Home Fabbers a step closer

A recent tweet from Bruce Stirling pointed me in the direction of the kit for a new home fabber unit, the Cupcake CNC machine.

Makerbot Industries – Cupcake CNC from MakerBot Industries on Vimeo.

Fabbers (Fabrication Units) are essentially 3D printers, which can cut or form an object out of materials, normally plastic. In the case of the Cupcake CNC, it extrudes thin molten plastic precisely to form the object. There have been industrial versions for many years, but the idea of the home fabber is something I think I first heard mentioned about nine or ten years ago, quite possibly by Bruce Stirling.

This idea has interested me for some time. It’s the prospect of manufacturing in your own home, being able to download new designs for objects, make new ones yourself. Possibly being able to recycle plastics into new objects, making cups or plates when you need them, rather than having to buy them. It really is a device I can foresee being in most homes eventually. And devices like these are the transitional ones, just like the computer kits that Bill Gates and Clive Sinclair amongst many others sold in the 70s that quickly became the first commercial home computers, these are the first steps towards that idea becoming reality. I can’t wait!


It’s a little odd and great all at the same time that I can refer back to myself eight years in the past.

I’m now sold on DJ Hero

I think I’m going to have to get it. Was very tempted already when I heard that DJ Shadow was involved. However I’m a sucker for Daft Punk. Ideally I’d spend several hours a day wearing one of their robot helmets, dispensing short advice on my face screen. Maybe in a bank. I digress. This looks very good.

Isolating and treating the Slacker gene

Here at Flotsky Inc we take great pride in our research into many areas, not least in the world of genetics. After many years of research we feel ready to announce our discovery of the Slacker gene. There are a few characteristics in the human gene code that seem to stem from it, and understanding of those elements do seem to help with the treatment of it. Please be aware, many of those in possession of said gene will not have got this far into the paragraph, so please feel free to explain these treatments to those you suspect need help.

Intelligence and Ego

Undoubtably, there is a link between these two elements for those that are imbued with the Slacker gene. Even if they seem lacking in ego, in their minds they ultimately know they are right about most things. The process works thus:

I am told I should do this
However, even though this seems on the surface sensible, I know it isn’t worth doing
Therefore I won’t do it

This takes a highly developed subconscious belief in the quality of one’s intelligence, even if they themselves don’t believe they are. Luckily the treatment for this is simple, and involves knowing this process. One simply injects another stage of logic:

I am told I should do this
However, even though this seems on the surface sensible, I know it isn’t worth doing
However, I know that this is my ego talking, and I’m actually more intelligent than that, than even my ego believes
Therefore I will prove this extra level of intelligence and do it

Simple application of this new level, with vigour where appropriate, can help counteract the highly developed intelligence and ego partnership.

Magpie Syndrome

This is a side-effect of the slacker gene, and is one of its most debilitating problems. Like the magpie, one is always distracted by the shiny things. Whether it is a television programme, following Twitter, checking ones email repeatedly, or many other things, one reasons that the shiny thing nearby is more important than the task in hand. The trick here is, almost literally, blinkers. Shut off all distractions. Move away from them if need be. Make one’s focus the task itself, and fight to keep on task. This can be a battle of wills, trickery and treatery can help too, aiming for a time, a word count, often with the possibility of a small reward, a cup of tea, a brief break. The skill is to make the reward small and under-distracting.


Anxiousness may not seem the most obvious part of what makes a slacker, but it is undoubtedly there under the surface bubbling away. What may seem like laziness and stasis, may actually be the fault of anxiety and self-doubt over making an action. Sufferers find a multitude of reasons to not do something, to avoid, in order that they may feel safe in the cocoon they have created to shield them.

To overcome this, the best course of action is to recognise the intelligence previously mentioned, use that aligned with the ego to disprove all the fears that are used as excuse. Remember that quality of thought as proof to counteract them, remove them one by one until stasis can be beaten.

These simple methods can prove useful in fighting the effects of the Slacker gene, should you feel you may too be a sufferer like me, try them!

9 changes I wish to see promised by the next government of the UK

1) BBC4 to become BBC1. It should be on 24 hours a day, and just be more of the same. All the daytime stuff and indeed the night-time stuff is pointless, it just drags us down. I blame The One Show for the current economic climate, banking and big business was doing fine before it, then all of a sudden when the leaders of our economy came home and settled in for a nice quiet evening in front of the telly, they were being bombarded with a death ray of the banal, that shook their very faith and confidence in life. It isn’t a co-incidence that the last real recession followed the rise and fall of Nationwide.

So it should go, replaced with fine documentaries on motorways and synth-pop. The Thick of It can go back on there where it belongs. Any shortfalls can be filled up with James Burke documentaries and random episodes of Now Get Out of That.

2) Three brand-new sports to be invented in time for the London Olympics. We should do alright in terms of medals this time round. Is alright good enough though? I want to see an absolutely cracking medal haul, and I feel the way forwards on this is new sports. We’ve got a wonderful track record in creating sports, but we then let other countries have a go, and we really suffer as a result. So I propose we create these new sports, then keep it really quiet until the day before.

3) The blind fury of Daily Mail readers to be harnessed as a sustainable energy source.

4) A new cheese named after an imaginary county. Close friends will know of my passion for Lymeswold, a long-lost unsuccessful rival to the classic French soft cheeses that died on its arse in part due to its slightly burnt taste. I’ll give a lot more leeway than most people to a blue cheese, even one with a few design flaws. So I suggest we try again, same sort of cheese, less burning, and call it Northambria.

5) Repurposing of the Royal Mail. Sadly I can see few ways forwards for the Royal Mail in its present state. We’re simply going to stop sending cards and letters altogether over the next decade or so. However I love stamps, and the idea of this causes me a little sadness. I can remember the excitement when they showed a new commemorative stamp issue on Blue Peter (it was the 80s, I lived in Darlington, you took excitement where you could get it). So instead we need a Royal E Mail, lovely little banners designed by the artists of Britain, that can be pasted into the header of your emails for a month or so.

6) A commitment to improving computing and monetary literacy. My notes got a bit damaged in the rain the other day, so all I can make out of this concept, having previously considered it carefully in some depth, is the sentence “therefore unemployment benefit could be topped up with Zynga dollars for use in Mafia Wars on Facebook”

7) Becoming far closer to Europe. We’ve simply got better as a nation the more we have embraced our European friends, traveled there more frequently, learned about proper cooking from them, nicked their nice drinks. If we hadn’t joined the EEC, Masterchef would consist of people heating up Lean Cuisine microwave meals and drinking Blue Nun. So let’s move to the same timezone, replace all our pubs with bars and cafes, get even better at cycling, and follow all their practices with meats. I’m prepared to be flexible on this one, I will accept a few more local branches of Aldi and Lidl instead.

8 ) True proportional representation. Everyone gets a percentage of a single vote based on their mass.

9) The end of the 6 episodes per series sitcom model. This is just an outdated practice, and has held us back as a country of comedy. Everything should be at least 13 episodes long. Except My Family.