My pseudonym is my name

When I began blogging for MakerBot, it was with the stipulation that I would be able to continue to blog under my pseudonym.  This was not a problem at all.  In fact, I was assured that many people go by their adopted ‘nym’s which are more reflective of who they are than their given names ever were.  I’m saddened and disappointed that Google+ does not recognize this and is apparently banning people from their Google accounts for using pseudonyms.

Seriously, guys?  E-mail addresses, logins, Google accounts, they’re all pseudonyms of some fashion.  If Google+ is supposed to be the equivalent of posting my driver’s license online to confirm my name, physical address, and organ donor status, you can delete my account right now.  If, instead, it is about letting people use the names they’ve chosen to participate in social interactions with people who really only know them by those names…  Then stop banning people.

</rant>

Oh, OpenSCAD…

One of things I really like about OpenSCAD is how anything I make in it is guaranteed to be manifold.  It’s a solid modeler and by manipulating, adding, and subtracting solids – I should always end up with another solid.  I exported two of the parts necessary for a Pez Powered Disc Shooter only to discover that OpenSCAD refused to compile one of the parts – because that part had some polygons with an incorrect winding order.  Mind, I had no problems exporting the part in the first place – but importing it back?  Nope.

Oh, OpenSCAD, is our love affair over so soon?

Day 30

So, I’ve been on a self-imposed diet for the last 30 days.  I’ve lost about 10 pounds so far by just not eating like a piggie, which is pretty cool.

I’ve been using Fitday.com1 very sporadically since April of 2004.  I know this because I can go back and see what I entered for what I was eating and what I weighed back then.  It’s a pretty cool feature.  Kind of like Google Analytics for health.2  Friday was day 30 of my diet.

Unfortunately, Days 31 and 32 weren’t nearly as successful as days 1 through 30.

Here’s to tomorrow!  Another day!

  1. A free website for helping to track food, caloric intake, activity level, and weight changes []
  2. Haha! []

Why I am cutting back on Netflix

First, let me preface this by saying that my current plan is 3-DVD’s at a time, with free streaming movies, for $20/month.  As of 9/1/2011 that price will increase 20% to $24/month.

I get that streaming subscribers cost Netflix less and they make more money.  I couldn’t care less about the “It’s just a latte” comment.  Here’s what I don’t like – they want a 20% increase with no additional offering.  They’ve increased prices over the years, most recently just last year.  This morning Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey was interviewed by Michael Krasney on my local NPR station, KQED.

When asked about this, Mr. Swasey said, “What we’re trying to convey is that this is an improvement in Netflix service.”  (You can listen to the entire program here.)  He then goes on to attempt to reinforce that Netflix is still a good value.  I suppose it might still be a good value.  But, that’s not the point, is it?  Netflix is claiming that this is some kind of “improvement in Netflix service.”  Talk about lattes all you want, but do not lie about what you’re doing.

The e-mail from Netflix, the Netflix blog, and everything talking about these increases make no mention of any change, let alone improvement, in the actual service.  DVD’s won’t be delivered faster, the discs will still arrive scratched, there will still be a backlog on new movies, and there will still be the “window of delay” when new movies are released for sale.

Do you have an old Pez dispenser?

I’m in the process of designing a disc magazine for the open source disc shooter.  Ideally, I would like it to have a snap-together design and use rubber bands where possible.  However, it occurs to me that any standard or readily available piece of hardware could be useful too.  To that end, I thought that a Pez dispenser might operate in a fashion very similar to what I require for a disc magazine.

However, I don’t recall ever taking apart a Pez dispenser to examine the spring inside.  Given the length of a Pez dispenser and the thinness of the discs I’m using, this spring could very well be ideal.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a Pez dispenser handy.  I’ve searched Google and Flickr for people having looked inside the dispenser, but haven’t had any luck.

So!  Do you have an old Pez dispenser?  Would you mind destroying it, examining, photographing, and posting details about it?

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Design idea – printable calipers

There are plenty of lasercut calipers on Thingiverse.  I suppose the problem with a 3D printable caliper is getting the accuracy down.

However, why not take the accuracy out of the equation?  It should be simple enough to create a printable little caliper that has a thin slot for inserting a printable paper ruler.  The easiest way to achieve the thin slot would be to make the calipers out of two separate pieces that fit together.   Then the calipers could be designed to have a little window for viewing the sliding edge of the calipers against the paper ruler.

Yes, you could print one of the business card ones on cardstock, but why not just print a durable plastic one if you can?

ProfileMaker – Crippled, but back…

At least for the time being.  :)

I’m guessing that only about 10% of ProfileMaker users were using the complete profile feature.  For those of you who didn’t use it, this feature would use your inputs to create an entire Skeinforge profile, zip the whole thing, and e-mail it to you. 1  However, this 10% use case was probably accounting for a huge portion of the server load.

I’ve disabled the e-mail-a-profile feature to see if this will help.  Let’s cross our fingers and hope!  As a friend of mine always says, these are good problems to have.

  1. Pretty convenient, really. []
July 5, 2011 | Comments Closed

Alas, poor ProfileMaker, I knew you well…

I launched ProfileMaker on March 20, 2011.  After serving up more than 3500 awesome Skeinforge profiles, my website hosting company has actually started to complain that I’m using too much of the shared hosting environment’s resources.  As a result, I’m going to have to disable temporarily and potentially discontinue ProfileMaker.

I suspect it is the Skeinforge profile creation feature that has caused the most trouble.  Every time this feature it used, it creates a temporary file and incorporates it into a full Skeinforge profile, which is then ZIP’ed for e-mail delivery.  It’s possible that disabling this one feature may dramatically reduce my site’s server load.