Friday, October 23, 2009

Revit Model Review - Sharing Checks Quick Tip

Got a nice check file that you have created and now want to share with others in the office?  Maybe you have one you want to share with the world?  Either way if you have a check file and want to share it, others will need this quick tip to use it.

Check Files themselves use the .bcf file as their extension and by default are stored locally (default path: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Model Review 2010 for Revit 2010 and C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Model Review 2009 for Revit 2009.

The file that controls and shows this is the drop-downs and pre-defined flyouts is the .config file located in same directory as the default Check Files.  Actual filename is: ModelReview.config).  To add to this, use the Manage->Profile->Edit option.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Revit 2010 - Wall Split With Gap

In 2009 and below with the help of a .ini hack we had access to an extra command called "Split Wall with Gap" and since 2010 was released this has no longer worked.  With the release of the Subscription Advantage Pack it is back and built right into the core tools now, albeight a bit hidden.

Autodesk Revit Model Review - Check file?

In this post we are going to talk about what exactly is a check file

When you first install Model Review there are some example check files that ship with the product to help you get started.  For Revit 2009 users there are 4:
  • Revit Modeling and Energy Standards (checks built around the premise in this whitepaper)
  • GSA Template Standards (based around using the Autodesk provided GSA Revit template)
  • Firm/Project Standards-Minimal (some of the common items people asked about checking for)
  • Firm/Project Standards-Extended (some items people had asked about checking for)

For Revit 2010 there is an additional one called:
  • Content Standards (based around some of the things that people are concerned with in their .rfa family files)
Understanding the Terminology

Autodesk Revit Model Review - Whats New

Today marks the release of Autodesk Revit Model Review, formerly Avatech BIMreview and it is packed with extra goodies making this into an even stronger product.  This post is focused on what is new inside of this release or changes from the prior BIMreview product.  For starters Model Review is not sold separately, it is only available as part of the Subscription Advantage pack, to get this login to the subscription center and download.  There are two versions available for use with all flavors of Revit (Architecture, Structure & MEP); one for 2009 and the other for 2010 (both support 32 & 64 bit).

What are some of the new features that this release offers?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sketchbook Mobile - v1.1

Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile has a new version released today (version 1.1).  Some nice improvements to make this even better.  The list of new features includes the following:

Friday, October 09, 2009

5 Starting Tips for iPhone Development and We Are Official

What's new here you ask?  Well development efforts have been pretty exciting and the winds of change are beginning to blow.  Back in January we switched our mobile devices of choice to iPhones. Since then we have become fascinated with what can actually be done on the device and as of October 01, 2009 we launched our first developed application called: 100percent, works with the iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

So how did this get started? Great question, it really began with some personal inspiration and the dive into private and commercial development over the past 2 years. The itch to do more in this direction became a motivator that finally could not be ignored. Besides the legal aspects (will talk more on that at another time) the desire to merge the design side which life has been preparing for us (Architecture, Engineering, Modeling, Rendering, Project Management, Design Applications and Utilities and more) and  see where it may land.  So with that rough framework in place we wanted to apply this to development for the iPhone, which brings me to the first principal we went through looking for what to develop: 

Friday, September 18, 2009

iPhone Apps Abound - Autodesk SketchBook Mobile

The past few months we have been diving more into the iPhone (Dev, Design and more) and just uploaded a little gem to the Apple Store for review and more details here... :)

In keeping on track with the iPhone, Autodesk has put out their first iPhone app, launched yesterday, and is based on SketchBook (which you may remember from Alias).

A video of the app below:

I have not had the chance to use SketchBook Pro (though i really want to) and the mobile app being $2.99 (current price) its a pretty small investment for such a powerfully small app. To try before you buy there is a free 'lite' version with a few items removed (ex. layers). Our quick review: the overall UI and design controls are GOLD; bridging power with easy to access and use controls. Within minutes of purchasing last night we were off and creating:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blogger -The New Post Window for Compose Too Small

Are you using Blogger in a browser? If so you are all too aware that the window to compose your prose is too small to work within.

Now that I am writing more again this was the first thing that started bothering me. In the end I want something like this for an interface to work within:

Well want to know a secret? The example above can be done in under 1 minute.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

4 Hour Work Week - Recurring reminder

I have been reading the book, The 4-Hour Work Week, in this Tim mentions on page 80 about setting up a recurring message in Outlook (0r sticky note) the phrase "Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?", basically a message reminder to make sure you are doing the right things and not just wasting time (and for those not familiar with this book, its not GTD or task management necessarily so check out the book from a library or purchase a copy and see for yourself).

This nugget got me thinking about how one might accomplish such a task. I ran into a few issues in thinking this out, he first was the variety of platforms I am running and trying to keep with a relatively simple and straight forward solution. Out of this came a few ways that i could use this (not every scenario is covered, just the few that I am using based on current limitations). For starters multiple versions and machines running Windows and an iPhone. In my case I also wanted the message to show up at 2 distinct times of the day when I tend to "wander", namely 10:00 & 2:00. :)

Scenario 1: Message displayed on the computer only.

Tim suggests, for digital users, Outlook. My initial thought in doing this was to use a Calendar appt. After putting in 2 recurring entries for each day (and why is weekdays only not an option), one at 10 the other at 2, the obvious flaw (which you probably already realized) became apparent when looking at the calendar. Namely what a ugly looking nightmare and secondly is this really the best solution to give a simple message. Getting to the second point about providing a simple message made me think about using a simple VB script to accomplish this:

strTitle="The 4-Hour Work week"

Dim WSHShell

Set WSHShell=WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

WSHShell.Popup"Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?",0,strTitle


Or you can download the file here (right click and save to your computer).

So this solved the first issue, a way to provide a simple message. The next step is how to automate this using something simple and straight forward. The best method I could come up with was using "Scheduled Tasks" within Windows and pointing to the script. This varies slightly based on which version windows you are using and can be found under Start->Accessories->System Tools.

A couple of nice things about this method:
  • You can control this to run only on certain days of the week (ex. M-F)
  • With one entry you can have this run at multiple times per day (ex. Schedule to run at 10:00am and 2:00pm)
  • There are more options such as if running on batteries, in sleep mode, etc...

Scenario 2: Message displayed on the computer and iPhone.

This one I do not have a great solution for, I did run across an way to do this utilizing a Mac and two applications. For the Mac side you need to use Growl and then use Prowl on the iPhone to work together. There is a beta version of Growl for Windows. This might be decent to sync between the two, the only downside I noticed was that in order to get notifications on your iPhone your computer must be on to send it.

Know any better options for working on this with windows?

Scenario 3: Message displayed on the iPhone

This method might end up being useful if you want to move to only getting notifications on your iPhone. Starting with the approach of if its already been done take advantage of it, so off to check for existing apps. A cursory review seemed to fall into one of two camps:

Text/SMS Message (ex. TextRemind)
Computer & iPhone with Push Notification (ex. Prowl & Growl).

For me the text message option sounds like it could add up quick and the aim is for a simple solution. So what to do, well the simplest method might be to use an Alarm. Clock>>Alarm and set two custom alarms.

The idea of having this on the iPhone is losing its novelty, as the time when I tend to wander is when in front of the computer screen. So that is where I left it, as a work in progress.

Comments, suggestions or other ideas to make this simpler and more effective?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Revit 2010 - Update 1 (Service Pack 1)


For Revit 2010, updates for all three flavors can be found below:

Revit Architecture 2010 Update Release 1

Revit Structure 2010 Update Release 1

Revit MEP 2010 Update Release 1

The Update Enhancement lists that are available for each product shows what has been fixed or updated in this Service Pack can be found using the links below:

Update Enhancements for Revit Architecture 2010 Update Release 1

Update Enhancements for Revit Structure 2010 Update Release 1

Update Enhancements for Revit MEP 2010 Update Release 1

Revit Development - Autodesk BIMreview

The last few years have been a great learning experience as I have had the desire and opportunity to get more involved in software add-ons. This has been primarily through the Revit platform and taking advantage of the ever expanding API. The first being the launch of the Avatech Revit Utilities, part of an ongoing collection of tools, numerous private Revit applications for firms and the creation and launch of a larger application called BIMreview.

I tend to think of working with Revit add-ins in two ways:
  • Utility - Small tools that either automates a process (done in less time) or addresses a short coming within the core program. These tend to get added to the core application in given time and have a relatively short shelf life (in most but not all cases).
  • Application - A larger, typically more complex tool that does a specific action outside of what the core application does by itself. This could be a bi-directional link to another application (ex. Sharepoint) or something like BIMreview above that has its own interface for checking and correction standards within your Revit model.
With the utilities, these are typically much shorter from concept to creation (hours to days and occassionally weeks). In the case of BIMreview being able to start with a previous idea from the manufacturing space helped to start this. Some key differences and timing played a large part to this as there are multiple emerging BIM standards that exist. Some of these are formal (ex. GSA Spatial Validation, others are less defined and vary based on what is important to the modelers, designers at each firm. The next few years are going to continue to be exciting from a technology perspective as these requirements and standards start to become better defined and the technology to automate checking and validating them to be more commonplace.

A couple of personal highlights in being involved BIMreview:
  • Initial Revit Standards creation and discussion with many people/firms (hopefully a future AU class that I will get to be part of)
  • UI Design (working to make it as intuitive as possible). Garr Reynolds has been a huge inspiration for me, and I continue to work to be better at this in presentations, design and UI's.

This journey has helped to expand my own thinking and interaction with Revit. At the same time getting deeply involved in development without letting the "cat out of the bag" too early on the larger projects has kept me from writing here (aka the Cathederal). As of June 09, 2009 BIMreview is now an Autodesk product, short overview of details here. I am looking forward to this moving forward and the team that is coming together around it. As soon as there are more public details that can be shared I will let you know.

In the meantime I am glad to get the blog here dusted off and back to being more active and if you are looking for more Revit Utilities and custom development, lets talk. :)


Monday, January 05, 2009

Tech Break - Smart Phone Update

With one mobile phone having been broken in two and my trusty Motorola Q for the past 2. 5years reaching the end (at least in appearance and features) and a store credit from my cell provider it was time to make the switch.

After much research it came down to two devices: Blackberry Storm or iPhone (well for me, ordered another phone for the broken flip-screen)

Note: While they both share touchscreens, these are vastly different devices and serve different markets. No really!

I went with the storm (after much hassle in getting one to actually arrive, will spare you the details). Spent a week and a half with the storm getting it setup and comfortable. Besides e-mail, the most important item for me is an almost real-time sync'ed calendar. The main company i work for does not have a Blackberry Server so the real-time sync was a game stopper. Yes there are work arounds (google calendar, paid services, etc...). None of these felt right to me and after a bad customer experience we elected to downgrade the phone(s) back to what I had prior to the change (at least one of the two phones worked).

Next day bright and early we had two spanking new iPhones and a new carrier (note: was concerned in their coverage compared to what i had across the country for work). So far so good, now on to the details.

Blackberry - Best as a business device and e-mail, if you have a Blackberry Server this is a great device! The latest software release (including the leaked OS's) are making this even better. Pro's: For multiple e-mail accounts they show on the home screen and each new message is indicated to show you which account has the message (or you can view all messages at once). Very nice camera with zoom and personal favorite was landscape mode for typing e-mails, sms, im's, etc.. is awesome. Battery life even more so!

iPhone - What can i say, its a consumer device and popular! There are tons of applications for it (and more everyday) from free to low cost. Cons: Typing for landscape mode in e-mails, sms, ims is not available (there are a few apps to help work around this) but compared to the convenient space of the Storm its a negative. I have been tuning some things down (ex. realtime mail sync and a few more) as the battery has not been lasting for more than a few hours, then again i cannot stay off this device from games, to social networks, web access, not to mention the GPS and recent applications for tying the GPS into Geocaching are making this much more than an iPod with a phone built-in.

What's missing: Bluetooth Stereo (for my headset) and video (added in iPhone v3.0 software)

So for those who have been asking which I liked, why and how its going: If I had a Blackberry Server this would have been different but I am glad to make the switch (and the wife has loved her new phone even more).

Thanks to those who have twittered some great apps to check out during the transition. A few to take note of if you have not yet used them: Twitteriffic, Yelp, Urban Spoon, Shazam, Showtimes, WhitePages, Trace, Pandora, BJCPStyles, Spore, TED, TapDefense, Goecaching, NYtimes, BannerFree, WhiteNoise and Stanza.

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