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OFF THE WALL: Facebook Team Paints Techie Take on a ‘Cool’ Roof

Thursday, March 29, 2012

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Who says techie engineer types don’t know how to have a good time?

 QR code Facebook
 The QR code on the rooftop of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

For proof that this isn’t so, one need only see the news about the folks at Facebook who, fueled with paint, beer, chalk, and a QR code design, have created a rooftop code that stands ready to provide visitors from a galaxy far, far away a glimpse into life on this planet.

That’s assuming such alien visitors who might gaze down from high above possess smart phones or some similar technology that can read a QR code.

The inspiration for the rooftop code is traced to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who called for a “Space Hackathon” to give the company’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., a Facebook feel with tagging of walls with spray paint, hanging of posters, and other decorative spin (“hack the building” in Facebookese).

“But a few of us interpreted the call to action a bit too literally,” Mark Pike, an associate on the company’s user operations intellectual property team said in a post.

“Hack yeah! I'd like to paint a gigantic QR code somewhere so we can RickRoll online maps, or point people to our careers site, or send them to a ‘Clarissa Explains it All’ GeoCities Page,” Pike said in a reply to “Zuck’s”  suggestion on decorating the company’s new space.

Pike’s idea picked up plenty of “likes,” which led to the creation of a “Group” with a mission of creating the rooftop QR code.

The group considered various materials and methods for the task, including wood (too costly, hard to get up on the roof, could rot or blow away).

(Costly? For a billion-dollar company?)

Also ruled out was tile (also too expensive, heavy, difficult to paint).

(Gee, “Zuck” must be tight with a “Buck” for the head of a billion-dollar company.)

The solution: Paint the code directly on the white roof.

(Let’s hope they don’t lose LEED points for turning part of the white, reflective roof black.)

A team of engineers, designers and other Facebook employees climbed up on the roof this past weekend armed with the paint, chalk, paint rollers, and cold beer. The engineers determined the optimal orientation of the code image, and the team got to work.

A video of the project can be watched at Painting the FB QR Code.

Facebook QR code video

Curious about whether the code worked, an employee and remote-control device aficionado strapped a camera to a small quadcopter for a test from above. All systems are go, the team learned.

(Let’s hope they didn’t opt for the low-quality black paint to keep costs down. It could be some time before visitors from that other galaxy happen to train their smart phones on Facebook’s rooftop, so durability and color retention of the paint are important.)

Meanwhile, from the Other End of the Spectrum…

QR codes, engineering considerations and orientation certainly weren’t on the minds of the trio of painters at work in this video.

That’s using your heads, guys!

Who knows, their work may be in the museum soon.


Tagged categories: Facebook; Online tools; Roof coatings; Social Media

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