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Robert Nichols

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    charlottesville, va, usa
  1. Forgot one. 5) Window and door objects are infuriating. a) glass line thickness often assumes the line weight of the wall ('nuff said); b) there is no useful way to change line weight of glass (haven't written my own window symbol yet - mac plug-in editor can't handle over 32k of text [probably mac's fault]); c) copying the things is impossible (my first experience of getting a second wall when I copied a window proved to be a very dark harbinger of things to come); d) why can't they be positioned with say, the "move" command? How about duplicate array - and don't tell me about tool that let's you pick a symbol, set a beginning offset, then a typical offset for multiple symbols. What if I want to revise the layout (pretty common thing to do) or if I have an a-b-a-b-c-a-b-a-b rhythm? Doing that with the bad tool would be mind-numbing.
  2. I'll jump on that one. Big architectural snafus for me are:1) Walls don't have a "control line" (as they do in ArchiCAD. I should be able to say which edge, or the center of a wall is dominant and should hold its position if the wall thickness changes. To assume a wall always changes thickness about its center is incredibly ignorant of the way architects work and builders build. 2) I should be able to move an element or selection set on the screen according to any vector that I define with two mouse clicks (whether or not those mouse clicks are on the selection set). Building geometries are often nested. Example: a row of columns. A table located between the first two columns. I should be able to select the table, duplicate it, then move the copy to the center of the next bay simply by clicking the center of ANY column in the row, then the center of its neighboring column. 3) Duplicate array should be much more robust, particular relative to "next mouse click." Graphic input assumes you are indicating the center of an object or group. This is proposterous! Building construction is much more interested in edges and corners than centers (particularly abstract calculated centers of groups). Graphic input should also let you make n number of copies between two clicked positions. Best, it should let you position n copies between 2 clicked positions, omiting the final one. ArchiCAD does this beautifully. 4) Am I missing something about 3D work in VW. I haven't spend much time with it, but I tried to make a multi-level massing model the other day and was I suprised at how difficult it was. Setting layers (level 1, level2...)to have appropirate "z" values didn't seem to have any effect on the z value of objects drawn or pasted into those layers. Also, having moved an object to a given elevation with 3D move command, I was not able to query to object later for its z-value. Wanting to make some adjustments, I soon became very disoriented within my simple model.
  3. Well, are you on a Mac? In either case, using Acrobat to generate PDF's is a smart solution. It's probably affordable if you are generating even a small amount of work to be printed. For a non-pdf solution, on a Mac you can make a virtual printer that generates postscript files but is not tied to any particular printer. It is easy in this case to establish a custom page size of 24x36. Actually, when making a PDF with Acrobat, it is often a required step to make these postscript files anyway. To create the virtual printer, search for "Desktop Printer Utility." Start it up, and choose to create a "Translator (postscript)." I believe the rest should sort itself out if you are familiar with even a basic amount of printing minutia.
  4. So, it appears that this tool works not by "moving the print area," but by moving ALL the drawing elements relative to a fixed print area. Is this correct? If so, this tool should be accompanied by a lot or warnings, disclaimers, sirens, etc. The use of the tool appears to break paste in place, workgroup referencing and probably several other things I have not yet discovered.
  5. I seem to recall reading that one VW user was able to use classes to eliminate window and door openings from a reflected ceiling plan. In my first attempt to do this, I discover that walls containing windows in a turned-off class still show the opening, albeit without the window lines. Is there a trick to using classes in order to show a wall with a window as though it had none?
  6. Sorry if this sounds annoying, but I'm used to solving many distiller errors by allocating more memory to the app. I used to try and interpret the problem and isolate the source, but more often than not, adding a few mb's of ram allocation to distiller would fix it. I beg your pardon if you've already tried this... For what it's worth, I have no problem with distiller, even when fonts are "not found." Perhaps there is a distiller job setting that would opt for more tolerant behaviour if a font is not found.
  7. I have a worksheet in one of my projects (equipment schedule). The worksheet has two of its rows duplicated. This didn't suprise me much, as there has been a lot of copying going on in the drawing. Trouble is, I can't seem to find the duplicate record I suspect is in the drawing. I tried custom visibility and searches by field value; I've manually searched for rogue records. I suspected for a momend that my "good" record instance actually had two records attached to it. But after deleting, my worksheet still shows one row for the record. I'm not sure what other methods are available to me. Help would be greatly appreciated.
  8. Just chiming in as another person who has witnessed the zoom/pan/crash syndrome. In my experience ( part of which has been watching this list - I can't believe tech support is playing it so cool with this bug given its frequent documentation here) it appears that the bug is vexing primarily g4's with ati rage cards. Also, users have reported a decrease in the problem, but unacceptable refresh slowdowns after turning off ati's 2d acceleration extension. Given the varied results people are getting with apparently similar hardware AND software configs, I wonder if the contents of the VW drawing aren't a factor. I myself don't suffer from this bug, but I consult for an office where 3 workstations are cursed by it.
  9. When selecting Layer Options -> Modify others, only occassionaly do I get the correct result. Usually, elements on visible non-active layers remain numb to my cursor. At times, I'm able to get it working by switching from the arrow tool to the line tool. The line tool seems more likely to acknowledge the presence of elements on non-active layers. When this works, I can then switch back to the arrow tool and it will work as expected. Is there a workaround for this?
  10. I found that printing to a postscript file first, then making the pdf with Acrobat Distiller solved the text mangling problems of PDF Writer. I don't know how the whole postscript-to-distiller-to-pdf workflow works on a PC. (It's good to know about Print2PDF...thanks for the Mac tip list).
  11. Regarding the mangling of vertical text by Acrobat...my experience is that this only happens when "printing" directly to the PDF Writer driver. When first making a postscript file, then sending that through Distiller, as is well.
  12. Thanks, Lyndsey. That's very helpful. It seems that the Mac script or plugin editor relies on the MacOS text engine which is limited to 32k. I wonder of the file format is public?? if so, I make take on the task of building a Mac editor myself that is not limited by the 32k. Does anyone know the format, or if it is make available?
  13. Pt2Pt works quite well...and it is heartening to see that the script is not too complex. Perhaps I can build or acquire add-ons to gain the funcationality I miss from ArchiCAD. I believe there is also an add-on package from Australia that provides, among other things, the ability to change the width of a wall while still respecting the line established by a building footprint.
  14. Thanks, Brian, for the reply. The strategies you suggested for positioning elements with precision disappointed me a bit. I have to say, I'm baffled by VW's infatuation with the center point of objects! When I change a wall width, the wall adjusts about its centerline, if I move something with your copy, click, and paste method (helpful but not a complete solution) I'm again dealing with the centerpoint of a, lets say, table. Using the centerpoint as a reference is almost always the wrong assumption when it comes to construction (columns are a notable exception). Designers and builders are typically more interested in the edges of things, and how they meet or the distance between them. This is my biggest complaint with VW: copying arrays of elements, moving elements, changing wall widths. VW's implemtation of these functions almost always squanders the advantage of having a GUI. I want to be able to define move/copy vectors with mouseclicks anywhere on the screen. And when I add 1.5" to the width of a wall, I don't want to have to move it .75" to get it back to the original building foootprint. Coming to VW from ArchiCAD is very difficult in this regard. I hadn't realized what ArchiCAD's very high cost brought to the table. I'll keep trying!
  15. I'm familiar with this problem occuring on G4's. In these cases, I have reduced, but not eliminated the maddening crashes by increasing memory and taking ATI extensions out of the startup sequence. People have various opinions about the role of virtual memory in fixing the problem, but changing that has not made a difference for me.
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