Advent Calendar Answers for December 23rd

Well this is something of a disappointment… actually, scratch that, it’s incredible. (Only two more of these ‘jokes’, everyone. Stay with it).

Yesterday’s devilishly difficult one to spot was the Profile USB Turntable, a favourite amongst several IWOOTers.

Here’s a bigger picture to stop you writing in and complaining that it looks like another turntable we stock. It’s not.

Wicky-wicky etc.

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Grenade Tree Ornaments

It may be Christmas Eve, but there’s always room for something else on the tree, isn’t there? We can’t think of anything more deliciously strange than one of these bad boys, a mini-grenade to hang ‘pon the higher boughs of your Weihnachtsbaum. Of course, these aren’t supposed to be quite as novelty as they appear: they are a bit more of a statement than that. Designed by the good folks over at Manchester design firm Dorothy, they are a reminder that there are people somewhere not having quite such a cosy Christmas as you might be.

Well, you are looking at the IWOOT Blog on Christmas Eve, and it doesn’t get much more cosy than that. Go and have a Quality Street or something.


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Advent Calendar Answers for December 22nd

Stop drooling! You’re supposed to be solving today’s advent calendar puzzle!

That’s right my non-vegan friends, it’s the Thorntons Chocoholic Hamper, definitely one of the best products we’ve ever received in the office for ‘testing’. Yum.

Here’s the proof (in this case, it’s not in the pudding. Shame).

Where does one begin with a selection such as this?

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December's Review of the Month Winners

It’s that time again, time for us to announce the winners of this month’s reviews competition. You’ve all come up trumps as usual and given us a shedload of barmy reviews to sift through (not an easy or quick task, we assure you), all so you might stand a chance of winning either a £50 (written), £75 (picture) or a massive £150 (video) review.

So without further ado, we’re pleased to announce that the winners are (it’s at times like these we’d kill for a drumroll sound effect)…


Papasken for his extremely thorough written review of the Mili Power Pack:

“Superb gadget add-on:

I was a bit sceptical when I saw this Battery Pack going so cheap. I thought it would be rubbish but being a constant user of my iPhone and having to charge it two or three times a day, urgent action was required. Hence the BP was purchased at IWOOT.

First thing I noticed was the packaging. None of the cheap plastic wrap that no one can open without a knife or scissors. No – this gadget comes in a presentable box, not unlike the iPhones to be honest. Upon opening the box and revealing the Battery Pack, it was a shock to discover how small and light it was. Even after fitting the iPhone in to it, I was still able to fit in my pocket.

I charged the gadget to full, fitted the iPhone and then proceeded to use it all day. 48 hours later the pack was displaying 25% battery left and the iPhone was still 100% full. I find that astonishing considering, I watched videos, browsed the web, read eBooks’, did crosswords, email, checked the weather, Twitter, Facebook and God knows whatever else I got up to in that time.

For a Battery Pack under £50, this is a bargain, easy to use and delivers on power.

My friends have been so impressed they are after one now :)”

Excellent emoticon use there, Papasken.

We also went for Griffo’s Shaun Of The Dead-inspired picture of the Magnote:

The Magnote in action

Sadly, no-one entered a video review this month, which means someone missed out on a whopping £150 to spend at IWOOT. Now who in their right mind would do that?! Come on Britain, let’s make videos in January, eh?

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Advent Calendar Answers for December 21st

Can we convert you to our point of view on this one? Will you change the record?!

Oh me, oh my, it’s the U-Record Music Converter. Of course.

If you don’t believe us (and you should, we know some people), then have a look here at the full-size affair:




Dust off your vinyls and get converting, squares!

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The Pytheas Club Atlantic Row

The Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Race is, by all accounts, a bit tricky. In essence, a load of two-man boats have to row the Atlantic (from the Canary Islands to Antigua), not only enduring the swelling seas and turbulent conditions, but enduring them for about 7 weeks. So we’re extremely chuffed to be supporting out the Pytheas Club as they embark on this amazing adventure (look out for the IWOOT logo on the side of their boat, The Spirit Of Montanaro).

The Pytheas Club are Adam Rackley and James Arnold, two gung-ho outdoorsy sorts that seem to literally thrive on near-impossible challenges. They’ll be taking it in turns to row for two hours at a time each, meaning that they spend literally 12 hours a day rowing. They’ve elected to send any sponsorship money they can raise to Save The Children, so it really is important that they make it – a worthy course, we’re sure you’ll agree.


Now, we’re a considerate bunch here at IWOOT Towers, so we’re sending them off with a few select IWOOT bits and pieces which they’ll show off proudly as they row themselves silly. We’ll keep you updated on their progress and let you see those handy products in action (we were thinking of sending them a couple of inflatable wigs, but it turns out they’ve already got lifejackets), so make sure you keep checking back.

Weather permitting, they’ll set sail (well, set oars, I suppose) on Tuesday 29th December. You can read more about The Pytheas Club here, and more about their challenge here. Good luck guys!

La Gomera, the starting point for the challenge.

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IWOOT muck about in the snow

Anyone with either windows or jobs will yesterday have realised that we had some hectic weather conditions yesterday. So, with the all-clear to try and get home early to avoid any potential traffic/transport nightmares, we decided that the best course of action was to muck about in the snow and go to the pub. Sensible, eh?

It turns out that some were luckier than others in the great rush to get home – KieranWoot took about half an hour just to get out West Norwood, JimboWoot was jammy as anything and managed to hop on the last London Bridge train for a good hour, and DinoWoot, JennaWoot and myself had to stand on the platform at West Norwood station for what seemed like ages. There was very little community spirit.

Still, we did do this:

Good times.

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Advent Calendar Answers for December 18th-20th

It’s a bumper beginning-of-the-week answer-fest, here come the terrible jokes: A little bit of elbow-grease will see you hopping out of bed early… wine-ot check below for the solutions?

It was the Robotic Arm Kit, the iPod Alarm Clock and the Vinturi Wine Aerator. What a haul!

Here are some bigged-up versions of the thumbnails:





Step one towards robots enslaving the human race. And a great gift!

Wakey-wakey, IT'S TECHNOLOGY!

Bottoms up!

Now off you go to have a look at today’s visual conundrum.

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Advent Calendar Answers for December 17th

Well bowl me over with this pint-sized little prize! (I’m sorry).

Obviously, it’s Gnome Bowling. Many thanks to the person who put ‘Knome Bowling’ as a comment on the Christmas Playlist blog post – nice try!

Here’s the full size product in all its tiny glory:

Throw it like you mean it.

Don’t forget to enter the advent calendar fun for your chance to win a lovely IWOOT product – off you go!

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Why didn't it take off? #1: The Sinclair C5

The Sinclair C5 – a retro design classic, but synonymous with failure. In the first of a new, occasional series (that’s blogger-speak for “we need some content to fall back on!”), we poke around in the darkness of an invention that looked all set to succeed, even innovate, but just didn’t take off. We’re keen for suggestions of other designs that didn’t quite set the world alight so we can gradually build a compendium of forgotten, obsolete technology. Cheery, eh?





So, the C5. What was it? Well, it was a staggeringly good concept, in essence. An electric vehicle that was neither a bicycle nor a car, it resembled a mix between something from Logan’s Run and a tiny Roman chariot. Keeping its rider close to the ground (and its three wheels), the idea was that we would become a nation of battery-powered, low consumption road users and bask in a greener, safer world. With a top speed of about 15mph, it was surely set to be a slightly slower one too.

The inventor of the Sinclair C5, Clive Sinclair (clearly a man who loved the sound of his own name), had a remarkable success rate until the 1985 launch. Previously he had been the brains behind an early version of the pocket calculator and the ZX Spectrum, but the C5 was a colossal failure. The problem was, in short, that until the nation subscribed to the idea that we’d all get along much better if we each had a slow, tiny, electric and environmentally friendly car, it just wasn’t going to succeed. We move too fast as a nation for the innocence of the C5 to have worked. That and the thought of ploughing to work in the snow at a measly 15mph was only a cretin’s idea of fun.

It could’ve worked, though. The advent of climate awareness and a renewed attentive streak towards the environment means that we humans have started to embrace the electric car (and it’ll be even better when we can afford one). Sinclair had the right idea, but was perhaps too far ahead of his time. If he’d had access to today’s technology, who’s to say we wouldn’t still be using the C5 now?

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