26 December 2007

Want more tech stuff?

What? You didn't get everything your geek heart desired? I'm sorry, perhaps your list wasn't specific enough. Next time give your loved one unique web sites in which to shop and nearly everything they have will make you smile! First up is Think Geek, I've been getting cool stuff from these guys for several years now. Want even more tech? How about Wicked Lasers? Their lasers are uber cool and, frankly, some are freaking scary! "Can I light your cigarette for you?" scary. Perhaps you want something with a little more attraction? Click on over to United Nuclear and check our their cool super magnets and other stuff Radiation Detection kits. Warning: super magnets will mess up CRT monitors, cause metal objects to fly through the room, and fry your credit card magnetic strips. Have fun!

25 December 2007

Merry Christmas!


Christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. It refers both to the day celebrating the birth, as well as to the season which that day inaugurates, which concludes with the Feast of the Epiphany. The date of the celebration is traditional, and is not considered to be his actual date of birth. Christmas festivities often combine the commemoration of Jesus' birth with various cultural customs, many of which have been influenced by earlier winter festivals. Although nominally a Christian holiday, it is also observed as a cultural holiday by many non-Christians.

20 December 2007

Joyous Eid ul-Adha!


Eid ul-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى ‘Īd al-’Aḍḥā) is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims and Druze worldwide as a commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael for Allah. It is one of two Eid festivals that Muslims celebrate. Like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon (khuṭba). It is also called the bigger Eid because it lasts a day longer than Eid ul-Fitr.

Eid ul-Adha is four days long and starts on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar. This is the day after the pilgrims in Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.

19 December 2007

Great Book on Revit Architecture

Sybex Publishing has a new book, Mastering Revit Architecture 2008, and it is taking the industry by storm. During Autodesk University this hefty thing was flying off the shelves. The list price is $59.99 but Amazon has it a bit cheaper. There is another publication, Introducing Revit Architecture 2008, which could be considered a companion or starter book. If you have never bought a professional reference book before this would be the time to try. Aside from learning the basics of a given application, these types of books can ease your adoption pain by their real-world examples and exercises.

18 December 2007

Run Revit Structure in Vista?

A readed name Joe Fiorello asked me "Has anyone tried to run Revit Structure in Vista yet?" and the answer is certainly yes. I loaded a machine about 2 months ago with Vista 64bit and the latest RST, it ran fine and I didn't experience any problems. In fact, as I noted to some friends at Autodesk, it actually 'felt' more stable. At the time I was working with some pretty big models and this Vista machine had been loaded up with 4gig of RAM. So I'm guessing that Vista 64bit was able to distribute the memory better than XP and that lead to my zero-crashing experience. Now I am certainly not an expert in the OS arena so don't go buying on my statements. If I have any advice at all it would be if you go Vista, 32 or 64, also max out your memory and/or get a faster machine. All things being equal Vista will be slower than XP but probably more stable, so give it better 'gas/petrol' to show you real day-to-day improvements.

Free Video Podcasts

A website by Scott Onstott has quite a lot of free videos you can stream directly to your computer to aid in learning about various digital design applications and methods. Most deal with Photoshop tips and tricks but some get into using Viz/Max and or even AutoCAD. Come on, you have time to kill - check them out here.

17 December 2007

New Revit Extentions Manager

Over at the BIM&BEAM blog.

MS Vista Service Pack 1 coming

I just noticed on Shaan Hurley's blog that Microsoft has a service pack in the works for MS Vista. I myself just ordered the XP>Vista upgrade and intend on installing it later this week. I've held back because I use my home machine for gaming as well and didn't want less performance. This sounds like it takes that into account and I look forward to the bubbles screensaver!

16 December 2007

TV: Heroes

I feel compelled to share that I have new found addiction - the Heroes TV show. I'm a SciFi fan, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, etc., so I really never gave this show any attention. Now I'm also into movies and use Netflix to catch up on flicks I miss in the theater. So as a side perk you can watch some movies and shows via the Internet. Well just because I was bored a few weeks ago I fired up episode 1 of season one of Heroes - and then I couldn't stop watching. I try to squeeze in the 43 mins per show as much as I can. This thing is so intriguing, puzzling, and amazing. The show is so well written, threads woven together to intricately, I literally am glued to the screen the whole time. Anyway, if you like time travel, comic books, SciFi, put this on your watching schedule. You have a few seasons to go through to catch up and with the writers strike, it will give you something to fill the time. You do have to unplug from CAD on occasion, no?

15 December 2007

Justin, I need more info.

A reader named Justin posted a comment/request:

I was hoping you could possibly show how to change the appearance of the brace symbol in plan. I've tried to alter ours with little success. Our office uses an "x" parallel to the bracing, spanning the length between the two columns. I hope that makes sense.

Email me a sample DWG, I don't really understand the look you want. But you know with Revit there is usually a way.

Want to email me?

A blog reader pointed out even though I suggested emailing me I didn't provide an email. Not totally true - back on Dec 7 I gave my AUGIworld email address, but that should be for AUGI related issues. If you want to contact me about this blog probably the best way is via my company email, dharrington(at sign)walterpmoore.com. Hopefully that formating will reduce my spam, haha, I can dream right?

I'm on vacation till next year!

Yep, it's true - don't hate me. Not only I am now on vacation until after the new year, but I also live in Tampa, Florida, and the current weather at 1pm on Saturday is 83° F and a little cloudy. Now I won't be sleeping during my break. Rather I have shopping for the holidays to do, and after Christmas I'm taking a little trip up to St. Augustine, Florida. It is the nations oldest continually inhabited city and very cool. Then I head down the east coast of Florida, visit Daytona Beach, hit the Kennedy Space Center (of course), and finally spend some time in Cocoa Beach.

Now about this blog. Since some of the time I will be away from a computer (NOooooo), it probably will be a bit neglected over these next few weeks. But you never know, I may find time and energy to share a thought or post a trip picture.

14 December 2007

"Free Public Wifi"... Nothing is free, right?

Just a quick note to keep computer security at the forefront of your consciousness. If you have ever been around town, at a hotel or airport looking for free Internet service, be careful. There is a new attack out there that uses your desire for free Internet access against you. If you see an advertised network that is called “Free Public Wifi” do not try to connect. Your PC might be vulnerable to attack if you try to connect. I have included a link to a discussion article about this issue.

AutoCAD LISP Freebie: Swap Block

LISP? What the heck is that? Ahh, my Revit friends, LISP was the force to be reckoned since the early days of AutoCAD. Before FAS files, VBA, .Net, etc., the every day user of AutoCAD had but one programming language to take their skills to the next level.

Anyway, enough reflection, I was just cleaning out some directories and found a program I used quite often and suprisingly there isn't a version by Autodesk itself (as far as I know). The program below will simply swap out one block instance for another. It isn't very smart, if your block has attributes they probably will get hosed. If your new block is dynamic, the program will just use the default insert instance of the new block. Regardless, the program is helpful if you use a lot of generic blocks in AutoCAD. The program is FREE and therefore unsupported. I'm kinda hoping types like Lee Ambrosius will take the idea and do it right for the good of acadkind. ;)

(princ "\n SWAPBLK")
(setvar "cmdecho" 0)
(setvar "osmode" 0)
(prompt "\nSelect blocks to be swapped to another:")
(setq SELECTIONSET (ssget) COUNT 0)
(setq NBLK (getstring "\nName of swapping block:"))
(repeat (sslength SELECTIONSET)
(setq ELIST (entget BLOCK))
(setq ELIST (subst (cons 2 NBLK)(assoc 2 ELIST) ELIST))
(entmod ELIST)
(entupd BLOCK)
(setq COUNT (+ COUNT 1))
(princ "\nSWAPBLK loaded.")

13 December 2007

Revit Structure Keyboard Shortcut Poll

My post the other day about RST keyboard shortcuts got me thinking, why on earth are each and every one of us trying to determine the best shortcut organization? Why? Because Autodesk hasn't done it already. Autodesk has people on staff who study this stuff, know what commands are used most, what shortcut combinations are faster than others, etc. I know it isn't rocket science but it is in that department I think.

Now for a while now there have been lists available (in my other post) for getting a pretty good setup going in your location. But I have to believe that if the software came with something, at least then people would have a head start on productivity. So, to prove my point, cast your vote on the Should Revit Structure come with fully populated keyboard shortcuts? poll at the top left of this blog. This poll will run thru the end of the year, at which time I'll annoy a few guys over in the Revit Structure group with the results.

12 December 2007

Quick Start Revit Structure 2008

Francis Leung has sorted out how to get his book to customers in the USA.

The book is now available in HK but I can send a copy upon your order. The price is HKD120 which is around USD15. Shipping is around HKD119 for surface mail and HKD153 for air mail. You just need to confirm your selection between surface mail and air mail. I will then send invoice to you. Payment will be made through “PayPal”. I will send the book when payment is received.

If interested contact him at franciscsl@netvigator.com directly.

11 December 2007

Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

Anyone worth their weight (and I'm not a small guy) knows that keyboard shortcuts are the bomb inside of Revit! You can quickly customize your user interface so that a one or two keystrokes sequence fires off a command you need. No more hunting down the proper pull-down menu or messing with the Design bar. Want to learn more? Click here to read about the method behind the madness on the AUGI forums.

10 December 2007

Revit Trick: Invisible Level Lines

On occasion while using Revit I need to define a level to attach to but don't really want to see these 'attachment' levels in every elevation view that might hit it. Of course with Revit, there are a few workarounds for having access to these levels but not having to actually see them.

1. Turn them off. Yep, it is a pain but you can select and turn them off in your views. You could also put them into a filter and turn them off by applying the filter to each view. The con here is having to do the work, and repeat it for each new view. Also a con is you can't actually pick the level in your elevations - since they are off. Lots of on/off happening in this method.

2. Make them small (and put them in the corner. Sure, make them postage stamp size by using X-X and Y-Y elevations to shrink them down such that normal views don't interface with them. Again, not the best method since again you can't pick them in order to be used. If you use of these levels is strickly via property changes then this may be a good option.

3. Make them white! Yep, sounds odd but try it before judging. Create a level line style that has the level head turned off and make the color of linetype white. When printed you won't see anything. And the best part these little 'white' lines don't show in your views but you can highlight/pick or otherwise use them - since you can actually select them. A con with this method is they will of course export to DWG, so if you plan is to provide 100% complete drawings this might not be the best option.

Have another level line technique, email me. I need blog material. ;)

Autodesk Products and Microsoft Windows Vista White Paper

Shaan Hurley posted a white paper on the above subject on his blog.

Autodesk In Second Life

Second Life, a online 3D virtual world, has recently got more street creed in the Autodesk user community with more and more people coming in and making the most of the world. It probably will be a while still before it gains major importance but it certainly bears keeping an eye on. Imagine for a moment not having to fly somewhere for a meeting, rather stay at home and SL into a virtual meeting where your team can collaborate about the next great project. Want to learn more? Click here.

09 December 2007

I found my half-brother!

Okay, I'm fibbing a bit. This past Friday evening was Walter P Moore's Florida Holiday Party. Each year either our Orlando office staff trek over to Tampa, or Tampa goes to Orlando. This year Tampa went on over and had a nice cocktail party at Universal Studio's Sharp AQUOS Theatre and followed that with tickets to the Blue Man Group show. Always entertaining, I've seen their show a number of times at other venues. The most fun part for me is witnessing newbies experience the BMG, especially some of my superiors at Walter P Moore. They made me promise not to post pics on my blog, and they write my paycheck, so no pics...sorry! But here is a pic of me after the show during the 'meet and greet'.

07 December 2007

Want to write?

One of my activities is being the Technical Editor for AUGIWorld magazine. A primary task of mine with that publication is finding authors to write user-provided articles for the magazine. In each issue we publish articles on any number of Autodesk products, each written by an end-user. Do you have the bug to write? AUGIWorld and AUGI's online publication, Hot News, may be your ticket to fame! Contact me at david.harrington@augiworld.com and potentially start a new outlet to satisfy your computer addiction.

Today in History

On this day in 1972 America's last moon mission was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Relevance? Back in 1984 my first professional drafting job included working to retrofit Launch Complex B to accomodate the Space Shuttle. Although Apollo 17 went up from pad A, not B - close enough for me. ;)

06 December 2007

Do you know Ted?

And by Ted, I mean TED. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Each year there is a conference held in Monterey, California, USA - it is small but jam-packed. The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. Their website has some awesome presentations that you can stream right to your computer or download. The subjects are all over the map - it'll take you a while to decide what to watch, but not long to watch them!

Want to get the crib notes version? Netflix has a documentary on the event, The Future We Will Create: Inside the World of TED.

New Revit Structure Book

A long time user of Revit, Francis Leung in Hong Kong, has written a book on Revit Structure 2008. I briefly perused a copy while at Autodesk University, very nicely done with high gloss paper. The content is solid and intended for engineer users. The book is about 200 pages, if interested contact Francis Leung to try and obtain a copy.

05 December 2007

New Blogger: Dwayne Ellis

My 3D buddy Dwayne Ellis has gotten the bug to blog! He is a regular writer in AUGIWorld for 3D things, as well as helped me on numerous occasions understand 3ds Max. He also does rendering for food/drinks and cash as well! Welcome monsieur.

I got Elfed!

This is just too funny to not share!

Today in History

Back in 1993 Space Shuttle astronauts begin repair of Hubble telescope in space on this day. Relevance? I met astronaut Story Musgrave who was on that mission during Autodesk University in Philadelphia in 1998. He was there speaking for another convention and we just chatted in the hall for a few minutes.

Projects I have worked on

I, more than anyone, realize I have been around a long while. What I have I been doing most of that time? Working for Walter P Moore and helping to develop great structural projects across world. So what better way to keep track of this stuff than to get a big map with a bunch of push pins marking my project locations.

Well that isn't very convenient to me or anyone else. So the next best idea is a web site where you can track this stuff and show it using Google Maps data (duh). Curious what projects I have worked on in the last 20 years? Click here to see for yourself. Now, my push pinning isn't complete yet - it will take me some time. Once I finish it I will post again to that effect.

04 December 2007

AUGIWorld Green Edition Nov/Dec 2007

AUGI is pleased to announce that the November/December 2007 issue of AUGIWorld Green Edition is now available for download.

Articles in this issue of AUGIWorld include:
  • AutoCAD Turns 25! - In this AUGIWorld Q&A, Shaan Hurley of Autodesk discusses the early days of AutoCAD and the product's impact on industry. Historians and trivia fans will appreciate the photos of items from Shaan's collection of AutoCAD memorabilia.
  • Google Earth: Now Showing in AutoCAD Civil 3D - Writer Donnie Gladfelter shows how to import data from Google Earth into AutoCAD Civil 3D for preliminary studies and design.
  • Get Your Input Here - Lee Ambrosius explores various programming methods for gathering input from end users.
  • The Brazilian Model - Columnist David Kingsley on Brazil's "Pro Alcool" plan for energy independence. Could it work elsewhere?

Palazzo article in Constructor Nov/Dec07

WALTER P MOORE cited and their Dallas office Managing Director David Platten quoted in a article on Palazzo Casino Resort. This project is attached to the Venetian Hotel in Vegas (you know, where AU is held) and is quite a bit bigger than the Venetian.

I'm blogging about this because I got a chance early on to work on the project as the design team worked out the Podium (entrance) functionality. I did some modeling in AutoCAD and produced some basic traffic flow animations. Can't wait to walk the mall there!

Didn't Make Autodesk University 2007?

What? You didn't go? I swear I saw you amongst the other 9,700+ people there. Oh well, whatever, but you can still get great training by joining the AU Online web site. Within its hallowed, electronic halls you will find access to hundreds of class handouts, screencasts, even some event-recorded presentations! Want to learn a trick about AutoCAD? What about what BIM can do for your firm? Or see the latest enhancements to 3ds Max? Yep! It's all there, even my little gem of a handout (look for class SE110-2).

Enjoy! See you at the lounge after class!

Avatech Solutions Webcast Series: VIZ and 3ds Max

Get a focused look at the photorealistic rendering capabilities of Autodesk® VIZ 2008 and Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2008 in an architectural environment – at this upcoming webcast, you’ll learn how it’s easy to pick up and communicate your vision.

December 13th, 200710:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m., Eastern time

An Avatech Solutions expert will show the new features of VIZ 2008 and 3ds Max 2008 in action.

Dramatic performance improvements, integrated video and new learning tools. Register now, and see how 3ds Max 2008 and VIZ 2008 can help you transform your designs into breathtaking visualizations to explore, validate, and convey your work.

Happy Hanukkah!

It's Hanukkah! So light up your Menorah and celebrate the Festival of Lights. Share the story of the miracles, play with a dreidel and share a feast with friends and family.

Hanukkah (Hebrew: חנוכה‎, also spelled Chanukah or Hanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday beginning on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may fall anytime from late November to late December. It celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple at the time of the Maccabee rebellion.

This year it begins at sundown December 4 and runs through sundown December 12.

03 December 2007

Want to learn Revit Programming?

A coworker of mine stumbled upon a great Autodesk training session for learning Revit Programming. It probably won't turn every light on the subject but it may just be enough to get your (and mine) ball rolling in that direction.

DevTV: Introduction to Revit Programming NEW !
A self-paced video tutorial demonstrating how to get started developing with Revit.
View online | Download

I bet Autodesk has lots of great things...I should look around myself!

Someone found my keys!

I didn't mention this in my previous AU related post, but I lost my keys in Vegas. After all the irritation of my flight delay, the plane lands and I start hunting in my computer bag for my keys. Hmmm, no keys. Then it hits me like a brick, I had used the jump drive attached to my keys to transfer a handout to a laptop in the speaker ready room so I could print it out.

And that is where it stayed while I packed up and left Vegas. Luckily June Nakatani with Autodesk broke down the equipment and found them. Not knowing who they belonged to she packed them up with the rest of the material and shipped them to back to Autodesk HQ. So it will probably be a week or so before I actually get them back, but at least I should get them back. Thank you June!

Side note, I've never actually lost my keys. I'm probably more stressed about braking that streak than actually not having keys which I can easily duplicate.

02 December 2007

Are you linked in yet?

Did you know there is a professional 'Myspace' web site? It is called Linkedin and is the best thing since Facebook. In a nutshell it is a online rolodex for people you know, but a rolodex in which the people in it keep it up to date. Once you have a created a business relationship, the website will keep the connection instead of forcing your friends/associates to email you when they move about.

You can also use the service to reconnect with people you knew but lost, which is very cool. I'm sure you can do more with the website than rolodexing but for the vast majority it does just that. For me I add people as I have professional relationships built, either through writing for the AUGIWorld magazine, Autodesk staffers, or day-to-day activities at Walter P Moore.

Just for kicks, here is my Linkedin profile.

01 December 2007

So what is the point?

As I reflected this morning after AU, it seems as though my life is getting a little busy. Lots of work to do over at Walter P Moore where I have been for over 20 years. But additionally there are a number of other things I am doing or will begin doing soon. I need to keep track for starters, but also in some cases I would like my fellow peers to assist along the way. I have professional networking to keep up with and need to continue to do my part for AUGI.

So it came to me perhaps by joining the ranks of other bloggers I will find the help to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. The big plus being that I will now have a venue in which to share some visions of mine, some heartaches, and if you know me - some complaints as well. I long have been known to be opinionated, now I hope to have a place to express them as well.

That said, all opinions, comments, instructions, guidance, etc, provided on this blog are the sole responsibility of me - David Harrington - and do not represent anyone else including Walter P Moore and Associates, Autodesk, or Autodesk User Group International. Use at your own risk as well.

Don't worry, this is not my chance to comnplain, but I wanted to make sure I covered any misinterperation. Most of what I will post here will be personal / professional in nature but also will include information about Autodesk products including AutoCAD, 3ds Max, and Revit Structure.


Wow, I am so exhausted from attending Autodesk University 2007 in Las Vegas this past week. The event was the biggest ever with something near 10,000 in attendance. The classes once again rocked with lots of variation and expertise shared by 300+ instructors. Obviously the hotel, the Venetian, was once again a pleasure to visit. My only real complaint was that the exhibition was housed in what felt like a garage. Oh well, I'm sure the size of the event didn't provide many options. But all in all, hitting some classes, meeting up with old friends, and networking galore with Autodesk personnel was totally awesome.

Of course, I should mention the rain on the departure day that put many delays on people returning home - myself included. Over in terminal A it was AU at the airport with a bunch of people trying to get to Waltham (the Revit Autodeskers) while myself was trying to get back to Tampa. I seem to recall finally getting to bed at 3am ET. Ugh!