Five things on Friday #84

Things of note for the week ending August 8th, 2014.

Five Things Dah-ling

- thanks for the amazing photo, Lauren

1. Xiaomi* is coming.
I think it’s fairly reasonable to say that, globally, Samsung are the biggest seller of mobile devices. However, a relative minnow of a hardware manufacturer (but growing incredibly fast), Xiaomi*, actually beat Samsung last quarter to become China’s number one smartphone vendor in Q2 2014.

This is no insignificant feat.

Who are Xiaomi and why is this interesting? This Bloomberg Businessweek article is a pretty good read but, in short: not only does Xiamoi make gorgeous hardware but it also has a rather different way of doing business. From the Bloomberg piece –

Xiaomi’s real invention is its business model. It sells online, never in stores, and avoids conventional advertising, devoting only about 1 percent of its revenue to marketing. (By comparison, Samsung earmarks 5.4 percent.) Instead, the company relies on China’s social networks, Weibo and WeChat, and the free press Lei gets as a national tech hero. The money Xiaomi saves on marketing lets it buy top-notch components while keeping retail prices down. The Mi 3 costs 1,699 yuan, or $270; the iPhone in China starts at more than twice that. A Mi 3, or any Xiaomi phone, is a great deal if you’re lucky enough to snag one—the latest models routinely sell out. Xiaomi sells handsets in batches, usually of around 100,000. The first Mi 3 release, the company trumpeted, was bought up in only 86 seconds. It’s the technology equivalent of Air Jordans.

A few months back, I remarked to a friend that should Xiaomi want to widen its footprint outside of Asia, then it might need to consider a new name; perhaps one that is less worrisome to western tongues. Shortly thereafter, Xiaomi announced it had bought ‘Mi.com’ (two letter URLs, not easy/cheap to come by).

Xiaomi is coming.

Just watch.

*shall, but with a z – me // ‘zshou mee’. According to Hugo Barra, the best way to pronounce Xiaomi is to “think of ‘show me’ and then pronounce the first word as if it [were] ‘shower.’

2. Facebook + Instagram = Smart[er] Advertising
It was April 2012 when Mark Zuckerberg slapped a billion dollars on the table and walked away with Instagram in his pocket and, since then, the two platforms have been very slowly integrating their services together. First came the inevitable sharing of user info then, later, Instagram dropped Foursquare’s location data in exchange for Facebook Places.

insta-ads

When Instagram finally announced its plans to launch advertising last year, there was one particular quote that caught my eye:

We want to show ads from businesses that are interesting to you, and to do that we will use information about what you do on Instagram and Facebook (our parent company). For instance, this might include the people you follow and the photos and videos you like on Instagram, and your interests and other basic info on Facebook.

Basically, if your Instagram and your Facebook accounts are linked, the two companies will use that data to better sell you MORE STUFF.

So far, so what. None of this is news.

What is news is that this is now happening. Mercedez-Benz is conducting an experiment whereby it can retarget Facebook users that have seen its ads on Instagram.

We’re only in the testing phase, apparently. But this is it, kids. THIS IS THE FUTURE.

Digiday has more.

3. A Modern Take on Japanese Kutani Tableware

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.10.38

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 10.12.40

These are quite wonderful.

– via Colossal

4. Lord of the Rings plot hole busting

Fly you fools

Ever wondered about this?

EAGLES

Some smart chap over on Reddit has come up with a fairly sound theory.

5. The Perfect Northen Lights

Krystall Hotel

This, believe it or not, is the design for the newly approved ‘Krystall Hotel’. Currently being developed by Dutch Docklands, this floating hotel will be based in the fjords near Tromso, Norway, and – given its locale (middle of nowhere, zero light pollution) – will be the perfect spot to take in the Aurora Borealis.

Incredible.

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Bonuses this week are all video game related:

 

 

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Five things on Friday #83

Things of note for the week ending August 1st, 2014.

SHINY NEW THINGS

1. Anti Surveillance YOUR FACE
Robinson Meyer slathered his face in make up and, as a result, achieves the oxymoronic feat of hiding in plain sight by looking ridiculous.

Anti-CCTV makeup

When it works, CV dazzle keeps facial-recognition algorithms from seeing a face. The technique takes its name from the dazzle camouflage of the two World Wars: The Great Power navies sought to protect their ships not by hiding them among the waves but by obscuring their size and movement.

The Atlantic has more.

2. I wrote about Gaza.
There’s not much else I can say aside from: please read and, if you so wish, pass it forward.

Failing that, donate to one of these three charities –

3. The American Room
Bizarrely, I found this adventure into, and subsequent critique thereof, the American room ‘with YouTube’ hugely interesting. Fundamentally it is an article about decor and the blandness against which lives are depicted and played out but, for some reason, when I reached the end of the article, I burst into tears.

The American Room

4. Happy (Neus Remix)
I was at the London Street Feast last night and the DJ played this EPIC Justice/Pharrel mash up

Put it in your ears AND DANCE LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW because one day, there won’t be.

5. The Monkey Men of India
Outside of the recent Russian / Gecko space mentalism, this is probably my favourite animal-based news of recent weeks. Are you ready for this?

OK.

FORTY INDIAN MEN HAVE BEEN HIRED TO IMPERSONATE MONKEYS TO SCARE AWAY THE REAL MONKEYS FROM DEHLI’S PARLIAMENT BUILDING AND OTHER GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS.

This is not a joke.

Amazing.

I KNOW, RIGHT?!

______________

One bonus item this week:

I’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s hilarious. Marvel’s funniest film yet.

Go and see it.

___

 

Whatley out.

 

PS. Still off Twitter – it’s actually really quite refreshing. That said, my output has gone up on the other places where I dick about, e.g.: Facebook (public posts, often), Instagram (random photos), and Spotify (for ze choons).

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Five things on Friday #82

Things of note for the week ending July 25th, 2014.

WEEEEEEEEEEEE

– Above image via this AMAZING photo set 

1. Shatner on Facebook Mentions
If you’re a celebrity (hi!) then you’re probably interested in this new app from Facebook, ‘Facebook Mentions‘. If you’re not a celebrity, don’t worry because William Shatner (yes, that one) has written a handy guide.

Facebook Mentions - shatner

You can read said guide over on the former Captain Kirk’s super awesome Tumblr page.

2. Destiny
If you’ve been paying attention recently, you might’ve spotted that there’s a beta of a new game out at the moment and its name is Destiny.

DESTINY

Seriously, download it now.

To celebrate this game being amazing, here are some key facts about Destiny:

  • Activision, the game’s publisher, is apparently investing around $500 million on the development and marketing of this game (that’s an insane amount of money ).
  • Bungie, the game’s creator, is the team that developed the multi-award-winning Halo series for Microsoft’s Xbox.
  • The game itself doesn’t actually hit the shelves until September 9th. All of the press so far has been about the limited time Alpha (one weekend!) and the Beta (two weeks!). See the official timeline for details.
  • Oh, and it is awesome. SO AWESOME. Order it now.

3. A guy walks into a bar
This is wonderful.

4. Moto X Tattoos
This is now a joke: Motorola have launched a new range of temporary DIGITAL TATTOOS that you can stick to your skin and then use to UNLOCK YOUR PHONE.

Wooo fancy

There’s a fancy video too (it’s only 90 seconds long – give it a watch).

Personally, I think this is awesome. Like, really really awesome. Admittedly the ‘tattoos’ themselves only last for a week (and I think about ten dollars for a pack of ten) BUT it’s a yet another item to add into the wearable tech of the future category that hopefully we might see more of over the coming years.

Hurrah for innovative thinking.

5. The best Philippines fact you’ll read today

Vulcan Point

Did you know that Vulcan Point (the small island pictured above) is the world’s largest island within a lake on an island within a lake on an island? Well, you do now.

Nature is awesome.

— — —
I’m off Twitter for a little while (long story, check my feed for clues as to why) so if you’re reading this, please share it as far and wide as you can.

Cheers,

Whatley out.

rain

 

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Five things on Friday #81

Things of note for the week ending July 18th, 2014

oakoak-urban-interventions-1

- OakOak street art, via Web Urbanist

1. Drone Photography
The results of the first annual Dronestagram Photo Competition came in this past week and, of course, they are all pretty stunning. The image below, by Dronestagram contributor, ‘Capungaero‘, took first prize but the others are well worth a look too.

Dronestagram1

2. ‘I don’t recognise the British Image of the EU’
My general guidelines for creating Five Things on Friday every week tend to fit around a couple of rules. One of those rules is ‘Never share anything you’ve seen posted 2-3 times elsewhere’.

I’m breaking that this week because I really think you should all watch this video of Finnish Prime Minister, Alex Stubb, talking to Channel 4 News about Britain and the way it approaches its own internal EU debate.

Alexander Stubb Channel 4

I may make no secret of my love of all things Finland (the people, the produce, the cities, the festivals) and it seems that love now extends to the Prime Minister too.

Engaging, charismatic, and articulate, Alexander Stubb is definitely worth six minutes of your time.

3. Sex Lives of the Humanitarians

When you introduce yourself at a party as a former humanitarian, people expect that your field experiences were shaped by witnessing suffering, violence and displacement. What they don’t expect to hear is that your day-to-day management challenges also included arguments over what time your colleagues could watch porn in the common room, and negotiating how staff could get to and from a brothel. Yet it is often a reality of the job and it is time we talked about it.

After that opening paragraph, I wanted to read more. You might too.

4. Snapchat in The FT
This past week, ephemeral media platform and darling of all brands who want to get at ‘the yoof’, Snapchat, starting experimenting with ‘geofilters’. That is, filters for its self-destructing images that only appear when the user is in a certain locale. Said place could be a city (eg: Malibu) or a big sprawling metropolis of a living, breathing brand (step up, Disneyland).

FT Snapchat

The Financial Times asked me what I thought of this development – so I told them. Basically, talking about what this means for brands and of course, does this mean that Snapchat might have a business model? Maybe.

You don’t need to pay to read it [but you do need an account] and it’s actually quite a good read. Worth your time if only for finally getting around to setting up that FT account you’ll know you’ll appreciate in future.

5. The best comic redesign of the week
A bunch of stuff got announced in comic book land this week. Everyone is talking either about either Captain America now being black or how a woman is about to become THOR. Big whoop.

Screw those people, the coolest thing that happened in comic book land was the epic redesign of Batgirl.

Batgirl Stanley Lau

So. Good.

Details, and more, over at Comics Alliance.

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Bonuses (all podcast related):

Whenever I try to talk to people about podcasts I get one of two responses. The first one is ‘Yeah, what do you listen to? I’m really into [insert awesome podcast name]‘, which is fine. The second response is this ‘Yeah, I’m not really a podcast person’, which, to be frank, is a pile of crap. You’re an idiot. Go and download a podcast app and just start listening to stuff. My friend Stefan has a pretty comprehensive list of good stuff that he listens to. That’s not a bad place to start.

Y’know where else is also not a bad place to start?

The following bonus items.

 

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Five things on Friday #80

Things of note for the week ending July 11th, 2014.

I AIN'T PLAYIN' SON

1. Village Buildings as Art
In Burkina Faso, near the bottom of a hill over looking the sun-drenched West African savannah, there’s a village where every house is its own individual work of art.

Burkina Faso

Its residents, the nobility of the Kassena people, have lived in the region since the 15th century and are one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Burkina Faso. Keeping itself fairly isolated from the outside world (the photographer negotiated for a year before being allowed to enter) the village comes with strict rules, such as ‘only the most noble family is allowed to carry an umbrella’.

I doubt it rains much there but still.

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 12.39.37

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 12.39.47

More details, as well as more photos, over on Messy Nessy Chic.

2. My Life as a Tech Evangelist
I first met Myriam Joire – aka ‘Tnkgrl – way back in September 2008, and since then she’s gone from a self-made mobile blogger, to technology news reporter at Engadget, to Tech Evangelist for the ‘original’ (and best) smartwatch, Pebble. This post, entitled ‘So what is it you do anyway?’ an,d published on Medium last Saturday, goes into the detail of what it means to be a Tech Evangelist at a start up in the one of the newest and most exciting product categories today.

Quote:

“How do you become a tech evangelist?” I get this question a lot. First, you need to be an extrovert who loves tech. You have to be comfortable talking with people — whether individually or up on stage, in front of thousands. It’s also important to have a solid understanding of the tech world and how it operates. You want be familiar with the products in your market and beyond, including the competition. Relationships are critical — start building connections with as many people in tech as possible, especially the media. Attend conferences and events, and have a strong presence online (social media, blog, etc…) Be yourself, be honest, be critical, be fair, and — most importantly — have fun!

Myriam is a great person, Pebble is a great product (trust me, I know), and this is a great post.

3. Toilet Tennis
Wimbledon came to an end last week and, as Djokovic enjoys his well-deserved championship, the New York Times has a great article about the uncertain protocol around Grand Slam toilet breaks.

Toilet break tennis

Not the most exciting of topics you might think, but brilliant reading (and trivia).

As Djokovic and the restless crowd waited, Murray stood alone in a tiny, one-toilet bathroom just off the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
.
“I stood in front of the mirror with sweat dripping down my face, and I knew I had to change what was going on inside,” he said the next spring. “So I started talking. Out loud. ‘You are not losing this match,’ I said to myself. ‘You are not losing this match.’ I started out a little tentative, but my voice got louder. ‘You are not going to let this one slip. This is your time.’
.
“At first, I felt a bit weird, but I felt something change inside me. I was surprised by my response. I knew I could win.”
.
He did not say whether he used the toilet.

Ha!

More.

4. 100 Social Media Content ‘Ideas’
This Forbes article lists off 100 different things you can do in social.

idea

Rather confidently named ‘100 Killer Ideas For Your Social Media Content‘ it is a little disingenuous in its pitch however, given that the article reels off a century of tactical things you can actually do with your social media pages, I’m willing to give it a pass.

Where it lacks in strategy (e.g.: ‘Share a Reddit topic!’), it makes up for in sheer volume.

Bookmark it for when you need to mainline some CONTENTIFICATION.

5. WOLFCOP
I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this already. I honestly thought I had but it must’ve been a dream. In short, WOLFCOP looks AMAZING. io9 is calling it ‘The best 80s film ever made in 2014‘ and, while I haven’t actually seen it yet, the trailer is a BLAST.

I’ll put it out there, I love love love werewolf flicks. I’ve seen ‘em all. Twice.

Wolfcop is next on my list.

I reckon it should be on yours too.

WOLFCOP

RAAAAARGH!

—- Whatley out.

Bonuses this week:

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