Nate Dickson Thinks...

Small Thoughts for a Quiet World.

Yes, I could be cleaning the house. But that’s always true. Yes, I could be starting a new project. Yes, I could be thinking about work things.

I stress and stress about these things most of the time. For now I’m going to just be okay sitting on the sofa and listening to music for just a minute or two.

Thoughts? Tell me about them!
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I've had a Pimoroni Inky pHAT sitting around for a while while I tried to figure out how to make indexed graphics. If I'm honest, it's mostly been a solution in search of a problem.


Yes, this is going to be another annoying post about someone who has discovered that 3D printing is interesting. But hey, it is!

The thing is, this version of 3D Printing is almost certainly not the future. What we do right now is cool and all, but it's limited in scope. Adding layer upon layer of PLA to build a model is neat! But it's a stepping stone toward whatever comes next. Still, it's interesting for me to be in on this early part of the path.

I grew up in the 1980's and 1990's, and was just behind the curve on a lot of things that have been a major part of my life. I wasn't old enough/rebellious enough to be a phone phreaker, I wasn't ever on usenet, instead I was on Prodigy and CompuServe because my father had accounts on those services. So I always came in just a little after the wild west days of the technologies I find interesting.

When I started into programming for real I picked up a copy of Fire in the Valley, an excellent documentary on the birth of personal computers. The Altair 8800 is a little older than I am, the first computers I used were all-in-ones like the Tandy TRS-80, where I did a little basic programming as a kid (make that BASIC programming, in Color BASIC ) but then I kind of left programming alone until around 2002.

Back to 3D Printing

Anyway back to 3D Printing. This is clearly a new technology. It has all the earmarks: you have to do everything by hand. You can buy pre-built 3D Printers, but the technology is young enough that you will have to re-build them yourself if anything goes wrong, and things will go wrong. Getting something from “idea” to “production” is a multi-step process, and there are vehement arguments about which steps along that chain are the “best” steps. It's frustrating, the results may vary (and do vary) wildly, and...

And I love that. This is what I missed on my first go-round.

I own a QIDI Tech X-Smart, a printer that has the distinction of being on almost nobody's radar, which is a shame because it's surprisingly excellent at being a good printer for idiots like me. Even with it being a cool little beginner printer, I've still had to completely disassemble the print head, clean things out, figure things out, play with settings, physically adjust sensors, replace parts...the works. Kudos to QIDI, they have fantastic service who will email you back almost instantly (if you're up in the middle of the night because they're based in China) and will help you get up and running again, even years after you bought the printer.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

#100DaysToOffload 61/100

Thoughts? Tell me about them!
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I think in Markdown. I've been using it for so long, for so many things, that it's hard for me to not put things in underlines or asterisks for bold and whatnot. But even harder to avoid is the use of links. I use Markdown links in my writing, from books to articles.


I know I'm late to the party but whatever. I figured I'd publish this anyway.

  • Hades. This is my number one with a bullet, not that I'm alone in that. It’s not even close. Art, story, game play, music, innovative use of the rogue lite format, this game rocked my year. And this is even though I've been playing it since it first came out in Early Access, a couple of years ago.
  • Rimworld I wouldn't have made it this year without a somewhat peaceful little colony with low fidelity graphics and tons of weird story generation stuff. I have spent so many hours helping my colonists make cool living rooms, throne rooms, bedrooms, etc. And traps. So many traps.
  • Final fantasy 14. So much story, so many hours, so many interesting ways to MMO. This is a fun game to play if you have friends playing.
  • Terraria. It’s back for one last outing. The latest updates are incredible. This is another fun multi-player game with a ton of mods and other interesting moving pieces.
  • Torchlight 3 It’s not as bad as people said it is! I loved the first two Torchlight games, and this one isn't quite as deep or repeatable, but still a lot of fun!
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad. Surprisingly fun for a cheap game that dropped out of a clear blue sky. I feel like this probably began life as DLC for XCOM 2, but was turned into a stand-alone product near the end of development. It's really fun though, with good, solid XCOM action and a lot of heart in the writing. Story-wise, it's kind of a mash-up of XCOM and Brooklyn 99.
  • Destroy All Humans! Such a silly remake, such silly powers, so much fun. Basically this is just a good mayhem simulator. The writing gets in its own way from time to time. There are a lot (too many) jokes about people in 1950's America being deeply homophobic, and those started out annoying and went to really grating. But the action is enjoyable.
  • Dungeon of Naveulheulk. I can’t spell this game, but it’s an XCOM like in a fantasy setting, so that’s all for the good.
  • Fuser it’s so good. It’s what DropMix wanted to be, but better. This is the best game to make middle aged dudes in their bathrobes feel like awesome DJs.
  • Chess okay it’s a little weird to list a super ancient game, but this is the year I discovered and I’m playing chess again on the regular.
  • Stellaris. I’m very bad at it, but I really enjoy it. You can combine this with Endless Space 2, another space-based 4X. Both are fun, both are of the whole “build a tech tree, build an empire” variety, and I'm bad at both of them.

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting 100 Days To Offload.

#100DaysToOffload 59/100

Thoughts? Tell me about them!
on Mastodon | on Twitter

There's a rule in business that's often called the “Peter Principle “. It's given in many forms, but here's my simplest summation:

People will be promoted to their level of incompetency, where they will come to rest.


Some twenty-one years ago I was on a Jeepney in Dagupan, in the Philippines.

fig. 1: A Jeepney. Technically this one is from Olongapo, not Dagupan, but close enough.

And the radio was playing. A song came on which I had never heard, but the first line I heard made me laugh so so hard, and even though I only heard it once, I've never forgotten it:


It's not a Bandcamp Friday, but I wanted to write about some music I picked up on Bandcamp recently.

Girls Who Care is not-so-secretly the same one guy who makes comedy music as Hot Dad. The difference seems to be that “Hot Dad” is comedy rock, whereas “Girls Who Care” performs more serious rock. In either case it's Erik Helwig.


I've never been good at chess. There are a few reasons for that, of course. One is that I don't play very often. And perhaps I just don't have the right kind of brain for chess to come to me naturally.

But I really do enjoy chess. In theory.


Glen Philips is often listed as the “front man” for California rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket. and, sure, he can be the front man.


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