AutoCAD 2010 and 2011: Recover the menus (no menus defined error)

Recover the menus in ACA 2011 (and 2010)
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New version of AutoCAD Architecture in the office installed, and again problems with the menus, ribbon, etc. I can't say it enough times, but Ribbon is a useless tool for many of us who worked in AutoCAD for long time. But Autodesk keeps pushing it and pushing it to see if we swallow. Luckily someone is still there to rescue us.

The latest attempt to force the use of the ribbon is to not include the cui files needed to load the menus. This I have seen happening recently in a AutoCAD Architecture 2011 installation at work. On previous versions, you could recover the menus and ditch the ribbon relatively easy.

As I said, luckily there is someone there to help us. If you have the same problem, go to this link.

I already posted about this topic recently, but any way, I was so pissed with this that I wanted to do it again. The previous link basically explains the following:
  • Run the Command: RIBBONCLOSE
  • Set teh System variable MENUBAR to 1
  • If you get the message "no menus defined" download this file
  • Copy the contents to your support folder (Win XP C:\Documents and Settings\USER NAME\Application Data\Autodesk\ACA 201X\enu\Support)
  • Run the CUI command and load the partial CUIs you need (ACA_Main.cuix is the one to start with)

Problem solved! Thanks Autodesk for making so many people waste so much time...

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Book of the Month: SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization

Learn How to get the most out of SketchUp and other free tools to achieve professional quality renderings and visualizations
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June's Book of the month goes back to th previous trend of Software related books. A few weeks ago I got a copy of this great book. "SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization. Beginners Guide" and with the brief time I had to review it I can strongly recommend it.

The book is excellent for those aiming to produce architectural visualizations without willing to spend thousands in software or training lessons. From the very beginning the book states one of its main motivs "if it is not free don't waste your time with it". Following this statement the books shows you how to work smarter using free tools like SketchUp for modeling, Kerkythea for rendering and Gimp for image processing to mention just the most relevant.

To get a copy for yourself click on any of the images below to visit the publisher's site or to buy it directly on amazon.

or or

You can also take a look to a sample chapter that is available online

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BIM and SketchUp?

Could it be? Could SketchUp be the way to have 100% open stadnard BIM?
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The friends at SketchUp Ireland Blog think so and have posted an interesting list of reasons of why Google is the best placed company to help create a true Open Standard for BIM.

Check them out here.

I think this is an interesting discussion. Not only from the open standards point of viw, but also towards spreading BIM to the 99,9% of offices. SketchUp is so easy to use, that if made 100% BIM capable it would turn the transition to BIM into a matter of few months.

Of course you might argue that if SketchUp was 100% BIM capable it would be so easy to use. But let me answer that Google has surpised us before with brilliant and unexpected apps, so if they want they can do this too. Go GOOGLE!!

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Powerpoint: inserting Youtube Videos

How do you insert a youtube video into PowerPoint?
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I had to include a video in one of my Powerpoint presentations and wanted to avoid downloading it, saving it in my computer and adding it in Powerpoint. I thought "there must be a way to simply insert a youtube video". And there is.

Thanks to the tip on this webiste I found out how. It is easy, simply follow the steps:
- download the Powerpoint add-in,
- save it wherever you want to store it
- in office click the officce button and selct Powerpoint properties
- go to the Add in tab
- select Power Ponint Add-ins
- Select add new and browse to find the downloaded file

Then being in Powerpoint you will have to allow macros, and then you will see a new button on the ribbon, under the Insert tab that will say YoutubeVideo.

Of course, remember that to use this video you will need to have internet access while you are giving your presentation. If you think you'll be offline (better do this just in case to be sure) better download the youtube video using one of the many possibilities. I used and works perfectly.

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RhinoBIM: Project to turn Rhino3D into a BIM suite

Rhino jumps on the BIM wagon
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The Guys from Virtual Build Technologies and Robert McNeel Associates, have created a Joint Venture to develop a suite of tools to turn Rhino into a BIM capable program.

The only Suite published so far is the structural suite called RhinoBIM_Structure, but the ideas of the authors you can read on the Project Website are really encouraging. Making BIM more user friendly and focusing on the process optimization, not on the tool itself, i think are great assets of this project.

It is all still a "work in progress" tool, but it is definitely worth paying attention too. If the Rhino guys could just be a bit less stubborn and use the mouse wheel as all the other vendors do...or maybe tha tis too much to ask!

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Rhino in your iPad

Rhino models can now be visualised in your iPad, iPhone and iPode Touch.
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My friend Chait sent me the news about the iRhino3D app for the Apple gadgets. Although I am no fan (yet...) of these toys, and despite i started in the computer world with an Apple computer around 1988, haven't used one in almost 20 years. Nevertheless, I thought it was worth mentioning it here to see how many of you are Apple fans.

The app is available in the app store. You can find more info at the iRhino3D app website too.

SketchUp fans hold your horses! Apparently, there is no short term plan for an SU app, as I read from Google Employee John Bacus on this thread: " a port of SketchUp to the iPad would be a pretty monumental task, so it isn't something you should expect to see soon"

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Whiteboards: Digital Whiteboard for Design Review

A very cheap way to create an Interactive Whiteboard
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I've been all day looking for different options to create a sort of Project War Room feature with the intention of performing Drawing reviews digitally.

The idea is that since we are working on a high-rise tower with 40 storeys, soon there will be so many drawings to review that making it on paper will end up costing too much time. So the idea came to use a Design Review Program (I suggested Autodesk Design Review since what we will be reviewing are mainly 2D drawings) and use a big format interactive screen so different team members can markup drawings digitally. We want the process to be as similar as it would be doing it on paper, but doing it directly on the PDF files will allow us to speed up the review process a lot.

As mentioned, Autodesk Design Review is the software chosen so far (for 3D coordination and collision checks we are using Navisworks). We are still in the process of choosing the hardware that will allow us interaction with the software using fingers or virtual pens.

There are several options, from big format touch screens, to Touch Screen Overlays, Digital Whiteboards, and others. The most cost effective option is based on a project by Johnny Chung Lee, and it consists on using the Nintendo Wii Remote control (Wiimote) and an Infrared LED Pen (IR LED Pen). Although the idea didn't seem to be of the liking in the office for its sort of DIY approach, it is so cheap, that I am gonna try it for sure as soon as I have some time and I get the parts necessary. Below I am posting the video by Johnny Chung Lee describing the system. Promising!

If I manage to make it work I'll post a video of the results.

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SketchUp Plugins: Could this be the Future Grasshopper for SketchUp?

I can only imagine what this Plugin could do in the future...sort of Grasshopper for SketchUp
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Udi from ModelFunction has sent me a link to a Plugin he has released. The Plugin called ModelFunction aims to simplify the modelling when modifications of the model need to be done. If I understood it properly (I couldn't get it to run on my 64bit Windows 7) it allows to use instances linked to paths to kind of work on the "explicit history" idea similar (much more simpler for now) to what Grasshopper 3D does in Rhino. As I mentioned, I couldn't get it to work still, but there is a quick video from UDI to get a first idea of the possibilities. See it below.

The Plugin can be downloaded here. To install it simply run the .exe file. Apparently for now not compatible with mac or Windows 64 bit.

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