IWOOT Blog

JimboWoot's Glastonbury Adventure

So as all people who move to London do, I embarked on an adventure to see this so called “Glastonbury” that everyone talks about. I should add that prior to this the biggest festival I had ever been to was a “whopping”‘ 20,000-capacity event called Splashy Fenn in sunny South Africa, where you drive in, park your car, set up camp and chill until you feel the need to go watch a band. As you might have immediately gathered, I was in for one hell of a shock.

Firstly, I was warned not once or twice, but at least a bazillion times to make sure I got wellies. eBay – check. With steel toe caps. I don’t know why. As I am sure you have read somewhere already, there was not even a single drop of rain. Not one, little, tiny little drop :) By Sunday morning, the medical staff had apparently treated over 3,000 people for heat stroke and sunburn – I thankfully was not one of them. Back to the point of this blog post though!

Working for a gadget retailer has serious advantages, so I used my staff discount (and persuaded Gadget Girl Ella to loan me some samples so I had more beer money) and headed off with an assortment of gadgets. Below is an honest rating of their performance.

1. Moontent

Upside: I didn’t sleep in this, Kieran (ex-IWOOTer did), and he loved the ease of putting it not only up, but taking it down as well (definitely a two man job). Again it didn’t rain so I can’t comment on it’s ability to withstand the wet stuff.

Downside: Perfect for two small-ish people. I’m a heifer though, so no good for me and the missus.

2. Festival Kit

Upside: This is a thoroughly well thought out little bag of goodies. I only used 50% of the stuff inside it (again, due to the fantastic weather), but was very happy to have all the little bits and pieces one might forget. Be careful though, probably not wise to share as it seems enough for one person. The glow bangles were a bonus, and initially I had thought of using them to highlight my tent at night so I could find it. It turned out that we were camped very close to a road and bridge, so these just turned into a silly fashion item for the fancy dress night.

Downside: The toothbrush is really soft, and the toothpaste is not enough for an entire festival.

3. Pebble Charger

Upside: Everything. We had an assortment of phones and chargers in our campsite and not only did I manage to keep my iPhone 3G up to date, but on the last day I shared out the little guy and still had half of the power left. This is a genuine winner. I just don’t know how to tell Gadget Girl Ella that she’s never getting it back…

Downside: There is absoultely no downside, excpet constant fear that I thief might rob you of this wonderous device!

Ooooh...

4. Rainbow Lanterns 7 Pack

Upside: Lanterns aren’t new but, being an IWOOT exclusive, I thought I would have the edge and, as they’re relatively new, assumed I would be the only dude with them. Well, I was horribly wrong! Obviously some IWOOT customer beat me to it! Every evening the sky was FULL of lanterns. Aaaah – pretty lights…

Downside: When windy, these can be hazardous and catch an assortment of things at a festival including flagpoles and power lines. If not left to heat up enough they float back into the crowd. Some silly sausage tied an English flag to one (yes, after the event no-one wants to talk about 4-1) and after taker of just went crashing into a tented area. SO BE CAREFUL!

5. Walkie Talkie Watches

Upside: Had loads of fun listening in to everyone’s walkie talkie conversations – including the festival security. Very easy to use.

Downside: There were unfortuantely just too many people using walkie talkies for these little guys to be effective!

6. Multimate Mini

Upside: With so many tools this came in very handy, from minor zip fixes to turning a few porkies around on the BBQ.

Downside: None whatsoever.

7: Lightblade Umbrella

It would be a very hard thing to talk about the upside and downside of this product due to the awesome weather. It was very hand for providing shade, however :)

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New Arrivals 28/6/10

If you’ve managed to soak up your tears of disappointment and frustration after yesterday’s cavalcade of footballing mishaps, then we’ve got something to cheer you up completely. That’s right – it’s another New Arrivals email! Luckily, our New Arrivals are all excellent and gadget-y, not all rubbish and ball-was-actually-over-the-line-y. Onward…

Le Whif Breathable Flavours (pictured left)

Whiffing, you’ll be slightly baffled to learn, is the latest craze to hit the world of chocolate. Le Whif is a revolution in dieting, and will give you a satisfying taste of chocolate (or coffee, or raspberry, or several others) without ballooning your waistline to gargantuan proportions. Simply open one up, stick the end in your mouth and breathe in – yum! Perfect if you’re addicted to chocolate but aren’t too keen on the calorific content.

Balanzza Mini Digital Luggage Scale

balanzza-mini-luggage-scale_main

A holiday essential. There’s little worse than having to shell out for excess baggage weight when you’re totally convinced you didn’t pack that much (maybe the rocking horse was a step too far), so use the Balanzza to make sure you haven’t stuffed too much in there. Even better, it’s light enough to take with you so you can weigh it on the way back too, after you’ve bought your body-weight in miniature Eiffel Towers.

La Siesta Caribbean Hammocks

la-siesta-caribbean-hammock_main

With the weekend we just had (in case you missed it, it felt like the sun made a drunken lunge for us), it’s as well to prepare for a long summer of high temperatures. Even more so if you’re one of an increasing number of stay-cationers – which is where these beautiful hammocks come into their own. They come with a stand and are ready to assemble in the back garden under the shady tree. Bliss.

Flitter Fairies

flitter-faries_main

Oooh, one for the girls, this. These lovely Fairies are a neat trick, and appear to magically float around the included magic wand. Of course, it’s not actually magic (I don’t think, anyway…), but a clever illusion, but it’s a great effect and perfect for anyone who’s discovering a vivid imagination.

That’s about it for this week, make sure you get out and enjoy the sun! And look out for some super new summery products coming later this week too…

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Someone's Written a Vuvuzela Concerto

More Vuvuzela news now, and it seems that some bright spark has come up with a Vuvuzela Concerto. Unsurprisingly, it’s one long note.

Of course, that’s a very funny joke (I laughed for approximately 34 seconds), but has the anonymous composer not realised that the blueprint for such pieces had been formed many years ago? The righteous minimalism of Steve Reich, the looping cell compositions of Terry Riley, even the repetitive drone masterclass of avant-garde noise-mongers Sunn 0)))? No? Oh well. Here’s the concerto anyway:

NNNNNNRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH...

Good, innit?

I, for one, am hoping that the inevitable performance of this maverick work at this afternoon’s England/Slovenia match will drown out the shockingly inane brass parps of the England supporter’s band. Why do they think playing the theme from The Great Escape is remotely related to winning a football match? Anyway, good on The Guardian for spotting it, and let’s hope it goes our way this afternoon…

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IWOOT on Something For The Weekend

If you were up early on Sunday morning, you would’ve seen our very own EllaWoot showing off the very latest gadgets with that slightly sarcastic host who ignores guests unless they talk about football. Of course, they only feature the very best in new gadgets, so it’s no surprise that a couple of our own products, namely the Paper Jamz Guitars and the Pebble Charger.

If you’re quick you can see the whole lot on the iPlayer (it begins at about 1:13:40, if you want to skip all the clips of Porridge and interviews with choirmasters), but if you’re at work and unable to enjoy it on your screen, here are a couple of screengrabs:

Rockin' out...

Mind out, Ella. He's lost it.

The Veho Pebble Charger

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New Arrivals 21/6/10

It’s that time again chaps, time for me to guide you ably through the week’s best new products at IWOOT. As always, it’s a heady mix of odd, colourful and fun products guaranteed to put a bigger smile on your face than the England game did on Friday. Which wouldn’t be terribly difficult, to be honest.

Anyway, we’ll kick off (ho ho) with the latest and best way to light up your garden:

Firewinders (pitured on the left)

These spinning lights for your garden are 100% powered by the wind, and look pretty amazing to boot. They’re a doddle to install (just find an appropriate fence post or tree), and once the wind picks up the LED lights on the outside will light up, producing some lovely patterns. And when you’re done with it, just unclip it from the bracket. Simple.

DIY Straws

DIY Straws

If, like me, you fancy a drink every now and again, then this is an excellent way to make it a little more interesting. With a network of Marioland-style straws and connectors, you’ll have to do some seriously competitive sucking to make sure you get your fair share of the good stuff.

Ballz Cubed

Ballz Cubed

You might not think you have an addictive personality, or that you might not be swayed by a load of teeny-weeny magnetic balls, but you’re almost certainly wrong. We’ve pretty much had to ban these from peoples’ desks in the office because they’re so distracting. Form these magnetic balls into any old pattern you can muster and, if you’re really ambitious, try to get them into a cube again.

Undercover Mini Sleeve

Undercover Mini Sleeve

Much like our extremely popular Undecover Laptop Sleeve, this dinky version pulls the proverbial wool over the eyes and allows you to hide your smaller appliances inside a battered envelope. So that means your iPhone, your iPod, camera, external hard drive, or anything you can fit in there.

Hungry Hounds

Hungry Hounds Doggy Bank

Definitely the silliest products of the week, but boy are they hilarious. Just look at the lolling face, the gormless expression, all of it! All you have to do to get these money box dogs gobbling is put a coin in the bowl in front of them – once you’ve seen it once, you’ll run out of shrapnel pretty quickly. Barking mad, if you’ll excuse the pun (and you should, it’s excellent).

That’s about it for this week, so make sure you make a date for next Monday when I’ll walk you through even more good stuff. ‘Til then…

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JennaWoot's iPhone Replacement

Our JennaWoot is a Geordie lass of much distinction, but when it comes to iPhone security, she’s come a little unstuck. Due to various reasons (none of them involving alcohol) she has now managed to lose three iPhones. The insurance people have been a little slow in sending a new one out, so in the meantime Jenna has been forced to make a new style of multimedia phone:

Ingenious.

A quick swap, and it's got MP3s as well!

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Want to get rid of those Vuvuzelas from the World Cup coverage?

If, like hundreds of people who complained to the BBC, you’re finding the constant drone of the Vuvuzela to be a bit of a distraction during the World Cup coverage, then some bright spark in Germany has the answer. By simply running the audio through some bog-standard software, you can make the games no longer sound like they’re being invaded by a swarm of hornets.

According to the chaps at Gizmodo, the German boffin behind it “runs the audio from his TV through a Mac Mini running Logic Express. A series of bandpass EQ filters in the software neatly excise the offensive frequencies, leaving the game blissfully vuvuzela-free.”

So there you have it! Don’t say we never give you anything. Maybe Rob Green could do with the silence in the next game so he doesn’t get put off (too soon?).

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Father's Day Competition Winners

After a couple of weeks of severely embarrassing dad stories, we’ve selected the ones we believe are the best. Or worst, depending on your point of view. Either way, the winners will have one of our Gyro Flyer RC Helicopters sent to them so they can give it to their dads for Father’s Day (don’t forget it folks, it’s this Sunday!) and feel extremely good about themselves.

Without further ado, here are the winning stories:

Sam Bruce: “For some reason when my dad takes me and my mates to certain places, he suddenly becomes Lewis Hamilton in the F1 car, making engine noises really loudly and screeching as he goes round the corners. As if it couldn’t get any worse he then pretends he’s James Bond and his car now has rocket launchers. By this point, I’m attempting to stop my dad, who then just makes a bigger deal about saving the world. Understandably when you’re 8 it’s actually ok, you’ve still got a young imagination and you enjoy these things. But when you’re 17 with two guys and a girl the same age, you just want to shoot yourself.”

Alex Perea: “My dad’s a walking embarrassment, but I think the best/most cringe-worthy thing I remember him doing was while we were on holiday in France. We were on the top floor of a double-decker metro train (those things are awesome) and it was pretty crowded. We had seats, but more people were getting on, including an attractive young woman. My dad, being the master of good manners, made to offer her his seat. Without knowledge of the language, he decided to use good old ‘sign language’ instead which, in this case, meant gesturing repeatedly at his crotch for about thirty seconds to indicate the seat. Despite our cries for him to stop, he didn’t seem to see the problem with gesturing between his legs at a young woman, who gave him the most dirty look before leaving the carriage. Guess who won’t be playing Charades at the next Christmas party?”

Roland Martin: “Years ago my dad went to the shops and while he was out he decided to weigh himself at the chemist, as they had public scales in those days. He got on and was absolutely mortified to find he had put on 2 stone in days. As he stood there confused, the kind lady behind the counter came over to him and took his bags of shopping off him!”

Rachel Mse Medhurst: “My Dad used to pick me up from places in his car and whenever I would go to reach for the door handle, he would pull away slightly so I couldn’t quite get it. I would then walk up to the door and try again and he’d keep doing it, all the while my friends would be watching and laughing. One time he did it so I lunged for the handle, hoping I could get it in time… I fell flat on my face. We could all hear my dad laughing hysterically in the car!”

Bella Smyth: “Well it would have to be when we went to see Tina Turner in London. Me and him were dancing along and the next thing we knew this blonde lass grabbed dad and started kissing him. Thought that was bad enough, only to look up and see it plastered on the screens all around Wembley. Oh, the embarrassment…”

Well, you know what Tina Turner fans are like. Very well done everyone, and thanks for your entries! you can still have a read of all the embarrassing stories if you pop across to our Facebook wall.

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Underwater IWOOT

The vast oceans are, and always will be, a domain of mystery for mankind. All those miles of barely-charted territory that house nature’s darkest secrets, stretching below the surface as deep as man’s desire to conquer it and claim it as his own. Putney Swimming Pool, however, is probably a little more manageable.

So, when we needed to shoot some new aquatic products, we decided to leave Cousteau-esque Oceanography to the big boys and dress JimboWoot up in a suit instead. And then chuck him in, obviously. If you want to show him some appreciation, then pop over to the main site and have a look at the Waterproof Notebook. In the meantime, though, have a look at our Putney underwater adventure…

Limbering up...

"Take a deep breath..."

"Pub?"

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New Arrivals 14/6/10

This week, you lovely lot of gadget-gobblers, we’ve got a typically super range of new products for you to sink your teeth into. Although sinking your teeth into them will probably void the manufacturer’s warranty, so watch out.

Right – first up, we have the delightful Rainbow Lanterns:

(Pictured left…)

These colourful Rainbow Lanterns are the perfect thing for your garden party this summer. If you’re posh enough to be having a garden party, that is. If you’re not, then just set these flame-powered beauties off into the sky and give your night something a little more magical than a stiff burger and a can of Fosters.

Tea Sub

Tea Sub

The Tea Sub has come very close to convincing us in the office that traditional tea bags are totally yesterday. Speaking of ‘Yesterday’, the Beatles-y styling of the Tea Sub has also gotten us trying to think of Beatles/Tea-related puns, so if you have any, do send them our way… In essence, though, the Tea Sub is the perfect introduction to loose-leaf tea.

Pool Jet

Pool Jet

The Pool Jet is probably the most fun you can have in a swimming pool this side of a floating bar. However, floating bars apparently aren’t especially kid-friendly, so the Pool Jet will have to do for the little ones. It’s basically the world’s best buoyancy aid, and will pull your kid happily around the pool and encourage a better, faster swimming technique too.

Big Bang Rocket

Big Bang Rocket

Another one for the kids, this Big Bang Rocket is an infinitely re-usable thrill, provided you’ve got a lot of old newspaper lying about. All you need to make a colossal bang is pop a small square of newspaper in the end of the rocket and chuck it in the air. Don’t ask me how (physics, apparently), but when it lands there will be an almighty bang loud enough to unsettle a whole office-full of IWOOTers.

Waterproof Notebook

Waterproof Notebook

Poor old JimboWoot had to jump in the drink to get the amazing photos for this product – but doesn’t he look fabulous?! The Waterproof Notebook he’s using is a genius idea, allowing you to write down anything you like in the shower, in the bath, in the rain or, if you’re like JimboWoot, in Putney swimming pool.

Mood Cushion

Mood Cushion

Ah, truly a cushion to suit every mood… as long as your mood is extreme lethargy and a need for relaxation, that is. Just give this fuzzy little thing a tap to turn it on and watch it cycle through some pretty cosmic colours. Great for the bedroom, the sofa or your keyboard on a Friday afternoon.

Things We Didn’t Know Loo Roll

TWDK Loo Roll

We love this one. It’s an IWOOT Exclusive (and boy are we pleased to trumpet that about), and all you need to educate yourself when you’re in the smallest room. It’s a loo roll stuffed with facts and not-facts, all of them terribly amusing. If you find one you don’t like particularly, then just tear off the sheet and, err… use it. Delightful!

See you next week chums!

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