Five things on Friday #98

Things of note for the week ending Friday November 14th, 2014.

Five things 98

1. The Hidden Tactics of WW1
The 11th of November is behind us. On the day itself, I read this: ‘Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier‘. A title that I immediately took a dislike to / disagreed with. However, I clicked through and read on.

Here’s an excerpt.

Mass refusals, disobedience, mutinies, strikes and out-right rebellion were all part of the British armed forces experience in WW1. These were all fairly explicit events and to a certain extent these hidden narratives are becoming part of the historical record despite the attempts of contemporary military censors and government ‘D’ notices on the press as well as the 100 year rule in suppressing military documents. Subsequent post-war collective memory loss related to dominant patriotic ideologies served to smother these events even further, but in the 1960s/70s a critical historical reappraisal of WW1 began, marked in the cultural sphere by the biting satire of the musical ‘Oh What a Lovely War’. This reassessment of WW1 led to a series of historical and sociological examinations of the ‘life in the trenches’ in the succeeding decade. Some of these works provide a new and interesting angle on the subterranean (but at the same time mass) collective tactics British (and German) soldiers used for avoiding combat.

Insightful, amusing, and informative – about one of the most horrendous periods of history – it’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long time.

You should read it too.

(and then watch the Sainsbury’s ad again)

2. The 2014 Vanity Fair Hollywood Portfolio

Hey Brad

Photographer, Chuck Close, shows some of the most famous faces in the world in their most natural way.

This is a wonderful collection.

3. Some Twitter Things (three, to be precise)

Twitter Thing Un

The new mission strategy statement is a thing of… beauty?

[thanks to Mark Jennings for the correction]


This is interesting for many reasons. Not because it uses the word ‘world’ three times in a really horrible and clunky way but mainly because it refers to ‘information sharing and distribution platform products’. Twitter + Vine = plural. But I think this means there’s more down the road.

We’ll see.

Twitter Thing Deux

Inline with the web interface, you can now ‘dismiss’ promoted tweets in the official Twitter app.



The reasons you have to give are all the reasons why I’ve dismissed stuff in the pas

Twitter Thing Trois

Targeting. It matters.



4. Shia Lebouf
This is one of the most bizarre things you’ll see this week/ever .

5. Alex from Target: the other side of [internet] fame

Hey Alex

Two weeks ago, Alex Lee was just a regular teen working his job. At said job, a girl thought he looked quite hot and shared a sneaky snap to Twitter. After that? Well, he kinda went viral.

If you know who #AlexfromTarget is. You’ll love this New York Times article covering the price of internet fame. If you don’t know who #AlexfromTarget is, then read it anyway.

That’s it from me this week.

Y’all have a great weekend.


Whatley out.

No Comments »

Five things on Friday #97

Things of note for the week ending Friday, November 7th, 2014.


(t-shirt from Hero & Cape)

1. 3D-printing machines make awesome Tattoo artists.
Not. Kidding.


This is staggering.

The machine actually reads the the surface of your arm as it ‘prints’ (by prints, I mean punctures your skin at up to 150 times per second) ensuring that it moves smoothly along your chosen limb.

There’s a video too, natch.


2. Turning the Game Around
This, believe it or not, is 13,000 words on what makes the storytelling at the centre of the 2008 version of the Ubisoft video game, Prince of Persia, so compelling.

Prince of Persia

This is has been open in one of my tabs since August – that’s how long it’s taken me to get around to reading it.

But it was worth it.

There are many reasons why you might not want to read this essay. First: ‘Da-yam! Dat word count!’ Get over it. Second: ‘I’m not really a gamer, so I know I won’t be that interested’. Wrong. The piece is about not only how to tell a story but also gaming as art. It really is great to see gaming deconstructed in this way and, while it may give away the ending (I’d completed it, so I didn’t mind – but really, does it matter?), the intelligence in the writing makes everything OK. Make the time, then read the essay.

If you’re a gamer, you’ll love it (obvs).

3. The Christopher Nolan Profile
I’ve written about him before in these webpages of mine however, with the release of Interstellar right around the corner (I’m seeing it at the IMAX tomorrow), it seems fitting that I should write about him again. Well, I would, except The New York Times have done such a good job of it that I’ll link you to that instead.

This bit, on Insomnia, is great –

After that, when he came across the script of “Insomnia,” a remake of a Norwegian psychological thriller, Warner Bros. had the option. Nolan was interested but couldn’t get a meeting. His agent, Dan Aloni, called Steven Soderbergh, an early fan of “Memento.” Soderbergh told me that he “just walked across the lot and said to the head of production, ‘You’re insane if you don’t meet with this guy.’ My sense even then was that he didn’t need our help except to get in the door.” Everything happened very quickly. Nolan made the film on a budget of $46 million, and Soderbergh and George Clooney signed on as executive producers. Soderbergh visited the set in Alaska. “I got there and was having a conversation with Al Pacino: ‘How do you feel? How’s it going?’ Al said, ‘Well, I can tell you right now, at some point in the very near future I’m going to be very proud to say I was in a Christopher Nolan movie.’ ”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we are lucky to be alive at the same time as this particular film maker. His passion and vision for the final delivery is something that, come the end of his career, will be held up alongside Kubrick, Spielberg, and Scott. Nolan’s body of work is already excellent.

So go read his profile piece; it’s really very good.

4. Alternate Universe Movie Posters


These are great.

5. More Monument Valley


Ever played Monument Valley? If not, why not? It is honestly one of the best iPad games I’ve ever played (it’s now available across iOS, Android, and Kindle) and you should absolutely play it! Beautiful to play and look at; it really is that good.

That being said, if, like me, you’ve already played Monument Valley and wish it could’ve gone on longer or are hankerin’ for the next version/sequel/expansion pack – then hanker no more! ‘Forgotten Shores’ is the official name of the forthcoming next part and it’ll be hitting iOS on November 13th. Hurrah and hurrah again.


Bonuses this week are three random things that I picked up this week:

Until next time,

JW x

1 Comment »

Five things on Friday #96

Things of note for the week ending October 31st, 2014.

Halloween Yo

1.Twitter does Video (or how to predict the future).
Two Five Things ago – aka ‘Five things on Friday #94‘ – I told you all about the new Audio Twitter Cards from Twitter.

I ended the bit saying:

Reminds me a lot of how the YouTube app works on Android which in turn says to me that you could expect Twitter’s video cards to follow a similar set up in the very near future. Maybe.

Well, low and behold, it has happened!


That’s right, in the exact same way that you can listen to audio tracks in Twitter and then continue to scroll through Twitter, video content now acts in the same way.

The interesting thing about this is that the content is actually playing through a Twitter Player card. That’s right, Twitter’s own native video upload – NOT YouTube. This is the first sign of a trend, ladies and gents.

Josh Constine, pictured (and author of the TechCrunch article where I first read the news), spotted an even better idea. Especially when you start taking the above feature into tablets…

The bigger opportunity might be in long-form video. Imagine following along with a docked video of a sports match or awards show as you read and post tweets about the event. Twitter’s long been seen as a companion to TV. But by ditching the television set and subsuming its video content, Twitter could be the only screen you need to step up to the global watercooler.

Now you can see the future too.

2. Polyamory is boring.

3. The Grand Canyon. From space.
I don’t know when the first ‘let’s stick a camera on a weather balloon and do something cool with the footage’ video first appeared but I really am nowhere near getting tired of them (yet). The next one is always better than the last…

John Flaig is the man behind ‘the next one’, and yet again I am not disappointed.

Grand Canyon, from space

Not only are the photos amazing but the video is pretty darn cool too.


4. The Realisation
Another Five Things, another Leo Babauta post. But this one is super worth it. Promise.

The Realization

It is a great read. If you only click on one link this week, make it this one.

5. NASA does Volcanos
This is excellent -

“A fortuitous orbit of the International Space Station allowed the astronauts this striking view of Sarychev Volcano (Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan) in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Island chain, and it is located on the northwestern end of Matua Island. Prior to June 12, the last explosive eruption occurred in 1989, with eruptions in 1986, 1976, 1954, and 1946 also producing lava flows. Ash from the multi-day eruption has been detected 2,407 kilometers east-southeast and 926 kilometers west-northwest of the volcano, and commercial airline flights are being diverted away from the region to minimize the danger of engine failures from ash intake.”

There’s a video of the eruption on the website. But it was too big and I didn’t want to upload it so I made it into a gif for you.


Email me and say thanks or something.


Bonuses this week are all HALLOWEEN-themed:

Until next week.

Have a great weekend everybody.




1 Comment »

Five things on Friday #95

Things of note for the week ending October 24th, 2014.


1. I like this


This Superman art wasn’t originally going to be one of my Five things of the week but I wanted to share it with you because a) it feels like the week that I’ve just had and b) it’s just so darn awesome (via SuperPunch).


2. Orange Juice: you’re doing it wrong
Planning on pouring yourself some juice this weekend? Don’t glug, pour.

And do it like this:

Juice Juice

Yeah, probably the best gif I’ve seen all week.

(via Lifehacker)

3. Michael Ironside
Great actor. You’ve seen him in a ton of stuff.

You definitely know him.

This guy:



You recognise him from films such as Top Gun to Total Recall to Starship Troopers and everything in-between. He did an AMA on Reddit recently and it was superb.

Here’s one example response [re Highlander 2]:

There’s a scene in the movie where my character comes to earth, and literally lands by going through the city streets and through the roof of a subway car, and lands on the subway. My stunt double had never been anywhere in the world where cocaine was so cheap. And he got absolutely hammered out of his mind for a week, and ended up running through the streets naked in Buenos Aires, and was arrested the morning of that sequence. So I had to do the stunt, because we had nobody in that part of the world who looked anything like me. So I had to hang on the roof of the subway car, and land on the floor, without any pads, and it was about a 12 foot drop, straight down, and in costume as the character. In the actual movie, you’ll see me slowly get up, and the character checks both his knees as he’s standing, he checks his back, his arms, and then throws his head back with a joyous scream knowing that he hadn’t broken anything.
That was not acting. That was me. Because i realized I had done it, and I didn’t have to do it again! From that moment, we just walked forward with the scene. It’s one of my favorite sequences of that film, because it’s where real life and acting come together in such a joyous moment, and it’s captured.


Featuring anecdotes from almost his entire filmography, Ironside is a fantastic AMA participant and gives bloody brilliant answers. The Christian Bale one might make you feel a bit ill mind.


Michael Ironside – AMA

4. Game Theory and The Dark Knight
This dissection and analysis of all the games that are at play during The Dark Knight is a fantastic read. Good for both fans of Batman and Game Theory.

5. Supermovies: 2014 – 2020
Fan of awesome films? Fan of some of the best awesome films ever made? That means you probably like SUPER HERO films. Not only are they going through a huge resurgence but they’re also, in the main, turning out to be totally brilliant.

The whole thing is about shared universes. But whatever. The important thing is the future. And ladies and gentlemen, this is what your [known] superhero film future looks like –


Batsh*t crazy.


Bonuses this week are all long form articles that I’ve picked up from other newsletters over the past six months and have only just got around to reading/finished:

  • Six Inches is a fairly NSFW short story from Charles Bukowski. Boy meets girl. Girl shrinks boy. Cue: dark hilarity.
  • Who wants to shoot an elephant? Horrible reading.
  • What [leading industrial designer] Frank Nuovo did next [after Nokia]
No Comments »

Five things on Friday #93

Things of note for the week ending October 10th, 2014.

Five Things on Friday

1. This is Groot
Did you see Guardians of the Galaxy this past summer (this is worth sticking with even if it’s a ‘no’, by the way)? Did you fall in love with a walking talking tree named Groot? If not, why not? Seriously, he steals the entire movie!

Anyway, all that being said, I found this video this week. It’s of wood sculpture specialist, Griffon Ramsey (yeah, she uses a chainsaw), creating her very own Groot statue out of an actual tree.


Yes, of course the end product is awesome and yes, now you’ve seen his face you can probably skip over this bit and get to the next thing (spoiler: it’s David Fincher related) but before you get there just stop.

Take six and a half minutes out of your day and watch the amazing making-of video that Ramsey made. It’s not only an awesome look at how such a beautiful thing is created but also a rather lovely bit of story-telling about what makes an artist tick.


2. All of the Fincher things
If you read my website regularly (thanks) or follow me on Twitter (thanks again) you might already know that I saw Gone Girl last weekend and you might already know that I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT too. To say I have a massive hard on for all things David Fincher right now would be an understatement (yes, I was a fan already). So with that, here’s a selection of different Fincher things I’ve been reading this week (none of which hold any spoilers).

Have you seen it yet? What did you think? Let me know, yo!

3. Future of Copywriting
Written by the talented wordsmith, Rishi Dastidar, this piece over on Medium (actually entitled ‘continuous partial argument’) is/was an entry into a competition with the above name. Read as a lament for all that is wrong with the art of the written word the author comes through as passionate, driven, and yet ultimately bereft of hope for the future.

It is a fantastic read.

4. Amazon for a Fiver
The rather thoughtful Mr Terence Eden has put together this Tumblr of things you can buy from Amazon for under a fiver. Christmas is coming so I thought this might be useful. Bookmark it. Put it in your diary for pay day. Whatever.

Cool Stuff for FIVE POUNDS


5.  Hello Willem
My friend, Willem van der Horst, is back in Europe and this makes me very happy indeed. He is a big thinker, a deep philosopher, and overall, the keeper of a big warm heart. We caught up last night and I’m hoping it’ll be the first of many drinks now that he’s back (ish) from Asia.

You can follow Willem on Twitter or catch up on his travels via his blog, Ice Cream for Everyone (I know, right?).


Bonuses this week are -

  • Over the past month or so I’ve given the same talk a few times to various groups of people all about Twitter Cards (aka ‘expandable Tweets’). The latest slides, used most recently at Social Media Week London, are now available to read/share/download over on my Slideshare account. If you do anything in social then you might them useful. Share and share alike etc.
  • Speaking of Social Media Week, The Guardian asked me about it recently. ‘What were your five key takeaways?’ they said. “Well,” I replied  “they are as follows…”
  • The Trailer for Disney’s new film, Tomorrowland, dropped just yesterday and it looks great.


No Comments »