By Ryan Mallough - Monday, January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
The new age of piracy
It’s being called the “copyright Armageddon,” a looming legal battle between manufacturers and the Internet, thanks to the increasing popularity of 3D printers. With some desktop units available for as little as $500, almost anyone can now print plastic items from the comfort of home—tools and toys, house decorations, even musical instruments. The possibilities seem limitless—and so, too, does the potential for piracy.
Internet piracy has been an issue ever since Shawn Fanning created the music file-sharing program Napster. Though Napster was shut down in 2001, after one of the biggest copyright battles in history, piracy has only spread, from music to movies and books. But until recently, online theft has been limited to data, not physical objects.
Now some file-sharing websites are taking advantage of what many expect to be the next digital revolution. Popular music and video downloading website the Pirate Bay has rolled out a database for 3D downloads. The 3D printers, which are about the size of a microwave, read the files—essentially a digital blueprint—and lay down thin layers of plastic from the bottom up to build objects. There are files that claim to print everything from a working “Nerf gun” to an iPod dock. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Friday, December 14, 2012 at 6:28 PM - 0 Comments
Good: allowing laptops on planes for take-off. Bad: getting fired for giving a student a zero
The Harper government has slashed nearly 11,000 public sector jobs this year, and thousands more are on the chopping block. So what’s the good news for federal civil servants? The ones still standing are free to decorate their cubicles with tinsel, wreaths and menorahs. Repeating a directive issued last holiday season—after a senior bureaucrat in Quebec banished all Christmas trees from front-line Service Canada offices across the province—Treasury Board president Tony Clement said employees are free to break out the ornaments. The government “will not allow the Christmas spirit to be grinched,” he said.
The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has urged the Federal Aviation Administration to finally let passengers use electronic devices during takeoff and landing. There is no evidence that tablets or laptops cause aircraft interference (some airlines have even replaced flight manuals in the cockpit with iPad versions) and thankfully, the FAA is now reviewing its policies. Because the last thing we need is 15 minutes of off-line existence.
By Jesse Brown - Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM - 24 Comments
Here’s something as cool as it is concerning:
If these guys have a photograph of your house key, even one taken with a cellphone camera from 200 feet away, they can feed it into a piece of software called SNEAKEY and load the resulting file into a $400 3D printer which will then spit out a duplicate key that can open your front door.
Now that’s some Mission Impossible shizz.
Turns out, there aren’t a lot of variables with most house keys: a handful of standard types and brands, and then five or six cuts of varying depths. SNEAKEY can identify your brand and type and then measure the depths of the cuts, regardless of the angle the photo is taken at. It then uses other visual reference points in the photo to calculate the size of the key, and voila! A 3D file that can be shaved layer by layer out of a block of wood or plastic with an increasingly affordable object printer.
3D printing is still more or less the realm of hobbyists—it works, but on a slow and small scale. Complicated objects must be printed out one piece at a time over the course of hours and then assembled like toys. But keys are simple, one-piece objects that suggest a new, more practical use for 3D printers—burglary!
With the recent rash of hack attacks, one senses a loss of public confidence in assets that exist in purely digital form. But before you convert those abstract pixels on your online banking statement into cold hard cash and stuff it all under your mattress, keep in mind that the physical world is increasingly accessible through digitization.