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Four Horsemen of the 3D Printing Apocalypse

Charles Stross’ excellent new novel, Rule 34 (Ace Books), is a futuristic police procedural set in a near-future Edinburgh, in which 3D printing has become boringly ubiquitous. You can buy safe, prepackaged 3D printers at the local housewares shop, and they’re handy for whipping up generic replacement parts for broken appliances (at one point a […]

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Moral Suasion

Moral Suasion

The life of a modern-day maker is greatly eased by the abundance of free or cheap services for hosting communities, files, communications, and computation. But for all the promise of cloud computing, there’s plenty of peril, too, especially for anyone doing anything disruptive. Will your “cloud” evaporate the second your project starts attracting legal threats? […]

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Walled Gardens vs. Makers

Walled Gardens vs. Makers

When I was a grub, we traded in forbidden knowledge: “If you unscrew the receiver on a pay phone and short the screws on the back of the speaker by touching them to the chrome on the side of the phone, you get an open dial tone.” Or: “Here is how you fold an origami […]

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Untouched By Human Hands

Untouched By Human Hands

I spent most of 2008 researching my novel For the Win, which is largely set in the factory cities of South China’s Pearl River Delta. If you own something stamped MADE IN CHINA (and you do!), chances are it was made in one of these cities, where tens of millions of young women have migrated […]

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