Five things on Friday #14

Five things of note for the week ending Friday, April 6th 2012

1. Paper by Fifty Three
I’ve already blogged about discovering this app, but if you haven’t taken a look yet (it’s for the iPad) then I recommend you do. I love it and have been sketching away like there’s no tomorrow since installing… Unsurprisingly, there’s a theme.

Heroes!

2. Awesome New Music

New Childish Gambino
New Nicki Minaj
New Kanye West
And this full album stream from Alabama Shakes is worth a lisen too.
Enjoy 

3. Comic book stuff
I’ve been reading Project Rooftop for some time now, and it is an ace source of fantastic artwork on some my favourite characters. Their remit is to highlight and drive the craft of redesigning comic book characters that you know and love and generally showcase some gorgeous work.

This past week has been no different, but these two redesigns, Ninja Turtles and X-Men respectively, stood out particularly.

Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo all getting the redesign treatment. Given the myriad of interpretations the Turtles have been through over the years, giving them a fresh take is no easy task. But this effort is actually brilliant. I want to see more… And guess what, you can! Full set available here

This one stands out for two reasons. First, it’s the original X-Men (who are still one of the best teams to date) and two, the version of Ice-Man is sweet. I’ve not seen an ice-as-armour version before and well, no pun intended, it’s just too damn cool for words. You can check out the full set over on P:R. It’s worth a look, definitely.

What do you think?

4. The Lumia 900
The Nokia Lumia 900 launches this week and, while it is only really a bigger version of the Lumia 800 (which I’ve been rocking and enjoying since late last year), it’s intriguing to me as it’s the big N’s first serious play in the USA since, well – since forever really. To say it’s make or break time might be an understatement, but I think they might actually have winner on their hands. Only time will time.

This Read Write Web piece made me grin mind –

“There have been rumors that Nokia is paying AT&T to make sure that every rep uses the Lumia 900 as a personal device. The idea is that consumers trust sales reps to steer them in the right direction. Even as an advanced early adopter and mobile technology reporter, I often trust sales reps to tell me what the best device is and what is coming out (sometimes I quiz them to see how much they actually know about the ecosystem because I am that type of jerk).”

Heh, you’re not on your own there chap… 

I’d like to have a play with the Lumia 900 at some point (honestly, I haven’t played with one yet!) and I’m sure it’d be great, but what interests me more is what’s coming next. We all know the Lumia range is merely a proof-of-concept device (and a very nice range it is too) but I want to see what the tech-heads in Finland are going to do next. Now they’ve proven they can design gorgeous Windows phones, let’s see some of that innovation that they’re also famous for. Exciting times ahead, both for Nokia itself as well as the industry as a whole.

5. I made the Slovenian FT

Amazing

Bonuses: Dan Goodall got his blog back online, go read it; Fish: a tap essay is one of the best things I’ve come across for a long time and finally, I’ve been looking at the image below nearly every day – it’s just beautiful. 

Until next time –

5 things on Friday #13

Five things of note for the week ending Friday March 30th, 2012

1. How to peel a banana like a monkey
Mind. Blown.

2. A new UK Bank Holiday?
An online petition has appeared recently pushing for the UK to have an extra Bank Holiday (this time in November), but with a twist. As the website says –

“If we get an extra bank holiday, the public will be urged to do something kind on this extra day, each year, to support their local communities…
…it will be a ‘Pay It Forward‘ bank holiday”

Whether or not this will go ahead remains to be seen, but still – it’s a nice idea.

3. Spotify on Facebook
The deadline for brands to make the switch to Facebook Timeline is upon us and while there have been some awesome case studies recently, Spotify have come out and pitched their own ‘history of music’ – superb work indeed. Worth spending some time digging around for some aural beauties? I think so…

4. Slovenski Oglaševalski Festival (SOF)
Last year, when I attended the Weekend Media Festival in Croatia, I was asked if I would be interested in attending (and speaking) at the 2012 Slovenian Advertising Festival. ‘Of course!’ I said, ‘Email me!’ – and in January this year, they did! Fast forward a couple of months and here I am, in the gorgeous coastal town of Portoroz, giving a talk about word of mouth marketing. Lovely stuff.

Why?

I wore red (like last time), I had a lot of fun fun aaaaand, on top of that, I managed to mix things up a little bit with a careful sprinkling of pandas too – so, all in all, I think it went well.

Big thanks to Urša Pučko and her team at Pristop for inviting me in the first place, being such great hosts and, of course, organising everything so perfectly. All I can say is – thank you! And to anyone reading this: Visit Slovenia!

5. A real superhero
This story is incredible. First, some background –

Yeah, this actually happened.

Now, I know a few of you are probably already thinking about how freaking awesome this is… right? Right. Well, it gets better. This guy – real name Lenny B. Robinson – is a bonafide superhero. An A-grade, first class, inspirational figure.

Why? Take a look for yourself.

Incredible.

Bonusesthe bizarre world of video game sexual content bureaucracy; the new Superman logo (from the upcoming Man of Steel film) has been revealed; and Maxim needs to remember what year we’re in

 

 

5 things on Friday #12

Five things of note for the week ending Friday March 23rd, 2012

1. Obama using sign language

I’ve taken sign language lessons in the past and, as much as the simple (yet purposeful) sign for ‘thank you’ isn’t actually that hard, the fact the President of the United States was able to respond in such a way is pretty damn ace. Stephon, the chap that Obama was responding to, was understandably over the moon about it – as you’d hope you would be at such a fantastic moment.

Obviously it was reported on, and you could say ‘Yeah? And?’, but the point is knowing a different language – including something like Sign – can turn out to be useful at the most random of moments. I spent some time learning sign in my late teens (what I remember is basic, at best) but I’ll never forget, perhaps a week or so after my course finished and while working away at my local fast food joint (it was a college job!) being able to offer a deaf customer the option of signing his order to me. That understanding, that moment of surprise and delight was magical! ‘Wait, you know Sign?’  he signed to me. ‘A little’ I signed back, smiling.

This item goes in because it reminds me of that day.
And it makes me want to learn Sign again.

2. Where Good Ideas Come From
I’ve been reading the above book for a little while now (it’s not a huge read, but I have a tendency to read three books at once) and the current section on the strength and important of platforms when it comes to innovation – has led to one awesome discovery and one equally awesome reminder.

First: the invention of GPS –

“…inspiration for GPS came when the Soviet Union launched the first man-made satellite,Sputnik in 1957. Two American physicists, William Guier and George Weiffenbach, at Johns Hopkins’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), decided on their own to monitor Sputnik’s radio transmissions. Within hours they realized that, because of the Doppler effect, they could pinpoint where the satellite was along its orbit from the Doppler shift. The Director of the APL gave them access to their UNIVAC to do the heavy calculations required.
.
When they released the orbit of Sputnik to the media, the Russians were dumbfounded to learn how powerful American computers had become, as they would not have been able to calculate the orbit themselves. The following spring, Frank McClure, the deputy director of the APL, asked Guier and Weiffenbach to look at the inverse problem where you know the location of the satellite and you want to find your own location. (The Navy was developing the submarine-launched Polaris missile, which required them to know the submarine’s location.) This led them and APL to develop the Transit system.”

Wikipedia

Er, so two young physicists wondered if they could spot the tell-tale radio signal of the Sputnik satellite  – from their office – back in 1957 and now, 55 years later, that exact same thinking is powering urban games, geo-tagging photos and generally baked into every single modern smartphone in the world. Amazing.

Secondly: the reminder of Delaware Subway Coral

I can remember reading about this when it happened, but the book touches upon it and it made me go and seek out the pictures again. It’s a great idea; use the hundreds upon hundreds of retired New York subway cars to help build a new marine ecosystem off the coast of Delaware – and it’s working.

Also – read this damn book.

3. The Nova Festival
With summer just around the corner the UK festival scene is preparing its sunglasses and its wellies for a season of muddy music-based merriment however, this year, two of my favourite haunts are taking a year off – there will be no Big Chill or Glastonbury in 2012.

So what to do?

Well, I’ve already booked myself a ticket for the Isle of Wight festival with some friends of mine and, given that I’ve never really done two festivals in one season before, I’m giving serious consideration to attending the Nova Festival too. Setup by two of the original producers of the Big Chill, it looks like it might be the soothing and dare I say it chilled way to spend a long weekend in July. Maybe. We’ll see…

4. Knowing when to unplug
This thought came back to me this past week. Being on your laptop / iPad / mobile phone from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you close them again is no way to live a life. Keep that thought clear, unplug every now and then and go out and enjoy the sunshine.

5. The Hunger Games

Hunger Games Premiere

Went to the premiere, which was pretty damn cool. I think this is a bit late mind (yes, it is – this was back on March 14th – I just forgot to write it up). I don’t feel like I gave the film a fair chance though to be honest. Because it was a premiere, once you’ve been ushered in you have to wait for all the stars to finish signing autographs etc before they start the film. Which meant we had to wait an hour after we’d taken our seats before anything got under way.

I haven’t read the books (bad Whatley), I didn’t think the film was ‘ZOMG!! LIKE BEST MOVIE EVA!!’ nor did I think it was particular rubbish. It was.. all right. Not brilliant, not bad, just OK. It probably deserves a second viewing.

And I should really read the books too.

Bonuses – another Prometheus trailer (I’m more excited about this than I think DKR or Avengers); a kitten playing with a super patient St. Bernard; Baboons that steal puppies then train them as guard dogs (for realsies); and a company called Calera seems to be doing things that completely blow my mind.

 

 

 

5 Things on Friday #11

Items of note for the week ending Friday March 16th, 2012

  1. Gaming
    Quite literally one of the most mind-blowing Star Wars / video games stories I have ever read. It’s not a long one, nor is it that hard to understand. The guy behind it is an evil genius and yet, when the wheels come off, you do kind of feel sorry for both him and the ecosystem he created. Immense.
    .
  2. Moebius. R.I.P.
    Gifted. Influential. Ever-present but still quiet (and relatively unknown in the non-geek world), his work will be sorely missed but his legacy lives on – in ways that even he couldn’t possibly imagine. Read this amazing write up and learn something about the future-gazers of yesterday.
    .
  3. The Curator’s Code
    I don’t know why, but this article speaks to me. Perhaps it’s the multiple different sources that I pull on to put this kind of post together; perhaps it’s the amount of effort that goes into linking an article thoroughly and correctly; or perhaps it’s just nice to know that news-breakers (or should it be news-connectors) are getting the citations they deserve. Especially when you see it happen right in front of you.
    .
  4. TEDxObserver
    Seems late writing this one up (as it occurred on a Saturday and the cut-off date for this lot is Friday), however it was still one of the best things I’ve been to this year. Big up to Robbie for sorting me a ticket (I still owe you £60 chap) and you may as well check out his post on it too. Mine will follow at some point (when the workload slows up anyway).
    .
  5. Venice
    The most romantic city in the world. A long weekend [Friday through Monday] away begins and I am happy.
    Truly happy.

 

Bonuses:
Marek Pawloski asked me what I thought about Marvel comics using augmented reality, so I told him; Ewan Macloed asked me what I thought of Homeless Hotspots, I told him too; and if someone asked me what book I want on my kindle next, I’d say this one.

 

 

5 things on Friday #10

Five things of note from the seven days preceding March 9th, 2012

1. Baked Sprouts
I love brussell sprouts. Always have, always will. But I have never, ever had them baked. Until now –

Baked sprouts? Lovely stuff.

The girl served these up last weekend and well.. all I can say is: wowsers!
Give them a go, definitely (and some other things too).

2. The Seven Patterns of Innovation
I’m reading ‘Where Good Ideas Come From‘ at the moment [it’s great, you should read it], and this passage

– speaks to me on a number of levels.

First and foremost, when you think about the semantic web, the intelligent web, the personal web, web 3.0 if you will, one is tempted to consider how ‘intelligent search’ (results served up to you based upon previous searches, conversations and location) could well be an adversary to information serendipity.

Google is probably the most guilty of all parties in this particular area [how often have you clicked past page one of the search results – really?] and this ‘feature’ will only improve with the arrival of Google+ (constantly tracking our every move across Google-related services). Of course, there are services that can aid the accidental discovery; StumbleUpon springs to mind, although even that requires a certain amount of input around your interests…

My issue is, as William McKeen, whose quote sits above this text, quite rightly points out – sometimes the joy is in the looking, the surprising finding, the enrichment of serendipity. And it is escaping us all. How does one fight to retain this disappearing pleasure? Read more books, more magazines… seek out the unknown and be endlessly curious.

At least, that’s what I’m going to do.

3. Is Google+ a ghost town?
Speaking of the big G, a huge conversation kicked off about numbers and usage last week when I asked my friends if they had an opinion on the above question. Even if you have only a passing interest in all things Google+, its users and/or its potential usage – I would recommend you take a look. You might be surprised at what you find.

4. Adele vs Daft Punk
Nuff said.

5. Snickers
Back in January the above chocolate bar ran a ‘campaign’ on Twitter that involved celebrities such as Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand tweeting about said snack [but without really letting people know they were being paid for it until the very last minute]. Five tweets were sent by each, but only on the fifth tweet did the celebs let their followers know that they were sponsored – via the esoteric hashtag ‘#spon’.

People complained.

You can read more about the complaint itself when it happened, however the key parts are as follows:

“Since they got paid for sending these tweets, the ASA is investigating whether the celebrities’ first ‘teaser’ tweets should have indicated that they were part of an advert, and if the ‘#spon’ in the last tweet made it clear enough that it was advertising”
The Drum

With me so far? Good. Well, there are (new) regulations to help monitor this sort of thing but, it turns out that post-investigation, the ASA found Mars not in breach of the code. Make of that what you will, but if you do any kind of brand work on or via social media, then the whole case is worth reading up on. The media are watching.

Bonuses: CDs, yes or no? Free coffee for being the Mayor on Foursquare at Taylor St Baristas; an amazing hidden track from M83 aaaaand a cupcake vending machine

 

 

 

 

5 things on Friday #9

Here are five things (that are on time for once) from this past week that are all totally worth sharing with you, dear reader. Oh, and to top it off, I’m trying something different this week. Instead of just linking to stuff, I’m going to embed things wherever possible.

Do let me know what you think, won’t you?
[Comments or tweets are welcome]

Shall we?

1. Reeder
My favourite information tool is by far and away Google Reader. It’s an RSS reader, by Google. Fairly simple, fairly good (it used to be awesome, but that’s another story). However there’s no official Google Reader (or ‘GReader’) app for the iPad, which – as some of you already know – is my favourite reading implement. This week though, thanks to the wonder of the interwebzI discovered Reeder.

It’s pretty definitive, you can read your feeds offline and well, I’ve been using it daily ever since I bought it. If you use Google Reader and own an iPad, get Reeder. Now.
[iTunes link].

2. Amazing Cake
My girlfriend likes to bake. This is great news for my lips, but bad news for my hips. But who cares, you only live once and well, when it’s the GF’s best mate’s birthday and you’re asked to lend a hand in making THE BEST CAKE YOU’VE EVER MADE, you can’t really say no.

3. Little Bay
Keeping with said birthday celebrations for a further moment, we went in search of a restaurant last weekend that would cater our large group’s numbers as well as its eating habits. Through a spot of googling, tweeting and general recommending we ended up at Little Bay. It was GORGEOUS. And, if you ever find yourself looking for somewhere to eat ’round Kilburn way, I’d recommend it, 100%.

Good food, DAMN good prices and just a lovely atmosphere to boot. Go.

4. Mobile Stuff
Two mobile things of note this week. First up, the Nokia 808 Pureview. A phone that packs a 41MP camera. Yes, that’s right – this is not a typo – a FORTY ONE MEGAPIXEL CAMERA. The images are amazing. This is pre-release software and well, just like when they made global turn-by-turn navigation free for the world over, Nokia just flexed its muscles again. And I do love it when that happens.

The second mobile thing that happened was the meeting of a crack group of mobile geeks in central London to celebrate NOT being at Mobile World Congress. It was fun. I barely made it on time (read: I was late) after spending the day in Paris at a meeting but still, we had quite a giggle. I’m sure there’ll be video soon too… [update: great write up from Kip]

5. TED 2023
A little while ago I blogged about how frickin’ awesome PROMETHEUS looked and how much it was definitely tied to the ALIEN universe. Well this week, the first piece of online marketing dropped, in the shape of a TED talk from 2023. If you’re unfamiliar with TED please go, right now, and educate yourself immediately. Guy Pearce features as one Peter Weyland whom, if you know your ALIEN mythology, is related to the Weyland corporation that is depicted in said world.

I like this, a lot. Well done.

Bonuses: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – not a film I would normally see but surprisingly likeable and quite enjoyable; some awesomely sweet and slightly disturbing art; and this GORGEOUS picture that I gleaned from 365 things that make me happy.

Chris and I used to work at SpinVox. I follow his blog because I like his attitude to the world. You should too.

Original Moleskine entry

 

5 things on Friday #8

Some stuff from the w/e Feb 24th, 2012.

  1. Woman in Black – aka ‘Harry Potter and the Spooky Ghost’
    Surprisingly good, genuinely scary and overall a bloody good night out at the cinema, WiB is definitely worth a look. The only real problem with it, if I’m completely honest, is that Mr Radcliffe still very much looks like a certain Mr Potter. He’s on a train out of London and suddenly you think he’s on the Hogwart’s Express… Annoying, but I’m sure it’ll pass. Eventually.
    .
  2. Claire Claire Claire Claire Claire
    Claire’s Accessories trended on Twitter this past week and it was not for a fun reason. Simply put: they’ve been caught, red-handed (again), stealing / pilfering / thieving / plagiarising designs from others. Not cool. Cue much deleting of angry Facebook fan comments and general poor social media crises management. Claire’s Accessoires, if you’re reading this, get in touch. I can help.
    .
  3. Terence Stamp
    One of my favourite sources of creative inspiration, My Modern Metropolis, posted their ‘Pic of the Day‘ this week and it was this awesome photo of a ‘now and then’ Terence Stamp. Wonderful stuff.
    .
  4. Cafe Rouge, Maida Vale
    Without doubt the worst meal I’ve had all year. Avoid them at all costs. I tweeted something similar earlier this week, they replied. I filled in their form, they sent a lack-lustre response. The result? I still feel the same and I won’t be going back. Poor customer service annoys me. You never know how far those butterfly beats will fly.
    .
  5. Mobile Geekery!
    The best thing to happen all week? I managed to catch up with some of the finest mobile geeks (and friends) London has to offer. Dan ‘I’m building my own mobile network‘ Lane, Ben ‘Bloggers in suits‘ Smith, Edward ‘Somehow I’ve blagged a job at RBS‘ Hodges aaaaaand Ilicco ‘Oh my God I’m at an agency‘ Elia (and we had a small does of Alistair ‘GRAPPLE ME‘ Crane too).All top chaps, all fantastic friends. Much, much merriment was had.