10 Tech Things... tests you set yourself

On your marks, get set, go!

Life serves up a whole host of challenges. Tech it seems plays a part in most of them. Here's the ones that we never get tired of mastering

Twenty years of gadgets means we've built up a good collection of tech based trials to test ourselves with, from breaking world speed-typing records, to finding phone signal when no-one else can.

1. Touch-typing under pressure…

Without making a single mistake. You had it down pat in your data-entry student days, of course, but every now and then you still like to pretend that you’re frantically trying to get the electric fences back up and running before the dinosaurs escape.

2. Calling a song after one note

You’ve held down a job for years, you’ve got your own house, a car, even kids. Yet there you still are, yelling, “Black Dog, opening track, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971!” after half a second of the sound of Jimmy Page’s amp powering up. Stick your Shazam, amateurs.

3. Getting phone signal when others can’t

Even if it takes a longish, mud-caked walk at dawn from the country house you’re all holed up at to find that mythical, solitary bar of GPRS signal, the hallowed prize of the rugby scores will be yours. “But… how did you get signal?” your friends cry. “Because the tech gods favour me,” you crow, as you slip on your shades and strut off, leaving your acquaintances forlornly waving their mobiles in the air like big idiots.

4. Beating the microwave

Four minutes until the horse lasagne is ready. In that time you can easily get all the sauces on the table, prepare a salad, go to the toilet, make the bed and put the bins out. GO! True pros even start filling the washing-up bowl with water for an extra level of danger (and to wash their hands, postbowel/ bin emptying).

5. Tidying your PC desktop

A bit of computer spring cleaning can do wonders for productivity, don’t you know? Okay, so the alphabetisation is on hold and you’ve just crammed everything into one folder called “Stuff”, but still, out of sight, out of mind…

6. Charging tech in the dark

Trying not to disturb your snoozing partner, the simple act of plugging in any bedside gadgetry turns into a Crystal Maze-like challenge. Ten minutes and a scratched-up phone later and all you’ve managed to do is plug your alarm clock into your cat.

7. Multi-task shaving

So emasculated are we by electric razors, we don’t consider the task in hand as attentionworthy as a cut-throat. But exactly how many things can we do whilst getting our chin buzz on? Ask your better half to count by following the gingerbread-esque trail of hair on the floor…

8. Going a whole pint without checking your phone

It’s not that you don’t like your friends, and aren’t enraptured in this very grown-up conversation about mortgage rates and the cost of cots these days. Yet someone, somewhere is posting something extremely funny/controversial/ irritating online that you’ve just got to see/dislike/argue about. Oh, and that APR rate you’ve all been mulling over seems a bit high. Might just need to Google it to check…

9. Providing a useful shortcut

“The Post Office? Half an hour on foot?! Nah mate, don’t trust Google Maps, you want to cut down Spring Mews and take the little lane next to the old Jessops, then keep going until you see the oddly shaped tree; you’ll shave at least 10 minutes off that time.” Of course, you’ll later hear that your directions led to your colleague being swept out to sea, but before then you get to feel like you’re smarter than a satnav.

10. Watching every single episode of a US sitcom

You should be able to apply for a medal after completing all “seasons” of a US show. Think how many episodes of Only Fools & Horses there were. Millions, right? No, 64, and it ran for 22 bloody years. Compare that to House, which ran for just seven, but amassed a gruelling 177 instalments. That’s a lot of mistakenly diagnosed cases of Lupus.