Articles tagged with: digital

3D Printing: The Excitement The Uncertainty

The industry is developing fast. It is providing new creative opportunities for individuals and revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. It’s 3D printing! Many people have heard of the 3D printed organs for medical testing; it is true, it is happening. There are many developments in this industry that are perhaps not so glamorous, but still encourage us to wonder what other possibilities 3D printing presents. For example, Sols Systems has developed software that scans feet and generates digital files of custom shoe inserts. The file is then uploaded to a 3D printer and created in less than 24 hours. Once the physical shoe insert has taken form, it is sent directly to the customer. If the technology is implemented into our society in a way that promotes local manufacturing transportation costs and fuel emissions can be reduced. Evidence that supports a manufacturing revolution lead by 3D printing is apparent. The technology also promotes personal innovation, which is an idea that draws many people to the industry.

As 3D Printing Specialist at Shapeways, I was lucky to see custom creations by individuals from around the world. Expression through apparel and jewelry is not limited by what is mass manufactured and distributed. Shapeways’ customers are creating unique jewelry, iPhone cases, and more. Some customers use Shapeways’ services for product development and prototyping. One such product is the ModiBot, a customizable action figure that is simple yet fun. The company also produces bracelets with custom messages printed on them. Shapeways’ goal is to give the world access to 3D printing without having to invest in a printer. Other companies in the industry are striving to put a 3D printer in every home.

MakerBot opened the first “brick and mortar” retail store for desktop 3D printers in New York City. Since MakerBot only sells their brand of printer, iMakr saw an opportunity to open a retail location that sells a variety of brands. These companies are in the right place to test the market for these printers. Their success over the next few years will answer a lot of questions about the market for personal 3D printers. The number of 3D printers currently in peoples’ homes is surprising. connects people 3D files to people in their area with 3D printers. The company sutures the transaction of the file for the print and any monetary exchange. 3Dhubs provides a great opportunity for owners of 3D printers to get a return on their investment. These at-home-manufactures will soon be able to maximize their production with the help of PrintToPeer. PrintToPeer is developing a web-based program that allows users to control their printers over the Internet. It is clear that 3D printers have created more opportunities for local manufacturing. However, the current material costs and production limitations make local manufacturing less than optimal. There are 3D printers in many homes, but predictions that it will become as common as a refrigerator are not yet coming to fruition.

Some people who are unfamiliar with 3D printing find the subject challenging to discuss. I’ve found that people who have never heard of 3D printing have more trouble understanding the manufacturing process than the benefits of at-home or local manufacturing; it’s been hard to get past that part of the conversation before talking about having a 3D printer in your home. The social disconnect seems to relate to a lack of understanding manufacturing in general. I spoke with one gentleman who is familiar with CNC manufacturing and he understood 3D printing within seconds. The two types of manufacturing share a lot of the same concepts; the major difference is that CNC machines practice subtractive and 3D printing is additive manufacturing in most cases. “3D printing” is really at catch phrase that makes people wonder if they need one next to their paper printer. However, the phrase detracts from people’s understanding because they try to relate their paper printer to a 3D printer. The two devices are in different dimensions. The previous statement is not actually true, but I couldn’t help myself. My point is, no one says they manufactured a document. The only similarity between the two types of printers is the extruder, but mechanically they operate differently and not all 3D printers have extruders. The more accurate name for 3D printing is Additive Manufacturing, but the phrase “additive manufacturing device” just isn’t as sexy (or consumer friendly) as 3D printer. After seeing many different 3D printers operate, from thousand-dollar desktop printers to million-dollar industrial printers, I realize the mechanics of 3D printing is not that complicated and far less impressive than the software that runs each build. This manufacturing process is far from incomprehensible. There are some social barriers to overcome and general manufacturing education that needs to take place before this industry breaks into the mainstream.

3D printing is cool, but the technology has a long way to go before desktop 3D printers an adopted as a common household item. There are material limitations that affect the functionality, strength and quality of products. In order to produce a flawless item, operators have to understand how to properly orient the item being built. Since the technology is so new, troubleshooting is very common. MakerBot is striving to create the “out of the box” experience that consumers love. They do have very limited assembly. However according to sources, calibrating the machine can be a hassle and extruder clogging is fairly common.

Though it may be many years away, a future where 3D printers are in every home is fun to think about. Instead of buying a physical product, consumers would buy a digital file then manufacture it at home. Amazon has revolutionized consumer spending by making it an at-home experience; it is realistic to think the manufacturing process can become an at-home experience as well. Imagine breaking the knob on your facet just before you leave the house for work. What if during your lunch break you could buy the replacement knob, in the form of an .stl file? What if you could then upload the .stl file to your home 3D printer via the web? The knob would be waiting for you when you got home. There would be no need to think about running to the hardware store after work. You would not have to interrupt your relaxing Saturday. This is a modest fantasy that is achievable with today’s technology. I am not so certain that enough of these scenarios exist to create a demand for a 3D printer in every home. Many industry experts are confident the technology will continuously develop and revolutionize manufacturing; exactly how is to be determined.

How to Avoid Viruses When Downloading Files from FrostWire


Being connected to the internet means eventually downloading something from it, even something as simple as a document. And after discovering that you can download pretty much any digital content online ”legal and illegal”there’s no going back. Maybe you want to fill your iPod or iPhone with music or download movies and games not available in your country. Digital content has never been more accessible at any time in history, and all you need is an internet connection. Of course you need to pay for content under copyright, otherwise it’s stealing. But some people think its not stealing at all, its just sharing content already paid for by somebody else. Anyway, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs lets anybody download and upload all kinds of digital files. Its probably the best way to download popular files for free and without advertisements. It comes with a lot of risks, however, like being tracked by the RIAA/MPAA and landing in court, paying fines and getting your system infected with malware and viruses. Many people believe the risks are worth it, and the number of people using P2P programs continues to rise.

FrostWire (which can be downloaded from the site FrostWire Free Download) is one such P2P program. It’s open source (free) and lets you download torrent files. If you’re familiar with now-defunct LimeWire, FrostWire is its twin sister. Initially, FrostWire offered Gnutella file sharing just like LimeWire did, but now it’s just purely a BitTorrent client like Vuze and uTorrent. Gnutella file sharing was about actual playable files (.mp3, .m4a., .avi, etc.) hosted on a central server. The files are voluntarily shared by users worldwide, and you download the files by connecting to them. With BitTorrent file sharing, no files are hosted on any central server. All you get is a pointer file that locates the playable files from users all over the world. Once it locates all the playable files (seeds), it feeds bits and pieces of that file to you (leecher) until the download is complete. Note that you are downloading parts of the file from many different users instead of the full game from a single user.

Is FrostWire Safe?

FrostWire is as safe to use as Vuze, uTorrent and any other P2P file sharing program, meaning it’s safe to use if you’re careful. If you’re new to downloading torrents, it’s important to know that torrent sites are one of the most dangerous places (if not the most dangerous place) to visit on the internet in terms of the possible damage it can do to your system. Torrent sites are dangerous mainly because everything is free and unregulated, there’s no reputation to uphold and they don’t need to please anybody. Sure, you’ll see torrents labeled verified,scanned and virus-free, but they shouldn’t be taken at face value. If you must download a torrent file, use a secondary computer with updated antivirus software. Then scan the files and wait a few days before running them (it can take a while for your antivirus to pick up malware as a threat). That said, FrostWire as a standalone program is 100 percent safe. If you’re using it to share legal and personal files with friends and family, then the risk of getting viruses is very low. Although some torrents may be infected with adware and spyware, FrostWire itself is free of these. You can examine the open-source code for yourself if you want to check for security loopholes. Here’s a third party site that has tested FrostWire for viruses, malware, spyware and trojans using popular antivirus software:

protect your computer

Antivirus and Firewall Programs

A solid antivirus program and working firewall are your primary protection against online threats. Going online without antivirus and firewall is asking for trouble; it’s not a question of if but when you’re going to get infected with a seemingly harmless file that could damage your hard drive and wipe out your system. Luckily, you (usually) don’t have to pay for good antivirus software and firewall. These are often included in a new computer purchase, and there are lots of free programs that you can download if your computer doesn’t have them. Another thing to consider is getting cloud security which will add extra protection to your computer. Prevent Paid programs like Norton offers comprehensive protection, but don’t worry if you can’t afford them. Free programs come with all the essentials you need. Here are some of the best free security programs for Windows:

Tips to Avoid Downloading Viruses

File sharing is a hot-button issue, and whether it’s wrong to share files that do not belong to you is under debate. We’re not going to discuss that here, but you should know that torrent downloading is very high risk. For one, your IP address is always visible when you use torrent clients like FrostWire. This means your computer can easily be tracked and identified. Also, many internet service providers are curbing torrent downloading by sending out warnings to subscribers who download and share copyrighted material online. You can be taken to court and asked to pay fines, or you can land in jail. But the most pressing threat for many is a rogue file that carries malware and viruses. This can wipe out your hard drive if you get infected. Trojans, adware and spyware are often distributed with torrent files and you can’t really verify if the sources are safe or not. To protect yourself while using FrostWire to share files, here are some tips:

  • Never use FrostWire if you don’t have antivirus and firewall installed. Make sure to update the program daily. Dated antivirus can let viruses slip through the cracks. It’s also good to have a malicious software removal tool and a registry cleaner just in case.
  • Enable scanning as files are being downloaded. This way, your antivirus can alert you of infected files before you open them.
  • Beware of files with the extension “.exe”. In contrast to music, movies and e-books, .exe files are executable—they run on your computer and make changes to the registry. Viruses can bury themselves in your system just by launching .exe files.
  • Check the file size before you download it. An MP3 file should be around 4 MB and up, while a full-length film is around 600 MB and up. Games vary in size; RPGs are usually from 1 to 2 GB and up. Documents and eBooks are smaller in size. Don’t download anything under 1 MB in size, unless you trust the source and the file. Start at 2500 or 3000kb, especially if you’re downloading .mp3s.
  • When downloads are finished, navigate to the folder and check if it’s the file you want. Make sure your computer shows file extensions. An .exe file with a virus can be disguised as an .mp3 file. Dont click links that asks you to download here or get password.
  • If you ca’t help downloading copyrighted torrents, download files from trustworthy sources (or at least those that look trustworthy). To tell legit files from fake ones, check the file name. Beware of files that contain only the file name that you searched for. Some bad hosts auto-generate malicious files based on your original search keywords.
  • Scan everything you download. This means all files, not just executable ones (with the .exe extension). If your antivirus program detects a threat, quarantine it. Try waiting a few days and running a scan again. If it still detects a threat, it’s best to delete the file.
  • It’s not recommended to use FrostWire and other P2P programs if you’re connected to a local area network, even if it’s just a home network. Use just one computer for downloading torrents, and isolate it from the rest of your devices. Don’t keep important and sensitive documents in that computer.
  • Check what files you are sharing. Open the FrostWire folder and delete any files that shouldn’t be shared with the public.
  • Keep your notebook screen safe from scratches with anti fingerprinting screen protector.
  • Be picky about the files that you’re downloading. Recently released TV shows, movies and music are among the most downloaded torrent files on FrostWire; unfortunately, this also makes them prime targets for people who want to spread malware and viruses. It’s best to download old releases, but if you can’t help it, always run a virus scan and wait a few days before opening or running the file.

FrostWire is a great program to share digital content online, and the program itself is 100% virus-free. It’s how you use it that can get you in trouble. Sharing personal files or digital content you’ve created is fine, but that’s not what majority of people are using FrostWire for. Until the powers that be legalize sharing of files under copyright, it’s still considered stealing. If you can’t help but download copyrighted files, at least make sure you’re not putting your system at risk for online threats. Never download files using FrostWire without an updated antivirus and firewall program. Examine the files before and after downloading them. Scan everything, not just executable files, and quarantine anything that is infected. It’s best to wait a few days before opening the file you’ve downloaded, as it can take a while for your antivirus to detect a threat. If repeated scans turn up the same warnings, just get rid of the file.


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