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.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Link notes to a google Keep Record

At resent, I have several notes about books, my to read, my current reading list, and specific lists of book collections, my construction book list being huge and my Templar book collection not far behind.

I want to now link my personal notes to the list, and have found a way to do this.

So I make a new note and add my comments, thoughts and other items into the note its specific to that book, so I use the book title author and medium, ie paper or Kindle in the title.

Then before I close, I make a copy of the URL

After closing, I go to the specific book list and paste the url on the end of the book list item, see todays photo.

I also add my usual labels, this time adding book comments as the extra label.

For some reason, I find this satisfyingly acceptable, and perhaps a better way to record my thoughts rather than Evernote, ok there is probably a way to do this, but so far its eluded me.

I plan to add this concept to my photos, saved in Google Photos, a specific folder should do the trick, for example my recent flowering Magnolia collection. Although I can also do this to my Moleskin doodles, take a photo and get the link to paste it into one of my notes......... let you know

Keep is becoming so interesting, but so it Google +

I know Evernote is so good, and it just has the edge over Keep, but I am finding I like to save certain information to Keep, rather than Evernote, it is easier to find, edit, and use, my book lists for instance, I have several, all labelled "Books" links I want to use, again all labelled I put pdf documents into a Drive folder and take a link and again its put into Keep this time I add a note as to why I have kept it together with the links, and several labels if I feel it belongs to different subjects.

In about a months time I am taking a Mooc Course with Warwick University looking at Data, they use "R" its a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics, I want to be up and running with it, so have stated to collect examples of its use. Each note a separate link or comments all pulled together with my label "R".

Is it not the way of life, somethings just become interesting, take Google Plus, I have not used or reviewed it for so long, yet in the last few days I have started to use it more, I like the collections, I spent a few hours last night, catching up on several subjects, like Smart Cities, and Architecture, love the open feel of this program now, yet my last use was not interesting at all.

My phone is not dead yet, Cellotape is holding it together, so at present I am reviewing my options, and a Pixel is looking so interesting, if I can find a good deal i might be tempted, but I keep coming back to my Emails, they are all in Apple Mail and for the best part, I like mail, its easy to use and I rarely lets me down, although my recent cruise did leave me wanting !.

Still I think waiting is a good position to take,  not to rush, but see what life brings, I'm sure something will come along.

Walking with my dog yesterday and I was surprised at the magnolia blossom, its not been this good, for so long, the warm weather has brought it out and keeping it fresh and full. So thats the reason for todays photo.

This Brexit thing is so complicated, I keep wondering about the whole affair, for so long its been easy to travel, now I wonder, will travelling to Europe be so easy, ok there are certain things I don't like about the EEC, but there is much I do like. My grandfather on my mothers side is Irish, should I apply for an Irish Passport, just to be on the safe side !.