A question

I too wonder also, I may possibly use my Glowforge Pro to cut parts for my work, these parts will be used in some capacity in the design of medical devices to test pharmaceutical products in connection with FDA approval of new drugs that are being tested for human use.

The companies I work with do not like their potential designs being compromised or stolen by being leaked into the “Cloud” where anyone can data-mine the pre-patent information and gain a lead on developing a new drug. When Billions of dollars are at stake, (Yes Billions!) the companies I deal with are highly protective and make me sign a Non Disclosure agreement.

Will Glowforge and the Google “Cloud” provide a Non Disclosure agreement if our designs are being processed by unknown parties (Workers within Google, etc.) and may be stolen, leaked or sold to the next highest bidder by the underpaid “Cloud” employees ??

I would think there should be an “OFF” button somewhere if we as a customer don’t want to use the “Cloud” and want to keep our laser cutting to ourselves.

Well it is good to know I am not the only person that has these concerns. Is there some way we can get a GF employee to respond? Is there something in the privacy statement that says this will not be done? I would really like to know. With all the issues that have been brought to light as of late with the use of the cloud it is something to consider.

honestly I would not mind purchasing some kind of external device to provide the compute power it needs to do calculations even if it adds time to my cut process to know that i will be secure. And know not hope that what i am doing is not going to be available to any person at Google that has a master password and a few min to run a SQL query.

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If you are the paranoid about cloud services i hope we don’t use any google products.
Just because your design are on their servers doesn’t mean they are looking at it.
In fact it’s to their best interest to not to look at any of it or they could be held responsible for what is printed.

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I would think that if GF started to abuse our trust and privacy that a competing firmware would crop up and replace them so as long as the firmware is open source they have prevented themselves from becoming too evil.

I would sincerely like to believe that is the case, but “Cloud” software is replacing everything we have access to now, and the fact that we have to trust another entity with our personal information, ideas, designs, and our work is disturbing.

Crazy as it sounds, we are becoming like the scene in the old “War of the worlds” where the spider like robotic aliens trash and crash the city and then all of a sudden they all in unison start dropping dead on the ground. This old 1950’s movie was the first reference to a “Cloud” or Hive computer processing the collective workings of many machines, H.G. Wells was the first to introduce this in a science fiction book and much latter a movie was made about this.

Sad will be the day that the “Cloud” fails to work because someone Hacked it so Glowforge cant support the processing of the 30 Million dollars worth of precious lasers we have all been waiting for like the Birth of a new child, now or somewhere years down the road.

I would like to see a USB port somewhere to use my own computer to drive the laser where I have the option to “Opt-Out” of the Cloud.

I’m personally on the other side of this discussion. I think the cloud is an amazing tool. Would I put proprietary data on it worth “billions”? No. But there are plenty of other non-cloud lasers that do everything the GF does (except the etching hand doodles thing, which I’m not sure is useful in pharmaceuticals). That being said, this topic has also been discussed in a couple of other threads.



And here:

----And finally, if you are really set on getting out of the cloud, they talk about it here.

We are definitely negotiating new intersections of trust with the cloud computing model. The cynic in me sees it as another way of getting hands in our pockets. For example: the whole movement of Apple to Apple Music and the Cloud. Since the place where I am most free to pay attention to music happens to be at my farm where there is no cell coverage and I don’t have wired telephone and thus wired internet, it doesn’t work to have the default place for my music in the cloud to be streamed. It’s been a pain to keep my music on my phone and not redo everything in upgrades or backups. I can’t help but make the conclusion that this is all about moving to a subscription model which guarantees continued revenue. So all the video where @dan is expressing his dreams for the Glowforge; no where does he say: and the best thing about this is that we are guaranteed a revenue stream as long as we control the designs (music labels) that are printed or become the primary supplier of materials (inkjets). Perhaps in the initial pitch to the first round of investors. It seems to be about shipping a great product and making it easy to use and affordable. The cloud seems to be the best way to make this happen at this time. But who knows what happens down the road. Who could have predicted when the first iPods shipped what would happen to the music industry. So, the Glowforge is not a Star Trek replicator. It doesn’t quite have the disruptive power that would come with this. But it is another step on the road to changing how we do things in a radical way. I know that John Philip Sousa had his issues with the gramophone. I think he missed the real problem. The gramophone invited everyone to be spectators or music listeners and not participators. The sales of pianos, reed organs and other essentials to home produced music plummeted. We no longer had to produce music, We just listened to the professionals. And even though we can celebrate the Glowforge as a way for individuals to make their own stuff, it’s not going to put Walmart and Dollar General out of business. That means what we really lose is the social and personal credit that comes with making our own stuff. There are some strange loops happening here. Take the letterpress fans. Using a Glowforge to make a letterpress plate: why? Authenticity. Why not just use a regular laser printer? Why did Glowforge have to print a 3D sign for their workshop? Authenticity. Then that speaks to the original question? Why and how do we trust this company? Dan and the company’s narrative continues to be on target to allow for a real trust exchange. But, connect it with Google Cloud Services, a capitalist ethic and the vagaries of national internet policies, that leaves a lot of room for betrayal. I’m not exposed to much loss here. Others might be if the Glowforge were integral to their personal business plans. It will be fascinating to see what happens in two, five, ten years.


your comparison is not quite equal to my question Google did not require that i put nearl y 5k of an investment in their company to use their services it was free. And frankly if i don’t like them i leave and use another free service also for free… and guess what if Google goes under it cost me nothing… i don’t have 5k of paper weight on my desk.

Additionally google has a very well established revenue stream they are not still trying to define themselves… like GF not saying i don’t love the product I just like to make sure that what is mine stays mine. And i don’t want some company i don’t care who they are reaching into my house and disabling something i paid for because they feel like it because some person arbitrarily decides they don’t like what i am doing in my own home.

Can you imagine purchasing a car and ford decides that they don’t like how you are driving so they turn your car off and o yea they decided that you should not drive on the weekends so they shut your car off. And o if you want to drive your car over 50mph you need to pay an extra speed license… Because hey they need some extra cash you can see where i am going with this…

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I appreciate your concern about Glowforge dictating what can or can’t be done on a product in your own home. I hope our use of the Glowforge does not violate my privacy not my autonomy. But that is definitely a risk. I guess that’s what I was trying to say Apple was doing with my iPhone and iPad. I bought it (with a little help from AT&T) but they fiddle with how I use it all the time. And the way things are going with car connectivity, insurance companies, and law enforcement, I would steel myself for the worst when it comes to my car. As to Google, I am including them in the equation because this isn’t just about monetary investment, but something that in the end is even more valuable and that is my personal sphere of data. I feel more discomfort in what can be done with the data bits I scatter around because of my interaction with Google’s technology. One reason why I have yet to get a gmail account. I’d trust them with my money, but not my email account. In fact, Google and Apple are companies so big we just accept that we have no agency in our interactions with them. Not very rational in the end. But security is so often about feeling secure and ignoring risk that it is actually being safe from any malicious actors. And it is significant money that is being put up. Lots of great dreams and aspirations being shared all around. I would hope that Glowforge honors this trust. But how are we to verify? That seems to be a common concern. Six month warranty? Ouch. Firmware opened up? Great. But there is a high level of uncertainly at work on the consumers’ part. We don’t have the UI to try out. We don’t have a catalogue to browse (how many times have I clicked that image on the home page and it remained static). Ok. Too many loose threads I’m throwing in here. Lots to think about.

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Relatively off topic, since it was just a weak analogy… but cars already HAVE been hacked and forced to stop. Any car with onboard wifi is vulnerable to having the full computer taken over on a whim of anyone with the skillset to accomplish it. Which of course includes the manufacturers.

Even without cloud, you have to trust people not to be seeking to do harm. Someone could embed a date in the firmware at which the machine simply stops functioning, then they charge you for firmware updates. They could even be subtle and make it so that instead of completely not working, the machine just starts to behave poorly. Then you have to get a technician to come out and diagnose the machine.

It is REALLY easy for anyone to massively screw you over. All the time. Every day. At some point you need to ask yourself why they would, what benefit they would get from it, and acknowledge that you personally are not the center of anyone else’s world.

Yes, MANY people are out to make a buck any way that they can. But many other people are out to produce something of value, and trust that money will happen as needed. I am quite certain that dan and crew are in the second lot. Most startups tend to be. It is the guys who buy out startups after seeing their success who tend to be the first type.

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Having dealt directly with IP lawyers from pharmaceutical companies in the past, I can easily see how having product designs in the cloud would be a hard stop. Unless you can produce documentation to the effect that there is not, never will be, nor ever could be, access to the drawings or other information then they are likely to ignore any conceptual or aspirational arguments.

It raises some interesting questions for Glowforge in commercial use whenever there are IP lawyers involved. Perhaps @dan could review with his lawyer and generate a document that states the official position in perpetuity (or as close to it as possible).

Lest I leave this thread on a negative note. I am definitely on board for trusting the Glowforge team. What may transpire long in the future, that’s a risk. I am certain that I will receive an excellent product all around, hardware and software. It may not be in time for the holidays, but I knew that going in, having dug around enough and getting a feeling for where they were on development. It will be a sweet un-boxing party for me and the select few when the day comes.

The thought that we have raised our collective concerns is enough to “I think”, give Dan our input on this, I too feel that Glowforge and Dan are really trying to make a good and secure laser that will in the end do everything we want.

Trust is a difficult thing to achieve today, I hope we have collectively all made the right choice in backing this project, and i hope it becomes the “Ipod” of the Laser world, bringing an amazing tool into everyone’s home to blast out anything your kid’s can dream up.

I can say that I have high hopes just as all of my fellow purchasers have. Now when I look at the world around me i say to my self or my wife hey babe I bet we could make one of those on the glow forge. And with that hope I of course hope you are correct in that Glow forge / Dan and Crew do what is right and best for their users and the community at large.

The point of this question was not to cast shadows on the GF team it was to express concerns in what has become a more and more Orwellian society. I mean honestly the GF cost nearly 5 grand 500 more would not have broke the bank. so I really question that line of logic as its is massively flawed for anybody that has done any kind of research into hardware costs.

has anybody seen the privacy statement that is applied to the cloud services for Glowforge ?? I know that I have not do we even have a sample of it ?? can we see it or at least get an outline of it. Because in all the interviews and all the videos and demos i have not heard anything about it. I know they have legal on staff and i am sure that they are busy but can we get a peak a glimpse of what we are looking at in the future ?? please thank you.

Non-disclosure agreement of an invention has some basic information about how they will handle your privacy and non disclosure. It appears it will always be up to you what gets published and where. It is astounding how much information Google has of your personal life. They must have some very serious safeguards in place to secure it so well. I just noticed that they now monitor foot traffic at shopping centers so you can plan around crowds if you choose. A little creepy actually. But tools like this I use almost every day now.

In regards to costs of build in association to the cloud based service. The extra ‘500’ would likely not compensate for having to write code for all the different platforms (windows (different flavors)), apple, Linux, etc. Then there is ongoing technical support across platforms. The cloud based service eliminates those hidden costs. It is such a brilliant model imho. Yes I would rather have everything under one roof but I’m very excited to know software upgrades and downgrades when needed will be done remotely and my machine will just work. That is the theory in essence.

Additionally the extra $500 would be needed for all versions of the GF. The Glowforge basic for U.S. customers was $1995. $25% increase over the price point the company was shooting for.

Thank you Benwalker that link was very helpful and i appreciate it truly do. But please don’t confuse applications with Data a translation application is a very common thing. Perhaps you are familiar with Java one application universal platform access and use… but we are beleaguering the point.

Thank you all for your input on this thread i think we have brought up some great points and discussed several important things i guess i only hope that a representative from GlowForge will say something and put these questions to rest. Again all thank you again.

I appreciate the open exchange of ideas as well. I think the main cost savings will be the workforce and training required to support end users. It has not been revealed as of yet what protocol is going to be used for communication between the servers and the machines. But from the beginning Dan has promised to open source that software as a failsafe. Once that is in the wild there will be a rush to customize it to do away with all these concerns. I’m not sure which direction I will go but will retain a copy for future use. I’m not going to be designing things that need patent protection but I understand that concern completely. The Glowforge is designed to blend into a home setting; to just work when needed invisible to the how it works. That is my take on it. It’s the iPhone to the tinkerers.