Whether you'd like to read Living IT in printed form or via our Email digests, subscriptions are free. Sign up now, and we can send you regular copies of Living IT magazine by post or electronically.
News Desk
How To
In Depth
Case Studies
Expert Opinion

Mobile Computing

Advertisers Info

Wireless for sound

They look great and give you clear, crisp playback yet these speakers have no wires so you can set them up in the office without cluttering it up even more – and they can be used with any playback device that has a headphone socket. They come with a transmitter which plugs into the socket and sends the signals to the speakers. They have a line-of-sight range of up to 100 metres so they can be used just about anywhere.

Can you talk the talk?

The Executive Truth Machine uses advanced psychological stress evaluator (PSE) and the voice stress analyser (VSA) techniques to detect whether or not someone really is being straight with you. It picks up micro tremors in the voice not detectable to the human ear, and measures the amplitude of the upper and lower sidebands of the frequency spectrum of the voice to stress. The makers do point out that there is no guarantee that it is 100% accurate but it might be a lot of fun during assessments.

Space-age and space-saving video anywhere

The ezVision Video glasses enable you to take your own 50-inch TV screen anywhere. They plug into your iPod Video or any portable video/movie/DVD player and will immerse you into a wrap-around world which is the equivalent of watching on a huge virtual screen. They have Resolution of 320 x 240, built-in headphones and an eight-hour re-chargeable battery.

Sunshine in a jar

The Sun Jar is an ingenious design that captures the rays of the sun during the day and uses them to illuminate the desktop or window ledge at night. It uses a highly efficient monocrystaline solar panel to collect energy from the sun's rays and stores it in a single rechargeable cell. Three low energy LED lamps give off the light, which is diffused by the frosted glass of the jar to give an appearance of sunlight emanating from inside. A built-in light sensor activates the lights when it gets dark or when surrounding lights are turned out.

Box of tricks

The Magic Box IMP combines Internet radio, alarm clock and media player in one handy stand alone unit so, whether it’s the office or the home, you can tune in wirelessly wherever you are. It detects and connects to an ordinary wireless LAN automatically and tunes into an Internet radio portal, downloading all available stations and listing them alphabetically on its LCD display. You can also plug in an iPod or any MP3 player. It also has an alarm function so you can set it up to remind you to turn off the radio and make that conference call.

Power-up your mobile for free

If you always seem to be running down the battery on your mobile just at the crucial moment and you like to get out in the sun, this could be for you. The ingenious FreeLoader Solar Charger is a smart, eco-friendly device that soaks up the power of the sun and stores it for up to three months. It has two solar panels and once fully charged-up, it will power mobile phone for as much as 40 hours or a PDA or MP3 player for up to 20 hours. You can also charge it via USB if you're near a PC.

Iomega offers to manage your security

Iomega has made its OfficeScreen managed security service for SMEs available in the UK and Europe.

‘Blanket coverage’ makes VoIP over wireless easier

ZyXEL Communications has released a set of wireless networking products that make it easier to run VoIP over wireless by creating ‘blanket’ roaming coverage for the networked area portfolio. The new NXC-8160 WLAN switch, and ultra-thin NWA-8500 access point can be used to ensure network access is uninterrupted.

‘Auto-flip’ feature gives network camera 360 degree view

Axis Communications has launched a new network camera that provides full 360 degree panning for IP-based surveillance applications. The AXIS 215 PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera features a new and apparently unique auto-flip feature. This reverses the pan direction whenever the camera reaches the mechanical stop at 180°. This means there are no blind spots so it can be mounted in the centre of a ceiling. It also has automatic day and night functionality, 12x optical zoom, 4x digital zoom and auto-focusing.

FSC offers data protection in form of ‘My very first Robot’

Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) is offering SMEs an easy entry into the world of automated and redundant tape backup systems. The FibreCAT TX24, a robotic tape library, performs automated data backups and eliminates the need to change tapes manually every day. Used with backup software like NetWorker or ARCserve, the FibreCAT TX24 supports media cloning, creating redundant backups by writing data to two tapes simultaneously. One copy can then be stored at a separate location for any disaster recovery.

HP introduces first 20.1-inch widescreen notebook PC

HP has brought out its first notebook featuring a 20.1-inch display. The Pavillion HDX is designed to appeal to business users who also want the widescreen format for presentations or for use as a personal and portable high-definition video screen. The machine features the latest graphics and audio technology and high performance Intel dual-core processors. The screen would rival many televisions and HP BrightView technology content is more vibrant than ever before with richer colours and outstanding clarity. There is a built-in HDTV receiver and an optional HD-DVD drive. HP’s high-gloss ‘piano black’ finish means it looks great too.

Linksys announces availability of Wireless-G Phone for Skype

Linksys, the division of Cisco Systems that focuses on small office and home (SOHO) solutions, has launched the latest in its iPhone range of IP phones, the Wireless-G Phone for Skype (WIP320). It enables you to make calls to other Skype users from any location where they can connect to a wireless network meant for free and public availability and that does not require browser authentication.

Travel in style with Sony

The VAIO TZ-Series is perhaps Sony’s most impressive and attractive laptop line so far. It has been “created for people who always choose the best”, says the company and to offer an exceptional combination of portability, performance and high quality design.

Networking goes electric

D-Link has released a special kit for techno-phobic or reluctant networkers who also need to keep on a tight budget. It is also the ideal solution where thick concrete walls or other impediments prevent the deployment of wireless networks. The DHP-301 PowerLine HD solution uses existing active electrical cables to create a data network. The kit can be used to create a 200Mbps Ethernet set-up. All you need to do is plug one adapter to an Ethernet router and the other to an Ethernet-ready device such as a PC. This will enable files and other content to be shared around any devices that have access to the router. The technology works by intelligently adapting to the strongest signal channels. Electrical currents do not interfere with the data network because electricity and data are transmitted at very different frequencies.

CiBox mini camera

Incredibly smart and super-cool, the CiBox mini camera enables you to make visual contact from just about anywhere. It connects via USB and is perfect for IM video and for making quick-fire video emails. It can also store digital photos.

A great way to start the day

If you are an iPOD user – and millions of you are –how about waking up to your latest favourite? The Retro iPod Alarm Clock looks like an old-fashioned alarm clock – but the bells are actually speakers and the docking for your indispensable audio companion is tucked away out of sight.

Watch them work

AntWorks is an ingenious and relaxing hi-tech ornament for any office. Based on a 2003 NASA Space Shuttle experiment that studied animal life in space and test how ants can tunnel in microgravity, the AntWorks Gel comes complete with nutrients to promote healthy growth in the new colony.

Virtual practicality

This amazing device enables you to project a full-size working keyboard onto any flat surface and connect it to your PC without wires. Once set up the Bluetooth VKB can be used like a normal keyboard – perfect for laptop users who want need more finger-room.

Warm up

These natty USB cup warmers will help you to keep your daily tea or coffee warm while you to deal with customers or chase up those invoices and try to sort out that database.

‘I want a helicopter!’

The PicoZ is just about the only helicopter most of us will ever be able to afford. Only 17cm long and weighing in at just 10g, this palm-sized, infra-red flying machine is perfect for indoor time-wasting and it won't fall to bits, as it's constructed from robust polypropylene foam.

Know your limits

It's all too easy to have one too many and as well as being dangerous, persistent over-indulgence can be damaging to your health – and your productivity.

Microsoft and Vodafone deliver enhanced Instant Messaging service for PCs and mobiles

Vodafone and Microsoft are working together to deliver an enhanced co-branded and seamless Instant Messaging (IM)

service that can be accessed from both the PC and mobile phone.

Iomega provides an attractive combination in latest NAS box

When you need extra capacity in a hurry, a network-attached storage (NAS) device is a very effective answer and the latest offering from Iomega is one of the best yet. The StorCenter Pro NAS 150d offers a very attractive combination of high capacity, good performance and reliability. It is also very affordable.

Symantec provides all-round protection with Norton 360

Symantec’s latest all-in-one security system, Norton 360, is now fully available in the UK.

Nortel switches on to unified communications

Nortel has introduced a new family of Ethernet routing switches designed for organisations that looking are to move their voice services to VoIP and bring all their communications – email, fax, voice, SMS – together into an integrated unified communications (UC) system.

HP D2D system takes away backup pains

Keeping documents safe is becoming more important to all businesses but the need to retain more and more information to meet compliancy regulations and guard against potential litigation makes it quite a challenge.

Epson AcuLaser provides high quality colour in A3 format

The AcuLaser C9100 DPS is the latest addition to Epson’s popular series of business printers. Combining high-performance with quality and efficiency, the new version comes with 256 Mb RAM and a duplex unit, allowing double sided printing up to A3 size. It produces up to 24 pages per minute in colour and supports Adobe PostScript 3, making it suitable for graphic users and professionals dedicated to producing high quality marketing, presentation and event collateral.

Transferring to Vista made easy by Belkin

Belkin and Laplink have teamed up to offer users a quick, easy way to transfer files onto a new Windows Vista PC. The new Belkin Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista lets you quickly transfer your MP3s and photos as well as your files and emails from your Windows XP computer to your Windows Vista PC.


NETGEAR has already received good reviews for its draft 802.11n-compliant RangeMax NEXT family and now the catchily-named RangeMax NEXT Wireless-N Router Gigabit Edition (WNR854T) has come out on top in a competitive analysis conducted by the respected outfit VeriTest.


Microsoft has released Exchange 2007 to its manufacturer partners, as well as the latest version of its Windows operating system Vista and the Office 2007 applications suite.


The Acer Power M8 desktop series of PCs has been designed with performance and value in mind, says the company, and are well suited to any SMB looking for a versatile and powerful business tool that delivers outstanding graphics and ease-of-use.


D-Link has come up with its next generation of Smart Ethernet switches. With prices starting at under £300,

they are very affordable and by blending plug-and-play simplicity with reliability, well suited to small

business networking.


Novell has announced that the Novell edition of the OpenOffice.org office productivity suite will now support the Office Open XML format, increasing interoperability between OpenOffice.org and the next generation of Microsoft Office. Novell is co-operating with Microsoft and others on a project to create bi-directional open source translators between the OpenDocument format and the Office Open XML format, with the word processing translator to be available first, by the end of January 2007.


Axis Communications has introduced the 243SA Video Server, claiming it to be the first one-channel video server that supports Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). IPv6 is the internet upgrade that will expand IP addresses from 32 bits to 128 bits, effectively increasing the amount of IP addresses available from 232 to 2128. The 243SA provides de-interlaced video at full frame rates in both MPEG-4 and MJPEG compressions. It is ideal for installations that require full-motion video, such as casinos, airports, traffic surveillance and prisons.


Fujitsu Siemens Computers has launched the new LIFEBOOK P1610, a fully-featured, powerful notebook and an ultra-light convertible Tablet PC in one. It has a display that can be rotated 180 degrees in both directions and a PC card slot for easy data transfer. Weighing less than one kilo, it offers high performance and a long battery life, thanks to the latest Intel® Core™ Solo processor mobile technology.

Google Earth for your mobile

Vodafone has launched Mobile Earth, a new service that replicates Google Earth on your mobile phone. Maps, aerial photography and journey planners are available using the downloadable application, which will run on any Java-enabled handset. Initially the service was being made available in Germany but it should be here in the UK soon.

Seek out the hot spots

For Wi-Fi users, being able to locate your nearest hot spot or wireless connection without turning on the laptop is very handy. This device seeks out the strongest signal within 300 feet enabling you to get into the right position before you start work at the airport, hotel, station, wherever you may be.

A flexible friend at your fingertips

If the laptop keyboard is just too small for you sometimes this may be the answer – a flexible standard- size keyboard that you can fold or roll up and take with you wherever you go. But you might need to get a First Class ticket if you want enough room to write that report on the train.

A jukebox in your pocket

If the iPod has become just too commonplace for you, try the Philips portable jukebox. It can hold 1,000 tracks and pick up FM radio stations. It is ultra light and its magnesium body means it is hard to break and comfortable to wear – as well as pretty stylish.

Lapping up the sun

If you are always having to recharge your mobile phone, portable gaming machine, MP3 player and other gadgets, why not take advantage of the natural elements and use solar power. As well as being good for the environment you’ll save money. The Sunlinq 6.5W solar charger can even be used to charge up a laptop computer. Light and compact – about the size of a DVD case – it rolls out to reveal five solar panels.

Movies on the move

If you want to be really mobile and still watch your favourite movies, the Xoro HSD 7500 Portable DVD Player is the ideal companion. The 7-inch widescreen colour screen will give you excellent reproduction for DVDs as well as MPEG and MP3. It will also display both JPEGs and Kodak Picture CDs so doubles up as a photo player. It also comes with a Freeview DVB-T receiver module.

The slim-line unit, encased in black rubber for protection, has an in-car charger, power adaptor and carrying case, so you can strap it to the head-rest and keep back-seat drivers entertained on long car journeys. A USB port allows you to attach MP3 players and cameras to play through the unit as well.

Brighten up the office this Xmas

If you want to bring some colour to the office or if you just want an alternative Christmas decoration, Triklits will do the trick. As well as being pretty, they are useful too. Connect the string of LEDs, which are housed in small plastic orbs, to a USB port and you can program them to change colour, flash blue when you receive an email from an important customer or red when users log onto a shopping site.

Are you sitting comfortably?

The Pyramat Sound Rocker is the latest and greatest gaming seat on the market. It enables you to hear and feel the action from your video games like you've never felt them before. There are three integrated speakers, twin 8-watt speakers in the headrest and a powerful 30-watt subwoofer underneath the seat. so there is no escape from the experience once you are in this particular hot seat.

Take it out on the cans

If your team just does not do the business or the wrong person wins the latest reality TV contest, don’t take it out on the wall, take it out on those empty beer cans. It’ll make it easier to get them in the recycling box as well. The Can Crusher is a neat and tidy wall-mounted device that makes it easy to compress empty aluminium cans into next to nothing. It also has a built-in bottle opener so it’s still useful even when you run out of cans.

Going to the dogs

The i-dog is the ideal desktop friend but be warned, he – or she – can’t live without music. The i-dog 'feeds' on the tunes you play him and develops one of three personalities according to the music he hears. He will even function as a portable speaker for your audio player. You can connect his lead to the headphone jack of your audio device such as a CD or MP3 player, or your PC. You can even plug headphones in and dance along to the music as well. The i-dog begins life in Puppy Mode but as you feed him he will begin to react to the tunes he hears. Rock and punk make him rebellious, pop and R&B; make him happy and dance music makes him excitable.

iMacs erase all reasons not to buy Apple

To many of its customers, Apple has always been such an appealing company because it was different. So when it decided to put Intel chips into its systems instead of its own processors, many felt it was the beginning of the end. But reviews of the latest iMac systems have been very positive so those who would like to see a return to ‘the good old days’ are likely to remain disappointed.

Fortune magazine recently reviewed the latest iMac – along with its massive 24-inch screen – and hailed it as being better value than many top line standard PCs. The fact that it uses an Intel processor means there is no difficulty in running Windows-based software now. And while it is aimed mainly at the consumer market – and may be especially appealing to Apple fans now that video is being made available through the iTunes service, Fortune expects many a graphic designer to buy the all-in-one system.

The bottom line says the magazine is that while there have always been lots of reasons to buy a Macintosh computer, now there is no longer a reason not to buy one.

Communications in a box from Cisco

Cisco's products are usually associated with big businesses but the company has been quietly developing propositions for small businesses over the past 18 months. This effort stems from research that the company did which showed that many SMBs are considerably more developed than previously thought. Many want to implement more advanced technologies but don’t want a system designed for use in a large business imposed on them – they want solutions designed for their sort of business.

The response from Cisco is what it describes as small business communications in a box; a purpose-built set of offerings that addresses all the key communications areas but is simple to install, manage, maintain and upgrade. IT covers areas such as IP telephony, video communications and the unified management of emails and voice mails.

Cutting the cost of podcasting and listen to email on the go

Podcasting has become a popular way of providing access to audio files and while music and radio shows are most often put out on podcasts, they can also be used in business – to make speeches and seminar contents accessible to people who could not be there for the live event.

The problem is the cost of setting them up and an Irish firm has now come up with what it says is a way to can cuts podcasting costs by 90 percent. Limerick’s Magnetic Time developed text-to-speech software that it says simplifies the process by converting written scripts to MP3 files without needing a recorded voice. It is a web-based service so you can just use it for one podcast if you wish.

If you are one of those people that always needs to be in touch, Magnetic Time also has a service that enables you to listen to emails or even Word documents on your iPod, PDA or mobile phone while you are on the go.

Symantec keeps you safe from spam and spies

If you want to make sure that your business is protected from the scourge of spam and spyware as well as viruses and worms and other malicious threats emanating from the internet, the latest versions of Symantec’s popular anti-virus software suites could be just what you need.

The Norton AntiVirus 2007 and Norton Internet Security 2007 are designed to provide protection against the very latest threats. The former gives you basic security from all viruses and the latter a full range of measures that will save you time as well as enhancing the level of protection.

If you only use anti-virus software at the moment, it is well worth considering an upgrade. A simple firewall will protect you from hackers and anti-spam and spyware software will prevent unwanted messages reaching your in-box and programs that track your behaviour or try to steal information such as bank details and passwords by stealth, being installed on your computers. They cost only around £40 plus a small annual subscription for the updates, so they are well worth the investment.

Watch and record digital TV on your notebook

You should not of course, forget to pay your license fee but providing you do, it is now very easy to pick up digital TV signals on your PC or notebook. The WinTV-NOVA-T-Stick from Hauppauge is a ‘plug and play’ USB device which enables you to watch and listen to digital terrestrial broadcasts – that’s TV and radio – on your PC. You can also record digital TV to disk in high quality MPEG-2 format. It even comes with Hauppauge’s WinTV-Scheduler software, so you set up timed recordings of your favourite TV shows and watch them any time.

Fresh and rugged portables put Toshiba back in the box seat

Toshiba was once regarded as the clear leader in the notebook PC market and it has always been at the forefront of development. But with the portable format now more popular than the desktop variety, every manufacturer has an attractive range of mobile computing platforms for the small business. Toshiba though is still regarded as one of, if not the best, and with its latest Satellite Pro and Tecra models has put itself back into the box seat.

The firm says that its new Satellite Pro A120 is one of the most technically innovative products it has ever developed. It has been designed to withstand the rigours that busy portable users put their systems through; it has a shock-protected chassis and hard disk and a spill-resistant keyboard. These and other internal features make it much more reliable than conventional laptops.

The Tecra M7 meanwhile with its 14-inch screen can give you a wider perspective on your work and as it is a tablet PC format, also gives you the power and flexibility of ‘digital ink’, i.e. you can make and store hand-written notes on the screen. It also has the rugged features of its sister product and enhanced security and connectivity.

Small businesses can do it on-line

At the end of a hard day, the last thing you may feel like doing is backing up your data. And yet, you know that if your PC or laptop was stolen or damaged and you lost your data then you would be in big trouble. There are a variety of online data storage services out there that take the headache out of saving your valuable information. One such service, Depositit, enables you to do this on-line. You select the files you want to keep safe and every day at the scheduled time your information is saved using your Internet connection. All files are compressed, encrypted to 448bit and backed up to three separate locations. After every backup you will receive an email confirming that the backup has been run and how much data was recorded.

The standard package provides up to 2,000MB for £99.00 a year. Check out www.depositit.com for more details. There are other services like this available though – BT’s Datasure for example is a popular service and costs only around £6 per month for individual PCs;

Women only

For the woman who wants something more than the common-or-garden Swiss Army Knife, the Miss Army Kit is a fabulous and potentially indispensable gadget. It is pink and packed with all the useful tools for every girl on the move – as well as the usual stuff, knife, bottle-opener, scissors, corkscrew, ruler and pen, it comes with a nail file, tweezers, needle and thread, mirror, torch, perfume bottle and a pill box.

Photo reality

A picture without a frame looks lonely. But now that we can all take and store thousands of photos on our laptops and PCs, choosing which one to give pride of place on your already cluttered desktop can be a tough – and politically sensitive – choice. Digital photo frames may well be the answer to the dilemma. You can store scores of images and rotate them on the display – you can even rotate them and zoom in and even use moving images and add audio. If you really want to show off you can have a motion-sensor option that turns the display on when someone enters the room. Or you can just use the remote control to flip through your favourites.

Pictures in your top pocket

If you are fed up with taking videos and stills with your phone, why not go one better and use your pen. The Aiptek Trio PenCam can store up to 78 pictures and comes with a stand and holder. It connects to the PC via USB and also has Microsoft Net meeting built in. It will also shoot short videos.

Beat it!

If you were once (or perhaps are) a would-be Cozy Powell or Keith Wood (are there any famous or infamous drummers these days?), maybe this desktop device will keep your dreams alive. The Finger Drum Kit has a touch sensitive pad that looks and sounds like a real kit and a built-in speaker. You may dream or you may waste time, or just drive colleagues/family/friends crazy, but you’ll have fun that’s for sure – just like a real drummer!

Stay calm – they’re around here somewhere

Always loosing track of your keys, purse, wallet, mobile phone? This gadget might help you keep stress levels down – the wireless Serenity system enables you to tag various items and keep track of them using wireless technology – but only three items can be tagged at a time so if you are completely hopeless when it comes to keeping hold of life’s little essentials, it may not be enough. But if you are particularly paranoid or a bit of a compulsive-obsessive, you will love it. You can change the settings so that, if the tagged item moves out of your range, you will be alerted – and it will keep reminding you until the precious item is back within your possession. A single-tag version is also available.

Small is beautiful for Sony

Sony has launched what must be the smallest USB drive yet. At only 2.4mm, the Micro Vault Tiny is wafer-thin and plugs directly into any USB port. It is available in various capacities from 256Mb to 2Gb, and prices range from £22 to £82.

USB Mug Warmer

Are you forever being called away from your PC having just made a cuppa, with the result that you end up drinking a lukewarm mug of flavoured brown liquid? Ew. Well, some genius somewhere must have heard your cries of anguish and has come up with this perfect little gadget.

How many photos are hidden on your PC?

Every picture tells a story…. How many digital pictures are hidden on your PC? See, share and relive your memories with Philips Digital Photo Display, the easiest way to display your digital photos in print quality - without a PC.

Dr Who Mini Radio Control Dalek

The Dalek's are the Doctor's ultimate enemy. Their outer shell is battle armour, inside which, lurks a hideous mutant from your worst nightmares. The race was genetically engineered to remove every single emotion - except hate! They despise all other living creatures and will exterminate anything and everything they come across... without exception!

CD Repair Kit

Prevention is better than a cure, so don't let your discs become unrepairable. You may feel that you're already assiduous when it comes to cleaning your important discs, but be careful. You could actually be causing more damage if you're wiping them with material that is even slightly abrasive.

USB Port Security Lock

Do you ever worry about just how secure your PC is? Maybe you work in a public area and want to ensure that your PC doesn’t go missing? Or perhaps you’re concerned about soaring crime rates and want to guard yourself against losing your most valuable asset - your PC? Then we’ve got a handy gadget for you!

USB Battery Charger

Have you got loads of devices which run on batteries?We have too, so when we found out about the awesome new USB Battery Charger we knew we needed one, you'll probably feel the same!

USB E-mail Desktop Microphone

Would you like an easier way to send your emails? Perhaps you’re not the best typist in the world, but would like to keep in touch with your friends and family via email? Do you want a quicker way of dictating letters for typing? Or do you simply want to add that personal touch to your emails?

Combined Mouse Mat and USB Hub

Do you want a hassle free way of connecting your USB devices? Maybe you’d like to copy photos or files without plugging and unplugging your camera or flash drive into your computer? Or do you want an easier of way of sharing your work with others?

Protect your screen and your eyes

The crisp, clear picture provided by an LCD computer screen is incomparable, which is why it’s so important to protect it. With the LCD Screen Protector, you can prevent scratches and abrasions, so that what you see is always crystal clear! It doesn’t only protect your screen, it also protects your eyes! By reducing screen glare it helps prevent eyestrain.

Listen to your iPod from any room in your home

Can IT help you boost your sales?

Most small businesses see computers simply as tools, but if they are used in the right way, they can also be used to help you to market your business to a wider audience and drive up your sales, writes Tracey Caldwell.