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Ubuntu Release Party this Thursday!

We’d like to let everyone know of the upcoming Release Party of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) this Thursday at Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. in San Francisco! Ubuntu is a great supporter of Status.Net and is itself a tremendous network of open and distributed services and powerful platform for developers.

“For every Ubuntu release we like to organise parties all over the world. At these parties everyone is welcome and we get together to celebrate, meet new friends and often introduce people new to Ubuntu to our community and our Operating System. Release parties are not only a great way to meet people but they are a lot of fun!”

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Latest Clip Art of the Month Released

“Clip Art of the Month” for March 2010 is now up on WorldLabel’s Blog. Drawing inspiration from the new Open Clip Art Library Release, this new blog takes a look at Web 2.0 Design and what it means for clip art users.

The Web 2.0 aesthetic leaves a very distinct calling card on modern websites, and it’s important to examine why these elements can improve the internet landscape. The WorldLabel post fully explores these new features. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts!

Visit Open Clip Art Library to sign up and learn how you can contribute!

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Fab Fashionz: Appropriate Appropriation, Not American Apparel

Check out the beginning of a new line of Fabricatorz T’s. Since nothing is more boring than a sterile design printed on a new shirt, I hand picked a bunch of second-hand T’s in New Orleans and slapped the Fabricatorz chop on ’em. Recycling is rarely this hot,  re-contextualizing this fun. More iterations to come as well as a shop where you can cop all this hot to trot Fab Fashion.






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Jon Phillips Interviewed by KPFK Los Angeles About #FREEBASSEL Campaign

Audio Clip of Jon Phillips interview by Digital Village about #FREEBASSEL Campaign 06/30/2012 KPFK, Los Angeles, California USA. Download the full episode of Digital Village.

Remember to sign and support and share and #FREEBASSEL on your social networks. Together we can raise awareness. Thank you to Ric Allen and Doran Barons, and Lawrence Lessig for the opportunity.

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Video Games as Art? A Response to Roger Ebert

Legendary and often divisive Chicago-based film critic, Roger Ebert, has recently re-ignited the fury of the gaming community with a recent blog post. In said post, he reacts to a recent TED speech, given by Kellee Santiago. Through this tirade, the readers are gifted with gems like:

Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.

Among the many retorts to this initial critique, Fabricatorz developer, Brad Phillips, has crafted a reaction of his own.

A key oversight in Ebert’s assessment of the medium is his lack of actual experience or connection to anyone with that experience. He boils each game cited in Santiago’s speech down to a few video clips streamed via YouTube. Below you can view the original talk that spurred this renewed debate. Head over to Brad’s blog post, and let us know what you think!

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Wise Futures and Shared Hardware, Part II

Milkymist One

If I were to write an allegory of the computer manufacturing industry in “Greater China”, I might be tempted to call it Pingguo and Shanzhai.

Pingguo(蘋果)is the nickname by which Apple Computer is known in China. Its partner Foxconn (a Taiwanese company by the way) is the largest electronic component manufacturer in the world and the largest private employer in the PRC. Foxconn is the pinnacle of industrial scale electronics manufacturing in the Pearl River Delta (and, indeed, the world); and Apple would not be the Apple of today without Foxconn, and China.

Shanzhai(山寨)are the noble bandits of our little allegory: small-scale black market manufacturers who skirt regulations and quality control to produce affordable, relatively low yield, but surprisingly diverse electronics. (I should point out that these innovations were enabled by another Taiwanese company, Mediatek, which sells development kits that many Shanzhai products, such as mobile phones, are built on top of.)

Pinguo and Shanzhai are the well-known protagonists in the technological and social drama of the computer manufacturing industry that straddles the Taiwan Strait. But neither Pinguo nor Shanzhai tell the story of the kind of technology that I want in my life, or that I want to base my business on.

For me the real inspirational story is that of Qi Hardware. Qi Hardware is innovation built not at the cost of billions of dollars and legions of anonymous workers (Pingguo), nor at the cost of questionable legal and safety practices (Shanzhai). Rather, Qi Hardware is a collective dedicated to sharing knowledge, experience and technology, and represents the kind of wise future[1] I am looking to achieve.

Adam Wang

In discussing Qi Hardware I am constantly looking for a language to describe this new style of innovation. I am reluctant to call it ‘open’ hardware for reasons I have already explained; and calling it ‘copyleft’ hardware (in contrast to ‘copyright’) puts too much emphasis on the legal underpinning.

I finally settled on the term ‘shared’ hardware to describe what I feel captures the spirit of the movement. By sharing, Qi Hardware aim to lower barriers to innovation, as well as to profit and pump out genuinely cool technology!

Let’s keep telling this story.


[1] wise futures – I came by this term by listening to public talks by Rob van Kranenburg and Adam Greenfield in Taipei in February of this year. You can read Part I here.

The first photo in this post is of the Milkymist One, which I shot in my studio a couple of weeks ago. The second photo is of Adam Wang, when I visited him in Taipei, where he tests and assembles the Milkymist.

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Roger Ebert calls truce in “Games vs. Art” Debate

As reported in a previous post, Chicago film critic, Roger Ebert, has been at the center of a debate he revived in April. In said article, Ebert reaffirmed his stance that “Video games can never be art.”

A verbal onslaught from the gaming community, of greater than 4,000 responses, found it’s way to Ebert’s controversial entry. After months of fallout, Ebert has addressed his own critics in a shiny new blog post.

For greater analysis of this rebuttal, check out a new post by Fabricatorz developer, Brad Phillips!

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Aiki Framework & The Open Clip Art Library Dominate End-Year Releases!

The Fabricatorz are firing on all cylinders as an eventful year is wrapping up. Today sees the fruition of several projects lead by the Team.

Aiki Framework kicks things off with it’s latest: Version 0.7. A renewed focus on usability and speed highlight much of the development cycle. With some great contributions from Roger Martin, project lead (and Fabricatorz Developer) Bassel Safadi presents back-end systems that have been revamped and polished to deliver content at lightning speed. Pretty URLs, a hotly requested feature, has made it’s way into the new Release, complete with documentation. Developer control continues to drive bug fixes and revisions. Once system-dependent, Aiki Alert messages have been retooled to allow complete handling, via CSS.

Aiki’s leading site, The Open Clip Art Library is showing no signs of slowing down with it’s 2.8 Release. Fabricatorz Developer Brad Phillips brings in a new “Collections” feature, in which registered users can create sets that contain the clip arts of their choosing! The process begins by finding the perfect image and selecting “+Add to Collection” on the right-hand side of the details page. Created Collections are displayed on each user’s profile page. This Release is marked by an update of the site to use Creative Commons latest CC Zero Public Domain Dedication tool. Jon Phillips says of the new Dedication:

“Open Clip Art Library is used all around the world by Wikipedia, teachers, artists, and plain old Mom’s as a key source for graphics. By updating our licensing tool, we are in compliance with the latest Creative Commons recommendation for releasing works into the public domain globally, and leading on the net with trying to increase sharing. This type of sharism is crucial to the open web.”

For more information about the latest Aiki Framework and Open Clip Art Library offerings (including new themed content), check out the Official Press Release. To get involved and help bring these projects to even greater heights in upcoming releases, take a look a look at the Launchpad blueprints for both Aiki Framework and The Open Clip Art Library.

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Laoban Soundsystem to be Exhibited at “The Border Show” in Hong Kong

The Fabricatorz are on the road this week, kicking off 2011 the right way. Founder, Jon Phillips will be teaming up with Matt Hope to bring the Laoban Soundsystem to The Border Show. The exhibition, organized by The Society for Experimental Cultural Production, features recent art concerning border mechanisms of the Pearl River Delta:

Taking place inside a set of shipping containers placed amid the hulking post-industrial buildings of the New Territories halfway between the urban cores of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, this exhibition proposes a new relationship between these two cities and the wider region by approaching the ontology of the border crossing.

The event kicks off on January 8 (running through the 28th of the month). Laoban will be providing the musical backdrop for the entire opening evening!

In the coming weeks, Laoban Soundsystem will be releasing new plans, photos, and even more media through it’s homepage. For more details on The Border Show, check out the event page, and look check this space again soon for recaps and photos from Hong Kong!

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CCD – The Community | OPEN CALL!


2012 Theme: The Politics of Meeting
CCD – The Community is the newest and most awaited addition to the ever growing, city-wide events of Beijing Intl’ Design Week. Debuting with the 2012 edition set to open on September 28, CCD – The Community is a creative incubator playing host to a research-driven program rethinking synergies across art, design and technology, to shape unprecedented encounters among intersecting communities of local and international players, professional visionaries, innovative makers and thinkers.

Drawn as a thematic ensemble of exhibitions, special installations, live events, educational programs, workshops and seminars, CCD – The Community features projects spanning geographical locations, design strategies, visual languages, theoretical and academic investigations, methodologies of material and intangible production unpacking the cultural and economic predicaments of China’s call for “indigenous innovation”.

A ‘city within the city’ CCD is a space of convergence that has grown organically around the life of its inhabitants: here life goers, migrants workers, farmers, small entrepreneurs and taxi drivers sit with designers, artists, collectors and dealers.

CCD – THE COMMUNITY arises from a wishful, positive proposition of creative communication with its unique social and spatial dimension. It plays out a urban fantasia enlivened by the meeting of participatory, haphazard systems of communal existence and the open-source, self-generated technologies of contemporary creative production. CCD is a grassroots, authentic self-expression of a networked community predicated on sustainable values of collective intelligence.

Log on as an Exhibitor.

Follow the online instructions: tell us who you are, how we can contact you, and provide a brief description of your project (300 words max) including up to 3 images.

You can apply with projects in any design category (product, fashion, interactive, digital, graphic, etc.).

Under Notes please specify what type of event (i.e. an exhibition, installation, indoor or outdoor project, workshop, talk, screening program or performance, etc.).

CCD – The Community does not ask for any participation or rental fee.

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Matt Hope “Spectrum Divide” at Saamlung Gallery

Right about now, a room on the 26th floor of some unremarkable building in Hong Kong will go completely dark. The room, however, is quite remarkable as it is home to Saamlung Gallery, Hong Kong’s freshest contemporary art answer amidst “the Gagaosians and White Cubes”. And, despite retinally opting out, this same room will double its remarkability tonight as a result of Matt Hope‘s installation, “Spectrum Divide“:

“At one end of the gallery is constructed a bank of lightning sources numbering in the tens of thousands that emit a spectrum of light invisible to the naked eye. In terms of the vision of the machine world, however, the room is actually as bright as day. Certain kinds of cameras in the gallery are able to provide an illuminated video signal that seems to effectively double the architectural space of the installation: half bathed in floodlights and half under the cover of darkness.”

I’ve had the chance to experience Hope’s acoustic machinic assemblages before, and they’ve always delighted the senses, but this is a first in terms of “machine vision.” So if you find yourself in Hong Kong between now and October 6th make sure to check out “Spectrum Divide” and tell us what you think. In the meantime, the rest of us will have to make due by imagining our machines watching us as we sleep.

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Open Font Library Release 0.5: Calling All Translators and Typophiles

San Francisco and Beijing, July 9, 2012Open Font Library, the preeminent online library of community-generated open fonts, is happy to announce version 0.5. With the help of the Fabricatorz development and design team, the new version is more instructive, organized and pretty. These updates enhance the Open Font Library’s commitment to the freedom of fonts, but the new version places special emphasis on the role of people and the community behind the project.

The new features and revisions increase the collaborative nature of the Open Font Library. Chief among them is an online translation tool which allows volunteers to improve language support on the site. The translation tool is simple and straight-forward, with step-by-step instructions in the Guidebook to walk translators through the process. Currently, Portuguese, German, Polish, and Spanish translations are in development—which will broaden the global appeal of the Open Font Library.

The Guidebook itself—Open Font Library’s “How-to” manual, so to speak—has received significant updates and revisions to assist those interested in using the site in whatever capacity. Every page is now divided into three main categories: Contribute, Information and Technical. The Guidebook pages help explain everything from basic activities, like “How to report a bug” and “How to contribute to an existing font”, to technical concerns like, “How to install FontForge” and the details of “Collaborative Design Workflows.”

“There are now more ways to participate in the Open Font Library than ever before,” says Open Font Library’s lead developer Christopher Adams. “With this latest release, everyone from serious type designers to curious typophiles has a chance to get involved. That is the beauty of the Open Font Library: it allows for a diverse community with a common passion to work together, regardless of expertise.”

With the 0.5 release, the Open Font Library aims to get even more people on board with free fonts. You too can get started by signing up for a free account, reading the guidebook, and then uploading your first font!

About Open Font Library
The mission of the Open Font Library ( is to promote your freedom as it relates to fonts. All of the typefaces contained in the library are available under a free license, which gives you the freedom to use, study, remix and share each and every font. The site is powered by the Aiki Framework (, a powerful web framework for building network services using the AGPL license.

About Fabricatorz
Fabricatorz ( is an open global production company that makes successful projects from start to finish. We specialize in developing software using Aiki Framework (, hardware using Qi Hardware (, and community-building around the philosophies of Sharism (


For more information, please write, or visit

Press Contact
Spencer Young
+49 1573 7430013



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Milkymist Gets Rowdy and Jazzy In Warsaw

I spent the past week in Warsaw with some friends and the M1. I arrived on Wet Monday, an Easter tradition where Polish “boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs”. Apparently the tradition continues out into the streets where boys splash girls they have crushes on, but I didn’t see anything of the sort. Probably because it was way too cold, but also because Warsaw has a tendency to take itself way too serious. (I was told plenty of flirtatious water fights would be happening in the smaller, more “traditional” towns outside the city.) Fortunately I was able to recoup the fantasy that evening when I did some (visual) splashing of my own with the Milkymist alongside Movie Star Junkies, an impressive blues/punk band from Torino, Italy.

Full disclosure: I’ve never vj’d previous to this show. But this goes to show how simple the M1 is to use: I just plugged it in, aimed the live-feed video camera at the band, toggled between its preset psychedelic patches, and Boom! an epic visual performance. Everything went so well that I got invited to perform again the next night at a different venue. Despite the change in setting and sound–from underground (literally in a basement) punk show to jazz/funk fusion jam band in a swanky loungey bar–it was just as easy to adapt and compliment the music due to the M1’s smorgasbord of visual options. Check out the videos, see for yourself:

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StatusNet 0.9.0 and OStatus – Try it out!

OStatus Logo designed by REJON + AndyFitz

StatusNet 0.9.0 is released and is available for immediate download from the site.
This release includes the following new features and we invite the developer community to please try it and report back :

  • Support for the new distributed status update standard OStatus, based on PubSubHubbub, Salmon, Webfinger, and Activity Streams.
  • Support for location using the Geolocation API. Notices are (optionally) marked with lat-long information with geo microformats, and can be shown on a map.
  • No fixed content size. Notice size is configurable, from 1 to unlimited number of characters. Default is still 140!
  • An authorization framework, allowing different levels of users.
  • A Web-based administration panel.
  • A moderation system that lets site moderators sandbox, silence, or delete uncooperative users.
  • A flag system that lets users flag profiles for moderator review.
  • Support for OAuth authentication in the Twitter API.
  • User roles system that lets the owner of the site to assign administrator and moderator roles to other users.
  • A pluggable authentication system.

see the full list of features here:
A full changelog is available at StatusNet 0.9.0/Changelog.

Also, the OStatus process is underway!

OStatus lets people on different social networks follow each other. It’s transparent to your friends, colleagues and family which software or service you use. They can get your status updates on their own sites and reply, like, or re-post your updates.

OStatus isn’t a new protocol; it applies some great protocols in a natural and reasonable way to make distributed social networking possible.

The OStatus spec is a first step in this direction. We’re eager to work with other implementers to make it better, to smooth the rough edges, and to improve the overall experience.

Everyone interested is invited to join the ostatus-discuss mailing list to get this discussion moving.

Thanks to everyone who’s made these protocols work so well together. We hope that OStatus can bring these efforts one more step forward.

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Qi Hardware Introduces the Milkymist One @ FISL in Brazil

Watch me give the first complete Milkymist One presentation of the year, and check out this slide deck and feel that the Fabricatorz worked on for the upcoming Milkymist One, video synthesizer. Christopher came up with logotype with the Orbitron font, and I pulled together the general messaging, color palette and slide deck you will start seeing more and more as we move toward the Milkymist One RC3 launch. Its coming very soon!

(Download presentation)

(Use your keyboard arrows or click on the image to advance the slides.)

Also, I converted the original Fabricatorz update to the Qi Hardware look and feel, and Nanonote products, which needs to be distributed across sites, products and media:

(Download presentation)

We really are seeking feedback on these slide decks. What make sense? What looks good, bad, and how do you receive the messaging? Qi Hardware is Copyleft Hardware.

UPDATE: Qi Hardware and Nanonote use the Dustismo font. Added links to the SVG files for presentation. If you want to see the magic, then open the files to see the magic.

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Open Web Book Sprint Needs You! Fabricatorz in Berlin

Building Next Door German Style Method-tical
Amazing German Building is SLOWFI compared to Chinese Building Projects.

Fabricatorz are cranking along with some old and new colleagues in Berlin on the Open Web Book Sprint as part of transmediale 11, #tm11. We have a great crew of people assembled here including Christopher Adams, Michelle Thorne, Bassel Safadi hacking remotely, Barry Threw popping in and out, Alejandra Perez, Mick Fuzz, and of course flossmanuals pal, sprint organizer, Adam Hyde keeping us all in line at the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin in Berlin, across the street from Angela Merkel’s residence, holla! Our challenge is to write a book about the Open Web by 6 PM on Friday, CET.

Transmediale Open Web Book Sprint with Rejeezy
Rejon working well in Christopher’s room with a view.

We’ve held off on inviting you to come to process because the structure and general flow has been in flux. Well, no more! We need your help! Please jump in and help us complete this book on the open web.

Transmediale Open Web Book Sprint Snowing!
Brrrlin snowing outside my room’s window.

And, not to stopping this Friday at 6 PM, Christopher, Barry and myself are in Berlin until February 8, 2.0.11. While we hack on 2.0.11 projects, Fab affiliates Recombinant Media Labs, powered by Fabricator Barry Threw, is putting together a slew of events for Club Transmediale Feb 2-6. Barry posted about RML Cinechamber on his blog:

In just a few short weeks at the Club Transmediale festival in Berlin, we will see the world premiere of the fully armed and operational Recombinant Media Labs’ Cinechamber. In three long years since the closing of the San Francisco incarnation of RML was abruptly slaughtered we have only grown stronger; specifying systems, coding, organizing, and developing new content for our unique surround cinema environment. After our long incubation period at the University of California San Diego, we are finally able to unveil our brand new nomadic immersive media apparatus.

Watch out as well for a Sharism Presents event to be announced soon, as part of Transmediale. Until 6 PM however, please crank with us on the Open Web Book Sprint. We will get you credit for helping out! Cheers!

transmediale.11 RESPONSE:ABILITY from transmediale on Vimeo.


Fabricatorz 50/50

I’ve tuned the language about Fabricatorz on the about page to make it clear we are a company that does both our own projects and for-hire contracts:

The Fabricatorz is an “open” production company that creates projects 50% of the time internally and then takes on external projects the other 50% of the time. We specialize in Open Source Software, Creative Commons licenses/technology, growing on-line and off-line communities in San Francisco and China.

The company builds upon the current roster of fabricatorz’ skillsets. The company currently consists of Jon Phillips with 14+ years of experience in new media production, the software industry, building communities and free/open software development. Lu Fang brings her design and localization skills bridging the English and Chinese languages. Then, newcomer Brad Phillips delivers with his general production magic and a specific skillset in mobile development, 3D design and virtual reality production. The company has offices in San Francisco, Guangzhou and Beijing in order to serve as local interface for many forms of creative production. In these locations the team scales with new employees, adapting to each project.

For a listing of all projects, both active and completed, please see the /projects section of the site. Here are some of the services we do:

  • International On-line and Off-line Community Building
  • Website Programming, Design and Development
  • Software Design, Development, and Management
  • Open Source + GNU/Linux Software Development
  • Open Content (Creative Commons-based projects)
  • International Business Development
  • Video + Audio Production
  • 3D + Virtual Reality Production
  • Translation/Internationalization with emphasis on English and Chinese languages
  • Conversion from closed to open source development model
  • Object production: Interface with Chinese production companies

Contact us if you need the Fabricatorz.

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Open Clip Art Library Launches Logo Contest!

The “Free Culture” Movement, instantiated in a 2004 publication by Creative Commons founding member Lawrence Lessig, is a reaction to content ownership in a digital age. Because The Open Clip Art Library is, at it’s core, a platform to freely share and collaborate created content, it will be forever intertwined with the Movement.

The Free Culture Research Conference was born of a need from academics, in various disciplines, to analyze and discuss the implications of the Free Culture Movement.

The FCRC Organizers are seeking to establish an identity for these annual Conferences, and they are asking for the help of the Open Clip Art Community!

From now, until the submission deadline of 11:59p on July 9th, The Open Clip Art Library will be accepting user-created and remixed entries, as a part of the Free Culture Research Conference Logo Design Contest.

The winning design will be announced on July 11th (Sunday). For further details and examples, please read the Open Clip Art Announcement Page, as well as the press release.

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