“The French Revolution, you say? In which rising social and economic inequality led to a democratic overthrow of a monarchy and the establishment of a republic? That French Revolution?”

— NYT editor Dan Salzstein, village idiot

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]

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)

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

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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