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At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. 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.
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Jetty panorama


I am a Field Notes fan. They make awesome versions of a completely ordinary product: disposable pocket size notebooks of the type that would be given out as marketing by midwest farm/feed and hardware shops in the mid to late-mid 20th century. They make books in a different style every 3 months. If you subscribe, you get the new designs each season along with surprises. This May, a surprise was, they made a final exam type 'blue book', which you may remember from some phase of school.


I went to a preppy middle/high school for some years and my earliest memory of these books is from 8th or 9th grade.

Along with the books, which are 3x better executed than any blue book I have ever seen in the wild, comes a challenge/assignment/contest:

"Using one of the enclosed Blue Books, please submit a written essay relating a notable dramatic or humorous event that happened while you were in elementary or high school." And they list grading criteria including penmanship (in all caps), which I blame for my loss.

As we used to say in architecture school, I went around the program. This is not a memorable story from whenever, but it is a good idea IMO, and when you have an idea you should follow through with it. It is below the fold, and yes I wrote this out longhand and put it in an envelope with a stamp.


Adam Savage is a huge fan of The Shining. In homage, he built a replica of the Overlook Hotel's hedge maze model which is so awesome that... well, watch the video. I am a huge fan of The Shining, and of Adam Savage. In homage, I made this Archicad model of the Savage replica.

Maze 3D

I used much less time, material, and skill, but I followed a similar process to that shown in the video: Figure out the grid, figure out the scale, obsess over screenshots, find good materials, and don't let it go even as it takes longer than it should.

While Adam makes clear that his model is a replica of the (prop) model inside the hotel, not a model of the maze itself (which likely does not 'exist'), my model is roughly 50:1 scale with the replica, restoring it to 'real life' scale, based on the discussion in the video.

So this is a virtual model based on a video of a real replica of a lost real model of a likely unreal maze from a movie. (No, the maze isn't in the book IIRC.)

If you want a "model" of the maze, i.e., a miniature replica at 1:50 scale, suitable for modeling the Overlook itself, you can save the whole thing as an object and then shrink it. Use the saved view called 'Top View', select all elements, then File -> Libraries and Objects -> Save Selection As... -> Object. When placing the object, link the XYZ dimensions with the chain button and set the length to about 8 feet / 2.5m. Put it on a table.

Here is the PLA file (8MB). Here is the desktop BIMx file (4MB). Here is the Graphisoft BIMx viewer page. Here is an STL file (1.3MB).

Marco "Tumblr, Instapaper" Arment tells Dan Benjamin:

One of the reasons many of us...love Apple products is because they think about a lot of the details that a lot of other manufacturers don't, in both hardware and software. And it's those little details that a lot of people think don't matter, or aren't worth the time and money to get right, that add up to a really great experience and goodwill from your users. So that's always been a high priority for me, to try and get all the details right.... Even if somebody has never run into something, I'm still happy it's there, because for the few people who do run into it, it makes them a little bit happier. If you look at a lot of the features of luxury cars, for instance, they're features that most people won't ever use. And they accidentally discover it sometime, they're just a little bit delighted by that.... And if we can do that same thing in software by providing these little delights to users, or by smoothing over a few rough edges that they should never have to see, that adds up to a significantly better product than one made by a firm that doesn't really care about those details.

I find less irritating tools to be less irritating.

Surface Map of Pluto

It is awful to hear that David Foster Wallace has apparently taken his own life. Really not happy with that. I don't have anything constructive. If you like reading and you haven't read Infinite Jest, you should. There's an investment of time and attention (about a kilo), but it's the best novel that I know of. The cover copy says it's a comedy but, though there's a lot of funny in it, it's ultimately sad. It will be sadder going forward. His sober-gonzo travelogue reporting is all-funny, see the essay collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, especially the title track. Hmm, that title has suddenly gotten a little weightier.

He was raised on literary and general cultural irony but concluded that the ironic position risked disengagement from the reader and isolation from reality. Which reality might be painful. Which pain might be Too Much.

Empty Quarter
Earth and Moon from Mars
Mississippi River Delta
Shrimp Trawlers

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