Replicator 2 3D printer with plastic tractor printed on it
3D printers have been around for a little while. Instead of printing ink or toner on paper like a 2D printer, these devices print 3D objects by taking a computer file that describes a 3D object and print them by building them one thin layer at a time. Many printers print objects in plastic. But some even print in metals!
These printers used to be relegated to the use of R&D departments of companies who could afford $50,000 or more devices as large as a big refrigerator. Recently though, some small companies have been coming out with desktop 3D printers that are affordable to normal people. My first exposure to these kinds of printers (or any 3D printers at all) came from Make Magazine. They had an article about the Cupcake 3D printer kit from a company called MakerBot. Very cool stuff!
Me and a buddy of mine went to like the next MakerFaire in San Mateo and there were quite a few 3D printers around busily printing different objects. There were lots of people crowded around these things. I could see why! It was mesmerizing to see a device like this making an object from scratch.
Well my attention was brought back to 3D Printers with product announcements being made at CES this year. And folks, I broke down and bought a 3D printer! The Makerbot Replicator 2X! Let me say I ordered it. I do not have it yet. There is like an 8 week delay. I am looking forward to getting it though! I know, duh right? Oh, and this printer comes assembled. I don’t have to build a kit. Which for me is great! We’re planning on having a 3D printer party at my house a while after it arrives. We’ll see if that happens! 🙂
MakerBot is not the only one coming out with desktop 3D printers that people can afford. It should be very interesting what happens in this space!
And yes you can do more with this thing than just print out busts of Yoda and statues of owls! I’ve even seen such things as working shower heads! To get an idea of things one can print on a 3D printer check out Thingiverse!
It has been a very long time since I have posted anything to my blog. This is due to a number of reasons:
Work. There have been some grueling schedules to meet. And since this work involves web development even when I do have time for my blog there is a good chance I may be really sick of sitting in front of a computer typing stuff in!
Just changes what I am working on… some due to discouragement. I was doing a lot of work learning how to do iOS programming and I was writing posts on the subject. You should see how many unfinished draft posts I have on iOS programming!
Issues I have with WordPress. As much as WordPress is a powerful way to blog. Sometimes getting anything beyond a really simple post to display like I want it to is possible but is really a pain. And, again, I just don’t want to deal!
Somehow, I am not sure how, I’ve been beginning to think about my blog again. What should I do with it? At very least I should post to it to practice and improve my writing. Writing I have found can be a great catharsis. Somehow I forget these things! Writing a how-to is a bit different than just writing as an expression. It is harder. It takes more planning. But my mind is always going. There is always something to say.
Just getting started on this post was hard. Like, what’s the point? But once I had a few words typed in everything was ok. And here we are!
I just want to wish anyone reading this a Happy New Year!
One thing you will find you need to do in any programming language is do math. Here are some useful math functions for the Objective C language. I give a little bit of a comparison to Visual Basic for those who know that language. They are provided in no special order:
fabs() – Gets the absolute value of the value in parentheses. Works like ABS() function in Visual Basic. fabs(-123) = 123, fabs(34) = 34.
ceil() – Find the ceiling integer. Kind of like rounding up. Same as INT(x+1) in Visual Basic. ceil(3.1) = 4.
floor() – Find the floor integer. Kind of like rounding down. Same as INT(x) in Visual Basic. floor(3.6) = 3.
exp() – Find the exponential value.
pow() – Raise a number to the power. pow(3,6) = 3^6 in Visual Basic.
rand() – Generate a pseudo random number. Function is RND(x) in Visual Basic. A good discussion on random numbers in Objective C can be found here.
srandom() – Generate a seed for the random number generator. This is done with the Randomize statement in Visual Basic.
sqrt() – Find out the square root of a number. sqrt(x) = x^(1/2) in Visual Basic.
Power Users and Developers: Making customized Apps Using Microsoft Office
Those of us who have the responsibility of producing customized Excel workbooks, and Word documents that essentially have become small powerful applications in their own right are always looking for ways to make the tools we build in these Microsoft Office products more powerful, easy to use, and more like actual stand-alone apps. One of the ways I looked at enhancing the “tools” I created was by adding a tool bar to an Excel workbook for example. I first did this myself in Excel 2003. It was tedious but doable. One draw-back in the way tool bars were done back then is that the changes applied to the whole app (Excel or Word), and one screw-up on your part could truly clobber Excel or Word’s tool bars and menus system wide.
A New Way of Doing Tool Bars in Office 2007
In Office 2007, Microsoft changed how their user interface worked. And they changed the scope of the changes. If you were going to screw something up for your tool bars now it would only be with one document file, not the entire system. Customizing this tool bar was more flexible. You could do much more with the new tool bar than the old version (the new tool bar Microsoft calls a ribbon). The Technology behind the ribbon they call RibbonX. Read more
This video is great! A band of talented musicians whose instruments are only iPads and iPhones:
I am amazed at how creatively musicians from North Point Community Church use these devices… picking specific apps for different instruments, and the creativity of the app developers who dreamed them up. Just cool!
The musicians needed to practice a bit more on the middle song, but the first and the last songs were very polished and professional.
This is a guest post from Monica Lewers, who for the past few months has been my personal trainer. Her clients keep signing up with her again and again. For one reason: she gets results. In this article she provides some tips on how to not “fall off the wagon” and stay healthly when you are traveling.
In this article I cover how you can fix the Base SDK Missing problem you might have had using the iOS SDK 5.2. The video above is easiest to see in full screen mode.
I downloaded Apple’s iOS SDK 5.2 and installed it on my Mac. After that process was over , I decided to load an existing project of mine into XCode. Ok, good. Then I tried to do a build. Kaboom! It did not work! No worries I thought, I will just go to the drop-down and pick the latest SDK 5.2. But the option was not there! The thought came to me that I might have to create a new project and import all my files from my existing project just to get it to work. Not a very nice thought to say the least! Read more