Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The aassault on Donald Trump's presidency has taken a new and vicious turn. There never was any substance to the allegations that the press pounded home about Trump's complicity with the Russians. It never did make any sense.
Democrats were complicit with Russians until they decided turn their coats (become turncoats if that historical alusion was too obscure) sometime after the election. It must've been a matter of perceived political convenience that indicated to Democrats that their most advantageous position was contra-Russia.
The MSM – joined at the hip to Democrats – has seized the perceived advantage in news coverage over this issue. They have fabricated an enormous controversy out of zero evidence of wrongdoing by the Trump administration. Yesterday, the New York Times published a story that is highly factually questionable, but they were able to seize nearly the whole broadcast time last evening, even on Fox News.
We are witnessing the resurrection of yellow journalism.
Jason Riley has an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today. It concerns an appearance by Betsy DeVos, Secretary of HEW, at Bethune Cookman University, an all black Florida institution.
The response there is typical of the kinds of actions encouraged, nay, demanded, by the Democrats these days. Fortunately our president is not knuckling under to this type of harassment.
Democrats will continue to behave in their puerile manner, showcasing their ill intentioned actions for the world to see. Chucky Schumer and company are becoming the laughingstock of the year.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
If I never hear the name James Comey again, it will be too soon.
Since I left Publix in '02, I have been thinking that a new wave of innovation and a re-adaptation of existing technologies was in our future. There is an article in the Wall Street Journal about this here.
We are at a nexus in our history. In all aspects of our lives, there will be vast changes happening. We have already seen some of those vast changes begin: cell phones, digital cameras, the ubiquitous presence of computers in everything we do. Our new reliance on technology that didn’t exist a few years ago is a symptom of the coming revolution in all aspects of our lives.
The new and innovative has become a way of life. The cell phone is the premier model of adaptive change, and has a much shorter lifespan at the leading edge of its field than any other tool in history.
Which brings us to the topic of this article, which is the one component of human existence which is the antithesis of all the new, short-lasting, consumer, faddish, up-to-the-minute items which we seem to concentrate upon.
Somehow, we must adapt this stodgy old technology, which utilizes rocks piled upon one another and nails pounded into wood, into a realistic part of the 21st century.
The practice of architecture and the building industry has undergone a drastic shift during my career. To begin, architectural work, and all other design work, relied on hand drafting to communicate the designer’s intent. Executed with clumsy technology, yet precise, drawings of the time are things of beauty wrought by artists whose only outlet was the technical drawing that they produced.
Leaving aside the entire evolution in mechanical drafting, let us concentrate on our rapid deployment of design tools since the information age began. We architects began in our profession to harness the tools of progress in the early 1980s. CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) became the tool for architects which supplanted the traditional lead holder and technical pen, products of the previous technological revolution. These instruments had been used for drawing on paper since the 1920s.
The first wave of change, the early forms, relied on high-end computers, which were incredibly expensive, forcing most architecture firms to look for other forms of innovation. The start of the technological revolution, had relatively few participants. The architecture firms at that time who decided to get into CAD systems were typically larger and more affluent ones who saw a benefit that they could market to their clients.
The entry-level main-frame system had a price tag that began at a quarter million dollars, not including training costs, space utilization, continuing hardware maintenance, and other considerations.
Only after several projects could any firm gain any productivity advantage that was the reason for utilizing CAD systems. And then, there were some of us who lived on the ‘bleeding edge’ of that technology and helped to develop the things that architects now regard as de rigueur. I worked for a mid-sized firm that was not in a major city who made CAD work. This was done with the utilization of sheer will.
The next wave was the transition of the single successful mainframe CAD company being dragged, kicking and screaming, by the emergence of a startup into the realm of the PC. GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and systems used for design of manufactured products diverged somewhat from CAD systems used for facilities design and engineering at this time.
Intergraph Corporation, where I worked, was the premier supplier of GIS systems and systems for AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction). My clients were split between corporations that owned a lot of buildings intending to manage them with CAD and large design firms that had the money to invest in the systems we marketed.
A startup company – AutoCAD, which ran on PCs – ate our lunch. Through some very shrewd marketing programs and an eager market, CAD migrated down to smaller companies and A/E firms. There were a lot of things about AutoCAD which were poorly conceived and badly implemented, but for the price, users were able to make it work for them.
Intergraph bought a startup which implemented a version of their software to run on PCs. The software was called MicroStation, and was written by the Bentley brothers who ran an Intergraph system for an engineering firm in Philadelphia.
Those companies, Bentley Systems and Autodesk along with a few others, constitute phase 2 of the change that has come over architecture.
The historic change in automation of architecture, building design and facility management has been concentrated on graphical documentation of the physical plant. There have been many schemes to integrate facility management into the process, but none of them have worked very well.
The fault has been that the facility management solutions that have been developed are heavily dependent on database implementations; the companies that produce software for facilities management are CAD oriented. This leads to a divergence of thought in the design of the software.
I suspect that the concept of object software can be adapted in some way to take facility management software where it needs to be. The whole concept of facility management must be rethought away from the divergence of facility management and design. That was what we were trying to do when I was working on this problem 30 years ago. No one seems to have succeeded, yet, in implementing a true facility management tool.
And it seems that no one has progressed very far beyond where we were when I left Intergraph. That was in 1989. The equipment has gotten better, but as far as I’ve been able to determine, the software seems to be stalled at a point not far beyond where we were in the early 90s.
Someone will come up with a new analysis of what is really needed for managing facilities and integrating that set of problems with the knowledge needed to operate a business in its physical environment.
That is the problem. We’ve known it for decades, and we have solved pieces of it. But no one has put together a system that tells management the implications of how decisions in other areas of corporate life influence the built environment. That is only one example, but it illustrates how complicated the problem really is.
That kind of corporate decision-making tool is probably what the next evolution will be.
That is the kind of tool that has been ballyhooed for decades. Companies that sell computers and software based on that use need to progress to the next level. They have been looking for a way to do this for decades.
Someone will solve the problem. I look for more complete integration of information and design. That is the stuff that has only been described by speculative fiction.