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April, 2009

Acer’s new laptops and netbooks – first look

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Acer Timeline

Once upon a time, manufacturers would launch one product at a time, allowing you to soak up the details pass comment and have time for reflection. Some, however, insist on the scatter gun approach.

And Acer, having just announced a new netbook, six new laptops, two nettops, and several all-in-one PCs, including a Windows 7-equipped touchscreen model (which a spokesman said would be on the shelves on October 23) fall firmly into the latter category. (more…)

Single-handed entertainment

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009


Not too long ago now, I found myself sitting in a wheelchair parked in the corner of an A&E department in Staffordshire. It wasn’t the Saturday afternoon I’d been hoping for.

My bicycle and I had parted ways at a crucial moment in the day’s riding. It had selfishly decided that it didn’t want to accompany me all the way to the bottom of the hill, and its decision saw me hurtle skyward, soar head-first over a sizeable mound of earth, and come to rest abruptly against a tree stump lurking on the other side. 


Hands on with the HTC Magic, the second Android phone

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

HTC Magic

I’ve just come back from the launch of the second Google Android phone to be released, and I must say I’m impressed. Its sleek profile and solid build quality are a world away from the dumpy and disappointing T-Mobile G1, which we reviewed at the back end of last year.

UPDATE: Read the full review here

It’s been manufactured by the same company as the G1 – HTC – the firm also behind the Touch Diamond2 we reviewed last week, and it’s available for free on a £35 per month tariff, which gets you 600 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data.

And while I’m none too keen on the fact that it’s only going to be available in white, I did warm immediately to the solid and sleek feel of this new Android phone. It weighs 118.5g and its dimensions  - 55mm wide, 113mm tall and just 13.65mm thick – make it extremely pocket friendly. The gloss finish, sculpted lines and oversized trackball all contribute to a sophisticated look that the G1 could only dream of.

Apart from the looks, though, the key difference is the on-screen touch keyboard and I was keen to try this out…


Has SideShow been sidelined in Windows 7?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

We’ve downloaded an [cough] unofficial copy of the Windows 7 Release Candidate (Build 7100) here at PC Pro Towers. When compared to the beta build (7000) it appears to be the world’s most difficult “spot the difference” competition, but there are one or two subtle changes.

One notable omission in 7100 is Windows SideShow. It’s completely disappeared from the Control Panel and doesn’t appear when you perform a text search in Windows 7’s magnificent Start bar search. However, as the screenshot below proves, it was definitely there in Build 7000.

SideShow (more…)

In praise of

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

My route from the office to a press conference.Anyone who’s read PC Pro over the last few years will know that we’re interested in green issues – occasionally indulging in a spirited argument with our friends over at Custom PC who are doing lots of good work by supporting the Folding@home scheme… but at the expense of energy consumption – and one of the ways we do this is by sponsoring the Sustain IT awards.

It’s through this that I happen to know about an excellent site called, which describes itself as an urban route planner. The key difference, as it ever-so-subtly hints with its name, is that all its routes are for people who want to walk rather than drive or take public transport. (more…)

Making Windows 7 RC gorgeous with gamma

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Like many of you, I spent the weekend tinkering with the new Windows 7 release candidate. And, probably like many of you, I’ve been faintly disappointed at the complete absence of major new features, especially after we were promised “surprises”.

But I have to admit, the outlandish new “Characters” and “Scenes” themes have had me grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I never thought I’d say this, but this new edition of Windows really is beautiful.

And though it looks great out of the box, there’s one quick tweak I can recommend to make it look even better. (more…)

Shock News: Ryanair irritates potential customer

Monday, April 27th, 2009

OK, I admit that no one will be the slightest surprised to hear that ryanair has irritated a potential customer. However it’s always fun to hear of others misfortunes and it might just save you from a similar experience…


How to perform a hard reset of an HTC Touch Diamond2

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Performing a hard reset on an HTC Touch Diamond2 - note the two fingers at the top left, pressing down on the volume up and down buttonYou may, like me about five minutes ago, find yourself wondering how to perform hard reset of an HTC Touch Diamond2. And you may, like me, look at the manual online. But it turns out the manual is wrong. The way to perform a hard reset of the Touch Diamond2 is:


Street View: a flat-hunter’s charter

Friday, April 24th, 2009

I’m going flat-hunting this weekend. Mostly the process is unchanged since the last time I did it: estate agents are a still a bunch of overpaid liars with too much hair-gel, silly little cars and the wrong-headed idea that just because they like the sound of their own voice, I will too. It is, in short, a Kafka-esque nightmare that makes me wonder if I wouldn’t be better off hollowing out the space under my desk and staying put. It would be free, and I’d be close to the pub.


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