My name is Tom Dunmore, and I’m a technoholic. That’s what a decade working at Stuff magazine does for you.
You can contact me by whistling Sweet Jane or filling in the form over on the contact page.
By night I’m a greasy geek fighting a crippling Apple addiction and doing my best to embrace open-source thinking. Which is where this site comes in.
Unnecessary disclaimer: the musings and opinions on this website are my own, and in no way reflect the views of Stuff magazine or its mothership, Haymarket Media.
A brief history in gadgets
I was born in the 70s, but my gadget life didn’t really pick up momentum until Christmas 1984, when I received a Sinclair ZX Spectrum as a joint present with my brother Joe. 10 PRINT ‘TOM ROCKS’. 20 GOTO 10. It broke within days, and my brother turned his attentions to AD&D. But I perservered. Enter Hungry Horace. I began typing in BASIC programmes from the back of magazines. They never worked. I bought a book on machine code and didn’t get past the first page. I wanted to be Bill Gates, but without the hard work. Instead I checked by Biorhythms and played Knight Lore. During the day there was running warfare in the playground between the Commodore 64 boys and us Speccys.
I saw my first Mac in 1986 and was blown away. I decided I needed a mouse for my Spectrum – but it simply wasn’t up to the job. So I gave up playing ‘Paperboy’ and became a paperboy instead. Eventually, I upgraded to an Amstrad CPC464, with built in tape drive and its own colour monitor. I bought a mouse and ‘WIMP’ software that emulated the Mac Paint programme. I spent two years zoomed into 800%, pushing pixels and listening to records playing on my Sharp Midi System. The Sharp system featured a Linear Tracking Turntable, so you could fast forward and rewind the needle with buttons, and even play the b-side without flipping, as long as you were willing to put up with the ‘clunk’ noise every 4 seconds. I was. Convenience over quality has been a personal mantra ever since.
I bought a Sony Hi-8 camcorder while studying Film & Literature at Warwick University. But the only way to edit was by hooking it up to a VHS video and pressing pause. By this time I had given up writing essays and playing Lotus Esprit on the Atari ST and was trying to convince Wolfenstien to run on a black-and-white Rock laptop. But video editing simply wasn’t an option. In fact, Windows 3 and I never saw eye-to-eye.
I left college headed for the glamorous world of TV. Unfortunately, the closest I could get was TV listings. I worked for the Press Association, telling people what channel to watch and slowly going insane as Sky launched tens, then hundreds of channels. On the plus side, I could afford a Palm V, a PlayStation and – finally – a Mac of my own: a Performa Creative Studio, to be precise with built in AVID video editing. It was one of the cripplingly expensive, ugly beige boxes that Apple was failing to sell before the return of Steve Jobs. But I loved it.
After considerable – and uncharacteristic – resistance I finally got my first mobile in the late 90s (it was a Nokia, of course). And soon afterwards I received the call from Stuff. I joined in December 1999 as a sub-editor. The digital revolution was picking up pace, so we stopped writing about football tables and trainers and started to do our best to become the essential guide to all things shiny. In December 2001 we relaunched – and our first cover star was a brand new MP3 player from Apple. The rest is futurology.