3D Printing Malarky

Some months ago I was posting a social media comment about 3D printing. To paraphrase I said something along the lines of ‘watch this technology it’s going to make an enormous difference to how we view value and utility’.

Now that wasn’t the most prescient comment in the whole world (it was a little bit though), it was after reading about how the technology would making printing your own sneakers, to your own specifications a reality. Of course the technology used to do this currently costs in the region of $100k and the unit looks an IKEA wardrobe. So it’s not exactly on the home shopping list for those of us with at least a nodding acquaintance with Mr Sanity. In any case that’s what Amazon is for, so why reinvent the wheel?

It's not a real car. Yet.

It’s not a real car. Yet.

On the other hand, there’s always a lunatic fringe who seem to have missed the memo that says ‘just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good idea.’

Usually you don’t have to specifically point this out to people, however in a consumer orientated world where peanut packaging has to have a warning label that reads ‘may contain nuts’ there is a little doubt as to just how much thought people are prepared to give to unintended consequences.

So it was without any surprise at all that I read about the gun that was recently printed out on one of these 3D printers.

The reason I was not in the least surprised is that I had not a week previously pointed out to my wife that it was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere did something really stupid with the technology. I think I may have mentioned a bear trap, but the principle’s the same. Except for some very, very important design differences.

You see bear traps hardly ever (except in very specific and highly unusual circumstances) have the ability to blow your head clean off .

The person who designed this ‘gun’ did so for some complicated reasons that have something or other to do with proving some or other point about personal freedom. I’m a bit hazy on the details, as I find that when you get past 40 you stop making an effort to understand plainly unstable people. This is because experience has given you a pretty good idea about the ingredients of the crazy cake. Lunatics can add all the fancy icing and cherries that they want, but when you get right down to it, it’s still made out of lunacy.

Now I have no problem with people expressing their opinions, after all as long as they don’t actually dribble on me or cause any sort of physical harm to the rest of humanity, They should be free to rave and rend their clothes as often as they feel is necessary.

But, here’s the thing. When designing a product that uses the well understood principles of controlled explosion, shouldn’t you at least be aware that plastic is not the most appropriate material to use?

This is a firearm that has so many design flaws that I really think you’d be fairly safe even if someone decided to test it out by attempting to put a hole in you. I’m by no means an expert on the subject but I should think that the person in the most danger would be the one pulling the trigger. I have absolutely no doubt that by firing a single shot (and that’s all you have, a single shot) you would be placing such strain on the materials used in the manufacture of this ill thought out piece of equipment that you would be quickly become known to your fellow inmates as ‘lefty.

Tell me that isn't an accident waiting to happen. With one bullet. And a firing pin - that's cheating.

Tell me that isn’t an accident waiting to happen. With one bullet. And a firing pin – that’s cheating.

3D printing technology has come on in leaps and bounds. You can now buy a home 3D printer for around $1000 and have heaps of fun with the kids designing bangles and miniature versions of the Eiffel Tower. If you’re feeling particularly daring you could have a go at sunken treasure chests or a deep sea diver for the Goldfish tank.

On no account should explosives and home 3D printing ever be combined, it sounds like fun but it’ll end in tears.

By the way I’ve mentioned ‘gun’ in this blog entry a number of times. So if you don’t hear from me soon then I’m probably in a cell. With my luck I’ll be sharing it with someone who has (had?) a hobby designing 3D firearms.


Social Media: Do You Know Your Audience? | Heidi Cohen

See on Scoop.itMarketing

Before you dive into creating your social media marketing strategy, know who’s in your audience and where you can find them.

Steven Mallach‘s insight:

Take a closer look at the social media and get an idea of who you are reaching.


Audience segmentation has always been one of the most valuable tools in any communications professionals kit. Getting sufficient granularity on target audience demographics is one of the factors that influence whether a particular campaign is going to be merely ‘ho hum’ or a runaway success.


The social media has increased the virality of many messages, but is this reach an illusion? Are the people sharing and liking actually the desired audience? Or are some campaigns just reaching an audience impressed with cleverness and creativity? 


The question is; will they buy now or at any time in the future?

See on heidicohen.com

The 6 Most Baffling Marketing Disasters by Famous Companies

See on Scoop.itMarketing

The line between roaring success and humiliating disaster is so, so thin in the world of advertising.

Steven Mallach‘s insight:

Love the work that Cracked does. If an entire team of gifted humor writers can come up with list based laughs on a regular basis, then this is:


Bad: Because it’s proof that the current generation of Internet users really does suffer from short attention span disorder


Good: Becaise at least the educational system is producing readers who can count (or at least read things in order).

See on www.cracked.com

Augmented reality coming to Mercedes-Benz magazine – News – Print Power

See on Scoop.itAugmented Reality

News, Augmented reality coming to Mercedes-Benz magazine (RT @holborndirect: Augmented reality coming to Mercedes-Benz magazine http://t.co/VjSLbP7AbW via @Printpower)…

Steven Mallach‘s insight:

AR in print is going to go mainstream very quickly. The technology allows organisations to reach their target audience with greater granularity to the print message.


In addition it allows the brand the opportunity to embed links to its social media ecosystem through mobile device applications used to access the AR content.


This in turn allows direct engagement in response to printed messaging. This is tremendously powerful for demographics which are still avid consumers of high end publications.

See on printpoweruk.co.uk

HOT tips – 10 reasons why writing on the Equator isn’t all you imagined.


“I’m in the jungle baby, this is where it all happens, take me inspiration I’m yours!” Surrounded by waving coconut trees, enjoying sunny days and balmy nights – what’s not to like? It’s like being on a tropical island, alone with your thoughts, free to explore your inner Hemingway, right? Yup, sure is, except those sunny days come with 100% humidity and temperatures that hover around 100 degrees, in the shade. Because there’s no difference between shade and direct sunlight, except maybe marginally less risk of sunstroke.


“OK, fair enough so it’s hot, big deal, I know hot.” Really, you think you know hot, well fine. How familiar are you with Monsoon Season? Because you’d better make sure that you have a raincoat and a really big umbrella writer dude. When it rains on the equator, it pours. Sunny day, check, no clouds, check – kaboom! Monsoon rains are here and they’ve made an extra special effort to save up the entire contents of the South China Sea just for you. And that raincoat? Did I mention it’s hotter than a boiled sock?

Kaboom! Did you bring your water wings?


“I find the outdoors inspiring, I’ll take it in baby steps.” So you’ve decided to beat the heat and go back to nature, Find a well manicured grass verge and set up shop for an afternoon at the keyboard. A sort of ‘nature lite’ experience. Well done, may Mother Nature have mercy on your soul. Do you know what else likes well manicured grass verges – ants.  Pissed off equatorial ants which have been harboring a grudge against you since you stepped off the plane, and they’ve been waiting for this opportunity. Two minutes and it’s HEY MACARANA time! Dance that one off creative genius.

biting ants


“So grass verges are out of the question. Why can’t I find a nice bench to sit and gaze out over one of the many scenic waterways that are part of almost every equatorial city?” I hear you – secluded and private, quiet and peaceful – just the place to set down those deep thoughts for your blog or upcoming novel – right? Let me let you in on a little secret. Those places are quiet and secluded for a reason, and that reason is because no-one in their right mind would sit anywhere near open air fresh water sources on the equator. The mosquitoes have formed a support group and all that they need is that one extra special person to make them and their friends as happy as a Prozac drunk monkey. They thank you from the bottom of their little mosquito hearts. Good luck with the Dengue Fever by the way.

"I'd like to be your friend and share my life and diseases with you"


“Fine, I’ll stay away from stagnant water and avoid sitting on the ground – I’ll find a park bench,  what could possibly affect the creative process on a secluded park bench?” Ever wonder why you’re not surrounded by insect life all the time on the equator? Well here’s the thing. You’re not bitten, or stung or pronged, or clawed to death 24 hours a day because the authorities make sure that everything that could do so within sight of a public road is dead. They accomplish this insect genocide by ‘fogging’. Sounds almost mysterious and brings to mind cozy evenings spent by the fire sipping on single malt. It’s not. It’s like being in a First World War trench. Without a gas mask you’re not going to get any writing done. And before you say anything you can’t write with a gas mask on – the eyepieces fog up.

Fogging expat


“OK, but there are plenty of places that offer a great view of nature’s serenity and the vista’s of jungly magnificence that have inspired writers since Rudyard Kipling. They aren’t all mosquito ridden mangrove swamp nightmares or infested by biting ants, or surrounded by swirling mists of airborne death are they?” Well no, they’re not, there are some really cool places where you can get a glass of something cold and type away to your heart’s content. But getting there, well that presents some challenges. The higher up you go the cooler the breeze and the more comfortable you’re going to be. Try climbing 700 foot worth of stairs with a laptop bag surrounded by tropical jungle. If the spiders don’t get you, the humidity will.


“You’re not helping, I’m going to the beach.” Excellent idea. It’s a lot cooler there and you can usually find a beach club of some sort with a fresh water pool to cool down your overheated mind and sooth your insect bitten body. Pity that every single other person on the equator has had exactly the same idea. Hear that whistling sound? It’s peace and tranquility exiting the beach stage left.


“Forget this noise, I’ll go indoors.” Looking for free Wi-Fi when that brilliant insight strikes. Bad news, every single coffee shop that offers free access also offers air conditioning. Get in line.


OK, there are other options – what about a simple fast food joint, I can have a burger and a shake.” Yup, you could, if every single pre-adolescent wasn’t there doing their homework assignments, and trust me they take education very seriously. No table for you. Just grab a shake and move on, maybe it’ll stave off dehydration for another 15 minutes.

The geography paper's due tomorrow. This may take a while


“Right, so that’s nature AND the city taken care of, I’m going back to my apartment.” Great, wimp. Oh by the way it costs an arm and a leg to run your air con the whole day. And you’re going to get sick nipping in and out like this. You should never have left in the first place.

Prawn Stars

By Steve the Humble Angler on May 4, 2013

There are certain experiences which don’t relocate well, hand fishing for Catfish seems to be a uniquely North American pursuit (at least according to the paid channels I watch). The same could be said for Shark Fishing off the coast of South Africa during the annual sardine run. In fact there are fishing experiences all over the world which reflect local tastes and opportunities and provide a snapshot of the cultures of specific countries and regions.

I’m of the opinion that one should always make every effort to immerse yourself in local customs, in order to really understand the country that you are visiting. It’s not only interesting, but it also gives you new perspectives and as far as fishing is concerned, exposure to new species and local techniques.

A year ago I relocated to a small island in Southeast Asia and as a newcomer I was at a bit of a loss as to where and how to wet a line. You see, my new home is located in the middle of one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. My experience of salt water fishing has been in pristine ocean environments characterized by sparkling blue waters and the smell of fresh sea air. Standing on the sand and looking out over the South China Sea I inhaled the fragrance of diesel fumes mixed with the heady aroma of Mangrove swamps. Small rafts of solidified petroleum product nuzzled at my feet as the gentle waves washed the white sands. I was discouraged.

Singapore Ghost Fleet-L

No room for fish. With a good enough casting arm you could probably hook a container load of flat screen TV’s.

 Every fisherman has been faced with the challenge of the blank day when nothing you can do will entice the prey onto the hook. But they say that even a blank day is better than a day at the office and I was itching for the chance to wet a line.

Waiting for my ride home in the blazing midday equatorial sun and 100% humidity I happened to glance over to my left and spotted a cheerful young Asian man with a plastic shopping bag slung casually over his shoulder. As I watched the bag twitched, bulged suspiciously and then something or somethings made a spirited attempt to tear through the thin plastic and make a break for freedom.

Seeing my frankly bemused and wary gaze (this is Asia, curiosity about the contents of bags at lunch time can leave you feeling queasy for the rest of the day) he smilingly swung the bag from his shoulder, beckoned me closer and opened it.

Inside were some of the strangest looking crustaceans I had ever seen (and I’ve seen some odd looking ocean based wildlife). It seems as if the bag was filled with a fishmongers worth of assorted prawn species. Some built like marathon runners, with pincers that looked capable of delivering a nasty nip, others short, fat, and deficient on the claw department. All extremely annoyed.

Seeing my startled, but intrigued look my new Asian friend, still grinning, removed his backpack, unzipped one of the compartments and removed the most compact rod I had ever seen since salivating over a Hardy Smuggler Fly kit on a London High Street. In perfect English (so much for the language barrier) he explained to me that he had just returned from a morning excursion Prawn fishing.

This was my introduction to some of the most fun I have ever had with a rod and reel.

The next weekend, with dubious family in tow (“you’ll love it, we can mix with the locals, eat what we catch, really you’ll love it.”) we set out for one of the three Prawn fishing destinations within a short trip from our apartment.

Well, to say that prawn fishing met and exceeded my admittedly low entertainment threshold when it comes to all things fishy is an understatement.

Prawn fishing (or “prawning as it is known locally) is hardly pitting your wits against wily saltwater foe while strapped to a fighting chair, but it’s fun and that is what fishing should be. The moment it becomes work it’s time to hang up your rod and sign on for a season of Deadliest Catch.

The concept of prawn fishing pares down the fishing experience to its absolute basics, a short rod, no reel, chicken liver bait and heaps of (fairly subdued) action. A bonus is that you can choose to eat your catch immediately after handing your loan rod back to the venue owners.

Prawning barbecue

Out of the water and onto the barbecue.

 Lean back on your garden chair, chuck your baited hook into the prawn pond, insert rod into handy rod holder and wait for a twitch on the line. Gently lift the rod tip and with a smooth motion deposit the prawn into the waiting cooler box (more challenging than it sounds). No weighing in, catch as many as you want.


Fun for the whole family. Bonus – beer.

 After an afternoon at prawn central I had the grand total of one prawn (obviously one of the less quick witted of a species not known for its analytical powers) and a bleeding finger courtesy of the fighting spirit shown by my single catch. My daughter of 9 had over a dozen (and a generous patron gave her his catch of 20 prawns – bonus).

Big prawn2

Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care.

 In summary I had found the solution to a quick fishing fix. A venue not too far away, not too expensive, not too challenging but heaps of fun, in short a sort of Goldilocks fishing experience (“just right”). Your adrenaline gets a bit of an outing and you have plenty of laughs.

We headed straight home, popped the prawns into a pot of boiling water and within 10 minutes were enjoying a fresh prawn salad.

This only goes to show that if you look hard enough you can find fishing opportunities anywhere. Fishing seems to be a universal pastime. It appeals to many different cultures and provides each of us the opportunity to learn more, not only about our chosen hobby, but also about new species and techniques.

Most of all it teaches us about people. No matter where you are, fishing is a pastime that can be shared and enjoyed by ordinary folk from all walks of life. It is a great leveller, whoever you are, no matter how much money you make or your social status there is always the distinct possibility that you will be out fished by a 9 year old. And that you’ll be bitten, stung, pronged, or punctured by an interesting variety of species on a regular basis. But we continue to seek out any opportunity to get a line wet – that’s what fishing is all about.

This article was published by Steve of SportFishingWeekly.com