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Paul Ridden

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Sony launches its first DAB+ radios

When I tuned into my first DAB broadcast a few years ago and was treated to crackle-and-hiss-free CD quality digital audio, I must admit to being impressed. Now an enhanced version of the standard is being rolled out across Europe which uses a more efficient audio codec and offers listeners even more access to digital services, and Sony has launched two new products to greet it. Heading for UK bedrooms will be the XDR-C706DBP DAB+ radio alarm clock, while living rooms can enjoy the natural wood finish and retro-styling of the XDR-S16DBP.Read More

Computers

Tobii releases eye-controlled mouse system

Sweden's eye tracking and control innovator Tobii has announced the release of a stand-alone eye control device called PCEye. Like the laptop-based prototype system demonstrated at CeBIT last month, the device tracks eye movement and translates it into mouse cursor action onscreen. Positioned in front of a PC monitor and connected via USB, the company says that the technology is compatible with a wide range of software and has been primarily designed to improve computer interactivity for users with impaired motor skills, such as stroke victims.Read More

Outdoors

Heading for the great outdoors? Don't forget the Yurt

Youngsters who trek off into the back of beyond tend not to concern themselves too much with comfort. As you get older though, and perhaps have kids in tow, you may find that your camping needs undergo some modification. While some just opt for a bigger tent, the solution for Richard Waters and his wife Alicia originated in ancient Central Asia and has many names – such as Ger in Mongolia, Kherga in Afghanistan, or Yurta in Russia. Known as a Yurt to the English-speaking world, this round, lattice-framed portable dwelling has now been given a new lease of life in the world of recreational camping. Read More

Mobile Technology

Portable dictionary and scanner merge to become Quicktionary

People who often find themselves undertaking research in a library or museum could well encounter a text written in a language different to their own. While online translation solutions are now readily available, retyping the word, phrase or page onto a smartphone using a virtual keyboard can quickly become a tiresome task. The Quicktionary TS Premium from Wizcom Technologies allows the user to scan the text into the device and a built-in word and phrase dictionary offers up the translation on the included screen. The pen-like device also has a built-in speaker to help those who want to learn how to pronounce the scanned word or line of text.Read More

Computers

Software tool allows programs to run faster without sacrificing security

Protecting computer systems from malicious attack using complex software solutions is a constant, but necessary, struggle. As threats become more sophisticated, the technology used to fight them off can impact more and more on system performance. According to researchers from North Carolina State University, programs that have built-in safety features can be slowed down by as much as a 1,000 percent. To combat this issue they have developed technology that helps such programs to run more efficiently without sacrificing effectiveness. Read More

Computers

Third-gen Intel SSD's offer 300 and 600 GB capacities

The fact that Solid State Drives (SSD) offer significantly better performance over hard disk drives is now well established. They're faster, require less power to run and – as they contain no moving parts – offer a more rugged storage solution. At the moment, though, HDD solutions are much cheaper and can store more data on a single device ... but the gaps are closing. Intel has now upped the available storage capacity on its new third generation SSD 320 Series to a spacious 600GB, and has managed to lower the cost by 30 percent.Read More

Music

PianoMaestro guides pianists through the music

Like many people, I once bought myself a digital piano and had every intention of teaching myself to play. However, when faced with a very steep learning curve and the prospect of spending weeks or months learning to play a simple prelude, such thoughts were soon put to bed and the instrument sat in the corner of the room gathering dust. Had I been able to place a PianoMaestro learning system on the keyboard, things could well have been different. PC software translates standard MIDI files into musical notation onscreen, the computer is attached by USB cable to a strip of lights, and that is placed at the back of a full piano keyboard, letting you know which keys need to be pressed when. The system is said to make the learning process quicker and easier and, according to its creator, is just like having your very own teacher with you all the time, but one who has "infinite patience that does not charge by the hour."Read More

Computers

Nexus takes the click out of the computer mouse

The clicking sound we hear when we press a mouse button is part of the device's switching mechanism, that has also become a kind of audible comfort cushion for computer users. However, Dutch component manufacturer Nexus believes that in these days of notebook trackpads and tablet touchscreens, we no longer need the audible confirmation that a requested action has been performed – we can see it onscreen. The company has now discovered some silent switching technology and installed into a couple of its input peripherals, so that they operate without so much as a squeak.Read More

Computers

Foremay announces solid state drive smaller than a quarter coin

Californian SSD manufacturer Foremay has announced a new addition to its OC177 storage family. Despite being smaller than a U.S. quarter coin, the company's first disk-on-chip (DOC) solution will be available in capacities up to 64GB, supporting both standard IDE or SATA host interface, in addition to complying with ATA-7 specifications. The new DOC drive is mounted directly onto a motherboard which, the company says, negates the need for a separate storage drive while offering devices some rugged credentials. Read More

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