My Secret Santa Challenge!

How about this for a great idea? have rallied lots of UK bloggers to buy each other a Secret Santa gift! They have even done the painful bit, and given us £25 each to spend!

I received my “partner’s” details this evening. It’s a great blog at, run by Stephen Reynolds. Its full of news and reviews about gadgets, which is right up my street, but this puts in a right pickle.

What do I choose for the blogger that has everything?

Decisions, decisions!!

Ok – I know!

What would I like?

Always a safe bet with audio – a radio, an mp3 player?

After extensive research I narrow it down to a wireless speaker. This would be a good choice for someone who loves their music on the go. The price difference can be horrific though, as the most expensive speakers tend to be at the wrong end of £100! The Jawbone Jambox at £99, the Logitech Mini wireless Boombox at a more reasonable £59.

After a quick visit to my John Lewis store I found the one!

A Panasonic Sc-Mc07e-Wa Compact Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System (that’s a sexy name – couldn’t they use “Fang” or “Shadow”?).

Powered by just 1 AA battery, this tiny little unit will broadcast your tunes from your bluetooth phone or MP3 player, or plug a blueTOOTHLESS unit via the lead included. Also if you run out of AA batteries (and have exhausted the secret supply from the TV remote), simply plug in the included Mains Adaptor!

But the best thing??

It’s got a UNION JACK on it!!

That’s right – celebrate the best year in Britain for years! The Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, the Cricket, the football, the Tour de France!

…and the price??

a princely £24.99 (plus 89p post) from an Amazon Marketplace seller – a Secret Santa Bargain!

Episode 107 – If I put CES in the title will I get more listeners?

A review of CES (well a mini review!). A quick ramble about Netflix’s launch in the UK, and I excited about my new toy!

The Netflix Versus LoveFilm SmackDown: Which One is Worth Your Money? | Gizmodo UK

D-Link’s All In One Mobile Companion is gonna lighten the load of your checked baggage — Engadget

Samsung’s WiFi-enabled cameras hands-on — Engadget

Roku coming to UK and Ireland at end of January | The Verge

Amazon Link to the Roku – preorder now!!

Never Get Dust Or Bubbles Under Your Screen Protector Again With The PureTek Roll-On [CES 2012] | Cult of Mac

Sony SmartWatch hands-on (video) — Engadget

Sony Ericsson reveals SmartWatch and other Xperia goodies for Android accessorizing — Engadget

ThinkGeek :: iCADE – iPad Arcade Cabinet

Click to watch this video

iCade – Amazon link

imame4all – MAME for ALL iOS and Android Devices. – Google Project Hosting

How to Use Skype On a Plain Old HDMI-Equipped TV | Gizmodo UK

12 Reasons Why I Love My ReadyNAS Duo Network Attached Storage Device

Starbucks launches ‘pay by app’ for iPhone users – Telegraph

Episode 51 – What a Carry On!!

Lots of news this weekend. I ramble a lot – but I actually talk about a new ZX Spectrum emulator for the iPhone, Brasso, and David Cameron. (diverse or what?)

8-Bit ZX Spectrum Gaming Emulator Arrives on the iPhone

Elite Systems – Public Home

Google Goggles Arrives On the iPhone Today

Oprah’s Favorite iPad Apps

Macs popular with UK Prime Minister David Cameron

BBC – dot.Rory: A cut-price tablet computer? Whatever Next..

HotUKDeals – Monopoly, Tetris, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit (Iphone) on sale for 59p each @ Itunes

Brasso Gadget Care polish review — Engadget

Phone Product Detail – Palm Pixi Plus

Angry Birds developer claims Microsoft jumped the gun, Rovio ‘not committed’ to Windows Phone 7 — Engadget

Episode 17 – Good Evening Pop Pickers!

Its a double featured show tonight with the pick of the top 10 gadgets for geeks this Xmas, AND a quick rundown of my favourite music apps for mac, PC and iPhone!


My Netgear Router is playing up – just bought a Lynksys WAG54G2

All our Xmas shopping is done – most of it online and stress free!

Link to interview with David Allen at Mac20q

Tech News

Trackpad in your car

Take credit cards on your iPhone

Chrome OS peeps out

10 cross platform apps

Top 10 Gadgets for Xmas

Part 1

Part 2

Mac App


PC App

Tag and Rename

iPhone App

Now Music Quiz!

Website of the Week

Bargain of the week

Make a mount for  for your bike for £3

Email me at

Follow me on twitter @iconfessimageek

Xmas Review Pt 2: Swissgear Saturn Messenger Laptop Carry Bag

This was a gift that we gave my father-in-law for his new 17″ Dell Laptop (review to follow later). I spent hours looking for the right one as it is going to get lots of use because he travels abroad extensively.

Swissgear Saturn Messenger Bag

Swissgear Saturn Messenger Bag

So, I went for this one designed by Swissgear:

  1. It has loads of pockets – for files, a mobile phone, and cables.
  2. The handles and zips are extremely strong, and will take lots of abuse.
  3. The laptop fits! His new one is a giant of a 17inch desktop replacement and much protection is needed.
  4. It’s stylish, it does look good, and the Swiss flag branding is everywhere.
Lots of Storage!

Lots of Storage!

This bag also comes with a strong shoulder strap and fulfils most airline regulations in terms of size.

Well, the father-in-law seems over the moon with it and it will get a true test over the next couple of weeks as he travels for business.

This is available from Amazon for just under £32.

Let the reviews of Xmas Gifts begin! Today the Sony PRS505 E-reader

I’ve received 3 gifts over Xmas that deserve reviews and seen about 3 presents given to other family members that look quite good too!

But today I’m going to start with my new toy, a Sony E-Reader PRS505. I got the metallic red limited edition one that John Lewis was selling.

My first impressions were on the beauty of the design, the weight (slightly less than a large paperback), the size (just right) and the superb clarity of the screen.

I do read a lot of books, and it was always a hassle trying to get rid of the old books, and of course going on holiday with 2 or more books means extra weight and bulk. Well the Sony PRS505 goes a long way to rectifying all of that, with the capaicty to hold 160 books. That’s without any expansion, as the unit can take memory stick, or SD card, to enable over a 1000 books to be carried!

Sony PRS505 Red

Sony PRS505 Red

The unit came with a CD with 100 classic books such as Moby Dick etc, but also came preloaded with many excerpts of best selling novels, plus a couple of complete ones, including THE BLUE ZONE by ANDREW GOSS, a thriller that I had read very recently. Also included in the box was driver software, a USB lead and a quick start instruction leaflet. I was initially frustrated by the lack of Mac support, as you can download Adobe Digital Edition, which is needed to manage DRM’d ebooks, but the Sony unit, although recognised as a USB storage device, is not recognised as a device in the Adobe Software. Luckily, the Mac can emulate PC software using VMWARE FUSION, so I booted Windows XP up and installed the software on that.

Navigation on the unit is very easy, with a couple of buttons available to turn pages, or to go to the main menu, where you can jump direct to a chapter, or simply delete a book. As the only power used is for turning pages, I expect battery life to be very good.

As for availability of ebooks? Well I’ve downloaded a couple from Books on Board, an American site, which was better value before the collapse of sterling. WH Smiths are having a sale at the moment so ebooks are available from £4 – I just purchased a Jeremy Clarkson volume of tirades and tantrums. For Mac users there is even better news. I discovered a program called Calibre which, although a little unstable, supports the Sony PRS505, NOT for DRM books but for online publications. You can tell it to download regularly, such newspapers as the Wall Street Journal, the Telegraph, the Economist, etc, etc. Fantastic for avid readers of newspapers. The “epapers”, come ready formatted in sections and make very easy reading.

All in all I think this little device is a beauty – I will keep you all updated on any more “discoveries”, but would like any comments please from any other owners – their thoughts or helpful hints. 300,000 people have bought this e-reader, and, coincidentally, my wife and her mum also received these as gifts! So that means we can also share ebooks (up to a max of 6 devices).

This is available from John Lewis for £194.

Love your Ipod? – Well, Sleep On It!

A quick post about a present I received last Christmas.

It’s a pillow.

The Sound Asleep Pillow

The Sound Asleep Pillow

But this is no ordinary pillow, in fact, this is what you might call a gadget lover’s dream!

There is a small speaker hidden inside it and a cable coming out of the bottom with a 3.5mm jack on it.  All you have to do is plug the jack into the headphone socket of your ipod or mp3 player or even your old-fashioned transistor radio.  When your head is on the pillow you can then drift off to your favourite music or podcast without disturbing your partner.  The volume is fine and is adjusted from your music player.

Simple idea but very effective.

Available from the link below for £12.99.

Sound Asleep Pillow

Top 10 gadgets to buy this Xmas for the Geek in your life!

OK, I know there’s only just over a week ’til Xmas – but I thought it would be a good idea to list the Top 10 gadgets, that ANY geek would love to have at Xmas!


The Slingbox Classic

Slingbox Classic

Slingbox Classic

If you spend a lot of nights away, either in hotels on business, or on foreign getaways, I’m sure one of the first things you miss would be all the TV you’ve taped on your Sky+. Easy fix! Buy a Slingbox, connect it to your Sky/Freeview box, set up your network settings – and when you are away from home, merely run the slingbox software on your PC/Mac. Watch programes live, or watch your prerecorded programs.

Available at a bargain £69.99!

Slingbox Classic (UK)


1tb Buffalo

1tb Buffalo

A massive external hard drive – pick up a USB hard drive with 1tb of data storage – ideal for backups, or for extending the capabilities of an existing PC/Mac.

Buy this one for only £74.99!

Buffalo Drivestation 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive


Bytestor 16gb USB

Bytestor 16gb USB

A massive USB stick – available now in 16gb – ideal for attaching to a key ring – load with your favourite films/TV/important software.

ByteStor 16GB USB High Speed


TomTom ONE

TomTom ONE

TomTom Statnav. Now as cheap as chips! If they haven’t got one already – get this one! With maps of Europe (in case of holidays), and a really nice touch screen.

TomTom ONE V3 Satellite Navigation System – Western Europe


The Apple iPod Nano – Lots of colours to choose from, now with a “GENIUS” feature, that finds similar songs on your device automatically. Get a refurb old gen model from the Apple Refurb Store, or the latest one, with the Genius and SHAKE shuffle feature below for just under £100.

Ipod 8gb NANO

Ipod 8gb NANO

New Apple iPod nano 8GB – Blue


For watching Freeview TV in the shed, invest in one of these!

The Roadstar 8

The Roadstar 8

Roadstar 8


This is my recommendation for a printer that can SCAN, COPY and PRINT photo quality. I love this one because it also prints onto printable BLANK CDs/DVDs and is also cheap to run. (I have the older MP610 – so can personally vouch for it.)

Canon MP630

Canon MP630

Canon PIXMA MP630 All-in-one Printer (Printer/Copier/Scanner)


The Topfield TF5800 PVR – reviewed here. I own one, and rate it as one of the best gadgets in our house.

Topfield TF5800 PVR

Topfield TF5800 PVR

Topfield TF5800 PVR 250GB – Black finish


Great for long winter nights – the XBOX 360 – now at an even better price thanks to recent price reductions. Hundreds of quality games to choose from in glorious HiDef.

Xbox 360 Arcade

Xbox 360 Arcade

Xbox 360 Arcade Console (256 MB Memory Unit)


The fastest selling type of computer at the moment – tiny and portable. Run Linux or Windows XP – powerful enough to surf the web, send emails, word process, and run low tech games. The prices of these are plummeting, starting at less than £150 from Staples.  This unit has 4gb of on board storage and 512mb RAM. The one to go for is the Acer Aspire ONE, that has 1gb RAM and a 120gb Hard Drive.  This model even includes a webcam, wifi, card reader, etc. UNBELIEVABLE value at £215.

Acer Aspire ONE Netbook

Acer Aspire ONE Netbook

Acer Aspire One A150-Bb Netbook, Windows XP Home, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 120GB HD (Sapphire Blue)