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Recommended Reading: Star Wars visuals and Square's data gold mine


Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

The Man Who Literally Built Star Wars
by Jeremy Singer, Esquire


Esquire sits down with Star Wars set decorator Roger Christian to find out what it was like to literally build the visuals for George Lucas. During the course of the chat, we discover that the interior of the Millennium Falcon was constructed from scrap airplane metal, the challenge of the garbage compactor, the inspiration for Hans Solo's blaster and the creation of the first lightsaber.

A Bitcoin for GIFs Aims to Make Digital Art Ownable
by Whitney Mallett, Motherboard

Right now, GIFs aren't of much monetary value since they can be easily copied from their source and distributed at will. However, an artist and an entrepreneur have an idea that could change that. By using a cryptographic block chain similar to that which tracks Bitcoin transactions, the pair looks at how they could build a market for such works by authenticating authorship of one-of-a-kind pieces.


How Agencies Vet Startup Clients to Find the Next WhatsApp
by Alexandra Bruell, Advertising Age

PR agency head Scott Allison knows a thing or two about taking on startups as clients. He was still representing WhatsApp when it was acquired by Facebook a few months back. But for every success story, he says there are at least five that fizzle out. In this piece for Ad Age, Allison and others discuss the vetting process before working with possible up-and-comers and the factors that figure heavily into the decision-making process.


A Conversation with Composer Cliff Martinez
by Nara Shin, Cool Hunting

You may not immediately recognize the name, but if you're a fan of Steven Soderbergh, you've likely heard his work. Martinez collaborates with Soderbergh often to provide dark, yet ambient scores, appearing in such works as Sex, Lies and Videotape, Solaris and the upcoming HBO film The Normal Heart. Cool Hunting chats up working with Skrillex, compositional style and his work on The Knick, another pending Soderbergh project for Cinemax about the early days of surgery in the US.


Square Turned Dollars Into Data. Now It'll Turn That Data Into Gold
by Mat Honan, Wired

Wired asked Square to take a look at data concerning how a sports stadium generates revenue for local businesses to show just how valuable the outfit's collected data is. While the company has proven it's a highly useful payment processor, it can also provide a wealth of transaction analytics too. And that may just be were it cashes in next.


[Photo credit: MJ Kim/Getty Images]

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