New to Me: Majestic 3d-Printed Dice

Design & Designers, Games

Oh, wow, look at these 3d-printed dice:

Etsy MajesticTrinkets Art Deco Dice Set

MajesticTrinkets on Etsy.

They’re designed and made by Carolyn. She sells her dice under the name Majestic Trinkets through an Etsy shop and a Shapeways shop.

Shapeways Majestic Trinkets D20 Lace Brass

MajesticTrinkets on Shapeways.

Carolyn uses CAD software to design the dice, so they’ll be properly balanced. Some of the designs can be printed from a variety of materials.

Shapeways Majestic Trinkets D10 Spindown Nickel

MajesticTrinkets on Shapeways.

Very cool – what a wonderful way to channel your creativity. I love that she combines her training (mechanical engineer) and hobbies to make pretties for her fellow nerds. 🙂 Kudos!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

P.S. Visit MajesticTrinkets on Twitter for more photos of neat die projects!

Food for Thought: Smartphones and Creativity


On Open Culture, Ayun Halliday writes about smartphones and creativity, extensively quoting cartoonist and educator Lynda Barry.

Flickr Nicolas Nova Smartphone Rituals

Smartphone Rituals by Nicolas Nova on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Here’s one of Barry’s thoughts that especially struck me:

“The phone gives us a lot but it takes away three key elements of discovery: loneliness, uncertainty and boredom. Those have always been where creative ideas come from.”

– Lynda Barry

I’m still mulling over the quote, but I seem to be leaning towards disagreeing. People who are inclined to doodle, people-watch, nap, let their thoughts wander, knit, read or whatnot will continue to do so even with smartphones. Not to mention that it’s perfectly possible to be bored with your smartphone and all the access it gives. Boredom, I find, isn’t dependent on having access to x, y or z; it’s more a matter of what doesn’t inspire you at any given moment. Nor are smartphones a cure-all against loneliness or uncertainty.

Smartphones are undoubtedly a tool, and equally unboubtedly they can be a distraction. My tentative hypothesis is that as the newest and perhaps most exciting devices in the history of human tool use, we haven’t collectively learned to balance their benefits and disadvantages yet.

Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier for those struggling to resist the siren song of instant and interminable access.

Intuitive Photo Editing Program Needed

After Hours, Behind the Scenes, Bits in Spaaace!, DIY

So, this is what I’ve been doing this weekend:

I’m getting used to a new computer. But it’s not simply a new-to-me machine with a different keyboard configuration and whatnot; I’ve also upgraded my operating system to Windows 10, with the joys and frustrations that brings. Most of my favorite programs are now on, as are my personalizations. I’ve found most of the settings I care about (many of them multiple times, heh heh). The sounds sound different, with more nuance in music tracks (yay for better speakers / sound controllers). Colors look slightly different, too, understandably. That brings me to my problem.

I’ve been using Picasa for mass photo edits like resizing, but Google has discontinued it. Can anyone recommend an intuitive image editor?

I’m looking for something that’s quick to learn (so preferably not PhotoShop). I mostly only need basic functionality (straighten, crop, light / color correction, text, format conversion) with an occasional mild filter, so there’s plenty to pick from out there. My biggest need is the ability to resize multiple files at a time, though.

I’ve used Gimp and MS Paint, but they aren’t as handy for resizing. (And, bafflingly, the preinstalled programs on my new machine don’t include a resize option.) In a pinch I suppose I can try a legacy version of Picasa, but it would be good to have something with continuing support. I’ve also found some programs I could try by googling, but I thought I’d try the wisdom of my network first.

EDIT: I got one; thanks!

Creativity Is: Playing Music through a Dot Matrix Printer

Geek out!, Thumbs Up

There are many definitions of creativity. Despite the differences, most include originality or novelty and imagination, and the creation of something new. However you parse it, this video by MIDIDesaster of playing “Eye of the Tiger” through a dot matrix printer(!) definitely counts.

“Eye of the tiger” on dot matrix printer from MIDIDesaster on Vimeo.

MIDIDesaster explains:

“This old 24-pin dot matrix printer has been converted into a MIDI compatible sound generator. Up to 21 notes can be played simultaneously. It features up to 16 MIDI channels with individual volume and pitch.”

The rest of the technical information is way beyond me. However, I cannot but admire the effort that went into this project, starting from the concept (I. Cannot. Even!) and all the way to solving the pragmatic issues.

The curiosity, creativity and imagination of us humans never ceases to amaze me. It’s thrilling to see what we’re capable of!