Friday, 13 March 2015

Crucial MX200 1TB SSD

Crucial MX200 1TB SSD

Crucial addresses some subtle technical points in the MX100 with a new drive

I’d be the first to accept that not everyone is in the market for a £366 1TB SSD, although the fact Crucial now makes one strongly suggests that there is a market.

This is the flagship design in its new MX200 series. Building on the positive reactions to the MX100, it has looked to address the weak points of that generation with the new drive.

However, testing this unit I ran into some problems that aren’t really of Crucial’s making but represent well where SATA technology and SSDs are currently.

IRIScan Pro 3 wi-fi

IRIScan Pro 3 wi-fi

With a cry of 'Have scanner, will travel', Michael reports on an IRIS product

The IRIScan Pro 3 wi-fi is a portable scanner from the IRIS branch of the Canon family. This scanner can handle single pages and business cards, as it is powered by a rechargeable li-ion 3.7V 1700mAh battery capable of scanning up to 200 A4 pages at 300dpi from a single charge. A fold-away ADF (automatic document feeder) feature allows eight pages to be stacked for scanning.

Eminently portable with dimensions of 295 x 81 x 41mm (L x W x H) and weighing 800g, this scanner can accept documents of up to A4 size from the top of the unit and business cards from a slot positioned at the rear of the unit. A second slot, also located at the rear, is available for inserting a SD card to increase the scanner’s memory from its default offering of 128MB. This memory is used to store scans when immediate access to either a Windows or Mac computer is not available.

Our guide to Anonymous


As Anonymous embarks on a cyberwar against terrorism, David Crookes looks behind the mask of the controversial hacktivist group

What is Anonymous?

Anonymous is one of a number of high-profile, headline-grabbing, online activist groups. It uses computers and the internet for anti-authoritarian purposes as it seeks to affect social and economic change, raise awareness of specific issues and oppose particular ideologies. Since it carries out its actions by breaking - or hacking - into computer systems, the word “hacktivism” has been coined to describe such behaviour.

eBay should shame time-wasting bidders

eBay buyers

Barry Collins is fed up with eBay’s lax attitude to non-payment for goods

“Buyer beware” is a phrase often bandied about in the anodyne advice offered to eBay shoppers, but in my experience it's more often the sellers who get a raw deal from the site. Twice in the past month I've tried to sell an old PlayStation Portable (PSP) console on eBay, and twice the winning bidder has failed to cough up. What does eBay do to deter these time wasters? Diddly squat.

The site's regulations say buyers should settle a payment within 48 hours of winning an auction. Being the relaxed kind of fella that I am (ahem), I waited four days before sending my first reluctant buyer a polite reminder that he owed me £36.50 for my console. I received a reply that was as short on logic as it was punctuation: “Bidded in error please cancel bid thank you”.



Running out of storage space on a tablet smartphone or can be a pain. If your device supports it, adding a microSD card can help. If you never want to worry about storage woes again, the SanDisk Ultra 128GB UHS-I is the highest-capacity microSD card we’ve seen.

It comes with an SD card adaptor so you can use it in a wide variety of devices. SanDisk claims it can read files at up to 30MB/s, but our tests showed it was capable of higher speeds. Reading large files posed no problem, as the card managed a massive 123.21MB/s in our large file test, and smaller files were read at 42.58MB/s. These are some of the fastest speeds we’ve seen from a microSD card.

Free Lightroom alternatives

Free Lightroom alternatives

Adobe Lightroom is a photographic powerhouse, but not everyone can justify spending £100 on photo-management and image-editing software. Ben Pitt investigates the free competition

There are four reasons why Lightroom is our favourite software for processing photos. Its image-editing tools are superbly tailored for making photos look their best. In addition, all its edits are performed non-destructively, so the original files are never overwritten, and edits are stored as an edit history –  essentially a list of instructions as to how to process the image. That makes it easy to go back and tweak or undo edits at any time. The third reason is the superb cast of supporting features, from image library management to map plotting, printing and photobook design. Finally, Lightroom has comprehensive support for cameras’ Raw files and profiles for hundreds of lenses. Shooting Raw unlocks the full potential of a photo, but only if the software you use can read the files.

Pastures New

Fable Legends

Lionhead is leading its bucolic battler, FABLE LEGENDS, into PC country. By Joe Skrebels

The last time I played a Fable Legends villain, I was using an Xbox One controller. The button presses, trigger holds and analog stick cursor movement required for that role had been refined to an ergonomic sheen by a specialised Lionhead team driven by a desire to make a perfect RTS system on an Xbox One pad.

I did OK. I downed a few heroes, opened and closed a few gates, summoned an ogre. It was good fun.

This time, on a mouse and keyboard, I am become god.

Building A Bigger Future


Why Microsoft has spent $2.5 billion on Minecraft, and what it means for fans

The morning of 15 September, was not like any other. Well, it might’ve been for most people — showers, shaves, repeated self-affirmations to stave off the demons inside — but not for Markus Persson. For that day the Swedish programmer, known to the world as ‘Notch’, was planning to tell the world that he’d had enough.

He’d had enough of being a celebrity. He’d had enough of getting abusive emails from people he didn’t even know. And he’d had enough of the pressure of being presented as a ‘symbol’, and of being responsible for something huge that he didn’t understand, didn’t want to work on and kept being pestered about. Enough was enough. He was going to announce that he was selling the company he’d built from scratch.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Featuring a micro four-thirds sensor, manual controls and a fast zoom lens, Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-LX100 is an ambitious compact camera. Andy Luck finds out if it meets expectations

The last Panasonic fixed-lens compact camera reviewed in OP was the LX5, in 2010 – a terrific little pocket camera that packed a lot into a tiny package. It was around 11cm wide, but it had a small 1/1.163in CCD sensor. It was, however, one of the best pocket cameras of the time, and a large part of its appeal, aside from its image quality and fast Leica zoom lens, lay in its metal build, retro looks and manual controls.