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DIGITAL IMAGING ISSUE WWW.TECHSMART.CO.ZA

ISSUE 92 May 2011 ISSN 1726–3358


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EDITORIAL & HIGHLIGHTS

The Digital Imaging Issue ›› May 2011 T HE

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BIG

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ISSUE

The one perfect picture loved photography since the first time I picked up my dad’s old Ricoh SLR. For me it’s almost like meditation since it’s only when I’m busy composing a shot that all noise manages to fade away. Nothing matters except that one perfect picture. You’ll find that we’ve focused (no pun intended) on digital imaging in this issue, starting on page 9 with an interview with Roger Machin of Canon SA. There’s also a number of camera reviews including that of the Canon 600D I’m holding, the new Samsung NX100 sporting a small body with big sensor and two impressive compact cameras from Nikon and Panasonic. With a number of cameras (and smartphones) now offering good quality HD video recording, it will be interesting to see if there will be the same explosion in creative video as we saw in photography when digital cameras started taking off. I for one certainly had my curiosity piqued.

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$1 billion. What Kodak thinks it can attain from its patent battle with Apple and BlackBerry maker RIM.

Enjoy the issue and keep on snapping, Mike (michael@techsmart.co.za)

» Regulars The Big Issue: Group Buying Sites

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A new online shopping experience is gripping SA and we check to see what all the fuss is about.

» Reviews Samsung NX100 It’s not a dSLR but contains the same sized sensor as found on many bigger cameras. TechSmart goes snapping with Samsung’s mirrorless NX100.

16

» Games Crysis 2 Get your Nanosuit ready and fire up your graphics card because we’re going alien hunting in New York City courtesy of Crysis 2.

29

Correction We published the wrong number in last month’s article on the VKOM 401W 3G Wi-Fi modem. The correct number is Nology on 012-657-1317. Phone them for more info on this handy portable modem. Our apologies. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved. No material, text or photo graphs may be reproduced, copied or in any other way transmitted without the written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or of the editor. We recognise all trademarks and logos as the sole property of their respective owners. TechSmart shall not be liable for any errors or for any actions in reliance thereon. All prices were correct at time of going to print.

Editor TechSmart & TechSmart.co.za Mike Joubert > 083-290-2889 michael@techsmart.co.za Business manager George Grobler george@smartpublishing.co.za Print media manager Suzanne Rall suzanne@smartpublishing.co.za Advertising (Agencies) Carmel Anne Singh > 079-515-8708 carmel@smartpublishing.co.za Advertising (Direct) Marlien vd Westhuizen > 012-362-2732 marlien@smartpublishing.co.za Designer Brett Wilson Contributors Mike Joubert [MJ], Hanleigh Daniels [HD], Johan Keyter [JK], Linda Pretorius [LP] Accounts & subscriptions Ronel Keet > 012-362-2732 accounts@techsmart.co.za Distribution Renier van Vuuren > 073-166-1515 renier@smartpublishing.co.za

techsmart.co.za l May 2011

97 902 copies per month Consumer: SciTech [Oct – Des 2010] Published by

SMARTPUBLISHING MASS MEDIA SPECIALISTS

Tel: 012-362-2732 1218 Arcadia St, Hatfield, Pta www.smartpublishing.co.za Distributed by

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NEWS

TOP TECH TITBITS Every move you make – iPhone is watching you!

More bandwidth as WACS lands ashore

Woman wrestling with porn problem

ecurity researchers made quite a shocking discovery last month, with the data scientists finding that Apple’s iPhone secretly keeps track of every step you take. Apparently consumers using an iPhone or 3G iPad is regularly having their position recorded into a hidden file, which is saved to their computer when the devices are connected. The file contains latitude and longitude information of the device’s coordinates alongside a timestamp, meaning someone who steals your phone or computer could gain accurate details of your movements by exploiting a simple program. Apple has since said that the data collected is that of nearby cell towers and not the position of the phone itself.

he West African Cable System (WACS) has finally arrived in South Africa, landing last month at Yzerfontein, near Cape Town. The new undersea cable system is set to double SA’s broadband capacity, and is Africa’s largest capacity undersea cable yet. Spanning 14 000 kilometres, the cable will bring an additional 5.12 terrabits per second of connectivity to our shores, boosting our broadband capacity by more than 500 gigabits per second which will put smiles on quite a few people’s faces. The cable has a higher capacity than the Seacom, Eassy and SAT-3 cable systems combined. 720p YouTube streaming, here we come.

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25 million. Number of users that cloud-storage service Dropbox now has. 200 million. Files saved on Dropbox each day.

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t is not just men that struggle with porn addiction thanks to the abundance of curves on the internet. The Guardian reports that more and more woman are using the internet to watch porn. At the UK’s main porn counselling service, Quit Porn Addiction, almost a third of new clients are woman. This compared to zero looking for help a few years back. Founder and counsellor Jason Dean says: “I remember getting my first woman contacts about two years ago and thinking that was fairly unusual. Now I’m hearing from about 70 women a year who are coming for their own reasons, not because their male partners have a problem.”

HOT NEW PRODUCTS Nikon D5100 brings HD joy ikon has announced its D5100, which is the company’s Canon 600D (see p16) dSLR rival and follow-up to its successful D5000. This new model boasts a larger 3" vari-angle screen and a 16.2 megapixel CMOS imaging sensor inherited from the D7000. Nikon also added a new special effects mode and full (1080p) HD Movie with fulltime auto-focus, whilst at the same time slightly toning down on the size of its latest model, which measures 128 x 97 x 79 mm. Nikon’s D5100 should be available for R7999 for the body only.

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HTC’s new Sensation TC has unveiled what looks to be the current leader of the smartphone pack here in SA, the HTC Sensation. The Taiwanese manufacturer calls the

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techsmart.co.za l May 2011

Sensation a superphone due to Qualcomm’s 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon MSM8260 processor, which not only enables a better allround processing performance, but also gives the device a graphical boost. The Sensation operates on Google’s new Android 2.3 mobile OS, along with HTC’s latest Sense skin, and can record full HD video in 1080p resolution. More HTC on p20.

Pinnacle Studio v.15 ooking for video editing software that is easy to use, but will enable you to create professional quality videos (with lots of transition)? Avid’s new version 15 of its popular Pinnacle Studio

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range fits the bill and has landed in SA. This editing suits enables one to import video and photos from a variety of sources, cut and paste to arrange accordingly, add transitions and effects and throw in a soundtrack to quickly and easily make a good looking home movie in no time. The new Pinnacle Studio packages start from R799.

TomTom High Speed MultiCharger tuck with the problem of not being able to charge your smartphone incar while your GPS unit is plugged in? Problem solved thanks to TomTom’s new High Speed Multi-Charger, a charging solution that will enable users to charge up to three devices in their car at once, at up to four times the speed. In addition to a 1.2 amp USB charging port for MP3 players and mobile phones, there’s also a 2.1 amp port to speed-charge high power devices such as an iPad or iPhone. It retails for R249.

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Virtualization The only computing platform purpose-built for VDI, Pano Logic offers a simple, all-in-one hardware-and-software platform for desktop virtualization that deploys in under an hour. The Pano Logic platform eliminates the complexity and overhead of endpoint devices, which can comprise 80 per cent of the TCO of thin clients, with a zero client that contains no processor, OS, storage, drivers, nor any moving parts. Removing processing power from the endpoint eliminates endpoint security breaches, drastically reduces energy consumption and slashes the TCO of computing. “Our customers are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing energy bills and IT maintenance costs and are finding that desktop virtualization with the Pano Logic zero client is simplest and most cost-effective way to provide end user computing,” said Shaun van Wyngaard, joint MD of Pano Logic Africa.

For more info call us (012) 803-3872 or drop us a mail at info@panologicafrica.co.za or visit www.panologic.com

Monitor your home, your business or any location ‒ on your mobile phone. The B2 remote security camera lets you monitor any location, anywhere and anytime. The B2 uses a standard GSM SIM card which enables it to send hi-res colour MMS and SMS messages directly to your MMS enabled mobile phone and e-mail address. The B2 camera also incorporates an infrared motion detector that will immediately send images and messages of any movement in the surveillance area.

The B2 camera includes these great standard features: • Get clear pictures on any MMS supported mobile phone on demand • You can control and configure the camera remotely via SMS • Detect and alarm any motion within the camera monitoring area • The B2 will send quality pictures in any lighting environment • The B2 can be programmed to send multimode alarm (SMS, MMS or E-mail) • Flexible reporting schedules can be set remotely with multiple time intervals

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57%. Of Android developers think that OS fragmentation is a significant issue, whilst only 14% think it’s no problem.

Centralised. Simple. Complete.


SCI NEWS

Sci News

Lousy findings

Monkey see, monkey do

A bitter taste

cientists have been nitpicking about the evolutionary age of birds for years. And now an article in a recent issue of Biology Letters, reveals that lice may be the missing link. The current theory of birds’ evolutionary rise is that the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs allowed the birds to conquer new habitats. But when a group of researchers looked at genetic changes of modern lice lineages to build a family tree and traced back the changes in evolutionary time, they found that ancestors to modern bird lice have been around already before the dinosaurs disappeared. And if there were bird lice, there must have been birds. Specific adaptations to allow the lice to hide between feathers on birds’ wings, suggest that feathered dinosaurs may also have had lice.

mile and others smile with you; yawn, and apparently the same happens. Scientists write in a recent issue of PLoS ONE, that chimpanzees are prone to contagious yawning if they see other chimps yawn. But it’s not to show they’re sleepy or bored, rather, it’s a sign of social connection. The researchers let two groups of adult chimps watch 9-second video clips of other chimps either yawning or doing something else. The viewers yawned 1½ times as often if the yawning chimps on screen were familiar to them than when they were of an unknown social group. Scientists think that this is a sign of empathy and that social animals – like chimps and humans – likely show more empathy towards individuals from the same social group than to unfamiliar faces.

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itter tastes bad. And according to a report in the journal Current Biology, your stomach agrees. Scientists asked about 60 volunteers twice to keep a bitter (but non toxic) solution – similar in taste to flu medicine – in their mouths for three minutes before spitting it out. Afterwards participants all reported feeling nauseous. During the tasting, the scientists also recorded the electrical activity of the participants’ stomach muscles. Response patterns were erratic – which is a hallmark of nausea – and were similar to what is usually seen in extreme motion sickness. Because bitter taste is often associated with toxins, the findings suggest the taste warns the stomach that something vile is on the way. In turn, the stomach prepares to launch the stuff back up should it be swallowed and so protects the body from potential harm. [LP]

Toward a computer model of the brain: new technique poised to untangle brain’s complexity http://bit.ly/brainpc

How did Buddhism come close to getting the brain right? http://bit.ly/budbrain

“Bee roads” to assist in saving the UK bee population

Two tech giants going green

About 3000. Nokia will be transferring the task of developing Symbian, along with that many of its employees to Accenture.

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» More hot science SpaceX, introduces the Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world. http://bit.ly/muskrocket

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Eco News

Prius: 1 000 000 sold in US oyota USA has announced that it has surpassed the significant one million sales mark for the first mass-produced hybrid gas-electric vehicle, the Toyota Prius. This latest milestone for the Japanese car maker’s poster child for green vehicles, is yet another achievement for Toyota, since they also announced that the overall worldwide Toyota hybrid sales passed the three million mark. More noteworthy to us though is the fact that since the Prius was introduced in the States back in 2000, it has saved oil-loving Americans $2.19 billion in fuel costs (compared to the average nonhybrid car), as well as 12.4 million tons of CO2 emissions.

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» Other interesting eco news

new initiative has been started in the UK, which will see a series of wildflower corridors being planted across the British countryside. These will serve as “bee corridors” attracting the honeymaking insects, as well as other pollinators including butterflies and moths. According to the GreenWise website, this scheme aims to recuperate some of the 97% of wildflower meadows that have been lost in recent decades, leading to the severe decline of Britain’s bee population in recent years. The programme will kick off in Yorkshire where farmers and other bee-loving landowners will sow wildflowers in two long rows, restoring a total of five hectares of land in a £60 000 (approx. R670 000) pilot project.

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acebook’s “Open Compute Project” is an industry-wide initiative to share specifications and best practices for creating the most energy efficient and economical data centres. Mark Zuckerberg’s company is imparting technical specifications of a new data centre build in Prineville, Oregon, which uses 38% less energy and is 24% more cost-effective than previous systems Facebook relies upon. In related news, Google revealed that it has invested around $100 million in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm, expected to become the biggest wind farm in the world. Shepherds Flat is currently being constructed near the windy American city of Arlington located in the US state of Oregon. [HD]

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Environmental scientists calling for climate change early-warning system.

A year after the BP blowout: what we’ve learned. And haven’t.

Electric car maker Tesla sues world famous car show Top Gear.

http://reut.rs/warnclmchg

http://huff.to/bp1year

http://bit.ly/teslavstopgear

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IPod MicroDock

SnapScan S1100 Fujitsu’s SnapScan S1100 is a neat, portable scanner that easily fits into a small bag. The scanner comes with OCR software and has the ability to scan A4 pages and business cards.

XtremeMac’s 3 in 1 Microdock is gives you the ability to play, charge and wake to your iPod or iPhone at home or on the go. It includes a free app that fully integrates with the unit to enhance and personalise your sleeping and waking experience.

Outdoor Bark Control When the Outdoor Bark Control is within range of constant barking, an internal microphone picks up the sound and the unit is activated. The Outdoor Bark Control emits an ultrasonic sound which can only be heard by the dog.

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Kindle e-book reader The world’s most popular e-reader with electronic ink so you can read in direct sunlight. Just like real paper. Display text in 8 different font sizes and can even read back to you.

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INTERVIEWS

Roger Machin, photo video product manager, Canon South Africa. Seeing that its TechSmart’s Digital Imaging issue, who better to talk to than the ever friendly and ȕber informed Roger Machin, photo video product manager at Canon South Africa. echSmart: Full HD video recording with automatic focus is now available on Canon’s entry-level 600D dSLR. What will be the next area of improvement? Roger Machin: Automatic focus with regards to video and dSLR cameras continues to evolve. It is difficult to predict what the future holds, but the auto focus technology on current Canon models is definitely an improvement on previous versions. Of course the ultimate aim is to have an auto focus system equivalent to, or better than, dedicated video cameras. TS: 1080p video recording has also arrived on compact cameras. What’s next for compacts?

RM: It is difficult to say. As time goes by, more and more digital compact cameras will have full High Definition (HD) as standard. Auto focus in movie mode is improving all the time and high quality sound is now more possible with stereo microphones and near-silent zooming. TS: What influence did the recent Japan disasters have on the release of your products in SA? RM: At this stage we have not been notified of any delays in product releases. Almost all of the products announced earlier this year have shipped to stores in SA. TS: Should our readers invest in a) a better body, or b) better glass? RM: It is all about the glass. I have always and will always stand by this. If you have a regular or entry level dSLR camera, rather invest in building up a set of professional lenses instead of

BIG

THE

S1 and S2. Codenames for Sony’s Android 3 running tablets. 9.7”. Screen size on the S1. 2 x 5.5”. Screen size on the dual-screen S2.

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ISSUE

GROUP

BUYING

SITES Group-buying, or collecvebuying depending on who you’re listening to, is a relavely new online shopping experience, but one that has taken the world, and now South Africa, by storm. techsmart.co.za l May 2011

he concept of group-buying made its debut in November 2008 in the form of the American website Groupon and quickly spread across the world. Looking at Groupon’s premise it’s easy to see why they’ve become so successful – you get great deals by utilising the collective buying power of the internet. Today Groupon is one of the most successful ventures in the online world, with analysts predicting that the company will make its first billion dollars faster than any other company in the history of business.

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Group what? So what exactly is group-buying and how can it possibly be so successful? Sites such as Groupon or Zappon offer their members daily discounts on mostly luxury items such as spa treatments, designer eyewear and watches or dining experiences. Basically it works like this: a business, let’s say a restaurant, offers a group-buying deal on one of the myriad of websites available. The deal is spread to the website’s members and states that prospective customers can purchase two meals for the price of one for a limited time on the site. Here the ‘group-buying’

upgrading your camera body. A professional lens on a regular camera body will show a dramatic improvement in quality, where a slight upgrade in body won’t show such a large jump. TS: Any advice for readers who’ve had an entry-level dSLR for awhile and are thinking of upgrading? RM: This is an easy answer and its very much the same as the last question. If the reader is serious about doing professional photography, he or she should rather hold on to their regular camera body, but upgrade to professional lenses. The choice of lenses depends on his or her requirements but will always give instant gratification in terms of quality. However, if the reader requires more functionality, then I would say rather upgrade the older body to a more advanced or current model. It all depends on what end results you want to achieve. aspect comes in, since the deal will only be made available when a certain number of people agree to sign up for it. If not enough people are interested the deal is off, with users who already purchased their virtual coupons receiving a refund. This usually creates a win-win situation for both the customer and business, as you get deals for cheaper while the business gets more customers than usual, negating the loss they might take on the deal. Also in SA The model has spread across the world wide web propelled by the speed of millions of typing fingers, and now it has made its mark on the South African market too. Earlier this year Groupon snapped up local company Twangoo in a bid for the local market, while online auction site bidorbuy.co.za recently acquired Cape Town-based UbuntuDeal.co.za for an undisclosed sum. Media giant Avusa also climbed into the ring with their own group-buying site called Zappon. If you’re still unsure of how groupbuying works, or you’re interested in learning more, sign up to sites such as Zappon.co.za, www.mycitydeal.co.za (Groupon), Wicount.co.za or Ubuntu-Deals.co.za. Simply select your city and all current deals will be displayed. Group-buying aggregators such as todaysdeals.co.za is also a great place to look, and offers a simple and useful list of the day’s best group-buying deals. [JK] 9


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No Drivers Needed The world’s first driver-free VoIP PCI Card & Gateway running on both Linux and Windows.

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Around 12. The number of apps that Windows Phone 7 OS smartphone users download per month.

Cost Efficient & Scalable


MOBILES

Nokia E7 ›› Brilliant hardware stallion, ridden by an average OS jockey Until the first Windows Phone OS-powered Nokia smartphone arrives, the Finnish manufacturer is releasing many new devices running its Symbian^3 OS, including the latest Nokia Communicator, the E7. ike the N97 mini before it, it sports a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, but unlike that bulkier device, the E7 implements the high-end slim design of the N8. Its keyboard is easy on the fingers and we found usability better than on the N97 mini (the HTC Desire Z still holds the crown for best QWERTY keyboard though).

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“The E7 boasts impressive hardware, but is let down by an uncompetitive operating system.”

boasts Nokia’s largest touch-enabled display, coming in at a very decent 4", but unfortunately sports the same resolution (360 x 640 pixels) as the N8 and C7’s smaller 3.5" screens. Many Nokia phones have excellent cameras and the E7 is no exception. The 8 megapixel camera takes very good stills and can record high-definition (720p, HD-Ready) video that looks equally impressive. We really liked the fact that the E7 (like the N8) features HDMI out and comes with the cable in the box, allowing you to connect to your HDTV to effortlessly display all your HDReady videos and high-resolution photos on a bigger screen. Symbian^3 Really impressive on the

This E7 is enveloped in an aluminium shell which makes it feel rock solid and very modern, emulating the chic feel of a unibody MacBook Pro. The phone

hardware front then, but how does its Symbian^3 OS compare? Not too well unfortunately. Symbian^3 reminds too much of Symbian Series 60 and simply does not match up to the sleekness of Apple’s iOS or Windows Phone 7. The apps are fewer than for Android and Apple, while in general the functionality one expects from a smartphone is just not there. This includes only three screens that can be populated, restrictions on where the apps can be placed and just a general clunkiness. Final word Nokia’s E7 boasts impressive hardware such as HDMI out, HD-video recording and USBOn-The-Go, but is inevitably let down by an uncompetitive operating system. Is it a terrible mobile OS? Not by any means, but it’s simply not as good as its modern competitors the likes of iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. The E7 goes for a RRP of R5999. [HD] Full review: http://bit.ly/ e7review

HTC Mozart ›› Not Mr Right right now At long last we’ve got our hands on a phone that sports Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 operating system, and while HTC’s Mozart boasts some decent hardware, can the software keep up? icrosoft has implemented strict minimum hardware requirements on anyone manufacturing devices on which Windows Phone 7 (WP7) will run. The most important of these is that a 1 GHZ processor (or better) must be present. This ensures the phones are speedy and reports of a lagging Windows 7 experience do not surface, which is definitely true of the HTC Mozart, a phone swift when browsing pictures and opening apps. To differentiate the Mozart from a “generic” WP7 device tag, HTC paid a lot of attention to the musical qualities of the phone (Mozart, get it?). Included is SRS WOW HD (via the Sound Enhancer app) for clearer and more expansive audio quality. Also included are an eight megapixel camera and 720p video recording, so multimedia on this phone is really strong.

September 2011. Expected due date for the Apple iPhone 5.

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Software WP7, launched at the end of last year, departs from the PC-like feel of techsmart.co.za l May 2011

Windows 6.5 and looks uniformly cool thanks to a design conscious interface. You have your Start screen that is populated by “tiles”, which can be anything from links to your SMSs, Internet Explorer, different mail accounts or certain apps. Slide the

“Despite looking the part, Windows Phone feels behind the rest of the OS pack.”

screen and you have all your different apps stacked beneath each other in one long list. Any one of these can be moved to the main Start screen for easy access and become one of the moveable tiles. Despite looking the part, Windows Phone feels behind the rest of the OS pack (bar Symbian). Which it is, seeing that Android for example has had three years to progress through the birth pains and upgrades WP7 still need to grapple with. WP7 is currently very bad with multi-tasking, has few apps in Windows Marketplace and delivered problems typically associated with a new OS. We also hated the fact that you can’t simply drag and drop files to the phone, having to use Zune media player to sync. Conclusion There is nothing wrong with the HTC Mozart’s hardware – it works well in all regards and can’t be faulted except for lack of MicroSD. The question is though whether you want to make the jump to Windows Phone 7 while it’s still cutting its teeth. We, at least for now, would rather stick with Android. [MJ] Full review: http://bit.ly/ mozarthtc 11


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“With small to medium sized businesses still concerned and cautious about the economic situation they continue to focus on looking for new ways to simplify operations and grow their business, says Andrew McNiven, HP South Africa’s industry standard servers product manager. “HP, with the help of its channel partners, offers an extended technology portfolio with realistic financing options that enable the SMB to manage data expansions, improve employee productivity and retain, as well as attract clients.”

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HP solutions increase productivity and simplify the management of business operations within micro and small businesses with increasing IT needs and constrained budgets. HP line-up Leading the line-up of Just Right IT offerings is the HP ProLiant MicroServer. This quiet, energy-efficient server combines affordability, performance and data protection for business with up to 10 employees. It assists in effectively centralising information and accessing files faster, enabling employees to share information with ease whilst ensuring the business and customer data is secure. The HP Officejet Pro 8500A e-All-inOne series and HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-All-in-One include HP ePrint and print apps, allowing users to send print jobs from any mobile device and directly access content from the web without a PC. From a cost perspective the Officejet Pro 8500A delivers professional colour at up to 50% lower cost per page than lasers, while the Officejet 7500A offers the lowest cost per page in its class. Data availability and protection is of paramount importance to any business.

SMBs need to secure business data as well as maintain accessibility to information. HP data availability and protection solutions, such as the HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array (MSA), increases performance and storage flexibility. The HP Data Protector Express 5.0 Software is designed specifically for the general user with improved business continuity and a simplified user interface for managing backup and recovery. Communications and connectivity is integral to your business and wireless. Voice and data networks can be complex and difficult to manage, but with HP’s voice-over-IP and wireless offerings SMBs can connect up to 64 simultaneous mobile users to a network at significant speeds thanks to the HP V-M200 802.11n Access Point Series. “The Just Right IT portfolio lets channel partners save their micro and small business customers time and money by meeting the full range of technology needs – from printers and PCs to servers and networking – with one trusted partner,” concludes Niven. For more information on HP’s “Just Right IT” portfolio contact Andrew McNiven on 011-785-1000.

May 2011 l techsmart.co.za


HARDWARE

Kingston SSDNow V+100 SSD ›› Better PC performance, now What to do if you want faster boot-up time, improved battery life and just overall better PC performance? TechSmart recently installed Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 Solid State Drive with some impressive results. o what is Solid State Drive (SSD) you might ask? SSD is a storage solution which is based on flash memory, much the same as you would find on USB flash drives. Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 SSD drive performs a very simple task – it can replace your current hard drive on your PC or notebook. See, unlike your current hard drive, there are no moveable parts on SSD, allowing for some interesting

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hard disk, either on your PC or notebook. As intimidating as this prospect might sound, it’s actually a lot less complicated and we had little hassle in replacing our Dell Studio 1558’s harddrive. The process to replace a notebook’s HDD is definitely not art nor science and if we were to paint in broad strokes it went a bit like this: • “Open back of notebook, replace old drive with new Kingston, connect old drive to the notebook via USB, close notebook, use provided cloning software to copy data over.”

12. Number of petabytes (1 petabyte = 1024 terabytes) that Apple reportedly bought to store video for iTunes on.

“Boot-up time improved by 35% and the battery lasted on average about 50% longer.“ benefits. Certainly the most prominent is better boot-up times but also improved battery life, less noise and faster data access time.

The physical work took less than 30 minutes, with the copying of data from the old HDD to the SSD taking about an hour for 110 GB of data.

How do you install an SSD drive? Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 SSD drive can be bought as a package and with all the tools you need to replace your current

Results Boot-up time improved by 35% and, more importantly for us, the battery lasted on average about 50% longer. SSD

drives can also take punishment better than HDD, which made us feel a bit more secure when moving the notebook in and out of its carry bag. All is not rosy of course. The cost of SSD is still restrictive, for example the 128 GB version we installed costs R3150 for the complete package. The bigger the storage space the more you pay, so you also have to learn to live with a lot less multimedia on your PC. For those looking to take PC performance to the next level, SSD is the way to go. Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 SSD drive offered a no hassle installation and ultimately the benefits will speak for itself. Call Grant Rau at Kingston on 082-922-6718 for your SSD needs. [MJ]

TechSmart.co.za online poll results We asked: “Do you think that Windows Phone on Nokia devices will be an improvement?” • Sorry, nothing can save Nokia anymore • Yes, Symbian sucks! • Maybe, but it will take a lot of effort • Nope, Windows Phone will only mess it up

What’s the easiest way to turbo boost your PC/notebook?

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Facebook: http://on.fb.me/techsmart Twitter: @TechSmartMag Register: http://bit.ly/techsmartreg

By installing a Kingston SSDNow V+100 solid state drive of course! Now you stand the chance to win one of three 128 GB 2.5" SATA SSD complete bundles worth R3150 each, courtesy of Kingston. Go to www.techsmart.co.za to enter and simply answer the following question: What is it about Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 product that is most appealing to you? The competition runs from 1 May to 31 May 2011. Terms and conditions apply. Kingston’s SSDNow V+100 offers the ultimate performance upgrade for any system and consumer!

techsmart.co.za l May 2011

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ED-3G-6200n Wireless 802.11b/g/nl, 150 Mbps 3G Broadband Router/Print Server The 3G-6200n is a multi-function wireless broadband 3G router. When connecting either a 3G or 3.5G USB modem card to the 3G-6200n, all network (wired / wireless) users can share the 3G/3.5G Internet connection between them. The 3G-6200n can support 3G/3.5G speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and comes with a built-in Ethernet WAN port for a Cable modem or xDSL modem. When connected to an xDSL /Cable broadband modem, the 3G-6200n will enable the xDSL /Cable broadband connection automatically when the 3G/3.5G Internet connection is not available. The 3G-6200n USB port can also function as a print server, and even works with NeoTel USB internet telephones!

R649.00

excl VAT

ED-AR-7266WnA Wireless IEEE802.11 b/g/n ADSL2/2+ Modem Router The Edimax AR-7266WnA is a high performance router that provides a full rate of ADSL2+ standard with superb reliability and is a cost-effective solution for home and small businesses. This modem router complies with 802.11n, the next generation wireless standard. With the advanced MIMO technology, it provides up to 9 times better data transmission rates (up to 300 Mbps) and 5 times better coverage than a standard 802.11g/b router.

R639.00

Alberton Head Office (011) 869-2613/4 Benoni (011) 849-9249/5346 Benoni Lakefield (011) 918-8130 Bracken Gardens (011) 900-2984 Bronkhorstspruit (011) 935-1549

Centurion (012) 654-0513/0818 East Rand Mall (011) 823-6658 Edenvale (011) 454-1416 Ferndale (011) 326-0427 Florida-Constantia Kloof (011) 679-2918

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Fourways The Buzz (011) 658-1642/1594 Germiston (Lambton) (011) 824-0772 Highlands North (011) 885-2786 JHB City Centre (011) 838-0638 Kempton Park (011) 972-7209/10

Kensington (011) 615-3466/9101 Krugersdorp (011) 954-1500 Lenasia (011) 852-4778 Maponya Mall (011) 938-0003/3292 Melville (011) 482-7186


ED-AR-7284WnA ADSL 2+ Modem/Router, Wireless 802.11b/g/nL – 150 Mbps, 4p Switch The Edimax AR-7284WnA is a high performance router that provides a full rate of ADSL2+ standard with superb reliability and is a cost-effective solution for home and small businesses. This modem router features 802.11n, the next generation wireless standard. With the advanced MIMO technology, it provides up to 6 times better data transmission rate (up to 150 Mbps) and 3 times better coverage than a standard 802.11g/b router.

R479.00

excl VAT

ED-BR-6225n Wireless Router – 802.11b/g/nL, 150 Mbps The Edimax BR6625 NL is a high speed solution that complies with wireless IEEE802.11b/g, and is compatible with IEEE802.11n standard. When fine-tuned to operate using the wireless 802.11n technology, ED-BR6625 NL wireless data transmission rate can reach up to 150 Mbps – a coverage three times better than a standard 802.11g/b router. ED-BR6625 NL is truly a high performance and cost-effective solution for your home and small business environment.

R419.00

Midrand (011) 312-6668 Mondeor (011) 433-4192/4243 Monument Park (012) 460-4547 Nigel (011) 814-2156 Olivedale (011) 704-5675/5726

Park Meadows (011) 615-8385 Park Rand (011) 913-4813/4 Pretoria Kolonnade Retail Park (012) 548-4733 Pretoria North (012) 546-1156 Princess Crossing (011) 768-5240/6756

Randfontein (011) 412-4320 Southgate Value Mall (011) 941-3829 Springs (011) 362-3362 Stoneridge (011) 452-5818 Sunninghill (011) 807-3006

excl VAT

Sunny Park (012) 341-4166 Sunward Park (011) 896-5108/5153 Three Rivers (016) 423-7158/9 Vanderbijlpark (016) 931-3604/6 Victory Park (011) 888-2201


CAMERAS

Canon EOS 600D ›› Twist and shoot We took Canon’s entry-level flagship, the 600D, to shoot some thrills. he Canon EOS 550D was a pretty damn good dSLR and the 600D, with its improvements, even more so. The 600D most notable new feature is the new 3" vari-angle screen featuring a massive 1 040 000 dots. It’s basically the same display found on the more expensive Canon 60D and makes life easier if you often find yourself on your knees taking pics. Simply fold out the screen, tilt it, and both above the head and below the waist photography becomes a lot easier. Key aspects though remain the same as on the 550D, including the DIGIC 4 image processor and 18 megapixel CMOS sensor.

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“With the new variangle screen both above the head and below the waist photography becomes a lot easier.” Even though the 600D sits at the top of Canon’s entry-level range, it includes helpful functionality that makes it very accessible for amateur shooters. The onscreen feature guide that explains certain functions helps a lot, while the Scene Intelligent Auto mode very cleverly automatically identifies the shooting mode. Another trick Canon picked up from their compact range is the use of creative filters. On playback you can add certain effects to your pics, such as grainy black and white, toy camera (as achieved on Lomo cameras) and miniature (tilt-shift) effects. We think these are excellent additions and really expand on the creative possibilities.

Slow focusing If there are criticisms that can be levelled against the 600D, it includes the fact that auto-focus during video recording is simply not there yet. It’s slow while the camera’s effort to focus (with the standard lens) is clearly audible on video playback. The same rings true when auto-focusing using Live view (activated when using the LCD screen to view what is in-front of the camera), which made using the new twistable screen a hassle. Conclusion Apart from most noticeably the vari-angle screen, better video control and a few extra inclusions, a lot on the 600D (R9450 body only) remains the same as the previous 550D. If this warrants the R1000 extra we’re not too sure, none the less the 600D is an excellent entry-level dSLR. [MJ] Full review: http://bit.ly/ 600dreview

Samsung NX100 ›› Why capture? Create! The Samsung NX100 is the latest addition to the company’s new mirrorless range of cameras and ups the ante with very innovative new lens functionality. ncluded on the 20-50 mm equivalent lens is the new i-Function button, which when pressed allows you to quickly adjust certain settings. In manual mode this gives you quick access to your shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance, while using the control ring at the back to actually adjust the settings. As a matter of fact, quick and easy adjusting is one of the NX100’s key features, since also included is a jog dial found on top of the camera to help with settings.

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Screen The NX100’s 3" AMOLED screen at the back comes with an above average 614 000 pixels. It’s more than the new Olympus PEN E-PL2’s 460 000 but not as much as its competitor from Sony’s side, the NEX-3’s excellent 920 000. Manual focus on these mirrorless cameras is usually a hassle since there is no optical viewfinder present. It’s usually here where a good resolution on the back screen comes in handy, since it helps to 16

find the crispest point of focus. Being digital the screen also automatically shows you exactly how your picture will look once taken. The benefit being that you can play around with your settings to get the exact effect you’re looking for. We also liked the different in-camera effects available on the NX100, with our favourite being the Smart Filters. Here you can mess about with a number of

“Quick and easy adjusting is one of the NX100’s key features.”

effects such as soft focus, vignetting, miniature, sketch and halftone dots. It really gets the creative juices flowing without having to know a thing about Photoshop, but unfortunately these effects are not applicable to video. Talking of which, the NX100’s video capabilities is marked at HD-ready 720p recording, equal to what’s found on most other mirrorless systems. We do recommend to install the April 2011 firmware upgrade for better performance. As with Sony’s NEX-3 there’s no flash present, and although you have strong ISO of up to 6400, we still struggled getting decent pictures in low-light. Conclusion The 14.6 megapixel Samsung NX100 sure looks the part of a smart camera, and thanks to the mirrorless design comes in a small body. It does not compromise on the ever important sensor size, since you’ll find the same size APS-C size CMOS sensor found in dSLRs. The innovative i-Function lens provides easy access to key function-ality, allowing the NX100 to find favour in more than the entry-level market. It retails for R6499. [MJ] Full review: http://bit.ly/nx100sam May 2011 l techsmart.co.za

$30.35 billion. Sales of server and desktop OS' amounted to this figure in 2010, a 7.8% year-on-year growth.

Better movies Just like the previous model, the 600D provides full HD (1080p) video recording, but new to the 600D’s video oeuvre is video snapshot mode, first seen on Canon’s camcorders. Here 2-, 4- or 8second video clips are stitched together on-board to provide you with a readymade movie. New to is the ability to digitally zoom (3-10x) into a subject without losing video quality, while manual audio levels are also worked into the equation – making it even more appealing

for amateur videographers.


CAMERAS

Nikon Coolpix P300 ›› Dangerous dark one possible for example in manual mode, to quickly change your speed on the one dial, and the aperture on the other. It forms a nice counter to the Canon s95 control ring around the lens, although when push comes to shove we would go for the added functionality of Canon’s ring. Secondly, the 3" screen on the Nikon adds to the P300’s quality feel. It’s not often that we’re presented with a massive 921 000 dots on a 3" display, so we treasured every second of it.

Struggling to find a powerful little compact? Nikon’s Coolpix P300, an impressive camera with f1.8 lens and Full HD video recording, might just tickle your fancy. or such a small little body the 12 megapixel P300 includes a large number of features, not the least of which being a fast f1.8 lens. This is the fastest lens Nikon has ever built into its Coolpix compact range and allows for a very shallow depth of field and some impressive low-light capabilities, much like the Samsung EX1’s f1.8 and Olympus’ XZ-1. That said, it is only available at the widest angle (in this case an impressive 24 mm), gradually decreasing the aperture as you zoom in. This makes a shallow depth of view more difficult on portrait studies where a bit of zoom is sometimes needed. Like many of the other cameras featured in this issue, the HD video recording capabilities on the P300 is impressive. It records at full HD (1080p) meaning its videos will display crystal clear on HDTVs. Our videos were crisp, even in low-light, with the ability to zoom (albeit very slowly) and stereo sound. There is also a video record button at the

1 662 523. The number of users that disliked new internet sensation Rebecca Black’s Friday video on YouTube. Viewed 84 233 584 times, liked by 210 070 users.

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“The f1.8 Nikkor lens is the fastest Nikon has ever built into its Coolpix compact range.” back so you don’t need to switch via the mode dial at the top. More features If this camera was a Facebook update, two more things would make us click “Like”. Firstly, on such a compact snapper you’ll find two ring dials. This makes it

Conclusion We really enjoyed our time spent with this little sharpshooter from Nikon. Apart from the above mentioned it also has a number of delicious features to work your way through, including speedy 7 fps shooting (at full resolution), impressive panorama functionality and a very cool high-contrast monochrome mode that can also be used with video recording. Overall the camera felt like it was designed with the more discerning (compact) photographer in mind, but one omission might come as a disappointment – the lack of RAW recording. It retails for R4000. [MJ] Full review: http://bit.ly/ p300nikon

Panasonic LUMIX TZ20 ›› A whole lotta camera There are a number of features in the new TZ20. TechSmart tries to work through them all. n size the TZ20 is best described as chunky, since it’s quite a bit bigger than other compacts. But one can easily forget that this body hides a massive 16x zoom. While such a long zoom will very rarely provide you with an artistically perfect shot, it will get you where you want to be, helped even further by Panasonic’s optical image stabiliser, dealing with the shakes when zoomed in.

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GPS included Apart from the massive zoom, Panasonic sticks even more functionality inside, including GPS connectivity. It’s a feature not unique to Panasonic, but a very useful one none the less, since this geo-tags your pictures, pin-pointing the exact place your photo was taken – especially grand if you’ve been on holiday. Furthermore the TZ20 includes a database of important landmarks (1 million +) and is ready to give real time data on the object you’ve just captured. Just like Sony, Panasonic is also quick to add some 3D functionality with a shooting mode simply called 3D Photo techsmart.co.za l May 2011

Mode. The camera takes a number of pictures of a subject and selects the best two image to transpose, allowing for the creation of a 3D image. This is unfortunately not viewable on-screen but only on 3D enabled monitors.

“The TZ20 seems to be the perfect travelling companion, thanks to GPS functionality, a massive zoom lens and 1080i video recording. ”

Video recording As one would expect Panasonic doesn’t skimp on the video recording side, capturing movies in 1080i (AVCHD file format) with auto-focus responding reasonably well. The TZ20 also allows photographers to go full manual, while there are two custom slots available on the mode-dial which you can program with settings you prefer, for example one with a slow shutter speed and the other with a big aperture. While jam-packed with features Panasonic seems to almost take it one step too far with the addition of a touch-screen at the back. It’s the one feature that doesn’t seem to have been thought through and we struggled to get as much from it as from Canon’s excellent IXUS 210 touch-screen. Panasonic can also headhunt a few designers from Sony’s side, since the drab styling on the back of the camera and early-2000 menu design do not sit well on such a feature rich camera. Conclusion Panasonic’s TZ20 seems to be the perfect travelling companion, thanks to GPS functionality, a massive zoom lens and 1080i video recording. It might be larger than most compacts, but is for all practical reasons still “pocketable”. It retails for R4499. [MJ] 17


CAMERAS

New digital compacts enter the SA market ›› What a lot of choice I got Olympus

Sony

e gave the thumbs up to Olympus’ retro looking PEN E-PL1 camera last year, and now the Olympus PEN E-PL2 is taking the Micro Four Thirds legacy further. This time round the 12.3 megapixel E-PL2 has a larger 3" display, Live Guide access in HD Movie mode, the handy Live Wheel feature selector and a faster, lighter and virtually silent M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42 mm 1:3-5-5.6 II lens. It should be in-store retailing for R6999 in July.

ony South Africa has recently released a string of new Cyber-shot digital still cameras, with a number of features that should entice 3D- and HD video enthusiasts. In 3D Still Image mode for example the cameras take two consecutive shots in different focus positions to calculate the depths and then create left-eye and right-eye images to produce a 3D effect. The cameras also include the 3D Sweep Panorama feature, which lets you take panoramic pictures in one press-and-sweep motion. Although the images are not viewable in full 3D on camera, it can be viewed on compatible 3D televisions.

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he flagship Cyber-shot HX100V features a Vario-Sonnar lens by Carl Zeiss that offers an ultrapowerful 30x optical zoom range for crisply-detailed close-ups of distant subjects. It is further enhanced by a GPS/Compass function that captures your location and shooting direction. It should retail for about R4499.

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e spent a bit of time with the take-absolutely-everywhere DSC-WX7 and were left very impressed. It is one the first Sony Cyber-shot devices with an improved High Dynamic Range feature that compiles the highlights, mid-tones and shadows from three separate shots to create one realistic-looking photo. Like many of the new Cyber-shot cameras 1080p video recording is onboard making light work of HD movies. R2299 is the asking price. [MJ]

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May 2011 l techsmart.co.za

$895.6 million. Cost of a new High Performance Computing Center to be completed by December 2015 for the US National Security Agency.

f hard-core is more your style, you might want to look into Olympus’ TOUGH TG-810. It’s the only camera that’s actually crushproof up to 100 kg, while also being immune to water (10 m), shocks (2 m), scratches and freezing temperatures (-10 °C). This camera equivalent of Bear Grylls also includes a GPS, electronic compass and a built-in manometer to measure water and air pressure. It should be camping out in shops, retailing for R3999.

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AUDIO VISUAL

GADGETS

CASKA in-car entertainment system ›› No more in-car blues Are you tired of your car’s boring entertainment system, but don’t want to go all out for a new vehicle? CASKA’s new range of in-vehicle entertainment systems is the answer. lease don’t confuse the CASKA system with the bass pumping noise machines one sees cruising by from time to time, this is an elegant in-car entertainment solution which offers music and DVD playback, an attractive touchscreen interface plus full GPS capabilities. The CASKA system is also tied to your existing sound system, so there is no need to worry about losing any decibels in the process. Various CASKA units are available to fit different vehicle’s interior trim, with manufacturers such as Nissan, Ford and Subaru approving of the device and Mitsubishi even outfitting its new Pajero’s with them from the factory floor.

variety of formats such as MP3, MP4, MPEG4, CD and WMA. Users can now also take their favourite CDs with them without putting the actual disk in danger by creating virtual disks of your CDs, with up to five disks supported. The 800

Number 2. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that Windows Phone OS will be the 2nd most used smartphone platform after Android by 2015.

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Usage With CASKA’s comfortable user interface you can easily access the variety of features available on the device, including audio and DVD playback in a

“This is an elegant in-car entertainment solution which offers music and DVD playback, an attractive touch-screen interface plus full GPS capabilities.“

x 480 pixel truelife display also provides a crisp and clear viewing experience, with smooth touch support breathing new life into your in-car experience. Bluetooth connectivity is also available, with quick and easy pairing of multiple devices to the CASKA meaning a safer driving experience for everyone. Another highly useful feature is the built-in Garmap GPS, preloaded with Garmap Southern Africa Streetmaps 2010, which includes data for several southern African countries. The GPS sports features such as points-of-interest, voice guidance and automatic audio interrupt, and displays a large and clear view of your desired route. The system also features support for up to 24 AM/FM radio stations, RDS, full Apple iPod support, an SD card reader and a USB port, with more optional extras supported. The installation is a painless process, with clients in the Pretoria or Johannesburg area entitled to onaddress fitment. Buyers in other parts of the country can have the CASKA system fitted at local fitment centres, with a 24month warranty applying to all products. All CASKA systems are available from Planet Electronics from R10 999 including installation and VAT. [JK]

Garmin nüvi 3790 LT Masterpiece ›› Masterpiece in nature and name Garmin recently unleashed a brand new range of sleek GPS devices. The Garmin nüvi 3790 LT, also known not-so-humbly as the ‘Masterpiece’, stands out from the rest. eing just 8,7 mm thick the Masterpiece is the thinnest GPS available and can be easily confused with one of Apple’s smartphones. The front of the device is almost completely taken up by a full glass 4.3" multi-touch display, sporting an impressive 800 x 480 pixel resolution. For the first time a Garmin device supports dual-orientation capabilities, meaning you can use it either horizontally or vertically, while also featuring multiple touch gestures, such as sliding, tapping and pinching to zoom in and out.

town, street and house number where you’d like to go, for example. While no voice system is going to be perfect, we were genuinely amazed at the accuracy of the nüvi, working more or less without fault.

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Excellent features The Masterpiece aims to revolutionise your navigation experience with its slew of new features, of which the full voicecontrol impressed us the most. Not counting the mounting of the device, users can literally now set routes and follow them successfully without ever touching the GPS. The nüvi 3790 LT is activated by speaking a customisable ‘wake-up’ command, with the default techsmart.co.za l May 2011

“Thanks to voice control users can literally now set routes and follow them successfully without ever touching the GPS.“ being “voice command”. Users are then able to choose between a number of different options such as, “Find by Name”, “Find Address”, “Find Intersection” and so forth. After that users simply respond to the GPS’s prompts, with it asking you to name the

Integrated traffic The nüvi 3790 LT also supports hands-free Bluetooth calling, allowing you to pair your phone to the device very easily. One of the best things about the Masterpiece is that it’s also equipped with an integrated traffic receiver and sports subscription-free Lifetime Traffic updates (for the lifetime of the device). This allows drivers to receive up to date traffic information on their current route, with the Garmin indicating how long your journey may be delayed, and suggesting alternate routes if available. Conclusion The Garmin nüvi 3790 LT truly is a masterpiece as far as in-car GPSs are concerned, sporting all the features you need, all the features you could want, and even those you never thought you’d need. It’s available for a recommended R4315. [JK] Full review: http://bit.ly/ mastergarmin 19


GADGETS

HTC arrivals ›› A string of new HTC products lined up for SA April was a busy month for HTC, announcing no less than seven new devices for the South African market.

the device it impressed with its speed thanks to the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, while the new 3D interface of the Sense skin looks very smart.

part from the Sensation superphone (featured on p5) the Taiwanese manufacturer released the HTC Flyer tablet, two Facebook integrated smartphones and three new smartphones. All of which will be on the shelves in the next month.

Facebook on ChaCha and Salsa Social network junkies are going to adore the ChaCha and Salsa, both coming with an integrated Facebook button. Press the button and you have access to the key functions of the Facebook services that are integrated throughout the HTC Sense experience, including updating your status and sharing your location or photos. Both devices feature Android’s latest Gingerbread 2.3.3 version, with the Salsa sporting a 3.4", 480 x 320 resolution touch display. It was rather the ChaCha that grabbed our attention with its integrated QWERTY keyboard, slanted body and 2.6" (480 x 320) screen. It is all the new BlackBerry Bold 9780 should have been and we got the impression that if the ChaCha featured services such as BBM and

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Take a Flyer The HTC Flyer is of course the Taiwanese company’s first foray into the tablet market. This 7" tablet runs HTC’s Sense interface on top of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread, not Google’s 3.0 Honeycomb for tablets) and also includes HTC’s unique Scribe Technology. Scribe basically allows you to write on-screen with a special pen and either share your creations online or save it for reference. For the brief period that we played with

BIS it would have been really tough times for RIM. Smart, Smarter, Smartest Finally HTC introduced three updated models of previous HTC smartphones. The Wildfire gets improved in the form of the budget conscious Wildfire S, HTC’s smallest phones ever. Inspired by the HTC Legend smartphone’s aluminium design, the HTC Desire S boasts Qualcomm’s new 1 GHz Snapdragon MSM8255 processor and a 3.7" (480 x 800 pixels) Gorilla Glass display and Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but unfortunately it does not include the new HTC Sense interface as found on the premium Sensation. The Incredible S, with its special contoured back, boasts the same processor as the Desire S and also some very impressive multimedia capabilities, such as surround sound, an eight megapixel camera, a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera and 720p video recording. [MJ]

Parrot AR.Drone ›› Your own eye in the sky

his quadricopter is what childhood dreams are made of, a fully capable, remote-controlled, video camera equipped flying machine which you can control using nothing more than your iPhone. The AR.Drone is piloted through

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Wi-Fi network signals and an easyto-use graphical user interface overlayed on your iPhone or iPod Touch’s display (unfortunately only these two are supported). And fun isn’t restricted to simply flying around, a number of augmented reality games are supported, meaning you and your copter can battle against other drone pilots or AI enemies. It also boasts an auto-pilot feature, 18 km/h top speed and looks to be the most fun idea since the discovery that balls can be kicked. Available from The

G.A.D.G.E.T. Shop (www.thegadgetshop.co.za, 011-792-4912) for R2999.

Belkin Cooling Lounge ›› A big fan of notebooks Belkin’s Cooling Lounge is ideal if you often work with your notebook on your lap and you’re tired of the uncomfortable warmth usually associated with this. t’s soft on the legs thanks to the padded cushion at the bottom, while this cushioning also lifts and tilts your notebook a bit to make working on it more comfortable. The Cooling Lounge comes with the added benefit of a fan situated almost in

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the centre of the stand. Plug its power into an available USB port and it sends a steady stream of cold air to the bottom of your notebook. This fan is relatively quiet but still makes a louder noise than your notebook’s fans would, while the Cooling Lounge seems a bit big to carry along in a small notebook bag, seeing that it’s about 50 mm at its thickest point. The Cooling Lounge does not offer extra speakers as Logitech’s opulent Speaker Lapdesk N700, neither a handy pull-out mouse stand such as Logitech’s spartan Portable Lapdesk N315, but it remains an effective solution, especially

if you want your notebook to remain cool. This Belkin product is available from Spectrum Multimedia on 011-807-0707 for R799. May 2011 l techsmart.co.za

Billlions of $. Amount Nokia will be receiving from Microsoft for the Windows 7 agreement.

They say that boys will always be boys, and this sentiment holds especially true if companies like Parrot keeps releasing amazing new devices such as its AR.Drone Helicopter.


BEST BUYS

BEST BUYS B2 remote security camera

MimioTeach interactive whiteboard

hen intruders hit be the first to know about it. The new B2 remote security camera sends alerts and pictures through to your cellphone as soon as intrusion is detected in your house, thanks to a built-in SIM card and infrared motion detection. Available from Activ Vision for R1795 on 011-450-3361 or visit www.activ.co.za.

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ooking for interactivity from your whiteboard without the cost of a full switchover? The MimioTeach interactive whiteboard kit turns any whiteboard into an interactive one. It does this via a combination of patented infrared and ultrasound sensor technology, a PC and projector. Call Business Data Communication on 082-859-1984 or visit www.mimio-dymo.co.za for more info.

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5 9 7 1 R 81. The age at which the father of the CD, former Sony president Norio Ohga, recently died.

Read more online! ›› If you love tech you’ll love www.techsmart.co.za At www.techsmart.co.za you’ll find daily news, full reviews with tech specs and this month you also stand the chance to win a Kingston 128 GB SSD by entering online! o online to read more about these following products we’ve recently reviewed:

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Red Bull Mobile HD http://bit.ly/redbullhd

Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 http://bit.ly/ x8sonye The X8 left us a bit perplexed. Although this chic device has pocketfriendly dimensions and is easy to use, we can’t understand why it does not support multi-touch like most other smartphones. Samsung NX10 http://bit.ly/samnx10

We rode the Red Bull Mobile HD smartphone and were left very impressed. This Android 2.2 device sports a lot of functionality and bundled apps, plus an attractive design with an even more attractive price point. techsmart.co.za l May 2011

Just like the NX100 featured on p16, Samsung’s NX10 squeezes a full APS-C sensor into a compact body. We liked its dSLR feel and also appreciated the optical viewfinder included.

HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format http://bit.ly/7500ahp

If your business requires a capable printer that can handle larger sized documents such as tabloid, poster and A3 pages, then the HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format is definitely worth considering.

WD TV Live Hub http://bit.ly/wttvlive With the ability to connect online, the WD TV Live Hub with 1 TB of storage space is a great option if you need to organise and enjoy tons of media content from a central location, or if you simply want to stream YouTube to your TV. 21


TRAINING

How to choose an IT Training Provider Advertorial The world of computers fascinates you. You want to follow a career in Information Technology or Telecommunications. Where do you start? What career choices are available? What training and certification do you need, and how do you select the best training institution? CompTIA helps us with some answers.

he Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a not-forprofit global industry association that sets standards for Training Providers in the ICT Industry and provides advice and guidance to employers on developing skills of their staff. CompTIA also provides guidance and advice to students to ensure they are properly prepared for employment.

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Where do I start? The first step is to decide what your interest is. This can only be done once you know what careers are available and have been exposed to the daily tasks involved with such a career. CompTIA has created a website to help you. Encourage your school to join CompTIA’s academic program – Education to Careers (E2C), and gain access to http://tcc.comptia.org and browse! This site lists possible IT jobs and the skills you would need for each one. But once you’ve made your decision, now what? Do I have the aptitude for this job? There are many aptitude tests available at professional organisations, but the best method to determine if you have real interest, is to spend some time with people in such a job. Ask your teacher to help you search for companies who are in this business, arrange a “career day” or link up with a friend who is in this job. But what to do next if you still like the job?

techsmart.co.za l May 2011

What do employers want? It is very important to find out if there are jobs available in your chosen career, both locally and overseas. It is also important to know what qualifications employers recognise. Call CompTIA for more information. Employers developed certifications that will provide you with the skills to start a career in IT, such as the A+ certification, recognised globally by companies as the starting point in IT. Where do I get training for this job? Here are some pointers to help you choose a Training Centre: • Is the Training Centre approved or accredited with the relevant Government Body – SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority)? The SETA is tasked to assess Training Centres against quality requirements set by SAQA (The South African Qualifications Authority). In ICT, they need to be approved or accredited by the ISETT SETA. Call them on 011-805-5115 or visit their website on www.isett.org.za • Is the Centre recognised by the vendors they provide training towards? If they offer training towards CompTIA’s A+ certification or Microsoft’s MCSE, are they registered with CompTIA (www.comptia.co.za) and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com)?

• Training is only a small part of preparing for a career in ICT. Practical experience and/or exposure in a simulated environment is an important component. This needs to be completed by taking the official assessments and exams to obtain the qualification. Attendance certificates issued by the college are not accepted by employers! • If you attended training towards international certifications such as the CompTIA A+, ensure you take the official exams at an authorised VUE or Prometric Test centre. The practice of offering “local” or “South-African” A+ exams compiled by the Training Centre is illegal and not worth the paper it is written on! • CompTIA has designed a score card that would help you to assess Training Centres and make the right choice. For a free copy of the score card, contact CompTIA on 011-787-4846 or e-mail them on info@comptia.co.za today! For more information on CompTIA, visit their global website on www.comptia.org.

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PC MEDIC

PC Medic ›› First aid for your PC Some say that he can unplug the internet and that he can determine the model number of a printer simply by sniffing the ink. All we know is that we call him PC Medic and he’s here to answer your PC related queries. Hi PC Medic. Ever so often there’s a portable hard drive passing through the office containing some cool movies and series. However, a lot of these do not play on my PC with Windows Media Player. What could be wrong? William Burroughs.

Q

Hi PC Medic. I am an avid BlackBerry user and really love BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). I was wondering if there was a way to backup my contacts so that in the event that I lose my phone or it gets damaged, I won’t have to re-invite everyone. Mashua Madula

Q

What’s up Mashua. While you’re within BBM, go to “Options” and under “Contact List” click on “Back Up”. This takes you to the “Back Up Contact List” menu and you have the option to do either a remote or local backup. With the latter you back up your BBM contacts, profile info and groups etc to your smartphone’s microSD memory card. With the former you back up these utilising your email. It’s better to select

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both, as you have a local backup (on the removable memory card) if your phone crashes or breaks, and a remote backup in the event that your phone is lost or stolen (along with the microSD card).

» Tips for Windows 7: Shielding your data If you have sensitive work related documents and files within a particular folder on your work PC connected to the

network, and you would like to keep these away from prying eyes, then follow these steps. Right-click the folder, select

“Share With” and choose “Nobody”. Your folder/ folders will be made private, for your eyes only (or your user account).

Are you ready for true love? MatchVIP is a professional and highly personalised matchmaking service for selective and relationship oriented individuals. Our demanding lifestyles consume most of our energy and resources. We approach professionals such as personal trainers, dieticians and investors to assist us with certain aspects of our lives. So why not consult a professional matchmaker on the most important aspect of you life ‒ finding a long term partner?

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May 2011 l techsmart.co.za

iPad 2 price in SA. Wi-Fi 16 GB @ R4399, 32 GB @ R5399, 64 GB @ R6399. Wi-Fi + 3G 16 GB @ R5599, 32 GB @ R6599, 64 GB @ R7599.

Hey Bill. You need to the latest codecs to play more types of multimedia files. A codec is a piece of software that is used to compress and decompress a digital media file, the likes of a music track or movie. Windows Media Player as well as other programs employ codecs to play and create digital media files. You can search for reputable

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ones online such as K-Lite codec pack or Satsuki decoder pack. Personally I would just download the excellent VLC media player, available for free at www.videolan.org/vlc/ (20 MB in size).


INTERNET

Web Time Wasters

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1. Pica Pic

http://www.pica-pic.com

f you’re in the mood for a taste of gaming nostalgia, head on over to Pica Pic, featuring a large collection of old school games. And when we say ‘old school’ we’re refering to handheld games courtesy of legendary devices such as

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Nintendo’s Game & Watch, which took over kids’ Christmas lists during the 1980’s. Users can relive classics such as Donkey Kong Jr, Mickey & Donald and Sub Attack, with over 20 games available to satisfy your retro cravings.

2. The Wilderness Downtown http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com

n a beautiful example of the power of HTML5 web development language, Google’s Chrome experimentation team created a wonderful ‘online interactive music video’ in collaboration with Grammy winning band Arcade Fire. Playing against the backdrop of their song “The 20 million. Number of applications that Facebook users install every day.

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suburbs”, the video asks users to enter their childhood home’s address in a text box, after which your custom video is compiled. The resulting video mixes video clips and effects with Google Earth and Street View images of your home. A must see, but can be machine intensive.

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Our VDI Range: VDI Hardware Solutions: Starting at a price of *R540 per user NCompung is the fastest growing desktop virtualizaon company. NCompung technology lowers desktop compung costs, improves manageability, and reduces both energy consumpon and e-waste. It is the perfect soluon for leveraging the power and potenal of PCs and cloud compung. VDI Ready Thin Clients (VMware Ready Certified, Citrix Ready, Kaviza Ready and parallels certified) 10Zig is the fastest, small form factor Thin Client offering users improved workflow, increased security, and lower maintenance costs, providing high performance, wireless, dual monitor, energy efficient, lightweight, durable, longlasng, reliable, maintenance-free performance.

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3. Conflict History http://www.conflicthistory.com

n a time when there is unfortunately no shortage of conflict around the world, history buffs and other interested readers can take a look at some of the wars of the past in an easy way thanks to conflicthistory.com. The website contains an

I

informative collection of world conflicts dating back all the way to 4000 BC, featuring an attractive and easy-to-use user interface including a world map enabling users to zoom in to surprising detail. May history not repeat itself.

4. Google Chrome Bounceball http://chromebounceball.appspot.com

ooking for a mindless fun browser app to keep you occupied during times of boredom? Well Google Chrome’s Bounceball app, courtesy of the new Chrome web store, is available to anyone as a free download, with the only requirement of course being that you utilise

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techsmart.co.za l May 2011

Google’s Chrome web browser. In the game players wage a dual battle against gravity and a row of viscous spikes as they attempt to guide the Chrome ball through a series of mazes and challenges. A real web time waster.

VDI pre-assessment and migration tool LiquidwareLabs offers the first step for any organisaon moving towards VDI with its unique assessment tool that covers desktop assessment, infrastructure analysis and recommended design. Kaviza VDI-in-a-box A desktop virtualisaon soluon that has been designed to eliminate the cost and complexity associated with VDI implementaons and migraons of data, and enrich the user experience by delivering a PC-like interface.

The Complete VDi Specialists

CALL: 011 513-4048 | Email: info@ncs.co.za

Web: www.ncs.co.za Contact us for more information on our current specials and volume discount pricing. *T&C apply. 25


BUSINESS DIRECTORY

To advertise in the Business Directory please call Marlien on 012-362-2732

10.52%, 7.74% & 3.27%. The respective share volumes of the top three sites receiving the most online traffic, which is Facebook, Google, and YouTube.

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May 2011 l techsmart.co.za


690 billion & 700 billion. The number of page views Facebook gets each month from its more than 550 million users, and the amount of minutes they spend on the site per month.

To advertise in the Business Directory please call Marlien on 012-362-2732

BUSINESS DIRECTORY

Turn your ordinary whiteboard into an interactive teaching tool with the MimioTeach™. Only a MimioTeach™ system makes it this easy to bring interactivity into the classroom as it works with existing classroom equipment. The portable MimioTeach™ unit can be attached to any smooth surface or whiteboard, allowing the teacher to use it in their own classroom and share amongst others. Besides that, it’s also great for marketing, stat meetings, training, etc. For FREE DYMO/Mimio lessons, visit and join our online teacher community www.mimioconnect.com.

©2011 DYMO, a Newell Rubbermaid company

We are currently acquiring new dealers. Call Business Data Communication – Master Distributor on 082-859-1984 or visit www.mimio-dymo.co.za techsmart.co.za l May 2011

27


GAMES

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars ›› May the blocks be with you Traveller’s Tales is back with another unique adventure in Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, dispensing blocky justice to the enemies of the Republic. he game’s storyline doesn’t follow any one of the specific films, but is instead based on the animated TV series, The Clone Wars. The game tells a wide-ranging story from the Clone Wars conflict, following the exploits of various Republic do-gooders battling against the Separatist droid armies under General Grievous. While not as well-known as the movie releases, most of the cast will be familiar to anyone who has watched the latest films. Characters such as the dual lightsaber wielding Sith assassin, Asajj Ventress, and the trustworthy Commander Cody, also make welcome additions to the cast.

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“Laser blasts flood the screen, ships swooping left and right and of course the awesome orchestral music.” Land, air and space One of the game’s best qualities is its large variety, with missions taking place in ship corridors, the surface of lush planets or even the blackness of space. The Clone Wars introduces new gameplay elements as well. The most striking is a real-time strategy inspired mode wherein players build up a base before defeating

opponents. Players control parts of the map by capturing control points, enabling you to build different structures such as cannons, shields and barracks. Exhilarating space combat sequences are also featured, with laser blasts flooding the screen, ships swooping left and right and of course the awesome orchestral music. Conclusion Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars marks yet another successful chapter in a series that has become known across the galaxy. With its unique aesthetic charms, quirky characters, varied game modes and block busting action this is the perfect game for relaxing, or when the kids need new entertainment. [JK] Full review: http://bit.ly/starlego

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77 Million. Sony PlayStation Network subscribers who’s personal details were compromised in a hacking attack.

Gameplay Throughout the game players control a party of characters, each sporting unique abilities. Pressing the ‘Y’ button allows players to cycle through them, with Jedi for example capable of using the force to move objects, and Clone Troopers

employing grappling guns to traverse treacherous gorges. Chances are you’ll spend most of your time playing as a Jedi, as these are obviously the most fun. Running and jumping around, lightsaber flashing every which way, we carved paths through the Separatist forces, with intermittent force-blasts sending battle droids flying into the air. Everything is made more fun when playing with a friend though, with the entire campaign supporting co-operative play.


GAMES

Crysis 2 ›› More than human Crysis 2 attempts to emulate its predecessors’ legendary reputation, but does the multiplatform sequel have what it takes to keep up with today’s gaming heavyweights?

the game is undoubtedly more linear than its predecessor, C2 is not your CoD recipe first-person shooter. Instead Crytek has crafted a game which bears much more resemblance to older shooters such as Half-Life, in that all its content isn’t forced down your throat in a steady stream of so-called “immersion”.

2 takes place in the year 2024 in New York City, which recreated in all its splendour creates a stark contrast to the first game’s lush and remote islands. As we start our journey we find ourselves in the middle of a much larger conflict, with the Ceph alien invaders raining destruction down on the city. We enter this convoluted fray as a Marine named Alcatraz, sporting one of Crynet’s finest Nanosuits, the most technologically advanced suit of armour known to man.

“Crysis 2 gives us hope for the future of the first-person shooter genre.”

30 years. Three decades ago last month (27 April 1981), the first integrated mouse for a a PC made its debut with the Xerox Star workstation.

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Gameplay One of the things we enjoyed most about C2’s story was simply the way it was told. There were some fears that the Crysis experience would be “dumbed down” when it was announced that C2 would be coming to consoles, but we’re happy to say that these can be put to bed. While

C2 was always going to be a beautiful game, everyone knew this, yet it didn’t stop us from truly admiring the lengths to which the developers went. New York City is recreated in a stunning manner, with vibrant and vivid colours painting a sharp contrast to the usual shades of brown found in shooter games. Audio throughout the game was also good, but what really impressed us was the game’s orchestral soundtrack, a beautiful and tension-building performance of the sort usually associated with a new Christopher Nolan movie. Conclusion C2 gives us hope for the future of the

first-person shooter genre, delivering a gaming experience that, although not as open as the original, still gives players enough options to enjoy the game on their own terms. An intense storyline and great soundtrack alongside stunning graphics, a myriad of advanced weaponry and of course the one and only Nanosuit, helps give C2 the edge when it comes to modern first-person shooters. [JK] Full review: http://bit.ly/crysis2review

WWE All Stars ›› The best of the best So who’s the best WWE star ever? There was never an easy way to resolve this great debate, until now, since the latest title in the WWE gaming series pits the legends against the most recent crop of superstars. lthough the grand total of 32 superstars completing the WWE All Stars roster isn’t as impressive when it comes to the sheer numbers of WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011’s 70+ superstars, you simply cannot compare it in terms of shear fighting prestige. Current wrestlers the likes of John Cena and legendary superstars including “Macho Man” Randy Savage (a first for any WWE title), Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant are on offer, 21 of whom are selectable from the very beginning, with the remaining 11 being unlocked as you earn trophies throughout the game.

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Game modes Besides the standard modes including Exhibition and Online modes, you also have the opportunity to strut your stuff in Fantasy Warfare, which pits a legendary techsmart.co.za l May 2011

superstar against his modern counterpart. It was the game’s main mode, Path of Champions, that really grab our attention though, since you have to battle through ten matches to ultimately face the endboss of the particular storyline, such as challenging D-Generation X for the Tag Team championship or Legend Killer Randy Orten for the WWE Championship. Within each of the different ‘paths’ within

“It offers a dream roster of the greatest wrestlers throughout the history of the WWE.” Path of Champions, there are cut sequences scattered in between matches showing opponent doing some trash talk. The Undertaker for example prepares the casket that he intends to bury you in, which makes for entertaining breaks in between the wrestling action and assists in setting up the climactic finale. Gameplay As is the case with WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011, the control scheme is easy to

pick up. This however doesn’t turn the game into a mindless button-bashing arcade fighter. You have to time your button presses exactly in order to counter or dodge your opponent’s attacks and also attack your opponents with a strategy in mind. Unlike WWE Smackdown vs Raw, this time round the action remains in the ring where it belongs, as there isn’t any RPG elements which has you moping (sometimes aimlessly) about backstage for a chance to talk trash or brawl with your fellow wrestlers. Conclusion WWE All Stars takes the franchise back to its roots, offering great graphics and gameplay, as well as a dream roster of the greatest wrestlers throughout the history of the WWE. This is the best wrestling game out so far, which goes for a recommended retail price of R499. [HD] Full review: http://bit.ly/ wweallstars 29


Who will free your business or home from the no telephone syndrome?

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TechSmart 92, May 2011, The Digital Imaging Issue  

All the latest Tech news and review, covered in your favourite free magazine. This month TechSmart focuses on digital imaging, taking a clos...

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