Saturday, December 31, 2005 

Improving the use of PNGs

I created a FAQ just to deal with all the PNG uploads I've been receiving. It should answer most of the questions that people have about using PNGs with Big Blue Saw. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a part made from a PNG isn't going to be as accurate as one made from a DXF.

Also, I realize that most people aren't going to read the instructions and will continue to upload files with antialiasing and transparency. So I've taken steps to correct Big Blue Saw's interpretation of these files. If you've tried uploading a PNG in the past couple days and have gotten lousy results, try again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 

The Makezine Effect

The Make Magazine blog linked to Big Blue Saw yesterday. The increased traffic was really hard on our poor web server. It's good to have that kind of attention, though.

Phillip Torrone, one of Make's editors, also contacted me about working more closely with Make in the near future. So look for more collaborations there soon. Also, he told me about an interesting website: Instructibles. It's a collection of interesting, do-it-yourself type projects.

I've made some tweaks to how PNGs are processed based upon the types of files that people have uploaded so far. This will be tweaked even further as more files are uploaded and I figure out what people are expecting. If you are trying to make a part from a PNG, here are a couple of quick tips until I get the help files done:

  • Use a white background

  • Use black for where you want the part to be

  • Don't outline; fill in the area where you want the material to be

  • Don't use antialiasing

  • Don't use alpha transparency

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 

PNG images now supported

I've just added support for PNG images. I'm really proud of this new feature, as it will allow even people who don't know how to use CAD software to start creating with Big Blue Saw. There are still a couple of quirks to work out over the next few weeks, and the help files will need to be updated, but this feature was much needed.

Also, I've put in a few more bug fixes, including one that was causing the DXF parser to go into an infinite loop and never allowing the user to see the results of an upload.

After reading Jennifer Laycock's Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and 30 Days, I started taking a look at my server logs to see what advertising was most effective. I'm still getting some traffic from the Make Magazine blog article from a while back. I came up with some interesting web log analyzis techniques and might write an article about it one of these days.

Friday, December 23, 2005 

ATVQuadSquad

The people over at ATVQuadSquad were impressed that I took time to track down a link. A thread on their message board had been sending me some traffic, so I thought I'd post over there.

I'm trying to keep up with what people are saying about the Big Blue Saw. I live and die by web traffic, so it's just good business.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 

Blog, rendering changes, advertising

You may have noticed that this blog looks a little different now: I changed the header to show the Big Blue Saw logo. This will help me track readership for the blog.

I changed the way that uploaded files are rendered. Previously, some areas were being overwritten. Now, you can see every line in the original drawing.

Also, I modified the pricing estimator again, as I was miscalculating the cost of cutting a circle.

Finally, I've been playing around a little bit with Overture search ads. No sales from that yet.

Friday, December 09, 2005 

IE Fixes and more

I fixed a few problems with using Microsoft Internet Explorer with the site. Most were minor, but one bug made it very hard to log in.

Orders are starting to trickle in, and I had to change the pricing model to fit with what the manufacturing partners can handle. This means that some things will be more expensive, and some cheaper.

Also, I've been molding the business plan into shape based upon a few ideas from my collaborator in Luxembourg (I don't know if he wishes to be named at the moment).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 

Performance boost

I rolled out some changes to help with performance problems when uploading large or complex files. This should help particularly when you upload a file traced from an image, as with Img2Cad or Autotrace.