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📙 #14 Works on my Machine
Pen plotting tools, iDraw machine unboxing and a quick 80s Pop: Roxy update.
"Works on my Machine" was the title of the group project we had to submit as part of our final year of University approximately 30 years ago. You could spend weeks working on a project just for it to fail on the "presenting machine", so you'd hear that phrase repeated pretty often. Finally, it reached the point that people would carry their whole desktop machine in to demonstrate that they had done the work.
It was an arts degree, so the project concept was more important than the need for it to run on all-machines-everywhere. This was around the time "Multi-Media" CD-Roms were taped to the front of magazines. So if you absolutely had to be completely certain that something would play on peoples' PCs, the trick was to turn everything into a series of loosely linked videos, like a 640 by 480 resolution choose-your-own-adventure movie. But you know, somehow worse.
The boom and bust of FMV (Full Motion Video) games/media was thankfully short. Anyway, back to "Works on My Machine".
MVPT - Minimum Viable Plotter Tool
I got very lightly bullied on Twitter into releasing this: https://github.com/revdancatt/remote-plotting
Which has appeared in a few videos of mine. It was written to serve a very narrow audience of one, me! Because the MacMini connected to my AxiDraw pen plotter sits under the table, and because I'm old and thoroughly so over kneeling to set the plotter away, I wanted something that would let me upload an SVG file and tell the plotter to get going.
It sort of grew a few other options from there, including giving you an estimate for when the plot will be finished. Finally, earlier today, I bolted on AxiDraw's software's built-in ability to call a URL once it's finished. Allowing you to set things up (via IFTTT) to do stuff like email you, send you a text message, or, even if you fancied it (and are wired that way), flash all the lights in your house. The possibilities are endless.
I've not mentioned that I've switched the GitHub repo to public on Twitter or anywhere yet so you're the first to know. The way I say that makes it seem like you're getting some super inside scoop (you are), but the reality is that I get to run it by some friendly faces first before throwing it out into the wilds of twitterville.
Oh, and obviously, I can only say that it works on my machine.
iDraw-H A3, unboxing
As previously mentioned, this "Quarter", I've decided to double-down on pen plotting in an attempt to finally get around to making those pesky tutorials. I've been asked enough times what the iDraw range of drawing machines are like, that it's almost become embarrassing that I've never used one.
I fixed that the other week by grabbing a model 'H', something else I've also wanted to try out. Also, it means on the tutorial video about "What is a pen plotter", I now have two different machines to point at.
So far, I've gotten as far as unboxing it, setting it up and running a few test plots to ensure I haven't messed up somewhere. Of course, I videoed the whole process because I dunno, sometimes people like to see what's in the box before they buy the thing.
Generative.hut have their own review of the AxiDraw-a-like version: https://www.generativehut.com/post/reviewing-the-idraw-2-0-pen-plotter
I was going to publish a video putting it through its paces next week, but I suspect I will need to make a video about the Minimum Viable Plotter Tool first. So, if you have anything you want me to test or check with the iDraw machine (I'm going to do the obvious speed test), drop me a line, and I'll see if I have the pens etc., to do so.
80s POP: Roxy
As a quick follow-up to last week and crashing my plan of just focusing on pen plotting over the next ten weeks, I've had a chat with ArtBlocks and decided that I'm going to jump into using their White Label version of the platform to launch 80s, 90s and Y2K POP, to return to AB for a curated drop at the end.
This is very exciting, but it also means I have a WHOLE BUNCH of extra work. Especially as codename FALLiNGWATER is happening next month (I think). A bunch of this is boring old backend website stuff as I try to make my own "homepage" on the web look presentable.
I figured it'd be a bit weird only to have my next project presented on my site, so now I've given myself the task of getting at least some of my previous projects on there too. I should have done it ages ago, and yet here we are.
With that, I'd better get back to it; no rest for the wicked and all that.
Thank you, as always, for following along. Doing things like this newsletter is an excellent reminder to myself that even though it feels like I'm just plugging away at stuff behind the scenes when it comes to catching up on the last two weeks or so that I've somehow still managed to put a bunch of stuff out into the world.
Right, in the words of all the best people, onwards!
Love you all, and catch up soon.