SketchUp replacement

Dear Lazyweb,

I think that SketchUp is dead to me now. I started using it because it was free, simplistic, and mostly worked. Well now it's very expensive, still simplistic, and still only mostly works.

  • The only free version is now a web app.
  • The only app version is now like $300/year.
  • The "free" web app is missing basically all features; anything even remotely useful is an up-sell.
  • The web app won't talk to my 3DConnexion mouse, and all versions of SketchUp are intolerably, utterly unusable without that.

So what should I be using instead? My needs are:

  • Maintaining the gigantic DNA 3D model, hopefully in a format that other people can load.
  • Very simple and precise editing of low-poly DXF files for xscreensaver assets.
  • Not spending a zillion bucks for software that I use maybe twice a year.
  • Not devoting months of my life to a plumb-line-like learning curve before I can do anything.

A few years back I learned Maya, but I hated it and I've forgotten it all. And I'm told that Blender is terrible for CAD-like tasks.

Fun fact, there are no online converters that can read and convert SKP files. Even the ones that claim that they can. There's a Blender plugin for importing SKP but it doesn't work. I have an export-to-DXF plugin for SketchUp 7 but it barely works. I'm sure it would omit like 30% of my DNA model and all of the textures. Maybe SketchUp's built-in DAE exporter works better, but I haven't tried. The SKP file format is turning out to be a lock-in nightmare.

In an ideal world, the DNA Lounge model would be a thing that one could fly through on a web page, or by loading it as a level into some game software, but hey, let's not go crazy here.

I know that several people have imported my model into various other systems over the years, but I believe that every person who did so did it destructively, editing it in a new system in ways that can't be reversed.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Trolley Problem, Gingerbread

Previously, previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we've got a webcast that yule love.

Please tune in on on Christmas for the first annual DNA Lounge Yule Log, running for twenty-four hours, midnight to midnight on December 25th! There will also be music along with it -- your requests, via the DNA Pizza Interweb Jukebox -- as well as some hilarious surprises throughout the day.

The original televised Yule Log, airing on NYC's WPIX in 1966, was a 17 second loop of 16mm film. They later remastered it to a whopping six minutes and three seconds. Ours is a bit longer than that.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time editing this together, so I hope you enjoy it.

Keep the fires buring with your donations!

By the way, DNA Pizza is closed today through Friday. We'll be back on Saturday.


Google, Facebook Agreed to Team Up Against Possible Antitrust Action

I feel like there's a term for this.

Facebook and Google agreed to "cooperate and assist one another" if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week. [...]

A Google presentation said if the company couldn't "avoid competing with" Facebook, it would collaborate to "build a moat." [...]

For years, criticism of Google's online advertising empire has focused on how the company leveraged its powerful consumer-facing platforms, such as Google Search and YouTube, to take over another lucrative but less visible business: the software that acts as a middleman for buying and selling ads across the web.

The Facebook allegations add a new wrinkle -- that Google cut a deal with a competing middleman, one that the states describe as Google's "largest potential competitive threat."

They also represent a potent legal risk. Under U.S. law, agreements to fix prices can be easier to prove than the states' other accusations -- namely that Google is maintaining an illegal monopoly.

In addition to the suit filed in Texas, Google was hit last week in a separate antitrust lawsuit joined by 38 attorneys general, which alleged that it maintained monopoly power over the internet-search market through anticompetitive contracts and conduct.

Previously, previously, previously.

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  • Previously