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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

smellsofbikes Re:Underspecced? (103 comments)

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%.

12 hours ago
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Dremel Releases 3D Printer

smellsofbikes Re:Underspecced? (103 comments)

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.

yesterday
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Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

smellsofbikes Re:is it just me... (471 comments)

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.)

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

smellsofbikes Re:What I think would be most useful (471 comments)

>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.)

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

smellsofbikes Re:Me too (635 comments)

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.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

smellsofbikes Just about everything I own (635 comments)

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.

about three weeks ago
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Wikipedia Reports 50 Links From Google 'Forgotten', Issues Transparency Report

smellsofbikes Re: About to be deleted (81 comments)

In fact, the Wikipedia page about his group of thugs, in English, now specifically points out that the Italian version has been altered because of Data Protection Laws.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...

about a month and a half ago
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Google Spots Explicit Images of a Child In Man's Email, Tips Off Police

smellsofbikes Re:Its all in the gmail terms of use ... (790 comments)

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.)

about a month and a half ago
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"BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

smellsofbikes Re:Do cellphone chargers require USB negotiation? (205 comments)

Awesome, thank you. Because I'm that kind of person I'll probably bodge one up on the pcb plotter today, with some available pads for adding resistors later.

about a month and a half ago
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"BadUSB" Exploit Makes Devices Turn "Evil"

smellsofbikes Do cellphone chargers require USB negotiation? (205 comments)

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?

about a month and a half ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

smellsofbikes Re:Strabismus (550 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

smellsofbikes Complicated background (377 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

smellsofbikes Re:Strabismus (550 comments)

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.

about 2 months ago
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Disappointed Woz Sells His "Worthless" Galaxy Gear Watch

smellsofbikes Re:My wife has one and loves it, for one reason. (242 comments)

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.

about 3 months ago
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Disappointed Woz Sells His "Worthless" Galaxy Gear Watch

smellsofbikes My wife has one and loves it, for one reason. (242 comments)

There aren't any current cellphones that fit in the pockets of the sort of clothes she wears. Size zero/one fashion clothing often doesn't even have pockets, much less ones that'll fit the half-tablet-sized cellphones these days. She had an HP Veer, the size of a credit card, that she loved, until it died. So now she has the same smartwatch and has what she calls a GIANT cellphone in her purse or stuck in her desk at work, and takes calls using her watch.

Size zero clothing is probably not on Woz's radar, but there are people who want tiny connectivity.

about 3 months ago
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

smellsofbikes Re:Which CAD software? (251 comments)

This is currently what I'm struggling to find. The main thing I've established is FreeCAD just isn't ready yet - very buggy and I can not get it to work, but parametric modelling is an interesting concept.

What else are people using for dimensioning parts which need to fit together? (i.e. part design, rather then modelling I guess?)

I've been using freecad, personally. I just did a series of adapters that allow me to attach RC servos to LEGO bricks for some inverse kinematics robots. It worked reasonably well. I've had it crash and do unexpected things, but what I've found is that if I work in the part design toolbar, build sketches that are fully constrained, and then use extrude/pocket operations to build my final parts, it seems pretty robust. Then I can switch to mesh and turn those into exportable meshes individually, and get parts that interact the way I want to. Half the stuff I'm doing I 3d print and the other half I mill on my cnc mill, and when I'm processing stl's I find again that having started from fully constrained sketches means the stl's are more robust and less likely to crash the cam programs I use.

about 6 months ago
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The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

smellsofbikes Re:Yeah right (769 comments)

My guess RFID. By one regular pod, cut RFID chip out of it, tape to the bottom of subsequent generic pods.

FWIW we tried that with our Stratasys 3d printer. It remembered the RFID number and remembered that the print cartridge was out of print material, so sticking the rfid tag to a new, third-party, 1/4 the price, filled to the brim container of print material did precisely nothing for us. I have no idea if the keurig will do the same. Oh, it was also a pain in the butt because they'd built it into the side of the cartridge, so when we cut it out it wouldn't simply stick on the new cartridge as it had a flat side and the resultant cartridge+rfid tag wouldn't fit in the printer, so we had to bodge something up by putting it on the front where the door closed and hoping it would be detected. It was, but see above.

about 7 months ago
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California Fights Drought With Data and Psychology, Yielding 5% Usage Reduction

smellsofbikes Re:flow = pressure/resistance (362 comments)

Why not simply lower the water pressure by 10% to curb water usage?

I dunno about everywhere else, but where I live -- next door to the local water tower -- there isn't any sort of water pressure regulation mechanism. You pump water into the water tower, and it flows by gravity to all the houses that are lower than it. And, in the summer, when everyone down in the valley is running their sprinklers, my water pressure is low enough it's difficult to take a shower, so even if you did manage to regulate pressure it would have a disproportionately large effect on some of the people and very little on some others.

about 7 months ago
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3-D Printed Pelvis Holding Up After 3 Years

smellsofbikes Re:Not plastic, titanium (82 comments)

This is purely anecdotal, but the two indie framemakers I know who have worked with 3d printed lugs have both said the lugs broke very quickly and they only used them for prototypes, didn't consider them safe to ride. One said he thought he could make a 3d printed lug (this was stainless steel, through shapeways, silver-soldered to Reynolds SS tubing) that would be durable but he guessed it would weigh about 4x as much as equivalent forged columbus lugs.

about 7 months ago
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Edward Snowden and the Death of Nuance

smellsofbikes Re:False choice society (388 comments)

It's the same as how Congress's approval rate is extremely low, yet in the last election most seats didn't change hands. In both cases, people are saying "everyone else is the problem, not me!" -- they said "vote out your incumbents" but still voted for their incumbents claiming their incumbent isn't the problem.

What makes this complicated is that I think that's a reflection of America. My congressman _is_ a really good representative for me: he's a smart gay liberal who has started several successful tech companies. I vote for him because he's doing stuff I like. My aunt's congressman is a good representative for her: a pro-life, pro-gun conservative creationist pastor. She votes for him because he's doing stuff she likes.
We'd like to think that there's a logical disconnect between "congress is crazy" and "my congress person is awesome" but that's not necessarily true: we, as a country, have an extremely wide spectrum of opinion. Jim Hightower used to say there's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos. If congress is a dead armadillo, midway between what I want them to be and my aunt wants them to be, my aunt and I can both be contemptuous of congress while liking our personal representatives, and both of us can be logically consistent in doing so.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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vandal-catching hardware suggestions needed

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "I have a friend who has a vandal problem: someone is routinely and repeatedly damaging her car. Over the last year, someone has scratched the paint and windows, dented every body panel, deflated and slashed tires, bent and stolen window wipers. She parks in a garage that is locked, so only other apartment residents have access. The garage is well-lighted, but has only one electrical outlet, near her car, and no easy way to attach stuff to walls. She thinks she knows who is doing it, and her apartment manager agrees and is willing to back her up, but without some evidence, nobody can do much. It only happens once every couple of weeks, so hiring a kid to sleep in the car is probably not viable. The garage is too far from her apartment to set up a wireless video camera. I'm looking for suggestions to help her out, that could include building hardware for this project. Thoughts?"
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20-state PIN pad tampering exploit

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 3 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "Michaels' Stores, a country-wide chain of craft stores, announced today that PIN pads had been tampered with across at least a 20 state region, saying that the pads had either had their software surreptitiously altered or outright replaced with machines that looked identical but saved PINs for later retrieval and usage. Many customers claim to have been affected, with multiple-of-$100 withdrawals from their bank accounts. The logistics involved in a multi-state hardware hack of this size seem overwhelming."
Link to Original Source
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Cyber-warfare: fact or fantasy?

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 3 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "This week's New Yorker magazine has an investigative essay by Seymour Hersh about the USA and its part in cyber-warfare that makes for interesting reading. Hersh talks about the financial incentives behind many of the people currently pushing for increased US spending on supposed solutions to network vulnerabilities and the fine and largely ignored distinction between espionage and warfare. Two quotes that particularly stood out: one interviewee said "Current Chinese officials have told me that [they're] not going to attack Wall streat, because [they] basically own it", and Whitfield Diffie, on encryption, "I'm not convinced that lack of encryption is the primary problem [of vulnerability to network attack]. The problem with the Internet is that it's meant for communication among non-friends." The article also has some interesting details on the Chinese disassembly and reverse-engineering of a Lockheed P-3 Orion filled with espionage and eavesdropping hardware that was forced to land in China after a midair collision."
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HP acquisitions sign of poor R&D?

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  about 4 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "The Wall Street Journal is running an aggressive interview with IBM Chief Executive Samuel J. Palmisano, in which he says that HP has no choice but to pay $1.5 billion for ArcSight and $2.4 billion for 3Par because "Hurd cut out all the research and development."
“I’m never worried about a competitor that doesn’t invest in R&D,” Palmisano said. “They’ve had to buy. They have no choice.”
The WSJ is running this as a section lead article, where anyone who glances at the paper will see it. However, other analysts characterize Hurd's behavior in cutting R&D down to 2.5% of total revenue and shunning acquisitions as "fiscal restraint"."
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Glaxo open-sources malaria drug search data

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 4 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "Glaxo Smith Klein, the world's second-largest pharmaceutical company, is putting thousands of possible malaria-treating drugs into the public domain in a move that the Wall Street Journal calls a "linux approach" to pharmaceutical screening. Andrew Witty, who is described as the boss of GSK, says the company thinks it is "imperative to earn the trust of society, not just by meeting expectations but by exceeding them". Of course, synthesis or discovery of new chemicals is cheap compared to efficacy and qualification studies, but this is a refreshing change from not handing out *any* information until after everything is patented."
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California's revision of the First Sale Doctrine

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 5 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "Today's Wall Street Journal had an article about California's restriction of the First Sale doctrine as regards fine artwork. The state requires that any piece of artwork resold for more than $1000 have 5% of the purchase price returned to the artist. There's a full-time State employee whose job it is to track down artists to present them with their money. On the one hand, I like the idea that the artist who created something is getting the money directly, in contrast to most musicians and their pimp-like labels. On the other, the basic idea behind this seems fundamentally horrible. Imagine the chaos if this were extended to used music? or electronics? or the electrician who wired your house getting paid a percentage of the house value every time it sold? I was surprised to read that this law has existed since 1977 and wonder if it's unique to California and fine art."
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Glider Subs: silent, autonomous underwater robots

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  about 6 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "Multiple companies are developing glider submarines, designed for multiple-week or -month autonomous voyages. The subs have very few moving components, relying on deriving thrust from airfoils as they change their buoyancy. As a result, they're extremely quiet and efficient, albeit very slow. I have this great vision of the future of sub warfare, where almost perfectly silent robot subs hunt each other, firing supersonic supercavitating torpedoes."
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Economic gridlock: the invisible cost of IP law

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 6 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "This week's New Yorker magazine has a financial article, "The Permission Problem", discussing the hidden cost of patent, trademark and copyright laws. It's a subject anyone here already knows well, but he brings up two interesting points.
1. He uses the term "tragedy of the anticommons". Instead of depletion of a shared resource, this describes under-use of hoarded resources: areas that can't be explored because they're encumbered by patent/copyright issues. As he points out, the result of this is an invisible loss: drugs not made, software not written. The loss is impossible to quantify and difficult to see. I like the term 'tragedy of the anticommons' because it encapsulates a long-winded explanation into a pithy, memorable phrase that will stick with people unfamiliar with the topic.
2. He also cites a study by Ben Depoorter and Sven Vanneste that discusses why anticommons effects are seen, beyond mere competition. Individual right holders value their contribution to the overall project as a significant fraction of the project value, so if there are more than three or four right holders, their perceived value can far exceed the total value of the project, making it uneconomical."
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smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 7 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "The FAA is attempting to develop a legal process that will allow them to release data about vintage aircraft designs that have obviously been abandoned. But existing laws restrict the FAA's ability to release this data because it is deemed to be intellectual property even though the owner of record has long since ceased to exist. This is fundamentally the same problem with copyright that people looking for books out of print have to deal with, but in the case of vintage aircraft, the owners are legally required to maintain them to manufacturer specifications that the owners cannot legally obtain: an expensive and potentially lethal dilemma. An obscure situation for this solution to be applied, but if the FAA, notoriously slow and conservative, is willing to do this, maybe the idea will catch on in other places."
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smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  about 8 years ago

smellsofbikes (890263) writes "New Scientist is reporting a motor designed by aeronautical engineer Roger Shawyer, that fires microwave radiation into closed, conic tubes, yielding thrust with no emissions whatsoever, not even radiation, relying on unequal force distribution within the conic section. He reports current incarnations produce thrust similar to solar wind but proposed supercooled varieties would yield orders of magnitude more. Spacecraft wouldn't have to carry any propellant, just solar cells. Can this possibly work?"

Journals

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blah blah blah

smellsofbikes smellsofbikes writes  |  more than 8 years ago If you're actually interested in reading what I have to say, go look at:

www.livejournal.com/users/randomdreams

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