Saturday, 3 June 2017

Internet trends report | Mary Meeker, KPCB | Code Conference 2016 & 2017

Mary Meeker has just given her annual Internet report, so I thought I might review last years presentation, before hand, available on YouTube. Before I start on this years show.

Its fast paced, and busy, she breaks all rules on slide presentation but who cares, you have little time to read them anyway. The slides can be downloaded from LinkedIn, and perused for information, which is vast, and shows all sorts of graphs on computer use, by who, and such things as general population growth, which is why i started to watch these presentations. I have down loaded both 2016 & 2017 slides and added them to both Evernote, but more importantly now, Google Keep, with multiple tags.

You might want to review this excellent article on Backchannel, a news site I particularly like, giving a great overview of her work and a very light back ground.

You might ask why I listen to her, its simple, the growth of computer use and the type of computer used have a direct link and influence to Architecture, plus the way we perceive the use of computing to draw, share our designs, and how the data generated is used, a subject we have yet to explore fully.

This years presentation was given on May 31st 2017, again her slides are available on LinkedIn, as yet I can't see any video on YouTube, but Recode have a video up together with slides.

Its highly entertaining and packed as before, and with 355 slides forget trying to read it, sit back as listen and go back later to the slides.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Google not Apple

I have made the first of many moves I expect to make as I set up my computer system for the next few years. I have been Apple mostly from about 1985, with the odd lapse into Windows at some one else behest, namely an employer.

But now I am setting up for a life with Google, I have transferred all of my emails over to gmail and I now use this as my main email services, I have moved my calendar over. Both these were remarkably easy to do, next was all my main files, again this was no more than a drag and drop, plus a short wait for it to complete a large move. Adding Google to my mac as an account on Mail, and pulling folders across made this job so easy, as for my calendar, I just had to add google tags to my Apple cal appointments and all was good, I could see them is Google calendar.

Next were my photos, again Google made this easy and for some time I have had them copied across, I use Chrome for almost all of my surfing, and google drive for my slides and now writing, Blogger is my preferred domain, and sheets my spreadsheet of choise. I now prefer Keep to Evernote, simple because it just as easy to use, and easier to find stuff.

It's not that I don't like Apple, I have a Macbook Pro 15" and an ageing iPhone 5s its that they are a closed wall system, and don't like me sharing as much as I want, Google on the other hand do. Attending a google show in Excel London a few weeks ago, did little to sway me away from this, in fact its was the final nail. As for the phone thats going soon, I fancy a Google Nexus, but could so easily take the Samsung 8, its just down to the best deal.

For the time being, I will stick with my Mac, its a good machine, and I need it for my CAD software, plus a couple of items I like, such as Skype, although I am fast liking google Talk and hangout. but there is little else to keep me on such an expensive machine, even CAD is migrating over to a web based environment, both Sketchup who are still in Beta, and more so Autocad who are in a different league, Which brings me back to my Mac, I don't need it if I go on a trip, I can so easily go online via a Chrome book and do most if not all of what I want to do, take into account the way airlines seem not to want us to travel with laptop, then hiring, or even buying a chrome book at the destination seems feasible.

As for my office phone, well thats linked to Skype, but outgoing land line calls via Google are easy and good quality. Google just have to get the UK sorted.

I look after several web sites and use a Mac based program to do this rather than hard coding, but I will eventually move even this to Google Drive. As you might imagine I have rather a lot of files, and what not, in Drive, so had to upgrade to 1Tb, in doing this I seem to have all the benefits of a G Suite account. My existing Dropbox account will go as I migrate all my files across to Google Drive, but here lies a small problem is the way I share this drive with my business partners, I will have to trial it with Google drive and make sure they are happy with the syncing before I go ahead.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Google Chrome offers new Search

I happen to notice today as I searched some info, that a new menu item has been added to the Chrome Browser, that will show what you have in your private collection that matches the search. Its limited to photos and gmail, but its a start, and I like it. I have a lot in Drive, and now a start of a good structured collection in Google Keep.

OK so Evernote has something like it, but its never quite worked for me, even in this version the new Google addition has useful heads up.

So make a search and in the result, took at the title bar above for more, drop this down and click on Private, and a window opens with the additional links.

Monday, 29 May 2017


Some people call this Ift, as one spoken word, not if but ift, some spell it out IFTTT, i"f this then that", for me, call it what you will its a great free service, I use to allow my blogs to get posted onto both Twitter and my Facebook konstrukshon CPD page.

After another forced absence, mostly due to pressure of work and other projects, I'm making a specific move to do more blogs, and open up articles and posts thoughts on some of my project.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Tech Junky at Sea

On the 4th Jan 2017, I left Southampton, on the P & O ship Oceana, for a 35 night cruise to the Caribbean and the USA on what promised to be a really great start to my 65 year.
I will turn 65 in October so by my calculations I should have, by now, been created, and will be forming, I would liked to have talked to my mom, and asked her, when she knew she was pregnant, but unfortunately she has dementia and that memory is lost.

I had brought with me most of my travelling computing equipment, my MacBook Pro, iPhone, and my Kindle, with the first 6 days after out initial stop in Spain, at sea, I have planned to complete a little work, and start writing a little. The ships WiFi showed up on my Mac, and I logged in, it has been some time since our last cruise, but it looked the same, £12 for 24 hours, fine by me I thought, I will dib into this and let my system catch up, 15 min should be enough to send stored emails, pick up waiting mail, and let Apple save the photos on line and I will log out as before,  24 hours should last a long while.

Little did I realise, and the opening screen made no reference, but once the 24 hours has started, there is no logging out, I can’t stop it, I can stop my machines use, but the 24 hour clock kept ticking.

So my plans to dib into the time like all the other cruises was scuppered, to use a nautical phrase. So after complaining to reception I got no where, but referred to the cyber librarian, who understood my pain, but was unable to help, except give me a credit for the last 24 hour period I had lost because I thought I was able to use it as before. At this point the word maritime was used saying anything connected to satellites is expensive and slow, I intend to come back to this point later.

So for the best part of my trip, what I planned as a technology fuelled holiday, fully connected turned out to be anything but, OK the trip was otherwise as planned, great ship, good food, plenty of onboard entertainment, and far to much to drink. But I am a tech junky, I want full connection to the net, I wanted to talk to my family and friends. Google and the like, and I am on the cusp here, I use gmail, as well as Apple,   They both promote the life style of connection,yet the moment I leave land I am stuffed,

So here it is P & O, I like your ships, yet for such a simple thing you take such a ridiculous stance, the ship is full of wifi, the walls in the bar are promoting the latest game of English football, live yet for accessing email a paltry insignificant portion of your ships download I am penalised.

Let's just review what the ship is using in terms of wifi connection, and satellite connection, general navigation, engineering, communication back to p& o base, a lot more than the passenger use, I once did some research in passenger flights and realised that each engine on an airplane say just four engines, has 2500 sensors,, per engine communicating with its base, live.

It does not take too much imagination to establish to general communication campsite of and ocean going liner the size of Oceana, to realise that the ships use is far in excess of the passengers, yet we are treated like morons and charges inexcusable as a profit margin. Over dinner, one of the table mentioned that several of the screens in one of the bars was playing live football, and that is coming into the ship by satellite

Friday, 26 May 2017

Lesson Plan - My Way

Most lecturers and Teachers will know of Lesson Plans, I have mine it may not conform to some standard or other official way, but it works for me and helps me plan the lesson.

I have all the information I need to plan the lesson, from the subject I am covering, the equipment I might need, to the slide set I will use.

My slides are in subject on Google, and so often I go back to teach a lesson I did last year, and can't remember which set I used, the lesson plan sorts this.

I also have a reading list, I expect my students to have at least read before attending, often as not its a free download, I give links to the source, and point to any specific section I want them to read. There are many reasons I do this, but most its to save time, and get the most out of my limited lesson, by asking them to say read a section of the building regulations.

I also give a bibliography of source books, web sites and article I have used in generating my slides.

This lesson plan have been refined from a simple spread sheet to this A4 google Doc format, which I may well have published some time back on this blog.

Each time I use it, I have made notes in my Moleskin, problems, good points, additions I felt might have helped, links I might have added, so over the summer I will update this current version. I'll post once its done, but till then the two sheets I have used as jpg's should be enough for you to copy and make your own, if not leave a message and will send.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Sensor Update

For so long, I have always thought that to track how a building is running, what machines or devices are running, I had to install sensors into the element and or object. That seems to have been turned on its head with a new single sensor board, that seems to use sound, and a smart algorithm, to analyse each sound to determine what is creating the sound, ir opening a microwave door, a window, or just entering the room.

The video below outlines the product. as yet I can't get one, but as soon as it becomes available I will purchase a few and trial them out.

Follow this link to the official site for more info, and the Academic paper describing this unit.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Browser or downloadable program

On Thursday of this week, I attended the Google Next cloud event in London, ausum, not just good but totally, aussum, and I say that not because of the free lunch, but the presentations, and information the way I was received, and the help I got from all the Google Staff.

So first, the reason I attended, was to learn about data, the way Google Handles it and how I can tap into this, using the wide breadth of storage they offer, but also to tools. It's here you suddenly understand the breadth of the capacity Google has, its in a world of it's own, they talk in numbers that only a few can really comprehend, and at speeds, I just look at and wonder.

For some, the type and format of the products offered by Google is an easy choice, but for me, it's not so easy, this video has some answers:

But for my sort of work I think it's spreadsheets, this video on Google Cloud give me more info

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Lesson Plan

In the early days of my slight change in career, from simply running my small practice, to being a Professor, I would be asked to run a lecture, so I made the slides and loaded them up, ran the lesson and was mightly pleased at the result, but come the next year, I found that I have added similar slides to the set, for other years and slightly different classes, that I could not remember which slides I used last time, and the over all format I used.

So I went in search of a lesson plan, and whoooo, there are so many, and so many reason, layouts, formats and styles. So I sat back and played about with different ideas, this was over a few weeks. I left it dfor a while, and tried again, this time fixing a style I likes, see todays photo.

My lesson plan works for me, I tweek it every now and then, but for the past year its worked well, I use it not only to itemise the slides I want to use, but why. My most recent addition is the pre lesson reading list, articles or books I want the students to read, prior to my lesson.

In my slides I so often add a post lesson reading bibliography, but if I am using several slides, this get a little mixed up, so I have also added a specific post lesson list to the Lesson Plan.

I tried to use the slides themselves to organise my lessons, but this failed, I got so mixed up, so now I keep them is generic folders, and use the lesson plans to list my slides, its so much cleaner.
My next question is do I issue it to my students, so far my lesson plan has been my own aid, but having shown it to a few past students, I got great feedback, so for my next lecture I will add a link to Moodle.
I am a massive fan of Google Slides and Docs, the way it works and how I can share docs without actually sending pdf copies is great. I can update add items and know the next time they look at it, its the latest version.

This latest lesson plan is written in a spreadsheet, I like the way I can organise, but it adds its own problems to formatting, specifically bullet point lists, so I have added a link at the bottom to a way to fix this. But I have plans to revise it, make it better, and currently I am looking at a new format, thats simpler and more specific.

If you want a copy let me know, but the photo today is of a complete day

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Is Planning in a Digital Stoneage

I recently read an excellent set of White papers issued by the RIBA re planning, and its almost antiquated approach to both the application method and its use of digital drawings and the data it contain.

Its not the first time I have approached this subject, but I was so pleased to see the article in the Vol 25 issue 2 issue of TcT magazine.

The White paper which the link above takes you to, consists of several different papers all loosely linked on the subject of digital planning.

Quite rightly the author takes a look at the actual application process and takes it a little further to look at the file naming structure, and the ability for search engines to find and load the application, not so simple in current planning sites.

The use of Digital applications at planning will encourage Smart City's a reality, the video below I think shows a way forward.

They mention City GML, and IFC, GML an open city standard, together with IFC and its open standard between the different CAD packages, allowing standard readers like Solibri.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Understanding just what is meant by "Smart City"

In my last post, I took a quick look at Smart Cities, I have had a long time research project going on this subject, collecting articles and general web pages, to try and understand just what is meant by Smart City, believe me when I say it's not a clear subject, there are a lot of variables, and differing opinions.

This video I have just come across, I think spells out a lot of my thoughts on the subject, interestingly one of the participants is the Ordinance Survey, OS, who I feel have a lot to give on this subject, from flood zones, paths, and marking interesting places and sights,

I will be continuing this research, because I don't think its solved yet, but I like what I see and hear in this short video.

My podcast list moves to Google Chrome

Most mornings, before I actually start work, I take a look at my news feeds, I start with Facebook, for no other reason than, I like to see what comments and post have been made, then I go to the serious stuff. First it's the BBC News app, always good, but then I go to my Google News App, this I like, it has a better format and display.

Then I look at a new app I am using in Google Chrome for all my Podcasts. I use my iPhone to download the same ones for walking, but in my home office, I like to control them on my Screen, I could I suppose use the iTunes and this would sync with my iPhone, but it is not easy to use, and I get so fed up trying to make it work, I went else where, and this little app is just right, I can listen as I work, it tells me if new podcasts from my list are available and I can so easily stop and continue from the main bar.

Google Keep, continues to be very useful, this morning I read a couple of interesting articles on Smart Cities, so clipped them to Keep and added multiple tags to associate them with Big data, Smart Cities and just data. The one article asks the question, what is a a smart city, and comes to some surprising conclusions, it's worth a separate blog so watch this space.

Google Earth has relaunched with some interesting updates, I did a search for Zaha Hadid and Google Earth listed several of the practices projects, I choose, for no other reason than it looked interesting, the Spitellau Viaduct Housing, but was disappointed in the way the model had been overlaid, spinning it round, the model strays over the railway track and look like its floating in midair, apart from that, I like google Earth, once you learn to use it, I can spend hours playing, Las Vagas is a must.

I have just watched several youtube video on the SunFlower, Solar Panel, this is just what the industry needs, more efficiency, self cleaning, portable, and self protecting, ausum

Is this CPD, well yes, we as Technologists need to keep up with Technology, however we can, Podcasts do that for me, and Keep is becoming increasingly important to keep, pun notes.

Google earth is also important, its the future as far as mapping is concerned.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Google Cloud NEXT event, London 4th May 2017

I have my pass for the Google Cloud Next meet on the 4th May 2017, although as yet I have only the pass for one day, I would so like to attend on the 3rd, so here's hoping.

But back to the subject matter of Data, , I have planned out a long day of lectures, and for once I am not giving a single second on stage, this is a chance for me to sit back and learn. the presenters methods of teaching, the subject matter, and the networking possibilities.

A long time back, I wrote a blog on the old site about planning a day like this, just attending is a waste of time, to get the most of the day, I intend to prepare.

First I have listed my lectures, the days is packed with so many alternatives :,

09.15 - 10.45
Brad Calder, Greg DeMichillie and Matt McNeil


Breakout three
Google Cloud Functions and Firebase
Speaker: TBC

Breakout one
Cloud Spanner 101: Google's mission-critical relational database
Speaker: Fausto Ibarra


Breakout five
New Hangouts - What you need to know
Speaker: Serge Lachapelle

Breakout three
Google Cloud Storage: best practices for selecting the right storage class, reliability, performance and scalability
Speaker: Kirill Tropin

Breakout three
Using Google's Identity as a Service (IDaaS) for GCP and G Suite
Speaker: Sriram Karra

Now I need to add notes to the "Google keep" stack I have created, oh and yes, I seem to be using Keep so much more these days.

Next is getting there on time with room to spare, so for me it's a train to Marylebone, then tube out to ExCel

Then is there any one to meet there, so far its a zero, but I have posted my attendance in the usual places so lets see.

Next its my kit, I plan to take just enough to survive, so its my Mac, power, and phone, should I take the iPad, no to much weight. moleskin and some writing material, a couple of pens, pencil and marker.

Thats it, now to research on each lecture to make sure I understand whats being talked about.

I have added labels to this posting, as always, but I have added one in particular, thats the label "Data Convergence", as Architectural Technologists move forward we need to understand how data, and the abundance of it, from so many different places, will affect the way we detail, This day, I hope will lay a lot of foundation work that will help me understand this.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

ArchonCad - Jon Pickup Posted Vectorworks, Articles, Lecture videos

Jon Pickup has been prolific this month with his Vectorworks Video Lectures and tips postings. I have know Jon for a long time and watched his site with all his excellent videos and books, grow to one of the best repositories of Vectorworks help on the net.

The list below is this months list and its a doozey, you have to be a member to view the files, buts thats only right and proper, Jon spends a life time getting his manuals ready and correct, plus the videos that go through the various work.

Todays photo is of the moon creeping behind the earth, I recently gave a presentation on this, the way the moon was created and its effect on our weather even now.

epodcast202 - Nudge Tips

Nudge is where you move objects a small amount using the shift+arrow keys. it
can be useful, but watch out if you need to measure the objects. There are
also Vectorworks Preferences that control the nudging. In this extended podcast
I explain all the options.

1703_03 - Record Formats - Advanced Topics

These topics are the advanced topics. In this part of the manual we going to
cover the topics that really use the power of the record formats.

1703_02 - Record Formats - Intermediate Topics

In the previous section we looked at the basic concept of the Record Format. In
this section will look at using record formats with other objects. Record format
is a very powerful when attached to objects, especially symbols.

1703_01 - Record Formats - Beginner Topics

A record format is a way to record information on an object. The record format
can be a simple one that only records one piece of information about an object.
But your record format can also be a complex one that will record several pieces
of information about an object.

1702_03 - Creating Drawings for A Landscape Project - Advanced Topics

In the previous section we looked at several objects that will speed up the
drawing process, especially when we come to create elevations, sections, and
links between drawings.

1702_02 - Creating Drawings for A Landscape Project - Intermediate Topics

The previous section was all about beginner topics, these are topics that
everyone should know. This section is all about the intermediate topics that you
will need to know in order to create your drawings from the 3D model.
This section will be about how the 3D parts of the design work.

1702_01 - Creating Drawings for A Landscape Project - Introduction

These are topics are the foundations of creating drawings. Creating the
information is nothing if you cannot organise it into drawings.
To create drawings we use several concepts. These concepts include Design
layers, Classes, Viewports, and Sheet Layers. These concepts are used in
conjunction with each other to create a drawings, but we will be looking at them
individually to see how they used.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Curzon Street Station, Birmingham

One of the many reasons I stay with Google Drive, oh and by the way, I have updated my subscription to 1TB, is the way I can so easily share slides and papers. Not with actual copies, but electronic links, I suppose its a pass from the old Wave, what ever I like it a lot.

I am currently doing a little research on Curzon Street Station, its now ben boarded up, following the go ahead, so no access, but there are a lot of photos about, and a lot of information, so I have been collecting it as and when I can, a lot comes from the web, and just some from other sources, like older paper archives I got from some where.

I have used Google Slides to pull a lot together, for no other reason than I wanted to give a presentation to a few local friends, and like minded colleagues, but as alway it grew and grew.

I plan to add a load of photos to the presentation, as a link from my Google photos, again its so easy to do this.

So for all you local station lovers, if you have any information I can use, drop me a line and I'll give full credits. I have been adding notes and links to the lecturer section, as an aid, I plan to go to Birmingham Library to research some dates and people involved.

The Park Street Cemetery is of particular interest at present as HS2 will go through the centre of it.

The CPD for me is a little history, plus I want to update the plans and elevation, plus 3D them.

But till then enjoy

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Online Storage

I, like so many, have a lot of digital information, and its growing, from simple letters and emails, through to the vast number of photos I now have dating back to about 1989, Then there are a load of presentations, research documents and scans, and thats just my private side, the business is just as big, with drawings, letters and site photos, plus other research and industry digital catalogs.

My private life is spread across several methods of storing all this stuff i keep, from Google Drive, to my Mac account, and evernote. Google holds the most, and what prompted this particular blog, was a note I got from Google telling me I am very close to my present limit of 116GB. I will increase it, I see no option, I rely og Google for so much, more on this later.

Apple, I have used for so long, their iCloud is ok, but sharing in any form is just impossible, compared to Google, so all I have there are backup of photos and some email, but the more I use Google, the more I want back into Gmail, so I have moved all my private mail, into gmail, even though I still use Apple Mail, next will be my business mail, the reason being, is I am going to have to up the limit to 1TB so to make full use of this space I am moving almost all over to drive.

I have a 1TB solid state drive on my Macbook Pro, but fairly use is as a permanent drive, having lost several over the years I just will not trust  them to hold important information, having lost a lot on the previous failures. Its more a buffer for Dropbox.

My business account is stored in Dropbox, it have been there for some time, and it works well, I share it with my business partner, who sees changes almost immediately, but here's the rub, they have a min space of also 1TB. I want to move this to Google Drive, but fear it will be a little more difficult to share files like Vectorworks, so for the time being its a hit I will have to take.

Apart from some small drives that these days hold nothing, I have a couple of large pen drives, but distrust them completely so apart from a simple transfer from one machine to another, I stay away from them as permanent drives for information.

So for now its Google Drive, and I stay for so many reasons, the suite of tools within drive are excellent, and sharing is so good, unlike Apple who just will not allow it or make it difficult.

So I sat back and thought about this whole storage thing, is this the end of storage in private servers, well at least for the general public, Google seem to think so, in fact they have moved their business more into cloud storage than many with their drive, and the Chrome laptops, it relies upon good wifi or a hookup to the net, but all you want is their in a Chrome browser. Apple might get there, but why wait, Google is offering what I presently want.

But having spent some time in an environment thats hit and miss with wifi, it can be a pain when your not connected, and makes me wonder about some local permanent storage.

As a futurist, I took time out and cleared my head, is this cloud storage really going to be the last evolution of storage, certainly the vast amount I have which I suppose is small in comparison to some and infinitely small when compared to many companies, currently needs cloud storage, it's safe, they offer backup, and apart from certain period in a year, I generally have very good wifi connection.

Is it all about compression, can I get more data into an ever decreasing storage space, are there better ways of storing all my data. Looking at a search I did, the answer is yes, there is a lot going on, but not at my scale, what I did see is more for the big boys.

So thats it, I stay with Google for my main, Apple for limited backup, Dropbox for business files, and my laptop for little else.

Todays photo is all about dust, and how it spreads about to globe.