Tag Archives: random

Long time between blog updates

Yes, it has been a long time between blog updates. Maintaining a blog and keeping it updated with new content is harder than I realised. I have a brain full of thought and ideas, it is just getting it out of my head and into a readable format is the challenge.

It also comes down to being a little more organised. Most, if not all the time, when I finish up for the day it is usually too late to write up anything as I’m tired and it is time for sleep. I think to myself “I’ll write up that idea tomorrow”. Rinse and repeat.

There are a couple of things that I have been doing lately that has kept me quite busy:

Pioneer space sim.

Yes, this is an ongoing project. While most of my time has been involved with other things lately (see below) I still continue to follow and support this project as I loved the original game and want to play it on my iMac. Lately the project has gained quite a few developers and there are changes being made daily. It is hard to keep up! Currently alpha releases are being released on the second week of every month and I run snapshots of the current master branch when I can. As always you caN find more info from the main site.

iOS Projects

While I have been writing small iOS apps for personal learning, I have been working on a ‘real app‘ with an old friend of mine. Naturally I can’t go into details (no there is no NDA, I’m just being a nice guy about it and not leaking any info) but I can say for a first real project, I’m quite happy with how it is going. I’m sure you will here me talk about it more on its development once it has been released on the App store.


Sadly, I have done very little with blender as of late. I am looking forward to the new version, which is rumoured to be out mid December.

Hopefully that should bring you all up to date and now that i have cleared the backlog of updates, there should be more frequent blog posts in future. Promise! 🙂


My first bicycle ride of the season

Yesterday I did my first bicycle ride of the season. A whole 8km.

Map of bike ride

While it might not be a hardcore bike ride, I haven’t ridden my bike since the start of the year. On top of that I also rode into work so there was the whole logistics of getting changed into work gear and riding home in the afternoon.

Mental note: Don’t have a few pints at the pub before a bike ride, it makes it so much harder to ride 🙂

Memory upgrade

As I had been doing more things with my iMac lately, from using blender, to learning iOS apps with XCode, I was finding that my computer was slowing down somewhat. At the time it only had 4G of memory, which is more than adequate for most users, however I’m special and I tend to have many windows open, and on multiple workspaces. It was time for a memory upgrade.

So i went and purchased 16G (4x4G) of memory from Ramcity, (recommended by whirlpool forums) and i havent looked back. I can do far more things on my mac now without it slowing down and swapping memory to disk (which was the source of my poor performance).

I can’t recommend enough the service I got from Ramcity. I ordered the memory online and received it the next day. A happy Phil is a more productive Phil. 😉


Using a Wacom Intuos4 tablet with blender

This weekend my wife recently upgraded her Wacom tablet to an Intuos5 for use with her photography business. This meant that I inherited her old Wacom Intuos4. Yay! I’ve never used a tablet before, so I thought I would give it a try with using a Wacom Intuos4 tablet with blender.

And what a challenge it has been. At first I struggled with getting used to the device, as when you use blender you generally need a 3 button mouse. I had already been using blender with ‘Emulate 3-buttons’ as the apple magic mouse makes it difficult to use 3 buttons. Also being left handed, it also made it difficult to get used to, but after a weekend of persistance and a little bit of practice I’m now starting to get a bit comfortable with it, and so far I am liking it.

To help others who maybe new (or are searching on how to use a Wacom Intuos4 tablet with blender), here are my settings that I used to configure the Wacom Intuos4 tablet with blender.

My Wacom settings:

I have assigned the ‘rocker’ switch on the pen to be a ‘right-click’ to the lower button (closest to the nib), and the other side of the rocker switch to be the ‘middle mouse button’. I don’t use the middle click often as it is a little uncomfortable for my hand, but it is there if I need it.

wacom intuos4 tablet with blender
Wacom pen settings

I have also set ‘Click and Tap’.

wacom intuos4 tablet with blender
“click & tap” settings

This is an essential setting for using your Wacom Intuos4 tablet with blender. I found that when you right-click with the hover setting then when you are manipulating verticies in edit mode you can end up selecting things that you don’t intend to. I also found that I was bumping this alot. By Click & Tap, it simplifies it, and you have to touch the tablet with the rick-click button down to register a right-click. Feel free to try Hover Click and see the difference it makes.

Blender settings:

Within blender I just made sure that I was Emulating a 3-button mouse

wacom intuos4 tablet with blender
Emulate 3-button mouse

When this option is turned on, you can move around your 3D scene by holding down one of the following keyboard commands and moving the pen on the tablet.

  • Alt: Rotate
  • Ctrl-Alt: Zoom
  • Shift-Alt: Pan

It does take some time to get use too (I was already used to it as my mouse only really had 2 buttons).

With this setup I was able to be quite productive with using blender. My left hand holding the pen on the tablet, and my right hand on the keyboard. I felt that I had a much finer control on what the cursor was doing. Using the mouse the cursor would ‘jump’ sometimes and I didn’t ‘trust’ its movement. The tablet is far more precise.

I didn’t bother configuring the tablet’s buttons and touch ring as I already had my hand on the keyboard. I could do everything (and more) with the keyboard than I could do with the tablet buttons, so I just left them as the default.

As a final tip, one thing you do need to be aware of is that when you are moving your cursor around the screen and where you ‘think’ your cursor is to where your actual ‘click’ is might be slightly off as you move your pen down to register your click. This takes some practice to get right, but once you have mastered it, it becomes second nature and you adjust your ‘aim’ accordingly.

I’m still learning, but having fun (which is the main thing really).

I hope this information helps other people who are thinking about using a Wacom Intuos4 tablet with blender. It would be interesting to hear other people’s progress in the comments below


Dropbox backups

You can never underestimate the importance of backups – in particular for an online presence where your files and data are in the ‘cloud’. Most of the time people don’t appreciate the importance until it is too late. There really isn’t any excuse not to back up your files, especially when it is so easy to do. Here is how I’m currently doing it:

I’m currently using an awesome WordPress plugin called WordPress Backup to Dropbox to back up all my hosted WordPress websites up into my Dropbox account each night. You can find out more specific details on the plugin directly from the author’s own blog.

Once the files are up in Dropbox I can sync them down to a folder on my iMac, which then gets captured by my TimeMachine drive.

For extra hardcore points, I also swap out my TimeMachine drive each month to an offsite location.

So not only do I get a nightly snapshot of my websites, but using TimeMachine I also have a history of past versions. So in the event any of my sites get ‘hacked’ I can roll back to a previous version quite easily.