Episode 337 Mo Gilligan

Google Pixel 4 – Astrophotography

We recently attended a one off urban astrophotography event hosted by Google. All to highlight Google Pixel 4 Astrophotography! We headed up to The Shard and headed out to “The View” and took some incredible shots. The iconic London building even shut off all of the lights for us! They turned off the lights for one hour to allow us to all get closer to the stars and capture the constellations.

Google partnered with the Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG) for the event, which was very impressive! Astronomer Tom Kerss stopped by to talk about the cosmos and the history of astrophotography. With Google Pixel 4’s Night Sight, a brand new feature which allows us to see into space and capture the Milky Way. Consequently bringing astrophotography to everyone!

In London

New research shows that over a quarter of Londoners (26.7%) said they lived in a city where they can’t see the stars but wish they could! The percentage was higher than any other city in the UK!

Google worked alongside a fantastic team of social experts to look at 3o,000 UK instagram posts. Of which were related to things stars. For example the #NightSky hashtag. Therefore they were able to find out which of the most popular images were from what parts of the capital. As a result Google were able to identify which where the top 10 London locations for Night Sky photography!

Top 10 most popular Night Sky locations in London: 

  1. Tower Bridge
  2. The Shard
  3. The London Eye
  4. The Royal Observatory Greenwich
  5. South Bank
  6. St Paul’s Cathedral
  7. London Bridge
  8. Sky Garden
  9. The 02 Greenwich
  10. Millennium Bridge

So where have you been and are you going to take a look at the night sky tonight?

“Our research has shown that over 10% of Londoners can’t remember the last time they looked at the night sky. We want to inspire people to spend more time looking up at the stars. With enhanced Night Sight on the new Pixel 4, anyone can take incredible pictures of the galaxy – and where better to demonstrate this than in the UK’s tallest building, The Shard.” – Nick Clark, Product Manager for Google Pixel 4

“With so many people living in urban areas it may seem like our connection to the night sky is lost, but even in the glow of London lights the brightest stars, planets and the Moon can still be seen with the naked eye. These days we take photos of everything and it’s incredible that we can now capture the stars using just the smartphone technology in our pockets.”  – Tom Kerss, Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Google Pixel 4 Astrophotography – Photos

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AR Artwork Installed In London

Augemented Reality is taking the world by storm. Microsoft have Hololens and Apple are rumoured to be creating their own AR Headset. AR is live and readily available. So what best way to use AR other than Pokemon go? Some AR Artwork.

London based collective Frieze have launched, what may just be, the first augmented reality art exhibit. They have installed I guess you could say, a series of art sculptures in London’s Regent’s Park. All for visitors to enjoy and like through their smartphone screens.

The piece that is on show is by a South Korean artist called Koo Jeong A. It’s a series of floating ice slabs which hover in place. The artwork is said to be a comment on environmental concerns and have been built in AR by mixed reality art enabler Acure Art.

To view the artwork you will need the Acute Art App. (Linked below). The app is free so why not head down to Regent’s Park while the weather is still nice and get to see some rather cool artwork!

“I like the fact that we are introducing this object, this entity, into the most conventional and classical of environments – a royal park with statues.” Acute Art’s director Daniel Birnbaum

(Gizmodo / Guardian)

Acute Art – Apple / Android

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Red Bull World Championship 2019

Slovakia Wins Red Bull Escape Room World Championship in London

22 elite escape room teams flew in from around the world to take on the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship. The rooms were some of the world’s most challenging  never seen before escape rooms. It say a Slovakian team called Brainteaselava take the number 1 spot!

Brainteaselava and Croatian team TG 170 defeated 21 of the best teams from around the world in difficult qualifiers on the Friday before going head to head in ‘Omni’s Escape‘ which was deemed the world’s toughest escape room. The room was built specifically for he championship by escape room mastermind Dr Scott Nicholson and his team. Brainteaselava pipped TG 170 to the post by completing the room in 27mins and 16 seconds, 10minutes faster than their Croatian counterparts.

Red Bull World Championship

Teams from over 20 countries including UK, Australia, Germany, India, Estonia, USA and Brazil, all competed for the trophy. They qualified for the championship in unique qualifier events in their respective countries last year. The Semi Final saw teams undertake three custom built 10min challenges. These challenges were designed to determine who were the two fastest teams. These two teams would then go on to the final ‘Omni’s Escape’. Which was designed to take a look at players problem solving skills: creativity, logic, visual thinking, musicality, memory and strategy.

“It’s amazing. We haven’t been world champions yet so it’s a great feeling. It was really exciting across the whole two days, we didn’t know what to expect….We weren’t sure how well we did and the other team was really strong, but in the end it turns out we were faster, and the fastest!” Emil Haas from Brainteaselava.

“We are pretty satisfied with the results. We came up short but it doesn’t matter, we had a lot of fun and they deserved it, they were a better team than us for sure” Dominik Erbeznik from TG 170.

“With the World Finals this year we tackled an ethical question, does AI have rights? Omni is an AI agent that wants to leave White Hat Laboratories and we hope that players will think about this when they order their devices around! We also worked very hard this year to reduce the cultural bias around the escape room so that everyone had a chance to win.” Dr Scott Nicholson. 

Red Bull World Championship Timings

Red Bull Escape Room World Championship Finals Times:

  • 1- Slovakia – 27:16:85
  • 2- Croatia – 38:06:25

Red Bull Escape Room World Championship Semi-Finals Times:

  • 1- Croatia – 21:57:23
  • 2- Slovakia – 23:26:19
  • 3- Belgium – 23:34:91
  • 4- UK – 23:42:63
  • 5- Estonia – 23:42:98
  • 6- Greece – 24:09:61
  • 7- Latvia – 24:25:85
  • 8- France – 24:44:23
  • 9- USA – 25:06:98
  • 10- Wildcard – 25:44:74
  • 11- Brazil – 25:51:62
  • 12- Switzerland – 26:08:06
  • 13- Germany – 26:34: 20
  • 14- Portugal – 26:36:07
  • 15- Ukraine – 27:31:26
  • 16- Lithuania – 27:43:93
  • 17- Slovenia – 27:58:80
  • 18- Austria – 28:03:13
  • 19- Turkey – 28:04:05
  • 20- India – 28:32:08
  • 21- Australia – 20:08:41
  • 22- Russia – 29:38:93

More about Omni’s Escape here!

Follow the Red Bull Escape Room World Championship: Facebook, Twitter, Official Website

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Anvio VR

Multiplayer Madness in Virtual Reality – Anvio VR

Multiplayer Madness VR – Anvio VR

Recently we got invited down to Anvio VR UK a brand new 'VR Playground' that has opened up in London recently. They're brand new in London and opened in early 2018, so as lovers and enthusiasts of virtual reality and all things technology, we thought we'd head down and check it out!For more information please click here: book your own tickets please click here: website is here http://www.howtokillanhour.comOur podcast is here

Posted by How To Kill an Hour on Thursday, 3 May 2018

Recently we got invited down to Anvio VR a brand new ‘VR Playground’ that has opened up in London recently. They’re brand new in London and opened in early 2018, so as lovers and enthusiasts of virtual reality and all things technology, we thought we’d head down and check it out!

Unlike a lot of VR games or events this is an experience in which you’re allowed to play! Hence why they’re describing it as a playground! What we mean by play is that you’re free to move around. As you’re not confined to a small play area. So you get to run around a HUGE room and experience, quite literally, a whole new world!

In the worlds that Anvio VR have created you can run, jump and even wave to your partners whilst in the game, all that and much much more! Their play area is also fully wirless so there’s no worry about running into a wall or falling over wires. Thus creating a much more realistic and immersive experience. Plus there’s guides in the room, who are there to help prevent you from crashing into any walls, if you do manage to find your way to a wall that is!

Currently Anvio have two games available to play:

Anvio VR: City Z

This game lasts 45mins and is for a team of 4 ages 12 and up. You’re provided with an assault rifle or a mele weapon to play whilst in this game. The City Z gameplay mixes close quarter combat and full blown warfare. You’ll be thrown in to dark corridors and be aware if you’re afraid of heights! What are you fighting? An How To Kill An Hour favourite: ZOMBIES!

Anvio VR: Lost Sanctuary

This game too lasts 45mins and for a team of 4 ages 12 and up. Yet instead of action, this is a puzzle game and you got to focus on the traversing environment. You’ll be transported into an ancient abandoned city, your task is to find out more about the city and look for the treasure! As you’ll too be faced with combat and some heights!

To purchase tickets of your own to go and venture in multiplayer madness please click here!

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ViaVan: Uber Rival

So, it seems as though there’s a rival to Uber in London. However, it’s limited to ride shares only, no single riders here! It’s called ViaVan and it may be your next ride. It’s only available in Zones 1  & 2 in London, has a start offer of £3 a ride.

Developed by Mercedes-Benz and US start up based on Ride-Sharing ‘Via’ has launched in London to jump on the bad press that Uber has got and take some of it’s market share.

However it’s not quite what you think. It’s like Uber, but for a bus. But not a literal BUS. Like a mini version. (But not a minibus)

Instead of you opening up the app and looking for your ride. You open the app, summon a ride, like usual. However, you then have to wait while ViaVan calculates the demand for your route. Then it matches you  (Tinder anyone?!) with passengers that are also making that route at a similar time. Then instead of picking you up where your standing your told to go to a destination to wait. Then go on your ride with your new best friends! (However, we’re Brits so we won’t talk to one another and just awkwardly stare at the floor) Then your dropped off somewhere near your destination. Sounds bad ‘near’ but ViaVan promise that it won’t be a lengthy detour.

ViaVan: Value

ViaVan’s CEO Chris Snyder, told Business Insider that their drivers get a higher commission (they’re also limited in numbers) and take safety of their drivers seriously. The idea behind ViaVan is to reduce congestion and offer alternatives to public transport. He also belives that his model of riding sharing is much more sustainable than that of individual cab rides.

Drivers are said to receive 24/7 phone support and if you drive for them your driving hours are limited to 10 hours per day. Whilst also being eligible for a higher cut of the money received. ViaVan will only take 15% of commissions whilst Uber takes 20-15%.

Drivers should earn more, but that’s because their is less of them around. As it’s a ride sharing app there is less of a need for a huge number of drivers as your drivers are taking more passengers each trip. Whilst this means larger fares, depending on the amount of riders, it will be cheaper for the users but better in value for the driver.

To listen to the guys chatting about this please click here!

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Justice League Experience

Event: Justice League Experience!

Boosted Boards. How Far Can They Go?

We love our Boosted Board here at the office, it was a lovely day in London, so we thought we’d take it for a test!

Boosted Boards boast a full charge can reach up to 7 miles…so we charged one up and took it round one of London’s most scenic areas to find out!

Purchase a Boosted Board here!

UK’s HUGE Theme Park

The UK’s HUGE theme park which is £3.2 Billion development for a brownfield site on the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent, what’s currently an unused cement works will be transformed into a HUGE 872 acre park. That includes cinemas, restaurants, theatres, rollercoasters (of course) 3,500 hotel rooms, a development of the UK’s largest indoor water park and 14,000 parking spaces.

Tickets are estimated at a reasonable £57 and transport packages will be available as it’s next to Ebbsfleet international, which is 20mins away from St Pancras in London. London Resort Companies Holdings are behind the project and they were in partnership with Paramount, but now the deal is off the table but the development is still there to build rides based on Hollywood film franchises.

Building work (if the government approves plans which take 12-18months to approve) is planned to be undertook between 2019-2022 with doors opening in 2023.


BallieBallerson UPDATE

Last year we spoke about BallieBallerson well we went and experienced it this past week and it was a LOT of fun!

We went along to the Brunch event at Dalston which states on their website:

Saturday & Sunday Daytime 





BallieBallerson is an adult play pen set over two floors; the underground club is kitted out with 250k clear balls set upon an LED dancefloor.

Upstairs the bar is decorated with plasma balls and glow in the dark murals that are charged with UV light blasts whilst DJs spin funk and ragged house.

Cocktails are themed around the planets; Neptune is based on charcoal and liquid nitrogen; the helium rich Saturn is garnished with a floating balloon; and Uranus, which is undrinkable until you’ve eaten the Miracle Berry pill provided.

Buy a ticket for entry where you can enter and exit the ball pit as many times as you like in your time slot. 

79 Stoke Newington Road

N16 8AD

Open Tuesday to Sunday 



Buy tickets here!

Click here to listen to the guys chatting about this on the show!