FIVE SUMMER GIFTS … #1 – Braun Series S7 Shaver

braunThere comes a time in a man’s life when designer stubble becomes dirty-old-man-scrag and a new strategy has to emerge. For those with a weak chin, this is a very traumatic time in life, but a shaved face it must be.

For me, I drive into Brighton every Friday morning to my Turkish barbers, Goodfellas on London Road. I get the whole hot towel experience, a massaged head and I come out about ten years’ younger, it is a pilgrimage I am unlikely to end any time soon. Moreover, if the dirty-old-man-scrag gets too much, at home I have a 20-year-old set of Wahl clippers that smooth off the grey edges.

Ergo, recommending a shaver to my audience is not a natural thing for me to do, in many ways it is anathema. However, the Braun S7 Shaver (790cc-4)isn’t bad at all. I won’t repeat all the blurb that came with it, but if you’re in need of speed and want to look good in front of a trade show audience and in the bar afterwards, this is very good.

It does shit like pivoting and swivelling and the instructions are all-encompassing. Bearing in mind the ridiculous cost for tetra- and penta-razors, this is excellent value at less than £180 and will make a young man out of you, not that horrible dirty-old-man-scragger that you used to be.

Summer… America… music festival… life with no name



* There was no money, no Bitcoin or shit, or time, or whatever currency

* There were no schedules or pension payments

* You had a to-be-hired motorbike on call… a really cool motorbike

* You never looked at the time, just noted the sundial at appropriate times

* You didn’t worry about mortgages and school fees

* You didn’t care about your work projects

* You woke up when you wanted to, not when your wife, or son, did

* And your constant insomnia had nothing to do with you not cycling or not doing tai chi, it just crept in because your head was a screen, the machines were abrading you, via spreadsheets or software, but they were now definitely the masters…

… and you woke up one morning in the Uk, or whatever, and saw this:

* Around the same time that your boxset-binge jumped its inevitable shark

* And you thought to yourself

* As much as I love my my home, my girl and our boy

* I might just fuck off and see this

* It might take £5K out of the family budget, money that might be ‘better spent’ on a new sofa or garden addition, maybe something designed out of chrome

* A place to go where you’re unlikely to meet anybody, however random, who might do you a business deal that might cover the £5K for the trip and cover the dosh for your happiness

* And, let’s be honest, it’s not SXSW… or Austin

* But look, there’s Neutral Milk Hotel

* There’s the Strokes

* There’s even that English wannabe Neil Young that used to be in Oasis

* Lo, not LOL, lo, there’s the Old Crow Medicine Show, last seen live in North London

* Hang on, Wilco, seen early at the Hammersmith Apollo in 1999 before they were famous, and way before they dissed Tom Waits’ pro-Semitic song Road to Peace on BBC Radio 6

* Fuck, the Pixies as well

* Jesus, Tame Impala, those Perth dudes that are like Floyd when they were touring Mother around the Marquee in the 1960s

* Even James Blake, he’s interesting… and English

* And the rest of the bands that you’ve never heard of, but might just discover on the rubbish stage on the first afternoon of the festival, not pissed enough, no way of finding vitamins for at least 12 hours, and knackered from riding the bike to the show

Would you think that this might just be the best festival you’ve ever seen and a red-hot poker up your sagging, middle-aged, middle class, middle-waisted arse, even if Atlanta reminded you of Ted Turner, CNN, Coca-Cola, the Masters and Tiger Woods…

… would you contemplate saying, fuck it, I’m going?

And would you, shock-horror, post it on your blog, WITHOUT SEO, WITHOUT tags, WITHOUT categories or that really annoying ‘Meta description’ bit that should be the intro…

… and you didn’t post it to those six/seven ‘sharey’ sites that you constantly do with your other stuff.

Would you?

Yeah, baby, fuck I would.

Palringo doubles revenues to $14 million through games

palringoRapidly growing chat-based games company Palringo said it has 2014 annual revenues of $14 million, up 100% from 2013 revenues of $7 million.

Based in London’s Shoreditch, Palringo has more than 35 million global customers, a figure that is rising one million per month as the business model of playing games within messaging platforms takes hold. Out of that $14 million revenue, 85% was from games, of which the profit margin was 50%.

Palringo offers a range of games along with more than 350,000 groups, some of which have up to 2,000 members. The business model is based around selling virtual products such as rich media sticker packs, Bots and functional utilities within the messaging platform.

The company’s move into games came in Q2 2013 when it acquired Swedish social and mobile games developer Free Lunch Games when internal data revealed that the most popular groups across Palringo’s communities were based around game titles such as Clash of Clans. It was also a neat strategy to differentiate itself from the better-known messaging platforms of SnapChat and WhatsApp.

“Gaming has always been a dominant theme within Palringo communities. Over the past couple of years, we have developed that trend by creating games that work within the community directly and more recently by building an innovative gaming capability that allows us to further develop our model of bringing together community and gaming on mobile,” said Tim Rea, Palringo CEO.

A typical example of a game inside Palringo would be the traditional game of Hangman. Customers buy the Hangman bot, and launch it in a chatroom of their choice. The company sells packs of ‘coins’, (for example, 300 for $3) and this currency is used to play the game with their chatroom friends.

Meet the modern open-source toys – The Offbits

offbitsThese four fine creations that have been superimposed on the Abbey Road zebra crossing are The Offbits, an open-source toy that the customer makes for measure. The Offbits come in a small and cool cardboard box and are a medley of springs and cast metal that are assembled by hand.

For somebody who finds it difficult to change a lightbulb, let alone a fuse, it took me some time to get to grips with the Offbits, but succeed I finally did. Then I swapped a few colours and pieces around and had a lot of fun… as did my 11-year-old son.

While I couldn’t stop thinking about the Smash Martians, the extraterrestrial heroes of a 1970s TV potato ad, the Offbits are modern and alluring. The company behind them is raising funds on Kickstarter next month – might be worth a small investment.