Is your REVIT system Toast?

Every new firm we take on - all have the same issues lately. Their programs are running terribly slow and they just can’t seem to figure out what the magic solution is. Firms seek advice from Software vendors, BIM specialists, Hardware manufacturers and yet they aren’t seeing the performance for which they are paying.

One firm spent a hefty $5,000 per workstation with the collective advice of Vendors. The outcome was that these new machines were running slower than the travel laptop for Revit. They were almost well built machine - but they skimped on the 1 essential bit - the CPU.

Below are the specifications for our recommended mid-level workstation. This system has the CPU to boost to 4.5 ghz ( techie for fast ) with 8 cores that’ll create your nice curved buildings. Specs below come in under $3,000 - with lots of wiggle room to drop it a few hundred dollars.

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Skimp on the RAM or Video card - you can always pop in a faster one. Save on the hard drive and force staff to save files only on the server. Nobody really saves their music library anymore - save one guy, I’m talking to you Brendon.

We recommend using this workhorse for 2 years as currently spec’d - then trickle down to Project Managers for another 3 years, and then to admin services for at least another 5 years of dutiful service.

Need more - drop us a line or come to one of our monthly - Tech it out reviews.

New Tech is Fun - Until......

Tech for Architects is complicated and the onslaught of new Technology appears without end.   One of the more recent Tech Items that is gaining favor is of course VR for Architects.  

The great thing about VR is that it's the rare technology that can be used for Project Management and Review - as well as client demo's - at a comparatively inexpensive onboarding.

The costs associated with a virtual reality center include:

  • VR Headset - $500 (HTC Vive) - $400 ( Oculus
  • VR Plugin or Render - $50 per month (IrisVR.com)
  • Computer - $2000 for quality laptop - we recommend MSI gaming laptops for best price and experience
  • Training - 2-3 hours.   Most Architects can be up and running with little input as this tech already integrates with software currently being used like Revit, 3dsMax, Shetchup, Rhino.

 

Another great way to use VR is for Marketing and client experience.   A new player to the game is Sentio - which provides easy to use and send VR walk-throughs.    All this tech can be done internally - but with more effort and administration.

A portfolio is the standard way for architects to show their work  and their style, process and brand. Over the last decade, portfolios have evolved from paper to digital, primarily because it is more time and cost efficient to maintain a digital portfolio and keep it up-to-date.

Within the realm of digital portfolios, choices can range between an app, a PDF, to a web-hosted portfolio. Architects usually choose to use JPEGs as the main element of the portfolio and may add text or other digital media like video or audio.

However, with the increasing use of new technologies like Virtual Reality to present architectural work - there is a strong case for creating and maintaining an immersive VR portfolio of your work to differentiate your brand in front of your audience and embrace newer technologies.

We will look at the key aspects of creating and sharing a VR portfolio for architecture projects.

What does a VR portfolio look like?

A VR portfolio works as an extension of your digital portfolio with the added advantage that your audience can view the spaces in 360°. This creates a feeling of presence and enables a better understanding of your work. Here's a sample VR portfolio in order to explain the idea using www.sentiovr.com - a web platform for presenting spaces in VR.

How can I get 360° content for my projects ?

To make your VR portfolio, the most important requirement is to have 360° images of your projects. Again, depending on what you need to show, there are various ways of creating 360° content of your projects. 
For 3D modeled spaces, you can learn the basics of generating 360° renders from the tutorials. Refer to our previous posts on Archdaily or step-by-step tutorials here:

There are also 360° cameras of good quality and affordable price, like the Samsung 360 or Ricoh Theta that can instantly create 360° images without any training.

Smells Phishy to us

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So far in 2018 - the most common support request was if a Scam email was legitimate or not.   We needed to create an email template in response to this in order to both calm and instruct our users.   We tried to educate the end users - but in the end just told everyone to be vigilant and send us the email to review.

A major problem for small businesses is recognizing phishing emails. Oftentimes, hackers trick employees into clicking malware infected zip files and malicious links in emails that redirect to fake landing pages. This type of cybercrime involving sending fraudulent emails that appear to come from a reputable company with the aim to steal financial and confidential information is known as phishing — and it’s a real threat.

Phishing Email Threats

According to a 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, almost half of malware (49 percent) is installed via email. This is because a large percent of people in the workplace cannot identify a phishing email. Since people cannot identify phishing emails, simple errors generate a significant percentage of data breaches, reports Verizon.

“Ignore the stereotype of sophisticated cybercriminals targeting billion-dollar businesses,” Verizon writes in its report. “Most attacks are opportunistic and target not the wealthy or famous, but the unprepared.”

 

If you and your employees don’t know how to identify a phishing email, your business is at risk. Everyone needs to know how to spot a phishing email and play their part in avoiding the threat.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

Some of the most common ways to spot a phishing email include:

 

  1. Fake email addresses: Phishing emails use fake email addresses that imitate a known brand, such as PeyPal@info.com or ApplePaySupport@fasteb.com.
  2. Impersonal messages: Phishing emails don’t address you by your name. Instead, they use general addresses like “Dear Apple User.”
  3. Fear tactics: Phishing emails use scare tactics like threats to close accounts to create a sense of urgency and cause you to make hasty or impulsive decisions that can prove disastrous.

If you click on a link in an email (or on a website) taking you to a landing page, inspect the page to see if it is a genuine landing page or a fake one.

How to Spot a Fake Landing Page

Some of the things to look out for to determine if a landing page is fake include:

 

  1. Incorrect website address: Fake landing pages attempt to mimic the web address of a legitimate company, but errors such as misspellings and unsecure connections denote a phishing scam.
  2. Missing navigation and footer: Fake landing pages are often bare-bones, sometimes missing both the header and footer in the web page.
  3. Information collection: Fake landing pages will almost always include some type of information collection form that deviates slightly from the company’s legitimate landing page.

If you are not sure a landing page or email belongs to a legitimate company, don’t click links, confirm your personal data or download file attachments from it.

More Tips to Recognize Phishing Scams – Infographic

Check out the infographic created below for more ways to identify a phishing email and things to look out for in a fake landing page:

 

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Bester Best Practices

Best Practices - Accepted guideline for efficient systems, or backstop excuse for the incompetent?

On-ramping a new Architecture Firm - Agile liaised with the previous IT firm for an information exchange.  Fortunately, we've acquired 5 clients from the same firm - so we now know the faults in their approach.

The following is analogous to having a 1000 sq ft apartment - and making 4 bedrooms all 7'x7' instead of 1 one or two roomier ones.


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Look Familiar?

Agile: And why did you slice up the data volume into such small pieces?

Other IT Firm: Best Practices.......

Agile: Not really, The OS partition seems a bit small - and we could have made one large 8 Terabyte drive - or even two 4 Terabyte volumes and the client wouldn’t be running out of space.

Other IT Firm: It’s Best Practices

Agile: In 2004 maybe - but things have changed. Tech evolves.

Other IT Firm: It’s Best Practices.

Agile: OK - we’re done. We have what we need to know.

Resolution:

Since we've gone down this road numerous times - we've created a Best Practice of our own to counter this issue.   It takes time - but is now part of our on-ramping.  

  • Create a Virtual Server image of the affected system
  • Transfer all systems roles to secondary server if possible
  • Regenerate the server
  • Create the Volumes correctly
  • Attach the Virtual server to the new system
  • Move the data to the newly created and correctly partitioned system

We're lucky that we work with systems and not building like our clients - and can reboot, revert or rebuild improper systems without starting from scratch. 

So these systems that Agile has rebuilt is just the canary in the coal mine.  Once we see the server volumes like this - we know that we're in for a number of other improper items with the backups and software setups.

Fortunately - we have the Bester Best Practices.