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Saturday, December 29, 2012

iPad BIM Supertip - Markup Safari Web pages on your iPad

Let's say you're on your iPad using Safari and are on a vendor's website and want to make some notes about products.  How the heck are you going to do that?  

Here's the list of ingredients.
1 iPad (or iPhone)
1 Safari web browser opened to a web page
2 javascripts (in the next section)
2 bookmarklets (which you'll create in the Setup section)
1 GoodReader app ($4.99 which you really want to buy)
1 bored human (you) - There's a super duper tip at the end, so pay attention.

SETUP  (not that complicated)                    
First, install two javascript bookmarklets on your iPad's Safari app.

1. click here for a link to the first text file: http://goo.gl/6dGyq
2. once the page opens, highlight the text and press copy - make sure to copy the text itself, not the whole block
3. at the top of safari, next to the address bar, click the icon with the arrow in it and click the Bookmark button
4. Delete what's in the top box and call it ">PDF"
5. in the bottom box, choose a bookmark folder location. I recommend you use the 'Bookmarks Bar' so you have quick access to this shorcut.
6. Click Save
7. Now, click the Bookmarks button at the top (it looks like an open book) and scroll to the folder where you saved the bookmark above. 
8. When you're in the folder that has the '>PDF' link, click the Edit button at the top right of the window.
9. Now tap on the bookmark and click in the second row.
10. Tap the 'x' on the right side and then tap once in the empty box
11. Now tap Paste and tap Done on the keyboard
12. Tap Done again on the Bookmarks Bar and you're done.

Now, on to the 2nd javascript.
Do everything exactly the same in the steps above, but click this link http://goo.gl/dLISx  and call it ">GR"

That wasn't so painful, was it? Ok, now, this next part is going to cost you $4.99.  You're going to buy GoodReader for your iPad. It also works on your iPhone.  Don't complain about the price because it's the most important app in your iPad BIM Efficiency Training Plan.  It's worth every penny.  Read more and download GoodReader at this link.

Ok, ready for some fun?

Using Your New Toy:                      

  • Open a website in Safari on your iPad or click here for my blog homepage
  • Click the '>PDF' bookmarklet - It will launch a new tab that just converted the web page into a PDF
  • Click the Download PDF button on the page
  • Click the '>GR' link and the PDF has now been copied to GoodReader
  • Find the PDF on the list on the left side and tap on it
  • Your PDF has loaded and on the right hand side is a toolbar of PDF markup tools which included text, highlighting, lines, arrows, boxes, circle and a freehand text tool
  • Tap the freehand tool, it's the squiggly line at the bottom.
  • A window will pop up, Save to this File or Create an annotated copy - It's your choice to markup the original, or to make a copy of the file to annotate.  
  • Draw on the page and then click Save on the top right
  • Now, tap in the center of the page - that activates the menu
  • On the bottom right, tap the icon that's a square with an arrow (the email button)
  • Tap E-Mail File and tap Flatten annotations (which embeds the annotations into the PDF)
  • You can now email the file to someone
  • Tap the middle of the page again and tap the 'x' on the top of the tab to close the file or click 'My Documents' on the top left to go back to the GoodReader main page
It's not required that you use GoodReader.  From the PDF that was created in Safari, you can click the 'Open In' button and choose whatever PDF annotation program you may have installed.  

Why GoodReader?  I'm glad you asked. Because you can add servers including: Mail Servers like Exchange, Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL  IMAP,  Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, SugarSync, Box, WebDAV, FTP, SFTP, AFP, SMP and you can even connect to your office server or other computer via Wifi.  That's why you have to have GoodReader, because it connects to everything. They should have called it GreatReader. It isn't just for PDFs either.  Docs, spreadsheets, powerpoints, movies and images can be opened and viewed in GoodReader too.  

One of my favorite things about it is the Sync feature.  You can have a folder in GoodReader and have it sync to a folder on your or someone else's computer via Sugarsync.  Personally, I keep a folder on my desktop with files I want access to on my iPad.  I just tap the sync button (after you set it up) and files are synced between your iPad and desktop, but that's another post.  

Forget everything above and just consider that you can have access to a folder of all of the PDF files of a project set of plans and you can view and mark them up and sync them with others on your team.  Someday I'll figure out a way to get my boss to buy iPads for all of our project managers and 'Red-Liners' and add this a super efficient tool for our field people.  

iPads, GoodReader and Sugarsync (or other cloud connectors) must be a part of your BIM workflow.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sketch Rolls — iPad Bumwad Sketch Tool

Yesterday I was showing something to one of our BIMophiles when our fearless (of technology) leader, Adolfo walked in.  I happened to be in my BIM folder on my iPad mini and  I asked him if he remembered bumwad paper. Do you remember this from your past, or are you still using it?

So, I said to Adolfo, here, let me show you BIMwad paper.  It's the same thing, but electronic.  There's this iPad app called Sketch Rolls.  You can create an endless roll of paper to sketch  on.  It's the perfect tool for today's modern architect.

Adolfo asked me to send him the information on it, so I figured I may as well share it with the rest of you as well.  What's cool is you can export the page or the whole roll as a jpg and bring it into Revit to start your design.  What a great way to get your principals on the cutting edge.  Here's Adolfo's quick little sketch from yesterday.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have a tech savvy boss.  

Here's the link to download it on your ipad - Click Here

Sketch Rolls — Unique Sketching, Note Taking and Drawing Application for iPad on the iTunes App Store $1.99


✭ New & Noteworthy App.
✭ Now on sale for $1.99.

The exclusive sketching, drawing and note taking app for your iPad. Extend each page up to 5 times for more space and capture your ideas without limitations.

Sketch Rolls is a functional app you will use to collaborate on thoughts and ideas in meetings, classrooms, or while on the go. You can take notes in a classroom, present your strategic plan to the board of directors, sketch the architectural masterpiece, create a comic strip or hand it over to your 4 year old to keep them busy.

Extend feature is unique and as such it is not available anywhere else in the App Store.

The ability to add/insert up to 300 pages per project means you can tackle even the most complicated things.

You can send your projects as PDF, image file or you can send an SRP (Sketch Rolls Project) file to other Sketch Rolls users which will allow them to collaborate on your projects.

Plug in a digital AV or VGA adapter to your iPad and show the audience your presentation or let them watch you write, sketch or draw in real time.

Sketch Rolls has a beautiful ink and clean user interface that is simple and easy to use.

Sketch Rolls comes preloaded with tutorial and sample projects. Feel free to experiment with them, or use them for inspiration.

Download Sketch Rolls right now and try it yourself. Have fun!

iPad Screenshot 1

iPad Screenshot 5

iPad Screenshot 2

iPad Screenshot 3

iPad Screenshot 4


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X Marks The Spot

One of the problems with information is that there's just too darned much of it.  Just imagine if every day, each person in the US posted one new piece of information.  That's about 250 million new data points.  If they did that every day for a year, there would be over 91 billion pieces of information accumulated in that 1 year.  

...and that's just Facebook alone.  Yes, try to absorb that much information, actually, mostly useless information.  We have a problem, not that there's too much information, but that we have access to all of it and no good way to filter it.

I started using the internet in 1995.  I think there were maybe 100 websites around back then.  Ever stop and figure out how many bookmarks you have of all of those websites?  I currently have 3,181.  A week ago, I had 65,000.  That's because somehow, somewhere, they all got duplicated, and then I got duplicates of the duplicates.  After dumping them all into Excel and sorting the domain names and running a unique filter on them, I was able to clean them up and get them into the right folders in about 20 minutes.  Yes, I had tried duplicate deletion programs, but they didn't organize them the way I wanted.

Anyway, after all of that, I managed to do the most amazing thing.  I use Chrome 99% of the time.  I use Safari a litte bit, but that's only for cloud syncing of my open tabs on my iPad and iPhone.  I am proud to tell you that my Bookmarks Toolbar on Chrome, Safari, iPad and iPhone are all exactly the same.  If I add a bookmark to one device or app, they populate on all of them.  

All I really wanted to tell you was to get Xmarks. It works on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari and keeps all of your bookmarks synced on ALL of your computers.  No more trying to figure out where you put that bookmark or that you can't remember that website you saw this morning at the office. 

I've decided to open up a new iPad consulting business.  If you want help on the extra steps of getting your iPad to sync with your computer, contact me and it's pretty quick and painless.  Also, when you get Xmarks, you need to get LastPass too.  That syncs all of your passwords securely on all of your devices.  That's even a bigger problem than bookmarks.  www.lastpass.com

Now, you can easily keep track of all of your BIM bookmarks.  

Chrome Extension:



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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Learning how to see - Godin

Great post today by Seth Godin.  It's about the movie 2001, but there are some snippets in there that I found very relevant.

What is it about BIM that makes a difference?  Is it the modeling, the 3D, 4D, 5D or 6D, information, collaboration, sharing of the model, data, information or ideas?  Everyone has a different idea of what BIM is.

But it's all about the vision.  Whether it is seeing the model, the information, the future product, project or whatever it is you're building, you can see into the future when you have more information.  Is it the vision to know that BIM tools help make a better product and happier clients?  Is it the vision to see if all of the pieces fit together?  Is it the vision to know it's the right thing to do?

BIM is hard.  It takes more work, time and interaction.  But, the benefits can be great.  I think they're greater for the contractor and the owner, rather than the architects and engineers, but there's a benefit to staying in business and fewer and fewer jobs will be given to the CAD firms.  I  know our firm has grown tremendously from the various opportunities that BIM tools and our team's capabilities.  

So, how did a film made in 1968, called 2001, have the vision to see 33 years into the future?  33 years. That's almost how long ago AutoCAD was invented.

No one can really see into the future, but if you have the vision, you can make your own future from the opportunities that are right there in front of you.

Here are a few pieces, but please read the whole post.

Seth's Blog

...If you want to make something new, start with understanding. Understanding what's already present, and understanding the opportunities in what's not. Most of all, understanding how it all fits together.

...He saw images and stories that were available to anyone who chose to see them, but others averted their eyes, grabbed for the easy or the quick or the work that would satisfy the boss in closest proximity.

...When everyone has the same Mac and the same internet, the difference between hackneyed graphic design and extraordinary graphic design is just one thing—the ability to see.

...Others had the same tools, but not the same vision.

And all around us, we're surrounded by limits, by disasters (natural and otherwise) and by pessimism. Some people see in this opportunity and a chance to draw (with any sort of metaphorical pen) something. Others see in it a chance to hide, to settle and to sigh.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Change to the Change Order Post

Let's try this again. Apparently, my avoidance of Youtube made this more complicated than I thought. I figured uploading a .MOV file to Google Docs, sharing it, and then using the 'Embed Video Link' would work, but that effort failed to have it show up in the blog subscription email and it wouldn't show up on the blog on Safari on the iPad.  I found an iPad app called Converter to convert from .MOV to .M4V.  After converting and uploading the new file to Google Docs (via GoodReader, but it did include a Dropbox sync feature) , then sharing and getting the embed code for that, did the video decide to play nice everywhere. I used GoodReader on my iPad to grab the video and upload it to Google Docs (as GoodReader is great for moving files from SugarSync, Box, iPad, Dropbox, Gmail and even your local server, if you're connected via wifi).

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, because it's just like the same problems we have with every other thing we do.  Nothing is easy and can open everywhere.  It's just like the issues we have with BIM and various file types and versions.  The worst part is that you need a PhD to know how to make things work properly and what file types work where.  After spending two hours with various trials and errors, it finally works right.  Now, if I could only remember how to do this again in the future (so I did document my steps in Evernote), then everything would be fantastic.

Oh, but then it still wouldn't work everywhere, so I included two different file embeds.  Now I'm really annoyed.  Arghh.  I finally just uploaded a video to the blogger video service.  If only DWG files played video, this wouldn't have happened. Then I deleted that because the video quality was bad. Wound up with two videos. I'm tired of trying to figure this out.

Ok. I just couldn't give up.  It works with an M4V file, but it had to be hosted on my website, not Google Docs.

Finally, found this code. It allows you to embed .MOV files in a website. Still won't work from Google Docs link though.

<object classid='clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B' codebase='qtplugin.cab' height='640'>
<embed src='http://add_path_here/_and_movie_name_here.MOV' autoplay='true'  height='640' type='video/quicktime' pluginspage='download'>

- - -
One recent morning, JR asked for something and we said yes, but then we told he'd have to wait.  Apparently, it's not a good thing to change your mind with a 4 year old.

Below, in the video, was his response.  Yes, he's very well on his way to becoming a BIM Builder.  

Video Link

Viewable on iPad:



-->

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Change Orders

One recent morning, JR asked for something and we said yes, but then we told he'd have to wait.  Apparently, it's not a good thing to change your mind with a 4 year old.

Below, in the video, was his response.  Yes, he's very well on his way to becoming a BIM Builder.  

Video Link



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Autodesk Fusion 360 Beta Late Uh.

I just got this email from Autodesk.  Considering that I literally signed up for this within seconds of Carl Bass was introducing it at AU, I find it perturbing that weeks later I get an email like the one below.  Autodesk, don't piss of bloggers!  Give us the toys to play with so we can spread the word about them, just like i've been doing with Glue.  


- - - -

Thanks for applying to the Autodesk Fusion 360 Beta program, we have added you to our list! We've received an overwhelming amount of interest to join, and we really appreciate your interest. We're adding more people to the beta every week, but we've received more applications than we have openings, so we can't admit everyone to the program right now. If we find a spot for you to join, we'll contact you directly. In the meantime, please feel free to join in on the conversation on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or contact us directly via this e-mail address.


Again, we wholeheartedly appreciate your patience and thank you for being awesome! Together, let's make Fusion 360 as great as it can be.


-The Fusion 360 development team 



Updated IFC Exporter for Revit 2013 v2.6

How's your App-etite?

You are getting this message because you downloaded a version of IFC Exporter for Revit 2013 or the IFC Export Alternate UI prior to December 19, 2012.  We have posted an update to the IFC Exporter for Revit, which you can get to using the links below:

IFC Exporter for Revit 2013 (v2.6):

IFC Export Alternate UI for Revit 2013 (v1.6):

Updates from versions 2.5/1.5 are listed below.  Please upgrade to the newest versions!

IFC Exporter for Revit 2013

The IFC exporter for Revit 2013 contains up-to-date improvements on the default IFC export capabilities of Revit contributed by Autodesk and our Open Source contributors. While this app is not necessary for IFC support, it is recommended that users that depend on the quality of their IFC export download this app and keep it up-to-date, as new enhancements and defect fixes are added, For more information on IFC, please visit the buildingSMART website (http://buildingsmart.org) or the Revit wiki (http://wikihelp.autodesk.com/enu).

ize:1.4 MB
Release Date:3/26/2012
Cust. Support:Revit.apps@autodesk.com

Compatible with:

  • Autodesk Revit 2013
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture 2013
  • Autodesk Revit MEP 2013
  • Autodesk Revit Structure 2013


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Project Falcon for Revit Now Available on Labs

With all of these new tools, how is one supposed to be an architect or engineer without the skills to use these new innovative ways of designing buildings?  I feel so sorry for those who haven't even started using Revit yet.  

Today, for some odd reason, something made me think of all of the times I heard architects tell me that they were waiting for that perfect first job to use Revit on.  I bet they're still waiting.  Did hand drafters wonder about that first perfect job to use AutoCAD on years ago?  We've come such a long way and have such a long way to go.  



Project Falcon is a free* technology preview that simulates air flow around vehicles, buildings, outdoor equipment, consumer products, or other objects of your choosing in a virtual wind tunnel. Falcon technology is extremely geometry tolerant and easy to use, enabling you to begin seeing and understanding air flow behavior within seconds of starting the application. Results update almost in real-time in response to changes in wind-direction and speed that you specify. Visualization tools available within the Falcon family of applications include 2D and 3D flow lines, shaded result planes, vector plots, and surface pressure shading. Quantified outputs include velocity, pressure, drag force, and drag coefficient.
Project Falcon uses a revolutionary automatic meshing technology that can handle flow around any geometry at any stage of design. This technology is coupled with a transient, incompressible fluid flow solver and LES turbulence model in a way that delivers quick results and requires very little setup on behalf of the user. The validation guide available below provides some additional background on the approach and reviews some example cases. Help documentation for Falcon is available on the Autodesk WikiHelp site.
Presently Project Falcon is available as follows:
  • Project Falcon standalone (installs on Windows and Mac and requires no CAD software)
  • Project Falcon for Inventor (add-in that runs inside Inventor Professional 2013)
  • Project Falcon for Revit (add-in that runs inside all versions of Revit 2013) 


The current version includes the following:
  • The standalone is available on both Windows and Mac platforms and reads in formats from almost all CAD systems and many online CAD model providers (*.stl, *.obj, *.3DS, *.lwo, *.off, *.ply, *.tpf).
  • The Inventor add-on is compatible with Inventor 2013 Professional (32 and 64 bit).
  • The Revit add-on is compatible with Revit 2013 (onebox, Architecture, Structure, and MEP in 64 bit versions) and allows for optional wind profile input to account for wind shear.


Standalone Promo
Inventor Promo
Inventor Overview
Revit Promo
Revit Overview
Improving performance


To highlight the accuracy of Project Falcon, a full 3D analysis was applied to a number of aerodynamic cases. As shown by the coefficient of drag documented in the Project Falcon Validation PDF file, in each of the cases, Project Falcon was able to settle on a value that closely matches the published values.
Additional validation cases are available in the Project Falcon online documentation.


  • The Project Falcon standalone technology preview will operate until March 15, 2013.
  • The Project Falcon for Inventor and Project Falcon for Revit technology previews will operate until August 30, 2013.


To get started with Falcon, access the download link on the right side of this page.


To shape the future of thsi technology, share your feedback via the links on the right side of this page.


Autodesk 3ds Max 90-Day Fixed Term License - Autodesk eStore Online Store - WTF?

It's finally happened.  Rent Autodesk software for 90 days?  Wow. And the take Paypal now too? I must be dreaming. If this doesn't kill the reseller channel, I don't know what else would be the final nail in the coffin. Maybe rent Revit for $5 dollars a day?  You may not know this, but Revit started as a monthly subscription product 12 years ago. 

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner's Club and PayPal

Autodesk 3ds Max 90-Day Fixed Term License
Priced from:

Autodesk 3ds Max 90-Day Fixed Term License

A 90-day* project license for game developers, visual effects artists, motion graphics artists, and other creative professionals who want to explore the 3D animation, motion graphics, simulation, rendering tools, and industry-leading interoperability of 3ds Max 2013 software.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The future of printing changes how you present

Look how far we've come with printing and 3D. Cindy, I think we'll need one of each.  We certainly can't be a progressive architecture firm without having cool toys. 

B1_It is Alive in the Lab


Part of our AU 2012 general session mentioned that there are four basic ways that items can get digitally manufactured:

  1. Additive manufacturing, like 3D printing
  2. Subtractive manufacturing, like CNC milling and laser cutting
  3. Robotic assembly
  4. Nanobiology, designing and making living things at the smallest scale imaginable

In addition to the general session, I attended Shaan Hurley and Evan Atherton's class on The Future of Making Stuff. Shaan presented a nice summary of six processes used for 3D printing.

  1. Extrusion
  2. Stereolithography (SLA)
    • Vat of liquid photopolymer resin cured with UV laser
    • Laser cures material in the cross section of current layer
    • Build tray drops down to allow resin to fill next layer
    • Layers typically between .002 inches to .006 inches
  3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
    • Tray of powder resin
    • Laser heats up powder until it fuses with the powder around it
    • Build tray drops down and next layer of powder gets drawn over
    • Standard Resolution: .004 inches
  4. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
    • Extrusion heads melt rolls of thermoplastics and deposit them in a cross section on a build tray
    • Build tray drops down and next cross section is extruded
    • Standard Resolution: .01 inches
  5. Plotjet
  6. Inkjet 3D




one at a time inexpensive low quick
SLA resin one at a time expensive high quick
SLS powder one at a time high waste
small parts
good slower
FDM thermo-
limited inexpensive low slower
Polyjet resin opaque or transparent
limited selection
moderate super high slower
Inkjet 3D ink
full color moderate good quick

3D Printing is alive in the lab.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Get latest McGraw-Hill Construction 2012 SmartMarket report on BIM adoption

BIM adoption has grown 400% in 5 years.
Which side are you on?
70% of architects say they have adopted BIM.*
Get the Report Download Link
You’re too busy to be experimenting with unproven processes—no matter how much they promise. But with today’s BIM and CAD tools from Autodesk®, you won’t have to. Because in a just-released McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket report, architects just like you shared their true feelings about working with BIM—from reduced errors and omissions in documents to better project communication—and proved just how powerful it can be.

And now, you can get this valuable report free with our compliments, and see how BIM can help you meet client demands and much more.
© Copyright 2012 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.
Legal Notices & Trademarks | Privacy Policy | autodesk.com
* The Business Value of BIM in North America Survey of 582 respondents of industry professionals to assess the adoption of BIM in North America, conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction between August 2nd to September 19th 2012 in partnership with Autodesk. 


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