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.

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 Scammers put up phony listings for new and used hardcover and paperback editions of this as-yet-unpublished book, at insane prices.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

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.

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.

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.

Purple. Green.

There Will Be Zombies

Or at least, an announcement about zombie idols. On January 1st.

Well, that’s different

I’m in the habit of asking the nearest Alexa device to play songs that I don’t have on my laptop. The experience is unreliable, not just because it mis-hears me and plays whatever sounds close, but the one thing that’s always worked is the phrase, “Alexa, repeat the song”.

Until today, when instead of the most recent song, A Very Strange Medley, it reached back several weeks and repeated The Future Soon.

The Return Of Doctor Sue

If you have any remaining affection for the current incarnation of Doctor Who, the upcoming New Years Day special features Captain Jack Harkness. And Daleks. And a plot that looks to be recycled from a few Matt Smith episodes. I’ll pass.

First overnight print

This took about 14 hours. I haven’t tried it out yet, because there are a few more parts that didn’t fit on the bed.

Yes, I’ve finally printed a 3d-printer upgrade, because I decided that the hassle of rewinding filament onto empty Dremel spools was higher than the hassle of printing an external spool adapter and coming up with a way to keep it warm and dust-free. The dust cover should be trivial, since I’ve got plenty of connectors from my takadai project; I just need to see if I can keep it up around 30°C the way the internal spool holder does. One of these would be overkill, but since it would only run while I’m printing, I could plug it into the spare Amazon Smart Plug I’ve got sitting around. Or just pre-heat the chamber for a few minutes before printing, and keep a dessicant pack inside the dust cover.

Why is it purple? Because it was the only color in stock at a reasonable price while I was ordering some other things from Amazon. Dremel’s branded filament continues to have availability issues, which is another reason for me to make it easier to use third-party spools.

(and, no, I will not be using this filament to print a dinosaur…)

Helping Hands

Soldering isn’t the only activity that benefits from a set of extra hands. This set is sturdy, easy to print, and the grip strength can be adjusted by your choice of rubber bands.

If you meet the buddha on the road, duck!

There Will Be Dragons

Dragon Maids, to be precise. In masks, apparently.

(hmmm, the face-masks are gone from the promo pics now; maybe they realized that dragons don’t fear Corona-chan)

(no, wait, they’re back; they must be rotating the image)

M140 > M190

I solved my intermittent adhesion problem. PrusaSlicer was heating the bed with M190, which apparently doesn’t “stick” on the Dremel 3D45. The printer dutifully pre-heated the bed, but then turned it off, so it gradually cooled to around 36°C over the course of the print. Cooling plastic shrinks, so long, narrow items would tend to pop up at the ends.

Dremel’s version of Cura doesn’t use M190 at all, and just issues an M140 for pre-heating and another right before starting the second layer. PrusaSlicer supports custom gcode before layer changes, so I just added M140 S{bed_temperature[0]}, and all is well. It’s probably overkill to force it on every layer change, but it doesn’t hurt anything or slow down the print, and I can always refine it later.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty happy with the quality I’m getting:

Hatchbox PLA, 0.1mm, 0% infill, no supports, 230°/60°; Buddha, Duckie. The buddha really should have been printed with supports, but I decided to risk it. The duckie has some layer-start issues that I’m still tinkering with.

Dear Amazon…

Cooking is different at your house.

What he said…

2020-world problems

Santa was hung by the chimney with care…

This looks less like “coming down the chimney” and more like “autoerotic asphyxiation”.

No Passing

Apple takes aim at a newfarmer’s market

Lots of coincidentally-identical rumors exploding out of the tech press recently, about Apple’s un/confirmed plans for a self-driving electric car Real Soon Now. Given that they can’t release a new OS without bricking thousands of their own products, I think it’s a bad idea to give them the chance to brick their customers, too. And non-customers.

Rewatch: Bofuri

One does not marathon Bofuri, one mainlines it. Fingers crossed that season 2 shows up sometime next year.

I’ve been having difficulty watching pretty much anything recently, with all the never-ending lockdown theater, but I was able to watch half a season of Maple’s antics at a time.

No Comment

I’ll be upgrading the comment system tonight. Should be a trivial outage, and it’s not like I get a ton of comments in the first place…

It scans

Given the Left’s ahistorical fondness for Guy Fawkes masks, I find it curiously appropriate that you can just substitute “Democrat” for “Gunpowder”.

Reread: Sunshine

Robin McKinley’s novels have long been a comfort food for me, and last night it was the quirky Sunshine, which carved out its own little genre, the vampire/bakery/buddy-cop urban-fantasy.

(yeah, I didn’t even try to find something that included all the relevant elements…)

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