My Gadget Life – Alex Horne

We Need Answers’ geeky funnyman and PowerPoint king just loves a good abacus…I’m a late adopterIt takes me a while to get something new but when I do

We Need Answers’ geeky funnyman and PowerPoint king just loves a good abacus…

I’m a late adopter

It takes me a while to get something new but when I do I love it. I’ve got some really old overhead projectors that I used to do shows with. I still really love them. I’ve got three. I don’t know how many it needs to be before it becomes a collection. Probably five. Three is just three.

In my head I’m quite cool

But I’m definitely a geek. My last three shows have been about Latin, birdwatching and the dictionary. It’s only really a couple of years ago that I embraced it. Looking back I think I was hiding it – a bit like being gay.

I’ve just got myself an iPhone

I had to wait for it to come to Vodafone but I like it so far. It’s definitely as easy as people say it is. I used to like going into a café and not having access to the internet to distract me from doing work. I can’t now; I’m constantly distractible.

There’s a lot of PowerPoint in We Need Answers

It’s all done on the fly but we do get worried about it looking pre-made. I like to think of myself as the DJ. Or PPJ, I suppose. My Norton AntiVirus reminder popped up during a filming once. We didn’t update it. Once I phoned Microsoft for some help on PowerPoint. When they asked for the serial number it emerged that I hadn’t bought it – I’d, er, acquired it. They were quite angry with me and told me I had to delete it. So I hung up immediately and obviously deleted it straight away…

We get the questions for We Need Answers from the AQA database

We thought if people sent them directly to us that they’d try too hard to be funny. They’re much funnier if they’re questions that have been genuinely submitted. You get some amazing things, such as: “What is a pear?”. We like things like: “What time does the leisure centre in Leamington Spa shut?” That really puts someone like Terry Christian on the spot. I think it’s half-past six.

Baby gadgets are interesting

I’d love an app for my iPhone that would link to my baby monitor. That’d be brilliant. Some sort of camera embedded into his head would be good too; see everything from his angle. OK, maybe not embedded, but some sort of comfortable headband.

I think Twitter’s probably a phase

You should only be allowed one tweet a day. That way you’d really have to think about it. It’d be like writing poetry. Because it’s too easy you get so much rubbish. It’s the throwing sh*t at a wall theory, isn’t it? And no one should have to sign up just so they can watch people throw sh*t at a wall.

I did a gig in Second Life

I’m not surprised it’s died off a bit now. It was horrible. The gig was fine, but I used Second Life for two weeks in preparation and I just didn’t enjoy it. I’m a geek, but maybe not an über-geek. I like gadgets that fit into your normal life, not an entirely different life altogether.

My favourite gadget is the abacus

I’ve got 11 of them. That’s definitely a collection. I like that they’re impenetrable if you don’t know how they work, but they’re really simple when you do. They look really lovely, too. I’ve got them mounted on walls. Is there an abacus iPhone app?

Alex Horne is now on tour with Wordwatching, which has also been released as a book (published by Virgin). www.alexhorne.com

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