Archive for the 'tech' Category

What makes tech fun?

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Sometime working with tech is a lot of fun.  Sometimes it’s not very much fun.  I have been putting a lot of thought into the differences lately.

I think tech is the most fun when you learn/discover by doing.

I think tech is the least fun when you have a set of standards and you are trying to contort solutions into those standards.

I think having standards is extremely important in a professional environment because it makes projects testable and predictable.

I think most of the systems that are in place right now are focused on standards and not fun.  I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities for hobby coding in the near future. I bet that is going to be a huge growth industry.

How can you make learning what an array is and how to use arrays fun?  There are a lot of ways, but right now the focus is not on fun it’s on building profitable software.

Taking a break from 3D Printing

Friday, October 16th, 2015

My career in IT is winding out and one thing I need to start focusing on is coding/technology for fun.  I need to do this because technology is fun at times, but it can also be incredibly unfun.

3D printing has the potential to be a lot of fun.  But I don’t think it is at this time.

What would make 3D printing fun for mainstream users?

  1. A simple interface for building and searching for 3D models.
  2. A print button.
  3. A reasonable price – $300 to $500.

That’s what I think…  So I am taking a break.  Maybe in a year or two it will be fun.

STL Builder – Library Selection

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Since my STL builder is going to be a front end tool I don’t have to worry about server side issues.

Here are the libraries I have decided to use:

  • jQuery
  • Angular
  • Boot Strap
  • JS Plumb


STL Builder

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

I did my new first step of building an HTML5 stl builder for cubes.  My new first step is to set up a repository in github.

The next step is going to be to add all of the vendor libraries.  I think this step is going to change.  I think that it will become a bower script.  I think this is why bower scripts are so useful.  Because now I am going to check a bunch of vendor files into my project.  And I will have to do some kid of naming convention so I will know what version of each library is being used.

If I set up a bower script then all of that information is clearly documented.

Link To My CSS3 Demo

Friday, October 9th, 2015

I have been taking a course on Code School about CSS3.   It’s a lot of fun and it’s one of the best courses at

Here is a link where I tried some CSS3 out:

Link To My BackBone.js Demo

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Here is a link to my BackBone.js Demo for my interview tomorrow.

Specs for my .STL cube builder

Monday, October 5th, 2015

In my last post about 3D printing I mentioned that I want to make an ASCII .stl cube builder.

The .stl builder will have three main components:

  1. Viewer – 3d viewer
  2. Builder – where you enter the data two modes (BAF & Wizard)
  3. Description – The .STL that you can copy to print

note: BAF stands for Big Ass Form.

When all is said and done I want this tool to allow me to build things with hundreds of cubes… like Minecraft.


3D Printing… finally comfortable with the format

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

When it comes to 3D printing for my particular printer I am finally comfortable with one tiny aspect of it.

I feel very comfortable hand writing an ASCII .stl file for Cubes.  Basically, I can hand write all different kinds of cubes.

It’s a good feeling… so what’s next.

I have a lot of choices.  First, I could move onto spheres or other shapes.  Second, I could make lots and lots of cubes and cube combinations.  Third, I could build a tool that will make cubes for me.

Since I used to build tools for a living I think that I am going to work on building an HTML tool that builds ASCII .stl files.

So for the next couple of months I will toggle my 3D printing efforts.  One day I will work on my hand written .stl skills by slowly building a castle, brick by brick and then the next day I will work on my tool… this is going to be fun!

3D Printing Update.

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

We are back to having fun in 3D printing.   At this time all I know how to do is print cubes like structures of various sizes and shapes.

I am using the .stl format, more specifically the ASCII version of the .stl format.

My understanding is that a .stl ASCII cube like structures is a description of a cube.  That description can be broken down a description of faces.  So a cube like Structure has 6 faces.  Each face can be broken down to a description of two triangles.  Each triangle can be broken down to a description of 3 points.  And each point can be broken down to a description of 3 coordinates (x, y, and z.)

One last point is that a .stl describe multiple cubes overlapping and that’s how you can build complex shapes.

I am trying to lock that down so that it becomes “common sense” in my brain.

3D Printing Ascii STL Gotcha

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

I have been hand coding my own ASCII STL files.  About 2 weeks ago they all started failing to print.

Turns out that when you describe a cube you specify the normal direction of a face (the face’s exterior) in two ways.

1) You write a line like this: facet normal  0  0 -1 which would mean that the outside of the face is in the -z direction.

2) The RHR of the 3 coordinates that describe the face.

Turns out that our printer ignores #1.