IWOOT Blog

Pancake Day… Moscow-Style

Fat Tuesday is back again (though nowadays we should probably call it Overweight Tuesday), and we’re positively flipping out with excitement. Did you get it? Flipping? Pancakes? Cos you flip them? Yeah? Oh, forget it…

Anyway, as usual the masses will whip up their batter and try and eat as many Pancakes drowned in Nutella as they possibly can before Lent gets underway, before feeling slightly sick and lying on the sofa for a little while to get over it. Flipping will take place up and down the country, and maybe even the odd pancake race will disturb one or two primary schools this afternoon, but we certainly don’t celebrate it like the good people of Moscow do:

No pancakes that we can see...

Maybe there's one at the top?

According to these photographs (of which you can see more here), pancake day in Moscow is an excuse to climb poles and engage in some light wrestling… and who are we to frown upon that? Wouldn’t the UK’s Pancake Day traditions benefit from a bit of a wrestle? At the very least you could burn off that last pancake you had (just because it had banana in doesn’t mean it’s healthy…), and think of what it could do for neighbourhood relations! Cripes, it could even bring us back to an age of street parties, bunting and premature Summer fetes.

Or, of course, we could buy some pre-made batter and an economy tub of chocolate spread and pretend it’s the weekend… ho-hum.

You can find more info about Russian pancake day here… barmy, it is.

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IWOOT Valentine's Love/Hate Competition Winners

So, Valentine’s is over, we’ve scoffed the chocolates and watched “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and had an early night – there’s only one thing left: who has one the IWOOT Valentine’s Love/Hate Competition?

We’re rather pleased to announce that the winner of the Love category is Sammy Murray and her t-shirt slogan:

Sammy Murray

Lucky old Sammy will receive a Couples Experience from IWOOTE. The winner of the Hate category is Maria Webster:

Maria Webster

Maria gets to selfishly enjoy a notably un-romantic Adrenaline Experience, again, from IWOOTE. We hope they both had textbook Valentine’s Days. Thanks to everyone who entered, and you can have a look at the final 10 slogans over at our Facebook page, here.

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Helicopter Obstacle Course

If you look hard enough, there are some amazing examples of RC Helicopter footage out there. As you may already know, we at IWOOT Towers are a little obsessed with RC Helicopters of late and, having mastered the art of controlling our very own Nighthawk, are thinking about the possibilities. What’s next for us now that we’re getting the hang of the “fly it to the lockers, fly it back to the ledge” game? An obstacle course, with its myriad hazards to negotiate, is the natural choice.

However, as they so often do in fields such as these, the Japanese have gotten there first… how can we compete with this?!

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Trade Fair Round-Up

Occasionally, it is necessary for the good folk at IWOOT to look for new products. It’s a task that involves lots of international travel, toys, games, amazing gadgets that the world hasn’t yet been exposed to, and is as close to going on tour as you’re likely to get in this industry. Honestly, we hate it. Ugh.

Not really. Let our very own Ella Woot guide you through the melange of this year’s finest fairs…

“Well, what a hectic last few months it’s been in the gadget world. Christmas came and went, and New Year’s resolutions were made and then thrown out the window when Las Vegas was our first Trade Fair destination in early January. Good old British weather tried to hold us back but after being snowed in, flights cancelled, we finally touched down on 8th Jan in Las Vegas, ready for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Melissa and I (Buying Team) scoured the super-sized American halls laden with tech to find lots of new items for our gadget section for 2010. In most cases it was a ‘first look’ for exciting new tech that will be ready for Christmas this year. September is going to be techy and shiny with lots of fun things for your iPhone, making vids, listening to your tunes, charging your gadgets and of course flying and causing general mayhem.

Back in Blighty, Melissa and Tim-Yee (Merchandiser) headed off to the London Toy Fair to stock up on things for the toy cupboard. A few fun things were found for outdoor play, some cute robotics, and Star Wars fans won’t be disappointed. January also saw Melissa turn into a prettier, better-dressed version of Simon Cowell as she joined the judging panel for Gift of the Year at Top Drawer in London. Her face was splashed over the place and she did us proud.

spielwarenmesse_logo_3217

February saw Melissa and myself shoot off into even more snow as we went to Nuremburg Toy Fair in Germany. Nuremburg is famed for wooden toys and supremely intricate train sets which whilst fun to pop in on, isn’t what you guys are after. Unlike some other trade fairs we visit that are 9 times out of 10 packed with lots of things IWOOT fans would devour, this trade fair is more hit and miss. We had some good meetings with some of our suppliers and found a few fun cuddlies and flyers. When the show closed we huddled into what can only be described as a cross between a caravan and a sauna in the middle of Nuremburg town square for a hard-earned Gluwein.

Two days later we trouped off to Birmingham with our Creative Director and Founder Tim to the Birmingham Spring Fair. James our Graphic Designer joined us too and he summed up his experience at the show as “rad, rad, rad”. Essentially it is 12 enormous halls rammed with Toys, Gadgets and Homeware. We found absolutely loads of cool stuff that will start trickling in from next month. I grew up in Birmingham (many pity me for this) but it just goes to show that Birmingham has a lot to offer – honestly!

Our search for fab IWOOT products is by no means over. Tim and Melissa are heading off to the Big Apple for the New York Toy Fair next week and I am popping off to good old Germany again for the Frankfurt Ambiente Home show. March and April see us scouring the States again and hitting Hong Kong. Lots of hot new things coming your way – we think you’ll be as excited as we are!”

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Talking Husky Says "I Want One"

We encourage all are readers and customers to get in touch with tidbits they think we might find amusing, but we were a little surprised that dedication to IWOOT has crossed over into the animal kingdom. That’s right: man’s best friend has started living the brand.

An animal-loving customer of ours has sent us this great video of her husky Loki saying “I Want One”… which obviously isn’t quite the whole of our website name, but what an effort! You can make up your own mind as to whether Loki is in fact spluttering out the hallowed phrase.

 

Our thanks go to Niamh for making her dog do such a thing, and videoing it as well. Impressive. We’d be over the moon if you managed to make Loki go the whole hog (or, indeed, the whole dog… ha ha ha…) and nail “of those dot com” as well, but for now this is ace!

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We Continue To Excel At Aviation

Or not.

At least we have Tim on board now, the seasoned professional compared to Danny Woot and Jimbo Woot’s inability to make even the most basic of manouevres.

Observe:

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The Valentine's Day Love/Hate Competition

Some of you, we know, will love Valentine’s Day. Some of you will hate it with equal vigour. But who is right? Should we dote unknown expense on those we love for this one day of the year above all others, or is it a cynical money-making exercise exacerbated by greetings card companies and the like? Well, either way, we want you tell us what you think of this most dividing of occasions – in a t-shirt slogan!

We want you to come up with a pro or anti-Valentine’s slogan that would look good on a t-shirt. The top ten we receive (five pro, five anti) will have their t-shirts made and, even better, have their efforts judged by the harsh critics of our Facebook page! The writer of the most popular Love slogan will win an amazing Couples Experience, while the most popular Hate slogan will win an Adrenaline Experience. You could end up powerboating through single life or Jet-skiing with the one you love – it all depends on how you feel about Valentine’s Day!

There are three ways to enter:

1: Fill in the form on the competition page with your slogan and your details.

2: Enter via Twitter, making sure to include either the #ilovevalentines or #ihatevalentines hashtag.

3: Visit our Facebook page and leave your slogan as a comment under the Love or Hate pictures in our photo gallery.

All this info and competition terms and conditions are available on the Competition Page, at this link.

Good luck, lovers and haters!

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January's Review of the Month Winners

January was a great month for reviews – all your Christmas presents got rated, snapped and video’d! So, as you’d expect, it was an especially difficult task to sift through the thousands of reviews we receive each month and select the very creamiest of the cream of the most carefully harvested crop.

First of all, and winning a satisfyingly chunky £50 IWOOT Voucher, is Timboosler. His review of the ol’ faithful Cash Stash is below:

“Such a good idea:
Remember when your Mum sewed a shiny shilling into the lining of your pants so you could always make a phone call home if you were lost? No? Then you’re obviously too young!
This brings that concept right up to date with a key ring containing a craftily folded tenner, a score, or even a half a ton if you can afford it…enough for a phone call, a kebab, and a luxury cab-ride home…maybe even stopping off at the ‘Offie’ as well.
Never get stuck again with the moths flying out of your empty wallet… this is your emergency lifeboat should you fall asleep on the last train home, or just forgot to go to the cashpoint for more beer tokens.
The only thing to remember is if you use your sneaky secret cashpoint, remember to replace it as soon as possible. And of course, it goes without saying… never, never, ever tell your girlfriend what’s inside!!”

Sage words indeed. For submitting our favourite picture review, someone referring to themselves as Kaleidoscope (enigmatic, eh?) wins a suitably beefy £75 IWOOT Voucher for this picture review of Henry The Hoover at work:

Nice one, Henry. Now can you do my kitchen floor?

And finally, we went for PlinkyPlonkyDonkey’s Twilight Turtle video. One can only assume that that is a self-applied pseudonym. Nevertheless, a whopping £150 IWOOT Voucher is on its way to you – well done!

Don’t forget to enter this month if you buy one of our products – you could win some serious, err… “wonga” to spend at IWOOT!
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iPad of Paper

The superbly-named Peter Serafinowicz has effortlessly lampooned the iPad hype and pointed out what JennaWoot argued in our Skype-aided dissection of Apple’s latest method for taking money off of their cult-like followers. Won’t stop people buying them though, will it?

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The iPad – The IWOOT Verdict

At last! It’s here! But is Apple’s brand spanking new tablet-y, computer-y, entertainment-y, eBook-y, baking-tray-y iPad worth your time and money if you already have an iPhone or an iPod Touch? Via the medium of Skype, we Wooters have a little look at what Steve Jobs spent last night having nightmares about…

Danny Woot: So the iPad – doth it rock or doth it suck?

Jimbo Woot: Don’t you mean the Really Big 3G Ipod Touch?

Danny: I think it looks like a baking tray.

Jimbo: I am an Apple snob. So obviously love everything about it. I just don’t see myself ever needing one.

Jenna Woot: It could be the new version of the Trigger Happy “HELLO!” sketch.

Danny: “YEAH… YEAH… IT’S AN IPAD… NAH, IT’S RUBBISH…”

Jimbo: I would definitely consider buying one if my daily commute was an hour or so, and if as Jenna suggested earlier in the kitchen, it had an amazing sketching app. I also think that it is quite a bold move for Apple to rely on the delivery of saucy apps determining the success of it.

Jenna: Yeah, I’d love it to sketch on, thing is you can get this awesome stuff – paper and pencil – that costs next to nothing…

Danny: Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that.

Jenna: I’d buy it if it would let me play super flight control.

Danny: So what other apps are going to be available? I’ve read about the New York Times one, but that’s another “should we pay for the news?” issue.

Jimbo: They have the basic word processing and spreadsheet apps.

Jenna: They have plenty games.

Jimbo: Sky News is free on the iPhone. Again, the relevance of the device is determined by third parties. Weird.

Dino Woot: Not really, look at the original iPhone. It was massively successful without an app store.

Jimbo: BUT IT WAS A PHONE.

Dino: But the app store definitely blew it away.

Jenna: Otherwise you have a glorified mp3 player and web browser.

Jimbo: HAHA! I would love to buy an iPad just to walk around pretending to talk on it!

Dino: That would be classic. I am disappointed that it runs on the same OS as the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Danny: What kind of OS would suit it better?

Jimbo: The OS is irrelavant if apps are created properly. This set of pics gets me excited about the iPad.

iPad 

Jimbo: Imagine walking into a job interview, and showing your portfolio on it. THAT would be sick.

Jenna: If you could use a stylus with illustrator it would be really good for logo design/illustration.

Danny: I could definitely imagine using the bottom right image – kind of like an old word processor machine.

Jimbo: Have you guys ever seen this video?

Jimbo: It’s about Multi Touch interface. Imagine taking some of this and adding it into it – and this was in 2006!

Jenna: eBooks are really popular and they cost £150+.

Jimbo: The new Kindle is £200.

Danny: And what’s the RRP for the iPad?

Jimbo: No one really knows yet.

Danny: Care to hazard a guess?

Jimbo: Starting @ £400? It says it will start at $499 in the US. The Kindle DX Wireless is $489.99.

Dino: That is stupidly expensive for en eBook reader.

Danny: So, without the opportunity to get one on contract like an iPhone, are people really going to pay that much?

Jimbo: Good question. I might actually get suckered into a £20/month contract if I get one for free.

Danny: They can bill you at the same time they bill you for your iPhone.

Jimbo: The standard rule of thumb is generally to wait for 3rd gen anyways :)

Jenna: You can get Apple products on credit, it would be sort of like paying for a contract.

Danny: I suppose so, but I think you’re right about waiting – how much of this will be obsolete by the time the next one comes out?

Jimbo: Well for a start they are going to have to increase the memory size.

Danny: Any more physical size and you could do oven chips on it.

Jenna: You could have your steak cooking on the PS3 and chips on the iPad – thats multi-use technology!

Dino: The option for removable media is also disappointing. The lack of, anyway.

Danny: So final thoughts – good or bad?

Jimbo: Only time and the app developers will tell.

Jenna: If I had a private yacht I would totally get one to use on it- it would definitely be my web browsing/word processing device of choice

Danny: I still struggle with an iPod, so I’m going to wait until five years after everyone else has one and then consider getting one second-hand.

Dino: I really think that it has potential in terms of what third parties will do with it, and I am quite excited to see what they will put out. But at the same time I am quite disappointed that it doesn’t seem much more than an enlarged iPhone. Maybe my disappointment will turn around when I see what is really possible with it.

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