Jamie Broadbent: My technology

The co-presenter on Chris Evans' Virgin Radio Breakfast Show and self-confessed Luddite, explains why he couldn't live without his trendy Sony Vaio laptop
Click to follow
The Independent Online

I used to be a semi-technophobe and someone who'd have an argument about the good or bad in the advances of technology. But, perhaps inevitably, I have started to wonder if I was being a Luddite and if I needed to acknowledge the computer is a fact of life.

I used to be a semi-technophobe and someone who'd have an argument about the good or bad in the advances of technology. But, perhaps inevitably, I have started to wonder if I was being a Luddite and if I needed to acknowledge the computer is a fact of life.

The one thing that changed my mind completely is the fact that my fiancée is pregnant and I've started worrying about when our kid is 11 and doing homework - unless I'm clued in on the technology, then I won't be able to help at all. I know that's the future and I've got to learn. My mum and dad don't even use the hole in the wall for cash, and certainly can't set the video.

I am still not a fan, but I now couldn't survive without my laptop. The coolness of the Vaio is what appeals to me. It's really slim and it's trendy and stylish looking, which is how new laptops seem to have been designed since the iMac. On the practical side there is a good-size, bigger-than-usual screen. Almost as important as style, the size matters because my job is all over the place and it needs to be portable.

I've got my best mate who works at an internet company to show me how to go shopping and get DVDs and good music choice on the internet. But mainly the laptop gives me more options of when to do my work. Normally, I start the show at 6am and finish at 9.30 and then it's basically shooting out to do research and being on my way home by midday. Now I'm less fixed to one place: I can do the morning work at home in the afternoon, for instance.

Suddenly you have everything you want right there. Want to type a letter? Research? I can check the latest music for my programme Showbiz Weekly (Sky One and Sky News), or even attach a digital camera to the laptop and record the segment straight to camera, download it and send it back as an attachment to the producer.

It's fantastic to have a portable DVD and CD player with great quality that's simple to use (it must be). After clicking on the type of format you want, press play and you're off and away. It makes me listen to more music, and it's great because music and film are my main passions.

For the changes in the whole nature of work, it is great. More can be done in a five-day week if we are no longer communicating by a postal letter that takes three days to send and reply to. But you'd think it would result in less working hours. What it has done is make working easier, rather than make a lighter workload. For instance, there are hundreds of phone calls and e-mails we siphon out to use on the show that I don't need to quickly scour through just before we're on air.

The Vaio is also used for some of the quirky parts of the show. Often we'll use clips of something funny, maybe from The Simpsons, and I can plug the laptop to the back of the video to record the soundbite and then edit and download it into a sound file and send to work. Or say we've been doing our compilations of the team saying, "Oh Baby" in different voices, and if you spot someone saying that somewhere, then it's easy to grab it. It's about capturing stuff in an instant.

Despite being a Luddite, I've always kept ahead of technology when it's anything to do with film or music. When CDs came out I went with them, then it was DVDs and the latest is MP3 or Music Stick, which could help me because working in this industry my CD collection is a ridiculous size and takes up too much room at home.

For me, the future of technology and especially the internet depends on that whole thing of seeing people you admire being excited by something. A lot of people I know in London have moved to internet companies, like my friend Danny Kelly who runs a couple of sites. It's fresh and there's a feeling that people are enthusiastic and want to create something. It's a bit anarchic.

Comments