Tag Archive | Technology

Forget scouring the high street – PRINT yourself a pair of heels or pants!

This feature was originally written for the Daily Star, found here.

IN THE future rather than trawling the rails in Topshop or Primark you’ll be able to instantly print yourself an outfit! Amazing, right? We get the lowdown at London’s 3D Print Show.

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The London 3D Print Show had many things I would expect from a technology expo: slick entrepreneurs with glasses and iPads, large machines whirring away and more references to Star Wars that I’m comfortable with.While the show’s aim was to explore the many ways the technology of 3D printers are enhancing our lives — from car factories to kitchens — I was pleasantly surprised to find a section devoted to style and fashion with some absolutely beautiful pieces on show.

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How I made a mini me: The lowdown on 3D Printing and how you can try it too

This story was originally written for the Daily Star, found here.

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3D printing is technology that sounds both simple and really complex – but we have the info how it works, the cool things it can make and how to try it out.

The 3D printer is tech that I’ve been quietly excited about for years.

The idea of making nearly any object I wanted had me mostly excited to make tiny figurines of video game characters but to buy a printer of my own a few years ago would have set me back thousands of pounds – way too risky for someone like me with a casual interest.

So I was delighted to explore the 3D Print Show, a convention about 3D printing hosted by Adobe, demonstrating how much more accessible the tech has become for the average Joe.

If 3D Printing still sounds a bit mystical to you, it’s more straightforward than you might think.

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Media Matters: Peaceful days died. Let’s Survive

This feature can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.

Even with my busy schedule, I still try to squeeze in some gaming time. My current vice on Nintendo 3DS right now is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked.

 It’s actually something of an old game – it was originally released as just Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor in Japan and America back in 2009, but never saw a UK release. Overclocked is a re-release for the 3DS, but due to publishing issues, it took a whole two years between the Japanese release and ours, released on the March 29.

The game details an unlikely disaster scenario – a large section of Tokyo is suddenly cordoned off by the armed forces. The government say it’s due to a poison gas leak, but the thousands trapped inside the danger zone know the truth – it’s an invasion of bloodthirsty demons. Knowing that death is constantly around the corner, they try to survive the lockdown for a week, assuming they don’t find a way of escaping. The game’s tagline says it all: “Peaceful days died. Let’s Survive.”

It’s a story that’s surprisingly easy to relate to. Not so much the demons (although the mythology nerd in me appreciates that), but in the character interaction. The main character is rather plain, but his friends and the other survivors he encounters each have their own concerns and different motivations for trying to escape… or stay.

It got me thinking: if I was in a similar disaster area, would I be able to survive? Lord knows how many fellow nerds made zombie survival plans in light of that now overplayed and overrated horror trope.

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Tech Talk: Tournament organisers scam clients with unauthorised money-making software

 This feature can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.

A hidden function in globally used anti-cheating software generated almost $4,000 for an e-sports company, statements revealed this week.

The E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) distributed the program for users who would be competing in tournaments, but within the code was a function that uses computer processing power to earn a digital currency called Bitcoins.

Users noticed that their computers were running slower and electricity bills had increased, complaining on the ESEA website about the issue.

One of the website staff members, known as ‘lpkane’, issued an initial statement to the queries.

He mentioned that it was an idea between him and another staff member, ‘jaguar’, to implement the function as an April Fool’s joke.

He said: “Jaguar and I were talking about how cool it would be.”

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Tech Talk: Pandora’s Printer

This feature can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.

The printing press in the 1400s was one of the great innovations of humanity – allowing us to communicate with others, duplicate important texts, and, several hundred years of improvements later, drown beleaguered office staff under mountains of paperwork.

But now we’ve moved on to the next dimension with the 3D printer. It does exactly what the name suggests – creating copies of objects rather than text. Instead of being filled with ink cartridges, they take a feedstock of molten plastic (or even organic material if you want to print a hamburger), building up the finished product layer by layer.

The technology has been around for a few years, existing within construction and engineering industries. The age of commercialised 3D printers is inching closer, although it’s still too pricey to show up in your Argos catalogue. Even the cheapest models these days will set you back around £5,000.

The useful potential for 3D printing is astounding – if your wardrobe, bicycle or washing machine broke and needed a small obscure part, you could just print it at home. Creative types could make anything from furniture to musical instruments to kitsch mantelpiece ornaments.

Or, if you’re Defense Distributed, you could start a line of printable firearms. 

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Tech Talk: The ghost of Myspace past

This feature can also be found at the South West Londoner, here.

Every so often, I remember something embarrassing I did as a teenager and feel such intense shame that I am slightly more welcoming to the idea of being struck by lightning. Or a nuclear warhead.

How lucky I am that nearly all of the message boards and social networking I did in high school has since been consigned to the annals of internet history. To that end, I feel just a touch of sympathy (though not much) for the teenagers of the last decade, who aren’t going to have their Facebook and Twitter exploits fade any time soon.

Indeed, Paris Brown, the 17-year-old adviser to the Kent police commissioner had her career grind to a screeching halt, because she forgot (and her detractors chose to not forgive) that teenagers will say some impressively stupid things when left to their own devices.

The racist and homophobic tweets that were plastered all over newspapers last week apparently were dredged from years ago, and Ms Brown had probably forgotten all about them.

That’s not to say that they aren’t awful (my goodness, I never realised casual racism could sound so inane) but it’s a useful parable for all of us. If someone doesn’t like you, it’s the easiest thing for them to put your name into Google and browse through the various terrible thoughts you’ve had.

For most it will be incredibly boring things, but to potential employers who need to whittle down applicants – or dissenters looking to do a little character assassination – they’ll take any excuse.

Even if you’re already comfortably set in a job, you’re not safe. Here’s a story from last year that struck a chord with me personally.

Lauren Wainwright is a games journalist who was called out in October last year over something she had posted on Twitter. She expressed a lot of excitement for the newest Tomb Raider game (which is actually released now). However, it was picked up that Ms Wainwright had worked for the publishers for Tomb Raider in the past – it said as much on her LinkedIn profile.

This lead to suspicion over whether the opinions she was expressing were actually genuine. Articles were written, fingers were pointed, and other journalists were threatened with Libel. Members of the public, looking for journalists (not to mention a woman) to vilify, took to threatening Wainwright personally. It was a huge mess.

I was lucky enough to meet her in person, and was told that her excitement for Tomb Raider was, perhaps obviously, entirely genuine and unrelated to her previous employers.

While I feel there could have been a little more attention paid to what people could infer from the tweets of professional figures, it would be wholly unfair to blame Ms Wainwright for what had happened to her.

The lesson to be learned here is that we could all do with taking a step back and looking at just what we’re posting in public spaces, and how it could affect us professionally.

The simplest solution is to isolate anything that could reflect badly on you to somewhere more private. Either by limiting viewer access, or better yet using a pseudonym. Many people run two Twitter accounts – one for professional discourse, and one for general purpose. The people it will matter to will still know it’s you, but Google won’t.

Speaking of which, it may do you well to search your own name. Especially if you have a distinctive one (like me, I guess). If you had a Myspace in the distant past, now would be a good time to shut it down.

On a closing note, if you have a free afternoon, I strongly recommend you check out dont take it personally, babe, it just aint your story – a visual novel written by Christine Love. The name is ridiculous, but it explores the themes of a future where accessing the messages and profiles of someone online is commonplace. Would your judgements of people be clouded by things you’re not meant to know? See for yourself.