Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Lack of a phone signal

BT signal Assist
I live in an area that has a strong 4G signal most places, except where I live, and here its almost none existent, I had to hang out of an upper bedroom window just to get the most basic of a signal. I moaned like crazy to BT my provider, with no effect, they insisted I have a signal, I kept telling them I did not.

But this week I again moaned to BT but they then said they have a new piece of kit that plugs into my router and will give a local 3G signal. Now I have a cupboard full of these wonderful pieces of electronic garbage, all promised something and gave nothing.

But, with the hope it might work, I shelled out £20 and ordered my signal assist booster, it duly arrived and set up was no more than plugging it into my router and the power supply, the blurb that came with it quoted 24 hours max to set itself up, well after 10 mins I had a signal, my Pixel 2 had picked it up, and at last after almost 20 years I have a strong signal that allows none interrupted mobile calls via my mobile, wonderful. It has a nice range too it works in the garden and garage.

Whoooo no more hanging out the bedroom window and interrupted calls................ working from home takes a step forward.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Planning to the next level

For as long as I have been involved in the Architectural process of client, site, Planning Reg application, I have worked within a framework of past experience based upon materials and use that has a history stretching into the past well beyond Charles the 1st.

But all of that is changing, a new era approaches, that of the digital age, the unknown effects of sensors, the all most rapid use of data,  almost instant communication, not just between humans, but the blinding speed of communication between machines.

I have been asked to write a paper on HBIM or heritage BIM, its an eye opener, so many opinions from people who do not understand the difference between new materials and those made a few hundred years ago. Wanting me to apply standard values to the BIM table,

They have no understanding of manufacture of a brick just 100 years ago it was a hit and miss approach, and one single length of a wall might have two or three different kiln burnings producing three total different bricks, with totally different values in their day to day operation from strength to lambda to water absorption, not to mention colour and texture.

So my paper will focus on this single strategy, how to add HBIM values to materials that vary so much.

I have a lot of research to do, and little time to do it, so this paper is more like a market study, who is doing what and how.

The audience for this paper are planners, can I drag them into the real world, of CAD and all of the digital extras we as Technologists enjoy.


Almost Good By to Apple

Since my last post on this subject I have worked hard to eliminate Apple, It's almost there, but not quite. Let me explain.

It all started some years ago, and I was all but an Apple employee, all my work, files and most of my CAD was Apple based, not a problem, I did not share much, as it was only for my consumption. records, photos and my writing, CAD was the one thing I shared and that was mostly pdf oriented and Vectorworks my then and mostly now program for drawing was damned good at its generation. all was well in the world, I was happy to spend the hight bucks on Apple machines in the belief that I needed the power.

Then came teaching, I did not go searching for this, but as always I got sucked into lecturing and found I liked it., but Apple did/does not share well outside the Apple ecosphere, and Google came on board and they do like sharing, I also found that the Chromebooks were great, so much cheaper yet did all my writing and photo work with ease, but could not draw on CAD, that I might add is changing slightly with Sketchup now available as a web browser version, and its just great, Autocad is not there yet, but I saw a demo of their online version and it seems to be working well, they wanted me to sign up to get the extra such as drawing a line, and pay money for the privilege, so I backed off, and started adding skills to Sketchup, ok its basic but I can flesh out a model and details.

So almost there, just need a decent full bodied CAD program to work in the cloud and run on my chromebook, till then its a balance between Mac and Google with the balance on usability still on the side of Google.


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 Konstrukshon.co.uk 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.