3D Printing THORN from Destiny

This is a super-nerdy post that encompasses online gaming, 3D-printing, and one awesome kick-ass summer project for one awesome kick-ass gamer.

You have been warned.

Still here? OK!

There’s a game I play on my PlayStation 4.

It’s called DESTINY.

Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 20.14.50

It’s a team game and it is awesome to play online with friends. There was a gun in the previous version (aka ‘year one’/vanilla Destiny, we’re now into year two, The Taken King (which is awesome btw, you should get it)) that everybody hated.

It was called THORN.

It looks like this:


The weapon still exists in-game (but was nerfed for year two) and was, for most of the first year of Destiny, the bane of many a player. If you completed the epic quest to get said gun (and used it when playing other people online) you were not liked at all.

Why? It was a two hit kill, with a sniper-rifle-like range and poison-laced bullets.

It was a horrid, horrid gun.

My friends hated it.

I hated it.

So, when you really want to say a proper cheeky but really massive thank you to someone you play with online for being an awesome Destiny gamer over the past year or so, what better gift to get them than the 3D-printed model of the gun they hate most?


This is how it happened.

I work at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and, fortunately for me, as part of Ogilvy Group UK, we get access to the awesome people that work at Ogilvy Labs.

Ogilvy Labs just so happen to have a 3D printer.

An Ultimaker 2, to be precise.

This one, in fact.


After chasing it down in the building (things can wander) it transpired that my mate Jon just so happened to be looking after it.

‘Could you do me a favour, Jon?’

‘Sure man, send me the files and let me have a look and we’ll see.’

Fortunately, 3D print files can be found relatively easily online (why charge for something that you need a £2,000 machine to print in the first place, right?) and so after a short spot of Googling, I found the files on My Mini Factory (free sign up to download but if you’re REALLY lazy, I’ve saved them for you right here).

Jon reckoned he could do it but asked that I bought my own plastic. The exact type required for our machine was 3mm PLA 100m coil. Faberdashery is a pretty good website for this kinda stuff and for £24, it had exactly what I needed.

A few days later, we were in business.


And Jon (and his man, Lorenzo) got to work.

A few weeks later… this appeared.


This is the barrel of the gun known as THORN.

It took a few hours and the other parts, according to the experts, were definitely going to take longer. That is, if they worked out at all. The printer was used to much smaller jobs you see and they’d never put it through its paces like this before.

But the thing about Ogilvy folk, they’re a tad determined…

Two weeks later, I had a call from Jon.

‘Can you pop down, mate. I wanna show you something.’

And he did.


Amazing, right?


The whole thing looked fantastic and, to top it off (and something I didn’t spot when I downloaded the files) you could put an elastic band inside so that the trigger would actually work with the hammer as a faux firing mechanism.


Eleven separate parts, two of which can move together, printed over several days and we were almost there.

OK, so maybe only halfway there.

The other thing that you need to create something like this is access to some artistic talent. Someone who could turn their hand to a project like this and be almost guaranteed outstanding results.

I happen to know that someone.

And this is what she did…

Step one: disassemble and spray paint the base layer.


Step two: reassemble and admire handy work.


Step three: apply black paint.


Step four: scratch black paint away (to get the rugged, worn away / grubby look the gun sports in-game).


Step five: Add a dash of green to the ‘eyes’ for the poison and…


You may now sit back and admire your handy work.



Isn’t it gorgeous?

It made me very, very happy.

Thank you to Jon, Lorenzo, and Annabelle. You have made a gamer named Phil very, very happy indeed.

That My Mini Factory link above has this gun, fully printed and painted for $299. It cost me £24 and two fairly large favours [pending].

Yeah, I’d say that worked out alright.



If you have a PS4 and play Destiny, feel free to add me on PSN. ‘Whatleydude’ is the handle (of course) and you should definitely, definitely seek out the gaming clan ‘MidlifeGamer’ – a nicer bunch of gaming men and women I never did meet.

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Five things on Friday #144

Things of note for the week ending Friday 2nd October, 2015.


Hello, welcome to October (I know we’re a day in but seriously – it’s my second/third favourite month of the year and it’s already gorgeous and lovely and generally just quite awesome) – I hope you have a good one.

No, not this one.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'They're going to  say I aided our enemies' - video interview

This one.


Thing is, no one told HLN News.

In this epic piece of trolling, ‘Snowden supporter’ Jon Hendren is asked to give his opinions on Edward Snowden joining Twitter. But Jon had other ideas…

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 16.20.39


Well done, Jon.





He’s a mardy bugger, isn’t he?

Admittedly I haven’t seen it yet but, on the strength of the absolutely stonking reviews it’s been getting, Macbeth has jumped straight to the top of my MUST SEE list which I’ll aim to tick off by the close of the weekend.

So yeah, you should too.

Brain Pickings is one of the best websites I subscribe to and I have NO IDEA how the author keeps it going with such endlessly interesting content. The piece I’m highlighting for you today is is relatively short (for BP at least) and looks into the science of why we sleep and what happens inside our brains when get our snooze on.

Worth a look.

Ps. Want more/better sleep? The screen you’re reading this on is not helping.
Pps. Cracking insomnia.

I say ‘bans’, what I mean is ‘has banned the two companies’ respective TV streaming products, aka Chromecast and Apple TV, from being sold anywhere on Amazon’.

Gizmodo reports:

Third party sellers just received an email from Amazon with orders to clear out their Google Chromecast and Apple TV inventories by October 29. The more specific reason for the purge is the fact that Chromecast and Apple TV don’t support Amazon Prime Instant Video. Nevermind the fact that Amazon sells the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, two products that compete directly with Chromecast and Apple TV. Amazon wants everyone to know that it has the customers’ best interests in mind.

Well ain’t that swell.

You kinda get why it made the decision to do this (Gizmodo spell it out clearly enough above); at the end of the day it’s a business decision. However depriving consumers of choice never really worked out for anyone. Thing is, it’s not like Amazon banned the sales of iPhones and Android devices when it launched the Amazon Fire Phone. But then again, the Fire Phone is probably Amazon’s biggest embarrassment to date.

And I’m certain this TV decision isn’t a petty way to get back at the big kids that sell more phones than Amazon does… right?

Of course not.


This week, in ridiculous Facebook stories (no, not video profile photos – which I’m not even linking to because I’m sure you’ve all done it already, I mean, this guy’s nailed it), the big blue behemoth will soon let you create your own legacy content.

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 17.03.20

Yes, that’s a thing now. LEGACY. CONTENT.

Snark aside for a second this is actually a good thing. We are mere flesh and bone and alas, our tiny containers of liquid and emotion only really have an 80 year (ish) shelf life. Some of us may never know when our time will come. Others will be given notice. Either way, the end result is as saddening as it is inevitable.

We will not live forever.

I will die some day.

You will too.

If that deafening dose of reality doesn’t wake you from your screen-staring slumber, then I don’t know what will. Hug your loved ones tonight and embrace every day.

And when you’ve done that, update the new legacy content section of your Facebook profile so your friends and loved ones can all remember your personally edited history of your best bits. It’ll be like your own version of the ‘here’s who died this year’ section at the BAFTAs.

Thanks Facebook.

Speaking of which, this should be relevant to anyone who has considered unfriending a few family members this week…




Bonuses this week are all surprises in their own unique way.


Whatley out.

Ps. This made me smile, much.

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 07.56.59

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Five things on Friday #143

Things of note for the week ending Friday 25th September, 2015.


I’ve not been well this week. Not at all. Which has meant I’ve not really been online that much… Which means FTOF will be a bit lighter this week. I’m sure you won’t mind. Y’know, it’s not like EVERY OTHER PERSON WANTS TO SEND YOU EMAILS / NEWSLETTERS / BLOG POSTS ON FRIDAY BECAUSE HEY IT’S FRIDAY, ISN’T THIS AWESOME etc… is it?

I’m also sleepy (ill = not sleeping much either, bah). Good news is, I’m on the road to recovery. Better news is, I am scheduled to be taking annual leave today. That means that you get this written to you Friday morning fresh – and not Friday night/Saturday morning rushed.


Right then, shall we?


Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 09.24.48

You know the AMAZING and SPECTACULAR Rosetta mission to the comet known as 67P? You must know it… It’s been a helluva journey so far.

First there was the ten years its taken for the thing to get there. TEN. YEARS. That’s 6.4 billion kilometres. Then there’s the whole actually rendezvousing with a comet in actual space part whichi is the equivalent of throwing a small car at a floating piece of rock from about 800 million miles away, with one eye, while you’re looking in the other direction. THEN (and you must remember this) we nearly lost the landing probe (little Philae!) back in November for it to suddenly woke up over the summer (this link is an update on that btw). And now… there’s more!

This week, the Rosetta spacecraft provided scientists with enough evidence to prove the existence of a weather system on Comet 67P.



The team studied a set of data taken in September 2014, concentrating on a one square km region on the comet’s neck. At the time, the comet was about 500 million km from the Sun and the neck was one of the most active areas.

As the comet rotates, taking just over 12 hours to complete a full revolution, the various regions undergo different illumination.

“We saw the tell-tale signature of water ice in the spectra of the study region but only when certain portions were cast in shadow,” says Maria Cristina.

“Conversely, when the Sun was shining on these regions, the ice was gone. This indicates a cyclical behaviour of water ice during each comet rotation.”

The data suggest that water ice on and a few centimetres below the surface ‘sublimates’ when illuminated by sunlight, turning it into gas that then flows away from the comet. Then, as the comet rotates and the same region falls into darkness, the surface rapidly cools again.

Best. Thing. This. Week.



Hey! Wait! Don’t go anywhere! Before you click off and think ‘Oh my God, Whatley’s been hacked’ – stay there! I’m being serious…

Aaron Bleyaert published this handy guide back in February but for some reason it only really seemed to go viral get itself  internetty famous this week.

I promise you: it is fantastic and easily the best thing you’ll read today/this week/this month/this year about how to go actually lose weight.


Got a website? Write things? Do you visit websites and sometimes read things? Well, if you’ve said yes to any of those questions you’ve probably seen the ‘Tweet!’ button.

This week, Twitter announced it was changing that button!

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 10.05.59

(old, left – new, right)

‘BUT THIS ISN’T NEWS, JAMES!’ – I hear you cry in unison.

Actually, it kinda is.

Hidden away in Twitter’s community announcement about this ‘minor’ change was this tiny bit of detail. Emphasis mine.

“Tweet buttons make authoring a Tweet from the context of a current webpage quick and easy. We are simplifying the Tweet button by removing the share counter displayed alongside the button. This new display removes the count and counturl display parameters, and will render in the same pixel dimensions as a Tweet button configured without a share count today.

The Tweet button has displayed share count over the last five years by querying a JSON endpoint hosted on various domains. These private JSON endpoints have been used by third-party developers over the years to retrieve a simple share count of any URL. These endpoints [read: ways to gather share counts from articles] will be shut down next month when the Tweet button removes its share count feature.

People are not happy.

Thing is, Twitter changing a useful tool/piece of code that other users/developers had come to rely on should really not longer come as any kind of surprise.

The real question is: why doesn’t Twitter want you to know how many people are sharing articles through its platform?

One to noodle on.

‘Bored students is the least of it’ writes Andrew Smith ‘the bullet point-ization of information is making us stupid and irresponsible’ – the man has a point.

On the classroom, he adds:

‘Where the space around and between points on a blackboard is alive with possibility, the equivalent space on a PP screen is dead. Bullet points enforce a rigidly hierarchical authority, which has not necessarily been earned. One either accepts them in toto, or not at all. And by the time any faulty logic is identified, the screen has been replaced by a new one as the speaker breezes on, safe in the knowledge that yet another waits in the wings.’

And that really struck a chord with me.

In school, there was never any PowerPoint. There may’ve been the occasional use of an overhead-projector (‘James, could you run and fetch the OHP?’ – memories!) but never PowerPoint. We even had one teacher (economics) who told us that our exercise books were for homework and that we were never to open them in class. Instead lecturing us on the structure of a free market and how supply and demand really works…

When I reached college none of my lecturers used PowerPoint. NONE. All of them spoke to us and lectured us on the topic(s) we’d arrived to hear about.

Later in life, when I had to give public presentations/speeches for an on behalf of the company/ies that I worked for, I constantly argued against the need for PowerPoint. I hated it. I convinced myself I had a fear of it (which I then got over) but wherever possible, have since tried to not use any kind of bullet system and instead rely on pretty pictures of animals as talking points. I’m not kidding – this actually works.

Point being: go and read Smith’s article.

I’d love to know what you think.

Item four: moans about bullets. Item five: here’s a list of bullets. Ha! But they’re not bullets, they’re a collection of paragraphs of things wot i wrote during Social Media Week London 2015. All collected up and published, by request, on the Guardian.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 10.34.25

The above link there is a main overview of the main trends spotted as gleaned from the talks available to attend. It is also an edited down version of a longer article examining how ‘Social Media Week: the week long event of social media fun’ is transforming/has transformed into ‘Social Media Week: The Conference’. It’s less of a five day celebration of all things social and more a three-day business summit focused on brands, agencies, and platforms.

The content has improved enormously because of it but, since the article went live yesterday, I’m left wondering if the event will ultimately lose some of its magic in the process.


Bonuses this week are as follows:


Big love to all of you… and if you liked this edition, tell your friends.

Have a stellar Friday/weekend folks,

Whatley out.



Five things on Friday [on Saturday] #142

Things of note for the week ending Friday September 18th, 2015.


Morning. It’s 6:36am on Saturday Sept 19th and I’m writing this to you from my bed. It has been a HELL of a week but as Churchill said ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ – we kept going this week and we made it through.

If you’ve had a tough week/fortnight/month (delete where appropriate), I salute you. Take solace in the thought that you are not alone and that you are, at least I hope you are, enjoying the respite of the weekend.

In last week’s edition, web readers may of caught an amendment. Item one in FTOF 141 was supposed to be a provocative look at the truth behind online video (and now is so if you missed it, go read it). Newsletter readers however would’ve seen item one read something like ‘Paperdashery, do this on Thursday’ – congrats/apologies to those of you that caught that.

In short, I had made a note to myself to do a thing as item – and then work got crazy so I couldn’t do the thing. Then I forgot about the note to myself about the thing and then the next thing I know I’d hit send and well, the rest is history. Three people unsubscribed.

Costly costly mistakes…

Here’s what item one should’ve looked like 😉

It’s quite nice being a blogger / newsletter writer with a blog/newsletter that people read. People send you stuff. Pancakes to eat, muffins to try, phones to review (although that takes place on the podcast these days). And this past week something new turned up at the office…


(I work at Ogilvy London, wanna send me something? Send it there – it’ll get to me).

Check this out:


That’s right, it’s an ORIGAMI BATMAN.

Oh heeeeeeey…

Anyway, this arrived on my desk from the lovely Gude from Paperdashery, a new service for all things super pretty. And the reason Gude was getting in touch is because…



I have to tell you to go check it out – and to keep it front of mind when you’re next on the hunt for something a bit different for that someone special BECAUSE GUDE SENT ME A PAPER BATMAN.


Go check it out please.




Probably my best/favourite read of the week. Glenn Greenwald over on The Intercept discussing the BBC’s continual scrutiny of ‘one’s own side’.


That event for me demonstrated a critical point: It’s so fun — and so easy — to highlight and protest the bad acts done by the countries declared to be the Bad Ones by your own government. It’s not quite as fun or easy to highlight and protest the bad acts done by your own government itself or its closest allies. Yet as O’Brien pointed out, journalism is far more valuable, and the public interest served far more, by doing the latter rather than the former.

Go read the whole thing.

Oh you want to buy the latest shoes/games/gig tickets only to then sell them on again on ebay? Well, some people have had enough.

Ovo Nike

Want to purchase a pair of uber limited edition OVO x Air Jordan 10s? That’s FINE. They just have to be on your feet when you leave the store.

I’m not so much of a shoe nut that this would bother me but I know that some of you are. What do you think? Good thing or bad thing?

I’m landing in the former…

Joe Quesada is one of the world’s most famous comic book people. Editor, writer, and artist, Quesada has had his hand in many of the biggest and best comic books of recent history.

Now enjoying his retirement, Quesada’s blog is an absolutely joy.

This week he wrote about ‘that time we tried to get Neil Gaiman to come write for Marvel’ – and not only is it awesome. But he also drops some never before seen Wolverine art with it.

What a guy.

He writes:

“Here’s a never before seen sequence that was never meant for publication.

Sometime around 2001-2002 we were in secret conversations with Neil to do a project or two for us at Marvel. Neil is a dear friend and around that time we were tossing around the idea of a possible X-Men story that he would write and I would draw. 

In my zeal to try to land one the best comic writers of all time, I wrote and drew this three page vignette, had it inked (Danny Miki), colored and lettered and sent it off to Neil to let him know how badly we wanted him at the House Of Ideas. What can I say, I was excited. Unfortunately the lettered version and the original script have been lost, and I barely remember what I wrote, but I believe the basic gist of the story was… 

Wolverine addresses Neil directly. He points out how blank the panels are and how empty his world is and that Neil needs to stop dawdling and get to work because those panels aren’t going to fill themselves. Wolvie continues harassing Neil, goes to light his cigar, realizes it’s a nasty habit and that there’s no smoking in Marvel Comics and stomps it out. He then holds up a Marvel Comic, makes references to the Editor in Chief being a big loser, unwraps his hands, pops the claws and then says something snarky as he leaves the scene.

Regrettably the timing didn’t work out for either of us on the X-Men project but Neil later came up with 1602, which was outstanding and he ended up with a much better artist in the process, Andy Kubert.”

I’ve got 1602 and it’s ACE – so this just makes me beam from ear to ear.

Oh, and the art work is mint.




What a guy.


Bonuses this week are as follows:

Testimonials – got any? send ’em my way.

Finally, one last thing…



(and girls)

But guys.

All of you…



Until next time.

Love ya,

Whatley out.


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Five things on Friday #141

Things of note for Friday September 11th, 2015.

and then there were five

This week’s edition of FTOF was written on a plane somewhere over the French/Italian Alps – isn’t that lovely?

Upside: peace and [offline] quiet. Downside: if you’ve emailed/pitched me anything to include in this week’s edition, I can’t get to it – so maybe you’ll see it next week. Maybe.

On that note, shall we?


Use Instagram? OF COURSE YOU DO. Got kids that use Instagram? MAYBE. Whatever, this is a hugely important piece of information and, I have to admit, for someone who is usually hot as s*** on this stuff, I missed it and have since fixed.

In short:

Until recently, once a user added their location to a photo they were posting, Instagram would take this as their default preference for all future photos they would post. That is, Instagram would tag all future photos with the location from which they were uploaded. This alone isn’t really the problem. The problem is that Instagram did not make this obvious to users — so what has transpired, is millions of people uploading millions of photos in the one place they use Instagram the most. Their homes.

Note: this happens irrespective of whether you add a location tag or not this is IF you have added a location previously.

The fix is available here.

You’re welcome.

Not just any level design by the way, but the level design of probably one of the most iconic and memorable levels in the history of video games:

Super Mario Bros, Level 1-1.


We’ve all played it at some point in our lives (and if you haven’t, just do this right now: shout out loud ‘Did anyone play the original Super Mario Bros on the NES?’ out loud right now, someone will say yes, guaranteed) and here, to the delight of all, is a video of arguably the world’s most famous video game designer, Shigeru Miyamato, creator of Donkey Kong, Zelda, Pikmin, Starfox, Donkey Kong, and of course, Super Mario Bros, discussing – with aclarity – the thought that went into make that level the classic that we know and love today.

There is so much to love about this.

  • Shigeru Miyamoto, at 62, is still boyishly charming and fun in what is clearly the job he was born to do.
  • Goombas started out as ‘bad mushrooms’ that a programmer thought looked like a chestnut. Chestnut in japanese is ‘Kuri’ which is why the name ‘Kuriboh’, which is Goomba in Japanese, came about.
  • The wonder in which he talks about ‘working in the unknown’ – specifically in regards so Super Mario 64 – is inspiring.

Watch it.

On Spotify? Got a smug-resting face? This app is for you.


Tapping into the hipster zeitgeist (really? – Ed (do I really have an ‘Ed’?! – JW) (No, you don’t – this is literally a conversation with yourself) (OK, so not weird at all)) and allowing those who were, like, totally into, like, Boston brostep boybands, like, before anyone else to actually prove just how how much of a TREND SETTER they truly are.

Do you feel the validation? Do ya? DO YA? DO YA?


Anyway, it’s ace and, as you were wondering, my ‘discover score is’ 19. Huzzah.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 07.50.49

Including being in the first 1% of listeners to Hozier, Major Lazer, and Mark Ronson. The experience is fun and you get bragging rights on your Facebook etc but there seems to be a couple of things up with it. First off, the ‘Tweet them’ button is hideously sycophantic.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 12.17.01

And, while the output of this tool can actually a be new playlist based upon the discoveries that you’ve made, it doesn’t actually put together a playlist of anything mentioned in your list. Which is a shame because that would’ve been nice.


Seriously, tho, like, I was totally listening to Sam Street before James Bond even knew his name.

Like, yeah.

Not a Doctor Who fan? Scroll straight on to the bonuses (clue: they’re just a little bit past the koala). Still here? Right then, the new season kicks off soon and the Beeb have just dropped a 2min ‘prologue’ that’s actually pretty good.


As in: it’s a great piece to watch but ultimately tells you nothing. But the Doctor is in and Peter Capaldi is generally brilliant at everything so… y’know, go watch it and stuff.



‘Hey Bob, when’s the big Apple announcement?’
‘You missed it, Larry. You’re gonna have to listen to The Voicemail instead.’


Bonuses this week are as follows:

  • Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View is worth a moment of your time (and even a sub).
  • Two Voicemails in a week – what? As mentioned in last week’s FTOF, my friend Stefan and I recorded a bumper IFA episode of The Voicemail podcast (that I’m resharing as the downloads are considerably higher than usual – so we must be doing something right) covering all things at the Berlin-based tech conference. That’s two podcast plugs in a very short space of time. Next week: no podcast plugs.
  • Another Nintendo bit, this time about Super Mario Bros. 3. Link.
  • Cyclists vs Self-driving cars (expect more of this; the programmers’ laughter is the high point for me).
  • The best #AppleEvent write-up. Period.



– Michael Underhill

‘Top marks for another fine edition!’
– Richard Emes

‘Fave part of Friday!’
– @DarkStarSteph


And finally…

For the UK readers among you, the delightful team over at Shaken Cocktails have thrown me another referral link.

If you fancy joining the Shaken Explorer’s Club (and starting a journey into a world of amazing home-made cocktails) for £5 less than you usually would, here’s a link to do just that (you should spot a little blue pop up at the bottom of the screen when you open the page – you’ll see).

Said link has unlimited usage so if you don’t fancy it but you know someone who might, then do please forward it on.




Whatley out.

Ps. Gude, I got the Bat (it/he was amazing – thank you). Expect to see him (and your new venture) highlighted here next week. Woop woop!

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