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About Jonnoxx

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  1. Jonnoxx

    Real Time Ray Tracing in X13

    Anyone had a sideways look at Andrew Peel's continually improving Home Builder software in Blender? Seems a really promising work-in-progress by a really accomplished guy. Would be keen to hear the opinions of the experts here on Andrew's stuff. I'm blown away by all the upcoming hardware and software developments coming now from ALL the vendors. Seems like a new Golden age of computing! Beginning to feel like a little kid about to be let loose in the sweetshop all over again! Come April next year, I'm finally going to spring for a whole new system, and reward myself with the works. Since I last did this yonks ago, I've fallen way behind in my PC hardware/software knowledge, and who does what best, and where the price/capability sweetspot is ... There is now so much new stuff to get one's head around first. And then something new and better starts emerging on the horizon. Like surfing the waves ... wait! ... wait ! ... the one coming behind is BIGGER!!! A real moving target ...
  2. Jonnoxx

    Things we take for granted in Chief Architect.

    Could not agree more! My feelings EXACTLY ! Building software has a lot in common with "modifying buildings" The better and more robust the original design conception, the more you can continually modify and adapt it later. But eventually there comes a stage in EVERY building's life where the design and subsequent modifications - however brilliant they were in the beginning - have outlived their good stuff, and instead become so outdated and "difficult to change" that its a hindrance to future development. At that point, the best option is to bring in the bulldozers. and erase the whole lot. And start afresh with new ideas from a clean sheet and a fresh plot. And so the cycle begins again. By this time you can often do better with a new team of designers, who do not have to be defensive of the past, and can think afresh. The "old team" too often have run out of steam (fresh ideas and the energy and will to implement them!) and will will too often tend to merely reproduce the "same old, same old" but with a different coat of paint. It's human nature - nothing wrong with the team per se. Complacency slips in on every project . The more successful a project, the more insidiously it creeps in on the future. The solution to product complacency is to anticipate this eventuality and FORCEFULLY plan for REGULAR renewal as a matter of routine. Not too many companies do this. Or do it properly or aggressively enough. Or even want to do it. And the history books are littered with the procrastinators who left it too late. Both Autocad and ProEngineer were handed their backside by the upstart SOLIDWORKS, and are now fighting a rearguard action to convince the market they still have relevance in the Mechanical CAD field. But there are shining examples of those that get this process right. Number one in my book is Microsoft, whose continual reinvention of Windows from MS-DOS through Windows, then Windows NT through WIN 7, and now to WIN 10 is the stuff of corporate legend - enduring courage, vision and grit, in the face of huge risks and disastrous execution errors. But just imagine if Bill Gates had said ...."we made our success on the back of MS-DOS ... no good reason to change now ... that's the platform we're going to stick with. Microsoft would have become just a footnote in the history books! Other industries where "renewal is a constant that must be embraced" is the defense industry. There are no 2nd or 3rd prizes for the procrastinators in this field! But I digress ... I think CA is on the right track, but it does seem they're none too keen on contemplating a major UI overhaul. They need to plan for a major re-write of the software on a regular 10 year-basis. There STILL needs a LOT more energy put into the UI - especially when it comes to easily and visibly setting out floor and terrain levels. I think it would be helpful to see CA run a constantly visible and publicly updated list on this forum of the following (that any and everybody can contribute to): 1. The TOP 10 New Features users would like to see (and yes, if some competitor has a better idea or way of doing stuff, then implement that too) 2. The TOP10 Irritations that users would like fixed ASAP (these are not bugs - but design or ease-of-use flaws that annoy on a regular basis) 3. The TOP 10 Bugs that need fixing like yesterday. Every year's new release of CA should be based DIRECTLY on the above list. Ahh! One can but dream of this Nirvana the next time one suffers desk-pounding frustration at the hands of programmers who are far removed from the daily struggles of the actual users!
  3. Thanks for sharing that, Richard! Some very good, common sense advice there. +1 to you!
  4. Jonnoxx

    joist floor to stemwalls with slab on grade

    I always rest a slab on a ledge. Never just butt it up against a wall - 10 years later and highly likely slab will have sunk, and then it becomes a very expensive fix. Don't ask me how I learned this.
  5. Thanks for injecting a voice of reason and sanity into this topic, Lew! (+1 to you!) CAD software and computer architecture is a dynamic and rapidly changing field. What was a programming triumph years ago is now regarded as passe. Any program that now dares boast of "wireframe" views as its top graphical accomplishment is toast, and will go the way of Wordperfect and Lotus 123, as Parkwest noted. It is becoming ever easier for programmers to write ever more intelligent algorithms that make it easy for relatively unskilled persons to perform ever more complex work in fields they were previously not adept at. So mere "builders" can now produce complete sets of competent house plans that can adequately compete with professional architects in the lower residential market. This trend will only continue ... to the point where it will become the norm that the retail client will be able to produce his own set of drawings without any external input, and shop this around to the builders and tradesmen for a quote to "produce". CA is a very prominent influence in this trend, and many on this forum - by their own admission - owe their livelihood to CA for this very ability. My point is that anybody in business for themselves NEEDS to keep an eye on the competition. If you are a builder, you surely keep an eye on what your fellow building competitors are doing in your neck of the woods. If you spot that another builder uses a neat technique for getting something done, you quickly learn to do the SAME. If your competitor is walking away with all the jobs that you also quoted for because of some smart conceptual presentation made easy by a user-friendly CAD program, then you are going to want to do the same. It is both natural. And foolish not to do so. And if you have invested in expensive CAD software, then it is in your OWN interests that you CONSTANTLY pressure your CAD vendor of choice to DO THE SAME! The first step in doing so is to always be checking what is better in other competing programs, and INSISTING that your current program of choice incorporate those improvements also. ASAP. The more a company actively addresses user-experienced irritations within its own programs, the better it becomes. Yes, CA can take a hint And oh yes, so can every other CAD vendor out there as well, but they can worry about that on their own forums! When a company refuses to even acknowledge this customer frustration, then that has to be a MAJOR warning sign. There is NO reward for being loyal to any program. Loyalty only breeds vendor complacency and smugness - which NEVER works out well for EITHER the customers OR the vendors in the end (eg Wordperfect and lotus 123).
  6. Jonnoxx

    Construction Docs Development

    Thank you for your generosity sharing your awesome drawings, Joey. You are a STAR (+1 to you)!
  7. Jonnoxx

    Construction Docs Development

    Wow! Thanks for that really instructive and useful tip (+1 to you!). Joey Martin's drawings are a Master-Class of helpful instruction and presentation to the builder / trades
  8. Jonnoxx


    Totally agree! CA's training videos are really excellent - especially the new ones for X8. The lady giving these is obviously very knowledgeable and confident with the software, and has a really nice tone and way of explaining and helpfully suggesting good practices and useful points. Having Ms Awsome spend an hour (or two?) just on the SINGLE subject of setting floor heights, and covering all the construction-types of floors and wall intersections (esp upper concrete floors and brick walls on 2nd and 3rd etc) without the rest of the house structure suddenly springing out of kilter, could be one of the most valuable EVER for the newbies. And then go through analyzing as many examples of bad problems that users can inadvertently create for themselves - and (the most important part) how to quickly fix 'em. For an example, the problem given recently by ecampos under Foundation and Terrain in the Chatroom, and the really simple and very insightful solution by glennw Seems an absolute no-brainer. Strong hint to CA - Can you organize this video ASAP? Like yesterday next week??
  9. Jonnoxx


    Thanks for your comments, Perry. I certainly take your points. I'm very glad that CA works so well for you, and that you enjoy a closer relationship with Greg Wells than most of us plebs will ever get. I totally agree that one should not try to change the unique spirit of what makes CA so special. And one of those things is definitely the vibrant spirit of helpfulness and enthusiasm that one finds on this forum. Guys like you (and there are too MANY others to list here now - but we know who you are! ) make a HUGE contribution to the CA community in this regard, and are MUCH appreciated! May you (all) have a wonderful year ahead in 2017, and may all our dreams come true sooner, rather than later.
  10. Jonnoxx


    Buying and using a product (most any product) is SELDOM a "simple business transaction". People buy products based on MORE than what they can immediately evaluate. They ALSO buy (and usually very largely so!) on the sales promises and given or implied marketing expectations. These "promises and expectations" are frequently greatly embellished by the vendor for their own (the vendor's) advantage (read "promise the world to the suckers" without any real intention on delivering it). The buyer is seldom in a position to properly evaluate the deal he THINKS he's getting - until AFTER the transaction. In some cases, only LONG after the transaction closed. This is particularly so the more complicated or sophisticated the product is. For example, where the User will have a long-term relationship using the product; where the User is dependent in some critical way on the product performing to his expectation (eg his livelihood depends on it); where the User is in an unequal situation (usually subservient) where he needs the capability, but does not have the skills to make or alter the product himself to his own satisfaction. In these transactions, the customer may well not be a direct shareholder, but he is definitely a STAKEHOLDER in the outcome, and as such is most certainly entitled to express an opinion. I am aghast at this passive and ultimately self-defeating opinion ("... it's not my business to say"). That attitude just BEGS to get shafted. And royally so. Customers making excuses for their suppliers' behavior NEVER works out well for the peasants: Enron? Volkswagen? Wells Fargo? Bernie Madoff? Politicians??? What do you think would have happened to that flight this week in Indonesia with the drunk pilot if the passengers had not vigorously protested (Do you really think the buyers of plane tickets should just have bowed down to the management excuses ("STFU passengers, this plane belongs to us and WE decide what is good for you - NOT you??) It is in the nature of lazy executives to eventually take advantage of passive loyal consumers, and throw them breadcrumbs instead of real value. There's no need to make excuses for Greg Wells. He's a big boy, It's time for him to come out of the cockpit and speak directly to the passengers. He can do that easily on this forum. He knows where we are.
  11. Jonnoxx


    @HumbleChief @Facer_03 Thanks for your comments, and I do take your points. It's up to CA to 'splain themselves now. I've said my say.
  12. Jonnoxx


    Nope! You've got it completely the wrong way round. It is the CEO that should be showing "respect" for his customers. And he does that by RESPONDING to their requests and complaints. IGNORING simple, valid and fundamental requests for more than TWENTY years from a knowledgeable and enthusiastic customer base? Absolutely NOT ON! The coming X9 release appears to be wholly UNDERWHELMING. It would pass (maybe) as an interim point improvement. Or if this inconsequential fluff was bundled ALONG with REAL product improvements. But THIS fluff, as the WHOLE product update that one should get excited about? Come on! Who, in planning this X9 release, decided THIS was what should be TOP of the list? Who was the person who decided that TWENTY-year valid complaints would get to be IGNORED for yet ANOTHER year? And that the available programmers should rather work on inconsequential stuff INSTEAD? Who decided these priorities? THAT person(s) needs to be held to account for these seemingly poor decisions and priorities. I am well aware that there is a limited budget. There always is. Nobody is asking for instant perfection, but one definitely wants to see the roadmap, and be assured that the best interests of the customers are being resolutely and speedily attended to. The germane issue is whether the development budget has been WISELY spent. IMO, the so far released details of X9 raise a HUGE question mark on these issues. And if that is indeed so, then Mr Wells (CEO of CA) has some 'splaining to do. The more blind "trust" loyal customers give to companies, the MORE likely that trust and loyalty is simply taken for granted. And in the worst-case scenario, even abused. Genuflecting before the executive priesthood seldom ends well for blind loyalty. For an outrageously extreme example of the dangers of blind loyalty remember Bernie Madoff's loyal customers who got well and truly shafted Please don't misunderstand me. To your point, I think CA is a really, really good program, and the programmers are indeed top-notch. And I applaud CA for the good work they have done. The training videos and support for example, including THIS forum and the people on it are - far away - the VERY BEST in the industry, and IMO set the gold standard for this aspect (Archicad and the rest at Nemetschek, can take note!).
  13. Jonnoxx


    Completely agree! CA has the potential to put the other architectural programs on notice - if only CA would get with the enthusiasm for being the very best they CAN be. I get that their self-defined market niche is the small residential builder. And I get that it would be a big mistake to try and be everything to everybody. I'm NOT asking for that. But it seems to me that "sticking to the defined market niche" is being used as a disingenuous and lazy excuse to avoid essential and - to my point - ultimately hugely beneficial product improvements that would make EVERYBODY happy.
  14. Jonnoxx


    Dream on! Apparently will NEVER happen if we pay attention to the actual experiences of the old hands - who, over >20 YEARS (when is long enough, past long enough??) , are seemingly continually fobbed off with lame excuses and thrown breadcrumbs of inconsequential fluff, instead of real WANTED improvements. @facer_03 I completely agree with your assessment of the situation, and especially the list of CA's strategic weaknesses. Spot on! IMO, Revit has the absolute worst user-interface imaginable, but continues to get away with this deficiency (a design relic from the past when this WAS the acceptable UI standard) because the capabilities of Revit are simply still quite awesome, and the underlying logic of using the program is actually quite logical once you can remember which buttons to push where. Sort of like climbing into an old-style 747 cockpit for the first time, and being bedazzled by the plethora of buttons, lights, dials and levers. Once you know your way around aircraft cockpits, you soon see that there is a sort of universal design convention applicable to all. It doesn't help when cockpit designers stray off these conventions for their own eccentric and not very good reasons (my problem with CA). By contrast, there clearly seems to be a wind of welcome change sweeping through Autodesk. They are leaving AutoCAD pretty much alone (the old-school die-hard adherents always actively resist change. Sigh!). Instead, Autodesk are clearly deploying major shake-ups in their CAD line by developing fresh new products which are clearly being positioned to ultimately challenge their old-style products. I'm mightily impressed with FUSION and INFRAWORKS, for example. Wonderful, easy to use, and responsive interfaces. And the ADESK development teams are ACTIVELY seeking out User feedback, GENUINELY listening to it, and IMPLEMENTING it as fast as they can. It is only a matter of time before these fantastic interfaces morph into full-fledged replacements for Civil 3D. Hopefully the same also happens to Revit. In the end, when a company (ANY company) develops an intransigent attitude towards AGGRESSIVE self-improvement of its product for the customer benefit and loses its enthusiasm to ACTIVELY engage with its customers (and potential customers) on the priorities thereof, this has to be an ominous warning sign in the management suite. These problems almost always are DIRECT symptoms of the PERSONAL attitudes of the key executives in the C-suite. Microsoft had the same problem. Swop Balmer out and put Nadella in, and what a breath of fresh air! Microsoft has been rejuvenated and has regained its old mojo, and is back on a tear. It seems the same thing needs to happen at CA? You are right. I can only watch from the sidelines. What do you think, Greg Wells?
  15. Jonnoxx


    I agree. A few slight tweaks could effect MAJOR improvements. And it would be equally simple to change the paradigm to control heights UP from the floor, and NOT down from the ceiling. Hardly the scary change to existing users. And New Users would just walk in without ANY of the hassles they currently NEEDLESSLY have to suffer. I like the section diagram in the dbx. Change should be entered DIRECTLY into the diagram itself. (not into a field called"F", and then you have to look where "F" is).