Everywhere I look, new advances in technology are being made—and seemingly, this happens every couple months when some unique form of technology appears to solve society’s daily problems. When I was younger, I had an mp3 player (really a glorified USB drive) that used an AA battery and held up to 60 songs at once. Then I owned a Motorola flip phone that I used to text my friends and buy cool ringtones. It fit in my pocket, so it was a huge “level up” from the old, clunky phones my parents talked about.
(Does anyone remember the Nokia phones from the 90s? It’s OK if you do; the 90s were pretty cool!)
With these advances in the early-to-mid 2000s, it’s not surprising that now, in 2016, we’ve soared even higher with our interactive watches, Google Glass, and virtual reality. Through these gadgets, we get the latest and greatest features in social media and have the ability to constantly plug into our Twitter, Facebook, and other social circles. We no longer live in a world where we need to disconnect. Our signal is boost 24/7!
Continue reading Social Media is Great, but What about Good, Old Fashioned Book Reading?
Hewlett-Packard has done something amazing, albeit a bit late in the 3D printing game. HP has publicly acknowledged that they are planning the release of a series of 3-dimensional (3-D) printers.
What is a 3D printer?
3-D printers take a 3-dimensional design that has been drafted or modeled in a software application, which is usually a computer aided drafting (CAD) program, and creates it using a solid substance such as plastic or rubber. The printer reads the design blueprints from the CAD file that you create and builds the object layer by layer with a heated source medium (such as plastic from a spool). The process is explained in better detail at Mashable.com.
Advantages of 3D Printing
The ability to rapidly prototype objects has far-reaching implications across all sectors. Doctors can custom make parts necessary for surgical repairs or custom-fitting hearing aids in less time. Mechanical engineers can rapidly build versions of a prototype for a project in order to test in real life situations. At home, a person could use preexisting templates or order blueprints from companies to quickly print out a replacement part if something breaks or needs replacement.
There are also challenges with 3-D printing
|Reduce carbon emissions due to less shipping of physical products
||Weapons or guns could be printed and used to cause harm
|New opportunities for entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to the prototype phase
||3-D printers won’t be affordable for everyone for a while, giving an advantage to the wealthy
Traditional Brick-and-Mortar Businesses
I can already hear the cries of concerned anti-futurists who see doom and gloom for physical businesses that sell objects, or even e-commerce businesses that sell and ship physical products. I can’t imagine that every household will have a 3-D printer any time too soon. Maybe in a decade or two, but no sooner. Businesses and engineering firms will be the first to take advantage of the mainstreaming of this technology by HP.
Even if they do end up in a lot of households, there will definitely be a need for:
- Professional 3-D printing services
- Design assistance services
- Services selling complicated objects that are not easily built by 3D printers
3-D Printing is Nothing New
Technically, 3-D printing has been around since the 1980’s. It is only more recently that this technology has become more accessible and gone mainstream. With the advancement of 3-D design software applications that offer better ease-of-use, the reality of 3-D printing on a broader scale is finally becoming feasible. Like every new technology, there will be a fear that it will replace older technologies, but television didn’t wipe out radio, tablets didn’t wipe out laptops, and electric guitars didn’t render acoustic guitars obsolete. There may be some adjustments to the techscape, but not in any way that any of the apocalyptic naysayers may propose.
There are many cases where companies say they are giving back to the places they do business, when in fact, they do so just to enhance their corporate reputations, or to cover up unfavorable practices. This is also known as window dressing, stated in Mainwaring on page 106.
Out of high school, I worked as a baristaat Starbucks for about a year. During OJT, I was informed on the many things the Starbucks did to give back to the farmers who grow their coffee. I thought, “This is great. I really like the company that I am working for because they are involved in making a difference.”
I like to think I have come a long way from my barista days. Opening my eyes, I realized that everything is not always as it seems. Finding out the truth of a company’s practices requires further research.
In a Magazine and Online Writing course I took last semester, I read a peer’s paper on the trend of companies buying land in other countries and shipping food back home, while the people living where the food was grown are dying of starvation.
Starbucks was one of those companies, practicing unethical business in Ethiopia. This article tells of the efforts Starbucks went through to prevent their fellow coffee growers from trademarking their own crops.
If this interests you, I encourage you to dig a little deeper. A quick Google search can reveal so much more than a company may be willing to tell you. When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility, we cannot simply take their word for it.