Five things on Friday #131

Things of note for the week ending Friday 3rd July, 2015.

LOOK AT MY THINGS

1. THE LOST ART OF READING
I read a post this week, entitled ‘‘Marginalia’, the ‘anti-library’, and other ways to master the lost art of reading’ – and it actually made me want to read even more.

I’ve got the Kindle app on my iPad and on my phone too but bizarrely this had made me want to purchase a hardware Kindle so that my reading isn’t constantly interrupted by incessant notifications (mono-tasking FTW, yo).

Give it a read, see how/if it inspires you to read more too.

2. FACEBOOK EXPERIMENTS(?)
This has been everywhere of late (so much so that I was very close to not including it – this list is here to show you new things, yes?) but it’s still super interesting.

reainbows

After last week’s [phenomenal] decision by the US Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right, Facebook profiles everywhere turned awash with rainbow colours.

Facebook itself made it possible for its users to, in just one click, create a rainbow-variant of their profile photos.

h5Vt35

It didn’t take long for the more cynical network anthropologists to start joking about how it could be all be one big Facebook experiment.

For me, there are perhaps two schools of thought here:

FIRST: Mark Zuckerberg wears his political beliefs on his sleeve. The drive for equality and openness has been an underlying driver of all things Facebook since its inception (to its own detriment at times) and while it’s easy to dismiss it as ‘just another data test’, ‘you are the product’, etc etc – it’s not often such hidden motives are so well thought about.

Consider:

‘Hey guys! SCOTUS just announced that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right!’

‘What?! NO WAY!’

cue: campus-wide cheering

‘Guys! I’ve made this thing, look!’

*one click changes to rainbow*

‘That’s awesome – roll it out!’

We’ve seen how Facebook can get over-excited by its own inventions before. And I totally buy that this could be how it happened. It may have had the feature on the back burner for such a day or it may have even made it for PRIDE and the SCOTUS decision gave it the uber-amplification nudge that it needed. Who knows.

SECOND: With all the data collected from this service-wide (ish) photo u[date (and given all research conducted to date – see also ‘Dunbar’s Number’), you know that Facebook will absolutely be using this latest spike in mass-user profile change to further its ongoing research into networked behaviour and the effects therein.

So in answer to the question ‘Was the whole thing a social experiment or not?’ I propose the answer of ‘No it wasn’t, but the accidental data thereafter will certainly be analysed as if it was.

And why not?

In a world where slacktivism is encouraged/challenged depending on your opinion, knowing if a simple profile photo change contributed to any profound effect to the way users both interacted with its platform as well as each other, makes a very interesting white paper indeed.

Let’s just hope Facebook publishes it.

The Atlantic has more.

3. THE WALTZER KICK-STARTER
Nigel Edginton-Vigus has been capturing fairground art for over twenty years. Not just any old fairground art mind, specifically the art of the The Waltzer.

wlatzer

As Nigel himself explains in his Kickstarter video, the art of the Waltzer is actually quite surprising (covering everything from Will Smith to Hellraiser to Marilyn Monroe) and while the photography itself looks excellent, it’s the history of these rides that interests me the most.

‘What’s that love? You want another art book for the coffee table? Will do!’

Check it.

4. THE PRESS RELEASE IS DEAD
No, really.

I’ve known Mike Butcher for years. Editor at large of TechCrunch Europe nee UK and at the forefront of the tech / startup bleeding edge, the man has to deal with a LOT PR pitches.

And a lot of them are awful.

Mike is proposing a new system in its place.

In PR? Read this.

Ps. That smart lad Ben Matthews has gone and templated it for you too. What a ledge.

5. READ THIS
At the top of this week’s FTOF I extolled the virtures of reading.

Do me/yourself a favour and start with this heart-wrenching piece by Guardian US Correspondent, Gary Younge, ‘Farewell to America‘.

essential reading

Powerful. Moving. Saddening.

It’s the best thing I’ve read all week.

_________________________________

– – – Bonuses – – –

There are LOADS of bonuses this week, what will you do with all of this bonus goodness? Read it, maybe? Or just simply open in a new tab and only return to it in about a fortnight? Who knows what you’ll do. Either way, here that are:

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut is, as the name implies, a new cut of the most recent X-movie with all of the previously cut Anna Paquin footage re-edited into the film, it’s coming to Blu-ray later this month and, as is the norm for these kinds of things, the first clips are appearing online. Worth a look.
  • The Greek Bailout in charts.
  • Stop saying ‘just’ (try it).
  • Here in the UK, we’ve been basking in MENTAL SUNSHINE all week. It’s gorgeous. If you’re enjoying the summer, then here’s the Spotify playlist you’ve been waiting for.
  • These backstage Hollywood photos are lush.

Right, that’s me done.

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE.

weekend

 

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Five things on Friday #130

Things of note for the week ending Friday June 26th, 2015.

THE THINGS THE THINGS

Batman: Arkham Knight is out this week and, aside from a few STUPID install issues, it’s a pretty solid game. So yeah, get it.

Right, on with the things!

___

1. FACEBOOK’S NEW AD UNIT(S)
Two interesting new things from Facebook this week. First is a new 360 / interactive ad unit which, if you ignore the terrible Michael Kors example shown, could be used quite well in regards to STORY-TELLING and stuff.

Check it:

facebookad

Re/code has the write up.

Moving on…

If you’ve ever heard of Lead Generation Twitter Cards (here’s a handy guide on how to set them up – you’re welcome) then you’ll know that they can be quite useful for… generating leads / email addresses etc (e.g.: if you just happen to run a semi-successful newsletter and are constantly looking for new ways to sign people up).

Well, the news is, it looks like that Facebook wants a piece of that action and is following suit with its own lead gen unit.

facebook-lead-gen-ads-hed-2015

While this is only in test phase at the moment it’s quite good to see further parity between these two social platforms. And hey, it’s ANOTHER WAY TO TARGET YOU.

This time around, Adweek has the write up.

2. THAT RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK STORY
You’ve all heard about it. You must’ve done. You know the one I mean, right? The way that the thing that was scripted got changed on the day by another thing that was unscripted. You know?

No?

Well, here it is, direct from the director himself.

(I love this).

3. MACCY D’S MCBIKES
Say what you want about McDonald’s (secrets and everything) but sometimes they come up with some really interesting bits and bobs that are actually quite handy.

Example? This ‘McBikes’ packaging that’s just been launched in Argentina.

mcbikes

Super simple. Super smart.

I like.

Source.

 

4. SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE
No seriously. Sit down. This might be the most amazing thing you read this week.

Ready?

I’m not kidding.

Seriously.

OK.

SCIENTIST’S HAVE DISCOVERED A NEW PART OF THE HUMAN BODY.

100% not kidding.

Why this isn’t bigger news, I don’t know.

Researchers at University of Virginia’s School of Medicine recently discovered a long-hidden system of vessels they’ve coined the “central nervous system lymphatic vessels,” which drain lymphatic fluid from the brain to the surrounding lymph nodes.

And:

This find is the neuroimmunological version of stumbling across a unicorn. Not only had the system gone undiscovered until now, but textbooks argued against its very existence. As a result, neuroimmunologists have struggled to understand the mechanisms of brain drainage and inflammation.

Still amazing.

BRAIN

Mind. Blown.

It’s hardly worth carrying on.

But I will.

For you, dear reader.

For you.

5. TALES OF GLASTONBURY, 1989
The weekend of the UK’s biggest festival is upon us (no, I’m not going – been a few times though – much fun, foggy memories, etc) and to celebrate, I thought I’d share this awesome photo set from Dylan Martinez of Reuters.

glasto2

glasto1

Photos courtesy of Reuters.

—–

Bonuses this week are as follows:

See you next week.

Ps. Liked this? Tell a friend.

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Five things on Friday [on Sunday] #129

Apologies for the delay this week – zero dead time plus Father’s Day weekend meant there were many many other things to do before I could get to these things.

Shall we?

Things of note for the week ending Friday June 19th, 2015.

Cat things

1. ZOO KEEPERS OF JURASSIC WORLD

JW

I saw Jurassic World last week and, aside from the EPIC PRODUCT PLACEMENT throughout, it’s actually a very good summer blockbuster (and absolutely well worth seeing at the cinema).

Now that the movie is on general release, some lovely little memes are popping up, such as this lovely little one entitled ‘Zoo Keepers Posing Like Chris Pratt‘.

LOOK!

jurassic-zoo-02

So much fun.

PS. Even my friends are getting in on the act.

PPS. There’s a cool ‘Making of’ video re the animatronics said uber sequel. That’s pretty good too.

2. VIDEO ROYALE (MORE PROOF)
When the end of the year rolls around and Marshall Manson and I have to see how many of our 2015 trend predictions came true, we’ll be able to point to the bad boy below as yet another piece of evidence to support the social media platform ‘Video Royale’.

Autoplay_videos_on_Twitter

That’s right, Twitter has rolled out Autoplay.

3. CHEAPS BY DRE

beats

Own Beats headphones?
They saw you coming, man.

In these headphones, 30% of the weight comes from four tiny metal parts that are there for the sole purpose of adding weight. [It is] estimated that the COGS without labor or shipping is $16.89 – yet Beats is able to successfully retail these headphones for $199+. This is the power of brand.

Ouch.

4. TAXIDERMY
Ever wondered what happens at the World Taxidermy Championships?

(Yes, they’re an actual thing)

Wonder no more.

5. STEALING TIME
A guide (that I practice), by Warren Ellis.

___________

Bonuses this week are things that have genuinely made my jaw drop:

IMG_20150617_091837

Until next week.

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Jurassic World of Brands

Saw Jurassic World.

It’s pretty good.

Funny in the right places, cheesy when it needs to be (and knows it) and with enough careful nods to the original to make it a very satisfying watch indeed.

In short: JW gets the JW seal of approval.

One thing though.

Like most blockbusters these days, there is a large amount of product placement. Everything from our hero’s drink of choice, to the sponsorship of the ‘innovation exhibit’ at the park itself. Again, the film is aware of this and even makes a joke of it during a pre-action sub-plot.

But.

THIS IS ACTUALLY A THING THAT LEGITIMATELY HAPPENS IN THE FILM:

1. Dino does Sea World
This scene (that’s been in every trailer) of an ancient dinosaur doing the Sea World thing for the park’s guests. It’s great!

Shark dino

2. Cue: big splash and soaked audience.
See? Totally doing the Sea World thing.

splash

3. Our two young leads have an awesome time!

wow

So much of a great time in fact that the elder one turns to the younger one and exclaims:

‘Wow!’
‘That was so cool!’, replies his little brother.
‘Want to see something really cool?’
‘Yeah!’

And, I KID THEE NOT, the film cuts to:

4. Introducing the Mercedes Benz GLE Coupe!

MERC SHOT

Straight up.

Not kidding.

Absolutely this is what happens.

Jurassic World is a great film but free of product placement it is not. Laugh at it when you see it and you’ll have a fantastic time.

 

 

Ps. This film is not for kids.

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Five things on Friday #128

Things of note for the week ending Friday June 12th, 2015.

5TOF

1. ENGINEERS IN THE MIST
Regular readers will know how much of a passion I have for the words that appear on the website social-creature (the author of said words isn’t so bad either) however, the latest post ‘Engineers in the Mist‘ covers five days of hanging out with the startup millennials of San Francisco; their loves,  lives, passions, desires, sexual habits, and more.

Example:

We wake up in a Mongolian yurt. It’s sunny and warm out here in Colfax, and we are sitting by a pool waiting for breakfast as hawks fly overhead.

People are talking about working at pre / post IPO companies as different career strategies; “making money off the speculation;” “upside.” People are talking about deciding whether to work at Stripe, Slack, Reddit. People are talking about strategically deciding to work at a series B company; “career scoping.”

This is how people talk. And oddly it already feels less grotesque than it did yesterday. We become accustomed to things. These are just the elements of their actual lives. They can’t help it any more than you or I can help the inevitable echo chambers of our lives. We are all stuck in our own myopias.

A better insight into this absurd life of the cali-culture perhaps there has never been.

Honestly, this is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

2. THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM

THE CREW OF AWESOME

Back in the day, four crazy mobile geeks used to a weekly half hour show about the most exciting things happening in mobile technology that week (seriously, it’s nuts when you think about it now).

The trio of presenters (above) were Ben Smith, yours truly, and Dan Lane. We each had our specific areas of expertise and for the latter, Dan, his thing was being a back end kinda guy. He knew, loved, and worked in the tech that went into the actual telecommunications business.

Such was the breadth and passion of Dan’s techno-know-how, he once actually tried to set up his own mobile network.

Not. Kidding.

This is his story.

3. HANNIBAL
So Hannibal is back on TV. Season 3 kicked off in the UK this week and, of course, it is AMAZING.

If you want to know why it’s so good, just go and watch it (see item 3 in FOTF #77 for my last ZOMG HANNIBAL IS AMAZING outburst) but that’s not why it’s here this week. No no.

To celebrate the return of this incredible show, some genius (also ridiculously in love with this fantastic series) over at Grantland has gone and made a mini Hannibal colouring book.

And it’s awesome.

hannibal_lecter

hannibal_cello1

IMAGE

The My Little Pony is a nice touch.

4. BLACKBOARDS
This is wonderful.

blackboards

While undergoing renovations last week, workers at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a surprising discovery: when removing several old chalkboards they found an even older set of chalkboards hidden in the walls. Apparently the school didn’t remove or even bother to erase the oldest boards they replaced back in 1917, leaving various lessons and illustrations untouched for nearly a century.

I have no more to add. Just go and look at the pictures.

5. WATER TOWERS

postcard_benfleet_115__Medium_ (1)

I spent my childhood admiring the water tower in the above photo but not once did I ever stop to wonder how it work or what it was for (instead opting to create large drawn out fantasy fiction stories about how evil wizards and dragons lived therein).

Fortunately, Mental Floss have answered the question I’ve never asked:

Exactly how do Water Towers work?

____________________________

Bonuses this week are as follows:

  • APPLE STUFF AND NONSENSE

Is Apple Music / Beats 1 the end of radio/Spotify? No, of course not. Is Apple Pay coming to the UK a massive deal? No, of course not. But if these things are of interest to you, then please, by all means, go and listen to the latest episode of the five star rated podcast, The Voicemail.

  • MEX SHATTERED DREAMS

The actual name of this piece is called ‘shattered images’ but I prefer my title. Whatever. This is taken from the MEX newsletter (an excellent read) and covers a core 21st century issue for the clumsy and the unlucky. Give it a go.

  • AMAZON STUDIOS FINDS DON QUIXOTE

Terry Gilliam is at last being given the opportunity to create the forever-unfinished cinematic work of ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’. I’m including this piece of news for two reasons. One, this is great news (I love Gilliam and his work); two, if you haven’t seen it then please do seek out the documentary about his last [failed] attempt to make said film, Lost in La Mancha.

 

Right then, the weekend is here.

GO GET IT!

GO GET IT

 

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