April 14, 2015

Margvelous Issue #3: Late Night Edition



It's been a long seven days since the last Margvelous missive, but here we are again. This is a bit of a late issue, almost nine o'clock at night as I begin typing this. My lights are dimmed, the wine is uncorked, and the scented candles are lit. Let's get started.

1. The Jay Salad

Oh, the vanity. The humanity.

If you've known me for any longer than five minutes, then you know that my ego knows no bounds. The angle, or the approach, or the brand or whatever you'll call it that I have can all be traced back to some sort of ego. Or at least that's what I'll tell you if we meet :) 

So, it's with that lead-in that I introduce you to the Jay Salad. From Annie's Cucina comes the salad with all the staples: chicken, lettuce, croutons, dressing. I've been angling for this for at least a year from Annie. I order it every time I'm in the restaurant. And finally, there you have it. I have arrived.

2. Oculus - Oculyou - Oculme!

Oculus Rift! It's fun! It's hip. And it's a truly impressive piece of hardware.

We've (at SpaceLab) been playing with an Oculus I bought for a few projects that I'm keeping in my pocket. But more importantly than *my* projects are a few games that we've been testing. What's the quickest and easiest dip into the Rift? How about some fun, awe-inspiring experiences?

Look no further.

My selection is more limited because of Mac, yet even still, the easiest game to recommend is Titans of Space: a really enjoyable outer-space experience that's both educational and demonstrative of the possibilities the Oculus holds. And after you're done with that, give Pixel Ripped a crack. Then, finally, give Welcome to Oculus a try; a very easy, and accessible, way to wrap your mind around the potential of Oculus Rift.

3. Library Contributions

  • Forest Park

    Let's make some 3D printed objects and learn a little bit more about how 3D printers work! Kids, adults... everyone is invited. This is a continuing effort on SpaceLab's part to get out there in front of libraries and teach them a little about what we do at our space.

  • Library Primer Course

    Libraries of the world! Worry no longer about filling the new needs of your patrons when it comes to maker activities; SpaceLab wants to help you. We're exploring the idea of hosting training classes for librarians and libraries. Classes may range from circuit building, to soldering, to programming, 3D printing, and more.

    If this is something that you, or your library, would be interested in: contact us.

  • Open for Other Library Classes

    SpaceLab is offering a wide array of classes and training sessions for libraries and their patrons. If you're a library patron, or someone who works at a library, please reach out to us for more information! We're interested in helping you  :)

4. OpenStack on Mac

Recently, I set about building a machine that could replicate Amazon's web services, but without the monthly costs. Virtual machines were the first stop, but after I got off of that cloud and onto something more reasonable, I found OpenStack. OpenStack is a bare metal hypervisor that can install on top of most machines, and allows you to spin servers, storage servers, Hadoop clusters, and more up and down.

Now I'd like you to know how I did it. For under a thousand dollars. On a 1TB, 16MB RAM machine. (It was a Mac Mini).

Step 1?: Get rid of Mac

Step 2?: Install OpenStack

5. Stray Bullets

When your interests are as varied and disjointed as mine, you begin accumulating strange lists of hobbies and eccentricities. Strange music and movies. Weird shows, stories, and more :
  • Spotify Playlists

    Have you ever wondered what some of your favorite 80s and 90s songs sound like in bluegrass? Or what I'll be playing in my band at the next upcoming Fourth of July Dance? Both of those questions can be answered in one link.

    There's also this funny playlist I've been building that strangely perks me up.

  • Netflix Things

    Great news! I've been consuming hours of Netflix, Amazon Prime TV, and other channels so that I can bring you the best stuff to watch. Shows that bring back nostalgia, showcase the best games out there, and highlight the newest shows available for streaming.

    Shows like M*A*S*H, all ten seasons now available as of a few weeks ago. My grandfather, who fought in the Korean "Police Action," could never watch the winter episodes. They reminded him too much of how damn cold war can be.

    A new Tabletop episode, with Wil Wheaton, is out. If you haven't seen the show, watch it! If you have, but haven't been keeping up with their episodes, then what are you waiting for?

    Got kids? Or are you secret kid masquerading as an adult? Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street reminds me of everything from my childhood, adulthood, and then some.

6. 3D Printing for the Week

  • I made a bottle opener! It has the logo of my brewer's club on it! And, best of all, it opens beer! Download it and print it here. Special challenge: print it with the coin *in it* for extra strength.
  • Cura, the popular open source 3D printing software, has been a lifesaver for us at SpaceLab. But one thing that's perplexed us since we began using it is how to fine-tune its settings for the new LulzBot Mini. Well, look no further: LulzBot has released profiles for just that purpose.
  • (somewhat buried here) My first patent is underway. I'm making a thing! First step in the process? Find some clear plastic to print a working prototype in. Want to know where to find decent, cheap clear plastic? Here you go.