Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Birmingham City University Degree Day Show 8th June 2018

It's not long to my Final year students BSc Hons AT Degree Day Show at Birmingham City University, if you're in the area and would like to see the final project work, drop by, its free and you can chat to the students re their last three years training, and their hopes for the future.

If your thinking of what to do when you leave school, then it's a great way to see the discipline of Architectural Technology at its best. We will also have past students who are now in practice, plus most of the lecturers, including my good self.

Confused as to the difference between an Architect and Technologist, come along and chat, there will be free soft drinks and nibbles.

Sketchup Units

In the free version, one of the common mistakes is to create a new model and not check for the Units being used, students don't look at the bottom right for the units being used, and can't understand why adding dims or length does not work.

So there are two ways to correct this, easiest is to use the info button at the bottom right menu bar, clicking on this open up the model info menu, at the top are the imperial units, and for some reason the default, under this the metric and for me mmm use, clicking on this even when half way through a model will switch it over.

Of course, just adding the dim in the measurements bar with mm after the number will work, but best to change the units completely.

Alternatively and possibly good practice is to open the three bar menu and make a new model and choose the metric mm template. whatever way checking the measurements bottom right is always good practice.

The free version has a download button and is the way my students can pull the saved version from Sketchup's cloud to the desktop and then into Moodle, my universities all singing communications platform. I make it quite clear to all, saving as metric mm is one of the marking criteria, and worth 10% of the marks, mean I know but it gets the point across.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

My.Sketchup is quickly coming of age update

The end of the academic year is nearly upon us in the UK, I have been using Sketchup free to run my last module, understanding 3D design, it has all that's required in understanding 3D, layering grouping use of components, colour, texture and the beginning of data control, plus the way perspective works and how to turn of perspective to parallel mode.

Recently I noticed that an upgrade button has appeared on the bottom left of the free screen, Wooooo excellent, by upgrading :

What you get:
  • SketchUp for Web
  • Import/Export CAD files
  • Import/Export vector images
  • Export raster images
  • Customize materials
  • Remove SketchUp watermark
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited collaborators
  • Pro tech support
  • File organization
  • Solid tools
Still no layout, but for students, this just might be worth following up.

As I have the desktop pro version I can easily use that to complete an Architectural drawing. without loading the desktop onto several machines. OK so there is a workflow to sort, but it's easy to see the effect Trimble is having on Sketchup driving the advancement forward, and the web browser version is very popular. I can't see how to download a video of scenes, or walkthrough, but I have no doubt it will arrive, perhaps on the browser upgrade, there is an export for vector images, so it might be there, I will check as I get my upgrade.

I recently purchased the Google Daydream AR/VR viewer and looking to see how this might be incorporated into the module. the screen is still a little fussy, not good for fine detail, but I can see this getting better. there seems to be a way to record the screen as its seen in the viewer, again I need to check and see how it works.

Data Privacy Act - UK

For so long, as a sole trader, I have worked both my private and business life into one large Google Gmail account, extended to 1TB,  but as the impending data protection act looms on us all in the UK,  I have had to make some long overdue changes to both my private and business life and separate my contacts and client information.

Making that separation was, on paper easy, in practice I have had to sit down and make the physical break, by making my company, Konstrukshon Ltd, a Gsuite account and migrate all the data that's applicable over to this new domain. Simple enough, but believe me it's not so easy, even when you're dealing with a Gmail account and Google Gsuite. 

First off, it's creating the Gsuite account, this is easy, use the very helpful online, human, who will guide you through the process, this took about 40 min for me, looking up domain info of my existing account and using my providers Cpanel to update this account to send mail over to the new Gsuite account, together with redirecting my web page over to a google web site.

Adding my staff to this account was also so simple, and yes you may ask, we botched a system of sending mail from another Gmail account that made it look like a unified account, it worked !.

Next the migration, for all the drive folders full of both Google Doc's and other files like dwg, and specific CAD files, we tried migration, it simply did not work the way I wanted, so we ended up downloading files, and pulling them into the new folders as we wanted, it made us look at each file and sort out the crap and no longer good !. it took time but worth the effort.

Next mail, fortunately, I had separated all company from private on my Google account, and I also have a MacBook Pro as my main machine, here I just added the new Gsuite account and the older Gmail to Mac Mail and dragged  from one to the other, it took time, but once you drag across its simple, just give the Mac time to sort it out and make the transfer. Once complete and for me, that was over a full day and part of an evening, on completion, delete all accounts, you no longer need them on mac mail.

Yes, we did have a few stray files on Dropbox these were also simple to migrate to Gsuite. Adding Google Sync to my Mac allowed it to see the files like dwg cad files on the new Gsuite drive and open them up in Autocad. Adding team drive to Gsuite allowed multiple access.

So now it's just a learning curve on Gsuite, getting the staff migrated and learning how to use it.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Pixel 2

This is really not anything to do with CPD, more lifestyle. Since 1985 I have for my personal use used Apple, I have paid out a small fortune on there always expensive products , and mostly I have been happy. I even purchased old machines forming a collection of Mac plus units, but sine the death of Steve Jobs, I just lost interest in the Apple ecosystem.

Trying to share proved difficult, and as I worked more with people outside of Apple it got to be just difficult beyond a joke. Along came Google, and there open easygoing way of life and I slowly migrated across taking all my slides, documents, music and photos.

To cement this I purchased a pixel 2, the move is complete, I even purchased a Chromebook, a Google chrome cast and yesterday a VR headset.

What's next, moving my web sites to Google sites, and adding more content, oh and moving my pages documents over.

That's it I have finished the migration, it took a while, for some time I sat on the fence, balacing Apples wants on my MacBook pro with Google, my diary was one major move and migrating mail from Mac mail to Gmail is a blog on it's own. The tidy up is the final job but that's the easy bit.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Handling the Digital World

At present, I am watching several films, reading mail, and pulling thoughts together on a separate Doc, oh, and drawing in a CAD package. I use several screens to keep this little lot in the air and viable.
My mac is at present pushing a lot of air through its self, keeping up with all of this, not surprising really given the work load I am putting on it.

I work from a small home office, but today I am in the dining room, it takes about 20 min to set up,  or decamp the usual equipment from my small office to the dining room, but I like to keep my Flatcoated Lab happy

Data storage is now easy, Google drive handles it all, except for my CAD files which I still store on Dropbox, a legacy from earlier days and one I will eventually move to drive. but other projects need more time to evaluate, such as my sensor project, howwill I handle the massive data I know will be generated.

For this, I need to gain a better understanding of sensors their generation of data, routing of information and central collection, how I can organise the storage and interpret the data against other data sources.

A simple and easy first attempt to store a small data collection, is to use Google Drive spreadsheet,  my source is a single house, not too big and not so small, I reckon that as a start, I will install as many sensors I can, say 5 and set up a small google spreadsheet, and feed data to it via iFTTT, moving up to around 20 sensors looking at

  • Temp
  • Humidity
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Pressure

at various levels and positions within the house to get the best spread of data.

Each Google Spreadsheet has a limit of 400,000 cells, with a maximum of 256 columns per sheet. There are also other limitations: Number of Formulas: 40,000 cells containing formulas. Number of Tabs: 200 sheets per workbook. So in the near future this is going to fill and I need to have moved on, Google has a neat answer here called cloud.iot.core to handle this type of data on a large scale, and don't forget even 20 sensors is going to fill this in just a few years, I am specifying in my project spec notes that the life of the house is going to be 120 years. add external data to show the calculation complete, then a spreadsheet is not going to last, but it's a good start to understand the data and iron out some simple collection problems ready to move to the bigger system.

Next, what sensor system do I use there are several off the shelf systems that sell units, but they are expensive but an easy fix, next up is the Raspberry pie and Arduino small, and I mean small computers, internally they are very useful, external they need a robust power supply, battery is not really a long term option.

Then how do I collect this data, well the off the shelf units are mostly compatible with iFTTT a usefull interface service that's free and I use a lot to feed information to Evernote, yes I know I don't use it much, but the links are still there.

The later Raspberry pie and Arduino units will operate as wifi linked computers and can be easily linked to a google spreadsheet.

A web spreadsheet model or handling streaming data
A Spreadsheet Tool for Creating WebApplications Using Online Data
A spreadsheet approach to programming & managing Sensor Networks
Save Edyn Garden Sensor data to a Google spreadsheet (Using iFTTT )
Using Google Spreadsheets for Logging Sensor Data
Gathering Data with IFTTT

Monday, 7 August 2017

Google Chrome Browser and my Brother printer Scanner

As part of my move to Google Drive and all it entails, I have been wondering how I might get on with my brother Printer Scanner. The printing side is just not a problem, but and here is the usual BUT, I at present have no way of connecting my Chrome browser to the scanner, I have to use the Apple interface and scan in that way save and then use the imported pdf file.

But there is a work around that seems to work. that is to use the scan button on the printer and set the destination to either mail or file.

Here's how it works. for mail, I have my printer connected via  USB link, so the Brother printer can see mac mail and uses that to link up, I send that to Gmail and all as before. Why it picks mac mail when I have it set up for Gmail is beyond me, yet this works so not a problem, although I managed to correct this simple by going into Mac mail and setting the default mail to Google Chrome.

The other method, and the one I shall use in the future, is to save to file, here as I use a Mac it saves it to the Photo folder, must be a setting somewhere that says save here, but no worries it's a simple drag and drop to the right google drive folder.

I don't have, a Chrome book, so can't test it, but if anyone has can they do a swift trial and let me know.