Sunday, August 6, 2017


There's always been a bit of an anti-competitive streak in my make up.  As a young boy I always dressed up as a "red indian" rather than a cowboy.  I also refused to eat meat ... just didn't like the taste and texture, still don't.  Maybe I'm just a bit of a wimp.  But at school there was always the end of term thing where all the results got totted up, and there would be half a dozen of us vying for the "top of the class" spot. We would be keeping track of the scores as they came out and working out how we were doing, kind of like a league table thing.  But I did lose interest in the academic success thing towards the end of school and then at university turned into a positive rebel, and some kind of drop-out.

Anyway, it's six years since I started this blog, and for much of that time I have been excited by the steadily climbing numbers and the contact with people all around the world that ensued.  Well it so happens that since the last time I looked Google is reporting 1 million page views for my blog, which is kind of nice but not exactly earth-shattering.  At the same time the numbers of hits have dropped off a bit over the past year and to be honest, my hunger for keeping the posts going has dropped a little, partly because the whole Project Soane thing has absorbed a lot of my energy.  It's not always easy to take the time off to convert the modelling work into an interesting post, and there's so much still to do on the models.

Looking at my stats, There is a dramatic peak about a year ago.  Don't really understand that.  Tend to think it must be an artefact of the way the stats are calculated by some algorithm or other.  But it's clear that they have dwindled back to their former level now.  I think that can be linked to not posting regularly enough. But then, "does it really matter?"  Maybe this blog isn't going to be my main focus going forward, who knows.  Maybe it can just tick over with a couple of posts every month and a more or less static following.

Looking at stats for the past month, they definitely show a spike straight after my last post.  So my frustration at not finishing off posts to keep stoking the fire seems justified.  But when you look at the posts that actually get hits, that post is half-way down the list.  All the rest are 4 or 5 years old.  Looks a bit like the law of diminishing returns.

While I'm reviewing my analytics, what about the comments?  Well people do sometimes say nice things, which is great.  And people ask for help, which I'm usually very slow in responding to.  And I still get spam on a fairly regular basis, presumably from very clever robots, or maybe human-assisted robots of some kind. But that's seven comments in the past two months.  Which is fine, because I really don't have it in me to spend a couple of hours a week dealing with my comments stream.  So probably we are looking at a blog that ticks over for however many years I want to keep it going. 

I know that from time to time someone discovers my blog and gets very excited working through my past posts.  I know quite a few people have this mental note in their brains to find the time to read back through my blog more thoroughly, cos they keep finding little gems.  I go back over it myself from time to time, and I am really proud of what I've produced over the past 6 years, so I do want to keep the blog active and to encourage the idea of open sharing.  But rising to new heights? Exponential growth? Making a living out of my BlogSpot persona? maybe not.

SO ... what's new?  Well I've been working on an idea that crystallised while I was in the UK talking to people from the two museums.  Which is a website focused on Project Soane.  The competition websites were temporary, and the A360 space is really targeted at active Revit modellers.  Project Soane needs to reach out to the general public, the kind of people who visit the Soane Museum, or the Bank of England Museum, or Dulwich Picture Gallery.  We have a lot of stuff now that could be usefully shared on line with the average museum visitor, or someone who might be a walk around looking at old buildings, and buy the occasional book.

I chose WordPress this time, just to see how different it is.  Well, partly because WordPress sites tend to look a bit sexier, and when I explored, I found templates that were less blog-like.   So the basics are up there, and it will continue to grow.  I'll be interested to know what people think.  There will be some reference to BIM, but not much that is specifically Revit.  Lots of images generated from Revit models of course, but the focus will be on sharing ideas about Soane's work and the social context within which it arose.  I want to focus less on talking about BIM tools and processes themselves, more on just using them to think about our built heritage.

I've enjoyed setting up the website and learning a tiny bit more about formatting pages with HTML.  Nothing clever, just following step-by-step instructions to create "grid" pages that show a picture and link through to the next level.  I've also had to come up with a naming convention for the images so it will be easier to replace them with newer versions as the models progress.

There are two phrases that I have been using for a while now:  "the BIM pencil" and "the Way We Build".  They both reflect a belief that the history of our buildings and cities is an important research field, a doorway to understanding ourselves.  The way we build tells us a lot about who we are.  It refers to evolving architectural styles, functional aspects of city form, building techniques and materials.  The BIM pencil implies using digital tools for hands-on research into the way we build.  So that's what the Project Soane website is all about.  Tale a look for yourself.

1 comment:

I've been getting a lot of spam so had to tighten up comments permissions. Sorry for any inconvenience. I do like to hear from real people