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Ooooh, Shiney! April 29, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in 3D Printing, Awesome, Toys, Video.
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I’m too tired and sick to write much about this, but this fellow has made some of these neat 90 degree wheels (the “unibody Mecanum wheel”) for maneuverable robots on his MakerBot:

The files for this incarnation of the Mecanum wheel have been uploaded to Thingiverse here.

More on his build can be found here.  Apparently he also made a software widget that allowed him to customize STL files for printing on his MakerBot (and other versions of it, like Mendel) and visualize STL and GCode files.  It’s called Pleasant3D, is written for Macs only, and is found here, at least for now.  It does not seems to be supported by his parent company, Pleasant Software, but is free like beer.

I have mentioned before that free beer is good.  Haven’t I?

Anyway, visit his 3D blog page.  It has a detailed, sensible discussion of this project and a lovely description of a printable extruder head for a MakerBot and is well worth reading.

Here is a video explaining how the wheels themselves work:

Hello Kitty in the Real World April 27, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty, Toys.
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  As a great fan of the silliness that is the branding of all things by Sanrio, I often find little nuggets of joy on the Web, mostly ordinary household items anyone might own:





(Disclaimer:  I do not know what the spokesmodel is saying.  I hope it isn’t obscene or inflammatory in any way.  This is a happy blog, damn it).

There are a few items which not everyone has, but are nonetheless common enough:



There are other, more elaborate HK items which are equally interesting,




but should not be confused with Photoshopped imitations


(revealed under close examination)


to be fraudulent.  This can anger HK fans, leading to murder,




and endless warfare


(not to mention masturbation).


I even saw this mundane item on a visit to my local Sanrio store:

Hello kitty tire tread

Rose Garden Walk April 26, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography, Publishing Tools.
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My wife and I wandered through the Rose Garden Sunday and I promised my sainted, white-haired mother that I would post the pictures right away, so here they are with a minimum of Photoshopping.  This widget is from Slide.com, and even I could use it properly right away, so don’t be afraid to try it.

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Thrift Town Treasure April 26, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorizable.
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Thrift Town is my favorite second-hand store, located at 17th and Mission here in the Most Beautiful City in the World(tm).  Like any good thrift store, it has both trash and treasures.  I thought seriously of putting this delight in my cubicle at work and seeing what sort of comments I would get.

<KENOX S630  / Samsung S630>

Miraculously, Thrift Town was closing just as I found this, so I will never know.

It might have been a sign.

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Two-headed Bobtailed Lizard April 23, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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I don’t need to justify my taste in things I like to you.  So there.

Asking for Directions April 20, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Uncategorizable.
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This graphic isn’t really a guy who can’t ask directions in a strange location.  It’s the past and projected path of the Cassini space probe, which has just been tasked to stay an additional seven years and make 56 passes over Titan, 155 orbits of Saturn in different inclinations, 12 flybys of Enceladus, 5 flybys of other large moons before it just plain dies.  I think they plan to ditch it in Saturn, but that might just be caffeine talking.  The thing is, Cassini had only about 20% of its fuel remaining after finishing its original mission plus the first extended mission. Naturally, getting seven years out of the remaining maneuvering fuel took even NASA geniuses a while, what with calculating gravity slings, aerobraking and stuff like that.  It took them two years to figure this out.

These guys are amazing.  Why doesn’t NASA get more funding than two stupid wars?

HeeksCAD (free, opensource CAD) for RepRap April 19, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in 3D Printing, Publishing Tools, Toys.
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HeeksCAD can import solid models from STEP and IGES files, draw construction geometry and lines and arcs, create new primitive solids, or make solids by extruding a sketch or by making a lofted solid between sketches. It can modify solids using blending or Boolean operations. It will save to IGES, STEP and STL, printer plot 2D geometry or to HPGL, import and export dxf files; lines, arcs, ellipses, splines and polylines are supported. Use the geometric constraints solver to create accurate drawings from rough sketches.


Also, it’s a lot easier to start with than something like FreeCAD, which is admittedly a bit more sophisticated but a lot more complicated.

So, check out the wiki and the praise from other users.  But wait, there’s more:

HeeksCNC is an add-on for HeeksCAD. The user can add machining operations, which can then be output to NC code. The NC code is then shown as red and green lines on the screen (below). The NC code is generated using Python script, so it can be configured for different machines.


There’s a wiki for this project, too.

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What Happened When I Finally Won April 19, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorizable, Video.
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Octopus Camera Policeman April 17, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Octopus, Video.
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This fellow’s camera is snatched by a sneaky octopus.  He has to pretend to swap it for his speargun before the octopus releases the camera.  He got off lucky:

Octopi are clever little guys.  They are solitary creatures and learn all by themselves to be smart, no schooling for them (“too cool for school” certainly seems to apply here—how many tentacles do you have?).  They make homes from whatever is at hand:


No really, pretty much anything:


They also let themselves out of their tanks at aquariums regularly.  And they don’t have much trouble with jars,

or trouble scaring off predators by imitating a banded sea snake:

Experiments in Plastic Waste Recycling April 16, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in 3D Printing.
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“The idea behind the RepRap is that it can produce products based on digital files one can download from the Internet or on CAD models which can be created by the owner of the RepRap. This way of producing articles will reduce transportation cost and the 3D printing process is efficient in material use. The big drawback, however, is that when people start to design products themselves with CAD software, the chance of misprinting objects increases.  Misprints will result in waste. Next to this, lots of homes produce a giant amount of plastic waste. It would be very interesting to use these two waste flows to create new products.”

From Developing a plastics recycling add-on for the RepRap 3D printer, G.B. Braanker, J.E.P. Duwel, J.J. Flohil & G.E. Tokaya at Delft University of Technology. A pdf of their report is here.

Cutest Camera in the Known Universe April 16, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Geek Stuff, Japan, Mutants, Photography, Publishing Tools, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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Here is the cutest little camera you ever saw:


Oh, sure; you think the girls are huge and the camera is a normal-sized digital camera.  You would be wrong.  look at the background: is that city destroyed?  No.  No monster rampage, therefore the girls are not horrible mutants bent on destruction, therefore the camera is really, really tiny, yet packed with yummy features: 2048 x 1536 resolution (JPEG), pretty high-resolution video (1280 x 960 30 fps) and microSD/microSDHC card slot (1-8GB).  Also has a voice recorder built in, which I suspect is pretty easy to do once you have everything else installed, yes?  Even my cheap Samsung has that.

I picture everyone in the future having one of these worn around their neck or on a headband or something, recording the whole day and wiping anything uninteresting before going to bed.  That would make a lot of cops uncomfortable, I’m sure.

This sucker has a Japanese-only instruction manual so it will find limited acceptance in the US, even though nobody here reads the manual anyway.

Reasons to Use Common Names April 15, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words.
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“Well, all of us could make a collective decision to employ Linnaeus’ clunky Genusspecies binomial nomenclature system in everyday conversation. And sure, that would eliminate the problem of misleading animal names. But it almost doubles the number of names to remember. What’s more, the movement would certainly lose steam the first time someone at the beach spotted a large dorsal fin tearing through the water and yelled, ‘Carcharodon carcharias!’ – and then watched in erudite horror as children continued to splash around and their parents avoided eye contact with what they assumed to be a crazy Italian tourist.”

From animalreview.wordpress.com, the animal lover’s response to anything by Will Cuppy.  They continue on:

“Then, of course, the killing would begin.”


“I strongly support use of the binomial naming system.”

You are in for a really good read.  Go there now.  And don’t get me started on their hilarious use of footnotes.1

1. Just don’t.  I get all bitter when someone else is funnier than I am.

P.S., not to be confused with http://weirdimals.wordpress.com/, although I see how that could happen:

“The pen-tailed tree shrew on the other hand frequents a rather affable tree, the Bertram palm, whose buds harbour a type of yeast. In the bud the nectar and yeast ferments producing an alcoholic beverage. It is not just the pen-tailed tree shrew that has discovered this rainforest pub, in fact seven species of beastie make regular trips to the plant. It is just our little shrew friend who is always there, the animal equivalent of the Pilkington-Smythes and the local pub.

… you would not believe where I woke up this morning…

The tree isn’t daft of course, it doesn’t attract a gaggle of boozy animals to carouse around it and keep it awake all night for nothing, as these little lushes act as pollinators. The bertram palm and the pen-tailed tree shrew have been living this happy relationship for nigh on 55 million years… yes quite… the longest bender in history.”

Eighth Birthday Cake April 13, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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It may not be art, but I know what I like.  I like BRAINS!

Step-Daughter’s Facebook Status Update April 11, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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Onscreen: “I got beaten by my stepdad…in MarioKart”

My response to her as she is posting: “Twice.”

Her rejoinder: “They don’t need to know that.”

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Content-aware Fill, a New Tool in Photoshop April 9, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography, Publishing Tools.
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Brian O’Neil Hughes shows off a new technology to be included in Photoshop hopefully very soon.  My panoramas do lack edges, and this amazing technology can find and fill in panoramas like nobody’s business.  From John Nack’s blog.

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Stepdaughter’s Audition to School of the Arts April 9, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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This is just her acting in movies.  Her own films are more creative and fun than this, although this isn’t bad at all.

Victorian Ergonomics April 9, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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This is my new computer workstation.

I wish; these guys have a flair for steampunk design, including lovely touches like the wind-up USB key below:



Why the Bills are Sometimes Late April 3, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Hello Kitty.
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I Laughed Really Hard When I Read This April 3, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Webcomics.
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and then I cried a little bit.


Exciting update:

going off the meds

There.  I feel better now.