To the average reader of CNN, git is a piece of software they've never heard of, much less understand why it's better. Linus never stopped being important to the software community, but git doesn't make him more important to the non-software community.
Github is more important than git so I guess that leaves figuring out how important linus or git was to the origin of github. Is here something about git specifically that made it more suitable for github than say mercurial or bazaar? Or was it timing or happenstance?
It's debatable whether github is more important than git or not. Despite the impression a reader of this site could have that (hype and with an user interface copy pasted from the prototype hype fashion simple user interface of the moment, with Big Buttons tm included) hosted services are the best thing since sliced bread and will replace everything, the world is interestingly neither centered around that, and it's indeed very ironic to value importance of centralized services more than the decentralized tool it embraces and extend, given many of the advances in the source code management area and development workflow directly come from the decentralized aspects.
That Hg also exist does not make git less important than github, no more than the fact that sourceforge exists make github less important than git.
While I happen to think the Github UI is quite nice, it's a minor aspect of Gihub's importance. Github basically invented "social coding" which I would argue has been a genuine phenomenon unmatched by BitBucket, Launchpad, et al (or Sourceforge). Git (and Mercurial) didn't offer substantial advancements over Bitkeeper (save licensing) and Git's popularity was solidified with it being chosen for Linux. While reasonable people may disagree on the merits of Git, Hg and Bazaar, it's difficult to put BitBucket and Launchpad in Github's circle.
While it may be ironic to value the importance of centralization on this topic, it's unwise to not to value it.
Actually this is pretty amazing. A vacuum cleaner was one of the big appliances that broke down the barrier of machines doing chores (along with the dishwasher and clothing washing machine). The fact that reprap can already produce even a bad vacuum cleaner is ana amazing sign of the potential that this technology has and how quickly it is moving.
They are not printing a vacuum cleaner; they are printing some of the parts, but you still need to buy A DC motor, Tape Filter (some cloth; see later), Power Supply.
Anyway, I wish they focused more on the real advantage of these things which is to produce replacement parts when a 5 cent piece breaks on a 100+$ object. Think being able to replace the little plastic tab on your remote control so you don't have to resort to duck tape to keep the batteries from falling out. Or one of those clips on your backpack that let's you readjust things without just tying a knot in them.
I bought the DC motor for the second one I'm making at active surplus for $1.95. The cloth was under hacklabs sink in a package of 10 that cost ~ $5, and I didn't use a full cloth. The tape was sitting around, but probably cost about $2 (the one I used this time was taken out of an old vacuum cleaner, ironically enough). The power supply was a fancy one and would cost >$100 but I could have bought a cheap converter for $5. And I used a dollar or two of plastic.
So, even if I'd had to buy everything from scratch, it only would have cost me ~ $15. Since that wasn't the case, it only cost me my time and some negligible expenses. Meanwhile, the cheapest portable vacuum cleaner I could find at the stores I went to was $39.99 + tax...
Also, we're not that far from printing motors. Fab@home has printed metal by dissolving it into a thick paste and others have printed grooves and run solder through them. Once I can print metal coils, I can print a motor... (Some motors don't need an internal magnet -- see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction_motor)
There are definitely people working towards this. Allot of 3d printable replacement parts are already on thingiverse but many have to be product-specific so it can be difficult to find exactly what you need. A perfect example is the remote control tab you mentioned which will be different on each remote control.
3D scanners have been touted as a way to solve this (scan your object, print a new one) but I don't think the resolution will be high enough any time soon to print reasonably aesthetic replacements. The real solution in my opinion is to make MCAD easier and more affordable so it's easier to design a replacement then to walk to the store.
Each item is unique in the world, they only need 1 of each (per zoetrope), they already have 3D models in the computer. Another niche I heard about was classic car owners printing out moulds to cast replacement parts for their cars. Or the guys that prototyped the glif stand for iPad. These are the things that these will be used for first.
I wonder what laser printers were first used for when they were tens of thousands of dollars to purchase? And if anyone's graphed the decline in price and increase in availability/usage over time and compared it with 3D printing's progress to guess when we'll all have one to print out our kids latest 3D model and display it proudly on top of the fridge.
Sterling's been harping on this for quite a while. And, like all predictions, I assume it will be partly wrong. However, it will be interesting to see what is correct.
I think the biggest thing after self-production will be cradle-to-cradle. We're starting to see great advances in the use of traditional materials: glass, metal, fabric. Traditional foresight predicted "magic" exotic materials, whereas we're starting to get such a handle on the existing materials that we have exotic implementations of old, boring things. Gorilla glass is a good example: plain glass, but with a couple of atoms replaced and moved around. We no longer have to tape a clock and a radio together to make a clock-radio.
Being able to use these materials everywhere means that it's easier to melt down your phone to fuel whatever looks good on github.
It depends on who you ask. :) We've created Django-nonrel and djangoappengine for people who need GAE's scalability or at least don't want to deal with scalability as an afterthought. Of course using the GAE datastore for everything can be really painful (and dbindexer is supposed to help in this regard - at least a little bit), but now you can have the best of both worlds and pick the right tool for the task.