Cursor Lock allows users to confine the cursor to one particular window or area of their screen, a useful feature in multimonitor settings or when playing certain games. Although the setup was not as intuitive as we would have liked, the program does work well once it's configured.
The interface is well organized and even offers mouse-over descriptions of each option, yet we had a difficult time getting started. Each individual field made sense unto itself, but it wasn't obvious what steps we should take to configure Cursor Lock the way we wanted it. The Help file, buried … Read more
Auto speaker setup and calibration is a popular feature on almost every receiver and a lot of home-theater-in-a-box systems.
Sure, it sounds like a peachy idea, but the accuracy of auto setup is hardly a sure thing; and at their worst, auto setup systems sound worse than no setup at all.
Ideally, the setup system automatically determines speaker sizes (large or small), measures speaker-to-listener distances, sets the volume levels of all of the speakers, determines the proper subwoofer volume level, checks that all the speaker wires' "+" and "-" connections are properly oriented at the speaker and receiver ends, and calculates the subwoofer-to-speaker crossover point. Some receivers also employ EQ (equalization) curves to correct for speaker and room acoustic anomalies.
What's not to like? Well, it the auto setup worked perfectly, nothing.
But they're mostly flawed: Subwoofer calibrations are almost always off. Auto calibration systems boost the sub volume much too high, and overestimate the sub distance to the listener by a factor of two (so a 10 foot distance becomes 20 or more feet).
Worse yet, auto setup systems rarely set the subwoofer-to-satellite speakers crossover frequency to the optimum point. That is, they tend to set the crossover too high, say 150 Hertz, which unnecessarily restricts the speakers' bass response. The speakers might sound better with a lower crossover setting. I recommend 80Hz for all speakers with 4- to 6-inch woofers; 100Hz for 3-inch woofers; and higher settings of 120Hz or 150Hz only for the tiniest speakers.
Accessing the measurement data post auto setup can be tricky on some receivers. Then you really don't know what you have.
Thing is, manual setup isn't all that difficult and will likely be more accurate. And chances are you wouldn't muck up the distances as poorly as the autosetup would. Running the test tones over the speakers and manually adjusting the sound by ear or with a Radio Shack meter isn't so hard to do.… Read more
Multi-protocol messaging and VoIP communication client VoxOx is back with some new and impressive features amid claims of a more stable platform. Available for Windows and Mac, the freeware offers a robust Personal Assistant feature that includes call recording, call forwarding, call routing, and call screening, as well as expanded social-networking features and stronger back-end support to keep its multitude of services from getting disconnected.
VoxOx also has made a new-user sign-up bonus available to CNET Download.com users, which I'll explain at the bottom of this story.
The Personal Assistant feature introduced in the new version underlines VoxOx'… Read more
No, I don't mean 22-inch rims. I mean monitors, silly. Why the heck would I be talking about 22-inch rims on Crave? Hmmm, I guess I could be a spy from Car Tech, in which case talking about 22-inch rims wouldn't seem so out of place.
Alas, no. As much as I'd like to be an Antuan Goodwin, a Wayne Cunningham, or especially a Cooley, I'll have to settle for boring little old me. Talking endlessly about aspect ratios, color temperature, and bezel widths.
Monitors are really just smaller TVs. Interest in TVs has never been … Read more
While I would not call these pics of the NEC MultiSync EA221WM creepy per se, some of them are pretty intimate. I feel the NEC and I really got to know each other during this photo shoot. Really, I think I've made a friend for life.
Hey, I guess that's what you get when you combine a couple of bottles of wine, friendly debates about David Sedaris books, and some good-natured teasing thrown in for good measure.
Anyway look for a review of my new BFF later this week, but for now, behold...your muse!
Trillian Astra, which has been in development for nearly three years, is now available to users as a public beta. You won't need to register for a private key to download it, although if you've been using it since we reported on the Astra beta in April, it might be time for an upgrade.
In announcing on the Trillian blog Tuesday that the beta is now public, Cerulean Studios also said the latest build of the multi-protocol chat client fixes bugs related to server-based problems. The company clearly has confidence in the beta, though, since they've made … Read more
As I've said previously, CNET (or in this this case, me) doesn't review enough professional-grade/intended for graphics artists and photographers, monitors. I'm hoping to change that soon.
Over the next few months be prepared for reviews of the Eizo ColorEdge CG222W and NEC P221W. Also, look for a review of at least one of the two new pro monitors NEC announced on Monday, the MultiSync LCD2490WUXi? and LCD2490W2-BK-SV.
Each monitor includes NEC's SpectraViewII Color Calibration Solution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, 1,920x1,200 native resolution, and an IPS panel.
The displays also include a … Read more
A couple months back, I talked about Dell's new Eco-friendly monitors, the G2210 and G2410, which feature on-screen displays (OSDs) that allow you to see, in real time, how much energy your monitor is using depending on its current brightness level. In the original blog, I commented that I hoped more developers would follow Dell's lead, and it looks like NEC will be the first to try--perhaps even topping Dell.
On Tuesday, NEC announced the MultiSync E222W, a 22-inch LCD monitor with a host of ergonomic and Eco-conscious options.
The monitor includes 110 millimeter height adjustment, pivoting, swivel, and tilt. It also includes an Eco Mode that purportedly reduces power consumption and heat generation.
Also, according to NEC, its Intelligent Power Management and off timer will help conserve energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by switching to a low-power state or automatically powering down when the monitor is on but is not in use. This feature apparently circumvents OS-based power options.
Taking a page out of Dell's aforementioned unique OSD options, the MultiSync E222W will allow users to track their carbon footprint savings, with what NEC calls the display's carbon footprint meter.
According to NEC, the tool takes the concept used in the Dells one step further by actually calculating the reduction of green gas emissions, unlike Dell's tool, which only shows energy readings relative to the monitor's brightness.
Queue the spec list!… Read more
Daily Planner Plus aims to be the organizational tool to end all organizational tools. However, rather than being a jack of all trades, the program ends up being a master of none thanks to an over-abundance of useless features.
This program has a look unlike any other planning software we've tested. Users first see a large open screen with small command icons running along the top and settings running along the left side of the screen. Initially, this looked more like a design program than a planner. The commands along the top range from creating a daily journal, calendar, … Read more