I finally got around to doing my taxes. 2010 was my first full year of working, but the taxes were actually easier than 2009 (using an online tool so I don’t actually have to fill in the paperwork myself) since I didn’t have to enter anything about being a student. Of course I also didn’t get as much of a federal refund because I couldn’t claim student credits, and for some reason I actually owe Colorado $5. Guess I’ll have to check on my deduction settings at work for this year.
Reid brought his collection of twisty puzzles to lunch today. He has quite a collection now. Several of them are simple (2x2x1 being notable in that God’s Number for it is 3), but on the complete other end of the scale (in terms of number of possible arrangements) he’s also got a Megaminx. My favorites of the set were the Pyramorphinx and Master Pyramorphinx, though the 3x3x2 was decidedly interesting and would be fun to work out how to solve it. My lunch break went long by about an hour since Reid and I both were ahead on hours for the week and I lost track of time while playing with and discussing the different puzzles.
Needless to say I’ll likely be ordering some of the types soon if I can find sources that don’t sell knockoffs, though perhaps I’ll wait till I’ve worked out my Square One. I’m not too interested in the simpler puzzles, though some might be worth getting for the sake of learning how to solve the simple cases before moving on to the more complex.
Custom puzzles also came up (one site worth of examples). My understanding is that those are all made from molded pieces, but 3d printing would make them simpler to create even if the finish leaves something to be desired.
A 3d printer (specifically a RepRap) is something I’ve been interested in for a while, but I still haven’t convinced myself that it’s worth the money for the kit. The kit I think looks the best (reasonably up to date, wires cut to length, electronics don’t need soldering) even includes a heated bed, but it’s priced in euros and is all in metric (which I think is the base design, though there is a variation in US sizes). It also hasn’t been sold for long, so he doesn’t have a stock of pieces and the available quantity is at -11 so who knows how long it would take to get shipped.
The kit I recognize from last spring when I looked this up is still exactly the same as far as I can tell, so it’s still using an older generation of the electronics, and they seem to have a dislike for line breaks so it’s really hard to read what’s included in the kit. The price is a bit cheaper, but it doesn’t include the heated bed which is highly recommended for some print mediums.
The reason I’d go with a kit instead of sourcing everything myself is that I’m more interested in working on software (and I’d likely write/edit the driver software) than working out problems in the hardware. The kits all have a large markup over the materials cost, but it saves so much time attempting to make sure everything is compatible and putting together so many different orders for parts.
Speaking of software, I’ve got a project that I’ve been considering for a while that I might as well get started on. If I make any progress or even get it working I’ll probably post something about it later.