Sunday, February 27, 2005

BIM Deployment Conference

I guess the cats out of the bag on this one. Here is the official release received via email earlier today. I post it here for your reading pleasure.

Industry Experts to Explore Building Information Modeling Atlanta, GA, February 23, 2005 --

As building owners increasingly demand smarter ways to design, document and deliver their building projects, an approach called building information modeling (BIM) is poised to "cross the chasm" from pioneering technology to mainstream adoption. On April 19­­20,2005, leading experts, solution providers and users of this technology will meet at the Global Learning and Conference Center on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta to explore the challenges and opportunities of BIM, as well as the processes necessary for successful deployment. Organized and hosted jointly by the Georgia Tech College of Architecture (COA) Ph.D. Program and the LaiserinLetter™ technology advisory service, this conference includes real-world case studies and interactive panels, as well as industry applications and analyses essential to everyone who owns, operates,constructs or designs buildings.

Links to audience registration and the conference agenda are available on the web at or by contacting:

Mrs. Mercedes Saghini
phone +1 (404)894-3476.

Sponsorship information, for vendors of qualified technology solutions, may be obtained by contacting:

Jerry Laiserin
phone +1 (917) 225-7058.

The conference will examine the ways that BIM "offers fundamentally new opportunities for improving the quality of design, shortening the building procurement life cycle, and reducing costs," according to Charles Eastman, Building Product Models. Both public and private building owners are beginning to recognize these benefits. A key confirmation of this trend is the US General Services Administration’s (GSA) requirement for a BIM approach at the concept design phase of all projects starting in fiscal year 2006 (which begins October 2005). Notes Eastman, "the issue no longer is why or when to adopt BIM, but how to effectively deploy it now."

LaiserinLetter™ editor Jerry Laiserin, founding director of the aecXML project for industry data exchange and widely credited with standardizing and popularizing the terminology of BIM, observes that "the multi-dimensional, data-rich models of the BIM approach enable contractors,engineers, architects and building product manufacturers to work as a tightly integrated team helping owner-operators build smarter." Case study and application presentations at the conference illustrating such teamwork include BIM for Steel Construction, BIM for Precast Concrete Construction,BIM for Energy Analysis, BIM for Project Delivery and BIM for Industry Integration, as well as BIM for Owners. Panel presentations include leading providers of technology solutions in each of these areas. With the BIM approach finally "ready for prime time," this Georgia Tech/LaiserinLetter™ conference offers important business and professional knowledge critical to every executive and manager in the building enterprise.

Conference on Building Information Modeling:Challenges, Opportunities, Processes, Deployment April 19­20, 2005­ Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Building Information Modeling (BIM) Conference Announced

Georgia Tech and Jerry Laiserin are teaming up to bring you a conference on BIM, deployment, and strategy.

Buildings. Whether you own, operate, construct or design them, or provide
services and materials for building, you'll want to take this sneak peek at a
conference that will mark a tipping point in the way you do business in the
future. This landmark event is a Conference on Building Information Modeling:
Challenges, Opportunities, Processes, Deployment -- and is jointly produced and
hosted by GeorgiaTech and The LaiserinLetter(tm).

Read the press release here:

View the brochure/agenda here:

Register here:

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

No SpyWare on My Blog!!!

Tipped off by this recent article on spyware being installed by malicious bloggers, I've turned off the navbar until further notice.

Allow Multiple Users to Manage SheetSets and Projects

Do you have corrupted project sheet set files? Do you have problems creating new sheets in existing sheet sets? Read more about this problem on Robinz Blog here. If you are experiencing these problems then you need the hot fix that has just been released.

Read about this necessary fix here at the autodesk download page.

Be sure to copy this new arx file to the correct location based on your product install folder:

Architectural Desktop: "C:\Program Files\Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2005"
Building Systems 2005: "C:\Program Files\Autodesk Building Systems 2005"

Want to automate this delivery? Check out Jimmy's post and his script to deploy this hot fix on JTB World.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

What Drive is the Boot Drive? VBA Function

Chances are, during your programming work, you will need to know what the boot drive is on the computer your routine is currently running on. An old trick from the DOS days is to check the value of the COMSPEC environment variable. You can use the function below to return the path to the system files folder location containing the Shell or Command Interpreter. This same folder is the one typically used by Windows to install ActiveX libraries and controls. You can use this function to programmatically register a control or DLL.

And the best news of all is that this is really easy to do within VBA. Getting the value of any environment variable can be done using the built in .Environ$ function. Try the following:

Function ReturnOSPath() As String
'This function assumes that the "Comspec"
'variable File path is located on the boot drive
Dim strKRNL As String
strKRNL = VBA.Environ$("ComSpec")
On Error GoTo Err_Handler
ReturnOSPath = Mid$(strKRNL, 1, (VBA.Len(strKRNL) - 7))
Exit Function
ReturnOSPath = vbNull
End Function

Public Sub testospath()
MsgBox ReturnOSPath
End Sub

To use these, fire up the VBA editor within AutoCAD or any other VBA enabled application. Cut and paste the above code into the editor. Now call the "testospath" procedure to see how it works.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Dimension and Accuracy Checking via AutoLisp

Toggle between Architectural Units and Decimal Units

Ever get a drawing from someone else and you can't quite figure out why certain elements don't quite fit with some of your existing drawings? Chances are someone took a shortcut and didn't draw the objects or entities entirely accurately. If you suspect this is the case with the file you are working with you might switch your units and update the dimensions. I wrote the following toggle to assist in this check.

(defun c:ut (/)
(prompt "\nMacro: Unit Style Mode Toggle by RLB!")
(if (/= (getvar "lunits") 2)
(setvar "lunits" 2)
(setvar "dimunit" 2)
(prompt " Decimal Units ")
(setvar "lunits" 4)
(setvar "dimunit" 4)
(prompt " Architectural Units ")

You can call this at the command line once it is loaded into your AutoCAD session by typing "UT" without the quotes and using the "rule of thumb" or "Enter" key. This macro will toggle from Architectural units to Decimal and vice a versa reporting the current setting at the command line.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Are your drawings getting Bloated? Put them on a diet!

Got drawings that seem much larger than they should be? Are you working with ADT, but still saving proxy information in every file? Get rid of those "unintelligent" entities by putting your drawings on a diet. This macro will toggle two different variables.
(defun c:diet (/) (prompt "\nMacro: Put your Drawings on a
DIET Toggle by
RLB!") (if (zerop (getvar
(progn (setvar
"PROXYGRAPHICS" 1) (setvar "isavepercent"
0) (prompt "\n TURNED
OFF ")
0) (setvar "isavepercent"
0) (prompt "\n TURNED ON
") )
) (princ))

The first part of the macro turns off the proxy or "zombie" graphics that just take up file space. This is accomplished through the "proxygraphics" variable. The second setting addressed in this macro refers to the Isavepercent variable. The function of the Isavepercent variable is to determine the amount of wasted space tolerated in a drawing file. It ensures that you are not retaining unnecessary "undo" data with every save. For more information look in your help files for "Isavepercent".

The command line will let you know if you are in "diet" mode or if it has been turned off everytime you run this toggle.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Quick Tip - Where are my Plotters?

Just type plottermanager at the command line in AutoCAD 2005!

Of course you can always:
  • Access the Options dialog box
  • Click on the Files tab
  • Expand the Printer Support File Path
  • View the value shown under Printer Configuration Search Path

to find out where your plotter definitions exist.

But isn't typing plottermanager at the command line a whole lot easier?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Welcome a New Blog - Blog by Mark Kiker

Fellow AUGI Board member Mark Kiker has just just launched a blog for public consumption. Speaking with years of experience on topics related to managing CADD software and users, Mark joins the blogosphere with industry tips, tricks, and reminders all CADD managers and users alike will find indispensable. Welcome to the fold Mark.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Its a wireless age! ClearWire means Broadband with no wires, cables, or dishes!

I took the plunge and went wireless the other day. Yes, I know! Nothing new...but this really is new! I'm talking about Broadband Internet Access that is entirely wireless! I realized long ago that once you go broadband there is no looking back. Jaded as I was, I just couldn't get over the fact that I was spending upwards of $50.00 a month for this digital fix that I seemingly couldn't do without. I struggled with this high-speed afliction as I continued to pay confiscatory monthly access rates.

NO MORE! I signed up for ClearWire, picked up my new wireless Modem and was online within 10 minutes of arriving at home. Clearwire deployed this latest Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing Not Line of Sight (OFDM-NLOS) technology in Jacksonville but it was unavailable at my residence until recently. Well my wait is over, and it couldn't come at a better time. For less than half of what I was previously paying to feed my habit, I could now access the Internet and communicate with the rest of the blogosphere untethered and cable free! Want to learn more about it? Get ready for some geek terms!

So just how do they do it? Radio waves with a new twist, or more precisely by utilizing old technology in new ways. The old technology in use is radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic carrier waves that travel at the speed of light along a path that resembles a sine wave. This sine wave undulates up and down vibrating at a particular frequency. The frequency of this wave is measured in units of cycles per second or Hertz, but, all carrier waves do not have the same properties. These properties are based on the frequency of the wave with low-frequency waves traveling further and being able to be bent, while high-frequency waves tend to travel in only in straight lines and for relatively short distances. Radio (low-frequency) waves can travel through solid objects like walls making them ideal for use in remote connections. Light (high-frequency) waves cannot bend so they are limited to line of sight applications.

This is all well and good, but what does it mean for our broadband signal? Well broadband is all about sending and receiving large amounts of data quickly! So we have two choices, we can send data fast but it has to be sent in a straight line or we can send data slow without the straightline limitation. Radio waves have historically been used to send data because they can be sent without the limitation of straightlines, however, they are relatively slow and can carry a limited amount of data. Here is where OFDM comes into action.

OFDM uses the old technology of radio waves to carry its data through obstacles without the requirement of line of sight (LOS). It does this through a technique called modulation or frequency division. The definition of modulation is to blend data into a carrier signal. So OFDM is blending data into a radio wave in order to get it out to its subscribers. But wait, aren't radio waves a relatively slow delivery method? Yes, but that is not the whole story; When a carrier wave is modulated, it is no longer a single frequency but is spread out over a range of frequencies. The speed of the data spread across the modulated carrier wave is approximately the same as the bandwidth spread of the spectrum being used.

So how does it work?

Imagine taking an entire soccer team and putting each player in a separate car and asking them to take the turnpike to the end where they would play the game. How long would it take your entire team to get to the other end of the turnpike if the road was a single lane divided highway and if every toll booth had only a single lane open? Could you imagine speeding down the highway, slowing to a stop, then inching forward while each of 16 cars entered the toll booth in order, came to a stop, and payed its toll by dropping a quarter in the basket on the wall? Sure the highway travel was pretty darn fast, but the toll booth bottle neck is not allowing for a very fast overall transit if each car slows to a halt for multiple toll areas on the highway. Now mix in the rest of the cars also traveling on the highway. You'd have to get on the road pretty darn early to make sure that all 16 players arrived at the field in order prior to the start of the game.

Now imagine that same set of cars travelling down a 6 lane superhighway. At each toll area, the cars are able to split into one of 8 separate toll booths. Now imagine further that each toll booth can be passed at 30 miles an hour instead of 0 mph. Getting the picture? The cars wouldn't have to travel exceptionally fast to arrive at the destination quickly as long as we can process more cars quicker at each toll area.

Here comes another term.

The OFDM system also uses a technology called multiplexing to split the data in to multiple channels or carriers and transmit it across the spectrum. In other words, this technology simply increases the data rate by splitting the data into multiple slower speed channels to transmit and then re-combines the data into a single high speed stream when it is de-multiplexed inside the modem and delivered to the computer as a broad band stream.

A few more terms and we’ll have it perfectly straight. Using our analogy again we can think of frequency division as each tollbooth lane representing a different carrier frequency or simply multiple carriers. Orthogonal is a mathematical term used to describe the x, y, and z axes and functions that do not influence each other. To put it together, Orthogonal Frequency Division is where the spacing between carriers is equal to the speed (bit rate) of the message. Therefore, OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) is a method of using many carrier waves instead of only one, and using each carrier wave for only part of the message, and each part of the message is spaced so as not to influence each other. "Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing is then the concept of typically establishing a communications link using a multitude of carriers each carrying an amount of information identical to the separation between the carriers." (

So, this works in a perfect world but what happens if the cars pass each other or in effect arrive at the final destination out of order? Although, this wouldn't harm our soccer team in the slightest you can probably imagine what that would do to your emails or the latest installment of a JibJab video. OFDM, in order to avoid the distortion caused by these out of order deliveries, sends the message bits slowly enough so that any delayed copies are late by only a small fraction of a bit time. In other words, the cars are cued up and sent to the turnpike a single car at a time with a little buffer of time between cars. To maintain the high delivery or bit rate, multiple carriers are used to send many low speed messages at the same time. These same messages are then combined at the modem to make up one high-speed message.

For more info check out the following links:

Friday, February 04, 2005

The Future of Windows is Here!!! (Avalon Public Trials Begin)

The "Avalon" Community Technology Preview (CTP) which became available to the MSDN members in November of 2004, is now available to the general public in response to numerous requests.

This is what the download page says:

"Avalon" is the code name for Microsoft's unified presentation subsystem for Windows. It consists of a display engine and a managed-code framework. "Avalon" unifies how Windows creates, displays, and manipulates documents, media, and user interface. This enables developers and designers to create visually-stunning, differentiated user experiences that improve customer connection. When it ships, scheduled for 2006, "Avalon" will be available on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and all future releases of the Windows operating system. When delivered, "Avalon" will become Microsoft's strategic user interface (UI) technology.

Have you downloaded the tools yet?

area 31

area 31

A New CAD Blog is born.
Welcome to the fold Jim.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Autodesk University Handouts Available at

Have you ever wondered just what information gets put inside an Autodesk University (AU) Class Handout? Have you been to AU and wished you could attend two classes at once? Here is your chance, get the handout for a class that was taught during the same time frame that you were attending a different class! Do you need some quality research materials for your own training?

Autodesk has graciously allowed your friends at AUGI to host the entire collection of Autodesk University class handouts. They have put the collection up in the Education Channel and have populated it with all the handouts from AU events held in the years 2000, 2001, and 2002. The handouts from AU2003 will be available soon.

Remember that membership at is free and open to anyone! If you are not yet a member, please join and get access to this fantastic resource.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

BIM in a CAVE?

Check out the latest article from Architectural Record online about the use of a Building Information Model inside a CAVE environment. The GSA is really pushing the envelope as they gear up for the required IFC compliant models in 2006.