A Whole World in MS Paint

This, though a little unnerving, is very impressive. As regular readers (hello you!) may be aware, we ran a competition seeking the best MS Paint competition a while back, with some stunning results. However, none of them were quite as barmy as the picture created by someone calling themselves “scorpiongold”. We’re assuming that’s one of those internet names that weedy people have to make themselves feel a little better about themselves. He’s only fifteen, poor flower.

Still, our friend scorpiongold has depicted an entire world in surprising detail, with an almost Bruegel-esque level of observation. Apparently four years in the making, we can only hope that it continues to grow and become even more extensive. This video flits about the painting and allows you to get an idea of exactly how detailed it is (we can only apologise for the Dragon Force-esque soundtrack – not our decision).

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What are the best Video Game movies?

The Guardian reports that the film version of popular gaming franchise Metal Gear Solid was scrapped due to the gulf of influence between the gaming and movie worlds. This is fair enough – what complements one medium is diametrically opposed to the what complements the other. Though they are both designed to be immersive, even participatory, the elements that make them so are very far removed. Movies encourage passive involvement, while games need you to be engaged more fully to be successful – perhaps a reason why so many movie adaptations of video games are so ridiculously high-octane. They’re just exhausting.

Here are a few choice videogame movies that, for possibly all the wrong reasons, give us itchy fingers:

Super Mario Bros: Bob Hoskins. What happened?

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Seriously, why did anyone think this was a good idea?

Mortal Kombat: How come there were no Babalities in this one?

So, if those don’t do it for you, let us know which ones you prefer. Videos always help.

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We Have A Winner

After some furious voting, the IWOOT-befriending public have come to final decision and picked a worthy winner of our Snow Creature competition – Vince Robson’s amazing dragon (complete with purple eyes)!

You can see it in all its glory below. Our congratulations (and a whopping, well-deserved £100 IWOOT Voucher) go to Vince, and our hearty thanks go to everyone who submitted a creature. We had a great time looking through them all, and we’re glad we made something positive out of the adverse weather!


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Leave Me Alone Box

We may be a little late to the party on this one, but this is definitely one of the most addictive things we’ve come across in our thorough web-scouring (also known as idly checking Failblog and maybe The Guardian). The Leave Me Alone Box doesn’t sound like much on paper – a box that, when turned on, will turn itself off – but to view it is a potent lesson in the humanity of technology. It is, simply, a grumpy robot:




The existential implications of this simple little box are remarkably far-reaching when you think about it. Is it a grand metaphor for human nature? Things continually disturb us and, though we might indulge them for a while, all we really want to do is to silence them and pop back indoors. Perhaps it’s a sign that technology, by its very nature, wants to be turned off but we humans mercilessly pester and exploit it? Most likely it’s just a funny, pointless box designed to annoy people. Yes. That’s much better.

Anyway, it was apparently developed by a French fellow some years back, but has been popularised by the owner of the Leave Me Alone Box website. You have to wonder about a man who admittedly takes these boxes into bars as if he’s some kind of close-up magician, but still, he’s done an awful lot to keep this silliness alive. It’s gone as far as them being made commercially available – as of November ’09 they are officially ‘forthcoming’. Put us down for one.

Here are some more examples, all of them sticking doggedly the formula:


This one’s just plain surreal – stick with it:


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Who wins our Snow Creature Comp? You decide!

Oh! The stress of picking competition winners! If you all weren’t so enthusiastic and excellent at making Snow Creatures we wouldn’t be having this trouble!

We are such indecisive sillies that we’re letting you do the dirty work for us – all you have to do is peruse the Facebook album we’ve made containing the top ten entries, and simply click on “Like” for the one you want to win. The winner, quite unsurprisingly, will be the one that gets the most votes, and its creator will be able to enjoy that lovely £100 IWOOT voucher safe in the knowledge that democracy reigned supreme. You’ve got until 12pm on Monday 18th Jan to register your “Like”, and we’ll announce the winner sometime before 6pm on the day.

Good luck, final ten!

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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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