Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More
The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.
He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).
Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.
@tcarmody: Despite billions invested on construction of an untested defense system, the new Death Star may not yet be fully operational. #wookieleaks
Wondering what a hashtag is? Here's a quick explanation for Twitter neophytes:
By now, I assume that you're sold on using the interrobang in your next Powerpoint (or getting it as your next tattoo), so you should know how to find it. If you've got Microsoft Word, it's hiding in the Wingdings 2 font. Hit shift+6 and you'll see the zeitgeist mark appear.
I discovered the interrobang, and I have been thinking about it all week. And no, not because I am a grammar nerd, but because I think [the interrobang] may just sum up something about our clever yet confused culture...
Might we describe our current cultural zeitgeist as surprise superimposed over curiosity, mixed together with attitude? Is the interrobang a 1960s, type-based version of WTF? Is the interrobang a 1960s, type-based version of WTF? A certain informal, witty, knowing, WTF way of approaching the world? Many clever Facebook status updates and comments could be defined, as Wikipedia does the interrobang, as "A sentence ending with an interrobang (1) asks a question in an excited manner, (2) expresses excitement or disbelief in the form of a question, or (3) asks a rhetorical question."
It's amazing to read the investor conference call transcript from the first quarter of 2007, the period in which three-quarters of the company's operating income came from the Intel payments, according to the SEC.
The penalty seems rather light given the gravity of the SEC's accusations. According to the commission, Dell would have missed analysts' earnings expectations in every quarter between 2002 and 2006 were it not for accounting shenanigans. This involved a deal with Intel, a big microchip-maker, under which Dell agreed to use Intel's central processing unit chips exclusively in its computers in return for a series of undisclosed payments, locking out Advanced Micro Devices, a big rival. (Intel is expected to settle a long-running anti-trust case that has highlighted these payments in the next couple of weeks.) The SEC's complaint said Dell had maintained "cookie-jar reserves" using Intel's money that it could dip into to cover any shortfalls in its operating results.
The SEC says that the company should have disclosed to investors that it was drawing on these reserves, but did not. And it claims that, at their peak, the exclusivity payments from Intel represented 76% of Dell's quarterly operating income, which is a breathtaking figure. Small wonder, then, that Dell found itself in a pickle when its quarterly earnings fell sharply in 2007 after it ended the arrangement with Intel. The SEC alleges that Dell attributed the drop to an aggressive product-pricing strategy and higher than expected component prices, when the real reason was that the payments from Intel had dried up.
Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.While the copyright ruling provides protections for jailbreakers, the people who make the tools to do it are not similarly guarded from legal action. That's just how the provision was structured, Granick said, and was not a specific decision of the Copyright Office.
"It's really hard to find good writers. I don't know why," McKay told me. "It's even harder to find people to write dialogue. It's even harder to find funny writers."
Two questions sprang to mind: Who was this guy -- and was he serious? Turns out he's Mike McKay, executive creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi LA, an arm of one of the world's larger advertising firms, and yes, he's serious.
And funny, viral writers like the geniuses who scripted the Old Spice man's recent viral videos? Forget about it. "It's much easier to write long form," McKay said. "It's much harder to get someone interested in something in 140 characters."
This won't be the first time a tweet landed someone a job. It's not even quite unprecedented at Saatchi. The London office encouraged would-be interns to compete in a Facebook group challenge in which they battled to get the most members. But one tweet for a coveted advertising writing job? That's nuts even by Saatchi standards.
"I was like, 'Fuck it, I'm going to try it,'" McKay explained. "Immediately I get HR coming up and saying, 'What did you just do?'"
As it turns out, most of the good replies have come from people within the advertising industry. They have "books," portfolios of work from other agencies, and they've got some talent.
"I was thinking, maybe we'll get idiots and we'll be stuck: I'll have to hire one of these guys," he said. "But we got great writers."
Or so he claims. Here are his 17 finalists. McKay expects to pick someone by midweek with the help of this poll, so let him hear you in the comments or on Twitter if you like one in particular.
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