HP Prime Graphing Calculator

The HP Prime graphing calculator by HP is a modern fast calculator sporting a back-lit touch screen and rechargeable battery.

You can try out the functionality with the free or premium app for Android. Free version found here.

For iPhone users the pro version or lite version can be found here.

The HP.org site has an emulator (technically a simulator) for download for Windows desktops. If you need a windows store copy you can try the copy here.

Other graphing calculators still slug along at slow speeds for plotting. The HP prime on the other hand plots with lightning speed.

If you want to buy on one Amazon you can go to my affiliate link. This is my go to calculator for desktop, smartphone, AND physical calculator. The buttons are nice and clicky. I bought mine several years ago to replace a TI-85 that died after 20 years.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made from the affiliate link. Recommendation is my own opinion.

First Look at Unreal 5 Engine

Epic just announced a first look at the Unreal 5 Engine that is scheduled for release in 2021. The current major version 4 is free for use, and has gained popularity for architectural visualization, games, and real-time graphics. Nanite and Lumen are two key technologies allowing billions of polygons to be imported directly into the engine.

Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time so there are no more polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets; there is no need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality.

Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.

Screenshot: Courtesy of Epic

Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, and in full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Epic is designing for forward compatibility, so you can get started with next-gen development now in UE4 and move your projects to UE5 when ready. 


Twinmotion Uses Unreal Engine for Visualization

If you want realtime visualization of your architecture in the Unreal Engine, take a look at Twinmotion.

Easily produce high-quality images, panoramas, and standard or 360° VR videos in seconds! For architecture, construction, urban planning, and landscaping professionals, Twinmotion combines an intuitive icon-driven interface with the power of Unreal Engine.


Their software allows you to transform your BIM or CAD model into a compelling real-time experience with just a few clicks. Your scene can be viewed and edited in real time at the same high quality as the final rendering. Twinmotion features realistic physically based lighting and shadowing and includes over 600 PBR materials that react to your environment, making it easy to get the look you need.

It has a simple and intuitive interface with drag and drop lights, materials, and props. You can change the season, the weather, or even the growth of trees by simply dragging a slider. The software allows you to create simple images, panoramas, standard and immersive 360° videos, and shareable lightweight interactive presentations in seconds—all from the same Twinmotion scene. They support for all of the most popular VR headsets allowing you to go from BIM to VR in seconds.

It is available for both Windows and macOS. Twinmotion is compatible with all BIM software, and offers direct one-click synchronization with ARCHICAD, Revit, SketchUp Pro, RIKCAD, and Rhino, including Grasshopper. Import assets from almost every 3D modeling solution via support for FBX, C4D, and OBJ formats.

Twinmotion’s library includes not only static props like furniture and rocks, but you can also breathe life into your scene with ambient sounds, photo-scanned human characters with motion-captured animation, animal characters, and even high-resolution plants that blow in the wind—all just by dragging and dropping!

Real-time archviz helps Scenario Architecture win clients and speed up sign-offs
Architectural design studio Scenario Architecture can now go from ARCHICAD designs to real-time, immersive visualizations faster and more easily than they ever could have imagined thanks to Twinmotion, an intuitive archviz tool.


Head over to their website for some amazing videos and stills!

Google Colab – Python notebooks

Google’s Colaboratory, or “Colab” for short, allows you to write and execute Python in your browser, with

  • Zero configuration required
  • Free access to GPUs
  • Easy sharing

Whether you’re a student, a data scientist or an AI researcher, Colab can make your work easier. Watch Introduction to Colab to learn more, or just get started below!

The platform allows quick testing of python code and fast execution in your browser. They have tutorials for machine learning, pandas, tensor flow, and other programming goodies.

The format is very similar to the Jupyter site where you can run a python notebook online to try your code. You can also install the Jupyter notebook or Jupyter Lab on your computer. Python notebooks allow documentation of code to teach other’s usage.

You can also use Colab to document and share interactive engineering calculations without requiring the recipient to install software.

ATC Hazards

The Applied Technology Council (ATC) has made a web tool for determining structural hazards by location. This is a useful tool to document code specified design values for snow, wind, seismic loading criteria. You can find their tool at https://hazards.atcouncil.org/#/ .

About the ATC:

The Applied Technology Council (ATC) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation established in 1973 through the efforts of the Structural Engineers Association of California. ATC’s mission is to develop and promote state-of-the-art, user-friendly engineering resources and applications for use in mitigating the effects of natural and other hazards on the built environment. ATC also identifies and encourages needed research and develops consensus opinions on structural engineering issues in a nonproprietary format. ATC thereby fulfills a unique role in funded information transfer.

ATC is guided by a Board of Directors consisting of representatives appointed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, the Structural Engineers Association of California, the Structural Engineers Association of New York, the Western Council of Structural Engineers Associations, and four at-large representatives concerned with the practice of structural engineering. Each director serves a three-year term.

Project management and administration are carried out by a full-time Executive Director and support staff. Project work is conducted by a wide range of highly qualified consulting professionals, thus incorporating the experience of many individuals from academia, research, and professional practice who would not be available from any single organization. Funding for ATC projects is obtained from government agencies and from the private sector in the form of tax-deductible contributions.

The corporate headquarters for ATC is located in Redwood City, California, with a satellite office in Arlington, Virginia.

Their sponsors include

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA)

Carport Central

American Iron and Steel Institute

Write to text file with Excel VBA macro

The following Excel VBA code will write the contents of column S (first 1001 lines) to a text file named after B16 in a directory labeled B15. The B15 entry will also look for “desktop” or “Desktop” and find the local desktop folder for the user. This is accopmplished by the CreateObject("WScript.Shell").specialfolders("Desktop") item

Sub fileWrite()
    If (Cells(15, 2).Value = "Desktop") Or (Cells(15, 2).Value = "desktop") Then  'if input cell is desktop then
        strFolder = CreateObject("WScript.Shell").specialfolders("Desktop") & "\" 'use desktop folder
        strFolder = Cells(15, 2).Value 'otherwise use directory path listed in input cell
    End If
    strFile = Cells(16, 2).Value 'input cell for file name
    strPath = strFolder & strFile 'combined directory + file name
    Dim fso As Object 'declare file system object
    Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
    Dim oFile As Object 'declare file object
    Set oFile = fso.CreateTextFile(strPath)
    'write the first 1001 lines of column S to a text file
    For i = 0 To 1000 'counter
        oFile.WriteLine Range("S" & (i + 1)) 'write cell contents to text file
    Next i
    oFile.Close 'close file
    Set fso = Nothing
    Set oFile = Nothing
End Sub

Wabbitemu TI Calculator Emulator

Wabbitemu TI Calculator Emulator

Developed By Spencer Putt, Chris Shappell, and James Montelongo

For Windows and Mac OS X and Android

From the project site:

  • Wabbitemu – An accurate emulator/debugger for the TI-73, TI-81, TI-82, TI-83, TI-83+(SE), TI-84+(SE), TI-84+CSE, TI-85, and TI-86
  • SPASM – The fastest Z80 assembler with extra features supporting TI calculator development
  • Wabbitcode – An integrated development environment with auto-complete, syntax-highlighting, and comprehensive source-level debugging

Available on the Google Play Store

Wabbitemu creates a Texas Instruments graphing calculator right on your Android device. Wabbitemu supports the TI-73, TI-81, TI-82, TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus, TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, TI-85, and TI-86. Fast and convenient, Wabbitemu allows you to always have your trusty calculator with you. Because Wabbitemu is an emulator, the calculator it creates will act exactly like the real thing.
Wabbitemu, like all emulators, requires a ROM image. Wabbitemu includes an easy to use setup wizard that will help you create a ROM image for your TI.

If you need to make a ROM, you can download it from your calculator.  If you need help try clicking on appropriate link below:



AISC 2013 Spring Seminar Series

AISC has announced their new spring seminars.

(Chicago, IL) – This season, become more informed, more efficient, and a better structural engineer with AISC’s annual Spring Seminar Series. No matter what type of building you’re designing, nowhere else will you learn to leverage your professional knowledge with the 14th Edition Steel Construction Manual, apply welding applications for cost-efficient design or delve into design concepts and connections for seismic braced frames – all while learning from masters in these topics, in person. Organized by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the Spring 2013 Seminar Series will be offered in 12 cities around the U.S. from March to June. Act now and you’ll receive a $50 early registration discount when you register at www.aisc.org/seminars; the discount is valid until February 22.

This year’s AISC spring seminars include:

2010 Specification and 14th Edition Manual: The Louis F. Geschwindner Seminar

Listen to the Steel: Duane Miller on Welding

Seismic Braced Frames – Design Concepts and Connections

Effective Steel Design with Seismic Considerations

Each lecture also provides useful tools and resources including course notes, design examples and AISC publications.

For more information on AISC’s spring seminars, registration details and pricing, visit www.aisc.org/seminars.

Registration Now Open for AISC 2013 Spring Seminar Series.

Could construction admin services have prevented downtown Montreal flooding?

Proper planning or perhaps an engineering services for construction administration could have possibly prevented a major flooding of downtown Montreal.  Soil around an aged water pipe may have shifted during construction work causing  the 47″diameter pipe to break and pour out 10.5 million gallons of water into the downtown streets in just 2 hours.

Moments before the water main broke, crews were working at a construction site at the McTavish reservoir near McGill University’s downtown campus.

The city’s water service said it’s possible the construction work near the water main caused the soil to shift, which led to the break.

Saeed Mirza is a professor emeritus at McGill University who specializes in structural engineering and the rehabilitation of infrastructure.

Mirza said the city should have known the pipe was vulnerable and taken the necessary precautions.

“It’s nearly a 100-year-old pipe. If the pipe was weakened, then any soil movement could easily fracture it,” he said. “Some engineer should have visualized this earlier.”

via [Montreal flooding linked to construction work – Montreal – CBC News.]