Ubuntu 13.04 Linux w/ Repetier Host
I started having issues driving my MendelMax 1.5 (Marlin firmware) with my creaky old HP Vista laptop after I "upgraded" to Repetier Host 0.90c. STL files wouldn't visualize when imported into the model placement window. Rather than try and track down a Windows 7 license for the old laptop to fix this issue, I decided to try Linux, and I was able to obtain an old obsolete T61p Lenovo laptop from my employer for a nominal cost.
To my surprise, Ubuntu 13.04 installed extremely easily with no driver problems at all. Even the keyboard volume and contrast keys worked. The Repetier Host install (found here) was a bit of a pain to install, requiring a separate installation of Mono. I still can't get Repetier host to run any way except typing the command into the command line. I'll have to do some additional research to fix this- ideally I could pin it to the left hand application bar.
Once installed and running, I could not get it to talk with the printer. I've used this laptop with this exact Ubuntu installation to program Arduino boards before, so I knew it should be able to communicate successfully. After some web searching, I saw that Mono doesn't support the default Repetier Host / Marlin firmware baud rate. I went into the Marlin firmware, updated the Baud rate to 115200, recompiled, and updated the Repetier Host settings. Bam, worked!
Question- is the Repetier firmware any good? Would it be worth changing from Marlin to Repetier?
Solidworks on personal Laptop, RAM upgrade
I have the home license for Solidworks (2013, 64bit, SP04) installed on a two year old laptop running Windows 7 with 6Gb of RAM. This laptop has an i7 processor with a decent consumer graphics card, so it should have run Solidworks pretty well, at least for simple models. But, it had all kinds of graphics window stuttering, making modeling really annoying. I've thought about upgrading the RAM for the last year, but didn't want to spend the money because I wasn't sure it'd fix the issue. I finally purchased a 8Gb stick so I could upgrade the RAM from 6 to 12Gb- and that was absolutely the ticket. It isn't perfect, and doesn't run as well as my desktop at work, but it gets the job done. No more mystery stuttering. So if you are wondering if the RAM upgrade is worth it, just do it.