Category Archives: Entertainment

Gigabit to The Home BoF Opening Presentation

I gave the discussion-starting talk for this week’s CS departmental BoF session. The topic this week was “Unlimited Internet bandwidth – Would it be a game changer or no big deal?” My opening talk was just to get people up to date on the current events to kick off a discussion, though it is very similar to asking “What will we do with the internet” in the early ’80s, and thus rather difficult to suggest up plausible cases that aren’t “The same thing but faster.”


Gigabit to the home is rapidly becoming a reality. Programmable hundred gigabit networks are already being constructed. Cellular networks are improving so fast that people are dumping their wired connections in favor of wireless. In short, networks are becoming so fast that one can begin to imagine a world where bandwidth is essentially unlimited.

But how would the world change if we had (essentially) unlimited bandwidth to everywhere? Would it change anything? Don’t most apps already have all the bandwidth they need? Aren’t networks already fast enough to support “the Cloud”? Have we already max’d out on bandwidth? Are there any super-cool apps that could still be enabled by even faster networks? If so, what are they? Will they be truly radical, or just an incremental improvement?

Come and find out at our next CS Bof, Friday, Nov 1 at 3pm when we will debate whether there are apps that will benefit from even faster network speeds. If there was unlimited bandwidth, what new apps could *you* see emerging? Join us Friday to dream about the possibilities and give your opinion.

Slides , Notes

In a related note, I’ve made slides for several presentations recently in Beamer, including this one, and I’m pretty convinced I’m never voluntarily using Powerpoint or any obstinate WYSIWYG slide system again. Beamer is a superior tool for the job for every kind of presentation using slides I’ve ever run into.

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The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of The Year Vol. 7

While I’m writing up things I’ve done recently, I finished this year’s edition of the Jonathan Strahan edited The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year collection. As in previous years I’ll mention the high points.
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Shapeoko: Part 6


I’ve been working on my Shapeoko in little fits and spurts that individually haven’t been terribly documentation worthy, but in aggregate are pretty interesting. Continuing from where I left off in Shapeoko: Part 5, I’ve iterated a bit on belt tensioners, switched to a commercial breakout board, put the spindle under computer control, attached the spindle to the machine, made some tentative test cuts, and added hall-effect endstop/homing switches to the X and Y axes.
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Babylon The Master Builder’s Puzzle Cube


We have been printing out little puzzles to test dimensional accuracy on the 3D printer in the lab, and it reminded me of a cube puzzle I had as a kid, which is now rather difficult to find information on. I’m putting this on the ‘net largely because coming up with search terms to unify all the relevant information was nearly impossible – I had to go root around at my parent’s house to find my set to connect all the dots. It was the source of many ragequits as a child, and it would be a shame to deprive future generations of the same …stimulation.
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Learning to LDP

I’ve wanted to learn to LDP (Long Distance Pump) since before I started skating. Every summer, I spend some time trying to learn to pump, and make minor adjustments to my setups to make it more practical, and for my efforts I could impart energy, but my setups have always been sufficiently sub-optimal that I only managed sustain speed with a pump a handful of times, and never accelerated.


This summer I decided do it right. I bought the classic inexpensive LDP truck set (A Bennett Vector and a Tracker RTS, I picked the 5.0 and 129mm variants respectively), modded them for LDP, and installed them on my suitably sized deck with suitable bushings and wheels.

Distance skating attracts the best sort of crazies – It’s something of an equipment sport, so they tend to obsessively purchase and modify gear. It’s remarkably physically demanding, so there is a lot of the classic solo endurance sport mentality. It also has carryover from the “raah hardcore” skate world. Fortunately, the internet has brought together the appropriate crazies at sites like Pavedwave and skatefurther, where the discipline has been developed from its roots in the 70s.

Designed-for-LDP decks (Subsonic Pulse, LBL Walkabout, RoeRacing Mermaid, etc.) are boutique items and tend to cost in excess of $150 for the bare deck, so I wanted to ease in financially in smaller steps since I’m not sure how capable I’ll be. Most sources say 26″ to 31″ is suitable for an LDP wheelbase, and my Pakala III is around 25.6, so it is manageable if a little tight-pumping.

The mods for the trucks are pretty interesting, I implemented a number of the suggestions from this excellent thread on the pavedwave forums.

On the Bennett, I made myself a nice Polyoxymethylene(aka Delrin/Acetal) insert for the pivot. I think the technical name for this thing would be a bushing, but since that term is already in use for trucks, people have taken to calling these “hobo sphericals” or “fixed spehericals,” as the more elaborate alternative is to install a spherical bushing. I saw that Griffin sells fixed spehricals for Bennett trucks that look to be machined out of some flavor of Polyoxymethylene, looked at the sheet of 1/8″ Aceteal I had for another project, and decided to DIY. For those looking closely at the numbers, the insert is a little thinner than ideal (0.125″ sheet, gap depth measures around 0.16″) but it seems sufficient.

I hacked a small chunk off the sheet, held it under the truck pivot, and scribed the diameter into the sheet with a pin. I then did the typical chords-and-90°-angles center of a circle stunt, sanity checked it against a washer, and drilled the center to 25/64″ in a couple steps (starter drill, some intermediate size grabbed at random, 3/8″ because I wasn’t sure how sloppy I was being, then 25/64″) — Kingpins are 3/8, and it should slide freely, so a V letter drill would probably be technically correct, but I’ve never contrived an excuse to own a letter drill set, and was free-handing it with pliers and a handheld drill anyway, so 25/64. I then followed my scribe line with a coarse sanding drum chucked into a rotary tool, and fitted/finished it with a finer sanding drum. I’ve checked on it a couple times as I fiddle with the configuration, and it seems to be holding up and doing its job.

If I ever get my Shapeoko into shape for this sort of thing I should be able to punch out some nice precision parts for this on it.

On the RTS, I clipped the wings a bit with a file, as apparently the wings will chew up the pivot cup if you don’t. I then polished out the file marks and the whole pivot pin on both trucks with some tripoli compound and a felt wheel chucked up in a rotary tool.


At the moment I have the Bennett wedged to +10°, with Green and Yellow tall Reflex barrels, and the RTS at -7° with some blue Khiro barrels I had around, both stacked on top of 3/4″ of risers to keep it from biting – gives a ~5″ ride height, which is not ideal.

I built up speed by pumping the first time I stepped on this thing (and then wheelbit, got some road rash on my elbow, installed some more risers, and accelerated again without the painful sudden deceleration). I’m still clumsy and slow pumping, and I’m sure the setup can be improved, but it feels wild, and the dedicated trucks make a world of difference.

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Adventures in 3D Printing

The MakerGear M2 3D printer the KAOS lab ordered arrived last week. I am thoroughly impressed with the machine and how little fussing has been required to get decent prints out of it.

I’ve been pushing annotated pictures of our adventures with the M2 to a G+ album, because the auto-upload from my phone is too good to give up, even if the G+ album manager sucks. Take a look to get a taste of our massive new distraction.

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Shapeoko: Part 5

This was originally posted as Shapeoko: Part 6, because I apparently can’t count.

A while ago I ordered a 300W ER-11 DC spindle kit from China to install in my Shapeoko. I finally got to the post office yesterday (stupid recipient-must-be-present shipping) to pick it up, am impressed with the whole process. Most of this post is about the spindle, there is some more belt tensioner tinkering down at the bottom.

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Favorite Talks of 29C3

I’ve been watching the talks out of 29c3 as they become available online for the last couple days, and these are my favorites with comments. I’ve never come up with an excuse to actually go, but always find that it is the conference with the most things I am excited about every year, and end up watching more recorded sessions than I could have attended had I been present. The ones I picked below were both topics I found interesting and good presentations – there were a couple I hoped would be good but had talks that made me just give up and read the paper that I won’t mention here.

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Shapeoko: Part 4

I got some more time to work on my Shapeoko over the last few days, and now have mostly correct 3-axis motion. As before, details under the fold.

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SC12: A Review in Schwag

All the Schwag I brought back from SC12, as packed.

I’ve made a habit of these posts after SC every year, and took the pictures, so away we go.
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