Archive for January, 2009

Dork Talk

Proporta is a big fan of Stephen Fry and so were overjoyed (and a little starstruck to be quite honest) when he received the goodies we sent him and kindly responded to Hannah with an email to say thank you. Seeing “Stephen Fry” pop up in your inbox doesn’t happen every day and was a lovely surprise.

He’s a particular fan of the Magnetic Cable Tidies and Gadget Bag, which he mentioned in his Dork Talk column in the Guardian a few weeks back. Since then we’ve kept in touch with his PA – Jo, and occasionally the man himself, and can now proudly call him a ‘friend of Proporta’.

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The world’s cheapest iPod stand

At Proporta we look at most things with the thought of making people’s lives a bit easier…

That’s how Guy (one of the bigwigs) came up with the Magnetic Cable Tidy after weeks spent untangling his headphones fifty times a day, and how Diego (in Sales) came up with the Stereo Y Splitter Cable after nearly losing an ear when the person next to him got up a bit too quick.

And if that just happens to give us an excuse to get a bit creative, then even better…

Proporta Product Designer, Martin, has used his love of construction to make an iPod stand out of a paperclip (we kid you not).

We could’ve written the instructions down, but it’s far easier to show you, so take a look at the video below and watch Martin create the stand in front of your very own eyes. If you’d like to take a look at the Proporta You Tube Channel there are plenty more videos for you to watch.

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Do you remember your first Nokia?

There are many weird and wonderful videos lurking on YouTube, but this particular video amused us all at Proporta.

Cast your mind back to your old Nokia (ah yes, the hours we used to waste playing snake), and you’ll remember the extremely irritating ringtones they came with.

Obviously not everyone found these ringtones as annoying as we did. This guy on YouTube has dedicated some long hours to adding a back beat.

Click here to take a look. You’ll either be very amused or highly annoyed. Either way, we warned you.

Keeping healthy doesn’t have to be a chore

Most of us at Proporta like to be healthy (Gary and JP are always at the gym, and you can find Hannah in the local pool most nights – no stalkers please), so we thought we’d share some tips with you on what motivates us to stay in shape, just in case you’re interested…

guy“I like cycling and skiing and am generally hyperactive so I like to have plenty of energy. I find that if I don’t exercise then I don’t have energy – so having an interest that I like (skiing) gives me something to keep fit for and motivates me to do the boring gym-work.” Guy – one of the Proporta head honchos.


about_lynnette“I used to really struggle to drag myself along to the gym after work – especially if I was finishing late. So I joined a gym that’s really close to work (less of an excuse) and it really makes a difference not having the journey home to think myself out of it. I also go swimming in the mornings and find that it really wakes me up and I beat the traffic. 10-15 minutes in the sauna afterwards also gives me time to clear my mind (not to mention the pipes) and think creatively before the day starts.” Lynnette – Proporta Marketing Manager.

hannah“I started swimming because the thought of going to the gym after work consumed me withdepression. I find it really relaxing (well, more relaxing than using gym equipment) and it’s a good way to wind down at the end of the day. Plus it’s good for all parts of the body. Since I’ve started (early December) I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my body and the way I feel. It does make you feel good once you’ve done some exercise and I’ve even lost a few pounds – go me! Eating healthily is always good too, but I’m a strong believer of letting yourself off at weekends and eating whatever you like.” Hannah – Proporta Marketing Executive.

“Listen to loud rock or dance music in the gym (instead of the handbag house they play there) to increase the work you do. I basically hate going to the gym and despise every moment in there so willpower is the key to actually going – and I still don’t go as often as I should.” Guy.

“I make sure I have a piece of music that I save for ’emergencies’ only. If I need to push myself during a run, then I stick that on my iPod and it’s amazing the difference it makes. Even better (and I am slightly obsessive so feel free to ignore this next bit), work out when you usually start to lose motivation and plan your playlist to that – I put my emergency track about 30 minutes in and it really helps pick me up.” Lynnette.

“I find that exercise makes me happier, stronger and more energetic. It also clears my mind and keeps me fit. I prefer running outdoors… along the seafront (lucky us – we have great views of the sea in Brighton), but that’s much nicer in the summer as the winter seaside months are a little nippy to say the least.” Soni – Proporta Senior Account Manager.

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Empty calories can be lethal, so I swap wine, which can have 130 calories in (that’s about the same as a doughnut) for vodka and slimline tonic, which only has 58 calories.” Lynnette.

“Give food time to digest. I eat pretty fast and that means I sometimes eat more than I need before any of it gets into my bloodstream and I realise I’m not hungry any more. So, when I’m starving, if I eat something small or a starter (soup etc.) before preparing a massive meal, I often realise that I actually don’t need to eat so much in the main meal.” Guy.

“The Proporta tuck shop can sometimes be a struggle (especially if you’re having a particularly stressful day and the only way to save your colleagues is to inhale a Curly Wurly), but for the most part I try to eat quite healthily. Porridge made with water, berries and linseed is really good for the tummy and I make sure not to eat too late in the evening. If I get in from work after 7ish (most nights), then I usually just have soup, a big salad or a jacket potato with veggies and not too many carbs. I find it important to eat in between meals to keep my metabolism in shape so I’ll always keep a yoghurt or some fruit close by.” Lynnette.


“I try not to eat too much bread and switch to rye bread at home (I’m told it has less carbs and I like it too). I love Bloody Marys so I often have those instead of beer as it has less carbs in.” Guy.

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Whether you’re training at the gym, jogging outdoors or doing some sit-ups in the bedroom, music is always great motivation. We’d recommend our 4G iPod nano armband, which allows you to attach your nano to your arm so you can listen to your favourite tracks whilst working out. The arm band keeps your nano safely attached to your arm during even the most rigorous work out, so all you need to do is create a lively playlist and you’ll be off.
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Important: we’re by no means professionals when it comes to advice on fitness (just gadgets) so please take our tips with the pinch of salt and the friendly tone that they’re intended with, seek medical advice if you think you need to and don’t overdo it.

Take a peek at Proporta’s home turf

Just in case you’ve ever wondered what the inside of the Proporta office looks like, here are a few pics.

Pattie (left) and Marta (right) – two key members of the customer services/marketing team:

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Some more of the office, David (left back) and Will (right back) from the geekery department, and Marta G (front centre) who speaks all the languages under the sun… well French, Italian and English.

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Soni (left), Amy (front right) and JP (back right) from our glorious resellers department.

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Hiran (back and Lynnette (front) hard at work in the design room. They don’t like to turn the lights on…
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Max (hiding from me) and Gary (warehouse) chill out at lunch time.

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Most of the office

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Gary (left) and Ben (right) from the dispatch team. Blame these guys if your orders don’t get to you 😉
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Richie (up the ladder) and Nik from the dispatch team.

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Ski without snow

Proporta co-founder Guy (who just did a bungee jump and has broken more bones than you can count on one hand) recently came across a really interesting video about extreme skiing. When you think ski you typically think snow, but two skiers recently thought outside the box and decided to ski down a very steep and dangerous slope during the summer.

You’ve got to see it to believe it (this may take a little while to load, but we reckon it’s worth it).

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Proporta bigwig Guy offers some handy advice

The Proporta egg heads were mulling over the credit crunch and the environment the other day and we discovered that a lot of people didn’t understand the workings of the humble room thermostat and its potential to save them money and carbon emissions.
Basically, a room thermostat is a simple on/off switch for your heating (or air conditioning if you’re fortunate enough to be somewhere where you use it). It regulates the temperature of a room by switching your central heating (or air conditioning) off, once the desired temperature is reached (this is usually around 19-22 degrees Celsius or 66-72 degrees Fahrenheit).
However, we found that a lot of people think that, if it’s cold you should turn the thermostat up to maximum to make the room heat up faster. This doesn’t work; all that will happen is that the room will heat up to your desired temperature (19 degrees Celsius) a the same rate as if you had selected this temperature and then continue to heat it to 25 degrees Celsius – whereupon you’ll think it’s very hot and probably turn it down to minimum… you can guess the rest.
So, what the eggheads recommend is that you choose the temperature you like and leave the thermostat alone – come snow or sunshine. If your room is not warming up fast enough then you need to adjust the power of your boiler (that’s another story) or, better still, invest in a nice duvet and a hot water bottle.
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Proporta love gadgets… and wine

It’s obvious that Proporta love gadgets, and one which recently caught our eye is the Quantum Wine Ager which can take any bottle of wine and make it taste like a bottle of finest vintage. Whether or not you fish your wine from the bottom of the bargain bucket, this fancy new device can make it taste as if it has been ageing in a cellar in France for decades.

The whizz kids who thought up this great gadget explain that it works by using ultrasound technologies and can also make orange juice taste fresher and (wait for it…) help to eliminate hangovers.

Proporta wouldn’t need a wine ager as we’ve got such a strong heritage in our field our products stand up on their own (and we most definately don’t need any techno wizardry to make them more appealing 😉 ).

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Some days things just don’t go your way

We’ve all had those days when everything seems to go wrong, but at the very least we can usually be assured that our bad hair days or clumsier moments don’t make national news.

Unfortunately for an American skier his mishap with a chairlift was caught on film for the rest of us to enjoy.
As the BBC reports, a skier was left dangling from a chairlift at an American resort after he became stuck upside-down with his ski trousers round his ankles. You’ll be pleased to hear that only his pride was dented. We think the picture speaks for itself…

Read the full story here

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Proporta now protect you against cyclones and run-ins with trams*

Recently two customers contacted Proporta with amazing tales of how their cases withstood some rather out of the ordinary events. You can probably tell why Proporta lines its leather cases with aircraft grade aluminum.

Vicki recalls, “I bought two cases for the iPhone 3G. I kept the red one for myself and gave my daughter the pink one. Yesterday my daughter called me from San Francisco to tell me her phone had fallen out of her bag as she was walking up one of the steep hills to get to her friend’s apartment. When they realised the phone was missing, they went back out to look for it. My daughter spotted the pink case in the middle of the street, but before she could get to it, a cable car ran over it. In horror, she ran into the street to pick up the mangled case. My point is that after all that, the phone is fine. Not one scratch. Thank you!” Vicki, San Francisco.

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David also notes, “Another excellent product came in the form of an iPod leather flip case – it met it’s demise only when my car was washed away in the midst of a cyclone which struck my city last year. Even then, it only warped a little bit; such was the quality of it!” David, Edinburgh.

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We’re not sure about advertising our cases as cyclone proof just quite yet, but it’s always good to know.

*Not necessarily.