Five things on Friday #107

Things of note for the week ending January 16th, 2015.

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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Five things on Friday #107.

It’s been a busy week (and there are several other blog posts in draft that are close to publishing – probably at the back end of next week – once the madness subsides and all is calm once more) so why not enjoy yesterday’s edition of Three Track Thursday (it’s not another new regular thing, don’t worry, I do actually have a life to live) while you read?

Done that?

Good.

Shall we?

Let’s.

1. GOOGLE: PROJECT ARA

Ara

The world’s first (proper) consumer-grade/ready modular phone, Google’s Project Ara is very exciting indeed. Admittedly this thing has been on the way for a while now (starting off as a small start-up, being backed by Motorola, who were then bought by Google), at long last, it’s actually getting somewhere.

And that somewhere is Puerto Rico.

This is actually really exciting and, with the right support, could actually effect a sea-change in the way that we deal with mobile hardware.

Replaceable, shareable, and a unique flavour defined by each individual user; we could be looking at the future, kids.

The Next Web has more.

2. THE EIGHT BOOKS EVERY INTELLIGENT PERSON SHOULD READ
This next item comes once again from the rather excellent blog known as Brain Pickings. During a Reddit AMA recently, renowned and respected physicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, was asked the following question:

“Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?”

Tyson’s response is suitably insightful. Covering everything from Charles Darwin, The Bible and even Sun Tzu, the list is unsurprisingly excellent.

(But that is not why this is a thing this week)

He goes on to add:

“If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”

Maria Popova, author of Brain Pickings (where I picked up this gem), responds to that last section more brilliantly than I ever could.

She writes:

“What has driven it, evidently, is also the systematic exclusion of the female perspective. The prototypical “intelligent person” would be remiss not to also read, at the very least, Margaret Fuller’s foundational text Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which is even available as a free ebook, and Betty Friedan’sThe Feminine Mystique. But, of course, the question of diversity is an infinite one and any list is bound to be pathologically unrepresentative of all of humanity — a challenge I’ve addressed elsewhere — so Tyson’s selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness. My hope, meanwhile, is that we’ll begin to see more such reading lists by prominent female scientists, philosophers, artists, or writers of the past and present; to my knowledge, none have been made public as of yet — except perhaps Susan Sontag’s diary, which is essentially a lifelong reading list”

Perfect.

And so right.

Now go read a book.

3. SOME BACK TO THE FUTURE STUFF
Hey! Wait! Where are you going?! Come back! No! Wait!

I promise and swear that this is not yet-another-post about how THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II. No. It is not that.

But seriously – can you really take any more of it? We’re only three weeks into 2015 and if I see another ‘Top things brands can learn from Back to the Future’s 2015 predictions – published on LinkedIn’ I might never watch the darn thing ever again. You know it’s going to get worse, don’t you? Like much worse. You’ve got Nike trainers, Buzzfeed lists of ‘things BTTF got right!’, and that’s before we even get to October… Ugh.

Where was I?

Oh yes, THIS is an awesome collection of three top-down posters that perfectly illustrate the trilogy’s different parts. And they’re awesome.

88MPH_Trilogy_1024x1024

“Enhance. Stop. Move in. Stop. Pull out, track right. Stop. Center and pull back. Stop.”

BTTF2

So good. The above photos were found over on iO9. And I’d recommend clicking through because, if you like this kind of thing then you might find the comments to be really quite awesome.

Really.

4. EVER BEEN IN OR NEAR A THEATRE?
Then this handy guide might be right up your street.

*chortle*

5. PHOTOS FROM THE SPACEX LANDING
This is fairly hot off the press: Elon Musk has finally shared some photographs of the ‘failed’ (if you can call it that) landing of the reusable SpaceX rockets.

And they’re pretty incredible to look at.


Stunning.

If none of the above makes any sense to you (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? UNDER A ROCK?!) then the BBC has a really good primer.

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Bonuses this week are varied -

  • All week I’ve been looking at gifs, reading lists, and generally enjoying the commentary on the Tiny Fey/Amy Poehler opening monologue at the Golden Globes. Even if you’ve done the same, the actual video is worth a watch because, well, because they’re worth it (and the delivery is just great).
  • Campaign Magazine asked me to write 1400 words on ‘the year ahead for social media’. So I did.
  • This Atlantic photo essay about the mass-penetration of mobile phones, their various uses, and how they’re literally everywhere today, is great – ‘A World Transfixed by Screens

Liked this? Tell a friend.

See you next week,

Whatley out.

 

 

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Five things on Friday #106

Things of note for the week ending January 9th, 2015.

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1. ROBOTS ARE BREAKING THE LAW
…and nobody knows what to do about it. Well, that second part isn’t strictly true. But read the intro to this article and tell me if you’re not intrigued about what our android friends might get up to in the future:

The Random Darknet Shopper, an automated online shopping bot with a budget of $100 a week in Bitcoin, is programmed to do a very specific task: go to one particular marketplace on the Deep Web and make one random purchase a week with the provided allowance. The purchases have all been compiled for an art show in Zurich, Switzerland titled The Darknet: From Memes to Onionland, which runs through January 11.

The concept would be all gravy if not for one thing: the programmers came home one day to find a shipment of 10 ecstasy pills, followed by an apparently very legit falsified Hungarian passport– developments which have left some observers of the bot’s blog a little uneasy.

Right? This whole thing is pretty cool/questionable/good brain fodder. The article makes a few good points, but in summary:

  • IF this was the US, then the programmers might be found responsible (and guilty).
  • The coders in question have claimed responsibility for everything their bot does (and claim ownership of said illegal substances).
  • The coders’ lawyer says as it’s an art project which means that, in line with the Swiss constitution (that states all art is in the public interest) that all of it is allowed to be free.

The implications for the future are… well, interesting. The coders in this instance have taken responsibility (but have an ‘out’) but that might not always be the case. The Swiss constitution allows an art project to be free and without prosecution but that might not always be the case.

The future is bright, the future is vague.

2. THE VOICEMAIL RETURNS
Some of you might know this already but I [used to] record a weekly mobile tech podcast called ‘The Voicemail‘. Along with another mobile tech-head, one Mr Stefan Constantinescu, we deliver 30mins of irreverent mobile tech coverage and generally have a laugh doing so.

TVM

Back in October 2014, Stefan and I decided to put the show on hiatus for the remainder of the year (he was changing jobs and moving country and me, well, I needed the time out too.

Anyway, the plan was that we’d regroup in January to kick-start the show for 2015. We have, and episode 121 is available to download now. Even if you have only a passing interest in the latest mobile tech (eg: what phone should you get next?) then you should give us a listen.

FYI.

3. PHIL HARTMAN: THE GLUE
One of the more enjoyable long reads of the week: I found this Grantland piece from last summer about how the super talented Phil Hartman was the glue that held Saturday Night Live together.

At this point I’d normally put in an image from the website or quote something from the piece or even embed a video for ya’all to watch. But not this time. This time I’m going to tell to just go and educate yourself on one of the great, lost comedians of our time.

4. HEROIC WORDS OF WISDOM
As is customary for a good Five Things on Friday, here’s a section on superhero-related stuff.

Superman: Dreams
In ‘Heroic words of wisdom’ artist (and obvious comic book fan), Adam Thompson, pairs the stars of Detective Comics with the inspirational words that have appeared in the pages (or from the films) where they dwell.

I really like these.

Flash

That is all.

Source.

5. SMUGGLING ULYSSES

Ulysses

I read this piece on a tube journey earlier this week and was hooked from start to finish. It’s the story of how, in 1933, a man was hired specifically to smuggle a copy of [the then banned] Ulysses into the United States of America and get caught doing so.

The after-effects of which would cause a major shift in the way censorship of literature behaved not only in the US but across the rest of the English-speaking world.

An amazing story.

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Bonuses this week are short and sweet:

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Liked this? Tell a friend.

Whatley out.

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Five things on Friday #105

Back for 2015.

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Yeah, so the plan was to take 2015 off for FTOF. I’ve done it before and it was actually quite nice to shake off the responsibility for a year or so. For this time around I thought I’d hand the decision over to you, dear reader (see item five, last week). And what a lovely bunch of people you turned out to be: every single response I received – via email, Twitter, or in person – was a variation of ‘Keep it going!’ and so here we are.

Five things on Friday is still here and will be for another year.

If you’re new here, welcome. Five things on Friday is a weekly collection of things that I’ve found on the Internet in the past week. It’s rarely five things (as there’s usually a few bonuses) and it sometimes doesn’t go out on a Friday either (like today, for instance). It’s as regular as it can be and a fair amount of effort goes into putting it together.

In short: your readership and support is appreciated.

Thank you.

If you know someone who might enjoy this weekly update as a newsletter, please do forward them to the sign up page, and give the gift of Five Things on [sometimes] Friday for 2015.

Right then, shall we crack on?

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

1. ONE DIRECTION: PUB QUIZ QUESTION
Did you know that some of Harry Styles’ biggest Twitter fans number their replies to their handsomely-haired boy band idol? No. Me neither. The why behind it though is just amazing.

‘I believe the children are the future…’

As random Internet facts go, I really like it.

2. PUBLIC SPEAKING: PREP
I’m fortunate enough to be invited to speak at different events from time to time and the three things I swear by are preparation, preparation, and preparation.

In the first instance, knowing your materials forwards, backwards, inside and out, is so important for getting your presentation right.

In the second instance, knowing the space where you’re going to give your talk helps you understand the nature of the acoustics, how people will be looking you, and where the screen will be in relation to where you’re standing.

Finally, in the third instance, rehearsing the talk – alone, in your room, with friends, with family – helps hammer out those habits (I used to touch my face ALL OF THE TIME for some unknown reason – my Mum actually pointed it out and I don’t do it any more) and helps give you confidence when speaking.

That’s all great but what about if you have no materials?

What if you’ve had no prior warning to speaking and someone’s asked you to ‘just say a few words’ at a professional gathering of some kind?!

For some of us, panic can set in and fear takes over.

And fear is no good at all.

fearhate

The good news is, thanks to Lifehacker (which is where I found this handy tip) preparation can help here too. Well, not preparation. But PREP. The PREP framework, in fact:

The next time you’re asked to say a few words with little or no notice, use the PREP framework to structure your speech.

PREP stands for:

  • Point – Introduce your speech with your main point. Focus on one point only, so it’s easier for your audience to comprehend.
  • Reasons – Tell your audience why you think the point is true. Back this up with research and statistics to add credibility if you have these to hand. If not, simply speak from the heart.
  • Example – Highlight an example (or several) that supports your main point and your reasons. Again, back this up with data if appropriate.
  • Point – Wrap up your mini-speech by reiterating your main point so that it sticks in people’s minds.

It’s a simple structure, relatively easy to remember and most importantly it works.

I love little  ‘cheats’ like this and employ a fair few of them when giving presentations. If you’ve got any, I’d love to hear about them.

3. STING (no not that one) BUT FOR WI-FI
Imagine you’re a Hobbit. Now imagine you’re Bilbo (or Frodo) Baggins. You’ve got this sword – it’s pretty ace – it glows blue whenever Orcs or Goblins are near. It’s literally magical.

Now keep imagining you’re a Hobbit but you’re no longer in Middle Earth. You’re in the middle of New York City. You’ve got to somehow get an email to Gandalf to let him know where to send the giant eagles to come and get you but you’ve got no Wi-Fi.

Thing is about NYC, there aren’t that many Orcs and Goblins so your sword’s early warning alarm system is pretty useless. But what if you could hack that sword somehow? What if you could swap out the bits that detect evil and swap in elements that detected FREE WI-FI instead?! Wouldn’t that be something?

If only there was some kind of handy guide on how to do it.

4. TWITTER: ‘WHILE YOU WERE AWAY…’
This has been around for a while now (I’m on the Twitter beta channel, shh) but only seems to have been rolled out in earnest over the past week or so.

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 09.54.03

In short: Twitter has started presenting a few of [what it thinks are] the best tweets you might of missed since your last log in. Of course, to see this new feature in action it does mean having to actually not use it for a short while which I know will be quite a hard stretch for some of you.

Joking aside, this roll out is bang in line with the some of the thoughts and ideas that Marshall Manson and I have been talking about in our recent 2015 Trend Predictions presentation. To quote slide 13 from said document:

‘In 2015, like Facebook before it, Twitter is sure to embrace algorithmic content serving, and move away from its traditional reverse chronological format’

‘While you were away’ is just the beginning, boys and girls.

Just the beginning.

5. THE MARVEL OMNIBUS
This is the kind of stuff the Internet was made for.

marvel-universe

A man named Mike Furth has created his own super cut of Marvel’s cinematic universe. If you’re new to this, then you might not know that Marvel’s films happen in phases. Each phase is finished with an Avengers film. So any film that happened before The Avengers (or: Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, for us guys and gals in the UK) all happened in phase one. Everything after that is phase two and, when Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out later this year, we’ll be moving into phase three.

Back to that super cut.

This chap named Mike Furth has gone through every Marvel film to date (as well as some episodes of Agents of SHIELD and a couple of the One-Shots) and re-edited them into one chronological super cut.

The whole thing comes in at just over 12hrs (that’s about the same time you’ve spent watching The Lord of the Rings in your life time, if not less) and if you want to make your own, Mike has put up a guide on how to do just that.

Even if you’re not planning on making your own version, this is a really informative video and probably worth watching anyway for just sheer geek points.

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Bonuses this week are in the shape of 2014 round ups / 2015 look aheads that are worth looking at.

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  • The widely-read and equally knowledgeable Paul Fabretti passed me this succinct tech round up from Fred Wilson: ‘What Just Happened?‘ (this is not only really good reading but also completely and utterly spot on – read this and let’s talk about it sometime).
  • My unpaid and unaware mentor, Stephen Waddington, has put together his ‘15 areas of work in progress for 2015‘ covering off everything from Demographics to Influence, this is a great insight into what one of the smartest minds in the industry is thinking and talking about. On that note, if you’re not subscribed to Steve’s blog you’re really missing out.
  • Katie Moffat shared this list of ‘The 10 Best Podcasts of 2014 (excluding Serial)‘. If Serial has got you in, then definitely check this list out. If it hasn’t that check it out anyway.

Until next week!

 

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Five things on Friday #104

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 26th, 2014.

FIVE THINGS, BITCHES

The 104th edition. That means two years’ worth. Not bad, eh?

Let’s do this.

1. END OF YEAR CHOONS
I’m a few days from my standard end of year round up but I’m that chuffed with my Spotify top 100 that I simply just had to share it with you. I mean, just look at my top 10?!

spot

It’s so achingly cool it hurts. There are three people I can thank for this awesomeness, and you’ll never know who you/they are. Ever. HA! So here’s the two main things you need to take away from item number one:

Yes, I know a million of you have already done the second part of that but y’know, if just one of you hasn’t then this part of this post has been worthwhile. Happy Christmas/Boxing Day, btw, in case anyone’s failed to mention that too.

2. Best Cosplay 2014
Favourite website of all things sci and fi, iO9, has collated its best photos of the absolute very best cosplay of 2014. iO9 sees so much of this stuff every day so to see what they think is simply the best is actually awesome. My personal favourite, THEY LIVE Wonder Woman, is below.

wondertheylive

So. Freaky. So. Good. So. Awesome.

There are a whole bunch more over on the main link (including one of the best Apocalypse cosplays I have ever seen – take note, future X-Men film makers).

3. Nintendo Controller Gif of WIN
I am a PlayStation 4 owner (and yes, Christmas has been a bit crap). But I never used to be a Sony man (in fact, I was dead against them and everything ‘casual gaming’ stood for) oh no, I used to be a Nintendo kid. Because Nintendo was always about the games (funny how Sony have nabbed that one from out underneath them – and with it, my loyalty). Not only that but Nintendo were also about the awesome controller. I remember the first time I held the N64 game pad; it was a thing of beauty.

Ah, so good.

If, like me, Nintendo holds any kind of candle in your heart, then this animated gif might be just up your street.

Look how lovely it is –

evolution-of-nintendo-controller.0
Via Gadget Love.

4. TIME TRAP

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This short film about an android/cyborg chap who crash lands (and then has to steal from the past to fix the future) really is quite excellent. I can’t say much more than that; just do yourself a favour and watch it.

5. Five things in 2015
Regular readers will know that I like to take a year off between each year of Five Things on Friday. It’s not an easy job and I like to just get back to the business of just blogging from time to time.

BUSINESS TIME

This year, or next rather, I’m leaving it you, dear reader. What with the influx of new eyeballs throughout 2014 combined with the addition of turning the whole thing into a weekly newsletter well, it’s time I gave a bit of consideration to those that may (or may not) miss it most.

Want Five things on Friday to continue in 2015? Please let me know:

  • Twitter
  • Email (or reply to this, if you’re reading the newsletter)
  • Comment below

The fate of Five things on Friday is in your hands.

That aside, I hope you’ve had an amazing Christmas and that Santa has brought you everything you ever hoped for. As mentioned, my year round up is coming soon and the reflection on 2014 has already started. Expect a heart felt note before the end of the year…

Yours,

JW.

 

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Bonuses this week are made up of stuff I’ve found elsewhere but are yet to actually read yet -

No matter what happens, this is the last Five Things of 2014 and I’d like to say thank you very much for your readership, your sharing, and your caring.

Big love.

x

 

 

 

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Five things on Friday #103

Things of note for the week ending Friday December 19th, 2014.

Five Things

1. A clock made of Tweets
I don’t know why but I really, really like this idea.

tweets

It’s called ‘all the minutes’ and, by plugging into the Twitter firehose and pulling in every tweet that happens to have the exact time therein, it creates a crowd-sourced clock that is awesome, strangely compelling, and yet oddly alluring. I love that a) there’s enough tweets in the world to make this happen b) there is so much weird/anthropological insight to be gained. It’s like when Big Brother used to have a 24hr channel, but better. Honest.

Bonus item: here’s another clock based on colour: ‘What Colour is it?

What colour is it?

2. How to craft an information diet…
…that actually works. This piece is from the always-useful, Life Hacker website has some really good tips on how to consume information through the filter of what it is you’re about to do. It uses a couple of neat metaphors that actually work and, it’s quite funny, it reminded me a lot of an ongoing information diet conversation that I have with my friend Kai. We consume information quite differently, he and I, and the way Life Hacker puts it, I’m kinda coming around to his way of thinking. Check it out –

Vegetables may make you feel light, whereas a heavy beef roast may put you into a food coma. A cup of coffee may wake you up. A glass of wine may relax you. Much like food and drink, the information and media we consume affects the way that we feel after we consume it.
.
For example, if you want to get excited about your afternoon’s work, it may be more helpful to listen to an inspiring talk or an interview with one of your heroes rather than catch up on the news. If you’re about to go to bed and want to minimise the amount of time you spend tossing and turning, make sure the media you’re consuming relaxes you.
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Similar to how coffee can wake one person up and put another to sleep, the same information can have different effects on different people. Although one person may find comedies very relaxing, someone else may find them exciting and stimulating. Observe how you feel after consuming certain media, and sequence it appropriately for the activity. For example, if you’re at work and feeling drowsy, try switching from the podcast to upbeat, exciting, music.

Ask yourself what you want out of this information.

If, like me, you’re an information/news nut – you might want to read the whole piece.

3. Daft Punk Lego
This literally needs no introduction whatsoever.

daftpunk

Amazing.

4. The Mariana Trench is an incredible thing
I have a general rule about not putting stuff into this collection of things that you could have possibly already seen. However with this one, I’m willing to make an exception. Discovering new life on this, this bright blue beautiful rock we fly through the universe on, is nothing short of staggering. And that’s exactly what’s just happened.

Amazing.

An Ainternational team aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor set a new record for the deepest fish ever recorded at 8143m in the Mariana Trench. The fish is a completely unknown variety of snailfish with a translucent body, broad wing-like fins and an eel-like tail.

And it’s beautiful.

5. Social Media Trends for 2015

trends

Last year, the Managing Director for Social@Ogilvy EAME, Mr Marshall Manson, asked me if I’d fancy co-writing a future-gazing piece with him about social media trends for 2014. I said yes, of course but then a few things happened.

First off, I found out how awesome it was/is to work with Marshall (our brains just jive, and when that kinda stuff happens then all kinds of magic can follow). Second, the document we wrote went down exceptionally well (which was nice). Third and finally, a good year later, Marshall and I decided we’d make it an annual thing.

Which leads me quite nicely to item five: key trends in social media for 2015. A handy little slideshare that not only reviews the ideas from before but also outlines our trends and predictions for the year ahead (actual trends, not idiotic made up ones). If you have a passing interest in all things social, this presentation might be of interest.

I’d love to hear your feedback too, btw…

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One bonus this week:

  • There are many films coming out in 2015 that I’m getting quite excited about. American Sniper is up near the top of that list. The second trailer for Clint Eastwood’s latest dropped today and it may’ve moved up just that little bit more. Watch it.

See you next week!

hamster

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