I wrote an article over at Method about some very cool stuff going on with Virtual Reality (VR) in the architectural profession.
Bonus: you get to experience my latest project that I've been working on for the last year and a half – a new math and science building with a beautiful STEM center for Golden West College in Huntington Beach, CA.
Now this is interesting. I think this would be an amazing tool to use in the initial conceptual phases of architectural design. I'm excited to see where HP takes this.
I recently made a tutorial over on the Novedge blog on how to take your slow, chunky architectural Revit model and get it smooth and beautiful for a realtime presentation in Autodesk Showcase that'll make your client ooh and ahh. What's Showcase? Check out the tutorial to find out. I think you'll like it, and you might already have it on your computer if you have a Revit subscription through Autodesk.
I've been doing a ton of 3d modeling and rendering work in FormZ since 1994, but especially in the last few years starting again with the beta testing of version 7. It's by far my favorite 3d tool.
I'm happy to announce that I'll be hosting a live webinar for Novedge showing off some cool stuff in the latest version of FormZ on March 26th at 11am.
There are specific tools included in formZ 7 that make it a very smart tool for conceptual architectural modeling. Parametric tools that are specific to architecture include walls, stairs and more. Other helpful things like working with a combination of solids and surfaces, booleans and NURBS, 2D drawing layout abilities and several 3D rendering types make it a production powerhouse.
If you're interested in this kind of stuff and want to see it in action, I hope you will join me. The whole thing will go for about an hour. There will be a live question and answer immediately following the presentation. The video will be posted afterwards as well, so if you can't make it you'll still be able to see it.
If you missed the Novedge Google Hangout about Project Architect's Best Practices from the other day, here's the video. It was a fun hangout and it was great hearing what other people in the profession find is effective for managing projects when working in larger teams, especially now that our work is getting more and more distributed between offices and even continents.
I'd love to hear your best practices if you have something to add.
Hydro-Fold by Christophe Guberan from ECAL
Be sure to check out Monoprice. This is more of a public service announcement than anything else because I've had great success buying from them. The prices are great and the gear is solid. I first heard about them a few years back when I needed some HDMI cables (which they're now famous for) and didn't want to spend a ton of money at Best Buy for the exact same thing. I think I paid $6 when they wanted $50 at BB for the exact same cable.
Last week I picked up a 27" IPS-ZERO-G Slim Monitor from Monoprice which is the exact same screen my 27" iMac has at the office. Apple buys these screens from the same manufacturer. It's a beautiful display and I wanted the real estate on my desk at home to match what I have at work. This is also the exact same screen Apple sells for $899 as a standalone unit, but I only paid $390. It's a great screen. There were zero dead pixels. Granted, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles the Apple screen has like the built-in camera and extra ports, but I am OK with that. I also picked up a VESA desk mount to get the screen up off the table and free up some table space for a whopping $17.
They have tons of other great stuff besides cables and monitors. Things like waterproof action cameras, speaker cable, surround sound systems, guitars, headphones, podcasting microphones, iPhone cases, and lots more. Check them out and see what you can come up with.
Also check out The Wirecutter for their reviews if you don't know what to get. They are the best in the business.
And finally, if you're going to hook up your new screen to a Mac mini or a MacBook Pro, be sure to get one of these adapters from NewEgg for under $30 instead of the $99 Apple charges. Yes, get that exact one, otherwise you'll top out at 1920 pixels wide on your display instead of the full 2560 pixels.
FiftyThree is an amazing company to follow and study. Their message is clear and it has been fun to watch what appears to be something so simple (yet I'm sure it's not at all simple behind the scenes) come together methodically over the last couple of years.
First they introduced Paper, a free iPad app with a natural looking paint engine (brushes, brush strokes, digital ink technology) and tools that won App of the Year from Apple along with several other awards. Users could decide to get all of the tools via in-app purchase and it was a no-brainer to do so. How could we resist? They just looked gorgeous. Then they built new tools into that app and made them also available via in-app purchase. The ability to do color mixing to create our own custom colors besides the original 7 was a genius move, and generated more revenue for them to take their vision further.
Where to go from there? Well, looking back it's obvious. They gave us the ability to make printed versions of our sketchbooks. They called it Book, and they partnered with Moleskin to deliver these beautifully crafted analog media. Simply put your Book together in their app and it arrives at your door within a couple of weeks. Boom.
As if that weren't enough they've now built an ecosystem around what was once just an app by adding a new device to the mix. Now FiftyThree makes hardware. It's a stylus called Pencil, and it works perfectly with Paper. It simply connects right in the app over bluetooth so of course it has additional functionality like an eraser. And of course it fits their brand perfectly because it's fancy technology wrapped in beautiful, warm wood. I can only imagine how nice it is to hold. I want.
I only bring all this to your attention because I love watching stories like this unfold right in front of us. It all seems so obvious, and that's something I love about companies like this. They just started with an app (albeit an amazing one) and look where it has come. It's amazing technology wrapped in a very warm analog wrapper and it just feels right. It's so clear; so simple. That, to me, is where technology works best.
I'm rooting for them.
This looks amazing. I pre-ordered it. Bleeding edge and all that.
Coin is a connected device that can hold and behave like the cards you already carry. Coin works with your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards. Instead of carrying several cards you carry one Coin. Multiple accounts and information all in one place.
Apple has named Paper iPad App of the Year. We’re incredibly honored (and a few of us on the team are still scraping our jaws off the floor). We’re lucky to spend our days working on something we love and believe in, and to see creators around the world using Paper to achieve goals of their own.
I have a metric truck-full of drawing apps on my iPad, and I absolutely love Paper. It's the main one I keep coming back to because of the natural brushes and drawing tools it emulates are beautiful to look at. I'm no digital painting expert, but as long as it makes the creation of drawings on the iPad fun, I'll continue to use it.
The app itself is free and has a bunch on in-app purchases to add on the other tools. All-in, I think it set me back about $10, which if you think about it, is cheap. Yes, I said cheap you cheap-o free or 99 cent-spending-limit app buyer!
Here's a concept sketch I made of my wedding invitation earlier this year when I first started using Paper:
Q: "What'd you do yesterday?"
A: "Oh, I trucked gallons of fuel up a highrise building by hand most of the day."
Here's just one more (huge) reason why I support Squarespace to host my website. They went way above and way beyond the call of duty for their customers during and after Hurricane Sandy:
I am proud to announce that throughout this event, Squarespace customers experienced absolutely no downtime related to the power outage. This is an amazing outcome considering the extraordinary circumstances we faced last week. What remains is an incredible story.
For those of you that haven’t been following our updates, employees from Squarespace, Fog Creek, and Peer1 manually carried fuel up 17 flights of stairs for three days to save our generator while an interim fuel supply and pump could be installed. These efforts to provide uninterrupted service for our customers [...]
I've made a big effort to get off Google over the last few months because I'm not at all comfortable with what they are doing with my personal information. Now I mainly use Duck Duck Go for searching. This video does a good job of showing you how Google uses your personal information more than you probably want it to, and something you can do about it - use another search engine.
I've also changed my habits to use Siri on iPhone and iPad, or use Bing if I'm already in Mobile Safari.
These new stylus caps look great. I love a simple solution that seems obvious once its been done, and the graphic next to the Meticulously Crafted section showing the process of manufacturing is very cool. This is the kind of thing that would go in Objectified 2.
Stylus Caps start as a solid bar of aircraft grade aluminum. We then machine, sand blast, anodize, and laser engrave each and every one to match our own rigorous specifications. This makes them ultra strong and ultra good looking. Not to mention ultra recyclable.
I think they left the "Meaningful Design Story" slide in by mistake, or maybe they're just trying to convince us/the courts that they really have one. Certain colleagues in design school used to talk like this all the time. We have a running joke in our office that goes something like this:
"My design is based on nature..."
The teachers I respected called those people on their bullshit.
(via Loop Insight)