Saturday, 28 November 2015

Life's Little Mysteries, Part 3... the story continues...

Way back in 2011, I was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma, titled, Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL). 

It was considered to be totally non-aggressive and is commonly known as "the Lazy Cancer".  As “it” was not causing me any concern or stress, it was decided that we would not interfere with it…

So we did and watch wait approach and go on with our lives...

Middle of this year, I started having "hip" issues and it turns it was a bursitis which was resolved very effectively with cortisone injection.  Shortly after that, started getting "back problems", nothing too much at first, then legs started to have "pins and needles".

Late October, I finally had some "free time" to get into my GP and get CT scan... unfortunately another large mass (5.1cm x 5.6cm x 2.2cm) was found, roughly in the middle of my back which was putting pressure on my spinal canal / nerves.

In I go for another biopsy... and again we start the waiting procedure all over again...

This time, we didn't have to wait months, but the mass has perplexed / puzzled the specialists, as it turns out the new mass has the same genetic markers and structure of my original Lymphoma.

Obviously no-one told the "new" Lymphoma, its not suppose to behave this way.  So it seems I have a misbehaving NLPHL and this time, I will require some radiation therapy  treatments in order to shrink the mass.

The story continues...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Autodesk Revit 2016 R2 Review

Once again, Autodesk have provided a subscription only mid-year release.  For the full review, refer to Redstack's blog site, where it was first posted.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

What is this "thing" called "Autodesk University"???

Autodesk University, or AU as its more commonly known by is an annual conference run by Autodesk each year, where all the biggest CAD geeks on the planet assemble and compare notes on best practices for their industries and try to outdo each other when squealing in glee over the latest updates to their favourite CAD package.  
Whether you're interested in RevitAutoCADInventorBIMCivil 3D3D printing, point clouds or anything else CAD, design, architecture or engineering related, AU is a huge show with something for everyone.
I've had the opportunity to attend AU for the past ten years and I must tell you: I have squealed with the best of them! 
Seriously, AU is a fantastic event that gives you the opportunity to look at your everyday work processes in ways you’ve never even considered.
Let me put that into perspective for you. I’ve been using CAD in excess for 30+ years now, I've been an architectural technician, building designer, and these days my focus is implementing and training people on the best ways of using CAD/BIM for a local autodesk reseller, Redstack and even I'm totally floored at the wealth of knowledge and new ideas that exist at AU.
Of course it isn't all work, the annual AUGI Beer Bust, and closing night party are both spectacular ways to unwind and network. There are exhibitors from all over the world showing off tools, plugins, and hardware to make your working life easier.
Whether you're a seasoned CAD professional or a first time attendee you will have access to a huge range of materials to improve your product knowledge and understand the benefits of moving to and expanding your use of CAD or BIM. 
There is nowhere else, where you can meet and talk to developers, designers, CAD/BIM managers as well as CEO's from some of the largest design and software firms on the planet.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if you want to a better, improved way of working for you and/or for your colleagues, the best place you can start that in my opinion is at Autodesk University. The breadth and depth of ability and experience within the attendees and speakers is phenomenal and I challenge you to come away having not learnt anything that will improve the way that you and your company do what you do. I genuinely don’t think it’s possible. I still learn something new that affects the way I work and do things every time I attend.
To help you Autodesk have put together some content which you can share with your boss so they can see the benefits of you attending Autodesk University. See convince the boss
Understandably not everyone will make it to Vegas, I will be there and would be happy to attend a class on your behalf.   See the Autodesk University schedule and contact me with your requests.
Learn more
See my  highlights from AU2014 blog post or view the AU2014 class recordings.
You can read more about AU as well as view the details and agenda for the classes, workshops, certifications, exhibition etc on the AU2015 website
Some of my fellow AUGI friends have even posted survival tips for attending AU - a must to read for all new attendees...
New Attendees to AU2015
An event not to be missed, for newcomers, is the AU Freshman Orientation 2015.  Kick off your AU Experience on the fast track.  Join Lynn Allen and others as they point out events and gatherings that should not be missed.  You will also get a preview of what’s in store for AU 2015.   Come prepared with your questions, be ready to play and network with your fellow AU freshman.
Hope to see you there…

Friday, 3 July 2015

Wine of the Week #4

Something a bit different this time around, another alternative varietal favourite of mine in ... Trincadeira is one of a number of Portuguese red wine varieties which have been introduced into Australia. In early days it was used extensively used to make a port style wine.

Rich in colour, with good acidity and rarely an excess of alcohol, Trincadeira or Tinta Amarela (if you are speaking to a Portuguese Douro producer) makes wines of serious quality when ripe.

Properly ripened, it has vibrant raspberry fruit tempered by herby, peppery, spicy, floral complexity, and it can age well.

Typically, in Australia, it is used in a blended capacity, however there are now a number of wineries producing a single varietal wine.  One of which,as mentioned is a particular favourite of mine... Patritti Wines.  Patritti was the first Australian winery to release a Trincadeira red wine under its official Portuguese varietal name. Recently their 2012 Trincadeira wine was named in the Adelaide Advertiser’s Top 10 best wines and is made from high quality fruit sourced in the Barossa.

It’s available for tasting and purchase at the Patritti Winery Cellar Door, 13 Clacton Road Dover Gardens, or purchased via the Patritti Wines online store.

Very yum indeed!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Wine of the Week #3

Torbreck 2007 Old Vines Shiraz

Another stunning Shiraz, (or as my US friends call it a "Syrah"), however this time it is from the famous Barossa Valley.  

I was pleasantly surprised with this wine as it had fantastic fruit-driven sweetness, reminiscent of a traditional home-styled Italian/European red wine. Not something that I expect from a wine from 100-year old vines.

Deep garnet red in colour with flickers of purple, the wine’s high-toned aromas of black cherries, five spice, crème de cassis and spring flowers are supported by a rich core of roasted earth, liquorice, and provençal herbs.

The palate offers a soft latent richness and silken-like texture with subtle notes of crushed cherries, plums and earth - all neatly wound by a taut spine of acidity and ripe supple tannins and fruity sweetness. Oh my god, it was Gorgeous!!!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Wine of The Week #2

Australia's most popular grape varietal, Shiraz is full-bodied with high alcohol, and vibrant berry and plum on both the nose and palate.

Some years ago I discovered the Mitolo brand and it’s was a very good surprise, indeed!!!  

Today's selection is a Mitolo 2006 Shiraz 'G.A.M.' (the initials of the Mitolo children, “Gemma, Alexander & Marco”) wine has an opaque purple-ish colour, has an aromatic array of roasted coffee, violets, lavender, pepper, Asian spices, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. 

In the mouth it is velvety-textured, deep, concentrated, opulent, and altogether hedonistic.  The focus is on McLaren Vale fruit from Willunga, which is located towards the most southern part of the district.

Thankfully I have other bottles of this vintage, as it has been suggested that it will drink well through to 2020.  It is definitely a personal favourite.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Wine of the Week...

OK I promised fellow Redstack co-worker and Blogger, Damien Jovica to write a review on this blog of a wine that I've had during the past week, usually at "Wine O'Clock, Friday afternoon... so that end, I'd like to present to you all, my first "Wine of The Week" - a glorious 2008 Symphonia Tannat.

What the heck is a Tannat, you say???  I am a big fan of Alternative varietal red wines and I found this variety some 7 years in NE Victoria.... and WOW what a stunner!!!

For the uninitiated, Tannat's homeland is the South Western area of France, and one of its synonyms, Madiran, is also the name of an important appellation in that part of the world.  Wines of this variety are notable for their very high levels of tannin. Tannat wines are also very high in polyphenols - these are good chemicals in wine that keep your heart healthy (according to researcher & author Roger Corder in the book "The Red Wine Diet").

Tannat's have a reputation of a long cellaring potential, and this one no exception.  The wine displays a distinctive intense blackberry and cassis aromas and flavours balanced by the big bold ripe tannins.  This is dense, almost impenetrable, a rich wine that is still dominated by dark tannins and black fruits. A juicy element suggests it is still fresh, still young enough for fruitiness. Dark black flavors are still working their way through and developing.  Thankfully I still have several more bottles in the cellar and will be enjoying this wine for the next 10 years or so... Sláinte

Thursday, 26 March 2015

My Stereo Panorama Experience

Recently Autodesk gave me the opportunity on relating my experiences with their new Stereo Panoramas feature

It was first posted by Autodesk.  See Rendering Pro - My Stereo Panorama Experience by Bill Adams
A still of the interior I later rendered as a stereo panorama

Monday, 23 March 2015

The exciting world of 3D Printing


Having a 3D Printer can open up a world of customization faster and closer to home. With the Ultimaker 2, you can personalize the objects in your life and have fun doing it. Designed for both the novice and the skilled, the Ultimaker 2 is well built and easy to interface with, and it creates stunning 3D prints. For its large build sizes, included accessories, robust software and print-quality score, the Ultimaker 2 wins!!!

Every inch of the Ultimaker 2 is designed to create the most effortless and enjoyable 3D printing experience ever. With ground-breaking 20 micron definition and near silent operation, it’s a leap forward in accurate 3D printing.

Everything's taken care of from the moment it’s out of the box, it’s ready to go. Intuitive software quickly and intelligently prepares your design for print. A radial scroll wheel allows for adjustment to speed and heat even whilst it’s printing. Long print jobs come with the reassurance of hours upon hours of continuous reliable printing. And even the heated print bed rarely needs adjustment.

There’s a sort of 3D alchemy that occurs when the software, materials and printer are combined. Together they create one of the most enjoyable and seamless 3D printing experiences around. It’s a kind of magic really.

Smart and intuitive, our advanced software makes 3D printing a breeze.
Endless testing tells us the filaments we've chosen make our printers sing.
Evolved through open source, it’s a printer for the people by the people.
The ingenious print head silently and precisely maps out your creation to an accuracy of 20 microns. It means print lines are barely perceivable creating a really smooth finish. And with its heated print bed and highly efficient dual fans, the Ultimaker 2 even takes overhangs and bridging in its stride. Did we mention it’s fast too?

For more information,

Friday, 20 March 2015

Introducing AutoCAD 2016

If there were ever a time to upgrade your AutoCAD license it is now! So what's new? Whilst there doesn’t seem to be any one “new” thing, there is a plethora of product enhancements to existing commands and features. One thing that isn't new is the DWG file type, yes AutoCAD 2016 will still run on AutoCAD 2013 DWG.

Here’s a brief list of some of the new enhancements and features…

  •         Snap to geometric centre.  A new object snap mode – geometric centre, or GCE at the command-line – allows you to snap to the centre of closed polylines, whether regular or irregular.
  •          REVCLOUD command has some new options.
  •          The DIM command has been updated. The command has combined all dimensions creation controls into one command. Simply type DIM on the command line and right-click. Thankfully, I no longer have to find or remember the commands for the individual dimension types.
  •      Attach and view Autodesk Navisworks (.NWC, .NWD) and BIM 360™ Glue models directly inside AutoCAD.
  •     It’s great to see some point cloud feature extraction capabilities being introduced in the product. You can create as-built drawings from point clouds, extract your floor plan directly from a cross-section of the point cloud and snap to edges, corners, and centrelines of point cloud geometry using Object Snap.
  •      AutoCAD 2016 creates better PDFs.  They are smaller, generated more quickly and now searchable.
  •      Visual enhancements help you see your drawings more clearly. Readability is improved with true curves instead of line segments.
  •     Smart Dimensioning - automatically create appropriate measurements. Pass the cursor over selected objects to get a preview of the dimension.

Well that’s it for this non-exhaustive look at AutoCAD 2016’s new features/enhancements – these are great and will be very useful indeed. It is also very nice to see so many AUGI Wish List items addressed in one release.

For more information, 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Building A Greener Future With Revit

The place that Revit holds in Australia's architecture and construction scene is simply undeniable. Since the time I became one of Australia's first users of the software back in the early 2000s, I've seen its presence Down Under grow in leaps and bounds, and for good reason.
But where does the appeal even come from in the first place? I think the solid backing and reputation of Autodesk, who owns and produces Revit, certainly has a part to play. In addition to its technical superiority there's a huge worldwide support base to fall back on, and that definitely lends it an aura of credibility. There are certainly a lot of other products out there - many of which I've used at some point - but it's clear that few come close to Revit.
It's become even better over the years. With a new rendering engine, you can do a lot more things with it than before. From incorporating structural and MEP disciplines to point cloud compatibility, it's a much more slick and powerful package, while still staying true to the core Revit essence.
This, I believe, is what makes Revit such a suitable program for one of my specialties - green building design. Those on a maintenance subscription can make use of a huge array of additional tool sets that can help in this application of the software. It's all about getting access to "greener" tools, such as those offered by Autodesk Green Building Studio.
With these tools, I can do everything from assessing how thermally efficient a building will be, use solar tools to see how it will perform against adjoining buildings and the surrounding environment and gauge energy use against predetermined levels, all with a few clicks of the mouse.
All in all, Revit gives you the tools to help design a more energy-efficient building.
I've certainly turned to Revit almost exclusively in all of my projects since I first started using it, as I believe it's helped me become a better building designer. Because you're drawing everything in 3D you gain a much better perspective and see where things might go wrong. Many clients, of course, love nothing more than visualising their building in a 3D environment before it even gets built.
Revit's immense global user community is also something that makes the software stand out and such a pleasure to use. As the inaugural chairperson for the South Australia Revit User Group and once a member of the board of directors for AUGI (Autodesk User Group International), I've experienced first-hand the vibe that comes out of like-minded users talking to each others and working off each other's perspectives.
Add to that a range of training, support and additional services you can get from providers like Redstack, and taking advantage of the power of Autodesk and Revit has never been easier. It's things like the face-to-face training offered that makes the difference - there are some things you can't learn by just watching a YouTube clip, for example.
I just find Revit an absolute joy to use. In all fairness it can be a bit of a love-hate relationship, but I'd like to believe it's a lot more love than hate!
For more information on Revit and sustainable design, give me a call on 1300 667 263 or email