ENTRIES TAGGED "future of manufacturing"

Four short links: 27 April 2012

Four short links: 27 April 2012

Future Manufacturing, Decisions, Politics, and Paying for Your Service

  1. The Third Industrial Revolution (The Economist) — A number of remarkable technologies are converging: clever software, novel materials, more dexterous robots, new processes (notably three-dimensional printing) and a whole range of web-based services. The factory of the past was based on cranking out zillions of identical products: Ford famously said that car-buyers could have any colour they liked, as long as it was black. But the cost of producing much smaller batches of a wider variety, with each product tailored precisely to each customer’s whims, is falling. The factory of the future will focus on mass customisation–and may look more like those weavers’ cottages than Ford’s assembly line.
  2. Hiring Executives (Ben Horowitz) — I am going to meditate for a while on Consensus decisions about executives almost always sway the process away from strength and towards lack of weakness.
  3. Valve’s Handbook for New Employees (PDF) — Since Valve is flat, people don’t join projects because they’re told to. Instead, you’ll decide what to work on after asking yourself the right questions (more on that later). Employees vote on projects with their feet (or desk wheels). Strong projects are ones in which people can see demonstrated value; they staff up easily. This means there are any number of internal recruiting efforts constantly under way. Reminds me of Google, and I wonder how Valve manages politics in an organic hierarchy organization. (via Andy Baio)
  4. Facebook NumbersOn average, Facebook earned $1.21 on each of its users this last quarter. I’d love to be able to pay them $10/yr and have them work for me instead of for [insert best-fit advertiser here].
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Four short links: 16 April 2012

Four short links: 16 April 2012

Competition, Creation, Minimalism, and Monop{ol,son}y

  1. Peter Thiel’s Class 4 Notesin perfect competition, marginal revenues equal marginal costs. So high margins for big companies suggest that two or more businesses might be combined: a core monopoly business (search, for Google), and then a bunch of other various efforts (robotic cars, TV, etc.). Cash builds up because it turns out that it doesn’t cost all that much to run the monopoly piece, and it doesn’t make sense to pump it into all the side projects. In a competitive world, you would have to be funding a lot more side projects to stay even. In a monopoly world, you should pour less into side projects, unless politics demand that the cash be spread around. Amazon currently needs to reinvest just 3% of its profits. It has to keep running to stay ahead, but it’s more easy jog than intense sprint. I liked the whole lecture, but this bit really stood out for me.
  2. Kickstarter Disrupting Consumer Electronics (Amanda Peyton) — good point that most people wouldn’t have thought that consumer electronics would lend itself to the same funding system as CDs of a one-act play about artisanal beadwork comic characters. Consumer electronics as a market has been ripe for disruption all along. That said, it’s ridiculously not obvious that disruption would come from the same place that allows an artist with a sharpie, a hotel room and a webcam a way to make the art she wants.
  3. OmniOS — OmniTI’s JEOS. Their team are engineers par excellence, so this promises to be good.
  4. Understanding Amazon’s Ebook Strategy (Charlie Stross) — By foolishly insisting on DRM, and then selling to Amazon on a wholesale basis, the publishers handed Amazon a monopoly on their customers—and thereby empowered a predatory monopsony. So very accurate.
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Four short links: 28 March 2012

Four short links: 28 March 2012

Mac OS X Malware In the Wild, AntiBotnettery, Fabbing And Designers, Networked Products

  1. MS Office Exploit In The Wild, Targeting Mac OS XThis is one of the few times that we have seen a malicious Office file used to deliver Malware on Mac OS X. (via Hacker News)
  2. Please Do Not Take Down The Sality BotNet — best responsible disclosure ever.
  3. 3DifficultI’m an industrial designer at heart, and I’m saddened by what’s happened to my craft. We were once the kings of things, but for a variety of reasons I think we’re in danger of being left behind. [...] Making became the talk of the town, and to some extent it still is. We’re in the first stumbling days of the Internet of Things, and are increasingly seeing the paper thin definition between digital and tangible falling away.
  4. Air Quotes Product (Matt Webb) — Recently I noted down some places in which traditional products have changed and he goes on to list some critical ways in which networked objects challenge our thinking. I love the little brain/big brain distinction–great to have words for these things at last!
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Four short links: 15 February 2012

Four short links: 15 February 2012

DNS Benchmarking, Intro to Macroeconomics, Materials-Sensing Cameras, and 3D Printing Lab Messed Around

  1. Namebench (Google Code) — hunts down the fastest DNS servers for your computer to use. (via Nelson Minar)
  2. Primer on Macroeconomics (Jig) — reading suggestions for introductions to macroeconomics suitable to understand the financial crisis and proposed solutions. (via Tim O’Reilly)
  3. Smarter Cameras Plumb CompositionA new type of smarter camera can take a picture but also assess the chemical composition of the objects being imaged. This enables automated inspection systems to discern details that would be missed by conventional cameras. Interesting how cameras are getting smarter: Kinect as other significant case in point. (via Slashdot)
  4. Not So Open — 3D printing lab at the University of Washington had to stop helping outsiders because of a crazy new IP policy from the university administration. These folks were doing amazing work, developing and sharing recipes for new materials to print with (iced tea, rice flour, and more) (via BoingBoing)
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Four short links: 6 February 2012

Four short links: 6 February 2012

E-Commerce Analytics, Text Mining on Hadoop, Bozonics, and It's Safe To Write With a Mac Again

  1. Jirafe — open source e-commerce analytics for Magento platform.
  2. iModela — a $1000 3D milling machine. (via BoingBoing)
  3. It’s Too Late to Save The Common Web (Robert Scoble) — paraphrased: “Four years ago, I told you all that Google and Facebook were evil. You did nothing, which is why I must now use Google and Facebook.” His list of reasons that Facebook beats the Open Web gives new shallows to the phrase “vanity metrics”. Yes, the open web does not go out of its way to give you an inflated sense of popularity and importance. On the other hand, the things you do put there are in your control and will stay as long as you want them to. But that’s obviously not a killer feature compared to a bottle of Astroglide and an autorefreshing page showing your Klout score and the number of Google+ circles you’re in.
  4. iBooks Author EULA Clarified (MacObserver) — important to note that it doesn’t say you can’t use the content you’ve written, only that you can’t sell .ibook files through anyone but Apple. Less obnoxious than the “we own all your stuff, dude” interpretation, but still a bit crap. I wonder how anticompetitive this will be seen as. Apple’s vertical integration is ripe for Justice Department investigation.
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Four short links: 24 January 2012

Four short links: 24 January 2012

Facebook Apps, Google+ Remover, Mind Hacks Books, and Pirate Bay Adds Physical Objects

  1. fbootstrap (GitHub) — HTML, CSS, and JS toolkit for Facebook apps based on Twitter’s popular Bootstrap library.
  2. Focus on the User — adds a bookmarklet “Don’t Be Evil” which shows your Google search as it would have been before Google+ began artificially inserting itself into Google search results. Written by Facebook engineer and Firefox co-creator Blake Ross, this is a gloriously subtle commentary on the pollution of search results from the privileging of Google+.
  3. Treasure Hunt for Mysteries of Mind and Brain (Mind Hacks) — one of the coauthors of Mind Hacks, Tom Stafford, has written two small self-published books on the cool things you can do with your brain: exploring your blind spot, and lucid dreaming.
  4. Pirate Bay Launches Physical Object CategoryWe believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare parts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years. We at O’Reilly believe this too. (via Annalee Newitz)
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Four short links: 21 November 2011

Four short links: 21 November 2011

Early Jobs, Personal Computing Sticks, Short-Sighted Profits, and Ford's Software Business

  1. Steve Jobs in Early NeXT Days (YouTube) — documentary footage of the early retreats at NeXT, where Jobs talks about plans and priorities. Very interesting to watch this knowing how the story ends. I’m astonished by how well Jobs spoke, even then, and delighted by the glimpses of impatience and dismissiveness. I wonder where the raw footage went. (via The Next Web)
  2. Cotton Candy Prototype — an Android-running computer on a USB stick. Plug it in, use the software on the stick to talk to the onboard OS, and you’re off. The ease of carrying your systems and data with you like this is the only long-term challenge I can see to the convenience of cloud storage of your digital life. For more details see Laptop Mag.
  3. Clayton Christensen on Short-Sighted Pursuit of Profits (Forbes) — love this quote from an overseas semiconductor manufacturer: You Americans measure profitability by a ratio. There’s a problem with that. No banks accept deposits denominated in ratios.
  4. Ford Just Became a Software Company (Information Week) — Ford are shipping memory sticks with software upgrades to the touchscreen computer in their cars. This is the future of manufacturing: your physical products will need software, which will for your business to have software competencies you haven’t begun to dream of. Business opportunity?
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Four short links: 26 October 2011

Four short links: 26 October 2011

CPAN's Sweet 0x10, Social Reading, Questioning Polls, and 3D Manufacturing

  1. CPAN Turns 0×10 — sixteenth anniversary of the creation of the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. Now holds 480k objects.
  2. Subtext — social bookreading by adding chat, links, etc. to a book. I haven’t tried the implementation yet but I’ve wanted this for years. (Just haven’t wanted to jump into the cesspool of rights negotiations enough to actually build it :-) (via David Eagleman)
  3. Questions to Ask about Election Polls — information to help you critically consume data analysis. (via Rachel Cunliffe)
  4. Technologies, Potential, and Implications of Additive Manufacturing (PDF) — AM is a group of emerging technologies that create objects from the bottom-up by adding material one cross-sectional layer at a time. [...] Ultimately, AM has the potential to be as disruptive as the personal computer and the internet. The digitization of physical artifacts allows for global sharing and distribution of designed solutions. It enables crowd-sourced design (and individual fabrication) of physical hardware. It lowers the barriers to manufacturing, and allows everyone to become an entrepreneur. (via Bruce Sterling)
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Four short links: 21 September 2011

Four short links: 21 September 2011

Unregulated Printing, Mobile Data, Open Source ERP, and Future Technology

  1. Gun Part on Thingiverse — we’re used to thinking of the legal problems caused by cheap and decentralized copies of digital works. Now the problems we had with pipe bombs (designs are free on the net, the parts are cheap) are just as applicable to every type of restricted object (in this case, a gun). The difference between regulating speech (design of an object) and regulating possession of objects is blurring and it’ll be interesting to see where this goes. (via Jesse Robbins)
  2. Mobile Data (Luke Wrobewski) — Mobile data traffic is now outpacing fixed broadband traffic. Last year, it grew 4.2 times as fast. The entire list of interesting numbers repays reading.
  3. ERPnext — open source (Python/Javascript) ERP system. Yet another example of open source climbing up the business stack.
  4. Technology Time Out (Slideshare) — my presentation to employees embarking on a hackathon, about future trends, the role of software developers, and the need to work on meaningful stuff.

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Four short links: 29 August 2011

Four short links: 29 August 2011

Rebooting Manufacturing, Politics, Disney Open Source, and CS Magic

  1. Laptops and Looms — very thoughtful and thought-provoking summary of a UK conference on the kinds of Future of Manufacturing tools and businesses that Make and O’Reilly are into. It’s easy to romanticise the industry of old but much of it was horrible and remains so in the countries where we now outsource many of our manufacturing needs. If we’re to bring manufacturing back to Britain (which I think will gradually happen over the coming decade) we need to think differently about the economics of consumer goods including the jobs created and how to eliminate the environmental impacts. (via BERG London)
  2. Can Government Policies Increase National Long-Run Growth Rates?We obtain time series estimates of the long run growth rates of 17 OECD countries, and test the hypothesis that these are the same across countries. We find that we cannot reject this hypothesis for the first and last three decades of the 20th century. We conclude that: (i) there are few, if any, feasible policies available that have a significant effect on long run growth rates, and; (ii) any policies that can raise national growth rates must be international in scope. The results therefore have bleak implications for the ability of countries to affect their long run growth rates. Data-informed policy analysis for the despair. (via Jez Weston)
  3. Walt Disney’s Open Source — texture mapping, library for particle formats, and Python unit test generator, among other things. (via Brenda Wallace)
  4. The Magic of Computer Science — magic tricks and illusions that are informed by computer science. It’s a hook into teaching computer science principles, along the lines of the excellent CS Unplugged.
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