Chapter 7 (The show must go on!):
If you have followed my story in Part I, Part II of this blog, you know by now that we are going through my personal journey through which I ended up where I am now and we are in circa 1992 with all my attempts put into learning and mastering AutoCAD which I told you about in Part III.
A computer or a car?!
Except a couple of fairly major decision points between 1992 and 2003, there is not much to report. I was just keeping up with the latest development and new technologies and probably spending a fortune on it. As a matter of fact, recently I was doing a fairly simple calculation with a close friend and colleague of mine with whom I have a long history of collaboration from early days and we came up with a shocking (but quite expected and justifiable) result. Taking into account all the currency exchange rates back in the day and inflation rates over the years, we figured that we paid (or he did first and so did I the same shortly afterwards) today’s equivalent of 15,000 USD for a there and then very high-spec computer (in 1993/4)… but don’t hold your breath, it was just a desktop computer with an Intel Pentium Processor, about 32 (or 64MB) RAM and a sizable probably 250 (or 500MB) HDD; I know… we could easily have bought a brand new Opel Corsa 1994 or a Golf Mk2 with that amount of money! But everything happens for a reason… so bear with me on this one… we’ll come back to this again soon…
On my way to automation!
Next mini-story is about when I got excited with an extra-curricular AutoLISP course which was to be offered in my school (which was indeed a School of Architecture in a Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts) at university. As you can imagine I was so excited as I had heard (yes, only heard) about AutoLISP and how this can help get rid of (you read automate!) some repetitive processes of mechanistic draftsmanship in AutoCAD: Draw line, offset, offset, offset, offset… Draw line, offset, offset, offset, offset… trim, trim, trim, trim, trim… It could have been a relief indeed! Don’t you think? So, I signed up! Paid the dues and could not calm myself for attending the first session… so the tutor started and he was explaining to us how we should know the order of commands and what needs to be done, exactly when and where, and when and where an “Enter” key or a “Space Bar” needs to be pressed and so on and so forth… well it looked like a very laborious and immaculate task to say the least or so did it seem… and then the real excitement began with the first example when he stated explaining how to exactly list what it takes to draw a line breaking down how it is done using “Line” Command and the coordinates… what I learnt later that was in principle what was known known as Macros in computer science and programming! Anyways to cut the long story short, Mr Instructor happened to make a mistake in the order of Macros for the task he was trying to do using AutoLISP… and I spotted the mistake, raised my hand and corrected him… this was not taken lightly and he was adamant that it was him who was right and I was wrong and I was not quite prepared to give up… after a head-to-head challenge it happened that I was right but you guess the rest: 1. The atmosphere became so heavy after our light disagreement but more importantly 2. I totally lost my faith in him… so I decided to drop out and learn AutoLISP by myself and I did!
To Apple or Not to Apple?
I kind of liked it the way it was those good old days… everything was a little bit more humane as it was… so back in the days the Appleyards (well, this is a nickname I just made up for Apple Authorised Resellers as they were many moons ago… and they were very limited in number, handpicked directly by Apple and a member of an elite group of vendors/retailers/resellers mostly appearing in very decorated high-end offices with proper Rockefeller Centre business manners… NOT to be mistaken with The Appleyards!)… yes the Appleyards had to work really hard to earn their dividends by convincing customers as to why they should “invest” in an Apple Computer which looked like this or this. So as I was an architecture student and probably looked like a very wealthy one from a well-off family (and I categorically deny that) to Mr Appleyard, he booked me in for a demo for which he had done his homework and invited a member of a company who were using professional software packages in this field! The most leading software Apple-based (what we know these days as iOS) packages in architecture were Architrion and ArchiCAD. They were both very powerful packages, easy to use, intuitive and relatively fast and efficient especially compared to the all-rounder AutoCAD packages which looked more like a glorified drawing board back in the days, Architrion probably much more so than ArchiCAD. But, Architrion in now long gone while ArchiCAD is still around. I was sold… but there was a tiny problem… budget… I figured I needed a car showroom to be able to “invest” in an Apple! But I could have spared just as much as the price of a brand new Corsa, you remember? So, feeling really guilty to take the time of The Appleyard and his attaché and not buying anything (or for not being able to buy despite wanting very much to do so), spending what could have gone towards a brand new Corsa on a brand new desktop was quite justified! And that was the main reason behind why I went for what I went for in the first story I told you here today!