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Comment: Re:Underspecced? (Score 1) 104

by smellsofbikes (#47961487) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

A makerspace is definitely the best bet as regards hardware. If you think you're going to pursue this, start playing with modeling software now. It's at least as complicated. (Moreso if you get a 3d printer that already works and you don't have to assemble and tune it.) Sketchup, Autocad's new free 123d or whatever it's called, freecad, are all very usable for graphics-oriented, and openscad is good if you're a programmer. I find freecad the easiest combination of precision, adaptability, and ease of use, but other people have totally different opinions.

Comment: Re:Underspecced? (Score 1) 104

by smellsofbikes (#47949145) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

What I tell people who are thinking about 3d printing is: if you have a specific project, that needs 3d printing, for which going through shapeways or something is either uneconomical (because you're going to need six tries to get your widget dimensioned correctly) or too slow (you're going to be making a ton of different prototype widgets) then a home 3d printer may be a good idea for you. Otherwise, you'll get it, print an octopus and a tardis, and then it'll gather dust and you'll kick yourself for having spent the money.
With that said, if you do have a specific project, and you use the printer for that, you will get enough time on it, and more specifically on using the software to make models, that you will have basically mastered the learning curve, and suddenly you'll be printing a lot of other things, that you didn't ever even think about making.
I'm co-owner of a plus-size mendelmax 2. We got it to print prototype circuit board adapters so we could stick x board on y piece of hardware. Once we'd gotten that hammered out, the other guy who owns it has printed a plug for his sewer drain, a rat trap for live-catch, buckets for a tiny pelton wheel generator, and I've printed lathe-holding tools, lcd bezels, automated printed circuit board test fixtures, and most of a fuel injection intake manifold for my car. We use it for everything.
But you need to have that first big complicated project that you have to get finished, to get to the point where it is a reliable tool, rather than a gadget.

With all THAT said, you'll always want a larger printer. But if the printer you have can cover 95% of your jobs, that's a whole lot better than none at all. Based on the stuff I've made, this printer could handle 95% of the demands I have, and there's always shapeways for the other 5%.

Comment: Re:Underspecced? (Score 3, Insightful) 104

by smellsofbikes (#47941117) Attached to: Dremel Releases 3D Printer

Is it me or does it sound a bit underwhelming for $1000? I don't mean the price is non-competitive, it just seems like I'd want something more capable if I was going to take the plunge. Burn $1000 and in a week won't you be hankering for a much more capable machine?

Yes. And spending two months debugging bed/head temperatures, print and extruder speed, and layer thickness, so your prints consistently stay solid and adhered to the bed rather than peeling, will be totally invisible to you because that $1K presumably means someone else already did that. There's a lot of value in getting something that's been debugged, and that's particularly the case for extrusion-based FDM 3d printers. It's okay to be hankering for a better machine, particularly if you're already printing. The best 3d printer is the one that's actually building parts for you.

Comment: Re:is it just me... (Score 1) 471

by smellsofbikes (#47874829) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

or is there a hidden strategy of increasing the phone sizes of new iphones to deliberately make them unwieldy, and create a problem which can be "solved" with a smart-watch? ie, more crap to sell.

Yes, and it started about five years ago. That's when my wife and several of my other female friends began complaining that phones no longer fit in the pockets of women's clothing that isn't made by Lululemon or something. They got things like the HP Veer precisely because it was still the size of an old flipphone and managed to fit in the roughly six cubic inches that manufacturers have decided is the amount of pocket space they will provide for women's clothes below size 2. Then all those went away as everyone raced to make phones that are really tablets, so now they're buying smartwatches and keeping the cellphone in the purse or in the desk. Sure, it's a big awkward batphone, especially on someone who's a size zero, but it's a lot less ginormous than any cellphone you can buy in the US, as far as we can tell. (If anyone can suggest a cellphone that's roughly the size of a Veer but is still supported, I'd love to know about it.)

Comment: Re:What I think would be most useful (Score 1) 471

by smellsofbikes (#47874753) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

>The only ant+ holdouts I can think of are cycling power meters. But those are very expensive bordering on niche sports training products.

I wonder about this. Out of the 20-some people I ride with regularly, only one person has an ANT+ accessory that isn't a power meter. Or, to put that another way, everyone who has ANT+ bits has multiple bits, of which one is a power meter. However, that is likely because of sample bias: they're all racers. But of the non-racers I know, none of them has cadence and if they have HRM they're using watch-based ones like Polar's.

>Speaking of exotic bike stuff. I know the Di2 electronic shifters support ant+.

DI2 supports a shimano-proprietary version of ANT+, apparently: http://bike.shimano.com/publis...
We have access to ANT+ hardware at work, since we make it, and we haven't managed to talk to my coworker's DA Di2 yet. It raises some interesting possibilities, of automatic shifting (and of the team manager/coach deciding when you should start your sprint, messaging you, and managing your shifting. Very Triplets-of-Belleville.)

Comment: Re:Me too (Score 1) 635

by smellsofbikes (#47792563) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Out of curiosity, what model of Opel? I always wanted an Opel GT...

I've gone through three of those plastic box fans over the last ten years, and whenever one dies I drag out the big heavy steel box fan my parents had in the 1950's. Man does that thing move air, all day long, fairly quietly. It's just terrifying because if it fell out of the window it could kill someone, but whereas the plastic ones jump to their doom every couple of months I think it would take a volcanic eruption to shift the old fan.

Comment: Just about everything I own (Score 2) 635

by smellsofbikes (#47787907) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

Pushbutton hard-wired phones, world war two vintage drillpress, metal lathe, wood lathe, tablesaw, 1970 Triumph as my not-snowing car, 1990 bicycle for my non-race bike, MOO/MUD's that I've been hanging out on since 1992, Commordore Amiga 2000 (okay, I only fire that up about once every two months.) A lot of my wood chisels are from the 1890's. They all work just fine. My race bike is a brand-new marvel of carbon fiber and magnesium, but I bet it won't last another two seasons, whereas the old bike has over 150,000 kilometers on it. I do now design using switching power supplies, rather than LDO's, and I've moved from PIC to AVR, (and I've always programmed in C rather than assembly) but generally, there has to be a really clear advantage for me to change piles of experience and knowledge for something new.

Comment: Re:Its all in the gmail terms of use ... (Score 3, Interesting) 790

That means only the most incompetent pedos aren't already randomly tweaking their jpgs - the smart ones are doing it in the EXIF section so it won't even change the picture.

The smart implementations probably hash the image payload excluding EXIF, for exactly that reason - maybe downsample and reduce the colorspace too, so trivial tweaks won't have that effect any more.

This isn't definitive research, but in the early days of G+, some friends posted a lot of porn to see how quickly Google caught and deleted the pictures. What they found was that Google's algorithms, once trained with a picture, could find that picture if it had been resized, flipped along the vertical axis, and cropped. (one was cropped to the point where it was no longer technically porn, since it was just a person's face, and it still disappeared.)

Comment: Do cellphone chargers require USB negotiation? (Score 1) 205

by smellsofbikes (#47575487) Attached to: "BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

The most obvious route for disaster is a compromised cellphone charger, at least for my usage patterns. Since it'd take me about ten minutes to make a pez-candy-sized PCB with USB-micro-M and USB-micro-F connectors with only the power lines connected between them, I'm wondering if an android phone will charge when it's getting power, regardless of whether the USB is connected, or it won't charge until it's had a USB chat. I recall older devices being able to charge at lower-power (150mA?) but having to negotiate for 500mA. I'm perfectly happy to settle for 150mA for right now, until I can program a little AVR to fake the negotiation process and make me an air-gap charger. I don't have a usb traffic sniffer at work, and am about to lose my pcb fabrication equipment for a couple of weeks, so if I could find out today if it's worth making the pcb I'd do it this afternoon. Anyone know?

Comment: Re:Strabismus (Score 1) 550

by smellsofbikes (#47528823) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

You don't have to be wildly strabby or exotropic to get some (potential) benefits: if your eyes are struggling to maintain fusion, you may read more slowly and suffer more eyestrain than if you had vision therapy, without knowing that you're fighting your own eye muscles. Simple use is lousy training, it turns out, much like just walking lots doesn't help people with screwed-up knees.
It might not do anything for you, but a consult with an optometrist who knows a bit about vision therapy may be worthwhile.

Comment: Complicated background (Score 1) 377

by smellsofbikes (#47526447) Attached to: Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

When I took a geography class focussing on the western US, one of the things the teacher mentioned (which I haven't verified independently, but it was his job) was that the Colorado River water rights were allocated based on how much the Colorado River was running in roughly 1920, which happened to be an unusually high flow rate period, so ever since then there hasn't been enough water to satisfy everyone. (Water rights are allocated by time priority: first person who used it gets to take the entire amount that person is entitled to, then second person, and so forth.) So it's 100% spoken for, forever. The shortfall is made up for by pumping out groundwater, and when they allocated the colorado river water rights, they also decided that they were going to make a 100 year plan for water usage, meaning that after 100 years they would have used up pretty much all the available aquifers. Since then we've discovered some more aquifers, and are willing to drill deeper and run more expensive pumps, but that's only somewhat covering the shortage. We're pretty much collecting exactly what we planned 95 years ago. There are still semi-serious proposals to divert and pump chunks of the Columbia River over into the upper Colorado River basin... which is sort of funny, as much of the original water projects in the upper Colorado River basin were, and are, pumping water from it through the Continental Divide over to the eastern slope to fulfill Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Oklahoma water needs.

The same instructor also noted that depending on how you define your terms, the category of western state water rights was by quite a bit the most common lawsuit that ended up in the US Supreme Court, showing up every couple of years in one form or another.

Comment: Re:Strabismus (Score 1) 550

by smellsofbikes (#47525955) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

My eyes don't line up in the exact same place when I look at things. I had surgery when I was 15 to correct it, after 20 years, it's coming back a little (although to a much less significant degree). Fortunately, it's small enough that I can use lenses to correct it - I have to wear bifocals now - but that also means that Lasik will never work for me to improve my vision. I could have better than perfect vision in each eye and I'd still need corrective lenses. :|

Consider talking to a vision therapist about if this is something that can be corrected. They can do pretty amazing things to train and strengthen your eyes to track, fuse images, and reduce eyestrain while doing so. A lot of people aren't aware that they're straining constantly to keep images fused, and as a result dislike reading or using computers. Sometimes, some physical therapy for your eye muscles can fix it. My wife regularly gets kids whose eyes are pointing in entirely different directions and have never had 3d vision in their lives and after five months (five very expensive months, it should be mentioned) they have and retain 3d vision. It's life-changing for a lot of them.

Comment: Re:My wife has one and loves it, for one reason. (Score 1) 242

by smellsofbikes (#47377047) Attached to: Disappointed Woz Sells His "Worthless" Galaxy Gear Watch

She's a sometimes model whose non-modeling job also involves looking very professional. I'm not even allowed to look at the laundry for fear of destroying something by washing it wrong. She bought a ... shirt? blouse? I dunno, something you wear on the upper half of your body, the other day, and I was all "that's very pretty!" and she's all "it should be. It cost 800 euros." So, yeah, I don't go anywhere near her clothes. And clothes like that don't have pockets. It ruins the lines/aesthetic. Definitely not something Woz considers, nor would he have any reason to, but there are a whole bunch of people who do.
Even her painting-the-house pants have these microminiature pockets that you can fit, like, a credit card and a car key into. Whenever we go out I carry her wallet, because even that doesn't fit. Totally different clothing regime from my ten-pocket dungarees, where I could carry most of a toolkit for doing bicycle maintenance and still be able to sit down comfortably.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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