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I think this clip has been around for a while, but it's the first time I've seen it and I just had to post it here. The clip shows one of our local Posties, Mike Izzard, putting a smile on the face of colleagues at the St Albans sorting office. Mike delivers mail in the Welwyn Garden City area (UK), where GadgetSpeak is based - and we do like to promote local talent!
Apart from improving morale at his local office (and lets face it the post office needs a bit of a morale boast at the moment) Mike has been selling copies of the DVD for £1 with the proceeds going to the RSPCA. He's raised over £600 so far and the YouTube video has been viewed over 3500 times.
Here's the link to the YouTube page:
Yesterday saw the launch of Windows Phone - Microsoft's answer to the growing popularity of the iPhone and of up-and-coming open source phone operating systems like Google's Android, Symbian and Palm's WebOS. In reality and despite the hype this is not a new system from Microsoft but rather the latest upgrade to Windows Mobile - now at version 6.5.
Accompanying that launch is news from HTC of new handsets and upgrades to their existing range of Windows Mobile based phones. The HTC HD2 is new. A bright 4.3" touch screen providing access to the latest in Windows mobile software and a 1GHz 'Snapdragon' mobile processor from Qualcomm aims to provide the power necessary to avoid a sluggish experience.
The HTC Touch2, Touch Pro2 and Touch Diamond2 will in future ship with this software and upgrades may be available for existing customers.
Apple can be given a lot of credit for expanding the popularity of 'smart phones' - phones that can run a myriad of applications more generally associated with computers than phones - with their iPhone product. Until that time such devices had been primarily used for business and carried a hefty price tag. Apple can't of course take all the credit - improved technology has driven down the cost of cramming the necessary processing power into a small form factor at an acceptable price.
Attacking the market for a mobile business tool saw Microsoft offer Windows Mobile. It carried Windows compatibility as a hallmark and was aimed at keeping corporate IT departments happy - not end users! In the early days it was slow and never really gained the popularity Microsoft would have liked with those end users.
With the iPhone the market has changed and smart phones now have a consumer mass-market appeal and Microsoft wants a slice of that pie and hence yesterdays major Microsoft Phone launch. A multi-million dollar global marketing campaign to spread the word. Technically what they have launched is Microsoft Mobile 6.5 - the latest release of their existing software packaged to be something new. The news really is the push for volume. Deals with Toshiba, Samsung, LG and HTC will lead to a claimed 30 new devices equipped with Microsoft software by the end of the year. Some of these, like the HTC models, will be simply upgrades of existing Windows based phones. Others will be new.
Learning from Apple once more Microsoft hope to join the bandwagon for downloadable applications, a significant revenue stream for their fashionable competitor. Microsoft Marketplace takes on Apple's App Store. To compete though Microsoft has to attract developers - Apple already has over 80,000 applications. To attract those developers Microsoft needs the volume. Chicken and egg?
What's not in question is Microsoft's desire to take a slice of this market. They've competed before in new markets against stiff competition - just look at the XBox. Can they do it in the mobile market? We'll just have to wait and see!
Remember Bubbly Bubble Gum? Barley Sugar (my great-grandmas favourite)? Fruit Salads chews? Mint Humbugs? Aniseed Balls? I could go on... and on!
This isn't quite the same as your youth where you'd stare wide eyed at the rows of sweet jars at the local newsagent. Not quite the same as finally watching the nice shop keeper weigh out 2oz of your favourite sugary treat. Not quite the same as handing over the remnants of your pocket money in ½p, 1p and 2p coins.
The prices might have gone up and the personal touch a little lacking but for those unfortunate souls that no longer have a proper local sweet shop "A Quarter Of" can still bring back memories!
Right now they have have some of the last remaining stocks of paper-tube Sherbet Fountains - you know the environmentally friendly decomposable tubes that would often start to decompose as you made your way through the contents! They have a form where you can register your protest against this monstrous change to this valued institution!
Of course if you still have a local sweet shop - keep using it!
Many of the gadgets we review here on GadgetSpeak are now part of every day life - it's hard to remember a time without laptops, Satellite Navigation or the ubiquitous mobile phone (how did our parents let us roam the streets for hours on end with no means of contact?).
The BBC has released archive footage from it's long running Tomorrows World series - a programme that glued me to our tiny little TV set every week. From the mobile phone with it's own backpack to the guy with a Teletype next to his bed these early 'gadgets' seem to be from another world but this was only 30-40 years ago.
Take a look at the BBC web-site. Maggie Philbin, one of the later presenters on the series, shares some of her recollections along with a video of some iconic gadgets in the making:
If you have a spare 35 minutes you can watch the whole of the very first episode first broadcast on the 7th July 1965:
This was Septembers Prizedraw! In case you were confused by the mix up in our weekly update, the prize for October is excellent Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 scanner
We run regular free-to-enter prize draws open to all UK resident GadgetSpeak members as a thank you for your continued support. You just have to remember to log-in once during the competition period and make sure you're receiving our really interesting weekly update emails
We haven't run one for a couple of months - the summer got rather hectic with holidays and enjoying the wonderful English summer!
To make up for that we have what we hope you'll agree is an excellent prize for September - a 10.2" digital picture frame from Polaroid. The lucky winner will be able to spend the long winter months looking at slide shows of smiling faces in the sun and be reminded that the weather does improve (ok - this year only for those of you that went abroad!).
As well as having a large crisp high resolution display this photo frame accepts a number of different memory cards to supplement it's internal memory. If you get bored of last years snaps then it will also play AVI video clips and even MP3 music for your entertainment.
If you want to know more then you can read Paul Smarts review here.
Want a chance to win? The draw is open to all qualifying members (free - just complete this form). If you are a member you have to login at least once during the month. Not logged in? Just click here! Remember to check the terms and conditions on the registration and log-in pages!
We have a great prize draw this month for members in the form of a Brennan JB7 media juke box (thank you to Brennan for providing this excellent product!). This is stand-alone unit with an internal 40G byte hard disk and integral 60W amplifier. To make it standa alone it has a front loading CD player - simple slot in each of your CDs one by one and the Brennan copies and indexes your music onto it's internal drive. So easy anyone can use it. You can read our review here.
Apologies : Those of your that have read last nights weekly update (1st April) may well have noticed the rather confused competition announcement - combining a picture of the Brennan JB7 with the text from last months competition. No - this was not an April Fools joke - just a mix up on my part at gone 2am uploading the new files. Well - uploading all but one!
Apologies for the confusion - I should probably have had one more cup of coffee!
Doesn't time fly! Whether you've been with us from the beginning and remember the early days, or a recent visitor then thank you for helping to make GadgetSpeak what it is today. Like any growing child though, GadgetSpeak is continually changing - developing as new ideas come to us. For the next stage though - we'd like your help!
If you can spare a few moments please complete our short(ish) on-line survey.
Lots of you already have - and we really appreciate the answers you've given us. For the rest of you - this is your chance to give us your views!
PLEASE help us out by completing our 5 minute reader survey. It would really help us a lot :-)
Wow - doesn't time fly. Five years! The site has changed a lot since we first created it - and hopefully it's now more useful and relevant to you all!
It would be really good to get a LOT of replies - this is your chance to tell us what you think about your favourite gadget site!
November's prize is the excellent Roberts Gemini RD-55 stereo DAB radio. We reviewed this back at the beginning of September - you can read the review here. Basically we liked it - so we're very pleased that one lucky GadgetSpeak member will win one in our November prize draw!
Remember - existing members all you have to do is make sure you are accepting our email newsletters and have your name and phone number in your profiles so we can identify the winner (this helps us detect people trying to register multiple times with different email addresses - so helps you all stand a fair chance of winning).
I do say only - because once more in October we had a few people that didn't provide that information so they weren't unfortunately included in the prize draw.
As a reminder you can see all the previous winners on our winners page.
I hope you've all had a great Christmas! I'm pretty sure I shouldn't eat anything else until at least 2008, but somehow think I will!
The sales have of course started - many of the on-line retailers not even waiting for the festivities to end with sales starting on Christmas Eve. The term 'price slashed' has traditionally meant 'price lowered a little bit' - although this year that meaning seems to have fallen by the wayside. The prices of some of our favourite gadgets have indeed been slashed!
When we reviewed the Funkeys back in September the recommended price for a starter pack was £25 - and the best price we could find was Amazon at £17.99. The price now from Amazon is £6.99. The Oral-B Triumph toothbrush recently reviewed, already at around half the RRP is now only £49.99.
With these reductions it's not surprising people are waiting until after Christmas to buy their gadgets - if you're not seeing your family on Christmas day itself then why pay potentially double for something?
We've posted some sale offers we've come across on our 'offers' page.
Tell us how you've got on in the sales: are you taking part? Looking for anything in particular? Found a bargain you're especially proud of finding? Use the comment area below to leave your comments.