Tuesday 5 January 2010

the last 10 years Part 3

Technology and software are the tools of the trade.... well actually knowledge is properly more important that both of them. Anyway a lot of development has taken place over the last 10 years. Email and internet were starting to be more widely used back in 2000; as were mobile phones.

However having a camera on a mobile phone was something not too common in 2000 nor was the practice of sending sms messages to clients. Even digital camera’s were not too the plentiful and very expensive and nowhere near as advanced as they are today. It was not until early 2002 before we in the office got our first digital camera as far as I remember. That camera was 1.5 m pixels, most of the camera on today mobile phones are superior. As for computers, they seem to be getting cheaper and more powerful and smaller all the time, its worth noting that mobile phones of today have as much memory as the common PC of 2000.

Of course other technology has become more readily available, things like thermal imaging cameras, blower doors for air tightness use to demonstrate compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations. Costs of that type of equipment, were extremely expensive even by today’s standards. Even survey equipment has advanced, as has GPS. not too many people had the satnav back in 2000 to find a townland or address (some might argue that the satnav isn't of much assistance in Ireland today as it is)

The internet has become an externally important and useful piece of technology, from searching for details of products to obtaining the latest legislation to checking information regarding planning applications. It’s also great for sourcing software, whether looking for software to determine u-values or size a soakway, it can be found on the net, you might have to pay for it but at least you can source it. There’s hardly a day that goes by where I don’t use the internet or lets be honest Google to find some piece of information. In addition the internet has become a tool for exchanging project information through applications like NBS Perspective or Autodesk's Buzzsaw. I expect that if Google Wave develops and becomes popular it will become a key tool in the coming years.

AutoCAD is still big within the industry, with Autodesk bringing out a new release every year.... No doubt to justify its subscription, something which we cannot justify in the current climate. survival is currently more important, than having the latest software. BIM software, is still somewhat in its infancy, in terms of general use here in Ireland and one has to wonder if the effects of the downturn will stunt its growth further. Autodesk’s BIM product has been Revit and in true Autodesk style, it is difficult to get used to. For 2010 I really need to make a better effort to get to grips with it, as it is the future.

However, Autodesk did produce one piece of software, which in my opinion is worthy of praise, in Impression which has been brilliant for jazzing up ordinary drawings quiet quickly. If you’ve been following my blog recently you would have seen my praises of it.

Then there's all the specialist forward used within the industry, specification writing software such as NBS Specification and Scheduler, the vaious engineering design packages and costing packages. All to assist us in our work, or make us lazy maybe?

Sometime around 2005 I can across Sketchup developed by @ Last, who was taken over by Google sometime later. For me sketchup is a great, simple to use, 3D package for developing non photorealistic images/models. It’s also great for assisting in shadow analysis studies. Yes it has limitations, but is definitely one piece of software I would want on my laptop if I were stranded on a deserted island.

Of course we are now in an age of opensoucre software is now fairly common for general use be it word processing presentations etc definitely a good thing.

So what will or can the next 10 years bring?

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