Five things on Friday #85

Things of note for the week ending August 15th, 2014.

Whirlwinds of light

— Whirlwinds of Light, via This is Colossal.

1. Smartphones leak, dumb phones don’t
International master of misadventure,  John McAfee, spoke at Def Con recently and one of the things that picked up as a headline over at the Wall Street Journal was the following:

‘On the subjects of privacy and security, McAfee said smartphones are spying on American consumers, who don’t bother to read user agreements. “The most promising privacy thing is stupid phones,” he said. “I’m dumping all my smart phones.”

He said he had started brownlist.com, to collect complaints against large corporations. He also said he has an app for Android phones that tracks privacy permissions for various apps.’

A few things:

  • This is not news.
  • This could be the start of a new trend against all things privacy-related.
  • I get the impression that this is especially not news to the people it matters most to.

Something to think on maybe?

If you want to stay clean, and prevent THE MAN from getting his dirty hands on your lovely, lovely data. Go get a dumbphone. Like a Nokia 106 for example.

2. There’s a hexagonal hurricane on Saturn

Hexagonal Hurricanes

The above was first sighted back in the 1980s, when the NASA Voyager probes flew past Saturn for the first time. In the 30+ years it takes Saturn to pass around the Sun, we can finally get to see it again.

And the New York Times has made a gorgeous, sub-three-minute video to help tell the story –

This is my favourite item this week. By a long shot.

- via Mental Floss

3. Planes IRL vs Planes Hollywood-style

0aircraftcutaways-002

0aircraftcutaways-007

I really, really liked this photo-essay. Interesting for not only seeing how crazy big planes can be (in contrast of your average human being) but also gaining an insight into how plane scenes are shot on film.

Check it out.

4. Samsung + New Ad Space
I’ve never owned a Samsung phone (something about the version of Android that it runs combined with the achingly boring product design really puts me off) however every now and then you have to applaud the epic trolling enjoyed by its marketing team over Apple (‘Screen Envy‘ definitely made me chuckle).

One of Samsung’s latest was this little video poking fun at ‘wall huggers’ – aka – iPhone users who have to sit next to plug sockets all the time while their [poorly-powered] iPhones charge. It seems, not happy with its near-15m views, Samsung has taken this down another level. Literally.

Samsung wall huggers

‘Samsung Galaxy S5 with Ultra Power Saving Mode. So you have the power to be anywhere but here’

A super smart use of ambient media in conjunction with an already well-established viral video. Contextually relevant and guaranteed to hit your target market. I think this is great.

Well done, Samsung.

Sidenote: I guess this makes me a Samsung blogger now, right? Christ.

5. Behind the Scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy’s aliens
Seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet? If not, why not? It’s not ‘just another superhero movie’, nor is it ‘one of those Marvel films that I know nothing about’ neither is it ‘a film for geeks’. GotG is probably the summer blockbuster of 2014 (with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes running a close second).

So yeah, see it.

Now that’s out of the way, Fast Co.Create has published a [completely spoiler free] behind the scenes look at some of the make up and special effects that went into creating the aliens that appear in said film.

GOTG Aliens

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Bonuses this week:

  • This Louis CK interview is a long read, but both excellent and worth your time.
  • Anagramatron hunts for tweets that are anagrams of each other. It’s so brilliantly bizarre that it’s my recommended Tumblr of the week!
  • If you’re a male social media expert who happens to be vegan, single, and an active Tinder user, I’d recommend not reading this AMAZING comic strip.

 

Did you like this stuff? Did you find any of its interesting? If you did, do me a favour and tell your friends. I’d really appreciate it, cheers.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Nokia Lumia 1520

Can you guess how this turns out?

About a month ago, those kind ladies and gents at Nokia Connects sent yours truly a loaner Nokia Lumia 1520 to review. I quite like that they did as, thanks to a ridiculous SIM card issue, I’d previously implied that didn’t really want one [to review].

I can count on one hand the amount of devices that require the uber-tiny and utterly ridiculous nano SIM (why one of the biggest phones known to man needs to have a smaller SIM card than say, I don’t know, the Galaxy S4 Mini, I’ve no idea but still) and I don’t own one of them.

I’m not about to go chopping up my existing SIM card (micro, like most people) and then have to use an adaptor for the rest of my mobile life either. The net result was that I had Lumia 1520 to review that I couldn’t actually use as a phone.

Perhaps sending me the device was an attempt at winning me over. On first impressions, this humongous phone very nearly did.

There is no denying it: the Lumia 1520 is gorgeous. The matte black colour that my device came in only further exaggerates the smooth contours of the design and it is a delight to hold. Throughout the three week trial period, I actually caught myself either just staring at it or on occasion, just stroking its smooth soft finish.

Read into that what you will but as soon as you have a 1520 in your hand, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Something else you’ll notice when you have a 1520 in your hand: you might need more than one hand: this phone is massive.

That’s a full-size 3rd gen iPad on the right, by the way. Not an iPad mini.

I’m not a huge fan of the half phone/half tablet, or ‘Phablet’ (blergh), form factor. My podcast colleague, Stefan Constantinescu, swears by them but I remain unconvinced.

What I will say is however is that, after a particularly long afternoon where all I used the 1520 for was gaming (the 6″ screen is fantastic and Temple Run 2 was a particular highlight), going back to my not-exactly-small HTC One seemed weird.

Sticking with the hardware aspects of the device it almost goes without saying with flagship Nokia devices: the camera on the 1520 is excellent.

I’ve used it to take myriad photos. Several of which made it into my Empty Underground project – having a kick-ass camera for this made me very happy indeed. Also, the feature set of the camera is pretty darn good too.

Very. Cool. Feature. Indeed.

And then we come to Windows Phone…

I’ve tried with Windows Phone. Really I have. From the first time I played with Windows Phone 7 all the way through to the latest Lumia devices such as the staggeringly impressive [camera on the] 1020 (WP8 with the very latest update).

The OS has come a long way since the early days and the 1520 benefits from that. Windows Phone 8 is a little more malleable and the options presented to the user are better than ever before (and 8.1 isn’t far away either, bringing things like customisable wallpaper, for example), they’re still not great though.

The best thing I can report is that nearly all of the major apps that have been missing in the past are present and correct (albeit only ‘beta’ in some iterations) and some of the more unique-to-windows-phone apps are quite fun too.

If you didn’t have to navigate the clunky windows UI (beautiful to look at, difficult to use when you actually want to get things done) and if Google apps were to make an appearance, the 1520 would be close to perfect, and a clear leader in the phablet market.

But they aren’t, so it isn’t.

Saying that, I know some people who actually quite like Windows Phone. If you’re one of those people (if you are, you’re 1 in 10 of UK smartphone owners) and you’re looking for a bigger-screened upgrade, the 1520 is absolutely for you.

But if you’re like the rest of the smartphone-buying-nation, this review (and many others like it) can be summed up in a single tweet:


So say we all.

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Branded Content: LG vs Sony

I like LG. I like Sony. But which one is better? FIGHT!

LG vs Sony

UPDATE 1: the LG video has been removed. You can still see images from it however, here, here, and here. Hat tip: Dan.

UPDATE 2: the video is still viewable over on Creativity Online.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you two brand videos. One from LG Mobile, for the new LG G Flex (actually quite a good phone) and the other from Sony Mobile, for the QX100 lens/camera mobile accessory (a fantastic, if little bulky, hardware add-on).

One of them is the worst piece of branded content I’ve ever seen and the other is quite possibly the best piece of branded content I’ve ever seen.

Can you guess which one is which?

First LG –

And now, Sony –

Your comments, as ever, are welcome.

 

 

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Originality + Mobile 2

This promoted tweet appeared in my timeline yesterday.

You click through and are given ten reasons to switch to Samsung. Where do I start?

‘Why not Switch?’
Nokia’s ‘Switch to Lumia’ campaign launched in August 2012 and has been a key part of its Lumia messaging ever since, e.g.: this video from 2013 –

Yeah, this ad branded content pokes a bit of fun at competitors, but use another’s campaign line it does not.

Promoted Tweets
Rule 1: if you’re going to promote a tweet, add an image. Twitter has a feature whereby all images uploaded to the service directly (displaying on the pic.twitter url) automatically display inline. Brands rarely use the functionality to its fullest potential but at least some of them try. Take this tweet from HTC, for example –

Pro tip: images in tweets drive more engagement.

While we’re talking about the S5
The link in Samsung’s tweet above (after listing the ten ‘reasons’ why you should switch) pushes the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Mini, and the Galaxy Note 3. At last week’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced its latest addition to the Galaxy family, the Galaxy S5. And yet the link pushes the older products. Don’t get me wrong, while the S5 wasn’t the best handset announced at MWC, it was certainly Samsung’s best. So why not promote your newest and best product to your fans and followers? Unless of course you have a shed load of older stock to shift before said S5 launched…

The ten ‘reasons’ why you should switch
This is excellent.

Reason 1: ‘Small screens are so last year’ – which would be fine, except there’s a link to the Galaxy S4 Mini at the bottom of the linked page. Is it possible to troll yourself?

Reason 2: Battery life. Well, not really. More like battery accessibility. The first comment on the article nails it: ‘if only Samsung would fit a battery that could last a whole day, I wouldn’t need to change it’.

Reason 3: Expandable Memory! In other words: our version of Android takes up so much space on our phones, you’re definitely going to need more (look who comes last on the infographic below – ouch).

which

Reasons 4 & 5: Apps! They’re on Android and you can switch them too apparently. This point is so good, they made it twice. Also: ducks representing apps? Haven’t seen that before.

Reason 6: We’ve not only crammed your already-limited-with-memory phone with videos but also a piece of bloatware called ‘My Galaxy’ – you’ll love it!

Reason 7: You can share stuff to other devices.
(I don’t know a device that can’t do this)

Reason 8: Widgets. Are these exclusive to Samsung?

Reason 9: Look at our meaningless awards!

Reason 10: This is my personal favourite. ‘We’ve got your back with our 24mth warranty!’
This is the picture that accompanies it –

switch_article_image10

The warranty doesn’t cover water damage. Not. Kidding.

This post initially started out as a way to highlight the ridiculous advertising move of using a competitor’s key line to promote your own product (after it had been promoted into my stream, bear in mind). Once I’d scratched the surface, the whole thing just became more and more ridiculous.

If you want a GREAT Android phone, there are tons to choose from – and the Galaxy S series would no doubt feature in that list. But please! Do your research, listen to a great podcast, ask a mobile geek friend, hell – even ask me! I guarantee you’ll get a more informed batch of reasons than those listed above.

This stuff annoys me. Badvertising really annoys me.

Come on guys, you can do better than this.

 

 

Related reading: Originality + Mobile 1

 

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New stuff from me.

Short post covering off five things that happened this past seven days.

Whatley x 3

Regular readers will know I run a feature called ‘Five things on Friday‘ and I very nearly included these things in that, but then I realised it went against my own brief for that (e.g.: things about me might not actually be that interesting), so I broke them out into a separate post.

1. My new job got announced. So that was exciting.

2. I’ve started keeping a log of the brand-related Snapchat activity I find interesting. You may or may not find it useful [one day].

3. The Mobile World Congress edition of The Voicemail went live. If you only ever listen to one episode of this weekly mobile technology podcast, make it this one. It’ll prime you with all the mobile knowledge you’ll need for the rest of the year. Probably.

4. The Guardian wrote about ‘the secret to viral marketing‘ and they asked me to comment. I commented. They published it. Before you click through, can you guess what the secret is?

5. I wrote a piece for work about why Facebook bought WhatsApp and it went on to become one of our best performing posts to date. Proper sense of achievement that. As was presenting a webinar on my 2014 social media trends to the social teams globally (including this bunch of pizza-munching Ogilvy folk in DC). Amazing. Thanks for having me guys!

There were a few late nights and several early mornings, but this past week was pretty awesome.

That is all.

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