Athlete. It’s not quite an iPhone killer (because let’s be honest, the only company that can beat Apple is Apple), but it’s certainly very sleek and attractive. Before you’ve even noticed the X10’s gorgeous lines, your eyes will be drawn to the stunning screen. It’s very crisp, colours are rich and deep even though it’s not an OLED display, and its native resolution of 854 x 480 makes text, photos, videos and Web content look very sharp indeed. Best of all, the touchscreen technology used is capacitive, meaning no hard presses are required before the screen responds to your input. In addition to all the features you’d expect on a smartphone (fast 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi support, a music and video player, e-mail facilities), Sony Ericsson has included two new features called TimeScape and MediaScape. TimeScape arranges applications and tasks you’ve accessed recently on your Home screen for easier access the next time you need them, while MediaScape does the same, but with your music, videos and photos. They are neat additions that make accessing frequently-used functions that much easier. General use of the phone can only be described as ‘cool’. Its smooth yet glare- and scratch-resistant screen feels really good under your fingers, the phone has good weight and heft, and navigating the very slick menu system is a pleasure as it is just so quick. The camera takes brilliant photographs, and videos shot with the phone are smooth. A nice touch is the ability to choose between wide-angle videos and photos, or to stick with the more-common 4:3 perspective. Built directly
into the device is support for popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook, both of which work flawlessly on the X10. Viewing Facebook and other Web pages is as easy as flipping the phone onto its side; the accelerometer kicks in and orients the page sideways for better viewing. Typing on the X10 is going to be a problem for people with big or thick fingers, as its onscreen QWERTY keyboard has very tiny keys, even when in landscape mode (i.e. the keyboard fits the length of the screen). Luckily, we found that with practice our accuracy improved, but even so big-fingered people may want to stick with a smartphone with a physical keyboard, like Nokia’s E72 or BlackBerry’s Curve 8520. Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10 is a thoroughly impressive smartphone. It has all the business features business people might want and need, it can be used to Tweet whenever and wherever you are, Facebook status updates and checks are seconds away 24/7/365, and using it is easy and fun. It’s not without its drawbacks, but for anyone looking for a competent smartphone with all the bells and whistles, the X10 is a fantastic choice. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • • • •
Size: 119.0 x 63.0 x 13.0 mm Weight: 135.0 g Screen: 480 x 854 pixels WVGA 65,536-colour TFT touchscreen Available colours: Sensuous Black, Luster White Memory: microSD up to 16GB, 8GB included Onboard Phone memory: 1GB storage, 384MB RAM 3G: HSDPA 900 / 1700 / 2100 Wireless Networking: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g PROS
• Beautiful build and amazing 4” touchscreen • Google Android is a feature-rich and fast mobile operating system • Taking widescreen videos and snapping pics is very cool • Has a 3.5mm jack for headphones
• Onscreen keyboard might be a bit small for large-fingered people • Only uses Android version 1.6, when version 2.1 is out already
Nokia E72 smartphone NEED TO KNOW • Multimedia-friendly smartphone • Nokia E-series one-touch keys for Home, Calendar, Contacts and Email • 4GB MicroSD card included • 3G/GPRS/HSDPA/WLAN connectivity R5 499.95
LOOKING at the Nokia E72, one would expect love at first sight, if you were searching for the perfect multimedia-capable smartphone companion. And it probably would be, if you weren’t already an avid BlackBerry smartphone or iPhone user. So if you’re already comfortable with the QWERTY keypad (touch or otherwise) on another device, the layout of this one might puzzle you temporarily, and take some getting used to. As might Nokia’s Symbian operating system experience, if you’re not already well-versed in its quirks. The E72 is the upgrade from the E71 and it brings with it perks like a faster processor, more memory, and a better camera. The phone’s design is still sleek and sturdy and it offers excellent messaging capabilities as well as 3G support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and built-in GPS navigation. Aimed at business users, you’ll get the full constantly-in-touch experience with push e-mail (support for a wide variety of e-mail protocols, including POP3, Microsoft Exchange, ActiveSync, Nokia Messaging and Mail for Exchange.) and the Nokia Messaging app will handle up to 10 personal accounts, with push delivery. In terms of e-mail content, there’s support for HTML e-mail, attachment viewing, search, and filters. In addition to e-mail, you can sync your Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks. Nokia’s mobile VPN client is also included on the phone if you want to access your company’s Intranet remotely. There’s also the personal assistant that can be found in the E72’s Organiser, Document editor, which comes with mobile-friendly versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and a PDF-viewer. Multimedia options include the camera, a picture gallery, a music player, an FM radio tuner, as well as Real Player for video media and a handy voice recorder. Smartphones have one common obsession, regardless of brand or
manufacturer: applications. The Nokia Ovi App store is where you’ll find all of the apps for the E72, both free and paid-for. Downloading apps is easy enough, once you’ve created a Nokia account and everything is stored in an easy-to-manage Applications folder. One thing that we couldn’t help missing is the ability to truly multi-task on this phone. There’s no option to ‘switch application’ that allows you to truly toggle between tasks, although you can minimise your applications and keep them running in the background – they simply need to be reached using the regular menu, instead. When it comes to actually using the device, the operating system that you’ll be fiddling with is Symbian 9.3. The main menu has two possible view modes: a 4 x 3 grid of icons, which all contains the sub-menus, and a list. The optical trackpad is an interesting addition that could make navigating the menus even smoother, if it wasn’t for the slightly awkward frame of the square touchpad, as it doesn’t really allow you to sweep your thumb over its surface. In terms of doing the important things that a phone needs to do, like call and send text messages, the E72 ticks all the right boxes. Call clarity and volume is perfect, there’s a built-in speakerphone and the device worked perfectly with the headset we plugged into the 3.5mm headphone jack for use while driving. Text messaging is simplified, and messages are stored in a threaded format, making it easier to follow a conversation or find messages from a certain person. There’s conference-calling with up to six participants and VoIP calls. Messaging includes multimedia messaging as well. Connectivity options on this phone are extensive, and the 3G is a welcome feature if you tend to use the browser on your phone a fair amount. There’s also the option to tether the E72 to your laptop and make use of it as an external modem. The one thing that definitely was impressive about this device is its battery life – it was two or three days of heavy usage before the E72 required a recharge. Combine that impressive battery life with user-friendly applications and complete business and messaging functionality, as well as more calling options than one person can handle and put them together in one device. What do you get? The E72 and it’s a really smart, beautifully simple business handset that does everything any power user could expect.
VODAFONE 3G HSDPA CARD
This device will deliver up to 1.8mbps mobile broadband and allow you to send and receive SMSes and e-mails and browse the Internet.
SONY WEARABLE WALKMAN PLAYER
If you’re more interested in keeping your music player separate, the ultra-portable wearable Walkman is definitely worth considering.
NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • •
5MP camera 250MB internal memory, 4GB microSD card included Symbian OS 9.3 / Series 60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 320 x 240 pixel LCD display PROS
• Battery life is truly impressive • Extensive connectivity options, 3G is a welcome inclusion • Built-in navigation with Ovi Maps is extremely user-friendly
• QWERTY keypad feels awkward if you’re used to BlackBerry/iPhone • No ‘switch application’ functionality • Symbian OS is still holding Nokia back from creating the perfect device
CANON POWERSHOT A490
While a 5MP camera is great for a mobile phone, there is still no beating a dedicated camera for superior imagery.
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PRODUCT REVIEWS RELATED
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 8
A completely beginner-friendly program that takes just the essentials from Photoshop and presents them in a clean, easy-to-navigate format making it a simple task to edit your digital photos and create vibrant albums.
CANON POWERSHOT A490
Effortless shooting is a given with this compact’s smart auto feature that automatically does all the thinking for you, leaving you free to be snap happy.
SANDISK MICROSD 2GB MEMORY CARD
Slot this directly into your camera’s adapter to give yourself plenty of space for all your photos and video clips. It’s easy to load and even easier to use.
50 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
FujiFilm FinePix HS10 Digital Camera NEED TO KNOW • 10.3MP camera • Range of high-speed capture modes for stills and video • Super-responsive twist-barrel manual zoom • Full HD movie mode with stereo sound R5 999.95
EARNEST photographers wanting the versatility and performance of a DSLR system without the bulk or expense that come with it, will find that the FujiFilm FinePix HS10 more than bridges the gap. The HS10 is the jack-of-all-trades camera that’s perfect for the serious enthusiast, as it looks, feels and performs very much like a mid-range DSLR, with a weight and solid build quality that looks rugged enough to be taken anywhere. In terms of design and build, the HS10 is as aesthetically pleasing as it is practical, with nice chunky controls that are ergonomically laid out so as to allow both quick and easy access to functions. The hand-grip has a smartly-placed indentation into which a middle finger slots comfortably, allowing you to grip the camera properly. While the HS10 is relatively compact, it’s still very much a camera for which you will need to use both hands. The buttons and dials are easy to use and access but could be susceptible to getting knocked if you aren’t careful. So what’s so awesome about this camera? In short, it’s the feisty non-interchangeable 30x zoom lens, complete with manual zoom and focus rings, just like on a DSLR lens. It’s a seriously versatile lens offering a focal range that’s capable of ultra-wide and ultra-telephoto reach. So in case you were feeling insecure about the fact that the lens on this beast cannot be swapped out – rest assured that if you were wanting this kind of capacity in a DSLR, you’d need at least two super-zoom DSLR lenses to even start offering similar reach. The minute you start to use the zoom on any camera, you’ll start to notice an immediate problem. The image starts to blur and focus becomes a problem. The HS10 addresses blurring resulting from camera shake with the simple solution of beefing up the ISO sensitivity, which stretches up to ISO 6400 and combines it with a built-in mechanical stabiliser that works with Continuous or Shooting Only modes. There’s also the expected digital image stabilisation that kicks into play if required. A wide variety of interesting shooting modes are
available on the HS10 and are all accessed from the dial – there you’ll see the typically expected shooting options, including the likes of full auto, program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual modes, along with a customisable mode to which you can save your personally-designed shooting settings to give you quick access, plus two scene position modes that are already optimised for common photo subject matter. There are three more shooting modes that we considered worth a special mention. The first of which is the SR Auto mode, which is in essence an ‘auto everything’ mode and it promises to do all the thinking for you – making the HS10 more beginner-friendly. There’s also full HD movie mode that shoots at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, with stereo sound. We loved the new Super High Speed Movie function that makes it possible to freeze action and to also capture breathtaking movies at up to 1000 frames per second to deliver mindboggling slow-motion movies that reveal the secret of just how much can happen in the blink of an eye. When it comes down to it, it’s fairly obvious that the HS10 will please just about any photographer, as it has something for everyone - a range of advanced automatic functions and scene modes created to produce perfect ‘point and shoot’ results, as well as a full artillery of sophisticated manual and semi-automatic shooting modes and photographic controls. The HS10 has everyone and everything covered. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • •
3-inch LCD display ISO range: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 45MB internal memory Supports SD/SDHC cards PROS
• The look, feel, and controls of a DSLR, with the photos and shooting handling of a common point-and-shoot • Loads of pre-sets and automatic settings to choose from • Superzoom lens is spectacular
• Four Alkaline AA batteries might be a bit painfully inconvenient for some users • Not much built-in memory
HP PHOTOSMART C4783
If you prefer HP printers, consider this photo printer/scanner combo from the world’s biggest computer company.
Canon PIXMA MP560 Photo Printer NEED TO KNOW • Photo printer with wireless networking capabilities • Flatbed A4 document scanner included • Individual ink cartridges for maximum convenience • 2” LCD screen (non-touch) R 1 799.95
IF you’re looking for a mid-range photo printer that doesn’t cost the earth and comes with some unexpected (but pleasant) extras, Canon’s PIXMA MP560 photo printer might be for you. It can be connected to your PC via a wireless network connection or a USB cable, it can read USB flash drives and memory cards and even print directly from a PictBrige-enabled camera (cable not included) without the need for a PC. It has a medium-resolution A4 flatbed scanner on top, and can handle various paper types like regular A4 and Jumbo photo paper. Setting it up is easy, and takes around 20 minutes. All you have to do is follow the included instructions to physically set it up, and then insert the included CD-ROM into your computer and running the setup program that runs automatically. The wireless network setup is particularly simple – by using the LCD screen and the buttons that surround it, you can browse the MP560’s menu system to find the network options; once found, all you have to do is scan for your existing wireless network, select it and put in your wireless security key. Running the setup off the CD-ROM takes up to 15 minutes or so before everything is installed. Mac users are advised to download the latest setup files off the Canon website, as there have been reports of installation problems on Macs when using the CD included with the printer. Windows users can do this too, on the premise that using the latest installation package is always a smart move. Two of the features we liked a lot about the MP560 are its automatic duplex printing and automatic scan-to-pdf functions. Manual duplex printing (when you have to flip the page you’re printing on and re-insert it the other way around) is a laborious process, especially for multi-page documents. The MP560 does this automatically; people who print legal documents, for example, will benefit greatly. The scan-to-pdf function is a further convenience – instead of scanning to an image, the MP560 converts scans directly to the PDF format and saves it to a location of your choosing on your PC, effectively skipping a step you’d have to perform yourself. Photo print quality rivals that of professional print labs, and scans are pretty good (if not amazing). The scanner has an optical resolution of 2400
x 4800 dpi, which is slightly lower than many other scanners, but the copy and scan results we experienced were still more than acceptable for home or home office use. Documents with mixed content (images and text) printed beautifully, and the text was razor-sharp, close to if not exactly like text printed on a laser printer. The MP560 is a rather large printer with a big footprint, so don’t get one if you need a small printer to fill a modest space. It also uses five separate ink cartridges, so only often-used colours need to be replaced regularly, which will save you money in the long run. Canon’s MP560 prints beautifully, its connectivity options are impressively diverse and it is very easy to set up and use. Its scanner might not be the best available, but its results are passable for light home and office use. In all, it’s a great home photo printer. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • Print Resolution (up to): Black: 600 x 600 dpi, Colour: 9600 x 2400 dpi • Paper Sizes: 4” x 6”, 5” x 7”, 8” x 10,” A4, Letter, Legal, U.S. #10 envelopes • Printer Features: Auto Duplex Print, Auto Photo Fix II, Borderless Printing, Calendar Print, Document Printing, ID Photo Print, Photo Index Sheet, Photo Direct Print (Memory Card/Camera/USB Flash Memory), Photo Printing, Template Print • Copy Features: 4-in-1 / 2-in-1, Auto Exposure / Intensity Copy, Face Brightener / Fading Correction, Fit-to-Page, Gutter Shadow Correction Copy, Image Repeat, Intensity, Manual Colour Adjustment, Masking Copy, Multiple Copy: 1-99 Pages, Photo Reprint, Preset Copy Ratios, Trimming Copy, Zoom • Scanner resolution: Optical - 2400 x 4800 dpi • OS Compatibility: Windows 7/Vista, Windows XP/2000 and Mac OS X v10.3.9 to v10.5.x PROS
• Very easy to set up and use • Photo and mixed-document print quality is very good • Auto duplexing and scan-topdf functions
• Quite a large printer with a generous footprint • Mac users encouraged to download latest drivers and installation files • Scanning resolution not top-notch
Canon Glossy Photo Paper What’s a photo printer without photo paper? Just a printer. Grab some glossy photo paper to print your memories on.
Belkin Wireless N Router Without a wireless network at home, you’ll have to connect the MP560 directly to your PC and miss out on all the benefits of placing it anywhere in your home/ office. A wireless router takes care of that problem.
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SAMSUNG H104BP HD CAMCORDER
You can record in HD to a built-in solid-state hard drive or to SDHC cards with this compact handheld camcorder from Samsung.
Sandisk Extreme SDHC 32GB SanDisk has a great range of ultra-fast SDHC cards that are perfect for use in highperformance devices like HD camcorders.
iMovie (Mac) iMovie is a very good video editing suite for Mac; it supports many HD codecs and is, like all Mac software, very easy to use and produces fantastic results. It comes in Apple’s iLife ’09 software pack.
52 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
HD video generates a great deal of data that needs to be written to storage devices quickly, so when buying an SD card for the HD2000, it would be best to consider cards in SanDisk’s Extreme range, as these support high-speed writing functions.
Sanyo Xacti VPC-HD2000 NEED TO KNOW • Combination of an HD video recorder and a stills camera • Records video in full HD resolution at 60fps • Pistol-grip design for maximum comfort and ease of use R8 499.95
THE pistol-grip design of Sanyo’s Xacti range has always set it apart from the camcorders of other manufacturers. With the HD2000, Sanyo has stuck to its guns, and the design here is as pistol-grippy as ever. It keeps the HD2000 very compact, and affords it a very futuristic look – one that says “Sci-Fi Stun Gun” more than it does point-and-shoot camcorder. In reality, the HD2000 is a rather futuristic device, as it combines the HD video recording capabilities of the HD1000 with the ability to take 8.1MP stills. Sanyo has upgraded the CMOS sensor of the HD2000 so that it can take images natively at a resolution of 3 264 x 2 488, and if interpolation is applied (a digital technique that slightly enlarges images) a maximum of 4000 x 3000 can be attained. A CMOS sensor is a small chip that converts what you’re pointing the camera at to electrical signals, and is a vital part of any camera. A high quality CMOS chip can make a 4MP camera take betterlooking images than an 8MP one. This twofold nature of the HD2000 is the reason Sanyo refers to it as a “dual camera”, which implies that it is great at performing both functions. While it certainly does appear to do well in both video and photo capture, its overall image quality - when compared to its competitors - leaves a bit to be desired even though the HD2000 is an improvement over previous Sanyo efforts. We have to say, then, that it still pays to purchase individual devices devoted to a single function. That said, the HD2000 does offer a whole lot of video functions to make up for the fact that its image quality isn’t top-notch. Take the slomo option, for instance – it’s a mode that drops the resolution of the video while pumping the frame rate up really high to 240 frames per second or 600 fps in order to capture any given moment for super slow-motion playback. There are also various video settings to be chosen from, which reduce the file size produced as you work your way down from full 1080p videos at 60 frames per second to VGA. Movies captured by the HD2000 are still very nice to look at, and will suit non-professional use by regular folks like you and me. The quality of its 8.1MP stills is very good for a camcorder. It’s not a wonderful low-light camera in either mode (video or stills), but there is at least a flash and the ability to use the hidden “shoe” to clip on enthusiastlevel accessories to keep subjects well-lit. Images taken under bright
conditions look the best. The HD2000 uses SD cards for storage (no built-in storage at all); 20 minutes of HD footage can fill a 4GB SD card, so you’d do well to grab the biggest one you can find. It also comes with its own handy cradle; it is to this that most of its cables need to connect for tasks like transferring files to a computer or outputting visuals to a TV. A copy of Nero Burning 8 Essentials is in the box, which provides basic video editing functions. Using the HD2000 will take some getting used to as there are a lot of buttons to press, but the menu that inhabits the cool LCD screen that swings out of the pistol-grip body is at least very easy to navigate and the options should be self-explanatory to anyone who has used a camcorder before. While it’s not the absolute best at either of its functions, the HD2000 still performs well enough that it’s a great crossover gadget for people interested in having both camera and camcorder functions in a single device. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • Camera element: 1/ 2.5 inch CMOS sensor, approx. 8.1-Megapixels (total) • Recording file formats: Photos – JPEG, Videos – MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 • Lens: 10x Optical Zoom • Digital Zoom: 10x Max • ISO Sensitivity: ISO 50/100/200/400/800/1600/3200 • LCD Screen: 2.7” TFT Colour widescreen LCD • Interfaces: HDMI/S-Video/Composite Video/USB 2.0 • Inputs: 2.5mm Microphone Jack (3.5mm converter included) • Approximate battery life: 355 photographs, 135 minutes of filming, 350 minutes of continuous playback • Weight: Approx. 311g with battery
• Stylish and comfortable pistol-grip design • Records HD videos at 1080p resolution, at 60 frames per second • Good quality still images for a camcorder
• HD video quality still not as good as that of the competition • Cradle needed for PC and TV connectivity • Not the cheapest gadget ever
FujiFilm Finepix S1800 NEED TO KNOW • DSLR Features, point-and-shoot price • 18x digital zoom lens with wide-angle shooting • Takes 12MP stills and 720p video R2 499.95
IF you’ve been using point-and-shoot cameras and you’ve found yourself a little frustrated by their limitations, FujiFilm’s Finepix S1800 camera might be worth a closer look. It occupies the space between point-and-shoot cameras and full-blown DSLRs, and represents a good step up in terms of features and capabilities, while still retaining the simpler cameras’ ease of use. Features-wise, you’re getting a lot of camera for your money. The S1800 shoots 12MP still images and can capture video in 720p quality at 30 frames per second; both of these modes allow for widescreen image and video capture, which is fantastic as you can now view your work on an HDTV without seeing black bands around the edges. The S1800 also has a brilliant 18x optical zoom lens that really brings your subjects closer to you. While it works in video mode, the sound of the motor that zooms the lens in is audible, which can ruin your video somewhat. The autofocus feature works well, and the camera takes a second or two to focus on your subject when you zoom in. In the camera’s Auto mode, which automatically selects the best scene settings for you, the camera occasionally got the focus and exposure settings wrong, but for the most part it works well. Using the S1800 is a breeze; the function wheel at the top of the camera rotates to select the various functions, and the camera itself is small and light and fits snugly into all but the largest of hands. The LCD on the back is nice and big at three inches, and although it’s not particularly visible in the sunlight, the electronic viewfinder can be used instead to view your subject before hitting the capture button. The menu system integrated into the camera is likewise easy to use and navigate; FujiFilm’s directional pad makes it so, as do the clearly-labelled buttons that surround it. Image quality is on the whole very good, and thanks to the auto focus, auto scene selection, auto face recognition, auto smile detection and auto blink detection (a function which warns if any of your subjects are blinking), taking great photos without any major effort on your part is incredibly easy. There is also a panoramic mode, which stitches together several photographs taken in sequence to create one long panoramic scene. While shooting video, it is highly recommended that you use a tripod, especially if you plan on making use of the zoom lens while filming. The camera’s image stabilisation options are great for shooting stills, but this doesn’t translate into smooth zoomed-in video. Even though zoomed-in videos are shaky (even in steady hands), they still look very good and the S1800 is more than capable of shooting home videos that you’ll be proud of. The S1800 uses four AA batteries, and is friendly to rechargeables. It has a pop-up flash that nestles nicely into the camera body when not in use, and has rubberised grips
PRODUCTS PR R for added comfort. With so many features crammed into such a small space and excellent resultant photos and videos, the S1800 is a great buy for people undecided between point-and-shoots and DSLRs. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • •
Number of effective pixels: 12.2 megapixels CCD sensor: 1/2.3-inch CCD Storage media: SD/SDHC memory cards Internal memory Approx. 23MB Lens: Fujinon 18x optical zoom lens, F3.1 (Wide) - F5.6 (Telephoto) Lens focal length: f=5.0 - 90.0mm, equivalent to 28 - 504mm on a 35mm camera Digital zoom: Approx. 6.3x up to 113.4x with optical zoom Aperture: Wide F3.1 / F6.4, Telephoto: F5.6 / F11.0 with ND filter Sensitivity Auto / Equivalent to: ISO 64 / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200* / 6400* (*3M pixels or lower) Shooting modes Mode Dial: SR AUTO, Auto, P, S, A, M, Custom, Movie, Panorama, SP SP: Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Night (Tripod), Fireworks, Sunset, Snow, Natural Light, Natural Light & with Flash, Beach, Party, Flower, Text, Smile, Zoom Braketing Image Stabiliser: CCD-shift type Focus: Single AF, Continuous AF Electronic viewfinder (EVF): 0.2-in., Approx. 200,000 dots color LCD viewfinder Approx. 99% (shooting), 100% (playback) LCD monitor: 3.0-inch, Approx. 230,000 dots, colour LCD monitor, Approx. 97% coverage for shooting, and 100% coverage for playback Movie recording: 1,280 x 720 pixels (30 frames/sec.) / 640 x 480 pixels / 320 x 240 pixels (30 frames/sec.) with monaural sound Photography functions: Instant zoom, Intelligent Face Detection with red-eye removal, High-speed shooting, Best framing, Frame number memory, Histogram display, Silent mode Digital interface: USB 2.0 High-speed Weight: Approx. 337g (excluding accessories, battery and memory card)
SONY A290 DSLR CAMERA
This entry-level DSLR camera takes beautiful 14.2MP images, and has a mini-HDMI output port so that you can view your images on your HDTV directly from the camera.
FUJIFILM FINEPIX AX280
Take 14MP still images with this easy to use, point-andshoot camera from FujiFilm.
NIKON COOLPIX L22 PROS
• Compact camera body is lightweight and comfortable • 12MP images and 720p videos look great and are easy to shoot • The sheer number of features crammed into the camera’s shell
• Zoom motor audible when shooting video • Zoomed-in movies are noticeably shaky • Auto settings sometimes get focus and exposure settings wrong
On a budget? Check out this 12MP compact camera that will cost you less than a thousand Rand.
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home isn’t truly modern until it has its own high-speed wireless network connecting its devices together and its occupants to the Internet. Wireless networking technology has matured signiﬁcantly over the past ten years; there has never been a better time to set up your own wireless home network. Firstly, the ease of installation has improved dramatically over the convoluted drudgery it was when wireless networking technology debuted in the early 2000s. Today, setting a wireless network up is as simple as putting ticks in the right boxes via a handy browser-based interface, setting a security password and connecting your client computers.
No more wires! The advantages of a wireless network is primarily the absence of ugly network cables lying on the ﬂoor or taped to your skirting boards. A secondary advantage is the fact that you can make use of wirelessnetworkable devices like laptops, gaming consoles and cell phones anywhere in your home, giving you the freedom to surf the Web on your couch, position your gaming consoles near the TV without adding to the cable clutter and use your phone’s Wi-Fi capabilities from your bed. Am I covered? Which raises the next point – wireless routers now have a greater coverage area thanks to the latest wireless networking protocol, called the IEEE 802.11n standard. Wireless networks based on this standard can cover an area far larger than the dimensions of the average home, even homes with multiple levels. The theoretical indoor coverage range of a single 802.11n-capable router is 230 feet, or 70m, and 820 feet (250m) outdoors. But can it go fast? A further beneﬁt of a wireless-n network is its improved speed – the basic standard assures speeds of 108mbps (average transfers of around 10 megabytes per second), but with advanced technologies built into
some routers, notably Belkin’s N150 Enhanced range, speeds can reach 150mbps (approximately 10MB per second). The 802.11n speciﬁcation can theoretically achieve speeds of up to 600mbps, but home routers featuring such high speeds are non-existent at the moment. If your needs are more basic, Belkin’s N and N+ routers might be the answer. These IEEE 802.11n routers might not be as fast or cover as wide an area as the N150 Enhanced range, but they are perfect for smaller environments like ofﬁces or apartments. This allows you to save on costs while still getting great performance and value for your money. Can my neighbour steal my bandwidth using wireless? Security concerns have resulted in fairly slow wireless networking adoption among consumers. Nobody wants neighbours piggy-backing on their wireless signal and downloading whatever they want using bandwidth they haven’t paid for, which is why securing your network is so vital. Doing so is as easy as choosing the kind of security you want in your router’s web interface, selecting the strength of the encryption (128-bit WPA2 security is best as it is hardest to bypass) and writing down the security key it generates or choose your own. Now, only computers that enter the correct security key can join your network, and you are safe from unauthorised bandwidth thieves. Once you’re secure and your bandwidth still goes missing, your suspect list is much shorter. Is it really all that easy? The short answer is a resounding ‘yes’. By following the instructions that come with your wireless router, even beginners can set up a secure wireless home network and connect computers and devices to it quickly and easily. If you’re still a little unsure about how to progress, help is at hand! You can call Incredible Connection’s customer support number - 0860 011 700 - or let an Incredible Connection onsite technician help you out. This service is free with the purchase of any Belkin router.
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FREE INSTALLATION with the purchase of a Modem Router. Available at Incredible Connection stores only Terms & Conditions Apply. E&OE
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LOGITECH PURE-FI EXPRESS PLUS IPOD DOCKING STATION:
A portable sound solution with omni-directional acoustic technology, 10 hours of playback time and a built-in clock, charging dock and alarm clock.
ShoX iFootball NEED TO KNOW • Five fine-tuned, intense output speakers • 23 watts of refined power • Heat sensitive control panel • Auxiliary 3.5mm input allows many devices to connect R799.95 SHOX IPIG
For the girly audiophile, this sound system offers full functionality and is batterypowered for full mobility, as well.
PHILIPS DCM 250 IPOD DOCKING STATION
This docking system has more than the iPod/ iPhone on its mind and features a CD player, an AM/FM radio, an alarm clock, and a USB port for plugging in a non-iPod MP3 player, which is a lot of functionality in one device.
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WITH the whole of South Africa set ablaze by soccer spirit, there’s no better novelty must-have supporter gadget than the iFootball speaker system. Perfectly compatible with all iPods with the added convenience of being capable of playing music off any MP3 or MP4 player, Sony PSP, mobile phone or computer. So what exactly is the iFootball? In case you couldn’t tell, just from looking at it, it’s a docking station for an iPod or iPhone, that also functions as a speaker system to play music so that you have ideal background music wherever you place the iFootball in your house. The benefit of the 3.5mm auxiliary input jack is that you can connect any other music device that has a similar output jack. The speaker system consists of a goal-scoring combination of five perfectly-placed speakers that put out a collective 23 watts of power for near-perfect sound. There’s a sub woofer for plenty of meaty bass, two midranged speakers to hold the volume and two tweeters to take care of the high notes. The docking speaker also has an input cable and AC/DC adaptor. When it came to setup, we were impressed. This device is the device to end all complicated wires, speaker arrangements, speaker stands and manuals. The great sound of the iFootball is easy to achieve, without the need for instruction manuals. The only cable is the one needed to power the device. All you need to make it work is the little infrared remote control. This will allow you the convenience of working your playlist from a
distance. Scroll, select and play, from anywhere in the room. In case you’re after a more hands-on experience with your iFootball, you’ll be able to do some fancy fingerwork by using the heat sensitive control panel that lets you adjust volume, scroll and select from your playlists – giving you ultimate control. This device is a firm favourite with the Green Team, as it’s environmentally friendly and is energy efficient so it won’t dent your electricity bill. It’s also made from recycled plastic, so buying it and using it is actually good for your carbon footprint. So if you’re sold on this device, and you’re wondering where to start once you’ve bought it and unboxed it, it’s easy really. Simply insert your iPod into one of the optional docking cradles and play to score with the new Shox iFootball. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • •
Five speakers pump 23 watts of power Works with iPhones, iPods and any audio device with a 3.5mm jack Optional docking cradles Comes with an infrared remote
• Design is really slick and festive • It’s energy efficient and doesn’t take up much space • Perfect way to listen to music anywhere in the house
• No FM radio tuner • It doesn’t come in pink – only red, blue or black with white
PHILLIPS SHC2000 WIRELESS HEADPHONES
The SHC 2000 wireless headphones allow you to watch TV or listen to music without disturbing those around you.
Logic 3 Screenbeat USB Speakers NEED TO KNOW • USB-powered PC/Mac speakers • Sufficiently compact to fit into laptop bag • Built-in sound card ensures sound quality R329.95
IF your desktop computer is still lacking speakers and you’re looking for something that won’t take up too much of your desk space, or you’re looking for a set of compact USB-powered speakers to pack into your laptop bag and take on the road with you – we’ve found your perfect match, so look no further. The Logic 3 Screenbeat speakers are ideal for placing in front of or beside a PC or laptop screen. They’re not just any old computer speakers either; they have an entirely distinctive and usefully quirky side as well. A unique feature is seen in the hidden magnets inside the speakers which, when joined together, create a single soundbar to place in front of your computer display. Or, if you wanted a slightly different acoustic arrangement, you could separate them to form two upright speakers and then position them to the left and right of your screen to create your own sound bubble. If you were impressed with the fact that these speakers will work with your desktop and your laptop, you’ll be even more impressed to know that there’s a 3.5mm stereo line-in connector that allows you to use your speakers with most MP3 players and just about any other audio device that has its own 3.5mm audio jack. Powered by USB, you can expect decent if not amazing audio quality from these speakers, as they push out about four Watts of audio power. What with being USB-powered and all, it means you don’t need an external power supply, which has the benefit of reducing cable clutter in your environment. In terms of build, the ScreenBeat speaker is made of tough but lightweight aluminium – making it sturdy and capable of being a constant travel companion. It has its own built-in sound card, ensuring great audio
quality. These speakers will give you convenience and listening pleasure, wherever you might need it. Whether it is watching YouTube, streaming your favourite radio station, listening to that opera or watching that live concert movie or Blu-ray DVDs, or adding sound effects to your PowerPoint presenation – you’ll find that the ScreenBeat USB is equally at home in the bedroom or the boardroom, the lounge or kitchen. We’ve been sure to point out that these speakers are incredibly easy to store and that they’re highly portable – which is important, because this should dictate what kind of user will be best-suited to this product. So if you’re looking for something that delivers intense sound with really, really deep bass and obnoxious volume – look at something else. Just bear in mind you’ll be looking at something much chunkier that will probably take up loads of space. But if you’re looking for perfect sound and take-with-you convenience, then you should be sorted with these Logic 3 Screenbeat USB Speakers. This small, dynamite system comes with its own compact protective case so that it can be safely stored when not in use.
HEWLETT PACKARD MINI 210-1000 NOTEBOOK
This slim, attractive and almost-tiny device is a third-generation netbook with a 10.1” display. It’s more than adequate for surfing the Internet, browsing through photos, watching movies and doing other basic tasks.
NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • •
3 Watts power output Compatible with PC/Mac/Linux Powered via USB port Frequency response 200Hz - 15Hz
• Fully compatible with all Mac, PC and Linux-based computers • USB-powered which means no external power supply • Comes with its own travel case
• Cable could be a bit longer • Bass isn’t very deep, but this is to be expected with speakers of this size • Volume is lacking a bit
LOGITECH CLEARCHAT HEADSET
Adjustable, padded headband and plush ear pads make this the perfect companion for PC-based chats, music and gaming.
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MICROSOFT WIRELESS NOTEBOOK PRESENTER MOUSE 8000
This tiny mouse is a powerful slide presenter, media remote and presentation pointer that fits easily in your hand and works using 2.4GHz Bluetooth technology.
VERBATIM 2.5” 500GB EXTERNAL HARD DISK
This palm sized USB 2.0 portable hard drive is lightweight , and at a mere 150g it packs portability and capacity in one – giving you loads of space to save everything you need and take it on the road.
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Logitech Professional Presenter R800 NEED TO KNOW • Green laser pointer makes presentations a snap • 30m effective range with 2.4GHz wireless technology • LCD display with timer, battery-power and reception-level indicators • Intuitive controls for easy, one-touch slideshow navigation R1099. 95
IF presentations are a big part of your work life, chances are you need to add the Logitech Professional Presenter to your meeting arsenal. Let’s have a look at the reasons why it’s a must-have for PowerPoint junkies. Picture the scene: your slideshow presentation is ready and the boardroom is full of expectant people. With the Logitech R800, all you have to do to get everyone to see your point is to aim the laser pointer at the screen – it’s a brilliant green laser light that’s strong enough to be seen clearly, even across a large conference hall. Switch smoothly and confidently from slide to slide with intuitive one-touch controls located on a convenient remote that fits snugly in your hand. This device allows you to focus entirely on your presentation instead of the clock, as it has an easy-to-set timer and vibrating alerts help you manage your time efficiently. With no wires or cables, there’s nothing to keep you from moving around and working the room. The device has a range of 30m and the built-in reception-level indicator on the LCD display keeps you from going astray. In terms of operating the device, it’s simple - press the right arrow button to advance to the next slide or press the left arrow button to go back. Start or stop your presentation when you’re ready and even use the black screen button to shift the attention back to you. The contoured buttons are located in just the right place and easy to find by touch, making it unnecessary to ever have to look at the presenter in your hand. When it came to setup, we couldn’t have asked for more of a no-brainer.
It was a simple matter of plugging the nifty, reliable 2.4GHz receiver into the computer’s USB port and the device is ready to rock any presentation, with absolutely no software needed for installation. Once the presentation is done, the receiver can be stored in the built-in docking bay inside the presenter remote. The Logitech R800 is powered by two AAA batteries, and power consumption is surprisingly low and efficient. The extensive battery life, as well as the handy carry case, make this the perfect pack-up-andtake-along gadget for your business travels. So if you’re looking for a compact, ergonomic and powerful presentation tool, we’re confident that the Logitech Professional Presenter R800 fits the bill – you won’t have a moment’s regret with this one. NOTEWORTHY SPECS • • • • •
Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 30m effective range with 2.4GHz wireless technology LCD display with timer, battery-power and reception-level indicators Built-in slideshow buttons Green laser PROS
• Green laser pointer is something different when you’re used to only red ones • Laser pointer visible on any kind of display, even in bright light • Remote fits comfortably in hand and buttons are easy to locate by touch
• Would be nice to be able to change the size and shape (arrow/point) of the laser, but not essential • Not compatible with all Mac computers
PRODUCTS Edutain is holding a World Cup competition that ends in July, whereby children can submit their “My African Cup Final” story created in 2Create A Story via e-mail to win a prize. Up for grabs is an Intel-based PC along with R3 800 worth of Edutain software. Interested parties can visit www. edutain.co.za for more information.
Another 2Simple product, this one aims to teach children keyboard and spelling skills with a series of seven fun minigames. As the name suggests, it’s simply laid out and thus very easy to use while still being child-friendly.
2Create a Story NEED TO KNOW • Creativity-inspiring drawing program for children • Create scenes and link them together with a story • Facilitates digital storytelling on your computer R249.95
SOFTWARE developer 2Simple has created a creativity-inspiring software package for children aged 4 to 12 that lets them tell stories on their computers. It provides all the drawing tools needed for kids to create stories in their own way, and also includes some very basic animation techniques that can be applied to drawings for that “something extra” that makes the stories really come to life. It’s not a professional animation program by any means, but 2Create a Story works hard to put all the tools needed for basic picture-creation at the child’s fingertips, and then encourages them to animate those pictures in a way that they become livelier than a plain old static image. You can also add sound effects using sound files or your own recorded with a microphone, and linking multiple scenes together in a slideshow format is how the child’s “story” ultimately unfolds. Since this is a very simple program, the interface is very basic. The company’s name hints at the fact that this is what they were shooting for, which is a good thing; better, the buttons are clearly labelled, and using the interface to create imagery is easy enough that kids (and parents) with basic computer knowledge shouldn’t have problems using it effectively. Likewise, the options that are available to animate your child’s drawings are rather basic, but they are more than functional enough to add significantly to his or her drawings. They include back-and-forth motion, two objects entering from either side of the screen and meeting in the middle, making things explode, spin and more. Some of the animations available take some practice to get “just right”, but this is to be expected
from any program. We battled to get a seesaw we drew to bounce up and down properly, but with some trial and error we managed to get it right. Bringing two objects together was easier, as the program clearly indicated where the original image would be split, and we got our two stick figures to meet in the middle just fine. So all that is really needed is some practice before the animation process becomes familiar. Finished stories can be exported as .SWF (Flash) files, and uploaded and shared with friends, classmates and family. The whole process is really about as easy as it gets, and over time kids should have no problems putting together basic stories. 2Create A Story is a very simple, easy-to-use software package aimed at kids, and it succeeds in its goal of encouraging children to use the computer to create imaginative stories. It’s very easy to use, simple to install, and comes highly recommended.
BIG BOET MODULAR SPELLING
This South African product teaches kids spelling and word-recognition skills by making spelling fun. Kids can learn how to spell over 10 000 words, and the program is good for all kids from Toddler level all the way up to Grade 7!
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS • • • • •
Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7 256MB RAM 600MB Hard Drive Space Mouse & Keyboard Video card supporting a resolution of 1024 x 768
• Software is simple enough for young children to use • Icons are clearly labelled and easy to identify • Animations add charm to drawings
• Getting the hang of things takes some trial and error • Animations and drawing tools are very basic
BIG BOET - TIME FOR TABLES
If your kids are great spellers, perhaps they aren’t so hot with numbers. This Big Boet package features fun multiplication games that help kids hone their number skills.
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HACKING WIRELESS NETWORKS FOR DUMMIES
NEED TO KNOW • By Kevin Beaver and Peter T. Davis • 384 Pages
BUDDING hackers, er, we mean wireless security professionals get a foundation in how to hack through the security of the average wireless network thanks to this informative and interesting read by Kevin Beaver and Peter T. Davis. Hacking Wireless Networks for Dummies teaches readers to perform “ethical attacks” on wireless networks without compromising them totally in order to assess risks, combat those pesky Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, and get inside the mind of the average network invader. Protecting your own network against “war drivers” (nerds that drive around with laptops in search of unsecured wireless networks to plunder) is also covered. The authors emphasise that the only way to test your own network is to simulate an attack on it, but luckily they also cover how to spot weaknesses and how to shore up any weak spots you discover. In all this is a fascinating read both for hackers and anyone interested in boosting their knowledge of wireless network security.
WIRELESS HOME NETWORKING FOR DUMMIES (3RD EDITION)
NEED TO KNOW • By Danny Briere, Pat Hurley and Edward Ferris • 408 Pages
THERE has never been a better time to set up a wireless network in your home. Equipment is no longer prohibitively costly, and wireless security is better than ever. This fun-to-read book walks readers through the process of setting up that network, while delivering tips and advice as to what to look for and what to avoid in the process. The authors cover such important topics as choosing your equipment, installing and configuring your wireless network, protecting your wireless signal from intruders, understanding the different wireless networking protocols and also troubleshooting the inevitable problems that arise. In typical Dummies fashion, the authors convey this useful information in clear, easily-read English and with a good helping 60 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
of humour. Budding home networkers will get all the information they need from this 408 page book, along with a chuckle or two.
CLOUD COMPUTING FOR DUMMIES
NEED TO KNOW • By Judith Hurwitz, Robin Bloor, Marcia Kaufman and Fern Halper • 336 Pages
IF the term “cloud computing” has you a little confused, you might not be alone. In this easy to read tome, four experts walk readers through the concept of “the cloud”, expanding on its origins, advantages and disadvantages and essentially making the case for a movement from locally-provisioned services to services from this “cloud”. Since IT managers probably know all this stuff already (at least, one would hope so), this book is aimed at people who think “services from the cloud” means rain, hail and sleet. In plain English, readers are introduced to “the cloud” and told how it benefits business, how it can be utilised, how much it can reduce business costs and how to plan to integrate it into existing IT infrastructure. Readers are also walked through critical security issues and how to handle them, as well as introduced to the groups that clarify, promote and maintain the standards that surround “cloud computing”. For anyone interested in a background to the ‘whats’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of cloud computing, this easy-toread book provides a solid introduction.
MOBILE INTERNET FOR DUMMIES
NEED TO KNOW • By Michael J. O’Farrell, John R. Levine, Jostein Algroy, James Pearce and Daniel K. Appelquist • 296 Pages
IN South Africa, there are more cell phones than there are people. Despite this, not everyone knows how to access the Internet in any kind of meaningful way, and that is where this book comes in. It’s a down-toearth discussion of everything anyone will need to know in order to make proper use of the Internet from their mobile device. The most important questions are answered – which device to choose, how to use your mobile Internet browser, how to set up and make use of your phone’s e-mail capabilities and even how to create your own mobile website. Other covered topics include how to watch TV on your mobile phone, how to manage your kids’ access to the ‘Mobile Internet’ and how to gain access to and use applications designed specifically for your phone. The book is packed with sage advice delivered in plain English, and is a must-have for anyone interested in the World Wide Web as experienced through a mobile phone.
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game reviews //BY TIANA CLINE
STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY R499.95 It goes without saying that the original StarCraft was an epic, memorable and exciting experience that had and kept gamers hooked. And since its 1998 debut, it’s also been the real-time strategy game that many other titles of the genre have had to live up to. What made StarCraft the hit it was? One of the reasons was that all the units in the first game were unique to their respective races, with every unit performing differently and requiring different tactics to succeed – completely innovative for its time. Add this to an in-depth story, well-designed single-player campaign and some of the finest multiplayer action and you’ve got yourself more than a game. Yes, to some, StarCraft is an obsession with an extremely hardcore fan base. (The game sold 4.5 million copies in Korea alone!). Keeping all of this in mind, Blizzard was under a lot of pressure to create a phenomenal title. Continuing the saga of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is one of the most anticipated games ever. Blizzard fans across the globe have been waiting for 12 years to once again take control of these powerful races in a fastpaced, real-time strategy battle. Legions of veteran, upgraded, and brand-new unit types will do battle across the galaxy, as each faction struggles for survival. The solo, 29-mission campaign in SCII picks up the story from the end of the last StarCraft game, Brood War. With a new cast of heroes and familiar faces, the continued exploits of Jim Raynor, a marshal-turned-rebel-leader, are a big part of what can only be described as an edgy sci-fi story filled with adventure and intrigue. Customisation in SCII means you’ll be able to choose your own mission path, technology, research upgrades and merc groups that suit your playing style. In the story mode, you’ll be able to involve yourself in as much as the game story as you want from mission briefings to news reports and talking to various characters. There are also a number of challenge-mode mini-games included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies. Another big difference is that the game is now in 3D – this doesn’t slow down the action, but it does change the way you’ll play the game. In addition, Blizzard will again offer unparalleled online play through Battle.net, the company’s world-renowned gaming service. Battle.net has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard gamers, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, cloud file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more, all to make StarCraft II the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game. Does SCII: Wings of Liberty recapture the magic of the first title? Does it live up to the legacy? We think so – it’s definitely worth investing in a copy to find out.
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NEED TO KNOW • Fast-paced and competitive real-time strategy gameplay • Three unique races: Protoss, Terran, and Zerg • New units and gameplay mechanics • Groundbreaking single-player campaign • Full multiplayer support and map-making and scripting tools
STARCRAFT STAR ST ARCR AR CRAF CR AF FT SO SOUVENIRS - WHAT WH HAT AT’S ’S IN THE COLLECTOR’S WHAT’S EDITION? • The Art of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, a 176-page book featuring artwork from the game • An exclusive 2GB USB flash drive replica of Jim Raynor’s dog tag, which comes preloaded with the original StarCraft and the StarCraft: Brood War expansion set • A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, cinematics with director’s commentary, and more • The official StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty soundtrack CD, containing 14 epic tracks from the game along with exclusive bonus tracks • StarCraft comic book issue #0, a prequel to the comic series • A World of Warcraft mini Thor in-game pet that can be applied to all World of Warcraft characters on a single Battle. net account • Exclusive Battle.net downloadable content, including special portraits for your Battle.net profile, decals to customise your units in-game, and a visually unique version of the Terran Thor unit
>>DID YOU KNOW?<< StarCraft is so popular in Korea it started the world’s first pro gaming league. There are two cable television channels dedicated to broadcasting matches between pro gamers in the country. It also holds live matches that can draw as many as 100 000 people!
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NEED TO KNOW • Fast arcade racing with power-ups • 20-player online multiplayer support • 4-player split-screen races
RED DEAD REDEMPTION
NEED TO KNOW
Split/Second Dominate your opponents by triggering explosive events that keep you in the lead…
NEED TO KNOW • Customise Thorton into the secret agent you want him to be • Travel around the world to get information and mission objectives • Innovative real-time dialogue
out in front, there’s no guarantee you’re going to win – opponents can also fire power-ups that can kick you from first to last in a manner of seconds! Races are very intense, but when you win, the satisfaction is real. Blur is at its best in multiplayer – by playing against real live humans, you’re up for the greatest challenge the game can offer! Blur even supports playing across platforms, so even if your mates are 360 fans and you’re a PS3 owner, you can still race together. Awesome! R699.95
JUST plain old racing can be dull, so developer Bizarre Creations has spiced things up by adding awesome power-ups to its latest driving game, Blur. Gamers are tasked with racing through nine events, each of which culminates in a showdown with another driver, and gathering Fans and Lights. Lights are awarded for placing well (first, second or third) and Fans are gained by giving your opponents a hard time with your driving and use of power-ups. The more reckless you are, the more Fans you gain and the more cars you unlock. The racing is fast-paced and frenetic; even when you’re
Need for Speed SHIFT For fantastically realistic racing action, Need for Speed SHIFT delivers!
FANCY a bit of espionage? Now remember, being a spy isn’t all about shooting guns – you’ll really have to use your mind, speak to people and do a bit of legwork to discover the truth. Welcome to the world of Alpha Protocol, a game that many are calling the first sleuthing, role-playing game. First, you’ll customise your own super-spy. Then, you’re going to travel the world to stop an impending international catastrophe. Sound fun? It is. The decisions you make in the game not only affect the characters around you, they can, at times, unlock extra special bonus items. There are a number of different ways to upgrade your skills so you can also choose how you play the game – will you shoot everyone that gets in your way, or sneak attack around corners? It’s up to you. No matter where you’re hiding out, the designers really went all out to make the location realistic using interesting architecture, lighting and weather effects. The voice acting and dialogue are really good, often making up for not-so-sharp character animation. Alpha Protocol is a little rough around the edges and can be frustratingly buggy at times. And while this may aggravate some, others will be hooked into the action quite quickly, enjoying the innovative mechanisms and interesting locations of the game. The voice acting and dialogue are really good, often making up for notso-sharp graphics. If you enjoy the Bond-esque genre, there’s a good chance you’ll like Alpha Protocol. R599.95
• Expansive open-world gameplay set in the American Wild West. • Over 20 hours of gameplay • Morality system based on honour and fame • Mini-games including showdowns, gambling, hunting bounties, cattle herding and five finger fillet
WHERE did all the Western-themed video games go? Sure, you’ll mention GUN and Call of Juarez… but what else is out there? The Wild West makes the perfect setting for a video game and if you’re keen for some open-world, gun-toting, all-American fun, then Red Dead Redemption is a must. Made by Rockstar (think Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne and Bully), this game puts you in the boots of John Marston, a former outlaw who is trying to be a good guy, but keeps getting caught up in his past. Every detail in the game is fantastic, from the unique characters to the immersive environment complete with horses and tumbleweeds. Heck, you can even tame a wild mustang, herd some cattle and then head to the saloon for a drink. Besides the main story, which could take 20-hours to complete, there are plenty of distracting side quests. Over and above this, is a multiplayer element with so many facets; it could have been bundled as another game entirely. The game may feel similar to the beloved GTA series and that’s a good thing because Red Dead Redemption is one of the best-looking games to date and its appearance is only matched by a perfect Western soundtrack. Rockstar has made a game that is atmospheric, adventurous and exceptional in every way. Go get it. R699.95
>>CONSIDER THIS<< Just Cause 2 Whether free-falling from thousands of feet or hijacking enemy fighter jets in midair, there are hundreds of weapons, vehicles and missions in this thirdperson action game.
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Our way of protecting the environment
Bring in any old technology and we will either re-furbish and donate it to those in need or we will ensure that the items are disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner with Enviro Connection and Desco. Enjoy discounts off your purchase of a new printer cartridge or toner when you bring in your empty ones. (Terms & conditions apply)
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THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS SONIC & SEGA ALL-STARS RACING
NEED TO KNOW NEED TO KNOW
• Professions-focused expansion to The Sims 3 • Work is now not a nameless, faceless place • Adds tons of new objects and scenarios to The Sims 3 brilliant and potentially destructive gadgets as an inventor, craft glorious masterpieces as a sculptor, and solve riveting cases by any means necessary as an super-spy with dozens of cases to solve and numerous clues to find. The writing is tongue-in-cheek cute, the quests are original for a Sims game, and it really does add some much-needed interaction to the world of The Sims 3. Other additions include new furniture, new interactions with other Sims, new hobbies to indulge in and more. We’re glad to say that it’s a meaningful expansion, and one fans of The Sims 3 will surely appreciate. R249.95
The Sims 3 World Adventures Expansion
Take your Sims on the road to three exotic locations and learn new skills, earn rewards and enrich their digital lives further with new objects. This is an expansion not to be missed!
Toy Story 3: The Video Game TS3 features a story mode that follows the film adventures in which Buzz, Woody and friends grapple with their uncertain future as Andy prepares to depart for college. In addition to the Toy Box mode, the console versions put the toys in non-film situations such as light combat with Buzz Lightyear. R199.95 - R599.95
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FROM the crazy fun of Mario Kart and ModNation Racers, to the speed-demons in Gran Turismo and Blur, racing has always been a much-loved video game genre, no matter how cute or serious the title is. Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is about fun with some of the best-known game folk. From Banjo-Kazooie to Virtua Fighter’s Jacky and Akira as well as Alex Kidd, SEGA have brought back retro characters to create a quirky mix of go-karters. Each character has a specific All-Star move such as Super Sonic, Banana Blitz and Tails Tornado. The actual racing is a lot of fun – all the courses have been well-designed with quick shortcuts
ANYONE who has played The Sims 3 might have noticed that while you can populate your digital dollhouse with Sims of your own design and make it very pretty, once you’ve worked your way through the initial game, you’ll need more to keep going. Sims 3: Ambitions is perfect for Sim-fans as it adds new content, from a choice of five professions to new objects, Lifetime Achievements and fun scenarios to play out. Now, you don’t just send your Sim to work once they have chosen a profession, you run around the town you’ve created performing tasks not unlike those seen in role-playing games. You can choose to hunt down vengeful spirits as the ghost hunter, invent
• 20 SEGA characters to play • 6 cups in the single-player campaign • Multiplayer on and offline gaming
and stunt jumps. There’s also variety in design, with each track getting a little more difficult as you progress yet the controls are easy to master. Playing alone, the single-player game is made up of a 6-cup grand prix challenge with objective-based missions. There are both on and offline multiplayer modes that range from good, old-fashion racing to split-screen battle modes. No matter which platform you pick the game up on, you’ll find smooth controls and great tracks – Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is fantastic fun. R699.95
If you love to race but also want to put your personal touch on things, ModNation Racers lets you customise just about every detail of this PS3 game.
Pure Football A new vision for football from Ubisoft, Pure Football emphasises the intense, physical and spectacular aspects of the sport. It may not nearly be as good as EA’s offering, but can be fun to get into the heart of a five-aside beautiful game. Soccer fever is upon us! R399.95
Lost Planet 2 If you’re looking for brilliant, co-op action, Lost Planet 2 will blow you away with its intense and action packed campaign. Follow the exploits of your own customised snow pirate on a quest to seize control of E.D.N III – really superb multiplayer gaming! R699.95
Logitech has cleverly anticipated all of your needs and considered everything that’s important to you when designing their audio products. Here are some of our picks –
Music to your ears Logitech audio products are designed with the audiophile in mind. Sound is a very personal experience – from the kind of music you choose to love, right down to the way you want your sound to influence your environment.
ogitech understands that you want to listen when you want, where you want. You may be working on your computer, relaxing at home, or taking your music along with you – wherever you are, there’s an audio product perfect for you.
What makes Logitech audio spectacular? It’s all about control… Perfect driver control: The aim of speaker design is for you to experience the music, sound effects and dialogue exactly the same way as when first performed or mixed in the studio. Logitech speakers use meticulously-tuned drivers that reproduce the high frequency (called treble), the mid-range sounds, and the low bass tones. Perfect frequency control: An elite technology called Frequency Directed Dual Drivers requires two identical full-range drivers in each speaker, and one contains a specialised filter that senses specific frequencies to gradually mute that driver as needed to prevent the speakers from cancelling each other out. Perfect acoustic control: The same technology that’s used in high-end home theatre designs is used in Logitech speakers to deliver omni-directional acoustics. Within each speaker, one driver faces forward, the other backward to transmit sound evenly in all directions and then a wider range of frequencies can reflect off the walls to provide awesome sound across a bigger listening area.
Desktop listening pleasure – Logitech Z-10: A stylishly designed speaker system that has an LCD screen to display artist and track info. These hook up easily using a digital USB connection that bypasses your computer’s own sound card. Featuring touch-sensitive multimedia control buttons and four Internet radio presets.
Take it with you – Logitech Pure-Fi Express Plus iPod Docking Station: The Pure-Fi Express Plus is a mobile sound solution that makes no compromises on sound quality as it’s equipped with omnidirectional acoustic technology. The device can either be plugged in the wall or run on 6 AA batteries. As well as supporting iPods and iPhones, this docking station supports most brands of MP3 digital music players as well using a 3.5mm auxiliary output cable.
Travel companion – Logitech V-10 Notebook Speakers: The lightweight speaker solution for your netbook or notebook, as the system can be easily packed into the supplied travel bag and connect using a single USB cable. Top-notch sound is made possible by 2.0 stereo sound technologies with matched quad micro drivers and volume levels can be easily adjusted using the easy-access controls.
Conversation starter – Logitech ClearChat Comfort Headset: Getting comfortable with digital sound is what this headset is all about. Perfect for video chats, online gaming and other VoIP conversations, this headset has a rotating microphone and noise-cancelling functionality. It’s plushly-padded and has an adjustable headband, as well as an easily-accessible volume control. It handles music as well as it handles any conversation – perfectly and with absolute clarity.
Choosing the right sound product
Like anything that’s delicious, her advice is best served in small quantities with plenty of
issue of the month: Q:
Do I really need security software? re? I heard it was just a scam so these companies panies can make money. Sceptical in Simonstown
If you have questions, gripes or just seek some solace, e-mail Tamsin, our friendly tech tannie at firstname.lastname@example.org 68 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
Do you really need security software? ware? Should I stop laughing now? Please tell me you have your computer hooked up to the net and d that you’re downloading all sorts of kak willy nilly. Look, security software is definitely NOT a scam and you can lose all your data, get hacked and discover that your bank account is suddenly empty, or have ave to throw a ruined PC in the bin. And you can even end up transmitting these very same viruses, spywares, phishing mails ils and other nasties, directly to your friends and family. Not very nice, no sir, not nice at all. If you have issues with th the cost of security software then try looking around at the different brands ands on offer as many of them are not as costly as you may think. Certainly they are a lot cheaper than buying a new hard drive or computer, or getting security curity to protect you from irate mates. Ok, k, I need to stop laughing now, I just dropped ed my knitting.
I am about to buy my first ever computer and I’m not that technical so I’m a bit worried about making sure I get everything right before I spend my money. My son is helping me with the hardware I need but he says I should get an operating system called Ubuntu, but my friend says that she uses Microsoft and that it’s much easier. What do I choose? Operating Out of Oudsthoorn
Oooh, yislike, you’ve really managed to open up a can of worms here, hey! Just putting the words Ubuntu and Microsoft in the same sentence is like putting Zuma near wives – chaos. People are generally fans of either one of these systems and they will defend them to the death. Personally I like them both – but then I also like Star Wars and Star Trek equally so I’ve obviously got a very balanced disposition. What operating system you choose really depends on how you like to work and what you already know. You’re in the brilliant position of having little to no experience working with computers so far. This means that you can pick up and learn either one of these systems and get as much out of them as you want. However, I must add here that Ubuntu is slightly more difficult to use and demands a lot more user involvement that Microsoft’s OS, Windows 7. No, this doesn’t make it less worthy, it just makes it more about user control and manipulation. For many seasoned computer users, this is what makes it such an amazing choice. Windows 7 does offer a few little tweaky bits here and there but ultimately this system is pretty much plug and play. You press Start, you do stuff, you shut down. Yes, it has its niggles (they all do) but it is a lot easier to add printers and similar peripherals, ipherals, and there are many programs rams made specifically for it too. Your son has suggested sted that you go down wn the Ubuntu route and that probably means that he has some experience using this system and can help you whenever you get stuck. This, to me, makes your our choice a little easier. Go for Ubuntu, play around with it and let your son talk you ou through the difficult bitss and see how you get on. If it really ly is too much for you to handle, then switch to Windows 7 and try it out. On the plus side, Ubuntu is free so you’ll save money at first!
I don’t get all this cloud computing stuff. The other day I bought a netbook and the oke at the store was nattering on about cloud computing capabilities. What is this? Cloudy with Thunder in Brakpan
Ya, like this is going to be easy to get through on paper hey? Even Steve Ballmer was depressed about explaining cloud computing to CEOs of major corporations when, after a lengthy discussion, a lady stuck her hand up and asked, “Is it kind of like the Borg or something...?” Simply put, cloud computing is just a fancy (and obviously confusing) term for Internet computing – doing stuff on the Internet that you have previously done on your It’ss been around for a while now and is referred to as hosted PC. It services over the Inter Internet. Increasingly companies producing goods and services servic that really take it to the next level and so far 2010 has ha had a bumper crop. You can get office programs, storage sites, photography sites and so programs more. It depends on what you want to use much m it for, business or pleasure, as to what services and applications are available. You said you bought a netbook but not which brand so I’m bo going to assume it was an ASUS model. At go Computex ASUS announced that they were Co going to start shipping netbooks with cloud go computing functionality built in so you could co access their services online without breaking ac a ssweat. Well, you will break a sweat because this is Souf Efrica nogal, and the interwebz doesn’t really work so lekker here, and so doe there won’t be as much speed as you need to really eenjoy all the benefits of cloud computing. However, many of them (think Google Docs) are really fantastic to use u and a great way of keeping important data stored onlin online so if anything goes wrong on your machine, your inform information is still neatly tucked away in a secure online hiding place place. Just Jus one word of advice, always use sites that are reliable, secure and reputable.
WWW.CONNECT.CO.ZA | 69
AND WIN IMAGE RETRIEVAL
Fujifilm has created a new Picture Search tool which allows you to find photos quickly and easily. You can search with both digital cameras by whichever Scene Mode the photo was taken. For instance if you select ‘Portrait,’ you can view all photos shot in Portrait mode, or ‘Macro’ to see all close up shots, etc. It’s a time saving feature which means that you will no longer have to waste time searching through all your photos to find the ones you are looking for.
SMILE AND BLINK DETECTION
In addition to Fujifilm’s signature Face Detection, Fujifilm has added two fun features: Smile Detection recognises the precise moment your subject smiles and releases the shutter only when this happens; and Blink Detection warns you if any of your subjects have blinked so that you can re-take the photo if necessary.
HD MOVIE CAPTURE
Capture movies in HD quality 720p HD.
18X FUJINON OPTICAL ZOOM LENS
The FinePix S1800 features a Fujinon 18x wide-angle optical zoom lens that produces crisp high-resolution results throughout the focal range, from 28mm wideangle to an astounding 504mm telephoto. It also features Instant Zoom, which enables you to keep their subject in a shot at long distance by offering a wide viewing area around the frame and then immediately cropping to the subject once the photo is taken.
TRACKING AUTO FOCUS
The FinePix S1800 also has Tracking Auto Focus, which allows users to track a moving subject automatically for still picture capture.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES • 3.0-inch high-contrast LCD and Electronic View Finder: The FinePix S1800 is fitted with a high-contrast 230K-pixel 3.0-inch LCD and Electronic View Finder. • Dual Image Stabilization: Long-zoom cameras need stabilization more than any other compact, with handshake and subject movement a particular problem in low light at telephoto range. • Face Detection and Automatic Red-eye Removal: To provide perfectly exposed and focused portrait shots, the FinePix S1800 is fitted with the latest Face Detection technology which is able to track up to 10 faces simultaneously, at almost any angle to the camera. The system instantly corrects red-eye and then saves both the original and the corrected image file automatically.
that’s two issues
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disconnect //BY ADAM OXFORD
VICTIM OF THE
ACHINE YPE M H HYPE MACHINE Or, why I want a 3D screen even though I know they won’t work for me.
nyone who was hoping 3D was just a passing phase which began and ended with James Cameron’s Avatar will be severely disappointed. The artistic merits of the first major blockbuster shot entirely in digital 3D have made the film itself ephemeral, a mere passing trifle. Compared to District 9, say, it was a long way away from being the film of 2009 that sci-fi fans will still be talking about in ten years time. The technology, though, has earned it a place in the history books: 3D isn’t going away any time soon. A quick look around the show floor at last month’s tech trade show Computex in Taiwan revealed that every major PC company is investing heavily in 3D monitors, 3D laptops, 3D goggles, 3D films and 3D gaming. With Avatar’s new 3D Blu-ray release around the corner and a whole swathe of new 3D TVs about to invade the living room, flatscreens really are destined for the trashcan. Or are they? I’m quite often very sceptical of new toys. Usually, it’s a healthy defence mechanism that stops me getting carried away by the latest hype bubble. Usually it’s a good thing: I didn’t buy or recommend - an HD-DVD player before they become obsolete, and I wasn’t especially afraid of planes falling out of the sky due to the Y2K bug. I know that current 3D technologies are better than the old red and blue anaglyph glasses methods. They use polarised screens or shuttered glasses to send different images to each eye, allowing full colour, high detail and a more realistic image that, when it works, is astounding to see. I also know, however, that both the polarised screen or active glasses techniques are a difficult and expensive way of using a screen which more often detracts from enjoyment than adds to it. If you don’t hold your head dead still, for example, the effect can be lost. And who wants to wear sunglasses to watch the news? Yet despite my natural scepticism, I find myself looking longingly at the latest laptops with their 3D screens that can render depth into even an old game like World of Warcraft. I know I shouldn’t, that I should wait at least for prices to come down or a format to stabilise, but I can’t help it. The worst thing about it is that I know I am being controlled purely by marketing. It’s not that I don’t desire a futuristic holo-
72 | CONNECT | JULY 2010
screen that makes computer-generated imagery seem more real than reality like most men of my age I’ve wanted one since first watching. The reason I know I’ve been sucked into the hype machine is that 3D screens don’t actually work for me. For the same reason I’m rubbish at ball games and see dots where others see magic eye paintings, my brain is unable to add depth to 2D screens just by wearing a pair of special glasses. My eyes are broken, they don’t work. I’m a stereoscopic cripple. And yet, when testing 3D screens, I’ve often thought I’d caught a glimmer of what other people see even though I know it’s not possible. Did that face leap out of the screen, or was it just a little sharper than usual? The only rational explanation is that the relentless 3D marketing has burnt itself into my brain and fooled me into thinking I can see depth where there’s only a sheet of glass. Clearly there are powerful processes in play here to which none are immune and frankly it scares the bejeezus out of me. What if all technology is like that? What if none of the computers, phones, cameras and other assorted gadgetry that I surround myself with are actually necessary? What if I’ve been living a lie up until this moment, and my whole life has been wasted...? Fortunately my faith in technology has been quickly restored. An ace new piece of kit that just landed on my desk that shows clearly what the future holds. It’s a telepathic replacement for the keyboard and mouse which allows you to control a cursor on screen using the power of your mind, all you have to do is rub this snake oil into your temples, and the effect is brilliant, honest...
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