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Technology, TV

Fry’s Techish Delight

Stephen Fry's Greatest Gadgets

Stephen Fry's Greatest Gadgets

Stephen Fry Britain’s best loved polymath unveiled his personal list of the 100 greatest gadgets of all time. It’s a very clever list with everything from the karaoke machine to the cigarette lighter.

If you haven’t seen it, then go check it out on the Channel 4 website.

I guess we all assumed it would be chock-a-block with Apple i’s but in fact it was a well-balanced and – as you’d expect from our tech savvy national treasure – well thought out list.

For gadget geeks, It was a pleasant way to spend three hours reminiscing about technology.

Each device on the list was logically placed. Fry also admitted that the list was a subjective one and open to debate. I know what gadgets I would have had in the list and those that I would have left out. But I’ve decided that it would be fun to go through the list and choose my personal top five. All the gadgets are in Fry’s list, but the reasons for the ranking will be mine rather than Mr Fry’s.

But before I start on my favourites – here’s the one that I would have culled from the list.

Wheeled Suitcase(Fry’s ranking #94)

The reason I dislike this now ubiquitous travel aid is largely due to the years I spent as a commuter. This usually involved running for a train at regular intervals. Laying in wait was the small compact rolling health and safety hazard. Trailing behind some dawdling tourist or businessman like some slow-moving roadblock. I can’t tell you the number of times I just wanted to dispatch it in the manner of a Johnny Wilkinson drop goal.

This moving man-trap, an ankle beak in waiting, also struck me as less than efficient – surely it’s just as easy to lift the bloody thing?

Cordless Drill (Fry’s ranking #54)

Admission I have one.  Another admission, I have on occasion found myself re-enacting the odd title scene from a Bond movie with it. Sadly I’ve never used it for then purpose for which it was intended. I know that the moment I actually use to try to use it, the Gods of DIY will laugh, pipe piercing will ensue and then I will have to hire a proper handyman to do the job properly.  There’s also the whole pretending some other ‘cowboy’ did the work – not sure my acting skills would hold up…

FAX (Fry’s ranking #29)

Back in the 1980s a thing of wonder. Write on a piece of paper, press a button and it would – almost magically – zoom down cables and re-materialise in another room, another country. Brilliant.

Only then email arrived, together with Word processing software and PDFs and at a stroke the FAX machine was made redundant. Only it wasn’t. There are small technological refusenik enclaves which hold out against the advancing tide. It’s rather like saying why do I need to use the phone when carrier pigeons are still available

Over the next few days I’m going to post my top 5 gadgets and the reason why I think they are so special..

Coming next my number Five:  The ZX Spectrum.



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