Monthly Archives: August 2019

Selectric Cozy

Bias-tape bound seams out looks better, even if the sewing job is obviously uneven.

Some months ago I decided I wanted to play with an IBM Selectric typewriter, and after some fuckery, obtained and started working on an example of the dual-pitch, correcting Selectric II I find most appealing. At some point there will be an extended post about that, but 1. I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m talking about yet, and 2. Too much writing at the time I was working on it. This post is not about the machine, just the cover I made for it.

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An Experiment in Water Cooled 3D Printing Extrusion

Scrapheap Challenge: The world’s worst syringe pump.

Or, three hours enjoyably lost to a visit from the bad idea fairy.

My PhD advisor and I were chatting in the lab today and had an idea that it would be interesting to try to drip/jet a bit of water onto just-extruded filament, ideally in small enough quantity that it phase changed and flashed off with all the excess energy, in order to allow printing unreasonable unsupported structures.

It unfortunately doesn’t look like it will be practical, but we got a PoC-grade implementation in a few hours and it seemed worth a quick write-up to document our experiment for the interwebz.

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Print Your Own Heat Shrink Labels for Factory-Chic Wire Naming

Source: Hack a Day

Article note: Hmmm. I have a D1 printer, and thanks to this article I now know that unsupported P1 printers can be tricked into running heatshrink. The internet tells me they also make D1 cartridges full of heatshrink...the combination makes me very curious. Unfortunately, it'll cost me at least $30 in examples to decode the sense holes on the P1 carts, and a quick search hasn't turned up an answer.

Heat shrink tubing is great for insulating wires. Labeling wires in a bundle is always useful, too. [Voltlog] has a cheap Brother label printer and discovered he can buy knock off label cassettes for a lot less from China. However, he also found something else: cassettes with heat shrink tubing in them made for the same kind of printer. Could he use the heat shrink cassettes to make neat wire labels? In his first video the answer was sort of, but not really. However, he later had a breakthrough and made a second video explaining how to do it. You can see both videos, below.

At first, the printer didn’t even want to recognize the cassette. It seems like Brother doesn’t want you using exotic tapes with cheap printers. No worry, this isn’t sophisticated DRM, just a sense hole that you need to cover with tape. This discovery was made using the extremely scientific trick of covering all the holes that were not on a regular cassette.

With the holes covered up, the printer worked, but the print came out mirrored. To understand why, you have to understand how the normal labels work. In the cassette, the label material has no paper backing which is separate in a different part of the cartridge. The printer marks the backside of the see-through label and then bonds the paper backing to it as it exits the printer. This makes sense because it puts the markings under the tape where they are relatively safe from moisture or physical abrasion.

However, with heat shrink, it isn’t transparent and there’s no backing material. So the reverse print doesn’t really help you. It turns out the cheap printer can do non-mirrored printing, but to make that work, one of the holes in the special cassette needed to stay open. Once the proper holes were covered and uncovered, everything worked great.

Heat shrink is probably more high tech than you’d think. Did you know you can get it with adhesive inside it, too?


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We checked and yup, it’s no longer 2001. And yet you can pwn a Windows box via Notepad.exe

Source: The Register

Article note: I just remember the "complex text handling for things like internationalization exposes an unacceptable amount of complex surface area" vs. "inclusion, compatibility, configurability, pretty" discussions getting brutal way back when. The "no" side lost hard. Now, as usually happens in these things, the "yes" side's legacy is currently losing.

Google guru shows how WinXP-era text code grants total control

Patch Tuesday  Software buried in Windows since the days of WinXP can be abused to take complete control of a PC with the help of good ol' Notepad and some crafty code.…

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Bladekey Refresh

I’ve been carrying a series of slightly-customized 3D printed bolt-type bladekeys since 2014. Despite being printed PLA, I’ve only had to print a new one once every several years – I wasn’t keeping good records but I think this is my third plastic body, second #8-32 “Chicago Binding Post,” and I upgraded the type of pocket clip at some point. I’m yet to have a catastrophic failure. The setup essentially eliminates key jingle, poking, or wear on pocket facings, while still being easy to tap check and use. The only slight downside to this setup is that when I attach a car key and put it in the vehicle, the blade-key dangles at knee height and occasionally grabs a leg hair – if I drove more I’d probably tweak how I attach the car key to fix that.

Pictures from the first one I carried in 2014, and the most recent swap out, induced by it “getting loose” and letting the stack of keys flip forward in my pocket – which turned out to be the result of several cracks in the plastic body. Plus, flexing that the bitting and labels are both obscured when closed, which I suppose is a minor security feature, especially when posting pictures on the Internet.

At this point I’d buy one of the fancy ones just to support the designer, but my desired size falls in between the models they do commercially (I use 15mm W x 58 L, closest sizes are 12mm W and 19mm W). Maybe sometime I’ll get ambitious and cut one in a different material on the router.

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Verizon to Sell Tumblr to Automattic

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Another step in the saga. They're keeping the porn ban, so it's still worthless, meaning Automattic now has a pile of toxic fandoms in addition their pile of toxic PHP (I'm aware of the irony of ribbing about Wordpress on Wordpress, I'm wayy too lazy to do my own web front-end shit, and I value self-hosted comments, so I'm pretty stuck.)
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The US Navy Will Replace Its Touchscreen Controls With Mechanical Ones On Its Destroyers

Source: Slashdot

Article note: A decade ago I made PhD applications about doing interface tactility and memorability work with some UX groups and got very negative responses because ubiquitous touchscreens were the future. The backlash in Auto and mil applications recently are very validating.

The US Navy will replace the touchscreen throttle and helm controls currently installed in its destroyers with mechanical ones starting in 2020. From a report: The move comes after the National Transportation Safety Board released an accident report from a 2017 collision, which cites the design of the ship's controls as a factor in the accident. On August 21st, 2017, the USS John S. McCain collided with the Alnic MC, a Liberian oil tanker, off the coast of Singapore. The report provides a detailed overview of the actions that led to the collision: when crew members tried to split throttle and steering control between consoles, they lost control of the ship, putting it into the path of the tanker. The crash killed 10 sailors and injured 48 aboard the McCain. The report says that while fatigue and lack of training played a role in the accident, the design of the ship's control console were also contributing factors. Located in the middle of the McCain's bridge, the Ship's Control Console (SCC) features a pair of touch-screens on both the Helm and Lee Helm stations, through which the crew could steer and propel the ship. Investigators found that the crew had placed it in "backup manual mode," which removed computer-assisted help, because it allowed for "more direct form of communication between steering and the SSC."

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Xfce 4.14

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I'm split between KDE and XFCE on my various systems right now, but XFCE is possibly the single most dependable no-capricious-changes piece of software I've ever worked with, and I love it for that. I hope they continue as they have.
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Will allowing granny flats and tiny houses help solve Lexington’s housing crunch?

Source: -- Fayette County

Article note: Yes please. I don't know if it will be overwhelmingly helpful to housing prices, but we could really use some small infill housing (the opposite of the long trend of turning reasonable houses into pseudo-mcmansions by attaching ginormous vinyl boxes attached like cancerous growths).

When Marie Allison’s autistic son Chris Riddell was about to graduate high school, Allison was faced with a common problem for parents of children with disabilities: Where should her son … Click to Continue »

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AMD Rome Second Generation EPYC Review: 2x 64-core Benchmarked

Source: AnandTech Articles

Article note: Fuckin' shit. They're even flexing, basically, that they expected Intel's Ice Lake to deliver so they overshot their competitive position. I'm just going to gratuitously quote the tl;dr from the end of the article: "For those with little time: at the high end with socketed x86 CPUs, AMD offers you up to 50 to 100% higher performance while offering at a 40% lower price. Unless you go for the low end server CPUs, there is no contest: AMD offers much better performance for a much lower price than Intel, with more memory channels and over 2x the number of PCIe lanes. These are also PCIe 4.0 lanes. What if you want to more than 2 TB of RAM in your dual socket server? The discount in favor of AMD just became 50%"

If you examine the CPU industry and ask where the big money is, you have to look at the server and datacenter market. Ever since the Opteron days, AMD's marketshare has been rounded to zero percent, and with its first generation of EPYC processors using its new Zen microarchitecture, that number skipped up a small handful of points, but everyone has been waiting with bated breath for the second swing at the ball. AMD's Rome platform solves the concerns that first gen Naples had, plus this CPU family is designed to do many things: a new CPU microarchitecture on 7nm, offer up to 64 cores, offer 128 lanes of PCIe 4.0, offer 8 memory channels, and offer a unified memory architecture based on chiplets. Today marks the launch of Rome, and we have some of our own data to share on its performance.

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