Monday, March 31, 2014

Flip Tab

I've been attempting to figure out something in Revit - shit is really hard to select, especially the more elaborate a Revit Clusterfuck (i.e. 'Model') gets.

There are a number of ways you can get around this, 'pinning' things you don't want to accidentally move (and then setting it not to select items that are pinned... wtf?), or 'filtering' your selection by type, but one of the most useful tools is to be able to toggle through nearby items by pressing the 'Tab' key.

Except for one problem - I'm left-handed, and the fucking 'Tab' key is all the way at the other end of the goddamned keyboard, and there doesn't seem to be any way to re-map it to something else.  I know how to set keyboard shortcuts, but they all appear to be 2 letter combinations.

I had noticed other (right-handed) users using the 'Tab' key while mousing, which either requires me to move my right hand across the keyboard, or take my hand off the mouse so I can hit tab.  I'm going to keep searching to see if I can reassign it to something on the right-hand side of keyboard - but considering it is a fairly central tool in the Revit toolbox it wouldn't surprise me if they hard-coded it.

One of the reasons it came up is that any time you attempt to edit text, you constantly have to fight to select the proper piece of text because the stupidly huge box around each piece of text makes it almost impossible (especially if there are several pieces of text in close proximity to each other).  If I click DIRECTLY IN THE MIDDLE of a piece of text, it shouldn't be trying to select the text next to it, but there we have it since the boxes overlap in a most retarded fashion.

A piece of text can be resized using grips, but the final result will always be a box that extends far beyond the text itself.  Attempting to select nearby linework or objects causes the same problem as the boxes extend (invisibly - especially when the background is set to transparent so it doesn't block information behind it).

Enter the 'Tab' key, and it's ability to toggle selection and you can just hover nearby, and Tab until you have your selection (holding 'shift' to reverse the order it is toggling in), then go to work.  If you watch most Revit users 'work' (i.e. burn through project budgets), you will notice them keeping their left index finger on 'Tab' most of the time while they mouse around with their right.

Now, you deal with occasional annoyances as a left-hander living in a predominantly right-hand world, but most things can be overcome.  I had a pair of left handed scissors as a kid, but it didn't take me long to figure out how to use a standard pair (with either hand - just by knowing how to apply pressure so the blades will slice cleanly through the paper).

Writing left-to-right is a pain in the ass because you either drag your hand across what you are writing and smear it, keep your hand twisted around at an uncomfortable angle, or both - but you just learn to cope with that.

I do many things right-handed out of convenience. I play guitar right-handed (since most guitars are going to be right-handed - some people flip it over, some will restring it, others will buy an actual 'left-handed' guitar) although in my mind the left hand is the one doing most of the work on the fretboard.

I prefer to play drums left-handed (thanks to one of my old drummers being a lefty - but I'm equally bad either way).  I'd like to figure out a way to map a keyboard/midi-controller backwards to allow me to play chords with my right and melody with my left (melody, in my mind at least, requiring more dexterity).

Of course every computer I sit down at is set up for a right-hander, and I've gotten fairly ambidextrous if I'm only going to be on it for a few minutes - any longer than that and I'm moving the mouse over to the left (easier than it sounds if the machine you are at doesn't have a wireless mouse and the workstation is set up so that the cord has difficulty reaching).

I leave the left/right click the same (I know of a few lefties who swap that as well - basically 'mirroring' the mouse), although some mice are hopelessly right-handed - molded/formed to fit the right hand, and horribly annoying after about ten seconds when an attempt is made to use it left-handed.

The idea that a piece of software could be biased towards right-handedness strikes me as odd - but if it was going to be any piece of software, it shouldn't be surprising that it would be Revit.  Someone suggested this app: which I am going to try, however this is just another example of having to employ a third-party 'wankaround' to overcome what should be basic functionality and user-customization.

Next time I'm going to talk about some of the many (many) misconceptions that Revit-fuckfaces have attempted to convince myself, my boss, and others of.  I hope it's been becoming clearer to those who have been somewhat removed from the day-to-day production process that I haven't been resisting change for the sake of resisting change - and that there are real unaddressed problems with both the Revit software, and how it has been implemented in this office.

I consider it a serious danger to my ability to concentrate on my job (or give a fuck about anything for that matter) when I am constantly being fed the same bullshit, lies, and damned lies.

Fuck Revit, Fuck Autodesk, Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck..

Friday, March 21, 2014

Craptacular Spectactular

So I was making a list of 'positive' things in Revit (other than it's exceptional ability to destroy my concentration, prevent coordination, cause frustration, kill schedules, kill budgets, feed peoples fragile egos, force people to take sides, waste money/time/mental effort, and prevent me from being able to give a shit about projects), and I came up with a few items.

1) The 'bump' tool.

I've probably mentioned this before - but the ability to use the arrow keys to move items around once they have been placed is very helpful.  The fact that it is not a 'command' makes it even better because I can rotate/edit/etc. and then bump without having to reselect the item(s) or go in and out of the command.  Being able to press 'shift' to increase the distance each press of the arrow key moves the item is helpful as well.  It's ironic (although understandable) that a lot of Reviteers are taught to avoid this tool - since it doesn't move in set increments (they vary depending on your level of zoom) although it doesn't seem like it would be too difficult to make it to where you could specify the increments (regardless of zoom level).

2) Automatically extending linework/wires that are joined or attached to device families or other linework.

I like how you can grab a device/line/wire, move it, and have everything 'stretch' with it.  It was possible to do this in ACAD, but you had to select all of the devices/linework, and it could sometimes be difficult to make it do what you wanted to (necessitating going back and manually moving/trimming/extending/tweaking).


I tried to think of a number 3 - but it pretty much devolved into smart-ass 'positives' that were in fact back-handed compliments (most of which I've posted on previously) like 'crashes quickly'.  If I think of any more in the future, I will try to post them here.

It's telling that even though I've been using Revit in some way or another for years (and almost daily for the last couple of months - although not by choice, I assure you) that I can't even think of three fucking things that I like about it (and these are far outweighed by the sheer amount of half-ass bullshit).

A huge part of what drives my hatred of it (this is actually true of a number of things I deal with) is that I KNOW it could be better.  It would just require the people developing the software to stop relying on the converted to shove it down the throats of the uninitiated, and start implementing some of the ideas that I can guarantee have been pouring in since day one.

People who know me are often surprised at how calmly I can deal with situations that would leave them at a complete loss - but then flip out over what they consider 'minor issues'.  To an outsider I probably appear schizophrenic - and it took me a long time to figure out what was really going on.

I set (sometimes unrealistic) standards for certain things - but they are based purely on my expectations.  If I have low expectations for something, I will not tend to get as angry about it - however, if I have set high expectations, then look the fuck out.

In the case of Revit, I have (and have always had) goddamned high expectations.  Seriously - if I didn't give shit, you wouldn't see me ranting about it.  If it were the first computer program (design or otherwise) I had ever used, and I didn't have a frame of reference, then I might be like 'maybe that's the best they can do'.

Instead, I've got freeware phone apps that were better designed and easier to use (hell, I've got motherfucking ACAD on my goddamned phone for christ's sake).  At the end of the day, no matter what happens - Revit is SHIT, has always been SHIT, and will always be SHIT.

Anyone telling you otherwise is either trying to sell it to you, or sell you on it so that you can share their suffering - and they are suffering, make no mistake about it.

They can also go fuck themselves - and so can you if you disagree.

Eat Shit & Die Motherfuckers,

-The Cranium Copulator

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In The Name Of The Revit, The BIM, And The Holy Fuck

It seems like every time I open Revit I find something else shitty about it.  There are countless default settings that don't seem to have any way to change them (all of which are automatically set to the most useless option).

Case in point: linking in the architectural model - positioning defaults to 'auto center to center', but unless you change it to 'origin to origin' the model will not come in at the correct coordinates.  Now, this could be due to something that the fuckwits in my office decided to do when they first rolled out Revit and were attempting to set up (cough) 'office standards' for the piece of shit - but that doesn't let Autodesk off the hook.  It also begs the question 'why aren't the Reviteers using the default option?' Obviously it's the one that they expected you to use - but unlike when they say 'oh - Revit does it like this, you have to do it like this', they get to randomly decide when to follow that advice.

Now changing it to 'origin to origin' is a simple change, but it's one you have to remember to do EVERY SINGLE TIME you start a new project (as if it wasn't a big enough pain the dick already - it has to just start slapping you around right from the beginning).  If you forget, then you get to stare at the screen while it goes through the process of linking the model in (with no option to cancel), or you go 'scorched earth policy' and kill the Revit process (one of my favorite things to do), THEN go back and do it all over again.  We never do it any other way, so there is never any reason for it to be set any other way - but there we have it.

That brings me to the next pain in the ass - and that is that Revit defaults back to your local drive EVERY TIME you go into it.  This is true for opening files, inserting families (i.e. revit faggot blocks), linking files, etc. etc. - meaning that I spend half my time drilling back down into whatever folder I need to access.  You can set shortcuts to various folders, but then you end up having to scroll down through these shortcuts when the p.o.s. should simply STAY WHERE THE FUCK YOU LEFT IT - LIKE NEARLY EVERY OTHER PROGRAM IN EXISTENCE.

That's one of the most glaring issues with Revit - it's like it was built from the ground up by a design team led by someone who had never used a computer before, which would explain the obtuse interface and lack of ability to set crucial settings to the proper defaults.  Then, in their quest to make it 'absolutely not Autocad' (so that they could properly alienate and frustrate untold numbers of designers) they made sure that you would never know what the fuck Revit was doing at any given point in time by eliminating anything even remotely resembling a command line, and developed arbitrary terminology (families, BIM, etc.) to give them buzzwords to babble back and forth to each other.

If you can get past all that, then you get to deal with the next brain-damaged 'feature', and that is how Revit approaches the concept of 'autosave'.  ACAD did it in the background and put it in a special folder so that it didn't overwrite your file.  Revit is nice enough to ask you (actually it tells you that it's been a while since you saved), allowing you to choose whether to sit and watch it save now, or finish the command that it just interrupted (it always does it when you are clicking on a command - and that's not just a coincidence, it is prompted by the click).

Okay, so now you've actually made some progress, and managed to get something resembling a project together in Revit, and you are ready to spit out some plots/.pdfs so you can get paid.  THEN you get to deal with the shitty presentation graphics that Revit is so famous for.  This is (supposed to be) Autodesks goddamned flagship full-blown 3D BIM-tastic motherfucking software solution that we pay an arm and a leg for - but getting shit to show up correctly, even after you've finally gotten it in a view/schedule is a motherfucker.

The biggest issue I had pop up lately is that the way it uses 'templates' for panels (which sucks ass).  Once I have inserted a panel and scheduled it, I should be able to make as many changes - whenever, and wherever I want to, without having to worry about running into a problem that forces me to open the template, modify it, reapply it to the panel, and then have everything that I manually entered get wiped out.  That's lazy as fuck - that's what that is.  Oh - and the inability to cut/paste anything to/from the schedule means you will be manually typing that information back in again.

Some of the ways we are required to show information on schedules is dictated by engineers (and usually makes sense), some of it is by customers (not so much - but you don't tell a huge client that they are idiots, or 'well, Revit doesn't do it like that, so...').

I finally beat my template into the shape it needed to be, applied it, and 'voila' it looked great (oh, but I can't export it - so now I get to redo it in our project template if I want to have it for next time).  I put it on a sheet - and (even though it showed up just fine when looking at the schedule) it decided to cut off the last part of one of my calculations that I had been forced to add (that's a whole other issue - it was calculating correctly, but was apparently 'confusing' our client, even though we have had never had anyone else complain about it).  That client was a little more 'hands-on', but the funniest part was that my boss didn't even know that the calculation they were asking for wasn't on our schedules.

If you've started with the default Revit template - you already know what I'm talking about.  For some reason it wants to have 'VA' (volt/amps) next to every single load in the middle of the schedule - which means that if your have a four digit load (common) the 'VA' will disappear, and be replaced with '...'.  God help you if you don't know how to make these fields wider and reapply it, because the next thing it will do is trim off the fifth digit of any five digit load.

When we first started using Revit, it hadn't even occurred to anyone involved with developing it (because they are obviously so far removed from the industry they claim to write software for) that we might need to be able to separate out loads based on type (lighting, HVAC, receptacles, etc.).  They finally slapped it on as an afterthought - but just the fact that they didn't think of it from the beginning is a testament to just how removed they really are.

Some hardcore pimp-slapping motherfucker suggested that I make a list of positive things I have found in Revit - which will be the subject of my next post (but don't be surprised if the post is blank).

Until then - fuck Revit, fuck Autodesk, fuck this, fuck that, and if you don't like it, then FUCK YOU!!!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Clear and Present Shitfuck

Whenever I run into a dead-end in Revit (which is replete with dead-ends... almost by design), I always find it amusing to search online for information on how to accomplish whatever basic task it is that has me at a standstill.

The results are always the same - hundreds of unrelated topics, any of which can be clicked on and the same exact conversation will be going on, regardless of the topic, forum, etc. - and it won't have anything to do with whatever discipline the people claim to represent.  It turns architecture/engineering into a constant process of chasing various commands through contextual Ribbon interface (whoever thought that up needs 50 lashes), or having to work around the inherent (and well known - even by the 'faithful) limitations of Revit.

What you get instead of answers are literal walls of text describing convoluted multi-step procedures and workarounds written by people who are generally more interested in stroking their own egos than addressing the actual topic (that is, if the discussion hasn't already degraded into Revitbots deriding people for not doubling down on the Revit dick).

God help someone if they mention ACAD, or needing something to work like it has for fucking decades.  It's like watching a school of piranha descend on a helpless swimmer, who is just trying to get the fuck back to shore.  Even the people who are trying to be helpful are like the guy in the boat that keeps tossing ropes in the water for the guy to grab hold of, but neglects to hold onto the other end.

It's telling when people have to preface their questions by swearing an oath of fealty to Revit and BIM in order to head off attacks from the people who have designated themselves as 'Defenders Of The Revit'.

When you tout a piece of software as being capable of easily accomplishing a given task, but then immediately have to start back-pedaling and explaining the drawn-out process that accomplishing that task requires (if it doesn't, in fact, require 3rd party software to do it) then you are misrepresenting it (at best) and are a fucking liar (at best).

And even that is better than the ones who just reject the idea that there is even an issue - the classic 'why do you need to do that?' or 'I just do it like this' ignores the fact that whoever they are working for, submitting to, being reviewed by, etc. may simply not accept 'just doing it like this'. 

I mentioned the way Revitards have managed to start getting their alternative approaches accepted by various state/city/county agencies, jurisdictions, authorities, etc. - and are now being faced with regulations based on those approaches that exceed what is currently being done (even by firms who are 100% Revit/BIM).

What they were basically trying to pull an end run  - to force their customers into having to pay additional fees for Reviting (that are still insufficient for the amount of time and work necessary to accomplish this), and of course - to force any ACAD holdouts into using the software.

Even now, most of the people that aren't directly involved in the design (owners, developers, contractors, etc.) don't even know what the fuck Revit is, aren't interested in learning about it, and certainly aren't going to shell out the obscene amount of money for software licenses, the necessary hardware and infrastructure to run it, or the extensive training to get their people up to speed.

Even years later, the whole 'If you don't Revit/BIM you will be left in the dust' line is *STILL* fucking bullshit, because the only dust Revitards are kicking up is what little remains of their fees.
They tried to claim it was 'inevitable' (inrevitable?), instead of making it functional - and that ladies and gentlemen is the dictionary definition of 'bullshit'.

The ones defending it are the bullshit bucket carriers, but at the end of the day all they are left with is a bucket of shit.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fuzzy Logic

So I've got one project to work on in Revit (there have been dozens come through the door, but they always have their schedules cut in 1/2 or 1/4, leaving the Revit-idiots scrambling to put together something half-ass to put out the door, and me giving Revit the middle finger, completing my projects on time, and making a healthy profit - if it isn't eaten by the Revit fucks).

Of course it's not one project, but an entire series of them, with no clear scope defined, nobody knows who is doing what, where, or how.  And then months into the project, I am given both design criteria to conform to, drawings to 'coordinate' with, and yet another round of apocryphal comments.  The guy managing the project is like a deer in headlights, and there are dozens (if not hundreds) of people involved spanning at least three-four different companies (besides ours).

Repeated requests for information come back with incomplete, incorrect, or completely nonsensical responses, but deliverables are still expected on schedule.  Now, this would already be enough of a pain in the ass, but throw the Revit Dick into the mix, and HOLY FUCK.

Now, a lot of projects get into these situations, and the solution is usually for all of the decision makers (read: those with control over the purse strings) to sit down and come to a consensus, and get the fucking thing out the goddamned door.  In this case, those people are in three different continents/time-zones, speak three different languages, use two different systems of measurement, and to top it all off - while all of the other disciplines are using BIM (or at least 3D software) nobody else working on the project uses Revit.

So then I get handed an ACAD file showing the locations of duct and cable tray.  EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE.  After wasting time in a meeting discussing other idiotic aspects of the job and getting no answers (we get implored by the manager to 'ask questions' - which I'll cover here in a minute) I bring this 'coordination plan' to the attention of my boss, but unfortunately he is still flustered from the meeting and somehow becomes convinced that the ductwork is actually floor drains.

I don't argue with people when they are flustered, but I mentioned offhand that it might be helpful (since we are working in Revit, and the other firm is working in some 3D software) to have these elements in our 3D model for coordination, which he disagrees with, since the 2D drawings are 'sufficient' (which they obviously aren't if he thinks ductwork is floor drains).

I was too busy with other projects yesterday to put my full attention towards the matter in the first place, but when I came in this morning I noticed that not only was the CAD file named 'Ductwork and Cable Tray', and several dimensions and notes to this effect as well.  I was able import this file into Revit (after linking it failed to work), figured out that it could actually switch from metric to standard when importing (a whole other story), and fucked with the view range settings for half an hour.

This leaves me starting almost from scratch with my lighting layout - and some fucking glitch has made it to where circuits will not allow fixtures to be removed or added (I've solved that problem in the next project, but it's not feasible to do it in this one, so I'll be having to manually label, calculate, and schedule some shit).

Now - back to the questions.  The comments on our first round of drawings have these extremely vague references to stuff that someone somewhere decided they wanted to see on our drawings (despite that person probably not having any idea where our scope starts and stops, and almost certainly not giving a fuck if they waste our time).

My boss compiles a list of questions to clarify the comments (note, I had already done this previously, and had no real reply).  I read through them, and after I got done being stunned that we were this far into a project without answers to some of the most basic questions (things that usually get decided before we even start a project), I am filled with absolute certainty that this list of questions will go unanswered (if it even gets to someone capable of answering), or result in mass confusion.

This is just one example of the bullshit I have to deal with on a daily basis  (ironically it is having the effect of making some of my government projects look sane by comparison), having to deal with Revit at the same time makes it fucking impossible.