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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Buildz : Parametric Pandora

A very nice little written piece on Revit by Zach over at Buildz. A cool perspective that I think all of you students who are cursing at the computer right now trying to make your "Gehry-esque" design project work:

Parametric Thinking and Pandora

Careful . . . I haven't really thought this through entirely but here goes:

You're having guests and you're putting music on via
Pandora. You think, something a little folksy, simple, a little gritty. Bob Dylan before he went electric! So you pop on a new station for Bob and 15 minutes later, you're wondering why you're listening to the Traveling Wilbury's and Credence Clearwater Revival, and all that stuff from Stealer Wheels. Well, you asked for something really general and you're going to get something really general. It's all Dylanesque, the problem is, which Dylan did you mean?

Pandora is a system, not a DJ or a librarian, and like any other system, it isn't going to be any smarter than the information you give it. I don't know technically how it works, but it seems to work in some derivative fashion. You give it Bob Dylan, and it will give you back music that was inspired by Bob or very near to him in musical time/space, which is a pretty large patch of musical history. To get effective playlists, you have to go one step back or above your target.

I've heard a lot of questions from Revit users about why it doesn't do what they intended. Yes, sometimes there are bugs. But more often than not, the problem is that Revit is not yet telepathic (fingers crossed for 2012!) and the user has not given the system enough information to properly define the performance of their geometry. One user was confused about the behavior of an arch that was "defined" by two points (center and radius). An arch must have three points to be defined (arc length or angle!), otherwise you get "Stuck in the middle with you" or "The Joker".
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