3D Modelling on your Smartphone!

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I’ve been playing with various creative tools on Android and iOS over the past several years.

Some of them are usable, some of them are useful for a while and then the company reduces their functionality, or in the case of Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile, they remove the product entirely even if you paid for it. (I ended up buying the new version anyway since it is less than five dollars, but that still bothers me. Bad move, Autodesk.

Recently I’ve started to look for a good 3D modelling solution. I’ve tried z-sculpting tools in the past, but I don’t like how they operate on a tiny touch screen. Even on an iPad they’re a bit unwieldy.

Enter 3D Creationist. This tool is dead simple and fun. The interface has only a few buttons. You can make any of the common 3D primatives: cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, and donuts. It has 3 common modifiers for those shapes: move, pinch & stretch, and rotate.

It also offers the ability to export to STL your final product. This is an app specifically designed for rapid prototyping of 3D printable models. It also allows you to share an image on Twitter or export it to a file.
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I have a fun time just modelling cute characters. I end up using the sphere tool for these characters almost exclusively. This yields some interesting results.

While mashing spheres together creates some believable shapes, sometimes the way they clip together where the edges of the spheres join is less than optimal. This is an artefact of the rendering process more than anything.

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This shortcoming could be easily overcome if there were a way to permanently fuse two shapes so that the internal geometry is removed and any joining edges are smoothed such that both shapes join seamlessly.

While the simplicity of this tool greatly reduces the barrier to entry, I feel that a few more modifiers could make it really shine.

Overall I find 3D creationist to be a lot of fun. Check it out on Google Play! (It’s free!)

Suspicious Network Traffic

Just a quick post today. I found my upstream network traffic was suspiciously high in Windows 10 and this seemed new to me. I wasn’t sure if it had to do with the new OS or not. It turns out, upon opening Resource manager that the culprit was far from simple.

Resource Monitor Screenshot

It seems System is using a lot of network traffic and rundll32.exe is using a lot of CPU, all of the traffic going to my file server on my local LAN.

[EDIT]

It seems that GWXConfigManager.exe is also using 17% of my 6-core CPU constantly in Windows 10 Build 10074. Weird. Not sure what a Windows Update component is doing using so much CPU in the background.

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Fun fact, Windows 10’s backup settings seem to be… non-existent. Instead it opts to back up EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. My backup folder on my LAN server was 600GB. I tried to open options which would let me change what gets backed up but I can’t find anything so far.

Interlocking Bricks Models

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My wife and I have been enjoying the Lego Movie video game and it occurred to me that the 3D models were pretty simple, and that I could probably make similar ones myself.

So I created a few low-polygon 3D models in Maya. I’ve also compiled them into some unitypackage files.

https://github.com/eanbowman/Interlocking-Bricks

Maybe if I can get someone else interested we can make a bunch more models to play with. It would be nice to have a whole set for building things in the game engine.

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Ubuntu Touch RTM – Not ready yet

I love working in Ubuntu. It’s a great OS for getting things done, fast.

So you might expect me to be excited when Ubuntu announced they were coming out with a touch OS. I was, of course. I scoured the site occasionally until a publicly available stable version would be available for download.

Owning only one phone, an LG Nexus 4, I wanted to make sure Ubuntu Touch was ready for prime time. Finally, I found a dual-boot option which would allow me to enjoy Ubuntu while still being able to boot my phone’s main OS.

So I went about the task of downloading the dual boot installer, rooting my phone, installing the dual-boot app and re-locking the bootloader.

For all intents and purposes, my phone is now an Ubuntu Touch phone.

The interface is sleek, if not a little jarring for those used to iOS or Android. Blackberry users might feel more at home with the swipe-from-edge gestures being your only access to menus and other features.

I quickly became accustomed to the nuances of Ubutnu Touch’s new interface. I kind-of like it! I could definitely use this every day.

The trouble comes when I try to actually use Ubuntu Touch to do any of the things I usually use a smartphone to do.

First, as you might expect, there are basically no native apps. There are some non-native web apps, and they all run terribly. Most flicker and flash, lag terribly and otherwise refuse to function properly.

That wouldn’t be a huge problem, as really I only want to communicate with people as a bare minimum. The problem being that I can’t even do that well.

Facebook, twitter, and other applications which should have access to and trigger notifications in the notification menu simply do not do that.

Facebook Messenger is the primary method of communication for a bunch of my friends. I don’t bother texting hardly anyone these days. So that right there makes this not a daily driver for me. If I can’t get FB messenger notifications, I can’t use it.

Also, the most heinous of problems, is that Ubuntu Touch had a well known problem with locking you out of your SIM card, even if the SIM card is not locked. I ended up having to call my carrier to fix the problem I caused by trying to get my SIM working. This problem seems to have been fixed, but bugs like this would surely be a show-stopper for consumers.

Overall, Ubuntu Touch isn’t ready for you. I don’t really care who you are, it’s just not ready. It’s missing key features everywhere.

Hopefully by the time the RTM period expires, these will all be addressed.