Layout Sketches in Solidworks

I haven’t messed with layout sketches before. I have used standard sketches in an assembly to drive parts, “top-down” modeling, but I have never used blocks in layout sketches to accomplish this. As an industrial designer my modeling approach is typically bottom-up, modeling a full product within a single part file, and breaking it up in to multiple bodies. That approach gets my head turned around if I need to deal with mechanical systems and moving parts, though, so I’d like to try to work some top-down layout sketch techniques in to my brain.

Here are a couple illustrative videos I found this morning while looking things up.

Adobe Extending Desktop Applications with Tablets

This is very exciting. Adobe has unveiled concepts that use touch-centric tablet devices to extend asset creation as well as control of their applications.  We’ve all thought about it, we’ve all wished for it, and now it looks like Adobe is rolling it out.

They are starting with Photoshop, releasing a multi-touch paint application, an advanced color picker (with paint mixing), and a UI extender that lets you view open documents or choose tools with the tablet. I’m most excited about the last one, since it will grant notebook users the power of a dual display workstation without the bulk of dual displays. You’ll be able to prop your iPad up on the table and transmit everything wirelessly.

TabbedOut Could Be Free – With Your Help

I’ve been a big fan of TabbedOut for a while now. TabbedOut is a mobile application (for iOS and Android, currently) that lets you open, keep track of, and close out tabs at bars and restaurants with your phone. You tie your TabbedOut account to a form of payment, and your credit card never leaves your pocket. You can even leave it at home. Check out their website for an overview of the service. It’s a fairly regional thing right now, mostly in Austin, TX… but they are growing.

Advantages: Keep your card in  your pocket. Leave the bar without waiting in line to close out. This makes bar hopping MUCH easier. Especially on a busy weekend in Austin. You can close your tab, and add tip, with the tap of a button. Otherwise, all of your tabs close automatically and apply a tip at the end of the night. TabbedOut has also partnered with a few locations for drink specials. Currently, several locations give you $1/drink on Thursdays if you use TabbedOut.

Disadvantages: The main barrier to use right now is the $1 fee that the USER gets charged, per tab. When you first sign up, you get 3 free credits, and the folks at TabbedOut have been good about periodically giving users more free credits. However, the $1 charge is always what keeps my friends from trying it out. I view the $1 charge as a convenience charge for not having to wait in line to close out, and as a type of investment in a product that I would like to see succeed and spread nation-wide to a point where they quit charging the users, and start charging the establishments a small fee, much like credit cards.

So that was a lot of lead up to what I’m really talking about here… TabbedOut has said that if they get 2,000 followers by 3/10, the service will be free nation wide during SXSW. They are currently at a little over 800 followers, so this goal is easily obtainable. I hope you’ll help by following them at @TabbedOut.

I mentioned that while free durring SXSW was a good step, it would be really great if the service was always free. They replied with a new challenge: 10,000 followers by 3/10 and the service is free, forever. Now, THAT would be great. I know that they have raised quite a bit of money from investors, so I’d hope that such a move wouldn’t close the business down, but instead cause growth across the nation as the last barrier to user adoption goes away.

So help out and follow @TabbedOut, spread the word, and maybe we can see this handy service spread across the country.