Sunday, June 26, 2011

Readers Digest and Harry Potter go Digital

the Architectural Technologist talks about J.K.Rowling moving into ebooks and today I read that the Reader's Digest is going digital. This seems to be to be the tipping point. Until now all the Harry Potter books have been strictly hardcopy, the future could be amazing, and we could see a big growth in ebook readers.

Reader's Digest has been a print only publication for as long as I can remember. I change to digital should be big news, and it could cause a lot of the old readers to move to digital reader, opening the door for all ebook writers to sell to the new converts.

I have been a real supporter of ebooks and the new digital formats, I now have about 25 Vectorworks manuals in the Kindle store, so I am really hoping that we see many more books sold because of these two.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Textures and Rendering in Vectorworks 2011

Textures in Vectorworks 2011 have changed a lot. The shaders are completely different, reflectivity has new settings, transparency has new settings, and the bumps are all new.

If you are used to textures in earlier versions of Vectorworks, you need a guide to show you how to use all the new settings, but if you are new to textures, you also need a guide that takes you though creating and editing textures.

I have created a kindle manual that guides you through the creation and management of textures. For example, there are four basic components to textures, and this manual guides you through each component so you learn how to control them.

Table of Contents

Sample Page

Textures are only a part of the process, so I have created a follow-up manual on lighting and rendering.

This manual guides you through the rendering and lighting options in Vectorworks, and there are several options to look at.

There are several rendering options, so the manual works though those, to show you the options you have.

There are several lighting options. The manual show you how to control each lighting option, and has tips on the best way to use lighting.

Finally, the Kindle manual shows you how to bring all the parts together and how to get the rendering completed in the fastest time.

Table of Contents

Sample page.

Monday, June 13, 2011

iWeb Disappearing, What can you Use for Simple Web Sites?

I have been reading a rumour about the discontinuation of MobileMe services, and one impact will be iWeb, the apple web design software. iWeb was great web design software for simple web sites, and I used it for some time for my blog and podcast website. I stopped using iWeb about a year ago, when I learned that changing the name of the site file on your computer, changed the website address online, effectively killing off all the links I had placed all over the internet to my site.

If this rumour is correct, what should you do? Well, after finding some issues with iWeb, I looked a several different web builder applications. Some applications are very powerful, and some are very simple. I wanted an application that I could learn myself, and use to update my web site every week.

The software I am using is called RapidWeaver 5. It uses a database system that stores all the information, and then it uses themes to present the data. This allows you to change the theme (the look) of the website without recreating all the information, data and links.

This is the raw data for my web site.

This is the preview of the current theme. I like being able to choose the theme, and there are many themes to choose from. You can even buy additional themes. If you know CSS, you can edit your theme to make it individual.

One of the main reasons I choose to use RapidWeaver is that you can extend the software by buying extensions. I bought an extension that makes it easy to add products and services, and a Paypal cart.

There are many addons, and the RapidWeaver software and website makes it easy to link to these addons, and it makes it easy to install the addons. I found an addon that added a paypal cart, and it makes adding products and services very easy. The paypal cart looks great and works well.

I have looked at Sandvox (, which now has a new extendable structure. When I first looked at sandvox, it was not as powerful and flexible as rapidweaver. Since then, they have substantially updated the software, and there is a plug-in area for extending the software.

Vectorworks Landmark and Rendering

My friend Bill, the NZ Vectorworks salesman, has been playing with Vectorworks Landmark recently and he has been making some great images.

This image is a small garden, and he used several standard Vectorworks tools and techniques, such as walls, floors, image props, plants, and the table and chairs. Bill also made some textures from images he found on the internet.

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