January 2021

Save your receipts!

April in Saga

Not me, zombie idol singers.

🎶 Don’t fuck with me, AT&T… 🎶

🎶 …the truth is, we all have left you. 🎶

I canceled DirecTV on 11/26. Following their instructions, I took the equipment to the nearest UPS Store for return shipping on 11/28. I got a receipt.

Good thing I still have it, because they just tried to bill me $155 for “Non-Return Recordable Equipment”. That’s $135 for the equipment and $20 in city and state taxes. (less the $8 credit on my account that they never refunded to me…)

I’m sure that next week they’ll send me a glossy color mailer offering me a special deal to become their customer again. Yeah, not gonna happen.

[Update: spent twenty minutes on hold, carefully spoke the 20-digit return confirmation number from November to the rep, and after 10 minutes of loading time, received a guarantee that the charge will be removed from my bill.]

Don’t eat the yellow ducky

I could print this Thing, but I have no snow to use it on.

Come to think of it, though, I did buy a rubber-duck ice cube mold some time back; I should try it out, now that I’ve got all the Omaha Steaks boxes out of the freezer. Oh, and the Death Star ice cubes, as well.

Asked and answered!

Macrumors: What do you want to see from Apple in 2021?

J: QA.

Not Batteries, Included

Somewhere in my holiday ordering, I bought myself a pair of third-party NP-FW50 batteries for my Sony A6500 camera, with included charger. They have pretty good reviews, and RAVPower has been around for a while.

Since I already packed them up to return them the same day they arrived, you might guess I’m not happy. One battery charged, the other did not. At all. I’ve bought their stuff before and gotten what I paid for, but this time, no.

I have a different brand of batteries coming for the WX800 next week, and I’ll be interested to see if that company has QA.

Why camera batteries, when I’m not really even leaving the house for the foreseeable future? Gift cards; I just started picking things off my wish lists.

Universal spool adapter

Thingiverse is in a horribly broken state, and apparently has been for quite a while (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The Customizer feature has been down for months, and the search engine still hasn’t registered the miter box cam pin I uploaded over a month ago. Despite being downloadable from the direct link, it doesn’t even show up on my profile page.

(a lot of people seem to be migrating to Cults3D, which is at least functional, although the ongoing infestation of garbage seems to be clobbering its performance; I mean, how many dozens of kit-bashed buddha-with-another-head variations does anyone really need to upload in one day? Also, you have to create an account before they’ll let you download anything, and they don’t have an equivalent to Thingy’s customizer at all)

So I haven’t bothered to upload the customizable spool adapter I made to fit Sunlu filament to the Dremel 3D45 external spool holder.

Printed at 0.3mm layer height, all four pieces only use up 17 grams of filament, and take less than 90 minutes to print. OpenSCAD source after the jump.


Amazon Primer

Dear Amazon,

I don’t want to spray this in my kitchen…

Design flaws

Slight revision to my earlier comments about the external spool holder working perfectly. It has one flaw: when a brand-new spool is loaded, the mounting angle puts enough of a twist on the filament that it’s possible for it to slip over the outside edge. It can’t get tangled, because the arm is in the way, but it won’t feed as smoothly.

My quick fix was to just put something inside the Cambro that was big enough to keep the filament on the reel. Tomorrow, I’ll design and print a clip-on filament guide to ensure it stays on track.

Meanwhile, the Sunlu PETG prints pretty well (shiny!), although I’m still tinkering with the settings a bit to eliminate stringing.

I got an angle

I did have to change one PrusaSlicer setting for one of my common test prints, the baby takadai koma. PS supposedly attempts to pick the best angle for supported overhangs, but in this particular case, it does nothing at all, and uses the same angle regardless of the part’s orientation. Could be a bug in the 2.3.0 release candidate that I just upgraded to; if I scale the part to 250%, it changes the behavior on one of the two overhangs.

For now I’m just going to set it to 45° in my profiles, and double-check the print preview when I know I’ll have significant horizontal overhangs. One of the nice features in PS is the ability to define override zones for settings like this, either with bounding objects or layer height ranges. In this case, there’s only one pair of overhangs, so it’s easier to just set it globally.

Fuck off, Microsoft

Woot stopped scrolling in Safari, so I visited the site with Edge to see if there was anything interesting. It promptly popped up a coupon using Edge’s built-in affiliate system, informing me that I could save money for me and make money for Microsoft by clipping a coupon.

Um, no. Not now, not ever. One more privacy setting to keep track of, I guess.

Oh, and the scrollbars were broken there, too, so apparently Woot picked up a bunch of discontinued web designers for cheap.

"There's a click before the squeak"

After several quite successful prints with the Sunlu PETG, I started getting occasional defects on the vertical edges, accompanied by squeaking or clicking noises. After some basic troubleshooting and a few hits of the “purge” button, I watched the next print lay down a perfect first layer followed by a big glob of filament that stuck up high enough for the nozzle to plow right through it and create a loop.

I switched back to the Hatchbox PLA and kicked off a 5-hour print, and had no defects or unusual noises. I’ll have to inspect the Sunlu filament carefully; with luck it’s just surface cruft that can be removed with a filament filter.

…as soon as I find a filter design that is A) sensibly printable, B) doesn’t cause immense drag on the filament, and C) doesn’t occasionally shed foam onto the “cleaned” filament. Most promising idea I’ve seen so far is to double-fold a small piece of microfiber cloth and attach it around the filament with a standard binder clip.

(and, no, I won’t use it to “oil the filament”; that seemed like a bad idea even before I read up on it)

In other news, my two free spools of Dremel PLA arrived, and instead of the old half-kilo spools I was expecting, they’re the new 3/4-kilo size. Both blue.


  1. The SolarWinds breach allowed Russian hackers to vigorously penetrate the US government.

  2. Most Secure Election Ever.

Nothing About Current Events

Reasons not to use Cults3D, #4

Stolen designs. Seriously, these are obviously professional product photos of objects that are not 3d-printed, and a quick Google image search finds them for sale all over the world. Some clown just scanned them in and is trying to sell them as their own work, using the original product photos as bait.

And, yes, there are plenty of scanned copyrighted statues on all the sites, but usually they aren’t brazen enough to try to sell them. Thingiverse tries to cover their costs with ads, while Cults3D is a marketplace that happens to have some free items.

Not Going There

Yesterday was not a good day for America. I will not discuss it further at this time, so here are some pictures of cute girls with cats.


The Naming Of Thingies

The Jack Vance Mindset

A while back, I made fun of the insane overload of boggle-dice names in the 1979 fantasy novel The Alien.

Yesterday, I picked up the Kindle edition of the first book in Jack Vance’s classic Alastor novels, set waaay off in space and time. I… apologize to Victor Besaw…

starments, Connatic, Lusz, Numenes, Oman Irsht, Idite, Whelm, starmenter, Primarchic, Erdic, Rubrimar, Trullion, Merlank, Trill, hussade, pulsor, paray, cauch, Trevanyi, prutanshyr, Gaw, Kerubian, Maheul, Vayamenda, Welgen, menas, jerdine, Saurkash, Rabendary, Jut Hulden, Marucha, semprissima, Ambal, Gilweg, Saur, fanzaneels, sheirl, Shira, Glinnes, Glay, Sharue, merlings

That’s just the first few pages, and many of these terms are explained in footnotes or lengthy asides, further reducing the amount of actual narrative.

Fuck Macintouch, too

Another fuckwit who doesn’t know what the word “seditious” means. And who slept through the last five years of unhinged Leftist character assassinations, trespassing (including Capitol buildings, hinthint), occupation, violent assaults, rioting, looting, pillaging, arson, murder, and outright domestic terrorism, much of it perpetrated by an organization that proudly displays its Communist Party heritage.

(side note: it occurs to me that this was the first appearance of the modern incel)

Apple QA, still wet behind the ears

Apple’s fondness for closed systems has resulted in their top-of-the-line headphones filling up with moisture. Best comment: “You’re holding it wrong”.

And another thing I hate about Cults3D…

…is the sensory overload of all the damn animated GIFs that model “creators” (I use the term loosely) use as thumbnail images. They’re spending more time trying to attract attention to their uploads than they spend making or testing them. Honestly, I’d almost be willing to pay a monthly subscription to hide the animated GIFs and weed out (coughcough) all the 420 and fraud.

MyMiniFactory is slightly less frenetic, flipping through the thumbnails for each upload every few seconds as you page through search results. On the bright side, while it has its share of inane and pirated products, most of the non-free items appear to have actually been made by their uploaders.

And they host Scan The World, a useful archive of actual cool stuff gathered from museums and collections around the world. Many of them are difficult or impossible to print, but there are some real gems in the collection. I can’t find Darmok or Jalad, though.

Potential filament filter

This is an interesting design. Huge compared to most of them, and specifically sized to fit a Prusa printer, but designed to use microfiber cleaning cloth for low drag, and sensibly printable with chamfered edges and rounding for the filament path. I’d prefer a locking connector to the “pause print and insert magnets” trick, but I can just tape it shut for the initial test; my goal is to get back to printing things other than printer parts.

Japan, maybe?

My sister sent me an update indicating that when the current restrictions are lifted in Japan at the end of January, the new rules for entering foreigners will be A) recent COVID test before boarding the plane, B) mandatory COVID test when you arrive. I need to look up the details to see if there’s also a quarantine while you wait for the results.

I expect they’ll be trying to streamline this as spring progresses, in order to shore up the tourist economy and possibly hold the delayed 2020 Olympics. There’s a lot of money on the line.

Included, Batteries

The other set of third-party batteries I ordered recently, a pair of NP-BX1 and a charger from Powerextra, distinguished themselves by actually charging. No idea yet how their working life compares to real Sony batteries, but even if they’re only half as good, they’ll still keep me from running dry during day trips when I get back to Japan.

Even without shooting video, the little WX800 has the potential to drain the batteries faster, because the long zoom range and slow lens means that I’ll be leaning more heavily on using the optical image stabilization and multi-shot noise/blur reduction.

Sony does have an awesome new body that goes up to ISO 409,600, but…

Things I Won’t Buy in 2021

  1. new camera or lenses

  2. new computer

  3. new car

  4. new oven, stovetop, and range hood

  5. non-emergency home improvements

Why not? Because with Democrats desperate to pay off a frankenhooker coalition that has nothing in common but hate, I expect massive spending and tax increases. Drunken sailors will stare in shock.

It won’t appease their mobs, who’ve learned that there are no consequences to destroying cities, but they’ll do it anyway, because it’s all they know, and they can skim a percentage off the top for themselves.

If this goes on...

Dear Amazon

Do I use PLA, PETG, or ABS to print a patio, lawn, and garden?

The Last American President

…and if I’d meant “previous”, I’d have said “previous”.

People who’ve won an honest victory do not coordinate efforts to silence their defeated opponent and anyone even loosely associated with him. People who’ve spent the last four years lying and cheating in an attempt to overturn an election do.

Nothing Trump has said or done in four years justifies the way he’s being treated now. This is just revenge porn.

Unicorn Chaser: The Return of Sukabu

The week the masks came off

Remember when The Volokh conspiracy was vaguely libertarian? Ilya Somin doesn’t. Pro tip: when you find yourself arguing against due process, and claiming that the facts are so clear and indisputable that you don’t even need a show trial, you are an enemy of Western Civilization.

Purge Nozzles, Not People

If you want to print stackable boxes…

this is a well-designed set, with free samplers. The only real limitation (besides the time and cost of 3d-printing boxes in the first place) is that stacking only works one way. For instance, you can stack 3 1x1 boxes/lids on a 3x1, but not the other way around. They’ll be almost stable, but not quite.

I’m going to reverse-engineer the design into a parametric OpenSCAD program. Not to undermine his sales, but to alter the basic layout (multiples of 60mm X/Y and 20mm Z) to better suit my needs. If I ever get to drive to a kumihimo conference again, I could do with some better organization for supplies. The incredibly cheap stackable pencil and crayon boxes at Michaels were the sensible choice for my large collection of tama of different weights and sizes, but there’s a bunch of fussy little stuff that still ends up in ziploc baggies and makeshift toolboxes.

I could also do something like the box inserts people are creating for board games (one of the refreshing non-printer-parts categories of object being posted), but I like the flexibility of the grid design.

+1 Bed Of Adhesion

The Dremel 3D45 has a removable glass print bed. I have two of them, so I can pull out a finished print and immediately start another one, allowing the first bed to cool and release the print.

Occasionally, objects with large flat bottom surfaces show a diagonal wave pattern that indicates the nozzle is too close to the bed, something I thought I’d sorted out weeks ago. It wasn’t until I tried printing various samples from the above box set back-to-back on freshly-cleaned beds that I caught on: my two beds have slightly different heights. I’ve now labeled the one that requires an extra +0.1mm Z offset.

(I really miss the tool-height sensor on my Nomad CNC; a lot of 3D printers have automatic bed-leveling systems, but you pretty much have to go to industrial models to get one that can verify the exact Z position of the nozzle tip(s))

Microfiber and a binder clip

I went with the simplest filament filter and loaded up the Sunlu PETG again. Much better, with only the expected minor defects of a filament I haven’t gotten the parameters quite right for. The only poor result came from printing something large enough that the skirt ran all the way to the edge of the bed, and lost adhesion in a few small spots. It didn’t harm the print at all, since the head never even passed over the skirt once it got the first layer down. Either I didn’t have enough hairspray at the edge of the bed, or it was just enough cooler at the edge to pull up the corners a bit; both are fixable, since I was at the low end of the temperature range and I have lots of hairspray.

The Long Con


Dear Amazon, why is it so easy for “marketplace” “dealers” to auto-generate frauds like this?

  1. Indie publisher puts up pre-orders for Kindle edition of a brand-new book.

  2. Scammers put up phony listings for new and used hardcover and paperback editions of this as-yet-unpublished book, at insane prices.

  3. Amazon profits.

My kind of Minion

I didn’t even know I had this fetish…

Dear Reddit,

Pedo much? Do you really think that a 3D printer forum is the right place for this kind of thing?

“Why does it hurt when I pee?”

New at CES, for people who’ve been frightened into submission, the touchless doorbell. Because nothing spreads viruses like hard plastic exposed to fresh air and sunlight that gets touched maybe twice a week.

What was the plan?

Long ago and not so far away, I worked down the street from Netscape. It was the glory years, and many of my co-workers jumped ship with stars in their eyes and dreams of a glorious future that included retiring before age 30. A few of them did so, but most were of course too late to get the kind of juicy stock options that could enable that sort of thing.

A recurrent theme among the Ex-Scapees, with JWZ perhaps the most prominent, is “Microsoft killed our company”. Some go for a softer form, “Microsoft stunted Internet innovation”; when I once asked for an example, the speaker pointed to VRML. Since he was a friend, I didn’t laugh, just stared open-mouthed in shock.

But the strong claim, that Microsoft’s entry into the web market killed Netscape, has never made sense to me. Because I’ve never understood how Netscape planned to make money in the first place.

I mean, I was there, a not-quite-literal stone’s throw down the street from their headquarters, watching them burn through insane amounts of money to produce only 2.5 products: a free browser, a rudimentary mail/calendar suite that was free to anyone who had an account with pretty much any ISP, and a very specialized item that was already facing competition, Commerce Server.

Everyone was already using free alternatives to Commerce Server for everything but their main secure-ordering site, and those alternatives existed before Microsoft released IS and IIS, and were getting better with every release.

So what was the plan? How was Netscape ever going to make enough money to offset their massive burn rate? What were they going to sell that someone else couldn’t create a competitor for? If Microsoft could kill them so quickly and so easily, with a product that was utter crap, how did they ever expect to succeed?

3D Printing, Reconsidered

Dear Apple,

This has been bugging me for years: the Weather app on iPhones doesn’t completely update the display when the day changes.

Screenshots from around 9:45 AM Tuesday morning:

Three hours later, it’s still wrong. The hour-by-hour predictions are updated, but the day and high/low data are still wrong in both places. You have to force-quit the app to make it figure out that today is Tuesday.

🎶 🎶 🎶
“Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?”
🎶 🎶 🎶

I know Tim Cook is more of a political activist than a leader, but surely there’s still someone at Apple that cares about basic functionality of the product line that makes them the richest company in the world.

Impeachment 2, Electric Boogaloo

You know it’s really-extra-special-important to impeach Trump when Nancy Pelosi can’t even wait for new souvenir pens to be delivered.

(why, yes, this person was kicked off of Twitter; it’s a truth-free zone)

Dear Apple,

Why did you just lock my Apple ID? Can’t handle criticism, or just more of your usual incompetence at running a cloud service?

[Update: given that I had to re-enter my password 12 13 times across four devices after unlocking my account, incompetence is winning the popular vote]

Quisling Revelry

You can take the boy out of the Soviet…

…but you can’t take the Soviet out of the boy. Ilya Somin offers “helpful” “advice” on making shampeachment 2 “bi-partisan”.

Bi-Partisan: involving two sets of quislings.

On that note, the only constitutional remedies from a successful impeachment are to remove Trump from office (which McConnell has refused to schedule), and/or prevent him from holding office ever again.

If the people involved are even slightly brighter than the rocks from under which they crawled, they know this, and they’re proceeding anyway, after he’s out of office. Which means that they are either legitimately terrified that he could once again be elected to national office, or they are attempting to utterly destroy him as an example, so that never again will they have to face opposition that is Not Our Kind, Dear.

Or both.

With Apologies to T.S. Eliot

Impeachment of Trump’s not a serious matter,
  It’s really just one of those Democrat games.
You may think Pelosi as mad as a hatter,
  Pursuing D. Trump to the END OF HIS DAYS.


“I’ll concede that Biden legitimately won the election if you spend six months mucking out stables with your tongue. That way we’ll both have the taste of horseshit in our mouths.”

Recently-watched anime

Sleepy Princess Is Sleepy

I enjoyed the first eight episodes. Somewhere in #9, I turned it off. The next day, I finished that episode, started watching #10, and at some point turned it off. Then I checked the wiki and discovered that after 17 manga volumes covering several years, nothing much changes, including her apparent age.

Which, by the way, is “at least 16”, despite the lolicon-bait character design.

Last Boonie Kid Town Dungeon Maybe

Wow, they weren’t kidding about the screaming. If it weren’t for her constant ear-splittingly-loud freakouts, the witch would be quite attractive; perhaps if she toned it down to the level of her Darkness performance in Konosuba. My only other impression is that I found myself disappointed that mere moments after Belt Princess strips down to sexy lingerie and checks herself out in the mirror, she changes her hair to a much less flattering cut. And gets dressed again. Hopefully fan-artists will use that scene for reference and make better use of her belts than she does.

I won’t be watching more of it, but surely some Pixiv artists will.

The Hidden Cheat Code Only I Can Ogle

Our Hero receives the +20 Titty-Rub Of Omnipotence from a chained-up supermodel who seems quite happy to stay that way, and proceeds to charge it up by taking advantage of his giant-breasted childhood friend’s crush and his little sister’s bro-con. I’ll just watch the fan-art.

Easy Drider

It didn’t grab me. Some people seem to like it, though, so I’ll try the second episode in hopes that the worst of the setup fluff is done.

(note that much of the fan-art seems to spoil a major plot point)

Not anime, not watched

I noticed that Stargate Origins: Catherine was back on Prime, so I tried to watch it. Tried. Failed.

Even taking into account the fact that it’s based on just the movie and explicitly contradicts the events of SG-1, it’s just not good. Our Heroine is yet another ass-kicking Mistress Of Waif-Fu with 21st century attitudes in 1938, and all the other actors seem to be in slightly different shows.

Dear Apple,

If you’re going to keep locking my Apple ID, could you at least have the basic decency to notify me via the various email addresses that I have on file?

Now I waste another fifteen minutes logging in again on all of my devices multiple times.

Rottin’ to the core...


You know what the real difference is between Pixiv and Amazon when it comes to recommendations? No, it’s not that Pixiv does a better job of selecting new things based on things I like, it’s that they don’t show me things I’ve already tagged.

On a good day, when Amazon manages to recommend products that are actually relevant, about a third of them will be things that I’ve already purchased from Amazon. And I don’t just mean consumables like coffee or 3d-printing filament, or things like toaster ovens or watches that theoretically someone could buy 3-4 of every year, or duplicate listings with different SKUs, I mean books and movies that when you click on them, show up as “you purchased this $months_or_years_ago”.

Today is actually one of the rare days when my recommendations consist primarily of consumable items that I’ve bought before and will likely buy again. Never mind that many of them are subscribe-and-save items that I’m already buying again.

File under peculiar the fact that the “Hunting and Fishing Equipment” tile consists of a 4-pack of pointy self-defense keychains in basic black, a 9-pack of the same item in a rainbow of colors, a 3-pack of brand-x pepper-spray, and a 150-pack of fishing hooks.

Three Little, Too Late

MacRumors is reporting that for the next MacBook Pro, Apple is planning to bring back MagSafe, function keys, and a useful array of ports.

There are, however, no rumors that they’ll be bringing back QA.

3D cheesecake 33: Navel Observatory

So, the only one of my current co-workers that I’ve met in person just left the company for another job. When he announced it in our morning “scrum” (yes, we do a virtual stand-up on Zoom every day; not a fan), I insisted that it’s not my fault.

Unrelated, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Zoom meetings with a co-worker, for the purpose of prepping a major version upgrade. Note that I did not say we were actually working or actually prepping. We have in fact accomplished dick-all in four 90-minute meetings, and I was so frustrated with this after Friday’s session that I stepped away from the keyboard for several hours so I wouldn’t reach through the Internet and smack him. The nice way to put it is that we have fundamentally different approaches to upgrading production services.

So, for the first time since June, here’s some non-animated cheesecake.


No. Just 'no'.

Buckaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League: this blurb reeks:

Still mourning the losses of his beloved Penny Priddy and his surrogate father Professor Hikita, Buckaroo Banzai must also contend with the constant threat of attack from his immortal nemesis Hanoi Xan, ruthless leader of the World Crime League. To make matters worse, Planet 10 warrior queen John Emdall has sent her Lectroid legions against Earth with a brutal ultimatum. Or is her true target Buckaroo Banzai? As the apocalyptic threats continue to mount, only Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers stand in the way of global destruction.

The listing also says “568 pages”, which is approximately 567 too many.

Stuck On The Couch With A Sleeping Cat On My Lap, I Watched A Bunch Of Anime With Really Long Titles Until I Was FINALLY Allowed To Move Again

That Slime Show

Rimuru’s greatest power is Create Hot Chicks. Sadly, the animators really dropped the ball on showing the results of these racial upgrades. We only get a few brief shots of the upgraded goblin and lizard girls, and only one named-but-unnamed goblina gets to be in the swimsuit special episode. [ObOglaf (NSFW, of course)]

Crunchyroll has some interesting UI issues. On the good side, the FireTV client was finally upgraded to HD a while back (hadn’t used it in quite a while, because it was awful), and it hasn’t spontaneously logged me out yet the way it used to. On the bad side, it displays five separate “seasons” for this show: S1, S1, S2, S14, S23. The title is so long that you can’t tell that the first item on the list ends in “(German dub)”. The various special episodes are linked in an apparently random sequence, so I don’t actually know if I’ve watched them all yet. Not that it matters, because the swimsuit special is the only one that mattered.

Last Boonies

Watched the OP, which includes a nice look at Belt Princess in lingerie before she cuts her hair, then skipped to the ED, which includes all the girls, including one who wasn’t in the first episode. Looking forward to the fan-art, but not interested in the show.

That Spider Show

Episode 2 didn’t grab me, either.

Wandering Witch

Watched 2.5 episodes, I think. I don’t remember anything about them.

Is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon and then never do anything with them?

I watched the first episode of season 3 when it came out, but I already know how things go for N books past this point, and I stopped reading those, too, and haven’t fired up the game in months, either. I’m kinda burned out on the entire franchise, although I did read the Freya Familia spinoff that gives some backstory on her disfunctional crew. Spoiler: meh.

Incel Revenge Porn: The Series

After it came up in the comments and I looked at the wiki, I watched the first episode of Redo of Healer. It appears that starting with episode 2, they are going to faithfully adapt the torture, brainwashing, rape, and murder that defines the source material, which is almost as bad as the commenters who buy into the excuses for it. Not For Me, Thanks.

Actually, you could argue that the torture and brainwashing starts when Whatshisname forcibly overwrites his younger self’s memories and personality, destroying the sanity of an innocent 12-year-old.

Sleep, Princess

Finished episode 10, tried 11. Lost interest again.

The Off-By-8% Solution

I couldn’t understand why my print-in-place hinges were failing. They worked perfectly in the Squeaky Sunlu PETG, but they were so fused together with the Hatchbox PLA that trying to break them free broke the model instead.

Then I discovered that I’d somehow set the extrusion multiplier to 1.05 for that filament, when the correct (calculated and verified) value was 0.97. Oops.


Another tragic kayaking accident

We’ll always have Paris Accords

Does unconstitutionally seizing the treaty power from Congress count as “high crimes and misdemeanors”? Asking for a friend.

Oops, they did it again

Another day, another locked Apple ID. Three times in one week is a record, so either there’s a persistent attack on my account (which you think they’d have the courtesy to mention in email to one of the addresses I have on file), or the iCloud infrastructure has gotten even less reliable than it used to be.

Speaking of Apple QA, Mail.app managed to completely lose track of the password for one of my non-Apple email accounts yesterday. Which is a neat trick, since they’re stored in Keychain. Usually it only throws up misleading “your password is wrong” alerts when iCloud itself is rejecting logins; assuming that an auth failure requires a mandatory password change doesn’t usually extend to other services.

Why do I still use this buggy piece of crap that stores data in an unreliable proprietary format, doesn’t even really grasp the concept of plain-text email, and that even removed the ability to adjust column widths in Catalina, so you can’t see entire sender names or subject lines? Because I really like SpamSieve, which reliably catches the small amount of cruft that leaks through all the server-side spam filters.

It does support some other mail clients, but it might be time to start looking for a good Windows anti-spam plug-in, for the day when I’m ready to stop being Switched behind the woodshed.

Stop, Drop, and Spool

I ran out to Costco in between meetings Friday, where I found Clorox sanitizing wipes for the first time since March. A 5-pack of giant containers, of course, Costco being Costco, and it turned out that two of them had been crushed just enough that they’d be dried out by the time I wanted them, so I pulled out the wipes and double-bagged them in freezer bags.

Before I left, I started a six-hour print job. When I came back, it was finished. Or, more precisely, it wasn’t printing any more, and there was no error message on the display, but it was only maybe a third done. It looked fine, I had plenty of filament left, and a quick extruder test showed no issues of any kind. I wish I’d left my status script running, which would have captured any error messages.

Lesson learned. Reprinted the same file and it worked perfectly, of course.

What's holding back the 3D-printing revolution?

Problem #1: search engines.

I searched Thingiverse for “coat hanger”. The first page of results included a hydroponics planter, a broom holder, custom-word pens, filament holders, a geared card shuffler, a toolbox, a chicken water dispenser, and a trebuchet. 8 of the 20 items did indeed have the words “coat hanger” in their description, but 5 of them were really coat hooks, and one of the hangers was for doll clothing. One of the remaining two was a copy of a commercial folding design not optimized for 3D printing: when you need both rafts and internal supports, and it’s still a “work in progress” after three years, and it takes half a day to print…

I didn’t actually need a coat hanger, even the fancy folding travel kind, but a lot of the hype around 3D printing was based on the idea that instead of shipping things to our homes, we’d download plans for things and print them ourselves. Which leads to…

Problem #2: too much fiddling around

Turns out that future is gated by someone managing to build affordable foolproof turnkey climate-controlled dual-extruder 3D printers with precise tolerances and automated (non-toxic!) part-cleaning and ejection, that accept data in a vendor-independent format that clearly describes the parameters needed to print successfully.

Also, the commercial travel hanger linked above is 10 for $10 on Amazon, so that imaginary practical printer also has to be really cheap and really fast.

I expect we’ll see 3d-on-demand shipped overnight from Amazon long before we’ll see it in non-hobbyist homes or even neighborhood print services. Speaking of which, I’d like to see some numbers on just how effectively all the hyped “distributed pandemic ppe printing” efforts actually delivered usable products to people who needed them.

Finally, something practical to print!

Not gonna lie, it won’t be easy…


The first book of the Solo Leveling light novel is now coming out February 16th. Dead-tree-only, at the moment, without a Kindle version listed.

Dremelizing Cura

Someone has work-in-progress configs on Github to get the current version of Cura to work with the Dremel 3D45. The basic functionality is there, but there’s no network or camera support, and the output quality is… poor (way too much retraction and stringing, and big gaps in pin-like elements). I’m happy with PrusaSlicer for now, but it’s nice to see someone working on more options.

Incidentally, I took a look at how Dremel got the network printing and webcam support into their customized old version of Cura. They heavily edited the UltiMaker 3 script to use their API, but it looks like they never got any kind of network discovery working. It would be faster to write a new Python plugin than to try to modify the current version of the UM3 code, especially since I’ve already got a working Bash script.

Quality update!

To no surprise, replacing the 6.5mm retraction with the 2-3mm that Dremel had in their version of Cura significantly improved the results. I can now do head-to-head comparisons between Cura 4.8 and PrusaSlicer 2.3, to decide which one handles specific parts better.

For my babydai koma, I find the overhang+supports quality unacceptable in both, so I’ve added some 0.5mm-wide manual supports to the model that can be easily snapped off. This forces both slicers to treat them as bridges, which significantly improves the results. And cuts the print time and filament use a bit.

bash dose not exists

On CallCallCallCall

Yesterday was the beginning of my first week of on-call since I started the new job at the end of August (pause for hysterical laughter at the thought of only one week at a time). When Baby’s First Alert went off, PagerDuty simultaneously sent email, SMS, a push notification, and a phone call; it sounded like my phone was having an audiogasm. My first priority was trimming it to one alert at a time.

And, yes, one of the Nagios errors I’ve been paged over was a log-scanner that flagged an unfamiliar error message. It turns out that “X dose not exists” is a surprisingly popular typo, in a variety of contexts.

Technically not a lens!

Despite the high risk of higher taxes this year, I decided to stretch my no-new-cameras-or-lenses rule slightly to buy a Nikon-to-Sony tilt/shift adapter. +/-10mm of shift, 10° of tilt, and 360° of rotation with click-stops so you can use them in any direction. It’s not a true view camera adapter, but it also doesn’t cost $850 and weigh considerably more than the camera.

A quick test with my really old Nikon 35mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.4 allowed full movements with no vignetting on my A6500. It’s something I’d only pack on days where I was planning to visit a castle (or if I ever made it waaay out to the Yamato museum in Kure to get some pics of the 1:10 scale model), but it does something software simply can’t.

(and, yes, there are half a dozen 3d-printed tilt/shift adapter designs out there, but most of them have the wrong mount on one or both sides, and are clunky and/or hard to print. Also, I’m not really willing to trust my lenses to their design skills. I’ve had a camera fall four feet onto concrete due to a defective strap; trusting a 3d-printed connector seems worse)

(and, yes, my current straps are very sturdy)

Also not a lens!

Somewhere I have a very nice pinhole adapter for my 4x5 camera, which would be great if I had a darkroom, or a high-end digital back. Since I don’t, I was idly looking at the various body-cap adapters, which range from actual body caps to nicely-made adapters that take lens caps and filters.

That Amazon listing didn’t include the effective aperture size, which is kinda useful information, so I went to their official site, and the very first sample picture from the product was:

Because nothing says “infinite depth of field” like a giant replica of a masturbation device.

Monster Girl Doctor

Sometime last year I read the first two light novels for this and lost interest, so the anime wasn’t high on my list. After idly watching the first few episodes, I’m not terribly interested in more, unless they focus on the cyclops girl Memé.

Big Mouse Is Watching You

Stream No Evil

The Disney+ streaming service is protecting children from Disney movies. Another way to protect them is to cancel Disney+ and go back to buying DVDs. And, y’know, parent instead of leaving them alone with a remote and a megacorp deciding what they should watch.

Amazon “recommendation” roundup

I’ve got a lot of mice and laptop stands around the house, but I’ve never really thought of them as “decor”.

FYI, police are not generally well-disposed toward people who carry spiked “keychains”, which are in any case more of an urban-defense thing than “hunting & fishing” accessories. And how many people actually need to color-coordinate their stabby-sticks with their wardrobe?

“They are gardeners and carpenters. They are not tomato-men.”

While there are occasions where I would agree that pom-poms constitute appropriate apparel for women, I don’t think I should be the one buying them, even as gifts. It’s really more of a gift for me.

I can at least understand how they ended up here.

This one strikes pretty close to home, because I was just about to run out of the stuff, and Gevalia seems to still be struggling to deal with Covid-induced coffee distribution issues. There are people trying to scalp their K-cups on a number of sites, and pretty much every local store that carries them hasn’t restocked in months. I’ve had to redo my monthly subscription several times as the different SKUs come and go. I wasn’t sure that I’d be getting any this month at all until yesterday morning, and it wouldn’t be the first time that Amazon marked something as “shipped” that wasn’t really, really on the way.

Fingers jittery and crossed.

Update: 1 out of 3 is bad

My Gevalia k-cup order arrived, but while the box was the correct size, it was suspiciously light. Opening it revealed that my 3-pack had been reduced to a 1-pack. Sadly, the amount I was charged was not reduced to match. Amazon does not offer a “hey, you sent the wrong stuff” button, just a “return or replace” button. Not even a “hey you shipped me a box of lightbulbs in just a padded envelope” button, which also happened today, although those at least work.

Update: Yes, we have no more coffee

Since the only option Amazon offered me was to return the undersized coffee shipment, I did so, selecting the “missing or broken parts” reason, with details in the comment. Their new system determined that it’s not worth it for them to have me mail them back, so they’re refunding my money but letting me keep the partial shipment.

The only ones in-stock at Amazon are $20 for 6 k-cups, so I have about two weeks to find another source for the stuff.

Ah, coffee!

Found an Amazon marketplace dealer whose price for 3 6-packs was only moderately extortionate, and which became reasonable when I factored in the cost of the 12-pack I got to keep out of the return. Hopefully with the remarkably-sudden nationwide discovery that lockdowns are bad, supplies will stabilize in time for next month’s shipment.

Time for a Cofee Brick!

Amusing Note

Shady web sites that redirect you to malware are still using the “your Flash Player is out of date” con. And it probably still works about as well as it ever did.

This Just In

Remember the “insurrection” that Trump supposedly incited with his speech, that was used to take down Parler despite being coordinated on Twitter and Facebook? Y’know, the one where police opened the doors to let protesters into the building before killing an unarmed woman who wasn’t threatening anyone? The one where they found pipe bombs that the FBI just revealed were planted the night before?

No soup for you!

No pie for you!

Corona-chan apparently took down the local Pizza Hut a few weeks ago. Permanently? Still showed as closed on Friday night at dinnertime. If I wanted good pizza I’d make it myself, but first I’d have to go buy pepperoni and cheese. I tend to order from PH if I don’t want to go out, because it’s better than Domino’s, half the price of Round Table, and won’t make me sick like Mountain Mike’s does.

No cut for you!

The local chain haircut joint was shut down by the governor (again) at the beginning of December, and despite him opening things back up a little in a likely-futile effort to stop the petition to shitcan his l’il-dictator ass, they haven’t reopened yet. It looks like their location in Seaside is back online, and I know the folks from the Salinas shop were working shifts over there, so maybe I’ll make the 20-mile drive today or tomorrow.

No kids for you!

Episode 4 of That Spider Show was a bit more interesting, because it didn’t advance the B ArkArc.

(spider is unrelated)

No shows for you!

I haven’t found anything else worth watching for days. Last thing I managed to make it through was Matt Smith’s final arc in Doctor Who.

Thicc Cam


Accepted wisdom is that the maximum practical layer height for a given nozzle size is ~80% of its diameter, or 0.32mm for the common 0.4mm nozzles. I was tinkering with Cura’s adaptive layer height feature (which does not offer the customizability of PrusaSlicer’s, and is hidden away as an experimental feature), and it happened to generate some layers all the way up at 0.4. So I figured, what the hell, let’s try it on something that doesn’t have to be sturdy, and that would still work just fine if the top half fell off. Or even the top 2/3.

Turned out just fine, with some very light stringing on the inside of the tube that was easy to shave. Fits nicely, too. I’m sure there are plenty of models where 0.4mm layers wouldn’t work, but it’s a time-saver when it does.

(and, yes, if I want to really speed things up, MicroSwiss does make 0.6mm and 0.8mm nozzles for the 3D45, as well as replacement 0.4mm ones; all of them are also rated for abrasive filaments, something I’ve had no reason to try yet)

My miter box cam pin has finally been indexed on Thingiverse, and shows up both in searches and in my profile. It took two months.

Found a Zorkmid

Well, printed one, anyway, as a Cura test. Came out pretty decent, printed on edge on a raft.

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