On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on macOS. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.
Mac OS Archive

Does everybody know that you can do calculator actions directly in Spotlight in Leopard?

Spotlight Calculator

I use it for arithmetic, but it will do most scientific functions if you know the syntax. Trig functions are intuitive, but others (pow(x,y) for xy instead of x^y) are less so to me. As usual, intuitiveness is in inverse proportion to the need to know syntax. Search Calculator's help for 'abbreviations' to see a complete list of functions.

What? I know how to open a file! Jeez!

OK. Just in case:

Always open AC files via right click -> Open With or by dragging the file to requisite AC icon on the dock. I do the dock thing; I'm just not a context menu person usually.

Most important, don't double-click PLNs. Double-clicking will only give consistent, predictable results if you have exactly one copy of AC on your machine.

When you install a new version of AC, as you soon will in the form of 11, that version becomes the default application for opening PLNs. So you double-click your AC10 project, it opens in 11, you don't notice the difference because there isn't much, you save it, and next time you try to open it in 10 it doesn't work. (Yes, backsave. Real convenient.)

Always keep current versions of AC on the dock. Even if you use the right-click method, the dock gives you visual confirmation that the right application is being used.

Graphisoft gives poor support in this area, by making the icons identical and naming each version, precisely, "Archicad".

Double-clicking files is one of those 'automatic' things that's great if you can trust it, but when it's not predictable it makes trouble. It's not just AC either, recently my .docs started opening in Pages for some reason.

What about that 'Change All' under Open With in the Get Info window? That fixed my .doc issue, but it doesn't reliably assign the right 'Archicad' version.

So, right-click or dock. If you have a bad habit here, change it now before 11 starts getting on your nerves.

Update re app icons: Mr. Briggs to the rescue.

11 Icon

We have had a handful of cases where Archicad autosave recovery has failed when it should have succeeded. We have also had cases of human error where the autosave never had a chance.

Since Archicad deletes the autosave data once it decides (right or wrong) that it's not needed, you don't get a second chance.

Unless you routinely back up the autosave folders.


Did you know? Cmd+` (the key above tab) switches windows within the current application. Pairs nicely with Cmd+tab for switching apps.

The MacBook Pro finally came. I knew it would be much faster than the 1.67Ghz G4 it is replacing. Well, I thought I knew.

Far be it from me to actually try benchmarking that anyone else could use. It's all relative anyway, so let's look at the relatives:

I timed an update of a 3D perspective view placed in a layout. (Who knew views would be so helpful for benchmarking? None of this setting and fiddling business, because all the settings are in the view. Very convenient.) The model is pretty hairy and the fills are on.

First, I would normally only update this drawing on the PowerMac G5. That's a quad 2.5Ghz, 3GB RAM. The update takes a way tolerable 2:28.

The old PowerBook. (Not that old. 16 months. The last, best PB.) 1.5GB RAM. I know full well that a G4 is not up to the task, especially in 10. Not that you can't work; you just need to be tactical. Always marquee the 3D window. Turn all the fills off. Refrain from generating full building sections. Things like that. It takes a different mindset, but you can still be productive.

I would never generate such a view on the PB unless absolutely necessary. I'm fairly sure I never updated this particular drawing on that machine. Still, I was quite surprised at the result, a truly pitiful 6:26. (Moment of silence.)

Yeah, I need a new computer. That's why I bought one. This is the 2.33Ghz Core2 Duo, 2GB RAM.

First I tried the PPC Archicad 10, which runs under the Rosetta emulation layer. As with any emulation, expect a performance cost. (In real life, I'll need to run 10 in this way for a while, because the Universal Wibu driver breaks AC9. I don't use 9, but I need to maintain libraries in it.) The 'wrong' AC10 updates the drawing in 2:08.

So this here portable is more than 10% faster than my 1-year-old G5. In emulation.

Swap out the Wibu driver and really go for it. In the properly-compiled AC10, 1:06. Twice as fast as the G5, almost six times as fast as the G4 PowerBook. Holy @#$%.

This is how to install the large format printer. Installing other printers is similar in some respects.


Perhaps you noticed that Apple has finally released a multi-button pointing device, the Mighty Mouse. (I assume the trademark issues are all worked out.) Apparently, the next new Mac you get, maybe you won't just throw the mouse away. What a concept.

Being a booster/shareholder/zealot, I got one. It's really quite nice. Soon I'll need another one. Then I can dismiss two Microsoft mice; progress.

Archicad users beware, though. That's you, right? The mouse works fine in AC out of the box. Scroll-zooming is a pleasure, and the horizontal scrolling works in all other apps. The software that comes with the mouse should be avoided. The driver breaks scroll-button-panning in AC. If you haven't recently had the alternate lifestyle experience of broken scroll-button-panning, take it from me, it's hell.

Worse, uninstalling the driver is, as of this writing, not realistic. I had quite a battle to get the mouse behavior back the way it was pre-MM.

So you are warned: Get the mouse, but leave the CD in the box.

If it hasn't already, your Software Update will soon offer you to update to OS X 10.3.9. You can go ahead and do this.

The only possible glitch I have heard of is Java apps misbehaving in Safari, or Safari failing to launch. If you observe any weirdness in Safari, re-install the "2005-002" security update. It is available at 3 Resources : Mac OS Files : SecUpd2005-002Pan.pkg. Apple has a page on the issue.

Incidentally, this is likely the last update to Panther before OS X 10.4 ("Tiger") is released at the end of the month. That is a major update and we will handle it as wait-and-see.

Quicksilver is a "launcher", but it does much more than launch applications. It figures out everything about your computer, then hooks everything together so you can perform actions in an intuitive manner. It knows your files, your songs, your address book. You can find a file, say mail it, find the recipient, and done. No Finder, no dragging, no Open dialog.

I've had it for one day, so I'm no expert. Here's 3 links.

It's free. It's in beta, so you'll might hit a bug, although I haven't. It will also tell you to update every once in a while, which you should do.

It also offers a simple way to run multiple sessions of Archicad.

This is how to install our gigantic new plotter. Installing other printers is similar in some respects.

System Preferences, Print & Fax, Set Up Printers.

Click "Add".

At the top, select "IP Printing"

Printer Type: LPD/LPR

Printer Address:

Queue Name: WINPRINT (Case sensitive)

Printer Model: Other...

Navigate to 3 Resources : Printers : RW470 : RW-470.ppd



If the settings look like this, click Add.

The new printer should appear as "WINPRINT on". This is also the name you will see in Page Setup. It will be the default, unless you want to make another printer the default. (If so, select it and click "Make Default".)

Don't forget to do page setup in PlotMaker:

Go to File -> Page Setup. (Not Plot Setup!) At "Format For", select "WINPRINT". Select the Paper Size from the next pulldown. 18x24 is ARC C. 24x36 is ARC D. 30x42 is 30X42, not ARC E.

If you don't see 30X42, make sure you got the ppd file from the RW470 folder, nowhere else.

No, that's not all there is to it.

Repair Permissions.

This is recommended for lots of issues, and it's at least partially voodoo. But it worked for me.

This is one of the stock OS X troubleshooting tips. It does actually solve some problems, and it doesn't do any harm.

Open the Disk Utility application in Applications : Utilities.

Select your hard disk name in the left panel. Select the First Aid tab in the right panel. Click the Repair Permissions button at the bottom.

It will take about 5 minutes, depending on the size of the disk. When the repair finishes, quit Disk Utility and restart the machine.