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Amazon.com’s Resolution

January 22, 2006

Filed under: future,Internet — Terry Wohlers @ 07:12

On January 4, 2006, CNNMoney.com published a thought-provoking article titled “Tech’s New Resolutions: What Google, Apple, Microsoft, and others should shoot for this year.” Author Erick Schonfeld, Business 2.0’s editor at large, subtitled one part of the article “Amazon.com’s resolution: Let customers design their own products.” In five paragraphs, he explained why Amazon should offer part fabrication services to anyone with an Internet connection.

Schonfeld explained how Amazon could give customers the opportunity to use web-based tools to design custom products, such as kitchen cabinet hardware, cell phone cases, and action figures. He said that “tight design parameters would ensure a basic floor of quality.” He went on to say that Amazon could set up CNC machines, 3D printers, and other rapid prototyping tools, or could outsource the production of the parts to machine shops and service providers.

I agree that the idea could work. Amazon would not want to offer a blank screen from which to conceive a new product. Instead, it could provide basic shapes of new designs—a starting point—with specific dimensions that could be changed to a point. These limits would prevent amateur designers from making features of a design too large or too small. The design experience could be somewhat analogous to piecing together a new computer configuration at dell.com. You are offered many combinations of options, but limits are built into the system so that you configure a computer that is manufacturable. The same is true at nikeid.com where you can very easily and quickly produce a semi-custom pair of shoes.

Schonfeld continues by explaining how Amazon could expand the service to include a design marketplace where customers, and even engineers and designers, could trade and sell designs. I believe that all of this will probably occur in the future. However, a small start-up will likely pioneer the idea. After lots of trial ‘n error by the small company, an established corporation, such as Amazon.com, will then enter the business. And it could grow into something very big.

Website Topics of Interest

April 11, 2003

Filed under: Internet — Terry Wohlers @ 17:53

At wohlersassociates.com, visitors can search for articles, press releases, technical papers, and other documents using our search engine. In the month of March 2003, 550 searches were conducted using 256 terms and 229 phrases. Among the top terms were prototyping, 3D, casting, investment, tooling, historical, RP, and sale. Top phrases were rapid prototyping, historical development of rapid prototyping, rapid prototyping and tooling state of the industry, Z Corp, investment casting, cosmetic packaging, reverse engineering, Aaroflex, buy now next year or never, case studies, Objet, and 3D printing. This information tells us that people are indeed searching for specific information in this industry and it gives us some indication as to what people are hoping to find. We continually add content to the site, hoping that visitors find it of interest. If you are looking for something in particular and cannot find it, let us know.

Google

March 7, 2003

Filed under: Internet — Terry Wohlers @ 16:51

Few Internet tools are as useful as Google. I don’t recall a day in recent weeks that I haven’t used it at least a few times. Whether it’s searching for a hotel in Osaka, a dive boat operator in Thailand, or red wines in South Africa, Google finds what I am looking for. It’s also helpful in finding the correct spelling of a person, place, or thing.

If you are looking for an image to use in a publication or presentation, click the Images tab and enter a name in the box. You will be surprised at what Google finds. Looking for news on a specific subject? Click the News tab and plug in the subject.

Some other search engines are good, but nothing compares to Google. It has found a permanent home at the top of my Favorites.

Tired of Spam?

February 27, 2003

Filed under: Internet — Terry Wohlers @ 08:25

I certainly am! Yes, Spam filters and other measures can be taken. However, it will never go away until the recipients of the Spam stop responding to it. It’s a fact that a sufficient number of people respond favorably to it, making the idea of sending these mass emailings an attractive option. Where there is a demand, there is a supply. So, ignore those unwanted email messages and delete them immediately. Also, do not asked to be removed from their mailing list. Doing so confirms that they are sending to a valid address.

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