Wanted: Portable worktop and toolbox

Leo and I were talking about our first-world troubles of 1) not having a permanent miniatures painting station and 2) the that the temporary one we do have takes us away from the family at night. I have tried multiple ​solutions but so far nothing has stuck as work​ing​. In general, what I think I want is a portable worktop and toolbox. This way I can quickly retrieve it & open it up for working and later close it & store it away. The following have been inspiring and all within my skill level and with tools I have available​


I really like how this has a proper place for each item and that the work surface is quite wide.​


This one reminds me of the old portable writing desk​s. I like that it has draw for storage but that this is under the work surface is going to be inconvenient too often.


While not strictly as portable a worktop as the others, it is f'n awesome! and has many great ideas.

​I did make the following as an experiment of a least complex solution -- a wide box with lid that acts as copyholder and support for built-in lighting.

But, in the end, I did not like it. I mostly did not like that when the lid is open it blocks my view of the room and family. I have not put any time into designing an alternative yet -- but I will.​

Using standard open dialog box in NetBeans

You can have NetBeans use OS X's standard open dialog instead of the poor Swing alternative. To do this, update your "netbeans.conf", mine is at /Applications/NetBeans/NetBeans\ 7.3.1.app/Contents/Resources/NetBeans/etc/netbeans.conf, to include the flag "-J-Dnb.native.filechooser=true" in the "netbeans_default_options" property.

iPhones and camera lens lint

My iPhone 5 has lint between the camera lens and the external housing. I had the same problem with my iPhone 3G. Is this a common problem for folks who do not put their iPhone in a case and keep the phone inside their pants front pocket?

Using greenstuff

I am about to convert a female fantasy figure into a dark age warrior. I have clipped off the fantasy weapon, modified a hand to hold a sword, and the other hand to hold a shield. Now I have to reduce the exposed cleavage and so will be using some "greenstuff" to cloth her. Since I have never done this before I looked on YouTube.com for tutorials. While there are many, I thought this one on making a cape was especially helpful

Dip 'n Spin

I have been playing with "dip" again to quickly apply shading to my minis. The Army Painter Dark Tone is, essentially, a black stain. The results are too black for my liking: everyone looks like they just emerged from a coal mine. Not wanting to spend another $30 on the Strong Tone I picked up a small can of Minwax Polyshade Antique Walnut. This I like much better. It might also be that for dark age Welsh it is just seems more appropriate. That is, the minis look grubby. There are many tutorials on how to apply these products so I won't go into that here. Instead, I just want to put another plug in for using soda bottle caps and necks.

When using stains you have to remove the excess. Most folks don't actually dip the mini in the stain but instead dab the stain on with a sacrificial brush. Then, as the stain pools, using the same brush to remove the excess. Well, I wanted to try dipping and so I needed a means of removing the excessive excess stain this leaves on the mini. Flicking was not in the cards. Instead, I hot glued a soda bottle neck to a stick, attached the stick to a drill, screwed the bottle cap attached mini on, and gave it a spin!

It does work. However, either my drill does not spin fast enough or I need a more random motion as too much stain remains. And so you need to go back to the mini with a brush and remove the remaining excess. All in all, the dabbing method is the most effective.

For related postings see wargames.

English Language & Usage Stack Exchange

I am clearly the last person to ask about English language usage, but I am very interested in its edge cases. I subscribe to the http://english.stackexchange.com/ weekly newsletter and find it fascinating. My guess is, you would too.

Want a simple, synchronized shared scrapbook

I have all these local, really high tech hardware, software, & networks on my desk and the only easy way for me to copy a URL from iPhone to Mac and vis versa is via a text message (I use Skype to SMS). All I want is a simple, synchronized shared scrapbook for text and images between all my devices. Can someone please make this happen?

Update: A friend suggested Pushbullet. It looks to be a useful service, but I really don't want another account just for this small need. From reading between the lines, Pushbullet looks to do nothing more than coordinate a Google Drive document (or folder of documents). Which I can also do with a URL bookmark. Which I did. This seems to work well.

SAGA Links

The "Wednesday Gamers" will be playing SAGA starting next week. (Even if our minis are only primed!). To help prepare the gamers I collected this list of SAGA links.

Meeples & Miniatures's Review
SAGA First Look
The Tapestry (dedicated to SAGA)
Battle Boards for Dummies
Board Game Geek's SAGA page
How to play SAGA
SAGA Dark Age Skirmish Game Tournament Report

If you have any good links please do add them in the comments.

Podcasts I listen to on a regular basis

Long Now Foundation's Seminars
Really great set of 1-1:30 hour lectures on many topics but mostly about long term thinking and experiences.

Science for the People
Topical science interviews

The British History Podcast
Great presentation of UK history from the beginning

The D6 Generation
Boardgames and more.

Meeples & Miniatures
Military, fantasy, and science fiction miniature wargames

The Memory Palace
Forgotten people doing big and small things

History of medicine

You are not so smart
The qualities of thinking and our flaws

Futility Closet
Trivia and oddities from the past