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How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

How to Make AutoCAD Quicker and Easier to Use – 3 AutoCAD Timesavers

AutoCAD has a lot of tools that are accessible to automate your work flow, and make your job easier, odds are, you’re already using a lot of them without realizing them.  What we’re going to cover today are ways that make these tools work more readily for you.

Tip number 1:  Use templates

In fact, you already are; whenever you create a new AutoCAD document, it loads up the default template.  However, if you’re going to be doing lots of variations on the same sort of design work and drawing, you may want to make your changes of all the things that are common among them and save that file as a template.  Templates are a great way to save time by setting unit types and drawing limits, setting your snap, grid and other drawing settings, organizing your layer information before you begin, and pre-set a lot of common information.

If you’re working for a business, odds are you’re using a company provided template that provides this consistency across multiple draftspersons.  You may end up using a client supplied template, and you’ll be told which templates to use – templates make sure the output from multiple workers is consistent (which is why businesses are big on them) and they can save you a lot of time…but only if they’re designed right from the beginning.

To make a new template, first get your parameters all set up, in a regular drawing.  Then go to File  > Save As and save it as a template.  It’s as easy as that – though you should make sure you save it in a folder you’ll be able to find later.

Tip number 2:  Object Snaps

Object Snaps (OSNAPS) are the most frustrating tool in AutoCAD.  Until you learn what they’re doing, and you wonder how you could’ve ever lived without them in the past.  An object snap is an attachment that you can tell to go to one of the gripping points on an existing object.  These gripping points are things like the centerpoint of an object, or the end point of a line segment.  An OSNAP lets you link an object to one of those attachment points with absolute certainty for provided attachment points.

It’s when you arrange OSNAPs that things get a little counterintuitive.  You can set OSNAPs that are designed to be perpendicular to a selected objects, click to the nearest object, run at a tangent, and even some intersection driven ones.  Try to use only the OSNAPs that are the most convenient for you with the project that you are working on.

Most OSNAPs are activated in ‘running mode’ – you type the command in the command buffer, and they just work.  While this is the fastest way to use a commonly repeated OSNAP, for people who don’t keep the arcane commands in their forebrains, AutoCAD has given iconic OSNAPs as well.  You can access them by bringing up the OSNAP dialog box, or by holding down the shift key and right clicking an object to pull up a context driven menu.  Even so, if you use a lot of OSNAPs, you’re eventually going to learn the three letter codes to use them at run time just to save yourself time.  (It also has the benefit of turning the OSNAP off once that command has been run.

Tip 3:  Learn The Commands

While we touched on it in the prior tip on using OSNAP, it’s always worth it to learn how to use the command line prompts for AutoCAD.  Typing three characters takes a fraction of a second, versus a few seconds for using a mouse to find the icon, navigate through the menu system, click OK, then repeat for turning off the functionality you just used.  It’s always faster to learn the keyboard shortcuts, and more than any other tip, these will save you the most time.

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

 

Zaha Hadid’s Ingenious Designs

Zaha Hadid was one of the most brilliant minds in architectural design.  Her work has been classified as Deconstructivism which is visually characterized as chaotic and unpredictable structures, often using non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of the architecture.  Known as “the Queen of the Curve”, her work was described as having the highly expressive, sweeping fluid forms of multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry that evoke the chaos and flux of modern life.  Although she was often praised as the world’s top female architect, her work also attracted criticism.  She was among a group of architects who rejected their styles and classifications, as well as not ever coming to a worldly understandable, relative, conformed and unified definition over their own “different” designs of their own minds creation.  From being labeled as “making Doric temple forms out of plywood” to “unconventional buildings that seem to defy the logic of construction”, the unanimous verdict of critics is that Deconstructivism is a purely formal exercise with little social significance.  And yes, unfortunately for the Deconstructivists, I am one of THOSE critics that oppose you.  And why would I or anybody in their rightful mind side with different ideologies and a movement or style that is not in the mind or the time of anybody else’s except the creator’s, and therefore is different and not sane?  And yet, as we have seen with many despised reigning movements in the past several decades, the term had stuck and has come to embrace a general trend within contemporary architecture.  Ironically, it seems that the general consensus of everyone, including architects which once had been Deconstructivism’s ardent adherents are saying to shield their ridiculous embarrassment from the opposing masses, “We didn’t do it because we liked it.  We did it because we hated it.”  And of course, that’s all you need to say….and of course, it worked.

So, why would I, who stands with the opposing team, write a blog about Zaha Hadid and her Ingenious Designs?  Well, for one, I do like concrete, and concrete structures, and for some absurd reason, I think they are fun and urban.  And urban to me means culture and a sense of hope and public belonging.  This is unfortunately the reality that we live in, where we have to do with the nothing that we are given in life.  And in the irony of it all, these empirical things that are necessary evils are something to see and wander around in.  And some of the sights are nice too!  And so, I am going to give Zaha credit for actually creating some interesting, chaotic, unstable architecture that now disgusts people.  And many of her designs take up huge amounts of land too!  I just wish her and other Deconstructivist structures had more surprises for a style of architecture that rejects the past and presents no clear values as replacements and which often pursues strategies that are intentionally aggressive to human senses.  But who knows, maybe one day when the world is filled up with these “We didn’t do because we liked it.  We did it because we hated it” structures, there will be change along the lines of “We didn’t do it because we hated it.  We did it because we REALLY liked it.”, or “We didn’t do it because we liked it.  We did it because we REALLY hated it.”  Of course, what is REALLY liked or REALLY hated is still up to the discretion of the creator of a necessary style of architecture that may be more or less along the lines of something that rejects the past and presents no clear values as replacements and which often pursues strategies that are intentionally aggressive to human senses and more.

With that said, I would like to discuss Zaha Hadid’s Issam Fares Institute Building at the American University at Beirut.  The Issam Fares Institute for public policy and international affairs’ (IFI), designed by Zaha Hadid architects, was completed at the American University of Beirut as part of an on-going campus redevelopment.  Begun in 2006 and completed in 2014, Hadid’s award-winning concrete and glass building makes a bold statement with its prominent 21-meter, two-story-tall cantilever, which creates a covered courtyard and reduces the footprint of the building to avoid blocking circulation routes.  The elevated walkways carry pedestrians through the branches of huge Cypress and Ficus trees, many of which significantly predate the building at 120 to 180 years old the facility immediately serves the school’s students and administrators, but on a larger scale is a hub for local, regional, and international academics, researchers, and politicians.  The IFI comprises a rigorous educational program that the design of this building seeks to facilitate.  It aims to harness, develop, and initiate research of the Arab world, in order to enhance and broaden debate on public policy and international relations.  This is a new set of photographs by Lebanese architectural photographer Bahaa Ghoussainy which show the building in active use, pairing daytime scenes of visitors relaxing on benches or walking across pathways with dramatic evening views that highlight the glowing slanted windows.  In all of the photos, the exaggerated diagonal elements of Hadid’s design give the building a feeling of motion, as if Ghoussainy captured a glimpse of it speeding through the frame.  The landscaped surroundings contrast the neutral concrete of the building’s elevations with splashes of green, further highlighting the singular design.  With its monumental form, swept diagonal lines and elevated concrete walkways, the Issam Fares Institute building at the American University of Beirut by Zaha Hadid Architects emphasizes movement, evoking the speed of contemporary life as it presides over a connecting system of pedestrian walkways.

 

Bathroom Design Ideas

Bathroom Design Ideas

Thursday, May 17, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Bathroom Design Ideas

While people do not normally spend a large chunk of time in the bathroom, they spend intimate moments in there.  People normally start and end their daily activities inside a bathroom so they might as well give due importance to this particular part of the house.

A bathroom needs to project luxury and comfort in order to set the mood of the day or night.  Getting the best bathroom design ideas will go a long way in making the bathroom a comfortable and luxurious part of the house and everyday living.

People can choose a bathroom with a lot of space or one that is just right for the basic necessities of a bathroom.  But large or small, we have to give due importance to the basic components of a bathroom.

We have to consider the color shade of the floor and the walls as well as the storage areas.  We also have to decide on what kind of sink to use, where to place the mirrors, and whether to use glass shower doors or shower curtains.

The following are some of the most popular bathroom design ideas:

Contemporary – A bathroom can have any size and any shape but fixtures emphasize lines rather than curves.  Rectangular tubs and sinks have plain, instead of ornate, fittings that are made of brushed or matte chrome.  Wood and stone give way to glass and mirror, metal, and ceramic.  There is a very minimal use of wood.

Colonial – The emphasis is on workmanship and details, with an excessive use of wood in mirror frames, panels, and trimmings.  Fittings of brass or copper match the finery of the wood.

Minimalist – Curves are emphasized and lights are vital while fittings are discrete in creating the impression of space and luxury.  Cool colors such as blue, mauve, and pastel, with the discrete use of dark colors for outlines or edges give the impression of space.

Victorian – To look authentic, the bathroom needs high ceilings, central light fitting, and tall narrows windows with lacy curtains.  A ball and claw bathtub with black painted iron faucets and accessories complete the picture of elegance and luxury.

Country – Soft monochromatic colors are used with emphasis on details.  The bathroom contains hand-made mats, baskets and pottery, embroidered towels and murals or tiles with homey designs such as flowers and plants.  Expect to see home-made soaps and herbal toiletries.

Eclectic – It is characterized by a mixture of styles but characterized by a good sense of balance.  Overdoing the designs can ruin everything so make sure to temper the features and fixtures.

Ethnic – Design in the bathroom could reflect the ethnicity of the owner of the house.  Basic designs reflecting one’s ethnic origin can include art or artifacts, including the ethnic basic colors.

Arty – The flat surfaces of the bathroom, like the walls, floor, and ceilings can be designed with wild and wonderful colors and shapes, projecting a realistic or impressionist mural.

Traditional – It incorporates small square tiles and print floral pattern wallpapers in subdued colors.  The lighting is intimate and the fittings are visible, making an ornate part of the decoration.

Whatever design idea you incorporate in your bathroom, it must be able to reflect the mood that you want.  This can easily be accomplished by choosing the proper color and lighting to match the lines or curves, including the decorations that you have selected.

For other ideas on bathroom themes and ideas, check out the following website at http://www.bathroom-interior.com.

An Easy Introduction to the Beginner’s Sewing Machine

An Easy Introduction to the Beginner’s Sewing Machine

Thursday, May 10, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

An Easy Introduction to the Beginner’s Sewing Machine

Sewing with a sewing machine is one of those things that looks complicated and some of the terminology makes it sound complicated, but with many sewing machines it really isn’t all that hard to actually do. With that in mind, I’ve put together a tutorial for how to use a sewing machine using a simplified Singer model sewing machine.

The first thing you have to do is learn how to thread your bobbin. The top of your sewing machine should look something like this.

  1. Slide the thread onto the thread spindle.
  2. Slide the piece that keeps the thread on the spindle on next to the thread.
  3. Pull out a piece of thread and push it through the thread holder.
  4. Put one end of the thread through the bobbin.  Wrap the thread around the little circle.
  5. Slide the bobbin on the bobbin spindle.
  6. Flip the switch that allows the foot pedal to put thread on the bobbin.
  7. Press the foot pedal until the desired amount of thread is on the bobbin.
  8. Cut the thread and your bobbin is ready.

Next you need to thread your machine.  This model has a diagram on the front that shows the direction the thread should go.  Follow those instructions or the one that came with the manual for your sewing machine.

  1. Slide the threaded bobbin into the bobbin holder.
  2. Close the cover.
  3. Drop your needle by closing the cover (be sure you flipped the switch back after threading the bobbin).  When the needle comes back up it will have the bobbin thread with it.
  4. Pull the bobbin thread through and you are ready to sew.

To start sewing place your material underneath the foot, using the seam guide lines for the proper seam width. Lower the foot, drop your needle into the fabric, and press the pedal to start sewing.

Pretty simple?  Yes the right beginner’s sewing machine can be that easy.  With enough practice on these simpler machines, one can master the fundamentals of sewing and move on to better machines.

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

Thursday, May 3, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

Another Spin on the tech wear table for Google – Project Jacquard

I’ve been recently digging through various reviews on tech wearables and the future of tech clothing, and I found one item in particular that had some interesting facts about it.

This item in particular would be the Jacquard jacket by Google and Levi’s.

The Jacquard jacket is a version of Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket which has Google’s technology woven into the fabric.  This technology mixed with denim apparel allows the wearer to interact with their smartphone via the jacket by performing different touch patterns on the cuff of the jacket.

While this idea as well as many of the pioneering projects of smart wearable technology have the premises of heading into the futuristic crusade of conquest in the smart wearable technology market, the advancement of this technology appears to be evolving extremely slowly as well as not having anything new to offer the tech focused individual.  In many cases there are other devices currently on the market that provide the same functionality for cheaper.

The jacket itself is of very good quality.  It is mostly a top of the line pedigree of the Levi Commuter Trucker Jacket with a conventional “blue collar dark wash”, all-American color and style.  The Commuter Jacket, as its name suggests, is made with bicycle-riding city dwellers in mind.  It’s a nice fit too with a lot of flexibility in the arms and shoulders.  Jacquard comes in men’s and women’s sizes.  However, just like all Levi’s jackets of the past, it fits tight and snugly when closed and tends to be worn best open.  This may pose a problem for cyclists who prefer more loose clothing when riding.  Above all, it really just feels like you’re wearing a very well made, high-end Levi’s jacket.

There is one caveat: the smart cuff. This is where Levi’s has cleverly woven in the conductive threads, but it forms a flat surface that’s more rigid than the rest of the sleeve, something you do notice when moving your arms around. It also sticks out a little, one of only two giveaways that there’s any technology here at all.

The other is the Bluetooth tag that clips into the cuff. This is what transmits the information from the cuff to to your phone, and vice versa, but is also its ugliest feature. This tag needs to be kept charged up, and should you wash the jacket you’ll need to take it off first.

All of Jacquard’s commands happen in the sleeve, specifically the left-hand cuff, which works as a touchpad to communicate with the phone. But to get that working you’ll need to pair Jacquard with your smartphone; it works with iOS and Android, and both get the exact same experience.

Once paired through the Jacquard app you can start assigning your interactions to three different gestures: brush in, brush out and a double tap. Right now this list of commands is quite limited and centered mostly around music and navigation.  You can also answer calls and get notifications via phone speaker or headphones.  There is no sound that comes from the actual jacket itself, only blinking light on the cuff tag which lets you know if you have any notifications or calls.  There’s also a counter for keeping track of, well, whatever the hell you like, and a voice to tell you the time.

Oh, and you can customise the light and haptics too, so the jacket will ping you when select contacts (up to three at a time…so that you can keep you can keep your focus on the road) are trying to get hold of you.

So, what’s the big deal?  That’s the BIG question.  Unfortunately, we are handed an Apollo in the age of the Orion with a failure to launch into new and unknown intergalactic frontiers.  Jacquard just doesn’t do enough yet.  Especially for the asking price of a hefty $350.  Although, nowadays, $350 might not seem too ludicrously expensive in the market of high-end denim jackets.  And as for the dedicated techie, if you can go out and buy Levi’s non-smart equivalent for $200 less, you can start weighing up the value of this added technology.  Otherwise, you can probably buy a really nice jacket and several other items, including other individual accessories that do exactly the same things that you can place ergonomically on your body and bike for cheaper.

So, you may now ask me what did I find interesting about this particular item?

Well, here are the two kickers that drew me in to writing about this particular item in the first place.

#1: The jacket can only be washed 10 times in its entire lifespan.

WOW, did that really just make me crumple up that paycheck and throw it in the trash of mostly useless junk…..or what?  That’s a very good thing to reveal to your potential buyers ahead of time, I may add!  That is definitely the stuff I need to know before I buy.

#2: Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh said he’d never washed his jeans, and believes that’s the best way of maintaining quality.

Really?!?  A CEO of a HUGE name brand in fashion who never washes his clothes?  That’s not only really disgusting, but also not a good way to promote your clothing.  It doesn’t make it excusable that you can only wash the jacket 10 times, so you might as well be a grimy, smelly, scummy person and make no effort to better your appearance.  GROSS!!!!!

Interesting stuff, eh?  Come back again for other interesting facts about smart tech, fashion, and the figures who surround it.

Smart Tech for Fitness

Smart Tech for Fitness

Saturday, April 28, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

 

Smart Tech for Fitness

Smart clothes are the next step beyond wearables.  Although smartphones and smartwatches are becoming increasingly handy in the technology of exercise training, there still remains certain aspects of the body that need to be measured with technology that works directly with the body or in combination with your smart device.

So far there are already items of smart clothing available including t-shirts that measure biometrics and bras that adapt to support in certain situations. But there’s even more continually arriving on the horizon.

Here are some of the best smart clothes so you know what’s available, what’s coming, what you can use with the smart devices you already have, and how clothes can enhance your health.

A heart rate monitor built into a sports bra could be the ultimate simplicity in the path from sports clothes to smart clothes. The result should be a comfortable top that offers support as well as an ability to share heart rate data with a connected device. Coupled with the app this will train the wearer in their own heart rate zones, that adapt to fitness, creating a perfect push while still offering encouragement through success.

The MyZone Sports Bra can share data with a Bluetooth connected smartphone, smartwatches and even gym screens, meaning it can be used pretty much anywhere. It’s made from quick drying fabric, comes in three sizes and a range of colours. It was initially available in red or black, but MyZone has now added pink, yellow and aqua colours to the mix too. All versions costs £50. The heart rate monitor can be unclipped for charging after about seven months of use, as well as for washing of the bra.

The Lumo name was first associated with wearables that help posture. Now that smart body tracking has been put into a small sensor that you clip to the back of your short or leggings, so that it’s aligned with your spine.

The Lumo Run sensor measures a whole host of running metrics, including cadence, bounce, braking, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop. You can use it with or without a smartphone to hand and in either case, will sync your running data to the companion app. It gives you feedback on your form, both visually via the app and audibly through connected headphones and can offer personalised exercises based on your data.

The Lumo Run is available for $100.

The LikeAGlove leggings intelligently measure a wearer’s shape so they can shop for the ideal sized clothes. Not only do the leggings find all the perfect measurements but they work, via Bluetooth, with the app to filter clothing options down to those that are available in the wearer’s size.

The idea is to make shopping for clothes easier by getting the correct size every time, something which isn’t always easy online when you can’t try items on in the shop first.

LikeAGlove leggings are available now for $80.

Athos is at the forefront of smart wearable clothing. The Athos shirt and shorts are tight fitting sensor filled garments capable of detecting heart rate, breathing rate and even muscle activity thanks to EMG sensors.

The Athos line features a small core which works with the sensors to deliver data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. This 20g gadget slips into a pocket on the top of shorts and lasts 10 hours on a charge. But it’s not just for sending information it also features a 6-axis accelerometer for measuring movement as you workout.

These types of clothing are going to be brilliant for muscle focused gym workouts where recording anything more than heart rate, which isn’t that helpful for weights, has previously been reserved for professional athletes.

Athos caters for both men and women and the entire range of clothing can be found on the Athos website. 

The Hexoskin smart shirt, made with Italian textiles, is able to track the wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate and volume, steps with cadence and calories and even sleep. It uses a small device that slips into a pouch on the shirt. It connects via Bluetooth to iOS and Android devices.

Hexoskin’s second generation now works with third party apps like Strava, RunKeeper and Endomondo. It’s also got an extended battery life that can last up to 30 hours.

The Hexoskin is available in short and long sleeved versions for men and women. The shirt with device and cable is available to buy now for $399 which is about £255.

The Bionic Bra is still in development at the University of Wollongong in Australia. But the end result will be a smart bra that can offer support when needed and loosen for comfort at other times.

The Bionic Bra is able to tighten and loosen automatically allowing it to offer more support or breath room to suit the wearer. The result should be consistent comfort with support during sport, like running. It sounds like the bra is either tight, offering support during sport, or loose when the wearer is out relaxing, meaning it can be worn constantly. We wonder how many girls actually leave their sweaty sports bras on after training though.

The technology is still in development so don’t expect to see this too soon.

Adidas, sponsoring the Team GB cyclists in 2012, came up with its heated trousers. These tailor made, battery powered trousers heat up in order to warm the legs of the athletes ahead of exercise.  Heated trouser, or “Hotpants” as they were dubbed, allowed muscles to reach an efficient 38 degress Celsius. This meant less time warming up so they could save their energy for the competition.

We doubt these particular trousers will make it onto the market for non-professional athletes anytime soon but something similar may arrive in smart clothes in the near future.