Sunday, January 29, 2017

mesh bezier modifier curve

To bend a mesh, you need to add a bezier curve (or any other line I suppose). The mesh then follows the curve. The non obvious trick was to move the mesh along the common axis of the curve, like following a rail, until they both align, else you get crazy bendy results.

It seems that I had already figured out how to produce this bendy effect months ago, but then forgot and had to go through the learning process again.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Vile Bodies at White Rabbit Gallery

We went to see the last days of the current exhibition before the gallery closes for February to prep for the next set.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Xiaomi Mi5

I got the Xiaomi Mi5 on ebay ($299.99 = $430AUD). On first impression, it looks good. Google Play Store worked fine. The phone feels like a Samsung Galaxy S6, with some improvements, like USB-C.

Other than the phone being awesome and me getting 99% of my favorite miracles, here is what I've noticed:

  • No Android 7
  • No Google Pay
  • Some Google apps that seem to be only available on Nexus/Pixel devices, which is expected to be fair
  • Cannot disable built-in apps, like SMS messenger (I use Hangouts) and gmail (I use Inbox)
  • I happen to prefer the fingerprint reader on the back for better grip, and leaving the front glass uninterrupted
  • Not Daydream VR ready
  • Only one external speaker, but it does pack a punch
  • Pay Pass via HCE: you can install your bank's NFC pay app in lieu of Google Pay (important: install the app, and add a card, disregard any previous card on the app from an earlier install as payments are likely to fail as they did for me)
  • The built-in camera app has quick access to exposure in manual mode. HHT is like HDR but seems faster.
  • I like the built-in Clock app better than by Google
  • There is Mi Cloud sync if you want an alternative to Google (if geopolitics is a bother)
  • Nice UI Buttons (Settings / Additional Settings / Buttons options): 1) Volum Up for silence camera snaps or video, 2) screen shop via three finger down swipe gesture
  • IR remote control capable, with built in app!
  • The cameras are awesome! No shutter lag!
  • I have full confidence in the Snapdragon 820 SoC (Lite version, slightly under clocked but for a fraction of the price of the other flagship, and still full featured) that powers it all
  • USB C w Fast Charging, even charges pretty fast over regular high amp charger


The Mi phone has numerous annoying quirks, as most brands do, but everything seems to work really well as a package. I appreciate the highly regarded reputation of Mi (via episodic anecdote run-ins including a talk by Clay Shirky where he indicates that what Mi is doing to Samsung is what Samsung did to iPhone). My overall experience is very positive -- the Mi5 is a flagship. On top of that, what you get for the price is a GREAT DEAL, and I love it! I would recommend Mi to any sensible person.

Home screen,
Out Of The Box

About screen,

About screen
after a system update

23 May 2017
After too many frustrating attempts trying to get a newer version of MIUI, today met with success!

It is really quite simple when it works. I now believe that an earlier ROM was just not ready, but the current one works without fuss (

The outline on this page was what worked (Method 1: System Update),

The main benefits are: an upgrade from Android 6 to Android 7; and security updates.

BTW, Android Pay still does not work.

Before / After

It had only been 8 months since I got the Mi5, but it feels like the landscape had changed so much. Since switching away from a Google phone I've been missing out on Updates, Google Pay, Android Auto, and flagship VR.

25 Sep 2017
Updated miui from stable to dev version, hoping for frequent updates. Android Pay seems to work now. Android Auto seems to work now, with a better cable and a bit of fighting to get it to work.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Mono Island diet

About three months ago, September 2016, I watched an entertaining book talk by Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller), which was my introduction to Mono Island. 

The idea is simple enough:
  • EAT ONE FOOD: Pick one of your favorite foods, which will make it easier to work with. Keep it basic, so no pre packaged stuff -- and alcohol is not a sensible option, and neither are things like candy, cake, spam, bacon, sausage, McNuggets, pizza, or ice cream, as they will not help you. If you pick a meat then you will find yourself on the Atkins diet, not Mono Island -- they're different things. Cooking should be minimal, undecorated, and essentially keeping the food boring. I think that this leaves fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and mushrooms on your table of options -- not no combining, just one.
  • ALL YOU CAN EAT: You can eat as much as you like! But you will get sick of eating pretty quickly, so you end up eating less by about day 2 as a consequence of eating just one thing.
  • JUST 2 WEEKS: Go to mono island for 2 weeks only, but no less, otherwise it will not work. The time period is a habit breaker, to break your bad eating habits. Bad habits include things like snacking, binging, and eating when you're not hungry. No alcohol, and especially no wine which is high in sugars and hence not helpful here -- incidentally, give your liver and brain a nice break away from alcohol.
  • WATER: Don't forget that you need to drink a good amount of it.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Be mindful of your Recommended Daily Intake of vitamins and minerals, but this depends of what food you choose -- you can pop a multivitamin pill for good measure. If you miss out on the correct amount of sodium and potassium something weird might happen.

I did a bit of research and also found Banana Girl. She's a youtube celebrity. Her schtick is bananas, no mystery there.

And so in the spirit of new year's resolutions I committed to trying Mono. After all, it's just two weeks. How hard can it be?

I picked Bananas because there is no cooking required, which is a convenient feature. Bananas have a reputation as being a super-food, and contain just about everything you need in one convenient wrapper, and are delicious. I  started on the second of January, on a Saturday, and lasted about 5 hours before cracking! What may have been unhelpful was that I got caught out with only 3 bananas on hand for a period of quite a few hours. Had I prepared better and stocked up with an all-you-can-eat amount available all day, this may have worked better. Damn.

Next on my list were potatoes. I love potatoes. I could live on beer and chips. About a week after the banana epic fail, I cleared my head and got ready for potatoes. This time I stocked up with a 2Kg bag for day one. This was a good day. I cooked servings of 3 to 4 spuds, in a bowl, for 10 minutes in the microwave -- simple. By day two, my intake dropped profoundly, from a whole bag the day before to only 4 potatoes! I was excited that this was working. But by day three the cracks were starting to show. I was sick of potatoes, having only a few bites here and there -- also we were approaching the prospect of an enjoyable and social weekend. By the end of the day I cracked and went to the store to get some wine, bread, etc. This was far short of the two week target, but three days on potatoes was certainly an improvement on five hours on bananas.

For now I'm quitting mono island. However can't help but wonder if I could do better with rice maybe?