At the end of my last post in this series, we had completed the build. This post focuses on installation of the software and updating the firmware ready to print, from issues 65 and 76 of 3D Create and Print by Eaglemoss Technology. If you’ve skipped a part of this series you can start from the beginning, including details of the Vector 3 printer I’m building on my 3D printer page.
Over the weekend, I was clearing out some old paperwork and I found the notes from one of the assessed practical sessions at University. Although I was studying biochemistry, an understanding of basic programming was essential, with many extra optional uncredited courses available. It was a simple chemical reactions task and we could use BASIC or Fortran to code the solution. I’d been coding in BASIC since I was a child1 so decided to go for the Fortran option as what’s the point in doing something easy…. Continue reading Learning Fortran – a blast from the past
As a child I wrote a lot of stories. I think my English teachers were disappointed that I chose a Science route rather than literature. However, just like art, creative writing is something I’ve continued to pursue throughout my technical career (when I’ve felt creative enough!). I wrote a novel during my PhD that I’ve not yet revisited to see if it’s worth publishing1 and have always jumped at opportunities to write articles and blog posts about the things that interest me. However, I have had one idea for a book bubbling in my mind for the last twenty years and I have never really had the time to focus on it properly. Continue reading Creative writing – harder than it looks
Towards the end of 2016, I didn’t post as much content as I usually like to on here. While there are all the usual excuses of free time, the main reason was that a lot of the ideas I had were being written for other websites. So here’s a collection of my posts from the last few months of last year that didn’t make it on here. Continue reading Writing for other websites
Over the past few days, my social media timeline has been full of angry people, predominantly in the UK and predominantly attacking people of note within the UK1. This is, sadly, nothing new. However I have noticed a further decline in the quality of debate, perpetuated by the strong emotions of what has happened in the world. People whose opinions I respect and who normally make reasoned arguments have posted some pretty vile language that is literally “[person] is a [expletive]” in regard to Brexit, the NHS, Southern Rail and a whole host of regional issues. If this was directed at someone with whom they agreed, then there would be, legitimately, outrage. Name calling someone is never a valid argument. Didn’t we all grow out of this at school? Apparently not. Continue reading Debate the idea, don’t attack the person
Anyone who has to sit near me in an open office for any length of time usually comments on the punishment that I tend to give keyboards. I type (both general text and code) very quickly. When my fingernails are in good condition (i.e. I haven’t spent the weekend with power tools) this fast typing can make a sound like heavy hail on a conservatory roof. I’ve worn out keyboards before with one work laptop having to use ascii codes every time I needed to type s, n, j or i1 until a replacement arrived. It’s not that I’m a heavy typer, just that I do a lot of it, especially as a hands on manager over the years, I’ve had to write reports, documentation and code, so I’ve learned to be very, very fast at it. Continue reading Review: Microsoft Sculpt Ergonmic Keyboard
As we enter 2017, most people will start to think about resolutions – “new year, new me”. The main resolution seems to be to get healthier: drink less, more exercise, eat better. Year after year the resolutions will mainly peter out, leaving us all the ability to reuse the same ones next year. What I’ve seen over 20161 is a worldwide lack of critical thinking. Social media posts are the main sources of the problem, but recently news outlets have fallen foul of this too. It worries me that all it seems to take is an image and some text and then something becomes “true”. What’s really irritating is this has all been made acceptable by saying we live in a post-truth era, without anyone really trying to do anything about it. Continue reading Have a resolution to think critically
I get a lot of attention when using my surface for note taking at work, studying on the tube or train and during OU tutorials, making full use of multiple notebooks, tabs and pages in OneNote. I’ve written before about using the surface but following a discussion after my most recent tutorial I realised I hadn’t covered the way I use it along side the OU’s electronic TMA submission process1. A lot of people on the same maths course as I am tend to use and typeset their marked assignments. While I am a great fan of and appreciate how clear this is for the tutors to mark, I have always preferred to hand write assignments. While there is some aspect of writing by hand helping to cement ideas more than those typewritten, the main reason I prefer to handwrite is that the exam is handwritten. If I don’t force myself into regular, neat mathematical writing then it’s easy to make mistakes in the time pressure of the exam. Simple things like forgetting to underline vector or matrix definitions can cost marks and if the examiner can’t distinguish a 0 from a 6 then you’re going to be in trouble! Continue reading Using OneNote for Open University TMAs