I Bought a 3D Printer

Guys! I bought a 3D printer! It hasn’t even arrived yet, but I already feel like I should have done this ages ago! I ended up going with the
Wanhao i3 v2.1 Duplicator. It’s an upgraded version of the v2.0, which is effectively the same model that MonoPrice rebrands and sells as the Maker Select 3D Printer v2.

All around it seems to hit the sweet spot between price and capability. For me, the big selling points are:

  • Sufficient large build envelope: 200 mm x 200 mm x 180 mm
  • Sufficient build resolution: 0.1 mm, but can go down to 0.05 mm!
  • Multiple-material filament capabilities
  • Good community support
  • Easy to make your improvements/repairs

I had to pay a bit of a premium since I’m in the UK, but I think it will be worth it. Printer arrives tomorrow, and I hope to have a report out soon thereafter.

System Updates

This will serve, I hope, as a sort of system restart post and will cover a couple of things:

We’ve moved to the UK!

I’ve taken a short term international assignment. This blog (the one you’re reading now) is transitioning to mostly technical things. Life events will be covered over at AndrewAndRachel.com.

New Host!

After having some fun hosting this on a Linode VPS, I’ve decided I don’t really want to be in the server maintenance business. So I’ve move everything over to SiteGround over the last couple of months. It feels good to have one less thing to worry about, and SiteGround supports Let’s Encrypt! Win-Win!

New Theme!

With great sadness, Alex King (of Crowd Favorite) passed in 2015. Unfortunately, his theme, FavePersonal, hasn’t been getting updates since and things were starting to break. So, new theme.

Unfortunately, this also means that the social media interoperability has changed. Comments on Facebook and Twitter used to automatically be aggregated on this blog as well. My thinking on this continues to evolve, and while I believe it would be best to have a single commenting ecosystem, I’m more at ease with allowing separate systems to exist.

Fortunately, I’m still pushing blog posts to Facebook and Twitter since I know that’s a primary news source for many people (for better or for worse).

Email “Newsletters”

Ugh…I’ve hated this. I hate posting something and having it go out via email only to find I made a typo or something. Or wanting to post multiple time in a day and feeling worried that people would hate all the email. This has honestly been a big mental block for me. Also, the plugin I was using1 was overly complicated and often didn’t render things correctly. I thought hard about getting rid of email subscriptions entirely, but instead I’m going to try something else. You’re welcome relatives 😉

First, I’ve switched to a new system: MailPoet. We’ll see how this works…it seems to tick all the boxes I need for what I want to do.

Second, everyone who was on the old mailing list has been migrated to the new weekly digest list. If there have been blog posts from the past week, you will get an email on Monday morning with them — in theory.


  1. Subscribe2 HTML 

2016 Year in Cities

Apparently I did a lot of flying last year — 101584 miles worth. I was lucky enough to carried via British 747-400 for many of my trips (my first trip on a 747 since 2006). I climbed the Alaska Airlines points ladder pretty quickly, finally hit MVP Gold 75K (after a couple of close years), and was in their top 10% of mileage earners for 2016.

Many new cities this year, and one state (Hawaii) and one new country (Spain).

  • Seattle, Washington*
  • Bournemouth, United Kingdom*
  • Arbon, Switzerland
  • Lindau, Germany
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Retford, United Kingdom*
  • Tenerife, Spain
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Heathrow, United Kingdom*
  • Snoqualmie, Washington
  • Stanwood, Washington
  • Lucerne, Switzerland
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Orange County, California
  • Jamaica, New York
  • Kaua’i, Hawaii

One or more nights were spent in each place. Those cities marked with an asterisk (*) were visited mul­ti­ple times on non-consec­u­tive days. Roughly in order of appear­ance.

The election was so close that I’ve come to see th…

The election was so close that I’ve come to see the result as a bad roll of the dice. A few minor tweaks here and there — a more enthusiastic Sanders endorsement, one fewer of Comey’s announcements, slightly less Russian involvement — and the country would be preparing for a Clinton presidency and discussing a very different social narrative. That alternative narrative would stress business as usual, and continue to obscure the deep social problems in our society. Those problems won’t go away on their own, and in this alternative future they would continue to fester under the surface, getting steadily worse. This election exposed those problems for everyone to see.

Voting Paradoxes

via Hacker News1

From en.wikipedia.org:

In social choice theory, Arrow’s impossibility theorem, the general possibility theorem or Arrow’s paradox is an impossibility theorem stating that when voters have three or more distinct alternatives (options), no ranked ordervoting system can convert the ranked preferences of individuals into a community-wide (complete and transitive) ranking while also meeting a pre-specified set of criteria, unrestricted domain, non-dictatorship, Pareto efficiency, and independence of irrelevant alternatives.

Remember to vote though.


  1. like reddit, but better comments 

Cunningham Seawall 10K

It’s been a long time since I’ve run a race—I kind of just stopped running in 20121.

I got back into doing something fitness related in June 2015 with CrossFit, which has been a boon for me…especially with all my travel I’ve done this year2. I signed up to run a 10K with Rachel and some friends in Vancouver, BC some months ago and that’s what got me really running again. With help from Coach Monica at Twenty Pound Hammer I got a running plan together to make this my best race yet.

After doing lots of free runs and looking at the data, I set a goal pace of 5:30 min/km ± 15 seconds3. For me, this amounts to around 80 strides a minute. I built a playlist around this pace that I trained with and raced to.

It’s also cool to see how far technology has come in the last few years. I used to run with a Nike+ sensor that I placed on my shoe to detect steps and eventually moved up to using their iPhone app. I recently switched to using iSmoothRun with Smashrun and Strava and I get so much more data…which is what also helped me pick my goal pace.

I also have sinus tachycardia …nothing serious, just something I have to keep an eye on. I’ve found through trial and error that so long as I can keep my HR below 190 I don’t get winded such that I have to slow down (e.g. think about how long you can run a sprint). This seems to put me at around 5:30 min/km on flat surfaces, though with more training I’m hoping to best this.

Official Stats:

10K time: 58:40 (5:52 min/km)

5K time: 27:54 (5:35 min/km)

Overall ranking: 850 / 3071

Division Ranking (Male 30-34): 81 / 1424

Gender (Male): 467 / 1048

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  1. 2012 July 2nd was my last recorded run 

  2. but that’s a another story 

  3. 8:51 min/mi 

  4. Sabo finished 79th and Charlie 80th…even though I didn’t run with them