palago tiles

Palago is a simple-enough game that’s like Go but hexagonal instead of a grid pattern. It includes 48 identical tiles with a light/dark theme. Players vie to create closed shapes in their selected color.

I decided to design and 3D print a set. I’ve got the first tile now and I like it. I managed to create in one version a beautiful tile which prints nicely in two colors (on a single extruder printer). Both colors are at the same height which was a challenge…

What was interesting about the design is trying to allow the bevelled nozzle on the printer enough close access to lower layers in order to print this in multiple jobs. The base white part prints as the first job and finishes at 4mm in height; the next two print jobs are in a second-color of filament like blue in this case and start at the 2.4mm height layer and continue from there.

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 3.22.41 PM

It was necessary to manually edit the 2nd/3rd print job’s content for the sake of safety and to disable bed autoleveling (which could have caused problems). I was excited and nervous to push the Print button in OctoPrint and wincing a little as it begin. These things either work or they can go spectacularly wrong. Fortunately, it worked perfectly, the tolerances were exact and it produced a great-looking Palago tile.

is anybody out there?

Pink Floyd’s epic song of the same name is quite possibly the best piece on the album “The Wall”. Today’s post is about our creepy friend Alexa of Amazon fame.

Setting the Scene: 9AM, the desk next to my printer

I’m sitting here doing a little work and I notice that the Amazon Echo Dot at the 3D printer table next to me is doing an animated light show. Insufficiently-caffeinated, I’m trying to recall what this particular color show means. It finally dawns on me, ah, it’s rebooting. I didn’t ask it to reboot. And since it’s plugged into a good-quality UPS I’d have heard the relay click off if there had been a power problem and there wasn’t.

So I’m guessing it’s shenanigans (again) from Amazon.


It eventually gets done with its reboot and goes back into mute mode as before. As you might have remembered from an earlier post, Alexa is creepy, listens in on your conversations and shares what it’s heard with Amazon. So of course, it’s left with the microphone turned off most of the time.

Next, I visit the Alexa App on my phone and dig deep within the Settings interface to finally find that yes, they’ve turned on the Drop-In feature again.

…yes, they’ve turned on the (creepy) Drop-In feature again

Seriously? Is it time for a class-action lawsuit against these people? The Drop-In feature effectively allows others to spy on your audio feed. I don’t want that. I turned off the feature. Amazon turned it back on in an update I didn’t initiate.

What’s next? Will then auto-upgrade with the settings configured so that the Drop-In is toggled back on as well as the microphone? Hey Amazon, illegal wiretapping is illegal.

Hey Amazon, illegal wiretapping is illegal.

Consumers don’t opt-out of their constitutional or civic rights by purchasing a product and turning it on. Federal Law 18 U.S. Code § 2510 and the following sections describe the laws against wiretapping of conversations. Amazon, consider yourself warned.

mongodb is dead, long live… anything else

Well this sucks. The people who control MongoDB changed its licensing last year from open-source to closed-source. I would say that it was a very popular alternative in the many database-like offerings out there.



So it looks like everybody’s dumping them from operating systems’ distribution systems and now HomeBrew has followed suit.

Time to clean house

all your code base are belong to us

Okay, so it’s been a year since Microsoft purchased github for a cool US$7.5B. In today’s terms that’s merely Amazon’s annual gross in sales. Remember when a million dollars seemed like a lot of money?

For some of you who aren’t coders, you probably don’t understand the impact of this move especially within the context that Microsoft has a history of being sued for very questionable competitive practices. Github was likely the largest collection of freely-available source code in the public domain (also known as “open source”) and probably still so even after the acquisition. Do we even have to ponder the “why?” question at all?


Github had not just most of the open source code but it also contained countless private repositories from countless other entities. Imagine that almost overnight Microsoft then gained access to all the privately-held coding secrets of their competitors.

What does Microsoft really think of open source?

“The paradigm of freely sharing computer source code—a practice known as open source—traces back to the earliest commercial computers, whose user groups shared code to reduce duplicate work and costs. Following an antitrust suit that forced the unbundling of IBM’s hardware and software, a proprietary software industry grew throughout the 1970s, in which companies sought to protect their software products. The technology company Microsoft was founded in this period and has long been an embodiment of the proprietary paradigm and its tension with open source practices, well before the terms “free software” or “open source” were coined. Within a year of founding Microsoft, Bill Gates wrote an open letter that positioned the hobbyist act of copying software as a form of theft.” ~ Microsoft and open source – wikipedia

Is “Inner Source” actually Open Source?

Microsoft is now embracing something they’re calling Inner Source for their own internal coding. Clearly, Microsoft loves the infrastructure of tools and the free availability of open source… only they truly do not understand the idea of then sharing back with others.

Microsoft’s own Inner Source is like walking around the table in a poker game, freely viewing the cards in your opponent’s hands, purposely hiding your own cards and then expecting to be able to continue playing in the game.

Sorry, but I have to call bullshit on all this. Microsoft isn’t to be trusted. They’re not our friends. They’re stealing secrets from their competitors and they’re using those secrets to create closed-source software (business as usual). They’re destroying the very ethos of open source with every passing day.