Printed Pirate Ship

I’ve printed this pirate ship twice and am reasonably satisfied with the result.  The first I printed with support structure and the second without.  I’m still getting used to Skeinforge v35, so I hope to get a better result.  Interestingly, support isn’t really required for the bow!

October 25, 2011 | Comments Closed

Vacations are funny things

By the time you set up a vacation, you really really need one.  But, before you can leave for your vacation you’ve got to take care of a bunch of work so that nothing explodes while you’re gone.

But, by the time you come back everything has been sitting around for probably a week.  Which means that you have to dig yourself out of a big pile of work as soon as you get back.

Right now I’m in the working-my-rump-off-so-I-can-enjoy-my-vacation mode.  :)

October 24, 2011 | Comments Closed

Creating PDF’s on the fly using PHP and TCPDF

I’ve got a separate website that used to offer a service where you could get a custom report in the form of a PDF sent to you.  For that I used a free open source PHP script/library called FPDF.  It’s reasonably well documented, but there are a lot of nuances that not really intuitive.  Used in combination with a script called FDPI for importing an existing PDF’s, mixing in a little data from users, databases, and the internet, and it was a pretty amazing thing.

An acquaintance of mine suggested I take a look at a similar library for creating PDF’s with PHP called TCPDF.  The documentation borders on the compulsive – which I sincerely appreciate.  While the immediate downside is that it does not have a built-in PDF importer, it is apparently compatible with the aforementioned1 FDPI.  The part that I really like about TCPDF from scanning through these examples is the robust HTML rendering engine.  It would be a really amazing to be able to dump a chunk of HTML directly into a PDF without having to design a script to read through it all, parse it, and then format it specifically for the PDF.

  1. Who the hell uses THIS freaking word?! []
October 23, 2011 | Comments Closed

Bein’ a Gangsta

In the last 5 or 6 years I’ve bought two video games for the PC.  Unfortunately, I have probably played each of them no more than about 1 -2 hours total.  I just got busy and didn’t have any time for them. 1  However, a bundle of seven Grand Theft Auto video games as an electronic bundle is a pretty sweet deal for $12.49.  I played Vice City a long time ago2 and had a blast.  Anyhow, I am posting the link without all the affiliate crap I had to click through so that maybe someone else can play these!  Have fun!

  1. I’ve moved on to more important things – such as designing and printing 3D objects! []
  2. But never finished it.  What’s the point?  I was having too much fun playing gangsta. []
October 18, 2011 | Comments Closed

Mini Maker Faire East Bay

So, this year’s mini-Maker Faire East Bay (Oakland) was SO much better than last year.  Last year it was pouring rain the whole time.  Not entirely prepared for precipitation, I got soaked.  Even so, we had fun.

But, this year we had a great time overall.  The weather was mild and nice.  A little breezy, but pleasantly so.  I lived in Oakland and Berkley for about five years – just ideal weather. 1

One of the fantastic and slightly unfortunate things about the mini and non-mini Maker Faires is that there is so much to see.  There’s just no way to see even a large fraction of what people have brought to show off.   After having attended two full sized Maker Faires and two mini-Maker Faires, I’ve developed somewhat of a method for experiencing them.

  1. I accept that I won’t get to see everything.  Whether it is one or two days, there will never be enough time to see everything.  And, taking into account the whimsical nature of children, we will probably arrive about 3 hours after opening and need to leave 1 hour early.
  2. The best I can do is check out the list of makers and prioritize just a small few.  Of that small list of must-see makers, I separate out those ones that have websites and those that do not.  If all else fails, I can always look up those makers who have websites.  The best part of seeing a maker’s exhibit is being able to actually talk to them.  But, checking out their website is a close second.
  3. Traversing the paths from one priority maker exhibit to the next, I’m bound to see additional cool makers’ exhibits.  I try to take the time to check out their exhibits and locate their contact information.  Thankfully, it seems a part of DIY maker culture is to share and document everything about what they do.  I like to take a picture of their exhibits, signs, and perhaps one of their brochures, stickers, or cards.

Here’s the only downside from today – the food situation this year was a bit rough.  There were a few food carts, but the lines were insane and the food slow.  When I heard from one couple that they spent 45 minutes in line and 45 minutes waiting for their food after they ordered, I knew we were in trouble. 2  Even if this couple was exaggerating their wait times by 100%, 45 minutes is a LONG time to wait for food when you’ve got a hungry little one.

  1. It’s never too cold, too hot, too windy, too rainy, never humid, just sunny enough, just breezy enough, clear skys all the time. []
  2. I saw them get their food about 5 minutes after they said this []
October 17, 2011 | Comments Closed

My best ideas

Always come to me when I’m swamped with work.  Oh well!


I started this post at the beginning of October.  Here I am a few days in… still swamped with work…  and more ideas for random things just popping into my head all the time.  :)

How do you organize your ideas?  Here’s what I like to do.  I own a few domain names.   One of my web hosting companies allows the use of “catch-all” e-mail addresses.  Basically any incorrectly addressed e-mail to a particular domain will be routed to an address of your choosing.  So, what I do is send an e-mail with part of the idea to myself like so:  “”.   Obviously, I include a longer description of the idea in the subject line and a detailed description in the body of the e-mail.  Later I can search up all of my “idea” e-mails in one go or search for a particular topic.  I suppose I could do all of this by just creating the “”, but it is pretty nice to be able to search for an idea by the e-mail address too.

October 10, 2011 | Comments Closed