Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Excluding sites from your Google search results.

7.30.2018

As I've been searching for assets to support my laser-cutting endeavors, I've become quite irritated with Pinterest results which are lists of unrelated stuff. Fortunately, Google offers some solutions:

First off, you can exclude a site from the search results. Just use this for your search: plant vine svg -pinterest.com That will search for plant vine svgs, but not show you any results from Pinterest. The trick is putting the dash/negative sign just before pinterest.com.

Of course, this can exclude any site from search results. If one was so inclined, one could edit certain bookmarks on others' computers to remove, say Fox News for example. Just in case you're visiting your parents' house, for example.

Second, you can force any keyword in your search results with something like this: plant vine "svg" That will only show results with the keyword "svg" in the results. The trick is putting that keyword in quotes. In my specific case, it tends to show results with that file in them, but often times they're for sale.

Happy searching!

Glowforge Laser Cutter - Things I Wish I'd Known.

6.22.2018

Laser cut earrings and keychains I've had my Glowforge laser cutter for several months now and I've made some things that I'm really quite happy about. Someone recently asked me what I wish I'd known before I got the Glowforge, and I figured I'd expand those thoughts here.

I already knew this, but just so you also know: the Glowforge requires an internet connection to work, and it's not open-sourced. The on-line interface and catalog work very well, and make a lot of sense for both the user and manufacturer. But, if you're the type of person who needs to control the hardware themselves, the Glowforge probably isn't for you.

The Glowforge fits really well on this Ikea LACK coffee table. I spent really quite a lot of time searching on-line for a lot of workbenches that I didn't buy. Ooooooh, now the table comes with a lower shelf.

If you like prototyping on cardboard, get yourself a cutting mat and box cutter to make cutting that cardboard down to size a lot easier.

Gorilla Tape is really great for removing the protective paper from Glowforge's Proofgrade materials. Wrap a loop of tape sticky side out, around your hand, and press the cut pieces into the the tape. Pull the tape off the cut piece, and voilà, the protective paper peels right off.

For the most accurate material-to-cut alignment, place the material as close to center of bed (that's where the camera is) as possible.

A "No Artwork" error in the Glowforge online UI can mean "artwork doesn't fit in laser-able area."

I'm new to vector design software, and so I did a bit of playing around to figure out what worked best for me. Sketch (OSX only) is quite good, and Inkscape (Windows, OSX and Linus) is surprisingly good for free (open-source) software. But I'm most comfortable using Adobe Illustrator, probably because of my previous experience with Photoshop. For bonus points, it's available for both OXS and Windows, and it comes with a Creative Cloud subscription.

If you're considering buying a Glowforge (they're shipping now, you should get it in just 2 weeks), please consider using my referral code: https://glowforge.us/kyt1Ui. You'll save some money and I'll get some money.

AWS Easy Mode == Architect.

5.16.2018

While severely belated, I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about a really nifty project that I learned about at EmpireConf 2017 last October. In her talk "Architecture as Text (AWS Easy Mode)", Angelina Fabbro talked about .architect - an open source project which handles provisioning of AWS / Lamda servers through the `.arc` file - a plaintext manifest file. The most amazing and wonderful fact is that with .architect in Angelina's demo, the servers were provisioned faster than DNS propagation.

Also of note, she's got a great definition for "Serverless": Functions (the var func = new Function(arg){} kind) as a service, not a web server. Abstract away the notion of a server altogether.

For more info on .architect, definitely check out the talk from EmpireConf, or the website at https://arc.codes/.

LinkedIn for Job Seekers.

4.23.2018

I've done the job search thing a few times, and one of the first places I start is with LinkedIn. It's how I found my last job. Here are a number of hopefully useful tips that I've picked up over the years stemming from my own discoveries to advice from professional job search advisors.

Other links about job searches:

Handy Regexes for Search and Replace.

3.26.2018

Sublime Text - my favorite editor - will let you use a regular expression (regex) in its search and replace functionality. Here are some handy regexes that I've used in the past:

Any anchors
href=\"[^\s]*\"
Any dollar value
\$[0-9.,]+
All HTML comments and their contents
<!--(.|\s)*?-->
Either "alpha" or "beta"
(alpha|beta)
Any blank lines
^\n
Any pair of "s not preceeded by ="
[^=]""
Sass mixins
@mixin .* \{
Sass extends
\%[^\s]*

Inkscape - Using Path > Difference With Text.

3.3.2018

It turns out that Inkscape's error messages will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the application.

Part of getting my Glowforge laser cutter has been learning to use a new piece of software, Inkscape. I was having problems using Inkscape's "Path > Difference" option to combine (well, cut out) shapes and text elements. Here's what I had to do to get the elements merged:

  1. Optional: Disable any stroke styles on both objects. Use fills instead.
  2. Optional: Make sure the first element - the non-text - is a path. Select it and choose "Path > Object to Path".
  3. Turn the text into a path. Select it and choose "Path > Object to Path".
  4. Ungroup that new path. Right click it and choose "Ungroup".
  5. Bring the "top" element to the top layer (Home). This is what will be removed from the other element.
  6. Position / align the elements as desired.
  7. Select both of the elements.
  8. Choose "Path > Difference".

Global Diversity CFP Day Q&A.

2.6.2018

Last week was Global Diversity CFP Day and we held the Seattle workshop that I'd been organizing for a few months. Global Diversity CFP Day was started by Peter Aitken, who ran a similar event to improve the diversity of submissions for his event ScotlandJS. At the event, a number of locations world-wide held workshops where people who are under-represented at technology conferences could learn about submitting talks to conferences from experienced speakers and event organizers. The attendees asked some really good questions, so I figured I'd answer them here for posterity. I hope readers will forgive me for including one "Socratic method" question at the end.