Archive | March 2008

Netflix, GameFly

I finally canceled both. We don’t order enough movies or games to make either of these services pay off, financially. The result would have been different if the Netflix Video On Demand service supported OS X.

TechShop – Laser Cutter

TechShop was fun. Learned how to operate the Laser Cutter for cutting, etching and scoring.


Basic covered safety, equipment and basic technique. We learned how to use Corel Draw and the “printer” driver that sends instructions to the cutter. We learned how to start and stop jobs and signs to look for that might indicate a bad cut or a fire hazard. We also learned how to set the focus (AUTO FOCUS IS BAD). The class was 2 hours long and the instructor, Laura, answered tons of questions. Of particular interest was learning which materials work best with this laser.

Advanced was about an hour long. We covered a lot of Q&A as well as tips and tricks to make it easier to find the right settings (speed, power) for a given material.

The classes were great and the instructor was top notch.


The machine is an Epilog Helix Laser Cutter. It’s 45 watts. (Actually, there are two of them.)

The software is CorelDraw X3.

My Take

Patapon: I normally can’t stand rhythm games, but this one is a ton of fun.

iPhone SDK: Finally! Looks great to me, but I am not happy about the ‘no background apps’ policy. I’d like 3rd party chat apps and feed readers to be able to alert me from the background. Hopefully, background capabilities are coming.

OS X Leopard’s “Alex” voice: Text to speech is normally pretty crappy. I’m glad Apple invested in a voice that speaks clearly, even if it does require 700MB of disk space!! I’m working on a simple OS X app that connects to Google Reader and reads articles aloud.

Jericho: Canceled AGAIN? Really? At least there’s still Torchwood, Doctor Who, Lost, BSG and Smallville (major spoilers in this week’s promo – be careful).

Arduino: I’m having a lot of fun with mine. An Arduino plus a series of BlinkMs is a great combination.

MacBook Air: I’ve had mine for 2 months and I love it. The combination of mobility, screen size and performance it provides makes it much more useful than the notebooks, umpcs, pdas and internet tablets I’ve used in the past. Meanwhile, the flexibility, usability and safety provided by OS X gives this machine a huge advantage over similar Windows-based laptops. It’s my main computer, now.

WaterField’s Racer-X Laptop Case: The Racer-X is perfect for me. Not too big, not too small. It stays upright do to a solid rectangular bottom, which is really nice – it makes it a little heavier but it’s worth knowing it’s not going to tip over. The Air is in a zippered into a lightly padded, secure pocket. The other zippered pocket is big enough to hold the charger, my cradlepoint PHS, a usb hub, a medium sized ora book or my Kindle, a tiny usb HD (for backups and extra storage) and some other misc stuff. It’s small enough that I have to think about what I want to keep in it, but not so small that I have to leave anything important behind. I bought the black version with leather handles. The build quality is terrific and I can see it lasting for a LONG time.


I’m heading back to TechShop tomorrow. It’ll be my first visit since the Grand Opening and I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be there at 6pm for the Basic Laser Cutting class and I’m staying for the 8pm Advanced class.

Now, if I can find some Patapon vector art…