Archives For Geeky

3D Printing – Intro.

JasonC —  September 29, 2015 — Leave a comment

3dprinting

About 4-5 years ago, I started hearing about 3D Printing and I thought at the time that it was an interesting, but maybe a little gimmicky an idea. The first mention I remember of it was of a guy (student?) who made a 3D Printer in the desert using solar magnification (check it out) which could make things out of sand. Seemed pretty cool, but impractical. Then I heard about some companies who were prototyping toys with 3D printers. That made sense. Shortly thereafter, I heard about projects where you could get the plans and make your own, then kits became available, then you could buy a pre-built model.

For the longest time the idea grew on me, but whenever I would read about them, one thing was clear: prepare to spend more time tinkering with the 3D printer than actually making anything. That was kind of a bummer. As the past few years have passed, more companies have been born with different models of printers. Most people have heard of MakerBot, which was one of the earliest companies selling kits and pre-built models. At some point, I decided I was definitely going to make the jump, but there were so many options and every model seems to have serious pros and serious cons. There are $500 models and some that go all the way up to $3500+ (in the consumer line, I’m sure you can go to 6-figures easily in the pro lines) Reading reviews online didn’t help a whole lot because every model has good and bad reviews. When I changed jobs in February, I earmarkeda budget of $2500 from my signing bonus for it.

Once our house sold and we got moved in to our new place in Chattanooga (still a work-in-progress), I was ready. I decided on the Ultimaker 2 printer due to it’s quality and speed of printing, size of the printing area, and ease of use as reported by and consistently used by several YouTube folks I follow. Check out @Barnacules and his YouTube videos, Tested’s YouTube Review, and just do a search for Ultimaker on YouTube or Google). It was right at the $2500 budget mark. The other candidates were the Lulzbot Taz 5 (used by James Bruton extensively) and the MendelMax. I ruled out MakerBot’s products due to common failure issues, lack of multi-material support, and numerous bad reviews (pretty much nothing BUT bad reviews, really). 

I didn’t end up buying the Ultimaker. 

Something came up. Actually 2 things:

Printrbot Plus

Continue Reading…

I’m just a tiny bit ashamed to say: “I’m a gamer.” I enjoy playing video games from time to time. By no means would anyone call me a hard-core gamer, but when the “Next Generation” of consoles were announced, I was pretty excited.

For the past 5 years or so I’ve been gaming on the Playstation 3, and before that I had a Playstation 2. Over the years, my preferred games have changed (from NCAA football & the Need For Speed series on the PS2 to the Call of Duty franchise on the PS3 (which I’ve only really been playing for the last 3 years). On the PS3, I was late to the party, buying it mainly after having so many frustrations with other Blu-Ray players and continuously hearing the PS3 was the best Blu-Ray player out there. The last 5 years have proven that to be true. It’s an awesome BR player. But it’s also an awesome gaming machine.

Despite that, I really considered changing platforms to the Xbox with the new generation (PS4/Xbox One). It just seems like more people I know who are gamers play on the Xbox.

Then the initial releases hit and Microsoft TOTALLY botched it. Butchered it, really.

Playstation 4 Box

Continue Reading…

Top Posts of 2013

JasonC —  January 8, 2014 — Leave a comment

As a blogger, it’s interesting to note which posts get the most reads each month. Sometimes it’s validating and sometimes it’s eye-opening. Every blogger wants to know when they are producing content that is being well-received, appreciated, or useful. Sometimes we get feedback through comments. Sometimes we get it by looking at the analytics.

Bigger sites probably get more comments. As for me, that doesn’t happen much, so I occasionally look at my statistics. Here are my top 25 posts by traffic volume in 2013. These may not have been written in 2013. It’s what has been viewed most in 2013.

Top 20 Posts

Continue Reading…

What the Heck is Sugru?

JasonC —  December 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

Blog 3 7

Every once in a while I’ll come across something new as I’m looking for a solution to a problem.

This is one of those cases and I thought I’d share my experience with you.

Sugru – self-setting rubber for flexible repairs

What is this stuff and what can you do with it? Sugru is a really cool material that comes in small packets. You can shape it

with your fingers (or with tools) into just about any shape and then as it “cures” with air contact over the next 24 hours, it sets permanently to your shape, but remains flexible. It is silicone-based, so it is quite heat-resistant as well. It is also insulating like rubber and silicone, so it has a lot of potential uses.

I bought some Sugru about a year ago (along with some InstaMorph) on Amazon.com with the intent of repairing some Ray-Ban sports sunglasses that I wear to play tennis. These sunglasses have a place where they rest on your nose which is made of rubber, but one side had come off and I lost it. I thought Sugru or Instamorph would be reasonable materials to shape a replacement part. Plus it’s inexpensive stuff. Today I’ve been inspired to go ahead and make that repair as well as repairing some Apple In-Ear headphones.

Continue Reading…

I want to take the time to thank those of you who have subscribed to my blog and enjoy the Direct Sales Husband’s Handbook posts. Over the past couple of years, it’s been a real pleasure to get to meet many of you. And hearing stories about how it’s made a real difference to several direct sales husbands (Husbands of Thirty-One to be exact) has been humbling, to say the least. 

Thank you.

Although I’ve slowed down in my DSHH posting in the last year, most of that has been due to time constraints with my “real job” which changed in April. Thank you for being patient with me. During this time, I’ve still been collecting ideas for posts and how to make the Direct Sales Husband’s Handbook even better. 

And it’s time to unveil the first step I’m taking in that direction:

Direct Sales Tips.net

As many of you know, I do a lot of reading. Recently what I’ve been reading regarding blogging is that it is a good idea to keep a blog branded and focused, and that makes all the sense in the world to me. One of the troubles with JasonECox.org (this site) is that it is my personal blog. That’s how it started years ago, and it’s my outlet for things like book reviews, product reviews, various geeky interests and endeavors. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Directsalestipsdshh3

The Direct Sales Husband’s Handbook posts are important to me. And I sense that keeping them on my blog somewhat limits the visibility they could otherwise achieve. And I doubt many of the readers of that series have much interest in the other stuff I like to write about. So it’s time for a break. Or, more accurately, a re-organization of the content and direction. 

Over the next weeks and months I’ll be adding all of my Direct Sales Husband’s Handbook posts to DirectSalesTips.net. As I do this, I’m updating and refreshing the content as well. Some posts I will probably break into multiple segments to go a little deeper into the topics. New DSHH posts will be posted on the new site, though I will probably either post them here as well, or at least post links to the other site.

My goal with DirectSalesTips.net is to help as many people in the direct sales business as possible. My primary focus will still be on the DSHH posts, but I will also post other general direct sales tip posts as well. Many people in the Thirty-One community know of my through my wife, Holley. But I’d love the DSHH to impact guys whose wife’s are involved in every direct sales company out there. And I’d love to get posts from other folks as well. Read the first post on DST.net to get an idea of what my goals are. 

 

Finally, I’m going to continue posting my Various Ramblings here. But right now I’m thinking it’s going to get a lot geekier than it has been :) 

 

Please let me know what you think. And if you think you’d like to try your hand at posting to a blog about direct sales, let me know!

There are a ton of products out there to help with the creativity process. Everything from pencil and paper to a high-end pressure-sensitive display with various creative apps exist. And they ALL work. It’s just a matter of finding what works best for you, but then also keeping that with you so you can get busy when the creative streak hits you.

Many people have iPads, and they’re great for a lot of things. Browsing and email work great. It’s even getting a little easier to do some creative writing on the iPad (especially if you have a keyboard for it). But there’s no denying that trying to create any graphics on the iPad ends up feeling like you’re literally finger-painting. Do it enough and you can even do OK with “finger-painting.” But it can be frustrating and maybe not everyone is meant to be an iPad VanGogh.

Now you have another option: The Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus (ICS)

Wacom creates awesome products that are geared towards bridging the gap between traditional media and digital media. Intuos tablets have been around for years, letting you “draw” with pressure sensitivity, though you’re drawing on a tablet and looking at your computer’s screen. Then there is the Wacom Cintiq line which basically puts a pressure sensitive tablet on a screen, so you can literally draw where you’re looking with a high degree of precision. But they’re expensive. Last year they released the Wacom Inkling, which is a special pen and sensor that you can clip to your notepad and draw like you would with a pen, then hook it to the computer and download a digital version to your computer, which you can then manipulate with your favorite applications. (I’d love to get my hands on one of these for detailed review…)

 

Intuos Creative Stylus 1

Sitting atop my Leuchtturm 1917 5×7″ notebook you’ll find (L->R, Top->Bottom in the middle) iPhone 5, Case for the ICS, Intuos Creative Stylus, Cintiq Stylus, Amazon Basics stylus, Uni Kurutoga .3mm mechanical pencil, Palomino Blackwing 602, and finally the box for the ICS.

 

The Intuos Creative Stylus is a $99 stylus that you can use with your iPad to create art or manipulate images. It aims to turn your iPad into something approaching a Cintiq. Here’s my review.

Continue Reading…

One thing about me is that I have something of a creative streak. It’s not necessarily always there or always active (is it for anyone?) but every so often I just feel the “urge” to get creative. When this happens, sometimes I’ll break out one of my sketchbooks (I probably should consolidate to using one at a time so I can actually finish one.) At other times, I’ll open a creative app like Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro, or Illustrator and just start drawing. 

If you ever get that “creative urge,” I highly recommend getting yourself a sketchbook. You don’t need any training. Just draw. Draw what you see. Draw what you can imagine. It really doesn’t matter. Don’t be critical of your drawings. There is no place for criticism in your sketchbook. It’s just a creative outlet. And you never know what may come of it. The criticism will only serve to keep you from exercising your creativity. Fear of criticism will do the same, so don’t let that stand in your way. It’s not about being perfect or professional. It’s about “getting it out.”

Remember, sketching is for you. It helps the creative process, getting ideas down on paper can help them develop into something bigger, cooler, or better. Sketch anything you think about. Ideas. Things you see. Dreams. Designs. Over time you’ll develop a style. Just have fun with it!

Blog 4 5

Continue Reading…

This is the 3rd in a series of posts about Team Newsletters for Direct Sales. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t had the chance to see them yet!

Tipstricks

Newsletter Notes For Direct Sales Leaders (Part 3)

Things You Shouldn’t Do With Your Newsletter

Don’t Do This:

  1. Overwhelm the reader with long passages of text.
  2. Change the style or format of the newsletter every month.
  3. Let the scope of the newsletter creep into something else.
  4. Fall for the temptation to use the newsletter for “soapbox issues.”
  5. Go crazy with too many different colors, fonts, etc.
DSHHLogo

Continue Reading…

This is the 2nd in a series of posts about Team Newsletters for Direct Sales. Check out Part 1 if you haven’t had the chance to see that yet!

Tipstricks

Newsletter Notes For Direct Sales Leaders (Part 2)

Things That Make A Newsletter Work

Do This:

  1. Remember to keep it recognition-focused
  2. Keep it as short as possible.
  3. Whenever possible use pictures instead of words.
  4. If you include an article, either keep it very short or include highlights of take-home points of some sort.
  5. Listen to feedback you get on your newsletter and be responsive to it.
  6. Pick a style for your newsletter and stick to it.
  7. Use the tools that you have already.
  8. Find out who is actually reading the newsletter.
DSHHLogo

Continue Reading…

Recently our local Blockbuster has started their going-out-of-business clearance sale. Literally everything in the building is for sale, including the DVD shelves and racks. I was worried that would happen because the other 2 in the area have closed up shop in the last 2-3 years. Having been a Blockbuster Total Access subscriber (they send me Blu-Rays in my queue and I can turn them in locally in exchange for something immediately), I had been pretty spoiled by the access and the ability to always have an awesome selection. 

On the other hand, 3 years ago I married my dream girl and now have a full household most all the time and all sorts of activities to occupy my time, so I haven’t been watching movies anywhere close to the same rate as when I was on my own. Still, the imminent closure of Blockbuster means a change in my home entertainment setup.

Blog 15 2

Continue Reading…