05 Feb, 2020Two New Christmas Apps
Christmas school holidays can be tough if you work from home, but I was able to get a couple of little projects done that I have had rolling around in my head for quite a while. The first allows you to create low-poly 3D trees of various levels of abstraction, and the second lets you view simple polyhedra and apply sequential geometric operations to generate higher-order shapes and forms.
16 Apr, 2019Some New Solar Articles
Whilst writing some new documentation for my solar analysis API classes, I kept adding way too much background information, making them far too long to actually read. At that point I knew I had to separate that stuff out, so decided to add them as a series of articles on my website.
12 Mar, 2019The Wonders of Duck Typing
19 Feb, 2019The Profligacy of Immutability
There have been a couple of times over the past few months where I have run into major performance issues due to excessive garbage collection when trying to create dynamic models that work with immutable data objects used in 3rd-party code. Even just one or two immutable classes in a library can have huge flow-on effects. I have no problems with functional programming and immutability per se, but when that code starts gorging on new memory and leaving behind a trail of garbage for others to clean up, then it's time to register a complaint.
18 Dec, 2018Sky Distribution Equations
A number of people have asked me for more information about a comment I made in the CIE Sky app description about using the "latest" sky distribution equations. Basically, whilst trying to work out why the numbers I was getting from my implementation of the CIE Standard General Sky were slightly different to those from other popular daylight tools, I noticed that all of them appeared to be based on code that implemented the original Perez All-Weather Sky equations published in 1993, rather than the CIE Standard General Sky equations from 2003. The differences between the two are relatively small, but certainly enough to confound any direct numerical comparison.
04 Dec, 2018Architects and the R-Codes
Having recently submitted some planning applications in Western Australia, I have had to get pretty familiar with the local Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) that apply there. Not just the codes themselves, but also how they are interpreted and dealt with by local councils. At first take, the R-Codes really do appear quite progressive and thoughtfully written. However, they have been evolving and changing over many years and there is still a lot of legacy in their implementation that can make life particularly hard for an architect.
26 Nov, 2018Recent Service Interruption
As you may have noticed, my blog has had quite a few outages lately which hopefully have now been sorted out. However, after some long-running issues with the occasional html file simply disappearing, my web hosting service provider has recently upgraded their infrastructure and, in the process, blown up most of my other Drupal-based sites.
09 Jun, 2018New Schedule Editor
I have finally finished my online annual hourly schedule editor, which took several iterations and quite some time to get working the way I wanted. It's of interest because hopefully its relatively easy to use and can read and write schedules in a range of different formats, including EnergyPlus (IDF and epJSON), OpenStudio (OSM), DIVA/DaySim (.OCC.CSV) and some other CSV layouts.
12 Nov, 2017Why Educational Tools
A common question I get, both directly and indirectly, is why do I spend so much time on what seem to be pretty limited educational apps rather than doing a full-on building analysis tool that can handle real projects. I documented this at the start of a recent research paper , but figured that I should probably summarise my reasons here as well.
08 Nov, 2017JSON Settings
Quite a few people have asked lately about the settings editor in my web apps and how to use it. Actually most of the questions were more along the lines of 'why on earth do you use JSON for storing settings in your apps, and what’s with that weird editor?'. Well I have one or two good reasons for both, which I shall endeavour to explain.
01 Nov, 2017Two New Web Experiments
As part of adding support for scriptable tutorials, I had to create my own 3D vector font and annotation libraries. Both are intended to be highly dynamic and customisable so I wrote a couple of apps that interactively control their properties to thoroughly test them. As a bonus, these apps also serve as font and annotation designers, allowing you to do visual customisations and then copy/paste the code required to create that text or annotation in a script.
30 Oct, 2017Long Time, No Blog
Whilst I have actually been writing a bunch of stuff for my blog, nothing has seemed sufficiently insightful or complete enough to post for quite a while. However, I've reached a bit of tipping point now and desperately want to get some of it out there, but just don't have time to polish it into anything other than what it is. Thus I've decided that I am just going to put it up regardless, so apologies in advance...
08 Feb, 2016Moving From Drupal to Hugo
My content management system of choice is Drupal. It has served me pretty well and allowed me to do a lot of things I probably could never have done without it. However, it has become such an attention seeker these days; with security issues, module upgrades, heavy comment spam and database blowouts seemingly weekly events. Also, upgrading to the newest version is never as smooth as promised. Thus, instead of upgrading my blog to Drupal 8, I have dumped it entirely and moved to a completely static site using Hugo.
05 Jan, 2016Understanding WebGL
My biggest issue with WebGL, and actually all non-immediate-mode OpenGL, is constantly fighting with the requirements of vertex buffers and attributes. I seem to be always looking for ways to minimise and optimise memory whereas vertex buffer objects always seem to want me to waste large amounts of it with duplicate attributes. However, reconciling that requirement in my own mind has actually given me a bit of insight into potentially alternate uses for the WebGL render pipeline.
21 Nov, 2015BIM and NatHERS Headaches
Given that my blog doesn't get updated much and there is no other obvious output, lots of people ask me what exactly I am working on at the moment and why it seems to be taking forever. Usually I just mutter the odd platitude, but today I thought I would combine a bit of a rant with an actual example of the kind of problems I am currently and seemingly constantly wrestling with. This one involves the ideal of determining NatHERS compliance directly from a fully integrated building information model (BIM).