Physibles: Data objects for 3D printing.

We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.


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Upcoming geek events in Cardiff

Just a quick roundup of events planed for the next couple of months in Cardiff. If you want me to add something, leave a comment.

MathsJam Cardiff – Tuesday 24th January 2012 (tomorrow!)

We meet on the second to last Tuesday of every month, from 7pm in the evening, in the Grape and Olive wine bar which is located at the corner of Wedal Road and Allensbank Road, just off the A48.

Follow @RealityMinus3 for details, or email

And don’t be put off by the ‘wine bar’ thing – it’s really not that fancy.

Dorkbot Cardiff #6 – Thursday 26th January 2012

Dorkbot Cardiff (Ignore the date on their page, the next meeting is in fact this year.)

Typically a small gathering, but it’s always eclectic, and this week’s seems no different: Nic Finch will be talking about his VJ work, Rhys Philips on protecting aircraft against lightning strikes and Matt Cook with some sounds from Hong Kong.

Also, anyone else is welcome to show and tell in an ‘open dork’ session.

The dorkbot global network is made of groups of people “doing strange things with electricity”. There are more than 100 groups worldwide, who meet at various intervals and present work in progress, experiments, hacks and other unexpected uses of technology. Members of dorkbot groups include artists, engineers, designers, musicians, hackers, curious types, no robots yet.

Talks will be in Milgi’s garage, 213 City Road, CF24 3JD from 7:30, with presentations starting at 8:00. If you haven’t been before, don’t be put off by the alleyway; the garage is a pretty good venue.

Cardiff UX Bookclub – Thursday 26th January 2012

If Dorkbot isn’t your thing, there’s also the Cardiff UX Bookclub, discussing Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith. They meet at Sequence, Fitzalan House, CF24 0EL at 6.30pm.

Follow @uxbookclubcdf.

Cardiff Node.js User Group – Saturday 28th January, 2012

CNUG held at Y Mochyn Du near Sofia gardens at 1pm. See Eventbrite for details.

Follow @cnug_js.


unified.diff – Wednesday 1st February 2012

For too long, Cardiff’s software development community has been fragmented by language, discipline, and platform.

unified.diff is a monthly meet-up for anybody involved or interested in the field of software development.

We hold tech talks, and trade war stories.

The first gathering is at O’Neill’s on Trinity St., starting at 7pm:

19:00 Interfacing
19:20 Walkthrough
19:30 The Loneliness of a Long Distance Coder – Carey Hiles – @handybitesize
20:00 How to handle your terminal like a boss – Warren Seymour – @woogoose
20:30 Clean Code – Gavin Davies – @gavd_uk
21:00 Memory fragmentation
23:00 Shutdown

Follow @unifieddiff.

South Wales Linux User Group – Wednesday 1st February 2012

SWLUG meet in the City Arms on the first Wednesday Tuesday of every month, from about 7pm. They also have regular meetings in Carmarthen.

Note: For this Cardiff meet-up, they will be joining in with unified.diff at O’Neill’s (see above).

Follow @SWLUG.

Update 2012.03.23: From April, SWLUG are moving to the first Tuesday of every month, to avoid clashing with unified.diff.

Cardiff Windows Phone User Group – 8th February 2012

At The Promised Land – doors open from 6.30pm. Book tickets through Eventbrite, follow @cdf_wpug and do the Facebook thing.

Cardiff Blogs Meetup – Wednesday 22nd February 2012

Starting at 6:30pm at the Maldron Hotel on Saint Mary St. (an excellent venue). It’s free, and they’re so inclusive that you don’t actually have to be from Cardiff or a blogger to attend!

Cardiff International Comic & Animation Expo – 25-26th February 2012

Cardiff International Comic & Animation Expo If you don’t know what this is all about, read my blog post from last year.

Apparently 75% of the tickets have been sold, though I gather a limited amount will be sold on the day at the doors.

Truthfully, there is no one must-see draw to this in terms of guest speakers (for me), but the stalls, displays, artists, costumes and over-exited fans make this a must. I’ve only bought a single day ticket though.

Follow @CardiffExpo.

WordPress Users Wales – Wednesday 29th February 2012

No firm date for this one yet, but pencil it in for late Feb. I’d expect this second WordPress gathering to focus on useful, practical advice for new WordPress users.

Follow @WordPressWales.

TEDxCardiff – Saturday 31st March 2012

TEDxCardiff logo Tickets went on sale this morning, and I expect them to sell out quickly (if they haven’t gone already Update: Tickets sold out within 20 minutes!). I believe there will be more made available later though. Speakers are still being announced (they’ve just announced Lionel Fanthorpe!) but whoever ends up speaking in the unannounced slots, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be interesting and entertaining if past talks are anything to judge by.

TEDxCardiff 2012 will be held in the Weston Studio at the Wales Millennium Centre. There are two sessions (2-4pm and 6-8pm). Tickets are £6 for one session or £10 for both. You need to call the box office to purchase: 029 2063 6464.

Follow @TEDxCardiff.

Also, keep an ear out for new Cardiff Blogs (@cdfblogs) meet-ups. (All set for the 22nd Feb – see above.)

There’s also likely to be a Geek Cluster gathering mid-February. Follow @dorkomatic for info.

Re-centring the fight for the internet

I really like this suggestion from Joel Spolsky:

The internet seems to ignore legislation until somebody tries to take something away from us… then we carefully defend that one thing and never counter-attack. Then the other side says, “OK, compromise,” and gets half of what they want. That’s not the way to win… that’s the way to see a steady and continuous erosion of rights online.

The solution is to start lobbying for our own laws. It’s time to go on the offensive if we want to preserve what we’ve got. Let’s force the RIAA and MPAA to use up all their political clout just protecting what they have. Here are some ideas we should be pushing for:

  • Elimination of software patents
  • Legal fees paid by the loser in patent cases; non-practicing entities must post bond before they can file fishing expedition lawsuits
  • Roll back length of copyright protection to the minimum necessary “to promote the useful arts.” Maybe 10 years?
  • Create a legal doctrine that merely linking is protected free speech
  • And ponies. We want ponies. We don’t have to get all this stuff. We merely have to tie them up fighting it, and re-center the “compromise” position.

Joel Spolsky –

Jonathan Coulton on piracy and making money from art

Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it. There’s your anti-piracy plan. The big content companies are TERRIBLE at doing both of these things, so it’s no wonder they’re not doing so well in the current environment. And right now everyone’s fighting to control distribution channels, which is why I can’t watch Star Wars on Netflix or iTunes. It’s fine if you want to have that fight, but don’t yell and scream about how you’re losing business to piracy when your stuff isn’t even available in the box I have on top of my TV.

Jonathan Coulton on piracy and making money from art. Continue reading

“I have a dream”

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”

Martin Luther King’s famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial, 1963. ©EMI/Sony!

Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech is considered one of the most recognizable collection of words in American history. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of a national treasure or a national park. The National Park Service inscribed it on the Lincoln Memorial and the Library of Congress put it into its National Recording Registry. So we might hold it to be self evident that it can be spread freely.

Not exactly. Any unauthorized usage of the speech and a number of other speeches by King – including in PBS documentaries – is a violation of American law.

Another tragic abuse of copyright. It’s hard to imagine anything more deserving of being in the public domain. Continue reading


Network by Michael Rigley

Information technology has become a ubiquitous presence. By visualizing the processes that underlie our interactions with this technology we can trace what happens to the information we feed into the network.

Kickstarter 2011, by numbers

Kickstarter have posted some facts and figures about their 2011, compared with 2010:

The largest categories continued to be Film ($32 million pledged) and Music ($19 million pledged), however Design saw the biggest growth in launched projects (235 in 2010 vs. 1,060 in 2011), Games saw the largest percentage increase in backers (up 730%), and Dance had the highest success rate (74%). All 13 categories saw at least $1 million in pledges.

I took the numbers and had a play to see if there were any interesting observations to be made. Continue reading

Trends in independent documentary filmmaking

Affordable digital cameras, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and video distribution sites like YouTube and Vimeo have all opened the door to a generation of new independent documentary filmmakers.

Many of today’s documentary filmmakers are making bold stylistic choices more often associated with narrative storytelling than documentary filmmaking and finding savvy new ways to engage audiences. By pushing the boundaries of what is considered traditional documentary filmmaking, they are stepping up to compete for the eyes of a generation raised on the often outrageous, unfiltered and unedited user-generated videos that can be found on YouTube and the conflict driven scripted Reality television that fills TV networks.

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