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Archive for May, 2011

Twittering Steam Pipes, now with RSS!

20 May

Valve Software recently announced another way to sap money from my wallet. Every day at noon CST a new game will be made available at a deep discount on the Steam online store. You can find out which game is on sale by checking Steam itself or by following @steam_games on twitter. While it’s nice to have this available on twitter, when I’m away from my computer I wanted to have updates pushed to my phone as I knew I’d forget to check and miss some great deals. Unfortunately it’s kind of all or nothing as far as SMS updates from Twitter go and they post quite a few things every day.

I was able to solve this problem with the help of Yahoo Pipes and Twitterfeed. I’ve also made this available on twitter to anyone else that would find it useful. @SteamDailyDeals will update within 30 minutes of the update hitting @steam_games daily.

I used two pre-written Yahoo Pipes to filter just the “Daily Deals” posts from @steam_games. The first turns a Twitter feed into RSS (this functionality used to exist natively on Twitter but has been removed) and the second filters out only the posts that contain “Daily Deals”. To accomplish this I used the Get Twitter RSS pipe to generate an RSS feed and then loaded it into the Feed Filter pipe to remove unwanted entries. I’ve included the finished pipe diagram below.

After I had a working and filtered RSS feed I loaded that into TwitterFeed.com and connected it to my new Twitter account, @SteamDailyDeals. This service will feed any RSS feed into Twitter, checking for new posts every 30 minutes. Since @steam_games only updates their “Daily Deal” once daily checking every 30 minutes seems reasonable enough to me.

After setting up TwitterFeed all I had to do was follow @SteamDailyDeals on twitter and turn on device updates. Now I get just the updates I want delivered to my cell phone daily without the rest of the daily tweets from @steam_games.

 
 

Everyday Fixes with Makerbot #2 (Kitchenaid Cap)

10 May

Owning a Makerbot has changed the way I think about replacement parts. So when a friend of mine mentioned that he lost the cap for the front of his mixer I had to step in.

“No Jeff, I can’t let you buy a $6 replacement cap for your mixer. That is ridiculous.” I said as I rode in my Makerbot high horse. “Let me take care of this.”

As an owner of this particular mixer myself (as should any home baker) I was able to use my cap as a reference model. I spent about 15 minutes with SketchUp and my digital caliper and was able to get a pretty good replica of the part. I made some minor customization that allows it to fit in both my newer “Classic Plus” mixer and my parents ~15 year old mixer (“Artisan?”).

As you can see from the gallery below the model isn’t very complicated. I’ve uploaded both a Makerbot branded and plain cap (suitable for customization). While this isn’t an expensive replacement part it’s always nice to have the option to spend $0.25 printing a replacement instead of paying $6 + shipping. Hopefully another Thingiverse user will find this helpful in the future.

[thingiverse thing=8415]

 

 

“Edison Style” hanging light

05 May

I’m always looking for cool editions for my man cave, I don’t have a lot of space so I aim for quality over quantity. Last weekend I found these incredibly cool reproduction “Edison Style” light bulbs on Amazon and knew they could earn a spot in the man cave. The bulb was too cool to just throw in a lamp, I had to incorporate the old timey style of the reproduction bulb in the fixture it would live in. So I headed to one of my homes away from home, Home Depot. While there I picked up the following:

20′ 14 gauge, 2 conductor SO Cord (rubber coated wire)
1x Rubber coated light socket
1x Two pronged plug
1x Package of 3M Command hooks

Included in the gallery you can see my construction log. Because I was really going for a simple vintage look this was not a very complicated build. Here are my step by step instructions:

  1. Solder the socket and SO cord together and cover the connections in heat shrink
  2. Screw the other end of the SO cord into the two pronged plug
  3. Test the electrical connections (I used an ordinary CFL for this)
  4. Hang the SO cord using Command hooks
  5. Plug into switched light switch or totally awesome wirelessly controlled plug strip
  6. Be the coolest kid you know

 
The hanging SO cord doesn’t look quite like I had envisioned due the the stiffness of the cord, but in all I’m happy with the results.