It's the very latest from the man who knows just a bit too much about tech - T3's Gadget Guru!
How can I pass the tech-love bug onto my kids?
GaGu’s children – Hercules, Alta Vista, Mairée Dolphin and Mimsy Frou-Frou – are all grown up now, and get in touch only to demand money. His grandkids, if anything, are even more demanding ï¬ nancially, so maybe you’d be better off keeping them away from tech, and convincing them that a stick and a cardboard box are the greatest toys a boy or girl can have? If you really must ï¬nd gateway drugs to take them towards full tech addiction, your friendly, playground-based pusher is Minecraft. GaGu is going to stop with this drug-dealing metaphor now; it seems inappropriate.
Minecraft is the online equivalent of LEGO. Actually, it’s the ofï¬ine equivalent too, thanks to a spin-off with the Scandiwegian brick-o-stick-o marque. It teaches kiddies about building amazing things, and also introduces them to computer games, problem solving and online interaction. Now, if there’s one thing today’s kids love even more than Minecraft, it’s watching YouTube videos about Minecraft. Even if, to adults, said videos are slightly more irritating than someone chewing gum noisily while scraping their ï¬ ngernails down a blackboard, whilst dressed as a clown. So why not get junior creating ‘content’ rather than just consuming it? Venture into Maplins and get a Game Capture HD device from Roxio (£59) or Elgato (£99) and your offspring can make their own Minecraft videos, showcasing their ability to create magical landscapes, solve problems via team work, and totally overuse the word ‘awesome’ in a loud voice. GaGu’s other kiddy fave is Amazon’s Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet. This can be set up to be safely used by kids from three and up, with new features unlockable when you feel they are ready for them, and strict limits on when it can be used and for how long. A two-year, no-quibble guarantee gives peace of mind, should they ï¬nd a way to break this robust bit of kit.
I need a new kettle and toaster. What do you recommend for cooked water and hot bread?
GaGu loves a bit of tea and toast, and top of the pile for him is the Sage by Heston Blumenthal range. Now, Guru has no idea if toast is even served in the dome-head food wizard’s magic munching laboratories – if it is, presumably it tastes of saffron, and comes in the form of vapour – but his toaster is a miracle of easy use and stylishness. And it also makes perfectly nice toast. Come on though, it’s toast. You could make it using a cigarette lighter if you really wanted to. Heston also makes a splendid kettle, with – no word of a lie – speciï¬c buttons for white and oolong tea (plus coffee, green tea and, well, tea. Different hot beverages require different water temperatures, you see? GaGu likes the Sage range because it’s all in hefty, brushed stainless steel, which reminds him of guns. Plenty of other options, though. KitchenAid makes cracking kettles and tasty toasters. Guru favours its main range, but if you like your breakfast basics totally over-specced, you could try KitchenAid Artisan instead. The kettle is a squat, hefty thing that looks like you could do weight training with it, while the toaster not only looks like a London bus, it also weighs about the same, and takes up a similar amount of worktop space. Dualit, of course, is King of the Retro Toaster and worth considering if you like timeless looks and longevity. Prefer something more edgy? Graef, from Germany, makes toasters of ruthless efï¬ciency, with the Bauhaus aesthetic that shapes everything Guru does, from his house to his moustache. It also makes ker-razy looking kettles with weird, snub-like spouts. Or go totally OTT, and get the Bugatti range. Its toaster and kettle are outrageously expensive and overdesigned, to the point where they’re actually quite annoying to use. But my gosh they make a statement; namely, “Oim considerably richer than yow.”
What’s the best tech anorak, GaGu?
The modern winter jacket is like the Chelsea Tractor of clothing. Does Guru really need a coat designed for a jaunt up Everest to go to Waitrose on a mildly parky morning? Probably not… But he’s damn well going to anyway. Probably the most versatile mix of lightness and cold protection is given by down jackets, plus the puffy look is bang on trend right now. So you could try something like the Rab Electron (£200). This has a water-resistant coating, but the goose down inside has also been treated to repel moisture, reducing the risk of your jacket turning into a sodden and freezing mix of clumped together feathers. A cheaper yet similarly treated alternative is the cheaper (£100) North Ridge Hybrid, which comes in a fetching blend of “tango” (orange) and “brick” (browny orange). GaGu’s fave is Mountain Hardware’s Ghost Whisperer (£220), which gives ample insulation despite weighing about 220g, and is able to pack away so small it can be stored up his nose.
Base layer advice please?
Guru’s physique, despite his advancing years, is oft compared to that of board-diver Tom Daley. Hence he likes the demanding base layers of X-Bionic (costing anything up to £130) and Aclima (from £30). The former in particular are crazily bodily hugging and technical, with excellent water repellence, wicking of sweat and cooling in areas such as the armpits or bum crack, but with greater heat retention in areas that need it. If you just want extra warmth on a light jog, or when watching Jeremy Kyle while waiting for the boiler repair man, GaGu suggests you drop £10-£20 on the considerably more forgiving but still excellent likes of Craghoppers or Helly Hansen. Toasty.
Can I upgrade my PS4 drive?
Yes! And it’s easy, so long as you get the right drive: a 2.5-inch SATA that is no more than 9.5mm tall. Back up your data to a USB key via Settings/Application saved data/Saved data in system storage. You won’t be able to back up game installs, just saves. Unplug your PS4, then slide off the top cover and remove the hard drive with a Philips screwdriver, replacing it with your new one. Download the PS4 system software, plonk it on a USB key in a folder called Update, inside a further folder called PS4, and plug it in to your console. Power up, holding down the power button until instructions appear on screen. Follow them carefully.
What’s a good pair of in-ear headphones for running?
When doing his daily 10K, GaGu favours two pairs at the moment. For sheer ear-ï¬lling, complete world-outside-blocking unshakeability, it has to be Monster’s Adidas Sport Response (wired) or iSport Wireless Superslim from the same brand. The Sport Response are arguably the best bet as they’re only 40 quid, or £60 if you want the version that comes with a mic for calls and music controls. Their sound is rather, erm, unsubtle, mind. If you want something a bit more musical, try Gibson’s Trainer in-ears. These aren’t so ï¬rmly rooted in your lugs, but they’re still secure enough.
Gadget Guru’s magic box
Asics has long made ï¬ ne running shoes, but the look of them has been what the unkind might call ‘psychedelic vomit’. Now it’s addressing that with the FuseX line. Aimed at a younger market, they’re a lot more cool looking, but retain Asics’ technical acumen. Scalextric Track Day featuring Arc Air (£199, scalextric.com) brings the big kids’ favourite up to date with vibrating Bluetooth controllers and conï¬guration of cars and track via iOS or Android apps. Guru still can’t get round the courses without his car ï¬ying off, mind. Gillette has a new razor out! Building on the success of its super-pivoty Flexball, the Fusion ProShield adds more lubrication, with super-ï¬ ne blades slicing away Guru’s hairs in even fewer attempts for less irritation (from £6, gillette.co.uk). The “Fitbit for your desk” is here. Long-time Guru fave Humanscale is to launch Ofï¬ceIQ (£TBC, humanscale.com), which “gathers data on sit/stand use, calculates caloric expenditure, and provides users with real-time feedback on workstation activity”. GaGu has handwriting like a drunk chimp, but he’s been rectifying that with Stabilo’s first touchscreen stylus, the SmartJunior (£75, stabilo.com). It uses all the brand’s know-how when it comes to making pointy things that you write with, with an app that’s teaching Guru good handwriting habits. Lumo’s range of cycling wear is making Guru both safe and stylish as winter rumbles on. Its Camden Harrington jacket, ‘Regent’s Parka’ (cheers, clever wordplay) and Bermondsey backpack are as chic as you like, but at the press of a button, dozens of super-bright LEDs ï¬ ash into life. Pair it with the Audiopill (overleaf) and you’re a one-man rave. Guru is always forgetting things and… What was he saying? Oh yeah. So, he’s always forgetting things, but now he’s found a solution: Tile (£20, thetileapp.com) attaches to your keys, car, spouse, etc and can be found via Bluetooth if lost. The clever bit, however, is that it will also log its whereabouts with any user of the Tile app, so things can be found even when way beyond Bluetooth’s rather puny reach
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