Wow, what a few days we’re having! (Thanks to Volvo Ocean Race for the vids)
What are you up to on 9th August? Fancy a date with me and a gang of motorsport fans at Silverstone? We are getting together in memory of my wonderful friend and revered journo, Kevin Ash. He is very much missed and this will be a perfect opportunity to raise some money for the Kevin Ash Fund, to help his family. I, for one can’t wait to see everyone. There will be a ride-in and a commemorative lap (Donate well and I will be your pillion!) and afterwards I will be hosting an auction full of money can’t buy items. So please shout about it to your mates, get together and pop down, it would be great to see you. Kev would have loved it.
More details as and when….www.ashonbikes.com
The supremely talented Alyssa Smith is a 26 year old international British jewellery designer who has a great love for the simple things in life like, family, friends, her pets, chocolate brownies, anything sparkly and of course designing and making gorgeous jewellery. Alyssa has talked for a long time about making a range of jewellery for the children’s charity – Promise Dreams for whom I am a patron and eventually came up with a delightful collection including race tracks and chequered flags.
The aim is to raise as much money as possible for Promise Dreams from this special collection and 100% of the profits will go directly to the charity. Every piece you buy from this collection will be helping a fantastic cause in more ways than you could imagine.
Alyssa’s aim to keep this collection as interactive as possible is to show how much money has been raised throughout the year so please check out her website and see what a difference your support is already making!
What could be better for us all than having beautiful and unusual jewellery AND helping put smiles on the faces of seriously and terminally ill youngsters. Believe me, that smile gives you an unbelievable feeling.
The other night I took part in a debate about Christmas; the expense, the expectation and whether or not Santa exists. To me the last part was obvious, but hey. I guess some folks are just cynics. I bumped into him once on the landing when I was 9, I was slightly confused because firstly it was a little before midnight and secondly he did kind of resemble my mum, but with a beard, I digress.
Anyway, the overriding factor was that technology is adored, flaunted and desired but can wind up making for a super expensive shopping cart. So, I’ve been looking at beloved gadgets for under £100-ish…
I have been a huge fan of the G-form ‘Reactive Protection Technology’ since I was encouraged to drop a bowling ball on my iPad to test out the shock proof case. For the record, my device was unharmed in this experiment. Now, using their 3 layer technique they make cases for iPhones, hopefully for other brands soon, because these little babies are the cats whiskery bits. 90% of impact is absorbed into the shell and just as important, they also look cool. If you’re looking for something more businesslike the Proporter Leather case might tickle your fancy, it has an aluminium lining to add a little ruggedness to its slinky appearance,
I have a penchant for headphones, especially in-ear types (I’m aware that makes me sound odd 😉 So I think they make a top gift. Sneaking into my assigned price bracket are the achingly stylish Atomic Floyd ‘PowerJax’. They offer heart-pumping bass and a gorgeous crisp sound quality, silicone ear-tip seals to block out any irritating ambient noise and…(I love this) they have a Kevlar anti tangle chord! Yes, it works too, no more fiddling with endless knots.
For something a little more quirky, have a look at Quarkie.com. I love the cats eyes, yes they are a tad blingy but I have embraced the festive spirit, and the bass sounds great and there is minimal distortion. If you’re more rock and roll than me, there is also a vipers head, honestly!
I’m relieved that Amazon have introduced the Kindle Paperwhite because my fella drives me mad with his extra light he clips onto his regular kindle, its like someone is shining a maglite (the new ML100 is pretty good btw, but the belt loop attachment is way too nerdy, even for me!) into my eyes when we’re reading in bed. The Paperwhite also boasts more pixels for an enhanced reading experience and can store 1100 books.
Sporty? Check out Scosche Rhythm. Its an arm band that monitors your pulse and lets you know how many calories have been ousted, how fast and how far you’ve run. It connects to your phone/tablet via Bluetooth and gives you real time feedback. I also like the Fitbit Zip. It tracks your activity via an accelerometer and if you’re brave you can share the info with your friends.
This is the tip of the iceberg, trust me… happy Christmas shopping!
As our extended Spring nears its end, bypassing Summer and going straight to Autumn the world of geeks (probably having not noticed the missed season) rub their texting thumbs with glee in anticipation of new gadget launches. We will be seeing the new Google Nexus Tablet, the world’s first 7” quad-core tablet with Android 4.1 Jellybean … Sony will showcase its 4K UltraHD Projector and of course Apple will have folk clapping and whooping as the iPhone 5 finally hits the streets. 4G has also been a hot topic and will launch for Orange and T-mobile users in September. For the majority of the UK though, it’s called the Football season. Our national sport is back and whether you love or hate our national game it’s hard to get away from it.
I’m a footie lover, a Wolves fan, it’s in my DNA. I’m loyal, passionate and always watch with an optimistic eye. The other eye is always looking for a way to escape this inbuilt addiction, I’m well aware that I’m sometimes watching a bunch of overpaid Wendy’s with ego’s matching the likes of Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell etc So…is it possible to avoid sports grubby petulant little cousin?
I’m kind of hoping that cycling will continue to grow after the enormous success of the golden boys and girls of the 2012 velodrome and the future BBC Sports Personality of the Year Wiggo for his incredible accolade a la France. With that in mind I was wondering if this is the ultimate two wheeled dream-machine, the One-77 cycle?
It features an ultra-lightweight carbon fibre frame, a super Shimano 20 shift electric gear system and an on board touch screen computer to record cadence and speeds. It’s British too, made by Aston Martin. The only downside is that I would need to be a footballers wife to afford hefty the £25,000 price tag.
Well, it turns out that isn’t a dream-machine, but just a dream.
I’ve been playing FluidFootball. It’s a free tactical footie app and a modern day subbuteo. I dare you to download it and not become hooked ! You learn to move the players, cross, pass and strike the ball with help from commentators Richard Keys and Andy Gray (there wasn’t one comment about me being a girl btw 😉 You win coins to open new games, then progress to different cups which cost real cash. Angry what ?
I didn’t do very well getting away from football did I?
Some sports are mesmerising, no, not for tiny tight panted beach volleyball reasons (though obviously horseguards parade has never been so popular as a venue). I mean the kind of sports that we could never imagine doing ourselves, like base jumping, sky diving and extreme fast-rope abseiling. Recently I was invited to partake in a ‘fast-rope abseil’ off a very tall building, the Shard. Yes, the Shard, the 310m tallest building in Western Europe. To be absolutely honest, at this moment I’m not sure that my new filming schedule will allow it, but that hasn’t stopped me browsing a few sites for possible tech. I mean, imagine that I can do it, it would have to be documented as I would Never EVER do anything like it again!
The Shard – and incidentally the view from the TR office – would you want to abseil down that?!
For many years I have utilised the wonderful little Go Pro Hero hd cameras, small enough to mount anywhere, offering broadcast quality hd pictures. We use them a lot for filming because they are reliable and built to withstand the general bumps and bashes equipment receives when being put through its paces. So when my attention was drawn to live streaming their shots, my eyebrow did its best Roger Moore impression. I couldn’t help but imagine how useful this tool would be to preening adrenaline junkies across the globe wanting to share their great feats.
The GoPro WiFi BacPac is a wireless device that attaches to the back of a GoPro HDHero or HDHero2 camera, and connects to the Remote control via a wireless signal created from the BacPac – you don’t need an internet connection to use the remote control.
After a Firmware Upgrade on the camera, the product should be working, then it requires the app, which I’m assured will be available very soon. This will enable the smart device to become the view finder for the camera and the full controller. So, shots can be streamed live to the device, or better still, the internet as a live feed! I also love the fact that one remote could control up to 50 cameras.
While we are on this subject, I find base jumping utterly beguiling. I’m not sure that crazy antics get any cooler than jumping off stuff and actually flying with the help of just a technical ‘Batman’ style suit. Have a peek at this ‘Vampire4 wing suit’ and imagine yourself in it. A wing suit! How cool is that? I will never, ever skydive, but I must say that I was in total awe of these suits giving ‘superior glide, precise control and high forward speed’ but it raises the question; how much forward speed can one person genuinely need? You have just jumped off a building for goodness sake!
So that takes me back to my jump, can I or can’t I? …that is the question.
Currently, if you’re not discussing sport you’re not in the ball park. You are the person who turns up to a Trekkie convention dressed as Avon from Blakes 7… you get the drift. When it comes to top tier events, this is it. Wimbledon, Tour de France, Champions League and recently the Euros – where Twitter was bombarded with more than 15,000 messages per second as the final goal rocked the back of the net – sport is now more social and more connected than ever before. Next up, the Olympics, and I for one can’t wait.
It is being deemed the ‘Socialympics’. The stage is set, the technology is capable and we are poised. During the last Olympics Facebook boasted 100million users and Twitter, 6million. This summer the figures total more like 900million and 140million respectively. Globally we will be glued to our TVs, (worth buying a 3D TV for) watching live streaming on the net and apparently some even managed to get tickets to be trackside 😉
Wherever we are, we can share, capture and post our experience, our moment, our joy, expectation, our memory… because let’s face it, Usain Bolt we ain’t!
Why record a portion of an emotion when you can save the whole thing? I’m talking 360. There is a great new little device called ‘Bubblescope’ about to go to market. It’s an imaging device that you attach to your phone which enables you, in one click, to shoot the entire 360 surrounding as a still or video. No stitching together or multiple shot faff – perfect for THOSE moments – and then using the ‘Bubblepix’ app you can upload your masterpiece and share it with the world. You can find more information at www.bubblepix.com.
It’s the simplicity that I like, I don’t want all my shots to be in surround, but the scope twists on and off easily and is small enough to carry in your pocket, something that I will actually do rather than just think is a good idea. Beware if you are ever standing behind me, you may end up in my bubble!
Here are a few apps that you may like to grab in time for the Olympics:
London Olympics Ultimate for Android. Schedules, medal tables, news etc.
2012 Olympic news. For Windows Phone 7
London 2012: Official join in. For iOS
and live streaming on BBC Sport facebook Apps and Eurosport Player.
PS, if you’re younger than 40, you may need to google Blakes 7!
One of the most famous sporting and social showpieces in the world is in full swing again. Her Majesty and other members of the Royal family are in attendance each day and the atmosphere is absolutely wonderful in this, the Diamond Jubilee Year. Particularly for the ladies who love the fashion, I’m just adding a few pictures each day. Hope you like them x
A very big thank you to all the lovely dress designers and milliners that very kindly loaned me my Ascot wardrobe. If you want more information, we have listed the websites for you to take a look at
All pictures taken by Graeme McAlpine at www.McAlpine.tv
Over 4,600 people arrived at Himley Park – Wolverhampton last Sunday in wonderful sunshine intent on not only having a fun time, but also attempting to raise as much money as possible for Promise Dreams. Last year, a fantastic £103,000 was raised by the 3,500 competitors. Would it be possible to improve on that figure…………………
Fresh and Emma hosted the event (Emma looking gorgeous as Minnie Mouse) and I joined my fellow patrons from Promise Dreams, namely Steve Bull, Beverley Knight, Jacqui Graham, and Matt Murray on stage for a pre walk warm up carried out by the girls from Wolverhampton Uni. We were delighted to have the lovely Nick Hancock join us on stage.
You can see the vid here to get an idea of how everybody enjoyed themselves and when Free Radio announced on air early on Monday morning that the money raised on the day was an unbelievable £117,000 I can only imagine just how happy all of those people would be to know that they had been part of something so wonderful.
£117,000 will make so many dreams come true for the youngsters that Promise Dreams work with. There will be so many happy, smiley children because of the wonderful people that gave up their Sunday to raise money and on behalf of the Promise Dreams team and their Patrons Beverley, Jacqui, Steve, Don, Matt, I would just like to say a very big thank you to all of you who took part and of course to Matt and the team at Free Radio who made it all possible.
I recently backed a very worthy Bennets Insurance campaign to try to get a compulsory motorbike question as part of the driving test. At the moment the questions are randomly chosen and the driver can pass without being reminded about bikes. I think this should be the bare minimum – I would of course rather everyone spend a day on a bike to become bike aware and generally a more observant license holder, but I’m aware that we must begin somewhere.
So if you agree please sign the petition here www.bikerpetition.co.uk
It’s has been a busy few months. As well as the above I have also engaged in some filming for 5th Gear, The Wright Stuff, The Alan Titchmarsh show, Daybreak and Llve with Gabby. I enjoyed hosting the House of the Future at The Ideal Home Show this year. It was the centrepiece for the entire event.
I also had the honour of meeting Prince Charles who was quite lovely and very friendly and finally I had the opportunity to show off my well practiced curtesy! We enlisted some fun technology, my particular favourites were the new Renault Twizy electric car and the Transport Pod which I found to be the ultimate in relaxation gadgets. Lee Baldry was on hand to present all the daily shows and the show was a great success, hurrah!
So too was Gadget Show Live. It’s always a huge pleasure to meet people who watched the show and of course to work live is the best experience…any old monkey can do take after take on a pre record but living on your wit, live, is where it’s at! With 3 shows per day we pretty much lived in the Supertheatre all week, but I met some wonderful people and had a lot of fun, so lovely to meet you if you were there!