IWOOT Blog

Is there such a thing as the Perfect Alarm Clock?

Sleep. It’s addictive. Some people battle to to envelop themselves in it, whilst others want to be permanently immersed in it. As the modern world has taken over, our so-called “natural” sleeping patterns are disrupted by things like “work” and the need to make a “living”. Unfortunately, that means that we have to arise when we don’t want to. I am yet to find an alarm clock that doesn’t sound like an angry robot swearing at me in binary, and we all know that most of us are too “busy” to remember to change MP3s regulary on our phones. And let’s be honest, “P-P-P-P-Poker Face” was only vaguely amusing that first morning. It now results in my wife screaming profranities I didn’t know even existed (I am then forced to go to work and check them with Dino Woot - being a coder he is a walking dictionary of swear words).

I have really, really battled to get out of bed lately. And I know I am not alone. I, like so many others have not found a happy way to wake myself up. I have found two new viable alternatives to try though -

I can either give one of these a bash, or set my computer to play this every morning:

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Unbreakable Phone turns out to be Completely Breakable

If there’s anything that will send potential customers clambering over each other to escape your vile, salesman clutches, its conclusive proof that your product does deliver on its USP. Of course, it doesn’t help if your product is proven to be rather less than what it was advertised as on national television, as the CEO of Sonim found out when a BBC reporter took him at his word.

Offer your guarantees, Mr Sonim man, it means nothing when your supposedly unbreakable phone is nixed by a few taps on the side of a fish tank. Apparently you can hammer nails with it, but anything with a larger surface area will render it an expensive paperweight:

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You're SO Comic Sans!

Fonts are something the Creative Department just LOVE talking about. There are good fonts, bad fonts and demented ones (everyone remembers the kid who handed in his homework in Wingdings… clever guy), but they all give a distinct impression of the content you’re reading. The gravitas required to impart due respect in an obituary is not best conveyed with love hearts replacing the dots over the ‘i’s, now is it?

This extends to personal characteristics – we’ve even gone as far as suggesting that a certain nameless person in the IWOOT local is, undoubtedly, Comic Sans personified. There’s no real concrete evidence to substantiate this, they just… are. So we were pleased to discover that some other people have clearly been having the same debates across the internet. The boffins at Pentagram have come up with a neat little test to determine exactly which typeface suits you best – this link (via the similarly brainy folk at Fast Company) will allow you to take it.

Loosely set up like a bizarre Freudian examination, it’s a right old hoot. Enjoy!

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Make us a Snow Creature and win IWOOT Vouchers!

You know the drill – it’s snowing, get outside and make us a snow creature! That means a snowman, a snowcat, a snowmonkey, a snow interpretation of the legend of Beowulf, whatever you fancy. All we ask is that you incorporate something purple into it, just to prove it’s current and not dredged up from snow days gone by. The best one will win £100 of IWOOT vouchers to spend on Slankets, Hot Hand Warmers and various other snow-related items. If you like.

You can enter by posting your photo on our Facebook wall, or by emailing it to jimbowoot@googlemail.com. Have a look at the tiny little fella we made earlier yesterday and try to beat it – obviously yours won’t be as cute, but you can always try.


Good luck!

 
Our slightly bizarre Snow Creature Competition Terms and Conditions:

• The competition closes at 3pm on the 14th January 2010.
• The Prize Draw will take place on the 15th of January 2010.. The winner will be chosen by our IWOOT panel of judges.
• There is only one prize of a £100 IWOOT voucher.
• The winner will be notified via the email address submitted or via your Facebook address shown on the entry. If a response to this notification is not received within 14 days, IWOOT reserves the right to randomly select another winner. In light of this, please ensure you submit an email address that you use regularly!
• The snow creature you create has to have something purple attached.
• You can enter the competition as many times as you like as long as you create a different snow creature each time.
• This competition is completely free to enter, no purchase is necessary.
• Employees of I Want One of Those their immediate families and anyone professionally connected with the promotion are not eligible to enter this competition
• No responsibility will be accepted for entries that are not received.
• IWOOT reserves the right to disqualify any entrant.
• The prize is a £100 iwoot voucher, this voucher cannot be used against Photo Gifts And Experience products are whether sold on the www.iwoot.com site or it’s sister sites www.iwootpg.com or www.iwoote.com.
• There is no cash alternative available.
• The judges’ decision is final.
• This competition is open to UK residents only.

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Why didn't it take off? #2: The MiniDisc

Audio enthusiasts among you will feel a pang of nostalgia for this one. There was a time, believe it or not, when Sony’s MiniDisc format looked set to replace the humble cassette tape. It offered the same sort of functions, but it was just a bit better at it – CD quality sound, selectable tracks, even nameable tracks. Also, you could record straight onto MiniDisc from pretty much any source, which meant for me at least that all those late-night Peel Sessions went unmissed on school nights. Ah, memories…

But we digress. If you saw the MiniDisc and its assorted players in their early stages, you would be forgiven for thinking that they were leaden, clumpy and not especially user-friendly, but they got better. I had (and still have) a whopping great MiniDisc hi-fi complete with CD, tape and RDS radio, and combined it with a portable player, both capable of recording in MDLP. MDLP, to the uninitiated, allows the user to record up to 8 times the amount of music usually available onto just one 80-minute MiniDisc. That’s a whole lot of music, non-MP3 Player-owning readers!

A particularly sleek-looking model...

So I would record things from everywhere – the radio, cassettes, CDs, I’d even plug in my turntable – all in an effort to make the greatest travelling mixtapes imaginable. The variety was incredible. 70 tracks? In my pocket?! This is incredible! Ah, the folly of youth…

Of course, the MiniDisc player was not so much a failure in itself, more a victim of lagging behind the times. It was effectively killed stone-dead by the arrival of MP3 Players that could effortlessly store far more than a whole pocketful of discs could ever dream of, a sad end to a beautiful product. Its fate seems even more sealed by the increasing number of gadgets that will allow you to transfer all your old media to the unified digital platforms (in fact, we sell most of them). My task 3 years ago was to put all my tapes and records and radio recordings onto MiniDisc – it’s now to subsequently put EVERYTHING onto my iPod.

A slightly less sleek model.

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Our customers really are lovely

No, that’s not our latest scheme to get you parting with your cash, we genuinely think you’re really quite adorable! Proof comes in the form of this lovely cartoon we’ve been sent by a particularly happy customer named Bethann Siviter, detailing her festive experiences with us and the joy she was able to bestow upon her lucky, lucky other half.

All together now, “aaaaaahhh…”

iwootoon

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We Made A Tiny Snowman…

If there’s one thing that snow’s good for, it’s turning it yellow making a snow man. That’s why we ran down to the carpark at the first sign of the white stuff and got building – ain’t he cute?!

 

He began as two lumps...

He became a man...

And then a scholar. Thanks to JimboWoot's foot for the scale.

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New Year's Resolutions

So you’ve polished off the last slab of Stollen and hovered up the pine needles, you’ve taken down the decorations and cancelled the subscription to the cookery channel that you drunkenly ordered on Boxing Day. Naturally, thoughts turn to the New Year and the dreaded water-cooler question – what’s your New Year’s Resolution?

Being such a self-improving bunch here at IWOOT Towers, we’ve opened up that question to the whole office and compiled some of the choicest for your perusal. We’re not all overweight, paranoid, force-feeding maniacs, honest.

 

Lee-Anne, Marketing: My New Years resolution is to stop getting parking tickets, and if I do make sure to pay them on time.

Chris, Customer Services: I have resolved to stop forcing my girlfriend to eat cheese. It’s not like I strap her down or anything, I just add it to every thing I cook!

Matt, Marketing: My new years resolution is to be “better, stronger, faster” like the Bionic Man but without the flares and with longer sideburns.

Beejal, Customer Services: Mine is to stop letting the weather affect my mood! I might as well get used to the fact I live in London and it’ll never be above 20 degrees, so yes, New Year’s Resolution is to think positive – whatever the weather!

Debbie, Customer Services: Mine is to write to my Granny more often.

Cathy, Customer Services: Apart from all the dull and necessary ones (lose 3 stone, be more motivated, get out of horrible, crippling debt etc etc bleurgh bleurgh bleurgh), to accept that it is no longer 1995 and that I am not:
a) 17
b) Going to marry James Dean Bradfield

Jenna, Creative: To die less.

Jemma, Customer Services: 1) Stop eating cake for breakfast, 2) Start treating my Kitten like a cat, not a new-born baby…I can’t help it, he’s sooooo cute! 3) Stop singing out loud when I have my earphones in on the bus…

Paula, Marketing: Mine is to buy better gifts, and to be more organised when it comes to buying presents for friends, and particularly offspring of friends. That may sounds a little sales-like considering who I work for though!

Helen, Customer Services: I’m resolving to stop making New Year’s resolutions. As you can see, I’ve not had much luck so far.

Simon, B2B: to be continuously better than JimboWoot.

James, Creative: To do a dive when I see a shark.

Ben, Customer Services: My New Year’s Resolution this year is to conquer Customer Service like no-one has before. Oh, it’s a dream. Also, to listen to London’s Heart FM for 8 hours every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Oh cheer up Ben, life doesn’t get better than Heart Breakfast with Jamie and Harriet! Anyway, feel free to add your own resolutions below…

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Tattoo Sleeves Transform Folk Duo

We’re nothing if not supportive of the burgeoning folk resurgence here at IWOOT. Proof, as if it were needed (you should see the collection of Steeleye Span rarities lying around the office), comes in the shape of these great pictures from two acoustic types who call themselves ‘Men In Black’. We’re assured that it’s nothing to do with aliens and the polite face of modern hip-hop. Mid-set, possibly even mid-strum, they turned instantly from traditional folkies into biking ‘muthas’, thanks to IWOOT’s surprisingly convincing Tattoo Sleeves.

From their photographer:

“I thought you would be interested to see how amazing your tattoos look on 2 professional musicians! By professional, I mean that Paul is a Chartered Accountant and Charles is an Engineer. Together they are ‘Men In Black’ and they played last May at the Wimborne Music Festival in Dorset.

They did a costume change during their set and became ‘Men In Tattoos’. They really got into the swing of the mean and moody biker look with the tattoos.

By the way, the picture of Paul ‘Setting Up’: he hadn’t smoked a cigarette in years and thoroughly enjoyed it!”

Nice boas, lads...

Looking Mean

The guys' rendition of 'All Around My Hat' raised a few eyebrows...

Limbering up to folk out

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Advent Calendar Answers for December 24th and 25th

Last ones. Because Christmas is all done, why not kick back with some wine and, er… a robot…?

Yeah, why not. The final two products in our epic Advent Calendar competition were the Double Wine Bottle Chiller and the I Sobot. Which is obviously amazingly cool.

For the final time, here are the proper photos to exonerate us from all possible ‘IWOOT, you liars!’-type complications.

What's the point in alcohol if it's the wrong temperature?!

ROBOTS ARE TOO COOL.

Thanks for following, everyone, don’t forget to enter our Shameless Social Networking Competition!

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