The Printer that needs no paper

By | July 15, 2013
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Even though I’m supposed to be a sort of PC expert and I’ve had quite a bit of experience in everything from writing books about them to writing programs, I still find some of the things they can do amazing.  I’ve always found 3-d printers amazing, and now you can actually buy one on the high street.

At the other extreme, I’ve also come across a fantastic example of what you can do with huge, expensive computer set ups…

The Great Gatsby and the supercomputer

It somehow seems appropriate that the new film of The Great Gatsby should be a good example of really powerful computers, since Gatsby is a super-rich entrepreneur (albeit with a shady background) who likes everything to be bigger and better than before.

You see, a lot of the backgrounds to the film aren’t real – or at least weren’t there when it was filmed.  This isn’t unusual in films (Apollo 13 wasn’t really filmed in space, for example!)  but the director of The Great Gatsby has actually released a short clip including before and after version – showing where they’ve recorded against a “green screen” (actually a lot of them are blue) and then what they’ve added in as the background.

I found it fascinating to see how much was done this way – sometimes because it’s the only way it’s possible, sometimes just because it makes it simpler.

Of course, it’s not something you’re likely to do at home (though if you edit home videos, it’s easier than you might think) but I still think it’s a great example of what computers can do!

You can watch the video here:

A printer that needs no paper

I’ve mentioned 3d printers before, but they’ve been pretty expensive things available by special order.  But they’re becoming cheaper and now you can actually buy on on the high street for £700.  You can see more (including a video about it) here

It makes things out of plastic and can make anything from your own design of protective case for a mobile phone to a pair of shoes.

I expect a lot of them will be bought by schools to help teach computer aided design, but I could imagine small businesses could use them to offer a huge range of whatever gadget they sell without having a lot of stock.

And I wonder what it’ll be like in a year or two.  I know some Formula One teams use similar equipment to make some parts for the cars.  Imagine if when you need a new part for your road car, the garage simply prints one instead of having to order it in.

The Truth about Windows 9 / WIndows Blue / Windows 9

The media do love a new version of Windows to worry everyone about.  Windows 8 was only out last year but already there’s lots of fuss about the next version.  (In fact it actually started within a week, but there’s been a lot more lately).

The truth is that Microsoft have announced some more information about the next version now but it doesn’t mean it’s out quite yet.

The main thing is that it isn’t not a fully blown new version.  If you already have Windows 8, then when they bring out the new one (it’ll probably be called Windows 8.1, not 9 or Blue or any of the other names people have suggested for the last few months) you can simply download it as an update – just like Windows does with other updates.

The biggest changes are a new version of Internet Explorer (version 11), they’re bringing back the start button in the bottom left hand corner (but not on the main start screen) and there are more options to have more than one thing on the screen at once.

Fundamentally, though, it’ll work in much the same way.  It’s an update, not a fully blown new change.

And if you have Windows 7 or earlier, it’ll make no difference to you at all.

Due in any moment (I’m just waiting for a knock at the door)…

We’re standing by for the delivery of the stock of the new eBay videos – it should arrive any moment now (well, to be honest I doubt it’ll be until after 9am, but you never know).

Laura and the others are all ready to pack them up so if you’ve already ordered, then with any luck your set will be in the post on the way to you by the end of today.

If you haven’t ordered, it’s a good time to have a read of the information:

or to watch this short video:

to find out a bit more.