Monthly Archives: January 2012


Every year, I go through a review of my software suite and processes to see if there’s anything I can do to improve or streamline things further. There wasn’t much this year in the way of new software to choose from (I’d already upgraded to Photoshop CS5 back in 2011), but I was intrigued by the fact that there were now 3 unfolding plugins for Google SketchUp, 2 of which are specifically oriented towards papercraft development. I thought I’d give the thing a try just to see if it was worth doing.

The first candidate was Waybe, which is a commercial plugin. It looked like a fairly decent start, but I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I saw their commercial license pricing. It costs $200 per year for commercial use and only has a subset of the functionality that you get with something like Ultimate Papercraft 3D, which only costs $39.95. That put Waybe out of the running before the race even began.

Our next contender is Flattery, which is a simpler plugin. It’s free, but the author accepts donations, which is good because money’s a nice incentive to keep working on something. It does what it says on the tin, but it’s a long way from being in the same league as Ultimate Papercraft 3D or Pepakura Designer. It’s still got potential, though.

In the end, I decided that SketchUp still doesn’t cut the mustard as a papercraft development tool. I mean, you can use it for that, but it’s not quite something I’d consider suitable for a production environment.

However…I did fall in love with it for another purpose entirely. It has a rather unconventional toolset that, once you get the hang of it, makes detailing and greebling models surprisingly easy. This is my second SketchUp model, some sort of half-assed floaty tank thing that’s really just meant to be a canvas for figuring out the best ways to greeble stuff:


It’s kind of nuts–I never had it this easy back in the 1990s when I was doing photorealistic 3D modeling. That thing above only took me a few hours of goofing around in SketchUp to do, and would easily have required significantly more time in my other more conventional 3D modeling applications. I’m going to see if this thing can actually export nice, clean, and watertight solids that can be used for 3D printing. If it can do that, that’d be awesome.

Blessed by Nurgle

I’ve been under the weather for nearly the whole month! That’s gotta be a new record.

First, it started out as some sort of cold/flu bug, then my allergy-induced asthma kicked in overtime and stretched it out. Normally the asthma isn’t a big deal, and I used to be able to keep it in check with an over-the-counter inhaler. Unfortunately, all OTC inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbon propellants were taken off the market on December 31, 2011. Apparently, a few years ago, some green eco-friendly legislation was passed by Congress to ban CFCs because they make the hole in the ozone layer bigger, and the clock ran out on December 31 for Primatene Mist.

Anyway, that means I now have to visit a doctor and get on a prescription regimen if I want to feel like my old self again. That’ll cost me $150 if I go to one of the local clinics. We’ve been eating ramen noodles and pretzels for most of the month because my wife got screwed out of her January teaching hours at the last minute by her pointy headed boss, and my earnings alone are barely enough to keep the bills paid. I don’t have $150. In comparison, a Primatene Mist refill only cost me $18 at the local grocery store back when it was available. That was nice while it lasted.

I’ve had to improvise by substituting the Primatene tablets, which are still available. Unfortunately, the reason I was using the inhaler in the first place is because it was faster-acting, more effective, and didn’t have the side effects that the tablets do. The ephedrine (the bronchodilator component) in the tablets is a stimulant that also wires me like caffeine, and the guaifenesin (the expectorant component) makes me pee like a racehorse every 45-60 minutes. So, between the overstimulation and the full bladder, my sleeping patterns are out of whack.

In addition to that, the 20-plus minutes it takes for the tablets to kick in and their relatively short half life means they’re just not an adequate substitute for a fast-acting inhaler if an actual attack occurs, and I’d just as soon avoid an expensive trip to the emergency room, which also means I have to use them prophylactically instead of only when I need them. It’s not an ideal treatment regimen by any stretch, but it’ll have to do until I can afford to see the doctor.

I guess nobody told our politicians that sunburned Antarctic penguins aren’t a voting constituency! 😆