16 Jun 2012

As my guitar softly prints

Author: will | Filed under: creativity, Design, music, opportunity

3D printing is something I really love the idea of. The practical results are, well, mixed.

I’ve seen, and help, amazing pieces. Intricate interlocking design which can only be printed that way. Vases printed fully decorated with different designs on the outside and on the inside. Pieces that look like hand painted with watercolours Egyptian artifacts.

I’ve also seen extruded pieces that look like spaghetti softened and shaped with food colouring. All it needs is a dab of glitter to make it a kids art project. It depends on the printing technique.

However the technology is slowly improving. I’d like to be able to print my own pieces for a transforming robot to vehicle (no brand names please) based on my own design. Or print a broken part to make a robot zombie (just to be different from the usual example). And its getting there.

Of course, if I print a musical instrument, I’m going to try with a simple printed whistle first.

Now I can download a book to read on a hand-held screen. I’d like to be able to design and print (or download) a case for that hand-held screen.
That’s available now.
And if it looks like a child’s spaghetti art piece, when then it looks hand crafted, glitter optional.

Of course, that case may have prevented its screen from cracking. Anyone have a tablet they don’t need?

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Please have your keyboards and a number 2 joystick handy.

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Jason Roe is doing it again.

I mentioned one of his BTW (Blogger, Tweet-up, Whatever) events before, and I think this s his fourth.

The idea is that us lot shouldn’t only communicate behind screens, since Ireland isn’t that big a place. So meet up and actually hold someones hand. Or at least give a real wave rather than a “*wave*”

The new BTW is going to be in the Kudos bar is the Clarion Hotel in the ISFC, Dublin on September 3rd at 7pm. That’s room for 150 people.

Register on his site, then come over and say “hello” in person.


I will admit that the idea hit me while watching the video below. Disney has its Disney Princesses line. Well what about those little girls and boys not interested in being kind and nice (and trust me, its a lot of people). Those girls will eventually grow out (mostly at least) of their princess stage. Boys grow out of their Power Ranger phase (says the guy still in his Transformers phase from childhood). Can we have the Disney Bad Girls.

Think about it. Some girls want more spice with their sugar.

I’m not talking about the Tinkerbell and the Disney Fairies franchise, (darker, but not black) I’m talking about the bad girls. Dr Agnes Nairn pointed out in a 2005 study for Bath University that most girls will torture their dolls as they get older. Maybe things should get dark.

Some RSS readers will not display the video. If you can’t see it, either click on the last link, of click through to the post.

Essentially a sub set of the Disney Villains grouping (rarely used as a group). Name-checking Queen Grimhilde (the Queen in Snow White), Anastasia Tremaine (the kinder of the Ugly Sisters from Cinderella in the video), Maleficent (the wicked fairy godmother in Sleeping Beauty), Ursula (the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid), Cruella de Vil (from The Hundred and One Dalmatians) and Madame Medusa (from The Rescuers).

The main problem with the female villains in the Disney movies is that they are almost all fully grown women. Compare this to the young princesses or the fairies. Is it hard for little girls to cast themselves as fully grown? Probably not. Admittedly in the case of stepmothers (the Queen or Lady Tremaine) it makes sense, Cruella is a well known character, and Maleficent is a major character in the Disney parades. But small changes can be made, just as happened with the princesses.

A shape changing Ursula could look like the queen she is in a black gown (with 6 frills or pleats on the way down the black dress to hide the fact that she is actually an octopus). Come to think of it, octopi can change shape themselves, as does the character. The major change for the character would be to have her walking out of water. Madame Medusa could easily be changed (she isn’t that well known) but a more flattering dress and stockings is all that’s needed. As for the Ugly Sister, she is already the same age as Cinderella if not a bit younger.

I’m sure that most of the princess stock could be adapted to the colour scheme of the “bad girls”, and Grimhilde or Maleficent would be good halloween costumes. Imagine a Ursula duvet cover or bedspread available with matching tentacle beanbags. And given the span of time-lines available (medieval witch queens and other magic users (yes, young Miss Tremaine gets a wand at some point) jumping to the 1930s and 1960s) there are more options available.

Unlike the princesses (who never really seem to acknowledge each other) have the bad girls working together. Maybe in a modern setting. Yes its a little bit Fables, but being bad can be just as much fun in the now, as well as in the past.

Just an idea.
Will Knott

23 Jul 2009

New tricks

Author: will | Filed under: opportunity, photo

As the bloggers pre-launch Smirnoff Mule event was based around the circus theme, Johnny D’Juggler was on hand to teach.

fast mover

Sometimes teaching very quickly.

on the chin

Sometimes teaching quite slowly.


Sometimes teaching the secret of keeping your balls in the air.


And sometimes teaching the art of keeping things balanced and fast moving at the same time.

Talented guy.

Will Knott

Part of this post is for a Tuesday Push that is, namely Decisions for Heroes, and partly for a push that should be, Kildare Street.

Decisions for Heroes is a project that Robin Blandford has been working on for a while. And talking about it. In fact I assumed that the product has been launched a few months back. I was wrong; today is launch day.

And he’s built something amazing – technology that will help rescue teams save more lives. Its essentially a project management tool combined with an incident reporting mechanism that’s able to monitor team histories and readiness and raise alarms for expiration or under manning conditions.

What makes it different is that it is designed for a particular niche; rescue teams. Are the exercises and training reflecting the actual calls? Or the actually locations? Are there enough cliff climbers on-call this weekend? Are there certifications that are about to run out? This kind of thing actually saves lives. Its been studied, over 1,800 rescuers from Ireland, UK, USA, Greece, and Australia helped to trial and shape the development of the software. But one stands out. Robin is a volunteer member of the Irish Coast Guard (a cliff rescue climber to be precise) so he has seen first hand what is needed, and what is the most useful way to get that information across.

I’m sure that the basis of D4H can be used in more business-like settings, or indeed in logistic based industries.

And from saving lives, we move to a performance management technology that may cost the careers of a few politicians.

Created by John Handelaar Kildare Street is, almost simply a database. A database of what is being said in both Houses of the Oireachtas, by whom, when, how often and the complete text of what they say so it can be parsed for content. Based off the UK project, theyworkforyou.com, you can keep an eye on your favourite politician, or all the politicians in a constituency, or even when a particular word or phrase is spoken in the Dáil or Seanad Éireann debates or in written answers or questions to the Dáil.

There are a few bugs still in the system (it is a beta and since Irish addresses are vague it can misidentify a constituency, particularly when one side of a road is in one constituency, and the other side is in another constituency. It happens), and there is up to a 24 hour delay between the speech in the chambers and the text of the speech hitting the system (not a fault with the system but with the source; debates.oireachtas.ie.

Its useful to find out which TD or Senator has stayed quite all along (the records go back to 2004), and finding out how they actually voted on subjects of concern to you. Then you can challenge them when they call around asking for your vote.

Do challenge them. Right now, I’m wondering if there is a version for the MEPs.

Two people who should be praised for being heroes and making a difference.

Will Knott

28 Apr 2009

qik qik roam roam qik

Author: will | Filed under: Cork, mixing, mobile phones, network, news, Open Coffee Cork, opportunity

I’ll admit that I don’t travel that much. If I did then I would be looking in to getting a MaxRoam chip and account. MaxRoam is the brainchild of Pat Phelan and Cubic Telecom, and its a sim chip that lets calls be routed through local numbers and VOIP for the international sections of the call.

It also means that you can have multiple local phone numbers in different cities around the world.

But, until recenty it was mostly for voice (not sure about texts). About two weeks ago they struck a deal with Qik. This deal, called Qik Roam, is a Qik-branded SIM that users can user for cut-price calls and data.

The announcement goes…

The partnership with Cubic Telecom will see Qik give its users the opportunity to purchase Qik-branded SIM cards enabling them to stream video live from all corners of the planet – without coming home to an astronomical phone bill. The Qik SIM also provides massive savings on voice calls, email, web browsing and texting while they travel. Under the tagline “Go mobile, not broke,” Qik is offering its users a simple, inexpensive way to share live video no matter where they are.

This is something I should have posted sooner, but other things got in the way. I know Pat through the Cork Open Coffee and I haven’t met anyone with as much passion as he has.

Hoping things get even better,

Will Knott

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And no doubt a few other words beginning with P.

Once, back when I was a child, St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t that special. True it was a little reprieve from Lent (which seems to be 46 days this year if I’ve counted correctly), but not much. The parade would be a few freshly frozen marching bands (all those shivering majorettes in short skirts being gently caressed by the Irish hailstones remain a memory).

shamrock hat

Maybe it was confidence. Maybe it was cash. But thanks to the lesser spotted Celtic Tiger, the parades got bigger, brighter and better. Its a week long festival and no longer a single day. Now the photographs are worth taking.

Which brings me to Pix.ie. They have been working with the organisers of the Irish St Patrick’s Festival on a huge photo sharing project to help document this year’s festival in photos from the perspective of those attending.

That means anyone in the country with a camera as far as I’m concerned. But they mean any of the events (or the un-events) of the popper festival.

Anyone who brings their camera to this year’s events to can contribute their photos to the official St Patrick’s Festival group so that the experience can be shared with people from all over the world.

And to bribe you / make it worth your while… there are prizes.

Three lucky winners whose photos capture the spirit of the festival. Canon have offered prizes with a total value of just under €1,800.

green feather boa

And it doesn’t stop there! You see the pix.ie community and the Irish Blogging community (some are still recovering the the Irish Blog Awards) at large  gets some love for the parade. (Not to be confused with the “Love Parade”)

  • 20 bloggers and photobloggers will be invited to watch the St Patrick’s Festival parade from a vetted viewing area. Each will be given an official wristband to gain access to this exclusive VIP area.
  • 4 bloggers and photobloggers will be invited to watch the parade from the Festival Grandstand.
  • 2 photobloggers will be invited to join the world media and take photos of the parade from the elevated position from the official open topped Media Bus which is positioned on the parade route.
  • 2 Pixie users will chosen (subject to a security check) and given a Golden Pass which provides exclusive access to the parade route on the day. Only 12 Golden Passes will be issued this year to the international media and this is the first time photographers outside of the national and international media have been invited on into the parade route.

Which I think you’ll join me in saying “these are bloody bloody good prizes”. Then throw in the party at the Guinness Storehouse, and it may be a weekend that you need the photographs to remember.
Even without the competition, this is a great way to share your experience of the festival and let the world see Ireland at its best.

See the Pixie blog for more details and follow @stpatricksfest and @pixie on Twitter for ongoing information and news about what is going on. (Hashtag for St Patricks’s Festival is #spf09)

And I’m late with this news as AJ, Alexia, Con, Hugh, Iced-Coffee, Jason Roe, McAWilliams, Mary-Rose and Red Mum (update 22:16 Mar 4 2009, and GrannyMar)have already covered this, not including the Pix.ie blog.

Well I’m going to stock up on batteries and memory cards.

take care,

Will Knott

I keep an eye on the Tuesday Push. The aim of the Tuesday Push is to get the bloggers of Ireland, usually the business bloggers or the blog of a business, to promote an other Irish company.

red sky at red lights

Those getting a push need to be offering a unique product or service, and should be taking part in the push themselves. Think of it as co-operative support. Creating a business community, one where ideas can be shared and have ideas bounce off each other freely. Or in internet terms, a meme gone sensible. Of course making the Irish technology community an actual community isn’t easy, but this helps.

That said, the key word is unique. Another template tweaked, off the shelf package generated on-line store, not for the push. I think new thinking might count, but you may have to explain what makes it innovative.

If you’re an Irish technology company that’s offering something new and have a blog (or other means to promote yourself and others), contributing to the promotional effort and putting your name forward for a Push of your own is worthwhile (just take a look at the feedback of some of those that have had a push). Or just join in, as some day you may be in the position of needing a push. By pushing now, you’re helping others, and may help yourself.

take care,
Will Knott

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