Five things on Friday #232

Things of note for the week ending Saturday, August 5th, 2017.

TWO IMPORTANT NOTES: 

IMPORTANT NOTE 1:

If you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100%guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on whatleydude.com – just sayin.

So y’know… SUBSCRIBE TODAY

IMPORTANT NOTE 2:

This is the last Five things on Friday for August. The next edition will come on or around September 1st.

Until then, enjoy the things!


1. THOR RAGNOROK

LOOK AT THE NEW(ISH) POSTER.

MARVEL AT ITS BEAUTY.

(see what I did there?)

YES. THAT WAS A MARVEL PUN.

ALSO. THERE IS A NEW TRAILER.

IT IS AMAZING. GO WATCH IT. NOW. I’LL WAIT.

^ click to watch ^

Back? Yes? RIGHT?!

OK… I’ll rein it in with the block caps now. Sorry (not sorry). It’s just an AMAZING TRAILER.

Taika Waikiti is a genius and I can’t wait to see what he’s done with this.

If you disagree with that, btw, then you clearly haven’t seen WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (something you should consider rectifying this weekend).

Actually, while we’re talking trailers, you should watch the one for STRANGER THINGS 2 too. It looks ACE. YASSSSSS.

Right then.

Next?

—–

IMPORTANT SIDENOTE: I MAY HAVE WRITTEN THE ABOVE ‘THING’ TWO WEEKS AGO AHEAD OF THE EDITION THAT DIDN’T ARRIVE LAST WEEK BUT THAT’S OK BECAUSE IT’S THOR AND THOR IS GREAT AND TAIKI WAIKITI IS BETTER AND NONE OF YOU CARE THAT MUCH, RIGHT? RIGHT. 

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2. EMOJI GARGOYLES

No, not another review of THAT movie. I mean, bonafide emoji-as-gargoyle usage.

LOOK.

  

Believe it or not (and trust me, you’re allowed a hefty amount of disbelief on this one) these faces can be found on the Plein Rond de Eik building in Amersfoort, Netherlands.

Ahem:

‘Changiz Tehrani, of Attika Architekten, was inspired by classic architectural ornamentation, as well as a nearby building called “The House With the Heads,” which features busts of six Greek gods on its own facade. The use of emoji—in this case the WhatsApp designs of Willem Van Lancker—in the building is an acknowledgement of the fact that the yellow smiley faces have become the fastest-growing “language” in the world.’

Riiiight.

Are we at shark jumping moment for pop culture references featuring our yellow friends?

One can only hope.

The photos and the quote/story come via Atlas Obscura. Go read.

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3. MAKING MY FIRST GOOGLE ASSISTANT TOOL

I got bored a couple of Saturdays ago and decided to make something.

Y’all remember I built a Facebook Messenger bot for the Sea Containers building (aka Ogilvy London) called Roombot, right?

(no? ok, well here’s the primer, here’s some chat about it, and here’s the bot itself).

Well, what you’re looking at above is the first take at it being incorporated into Google Assistant using Actions on Google.

A few things to note on this:

  • The timestamps on the screenshots should show you just how quickly and easily you can go from ‘I want to build an Action for Google Assistant’ to actually having a demo live on your phone. That’s fantastic.
  • I AM NOT A CODER. I needed a grand total of ZERO code skills to start getting this Action built.
  • At the time of writing, I’m probably about 25% into the process but I’m hoping to get the rest of it finished this weekend whereupon I’ll submit to the big G for actual usage/go-live.

But yeah, if you want to go mess about with Google Assistant Actions, you can do really quickly and easily with their developer console. Oh, you’re going to need an api.ai account too (but that’s easy) – they’ve also got a few pre-made Actions you can mess about with too.

GO PLAY.

And I’ll yell again when/if this ever makes it live.

  

Bonus thing for those Google Assistant users reading this based in the UK – you had a whole bunch of new features roll out this week. Check to see if you have them yet.

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4. TURN OFF YOUR PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

Like, now.

“Kill your notifications. Yes, really. Turn them all off. (You can leave on phone calls and text messages, if you must, but nothing else.) You’ll discover that you don’t miss the stream of cards filling your lockscreen, because they never existed for your benefit. They’re for brands and developers, methods by which thirsty growth hackers can grab your attention anytime they want. Allowing an app to send you push notifications is like allowing a store clerk to grab you by the ear and drag you into their store. You’re letting someone insert a commercial into your life anytime they want. Time to turn it off.”

This is just one of many super-powerful paragraphs from a WIRED article going under the above name.

Having spent the last few months without the main social apps on my phone I can tell you that YOU DON’T MISS ANYTHING AND YOUR LIFE WILL CARRY ON AS USUAL.

So yeah, do that.

There should be a bonus item related to this at the bottom of the newsletter too, btw.

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5. MORE WEIGHT-Y STUFF

A few editions ago, I (actually, my mate Matt) shared this awesome Medium post from Dave Parkinson, ‘50 ways to lose weight‘.

It is a great and easy read.

Earlier this week I was reminded of another decent – but more data-led – piece on a similar matter, this time by Mat Morrison.

I know Mat fairly well and being reminded of how he looked back then (three years or so ago now) is weird in a way. As cliché as it sounds, it really is like looking at a different person.

OK, so the point is: if you’re looking to change your body shape, Mat did it with determination + data.

Read how.

_____________

BONUSES: 

BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE A HOTCH POTCH OF RANDOM STUFF I’VE WRITTEN, FAVOURITED ON TWITTER, OR SIMPLY JUST STOLEN FROM OTHER NEWSLETTERS.

FOR SOME OF YOU, I KNOW THIS IS YOUR FAVOURITE SECTION. I HOPE THIS WEEK’S DOESN’T DISAPPOINT.

READY?

LET’S GO!

_____________

And I’m done. See you in September x

Five things on Friday #231

Things of note for the week ending Friday, July 21st, 2017.

IMPORTANT NOTE: 

If you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on whatleydude.com – just sayin.

So y’know…

➡️  [SUBSCRIBE TODAY]  ⬅️

Shall we?

____________________

1. BUILDING DADBOT

I’ve read a few articles now about how some bot designers have tried to emulate dead/dying relatives into a Messenger Bot format but this one, by AI/bot designer James Vlahos is heart-breakingly well-written.

Two paras, lifted – then the link.

“As I have contemplated what it would mean to build a Dadbot (the name is too cute given the circumstances, but it has stuck in my head), I have sketched out a list of pros and cons. The cons are piling up. Creating a Dadbot precisely when my actual dad is dying could be agonizing, especially as he gets even sicker than he is now. Also, as a journalist, I know that I might end up writing an article like, well, this one, and that makes me feel conflicted and guilty. Most of all, I worry that the Dadbot will simply fail in a way that cheapens our relationship and my memories. The bot may be just good enough to remind my family of the man it emulates—but so far off from the real John Vlahos that it gives them the creeps. The road I am contemplating may lead straight to the uncanny valley.”

And then, later –

“In short, I become obsessed. I can imagine the elevator pitch for this movie: Man fixated on his dying father tries to keep him robotically alive. Stories about synthesizing life have been around for millennia, and everyone knows they end badly. Witness the Greek myth of Prometheus, Jewish folkloric tales about golems, Frankenstein, Ex Machina, and The Terminator. The Dadbot, of course, is unlikely to rampage across the smoking, post-­Singularity wastes of planet Earth. But there are subtler dangers than that of a robo-­apocalypse. It is my own sanity that I’m putting at risk. In dark moments, I worry that I’ve invested hundreds of hours creating something that nobody, maybe not even I, will ultimately want.”

I may have cried (twice) reading the whole thing.

It is the best thing I’ve read this week.

____________________

2. ICONS FOR EVERYTHINGS

Writing a presentation and need icons to help illustrate a bunch of points, images, or ideas?

The Noun Project has got you covered.

Achingly useful.

____________________

3. LANCE ARMSTRONG: PODCASTER

This is interesting.

“It has been described as the guilty pleasure of this year’s Tour de France, arguably the race’s greatest villain waxing lyrical about the race he once dominated for so long.

Lance Armstrong is back in cycling, in a way. Still an outcast to the race, instead he has set up a daily podcast recorded from a small office at the end of the garden of his Austin home, and at occasional other venues nearby.

The 45-year-old is as knowledgeable as you’d expect for a veteran of 13 Tours. Topics have ranged widely from criticizing race organizers for ending the Tour’s Queen stage on a treacherous descent to having a hangover as a result of too much rosé wine during his July 4 celebrations.

Securing 300,000 listeners a day, Lance Armstrong’s TDF podcast ‘Stages’ is by many standards, hugely successful.

Is the cycling community – and the world for that matter – ready to forgive and forget?

____________________

4. THE SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR KILLING SPREE

A man named BEARDY NOISE (hi Luke) asked his friends and followers what music they would choose should they finally snap and go on a mass-slaughter of all and sundry.

This is what he got:

Fairly grim but amusing (and actually a pretty good playlist) all the same.

Got an addition? Let Luke know.

____________________

5. AUGMENTED REALITY LAWS 

Yes. This is an actual thing.

Ready for this?

BECAUSE OF THE POPULARITY OF POKÉMON GO, A WISCONSIN COUNTY HAS DECIDED TO REGULATE AR GAME PLAY.

These regulations require that any AR game that is available to play in the country parks of Milwaukee should first apply for $1000 permit which covers things such as garbage collection, bathroom use, and on-site security.

This is CRAZY.

And is, of course, being challenged in court.

One to watch.

____________________

BONUSES: 

BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE A BIT DIFFERENT THIS WEEK AND INSTEAD OF BEING OTHER ARTICLES ARE SIMPLY A BUNCH OF A TWEETS THAT I ACTUALLY LIKED (AS WELL AS, Y’KNOW, ‘LIKED’) – SOME HAVE LINKS, SOME HAVE PICTURES. ALL GOLD.

READY… GO!

ADDITIONAL BONUS BITS – ALL FEATURING YOURS TRULY: 

EVEN MORE BONUS BITS – OK FINE, HERE ARE SOME MORE LINKS TO SOME STUFF:

____________________

And that’s it, I’m out.

Have a stellar weekend, y’all.

 

x

 

Five things on Friday #229

Things of note for the week ending Friday, July 7th, 2017.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on whatleydude.com – just sayin.

So y’know…

➡️  [SUBSCRIBE TODAY]  ⬅️

Shall we?

_________

1. STOP THE MEETING MADNESS

The above title is taken from a really interesting article in the latest edition of Harvard Business Review (the article is online – four articles are free a month, I believe) but a couple of key things stood out as super relevant to me (and perhaps you too).

Key thing one: many of the perceived ‘solutions’ to meeting overkill don’t actually work. HBR lists off tried and tested methods such as: establishing a clear agenda, holding your meeting standing up, or delegating someone to attend in your place – all as good bandages. But none of them gets to the route cause of there being TOO MANY meetings. Something to keep in mind*.

Key thing two: Deep work is important! Not heard of deep work before? Let HBR explain:

“For one thing, time is zero-sum. Every minute spent in a wasteful meeting eats into time for solo work that’s equally essential for creativity and efficiency. For another, schedules riddled with meetings interrupt “deep work”—a term that the Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport uses to describe the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. (In a recent study, managers across the board in the United States and China told us that this happens “far too often!”) As a consequence, people tend to come to work early, stay late, or use weekends for quiet time to concentrate.”

Too many meetings = high impact on USEFUL BRAIN TIME – aka ‘Deep work’ time. Be mindful of others!

Key thing three: if all this sounds familiar – worry not! You are not alone. Here’s HBR again:

“A team at a global e-commerce company we studied had just one or two meetings a week, but they still felt like a waste of group time for several reasons. First, hours and locations often changed at the last minute, so many people arrived unprepared or didn’t come at all. Second, the agenda was often vague or redundant with side conversations that had already occurred, so the meetings felt like a rubber-stamping of decisions made elsewhere. Third, when new issues were raised, next steps were usually left unclear, leading to more sidebar conversations outside the room. One software developer told us that he kept showing up for the meetings even though he rarely got anything out of them, because his attendance was expected by his manager and everyone else. As a workaround, he covertly did his own tasks during meeting time. While this may seem like a harmless way to maintain individual productivity in the short term, it causes group productivity and camaraderie to deteriorate over the long term. When people don’t contribute to the discussion or pay attention to what’s being said, the team fails to reap the full benefits of convening, and the meeting wastes everyone’s time.”

So yeah – companies all over the world suffer from meeting overkill. The question is: what are going to do about it – if anything?

HBR has some guidance on that too.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Related: I remember when a dear friend of mine who, having spent much of his working life creating and making new tech/software/ideas on his own, joined his first agency only a couple of years back.

‘How are you finding it, [redacted]?’
‘Oh, it’s fine, James. Aside from ALL OF THE MEETINGS. MEETINGS MEETINGS MEETINGS. ‘
Oh you want something? HAVE A MEETING!’ – it’s infuritating!’ 

He had/has a point.

Kill a meeting today.

I dare you.

—-

*from a personal perspective, I picked up from a Google blog post some time ago a habit around productivity that I tend/try to stick to. It involves committing Monday to writing your To Do list FOR THE WEEK (not the day), committing to completing smaller actions, and putting any and all meetings in for that afternoon and/or Tuesday. Then Tuesday/Wednesday is kept for focusing on the work. Thursdays: review, check inbox for new tasks. Friday finish off anything outstanding, close off weekly To Do list.

It is absolutely NOWHERE NEAR achievable week in, week out. But as a guideline, it really helps you keep track of your week. Especially if you’re somebody (like me) who lives their working life by where their calendar says they should be and when.

☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️

2. THIS WEEK, IN ‘TECHNOLOGY WE COULD ALL DO WITHOUT’


Where do I start?

Hmm.

How about… here: 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭 😭

Why does anyone need this in their lives? Don’t get me wrong, I am fully on board with the idea of ambient notifications but as a night light?

Specifically, something that is supposed to help/aid you SLEEP?

No. Thank. You.

If you’re the type of crazy person who likes this sort of thing, then get yourself over to the Kickstarter page quick.

You big weirdo.

☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️

3. CONFESSIONS OF AN AWARD JUDGE

No, not those kinds of confessions. Put the popcorn away, dear.

It’s awards season, in the advertising/communications industry. That means, for those of us who work in it, depending on your role/position/interest, the next few months will consist of at least one of the following:

  • Writing award entries
  • Judging award entries
  • Finding the money to pay for award entries
  • Finding the money to pay for the tickets to the awards evening
  • Winning awards
  • Not winning awards
  • Finding a job number to hide the money that you used to pay for the champagne you decided to purchase for the entire team (win or lose) later that night at the after party

(For what it’s worth, I can tick every single one of those off my career bucket list with ease)

While there’s not much I can do to help with much of the above, however, when it comes down to the award entry itself, what I can do is point you in the direction of this FANTASTIC blog post from the always generous Stephen Waddington.

Aimed at those writing award entries (specifically for PR awards) there is a lot of solid gold in the advice given and, if you’re going to be ANYWHERE NEAR an award entry anytime soon, then this is a MUST READ.

As a build on the above, I’ve been asked to join the judging panel for the Social Buzz Awards this year (I said yes) and, having done it once before a few years ago, I can tell you: yes of course the work is important but the entry itself is your ticket to success.

Make. It. Compelling.

☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️

4. WHEN YOUR PLANE CATCHES FIRE

According to the International Air Transport Association, emergency aircraft evacuations averaged just over ONE A WEEK for the year of 2016. That’s a helluva lot more than you might imagine, right?

Kevin J. Delaney was in such an evacuation a week ago (pictured above). Here’s his account of events, courtesy of Quartz.

Compelling.

☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️

5. TESTING THE [SUPPOSED] HARRODS DRESS CODE

This is brilliant.

VICE contributor, Oobah Butler, decided to test the alleged Harrods dress code (I say ‘alleged’ because while it used to be a pretty big deal back in the late 90s it seems (and this test only goes to prove it) that things are a bit more relaxed these days) and while the results are somewhat surprising (barefoot: pass – what?) the journey itself is hilarious.

Go read.

☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️

BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

AND HERE WE GO WITH THE LARGE COLLECTION OF THINGS THAT A) TAKE US OVER THE PRE-REQUISITE OF FIVE AND B) HAVE SAT IN A CHROME TAB FOR THE BEST PART OF A WEEK.

READY… GO!

Golden. 

__________

And that’s about it for this week.

Until next time…

Whatley out.

Five things on Friday #228

Things of note for the week ending Saturday July 1st, 2017.

REMINDER: if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday email newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on My Happy Place.

You can do that by hitting the inconspicuous button that may or may not be below this sentence.

➡️  [SUBSCRIBE TODAY]  ⬅️

Shall we crack on?

//// ⭐️ //// ⭐️ ——— ⭐️ \\\\ ⭐️ \\\\

1. GEN XENNIALS

I don’t REALLY have to repeat how much it makes my gut reach whenever I read some of the latest guff around generational ‘cohorts’ now do I?

For those of you that didn’t throw up the moment you read the above thing title, keep reading!

The ‘micro-generation’ of people born between 1977 and 1983 (and the reason that this, ahem, research is appearing in this edition MAY WELL BE because I fall into said category) now have their own name.

GENERATION XENNIAL.

— passes the sick bag —

AHEM.

It says here:

Look. I get it. That is definitely me. And the full definition makes a lot of sense.

But it’s still a massive wang-a-thon

I’ve said it before, if you want a decent take on all things cohort, you could do a lot worse than read this excellent piece by Jed Hallam – Millennial is a useless term‘ 

Xennials. I mean, really.

— — — — —

2. WETHERSPOONS DELETED ITS ENTIRE EMAIL DATABASE – ON PURPOSE

I AM SO HERE FOR THIS.


WIRED* is reporting that UK pub chain (and oft-favourite haunt of student-Whatley) J.D. Wetherspoons has deleted its entire email mailing list and says it will stop sending newsletters via email completely.

JDW’s CEO, John Hutson, wrote to its subscribers last week and said –

“Many companies use email to promote themselves, but we don’t want to take this approach – which many consider intrusive. Our database of customers’ email addresses, including yours, will be deleted.”

BECAUSE WHO WANTS MORE EMAIL, AMIRITE? 

This is nothing short of superb.

Like I said, WIRED has the full story.

Worth a read.



*Incidentally, I subscribed to WIRED magazine this week. £28 for 24 issues. That’s £1.10 per issue. Not bad

— — — — —

3. THE SECRET HISTORY OF PIXAR’S CARS UNIVERSE

Buckle up.

Shit’s about to get weird.

 (this is probably my favourite thing this week)

Earlier this week, I read the following:

—–

“One of the beauties and dangers of the internet’s ability to dilate fandoms so that they never begin and never end is that people get to spend too much time thinking about stuff. For instance, Cars 3 — the latest kid-friendly Pixar film — is out today, but it will likely not address the fact that a car genocide happened in which Car Hitler exterminated 6 million Car Jews during Car World War II. It is very easy to prove that Car Hitler is real, using canonical Cars lore.

The general line of thought is something like this: The Cars-verse includes a World War II–era Jeep named Sarge, who explicitly references events like the Battle of the Bulge. In the direct-to-DVD film Planes (made by Disney but not Pixar), there is an actual WWII flashback in which the plane Skipper recalls losing his entire squadron in the Pacific Theater. Assuming that Car WWII occurred, and that it contains the same contours as the actual WWII, we can assume that there were Car Axis powers, and thus a Car Hitler.”

The problem with this stuff is the more you read it, the more you just want to keep scrolling…

Which you’re going to do once you click through and read the whole damn mind-bending thing.

— — — — —

4. A SECTION ABOUT MOVIES + STUFF

There’s a whole bunch of film-based news/knowledge/trailers that I’ve missed while away so I’m bunging it all under one section (save running a whole FToF dedicated to movies – but that might still happen one day – maybe).

Ready?

In no real order whatsoever:

______________

And that’s that section done. While we’re here though, let’s throw in another bit. Being off work for as long as I have, I’ve been catching up with a number of box sets I’ve had my eye on:

  1. 13 REASONS WHY (Netflix). Hard watching. But very good.
  2. AMERICAN GODS (Amazon Prime). Made by the same team that brought us the HANNIBAL TV series (still my favourite TV show of all time ever – not kidding), AG has some stellar performances but overall suffers from assuming too much knowledge on behalf of its audience. EXPLAIN MORE STUFF PLEASE AMERICAN GODS. THANKS.
  3. PREACHER (Amazon Prime). I started this AGES AGO but with S2 arriving I figured I’d revisit. It is gruesome, weird, messed up, and (unlike AMERICAN GODS) includes a decent plot. I enjoyed it.
  4. HOUSE OF CARDS (Netflix). Do I really need to talk about this?
  5. Over to you, dear reader…​
— — — — —

5. OMG – COMPETITIVE PUNNING

This week, on ‘RANDOM THINGS I HAVE WATCHED ON THE INTERNET’, this video utterly killed me.

Go. Watch it. Then come back.

So yeah, found that video via this AMAZING article on Fast Company that explains how Joe Berkowitz spent a year exploring the culture in and around COMPETITIVE PUNNING.

“The best pun I heard during the course of writing the book was: ‘I went to go shopping for cherries and microphones the other day: bought a bing, bought a boom,’” Joe told me. “The worst pun I heard was: ‘If steaks can’t satisfy you, can ribs?’ where the words ‘Can ribs’ were somehow supposed to form a pun on ‘Cribs.’ This was 15 minutes into a pun duel about furniture and all the good puns were taken, but still: wow,” Joe recalled.

If you only watched the video at the start of this section then I will be happy but this whole thing, in general, is so mentally brilliant, I can’t impress it upon you enough to go read, explore, and enjoy/cringe/laugh.

Go go go!

— — — — —

BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

HERE BE THE BONUS SECTION. AKA: ‘THE SELECTION OF LINKS THAT JAMES FOUND INTERESTING ENOUGH TO SHARE BUT NOT INTERESTING ENOUGH TO ADD A WHOLE PARAGRAPH OR FIVE OF THOUGHT ABOUT’

DON’T SHY AWAY, MIND. THERE BE GOLD IN DESE HILLS.

DEEP BREATH.

HERE WE GO.

What’d I miss?

— — — — —

And I think that just about wraps it up.

WHAT A WEEK. 

I’ll try not to leave it so long next time.

Whatley out. 

Five things on Friday #227

Things of note for the week ending Saturday, June 10th, 2017.

Hello, my name is Matt. James is taking some well-deserved offline time and he’s subbed me in to hold the fort in his absence, much like José Mourinho throwing on an extra defender in the 89th minute to hold onto a 1-0 lead.

It probably won’t have the panache of James’ newsletters (I’m sure it’s the first time his newsletters had a football analogy in the opening paragraph) but I hope to provide a – dare I say it – strong and steady performance while he’s away.

OK, intro out of the way.

ON TO THE THINGS.

_________

1. WHO KILLED THE WEEKEND?

I often feel a pang of guilt as Sunday night draws to a close. I’ve spent a good few hours playing and then reviewing a game, pulling my hair out as I try to put words onto paper in a cohesive sense.

Checked my email, work email, my email again, Twitter, because unplugging yourself feels a bit selfish.

Then there’s the litany of other things, small things, things that I have to do. Finally, I sit back as Monday starts to loom on the horizon, shattered because I’ve essentially crammed as much activity as possible into 48 hours, and think “Have I made the most of those precious two days off?”

This excellent article argues the case for doing what weekends were created for: giving yourself time to relax, time with loved ones, time disconnected from the digital world.

Time to breathe.

__________

2. EVERY GENERATION HAS BEEN THE ME ME ME GENERATION

“Millennials are the “ME ME ME GENERATION,” writes Joel Stein for the cover of Time magazine, which is apparently a marked departure from the Baby Boomers, who were the plain old “Me Generation” (one me, no caps) and who created the “Me Decade” in the 1970s, and who coined the phrase, “But enough about me… what do you think about me?” in the 1980s when they were raising the next narcissists, Generation X.”

You often hear commentary about the supposed narcissism of Millennials, documenting every moment of their life via filter-tinged Instagram posts or selfies on Snapchat. Elspeth Reeve, writing for The Atlantic, argues the case that every era seems to think the one that follows is the ‘ME Generation’.​

__________

3. ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO WATCH JAWS LIKE THIS? 

I’m a notoriously easily scared person, so much so that my documented attempt to play through the recently released Resident Evil 7 in VR was brought to an inglorious end after one solitary video (Yes, I know James has linked to that video in a previous Five Things On Friday. What can I say? I’m part of the ME Generation).

So, would I choose to watch Jaws 3D while bobbing along in a rubber dingy, in the middle of the night, in a lake?

tout.jpg

ABSOLUTELY NOT.

__________

4. 50 WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT

Dave Parkinson writes:

“Several years ago I decided to be “not fat” anymore and lost 20KG (44lbs). Ish. During that time I have read a lot of books. A lot. Watched a shedload of videos, ate a lot of chicken and in the process accidentally became an “enthusiastic amateur” into the how and why. I meet a lot of people who knew me before I lost the weight and they all (seemingly slack-jawed) ask me the how so I decided to try and distill all I have read and watched into SIMPLE tips, guidance and advice as one list. They all worked for me.”

Now, a few years back I decided to ‘get fit’.

I started eating better, running, and strength training, and in a relatively short space of time I lost a decent chunk of weight, became noticeably stronger, and just generally felt better, physically and mentally.

One knee injury, that required a surgical procedure, led to a lengthy period confined to a sofa. Sure enough, old eating habits crept back in and the weight piled back on.

Many people, including myself, over-complicate losing weight, jumping from diet to diet, often doing themselves more harm in the long term. Dave Parkinson (pictured before, and after, below) has put together a list of simple, easy to follow tips, to help you shift some pounds. He’s not quite reached 50 yet, but the 41 so far should get you well on your way.

1-2EOmwg0VwBqSQPHSzIAccw.jpeg

Also contains a cracking protein pancake recipe.

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5. SPECTACLES LAUNCH IN THE UK / ACROSS EUROPE

Snapchat’s first foray into hardware debuted in September 2016, although initially only in the US, and even more initially (pre-initially? Pre-nitially? Is that a word? It is now.) via vending machines called Snapbots.

Well, now they’ve made their way across the Atlantic and can be yours for £129.99.

So far I only know one person with a pair of Spectacles, and that’s James himself. He acquired a pair while at SXSW last year, allowing me to follow him galavanting around Austin.

I don’t think he’s used them much since though.

Passing fad? Maybe.

But there’s some undeniably cool stuff captured so far.

Want some? Go get some.

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BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS:

CONTINUING THE TREND OF THE PAST FEW WEEKS, HERE ARE A TON OF RANDOM LINKS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE USEFUL TO YOUR LIFE.

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And…  I’m done.

I hope this was at least partially as good as an authentic Whatley-written Five Things. Enjoy your weekend and, like I said above, have an actual day off to yourself, and breathe.

To borrow James’ weekly sign off…

Matt out x​

Ps. If you reply to this email it’ll go to James. If you want to send me feedback directly, I’m @munkimatt on Twitter – you can find me there x

Five things on Friday #226

Things of note for the week ending Friday June 2nd, 2017.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday email newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on My Happy Place.

You can do that by hitting the inconspicuous button that may or may not be below this sentence.

➡️  [SUBSCRIBE TODAY]  ⬅️

Shall we crack on?

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1. THE MEEKER REPORT

I’m sorry, what was that?

Did you just say ‘James, I’d really like 355 slides of the latest Internet Trends that covers everything from Internet Advertising to Gaming, Healthcare, Media, and more?’ 

YOU DID?

GREAT! I got you covered.
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That’s right, Mary Meeker is back with her yearly motherlode of global stats and facts about all things Internet-ty.

Recode had the exclusive, meaning it was first with the analysis too.

Both are a worthwhile read.

Pro tip: you’ll need coffee. 

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2. THE IRREGULAR SECTION ABOUT WARREN ELLIS

Honestly. If you’ve been reading these for a while you know Warren Ellis comes up every now and then, if it’s not wanging on about one of his many writing projects then it’s something I’ve enjoyed from his casual thought dump, Morning Computer.

This week I’m going to talk to you about his newsletter, Orbital Operations. In short: it’s great. Really interesting (if you’re into that kind of thing) and, if I’m honest, a decent source of interesting things to me – from this week’s edition alone.

For example:

  • Warren Ellis is the lead writer for the new Castlevania series on Netflix. His behind the scenes chat about it is super interesting and of course, here’s a trailer he shared too.
  • In the same edition, he talks about what it means to write a fight scene (for what I believe is a book) and compares this Transporter 2 fight scene to any one of those in John Wick. While the latter are good, JW never fought a man with a firehose. Where’s the realism?
    (Oh – sidenote: I’m totally working that video into a talk at some point. It is excellent) 
  • And this Deadpool blooper reel (that I had totally forgotten about).

So yeah, it’s awesome.

Go get some.

EDIT: I just found this in one of the recent editions –

Who even writes things like ‘micro-continuum of futures denoted by the colour of sand’?! – who?!

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3. CAMPAIGN UNDERGROUND

Trade publication CAMPAIGN recently ran an evening of talks around behavioural insights and adjusting brand approach to marketing through consumer understanding.

Some people might read the above paragraph and dismiss it, ‘Er, well, of course, you need to understand consumers to market to them – duh’

Others might think ‘Behavioural insights, what?’

While the write-up of the event isn’t as comprehensive as actually being there, it does highlight a number of smart ways that big recognisable brands are thinking differently about how they approach advertising and communications in 2017.

Worth reading for further Google / Case Study Research alone.

Read ‘Six Things We Learned at Campaign Underground‘, by Stephen Graves.

Ps. On the tangential note of innovative thinking, ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’ is my favourite book on this topic and well worth a read if you’re yet to add it to your Kindle. 

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4. MOSSBERG: THE DISAPPEARING COMPUTER

Walt Mossberg, in 1991:

“Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it isn’t your fault. The computer industry boasts that its products can help everyone become more productive. Maybe so. But many people can’t afford the time and money needed to get the most out of PCs.”

Over the past 25 or so years, Walt Mossberg has been a leading voice in the technology and computing industry. Witness to the age of the PC, smartphone, tablet, and the dawn of voice computing, Mossberg has not only seen it all but had something to say on it too.

And he’s retiring.

Mossberg’s final column, entitled ‘The Disappearing Computer‘ is a great read and, while bearing no real surprises, comes with the gravitas of a man who really has seen it all and has a bloody good idea of where it might all be headed next.

Nice one, Walt. You were ace.

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5. GOOGLE V UBER: IN DETAIL

This one is a little old (I read it too late to include in last week’s edition) but still 100% worth your time.

Some of you may or may not know but Google (or Waymo, a the self-driving-car subsidiary of Alphabet, both of which used to be Google – details) launched a huge lawsuit against Uber after the former alleged an ex-Waymo-employee, one Anthony Levandowski (pictured about) misappropriated (read: ‘stole’) hundreds of gigs worth of data, before heading off to work for Uber. The same Uber that is also developing a self-driving car solution.

Yeah, you can see how sticky that is going to get, right?

Two things to know:

1. The latest news it that Uber has fired Levandowski for his involvement in the lawsuit and that really doesn’t look that good AT ALL.

2. The other thing to familiarise yourself with (and the original article that prompted me to add it to an edition of FToF), is this slightly-longer read by the Wall Street Journal entitled ‘How one engineer sparked a war’ – featuring, you guessed it, Anthony Levandowski.

Honestly, some of the sheer crazy that has reportedly happened in the history of this case is phenomenal. And that crazy is covered by all parties involved, not just that of those accused.

This is a really interesting read and an amazing insight into the world of how the San Francisco tech/valley set behave and think. Wow.

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BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

CONTINUING THE TREND OF THE PAST FEW WEEKS, HERE ARE A TON OF RANDOM LINKS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE USEFUL TO YOUR LIFE.

//// ⭐️ ——— ⭐️ \\\\

You are now at the end.

See you next week.

Until then…  you should consider SUBSCRIBING.

Five things on Friday #225

Things of note for the week ending Friday May 26th, 2017.

REMINDER: if you SUBSCRIBE to the Five things on Friday email newsletter, you are 100% guaranteed to get MORE STUFF than reading it here on My Happy Place.

You can do that by hitting the inconspicuous button below.

➡️  [SUBSCRIBE TODAY]  ⬅️

Shall we?

\\__________//

1. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO CHILDREN ABOUT THE STUFF THAT HAPPENED IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK? 

I genuinely would have no idea. But my colleague (and all round smart person) Karin, spotted this excellent advice from BBC Newsround and I think it bears sharing, repeating, printing, and re-sharing.

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2. THE PROM DRESS: AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL HISTORY


Fascinating –

A strange ritual takes place across the United States each spring. It shares elements with the Hindu marriage ceremony, in which the young bride is wrapped in a red sari, and joined with her life-mate amid elaborate festivities. Or Japan’s Seijin-no-Hi, when young women adorn themselves in beautifully detailed kimonos and men don their smartest suits. Or the Ghanaian puberty rite of Dipo, in which girls wear ceremonial cloths as part of their initiation into womanhood each April and May.

During those same months across the US, young people gather for a dance sanctioned by local elders, where they dress in fancy costumes that embody traditional gender tropes and old-fashioned notions of sexuality, to celebrate their transition from childhood to adulthood. The Americans call it prom.

Tracking the history of The Prom – its meanings, the dresses, the symbolism – this piece over on Quartz was a great read.

You might like it too.

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3. AND THE AWARD FOR THE MOST HARMFUL SOCIAL NETWORK GOES TO… 

In a survey of nearly 1500 14-24-year-olds (they’re not millennials, btw), Instagram was found to be the number one social media platform when it comes to damaging young people’s mental health.

Shocking? Yeah, I’d say so.
Surprising? Probably not.

Worth reading up on.

See also: ‘Why Generation Y are Unhappy‘, by Tim Urban. 

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4. TASTY TEMPLATES

“In less than two years, Tasty, a Facebook page filled with short recipe videos, has become the engine of BuzzFeed’s video view. In April, it hit nearly 1 billion views, according to Tubular Labs, even ahead of BuzzFeed’s main video page. Now, Tasty is driving the company’s social video strategy.

With 85 million followers just in the U.S., Tasty is on track to be Facebook’s biggest page, according to its gm, Ashley McCollum. BuzzFeed has spent accordingly, putting a team of 75 behind it. Tasty has spawned international editions from Mexico to Germany, spinoffs Tasty Vegetarian, Tasty One Pot and Tasty Junior, not to mention a lot of copycats. There’s even a Tasty cookbook, which has sold more than 150,000 copies.”

The success of Tasty (or ‘Proper Tasty’, if you’re in UK) has been phenomenal. The main reason why I’m so aware of it is the data the work uncovered around the video-through-rate (VTR) lift that you get when you switch to a square format. It’s upwards of around 12-19% (which I cannot link to, alas, but I heard the stat at a Buzzfeed talk once. That said, BF has talked about its Tasty data before – and that’s very interesting reading) and the impact on [pretty much all] social video echoes all around the industry as we know it.

The thing I’d like to point you towards now is this Digiday article that takes a look at Tasty’s impact – specifically on Buzzfeed content outside of the recipe-based sub-brand.

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5. VR / WORLDSENSE

Worldsense VR is coming. Google VR without wires and without a phone/device shoved in the front of it. A standalone device that allows you to move freely, and easily, in the world around you – and in front of you.

The video looks good (if a little textbook California) and I’m excited about it. From a personal perspective, I’ve played with a few different VR offerings – in fact, I think now I’ve pretty much played with all the main ones (woop). I’ve not made the jump to a Google Daydream quite yet but I have Carboard (as well as a Colorcross – basically a posher Cardboard, dead useful) and PSVR at home, the latter of which really is quite spectacular.

Is VR mass-consumer-ready yet? Arguably not. But I’d say that perhaps Worldsense will nudge us all just a little bit closer.

Via Fast Company.

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BONUSES THIS WEEK ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

ALL OF THESE ARE EXCELLENT.

GOOD LUCK DOWN THERE. 

—–=——-=

 

And we are done…

 

Have a stellar weekend y’all.

JW