Christmas Gift Guide

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.

Atomic Floyd PowerJax

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!

Quarkie Cats Eye

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.

Kindle Paperwhite

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.
Scosche Rhythm

This is the tip of the iceberg, trust me… happy Christmas shopping!

Fashion Tech: The sexy and stylish now take tech to heart

Suzi PerryApart from sunglasses, watches and ski jackets with built in music control panels, I have never really associated fashion with technology.

During my old gadget TV show I designed a pair of shoes that controlled an MP3 player. Trust me, they wouldn’t have impressed Christian Leboutin – I’m afraid to say they didn’t really impress the marvellous Wayne Hemingway who was judging that day. Recently though it seems that the dah-lings of the fabric world are wrapping themselves in all things gadgetastic and London fashion week was more than just a showcase of style.

The social networks were awash with London Fashion Week comments, blogs and, for the first time, about 70% of the shows were streamed live on YouTube. I have secretly always wanted to be sitting on the front row for the top shows alongside the belles du jour and last week, finally, I was right there. Topshop amassed the largest ever online audience for their live streamed show that played across various platforms to 2 million fashion fiends. I particularly liked their ‘shoot the show’ idea via Facebook, you could click the pieces that took your fancy from the live show then share them with friends, or not, if you didn’t want to end up with the same wardrobe!

Google Glass

The point is that the immersive connected feeling that social networking can provide worked brilliantly across the globe. Arguably Dianne Von Furstenberg got there first by utilising Google Glass to film a first hand POV of her 2013 S/S collection at New York fashion week. All the models and stylists wore the augmented reality shades to capture the behind the scene fun and frolics which was later posted on YouTube, bringing fans closer to the action.

I love it when available technologies are embraced, unlike my dad, who still doesn’t own a mobile phone! I wont be designing any more ill fated shoes, but I’m happy to be a part and on the cutting edge of fashion, even if I’m just an enthusiastic spectator.

FOOTIE, can’t shake it…

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?

Aston Martin 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.

Fluid Football App

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?

Extreme Olympics anyone?

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
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.

Go Pro Wi-Fi Bacpac

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.

It’s The Socialympics – Are You Ready For The Social Onslaught?

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 😉

Wenlock and Mandeville

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.

BubblePix - Suzi Perry

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.

Enjoy x

PS, if you’re younger than 40, you may need to google Blakes 7!

Bafta Gaming Awards

I presented an award at this event, hosted by the achingly drole Dara O’Briain The ceremony has grown massively over the past few years yet still maintains the atmosphere of an agreeable family gathering. Often, I’m off like a shot after the last gong has been given at an awards do but I was still going strong at 3am thanks to some great company and perhaps a few glasses of the red stuff. BF3 was the big winner on the night. During my final series of The Gadget Show we were part of the launch for Battlefield 3 when we built that incredible immersive gaming sim, so I pinched their award for a few shots with Rachel Deley, Wife of Ortis.

Digital Detox!

I had a digital detox over the holiday season in December and January: it was back to the wonderful underrated custom of interaction between human beings  for me and I adored every moment! I passed the time at my house in France which is close to the Italian border, just close enough to pop over for an authentic pizza. Yeah, I know, sounds like I’m showing off… (just wait until I get to the Aston Martin story 😉 I’m kidding and I digress.  So – 10 for dinner on Christmas day and we ate outside under the glorious sunshine, until it slipped behind the mountain leaving us to decamp inside to light a fire and then eat the pud. Because I had taken a few weeks off, my baking gene had gone supersonic and every tin, box and tray was filled with sweet bites of heaven and the promise of that new year diet…. Nigella would have been proud. And so we continued – laughing, eating and drinking, my Dutch/English family, happy days.

A little while ago Aston Martin asked me if I fancied a few weeks razzing around in their commuter cygnet model. It just so happened that I was, surprise surprise, totally up for it. They delivered ( avec James Bond theme tunes cd, which made me roar as I pulled away!) and I experienced a very pleasant few weeks nipping around the cote d’azur, causing a bit of a stir at the valet parking counters I can tell you! Here’s a piccy.

Commando Spirit

I’m working on various new projects this year, which will all come to light when the time is right. However I can say that I want to get back to my two wheeled roots by way of an adventure. I’ll also be jumping off a few buildings with my friends the Royal Marines for ‘Commando Spirit’ and obviously there will be gadgets somewhere in the mix.

At the beginning of December I joined  Royal Marines in a daring fast rope abseil at RMR City of London barracks to kick off ‘Take the Leap’, the second event in the Commando Spirit Series of challenges, which aims to raise £1m for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF) by 2014.

Take the Leap, set to take place in September 2012, will offer an elite group of 40 civilian participants the chance to take on Royal Marines fast rope abseil training – and put their new skill into practice by abseiling from the roof of St Pancras station or into Twickenham rugby ground. The abseil was very daunting, but I was in very safe hands throughout. A few minutes of panic for me, and those who sign up to Take the Leap, is nothing compared to what our Royal Marines do for us each and every day.

The Commando Spirit Appeal and Series of events are amazing and I am so proud to offer my support. I’d encourage everyone to find out about Commando Spirit and get involved in some way to show support for the Royal Marines who face great danger on a daily basis in order to protect our country.”

I was also joined at the Take the Leap launch by a team of Commando Spirit participants, all of whom braved the first Series challenge – Escape the Dunker – in September this year, along with Sally-Anne Hunter, Founder and Director of the Commando Spirit Appeal.

Sally-Anne said: “We are thrilled to have launched this next phase of the Commando Spirit Series and are very pleased to have Suzi on board. The first challenge was a huge success, with a brave band of 24 people stepping up to show their mettle and raise funds for this most deserving cause.

“The Leap promises to be even more exciting, with such landmark venues offering a truly unique chance to show what you’re made of.

“That is what Commando Spirit is all about – showing you have that courage, grit and determination to put yourself through elements of real Commando training, and raise vital funds in the process.”

For more information on the Commando Spirit Appeal or Take the Leap, please visit www.commandospirit.com.

A quick trip to America

I’m looking forward to touring California very soon by way of an RV. There will also be motor biking, cycling, horse riding and skiing to add to the joyous mix. I will be visiting a mate first in New York, might, possibly do a spot of shopping and then I’ll be heading to the West Coast. Cool.

I’m working on restructuring the interior of my house and also researching bee keeping, I want to keep bees. If you have any advice on the little buzzers, feel free to email me, I would appreciate and pointers.