Posted December 20, 2010, 10:12 pm.

Cr-48 & Flickr

Today I came home to a brown box from Google. Inside was another brown box with a cute illustration on it, and inside that was a black slab of internet. And I, an internet addict reporting for duty, proceeded to begin my descent into an evening of poking around with my Cr-48.

There are plenty of sites out there giving accurate enough descriptions of the hardware and damn simple configuration process, so I’ll try to limit myself here to the questions I haven’t yet seen answered.

Firstly, it plays well enough with Flickr, and this is very important to me. There’s a spring-loaded SD card slot on the side that eagerly read the contents of a 16 GB SDHC card I stuck in there. Once the SD card is made familiar with the Cr-48, it sits nearly flush with the body, only a little blue toe sticks out to say, “Hello, I am an avenue for increased local storage!”

The only way to access the contents of the card was to find a website that would ask for a file. The Flickr Upload page got Chrome OS to open a fairly primitive file system screen. From here I could select photos on the card (by name or date only, no thumbnails), and then push them to my photo stream. This works great if your memory card doesn’t have too many shots on it, and you have an idea of when the photo you want was taken. After a long photo safari though, this is no good.

You could perhaps just upload every photo from the card to Flickr, and give them an initial privacy setting that would allow only you to see them. Then you could cull, rename and edit with Picnik if you like, before making the photos public.

I tried to use Dropbox as an intermediary, since it allows you to preview all kinds of files. It easy enough to upload photos to Dropbox from an SD card loaded into the machine.Then you can sort through them, preview, rename, the works. but then uploading them to Flickr from Dropbox is a pair that involves downloading them locally, and hunting through the file system to upload them again. I’m not sure the extra handful of steps are worth being able to sort the files in Dropbox.

Seriously though, I should be able to right click on any file in the file system and view it in the browser, Chrome can handle .jpgs.

Posted December 11, 2010, 9:39 pm.

Dear Google.

I have a really big box. Inside that box I am packing all of this want and lust and desire that I have for a stupid little computer. I would really like to get my hands on a Cr-48, Google’s little Chrome OS testbed, given freely to some but not all volunteers.

Please do not confuse this with need. I have a laptop, a real one with hard drives and a file system and everything. I also have a little fruit flavored computer that lives in my pocket and gives me all the internet access I could ever need, and it makes phone calls too.

The Cr-48 is totally stupid. I don’t need stupid junk.

But it’s the sveltest fucking machine I’ve seen. Black on black on matte finished catsuit black. CAPS-LOCK keys are for assholes, anyway.

What would I do if one of those little brown boxes showed up on my doorstep over night? Well, I’d probably do a dance, tear it open, take a photo, start fucking with it, and not get anything else done for the next two days. I really don’t need that in my life right now.

Dear Google, here are my pleas.

Please send me a little black bucket of internet from which I can sip intermittently and with leisure, with a full size chiclet keyboard.

Please don’t send it to me until after I finish my final exams on Monday Night. Monday night at 9pm would be a perfect time for you to rain your sweet mana upon mine head.

Please stick with it. I think cheap underpowered screens with web access are a pretty good idea.

Posted December 6, 2010, 11:18 pm.

Whizbang RP Printing.

Every time one of these articles pop up it make me frown and rub my hands on my face and then, slowly, sigh.

It’s probably just a case of “I kind of know a little bit about this area of information, and the article in question is aimed at a broader group that doesn’t necessarily know much about it, and I have some problems with the article, and it makes me frustrated”, but here are my feelings anyway.

Rapid prototyping is really, really awesome. I completely agree that the makers of the Glif wouldn’t have been able to do what did without it, and I agree that it’s an incredibly useful design tool.

But it grinds me so wrong when someone suggests that we’re on the cusp of a revolution in manufacturing thanks to the miracle of 3d printing. The 3d printer is not the printing press. 3d printing is not game changing production, though it does significantly change the way a product can be designed, prototyped, and the way in which a limited first flush can be made.

The strength of the 3d printing process is that you can produce workable models and prototypes on demand, with acceptable quality in fit and finish. There are also some really interesting possibilities for manufacturing complete assemblies with floating internal parts (that’s the real hotness).

The weakness of 3d printing is that each part takes an inordinate amount of time to make. If you’re planning on selling lots of your widget the most important factor is how quickly your process can pop out widgets, and the crawling pace of 3d printers makes them really uncompetitive. 

From what I’ve read, the makers of the Glif made 500 units by means of 3d printing, and as demand climbed past 5,000 units they switched to traditional injection molding. 

“The potential for this kind of production is enormous, though the real breakthrough will come when individual customisable components or pieces are the same cost to produce as mass runs.”

The only reason why mass production is so affordable is that you’re making the same thing over and over and over and over again. As soon as you start demanding one-offs all of that efficiency evaporates.

Yes, “3d printing and software means that anyone can be a designer”. No, it doesn’t mean anyone with a printer can keep up with a demand.

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