dthorpe dthorpe

Niner since 2006

Delphi compiler architect not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away.
Architect and general miscreant on Google projects we cannot name.
Windows Live Developer Platform Architect and lead macguyver of the Impossible Missions Force.


  • Hanselminut​es on 9 - Bill Steele talks about 3D Printing with Makerbot Replicators and more

    @Clint: Yes. All 3D printers require 3D solid models as input. If you create your own models, you can print them. The trick is to make sure the models are "solid", aka "water tight". Most 3D graphics tools are tuned for video production, which does not require true "water tight" solid models. You can get away with meshes that have no thickness (think: clothes, hair) when you're creating a model for video, but thickness is required for 3D printing. AutoCAD, Rhino3D, 123D, and MOI are modeling apps you can use to create 3D solid models for printing.

    There are many different styles of 3D printing hardware, too. Each has its own strengths and challenges.  I use a ZCorp Z406 powder printer to print in plaster and clay: http://dannythorpe.com/category/ceramics/

    As for your comment about "not totally here yet": true, if you're expecting something that is as hands off as a modern laser printer. 3D printing still requires a lot of "user participation". There are a few 3D printing systems that are truly hands-off appliances, but you pay a premium for it: such machines from ZCorp / 3DS and others cost $20k and up. You can expect 3D printers from the maker space to require a bit more hands-on engagement. First you have to build it, then you have to feed it, understand its quirks and limitations, etc.

  • Danny Thorpe: Hosting the Windows Live Contacts gadget

    JohnnyFry wrote:
    I'd love to know how it actually works.  The wormhole technique that is.  I think I have a pretty good idea, esp. given the channel.htm requirement. 

    How about Microsoft gain some street cred. and not make me have to reverse engineer their JS library in order to figure out how things work?

    I hope to dig into the gory details Real Soon Now on my blog.  There are a few internal procedural hurdles to clear first.
  • Danny Thorpe: Hosting the Windows Live Contacts gadget

    digory wrote:
    Thanks Danny.  After all of the Live stuff that I've sat and sifted through over the past 6 months it's great to see somebody finally having a go at explaining the platform.  Please keep this stuff coming

    Thanks!  Rattling on about endless possibilities gets old fast.  Dreaming is easy.  Doing is hard.  The real headrush is when some first tiny inkling actually works.  Look!  Actual code! 

    That, and blowing stuff up.  Oh, did you need that power supply?  No, you won't want it back now.  Trust me.

  • Danny Thorpe: Hosting the Windows Live Contacts gadget

    JohnAskew wrote:

    Is there a way to extend the data associated with a Windows Live ID?

    Say I want my dental records now that I've moved to Seattle from California, and I hate more unnecessary x-rays and the insurance claims bloat associated with it. Can both ends share a dynamic schema for data we put on the repository ~ Windows Live? Like a massive import mechanism?

    What you're describing there sounds like massive amounts of data.  The Windows Live Contacts database isn't set up to handle that kind of thing - it's designed to handle lots of small data.  For massive amounts of personal storage (like high-definition X-Ray scans) you'll need something more like the rumored "LiveDrive" mentioned in Microsoft Watch awhile back.

    Once you have massive storage, then yes, it only makes sense to store things there using common schema. 

    Your example of medical records is wonderful, because that also demands very carefully considered access control - one medical facility placing records into your storage area with your permission, another medical facility retrieving it with your permission, and yet you the end user and owner of that data might not have access to the raw data yourself.  You see this in real life when a lab refuses to release data like xrays into the custody of the patient - they will only release the materials to a licensed physician, and only transport by courier.  (I've been charged courier fees to transport x-rays across the street!) 

    It's conceivable that metadata for smaller bits of data could be added to the Windows Live Contacts storage - the back-end database can do it, but there is the issue of provisioning, monitoring, etc.  Adding fields to the backend is not something to be left to an arbitrary third party web developer - that would require a close partnership relationship with Microsoft.

    JohnAskew wrote:

    Danny, you need to discover the right word for it. De-gadgetize. Is it a shim?

    We're working on the name question.  Nothing separates the wheat from the chaff like shipping code.  ;>   It seems likely that the internal discussion will produce more than just a name for this one thing - more like an entire taxonomy of web things! 

    Is it a shim?  No.  The contacts gadget implements specific functionality beyond what the back-end data server provides.  A shim is just a thin veneer with little or no substance.  The contacts gadget has substance - UI presentation plus secure user-controlled cross-domain data access.

    JohnAskew wrote:

    I'm glad you are at Microsoft.

    So is Microsoft. [6]