Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lego Architecture Coming Soon

Looking forward to see what Lego comes up with on the Architectural theme in the future. According to the Lego Architecture site Architecture is Coming Soon. Seems like it will be possible to build the Sears Tower.

I also found John Hancock Center, Empire State Building, Seattle Space Needle on brickstructures.com

Lego Architecture

There is also a Frank Lloyd Wright Lego collection with Fallingwater and Guggenheim Museum in NY. As you can see they are quite simplified.

Guggenheim Museum

And here the Museum in the real world.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

AutoCAD Architecture 2009 Update 3

Knowledge Base document: AutoCAD Architecture 2009 Product Update 3

Knowledge Base document: AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite 2009.1 Product Update 3

Downloads for Update 3

You can apply this update to the following Autodesk products running on all supported operating systems and languages. This update (Service Pack) includes both Update 1 & Update 2.

The following defects have been fixed in AutoCAD Architecture 2009 Update 3

Display themes

  • The use of manual text properties involving numbers caused incorrect display properties.

Drawing management

  • Loading certain projects or linking particular drawings to a project caused a hang or crash.
  • Modifying files under the current project folder led to a crash.

Export to AutoCAD

  • Wipeouts in devices did not have the correct appearance after Export.

Grips

  • When moving objects in the Conceptual Visual Style, the grips would become separated from objects.

IFC

  • Walls were shifted from the correct position or missing when certain files are imported.
  • Some slabs would be in the wrong position when certain files are imported.
  • A crash would occur when importing some files.
  • Overridden materials were not preserved after re-importing a file.

Performance

  • Cursor movement was slow when objects are isolated and Dynamic UCS is on.

Schedules

  • A crash would occur when updating schedule tables that refer to external files with certain spaces.

Tool palettes

  • A block would be added to the drawing even though the placement using a tool was canceled.

Wall objects

  • Add selected of walls from previous version drawings with cleanup based on the centerline caused cleanup to fail.
  • Copy offset behavior was not the same as in AutoCAD Architecture 2008.
  • Canceling out of the Wall Edit In Place "Save Changes" dialog could cause a crash.

Xref

  • Linework and component geometry in walls were not correct when the host and xref drawing use different units.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ProSteel 3D customization using COM with AutoLISP and VBA

I have done coding using the ProSteel API and it is pretty extensive and flexible. I made improvements to the logic used to add position numbers on the steel structure objects as well as creating a two way sync of object properties between AutoCAD and a database. I also created other customizations to automate the workflow further both for working with the 3D model as well as the 2D generation. Another thing I did was to manipulate the ProSteel model so it worked better to use the information in Navisworks.

Either ps3d_com.arx (PSComWrapper Type Library) or ProStructuresLoader.arx are used and it works fine to develop with either AutoLISP or VBA. (VB.NET or C# should be possible to use)

Unfortunately there are not many resources about usage of the ProSteel COM interface other than the included documentation but the other day I run into this site that has some examples posted.

ProSteel was created by Kiwi Software GmbH and later acquired by Bentley and is an add-on running on the AutoCAD platform.

If you need any customization done for ProSteel (or AutoPLANT Structural) feel free to contact me.

Previous blog post talking about ProSteel 3D.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Multiple vendor daemons on the same license server

There is no problem to have multiple vendor daemons running concurrently on the same server. The Autodesk vendor daemon is adskflex.exe for example.

To set up network licensing for two or more products:

  1. Install the Autodesk Network License Manager.
  2. Install the other license managers as instructed by that vendor.
  3. Specify a unique port for each service in the license file.
  4. Configure and start the Autodesk service.
  5. Configure and start other vendors one at a time.

For detailed steps see this Knowledge Base document:
Combining Autodesk with another vendor's products already using FLEXlm

One comment on the above is that there is no requirement to install Autodesk NLM first. It is also possible to “install” by just copying the required exe files and license files into one folder. I’ve successfully done that before just making sure to use the latest version of the (Acresso) FLEXnet exe files.

FLEXnet/FLEXlm manuals and downloads

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another kind of dragonfly

Interesting organic architecture raising up to 600 meters. Vincent Callebaut’s Dragonfly is a concept of an urban farm concept for New York City’s Roosevelt Island.

Via designboom.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SSMPropEditor 3.0 released

Sheet Set Manager Properties Editor version 3 is now available. Now you can copy and paste properties easily between sheets or sheet sets as well as edit sheet set properties. This makes it possible to work more effective with Sheet Sets, save time and tedious manual work. See all the news below.
Downloads are available on the SSMPropEditor website.

A Camtasia Screencast is available here if you cannot access the above YouTube video.

SSMPropEditor is compatible with all AutoCAD based applications that uses Sheet Set Manager or Project Navigator. SSMPropEditor does not require AutoCAD to run.
AutoCAD 2010 as well as Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit are supported.

Here are all news in version 3.0:

  • There is a Ribbon, Application Menu, Quick Access Toolbar.
  • Increment values. Think of revisions for example. Even if you have different revisions on different sheets they will be incremented individually. You can even use custom incremental series if needed for each Sheet Set.
  • Sheet Set Properties and Sheet Set Custom Properties can be edited.
  • An option to always have a backup of the Sheet Set DST file created whenever you open a Sheet Set.
  • Disable ToolTips if you want.
  • Choose if you want to show properties as soon as you make a selection in the tree view or if you want to show them when you press the button. The reason there is a manual way is that it is quicker if you make large selections of sheets.
  • Copy properties from one sheet to one or many other sheets, even between sheet sets. Check the “Show Copy Checkboxes” checkbox first and then select what properties you want to copy and paste.
  • There is a button allowing you to paste the Sheet count of the Sheet Set into the currently selected property.
  • Export data to a format that you can use in Excel for example.
  • Create reports that you can print.
  • Access to previously opened Sheet Sets.
  • Unlock/Lock button that let you release the lock of the Sheet Set so you can see changes directly in AutoCAD.
  • Have changes applied automatically as an option.

Contact us to get a time limited license file for free.
Full support is provided during trial period.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Companies with highest reputation

Reputation Institute ranks companies according to the reputation in their 2009 Global Reputation Pulse. Forbes lists the top 200. Ferrero  is on the top followed by IKEA, Johnson & Johnson and Petrobras. Of the top 4 there are 3 companies that are customers to JTB World. Other JTB World customers on top 50 of the list are General Mills, Walt Disney Company, 3M, Philips and General Electric. At least 8 more companies on the top 200 are also JTB World customers.

Not sure how many of the CAD companies that are among top 1000 but I found PTC and Siemens

AdskHwCertificationDatabase.xml location

Certified Hardware XML Database Update as well as this Update Graphics Card Driver page are having details on how to download the latest Hardware Certification Database file as well as how to install it.

What it is missing is to tell where the AdskHwCertificationDatabase.xml file is located on AutoCAD 2009 and 2010 as it only describes how to update it from within AutoCAD.

This can be useful to know if AutoCAD for some reason cannot install it as it should or if you want to distribute the newest file to multiple users in your network.

Here is one “Performance Tuner Update” error using 3DCONFIG and Check for Updates that can show up: “Performance Tuner failed to update. Please check your network connection and make sure you have write permission to the file.

The location used to be in the DRV folder where AutoCAD is installed like:
c:\program files\AutoCAD 2008\DRV
%PROGRAMFILES%\AutoCAD 2008\DRV

So where can AdskHwCertificationDatabase.xml be found?

Here are some locations where this file can be found in newer AutoCAD versions:
<ROOT>\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2009\R17.2\enu\PTXML
<ROOT>\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2010\R18.0\enu\PTXML
<ROOT>\Autodesk\ACA 2010\enu\PTXML

<ROOT> to be replaced with either of the following in Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data
%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data

<ROOT> to be replaced with either of the following in Windows Vista and Windows 7:
%ALLUSERSPROFILE%
%PROGRAMFILES%
C:\ProgramData

Now you can use any of your favorite scripting method like KiXtart, VBScript, plain old BAT or CMD or why not PowerShell and have it run as a login script. You can even do it from a single location if you have enough permissions. See this example.

For the Graphics Hardware List see http://www.autodesk.com/autocad-graphicscard

Monday, May 18, 2009

DimNotes 1.1 released

DimNotes is available now with support for AutoCAD 2010 and both 32-bit and 64-bit as well as all AutoCAD verticals.

If you have several different standard notes or comments you regularly add to dimensions this can be a useful tool for you.

TimberTool 1.5 released

TimberTool is available now with support for AutoCAD Architecture 2010 and both 32-bit and 64-bit as well as AutoCAD Architecture verticals.

TimberTool makes it easy to convert closed polylines into mass elements and makes the bounding box width and depth correct for scheduling purposes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Swan

Scheiwiller Svensson Arkitektkontor have created this proposal for a new skyscraper to grace the Swedish city of Gävle.

The Swan

For an animation see this page.

If the house will be build the company will most probably use GenerativeComponents from Bentley as they today are using products from Bentley as well as Rhino.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

AutoCAD 2009 Update 3 squeezes more bugs

If you have not updated to AutoCAD 2010 by now and still have to use AutoCAD 2009 consider installing Update 3 to make it more stable and better.

Who Should Install This Update?

Downloads

ReadMe Document

The AutoCAD 2009 Update 3 (Service Pack) includes both AutoCAD Update 1 & Update 2.

First seen on Between the Lines also including the list of defects have been fixed.

Accelerators for Windows Live Writer plug-in

You know the accelerator functionality added to Internet Explorer 8. There is an Accelerator Platform for Windows 7 with a whitepaper on the Platform, and documentation on all the interfaces and methods.

This means you can add accelerator functionality into Word, Excel, Windows Live Writer or any other application. How about a built in translator for AutoCAD or Revit? This would be a cool thing to spice them up with when using Windows 7. Adding search functionality, look up a definition, terminology and so on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Technology behind lighting on Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow 2009

Right now a the big European show have started with semi-finals. My wife told me about how the scene lighting effects are spectacular at this years Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. (Swedish winner of “melodifestivalen”, Malena Ernman with her song "La Voix" did just qualify for the final)

I could not resist to try to find out more about who was behind it and how it was done.

60 trailer trucks totally of technical equipment making the show really spectacular. The scene changes for each artist and during their performance with 2000 m2 LED screens. 550 m2 of the LED screens are on the stage floor covered by 80,000 kg of glass.

Eventually I found out that PROCON is a supplier for the ESC 2009.

The Procon group, internationally leading full-service provider of technical equipment for events, film and TV productions, was appointed as technical supplier for the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.

Procon will send 34 trailer trucks with technical equipment and a team of more than 70 people to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Contract value is in the seven-figure area.

In addition to this Sennheiser gives the following info.

Moscow is introducing 450 tonnes of the latest stage and lighting technology to the huge Olimpiyski Arena for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. 2,000 square metres of LED walls will bathe the two semi-finals on the 12th and 14th of May and the final, on the 16th of May, in an extraordinary display of light and colour.

The Olympic Arena can hold a crowd of 80,000 but as the stage of the 54th Song Contest is so vast —1,000 square metres — there will only be space for an audience of around 20,000!

“The incredible amount of lighting technology in the arena means there’s also an increase in RF disturbance,” explains Willemsen. LED walls in particular disturb radio transmission as they consist of hundreds of thousands of pulsed LEDs, creating broadband interference which reaches far into the UHF range used by wireless microphones. “That’s why precise frequency planning and the right choice of antennas and antenna locations are vital,” continues Willemsen. 56 microphone channels and 16 links for wireless monitoring will be in action in Moscow. - press release details.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Windows 7 RC performance benchmark for CAD

According to this test in PC World:

We also measured a noteworthy 7 percent speed increase in our Autodesk 3ds max 8.0 SP3 (DirectX) test on the HP Pavillion desktop, which had an nVidia GeForce 9300GE graphics board. nVidia's drivers appear to be better optimized for Windows 7 than Windows Vista.

My real world experience running Windows 7 RC on a low end and low priced notebook has been very positive compared to using Vista on the same hardware and with the same software (Office 2007 SP2, Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, AutoCAD 2010, AutoCAD Architecture 2010, etc). I actually can use most of these software at the concurrently up and running something that was not possible on Vista.

I love the boot speed, shutdown speed, general speed in day-to-day usage, lower memory consumption, stability as well as I do like some of the new look and features.

The notebook is an AMILO Pa 2510 with AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-58 (1.9 GHz), 2GB RAM and an 120GB hard disk with 5400 revs, ATI Radeon X1200 video card and 1280x800 WXGA screen. Have to test a stationary later on. More on this notebok.

I’m pretty sure you get a better performance also on a high end stationary PC.

What is your experience?

Save time using Sheet Set Manager and SSMPropEditor

On AUGI I read this comment that was good to read: “I've purchased The SSMPropEditor and It's the best investment I have made in my life. I'm editing custom sheet set data regarding drawn-by and checked by and lot of other data for hundreds of sheets in seconds while it took me days to do it”

Contact us to get a time limited license file for free.

Very soon you will be able to edit Sheet Set properties as well as easily copy multiple properties from one sheet and paste to other sheets. The beta is available and a little more work on it and SSMPropEditor 3 will be released.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Select Shape File dialog boxes automatically canceled freeware

Do you often get these dialog boxes opening drawings in AutoCAD and for some reason just want to cancel them. Here comes the solution for the problem.

Select Shape File

Now you can have this dialog box closed automatically with CloseShapeDialog.

Download this freeware CloseShapeDialog.zip. Extract it and run CloseShapeDialog.exe. After this you will find the “Select Shape File” dialog boxes canceled. You can try with the included shape.dwg file.

Warning! There is of course a reason for this dialog box that asks for a missing shape font (SHX file). If you dismiss this dialog box and don’t use the correct shape file the drawing might miss information, text, complex linetypes using shapes. If you got the drawing from someone you may consider to ask them for the file or ask them use eTransmit as it will include these type of external referenced files.

R.K. McSwain’s CAD Panacea has this post going into details and with an AutoLISP file that helps to search for shapes.

Here is the result running the command on the shape.dwg file that is included with the zip file for the program.

LINETYPE [EM-80KORR] uses SHAPE # [1] in the file [EM-80KORR]
The following SHAPE FILE is loaded: [ltypeshp.shx]
The following SHAPE FILE is loaded: [EM-80KORR]

Update: German AutoCAD is also supported so dialog boxes named “Symboldatei auswählen” are also closed.

How to be logged in on multiple accounts in Internet Explorer at the same time

This is one of my favorite features in Internet Explorer 8.

Click on Alt on the keyboard so the Menu shows up and click on File and New Session.

For a keyboard junky you can use Alt+F followed by “i” followed by Enter.

Now you can log into multiple Hotmail, Google, Gmail, Twitter, Yahoo or whatever account simultaneously. If it does not work you might need to deselect “Remember Me” option for the login as it might use a persistent cookie that is shared across sessions.

If you want to create a shortcut for this you can use iexplore.exe with the -nomerge parameter. "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" -nomerge

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Shard of Glass tower / London Bride Tower

This building will be one of the tallest building in Europe with its 310 m including Antenna or 306 m to the roof. 87 floors and 111,400 m2.

TheShard

WSP Cantor Seinuk has stared work on the project. Wondering if Revit Structure is used.

More at www.shardlondonbridge.com and Wikipedia

The basement, including the core, will be constructed from the ground floor down at the same time as the 80-storey structure is constructed from the ground floor up.

WSP press release

Friday, May 8, 2009

Autodesk Navisworks supported file formats

It can be a bit tricky to find this information but here it is. There is a PDF available with a detailed list of supported formats and applications. They are many.

See also Navisworks documentation online

Thursday, May 7, 2009

AutoCAD Object Transparency – Do you want that?

AutoCAD Product Design and Usability Team would be interested in gathering user-specific preferences for the concept of Transparency in AutoCAD. Currently there is no support of transparency of object in AutoCAD and they are looking for your feedback for consideration in a future release.

This Survey consists of 29 questions. Please try to answer at the best of your knowledge and experience; use the "Comment" field for submitting your ideas or alternative responses.

Transparency, Opacity and Translucency are terms used in the survey. Do you know the meaning of them? If not, it’s not required. But if you want to read about it first see here on Wikipedia for example.

Follow this link to get to the survey: “Transparency in AutoCAD” Survey

The Survey will be active: May 6-15, 2009.

Opacity or Transparency?

Opacity or Transparency?

Opacity is used as AutoCAD does not support transparency. But what is the difference?

CADsmart software for CAD skill assessment reviewed

I reviewed and tested CADsmart Premier for AutoCAD some time ago.

 Tell me more

CADsmart software enables AEC firms to easily and automatically assess the skills of their CAD & BIM teams and potential staff.  Unlike multi-choice question based assessments, CADsmart assesses ability to actually use real-life CAD software.  Key features include; live skills drafting, automated marking, detailed results with helpful training reports, live screen recording of test sessions and the ability to compare results to wider industry CAD benchmarks.  CADsmart enables CAD administrators to capture and analyse valuable data for individual, team or company-wide CAD performance. Results are stored in a secure online area providing key information for management reporting and more targeted training. 

Current modules cover AutoCAD, MicroStation & Revit Architecture.  Revit Structure & Bentley Architecture modules due for release soon. http://www.cadsmart.net/products.asp

After having some initial issues with running it with my Swedish locale settings in the latest version CADsmart support were quick to identify and fix the problem by releasing a new update.

Up and running with the software I was able to try the product and I really like this concept of making an assessment of CAD skills. Much better than forms you need to fill in with correct answer on multiple-choice questions that often are skills you really don’t need in your day-to-day work anyway.

CADsmart uses live drawing exercises using the users AutoCAD, MicroStation or Revit installation and together with the reports and screen recordings the person that analyzes the result is in a very good position to determine the skill of the one taking the test.

I can really recommend CADsmart software for any company that uses any of the software from Autodesk and Bentley that CADsmart supports. It make sense for companies that are growing when they need to hire new staff or for companies that needs to downsize and want to make the best choice of what staff to keep. It finally make sense for any company to keep their staff knowing how to use their work tools and to know in what areas more learning is needed.

When I was working as CAD Manager several years ago I would without doubt have used CADsmart.

Visit CADsmart website or CADsmart blog and make sure to inquire for a trial.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fix problem with icons on Desktop and in Explorer

When I installed Windows 7 RC and copied over some desktop files I found that the icons for several of the internet shortcuts did not show the correct icon. Some of them displayed incorrectly as some kind of earth globe.

The solution to rebuild the icon cache is to delete the hidden file IconCache.db that is located in %userprofile%\AppData\Local

If you delete this file the icon cache database will be rebuilt. This trick works in both Windows Vista and in Windows 7. (In Windows XP the folder is C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\Local Settings\Application Data)

  1. Close all open Explorer windows.
  2. First open up Windows Task Manager.
  3. Then Exit Explorer in Windows (open the Start menu, hold down Shift and Ctrl, right click on an empty surface in the menu and select Exit Explorer)
  4. In Task Manager File menu select New Task (Run…).
  5. Enter CMD.EXE and click OK.
  6. On the command prompt enter these three commands
    CD /d %userprofile%\AppData\Local
    DEL IconCache.db /a
    EXIT
  7. In Task Manager File menu select New Task (Run…).
  8. Enter EXPLORER.EXE and click OK.

Now things are back to normal as they should. Strange thing though that this happened directly after installing a fresh copy of Windows 7. And it seems to happen again after some weeks or months.

Have you too run into this bug?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Windows 7 RC available

Windows 7 RC build 7100 is here now.

image

There is a new Aero Theme named Architecture as well and you can have the desktop background change automatically like a slideshow if you want to.

I have used it since it was made available for MSDN members last week and is happy with it for the most part.

One thing I don’t like is when you quickly use Alt+Tab several times there is too much flicker on the screen because each application you switch between shows up.

Together with Office 2007 SP 2 I’m really happy with the result and an it is much snappier than Windows Vista. I also run AutoCAD 2010, AutoCAD Architectural 2010, Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008, Mozy, Carbonite and more on this laptop. It is a very basic laptop with low hardware specs but with Windows 7 installed it works great for what I use it for.

I tried the beta of F-secure’s antivirus product that is in beta for Windows 7 but had to uninstall it because it hanged Windows from time to time quite badly.

I will use Windows 7 RC as my default OS even for production usage now.

You can get it now for free at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7

Timber Architecture resources

If you’re interested in the usage of Timber in constructions take a look at the site Timber Architecture accompanying blog and FrameWiki that is a community portal for Timber Framed Buildings. AutoCAD Architecture has been used in several of the projects.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Guide to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering & Construction

This is a nicely done interactive guide. It is easy to understand and guides you to Sustainable Design for Architecture, Engineering & Construction. Check it out here.

This is a free online resource that illustrates sustainable design principles, decisions and technologies for every phase of the building project lifecycle. The Guide helps owners, architects, engineers and contractors select their building paths and view the consequences of their design choices on the efficient use of water, energy, materials and land.

Disclaimer is that a lot is with focus on Autodesk products and American standards.

A method called passive houses is getting common here in Sweden.

Passive houses are airtight buildings that use heat from appliances and even the occupants' bodies for warmth. They have thick insulation, are oriented to maximize winter sun and use a heat exchanger to warm outside air that circulates throughout. The result is a house that needs little or no extra energy for heating, even in very cold climates. – NYTimes

Click for larger picture

Friday, May 1, 2009

Restore lost workspace, menus and profile in AutoCAD Architecture

Have you got problems in AutoCAD with missing things like workspace, menus, ribbon, QAT, toolbars, profile, settings, etc. This tip is usually quicker than doing a repair of the installation and a solution to the problem I often used.

Notice that you will loose any of the settings and customizations that are saved either of these locations.

Delete keys like this in the Registry Editor (Run regedit.exe and use with care):

For AutoCAD Architecture 2009
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R17.2\ACAD-7004:409

For AutoCAD Architecture 2010
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R18.0\ACAD-8004:409

For AutoCAD Architecture 2011
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R18.1\ACAD-9004:409

For AutoCAD Architecture 2012
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R18.2\ACAD-A004:409

Delete also the roamable contents (just paste the path into Windows Explorer):

For AutoCAD Architecture 2009
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\ACD-A 2009

For AutoCAD Architecture 2010
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\ACA 2010

For AutoCAD Architecture 2011
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\ACA 2011

For AutoCAD Architecture 2012
%APPDATA%\Autodesk\ACA 2012

Here is an explanation on where %APPDATA%\Autodesk takes you
in XP: C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Autodesk
in Vista: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk

When you now start AutoCAD Architecture a so called secondary installation will happen that restores the content of the above places to what it is like if you install from scratch.

This tip can also be used for AutoCAD as well as other AutoCAD verticals. For AutoCAD registry details see the documentation here. The paths for roamable contents also are different but is usually easy to figure out if you look in the %APPDATA%\Autodesk folder.


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