2017-05-22 3 min read


A quick note on donations!

I started The Prepared in 2013 as a way of cataloging my own self-directed education. At the time I was unemployed, and when I wasn't printing titanium bike parts or assembling radios in my kitchen, I was reading about manufacturing & hardware product development - and trying to really understand what was happening behind the marketing spin.

Today about 1600 people subscribe to The Prepared, but the first three issues went out to one subscriber: Myself. Even then I took it pretty seriously, but it was a work of passion and was often relegated to late nights; I'm sure its content suffered as a result.

I started taking donations about a year ago, and launched The Prepared's Patreon subscription campaign back in March. Since then, 54 wonderful subscribers have chipped in to reimburse its fixed expenses & help pay for my (and my guest editors') time.

I should be clear that I'm not doing this for the money - "not a member of the media per se" is a tagline I'm more comfortable with, and I much prefer making stuff to talking about how others do so. Still, I can't say how much I appreciate the support. It's not much, but it makes it *so* much easier to take time out of my own weekend to write & send The Prepared.

So, thanks! If you're reading this and can spare a buck a week, I'd very much appreciate the gesture. And I hope you notice the increased analysis & effort that I'm able to put into The Prepared as a result!

Planning & Strategy.

  • Hong Kong based companies dominate the global toy industry, with most of the manufacturing being done in nearby Guangdong province. But with a growing class of Chinese owned companies - and with sales cycles being shortened by Hollywood's annual blockbuster schedule - mainland Chinese companies are looking strong.
  • My friends at Worthington Assembly are giving away some overstock SMT electronics components to anyone who can use them.
  • I was interviewed! Read about my thoughts on the metal AM industry, nTopology, and my own career at the RP Platform blog.

Making & Manufacturing.

Maintenance, Repair & Operations.

  • A Boeing maintenance crew was doing work on Air Force One's oxygen system and used tools that weren't oxygen cleaned; $4MM in expenses ensued.
  • Due to rising temperatures & melting permafrost, the Svalbard seed vault has been having more water infiltration than expected. It'll probably be waterproofed.

Distribution & Logistics.

  • Downtown Chicago has an ice water distribution system for cooling buildings in the summer. This is awesome.
  • A good short piece on jitneys, the informal, cash-based ridesharing routes that cater towards immigrants living in areas poorly served by public mass transit.
  • Block Island - a small outpost off the tip of Long Island which is (somewhat confusingly) part of the state of Rhode Island - had its power link to the mainland switched on, as part of the first offshore wind power generation project in the US. As a result, the island's diesel generator is being mothballed. I grew up sailing around and biking on Block Island, and think this is pretty rad.

Inspection & Testing.

  • To illustrate the importance of data visualization (and the degree to which any one visualization is relative), researchers created a "Datasaurus dozen:" Twelve datasets which have the same X & Y means & standard deviations and correlations.


Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared. Credit also to Star, Ryan, Jordan, Kevin and Dylan for sending links.
On the vastly international scope of Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road project.

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