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How To Live It is your guide to the newest and best home-entertainment and mobile tech. The experts at Stuff.tv and Whathifi.com, with support from LG, will show how it can enrich your life - and how you can make the most of now. It is a place to escape, to learn and, simply, to make life good.

Are you the next big tech writer? Return to other articles
  • Author John Steward
  • Published May 30, 2014

Rising Stars: the final three are revealed

At the beginning of April we launched Rising Stars – a contest to find the next big (amateur) tech writer, and give them a shot at professional journalism.

 

We asked entrants to write 300 words on their favourite piece of technology, as well as providing a 140-character tweet-length reason why they’re the greatest thing since the 16-bit display.

 

Three finalists would be picked to fulfil a series of tasks, with the best (as voted for by the editors of Stuff, What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and How To Live It) going on to cover IFA – Berlin’s answer to the massive CES trade-show – later in the year.

 

The only condition was that they couldn’t already be employed as a journalist. We want to find new talent.

 

Well, the entries flooded in, we put our judging hats on and three outstanding candidates have emerged. Over the next three months they’ll be writing articles for How To Live It, including ideas they’ve come up with themselves, and you’ll get to have a say in which one is off to Berlin.

 

So, let’s say hi to Alex, Ross and Matthew, and take a look at their entries. You’ll be seeing a lot more from them in the coming weeks…

 

Winding-road-driving

 

Alex Ingram, Midlothian
Splendid personal hygiene, punctual, will bring cake to work for all to share. Also, I’m a former Gran Turismo UK champion/sim racing king.

 

My 1989 Peugeot 205 GTi

 

I have decided to go slightly left-field with my choice of tech, in that I’m going to sing the praises of my car. My 1989 Peugeot 205 GTi is, in comparison to modern cars, hardly at the cutting edge of high tech. It only possesses three electrical features: the electric windows, which occasionally agree with me as to when they should go up and down; the digital clock, which tells whatever time it pleases; and the central locking, which is – after I fixed it – surprisingly reliable.

 

So why, do you ask, do I choose my car as the piece of gadgetry I love the most? Allow me to explain.

 

Once I get in and fire the engine up, I can’t resist driving twenty miles out of my way just to take it for a blast along a tricky, twisty road. It is fast enough to surprise modern machinery, it’s fun to drive and, most of all, very exciting. Buzzing around in the little Pug never fails to feel like a special event, even if I’m just popping to the local shops. Combined with its obvious practical use as a mode of transport, to me it is also an object of fun; an object of desire. It is just as exciting for me now as when I bought it two and a half years ago, and I never want to get rid of it.

 

I will always maintain that such a level of enjoyment, which almost reaches the point of giving one an emotional connection with something, is how only the very best pieces of tech, small or large, are capable of making you feel. The best gadgets should not only be practical, but beguiling and enjoyable too – and they should always make you want to come back for more.

 

Old-vintage-retro-phone

 

Ross Jackson, Sussex
From the Vic 20 through to the Amiga 500 and all the Playstations, I’ve seen it all, and want to tell everyone about what’s coming next!

 

My mum’s Nokia 3310

 

There are many reasons why I love my mum’s Nokia 3310. Firstly it is something of an island in the stream of constantly and tirelessly updated phones, yet stoically sits there with its achingly loud ringtones (my mum’s hearing is going – so any ringtones are set to ‘wake the neighbour’s cat’) and refusal to do anything other than the basics – making calls and sending text messages. And a game of Snake.

 

Oh Snake, how I miss you! I’ve played Angry Birds, 2048 and anything else worth a mention, but the simple joy and panic that a game of Snake can instil in you is a rare treat these days. You can’t improve the graphics, or the gameplay. Much like the original Tetris, perfection was arguably achieved the first time around. Simple is good.

 

Which brings me back to the 3310. I’m not sure why, but my mum turns her phone off when she isn’t using it, which is silly: the battery life can measured on a calendar as opposed to a watch. When asked why she turns it off, she simply says, “So it doesn’t run out of battery”. In fact thinking about it, I’ve never seen the phone being charged. My smartphone lives by my bed overnight, much to my wife’s displeasure when a notification from some obscure app wakes us both at 2.46am, because I have to charge it every day – something my mum finds faintly amusing.

 

So why am I writing about a 3310? It just works. You can always rely on it, it does exactly what is asked of it and like a faithful hound it will never let you down. In an ever changing world of ‘this is the new that’, to me, that means a lot.

 

Digital-music-mixing-desk

 

Matthew Higgs, Surrey
I am a hardworking and motivated writing-lover. I have a great interest in the future of technology and how it will continue to impact our everyday lives in the future.

 

Apple iPod Nano 7th generation: Flaws? Answers on a postage stamp

 

It’s been a year-and-a-half since Apple launched the seventh generation iPod Nano, but as the first iPod post-Steve Jobs it still holds as one of Apple’s greatest inventions.

 

First of all, look at it. Design has always been the major staple in the Apple factory and an idea that isn’t three or four steps ahead of its competitors is abandoned even before pencil touches paper. However, it could have been easy for Apple to stop their iPod range at the sixth generation. You know, let the competition catch up and all that. But they didn’t.

 

Apple went bold with bright, almost garish colours. They went thinner – to 5.4mm to be precise – and they made the touch screen almost double the size of the previous model. For an iPod that was expected to be safe and the first step in the downfall of the Apple empire, it surpassed all expectations.

 

Now that we’ve let the dust settle and had time to enjoy the iPod in everyday life, it still manages to be just as impressive as when we first laid eyes on it in 2012. Although the operating system does seem a little out of date (iOS 7-style should be brought in) and the screen size is much smaller than the iPhone, it remains the best music player on the market.

 

Many thought the bright colours would soon go out of fashion, but they proved so popular thart the iPhone 5C adopted them. The graphics are still great quality and justify the high price tag and, for the average music listener (some music lovers will be frustrated by the modest 16GB capacity), the device has everything you need during your daily commute.

 

Get ready to cast your votes
So, there you have it. Stay tuned over the next 12 weeks to see more from our three new writers – and decide who will be off to Germany!

 

Fancy a trip of your own? Enter our free prize draw and you could find yourself on a plane to Singapore to spend a few nights in the amazing Marina Bay Sands Hotel, complete with its eye-popping roof-top Infinity Pool. Want in? Click here >>>

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