O2 Gurus meet...The House That Never Rests

Picture 1Our in-store tech experts, the O2 Gurus, are always eager to help and inspire people with technology that lets them do more with their lives.

We placed Alex, one of our O2 Gurus, for a day with the family behind blog The House That Never Rests to road test the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and see how an ordinary day out can be transformed with a great piece of technology.

The House That Never Rests is Anita Burr (custodian of the blog) – she is wife to Ian and mother to Brad (14) Lee (16), Danny (19). The Burr family are a gadget mad, adventure hungry bunch and love the outdoors – they are based in Enfield, London.

Alex set the family an orienteering challenge of capturing ten of Trent Park’s most famous monuments on camera by sundown, armed with nothing but a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2.

Alex tells us about their challenge below.

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8.58am – O2 Guru Alex meets the Burr family.

Arriving at Trent Park in Enfield it was refreshing to see that the three teenage boys were “buzzing” to spend time with their family in an outdoors activity.

Danny, Lee and Brad are a techy bunch, (they recently attended the Gadget Show at the NEC in Birmingham) and were keen to interrogate me on the ins and outs of using the Samsung smart tablet in their challenge. The boys tested out the products before we set off, this gave me the opportunity to speak to Anita and Ian about their journey in running The House That Never Rests family blog.

Anita explained, “the blog started as a visual logbook to highlight our trips as a family and to look back on as the children grew up. It got popular, initially just interest from extended family that live around the UK and in Dubai and Malta – then the word spread across the blogosphere.”

The Burr family love heading off on camping trips around the UK, this was spurred on by Anita and family receiving invites to review leisure centres for the blog. Their outdoor adventures came after an initial trip to the New Forest – they enjoyed the experience so much that they were inspired to take a camping trip and bought a tent the next day! Ian trialled the tent out in a nearby park, much to the embarrassment of the boys!

The boys have also started creating their own content and are now pushing a YouTube Channel that captures their family days out.

10.36am – Getting our bearings

Our day of orienteering consisted of us ‘collecting’ certain landmarks by capturing them with the smart tablet’s camera. Trent Park has over 400 acres of meadows, lakes and woodland – so we needed to get our bearings to execute our challenge!

Fortunately the car was parked nearby so we used an in-car Wi-Fi device paired up with the smart tablet to see where we were located on a map and ascertain what would be the most time-efficient starting point. We worked out this would be the southern woodland.

Picture 410.51am – The Burrs tick-off their first find.

Our first task was to find the Trent Park Equestrian Centre. After going deeper into the woodland and crossing a small stream – feeling like we were in Lord of The Rings – Lee spotted the horse riding school and we huddled round to take a photograph. Ian said “we love taking photos on activities like this. The camera we’ve been using today is superior to that of other smart tablets and having the microSD card slot means we’re not going to run out of space.”

11.15am – Brad jumps up for a selfie.

Bradley interrupts the search for the next landmark by jumping in for a selfie! Not wholly surprising, as Brad, the youngest son, is the family’s performer. Anita lets me know “Brad attends Performing Arts College on weekends and is due on stage in the West End in July, he’s often impersonating stars of the TV to amuse his brothers.”

12.03pm – Lunch

Picture 52.45pm – The boys find the mansion.

Lee spots one of the biggest landmarks to capture – the Trent Park mansion. We had been looking for it for a while; sometimes it’s hard to see the mansion for the trees!

Everyone agreed it had been a unique experience using the smart tablet in a non-traditional way, in a very physical, outdoors environment. Lee commented, “it’s been great running around with this tablet, it hasn’t got in the way at all because it’s so light and compact!”

3.10am – Heading back

Bradley and Danny used the dual split screen option to look at the map and our tasks in the Notes app at the same time to help us get back to our starting point – capturing any landmarks on the way.

The boys told me they had a fantastic experience using the devices in the orienteering, and of course capturing funny moments! We discussed how they combat being bored in long car journeys. Danny explained: “Lee and I like to catch up on football and Brad enjoys watching movies. The great thing is once we’re out we can use the smart tablet together, rather than going off and doing our own thing!”

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