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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Confessions of an AV Dad

As a father of two children under the age of six I have a confession to make. I have yet to teach either of them how to use the remote control. It's not that I don't want to, it more stems from my son not yet being able to read with any consistency and my daughter can't, and just likes to mash buttons. Don't get me wrong my son has figured out mute and pause and my daughter has figured out volume at 11 (much to my poor speakers detriment). It all comes down to control (see what I did there) it's that one last thing that I still have control over. Eventually I'll let get around to installing the Extron Touch Link system sitting on my desk, and the real fun will begin.

Friday, June 22, 2012

InfoComm 2012 Wrap Up

Mecca of all things Audio Visual called InfoComm has come and gone. My nine day sojourn left me with some sore feet, a small small allocation of swag, (much to my wife's dismay. She likes InfoComm to resupply the pen collection) great relationships, and some great training.
InfoComm usually falls in to two categories, game changers and same stuff new paint. This years show fell in to the latter, don't get me wrong it was a great show, but technology wise it was mostly 'anything you can do I can do better' or manufacture A does x and manufacture B has a 'Me too' and it comes in grey. In fact you couldn't swing a cat and not hit an interactive screen, table, or widget of the week while you walked the show floor.

The few highlights that caught my eye were Panasonic's large screen displays with built in pixel for pixel interactive tech (think no calibration), latest crop of bulbless DLP projectors (name the manufacture they'll have one), a glass fiber optic cable from Clearline that requires no striping and takes about a minute to terminate (oh you can twist it in knots and the light path is still functional), and the creation of a new InfoComm members council, called the Independent Technical Service Providers (ITSP) council.

 I also had the opportunity to join the folks at AV Nation to record the weekly AVWeek podcast which was recorded live on the last day of InfoComm 2012. Fun was had by the motley crew of hosts, commentators, and industry professionals.

The other memorable event that happened was at the Standards and Industry Innovations “Firkin Standard” Reception (not that I'm bragging) where I was presented with an award for testing The J-STD-710: Audio, Video, and Control Architectural Drawing Symbols Standard (Which my wife kindly pointed out that I was in Vegas receiving an STD).

All in all InfoComm 2012 was an extremely enjoyable show I'm one class closer to getting my CTS-D, I partied with some #AVTweeps  suffered sticker shock of a $600.00 meal at Dal Toro while dining with Mr. AVDawn, Mrs. AVDawn, Chris Neto (If you ever get the chance ask him about his snake on a leash story), Matt Scott, Michael Drainer, Steve Greenblatt, and Mike Brandes.

InfoComm 2012 in in the books and I'm looking forward to 2013 in Orlando. I just hope I'm about 80lbs lighter for the next show cause dam I'm fat in all my photos.

Till the next time enjoy and remember it's only AV.

- The AV CAD Guy

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vector Sketch Achieves AV Industry Certification

We recently received a Gold level certification with InfoComm's Certified AudioVisual Solutions Provider (CAVSP) Program. We are excited to be recognized for our commitment to education and training. We believe that our commitment to maintaining and developing new skills enables us to better serve our clients and strengthen our resolve to provide high quality consulting services to the industry. View the press release.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vector Sketch Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary

Vector Sketch today celebrates its first anniversary in operation. Started one year ago today, Vector Sketch changed the audio visual industry landscape with its Computer-aided design (CAD), documentation, and engineering services.

“It’s been an exciting year so far,” said Adrian Boyd Vector Sketch’s President. “From our debut, to our presence at InfoComm it has been non-stop. Growing this new concept of skilled outsourced design and engineering services to the audio visual industry has been a rewarding adventure.”

“We would like to thank our existing customers for their support and business throughout this year,” said Boyd. “Our partnerships with these firms have enabled both parties to grow and take on new projects. We look forward to continuing our relationships and developing new ones as the year’s progress.”

To kick off its second year Vector Sketch is offering a 10% discount for new customers during the month of November. Vector Sketch also plans to further educate the industry with blog content and directed CAD tips and tricks.

Official press release

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Cult of 3D

Recently I attended an Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) conference, which highlighted Autodesk’s new Inventor suite. I was struck by how many individuals from different industries, are activity using 3D design as a major portion of their design work. What got me was why the Audio Visual Industry was not actively embracing this form of CAD design. I realize that many on the acoustical side use 3D as a reliable tool to lessen design and installation costs, but what about the rest of us?

For a few years I’ve actively lobbied manufactures to provide accurate 1:1 scale CAD based drawings in 2D or even better 3D, to speed up the design and documentation process. Much of it to some success, however many manufactures just don’t get it. Instead they offer CAD drawings with no scale reference, or PDF’s which are very incompatible with CAD. I can’t tell you the hours spent making a usable CAD file from a non 1:1 scale CAD or PDF.

My ranting aside the CAD Industry is making a shift to more 3D based design software. No longer is 3D design relegated to awkward programs, functions, and the realms of movies and video games. Autodesk’s latest version of AutoCAD 2007 shows how far 3D has become by incorporating a new workspace specifically designed around 3D, as well as pulling many design elements from it’s other family of 3D products.

It’s not all too uncommon to find in a project, a room, the building, or even the furniture designed in 3D. This gives a customer a visual representation of what they are paying for. I see on the horizon entire projects designed in 3D. Many factors will lead to this, but I see cost savings and convenience of the software driving this form of design.

So how does the A/V industry meet this challenge, head on of course. I’ve always been fond of the saying “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome”. This industry will need to choose this methodology in order to join the cult of 3D.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Eureka with VidCAD

Example 1

At Vector Sketch we use VidCAD as part of our CAD and documentation work. As much as I love using it, but like all software there are always things you wish it did better or differently. One of the things that drive’s me nuts is the way VidCAD deals with crossing lines especially how it is displayed on the screen. In the average CAD program when two lines cross over each other, one sits on top of the other. See Example 1.

Example 2

I’ve always wanted to have the lines display an Arc when they cross like you’d see in a manual draft or in an electrical drawing See Example 2.

Normally that would be an easy task if VidCAD didn’t use polylines that have a database connected to them. My easy course of action was to trim or if I was lazy explode the polylines and then add the arc for the crossing paths. The only problem with that was the polyline lost its database relationship, and would not transmutate. Then I had that "eureka" moment. Why don’t I just trim the polyline, put in the arc and then use the pedit command to join the two. Now all I needed was to test my theory.

  • Draw an arc

  • Trim the line that the arc needs to attach too

  • Edit the polyline and use the join command

  • Select the line and segment then close the command

  • Transmutate the cable.

Example 3

Then the moment of truth did it work. To my amazement, yes it did. It was one of those man, I love making stuff do something it’s not supposed to. See Example 3.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Standard

Have you ever bought that do-it your self furniture? Sure it looks great in the store but by the time you’ve assembled it you have 6 extra screws and it looks more like a modern art exhibit. When you examine why it never looked like it did at the store usually it’s from not reading the instructions and when you do it’s not being familiar with where slot B is in relation to tab A.

In the do-it your self furniture business, the Swedish company IKEA has spent millions of dollars over time to develop an easy set of language less symbol based instructions that try to take the frustration out if finding slot B and tab A. Their documentation became a collection of standardization that’s been used and copied the world over.

So what’s the point? Its documentation, IKEA developed an easy standardized method to deliver instructions on the construction of their products.

The audio visual industry isn’t so lucky; we really don’t have any standardization for documentation. Often companies develop their own, to maintain a measure or quality that can be used for easier design, installation, but at times ends up as more of a marketing tool, or followed with a fast and lose philosophy.

The central point is the industry needs to document the work it produces. We need to develop an easy standardized method to deliver instructions on the construction and implementation of integrated systems.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Why did we start Vector Sketch

Have you ever been given a piece of advice that's stuck with you? Mine was 'find something you like and do it'. That's the reason for Vector Sketch, over my career in the Audio Visual industry, starting as an installer to now as an independent consultant. I've seen a lot of changes some good and some bad. I've worked on multi-million dollar projects to the penny pinched ones, and the biggest stumbling block I've worked with is documentation. It's accuracy, its availability, the time involved to create it and maintain it are all important factors on whether a job is completed on time and within budget.

I wanted to create a company that allowed me to grow myself and grow this industry. I honestly believe that documentation can offer a system integrator, consultant, or manufacturer a real revenue stream. I also believe that documentation can save money in any stage of a project. I’ve always looked at the bigger picture with an installation. Not only do the nuts ‘n’ bolts matter but the final aesthetics. Wouldn’t it be great to see potential problems before they happen? Wouldn’t it be great to have all the trades speaking the same language? In every project I’ve been involved with I’ve continually seen the ‘great disconnect’ between ‘us’ the AV industry and the architects, electricians, and other involved trades. It’s always frustrated me and I can bet it’s frustrated you to. It’s led to cost over runs, work being done as sloppily as possible, wrong, or not being done at all.

That’s why Vector Sketch was started, to provide audio visual companies resources that can help them make and save money. Communicate more effectively with trades, give your installation crews more accurate tools and assets to do their jobs faster and better.

Vector Sketch was also started to help long standing AV companies maintain their existing facilities To work with Industry leaders and associations to create standards.

Vector Sketch is here to help you with your design and documentation needs. Give us a call at 636-294-2261.