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Comment Ultimaker (Score 1) 251

I have an Ultimaker 1, bought about 2 years ago. When I bought it, it was indeed a tinkering nightmare - all the software was horrible beta, and you needed to follow a dozen wiki pages to get anything to work at all. They got started on the software fixes, and gradually things got much, much better.

Fast forward to now - I had my printer packed away for about a year. I unpacked it, downloaded the latest software and got started right away. It helped me level the bed (which was all but perfectly level already) and then recommended I upgrade my extruder (which you can buy from the shop, or print your own - so I did the latter). Since then, it's been brilliant - pretty much just switch on and print. I've printed some really big, complex things on it too.

If you're wondering, my tool chain is Google Sketchup 8 (later versions are turning a bit too commercial for my liking), and the very excellent Cura. That's literally all that you need. I'm looking to switch to Blender or other for design though. I'm also looking to use a Raspberry Pi as my gcode sender instead of needing my laptop to be connected to the printer (newer Ultimaker models use SD cards instead of USB printing, but mine still works over USB). I figure I can get my Pi to run CUPS so that I can literally right click on a .gcode file and say "print", and then use my phone to monitor how it's getting on. Time will tell how I get on with that little project mind you ;-)

Two years ago you were a very early adopter if you bought a 3D printer. These days, the newer printer models are much more "easy care" than before, there are also a bunch of (decent) filament suppliers to choose from (eg. Faberdashery). Some of the newer printers use easy to source parts (liek the Ultimaker), so apart from maybe some really specialist stuff, you can get things locally if you need to (although apart from upgrades, I haven't needed many new parts). You can use entirely free software to design and print stuff, and if you put the Ultimaker into its highest quality mode, you gets results out of it that rival some of the much more expensive printers (although I find some dimensions of small things like holes or posts sometimes aren't exactly what you specify, which I assume the $10K printers get right). The interesting thing is that the latest generation of printers aren't actually much more capable than the Ultimaker 1 - instead, they're got more convenience features, so are easier to use, but don't actually offer a huge amount more in terms of raw quality/capability.

As for what to make with it - well, I've made all sorts of things. It's been great for making small engineering parts that help make something else easier to construct, but I've made a few 'finished products' with it too. As for making money out of it - IMHO, not likely, unless you're using it to add value to something you're already making money out of.

Comment Re:No price != No cost (Score 1) 409

IMHO, you get all that with Microsoft, yet you also have to pay them cash to use their service. So in that regard, Google is still cheaper (although it's arguable how much cheaper, if at all).

Either way, I personally don't see a need to on-line docs (in the main). Libreoffice has this one solved for me, although I can imagine that even that simple install is more hassle than it's worth for some people. One wonders if people who don't want to install software do want to go through a step to pay for a service though...?

Comment Re:Privacy nutjobs take note (Score 4, Informative) 149

The problem is that person X who has never signed up for Facebook ends up in a picture with someone (Person Y) who did. No one yet knows who Person X is, and Person Y doesn't identify them, and has all the recognition/auto tag features turned off. Good thing too, because Person X looks like they're so drunk they've lost the ability to control their bowels and keep their clothes on properly.

Rinse and repeat.

Remember, facebook still runs the recognition on all photos - they use such information to surface the posts you might be most interested in. If you're in a few photos with Person X (even if unidentified), then Facebook still wants to surface your friends photos with Person X because (quite reasonably) you might be interested in them.

Years late, someone identifies Person X. Now all pictures of Person X can be found by using Person X's name, even though they never signed up for Facebook.

This is a specific case of the general concerns that always come out whenever there's a privacy/facebook story on slashdot. You don't even have to play the game to lose on Facebook.

Comment Re:Doesn't solve the big problem (Score 1) 413

Actually, it could be a really cool thing to do. Audio engineers such as yourself set the 'preferences' for the song, so a player would play that unless told otherwise. That means the average shmo hears is as you intended (and presumably how it got signed off by the record company/artist or whatever). I guess there'd be some limit to the number of constituent tracks though, so I guess a few would end up getting permanently blended together.

However, other musicians, or audio folk could adjust levels or perhaps even extract the separate tracks. From that any number of derivatives could be created, leading to all sorts of new innovations and art.

Chances of any of the major labels ever letting any of this happen? Yeah, zero. Shame though :-(

Comment Slashdot editors (Score 2) 81

Slashdot editors fail to spot dupe, and fail to fix it - even though it's on the frikkin' home page. Wow, that really is news ;-)

Timothy, you've surpassed yourself. Tonight, when you go home to your SO and they ask you "how was your day, dear", you can proudly say "I really rocked today - I did some awesome stuff, I really moved the needle, I pushed the envelope, I really excelled!".

Comment Re:Comcast's DNS has been spotty for a while (Score 1) 349

GTMs haven't historically done geo lookups of the DNS request because it's way, way too expensive and slow (and only gives you the address of the end-user's local resolver - not the actual end user). Instead, they approximate by assuming your DNS request got routed by around about the most efficient way to whichever data centre it arrived at. It's then a reasonable guess to say that you should be using the web servers located in the same data centre.

These days, some providers are starting to have geo capability on DNS lookups. However, it'll be a while before they all do, and even longer until all of their customers are using it. Even if it was 100% adopted, it would still fail if you happen to use a DNS resolver miles away from your connection to the Internet.

I believe Google proposed a change to the DNS protocol to include the IP of the requester in all communications out of the resolver. That ostensibly solves this whole problem and lets the end-DNS server do full geo on the end-user. It has some privacy issues though - the likes of Google, Facebook etc will know even more about you than they do right now.

Comment Re:Does it really cost $100k? (Score 1) 461

No no no. Just make the plane go up into the sky and wait for the earth to rotate to the correct location and then come back down again. No flying involved - in fact, you could just use helicopters and then no planes would need to be involved either. How many people die in trans-continental helicopter trips? None, that's how many. Clearly they've got to be better than all these flying coffins we call 'aeroplanes'.

Comment Re:The monetizers demand data (Score 1) 62

Actually, I'd like a way to remotely control my heating, and so that dumb thermostat isn't going to cut it. I used to have a home-brew thermostat that I could control from the Internet - it meant I could turn the heating on as I landed at the airport so it was warm when I got home. I travelled a fair bit, so used this facility a fair bit. It's not too terrible to come home to a cold house and wait 1-2 hours for it to warm through, but why not use all this new technology to make things a bit nicer?

FWIW, I've got a wireless thermostat these days - it uses an insecure wireless protocol that I'm told is vaguely hackable. I figured if I get time, I could hack it to provide me with the same functionality but have more "wife acceptance factor".

However, as has been noted above, Cisco (and Nest, and countless others) aren't about making things better for you, they're about making it better for them. As a result, I'm not interested.

I'd like to see things get Internet connected, and have phone apps to control them. However, I'd like to see any intermediary servers on the Internet become simple pass-through conduits, with my phone and the device communicating securely without the intermediary being able to listen in. They'd know I was doing something, I guess, but wouldn't know what. Better yet, let me run my own conduit server. Trouble is, I'll never see this because none of the players in the market have any interest in doing what I want :-(

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