Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Inkscape and Plotters, the 2nd   December 26th, 2013

After my last post about integrating plotter functionality into Inkscape quite a lot of time has passed, so here is an update:

  • Development is finished!
  • The plotter functionality was separated from the HPGL export, it is now an extension
  • The HPGL export still exists and has the same functionality as the extension
  • A HPGL import was added
  • The following command languages are now supported: HPGL, DMPL and KNK Zing (HPGL variant)
  • The interface has changed to a tabbed one, it is much more lucid now
  • New features: Flow control settings, debug information, precut functionality, pen force + speed settings
  • The “In-Program” documentation is much better, all texts are rewritten and new info texts were added

Since the new major Inkscape release v0.91 is peeking around the corner i wanted to wrap up things nicely for the release, which i think is a success.

See for your self:



The new plotter menu item in the extensions menu



The onnection settings tab



The plotter settings tab



The plot features tab


To use the extension you have to download a development version of Inkscape, those can be found on the Inkscape download page. Please always download the newest version (Take the one with the highest revision number, looks something like “_r12855-”) to get the latest features.


Ideas for new features / needed changes (Thanks for the suggestions added by users!):

  • Scale Overcut and Tool offset correction separate for each axis, atm it is done by a common scale factor. some thought has to be put into this.
  • Change the cutting order from smallest to biggest parts to avoid stripped off parts of small text characters. This could impact CPU performance.
  • Add support for multiple pens for old pen plotters on export (The import already can import multiple pens correctly). Since Inkscape has no support for setting such options to a path a “creative” solution has to be found.
  • Maybe add text fields to enable the user to add commands at multiple places in the data stream without changing any code. Is this really useful?
  • Preview functionality. The extension is prepared for it, but it needs support from the Inkscape side (C/C++) i cannot provide. Help from a C++ programmer would be greatly appreciated!
  • “Test”-plotting a document either via selecting pen 0 or by only using PU commands. Do people really need this?


Have fun and be productive!


P.s.: I am always eager to see that the extension is put to good use, so if you want to share pictures of your finished product send them to sebi{ät} and i will add them here:


From Thomas Seifert:

dsMailingList is a mailing list written in PHP that brings you the needed functionality to run your own mailing list without any hassle or unwanted features.

This means that there is no sign up form, no sign out form, no admin interface, nothing. Just the ability to log into an email account, fetch all new emails and send them to all the recipients you specified.

For a small mailing list, for instance with your friends, you need nothing more than an extra email account, this script and a way to call it once a minute.

If you want to create a professional mailing list, you will have to provide all the “surroundings”, like sign up/out form and an admin interface.

The configuration is done in the file itself and is documented well, so you should be able to set up your Mailing List in minutes.

No database is required.

Download it on SourceForge: dsMailingList – A damn small mailing list!

If you encounter any bugs or have feature wishes open a ticket or a discussion on SourceForge.

Have fun!

How? That’s pretty easy. Get your hands on a cutting plotter, plot out a negative Windows logo, put some colored foil behind the “windows” and stick it over the glowing Apple logo of your new business Mac:



It’s guaranteed to work! Yes, i involuntarily tested it! ;o)

RTCW and ET master server offline   February 26th, 2013

To my great disappointment i had to note today that ID Software has turned off all the master server for “Return To Castle Wolfenstein” and “Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory”.

I have to say that i am really disenchanted of ID Software, given the cult status of those games and the fact that there are still many servers online for the games i cannot understand this decision.

Anyhow, there is hope, some hardcore fans have built their own master server for the games, so you can still play if you add the following lines to your “hosts” file:

Here is how to edit your hosts file:

  1. Click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories
  2. Right click Notepad and select “Run as administrator”
  3. Click Continue on the “Windows needs your permission” UAC window.
  4. When Notepad opens Click File -> Open
  5. In the filename field type C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc\hosts
  6. Click Open
  7. Add the lines to the end of the file
  8. Save

After that you should be able to play both games like nothing ever happened. Have fun!

Your (Cutting) Plotter and Inkscape   February 17th, 2013

I own a Cutting Plotter from Helo, which is bundled with HeloCut, a proprietary software which connects to CorelDraw or Inkscape.

This software has many disadvantages:

  • It is expensive
  • It can only drive a Helo Plotter
  • On install it is bundled with your Computer hardware and cannot be installed on 2 Computers or a fresh install of the same Computer!!!
  • It is buggy as hell
  • The only thing it does (as i found out) is converting the SVG data to HPGL which is an open data format for Plotters (Dating back to the 90′s)

To summarize it: Every time you re-install windows you have to spend 70 Euros (or 50 Euros for an update) for the same software again.

All this points made me search for alternatives. There are a few ones, but none of them are really “good software”. Most are very expensive, and then there is InkCut.
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Merry Christmas!   December 24th, 2012

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Ich bin Pirat!   December 14th, 2012

Ich bin Pirat!

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If you are interested in beautifying your computer and always wanted to know how a cut decal or a lettering is done watch this short how to:


All this was done in my own home, with my own plotter. A cutting plotter is more cheaply than you think.

With a cutting plotter you can do: Paint Stencils, T-Shirts (with a hot press), Decals, drawings, contour cut printed stuff and more.

Arduino: String and Float   January 23rd, 2012

This patch has been added to the Arduino codebase. You can download the “Arduino 1.5 BETA” version of the Arduino IDE that contains this patch.

But you do so on your own risk, using a beta version can have side effects. “Prepare for unforeseen consequences!”

As soon as Arduino releases a new version of its IDE (1.0.6 at least, or decides to declare 1.5 as stable) you don’t need to use the beta version any more.

Arduino has a nice convenience Class: String.
Although it wraps nicely Chars in Arduino, it misses one really important aspect, it can’t handle Float. I really don’t get it why they didn’t add this, it is so essential in handling strings and it is really a pain in the ass to cover it for yourself since the AVR methods for converting Floats need buffer variables.

So i patched the class for myself, which was much more easy than I thought. Without any deep knowledge in C or C++ I added float and double functionality to the class and I do not understand why it wasn’t done until now. I can now do String to Float and Float to String conversions without any hassle.
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At the moment i am working on my Geiger-counter which is based on this hardware, but has many more features added to it (GPS, SD-Card and Buttons). I will post more information as soon as i managed to fixate the last piece of hardware in the case.

While working on it i wanted to have a luminous LCD display and stumbled over a very nice piece of hardware: OLED displays from Electronic Assembly.

OLED displays have many advantages over classical LCD displays:
- Low power consumption
- Perfect contrast
- No viewing angle
- Bright
- Background is really Black

But after ordering a 2×16 OLED display for round about 30 euros from Reichelt i was not able to correctly use it with the Arduino LiquidCrystal library, it showed most the time pixel garbage.
At first i thought the display was broken, but as i was digging deeper into the matter i found that this display is only HD44780 controller “compatible”. What that means depends on the manufacturer.

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