Q: I want to smarten up my ‘look’. Can tech help?
A: GaGu is not just a gadget guru, he’s also known around town as an “ace face” of fashion, always up to date with the correct length of trouser. A lot of men don’t like trying clothes on in shops. That’s because we know the ï¬ imsy door on the changing room could simply fall off at any second, revealing you in your undercrackers to the entire shop, who will laugh at you. Now, obviously you’ve got your Mr Porters and your Asoses, and Guru ï¬ nds that these are a great way to try on clobber in your bedroom, before sending nine tenths of the gear back because, now you’ve thought about it, purple polka dots and a rubber kilt just aren’t really you. Taking it to the next level, though, is Thread.com. Fill in its lengthy questionnaire – “Do you like rubber kilts?”, “Do you own a brown tie?”, “Do you know what a hat is?”, “Which brands do you like: Armani, All Saints, George at Asda or…?” and so on – and a canny blend of computer alogrithm and an actual human stylist will choose entire outï¬ts to suit, with casual and smart looks catered for.
GaGu tried Thread and, to his surprise, found it was largely uncannily good at picking stuff he liked. It’s a free service, although obviously you will have to pay for the clothes. Too posh to wash your own pants? Try ZipJet. Like a kind of Uber for soiled garments, this app summons a dry cleaner/launderer on wheels, who’ll grab an 8kg bag of mixed, dirty clothes off you, and bring it back 24 hours later looking as good as new, for £14.50. If you need dry cleaning and/or ironing, ZipJet can also do that. Shirts start at £2.50, two-piece suits from £11.
Maybe the most exciting, if it works, is Orpiva.com. Launching soon, this lets you upload pics of outï¬ ts you’ve seen, analyses them using magic, then breaks down what each garment is and lets you buy it. It also suggests the George at Asda equivalent of whatever Daniel Craig, or whoever, is wearing…
Q: What ear- and headphones do you rate, Guru? Th ere appear to be a billion of them.
A: Music lover GaGu has had so many cherished pairs over the years that it’s almost like choosing which of his children – Hercules, the twins Mairée Dolphin and Mimsy Frou-Frou, or Alta Vista – he loves the most. Actually, that’s easy; it’s Hercules. The twins never call or reply to his messages on either Myspace or Bebo, and four-year-old Alta Vista just runs around shouting, “Look at me, I’m a big jelly man!” like some kind of halfwit. Firstly, Guru has never had total joy with wireless headphones, with little dropouts and interference bursts always putting him off his workout or love-making. Whether this is because the metal plate in his head causes interference, he’ll never know.
However, he’s currently lovin’ the £199 Gibson Trainer. “Inspired by Usain Bolt”, whatever that means, this is festooned with features, including a pop-out band so that it grips your head better as you run or play rugby or whatever, ear-mounted LED headlights so you can be seen running in the dark (yes, really), and “NASA space-technology fabric” so your head doesn’t get too hot. For sporty in-ears, it’s got to be the wired Monster Adidas Responses (£69). These penetrate the ear oh so deeply, and also anchor to the top of your lugs so they can’t be dislodged by even the most vigorous activity. The sound quality is good for the price, too.
Guru is also a huge fan of Sennheiser’s ’phones. They usually look a bit dowdy, though, so he’s impressed that its Urbanite ‘style’ range (from £80) actually look both ‘fresh’ and ‘ï¬ y’, as today’s young people say. But it’s the Momentum range (from £89 in-ear, £129 on-ear) that really hit the spot. And ï¬ nally, B&W’s £250 P5 Series 2 (not the wireless version) is what GaGu reaches for when he wants a touch of audio luxury and the soft kiss of leather on his ears. Great cans.
Q: How can I be safe on my bike on dark evenings?
A: Even if you’re lit up like a f**king Christmas tree, there’s still a risk of being ironed out on the road like Wile E Coyote. But at least with this lot, the dozy get who wings you can’t claim you’ve not made yourself visible. Attach a Lezyne 900XL (£85) to the front of your bike and you’ll get 900 lumens of light power – about the same as a WWII searchlight. It’s dimmable, too, if the idea of scalding the retinas of oncoming drivers bothers you. On your rear end, try the Garmin Varia Bike Radar (£240).
This uses advanced tech to let you know that a car, van or juggernaut is up your jacksie – and, more usefully, makes your rear light brighter as it aproaches, hopefully warning the driver that you’re there. A somewhat more low-tech, ‘fun’ solution is Volvo’s Lifepaint (£10). This high-vis spray paint is invisible, more or less, under normal light, but glows an unearthly silver under headlamps. The possibilities for painting glowin-the-dark John Thomases on pals seem endlessly hilarious to GaGu, too.
Q: GaGu, where can I stream smarter ï¬lms ?
A: GaGu loves to settle down and watch ï¬ lms about sexual experimentation among the unemployed in Dresden, and knows of three great options here. Mubi.com offers a ï¬ lm per night, with everything from obscure world- cinema releases to the likes of Lost In Translation , for £4.99 a month.
Then there’s Curzon Home Cinema, which offers both arthouse classics from a couple of quid, to indie ï¬ lms currently on release in (six or seven) cinemas for about a ï¬ ver a chuck. Finally, BFI Player+ has a ï¬ ne selection, from Hitchcock to Cronenberg, with the considerable boon of having some of its ï¬ lms introduced by beefy and bequiffed movie curmudgeon Mark Kermode.
Q: Is it worth upgrading to an OLED TV?
A: If Guru is being honest, he’s still a plasma man at heart, and rues its passing almost as much as he rues the passing of the more intimate side of his relationship with Mrs Guru. OLED deï¬ nitely has its advantages, the main one being contrast. So if you want blacks that are as black as a basement made of coal during a power cut, it’s deï¬ nitely worth a look.
There’s a bit of an early-adopter’s penalty with this screen tech, though. You can pick OLED TVs up from about £1,500 now, if you really shop around – that’s small change to GaGu (not) – but there are a few issues with motion, and the colours can get so vibrant they actually look a bit mad.
Q: It’s cold – what are your top tips for winter cooking?
A: As winter draws in, GaGu craves warming stews and casseroles to eat in front of Hi-Def Real Log Fireplace on his TV, the actual heating having been turned off due to non-payment of bills. So Guru recommends a brand-new cooking device for this, the cruellest season. Sage by Heston Blumenthal’s excellently named Fast Slow Cooker Pro (£200) – the jingle practically writes itself for this one – is a pressure cooker and slow cooker in one. So if you want a hearty meal very quickly (pressure cooking) or some time tomorrow (slow cooking), it’s there for you.
You sauté or steam your ingredients a bit ï¬ rst, then bung them in the six-litre container and come back in eight hours or ï¬ ve minutes, depending on setting. Either way, the results are ï¬avoursome, hearty and “pukka wicked superb, mate”, as Jamie Oliver would say.
Gadget Guru's Magic Box
Another month, another load of high-class Bluetooth speakers. The latest additions to Guru’s wireless- audio mountain are the UE Boom 2 (£169), which is a good-looking, super-portable cylinder o’ sound with oversized ‘+’ and ‘-’ shaped volume controls, placed in such a way that it looks like some kind of Christian artefact. Then there’s Cambridge Audio’s G5 (£229), which sounds superb. Bose’s SoundTouch 10 (£170, pictured) is comparatively ugly, but arguably the best value of the bunch as it boasts both Bluetooth AND Wi-Fi connections.
Spotify Connect integration is promised for the new year, too… GaGu’s favourite launch this month is William Hill’s Get in the Race VR horse racing (potential price: your shirt). Hopefully coming to its mobile platform in 2016, this uses Google Cardboard and real-time GPS tracking of the gee-gees to put you in the race – you’ll even be able to straddle a ï¬ bre-glass horse in its shops, for added realism. Hill is also launching a whole raft of new in-play betting apps, to help you prise more enjoyment out of live sport (and for it to prise more money out of your wallet, obviously). Guru feels that vacuuming really should be more fabulous. He was made up, then, to be sent word of the fully on ï¬ eek AEG EgoRapido, in a limited-edition version studded with no fewer than 20,000 Swarovski crystals.
This cordless, cyclonic-action vac has a 35-minute battery life, two power settings and a 0.5-litre capacity. But above all, as GaGu likes to say while making a rotating motion with his head and waggling his foreï¬ nger, it is ï¬ erce , girlfriend. As it gets cold and wet, but not yet Arctic-like, Guru needs a new, techy anorak. Two things matter in this market: does it look good, and is there some proper marketing bollocks in the press release? GaGu is pleased to report that the Mammut Aconcagua Pro ML Hooded Jacket ticks box one by coming in all black, with a close-ï¬ tting, wetsuit-style hood, for a look that’s ‘well ninja’. And it ticks box two with its Pontetorto Technostretch fabric and use of the phrase, “Wafï¬ e backing retains heat”.
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