OSNAPZ command AutoCAD

September 27, 2014 in AutoCAD, AutoCAD for Mac

The OSNAPZ command comes in so handy at times. Sometimes when you are trying to snap from an object/point that has a Z-coordinate, the Z-coordinate can mess things up, especially when you are working in a 2D drawing and you don’t care for the Z-coordinate.

For instance, you overlaid a 3D model over a plan drawing, snapping to that model will cause that line to not be parallel to the XY plane, but will get a Z-coordinate. Other instances could be when measuring in the XY plane in survey drawings (which will most likely always have a Z-coordinate for the surveyed objects); snapping from a surveyed point to any other object won’t give you the dimension in just the XY plane, especially when you have rotated your UCS as well (this happens a lot when working with multiple coordinate systems).

Well, there is an easy fix for this, with the OSNAPZ command. As explained in the AutoCAD User Documentation:

“Controls whether object snaps are automatically projected onto a plane parallel to the XY plane of the current UCS at the current elevation.

0 – Osnap uses the Z-value of the specific point
1 – Osnap substitutes the Z-value of the specified point with the elevation (ELEV) set for the current UCS”

So, by default OSNAPZ is set to 0, which means you will snap to whatever the Z-value of a specific point is. If you set it to 1 it will (by default) consider all Z-coordinates to be 0. Meaning you will always be snapping to the XY plane, and a 2D drawing, will stay a 2D drawing. You won’t be introducing weird Z-values in you drawing (which you might want to flatten in the end otherwise…).

The default elevation (Z-value) is set to 0 (for your current UCS), but you can change that as well with the ELEV command, if needed.

I use this very frequently. It saves me a lot of frustration in my workflow, and most especially, keeps my 2D drawings, two dimensional!

‘The Radicalism of the American Revolution’

August 30, 2014 in Books

The Radicalism of the American RevolutionThe Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It turned out it’s scope was far more extensive than I had previously thought; which was a good thing. The book is laid out in three segments: monarchy, republicanism and democracy. It tells the story of how the enlightened generation (among them of course the Founding Fathers) went from a monarchical society into a republican one and how it transformed itself again into a democracy in the decades following the Revolution. Something many of the Founding Fathers viewed as a step backwards, and many saw the republican ideas of the Revolution change into something they were never intended.

The author quotes Thomas Paine:

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

This shows the sentiment prevalent in 1776. They were on an upward path towards independence and freedom. Yet, in the years and decades after the Revolution things changed radically. As the author explains:

“Americans were reversing the civilizing process, going backwards in time, losing politeness instead of, as the revolutionaries had hoped, gaining it. Usually the first settlers of any country were barbarians who gradually in time became cultivated and civilized. ”The progress has been from ignorance to knowledge, from rudeness of savage life to the refinements of polished society. But in the settlement of North America the case is reversed. The tendency is from civilization to barbarism.” Under New World conditions ”the tendency of the American character is then to degenerate, and to degenerate rapidly; and that not from any peculiar vice in the American people, but from the very nature of a spreading population. The population of the country is outgrowing its institutions.” To some it seemed that the mind once enlightened could after all become darker.”

A comparison is also drawn between the French and the American Revolutions. As the title of the book implicates, the American Revolution was radical, but in quite a different way than how we might think of a revolution today.

Thus was begun the myth that has continued into our own time—the myth that the American Revolution was sober and conservative while the French Revolution was chaotic and radical. But only if we measure radicalism by violence and bloodshed can the myth be sustained; by any other measure the American Revolution was radical..”

The radicalism of the American Revolution didn’t lay so much in its bloody struggle with the British, as it did in their changing of every aspect of society as they knew it. The very foundations we torn down and build anew. The aristocratic and paternalistic society that existed was demolished and with it the most basic concepts known to the colonists at the time. One such definition that changed (radically), was the definition of ‘property’.

“Indeed, the entire Revolution could be summed up by the radical transformation Americans made in their understanding of property. In classical republican thought, property, landed property in particular, was not some special interest needing representation or protection. Rather, property had been considered in proprietary terms as part of a persons identity and the source of his authority. Such proprietary property was regarded not as the product of one’s labor or as a material asset to be bought and sold in the market but as a means of maintaining one’s gentility and independence from the caprices of the market. Landed property was the most important such guarantee of autonomy because it was the least transitory, the most permanent form, of property. Such proprietary property was designed to protect its holders from from external influence or corruption, to free them from the scramble of buying and selling, and allow them to make impartial political judgements. But by making landed property merely another ”interest” among all the other market interests to be promoted or protected, [James] Kent and the other Federalists unwittingly stripped property of its older sanctified, static meaning and turned it into a mere material possession or capital commodity. They therefore conceded the northern Republicans’ more modern understanding of property at the outset—that property was changeable, based on people’s labor, and ”essential to our temporal happiness”.

If property had become just an ”interest,” a mere material possession, just venture capital, then, the Republicans said, everyone had an equal right to acquire it, for ”the desire of acquiring property is a universal passion.” Such property could no longer be an intergal part of a person’s identity; instead it was ”only one of the incidental rights of the person who possesses it,” important no doubt, but scarcely requiring specific representation in a branch of legislature. In fact, ”compared with our other essential rights,” property was ”insignificant and trifling.”

America, after the Revolution, became the most commercialized nation on earth, which leveled the playing field for its inhabitants. The distinction of Gentleman vs (for example) Yeoman disappeared quickly, as ones social status became more and more dependable on ones own labor and ability to make money, instead of depending on the patronage of well to do Gentlemen.

“The idea of labor, of hard work, leading to increased productivity was so novel, so radical, in the overall span of Western history that most ordinary people, most of those who labored, could scarcely believe what was happening to them. Labor had been so long thought to be the natural and inevitable consequence of necessity and poverty that most people still associated it with slavery and servitude. Therefore any possibility of oppression, any threat to the colonists’ hard earned prosperity, any hint of reducing them to the poverty of other nations, was especially frightening; for it seemed likely to slide them back into the traditional status of servants or slaves, into the older world where labor was merely a painful necessity and not a source of prosperity.”

Labor thus became the source of their prosperity. Something it still is in the Western world today, generally speaking. Also, it was elevated in status, where people who would still be holding on to the old aristocratic ideas, were more and more looked down upon. Their positions became financially unbearable in many instances, because people who would want to uphold their Gentility, refrained from working to make money, as it was considered beneath them and would interfere with their ability to participate in politics and government without any form of alternate interests.

The meaning of the Revolution differed for people, but it was the common seed that bonded the American people together.

“Some found the meaning of the Revolution in the Constitution and the union it had created. Others discovered the meaning in the freedom and equality that the Revolution had produced. But many other Americans knew that such meanings were too formal, too legal, too abstract, to express what most actually experienced in being Americans. In concrete day-to-day terms invocations of the constitution meant the freedom to be left alone, and in turn that freedom meant the ability to make money and pursue happiness.”

What was most interesting to read about were how the original ideas and expectations of the Founding Fathers actually differed from what American society actually turned into. One of the main interests I decided to read this book. Most especially the advent of Democracy, unsettled many of the Founding Fathers:

“The founding fathers were unsettled and fearful not because the American Revolution had failed but because it had succeeded , and succeeded only too well. What happened in America in the decades following the Declaration of Independence was after all only an extension of all that the revolutionary leaders had advocated. White males had taken only too seriously the belief that they were free and equal with the right to pursue their happiness. Indeed, the principles of their achievement made possible the eventual strivings of others—black slaves and women—for their own freedom, independence, and prosperity.”

These strivings weren’t limited to North America either, for most of the principles and ideas advocated and developed at the time we can see (in some form or another) in most Western societies. It laid the groundwork for the modern concept of democracy.

The amount of research that has gone into this book must have been enormous. The author has woven all this research into a very readable narrative. Informative, educational and most of all very enjoyable!

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‘Lawrence in Arabia’

August 20, 2014 in Books

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle EastLawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

T.E. Lawrence remains an illusive figure to most people. Most people (including myself) have first learned of him through the 1962 movie by David Lean. This book is certainly about T.E. Lawrence, but will cover far more ground and characters. It places the story of Lawrence in it’s historical context, in which the modern day Middle East was given the shape we are familiar with today.

It describes the conflict inside him in the roles he was playing, first on behalf of the British government, but later more and more on the side of the Arabs, and how in the end this conflict of interest would tear him up on the inside.

What is most interesting today (as it has been 100 years since the outbreak of WWI), is to see how the imperial powers of that time schemed and lied in order to pull of “The Great Loot” for the remains of the Ottoman Empire. Much of the turmoil and conflicts of today in that region stem from the decisions made during and immediately following WWI. About this the author writes:

“Certainly, blame for all this doesn’t rest solely with the terrible decisions that were made at the end of World War I, but it was then that one particularly toxic seed was planted. Ever since, Arab society has tended to define itself less by what it aspires to become than by what it is opposed to: colonialism, Zionism, Western imperialism in its many forms. This culture of opposition has been manipulated—indeed, feverishly nurtured—by generations of Arab dictators intent on channeling their people’s anger away from their own misrule in favor of the external threat, whether it is “the great Satan” or the “illegitimate Zionist entity” or Western music playing on the streets of Cairo.”

It remains pure speculation to ponder what would have happened had Lawrence’s vision for Arabia actually been realized. Lawrence himself was a changed man, after everything he had fought for vanished. About this the author writes:

“this was an experience that left him [Lawrence] utterly changed, unrecognizable in certain respects even to himself. Victory carries a moral burden the vanquished never know, and as an architect of momentous events, Lawrence would be uniquely haunted by what he saw and did during the Great Loot.”

The book has been an absolute pleasure to read! The narrative is gripping and it just flows. Hard to put down once you start reading it.

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Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’

July 17, 2014 in Books

Common SenseCommon Sense by Thomas Paine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There isn’t a single (good) book about the American Revolution in existence, that doesn’t mention Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ in some way or another. And rightfully so, as the effects of this pamphlet were great. Historian John Ferling, in his book ‘Almost a Miracle’ wrote the following:

“His [Thomas Paine] electrifying polemic captured what most Americans—if not most congressman—felt. He opened with a a nearly unanswerable assault on the folly of hereditary kingship, and indeed on monarchy itself, that drove the last nail in the coffin of monarchical rule for the revolutionary generation.”

It was published at a perfect time, when the Continental army was demoralized and the Continental congress was debating whether or not to send another plea for reconciliation to king George. Within days of the appearance of this pamphlet that motion was voted down and a motion for independence adopted instead.

Biographer Ron Chernov, in his book ‘Washington, a Life’ described it as follows:

“Beyond its quotable prose, Common Sense benefited from perfect timing. It appeared just as Americans digested news of the Norfolk horror as well as George III’s October speech to Parliament in which he denounced the rebels as traitors and threatened to send foreign mercenaries to vanquish them. The historian Bernard Bailyn has noted that ‘one had to be a fool or a fanatic in early January 1776 to advocate American independence,’ but Paine’s work—’slapdash as it is, rambling as it is, crude as it is’—produced that magical effect.”

Besides the great boost to moral the pamphlet provided, Thomas Paine donated the proceeds of his pamphlet to the Continental army, which was strapped for cash at the time.

Having read quite a few quotes from this pamphlet, as quoted by different historical authors, I had to read it myself in its entirety. It was a very readable text. The interesting thing about this pamphlet, is that is was written for the common man. This dragged the ‘common’ man into politics. Something that wasn’t the norm at the time. Before one was to engage himself into politics, one had to first distinguish himself as a ‘gentleman’. Benjamin Franklin for instance only deemed himself a ‘gentleman’ after he retired as a businessman. The common man, at the time, was not suppose to involve himself with politics. This custom was broken when Thomas Paine published his pamphlet.

I enjoyed reading it and it helps to better understand the revolutionary era. Thomas Paine said it best himself, when describing this most remarkable of times in history:

“…we have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months.”

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Book review: ‘Becoming Eichmann’

July 10, 2014 in Books

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55842.Becoming_Eichmann” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, and Trial of a “Desk Murderer”" border=”0″ src=”https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1402643054m/55842.jpg” /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55842.Becoming_Eichmann”>Becoming Eichmann: Rethinking the Life, Crimes, and Trial of a “Desk Murderer”</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/31521.David_Cesarani”>David Cesarani</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/807098225″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
Excellent book about the what moved Adolf Eichmann to act like he did. The author starts with the story of Eichmann’s life and rise within the Nazi party and SS and SD organizations, and his role therein. At the end of the war he described Eichmann on the run and his eventual flight to Argentina. The ten years he lived pretty much worry free in South America, together with his wife and children who joined him there (under their own names) when he felt it was safe enough, is well described and leads up to his capture by Mossad agents in 1960.<br><br>His trial is described well, and shows both the mistakes of the prosecutor and the defense attorney. During his trial the prosecutor tried to pin the entire Final Solution on him, and even though what Eichmann did was horrible, he did not by himself write the policy that he ended up enforcing.<br><br>An interesting bit of information was unfolded during the appeals hearings, when Eichmann’s attorney (Servatius) demanded that Hans Globke be questioned (page 315):<br><br><em>”Even more stunning , he [Servatius] demanded to question Hans Globke, who in 1936 had written a legal interpretation of the Nuremberg Laws. He was now the State Secretary to the German Chancellery and a senior official in Konrad Adenauer’s government.”</em><br><br>Hans Globke who authored and co-authored numerous laws that enabled the Nazi state and by extend made possible the persecution of the Jews and in the end the Holocaust. Hans Globke, who also served as chief legal adviser for Eichmann’s department. Konrad Adenauer, Globke’s protector, covered for him while Eichmann was executed in Israel for his part in the Nazi regime and the Final solution. And with Globke, there were many more like him who escaped judgement all together for the crimes they committed during the Nazi regime. Quite the hypocrisy, especially since it was a known fact in the governments of the US and Britain. <br><br>The book deals well with the aftermath of Eichmann’s trial and execution. It explains how it created excellent teaching opportunities for the younger generation and opened up a dialogue about what had happened during the war years. At the time most people chose to talk as little as possible about it for varied reasons. The trial of Eichmann caused an influx of studies and books about the war, it’s lead characters and of course Eichmann. The author shows the discrepancies between these studies and the context in which they were written. The most notable work to be published as a direct result of the Eichmann trial was Hannah Ahrendt’s ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’. <br><br>Cesarani writes (page 367): <em>”The capacity to do what he did was not, however, inborn. Eichmann was not ‘hard-wired’ to become an accomplice to atrocities. The key to understanding Adolf Eichmann lies not in the man, but in the ideas that possessed him, the society in which they flowed freely, the political system that purveyed them, and the circumstances that made them acceptable. What Eichmann did was made possible by the dehumanization of the Jews, the construction of the Jewish people as an abstract racial-biological threat and a political enemy, and the disabling of inhibitions against killing. Anyone subject to these processes might have behaved in the same way, be it in a totalitarian state or a democracy.”</em><br><br>He concludes with the following: <em>”Now, in the twenty-first century, in a world awash with refugees and the victims of ‘ethnic cleansing’, when racism and fanaticism continue to dominate politics, and when international tribunals are trying the foot soldiers of genocide and their commanders in the military and political echelons, Eichmann appears more and more like a man of our time.”</em><br><br>I thoroughly enjoyed this book about a chapter of history that enabled men like Eichmann to flourish…. sadly enough.
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Book review: ‘The Lincoln Hypothesis’ by Timothy Ballard

July 7, 2014 in Books

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22241044-the-lincoln-hypothesis” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”The Lincoln Hypothesis: A Modern-day Abolitionist investigates the possible Connection between Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Abraham LIncoln” border=”0″ src=”https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1402292827m/22241044.jpg” /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22241044-the-lincoln-hypothesis”>The Lincoln Hypothesis: A Modern-day Abolitionist investigates the possible Connection between Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Abraham LIncoln</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5309731.Timothy_Ballard”>Timothy Ballard</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/964104123″>2 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
The reason I read the book was out of curiosity. Being LDS myself, I was quite interested in seeing how the Book of Mormon would possibly fit within the story of Lincoln and the Civil War. It wasn’t too bad, when taking in mind this was only a thesis. The author takes us along on his journey of discovery, and while there were many interesting parts, most of the evidence was indirect and circumstantial, and thin at best. Even though Lincoln checked out a copy of the Book of Mormon, and it was in his possession for many months, this didn’t change his stance on the Mormons from what I know. He just let them be, as he certainly had bigger problems to worry about.<br><br>Another part that could have been kept out of the book (in my opinion), were the personal experiences the author shares about his work for the CIA in eradicating modern day slavery. Despite the great work he is able to accomplish by freeing modern day slaves, and bringing the perpetrators to justice, it almost came across as if he was trying to draw a direct parallel between himself and Lincoln, which, in my opinion, came across as a bit arrogant. It was a part of the book that could have been left out completely, as it didn’t add much to his thesis and was probably only added to create a(n emotional) bridge between our time and Lincoln’s, so that the reader would connect better to his (Lincoln’s) story.<br><br>Having read James M. McPherson’s ‘Battle Cry of Freedom’ earlier (which was great!), this book certainly made me want to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, as it felt like much of Lincoln’s life, character and motivations were either overlooked or weren’t explored to a satisfy-able depth.<br><br>Another thing that bothered me about this thesis, was the lack of information of the LDS community, at the time, regarding their position on slavery and servitude. From my own studies it would appear that (some of) the LDS people at the time considered certain races to be of lesser stature and that they would perhaps be better off in a capacity of servitude. Brigham Young, while addressing the Utah Territorial Legislature on January 5th, 1852, said:<br><br><em>”It has long since ceased to become a query with me, who were the most amenable to the laws of righteousness: those who through the instrumentality of human power brought into servitude human beings, who naturally were their own equals, or those acting upon the principle of nature’s law, brought into this position or situation, those who were naturally designed for that purpose, and whose capacities are more befitting that, than any other station in society. Thus, while servitude may and should exist, and that too upon those, who are naturally designed to occupy the position of “servant of servants.” Yet we should not fail into the other extreme, and make them as beasts of the field, regarding not the humanity which attaches to the colored race: nor yet elevate them, as some seem disposed, to an equality with those whom Nature and Nature’s God has indicated to be their masters, their superiors;”</em><br><br>This, in my opinion, would contradict the theory that while the Latter-Day Saints were safely tucked away in the mountains (Utah), the rest of the country (i.e. all the states, North and South) would have to wage war in order for them to humble themselves, and ‘repent’ (‘National Repentance’ is what the author calls it) of the sin of slavery, as it would appear the Latter-Day saints weren’t entirely blameless here (despite their own persecution before they headed west) when looking at their own idea’s and beliefs about slavery at the time.<br><br>This would seem like an important topic that perhaps should have been included in the narrative, as it would paint a more honest picture about the LDS Church and people in regard to the question of slavery and emancipation. <br><br>Reading about Lincoln’s change of heart was very interesting and enjoyable. When your son dies in the middle of a most horrible civil war, it would cause most men (and women) to take a long hard look at themselves, God, and the meaning of it all. Whether or not the Book of Mormon (pretty much the main selling point of the book) actually made a difference in Lincoln’s life remains unknown. The book does not provide a definitive answer to that question. All it offers are speculations based on Lincoln’t actions and writings afterwards. So who knows.
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AutoCAD keyboard shortcuts

June 5, 2014 in AutoCAD, AutoCAD for Mac

Below the most used autoCAD keyboard shortcuts. For more keyboard shortcuts, follow this link.