Frequently Asked Questions
signature: Q: What is m@k→ or --m@k--> or —m@k→?

A: It is my signature. Inspired by an insignia painted on a duffle bag of my grandfather Norbert Karau, the simplicity and elegance of ASCII art, my former love of RIP graphics and conversations in the Everyday Learning Group run by Carol Strohecker at the MIT Media Lab Europe, I arrived at a new digital and physical signature, mapping common digital symbols and physical shapes to corresponding representations of the phonemes in my name.

K+Arrow on Bag

m + @ = Matt
k + → = Karau

The result: —m@k→

name: Q: How does one pronounce "Karau"?

A: My immediate family, the Indiana and Michigan Karaus, pronounce "Karau" as kɑːrjuː, making it sound much like the surname of Rod Carew. Though, the Wisconsin and Minnesota Karaus pronounce it kærːoʊː which sounds like adding a "K" to the start of the word "arrow". I derived my signature from the Wisconsin/Minnesota pronunciation. (If you are curious, the original European pronunciation of "Karau" is likely closer to kɑːraʊː, and you can listen below to how it and the others sound.)

pronunciation of Karau as "Carew" like a Michigander / Hoosier:

pronunciation of Karau as "Karrow" like a Wisconsinite or Minnesotan:

pronunciation of Karau as "Karau" like a recent German ex-pat:

icon: Q: ...and what is that figure I keep seeing?

A: This guy?   
Oh, he is the chef-robot-dog. I sketched him years ago (c. 2004), and now that he is scanned and vectorized, he often shows up on the web whenever I need an icon or logo placeholder. He has served in this place-holder role for so long, though, that he has now become the de facto logo representing Extended Characters.

ex-ch: Q: ...and why

A: Good question. It was either "Media Pizza" or "Extended Characters". During my time in Dublin from 2001 to 2005, I had many conversations about company names that could represent the type of services provided by a hypothetical consulting company formed by a cohort of MIT Media Lab Europe alumni. Given my aforementioned love of ASCII graphics, I like the multiple meanings that could be read into the name "Extended Characters". Unfortunately, even though I currently "own" the URL, it is too long for me to type on a regular basis. At the time, all 4-letter domains were taken, but I was "lucky" to get, and I have been using this shortened version ever since as my URL of choice.

I am not ex-Suisse. The site is neither a foreign-exchange entity nor a web resource for the ASCII extended character set. Sorry.

email sig: A number of MIT Media Lab Europe staff came to have a very similar email signature during a time when the digital world was transitioning from sending mostly plain-text emails to composing emails with rich text formatting. During the transition, I was primarily reading mail in text-only mail clients, so I created an adaptable email footer / business-card-like signature that used monospaced font geometry to shape the layout. This could be sent as plain text or encoded as rich text, and both would result in a similar appearance.

The email signature allows for a varied number of data fields while retaining a simple, professional feel. See original, below (yes, we still used fax machines in 2004):
  Research Fellow  \  Matthew B. Karau  /  Media Lab Europe
  Tel: +353 1 474 2858                 Fax: +1 775 665 5431

  Research Fellow  \  Matthew B. Karau  /  Media Lab Europe
  Tel: +353 1 474 2858                 Fax: +1 775 665 5431     

The style can be easily adapted to other organizations.
  Extended     \   Matthew Karau   /     Characters
  Tel: +353 87 282 4519       Fax: +44 87 1239 7742
  © 1997-2018 Matthew Karau
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