19 May

Why The Ads?

We’ve placed some Google AdSense ads on two of our websites, currently on our main site The Rua Network and on The Stray Sod.

  • Why are we showing ads?
    • It’s mostly an experiment in using AdSense to see how well it works, and if it’s even worth using in the long run.
  • Can they be blocked?
    • They sure can! Feel free to grab a copy of AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, and/or Privacy Badger to do so!
  • Will we care they get blocked?
    • Not entirely. As mentioned, this is just an experiment to test something and if it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out.

This experiment is not for making a few extra cents from any ads that show (although a few extra cents does go a long way with hosting costs), but rather a live trial and error to not only see how it all works, but to get a better grasp on how to properly implement such a thing should a future client have such a request for ads on their sites.

13 Nov

Busy Times Ahead

It’s now November, and life inside the tiny cubicle of an empty second floor hasn’t slowed down much!

Currently, I get to juggle between playing with my AutoCAD hat, and my new Revit hat. Needless to say, things are taking some getting use to with separating things between the two programs.

I’ve also finished messing around with version “A” of L&L’s website (ll-eng.com). There are still a few sections needing to be completed content-wise, but that’s just the fluffy stuff that’s easier to implement.

As with any ending of a year, clientele want their projects turned around sooner, with completed plans, updates, and the ever eventful modifications desired. It’s always busy this time of year; one way or another…

30 Sep

Home Inspections

With such a vast background from residential building design, to designing/detailing a water treatment facility, to my current career path of structural designer, it was only natural to venture into the land of doing home inspections. I’ve already dipped my toes in the water, being the runaround man, looking over properties, and the outside of structures for any defects that may exist, for an insurance underwriting company. The nice thing about that job was being able to travel to different parts of Northern, and Coastal Maine, looking at properties in locations that had amazing views. The leg work involved, and the eventual reports required, are nothing compared to doing a full home inspection.

My first TRUE home inspection was just a few weeks ago for close friends. They were interested in a house, and asked if I could do the inspection for them. It’s a shame I’m not rolling around in free money, otherwise there’d have been serious consideration to throw down a counter offer on the residence! But that aside, walking around the property, and the structure, every bit of training that one would need seemed almost useless in comparison to the experience that drafting/designing brings. You see a wall, with cracked foundation pier directly below. What I see is a structural deficiency in the concrete itself, from lack of required structural support, or just poorly engineered. Either way, the entire house was seen as a walking model of the structures I deal with on a daily basis working with an engineer.

It may not be very often that I get to perform home inspections for people, but it’s something to start offering alongside my other services from now on. Besides, it keeps me fresh, and on my toes with all the building codes that are at play, both in the field, and at the desk.

28 Apr

Educational, Um…Training?

I must be crazy, seeing as it’s the only thing left that could make sense. Is it? I want to hope so, but I highly doubt it. Then again, I could just be going insane. That would fit as the more likely route in which to follow the rabbit holes.

As with everything, crazed or not, in the interestingly world of employment, one must keep on their toes at all times, ready to reinvent themselves at a moments notice. Least it sounded good in my mind. But it still holds some truth. And I’ve decided to start down that road as well, recently beginning a self-taught/paced Revit training course. Thus far, there’s very little new information being learned, just some old information being presented in a completely different light, with odd naming schemes. But it will be for the best; eventually. We can’t fight the tides that crash upon us, only to learn how to fully swim in the new waves, as such, I’m still learning how to float with this undertaking.

Clients are starting to ask if we’ve joined the ranks of competitors that have jumped behind a new-ish product with the intention of cutting costs and turn around times. This is all very well and good, provided that every single step you’ve taken is done so with absolute care. In the end, after the rushing towards shiny products with high hopes, with the best intentions, the world is still going to be looking for those who have kept pace with the “old” ways for when that bubble bursts.

For me, Revit will be just another tool, another set of guides to learn in order to accomplish the same ends through different means. It’ll be good for my career once I’ve gotten comfortable, dare I say cocky, with using the software on a daily basis as I’d be seen as having more value to offer. There’s never a harm in learning something new, so long as what was learned before remains utilized, and not forgotten.

6 Jan

Me, Overworked?

2013-01-04 13.54.11

With just three business days into the new year, I’m still adjusting to the knowledge that I received a title promotion after being with L&L Engineering for just three long months. Just before the holidays, my coworker retired, leaving me to fill his shoes as the Chief Structural Designer for L&L. I had already known this was going to happen when I accepted the position, but it still seems weird to me.

Here I am, going on 24 years of insanity, and I’ve reached what could be considered the top of the ladder for some in the drafting/design business. Needless to say, with this title promotion, I’ve also assumed the role of being the only structural designer in the building that knows AutoCAD. This roughly translates to me being the only person on the second floor of our building. This does have its perks though, and my boss did comment on how nicely I’ve utilized the space around my computer, it still remains that I am now solely responsible for our company meeting deadlines. It’s a slightly sobering thought.

I enjoy my work, every minute of it. This helps greatly since I tend to be in the office 45 hours each week clocked, and another 13 or so riding the city bus to and from. For most people, this would be a nightmare of little free time outside the office to do other things. But for me, I rather enjoy spending all that time working on the empty second floor. If I could, I’d take a project home with me each night to get further along in the time table, but I’ve been told that at the end of the day, work is over. 🙁 So instead of playing with AutoCAD all day and night, I tend to spend my nights messing with websites, and other related tools of destruction. So far, this has worked out nicely.

Just this past week, I surprised my boss with a little gift to speak online. I found a nice script that will allow us to keep better track of our current projects being drafted, while printing as little as possible. Before finding this script, and of course modifying it slightly, we would print off a list of projects and their current status. This worked for the most part until being the crazed drafter I am, got ahead of my boss with production, and updated printouts. Needless to say it got complicated trying to sort out which project was in fact in which stage of progress. With this new setup of keeping it updated in one central place, online in this case, we can access it at any time in the office, or out in the field, and make updates quickly, and easily.

While searching for a way to keep our projects updated in the sanest way possible, I stumbled across another script that would have proved much more useful had I found it two years ago when I was working at our sister company, Leasure Associates Inc. We had run into a problem with the contractors setup in order to exchange files between ourselves, and all the different trades that were working on the project. I managed to copy their setup, offering to use my server to store the files that were needed. While it did get the job done, it was also extremely painful to setup, and modify. Had I found this script back then, I could have saved much time configuring everything, and had it up and running in under a quarter the time. Needless to say, now that I have found it, and have it running properly, I know it will come in handy in the future when things start to pick up more.

I guess my boss was right when he told me Friday evening that I work too much. I really haven’t stopped working since I left the office…