“Julian Jaynes’ The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind is a brilliant book, with only two minor flaws. First, that it purports to explains the origin of consciousness. And second, that it posits a breakdown of the bicameral mind.”

— SlateStarCodex

That’s a big fat ‘no’, Amazon

Quoting from a recent email:

Amazon Sidewalk is a shared network that helps devices work better. For example, if your device loses its wifi connection, Sidewalk can simplify reconnecting to your router and help set up new Echo devices. Sidewalk can also extend the coverage for Sidewalk-enabled devices, such as Ring smart lights and pet and object trackers, so they can stay connected and continue to work over longer distances.

When enabled, Sidewalk uses a small portion of your Internet bandwidth to provide these services to you and your neighbors. This setting will apply to all of your supported Echo and Ring devices that are linked to your Amazon account.

Learn more about Amazon Sidewalk: (url deleted)

Sidewalk is coming to your Echo device later this year, but you can disable this feature at any time from the Amazon Alexa app.

Call me crazy, but this sounds like it defaults to enabling this bandwidth-sharing “feature” on all supported Echo devices, unless you remember to shut it off after it goes live. It currently shows as off in the app, but also “not available yet”. Given that they turned on calling functionality without notice (leading it to call me on my cellphone when I said “porch light on”), I have no reason to trust them.

Note that there appears to be no way to determine what “small portion” means, or who you are currently providing “these services” to.

No Cura for you!

Tried to use Cura 4.8.0 with the settings I linked earlier. Had to abort the print in a real hurry because the leveling probe came down as it started to print the skirt. That does not work.

Despite its flaws, MatterControl looks like the best slicer for me right now. What flaws, you might ask? A completely non-standard UI, an actively user-hostile mouselook implementation, a habit of auto-loading a part that you last looked at two weeks ago, no retention of window location and size, no new Mac builds since April (Windows = 2.20.11, Mac = 2.20.4, Ubuntu = 2.19.10), and it pegs a CPU core when it’s idle. My fans spin up as soon as it launches, even if I never do anything.

The release notes promise a Mac version of 2.20.11, but “coming soon” was two weeks ago. I was able to successfully adapt the cursory build instructions they supply on Github, only to have it blow chunks on launch:

WARNING: The Carbon driver has not been ported to 64bits, and very few parts of Windows.Forms will work properly, or at all

        External Debugger Dump:
Abort trap: 6

I wonder how they got it to work back in April, but since the source/build directory is over 24 GB (not counting the Mono and Nuget installs), I’m not going to futz with it any further. I’d like it to work, since they’ve added some nice features, but the Windows version runs fine under VMware. And on the old Surface Pro 2. And the old Asus gaming laptop. And the not-quite-as-old Asus gaming desktop.

So I’m good.

We few, we happy few, we 15 million first-time Biden voters…

🎶 Where did they come from, where did they go,
millions of people, votin’ just Joe. 🎶

If you still have a Mac…

How to use the fingerprint sensor for sudo instead of your password:

sudo vi /etc/pam.d/sudo
# add as second line:
auth sufficient pam_tid.so

(with fallback to password, of course…)

Well, that was novel

A door-to-door steak salesman just stopped by. As he began hawking his wares at a distance of 20 feet, I had to stop him and inform him that I was expecting a very large box from Omaha Steaks in a few hours.

Learn To (g)Code

After successfully printing 6 non-rounded parts with the Hatchbox filament, I told it to print three round ones, namely a ratchet, knob, and sanding jig. All three suffered catastrophic Y-axis layer shifts. So I switched back to what was left on the Dremel-branded spool, re-generated the gcode, and hit go. It worked… better, except for the jig.

It looks very much like the gcode that the Dremel slicer software generates when you try to print a thin-walled cylinder (like the jig) creates a rapid series of XY zigzag moves that causes the Y axis belt to occasionally skip, ruining all the parts currently on the bed. Why it was clearly worse with the Hatchbox filament may be due to irregular tension from my hand-winding, or just dumb luck.

Good thing I already confirmed that I can get good prints with MatterControl, eh? Sure enough, when the same trio of parts is sliced with that app, the printer never makes that distinctive shuddering zigzag noise, and they all come out clean.

I suppose I should take another look at porting the Dremel material and quality profiles to the current version of Cura, as well. Someone claims to have settings for good results with Hatchbox filament, which is worth a shot.

Picture is unrelated and kinda disturbing

PLAful kittens

Apple Broke Something Again

The hits keep coming, as the richest company in the world breaks their own app store, making it impossible for users still running High Sierra to install anything. Reminder: Apple frequently blocks perfectly good computers from upgrading to new OS releases. When they don’t brick perfectly good computers that try to upgrade, that is.

Cats, food

Porch Cat Prime is slowly adjusting to the new reality where there’s no longer a mutilated screen door for him to scratch on when he wants food or attention. He was very confused the first few days after I removed it, and even tried hanging on a window screen once, which was met with a face-full of water from the spray bottle. He will come into the house if I don’t block him.

Nearly-Identical Porch Cat (a cool gray instead of a warm one) shows up when he detects others being fed, but is very much the junior of the bunch. He’s pettable sometimes, but defers to the others if they decide they want what’s in his food dish. He’s smart enough to grab the meaty sticks first, though.

Solid Gray Porch Cat definitely lifts. He’s a bulky tom who’s all muscle, and despite his obvious health, is always ravenous when he shows up. He wolfs down whatever’s put in front of him and then checks to see if someone else is eating too slowly. Which is why Prime’s dish is up on the grill side table; Solid’s not much of a jumper. He shows an interest in coming inside, but hasn’t pushed his luck yet.

(I suspect they’re all getting much more interested in coming in, as temperatures drop into the 30s at night)

PLAing the field

Tried out a third-party filament for the first time last night, the well-regarded Hatchbox PLA (in a nice dull primer-gray). The one catch with the Dremel 3D45 is that it takes a slightly smaller, narrower spool than most third parties ship, including Hatchbox. This is because Dremel stores the spool internally, both for a more predictable feed path and to keep the filament warmer and drier. The downside is that even their new spools only hold 750 grams of filament instead of the common 1 kilo. So first I had to roll half a kilo onto a recently-emptied Dremel spool. I won’t do that by hand again; next time I’ll use one of the power-drill spool adapters.

The first thing I tried to print with the new stuff was a sewing thimble, because it looked like a quick job with some nice surface detail. But it wasn’t something I’d printed before, so when it showed signs of shifted layers along the Y axis, I wasn’t sure if it was the filament, the settings, or the Y-axis belt. Checking the settings, Dremel runs their PLA at 230°C with the bed at 60°C, while Hatchbox recommends no higher than 210°C, with no specific bed temperature.

I made a custom config at 210/50 and printed a known good part, my monorail koma. Worked perfectly. I might try out the thimble again in one of the Dremel filaments, to see if it’s just something that slices oddly in Dremel’s version of Cura. I found some forum posts where people had layer-shifting issues with some similar prints that went away if you rotated the model before slicing, and I remember a rounding issue in a gcode generator I used with the Nomad CNC as well.

Why go to all this trouble? 750g from Dremel = $35, a kilo from Hatchbox = $20.

Next up, hairspray on the bed.

…for getting the first layer of a print to stick to the glass bed, as opposed to the glue sticks Dremel recommends. I’ve only had a few minor issues with parts/supports not sticking, but sometimes they stick so well that they leave a completely clean spot that’s hard to fill in. I have a second print bed, so I can switch back and forth to see which method I prefer.

Afternoon puzzle, 3:30pm edition

If five Amazon packages haven’t left the warehouse yet and are all supposed to arrive tomorrow by 10 pm, how will they be shipped and what day will they actually show up?

One pin only, please

The clever bit

There are about a thousand filament-spool holder designs on the various 3D-printable download sites. I found this one noteworthy for one specific element of its construction: the lazy-susan component rides on wheels attached by pins clipped directly off the filament spool. That is, the axle on the wheel and the holes to secure it to the frame are ~1.75 mm in diameter, so you just grab some leftover filament, stick it in the hole, and clip it off.

I’ve seen a number of ways to align and secure multi-part prints, but that one is by far the simplest and most effective.

A day late and a phony ballot short

I just received the following spam at the email address I use with my domain registrar. Let me repeat, this one arrived today:

Subject: Limited Edition - Biden Harris 2020 T-Shirt Collection!

* Presidential Election 2020 gift Ideas for Men Women and Youths.

* Vice President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the perfect
  candidates to stand against Donald Trump and the Republican
  policies. Wear this to a political rally, campaigning and on debate
  night. Vote Uncle Joe and Senator Kamala Harris in the 2020

This makes the perfect political gift for the Liberal, Progressives,
Democratic men and women. The U.S. needs leadership and who better
than two experienced politicians. Senator Kamala Harris is the number
one contender for Bidens Vice President in 2020.

100% Printed in the U.S.A - Ship Worldwide
Limited Edition and Only Available for few days. They will never be
sold again or in stores. Don't delay, they will sell out!

The unsubscribe button goes to a Google form, the “view more designs here” button goes to a URL shortener to hide the final destination. The sender is using a Gmail account, but probably not with the knowledge of its actual owner…

Package deal

Today’s delivery will contain filament (including a spool of duckie yellow) and magnets. Tomorrow, coffee and a water filter. Wednesday, meat, meat, and more meat. Those should get me through the apocalypseholiday season.

Reply hazy, ask again later

I have no idea what’s going to happen between now and January 20th. The one thing I’m sure of is that Team Blue is not acting like a group secure in the knowledge that they won fair-and-square; they’re flailing around like someone trying to put out a grease fire with mineral water. The ruthless mockery and silencing of dissent is what you might call a “tell”.

The thought that comforts me is that they’re already starting to turn on each other. Hatred is the only thing binding the Left together, and if you take away Trump, it’s every Commie for vyxself.


Frozen bats full of Corona-chan cousins found in Japan and Cambodia.

(this probably is good, in the sense of “lab freezers full of potential evidence about the history of covid”; as long as keep track of all those freezers…)

Boys Over Cocogoats

You can take that award and shove it right up…

…ooh, that’s gonna hurt.

No Yuuna for you!

The English translation of the Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs manga apparently changed publishers, to one who isn’t supporting ebook releases and is charging a lot more. And didn’t overlap with the previous publisher, so the last one I bought was #9, and they’re starting with #11. Yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

Parts is parts

My 3D-printed accessories for the baby takadai went over well with the group yesterday. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who bought a 3D printer and started making new koma, but the other person liked my design better than hers and asked for the STL files, which I was happy to share. The upcycled filament spool was as amusing as expected, and they really liked the more practical version as well.

(and, yeah, it really is too small for 37 bobbins, especially as light as these are; tension goes out the window when they’re piled up on each other)

Been there done that

Tried to watch The Boys, mostly for Karl Urban. Found myself distracted by the feeling that the creators are patting themselves on the back for doing something bold and different, evidence that they’re kinda new to comics.

(this quest is a great introduction to the cryololizombie Qiqi; no, I don’t have one yet)

Tesla’s Flaming Piñata!

Safest Car Ever crashes so hard it sends flaming batteries through the windows of nearby houses.

And “Tesla’s Flaming Piñata” is now the name of my next Spinal Tap cover band.

MasterLockdown Theater

🎶 Little jackboots, little jackboots, …

…Little jackboots, will kick you in the teeth. 🎶

94% of California now has a 10pm curfew (yes, including me). Because viruses spread faster after dark, especially when all non-essential services have already been ordered to close early. The ones that haven’t gone out of business already, anyway.

Estimated impact on Corona-chan pest-toxicity test-positivity: 0.

Estimated impact on constitutional rights: what part of ‘California’ didn’t you understand?

Reminder: Benito Newsom is Nancy Pelosi’s nephew, and tyranny is a family hobby. Also corruption and hypocrisy, but without that, they couldn’t run as Democrats.

🎶 Don’t go around tonight,
or they’ll take away your rights;
There’s a bad man on the rise. 🎶

Costco had signs up again announcing they’re out of stock of commonly-hoarded goods. “Remain calm, all is well”


My bank just increased my daily ATM withdrawal limit from $300 to $1,000.

Actually Unrelated

After someone updated the all-employee Slack channel with a description that said “Don’t use @here in this channel”, the flood of reactions felt like showing up at a large Zoom-from-home meeting and shouting,

“Alexa, repeat the song!”

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”