Friday, May 28, 2010

Archicad and Revit IFC workflow

My excellent colleague Greg forwarded this video to me. It was created by the developers of Archicad and it shows collaborative workflows between their BIM platform and Revit Structure as well as Revit MEP. This integration is enabled completely through the use of IFC files (Industry Foundation Classes) which are supplemented by free Revit plug-ins that optimize the IFC output. The IFC files are then merged into Archicad using specific filters based on the origin of the export. After merging, the imported model geometry is fully editable.

Recent blog posts on Revit OpEd and Bolt Out of the Red diminish the importance of IFC’s in a Revit BIM environment, but I say that this type of sentiment is short sighted in realizing the bigger picture. I can see the value of developing a direct and specific port for data using a fully open API, but does that mean that every program in the AEC market needs to develop a Revit plug-in for interoperability? Surely, Autodesk needs to spend some time improving the IFC import/export capabilities of Revit and we intend to share some necessary (and reality-based) areas for improvement.

As an aside, I have written a complete chapter in Mastering Revit Architecture 2011 titled “Interoperability: Working Multi-platform” which has all sorts of real world scenarios for sharing data with Revit. I hope you find it useful when the book hits the shelves.

Phil Read is awesome

Honestly - or at least today - I mean that.
Part of the glorious job of book writing is updating all 231 sample Revit files we include with the book for the reader's general edification. That is Open > Save > Close. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. It's kinda boring and took me a couple glasses of wine to complete.

In that process, I came across the image below which is what you see when you open one of the several files Phil included in his chapter on stairs and railings. If you don't get it, he created monorails and elevated train cars using stair railings. Did you get that? With stair railings.

I am so freakin' beyond impressed. I might actually read that chapter.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

ACAD for Mac - Part II

Sunday started out with this revelation.

But really, this isn't the most interesting part of the thread. Further down, there's this:

Solidworks for the Mac.

So while ADSK's next big thing may be creating bringing a 20 year old idea to brand new hardware, Dassault may be working on BIM for the MEP space. Where is ADSK on Inventor? Or Revit? Where's the forward thinking at ADSK?

If ADSK is really working on Mac for OSX, the announcement will result in the sound of crickets chirping followed by snoring. People that have ACAD are already running it now.

Up next, GM announces a car that runs on gasoline....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book signing – without the book!


While visiting HOK’s St. Louis office this week, I was surprised to see a board out in our public area announcing a “book signing.” The main problems – the book hasn’t been published yet and I was in meetings all day long for two days. Now…if I was able to attend this mock signing, I’m not sure what I’d actually be autographing; however, I hope I get another chance to have a meet-and-greet in other offices.

The intention was noble and free pastries are always appreciated by the staff!  As it turns out, even Gyo Obata was eager to discuss the upcoming book with me. Hopefully, this is the first sign of fun times ahead of us.

By the way, we finally have a new cover design for Mastering Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011. Check it out on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ACAD for Mac

If you've heard the rumors over the past year, it looks like they are now verified and true. There is an iPhone 4 and Autodesk is now making AutoCAD for a Mac. Check it out here.

So, I have to say, when I first heard about the transition, I was all like WHOO HOO!! THAT IS SO FREAKIN' AWESOME!!

Well, then I got to thinking. And reading the reviews. And what I've read so far says it kinda sucks, it's a bit slow and unresponsive and it only comes in 64 bit (they got one thing right).

Then I really started thinking and I was like what? (insert valley girl speak here) like O.M.G. Like they did this for Mac? ACAD? Why not something innovative??? Hello, Revit?
Isn't this the same company that keeps promoting the h*ll out of BIM, how that's the future of design and then for Mac they roll out a product from the 1980's? Really?

Update: Before I receive any more threats about ADSK legal: No, I'm not a beta tester for ACAD for Mac nor do I have any notion, information, or whereabouts regarding what might or might not be a product beyond what I've seen on Mac-based blogs and what the guy in the box above told me.

And for the record, all of the Mac people I know are design professionals and creative types haven't designed out of CAD in over a decade. They've moved on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

AU 2010

The time has come the walrus said to talk of many things.
Of sailing ships and sealing wax, and other fancy things.

- Lewis Carrol

It's also time to start talking about Autodesk University for 2010. I know it's all of six months from now BUT as of May 18th (the same day Floyd Landis came clean) it is time to start voting for your favorite AU classes.

Why vote? Honestly, I have no idea. ADSK tells you it makes a difference. I don't know if it's 75% or 3% of a difference. I DO know however that voting makes you feel like you can make a difference. And that little piece of 'feel good' is worth something. So, go to AU Online and vote!

So, the obvious question is WHO DO YOU VOTE FOR? Well, I can't answer that. I can say that Do U Revit? compiled a great list.

Thanks for the props.

Friday, May 21, 2010

PCs blow

They blow up.

And when they do, someone finally found a good use for them.

now if they'd only do this to my office desktop.

Monday, May 17, 2010

QR Codes

Seen these?
It's a QR code. If you're not familiar with them, they are like bar codes for the new millennium. The bar code was limited to a specific scanning tool and a laser reader. It was also mandated to a very specific size. QR codes however can be read with a smart phone or anything that can take a photo of the code and process it on the web. They are not size dependent and can be read at any size. Have an iphone? Download the NeoReader (it's free) and try it.

Since someone introduced them to me at the office recently, it's become my new obsession. I seem to find them everywhere. Like here in London:

They can be up to 177 characters of text (like this one), or links to websites. Generating them is free - like the first one which is a link to this blog. Honestly, I'm finding them everywhere. On furniture and the most suprising was on the back of a bottle of Chloraseptic that I bought for my wife's sore throat. Now, it was scaled to the same size as all the four point type on the back of the bottle, but it was there none the less.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NYU BIM Webinar – next week

There’s still time to register for James Vandezande’s webinar on building information modeling offered by NYU. The session will take place on Wednesday May 19 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm Eastern US time. The registration fee is $150.

While this session may not appeal directly to the devoted BIM experts who read this blog, I encourage you to recommend this session to senior team leaders who may not have begun to drink the Kool Aid yet. My webinar will review the essential concepts (what is BIM/what isn’t BIM/BIM tools), the benefits and business case for BIM (uses/opportunities/goals), and how BIM relates to integrated project delivery (IPD).

Webinar attendees will be able to interact with me and ask questions. Feel free to even set up this broadcast in a conference room and share the information with several colleagues.

Here’s the direct link to register:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fire, Ready, Aim

Definitely not for the squeamish. Full story here.

Link to video from here or click on the image above. We used to do this during prohibition early last century. Turned out the treatment was worse than the disease. But this is what happens when you give a bureaucrat a hammer: eventually everything starts to look like a nail.

I'd recommend you follow up the video above with this and then this.

Nice work Detectives. Dig in someone's trash. Work from an informant tip. Then combine the resources of 3 police officers and 8 SWAT members to kick in someone's door, shoot their dogs and make an arrest that ends up with a what? "Dropped charges of possession of marijuana and second-degree child endangerment for a guilty plea to possession of drug paraphernalia."


Uhhhh...because there wasn't any drugs in the house.

Child endangerment 'cause dad might smoke weed? Really? Are you kidding me? Compared to nearly a dozen officers firing off seven rounds in a 1500sf house? Is a lung full of puff really more dangerous than semi-automatic armed, Kevlar-wrapped police officers hopped up on adrenalin? Who exactly is putting children in danger?

Nice trophy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

And the big new is.....

Recently we've made some allusions to some big news. Finally, after many months of keeping quiet, something I'm historically not very good at, we've been cleared to make an announcement. It's like a huge load off my chest to finally get to say it and a ton of excitement at the same time.

Sybex, our publisher has worked a deal with Autodesk, Inc. under which ten titles on leading Autodesk products will be exclusively designated as “Autodesk Official Training Guides.”

That means the Mastering Revit 2011 book will be one of 10 official Autodesk Training Guides. That's big news for us and we're very grateful to both Sybex and to Willem (the man behind the scenes) for the opportunity to reach a bigger audience.

We should have all the final edits wrapped up at the end of this month and in stores mid-July.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pandora and Alice in Chains

In a previous post, I had briefly mentioned my fascination with Pandora – the internet radio service based on the Music Genome Project. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s quite a brilliant idea. Sign up for free and enter a band name or a music genre and Pandora does the rest. Zach Kron had an interesting description of the ‘parametric thinking' established by your artist selections.

The Music Genome team creates parametric magic by listening to all kinds of music and rating each song based on about 400 attributes such as beats made for dancing, cool jazz qualities, vinyl ambiance, and electric guitar riffs.

ABC News had a feature story on Nightline that included an interview with Pandora founder Tim Westergren:

Alice In Chains

If you’re a 90’s grunge music junkie like me, you probably list bands like Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney and Meat Puppets as some of your favorites. I spent most of my five years at architecture school listening to Bleach, Ten, Insecticide, Dirt, Jar of Flies and other amazing albums (try the soundtrack to Natural Born Killers…it was a late night studio staple for us!). The loss of legendary artists Kurt Cobain (d. April 1994) and Alice In Chains front man Lane Staley (d. April 2002) might have even prompted some of us to launch anti-heroin campaigns, but alas, what happens to our favorite bands when tragedy strikes? Dave Grohl (Nirvana drummer) went on to form the excellent rock band Foo Fighters; but what would Alice In Chains do next without Lane’s harmonic offset to guitarist Jerry Cantrell? The band reunited in 2005 and brought in vocalist William DuVall. In September 2009, they released their first album in 14 years titled “Black Gives Way to Blue” – which I found by creating an “Incubus” station on Pandora! (phew)

Their new album is one of those rare comebacks that captures the original essence of the band. Black Gives Way to Blue has the haunting harmonies reminiscent of Jar of Flies (1994) and grinding riffs like their breakthrough album Dirt (1992). A couple of the songs remind me of Mark Wahlberg in Rock Star, but in total I find myself listening to this album over and over again. Only about 6 albums fit into that category for me!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dining By Design

This weekend we (Angiela and I - not Phil, James and I) were fortunate enough to be invited to the table of a dear friend, Kristopher Dabner, at Kansas City's annual DIFFA, Dining By Design event. DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids) is an annual event across the country and is one the largest supports of direct care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The event gathers area designers for dinner, drinks, and of course, design - all for a great cause. If you've never been, one of the key features of the dinner is the table designs. If you choose to purchase a table, you also need to direct it's layout, design, and setting. As you can imagine, with a room full of designers these table settings range from simple and elegant to over the top and completely opulent. Great cause, great dinner. Check out some of the table settings here in KC. It would be a little unsettling (but totally cool) to dine under the collage of plastic chairs.....