Apple's 'spaceship' campus architect dishes details

Stanford University's campus has a large central quad full of plants, flowers, trees, and pedestrian walkways -- this was Apple late co-founder Steve Jobs' vision for the design of the company's upcoming futuristic spaceship-like campus.

Architecture firm Foster + Partners is heading the project -- which is slated to be done in 2016 -- and the firm's founder, Norman Foster, recently spoke to Architectural Record about the thinking behind the new headquarters.

Jobs laid out plans for the campus in 2011. The facility is expected to have four stories and span a whopping 2.8 million square feet. … Read more

3D printer to carve out world's first full-size building

Sure, we've heard of 3D-printed iPhone cases, dinosaur bones, and even a human fetus -- but something massive, like a building?

This is exactly what architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars has been working on. The Dutch native is planning to build what he calls a "Landscape House." This structure is two-stories and is laid out in a figure-eight shape. The idea is that this form can borrow from nature and also seamlessly fit into the outside world.

Ruijssenaars describes it on his Web site as "one surface folded in an endless mobius band," where "floors transform … Read more

3D modeling and printing with a clean interface

SketchUp for Mac is a 3D design app that allows you to create 3D models and, using an online service, get those models built. SketchUp for Mac installs easily but was not available from the App Store when we tested the software, instead requiring a download from the publisher. SketchUp for Mac is a free app, but there's a Pro version for additional cost with more features and capabilities.

SketchUp for Mac lets you create surprisingly complex and detailed 3D models, but there's a learning curve to doing so. The interface is surprisingly clean and easy to work … Read more

Report: Spam down, but malware continues hold

Spam may be down but malware marches merrily on.

That's the message from the "November Threat Landscape Report" released yesterday by security vendor Fortinet.

Global spam levels ultimately fell 12 percent in November after Dutch authorities took down a large Bredolab network made up of 140 different servers. The Bredolab botnet was typically used by cybercriminals to send out spam selling fake drugs, according to Fortinet. Spam had actually fallen as much as 26 percent the week after the network was dismantled but was able to stage a bit of a recovery afterward.

The ever-present Koobface botnet, … Read more

Landscape printing of postscript files broken in OS X 10.6.5

MacFixIt reader "carrickp" recently wrote in describing a problem where the latest OS X 10.6.5 release has a bug in the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS) technology that will prevent postscript files from being printed in landscape view. This will affect many programs that handle postscript files, including those from Adobe.

When postscript files are printed using CUPS, they are converted by the "pstops" filter to a CUPS-specific postscript format which contains options for devices to handle the print job, such as duplexing, binding, and stapling, but also the organization of specific page ranges … Read more

New iPad docking mode on the horizon?

A subtle but important change could be in store for the iPad.

Though the touch-screen tablet can be used in both portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) mode, it can only be placed in its charging dock in portrait mode. There's just one 30-pin connector on the bottom of the short side of the rectangular iPad.

But according to documents Apple filed with the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union earlier this year and made public last week, a horizontal docking option may be on its way. The blog Patently Apple found the documents submitted by … Read more

Basic terraining

Game developers, 3D artists, cartographers, and anyone who needs a free 3D terrain modeling tool should check out Visual Terrain Maker from UNGSoft Developers Group. Using it, you can create three-dimensional terrain profiles that can be exported as DirectX files or used to create games, interactive maps, landscape views, digital artworks, and more. It's particularly suitable for DarkBasic game programming.

Visual Terrain Maker is a standalone tool that requires no installation, so it's totally portable, too. It opens with a black full-screen interface with a rotating 3D grid display. There are two initial commands: Typing 1 loads a … Read more

Blend portrait, landscape pages in Word docs

The company I work for creates very technical reports. Many of the Microsoft Word documents I edit are loaded with complicated tables, charts, and other figures. The pages frequently switch between portrait and landscape orientation, so I have to relocate the page number and remove the other header and footer information on the landscape page and then add it back to subsequent portrait pages.

You might think a sophisticated program like Word would make it easy to reformat a single landscape page and revert to the original formatting afterward, but it isn't.

In Word 2003, the steps required to … Read more

Design 3D buildings and landscapes

This program moves beyond napkin sketching to communicating ideas in 3D. SketchUp takes what may traditionally be seen as a complicated task and adds an intuitiveness many design programs fail to achieve. On first impression, this sketch-based 3D-modeling program may look as if it has sacrificed function for simplicity, but that's not the case. Despite the extremely user-friendly interface, SketchUp offers a suite of powerful 3D drawing tools that lets you experiment and play with new designs.

All actions are carried out using two button bars, one that runs down the left side and another that sits along the … Read more

Simple photo editor

PhotoDream lives up to its billing by offering a dreamy set of filters you can easily apply to your pictures. With simple controls and an impressive array of filters, most users will surely find something to fits their personality.

The program's interface is so intuitively designed that few will need to consult the Help file. With command icons, filter choices, and preview shots clearly laid out across the screen, users will know exactly what they're doing. PhotoDream's functionality is quickly mastered, thanks to its layout. Choose a photo to alter, and PhotoDream displays it prominently. From there, … Read more