Five things on Friday #32

Things of note for the week ending August 10th, 2012

1. Christchurch Dedication
The building above is what’s left of the Christchurch Normal School that was damaged during the earthquake in New Zealand earlier this year. The additional images, that have been placed in as a kind of optical illusion, are only temporary as the building itself is due for demolition any day now. However, the work itself has meaning.

Mike Hewson, the artist responsible, wanted to pay tribute to the talented people that once lived there and covered the building with these mixed-media installations that did just that.

Thanks to Marek for the source.

2. Olympic Heat
Now that the first part of the Olympics is coming to a close, once wonders how the athletes themselves might celebrate. Well, wonder no more, ESPN has the scoop and they lay it down perfectly –

Home to more than 10,000 athletes at the Summer Games and 2,700 at the Winter, the Olympic Village is one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. To join, prospective members need only have spectacular talent and — we long assumed — a chaste devotion to the most intense competition of their lives. But the image of a celibate Games began to flicker in ’92 when it was reported that the Games’ organizers had ordered in prophylactics like pizza. Then, at the 2000 Sydney Games, 70,000 condoms wasn’t enough, prompting a second order of 20,000 and a new standing order of 100,000 condoms per Olympics.

It’s quite a long article, but the whole thing is worth a look. It’s a great read.

3. This is Now

This is Now pulls together real-time Instagram feeds and organises them by city. The usual suspects are covered and from Tokyo through to Sao Paolo, you can see exactly what’s going on where, right now.

And yes, of course I chose London – LOOK AT ALL THE OLYMPIC GOODNESS!

4. A man walks into a bank
Patrick Combs deposited a junk-mail cheque for $95,000 for a joke. The bank cashed it.
Free account set up required to read this article [on the FT] – but it’s worth it.

5. Thiel vs Schmidt
This isn’t new, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the past few weeks ever since it happened.

First, a re-cap:

Eric Schmidt is chairman at Google and Peter Thiel is ex-CEO and founder of Paypal. A couple of weeks ago they appeared alongside each other at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Aspen and their topic of debate was ‘The Future of Technology‘.

Apparently these events tend to be quite plain and a bit boring (I can’t remember where I read it) however, this time ’round, Thiel wasn’t pulling any punches. Choice quote:

“Google is a great company.  It has 30,000 people, or 20,000, whatever the number is.  They have pretty safe jobs.  On the other hand, Google also has 30, 40, 50 billion in cash.  It has no idea how to invest that money in technology effectively.”

Which basically translates as Thiel saying ‘Hey! Google! You suck! You’ve run out of ideas!’

Thing is, while Schmidt didn’t actually agree with him, the two of them did kind of agree when it came to barriers to innovation, namely: the US government.

ERIC SCHMIDT: What’s very odd about this conversation is you’re saying technology doesn’t matter, that it’s all politics.

I didn’t say that. I said, in fact, it’s the only innovation available, which is your point.

But, you’re saying we’ve been stagnant for 40 years because of bad government policy. If technology ‑‑

I didn’t say we’re stagnant. I said our policies could be improved.

And then… most tellingly, the moderator of the session asks Eric directly –

ADAM LASHINSKY:  You don’t want to address the cash horde that your company does not have the creativity to spend, to invest?

ERIC SCHMIDT:  What you discover in running these companies is that there are limits that are not cash.  There are limits of recruiting, limits of real estate, regulatory limits as Peter points out.  There are many, many such limits.  And anything that we can do to reduce those limits is a good idea.

— The whole transcript is available to read online and I implore you to grab a cup of coffee and sit down and read it all. It’s brilliant. There’s just so much that’s alluded to… and it makes great pub-chat fodder too.


Whatley out.


Five things on Friday #31

Things of note for the week ending August 3rd, 2012

1. The London Underdogs
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well” 
– Pierre de Coubertin. Father of the Modern Olympic Games, speaking at the London 1908 Closing Ceremony.

And it is with that gorgeous quote that the spirit of The London Underdogs is built upon. Yeah, that’s right – let’s hear it for the Olympic Underdogs!

Here we are, at the mid-point of the two week extravaganza, and if you’re still yet to go (but have tickets to spend next week), get your posters from The London Underdogs.

Seriously, they’re awesome –

The London Underdogs

The London Underdogs

As the website says:

“We Brits love a good Underdog. The wild cards. The fighters. Those have-a-go heroes who haven’t a hope. We’ve never heard of them, we don’t know what they look like, and their fans are few and far between. But we cheer them all the same.

So join us, and together, we can show the world that it’s definitely about the taking part.”

Well done my friends, very well done indeed.


2. Cellophane Art: WIN

I absolutely love this artwork and have no idea why something like this has never been done before. ‘Cellograff‘, as its referred to by its creators, is French in origin, but universal in its appeal. I love it. I think you might too.

3. Blackpool’s Dune Grass
What is it? Have you seen it? Never heard of it? Watch this…

Blackpool’s latest addition to their pleasure beach takes the shape of these rather quite enchanting blades of ‘dune grass’. Conceived and created by the geniuses at Freestate, these kinetic sculptures have been in the works for several years and it’s actually quite lovely to see them at last, living and breathing in the real world – where they belong.

Super regular readers may recognise them from an earlier video… say, back in 2009?

I’m saying nothing.


4. Age-verified Following on Twitter
Earlier this week (or maybe the week before, I don’t remember), I was followed by the beer brand, Tsing Tao – Huzzah!

I quite like Tsing Tao and drink it fairly regularly, so a follow back was in order… but then, when I did, I got an auto direct message response.

Sidenote: auto direct messages suck. They’re spammy, impersonal and generally a one way ticket to an auto unfollow.

But this one was different, this one wasn’t asking me to subscribe to someone’s blog or to check out something else this new follower had done, no – this one asked me to confirm my age.

– I have not seen that before.

While this could be seen as merely a hoop-jumping exercise that alcohol brands go through to meet certain regulatory requirements (there’s no credit card details or anything that actually verifies a thing; I could be 17 and lie about my age), it does please me to know that these rules are actually being adhered to.

I’m not sure how long Twitter has made this feature available to brands, but I really like that it’s out there and I really like that Tsing Tao is doing things properly.

A cricket clap for for all of you.

5. (Fake) Injuries up your social status
This is old but apparently, back in 2009, it was fashionable in Beirut to sport your very own nose-job bandage. This trend was born out of the rise of the nose job in Lebanon and, given their expense, pretending to have had one implies that you have $1,000 to throw around on plastic surgery. Incredible.

Bonuses this week: as it’s that time of year, then it’s worth re-watching Monty Python’s Silly Olympics; More Olympics-based chatter from Herdmeister but this time focusing on what the event actually reveals about us, as human beings; and this map of the internet is awesome too.


Whatley out.

Five things on Friday #30

Things of note for the week ending July 27th, 2012

1. The Olympics!

London 2012 kicks off TODAY and it’s going to be AMAZING.

And, while I don’t actually have any tickets to see any events (yet), I am in London and determined to have an awesome time.

Reading any of the press around and about this fair city [and its inhabitants] over the past few weeks will reveal that there are (still) so many naysayers and I am extremely proud to say: I am not one of them.

The next four weeks will see some fantastic human sporting achievements and I am SO up for this. The talent on show will be incredible and, what’s more – whether you’re walking the street, cabbing across town or simply traversing the Underground - everywhere you can just feel London filling up and it’s brilliant.

I am so in love with London right now…

Yes there’s a lot of people around and yes it’s going to be difficult, but the buzz and the excitement and the sheer joy of it all far, far outweighs all of that.

So here’s to the Olympic Games 2012: best of luck to all competitors, from all countries.

And best of luck to London, you’re looking great right now and you’ve got so much to shout about.

Buckle up and, of course: Bring. It. On.


2. Lego Relativity

Background (plus more photos) and of course, the original work. Nicely done.


3. Decent Cinema Advertising (at last)
Thanks to advances in digital technology advertisers can now schedule against films by the day, as opposed to by the week. What this means is more relevant content, being served up to the right amount of eyeballs.

Why this might not be that exciting for some, there are some brands that are rubbing their hands with glee over the amount of freedom and creative opportunities that’ll come with this ‘upgrade’. I for one, as a paying cinema-goer, welcome the change and look forward to better cinema advertising.

Because right now, most of it sucks.

– source, Marketing Week


4. Google Ripples
I upgraded my Google Nexus S to the latest version of Android – aka ‘Jellybean – recently and that, combined with the newly refreshed G+ app for iPad, has made me start getting into Google+ properly.

It’s still fairly quiet (in my circles of friends at least) but it’s growing. My G+ profile is where you can find me (and is also linked at the top right of this page) and, from now on, all future blog posts will have a ‘G+1’ button at the end – so if you like it, you can ‘plus one’ it. Damn they need some new nomenclature…

Anyway, all of that aside one of the coolest things about Google+ is the way that you can track the way content travels around using Google ‘Ripples’. This past week, to test it out, I put up an old photo from my trip to Wyoming and encouraged folk to share it to see what ripples we could create.

The output so far looks a little bit like this –

Data visualisation rocks. If you’re interested in helping with this experiment then please publicly re-share the Google+ post and, once that’s done, you’ll show up in the Ripples too!


5. The view from the International Space Station
…is breath-taking. Hit ‘HD’, then play full-screen. This will blow you away.



Have a great weekend folks,

Whatley out.