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Hello, CNET readers and community members! We're on a roll and baaaacck with another edition of theseries. Today, I have a special treat. Coming to you from London, I have with me senior editor, Andrew Hoyle--a shutterbug, and snowboarder who has actually rented an owl (no joke.) If you visit CNET on regular basis, Andrew should be a familiar face. He's been doing phone reviews, has a ton of photos to his credit and hosts the CNET UK podcast plus a whole bunch of videos to boot. I tell ya, he's all over the place. Without any further delay, here is Mr. Hoyle:
Q: What's your job title and what do you do?
A: I am a Senior Editor for CNET. I'm on the reviews team, so part of my job is to test and rate the latest smartphones, along with attending the major European tech shows like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and IFA in Berlin. I'm also responsible for all the photography from our London office, which includes photoshoots of products we're reviewing as well as creating artwork for features to run online and in the quest to photograph wildlife in Scotland. I also host and produce the , which you should all go and listen to.. I produce various photo-led features too, my favourite of which was my
Q: What's a fun fact about you related to work?
A: I got my start at CNET as an intern and almost seven years later, I'm still here! Internships and work experience opportunities are incredibly valuable ways to learn by doing, and I'm immensely grateful for having that opportunity and for everything it led to.
Q: What is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of your job?
A: Developing an interesting concept for a photoshoot and then working out how I can actually pull it off. Some of the shoots I've done have been pretty ambitious on paper and required a lot of effort to accomplish. I shot the multi-million dollarrecently -- I had an idea for the shot I wanted, and getting it involved a police escort to cordon off an area of the city, not to mention a lot of convincing Bugatti to have the car there. I breathed a big sigh of relief when I saw I'd got the shots I was after!
Q: Besides your phone, what's the most influential tech item in your life?
A: Definitely my camera. Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 12 years old, and I'm lucky enough to have that passion be a significant part of my career.
Q: What does it mean to be a good tech product?
A: Any good product needs to do what it's supposed to without failing. There's nothing more frustrating than a product that just stops working for no apparent reason. Why does my phone's Bluetooth suddenly unpair from my car? Why does my router suddenly stop giving out Wi-Fi? Why does my Xbox constantly need an update? Infuriating.
Q: Favorite CNET tech tip?
A: If it doesn't work, turn it off and on again. If it still doesn't work, swear at it. If it still doesn't work, go out for a beer and hope it's fixed itself by the time you get back.
Q: When you grow up, what do you want to be?
A: Do I have to grow up?
Q: When you have some alone time, what would you be doing?
A: I write and play a lot of my own music on guitar so I try to play at least an hour or so each day. I play drums and piano, too, but those are a little more difficult to fit in my central London flat!
Q: What's your favorite CNET video?
A: My favourite video I've made would be the time I put a barn owl up against the DJI Phantom 4 drone to see which is better at flying. I had to drive 300 miles to the beautiful Peak District in England and had rented a trained owl from a local handler. The bird won hands down and was rewarded with a lovely mouse for its troubles. I had a hard time explaining to our finance department why I was expensing a receipt for "owl rental."
Q: What's your favorite TV show?
A: "Friends." I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the plots and scripts and never shy away from an opportunity to battle someone in a "Friends" trivia quiz. Other than that I really love twee British comedies like "Father Ted," "Vicar of Dibley" and "The Good Life."
Q: Soup or salad? Why that and not the other?
A: Neither. I tend to skip starters so I have more room for a dessert. Or two. I'll always check the dessert menu before ordering my main course -- I don't want to be too full to order something deliciously chocolatey.
Q: Favorite and most ridiculous app ever downloaded?
A: Pokemon Go is definitely ridiculous, as is the fact that I'm still playing every day a year after it launched, even when it seems like everyone else has given up. I still find it a lot of fun and love heading out for a few miles' walk every day to try and hatch some eggs and catch some local critters.
Q: If you had to pick a place right now, where would you want to be?
A: I adore Italy, in particular the beautiful, rural areas like Tuscany. I'd sit out on a lovely terrazza, a glass of locally made wine in my hand, some fresh bread, tomatoes and olive oil and just watch as the sun casts those long, golden shadows across the countryside. Then, in the winter, I'll head to the mountains to go snowboarding. I love snowboarding.
Q: What is in your pocket right now?
A: In my left pocket; my wallet, the new Nokia 5 smartphone and about £1.50 in change. In my right; half a pack of blackcurrant Chewits (do you have those in the US? They're brilliant), an SD card from my camera and what I'm pretty sure are biscuit crumbs, although I don't recognise the brand from the crumb alone. Possibly a custard cream, although why I'd put one in my pocket is anyone's guess.
Q: What is your favorite quote and why?
A: "Andrew, please be sensible for just a moment." I heard it first from my mum and word must have spread because I've since heard it from my teachers, my friends and my bosses at CNET. It's advice I rarely take.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: I'm a big fan of Italian food, but I'm also a sucker for a good steak. Many at CNET will remember the time at MWC when a restaurant we visited neglected to specify "a starter and a main course" in their two-courses-for-£15 deal, meaning I was able to order -- and eat -- two steaks for my meal. It was a good day.
Q: What makes you happy?
A: The 7-foot-wide print of a happy golden retriever on my living room wall. Yes, I'm serious.
Well folks, there you have it: Andrew Hoyle! I hope you enjoyed his Q&A and learned more about him. If you love photography, play Pokemon Go and are non-sensible, you'd probably be BFFs in no time. ;-D
Got questions for Andrew, like wanting to know how to rent an owl or if he got a chance to take the Bugatti Chiron for a spin? Hit him up in the comments section. Thank you, Andrew, for your time, and thank you all for reading!