5 Intriguing Things: Friday, 1/31

Microsofty tweets, a FAT Manual, stock-option funny business, academic torrents, and a most excellent typewriter-art ad.

1. Five of Satya Nadella's 25 tweets. He's expected to be named Microsoft's new CEO any minute now. 

"HTML5 - what fun!

Bing on Yahoo!

Bing IT On!

azuring away today!

machine learning!"


2. The F.A.T. Manual is a compilation of five years of open source art projects designed to be torn apart, re-used, reassembled.

"In more than five years of activity, the Free Art and Technology Lab (F.A.T. Lab) produced an impressive series of projects, all developed with open source software, shared online and documented in a way that allows everybody to copy, improve, abuse or simply use them. This approach situates F.A.T. Lab in a long tradition of DIY, processual, sharable artistic practices based on instructionals, and reveals a democratic idea of art where Fluxus scores meet hacker culture (and rap music).

Featuring texts by Régine Debatty, Evan Roth, Domenico Quaranta, Geraldine Juárez and Randy Sarafan, The F.A.T. Manual is a selection of more that 100 projects, done in the belief that printing these bits on paper will allow them to spread in a different way, infiltrate other contexts, and germinate. An archive, a catalogue, a user manual and a software handbook documenting five years of thug life, pop culture and research and development."

+ E.g. Evan Roth's 2007 project: "Hip-Hop Pop-Ups is an online mp3 player that pops up the websites of Kanye West’s favorite brands in real time as he raps them."

3. A startup is trying to get around the standard stock-option rules.

"The company, Equidate, which opened its doors on Thursday, says it will allow start-up employees to sell the rights to the economic upside (or downside) of their shares, without actually transferring ownership of the shares. In other words, in exchange for a shot of cash, the employee would agree to forfeit any gains in a future initial public offering. (The employee would retain the voting rights of a shareholder.)

The idea is sure to provoke skepticism from start-ups and their legal teams, which take pains to limit the universe of owners of their stock. Start-ups have clamped down on secondary transactions in recent years, forcing companies like SecondMarket and SharesPost — two pioneers of secondary markets in private stock — to alter their business models. Equidate hopes to get around these restrictions by simulating the financial effects of a sale of shares without a sale actually taking place."


4. Academic Torrents places research datasets into a decentralized distribution network.

"A robust distributed replication design allows libraries to utilize this system as their backbone. Providing fault tolerant hosting of curated data for a university, research lab, or home library. When libraries have data on-site, bandwidth and time are saved. Also, this system can be used as the foundation of a new open-access publishing system where libraries manage data instead of licenses for external data sources.

The academic torrents network is built for researchers, by researchers. Its distributed peer-to-peer library system automatically replicates your datasets on many servers, so you don't have to worry about managing your own servers or file availability. Everyone who has data becomes a mirror for those data so the system is fault-tolerant."


5. A typewriter art ad that ran in the New York Times on Sunday, March 20, 1881

This would make it the oldest extant piece of typewriter art that I've come across. Also, the process involved more than a typewriter.


Thanks Jacob


Today's 1957 English Usage Tip:

analyse is the standard Brit. spelling, analyze, US; Americans may take comfort in the fact that the -yze ending was accepted by Johnson and according to OED is 'historically defensible.'


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called 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.

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