Posts by Category: Reviews

In-depth reviews with video and intelligent comment

Reviews July 30, 2007 posted by

BBC iPlayer quick review – C for effort

I’ve been invited onto the BBC iPlayer beta test, so here’s a quick review piece on the latest Internet media player to hit the market. Click on thumbnails for larger image. First impressions – front end has a snazzy Web 2.0 interface. Lots of shaded icons, big text and images, Ajax timer symbols et al. Internet Explorer sucks. OK, I know I should leave it alone because it’s over done to death, but having no Linux, Mac, Vista or Firefox version is…

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Reviews June 13, 2007 posted by

A surprising day spent using the HTC Touch…

So I’ve just had a pretty typical working day with the HTC Touch handset, and thought you might like some initial impressions. First off, it was in use from 5am in the morning (catching an early flight) until 10.00 pm at night (long day!). Battery life remaining at the end of the day = Around 25%. Applications used = Mobile Word, Destinator 6.0 GPS navigation software, default MP3 music player, phone (3 calls + SMS), camera (one shot), WiFi (failed),…

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Gadgets June 6, 2007 posted by

HTC Touch – iPhone spoiler arrives?

So I went to the HTC Touch mobile phone launch yesterday. Mmm… Question: what are the odds that two companies separated by thousands of miles come up with an incredibly similar navigation interface which works by stroking the screen with a finger? 10 to 1? 1000 to 1? More? Well you’re wrong. It’s a total coincidence, at least that’s what HTC CEO Peter Chou told me when I asked him directly. His version of events is that none of his team have…

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Free Software March 23, 2007 posted by

Thunderbird – an email client triumph

So I’ve just taken the plunge and installed the Open Source Thunderbird email client as a replacement for my Outlook Express program. Before you snigger, I’ve stayed with OE for this long because I have a whole email process built up around it. Over 12,000 messages, stored in a huge number of folders and sub-folders, all linked together to improve my working day. So why the move? Because I was hit by a virus the other day (and no I…

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nice idea... March 16, 2007 posted by

Microlending review – Kiva wins

Slate has just done a review of microlending services – that provide small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries – and Kiva has come out top. I’m glad about that, because I actually lent some money to the scheme after we featured it on the Ferret a while back (see, we do eat our own dogfood so to speak) and thought it was a great idea and superbly done. Already the entrepreneurs I lent to have started to pay back the…

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Reviews November 28, 2006 posted by

Review – Dualphone 3088 vs USR Cordless Skype Phone

The DualPhone 3088 Cordless Phone for Skype is the successor to the original Dualphone which we wrote about in November 2004. It is the first home Skype phone to operate without requiring a computer, which makes it a pretty advanced bit of tech. You simply hook it up to your broadband connection and landline sockets and start making Skype or conventional calls. So what is it like, and how does it compare with the latest of the conventional home Skype phones, the USR…

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Reviews November 24, 2006 posted by

First impressions of the MDA Vario II HSDPA handset

I was on a panel at the Radio Academy’s Radio at the Edge seminar yesterday, discussing the future of radio broadcasting, and it was a bit of a hoot. The radio crowd got to listen to us pontificating about podcasting, the Internet and how radio schedules were a thing of the past (my contribution). John Plunkett reported it live on the Guardian blog if you’re interested, but that’s not really what I wanted to talk about. I thought you might like to get my first impressions…

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Gadgets October 13, 2006 posted by

USB Finger Mouse

The USB Finger Mouse. This is an innovative little mouse that you strap to your index finger with a Velcro strap. It comes with an 800dpi optical sensor and guess what? It actually works, and is especially cool for laptop use. We’ve been playing with one here at Ferret Towers for a while, and if you have a problem with trackballs or conventional rodents, then this is definitely recommended as an option. The plus points are that it’s really nicely sensitive and works brilliantly…

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Mobile Tech September 26, 2006 posted by

Fring – Skype for mobiles

Fring. Wow, yet another astonishingly cool tech launches. Basically we’re talking mobile P2P VoIP. So now you can use Skype or Google Talk on your mobile phone, with full functionality, no need for additional hardware or a PC in between. Forget about Eqo, with its patchy functionality, this puppy works. I installed Fring in about 5 minutes over SMS and immediately all of my Skype contacts appeared on my handset ready to chat, call or Skype Out. Super super clever. No…

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Reviews August 24, 2006 posted by

The Death of the Dentist’s Drill?

Back in 2002 we reported on a new technology called HealOzone that promised to do away with dentist’s drills. The article in New Scientist reported – A painless ozone gas treatment for tooth decay could replace injections, drilling and fillings, say its inventors at Queen’s University, Belfast. Four years on and the treatment is available worldwide, although it still hasn’t been fully endorsed by the dental authorities. Nevertheless, in the spirit of adventurous blogging, I decided to try it out and see…

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Gadgets June 6, 2006 posted by

Sweet Slingbox.

Well, it may not look quite as glamorous as the product shots, but I’ve been playing with the new Slingbox device and it’s fab (it’s just been launched here in the UK). Don’t look at the cable mess, in fact it’s just a matter of plugging it in to your television’s set top box, a broadband connection (via Ethernet socket) and relevant infrared port to give you real remote control. Tuck it all away neatly and forget it. Then just download and…

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Reviews March 20, 2006 posted by

Be the future.

Well I’ve just had the Bethere 24Mbps ADSL Internet service installed. So what’s the verdict? Well  the setup was fairly faultless, plug in the box and go (it’s a Speedtouch modem router which is badged as the BeBox). Speeds? Well let’s just say it isn’t 24Mbps. In fact according to Numion and MySpeed I’m hitting around 6Mbps peak, which is around a T2 line speed. I’m running it via a Powerline rig from the incoming phone jack to my computer in an adjacent…

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Free Software January 24, 2006 posted by

How to convert and transfer video to portable media players.

So you’ve just received a brand new bright shiny plastic media player, right? But horror of horrors, you discover too late that it won’t play the video clips that come from your digital camera because they’re in the QPEL (quarter pixel) and GMC format. What to do? You’re also desperate to learn how to transfer your DVD movies onto the player without wasting a fortune in time or money? Fear not, brave soldiers of the gidget, we at Fair Use Ferret Central…

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Reviews November 29, 2005 posted by

Riya Photo Service – first look Alpha.

Everyone’s talking about the new Riya photo technology with face recognition, and I’ve been lucky enough to wangle my way onto the Alpha preview of the technology. I thought you might like to hear my first impressions, which are….it works! Oh yes, it may be ‘so AlphaItHurts’, and somewhat sluggish round the edges, but it really is a clever bit of coding no question. Read on for more early impressions…

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Gadgets November 18, 2005 posted by

Skype Unleashed – The Top 5 Skype Gadgets.

The Ferret proudly presents to the people of earth a round-up of the top five gadgets to make your Skype chat easier than ever. Unlike the poor Skype employees above, forced through office space cut-backs to conduct their Google share dealing in the corridor of Skype House, we have located the best kit to untether your calls from the computer, or at least part of the way. Read on for more, McDuff…

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