Wednesday, August 30, 2017

And the Last Word on The Sounding Board Goes to ...

A monk works on an illuminated manuscript

To my good friends in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations! Congratulations to all of you who used the Board to plead for rescue from the coming innovation of paperless design reviews.

I always took the The Sounding Board to be a harmless escape value for people who wanted to vent their frustrations, but, I totally stand with my OBO comrades in complete opposition to doing away with paper design drawings. Maybe no one who hasn't done the design review job will really understand this, but you can't keep a mental picture of the 3-D thing you are reviewing if you have to look at it through a series of 2-D keyholes. It just doesn't work.

So why does OBO management want to go paperless? I suppose because people just assume higher tech is always better. But paper is a technology too, and very plausibly a better one for the design reviewer's job. Bigger monitors on smaller desks - due to a simultaneous planned cubicle tight-sizing - will not help in the least.

If anyone in OBO reads this, please take up the cause after The Sounding Board closes tomorrow.

P.S. - About the monk and his manuscript above, a colleague of mine from years ago once asked me "how's the monastery?", by which he meant OBO. That was the perfect word for the place. Have you ever walked past the rows of cubicles on the engineering and architectural floors of SA-6, seen all the worker bees crouched over their desks covered with sheets of design drawings, pens and pencils in hand, surrounded by stacks of more design packages piled up around them, and imagined them as medieval monks in monastery cells pouring over illuminated manuscripts? For what is an architectural design drawing if not a modern-day illuminated manuscript? The illusion was even stronger in the days before CADD when they all did their drawing and drafting over a slanted desk, sometimes with a big magnifying glass.

That's how I see them. The monastery will just not be the same if it ever loses the paper.


Anonymous said...

Good post TSB! What?? you don't like designs like this great Soviet Consulate? (to close by Aug 2nd)

Category 3 hurricane hurtling toward the east coast for next weekend! Russians signed a contract to deliver 1 ship/month, 60,000 tonnes of wheat to Venezuela while US planning to send troops to Venezuela to restore order. Wonder which the
people will welcome the most? Chinese robot T-shirt maker to begin production in Arkansas in 2018. will make shirts for 26 cents each and employ 400 humans. (I'm sticking with cotton.) gwb

Anonymous said...

TSB: ALERT: NORTH KOREA HAS DEVELOPED AN ADVANCED HYDROGEN BOMB ⚠️ Ok now, does anyone have any bright ideas?? Well, since EMP is an infrastructure problem that we have done nothing to prepare for maybe someone should ask Rick Perry what he thinks? We already gave TRump, Tillerson, US Navy a shot at it and all they did was come up with slogans.

Then there is the Syria cease fire with an ISIS for PRISONER SWAP some don't agree to. That could blow up in the next week. "Watchful waiting doesn't seem to be working. What else is on the table besides "everything" .