More Star Trek Tech

Ralph McQuarrie's Redesigned Enterprise
Ralph McQuarrie's Redesigned Enterprise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Carl Weiss

Is There a 3D Printer in Your Future? 

Most of us that grew up watching "Star Trek" or any of its spinoffs always marveled at the technological prowess that supposedly awaited mankind a couple of centuries in the future.  Particularly if you were 
weaned on the original Star Trek series that ran from 1966-69, the wonders of the Starship Enterprise were beyond belief.  Remember, this sci-fi series was televised back in the days before man had walked on the moon.  Computers back then were ungainly things that occupied entire rooms, telephones were something akin to a can on a string, since virtually every phone on the planet at that point in time was hardwired.  So the thought that wireless communicators, talking computers, shuttlecraft, phasers, replicators and teleportation was a couple of hundred years in our technological future was not so farfetched back then.

English: The first crew members for the Space ...
Fast forward 44 years.  By the year 2013, more than three quarters of the population of planet earth has a wireless communicator (cellphone).  Many smartphones come equipped with a talking computer (Siri).  The shuttlecraft concept has come and gone after NASA decided to mothball its fleet of Space Shuttles.  Fear not Trekkies, because at least two private space contractors are designing the next generation of space shuttle in order to carry paying customers into the stratosphere and possibly even into low earth orbit.  While the cop on the beat isn’t currently carrying a phaser, he or she comes equipped with a Taser.  The US Navy has recently unveiled LaWS, the Laser Weapons System, which is a high-powered ship mounted laser canon that is designed to disable a boat or shoot down hostile aircraft.

Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert praised the LaWS ability to take out targets at a fraction of the cost of other conventional weapons.  He claimed that the LaWS can shoot down a drone for about $1 worth of electricity and predicts that it should be able to replace Gatling guns whose rounds can cost several thousand dollars each.

This brings us to the ubiquitous replicator, the one device that no Starfleet captain would dare leave the planet without.  With it a spacefaring crew has at its disposal a manufacturing plant capable of turning out hardware, textiles and even food.  Who needs to do the laundry when you can replicate a new outfit at the push of a button?  Who needs to cook when you can summon a machine to replicate any dish or beverage that you can describe.  Face it, of all the technologies demonstrated on "Star Trek," this one could be the biggest game changer of them all if only it were possible.

Guess what, Trekkies?  The replicator is alive and well and coming to a store near you.  Ever heard of 3D printers?  Of course you have.  These aren’t your grandpa’s printer, only capable of putting ink to paper.  These babies are able to print three dimensional structures one layer at a time.  While the technology isn’t exactly new, what has changed recently are both what these printers can make, as well as how low their prices have become.

A recent study by Michigan Technological University predicted that 3D printers would soon be in every home, because of the fact that it’s cheaper to make many things yourself on a 3D printer than it is to buy them from a store

“3D printers deposit multiple layers of plastic or other materials to make almost anything, from toys to tools to kitchen gadgets. Free designs that direct the printers are available by the tens of thousands on websites like Thingiverse. Visitors can download designs to make their own products using open-source 3D printers, like the RepRap, which you build yourself from printed parts, or those that come in a box ready to print, from companies like Type-A Machines.

Recently, Kickstarter funded several 3D printer startups geared toward home and classroom use.  One startup has come up with a portable 3D printer called Bukito that has a price tag of only $600.  Other companies such as Afinia offer high quality homebased 3D printers starting at just $1,599.  Rival 3D Systems Inc. launched two consumer-oriented models this year, the Cube ($1,299) and the CubeX ($2,499 and up). However, price is only one aspect of why many people will soon acquire this revolutionary technology.  The other consideration is what these babies are capable of creating.

Beamer Up

To date, everything from toys to tools to food can and have been replicated using the technology.  To spawn the proliferation of the technology, a number of organizations have spawned contests that encourage interested parties to submit designs for 3D printed creations.  One recent contest by the IDSA asks contestants to submit designs for a 3D printed car. 
“The Industrial Designers Society of America is tapping into the booming interest in additive manufacturing, more widely known as 3-D printing, to spice up its Aug. 21-24 conference in Chicago. IDSA has issued a challenge for interested parties to design a 3-D-printed car to launch down a ski-slope track at the conference. To enter, one needs to, in the association's words, "design the most awesome car (using our supplied wheels and axle)," and send the resulting 3-D model files created in the STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data) file format to Zach Kaplan ( at Inventables by Aug. 12.

IDSA's judges will select 10 best designs before the conference, based on two criteria: using unique attributes of 3-D printing; and aesthetics (beauty, fun, thematic). The association then will 3-D print the 10 designs and have them ready for launch on Aug. 24 at the conference.
The winner will receive his or her own 3-D printer. Runners-up receive a $100 gift card to use on IDSA said it will base the prizes on on three criteria: best flight (distance/style); most spectacular crash; and best aesthetics. It also plans to videotape the launches so it can post them later on YouTube.”

English: RepRap v.2 'Mendel' open-source FDM 3...
English: RepRap v.2 'Mendel' open-source FDM 3D printer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With technology like that becoming available, how long will it be before the term “Beamer Up” can be applied to printing yourself your next automobile?  That doesn’t mean that only engineers can own and operate a 3D printer.  Just like personal computers and smartphones, there is already an entire industry that is being built around off-the-shelf software used to help 3D printing neophytes get off the ground.
A recent article from the LA Times postulated: For those who are less tech savvy, there are 
new smartphone apps that streamline the process of crafting or altering a design. Online markets have also popped up in which shoppers can customize and order 3-D-printed clothing, toys, gadget accessories and other products.
English: A stylized delta shield, based on the...Industry experts say 3-D printing could revolutionize traditional manufacturing, much as the Internet upended the music industry, and fundamentally alter how consumers shop and how much they pay. Some tech companies are already foreseeing a day when every home contains a 3-D printer churning out custom furniture and clothes, or a Kinko's-esque store in every neighborhood where items can be manufactured on demand via printers.”
And a growing industry it is.  In 2012 the amount of money spent in the US on 3D printing was $1.2 billion.  With a number of key patents set to expire in 2014, it is estimated that by 2020 the industry will gross more thann$21 billion. While the technology still isn’t exactly mainstream, there are a number of key players who are either using or are considering the technology.  One of them is NASA.  The space agency sees 3d printing as a way of replicating parts, providing astronauts with a more varied diet and eventually even assembling entire spacecraft in orbit.  The agency recently tested the technology in microgravity aboard their flying zero-g 727 aircraft nicknamed the "Vomit Comet."

“There have been a lot of near misses in the past with spaceflight,” says Jason Dunn, co-founder of Made in Space, a company that aims to put an end to such jerry-rigged repairs with the next frontier of digitised DIY: 3D-printing in space. “When we start going out to Mars and back to the moon and going to asteroids, it’s going to be even more important that astronauts have printers with them.”

While most of us don’t have to worry about the effects of weightlessness, the wait for this technology  to become an everyday reality that every Star Trek fan can be proud of is less than you might think.  All I can say is, “Warp speed, Scotty!”  

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on


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Team Tech! The Next Wave in Internet Marketing

By Carl Weiss
Ever wondered how large companies market their business on the internet? They hire a team of professional to get their message out day in and day out. What if there was a way for your small business to take advantage of Team Tech! Well there is and in this article we will be covering the Secrets of Team Tech and how to take advantage of them.

Working the web is no game for wimps.  It use to be as easy as posting your page information, making sure your meta tags were setup and you had created a few back links with other relevant websites. Those days are gone and today it takes guts, determination and staying power to play the game to win. 

The Challenge

More importantly, it takes organization.  As I pointed out in my blog two weeks back, Google has become the 800-pound gorilla in the room, having amassed more than 80% of search. With that kind
Obama and the 800 lb gorilla
Obama and the 800 lb gorilla (Photo credit: postal67)
of power, Google not only rules the roost, it pretty much calls the shots.  In order to have any kind of chance of generating page one results on Google, you need to feed that big monkey exactly what it wants.  Google's ranking system takes into account over 200 different search factors. This includes everything from on-page SEO, to backlinks, blogs, social posts, customer rating and videos into the equation.  Their Google bots have become sophisticated enough to read/rank blogs and social posts not only for completion, but for depth as well.  The Google bots can tell how often you post, how well crafted the post is and how relevant it is to the keywords you desire.  The Google bots can tell if you post a blog once a week or once in a blue moon, and they rank you accordingly.  If you do not link your social sites to your website, they know that too.  If you link your social nets to your site but rarely feed them, the Google bots will penalize your ranking appropriately. And guess what? If you have negative feedback or rating (even in others social post) that affects you too.

black-hat-seo (Photo credit: Arcana Intellego)
There are many companies out there that provide black hat SEO services. These services try to fool Google spider bots into thinking that their spammy tricks are the equivalent of real content that is useful, current and relevant to your site. However, this either does not work anymore or only works for a short time. Once Google figures out what the trick is, they clamp down and penalize your score. Worst-case scenario, they black ball your site and remove it from their database all together!

Team Tactics at-Large

Black Hat SEO, SEO Comic
Black Hat SEO, SEO Comic (Photo credit: ByronShell)
As stated earlier, large companies and savvy business owners either hire a full-time employee/s or outsource these tasks to an agency with a team of experts.  Most business owners simply do not have the time to write a blog a week and feed the social nets daily much less solicit backlinks or create weekly videos.  The bad news is that even this is only the tip of the SEO iceberg.  Google says it analyzes over 200 different ranking criteria in order to determine ranking. While they will not actually come out and tell you what they are, the good news is that with a bit of deductive reasoning you can infer many of the most important ones.

What's Needed to Win

Generating ranking today comes down to an online popularity contest.  While backlinks are still one indicator of popularity that most every search engine still used to rank by, there  are a number of recent developments of which you may not be aware.  For instance, online reputation is currently all the rage.  In fact, there are hundreds of online portals that are designed to monitor and publicize both good and bad corporate behavior.  Even more important is the fact that Google Local encourages business owners and their customers to post reviews and ratings.  If you are not cognizant of your online reputation, you run the risk of being relegated to the backwaters of the web.

This is not a game most businesses can afford to lose.  Consider the facts as of 2012:
  • More than ¾ of the world population was online
  • The US audience alone topped 239 million users
    English: www,domain,internet,web,net
    English: www,domain,internet,web,net (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Mobile users in the US topped 139 million
  • There were 106.7 million Smartphone users in the US.
  • Some 72.8 million shoppers made purchases using mobile phones and tablets
  • 83.9% of those made at least one online purchase
  • Holiday e commerce sales were 42.3 billion

Who Do You Need to Listen?

Even if you do take the time to post blogs, social posts, videos, ask for client reviews and ratings, this means little if you are preaching to the choir.  To give you an idea of where I a m coming from, go to your blog and look at your stats.  On average, how many people are reading your posts?  More importantly, how many people are commenting and/or reposting your posts?  Even the best prose will not get Google's attention if nobody is listening.  Unless your posts generate interest, the search engine bots regard them as billboards in the desert.  That does not mean that there are not ways to correct this problem.  It simply takes a team.

The Magic of Team Tech

TechTeamSig (Photo credit: The Daring Librarian)
Nearly a year and a half ago my partner and I realized that the search engines were putting a premium on such thing as +1's, comments, high ratings and reposts.  After scouring the web for companies that offered this kind of service (without any success), we realized that there was a simple way to achieve the desired effect.  Thus was born the concept of Team Tech, along with a service designed to organize and manage this service called  The way that team tech works is that everyone in the team is required to write a blog a week.  (For those who cannot do this, we offer ghost writing services to fill this gap.)  Once the blog has been written, it is passed along to your team (a group of five independent business owners who are members of Club W Cubed. These members then read your blog, comment on it and repost it to Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  In exchange, the blog writer does the same for the other members.  (It is kind of an “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine” system.)  

Membership Benefits:
  1. It generates distribution, since your blog will be passed along to thousands of people via social networking.
  2. It helps members satisfy their daily social networking duty, since by reposting a blog a day you will have six days worth of content to broadcast, (yours and your five-team members post).
  3. The search engine bots will notice that your blogs and social sites are generating activity that is more legitimate.  This will increase your SEO score.
  4. You have expanded your sphere of influence and expanded your audience because your team is posting you to their networks. This will also help you grow your social networks and customer base.

It Takes a Team to Win

Like it or not, search engine marketing is a full time contact sport. Getting on Page One of Google is not an easy task. It is truly a multifaceted and multidisciplinary medium that  requires specific skill sets and lot of time. Companies engaged in this type of marketing  usually use conventional
The Jublious Upolu Samoa team after winning th...
The Jublious Upolu Samoa team after winning the 2007 Pacific Nations Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
agencies and can afford to outsource this multifaceted task. Other companies who desire dominance search engines position spend more that their industry counterparts to achieve this goal. In the past this sure fire, approach would run many thousands of dollars a month. Now by using a team tech approach, many smaller businesses can afford to jump without breaking the bank.

If you want to get off the bench and get into the game, you are going to have to create a team that can help you score on the field.  Especially in the beginning when it is tough to sustain the fight.  You are going to have to coach and motivate your team to continue to fight for every yard.

Think of it this way: If you were going to play a game of football, would you want to hike the ball only to find out you is the only member of your team standing on the field. On the other hand, would you like to have some blockers keeping the other team at bay?  If you are really looking to score points online without working up a sweat, it takes a team. Any business that is disciplined and is willing to build meaningful relations with like-minded companies can use this method to successfully improve their ranking.

Working the Web to Win  invented Team Tech as a proprietary methodology for our Club W Cubed members. Club membership helps smaller companies (companies with annual revenue of 1 to 10 million) take advantage of this approach. Membership fees are significantly less than a full part time hire (often less that a part time hire too). Membership starts at only $250 a month. On top of that, Working the Web to Win is the only digital agency that provides real guarantees for position, increased traffic and social network growth. Our program is the only plan that allows a customer to alter the items they agreed to (i.e., change, remove or add items) for the campaign contract that is running.
Get your FREE Copy today.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. No pressure just solid useful information.

If you enjoyed this article, pass it along to your friends, family and co-workers. If you have a comment or something to add, enter it in the comment section, so we can share it with our readers. If you would like to know more about Club W Cubed or Team Tech, write us at the email address listed in this blog or 904-410-2091.  It has been my pleasure sharing our secrets with you. 

Until next time!

If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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