I believe we can all agree that 2020 has been a year of learning and change to put my positive viewpoint on it.
I’ve been fortunate to have long-ago ended my lease on office space. The many benefits, including gaining back two hours of my day by no longer having to commute, along with the associated reduction in commuting related expenses, lead me to be much more productive during working hours. The only initial downside was developing the discipline to stay within a normal working day–it was easy to let my workday extend into the early morning and late nights. Turned out that the rule-of-thumb, 6 weeks to make a habit, applied to making a habit of working specific hours.
I’ve been encouraged that many people have also embraced working from home, but, I’m not saying it’s for everyone. For those who need a separate space in which to work, I’ve seen really creative, low-cost ways to have the best of the traditional and new worlds. These have included people renting their own office space (there’s plenty of space to rent) and even a few going down the even less expensive route of renting an apartment for work. Sometimes even a 50-foot walk between a workspace to a home space is enough to separate the two distinct times of our day.
It’s amazing what you can do with an extra two hours each day. I’ve re-focused my time this year on writing (books and articles in magazines) as well as upgrading my process for recording, mixing, and mastering music remotely.
My remote recording process has been in place for about a decade now since most musicians have a home writing studio. The key update was primarily equipment related–moving from good-enough quality equipment used for writing and recording ideas to the professional-level equipment needed when recording studios became unavailable this year.
It became obvious early on that I wasn’t the only one thinking along these lines. For several of the artists I work with, it’s taken months to have orders fulfilled for high-quality equipment. The good news: everyone that I work with is now set up with a full home studio and we’re in the last series of test recordings before we get back to work on a variety of music projects.
For me, the key adjustment will be mixing music with the engineers I team-up with using tools like Zoom and live streaming audio. It’s helped that our internet system has been upgraded to fiberoptic into our home so the data rate is more than enough to handle live video and audio simultaneously. It will all come down to developing a process but I’m confident it won’t take many attempts until we have a new system in place.
When it comes to eBooks, nothing has changed. But printing books still require people to work from a central location if you’re using an outside printer to print and bind a traditional book. Although I’ve thought about making the jump to buying printing and binding equipment for my home, it’s currently not financially feasible for a still-traditional system even with all of the new digital technology out there.
There’s hope due to the new generation of cost-effective 3D rapid prototyping.
There are three parts to making a book |
- Printing. This can be done at home in color with inkjet, laser, and solid ink (phaser).
- Making the hardcover. Traditionally done by a large, expensive, and involved process, my plan is to use 3D rapid prototyping to make the covers. Any shape or form is possible. And if Peter Kulicki at Hexibass can design and manufacture speaker enclosures using affordable equipment, then making the hardcover for a book should be relatively simple.
- There are several mechanical ways to bind a book (spiral bound being the most common), but frankly, binding using these methods results in a product that’s aesthetically not pleasing.
- Magazines are often bound using saddle stitching or staples–good for a product that isn’t intended to last for a long time and doesn’t have many pages.
- Perfect binding (gluing pages to a more robust cover) is beginning to be used more often as the quality of adhesives have improved dramatically over the last 5 years. It’s an economical way to create a good quality book.
- The best quality, and most durable, is case binding. This uses a combination of saddle stitching and glue to create an excellent quality book. As you can imagine, it’s a costly option.
Since I already have a large-format color printer, my mission is to purchase a 3D rapid prototyping printer to design and make a new type of cover that combines the robust nature of a mechanical method of binding with the aesthetics of case binding.
Video of Peter Kulicki making a speaker enclosure with a 3D rapid prototyping machine in his home.
No one is thrilled by the driver for our collective changes to our working process. And it’s awful how many people continue to suffer and die due to COVID-19. I can only hope that the small part I’ve played in helping people with COVID-19 to survive using 3D rapid prototyping tools made a positive difference in the lives of people who I’ll never meet. This was all due to my work as part of an international team during the early days of the virus that designed and constructed simple ventilators for people who were having breathing difficulties as they suffered through the virus.
One of the positive outcomes was that large manufacturers stepped in and made spectacular progress at making proper ventilators (Ford and General Motors). Now the world is awash in ventilators which is one step forward in the treatment of people who have the worst cases.
While not nearly as important as helping to save people’s lives, what our team learned could very well change the book production industry for the better so that anyone can create their own real books. While I enjoy reading eBooks, there’s still something magical about holding a real book in your hands.
I’m also adopting the virtual methodologies that we used to communicate for our ventilator project for live music mixing.
These are some of the positive lessons that I’ve learned during a challenging year.
What are yours?
I’m interested to read your viewpoints on my Instagram account @TomLibertiny2D