Five things on Friday #173

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 22nd, 2016.

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1. APPLE WATCH: ONE YEAR ON

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This post ‘A year after its launch, it’s now clear that pretty much no one needs an Apple Watch‘ pretty much nails what everyone thought about the Apple Watch at announcement: it’s a nice to have, not a must have.

I really like paying for things with my Apple Watch. The servers at the coffee shop that I’ve gone to every morning for the last year or so never remembered me from one day to the next. But then, when they got a new payments terminal that accepted Apple Pay, they started remembering me, and one server now refers to me as “the Apple Watch guy.” And that’s who I am now. No one would say that about someone whipping out a new iPhone or Macbook. Though if I started riding in every morning on a hoverboard, or started wearing VR goggles in-store, I’d probably get a new nickname.

This is interesting to me.

For several reasons.

For starters, I am now on my second Pebble smart watch. Having upgraded from the original, I now sport the Pebble Time Steel variant and am very happy with the benefits that it brings.

I’ve written about this before.

And yet I do not find my Pebble experience matching up with any of the author’s Apple Watch experiences (least of all the battery life, with my PTS weighing in a hefty ten days of usage before needing a charge). This could be down to price, perception, or even just plain brand expectation – Pebble the punchy start-up, Apple… not.

Apple hasn’t said how many watches it has sold—wasn’t immediately available to comment for this story—but estimates suggest upwards of 5 million have been sold to date. Apple sold nearly 75 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2015 alone, which leaves a lot of people who have iPhones and didn’t see the need to tack on a $300-or-more accessory to that purchase. Considering some estimates show that over 60% of US adults wear watches, there should have been a lot of room for growth.

The entire article is worth a read. Really.
The one clear takeaway for this reader however was that while all Apple Watches are smartwatches not all smartwatches are Apple Watches.

Sidenote, Quartz is probably one of my favourite online publications right now. A lot of what I’m reading/recommending comes from Quartz and I enjoy the output. You should go explore some time.
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2. THE FACEBOOK / F8 10 YEAR ROADMAP

I’m a little late with the F8 analysis/write-up, so I’m not going to weigh in where so many others have already (this Buzzfeed piece is a highlight) however one thing I did want to point out – and perhaps even admire – is this chart shown at said conference.

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[click to embiggen]

You see this and you think ‘Holy hell, Facebook! You guys are amazing! What a plan! And you’ve shared it with us too!’ – and it is impressive.

What I find more impressive is that everyone immediately took this at face value and didn’t ask at which point we were standing at right now. Facebook is 12 years old. It opened fully to everyone ten years ago this September (brands, why start thinking about your super-relevant ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY FACEBOOK’ posts right now?) which kinda means we should be at the 10 year mark now.

And I guess we are. VR/AR is right around the corner, AI-driven bots were showcased as The Next Big Thing at F8, and drones that broadcast INTERNET FROM THE SKY are also imminent.

The really cool thing would be if the roadmap had been written ten years ago. But it wasn’t. It was more of a ‘Look, here’s where we’ve been and look, this is right around the corner’. Less a roadmap, more a 2016/17 planning document with a few pages of your diary thrown in the front.

Impressive? Yes. Roadmap? No.

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3. KURT VONNEGUT ON THE SHAPE OF STORIES

Exactly what it says on the tin – 4mins long – go on, spoil yourself.

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4. MY FIVE REGRETS

I’m pretty sure I’ve told you about The Listserve before. You join a lottery with 20,000 or so other people. Every day, one of you gets to email the other 19,999 subscribers. It’s hit and miss but, the awesome thing is, every now and then, out of nowhere, you get a piece of solid gold delivered to your inbox.

As a list of Five Things is always made better by another list of five things and this list is a list of Five Regrets. However, said list is underpinned by a thought. A thought that, should you wish to live with no regrets, perhaps may not speak to you directly. However, when the writer of this recent Listserve met a tipsy old lady at a bar in Denver, it became clear that maybe no regrets wasn’t really worth it.

“You only get five regrets in life. If you come across a sixth regret, you have to let go of one of the other five.” – she said.

This old lady was as confident in this “5 Regret Rule” as she was drunk, so I’m assuming she’s operating on some kind of insider information and this rule is a real thing we all must follow. As I’ve gotten older, my list of regrets has morphed from things that were very specific (“I should have asked that girl out freshman year” or “I shouldn’t have gotten arrested those three times”) to a list of bigger picture regrets. Perhaps this is a sign that I’m growing up.

Here’s a link to the five regrets that he went to write afterwards.

Worth a read.

Worth a think.

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5. CATASTROPHE

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Have you seen/watched/heard of CATASTROPHE?

If you haven’t, seek it out. It’s actually brilliant.

If you have, then you’re probably going to enjoy this excellent profile of one half the writing team behind the show, Sharon Horgan* – ‘The Brutal Romantic

Horgan, who is forty-five, and Delaney, who is thirty-nine, are happily married to other people, and both have children. “One of the very first things that I joked with Rob about was how, if it wasn’t so hard to get a divorce, I would be divorced,” Horgan says. In his standup routine, Delaney sometimes equates marriage to rubbing yourself with a cheese grater, rubbing your wife with a cheese grater, and then smashing the exposed flesh, blood, and sinew together so that you heal as a single mutilated being. When Horgan and Delaney decided to collaborate on a pilot, they knew that they wanted to capture this tone. “I loved the brutality of it,” Horgan says. “At the same time, it was kind of romantic.”

Probably one of the best things I’ve read this week.

*the other half is the equally hilarious Rob Delaney – both pictured above. 

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Bonuses this week are as follows –

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And that’s it.

I’m out.

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Five things on Friday #172

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 15th, 2016.

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Hey gang, a late(r) edition this week. To say that the crayfish of work have been swimming like nuts would be an understatement. Five things on Friday is put together gradually each week. As I find or read things online – either on the tube, or on Twitter, or wherever – I email them to myself for filing until Friday.

This week, I didn’t even have time to do that. So do please forgive the shorter edition this week.

It’s 23:29 at the time of writing, I’m off to Sweden in the morning and really should get an early night.

Shall we?

1. TEXTING IN CINEMAS? NAH, NOT HAPPENING

You may’ve missed it but there was a huge roar of disapproval from the cinema-going public this week when a US cinema chain mooted the idea of allowing the endless glow of the mobile phone into its theatres.

After such idiotic buffoonery, you’ll be pleased to know that AMC has come to its senses and canned the idea completely.

Thank. God.

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2. ON THIS DAY – WE SAY GOODBYE

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Do you ‘use’ ‘On this Day’ on Facebook? And I use the word ‘use’ very loosely. These (m)algorithms are often inflicted on us mere users without any of us having any real say in the matter and the ways that they can cause certain triggers and/or upset is often overlooked by the coders of Menlo Park.

Kudos to the awesome Holly Brockwell for discovering exactly how to turn this some-time irritating feature actually off. It’s relatively simple.

If ‘On this Day’ bothers you, then this link is your friend.

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3. KIDS SHOULD COUNT WITH THEIR FINGERS

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This, is a really interesting read.

“A few weeks ago I (Jo Boaler) was working in my Stanford office when the silence of the room was interrupted by a phone call. A mother called me to report that her 5-year-old daughter had come home from school crying because her teacher had not allowed her to count on her fingers. This is not an isolated event—schools across the country regularly ban finger use in classrooms or communicate to students that they are babyish. This is despite a compelling and rather surprising branch of neuroscience that shows the importance of an area of our brain that “sees” fingers, well beyond the time and age that people use their fingers to count.”

Got kids? Teach them to count on their fingers.

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4. FAREWELL, HOWARD MARKS

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I remember reading Mr Nice when I was in college. I laughed. A lot. I was never one to wear his t-shirts, or to idolise. I just thought it was a crazy tale as told through the eyes of a career criminal who got away with a helluva lot.

His obituary, via The Guardian, is a good read. And reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading the story of his life. Give it a go some time. It’s barely believable. But that’s what makes it so good.

Farewell, Howard Marks.

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5. ICE CREAM FOR EVERYONE

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My friend Willem has a podcast. It’s called ‘Ice Cream for Everyone’ – and you can find the details of it right here. Willem interviewed me for it last week (that episode is landing at some point in early May – I’ll probably link to it in a later episode).

Anyway, after Willem interviewed me said podcast, I thought it would be at least half polite to actually go and listen to a few of the previous episodes. And, what do you know, it’s pretty damn good. So yeah, I don’t know if you do the podcast thing, but why not go check it out and see what you think.

His blog ain’t bad either.
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Bonuses this week are as follows:

  • This K-Pop music video has been knocking around for a couple of weeks now but I love it – watch it on your phone.
  • I can’t fathom how much money this Sky TV / X-Men Apocalypse tie-up must’ve cost. Full junior cast? Check. Character abilities showcased? Check. Ton of cash thrown at the screen to sell INTERNET? Check. Wowsers. Fair play though.
  • This landing. Still.

And that’s me.

Until next time, you know where to find me.

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Whatley out, x.

 

 

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Five things on Friday #171

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 8th, 2016.

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Hello lovely.

I’m writing this intro to you from Istanbul where I’ve spent the last few days relaxing on holiday (see! it does happen occasionally). In fact, the leader image above I snapped on the way back to Eminönü from Üsküdar on Wednesday. A perfect day was had.

Much has changed over the past week for yours truly and I’m fairly sure I can state with clarity:

I have never been happier.

For those that of you that don’t know, Five things on Friday is hosted via my blog, ‘this is my happy place’, and, as I type (and as you read) I am very much in said happy place. I hope, with all love and sincerity, that you are in yours too.

And smile.

Maybe go hug someone.

I’ll wait.

OK, back? Brilliant.

It’s a fairly social-heavy edition this week but I’m sure you won’t mind.

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Shall we?

1. BRANDS, BLOGGERS, AND MONEY – OH MY!

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This is a must read if you are in the UK and satisfy any of the following criteria:

  • You work for a brand looking to get bloggers to write about your product or service
  • You work for an agency looking to get bloggers to write about your client’s product or service
  • You’re a blogger (and we’ll use this term as a catch-all for all kinds of influencers; it doesn’t matter if you self-identify as a blogger, vlogger, vine-r, instagrammer (or ‘grammer – blergh), or whatever – if you create content that could infuence consumer decisions, this means you) that’s looking to partner with a brand (and by ‘partner with’ I mean make money from) by posting promotional content about a product or service

Thus far, the ASA, working with CAP, have issued (purposefully) grey advice about what you can and can’t do in regards to paying for blog content. The main thrust of that advice was ‘ads [on social platforms] must be obviously identifiable as such’.

I know this for a fact because I once called out Wayne Rooney/Nike on this and it was not upheld.

Thing is, the ASA is an independent regulatory body paid for by the advertising industry. Three years ago, I wrote a piece for the trades entitled ‘The ASA must sharpen its teeth on social media: If we don’t police ourselves properly, the government will‘. You can probably guess what it was trying to convey…

Well, guess what? The government are getting involved.

The government department known as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently finished its consultation period regarding online reviews and endorsements and, as a result, has published its own guidance on what is and what is not permissible when it comes to paid for ‘opinions’ online.

Said guidance can be found in two open letters that the CMA have published this week.

Here’s one killer quote (emphasis mine):

Blogs, videos and other online publications influence people’s buying decisions. While paid-for editorial content is perfectly legal, it is important that you are open and honest about it with your audience, so that they do not think they are getting independent information when a business has in fact paid to influence the content. Misleading readers or viewers may not only damage your reputation – it also falls foul of consumer protection law and could result in enforcement by either the CMA or Trading Standards Services, which could lead to civil and/or criminal action.

As Starcom Mediavest found out to its detriment.

A hefty thing to kick off this week, I know. But it’s super important.

So y’know, don’t be a dick.

Sidenote: this whole noodle started when I tweeted a screengrab of an email I received a short while ago where the company involved asked me outright to break the above rules. I tagged the ASA, the ASA replied and tagged the CMA with some related reading. Really, really interesting.

There are more scalps on the way, you would do well to make sure you’re not one of them.

2. #SMBUZZCHAT

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This section has a lot of MY FACE in it. You have been warned.

A couple of weeks back, I participated in The Drum’s ‘#SMBuzzChat‘, an hour-long Twitter Q&A session discussing a few different topics followed by a video interview (300 people have watched it – that’s the same amount of people that defeated Xerses at the battle of Thermopylae!) that goes out under the same name.

The questions for the evening were:

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For those of you who missed it the original tweets (and subsequent reply chains) can be found by clicking on the images above. I’m good to you.

We had more questions planned but such was the response (and highly engaging conversation) we had to cut it short just to keep it in the hour. Hell, we even trended.

It was a BUSY night.

It’d been a while since I’d done one of these things and, if I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t know how it was going to go at all. Be that as it may, I have no qualms with telling you: I had the best time!

My host, Adam Libonatti-Roche, was brilliant throughout. Both with comedic back and forths over the table during the Twitter chat (as I struggled to reply to every. single. tweet. that came in) and in the recorded discussion that followed thereafter.

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(tap ^ the image ^ for video)

The entire evening was superb; I really can’t recommend taking part in this enough.

Also – you wanna be on? There’s a form for that.

Finally, a couple of years back I chaired the judging panel for the Social Buzz Awards. Big fan. Proud of the industry, etc. I’m really impressed with both what Libonatti-Roch has done with helping to create a conversation around the Social Buzz Awards all year round (as opposed to the one night a year they’re on) as well as the high production values they’re investing in it.

Good job, guys. Keep it up.

3. ‘DETAILS’ ON THE SNAPCHAT USAGE OF U.S. TEENS

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Image via Variety

Variety published a survey this week, all about how on cough Millennials use Snapchat:

“Roughly 44% of the 1,117 U.S.-based Snapchat users between the ages of 13-24 surveyed in February who said they had used Live Stories and/or Discover reported doing so on at least a daily basis. That percentage falls to 23% when weighed against all of the survey’s respondents, including those who didn’t report using Live Stories and/or Discover at all.”

And there’s a few interesting charts too:

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So fancy.

Anyway, a few things:

First, I have it on relatively good authority that the results of this survey in no way reflect the actual usage of the described audience in this research. Discover, for example is much higher.

Second, the use of ‘millennial’ here is painful.

‘Millennial’ is not only a cheap, lazy, and boring way to describe a homogenous group of around 80 million people IN THE U.S. ALONE (seriously – they can’t ALL be into the same things), but it’s also often predicated by a vast misunderstanding of exactly how old this group actually is.’

So yeah, Variety published this research and:

a) No one verified it with Snapchat / asked Snapchat for comment (weird, no?)
b) The audience are not Millennial (specifically lower-end millennials and Gen Z (see the New York Times for my favourite definition)
c) It’s U.S. only

So why am I sharing? Well, it is actually a decent read (no, really) however do please always try and look / dig a bit deeper into the data whenever and wherever you can.

Go read it and see for yourself.

4. VR WARNINGS

OK, so this REEKS of an April Fool’s prank but, having dug around as best I could, I’ve been unable to verify it one way or another. Whatever.

Let’s talk about this guy-

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Source.

You’ve probably have seen this already. I have. Many times.

And I love it.

However what you may not have seen is the response given to The Boston Globe:

‘A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) told the Boston Globe that this sort of activity was “not advisable,” as it would make riders less aware of what’s going on around them.“The MBTA and Transit Police remind customers of the importance of being aware of their surroundings at all times.”’

Quartz even found a Boston police officer describing the chap above as ‘a soft target‘.

Can you imagine?

One year from now we could be seeing signs like this:

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And that would be AMAZING.

5. FBI AND ANDROID

You may or may not [still] be following the whole San Bernardino / Apple / FBI case that’s been rumbling on for a few months now.  (here’s the cliff notes) and, if you’re an iPhone user, you’re probably really quite happy that Apple didn’t go ahead and ‘build a backdoor’ into its OS (meaning that, should you ever become an enemy of the state, your embarrassing selfies would be SAFE).

However! What if you’re an Android user? How could the FBI or any other government mandated organisation for that matter get into your sordid little device-held secrets?

William Enck, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, and Adwait Nadkarni,
Ph.D. Student of Computer Science – both at North Carolina State University – decided to find out.

Proper good geeky read, that.

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Bonus items this week are as follows:

And that’s me.

IT’S THE WEEKEND!

GO GO GO!

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PS. Chunky edition this week. Like it? Send me your feedback!

Tweets/emails/carrier pigeons all accepted.

 

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Five things on Friday #170

Things of note for the week ending Friday April 1st, 2016.

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April Fool’s Day. The one day of the year where I miss living at home with Mum most. I went to visit her last weekend (she packed up and moved to the seaside a year or so ago, see above) and we had a great time.

‘April Fool’s Day is coming up’, she said, nursing a cup of tea.

‘Yeah, I know’

‘Miss having you kids…’ (my sister and I) ‘…around. Do you remember when you swapped salt for sugar one year? The house went nuts. I thought it was brilliant.’

‘Yeah, and you put eggs in my shoes.’

‘But you wore a different pair! What about when I sewed up the sleeves on your dressing gown’

Me, laughing ‘Yeah, I’ll never forget that – I was going to give you the year off that year!!!’

Happy April Fool’s Day, Mum. I love you.

— right, shall we crack on with the things?

No jokes in here today.

1. HACKING WIKIPEDIA, IN ANGOLA

Let’s start with this – Motherboard is reporting a super interesting story of how the intrepid Internet inhabitants of Angola are using free services to access the content they want (as opposed to that which that they’re given).

Wikimedia and Facebook have given Angolans free access to their websites, but not to the rest of the internet. So, naturally, Angolans have started hiding pirated movies and music in Wikipedia articles and linking to them on closed Facebook groups, creating a totally free and clandestine file sharing network in a country where mobile internet data is extremely expensive.

Resourceful.

2. NETFLIX VS THE WORLD

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Look at ^ these lovely people ^ – all sat around, counting down the seconds for Season 2 of DAREDEVIL to hit Netflix screens the world over. And when I say ‘the world over’, I mean it. Daredevil’s sophomore entry went live in 190 countries at the same time. Being a Netflix Original, like House of Cards, the entire season was available for streaming immediately. That’s a LOT of hard work.

WIRED was there covering the launch and, along with a fantastic write-up of the evening, takes its time explaining exactly what drives the endless success of this global machine.

A great read.

Related – this stereo / audio-only ‘trip into Daredevil’s head‘ is a neat activation. Nicely done. Decent headphones recommended. 

3. LEADERSHIP IN THE DIGITAL AGE

This is an excellent read.

As we continue our journey through the digital revolution, everything around us is changing. This piece posits that the next thing to change is leadership.

Advancement in digital technologies has disrupted everything, including leadership styles, according to Barry Libert, Jerry Wind and Megan Beck Fenley. Employees want more ownership rather than to follow instruction; customers want to participate in the marketing and development process; and leaders are finding that open and agile organizations are able to maneuver more effectively than organizations where “all insight and direction comes from the top. In short, the autocratic Commander, whether brilliant or misguided, just won’t cut it anymore,” they write in this opinion piece.

Co-creation is the next step, apparently and the the argument is compelling.
An excellent – and highly recommended – read.

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4. PLAYSTATION VR: INBOUND

Regular readers will know that I have a penchant for gaming – PlayStation 4 console gaming at that. Furthermore, you might already know that I’ve got a PlayStation VR headset on pre-order.

Aww yeah.

Wanna know why? Well, I penned a few words for this month’s Plaaayed Magazine on exactly what it is that I’m so excited about and you can read it online TODAY.

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Go go go!

5. BEAUTIFUL

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This is probably one of the most beautiful Superman stories I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot). It’s short, to the point, and if you’ve ever wondered why the hell some people geek out over something that you just can’t get your head around – this is an excellent starting point.

It’s just perfect.

Bonuses this week are as follows:

Oh, I feel like this whole thing has blown over now BUT last weekend a whole bunch of Instagram influencers lost their collective marbles over the FEAR around the new Instagram algorithm. If you know someone who’s still suffering, forward them this piece I wrote for The Drum on Tuesday (in short: calm down, Bridget).

Right, I’m off on holiday now.

See you on the other side!

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PS. No podcast episode this week. But hey, why not go listen to an old one and pretend you’ve discovered time travel? Lol.

 

Whatley out.

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Five things on Friday #169

Things of note for the week ending Friday March 25th, 2016.

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1. THE ART OF THE FRIENDSHIP BREAKUP

This analysis on the art of friendship break up is actually quite lovely.

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2. LOOK INTO THE LENS

Herein please find a photographic record of people who look into the screen and not the lens during selfies. It’s just upsetting. Featuring such greats as:

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And yeah, this is probably my favourite thing of the week.

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3. BATMAN V SUPERMAN (NO SPOILERS)

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First thing first: this happened on Tuesday.

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Awwwww yeaaaaah.

So that was nice.

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And then I got to see Batman V Superman and, contrary to popular opinion, I thought it was really actually quite good. If you’re umming and ah-ing about whether or not you should see it this Easter weekend, then I’d absolutely recommend you do. Even if you fall into the naysayer party thereafter, I guarantee there will be moments that you can’t deny are excellent.

Ben Affleck is a great older, more grizzled, and world-weary Batman. In fact, I’d go further than that, I’d say he was nigh-on perfect. There are a few things you could pick at but the fact that Bat’s history is just there (e.g.: Wayne Manor isn’t what you expect it to be (and never explained why), you glimpse a defaced Robin outfit in the Batcave, and hell, if you really wanna stretch things out, you could explain away certain scenes as long-term side-effects from Scarecrow fear toxin) means the film is giving credit to its audience to just knowing about Bats and his background.

On a related note, Jeremy Irons as Alfred is (and always has been) inspired casting and he is no disappointment either, stealing almost every scene he appears in.

Henry Cavill continues to grow into his Superman pants. Wiser (but still learning, still naive) and more familiar with his own powers; he is Kal-el of Krypton. And it has to be said, the interplay between him and Batfleck is fantastic. The first time they both meet is excellent – and I pretty much grinned throughout the whole thing.

There are a number of cameos throughout, the most heavily trailered of which (and to be honest, the only trailered) was Gal Godot as Diana Prince, aka – Wonder Woman. It is honestly an extended cameo but the first time you see her rock out in full WW gear? The entire cinema cheered (both times I’ve seen the film – and I’ll come back to that). WW kicked ass, and I can’t wait for her own film next year.

So yeah, I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it so much I saw it again Friday morning (this morning in fact) in full IMAX (which, given that around 30mins of the film was shot using IMAX cameras, makes a difference).

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If you’re a fan, I think you’ll like it. There’s a ton of stuff in there that hasn’t been spoiled / trailed yet and genuinely there are some true stand out moments. So y’know, go see it. And, if you can, in IMAX.

Is it a 2.5hr trailer for Dawn of Justice? Nah, not really. Is it a perfect superhero film? Of course not. But look, I’ve seen it twice now and I still think the critics are mostly wrong. Batman v Superman is actually great entertainment and both a worthy follow up to Man of Steel and a healthy set up for the DC cinematic universe. Some of it sign-posted, other parts not (as in, to labour the point, you definitely haven’t seen it in the trailers).

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And hey, if you REALLY don’t like it, Lego Batman is out soon, so go see that instead.

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4. DID YOU HEAR ABOUT TAY?

You probably did. It was Microsoft’s ‘teen girl’ AI that turned into a Hitler-loving sex-robot within 24hrs. Really not kidding.

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I reckon you’ve probably read about it already. What you probably haven’t read is Microsoft’s response ‘Learning from Tay’s introduction‘ that literally just went live.

Yeah, it went wrong. When they realised, they killed it.

And now they’re learning from it.

Fair play.

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5. THE TICK IS BACK!

Y’all know THE TICK, right? This guy!

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Great cartoon.

He had a TV show once too.

Look:

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(watch an episode on YouTube, why not?)

What’s MORE is that The Tick also has a LIVE ACTION TV series.

Check it:

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All fairly zany etc but overall, a good laugh – in any form.

Why am I telling you this? Well, there’s GOOD NEWS. Thanks to the good folk at Amazon, this last iteration of our blue friend, is making a comeback. And what’s more, they just announced who would be donning the heroic mandibles and it’s none other than Mr Peter Serafinowicz.

If you’re familiar with either of these characters, you’ll love this announcement. If not, then GO LOOK INTO IT. LIKE NOW AND STUFF.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

Now… go enjoy your weekend.

Whatley out.

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