1. 3D printing circuit boards, photography-resistent clothing, and wireless DNI.

    13 February 2015

    Now that I've had a couple of days to sleep and get most of my brain operational again, how about some stuff that other parts of me have stumbled across?

    Building your own electronics is pretty difficult. The actual electrical engineering aside you still have to cut, etch, and drill your own printed circuit boards which is a lengthy and sometimes frustrating task. Doubly so when multi layer circuit boards are involved because they're so fiddly and easy to get wrong. There is one open source project that I know of called the Rabbit Pronto which is a RepRap print …

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  2. Ubuntu Syndrome.

    11 February 2015

    Warning: Bitter BOFH ahead.

    There is a phenomenon I've come to call Ubuntu Syndrome, after the distribution of Linux which has become the darling of nearly every hosting provider out there (and no, I won't call them bloody cloud providers). All things considered, it seems to have a good balance of stable software, ease of use, availability, and diversity of available software. It also lends itself readily to the following workflow:

    • Use a tool like packer.io to automagically instantiate a copy of Ubuntu at the hosting provider of choice.
    • Never patch the machine under any circumstances.
    • Use Chef, Ansible …

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  3. Photographs from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, December 2014.

    09 February 2015

    I know I haven't posted much (at all, really) for most of a month. I'd love to say that I've been out having wacky adventures and gallivanting about Time and Space, but I haven't. Work has been, well, work, and eating me alive to boot. This is the first evening in quite a while (because I'm writing this as a timed post) I haven't gone straight to bed after getting home. So, no interesting news articles, no attempts at humor, no witty insights, However, last December I took the opportunity to pay the Monterey Bay Aquarium a visit. I don't …

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  4. A 3D printed laser cutter, aerosol solar cells, and reversing neural networks.

    09 January 2015

    3D printers are great for making things, including more of themselves. The first really accessible 3D printer, the RepRap was designed to be buildable from locally sourceable components - metal rods, bolds, screws, and wires, and the rest can be run off on another 3D printer. There is even a variant called the JunkStrap which, as the name implies, involves repurposing electromechanical junk for basic components. There are other useful shop tools which don't necessarily have open source equivalents, though, like laser cutters for precisely cutting, carving, and etching solid materials. Lasers are finicky beasts - they require lots of power, they …

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  5. A couple of thoughts on microblogging.

    07 January 2015

    The thing about microblogging, or services which allow posts that are very short (around 140 characters) and are disseminated in the fashion of a broadcast medium is that it lends itself to fire-and-forget posting. See something, post it, maybe attach a photograph or a link and be done with it. If your goal is to get information out to lots of people at once leveraging one's social network is criticial: Post something, a couple of the users following you repost it so that more people see it, a couple of their followers repost it in turn... like ripples on the …

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  6. Linux on the Dell XPS 15 (9530)

    05 January 2015

    Midway through December of 2014 Windbringer suffered a catastrophic hardware failure following several months of what I've come to term the Dell Death Spiral (nontrivial CPU overheating even while in single user mode, flaky wireless, USB3 ports fail, USB2 ports fail, complete system collapse). Consequently I was in a bit of a scramble to get new hardware, and after researching my options (as much as I love my Inspiron at work they don't let you finance purchases) I spec'd out a brand new Dell XPS 15.

    Behind the cut I'll list Windbringer's new hardware specs and everything I did to …

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