Click Bits!

2 minutes of fame :-)

Pilot show Click Bits - Episode 2!

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This is what I’ve been up to the last month, as well as doing quite a bit for bbc click recently… including working with the marvellous Maggie Philbin on our futurology piece. She’s done such a brilliant post here about our visit to Kingswood Warren that I don’t need to add anything…

OK, I will add that we both turned up on the ShiftRunStop podcast last week.

Here are some behind-the-scenes pics of the birthing of ClickBits.

My bag with script in - and an impressive amount of useless stuff

– yes I did eat that twirl. And I didn’t bother taking pics of the usual tv stuff including filming pieces to camera, script wrangling and finding pictures to fit. Unless you want me to next time?

Also the madness of only having a finite amount of time to do an infinite amount of work is the sort of thing is familiar to techies everywhere. Editors, I’m thinking of YOU when I type this.

tape of episode 1 ! yes, tape! Click on this if you want to see episode 1, but episode 2 is better ūüôā Click on the top pic for that.

The grown-up edit suite was double booked for our first episode, but it didn’t stop us – we squeezed into a small office and crowded around a desk and computer meant for 1 person. ¬†Final Cut Pro, in case you were wondering. And yes, we ate a LOT of choccy in ¬†a room so cramped all our knees were touching.

on its way into the BBC system?

This was our 2nd attempt to ingest 3 mins of video into the BBC, we were thwarted by technology many times! It’s always worse when a BIG machine borks – I always (illogically, irrationally and incorrectly) expect computers with 4 screens to be, I don’t know, cleverer.

Ingest point

Humans 3, Machines 2

Finally, the wondrous Zoe (who is producing this with me and is the illustrious @zsk on twitter) came across this hidden terminal and executed some kind of Harry Potter spell that meant the machines had to obey her – and they did.

As I’m off to CES Las Vegas 2010 next week, Zoe and I will be attempting to make the 3rd Click bits episode a few thousand miles apart… we’ll be using yousendit and psychic powers to make that work, but if anyone can do it, it will be the 2 most stubborn people at the Beeb – us!

EsOterica Interview


On returning from CES,¬† there is¬†much to edit, however, after a few people asking me for some stuff on music and technology, embedded below is a video I did for the mighty Dead Hub Music Blog.¬† I recorded this especially for my blog buddy in San Diego (it’s quite a swim to Oxford from there, and a relatively shorter trek from London)

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Esoterica talk about how they are surviving in today’s modern version of the music industry. Caution: some swearing! The Rock / Metal band talk frankly about how they write, and how working with John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails etc) honed their skills and they also give tips for budding writers and performers.

Digital Winter 2008

I just realised I haven’t blogged for ages, mainly due to the fact that my feet haven’t touched the ground in the last week and a bit.

So what follows is a very, very brief digest of what I’ve been up to, one post at a time:


This is basically where a bunch of companies have stalls which show you their latest gadgets, and sometimes their flagship products as well.  Siemens showed their new concept solar-powered dect phone too.

151020081052 new sansa fuze and sansa clip from sandisk

Sandisk's new Sansa Fuse at the top, and its mini cousin, bottom

There was so much¬†food and cake available, but I’d stuffed myself with sushi on the way there, annoyingly.¬† Secretly I was dying for a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit – but this was no time for confectionery or patisserie, it was time for some serious gadget-hunting.

The technology was suitably diverse, so here are a few highlights of the event.¬† Have a look at Sandisk’s Sansa Fuse (at the top) which has 4GB inbuilt memory, and a slot for a micro SD card for future expansion.¬†

… and the red ones have a great Ferrari-style paint job, which doesn’t have any bearing on the performance of the product, but looks nice.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Next up…

151020081048 solar gorilla laptop charges next to macbook pro for scale

Power Traveller's Solar Gorilla Laptop Charger

…a look at the Solar Gorilla from PowerTraveller, a gigantic solar panel which you can use alongside their battery to charge up your laptop¬†– you can also use a¬†mains adaptor with the battery if you’re stuck in the¬†dark, and get about 6 hours’ worth¬†of laptop¬†life from a full charge.¬† The MacBook Pro is there for scale.

In fact, I have the miniature one of these, the powermonkey which I use for charging my mobile Рalthough the larger product on display is probably better suited for use in remote areas that catch a lot of sun, i.e. anywhere except London.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And Finally….

151020081047 new usb microscope 200x magnification vms-001 from veho

Veho 200x USB Microscope with 2p coin on screen

…the USB microscope from Veho, one of the more amusing products on display.¬† You can see on the screen a 2p coin magnified 200 times from the coin underneath the microscope.¬† Yes, *of course* I stuck my fingers underneath, you can see the ridges and everything.¬†
For one secret and hideous moment I wondered whether this would be a useful beauty accessory for facial excavation and then decided against pointing the device at a particularly good spot on¬†my cheek in public, what with wanting to look like a serious technology journalist and all, although I can’t resist adding that you’re either a squeezer or a leaver in this particular field.
So Digital Winter was quite fun.¬† If you want to see these pics a few minutes after I’ve taken them, then please feel free to subscribe to my Flickr Stream, where I’ll upload them from my N95.¬† I promise not to upload any pictures from the microscope.
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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 !!¬†

First to See The New Archos!

Lovely New Archos Internet Media Tablet

Lovely New Archos Internet Media Tablet

Happy Tuesday…

OK, you are now looking at something that is under embargo until 0000 on the 20th August, although my contacts have allowed me to post a mini-sneak preview of the BRAND NEW ARCHOS!

All hail the Archos Internet Media Tablet, finally with High resolution playback with HDMI output on TV, and up to 320GB capacity, internal file search engine. email application, & a 3.5G connection, yes, eventually, even your archos will have permanent connection to the Web and access to emails via a 3.5G/HSDPA network connection.

IMAP or POP email service allows you to send, reply to and transfer emails with compatible attachments, these¬†can be stored on the ARCHOS device‚Äôs hard drive and shared. There’s an optional in-car holder which¬†turns the ARCHOS 5 into a fully fledged GPS.

ARCHOS 5 is available from September. ARCHOS 7 from October, and ARCHOS 5G from Q4 2008 Рprices range from around £300 to around £440 depending on capacity, screen size and capability.

Geek Chic Advance Alert!

In a few months or so, there’s talk of a “TV Snap-on” which turns the ARCHOS 5 or 7 into a digital TV to receive free digital TV channels and record programs in DVD quality, as if I don’t watch enough telly.

If you want to see these pics in high res, they’re on my flickr here.

Update: Archos Website currently has this on the front page.

Xmas in July Technology Event

Xmas in July ? Srsly?

Get that loop tape out...

Ho, Ho, Hold on a minute, it’s not Yuletide yet…

Christmas in July is an odd occasion, foisted on us by various technology manufacturers, and I expect it may happen in other genres, too.¬† It’s¬†an event where press and buyers look at what’s on offer for this¬†festive season, and in July, there’s enough time to get the stock ready for December delivery.

These kinds of events are where technology companies show off what they have,  journalists talk about the products,  then retail buyers / distributors buy the products so eventually they end up on the shelf / online for the general public. 

I took my trusty camcorder with and filmed a little for you.

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Tucano Laptop Bag

Tucano Laptop Bag

If you want to know what the present was in the video, it was this laptop bag from Tucano, I’m rather impressed actually, as it fits my monster Rizeon Laptop even with its gigantic 9-cell battery on the back and my powerpack too.

…I’ve taken it into QVC with me (I’m here all day today, WiFi blogging naughtily from¬†the Cafe when I’m not on air – ahh, I love the smell of coffee and free internet).¬† I even remembered to take the¬†tag off, too.¬† That label was a monster though,¬†one of those plastic fastenings that don’t respond well to teeth or keys and you have to find proper scissors.¬† That said, I’ll probably take¬†this case¬†to Dubai with me tomorrow, depending on whether I go hand luggage only (toothbrush, credit card, laptop, camcorder, N95, powermonkey), or whether I should risk the wrath of the Conveyor Belt of Doom and actually attempt a suitcase, which (at this late stage) normally involves panic packing.

For those glamorous capsule-wardrobe¬†types (I love you, I wish I could do it too), you might not know about Panic Packing, so here’s a quick breakdown:

Panic¬†Packing Stage 1: the entire contents of last minute TK Maxx¬†(sale, of course) purchases are crammed unceremoniously into a ball and sat on until they just about fit in a suitcase that looks like it’s been through several warzones.

Panic Packing Stage 2: panic re-packing, i.e. realising that nothing useful, practical or indeed wearable has been packed¬†and it’s a good thing¬†you remembered to pack¬†your credit card.

Stage 2 normally (and rather disappointingly) happens on arrival at the destination. Ho hum. 

Here’s the gallery:

… and if you want more info,
Here are the Links…
Overboard waterproof stuff  Voix  mp3 stuff  Etymotic headphones/ear protection
Tucano Laptop bags  Gear4 more mp3 stuff  Supersmoker electronic cigarette
Solio solar-powered charger  Pocketsurfer internet surfing with sim
Loc8tor device locating device  CMS Self-encrypting Hard Drive
Here’s the ¬†Flickr Gallery
I’m only going for a few days, see you soon.

from Clunk to Funk – Cisco Re-invent the Router

super routerI was absolutely fascinated the day I went to see Linksys/Cisco launch their new router.  After failing to get there on time due to 

1) not leaving on time – my fault,

2) getting off at Paddington Station instead of Lancaster Gate   Рalso my fault    and 

3) realising that there¬†are, in fact,¬†no less than 3 different Craven Hill Gardens¬†dotted around a 100m radius¬†¬† – hmm, possibly not my fault that London is a ridiculous maze designed to rob anyone of their navigational ability and/or their will to live…

–¬†but, let’s face it, it’s probably my fault for not knowing that in advance and planning for it accordingly.¬†

from brain to paperNo¬†matter;¬†I turned up¬†late,¬†frazzled and thinking¬†how on earth¬†I’d be¬†able to¬†write¬†something interesting about a new router, after all, if you have¬†broadband, you probably know all about¬†routers, boring boring boring snore.

But no! Wake up!!¬† Thank goodness this wasn’t a crusty presentation about connecting your laptop up to the “Interweb” and the wonders of¬†wireless networking.¬†¬†After all, it turns out most of us do that anyway, and we don’t need to be told about it – in fact, a recent YouGov poll showed that 54% of UK women who were surveyed were already surfing wirelessly,¬†gaming¬†wirelessly¬†and printer-sharing (oh yeah,¬†baby, we’re officially living in the digital age).

Instead, we were told¬†the story of how a new router design was formulated, including making it work better¬†without those big aerials – paralleling the disappearance of mobile phone¬†antennae – and (mynearly there favourite part of the presentation) being treated to a sneak peek at concept sketches, the sort of thing consumers never get to see…¬†¬†asking nicely resulted in being provided with¬†a couple of these pics to show on the blog!

I don’t think I realised¬†just how much work is involved in re-designing a device that already exists –¬†and I’ve been working in the tech and gadget industry for years.

Yes, the¬†electronics business has finally realised that us tech consumers are getting more savvy – we realise that something can look good and work properly at the same time – it’s the i-concept we’re locking in to and Linksys/Cisco¬†have fully commited to this¬†with their new router.¬†¬†Here’s hoping that the trend for making functional things look good will continue to roll out across the industry – after all, the technology is finally around to back up the aesthetics, and I, for one, will welcome the change.

By the way, there’s¬†some new software called LELA that comes with this router – it’s also been developed to be more intuitive… I’ll¬†get to play with that in a few weeks’ time, and report back accordingly.¬†


Well, I’m off to China¬†soon,¬†hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog whilst I’m there – depending on whether I can get a sim card with data, I may even be able to Flickr some pics onto the web using Shozu, recommended by my nokia-picture-blogging pal¬†BlackPhoebe– it’s exciting and daunting at the same time – can’t wait.

Until I go away, though, there’s a completely bonkers schedule to wade through… I’ve got a packed out telly-heavy weekend, with a selection of choice graveyard shifts ranging from midnight Friday night through to midnight Saturday¬†night (and a few in between to guarantee the desired amount of sleep deprivation).¬†¬†

Happily, I’ll be arriving at QVC in good time for the shows, as

¬†1) I’ll leave in good time,

2) I’ll get off at the correct station, and not somewhere miles away, and

3) I’ve been to QVC UK¬†about a bazillion times before, so it would be really, really dense to end up at the wrong QVC¬†even though there are a few different¬†studios (like the one in Philadelphia, USA, for example),

– but,let’s face it, anyone could mix up “flight BA169” with “district line”, after all, they almost rhyme…

Brenthaven Antics

And on to the next gadgety item РI got it last week, and it was good.  


This is the Eclipse Sleeve I Рpart of the Brenthaven range of laptop sleeves specialising in portable computer protection.  Ah, the stuff tech dreams are made of, a comfortable, low-impact journey from A to B, perhaps along with some nice even current, and the odd dusting.

I hulked my heavy but sexy Rizeon PC all over Las Vegas in January, and [prior to that] bashed seven bells out of my Vaio.  I remember, with some trauma, one time, just before going on air, my vaio leapt off the table in an impressive attempt to escape live TV.  As the camera crew and co-presenter looked on in horror, I remembered how important it was to back stuff up in that ohnosecond Рso an item that claims to help protect my laptop is definitely worth further examination.

I’ve been waiting a long time for something interesting to appear in the cushioned laptop bag category.¬† The inside is a bit like memory foam, and there’s a separate bit for papers, although I found it difficult getting my power adapter into the case as well, perhaps because this is the slimline model.¬†

Happily, this foamy, friendly small bag [would that be a baguette?] fits my macbook as well, and nestles into my larger backpack for easy transportation (you can see that in the final pic).  

Now I do have new-age tendencies, and I certainly have a terrible leaning towards puns Рso it was doubly gratifying to hear that the company behind the bag are committed to reducing their effect on the environment, as well as reducing the dents and grazes on my lappy.  I therefore applaud their choice of the name Zero Impact for the range.

Have a look here for some footage of their cases being chucked out of trucks.

Flash Mob, Liverpool St London (UK)

So this weekend, apart from spending time in front of my new toy (see previous post and youtube clip) , I attended my first ever flash mob on Friday. I had the presence of mind to take the camcorder with me – I’ve just finished editing together the footage of this crazy event that actually made the news!
I was there with MissGeeky (who played Tosh in the Sweded Torchwood S2:13 Episode), whatleydude, and various others – after the event, we all went off to the Pitcher and Piano for the celebration of a job well done.
Have a look at the footage, embedded here

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Bar staff kindly placed Rick’s Finest on the jukebox – not sure they realised what was going on, and certainly when 30-40 of us sang along (some with lyric sheets) it did look mighty strange. City workers and pub regulars looked on with a mixture of bemusement and intoxication, which made the encore thoroughly worthwhile, especially when people started to join in.
… as for Flash Mobbing? I might have to add that to the ever-increasing list of things I’m getting addicted to.

From Jack To Mac: A song is born

Having just emerged from my self-imposed cocoon of composition, it’s now time to confess yet another addiction I have appeared to pick up in the world of technology. I’ve just submitted my first ever youtube clip – I’ve been on before, but never uploaded myself (that sounds so Matrix…)

So here it is, the youtube clip: installation, composition and production from the point of arrival at my doorstep. The chaps at Absolute Music were as good as their word, and happily the Mac Pro arrived with Logic 8 Studio fully installed, and the sound card already configured. Some might wonder where the challenge was, and I say it’s enough to know how to do it, and much more satisfying to just get down and write -what a pleasure that was!

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I made this by taking photos at every stage of installation, from opening the boxes yesterday right up to the upload a few hours ago – one of the most revealing pics is the look on my face just before I open up twitter on the browser to blog the instant happiness I felt at that point – you can see the complete contentment I’m feeling at having a system I’ve pretty much dreamt about for many moons. I only slept 4 hours last night, dreaming of Mac.
My last system, although state-of-the-art in 2002, was just not fast enough – the tech got in the way of composition, and the computer couldn’t keep up with the kind of processing power demanded of it. It’s so wonderful to be able to play with this every day – after some difficult times in the last few years, I can’t begin to describe how it feels to realize such a dream that felt so far away for so long.
Or, as I put it [much more concisely] on twitter, “Woohoo!”