Some say Gadget Guru invented the smartphone. Whatever the truth, he's here to answer your questions
I need to go for a run, Guru. Got any suggestions?
Guru will presume you’re insinuating one of three things. One: that you’re utterly bored of jogging up and down the same path again and again. Two: that you’re so embarrassed by your ‘flailing marionette’ running style, you feel the need to jog in relative privacy. Or three: that you’ve done something so awful, fleeing the country is your only option. In which case, this answer has probably got to you too late.
In the first case, the combined vanity and altruism of the hardcore running community has you covered in the form of the Good Run Guide. The website-and-app mix compiles lots of user-submitted routes categorised by difficulty, length and location. Each has a leaderboard so that you can sweat a bit harder in pursuit of entirely arbitrary records, as well as GPS routing so that you’ll never have to read a compass. MapMyRun offers something similar.
On count two, running in private – at least outdoors – isn’t always possible. Guru tends to lock the family in a cupboard and take a trot around his palatial estate when he’s feeling really self-conscious, but he’s aware that you likely don’t have a secure cupboard. So you’ll want a treadmill – one with a hefty motor, a rock-solid frame, and guts more hardened than those of an omelette-loving base jumper.
The Reebok One GT60 (£1,399, with integrated speakers, programmable incline adjustment and a 2.5hp motor) will suffice, providing your credit card can contain its excitement at purchasing such frivolous equipment.
As to the third possibility, Guru recommends the Atlas Of Remote Islands (£28, brilliantly subtitled “Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will”), a fascinating mixture of maps, isolationist disaster stories, and inspiration for bleak escape locales.
While there’s no guarantee you won’t be discovered on one of these rocks, you can at least be reasonably sure your pursuers won’t want to find you.
I have a date. How can I sort out my oral hygiene?
While Guru’s only dentistry qualifications were bought from a chap down the pub – to be fair, the guy’s molars were exquisite – let’s ignore that and get your biters better once and for all, shall we? After all, carrying around a gobful of stinking yellow chompers is as impolite as it is unhealthy.
A word of caution before going any further: there’s no cheat mode for your mouth. Unscrupulous entrepreneurs might claim to be able to whiten your teeth in an instant, but GaGu would suggest that a vast proportion of these are shysters with dangerous chemicals and fat wallets. Commercial whitening solutions may work, but nothing beats a decent clean.
Begin, then, by purchasing a proper electric toothbrush: Guru has recently settled on the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean (£100-130). It has five cleaning modes ranging from sensitive (which should suit even the bloodiest gums) to full-on polish, and a battery that should last around three weeks. It also runs a two-minute timer, with notifications every 30 seconds so you can ensure that all quadrants of Megacity Mouth have been cleansed.
Your bathroom wouldn’t be complete without another rechargeable sonic cakehole cleaner, so also grab the Flossolution Max ($119.99/around £91) and dig around between your denticles to remove that months-old popcorn. Electronic flossing is an innovation that’ll surely make your dentist show his disconcerting smile – and while you do it, a “Bite Bumper” within the Flossolution will prevent you from slicing your gums like a soft ham.
Finally, Breathometer’s Indiegogo success Mint ($149/£114 if you can get one – they still seem to be in pre-production) would be another handy accessory, using modified breathalyser technology to detect foul odours emerging from your maw. A proper cleaning regime should eventually do away with your paint stripping exhalations, but in the meantime, Mint is more effective than breathing into your hand and trying to throw the smell to your nose.
My bike seat is uncomfortable. What can I do?
Dealing with all the pressure on one’s perineum is the worst part of cycling. It might seem tempting to pad the old undercarriage with a Raleigh Chopper-style whopper saddle (about £40 in tatty condition on eBay, plus the same again for a restoration kit), but this adds posture and chafing issues when pedalling that’ll far outweigh a numb bum. Plus you’ll look a tit.
Padded shorts won’t help your self esteem, either, but they’ll pay dividends over long rides. Ideally, try mid-to-high-end affairs like OpenRoad’s £20 gel-padded numbers, constructed in such a way that they appear to give your bottom a set of ripped abs; and smother with a good chamois cream like Elite Ozone (£14) to prevent chafing.
The real key, though, is one of technique. Your seat is uncomfortable precisely because you’re sitting on it; its positioning, and the human anatomy, mean it’ll be cutting off the blood flow to your nether regions. Teach yourself to rise out of the saddle every 10-15 minutes, whether you’re climbing a hill or not, and make dead sure it’s adjusted to the correct height.
Is home automation still a thing?
Your humble advisor continues to run dusty X10 devices at certain points in his home, but is forced to admit that whole-home automation seems to have slowed somewhat. Mainly because the only things it did on that initial run were things you could do yourself by simply standing up.
Automation has instead fractured; your lights, your thermostat, your home security, all done by different things with different apps. The only real constant is your slowly-melting router, hammered with Wi-Fi connections from all and sundry.
Some kind of unifying interface would make these things more pleasing to use, but getting tech companies to play nice and stop squabbling isn’t going to happen fast.
What can I do about these garden weeds?
A summer spent mucking about rather than tending to your land, eh? Tut tut. Guru wisely spent much of this year’s warm spell out in the garden, poking his good-for-nothing gardener with an electrified prod.
You’ll no doubt be delighted to hear that GaGu has just the solution for you in the form of the incredibly dangerous £155 Sheen x300 FLAME GUN, which isn’t normally written in all-caps but really ought to be.
Fill it up with liquid paraffin, point it at those stubborn green blighters, and blast them with 2,000ºF of burning death. The best bit is that you get to use it twice: once for an initial kill, and again to reduce the dry weed husks to ash.
Where is my TV remote?
Have you tried down the back of the sofa? Guru has twice found his remote in the fridge (the explanation involves beer), so maybe look there?
Got it? Guru was going to suggest you try the two-way Bluetooth EasyFinder batteries, rechargeable cells that help you locate any AA- or AAA-powered device, but they appear to have disappeared into the Indiegogo mists.
Instead, go get an Esky Key Finder (£17.99 for a pack of four) and stick the receiver on the back. Press a button on its remote control and your TV remote will beep. Simple. Until you lose the Esky remote, at which point you’re best off just getting a new TV.