How the internet and 3D printing is changing the design industry. Does crowd-working earn you enough cash? Plus the performers who rely on tech to get laughs.
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Six months of work and it's finally finished.
Right, bored of that now.
We're living in throwaway times.
But this week on Click, we're turning mass-produced rubbish
into personalised paraphernalia,
to find out if we'd value our stuff more
if we had a hand in designing it ourselves.
We'll find out how much crowdworking really can earn you
from the comfort of your desk.
Why did the comedian get his dongle out?
To get a bigger audience, of course.
We're on stage with the performers who rely on tech
to get their laughs.
And we'll bring you the latest tech news from around the world,
plus an app that will help you retrace your day in Webscape.
Welcome to Click.
I'm Spencer Kelly.
We've all got used to products which are as cheap as chips,
put together in some far-flung factory
and then shipped around the world, to a high street near you.
But what if, instead of choosing from a catalogue,
YOU helped design it.
Thank you, Chris. Nice catch by the way.
That's what producers are really used for on the programme.
What if you could change the design? Share it?
And what if, instead of ordering a delivery,
you could 3D print it at home?
Would it change how much we value our stuff?
David Reed reports on what some designers are calling
the new Industrial Revolution.
Technology's given designers so much.
Their computer-assisted designs can be etched or engraved with lasers,
or printed in 3D - a whole new box of tools.
But also leeching in from the online world -
a whole new set of design ideas.
The WikiHouse Project aims
to bring house building into the internet age,
by making available open-sourced plans for houses
built out of one principal material.
They've pioneered a construction formula, to make well-priced,
well-built houses from wood.
OK, so it looks like a shed, but it's early days.
And isn't this what open source is all about?
You download for free
and elaborate something grander, using the same system.
the idea is to make an open-sourced construction set.
In real terms, what that means is...
using digital fabrication, we can make it possible to share
designs of houses, that effectively anyone can just download and
adapt for their own needs and their own site, and essentially print out.
They don't need any tools, they don't need any construction skill
and, hopefully, they don't need too much money.
But what they can get is a very high-performance product.
On show at London's Design Museum,
an exhibition exploring how digital technology is blurring the lines
between those coming up with product ideas,
those who make them and those who use them.
Wiki's open source, crowdsourcing,
these are familiar ways of getting things done online
that are now getting a comfortable reception in the world of design.
Take this sofa.
Seats two, but a crowd was involved in its design.
The company put out an internet call for entries
and got its online community to vote on their favourite.
The winner's on show at the Design Museum
and for sale on the company website.
Digital machining means that you can make small batches of objects,
and there's no economy of scale -
each one will cost exactly the same, no matter how many you make.
But that also enables each one to be different.
And that's where the consumer comes in.
You can actually take on the input of the consumer
and make each individual project bespoke
and customised for that particular consumer.
To go one step beyond this,
a London designer is proposing users collaborate in the design process,
adding a personal component to his original designs.
With this system, an object is only produced if it is bought,
so no surpluses and the personal touch
means, perhaps, the user values the object more.
I think that even the small object that is...
..almost has no value, in terms of money...
If you will add something to it,
you are topping up the value rates, in some way, for you.
And then you will keep it for years.
A number of design websites are now harnessing
the power of the internet to generate crowdsourced ideas.
At Quirky, for example, members not only vote for original ideas,
but shape every stage of the creation process,
influencing what the final product will look like.
Even helping to name it and deciding on a price tag.
These platforms might seem like an opportunity, but could they
actually be undermining the future for young designers?
There is an economic reality which we're facing
and the design industry has been very hit very badly.
Graduates come out, there are no jobs.
I do worry that they will perhaps not have been equipped properly
to recognise what is a rip-off and what isn't.
A lot of the mainstream crowdsourcing websites from...
the impression I get is that they just automate this and amplify it.
And they put a gloss over it
and pretend that it's not free pitching, but essentially it is.
So, personalised products and cut-and-paste homes,
democratic design, is this really the glittering future?
Well, not everyone is convinced.
Digits2Widgets specialises in high-end 3D printing.
They question whether just because everyone now CAN,
they're necessarily going to WANT TO design and produce.
If you walk down the high street and pass 100 people on the street,
can you seriously suggest that each and every one of those people
is actually motivated, interested, creative enough,
have the time or the inclination
to go home and make their own bits and bobs?
I don't think so.
This innovative birdhouse is a 3D printing project
by a couple of young designers.
For fledglings to the profession, these are testing times -
digital technology has ushered in a new era for so many industries.
And it hasn't always been good news for those with a skill to sell.
If we could harness user participation and collaboration,
while still guaranteeing a fair deal for designers,
that really would be a revolution.
David Reed, quite possibly looking ahead
to the end of our throwaway culture.
Anyway, that's enough of that report. Let's move on - here's News.
What was once the world's biggest mobile handset maker,
Nokia, has been snapped up by Microsoft.
The ailing Finnish tech giant had already ditched
its own bespoke mobile operating systems,
in favour of the Windows Mobile platform...
in an attempt to turns its fortunes around.
Now, Microsoft has bought out
the entire mobile phone operation of the company.
The Seattle-based firm's boss Steve Ballmer said Microsoft
"Had to move more quickly from being a PC
"and laptop firm to one that provided mobile devices and services."
The battle for the smartwatch hots up, after Samsung unveiled
its highly-anticipated Galaxy Gear.
With a colour screen, 1.9 megapixel camera, speaker,
microphone and 4GB of storage, the watch can be linked to your phone
and used to make voice calls -
though this only works if your phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy.
It will retail at around 300.
Similar products from Apple, Microsoft and Google
are expected soon.
Google has announced the official name
of the latest version of its Android mobile operating system.
Following a sweet-treat theme, version 4.4 will be Android KitKat,
after the chocolate-covered wafer biscuit made by Nestle.
The terms of the brand tie-up were unclear.
Google recently announced that Android has just had
its one billionth activation since its birth in 2008.
The new version will be out this autumn.
Finally, how about accessing your e-mail in a heartbeat,
with your pulse?
Californian start-up Bionime has revealed a wristband
that recognises your electro cardiogram -
effectively the unique elements of each person's pulse -
when they place their finger on the censor.
Its makers say it's as effective as fingerprint scans but harder to fool.
The bracelet then uses low-powered Bluetooth
to tell a dedicated app that it is indeed you, so you can log in.
Bionime says it could be used to replace ID cards or house keys.
Now, as we said last week, there's an awful lot of crowdsourcing
going on at the moment.
We've just heard about crowdsourcing sofas and, last week,
we asked the question,
"Is it possible to earn a living by crowdworking?"
In fact, we set LJ Rich the challenge of spending a week
picking up casual crowdwork that she could do at her desk.
Her earnings would go to charity.
And this is how she got on.
I'm not averse to a bit of hard graft,
but how hard can it be to earn money through a computer?
So, first day at work - look sharp, time to sign up with a few sites.
I've decided on two rules.
First, any cash I do earn will secretly go to charity
and second, I don't want to be earning money online
for something I don't want to do on daytime television.
First up, InboxPounds, a site providing surveys
and odd jobs to casual clickers.
Nice, a full £1 bonus for signing up.
Answering a 15-minute survey about an advert gets me 25p.
Next, watch a video - 1p.
Liking Samsung on Facebook - 1p.
Yes, you heard right, I got paid for a Like, I'm not proud.
Seems promising, but no cash in hand till I earn £20.
SwagBox is a site offering points, which eventually add up to money,
either through PayPal or internet vouchers.
Watch videos, play games, earn.
A day's casual gaming, searching and video-watching
earns 102 swagbucks, which converts to rather less in real money.
Next up, CastingWords.com.
I've joined an army of transcribers, listening to audio
and typing out the words.
Sounds simple enough for a fast typist like me,
but just one assignment took me nearly an hour
and, to add insult to injury,
my promised pay was docked heavily for not fitting house style.
I was demoted and can now only review other people's work
for a few cents a piece.
Other micro-working sites, like Amazon's Mechanical Turk
pay for so-called "human intelligence tasks" or "hits".
These can be for creative writing, coding and more.
Sadly, I couldn't register,
but I was able to sign up to an alternative site, Clickworker.
First, pass an English test and a creative writing test.
Thanks to my 100% score, I've landed a plum assignment -
creative writing for mail-order catalogue entries
for tennis clothing based on translated German text.
It's comparatively lucrative, though,
at 1.25 Euros for just over 100 words.
Though, you're at the mercy of the marker, who gives you nothing
if they're not impressed.
This happened on my last three tasks. So much for my 100% score.
Finally, I turned to Fiverr.com,
a site where the crowd advertises services as "gigs" for 5.
Some services are frankly mystifying.
I offered my paying customers the option of poetry,
music composing and bad-pun headline writing.
The inevitable witty friend off Facebook asked me
for something virtually impossible -
30 seconds of a Miles Davis-style piano theme, for 5, in four days.
Oh, well, his money's as good as anyone else's.
Although these assignments took the longest to complete,
I found this approach by far the most fun and enterprising.
Fiverr.com takes a healthy 20% cut, leaving me with 4.
And the payment process is positively glacial, taking 14 days.
So, working week over, how did I do?
OK, well, not as much as I was hoping
but with what I've learnt this week,
I feel there's a real potential to earn a much healthier weekly wage
if I did this experiment again next week.
But as well as the cost of a connection,
workers need fast-typing skills, a decent social media reach,
or a unique and bankable ability to get these jobs.
Sounds like the real world.
LJ Rich, who most certainly won't be giving up her day job.
However, if you have made it work for you, by finding work for you,
then let us know how you've done it and, indeed, what you do.
Have you heard the one about the struggling comedian?
He uses his smartphone to find fame and fortune.
It's not that funny.
Fortunately, comedian Carl Donnelly is.
Now, he's been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
this summer and we asked him to take us
on a tour of the comedy scene, to see just how necessary technology
is becoming in both building an audience
and even in performing the gags themselves.
-March straight to the front, look him straight in the eye
and say, "You know what?
"You try switching it off then back on again."
If John Connor had really wanted to stop the Terminator,
he could have just have left a bag in the bagging area.
Look at that. Look at this. O-G, the Programming Nation.
In the old days, observational comedy was all about mother-in-laws
I think it was a legal requirement.
Whereas nowadays, you're more likely to hear comedians
talking about online shopping or Facebook.
If anything, now, I think it helps to reference technology,
just to find a common ground with an audience.
I saw this the other day,
this is an Emergency Broadband Response Vehicle.
'Ex-IT specialist Dan Willis is a comic who does exactly that.
'His show, called "PC, Mac and Me" is chock-a-block with tech,
'which suits this unashamed geek just fine.'
You've actually got everything you want in an iPhone
or in an Android, or in a Windows-based phone.
And it's just great, everything's just continually moving.
As long as it keeps moving in a direction,
I'll pick up new material
and just keep writing jokes about it.
But it should look like that...
That's the geekiest joke written in the history of comedy.
Dan's laptops, phones,
projectors and remotes are firmly at the heart of his production.
Without them, the show would not go on.
'Not to mention a cheeky peek helps remind him
'where he is in his routine.'
Where are we? If we fly on towards the end of the show...
'But, as his remote steers the ship,
'other acts invite whole audiences to take the helm.'
Your time...starts now.
Equipping his crowd with personal controls,
Nathan Penlington puts his audience in a director's chair.
They alter the show's plot with a touch of a button,
which means the length of the performance is in their hands.
And if it's not funny, well, they've only got themselves to blame.
Well, the audience direct completely what happens in the show.
It's been completely different every day.
There are 1,566 different possible shows.
Some of those stories are incredibly emotional and takes us
on a very different journey.
Some are very funny, but it depends entirely on the audience.
Behind the scenes, one computer acts as a server for 200GB of video media.
Or, as we like to call it in the business, "loads".
The other calculates the results of the live votes
to determine what's played out.
Again, thank you very much for coming.
Having a unique voice is crucial to standing out in comedy.
Take Joe Pasquale's high-pitched squawk
or my own soft, smooth, sophisticated tones.
But what if you have no voice at all,
how could you possibly be heard?
-The look on their faces
as I began to sing was priceless.
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at an early age,
comic Lee Ridley lost his ability to talk.
Performing his entire show through his iPad,
Lee has found a new audience, as well as a new voice.
You may be wondering why I chose to sound like
a posh version of RoboCop.
Lee's tablet has given him a new lease of life,
as well as a career.
Without it, he wouldn't be a stand-up.
Technology, then, is changing the way we comedians perform,
but it's also changing our relationship with our audience.
YouTube star Bo Burnham and award-winning Tweeter Rob Delaney,
were propelled into celebrity status almost overnight.
I just have to state, for the record, that I am not jealous at ALL.
Technology and, quite specifically, social media,
has had a real democratising effect on...
You do your thing, your way...
in your place, in your time.
You put it up on YouTube or Facebook or wherever.
You create a website and you get a following.
So you're doing everything on YOUR terms.
But with universal reach comes a risk of viral plagiarism.
From me posting it on Twitter to me getting a message from somebody
saying they had received it in a text, it was 45 minutes.
So I posted it up.
Then, within a few minutes of that, started being disseminated
on all these websites that spread joke information around.
It got distributed,
so I have to actually make a point in my show of saying
where the origin of these jokes on the internet have come from
and the answer is, they come from comics and from writers.
So there are pitfalls,
but clearly technology has helped a new wave of comics
find their niche and tech-loving audiences to become more immersed
in the comedy they enjoy on, and off, stage.
Keep enjoying technology, guys. Just use it for your own things...
Carl Donnelly, proving that building a big audience
is no laughing matter,
except for when it is.
Now, one thing that's not so funny is the raft of privacy stories
we've been hearing about of late.
If you've been following the revelations about PRISM
and other security issues,
you'll know that these things have enough tracking technology
inside them to make it possible to follow your every move,
even when you're not making a phone call.
Now, some people, understandably, find this intensely disturbing,
but others are embracing it,
as Kate Russell's been finding out in this week's Webscape.
# I've been everywhere, man.
# Looking for someone... #
Have you ever wondered what on Earth you did with your day?
Placeme is a free smartphone app that uses GPS
and Wi-Fi to make a map of everywhere you go.
It works in the background, quietly logging your mobile life,
so you can retrace your footsteps whenever you like.
You can also search back through your history,
say to find that awesome sushi restaurant you went to last month,
but can't remember the name of.
Right now, the app just logs the places you visit,
encrypting the data and storing it privately, for your own records.
But the developers have suggested that in the future they could
use this insight to deliver useful information, without you even asking,
such as warning you about traffic problems on your regular route home
or letting you know you do your weekly food shop
at the most expensive supermarket in the street.
# Cos the music makes me feel like you
# When I see that look on your face... #
As well as knowing where you go,
computers are pretty good at figuring out what you like,
with just a keyword or two to work from.
Stereomood capitalises on this technology,
to create a playlist to reflect your mood.
Just tell it how you feel.
The tracks played through this free streaming music service
are taken from reviews
and recommendations from some of the best music blogs on the web.
So the playlists are eclectic and, often, obscure.
It'll be a journey of discovery for most casual music lovers.
There's the obligatory click-to-buy link if you hear something you love.
Log in to record your preferences
for an increasingly pleasurable experience.
There are also free apps for iPhone and Android,
though, watch your data usage when streaming anything.
# Cos the music makes me feel like you
# When I see that look on your face. #
MUSIC: "Danger! High Voltage" by Electric Six
You might hear a lot of talk about viruses and malware,
but how are you supposed to know
whether your protection is up to scratch,
without putting yourself in harm's way
# Danger! Danger!
# High voltage! #
Just head over
to the Anti-Malware Testing Standards website to find out.
The download files linked on this site aren't malicious,
but they've been programmed to appear so, by industry standards.
So, if your computer lets you download them,
you need to look at upgrading your security solutions,
like your firewall and anti-virus software.
a site that showcases millions of geo-location-tagged photos
from an enthusiastic community of amateur and professional snappers,
got a big revamp this week, with a focus
on enhancing the visuals, as you browse through these stunning vistas.
Back to school this week for lots of you
and NoRedInk wants to help you get to the head of the class,
with a simple web-app to improve grammar.
Teachers can register for a class code, to track all
of their students' progress.
UK viewers who take pride in their neighbourhood
can now do their bit to keep the streets looking smart,
with the help of FixMyStreet,
where you can easily report any issues you spot in your area,
like graffiti, flytipping, potholes and broken paving slabs.
The charity-run site is free to use and will pass your reports
onto the relevant council department to be fixed,
so that you can get back out into the last of this beautiful sunshine
to enjoy your neighbourhood.
MUSIC: "Down Our Street" by The Subways
Thank you, Kate.
Kate Russell's Webscape and her links are all up at our website,
of course, if you missed them... The only address you'll ever need.
Unless you're contacting us, when you can use the e-mail address
or the Twitter address...
You can also find us on Facebook and Google+, too.
But that's it for now, so thanks for watching
and we'll see you next time.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Click looks at how the internet and 3D printing is changing the design industry. And we find out if becoming a crowd-worker can earn you enough cash. Plus we are on stage with the performers who rely on tech to get laughs. Includes tech news and web reviews.