Tag Archives: Performance

Head in the Clouds

No, not that kind of cloud!

No, not that kind of cloud!

BIM and cloud computing have traditionally not been very close friends. What is interesting, is that there are companies out there innovating. There are model servers, data exchange formats, cumbersome and expensive hardware solutions that don’t really address all the issues.

Graphisoft has done what no other BIM software vendor has been able to do: reduce the time and space gap to project collaboration. But, what does it all mean? ArchiCAD 13 Makes Ground-Breaking Leap in BIM File Sharing | Cadalyst.

Does this mean that the competition is moving ahead. Maybe, but technology leaps come in shifts, not incremental change, and the development of the BIM sharing in ArchiCAD 13 is simply a redo of a tool they already had. If you managed to click through and watch the video on Teamwork, it is less impressive than the article makes it out to be. Revit can add color to worksets as well with filtering, and while doesn’t have chat, there are already many standalone technologies for this. All of this seems really distracting to getting work done. There has to be better ways to manage a project and improve communication. It may not be the right path.

Is that a pie in the sky, or SAAS?

Is that a pie in the sky, or SAAS?

One possible alternate future in Autodesk Labs may be just what we all need: Project Twitch. Sure this is being touted as a way to try before you buy AutoCAD, Inventor, Maya and Revit without the ability (yet) to save and print. There is a real potential for this to become something beyond play. This is true Software as a Service (SAAS), which seems to hold the possibility of reducing many obstacles to adoption. What obstacles? Well, collaboration, as in the solution above, would be a hurdle not requiring a lot of hardware or convoluted rights management to access parts of the building, it would just work. It would remove the barriers of geographically dispersed teams, and allow better and more reactive collaboration the way Revit currently works.

SAAS when done well, can help reduce hardware and operating system upkeep and could potentially become much less of a burden on IT departments and cost-concious design firms who could use a bit of a break after the last 18 months. This would open up your favorite design tools, like Revit to any platform you wish to use such as; Windows, Mac OSx, Linux, PS3, or whatever… OK maybe not a Commodore 64, but most anything.

Again, this is just a possibility. Two things need to happen; there needs to be an increase in trust from the industry that hosted data and applications are secure and highly available, and secondly there needs to be an improvement in performance. While just a technology preview, Project Twitch is not yet ready for replacing a locally installed application that works even when the power goes out. Someday… just maybe it will. OK, stop daydreaming and get back to work.

Office 2010 preview

logo_microsoft_office2010[1]Just so you all don’t think I am all Apple, all the time; I must admit I do have a sweet tooth for Office. It’s perhaps the best thing coming out of the offices in Redmond, and it just keeps getting better. Sure, there are choices out there these days, other competitive, and free software, and some that isn’t even software at all, but a service. None have ever fully done the job compared to Office, even though there are attractive reasons for using all of them. I need not go into my reasons, that would be another, and lengthy post. Maybe some other time.

Just installed the newest version of Office. It’s beta software, running on my laptop with Beta Windows 7. I think you need to be invited to this, but since there is no longer a gag order non-disclosure agreement, I will say this: I like where Office is heading.

Mini Review

Three things:

  • The interface is much less cluttered looking, which is hard to explain without seeing – image included below.
  • The ribbon, done right. Colors are easier on the eyes, and fit better with the Windows 7 themes. The text is very readable. No shifting tools, very fast redraw, and context only changes when you double click. Very elegant.
  • But here’s my favorite part, I counted the number of seconds to launch Word, Excel, PowerPoint  and Outlook, individually. It’s Fast. *

Time Trials

For a year old laptop, and a Mac running in BootCamp I wasn’t hopeful. Here goes: One… One. That’s it! One second. Well, I am not sure what  is happening under the hood, and maybe I don’t want to know.


 Voodoo, black magic, or maybe they re-employed Clippy to run a virtual hamster wheel or something. All I know is, this can only help with productivity. Unless or course like me, you also get writers block staring at a blank page. Maybe it’s time to edit the Normal.dot to include some encouraging words.

Road to Recovery

Autodesk, listen up. Future versions of software should be more responsive, load quickly and just work. Revit Architecture 2010 now takes, 1 minute and 5 seconds to launch and manually open a blank project document. AutoCAD Architecture (yes I run both), takes 59 seconds. Word is nearly 60 times faster than either.  That is just unacceptable. If I had been writing in Word, I could have typed 45 words in that time. I know, I’m not a pro touch-typist by any stretch, but just the same it would be nice to have a nearly instant clean canvas from which to work in Revit.

We all know that project files, which can be very large in Revit, also take a while to open and parse the database. Any user who has worked with the tool has come to terms with this. It does seem that Revit has taken longer to load with the last successive releases, and it’s hard to justify why. If we could just eek out a little more performance, especially with regards to launch and the Ribbon redraw, life would be great. Just 30 seconds faster, is all I ask. This would be like a small economic stimulus package for all 300,000+ Revit users in the world. Imagine it. We could all get on with economic recovery by saving and estimated 4 hours, per user, per year. If you conservatively assume that a user will launch Revit 2 times per day, 5 days a week, for 48 weeks, you get 240 minutes, or 4 hours, equalling $340 at a billable rate of $85/hour. That’s the equivalent of half the cost of a subscription renewal right there. You could use the money saved to buy a full seat of Office Small Business edition. Getting that time back would be the equivalent of about 24 blog posts like this one… or four more hours a year to be more productive, have more fun, or take up yoga. Makes you think.

* Individual results may vary.

From Zero to 7 (plus 10) in 60

HeyThat'sFishy?So, while waiting around for lunch to cook yesterday, (the joys of working from home), I decided to try a little experiment. Warning, don your geek sunglasses, if you have sensitive eyes.

Given that Windows 7 Release Candidate is still available legally for public testing, and Microsoft has wisely switched to Akamai as their provider, I thought “hey, let’s download this thing during lunch”. Well, was I surprised that in 25 minuted I had the whole 3Gb ISO of the 64bit version in hand. Plenty of time to spare, so being that I had recently read that VMWare Fusion will install it, I fired it up and created a new virtual machine in only 20 minutes, after only 3 reboots. I love that my Macbook Pro can mount an ISO with no additional software. What more could be done in the time remaining? The only answer to that would be install Revit 2010. So I grabbed the DVD and bing, 14 minutes later, with one minute to spare I had a newly configured, ready to test system.

The verdict? Very fast boot times, runs better than Vista-64, however, Revit 2010 is very sluggish under virtualization in both OSes. Curses, foiled by the Ribbon yet again. I will next be recreating a Boot Camp partition and report back my findings and some hard numbers. Stay tuned…