Saturday, November 30, 2013

Doing some other things. Bike Time at PumpingStation:One

As it should be well known by now, I'm a fan of the whole hackerspace thing.  Recently I've signed up, and I'm helping maintain the Bike Time office hours at

So.. here's what we've done:

Fixing bicycle tubes:

Wrapping bar tape:

Installing a new crank and bottom bracket:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rewriting the screenplay for Ender's Game.

Recently, Ender's Game came out as a movie.  The movie felt like it completely missed the (unintended) feel of the book. Instead of being about kids who figured out the strings, and started to pull back, the movie was about the string pullers.

So for a good clean Saturday's entertainment, Chaosmonk and I sat down and tried to rewrite the movie.  This is what we came up with.  It needs another pass, to develop dialogue, and settings.  And then talk throughs, to verify running times.  

We think that this could have been "the right solution."

Without further ado:

Ender's Game "Done Right"

15 minutes - Ender's set-up, travel to Battle School
30 minutes - Ender is a soldier, Ender's classes
35 minutes - Ender as a commander
10 minutes - Ender and Valentine
25 minutes - Command School
5 minutes - Epilogue

Act I: Ender Is Introduced - 15 minutes

1.5 minutes - Montage of Bugger invasions, text introduction & set up of counterattack
1.5 minutes - Fleet authorizes Ender/Ender is born
5 minutes - Ender at school
2 minutes - Peter/Valentine/Ender is recruited/Peter mistreats Ender
5 minutes - Ender in shuttle

Act II: Ender at Battle School - 30 minutes

15 minutes - Battle School setup
Ender meets launch group - grabs two lockers
Ender finds game room - defeats older kids from Salamander - Bonzo & Rose de Nose in background watching
Free Play game - Ender defeats unbeatable choice
First day of classes - Bernard conflict
First time in Battle Room - battle mechanics - Ender is confused by zero G
Classes and development - ships heading for Bugger homeworld - acceleration of Ender's classes

15 minutes - Salamander and Rat armies
Bonzo is annoyed at Ender's youth/beating game vs. Salamander kids
Battles where Ender does not participate - frustration/boredom/learning - Ender at top of stats
Free practice with launch group and Petra
Ender learns from watching Salamander/enemy's gate is down
Ender gets notice of transfer right before final battle
Final Salamander battle - Ender saves Salamander from a loss by disobeying Bonzo in defiance

1st battle - Ender is ordered to attack blindly - takes out a huge portion of the enemy as they emerge - Rat wins
Free practice becomes bigger & includes other commanders
Other armies begin to use Ender's tactics - more battles - Ender drops in standings, then returns to top
Ender misses Valentine - writes a letter
Ender and friends are attacked in practice by Bonzo and thugs
Ender remains at top of list throughout battles
Ender is assigned a command

Act III: Dragon Army - 35 minutes
Bean leaves office as Ender goes to meet Graff to get army roster - finds out they are all early promotions/people held back
Ender meets army and goes to practice immediately - Ender is a hardass
Whole scene: Ender's first practice
Ender changes traditional tactics - new soldiers at front of bunk - 5 toons vs. 4 - gives toon leaders autonomy
  to start training on their own while Ender researches videos of battles
Ender starts battles daily - less warning - rules change
Ender assigns Bean command of special group
Ender gets burned out - starts to become more defiant/more withdrawn - tells army "no practice"
Ender gets attacked by Bonzo
Ender gets final battle orders - second battle right after killing Bonzo, vs. two armies
WHOLE SCENE: Conversation with Bean - Ender's toon leaders are all transferred
Ender is reassigned to Command School while Bean is present, skipping Pre-Command
Ender refuses to proceed

Act IV: Ender and Valentine - 10 minutes
Graff and Anderson discuss Ender's mental state & letter - reference to game - "behavior in game is erratic"
Ender is flown back to Earth
Scene on lake - Valentine reminds him what he is fighting for

ACT V: Command School - 25 minutes
Ender lands on asteroid - is explained that it is a Bugger captured base
Explanation of Bugger technology - ansible, zero G
Introduction to simulator - mechanics are similar to Battle Room - simulated team leaders
Ender gets successful at defeating computer battles/missions
Introduction to Mazer Rackham in Ender's room
Introduction to weapons & bugger philosophy - Dr. Device - buggers destroy tug that found Eros
Mazer starts "planning" Ender's battles - Ender meets up again with jeesh
Ender and jeesh start getting burned out again
Final battle - Ender tries same tactic as in last Battle School battle
Ender comes out - people are cheering, hugging, Ender and jeesh are baffled
Revelation of victory - Ender's dilemma

Act VI: Epilogue
You can't go home.
Colonisation plans, yes, you can take valentine.
Close of movie.. the tug firing into space
Credits roll - scenes of jeesh returning home - Ender stands at window of tug gazing back

Nano DLG Plans - A cheap fast and easy discus launch glider.

The people who run were generous to give away the plans for their tiny DLG.  The plans require you cut out the parts by hand.. and aren't very clean if you'd like to use a laser cutter to make the parts for you.

So I did this:

That drawing has hard lines for all the parts you could use a laser cutter, or cnc router to cut it out for you.  I have the full SVG posted at the end of the post.

When I say tiny, it's in the 50g range.  Happily, radios in that class are cheap enough to buy these days.

Here's their demo video:

So I've built a couple of them.  I don't have much experience with solid balsa building, so.. it's not going badly.  But I"d like to make a few more tries.. and sadly, that means making the plane again.. and again..  That's where the laser cutter comes in.  With the laser cutters I can make a kit of parts in 15-20 minutes, instead of two evenings of hard work.  I suspect I"ll be able to make one that weighs 45grams eventually.

Speaking of construction, here's the assembly video.
I'd recommend turning off the audio.  It's a little to jesus-y for me.

Here's that SVG file I promised.

And here's the link to the original plans, and website:

If you build one, e-mail me!  and them.