Monday, May 11, 2009

Little bits of increased speed make a difference

Part of my job here is to ensure that all of the users have what they need to be productive. Maybe you have a similar role in your company also, but have you ever thought that something basic in the content that you provide could actually hinder the performance of your users? This first of a series of explorations into different families. In this instance, we will examine the simple downlight since it is in just about every project in every office. What is a downlight but a hole in the ceiling, trim on the surface, a box behind and the light source. There is nothing that could be improved... or is there?

I have always questioned to myself and to others about whether the hole in the ceiling is necessary or if it could possibly create performance issues. Think about how many times you place a light, the fact that it is a curved surface within the cut and that every time you move it needs to regen the relationship between the elements. To test this theory, I created a benchmark journal test that included placing 1,500 downlights, modifying the size of the downlight opening and moving the entire set of downlights. I had (2) downlights that I used for the test, one had a hole cut in the ceiling and the other had no hole cut but another solid extrusion to add a material on the surface of the ceiling where the hole should be.

The results were interesting:
Placing 1,500 downlights - Without the hole cut, the downlights were placed 18% faster.
Modifying the downlights - The downlight tests were about equal
Move 1,500 downlights 6" - Without the hole cut, the downlights were moved 35% faster.

FYI - The results are based on the average of multiple runs after different restarts.

So maybe you think that the millisecond delays within your work do not make a difference but if you have enough of those maybe it will make a significant difference. Lets say that you actually did have a 35% inefficiency because of slower downlight movement. That would mean that you had 2.8 hours that you lost in a 8 hour day if all you were editing were downlights. That's pretty amazing. But if you have 50 users each loosing 35% productivity then you lost 140 hours worth of work in one day.

This issue alone is one of the reasons I am so cautious about letting outside content from external websites to populate our projects. Why risk the multitude of possible issues that can result of downloaded content to save an hour.

If you have an idea or a family that you would like see explored for my next post please let me know through comment or email. Even send me a family that you think is built for speed and I will see if it can be improved.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Influence the next AU

In past Autodesk University events have you ever wished that you could influence what sessions you have to choose from?  There is actually a venue to do so.  For the second year, Autodesk is allowing the AU community to vote on their favorite session options for Autodesk University 2009. Your vote will help influence what classes there are and when they are scheduled.

To vote, simply go to the AU Session Selection Page and login with your AU account info.  If you don't have one then just sign up.

The deadline is Friday, May 8th at midnight PDT.

Now that I have your interest, I would like to do some self promotion.  I have proposed four classes in an attempt to present for my first time at Autodesk University.  If you want to see any of these classes at AU please login and vote for them. Click on the names below to link to the sessions.  I hope that I can share some of this information with you at the next AU.

Learn how utilizing the API can help automate even more of your Revit process or how it can help you better manage and present the "i" of BIM. Two prominent Boston firms, Payette and TRO JungBrannen, have teamed up to present examples of how the API is being used in their offices. We will also exhibit code from a simple API to describe a basic code understanding and provide useful resources to help you manipulate the API. If you are looking to have more control over the functions and data within Revit, then this class is for you.

This lecture is intended to share the knowledge of hardware benchmarking to BIM and Revit Managers so they can help influence the decision on hardware purchases for use with Revit. This presentation will cover the results of a multitude of different hardware setups as well as provide the knowledge for each attendee to create their own internal company Revit benchmark. If you ever felt like you were making blind choices on hardware decisions then this class will give you the research and facts that you require.

The traditional way of documenting our work has been challenged by BIM but the architectural field has been stuck in the status quo of 2D documentation which is persistent and resistant. People fear change and lack the faith that something else could be better. How do you change the few Revit users within your firm from a group of individuals into a passionate tribe that can change the future of your firm? This class will explore the challenge of stepping beyond the fear of change and leading a tribe of passionate users. Can you be an effective leader?

Organization is the key to effectively dealing with hundreds of views and different phases within a project. We will explore different ways that you can pre-categorize views within the project browser and add shared parameters for additional control and organization. From there, we will examine the effect that unclean families have on a project when populated numerous times on a project. Tips and tricks will be shown on how to effectively keep your project clean, lean and running smooth. Attendees will learn the little oversights that had dramatic effects on their file performance.

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