Category Archives: Architectural Technologist

Google onhub the big picture

Google Onhub

Google Onhub

You may have heard me go on, in recent posts about the way my wifi drops has very load speeds, and in general just does not work, forcing me to use a hardwire link for my internet, where I get speeds in excess of 50mbs instead of less than 1mbs over my wifi, is Google onhub the big picture, being missed, read on.

My experience out and about is not much better, I live on the southside of Birmingham, where you might think I get high speed mobile 3G and 4G, and in the most part I do, but there are glaring gaps, and it disrupts my workflow plus my music far to regularly. Plus the amount of access to the internet given by my provider O2 is so often not enough, I end up with no coverage at all late in the month.

So when I see two separate avenues being created by Google, I started to sit back and look at the big picture, what is the main thing they do not control, yet might be the biggest obstacle to innovation and seriously harm their existing product portfolio, dam right its the mobile access to the internet.

The already well established long term project to get Google Fibre into major cities in the USA, and now Europe, is part 1 of their efforts to move the control of the phone companies to themselves. The introduction of the Google router onhub, is the second part of this movement, first to establish local wifi with some clout, better speeds and a more secure environment, but more important, to allow Google to offer better access to the net, by their customers from the millions of home onhub routers, that almost everyone in the industry sees as over spec’d and far more powerful than is really needed for home use.

You might now wonder why we have both a telephone number and an email address, why not just one, I use google for most of my calls, and after a while I began to see the real benefit of just my email address, no country codes, a fast system, easy video calls, and if connected to google fibre via one on the may onhub systems, a cheap no barrier to use system.

After all this, what does this have to do with CPD and Architecture, well look at the way I run my own practice, I work partly from home and partly from University, I have a Skype telephone number, and can receive calls wherever I am. but as most of my communication is email, and google hangout, with  Skype thrown in.

I rarely get mobile calls these days, so I have to ask, is a phone number really a business tool. Internet and the vast number of excellent apps is far better, all that’s stopping it is the mobile operators who insist on a NUMBER.

Take also my home line, I have no use whats so ever for a land line number, yet bt insist I have one and charge me for it.


Walter Segal Video

Segal Close and Walters WayIt might come as no surprise to any one who reads this blog, I am a fan of Walter Segal, I never got the chance to meet him, but I did get involved in one or two projects using the construction methods he outlined, so when I saw this Walter Segal vide0, I have never seen before, I was all over it.

For students you might well want to take a look at my other article on Walter Segal, do a search in the bar above to see all I have collected and the AJ article I still send out.

As always, I wrote this post, then found another video I want to share,,,,,


Google & Twitter link

Top 10 Fastest Cars In The WorldHave you noticed that twitter feeds are now appearing in Google Search results, the problem is, so short a space to put in so much , so is the tweet all that Google is looking at or is it following any link, or is it just the name or account holder, what ever, the Google & Twitter link is live.

What ever this is a big deal and one we need to look at. I know so many who seem to divorce Google Search and Twitter, now this no longer can be the case.

Todays photo, no other reason than I want one,,,,, just can’t rase that much money !!


Levi Stadium App

Levi StadiumThe two Scoble Videos he posted onto Facebook, Part 1 and Part 2, are the Levi Stadium Apps and back ground infrastructure, are must view videos on the way apps are going, but most importantly, they show the real need for Technologists to appreciate the technology, and the Architecture they need to exist, that is the ducts, power and specific rooms.

Look behind the vide, and see the vast rooms they need for screens, then the way these screens can be fed with data, the cable runs, power supply and the room layout.

Then think of a stadium like the Levi Stadium, it general size and the way cables will need to be fed to the individual stations, like entrances, bard and kitchens.

The Wifi cabling to allow people in the stadium to use their cell phones and the incoming cabling to the stadium.

All need planning and adding to the drawing set, but some one, and mostly we as Technologists start and control it.

Just think of the data you can learn about people movement, how they access the stadium, and leave, timing, and parking trends,,,,,, so good.

Doodles – There are no rules

Moleskin in actionAs students start to think about attending Uni for the first time, I want to introduce them to that noble art of Doodling, and right from the start, I want to emphasise Scay’s first rule, in Doodles – There are no rules.

Doodles are,,, a life line to allowing the mind to escape, to freely wonder, to follow lines of reasoning that are just not allowed in day to day conversation, its allows thoughts to bubble up from the depths of your inner self and be seen, perhaps for the first time.

I am a massive believer in students carrying their moleskin into every situation, making notes, thoughts ideas sketches and why we are here, doodles.

I constantly ask students to draw a situation, or detail they see, they I know I use my iPhone for much of this, but when time allows, sit and look, sit and think, and practice drawing, use colour, line styles, fonts, what ever takes your fantasy, and if time is short, grab your iPhone.

There is also the type of paper, I use a moleskin with fairly heavy paper 80 gram, but thats my choice, currently I am using a birthday present, my Beano note pad, yes I did read the Beano, and still do, the paper quality os poor, but its usable, but forget water colours and ink pens, they bleed.

The point is, doodle, on anything, if all you have is an old envelope, use it, stuff it into a pocket and reread it.

Its surprising, but I can go over a doodle or sketch and see my mind working, others often can’t, and they start saying all sorts, mostly to defend against the possibility that they just don’t understand and think they should, wrong, doodles are personal, and very much your inner self. I used to attend a class in Junior school, with an autistic kick, remember in those days we did not have special school, or teachers, it so happened our teacher seemed to be able to communicate with him, and asked what each of his sketched meant, and he sketched incessantly, it soon became apparent, that inside, the mind was pin sharp, and doodles allowed him to express thoughts that just some could read.

In other blogs I have asked you to think about Evernote to store scans of your doodles, its such a pain when you remember a sketch and want to revisit, it, but which book or note pad, or envelope way it in , evernote allows me to scan in and tag it, so I can find it, the work to do this is not much, ok I do spend a little more time that I want, but its so worth  My iPhone evernote app is just fab for this.

Do a search in the bar above and look for moleskin, doodle or notepad, and read my other blogs. Try Visual Thinking, for a blog I wrote ages ago.

And for my Students next year who will enter their final Third year,,,,,,, sketch,



CIAT Article on the Tesla Powerwall & how it is set to revolutionise

tesla solarThis article appeared in the latest CIAT weekly bulletin, its so good to see CIAT get a UK first in such a global revolutionary technology. I know I mentioned it recently, but this article has and says it all.

I am pleased that CIAT gave me permission to reproduce the article.

A revolutionary battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels is making its first UK appearance today at a CIAT event in Bristol.

The Tesla Powerwall is set to revolutionise how buildings use energy as it will allow homes to store solar energy generated during the day so that it can be used later in the evening when it’s needed, rather than homeowners having to sell their excess solar energy back to their utility company.

The battery will be on display at the Wessex Region celebratory event in Bristol marking the  Institute’s 50th Anniversary.

Wiltshire-based TH White, which advises on and provides a wide range of specialist buildings services products to the construction industry, is the main sponsor for this event and is working with the solar energy division of Austrian technology company Fronius to bring the Tesla Powerwall to the event.

The event will be an opportunity for the industry to find out more about leading renewable technologies.

President Karl Grace said: ‘This is a year-long celebration with events across the Institute’s Regions and Centres and we are looking forward to this event hosted by our Wessex Region as we will be able to show our guests some of the most exciting technology in the world which could change the way buildings are designed for years to come, to enhance the community and environment for those living within it.’

The event will start with a tour of Bristol’s Floating Harbour and its buildings on The Matthew before moving to the M Shed where TH White’s technology zone will be displayed. Guests will be treated to a range of entertainment throughout the evening, a summer BBQ as well as a view of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta’s fireworks from the M Shed terrace.

Alex Lockton, general manager for TH White’s Energy, Fire and Security divisions, said: ‘…Tesla Powerwall technology is set to change the world of energy. It isn’t on sale yet here in the UK so this appearance at CIAT’s event is a real coup and, as European Green Capital 2015, Bristol is the perfect host for showcasing this revolutionary green technology.’

For more information on TH White, click here.

Free academic papers to all

Spiral Stone StaircaseI have been mulling over the idea, that the time might be right to revive the old Innovation & Research group within CIAT, with perhaps a little tweak in its remit.

A lot of members , at least ones that I have talked to, are looking for ways to publish technical papers, and open debates on technical issues. currently the only way to successfully do this is via submitting papers for pier review and watch it disappear behind a closed academic, or fire pay wall, fine for academic writing, but almost useless for some one who might want a little more exposure and publicity. I have several out there, that you need to pay for to read, and I get nothing.

I have nothing against this if you’re a true academic, who has little or no problem accessing papers and is only interested in an academic career, but for us on the outside even the likes of me, who has a foot in the academic world but earns most of his monthly income from public sources, who wants free access to published material, simply because is a great way to prove my expertise.
My thoughts are that we would build a small system to allow papers to be simply uploaded, and reviewed by CIAT Chartered members and then pushed onto an open free resource, I have played about with such a system on wordpress, and it works very well, Google Scholar would be free to scan and list papers, and authors would get full recognition for their work. Academic can still cite and use as always, but the tech public outside of academia, will not be bared from the main article.
You might say tha this is the reason for AT magazine, I would argue not, for one it’s not peer reviewed, and second it’s not easy to search online for an article or paper, this new system takes it to the next level and beyond.
As always there are problems, getting members to donate time to read and comment on papers, archive and protection of work. but there does not seem to be any major obstacle, other than active participation and writing interesting papers.
As a natural follow on, I have an idea to allow presentation of work as a bi annual conference, somewhere in Europe to start, than see where it can be hosted.
Unlike ICAT whose papers seem to be for specific topic and are listed in a single book, I want individual papers on any topic 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Language is alway a problem, but Google is so good at it, that I don’t see a problem in dual language submissions.
I have alway wondered why photography is never looked at as an academic source, there is so much to see and read from a single photo, I want to explore this further either within this academic site, or as part of a separate site, devoted to technical photography. Observation is lacking in so many people, so the thought that a single shot of a construction with a well written text content could convey so much in comparison to  a long technical article, I find intriguing. I have been playing with this with my Flickr account, lots of tags and a well written notes, with a good descriptive title.
CPD is a problem, we just don’t have the time to attend a lecture, so as part of this debate, I want to take a look at lectures on video, I have done several of these with some minor success on just a few, but it prove a point. There is a way to go, I want to add slides and lecture notes with added reading and research comments, perhaps site addresses, and cad files links