Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: Dell Ultra HD 4k Monitor P2715Q 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

I've been looking for a second monitor for some time now. I currently run an Apple 30" Cinema Display, which is awesome by the way. Between the Missus and myself we have three of them. They are heavy however and not super energy efficient. The Dell P2715Q  came down to $450 on Amazon last December (10 months ago) so I picked one up. You can find other in depth reviews of the monitor around the web, here's one for example P2715q review, because I want to say some bad things about this monitor.

Overall the monitor isn't bad. It is light, it is considerably smaller than 30" monitor, the stand is OK and the monitor holds it's tilt angle better than some monitors. The controls are standard Dell controls. The resolution is amazing! 4K is really nice, if your computer can drive it. Make sure it can drive it because one of my older Mac Books is old and the interpolated resolution leaves a lot to be desired. The Display Port sucks. They have a bad display port chipset in it and it won't wake the Mac at times.

But now I have to get to my scathing review. It died after owning it for 10 months. Honestly, I hardly used it. I believe the power supply went belly up. It is under warranty so I called Dell. I won't bother going into details, but I can say based off my overall experience I suggest looking elsewhere for computer hardware. I will never buy another Dell monitor or computer again. I'm currently on the phone trying to figure out why they sent me an email saying they were going to call me over 2 hours ago and to wait around for that call for 2 hours. They have no idea. It's been over a week now since my initial call and they plan to send me a refurbished unit as a replacement but they have to verify my purchase. Apparently that will be a little while longer. On the plus side the person I spoke with today was very nice. Anyway, I said I wouldn't go into details but I think all that's worthwhile.

So, in summary, I like the monitor, looks great, functions good, it's a good monitor, but don't buy one because it will die and you'll send a week of your life trying to get a replacement.

Monday, August 22, 2016

iOS Looses Your Calendar

I've now seen three devices loose the entire Calendar. All events are gone, all calendars are gone. It doesn't make any sense. You can tell if this is the case by going to Settings | iCloud | Scroll down find find Default Calendar. If it isn't there then you have run into this problem. The only work around that I know of is you sign out of your iCloud account and sign back in. Remember all of your settings. Best to take a screen capture of all the screens so you can recreate what you had.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Create a Rounded Cube in OpenSCAD

There are two ways to easily make a rounded cube. The first is to use the hull function:

module RoundedCube(size, radius) {
    width = size[0];
    height = size[1];
    depth = size[2];
    hull() {
        translate([radius, radius, 0]) cylinder(r = radius, h = depth);
        translate([width - radius, radius, 0]) cylinder(r = radius, h = depth);
        translate([radius, height - radius, 0]) cylinder(r = radius, h = depth);
        translate([width - radius, height - radius, 0]) cylinder(r = radius, h = depth);

The second is to use linear_extrude and the offset functions:

module RoundedCube(size, radius) {
    width = size[0];
    height = size[1];
    depth = size[2];

    translate([radius, radius, 0]) linear_extrude(height = depth) offset(r = radius) square([width, height]);

Now they aren't exactly identical. They will produce slightly different rounded cubes, but hopefully this helps someone out there use OpenSCAD.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Photographing People

A while back I ran into Joe Edelman YouTube channel. If you want to photograph people and use flash this is a very good channel. Specifically I suggest checking out One Light Portrait Lighting for AWESOME Portraits & Headshots.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Remove Every Other Line in a Text File

Once in a while a while you need to remove every other line in a text file. It's really easy to do with awk from the Terminal:

awk 'NR % 2 == 0' infile > outfile

There are obviously a lot of ways to accomplish this simple task but this is by far the easiest.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Copy a DVD/CD on a Mac

Recently I had to walk a friend over the phone how to make a copy of a DVD, so I wrote down the directions as I went and here they are since the ones I found on the internet were always missing a step. Making a Disk Image of the DVD/CD 1. Run Disk Utility 2. Insert “YourDisk” DVD into DVD drive 3. It’ll show up on the left hand list as: SuperDrive YourDisk 4. Left click on “YourDisk” to select it. 5. Click the “New Image” button at the top in the toolbar. 6. “Save As” will be set to “YourDisk.dmg”. This will change with step 8. 7. On the left hand side choose where you want to save it to. I selected the Desktop. 8. At the bottom “Image Format” is set to “compressed”, change this to “DVD/CD master”. This will change “ YourDisk.dmg” to “YourDisk.cdr”. 9. Make sure “Encryption” is set to “none”. 10. Click Save. 11. This will take a while. 12. Once it’s done, go to the next step. Burning the DVD 13. Eject the “YourDisk” DVD and insert a blank DVD. 14. In Disk Utility, at the bottom of the list on the left hand side you will see “YourDisk.cdr”. Select “YourDisk.cdr” and click the “Burn” button at in the toolbar at the top. Just follow the directions...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Setting Master/Slave on the Canon 580EXII

I always forget how to do this so I'm blogging about it so I know right where to look and so maybe it helps one other person. 1. Press and hold zoom for about 3 seconds to get into the master/slave mode. 2. Rotate the wheel to select between "off", "master on" or "slave on". 3. Press the set button. Don't forget the set button. Happy multiple flash photography!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lulzbot Taz 5

I got one. I decided to not wait for the Taz 6 for two reasons. It's about 6 months out and a friend has a Taz 5 so we can make tweaks together and support one another. And I have some stuff I wanted to print. Plus Lulzbot, and the community, supports their old printers so well I don't think it'll be out of date any time soon. Some recommendations for first time owners of a 3D printer and specifically a Taz 5. 1. Throw away the knife tool and buy a paint spatula like this: I bought a Liquitex free style. It was about $12 at the local art supply store. The key things you are looking for is the angle holding the spatula part so you can get the spatula flat on the bed without your hand interfering. You also want it to be fairly sharp but strong. This one has variable thicknesses for each protrusion on the spatula. 2. I changed the factory settings on the printer. The factory settings are: Vmax-x: 800 Vmax-y: 800 Vmax-z: 8 Amax-x: 9000 Amax-y: 9000 Amax-e: 10000 Aretract: 3000 I changed these to the following: Configuration->Advanced Vmax-x: 192 Vmax-y: 208 Vmax-z: 3 Amax-x: 2000 Amax-y: 2000 Amax-e: 400 Aretract: 2000 Make sure to store the settings. -> Store Settings 3. The Cura settings change depending on the filament. I've been having great experience with Verbatim 3mm filament using the following settings: Basic: Layer height: .15 Shell thickness: 1 Enable retraction: true Bottom/Top thickness: 1 Fill Density %: 20 Perimeters before Infill: true Print speed: 60 Printing temperature: 0 Bed temperature: 0 Diamter: 2.85 Flow: 100 Advanced: Nozzle size: .5 Speed: 10 Distance: 4 Initial layer thickness: .15 Initial layer line width: 100 Cut off object bottom: 0.0 Travel speed: 100 Bottom layer speed: 30 Infill speed: 75 Top/bottom speed: 40 Outer shell speed: 40 Inner shell speed: 60 Minimal layer time: 5 Enable cooling fan: true The reason I set the temperatures to zero is I turn them on on the printer itself first. This allows gcode to print PLA or ABS. However, the other settings need to match as well. This doesn't work when switching between other brands of filaments that need different settings. For instance IC3D filament is 2.9mm rather than the standard 3mm filament of 2.85 (yeah, that doesn't make sense). However, IC3D filament has been impossible to print with. I had an impossible time on the Type A Machine Series 1 as well. Same problems actually. IC3D filament requires 115 degrees and a slightly hotter bed of 70 degrees, while Verbatim is 105/60. But the IC3D is so chalky if there is any retraction the filament stepper eats through the filament resulting in a failed print. Verbatim is a little more difficult to get though since Amazon won't ship it to me. It's an Amazon bug that we've been going back and forth on for some time. eSun is also good filament. A bit more stringy though.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bash Script to get Path to Inself

I use bash enough and fumble my way through it that I have little nuggets like this but I never retain them in my brain. So, in contributing to the global bash community and my external brain storage, here is how to get the path that your currently running script lives in.

PATH=$(cd $(dirname $0) ; pwd -P)
And since people typically post scripts like this, even one liners, and don't explain them, I'll explain each piece. 1. The first argument is the full file name to the script: $0 2. Get the directory of the script. You'd think we'd stop there, but we keep going: $(dirname $0) 3. Change directories to the directory containing the script: cd $(dirname $0) 4. Run another bash command: ; 5. Get the current working directory, and -P resolves symlinks: pwd -P 6. Assign the directory containing the script and that is not a symlink so the real path to the PATH variable: PATH=$(cd $(dirname $0) ; pwd -P) There you have it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

External Hard Disk Doesn't Eject On El Capitan

Ever since upgrading to El Capitan all external hard disks won't eject because Spotlight is always running. I have to stop Spotlight with this command before ejecting or risk corrupting the hard disk:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

And then restart Spotlight:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Alternative iPhone Music App

The stock iPhone Music app has been getting worse and worse. I finally gave up and searched around for a better music app and have settled (for now) on an app called Ecoute. Ecoute is pretty simple. There isn't much there besides an app to play your music. You can easily create playlists on the fly and it just works where the iPhone Music app really doesn't. If you find the iPhone Music app cumbersome, you don't want to subscribe to Apple Music then give Ecoute a try. Sure it's $1.99 but just works. It's what a music app should be!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

CAD Applications for 3D Printing

By far the biggest limiting factor in 3D printing is easy to use CAD software. Here is a list of the best CAD software applications that I've found.

Sketchup - Great for woodworking, but unusable for 3D printing since it only is good down to 1/16 of an inch.

Solidworks - By far the best software package out there. Very expensive out out of the reach of the average person. The student version is $100, the regular version is $4000 with a $1500 yearly license but the one you really want if you want to build assemblies is the $8000 version with a $2000 yearly license. You don't actually own the software and it's more like buying a car than buying software since you have to go through a sales guy that deeply discounts the price at the end of the year, but if you are making money on what you're building then this is the software you want.

AutoDesk - I see people get amazing results from this. I'm not one of them since there are some serious bugs on the Mac. For some reason the model will just disappear in the middle of working with it. I also can't stand the fact that all saved files are in the cloud.

FreeCAD - This is an open source totally free CAD package that is rather good. I doesn't work on the Mac at all. They have a version but don't bother, it's way too old. Lulzbot uses FreeCAD exclusively supporting their open source tradition. If you have Windows or Linux, this is a pretty good package!

OpenSCAD - Like FreeCAD it's open source but it's different than all the other CAD programs out there. At first I was put off by how it works but I now appreciate it. You program everything. This is cumbersome for large models, but actually it works pretty good once you get used to it. My only complaint which has been solved openjscad.org is that you can't anchor an object to a point on another object and have it's world view relative to that point. Rather everything is translated from 0, 0, 0. If they fixed that one problem this would be a much more powerful and competitive product. But I love the parametric functionality and for some things this is what I've been using. Also you can send someone a file in email without an attachment!

ViaCAD - I've settled on ViaCAD. They have some inexpensive options and a lot of features. It makes a lot more sense to me than AutoDesk and I can save files locally and it works on Mac!