Virgin Gadget Spy Episode 2 Now Released!

Gadget Spy Episode 2!
Gadget Spy Episode 2!

Yes, after all that hard work, we’ve done it, it’s been edited, and this is Episode 2 of Gadget Spy

 
Gadgets featured are:
 
 
And if you’re wondering what the Bunny Rabbit was at the beginning of the video, it’s the Nabaztag Internet Bunny  which will tell you what the weather’s like and pull stockmarket and news data from the internet. 
 
…and for those of you who read my blog, here is a secret for you – hear the background music?  That’s mine, that is !! 
 
 
 

Virgin Gadget Spy Filming PhotoBlog

Watching the footage back

Filming Gadget Spy II

Yesterday was spent at Virgin Towers filming the second Gadget Spy – this was all done in a bit of a hurry,Virgin are keen to get this up and live on the web by next week – Eeeeek!

So we collected together an array of gadgets (and had some help from www.firebox.com – thankyou!) and hopefully got enough material together for our 3-minute webcast.

The gadgets include a few of the things I’ve been impressed enough to blog about or take flickr pics of, including the Cisco/Linksys Router , the Archos TV+ and the Jawbone noise-cancelling headset.

This was an incredibly fun day, it was tiring but very rewarding, as we’ve been working flat out since last week getting everything together for the magic day of filming.

10mins after arriving

We're in the studio area and setting up - within about 10 minutes, most floor space is covered with tech. There is a general need for tea. We've also realised that it's going to be boiling in here.

Phil checks everything is OK

Phil from Virgin checks the gadgets - we have to work out which order to put them in right at the start of the show, so we can get the camera to pan across at the beginning and match our working script.

Guitar Rockstar sample

We like to have a few quirky, bonkers products in "Gadget Spy" - last time it was the Bubble Wrap Keychain. This time it's the Guitar Rockstar.

firebox.com sent over some stuff - thanks!

Thanks to http://www.firebox.com, who provided us with a few gadget loans for the pilot, and kindly let us borrow a few more for episode 2. Everything is boxed back up and sent back to Firebox HQ, so they'll lend us stuff again!

Archos, Pinnacle, Linksys samples

More tech ready for filming: you can see the top of the Pinnacle PVT Video Transfer, the Linksys Router, and the Archos TV+ as well as a few bits poking out of the case.

Dan checks the footage

Dan, camera operator, checks the footage. Anyone doing any filming knows to check as soon as you do the first take, just to make sure video is actually recorded.

LJ Rich sitting in

Here I am, "sitting in" - we're testing the shot before filming properly, we need to make sure the lighting works for the camera, and I've put a mark on the desk so I always sit in the same place!

LJ's suitcase - Kit 'n' Heels

My suitcase: Kit 'n' Heels, har har. This case got really battered when I took it to China and Dubai, and it's held a lot of tech in its time. On the way to and from Virgin Towers it's bulging with strange and wonderful stuff.

LJ Rich, looking short (!) take 1...

Behind the camera, filming the intro! We steam through the voiceover, the outro and each gadget, doing a couple of takes for each one - the basic rule is when you do a "good one", you do one more for safety. Normally, I'm pretty good at this, because I'm used to live TV and one chance to say something. However, by the end of the day, saying "Port Cool Fan Laptop Stand" took me about 6 tries. We got it all in the can though, and the next thing is editing it up for release - Working date : 10th September 2008

What follows is a quick look at what went on in the day.  If you want to see the Flickr Gallery, please feel free to click here.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the final cut, hope you like the pics!

Virgin Gadget Spy Webcast Out!!

Hello Michael...Wow! Remember I did some filming about 3 weeks ago for a pilot called “Gadget Spy” at Virgin Media?  I went off to visit Firebox a while ago to scope out some quirky electronic gizmos for this, pulled in some cool stuff from my industry mates at Archos and the like, then (and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing), we managed to get a filming date in the diary.  I just got an email this morning saying that they’ve completed the edit!

So this is the Inaugural Gadget Spy mini-cast! It’s the first time the VirginMedia web chaps and I have ever done anything like this – the idea certainly comes across, and if the powers that be like it, then who knows, they might put a budget behind it, and we can do it again in a month or so, As far as I know, the more clicks they get, the more likely that is – so do please add yours 🙂

Gadget Spy Pilot show: www.virginmedia.com/digital/gadgetspy

I wish I was Hiro from "Heroes"…

… because if I just concentrated really hard, I’d suddenly have a whole glut of time – then there’d be half a chance of completing the gargantuan schedule of errands, documents, and general odds and ends well before this weekend – you see, on Sunday I’ll be on the telly for around 24 hours and therefore unable to do anything apart from drinking copious amounts of coffee and wrestling with AV cables, which is why the sudden rush.

 

So, I’ve decided (in the time-honoured “Let’s play Minesweeper” tradition) to post a little bloggette (is that how you spell it?) on the art of procrastination instead. In honour of this, I will now decide exactly what font to use for this article.
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Right, After a few minutes of deliberation, I have decided to use the same font anyway.
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I am, as you possibly know, a fully paid up geek -I actually had a conversation on the phone this morning with a business colleague about the fact that the number “42” was mentioned in Stargate Atlantis the other night – they agreed it was a humorous reference – we both snorted appreciatively.
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Apart from the encyclopaedic knowledge of sci-fi and pointless but amazing trivia, my geekiness is displayed with superhuman skills when it comes to organisation and recall… although this streak comes in useful when I’m reviewing technology (I actually do read the manual – and enjoy it), I also get far too much enjoyment from colouring in the cells in Excel, so it’s a constant left-brain/right-brain battle for me.
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This week I amazed some people at work because I have absolutely NO desktop icons OF ANY KIND on my laptop’s Desktop display, as I like things to look neat and tidy.
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On the other hand, at the moment (this is where the title of today’s blog comes in) my Real World Desktop is currently invisible under 25 items inventoried below for your “pleasure”:
  1. many DVDs of varying importance
  2. promo bags from CES (Alienware, UA, Panasonic)
  3. contact lenses (unused)
  4. Sharpie Markers (wide, black)
  5. keyboards (Creative Prodikeys music keyboard)
  6. microphones (one for Skyping, one for Singing Vocals)
  7. business cards (copious quantities from CES, mostly entered into my system)
  8. handbag (why??)
  9. dri-wipe marker (there’s a bit of velcro on its side -probably from before it emigrated…)
  10. Belkin USB hub (rotating 4-port)
  11. some post-it notes (these appear to be from an infinite source, I can’t remember buying this many)
  12. a 15cm ruler (blue, transparent)
  13. Wacom Graphics Tablet (pen resting on groove)
  14. Galileo thermometer (showing 25 degrees Celsius)
  15. Musician’s Union Newsletter (unread)
  16. Ergostation and Laptop (this bit looks quite organised)
  17. Receipts (Marks and Spencer, Muji, Borders)
  18. Nokia phone for review (with box)
  19. indeterminate USB cables (who knows what the other end fits into?)
  20. JVC Everio Camcorder (on telly with this over the weekend)
  21. PDA cover (I was looking for this)
  22. phone bill (laughable)
  23. notepad (inedible, medical-style scrawl)
  24. towering pile of paperwork (terrifying)
    and of course,
  25. nice cup of tea that I’m drinking (now lukewarm and therefore undrinkable)
Let’s keep the RW desktop a secret, boys and girls. It’ll all be back to normal next week, once I’ve completed the editing for two videos – one for Virgin Media about the future of gaming (I’ll post a link here when it’s done) and one for this weekend (which I’ll upload to Youtube in advance of the airing for anyone who wants a sneak preview). Meanwhile, if you need any post-it notes, just let me know 🙂

Back in Blighty – Back to Work

So I’ve finally returned back to the UK, absolutely tired out, and completely and totally culture shocked by the craziness that is Las Vegas and the ridiculousness that was CES.

I found out that there were 2 million square feet of exhibition space of which I probably only managed to get across a fraction- and even then that was with incredibly hard work and very, very, very comfortable shoes.

For now I’m back in the UK – once I’ve finished unpacking and sorting through my email, I’ll be spending time getting ready to talk about JVC’s MG330 HD camcorder on QVC UK . For the purposes of this blog, and for general curiosity, I’ve found out that a) QVC is the biggest electronics retailer in the world, b) Marco Polo House, where the studio is, was named after real broadcasting Satellites in Space and c) the UK arm reaches 21 million households, which explains why people come and chat to me in really odd places like Milton Keynes British Rail Station.

Actually, it’s great fun when people come and say hello most of the time – although I once got recognised at a certain large 24hour supermarket at 3am buying Imodium – that’s the not-so-glamorous side of life in the public eye – “Hi LJ, how are you? Oh, not too well I see” was the gist of that particular conversation.

On the plus side, when I was flown over to QVC in America, where it’s the 5th most watched channel in the States, I went to the mall the day after the show, and someone came up to me and said “Wow, you’re that videogame girl from England!” – that made my week!

So I’ll be broadcasting live for 24 hours on the 27th January and it will feature JVC’s hard drive camcorder that I took around CES with me to Vegas. So that should be quite fun. It’s still quite surreal chatting away to my phone and I really am enjoying this blogging service, it has to be said. SpinVox might even come over and film me doing this which should be even more fun, although I don’t think it will be very telegenic to have SpinVox film me doing what I’m doing right now which, at the moment, is my laundry 🙂

I can’t believe it’s already halfway through January… I’m in the studio with Graham Wood working on some exciting music projects, and this week I’ll pop over after the initial recording session to do what is known in the trade as “Tweakage” – I’ll also be composing a mini ident (that’s about 3 seconds of music) for a digital device, which is always exciting, as I love to take into account the acoustics of the device, and what it looks like before working out what tune it should have!

spoken through SpinVox tweaked by LJ

Lost at The Venetian in Vegas

Take a look at the picture on the left – what really got me is that I wasn’t outside, I was on the 3rd floor of the gargantuan Sands Expo / Venetian Mutant-Sized Hotel Complex.

So I spent today at the Billboard Digital Music Seminar at CES. If you add 8 hours of interesting interviews about the state of the music industry, together with (for some reason) air conditioners in the conference room set to “superconducting”, and a quite frankly impressive amount of coffee, I was not just disoriented, I was M&S disoriented.

Just to give you an idea of how odd it is to happen upon a mini Venice, this is the back view that I came from. It’s not enough that you’re wandering around St Mark’s Square, eating gelato and hearing opera music piped through the hidden speakers – to make it even more italian, the gondoliers are all accomplished singers, warbling sweetly as they punt you around the man-made canal.The more I see of this city, the more I’m falling in love with it. It’s so bonkers, I feel more normal.

Last night, I bumped into a whole bunch of female gamers, one of whom had the same birthday as me. We’re chatting in the taxi queue, and then we’re in a taxi to Caesar’s Palace, where we go to a place called Pure, a very exclusive club. I wish I could have stayed there, but, dear reader, I had to get back to do some editing, dedicated as I am to the cause.

I tried my hand at Craps tonight, and appear to have quite the knack of throwing the dice – I’m still amusingly foggy over the rules of this baffling game, but I put 20 bucks on the table, and walked away with 32 – yes, the last of the big spenders, but I’d rather spend my money on the coffee so I can make the most of my last few hours here. By the way, today’s vid is TV with a twist. Catch it at www.virginmedia.com/digital, or type “LJ Does Vegas” into Youtube and do please write something nice after you’ve seen it!

p.s. Here I am at 2am watching FileZilla do its thing from the hotel. I love the fact that because there are over 180,000 geeky tech folk converged in one place, myself included, we’re all trying to get online, all the time. The internet connection is pitiful 🙂 I also love the fact that the queue for Starbucks downstairs in the morning is amusingly long – every time I stand in it, I wonder if there would be the same queue for coffee if there was some kind of holistic health show on instead. I swear, caffeine is the drug of choice for the tech industry. Apparently, the coffee place in the convention centre actually ran out of beans on the first day of the conference, they’d underestimated the caffeine consumption of a bunch of techies by quite a large margin ! Right, I’m *really* going to bed now. Goodnight.

PC Building, Overclocking and CES Mania

It’s Day 2 of CES, and I am still shellshocked by the whole thing… not only did I attend Tiger Direct’s annual PC building race last night – I left there with a PC building apron and a great bit of footage! That’s already on Virgin’s site. This was like a modern-day gladiatorial event, with some of the audience shouting so loudly, I could feel the sound vibration going right through my camcorder!

I then went on to Corsair’s Pirate Party, which was even more surreal that I expected – there I got to chat with Fugger and Kingpin, two of the world’s premier overclocking afficionados.

They talked me through exactly what overclocking involves, and then showed me a computer that looked like it might have been built by the Borg. I’m FTP-ing the footage across right now, while I’m in the “Blog Pit” in the Sands Convention Center, Vegas, before recording some audio voiceover material in the booth to go with the piece.

To have a look at the video footage, which will probably be available tomorrow, UK time, just head on over to http://www.virginmedia.com/digital

Vegas or Bust

It’s crazy out here! I’m at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show – and it hasn’t even started yet, and I’m already overwhelmed. Nothing you see on the telly can truly prepare you for the opulent experience that is Las Vegas. Mix that with gadgets and I’m in a very happy place indeed. That, plus the fact that the hotel I’m in has a sushi bar downstairs that is absolutely incredible.

 

I’ve just been trimming footage for my video blog with Virgin Media, which should be reachable here: www.virginmedia.com/digital and it’s taking a lot longer than I thought – I got off the plane and haven’t stopped since, there’s so much to look at, and hopefully the vid will give you a taster of the gadget banquet that is CES.
Tomorrow (today!) I’m going to the Yahoo! keynote speech, and visiting Gibson to see their self-tuning guitar, which sounds heavenly. I once tuned someone’s guitar at Stratford Platform 8 because their B string was so painfully flat, tuning was the only non-violent solution.

 

Currently I should be asleep, but I want to ftp those files over to Virgin so you get to see the vid at around 5pm UK time – too excited about “nearly live reporting” to sleep a full night, so I’m going to finish sending these files over, and see if I can get a quick bath and snooze in before Yahoo’s keynote speech at 11am. Back soon!

Seasons Greetings

Phew, that’s my lot for now- I’m back on TV on the 29th with a quick show in the evening.

 

I decided to buy myself a new laptop for my very own xmas present – from the lovely people at Rizeon Laptop Computers who make gorgeous super-fast custom ones. Mine is the stunningly rapid Z37S with all the trimmings, including biometric fingerprint scanning, built-in webcam and obscenely fast components. I’ll be taking it out to Vegas with me when I go to CES in January.

The Virgin chat went really well, we made sure to answer every single question we were sent, including a rather amusing “Can you recommend a good curry house”, along with home entertainment, AV and computer queries. If you want to have a look, here it is!

Time is ticking away until the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas – as well as mooching round the exhibition open-mouthed at all the crazy stuff going on, I’ll be filming a Visual Blog of all things interesting for Virgin Media. At CES, exhibitors have timeslots where press, buyers and distributors get their chance to see products in action, then chat to the people behind the innovations.

Our working title is “Virgin Does Vegas”, and I’ll be sending my video footage direct from my Rizeon over t’Internet through to Virgin HQ in the UK, where it will be edited and released. If there’s any specific tech you’d like me to track down for you, please suggest them to me and I’ll give it a good try.

It just remains for me to wish you a very happy festive season – enjoy !

‘Tis the day before Xmas and everything’s wrapped
I’m buying tech presents this year – how apt
I’m sent all my e-cards for everyone to see
thank goodness I’ve made sure they’re on Bcc.

Lots of love,
LJ x

Marathon Weekend

After an August that was incredibly quiet, bordering on hibernation, this week fills me both with dread and anticipation all at once.

 

Thursday is Virgin Media’s webchat – I’m going in to Virgin HQ to answer xmas gadgety questions, so I have a laughably huge amount of preparation and research in advance involving much surfing, phoning and tea-drinking.

 

Before I get a chance to recover from that, I’ll be on telly this Saturday at various times from 0100 (Friday night) to 2359 (Saturday night), which means I a) have to memorise specifications for approximately 200 electronic objects, b) need to work out what to wear, and, most annoyingly, c) do my nails, or in my case, just make sure that one “pointing” finger looks usable, as generally my nails look great for approximately 5.6 minutes after applying the last of the polish.

 

Incidentally, my sister on the other hand (did I mean that pun?!) has incredibly elegant nails and long graceful fingers – but as a piano player, I have short stumpy paws, although I can now stretch a tenth in my left hand, through years of practice and dedication – take that, Chopin…