Charles Gantt's Blog
I hardly ever write about music and that is because I am the type of person who has a very specific interests in several bands across a few different genres, and last week a sort of "musicgasm" exploded for me. To start things off, my favorite band of all time, ShineDown, released an EP of cover songs performed by Brent Smith and Zach Meyers. Titled, Smith & Meyers Acoustic Sessions, the EP is everything I could have wanted from the duo.
Covering songs like Blue On Black by Kenny Wayne Sheppard, and Nothing Else Matters by Metallica really gave me an entirely new appreciation for Brent Smith's tonal range and talents. Topping things off was their cover of She Talks To Angels by the Black Crows, this is one of my favorite songs of all time, and Smith and Myers nailed it better than the original in my opinion.
Secondly, a friend from my youth launched her first single to the music world. Beth Spangler's Like a Bird may not be my typical style, but her beautiful voice was truly music to my ears. I have known Beth since my youth, and have even sang beside her in church way back in the day. While I gave up on my musical talents, she never did, and perused it all the way to the top. Now with her first single quickly turning into a hit, I can not wait to see what she comes up with next!
Over the past few months, I have been working on fine tuning my Lulzbot AO-100 and on January second I finally decided to put my efforts to the test. Below is a female torso I found on Thingiverse. I chose this model because of its complexity and smooth flowing lines. The print came out great and my tuning efforts proved worth it. What would you like to see me print next?
CES is always an overwhelming experience even for the seasoned journalist, and this year was no exception. As a CES veteran, I knew what to expect going into the week, but nothing could prepare me for the sheer size of this years show. I spent more time rushing to my next meeting than I actually spent in the meetings. Taxi lines were unbelievably long with wait times in the 20-40 minute range. At some points it was actually faster to walk to another casino or hotel to catch a cab than it was to stand in line waiting for one.
Even with all of the commuting hassle and stress, it all seems to melt away when you arrive at your next meeting and get to see some of the coolest hardware that will release in 2014. I saw amazing hardware from GIGABYTE, Netgear, XYZ Printing, Corsair, SanDisk and everyone in-between. All in all I am calling last week a resounding success despite equipment failures, and the utter lack of any form of internet over 330k up or down. Keep reading after the jump for my complete recap plus booth babes!
CES is always a big deal for everyone in the tech media world, and here at TweakTown we work hard at providing the best content on the web. 2014 will be my first year attending CES for TweakTown, although I have attended in the past with other sites.
This year I will be handling most of the CES Video work for TweakTown, and will be conducting interviews with representatives from many of the largest names in tech. As such TweakTown as well as myself invested in some decent hardware for these video interviews. Imagine my surprise when I realized I forgot a very important (in my opinion) piece of the puzzle, the microphone flag. Above you will see my solution to this dilemma. I designed and printed a microphone flag for CES, and touched things up with some custom vinyl stickers I cut out at my MakerSpace. You can download the .stl as well as sketchup files from Thingiverse.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am gearing up for a massive push into 3D Printing reviews here at TweakTown for 2014. Over the last two months I have been planning, and working on a testing methodology that is unlike any other on the internet, and what I have developed is just that. A 3D Printer Review program is nothing without 3D Printers to review though, and in the last two week new printers have began arriving at my office for testing.
The first printer to arrive was the Ordbot Hadron from Punchtech.com and my initial impressions are quite good. The Ordbot is different in design than any other printer I have ever owned or played with, and I can say that it really surprised me. I spend a few hours on Christmas day printing some test prints, and just having fun with the new printer.
On the day after Christmas, FedEx delivered another printer, this time it was a Taz 3.0 from Lulzbot.com. I have been waiting on this printer for several months now, and have known about it for quite some time. Having owned a Lulzbot AO-100 for quite some time now, I have very high expectations for the Taz 3.0. and can not wait to begin testing.
As I sit here waiting on two videos from our latest podcast to encode, I thought I would sit down and write up a short blog post about things to come in 2014. Before I get started, I want to say that the last year at TweakTown has been a dream come true for me. When I took the job here, I never imagined that I would make so many amazing friends, or have the opportunity to do some of the awesome things that I have done.
While 2013 at TweakTown has been an awesome adventure for me, 2014 is setting up to be bigger, better, and 1000 times more awesome! Just two weeks from now I will be flying to Las Vegas to cover CES 2014. During my time in Vegas, I will get to reunite with old friends as well as meet many of the marketers I chat with on a daily basis. Additionally, TweakTown has became the Official Media Partner for Storage Visions 2014 and as the only news reporter for TweakTown attending, that makes me the Official News Reporter for Storage Visions 2014!
While at CES I will be covering all of the new and upcoming consumer electronics, and will get early access to products you will see on TweakTown first. While I can not mention any company names, or product names, I can say that I will be previewing a new 3D Printer that is said to revolutionize the consumer 3D Printer Market.
Over the last few weeks I have been working on a fairly big project and needed to create a robotic rover of sorts to demonstrate how a new piece of hardware works. While I can not show you the hardware just yet, I can show you the Arduino-powered robot that I built to showcase the new top secret development board I have on my workbench.
The robot consist of a few off-the-shelf parts including the chassis, control electronics, and hardware. I also custom designed a couple of parts for the project and printed them with my 3D printer. I chose Arduino-based electronics because they are readily available and quite easy to code for and implement.
The robot is semi-intelligent in the sense that it is able to sense objects located in front of it, and can change direction to avoid hitting them. It can not however at this point, plot a route around objects other than what is directly in front of it. This means that while it can avoid objects, the direction it takes to avoid that object is not very predictable at the moment.
A little over 2 years ago, I got an email from a friend who had just had a hands on experience with a new micro-computer / educational development board that he said would change the world much like the Arduino did earlier in the decade. He couldn't tell me much, other than that the board was named the Raspberry Pi and that it would be unveiled to the public in just a few short weeks. Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation reported that it has managed to sell over 2 million Raspberry Pi boards since its release!
That little green board with the punny, and fruity name did indeed take the internet by storm and in some form or another it did change the world. Unfortunately, despite my connections in the maker community, and with Element14, I did not manage to get my hands on A Raspberry pi for almost an entire year after its release. When I did, I quickly realized that the wait was well worth it. The Pi can be used for everything from a web-server, to a Minecraft server, and even a set-top media streaming box. Fast forward another year, and I still have my original Raspberry Pi Model B. I have since acquired several more model B's and even a couple of Model A's. I have LCD screens, Cameras, and various other add-on boards for the Pi, and it seems like I add a new Pi or accessory to my collection every few months.
The Raspberry Pi may have less I/O than the BeagleBone Black I recently reviewed, but as I said in the review, "Both boards have their use." Even though I like all of the built in features of the BeagleBone black, especially its lack of need for a dedicated monitor, I still develop with the Raspberry Pi more. As the owner of TheMakersWorkbench and a journalist for both TweakTown and Element14, I get to see some of the latest cutting edge development boards and accessories well before they are released, and while I can not say much, I can tell you that some amazing things are coming down the pipe for the Raspberry Pi.
Just incase you were wondering, you can grab the 3D-printable files for that sweet looking TweakTown blue Raspberry Pi case from Thingiverse!
So all of the editors here at TweakTown have been author blogs, a new space on the site for us to talk about what ever we would like. Naturally these post will be filled up with content about our hobbies, extended testing results, and even a hand full of Op-Ed pieces. I am going to attempt to chronicle more of my smaller 3D printing endeavors here as well as highlight my new PC build / mod as well. I may also cover topics like my adventures into fine-art photography as well as my forays into astrophotography.
For tonight's installment, I just want to take a moment or two to brag on myself for my first successful custom sleeved cable. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I am at the very beginning stages of building a new PC that I will be modifying slightly to conform to a very loose Battlefield 4 theme. I wont go into much detail right now on hardware specifications or project sponsors as that will come in another post later this week. I will however unveil that Silverstone sent me an 850W Strider Gold from its S-series of Power Supplies for the build along with a complete set of pre-sleeved cable extensions.
Unfortunately these cables are black and I need a black and neon green combo for the theme I am shooting for. After researching several sleeving methods, I decided to go the complete DIY route and use 550 Para-cord. This is a time consuming process as one must remove the secondary strands from within the para-cord leaving just the hollow tube in which the power cable will slide. Being an avid DIYer and expert maker, I had no doubt that I could accomplish the task, but had no idea how tedious the task would be without removing the crimped connector. Luckily a very conservative application of tape was all it took to smooth out the process and make inching on the sleeving a much less troublesome task. I haven't sleeved the entire cable yet, but will do so later this week.