Will Dean's Ideas Factory: Meet the Little Printer, cuter than your average Deskjet
With newspaper sales struggling, bookshops closing as purchases begin to migrate to e-readers and many morning reads taking place on smartphones and tablets, it seems counter-intuitive that one of the most anticipated hardware releases of the year so far is a printer.
But, as you can tell from the picture above, The Little Printer, from London design firm Berg, is a long way from a HP Deskjet.
The thought is that, as much as we're becoming increasingly reliant on screens, there's still room – and a desire – for some paper prints.
Little Printer prints at low resolutions on cheap thermal paper, the stuff you get your receipts printed on at tills – and it doesn't need any ink. It works in conjunction with a
cloud device and a smartphone app which allows users to print off all manner of quick bits. Whether it's your daily sudoku, crosswords, news round-ups and to-do lists.
You can also send messages to other users' printers from your own phone – it's like the glory days of the fax machine. Sort of.
So why would you use it over your work laser printer or your trusty old home-office steed? Well, it can save time, money and paper.
Or simply, as Berg co-founder Jack Schulze told US magazine Fast Company, "Traditional printers, obviously they're very useful, but I've lost count of the number of times I've wanted to print a two-line email with a phone number on it."
And that's the rub – the Little Printer looks like a handy tool for little bits like shopping lists, but you wouldn't want to read the news on a till roll. So whether that's enough use for £199-worth of kit may depend on your needs.
Who on earth put Babylon Zoo on the stereo?
In bars and restaurants there are usually three types of music policies. If you're in a micro-managed chain joint, there's a good chance that the tunes will have been picked by a focus-group-oriented music consultant (think Pizza Hut, McDonald's); if it's a local cuisine-based place there's a good chance that it's the same "Sounds of Rome" CD that's been playing since 1977; if it's somewhere a bit hipper – there might be a band you've never heard of (as chosen by the heavily-tattooed bar staff) or, often, silence.
Secret DJ is an app that gives you the chance to take control. And annoy the bloke behind the bar by playing something rubbish.
The app uses GPS to match your app with bars that feature the technology. Sounds fun.
On the downside, bars can choose both a set amount of songs or playlists and also decide when the app is active – so you can't always hijack someone's 30th party with a maudlin blast of Nilsson's "Without You". Which puts us more in mini jukebox than "secret DJ" territory. But it beats being forced to listen to "Rolling in the Deep" for the ninety millionth time.
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