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Showing posts from April, 2011

FermaNext : Open Source structural Analysis (and failed attempt to compile it on OSX)

FermaNext ( ) is an Open Source stuctural Analysis software for Windows and Linux. Ferma is a free educational CAD software for truss units analysis. It is grounded on the construction conception and designed for finite element calculation and optimization of 2D truss structural units. Struggling with OSX compilation After re-installing the Qt SDK (Qt 4.7.2 for Mac) recently, I made an attempt to recompile this software from the provided sources, as there was only a Windows and a Linux version prepared. Unfortunately, this is quite complex because of dependencies and non up-to-date packages... I failed. But got reasonably close. Qt Creator read the Pro-files and created a full project structure. But the dependencies were harder: expat (sources for this XML parser are included) did not compile, as it only contained some hints for Mac OS Classic. I added an "__APPLE__" directive to at least get through with it. Anti-Grain-Geometr

SolidThinking Design Competition

As read in a tweet from Architosh, SolidThinking is launching a design competition for students. You get a temporary free license if you participate (expires end of November 2011, Windows & OSX). You can design "any" object that solves a problem. Quite open, but good for creative people. Information on

Finite Element Analysis? Any hints?

While I have taken a course on the Finite Element Method during my "master of engineering: architecture", I have never used this in practice, so it has faded considerably over the years. Since performance simulation and Building Information Modeling go hand in hand, I want to reload some of that knowledge. So I have been looking for some software tools to connect to a digital design workflow. So far, it is cloudy... but I want to share some of it here. There are as many approaches as there are engineering problems ... structural mechanics, acoustics, heat transfer and energy, ... They all can apply these methods. Most software seems to focus on one approach. It's a Windows world . Face it, most engineers work on Windows. Some of them use Linux. Most of them ignore Macs. So most engineering software is Windows-only. Most systems are commercial . Some Open Source systems are really open in the sense that they can be used as libraries to create a custom solution. This

From tenlinks: Autodesk Offers UK BIM Survey Report

Apr 14 - Autodesk Offers UK BIM Survey Report While reports on a topic such as BIM by Autodesk can seem not entirely neutral, it is interesting nonetheless to read how BIM is evolving and is getting more and more accepted as the way of working in the future. This time, more than 50% of people reported to be using BIM, which is quite high, when comparing to numbers I hear from local resellers in our Flemish region (where the number looks more like 15 to 20%). "Over 100 delegates were surveyed at Autodesk BIM conferences in London, Munich and Milan towards the end of last year." Well, speaking about statistics, if you are asking amongst people already interested and involved with BIM, this high number is to be expected. "Interestingly, across all three, “resistance to change in culture” was cited as the biggest barrier to BIM adoption" That is also logical. Changing old habits is hard and takes a long time.

Slingshot for Grasshopper

As a reader of the blog/ tweets from Andrea Graziano , I was informed about " Slingshot ". This is an approach to model and coordinate design information in different software environments. In this case, MySQL and Grasshopper are linked, which could be really useful when put in a wider perspective. So far, I haven't dived too deep into Grasshopper, but there are reasons for that: it's a moving target (it is still in continuous update mode); it does not work in OSX. Booting Windows 7 in Parallels is feasible, but I'm avoiding it more and more; it is disconnected from work done in BIM software (ArchiCAD in my case); I don't see it perform into a complete design product, more like sub-parts of it. I could be wrong. At least, this shows that people are exploring ways to go beyond a single application/implementation. Capturing design intent into a readable, reusable and explorable way is what really makes computing and software a part of the design proces

Amiproject : creating MS Project files directly in a browser?

I got a nice link as a comment on one of my twitter posts (about GanttProject Open Source software , with which I was struggling). AmiProject ( is quite similar to MS Project for creating project planning. It works directly inside a browser and can save the result as an MS Project file. I don't have MS Project (anymore) so I haven't tried to load the result. The Gantt-view is read-only, so you have to edit all in the table on the left. One thing that bother me a bit is that is often not trivial or even impossible to configure this to e.g. European date-notation (e.g. 16/3/2011 instead of 3/16/2011). Not sure if I could change this here.