If you've got a question about a post, or would like us to feature your question in our next FAQ post, then please fill in the form to the right.
We endeavour to reply to all messages ASAP, but please be patient as it may take some time to get round to your query.
Our Start Up Focus this week is on a business that is only a handful of years old but has already managed to make an impact on the incredibly competitive market of custom bikes. Matt Mears began Temple Cycles after having moderate success renovating vintage racing bikes whilst studying Engineering at Bristol University. The young entrepreneur had little to no business experience but decided to create his business after seeing a gap in the market for modern, durable bikes that have vintage appeal. Matt’s success has led to two shops opening in the south, in addition to partnerships with other independent bike shops throughout the UK.
Although Temple has expanded considerably in the last few years, all the bikes sold by the young start-up are still put together in their Bristol shop. Matt’s team of engineers all have a passion for cycling in common, so a day’s work spent putting together new machines with some of the best components on the market can hardly be seen as tortuous. There is a constant buzz of activity in the Bristol workshop, which also offers services to non-Temple owners. Once bikes are completed they are either sent to their new owners who have ordered them online, or they’re shipped off to the London shop for sale.
Temple first started selling their bikes online Matt soon realised the demand from customers to see the product in person. In response to this, Temple began organising and promoting Pop Up shops in places where they knew their fans were. The brand’s Instagram feed acted as the perfect platform for promoting these pop-up shops, and soon the Temple Cycle was becoming a well-known name amongst cycle enthusiasts and also amateurs looking to buy their first road bike.
After a successful push for investment Temple opened up shop on the fashionable Brick Lane and have since seen an explosion of interest in their bikes. The shop is small but has been fitted out with a clean Scandi-style that matches the chic appeal of the brand. Gleaming bikes hang from the wall and glossy parts are proudly displayed on workman cork boards. In the basement, you can find a hardworking mechanic who deals with any technical issues that might crop up.
Whilst Temple acolytes will attribute their success to quality building materials and expertise, this startup is really a shining example of the power of brand and story. Having built and designed the product, Matt’s role has now largely shifted to marketing and spends a great deal of his time building the brand’s reputation through striking video and imagery. In addition to commissioning this creative work, he’s also busy creating valuable partnerships with like-minded cyclists, fellow businesses and influencers. Temple is now in a position where the business is ready to expand once more, all they need is the brand awareness to do so. With regular features in the Guardian and the Observer, to name a few, it won’t be long before this startup grows even more.
A home media centre is a smart solution to a truly 21st-century problem. If you’re like most normal folks, then you’ll likely not trade in all your consumer goods every time new models are released. When we invest in a television or similar device, we expect it to last a few years, however, the inexorable march of technology sometimes moves a little fast than we can deal with, this is when we find that our prized possessions are no longer up to the task of delivering the entertainment experience that we desire. If you’ve found yourself a little disappointed with the level of value you’re getting from your current set up, then now might be the right time to upgrade!
A modern home media centre is comprised of a desktop computer which has been rigged with the necessary drivers to show live TV, in addition to playing media files, streaming video, music and even playing games. In short, it does a lot more than even the smartest of TVs and because its all the heavy lifting is performed by a powerful computer, it provides a snappy, seamlepss exerience that can’t be matched by any commercial smart television.
Whether you should buy one of these machines or not depends on how much you’re willing to invest and how much you want out of your home media set up. If you’re already happy with your TV and simply want a few smart capabilities (like DVR or Netflix) then you may be able to get by with buying a dongle (as little as £25) or purchasing a current-gen console (£200 and up). However, if you want to be able to sync up a hard drive with your living room set up, then you’ll need a desktop computer do so and a custom media centre would be the best choice. Depending on the components that you go for, you could spend upwards of £500, but spend wisely and you won’t need to invest again for a long time to come.
If you’ve already got a decent TV then you can rest on your laurels here, however if your screen has fallen behind the curve a little and lacks definition then now would be a good time to upgrade. Maximise on definition by purchasing a computer monitor instead of a television. Monitors tend to be more expensive than televisions, but they are better suited to a variety of tasks, rather than just television.
Investing in a safe, secure power supply might not seem like a priority (after all this isn’t necessary for a traditional TV setup), but a purpose-built converter working in tandem with a surge-protector will keep your investments safe from unexpected surges. Electronics experts, Wall Industries, recommend investing in a high-end DC-DC converter in order to ensure that your items are protected.
You’ll need a fairly high-performance PC to perform the tasks of a modern media centre, skimp on this part and you’ll spend months regretting your decision, before sheepishly making a second purchase. There are plenty of good value options available online, Amazon, in particular, being a great source for refurbished PCs. If you’d like to get the best bang for your buck, then you could build your own PC but that comes with its own set of challenges, which we won’t cover here.
Finally, a media centre is only as good as its sound system. In order for you to get the most of your new media centre, you should consider investing in a quality sound system that is designed to provide surround sound. There are a few shoddy brands out there pushing 7.1 surround systems for low prices, just remember that in the world of electronics you get what you pay for (sometimes even less!).Read more
For those amongst of us belonging to the older generation, it can often be a little dispiriting to see yet another ‘television’ fad rear its head. Since its inception, television has been a product heavily focused on innovation. However, whereas innovations in a product like mobile phones have provided utility to the consumer which has warranted the repeat investment, the television’s track record has been a little sketch in comparison. Great leaps forward have been announced only to be dropped by the wayside a few years later. For example, 3D televisions made a huge splash in the late noughties, with companies such as Samsung claiming that they would be the future of home entertainment, a decade down the line, however, and that reality is far from the truth. In comparison, the switch in the UK from analogue to digital television presented a very real demand for homeowners to upgrade their hardware in order to continue their service.
There’s been significantly less fuss made over the development of smart TVs, despite their features offering a significant step up for anyone currently using a non-smart television. Smart TVs are a step up from normal televisions with in-built digital functionality, they have access to the internet and are therefore able to run popular video apps such as Netflix, Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. Access to these services is still dependant on signing up, so you’ll need to pay a subscription in order to make the most of these benefits. Some Smart TVs have in-built memory, allowing you to save live television to re-watch later, whereas others also offer internet browsing capability or access to gaming services.
Unlike the switch over to digital TV, which was completed back in 2012, you are not required in any way to purchase a Smart Television. There will be no point in the near future when your normal, non-Smart TV will stop working, however, you may find yourself tempted to purchase one if you see how intuitive and useful they are becoming. Early incarnations of Smart Televisions promised smooth navigation and easy usability, but controls were sluggish and far behind the responsiveness you’d find on video games console. Today, modern Smart TVs are equipped with more processing power which means that using them is a much more enjoyable, smooth experience. If you feel like you can live without the benefits of one then you are not obligated to the purchase, especially when there are cheaper ways of obtaining Smart functionality with your current set.
New televisions have never been a cheap investment, and what’s more, they are wont to depreciate in value at an alarming rate. Thankfully, there are cheap alternatives to getting access to the benefits they offer, without dropping the money for a new TV. If you own a current-generation console (such as the Xbox One or PS4), then you may find that you can delay the purchase of a smart television for a while yet, as having one of these hooked up to your TV essentially gives you Smart capability. You can run most major video streaming apps through modern consoles, in addition to making use of some basic recording functionality. Alternatively, you can purchase a streaming dongle, such as Chromecast or Amazon’s Fire Stick to access streaming services, you will need a spare HDMI socket on your TV for this to work though.Read more