Autocad CTB/STB viewer.

I don’t know how many of you will find this useful, but I sure like it. You can upload a .ctb or .stb file to this site and see what all the line weights and colors will look like. Then you can filter by color and lineweight.

(It’s Swiss, so you’ll see some French words. “Chargement…” means “Loading…”)

Bonus round: if you select-all once your .ctb is loaded, you can copy-paste to Excel (use “Paste Special…” to paste as plain text). You can paste several .ctb tables this way and do a side-by-side comparison of colors and weights. Handy when trying to work with another office’s plotstyles.

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Lunch Conversations With Orson Welles — Vulture.


From 1983. Conversations about Hollywood and American history.

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Photosynth – Capture your world in 3D.

For iPhone and Windows Phone


A must-have for architects in the field: superpowerful app that creates XY panoramas with your phone. I say XY because you can point your camera in any direction–left, right, up, down.

Why are panoramas so great? You know how you’ll take 100 photos on site, get back to your desk and realize you missed just one shot that would tell you how something was installed? Or you’ll forget what sequence you took the shots and not know how two photos go together? With a panorama you have a fighting chance at documenting everything you need.

You just aim your camera, no need to tap anything until you feel like you’re done. It auto-stitches all your shots, saves it as a flat fisheye shot in your camera roll, and keeps the panorama in your phone, in the app. You can name your panorama and use the GPS locator to identify where it’s taken.

On top of that, you can upload to (once you create an account), see the panorama in the browser and share through email and Facebook. You can also embed it in a webpage.

You can choose to make your panoramas public (there are some great hi-quality public ones on or keep them private.

Great stuff. Go get it now.

BONUS: This is what Photosynth used to be. Really. Really amazing.

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Boil Up.

Robert Hodgin continues to amaze me. He created this simulation of a bait ball for an exhibit at the Auckland Museum (New Zealand), called Moana, My Ocean. Here he explains his process.

Pretty great.

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Mapping Manhattan: A Love Letter in Subjective Cartography by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Malcolm Gladwell, Yoko Ono & 72 Other New Yorkers | Brain Pickings.

More here:

The concept is simple, but executed brilliantly. In the summer of 2009, Cooper walked the length of Broadway in Manhattan, handing out self-addressed stamped cards that were letter pressed with an outline map of Manhattan. She asked people to map their memories, filling it with whatever was meaningful to them.

The tumblr here.

This really is an elegant project. I wonder if anyone cut up the map or added to it. Origami?

via MeFi, where someone has linked to a horizonless projection of the city. Golly.

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Microphone system maps rooms with a snap of the fingers.

This is interesting. They were able to find a wall with 1mm accuracy. Less successful in a complex room (a cathedral nave), but still–that’s fantastic.

Compare: 3d mapping by ZCorp ZScanner, Trimble, MatterPort, and of course, Kinect.

Next up: 3d mapping by smell.


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Ever get a PDF from someone that looks mysteriously empty on your iPhone? An email like, “I marked up your drawing. See attached for the area I’m talking about.” Then you open the attachment and see your own drawing but no comments? It’s because the default PDF viewer (iBooks) can’t display PDF comments.

Never fear, there’s an app for that. There are actually lots of apps that show annotations. I like Adobe Reader. If you don’t have it on your iPhone you need to go get it now.

Once you’ve installed it, you can skip the default iPhone viewer in your Mail app and other apps, too. In Mail, just hold down on the attachment for a couple seconds instead of tapping. You’ll get a new screen asking what app you’d like to use. (Choose Adobe Reader.) The document is added to Adobe Reader’s library, and all the glorious comments become visible.

What’s more, you can add your own comments from your iPhone. And you can send the doc as an attachment from Reader. Or print it. You can also add it to, if you want to keep an account in Adobe’s cloud. If it confuses you, there’s help online.

Adobe Reader is great for field work, too.

You can collect PDFs here that are always accessible once they’re downloaded to your phone (unlike Dropbox, which requires a network connection). You can organize them in folders and/or rename the files as you please. So before you do a site visit, load it up with all your construction docs and finish schedules. Much more convenient than lugging around a binder.

By the way, you can “Open in Adobe Reader” from the Dropbox app, too. Look for this button (or a variant of it, anything with an arrow coming out of a box):


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Thinking with Type

Beautifully illustrated lessons on typography by Ellen Lupton and Christopher Clark. Nicely done. Check out the other links to study kerning, grids, proofreading marks and more.

Buy the book.


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I was trying to figure out how to quantify glare the other day and found this:

Unified Glare Rating UGR basic explanation.

Pretty clear, right? If not, just buy the poster.

A more useful page for the laity, perhaps, is this explanation of light diffusers:

Light Diffusion and Light Diffuser Types

There are more easy-to-follow explanations on the Fusion Optix blog, but sadly it appears they’ve stopped updating it.

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I just learned about The Ideal Palace of Ferdinand Cheval. Another write-up here. NYT description here.

In 1879, a postman in southeast France builds an monument out of rocks that he would carry home on his daily route.

If palaces made from pebbles doesn’t impress you, how about 1000-tree forests, each tree planted by hand by one Jadav “Molai” Payeng? He’s at work at his second forest now.

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