AIA Contract Docs for ARE Canidates

If your studying for the ARE’s… specifically the CDS-Construction Documents and Services… the AIA has made available some of the key contracts covered on the test for ARE candidates…. All you need to do is log into your record… then go

  1. Log into “My NCARB”
  2. Click “Go” to access your NCARB Record
  3. Follow link for ARE Candidates: Construction Documents & Services Resources visible in the lower left of your Record.

…or just click this link after you log into your NCARB record.


at the time of this post the following contract documents were available for study purposes.

Conventional Family

  • A101-2007           Owner and Contractor (Stipulated Sum)
  • A201-2007           General Conditions
  • A701-1997           Instructions to Bidders
  • B101-2007           Owner and Architect
  • B101-2007A        Document B101-2007 Exhibit A
  • C401-2007           Architect and Consultant

Contract Administration and Project Management Forms

  • A305-1986           Contractor’s Qualification Statement
  • G701-2001           Change Order
  • G702-1992           Application and Certificate for Payment
  • G703-1992           Continuation Sheet
  • G704-2000           Certificate of Substantial Completion



If your unfamiliar with SOPA, your can find out more about it here… but essentially it is a bill currently being discussed that is supposed to protect itelectual properties from being pirated illigally on the internet… such as movies and music. However this bill would cause more damage than good… First of all i doubt it would seriously stop online piracy… however it would swing the pendulum over way to the other side and make it way to easy for various parties to limit information that passes through the internet…

Essentially this would fatally damage the way the internet is free and open to all information, and these types of bills could make it way too easy for someone to control what information is passed through the internet… making search engines, money transaction sites, information sites like Wikipedia, and other major information avenues of the internet stop showing results from sites they deam to be “illegal”. These types of bills would be the start of a major censorship of what Americans see on the internet, defeating the main reason behind the internet, which is sharing of information… any information… the point is we currently decide what to believe and what to discard… we should not let someone else decide what we see and what we should not…lets keep that right… contact your representatives… call them if you can… it’s more powerful than an email… but of you can only do one at least email them… you can find out who your reps are through this link on Wikipedia… which blacked out its entire site today (2012.01.18) in protest of this bill. I did both… if your looking for what words to say in your email to your rep… this is what I wrote to help in your inspiration, or if you just want to copy and paste… go for it… the point is to let our congress people know what we want.

I am writing you today to let you know my family and I are against the SOPA act, PIPA, and similar legislation. Although I understand online piracy is an issue, I strongly believe these types of legislation would not stop piracy, and would in fact cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. I hope you will (or do) understand the ramifications of a bill that would allow any party to manipulate any DNS information, as well as other issues these bills would cause to limiting the “passing on” of information for future generations. my fear is that this type of bill will give to much power and control of limiting a currently free information highway, and could easily be taken advantage of to prevent freedom of free speech, freedom of information, and other freedoms that every united states citizen currently has a right to. I hope you consider my words here and vote in opposition of SOPA, PIPA, and similar legistlation. iPad/iPhone workaround

If you are studding for your Architectural Registration Exams in the United States you know what the above title means… if you don’t… well this article probably will not interest you… but here’s a synopsis… I’ve written about my opinionated thoughts and explanation on the long procedure to become a licensed architect in any of the 50 States before. Essentially the are called the ARE’s (for Architectural Registration Exams, and if your studying for them you know about the, and if you don’t… you should… as it is an invaluable tool in studying fort the ARE’s. Essentially a forum of everyone else in the US studying for the exams as well as people trying to help that demographic… its a place to ask questions, and more importantly review and have your practice vignettes reviewed by your fellow peers.


However the forums are difficult to log into the first time on an iPhone or iPad if you don’t know this workaround. The problems arises after navigating to the home page of and clicking on the button “Enter Forums”. Before giving you the login prompt it redirects you to the forum rules… which you should read. However there is no way to continue pass this forum rules page and actually log in on an iOS device. I think this is because of Flash… not the super hero in the picture above, but the programing language, which if you know or not, is not available on iOS devices and probably never will be. You can read the rules fine on an iOS device, but there should be a button at the bottom of the rules saying “Accept” however this button i believe is created with flash for some odd reason and does not show up.

So here is the workaround to get to work on the iPad or iPhone… type the full path of the forums (after you actually read the rules to comply with them) in the address bar and you will get to the actual forums, which runs on vBulliten, which works great with iOS devices… its just that lonely accept button at the bottom of the rules that is flash. Anyway the full path of the forums is below. Once there you can login with your user name and password, or register to create a new one. Good Luck… on both the tests and forums 😉


Why will Siri not remember my relatives?

My brother got the iPhone 4s a few weeks before me… when he utilizes the voice recognition software built into it, called Siri, all he has to do is say… “text my brother what are you up too”… and Siri creates a  text message to Tim (me) saying “what are you up too”… it remembers his relation ships so it knows who his brother, wife, mother, etc. are… However when I got my iPhone 4s I would say “text my brother hello”… because my phone is new, Siri would ask something along the lines

“who is your brother?”

I would reply “Matt”, and Siri in return would say

“would you like me to remember this?”… and of course I said

“sure” and Siri would reply in her most devious voice



The problem I was having though, was that she was not remembering Matt was my brother… even though I told her to remember it countless times. I finally figured out the reason and though I would post it here for others incase they are having the same problems and decide to google it.


My situation was that my email runs off of Microsoft Exchange (which for those that do not know many many corperations use for their email  servers… which also links up to my own calendar and own set of contacts stored on my exchange server that links with my iPhone. The problem is that default exchange contacts only has association fields of manager and assistant…. and you can not to my knowledge easily create custom association fields like “wife” or “Brother” in my case. So once I figured that out the solution was easy… I simply went to my contacts on my phone… browsed to exchange contacts… and deleted the contact for my self…. then i created a new contact for my self, but instead of doing it with all my other contacts on my exchange server… the one for myself resides souly on my iphone… not related to my exchange server. Now that I have a new contact of myself on my phone I can use any of the association or related fields pre=programed…or even create new ones…


The easiest way to do this after you create the new contact on your phone, rather than through your exchange server is to just call up Siri and say… So and So is my Mom… or whoever and whatever relationship you want Siri to remember. Cmmment below if anyone has any questions.


mirror volumes

Ever wonder what a volume mirror or drive mirror was?… or better yet wonder how do I backup my hard drive automatically?

Well Windows 7 has some cool features to setting up whats called a volume mirror really, really easily… which is what you want to do if your looking to automatically back up a hard drive… Doing this is also called Raid 1…

Essentially all you will need is another hard drive the same size or bigger than the one you want to back up…

1. Open up your computer case and install the additional hard drive as the instruction that came with it tell you.
2. Right click on the “my computer” icon either on the desktop or in the start menu… then click “manage” in the menu that pops up
3. Now go click on the “disk management” icon in the left hand menu and you should see all your disks available… including the new one you installed (probably black or olive in color) and the existing disk you want to backup (probably blue in color).
4. The Disks have to be “dynamic”… which you can do by right clicking on the disk# button and selecting “convert to dynamic disk”… follow the prompts until its converted.
5. Now you can click on the older existing drive with all your data on it (the one you want backed up that says D: or whatever letter) and select “add mirror” option from the right click menu.
6. Some menus will pop up and you should eventually see a menu and will probably see the new disk # you just installed as an option, which is what you want to select… it will then go about creating a mirror with that disk you selected.

and that is it… now all the data on that drive will be “mirrored” to the new drive… so if your main drive fails… you will not loose any data due to drive failure because you have the mirrored drive.

Some general notes:

  • Doing this will actually speed up your performance as well… because now when you tell your computer to access or execute a file on these drives it will have two hard drive needles (access points) to find it on your drives, rather than one access point to the file.
  • Both drives will show up as 1 drive letter in windows explorer/my computer. etc…
  • If the “add mirror” option is greyed or ggrayed or out, make sure the newer disk2 is larger in size… I had (2) 1 tb drives that i could not get this to work becuase one drive had 0.2 megs more than the new drive i wanted to back up too… if this is the case than just right clickthe original drive #1 and select “shrink volume”…follow the prompts  and make it a little smaller than the new drive that will be the backup… once its done the “add mirror” option should no longer be greyed out.
  • After you do this (depending on how big your drives are) the drive colors will be red as they are syncronizing… basically meaning windows  is automatically coping all your data to the new drive your backing up too… you should still be able to access all your files while it does this in the background.

Let me know if anyone has any questions or comments in the comments below.

The Portfolio… do I even need a papper version

I have not updated my professional portfolio in 5 or more years, and upon deciding it is perhaps time to do so I found myself asking the question… “Do I even need a portfolio on paper”

In an age of conference room computer access, and tablets… I say no, and here’s why.

The first reason that comes to mind is the size… as the feature picture shows… they can get quite large if you intend to bring originals… to the point of absurdness… Working with the construction industry for some larger projects its not unheard of for sheet sizes to get up to 48″X36″ for working documents… not to mention some artwork or master plan ideas (at least by me)… that are drawn at a similar large scale…

So we have been long in the age of digital scanners, and hence that is what most people did with large format drawings that need to become more mobile… the problem with scanning and re-printing at a reduced size is that sometimes the details that made the original lager version of the work so “grandiose” are lost in the reduction.

So you could bring in the originals in a large portfolio case as shown above, but think of how that looks to the people you are presenting it too. I don’t care what the laws say you can or can not hire an employee for, when you go to an interview you are selling your self as well as your capabilities and ideas.

Think of what the potential portfolio viewers are thinking when they see you for the first time and instead of seeing the confident, suave yet energetic future employee… they see you walking into their walls and struggling like you just came in from the marina with the sail of a portfolio you have…

Now think if they see you walking in with composure and not wrestling anything, but carrying a sleek piece of technology that says this person is already adept at the future… having the best of both worlds, your work is small enough to handle, yet with technology can be zoomed in and out of various detail with ease.

That’s how I see my future presentations of my work, and that’s why I’ve decided to not modify my paper portfolios of decades past, but instead investigate the presentation of my work digitally, both from the web and from a more portable tablet.

So I bought a couple of new domains and I plan to start developing one… so far its been a pain, not because of the digital translation, but because I am not a computer engineer by trade, and I’ve had some difficulties with my Linux server hosting multiple websites… but I think I worked out most of the bugs and plan to start actually building the site now the foundation of its interface is somewhat worked out.

As the site gets closer to launch I’ll release the domain names here on, which will remain my blog, with the new site simply holding my professional portfolio only.

google adsense is sometimes non-sense

I have Google adsense running on my site. They generate the adds you see in the far right…

The concept is pretty easy… I set up an account with Google… I tell them what size adds I am willing to have on … it auto generates the code so I can paste it right into my website template.

On the other end of things.. companies pay Google to advertise their company’s products on the internet… they’ll develop ads to display on various websites, Google will give the owner of that website money for traffic generated to the companies products through that website… easy… makes sense for all parties involved…

well… not so much… you see I had Google Adsense running for about six months…. then all of a sudden it stopped generating ads on my site… meaning I was not making any money… I went to my Google Adsense dashboard and everything seemed to be fine… the only thing that stuck out was that my payments were on hold.
I put them on hold manually for no real good reason… besides the fact that i don’t make much money through my small site and thought it might be better if I just put the payments on hold until i collected more of a hefty sum to collect…

you would think Google would not mine this as they are still getting paid by the various companies and not having to pay me my share for the moment…well you thought wrong…

So I did not know this at the time because I manually put my payments on hold, but even if they were not my payments would not get to me because of a few “check list” items Google needed. Basically they need to verify that the physical address of the business associated with the website is real. So I went through a form online where I enter my phone number and then they call it and i have to record the pin to enter it into… the mailing address form the physically snail-mail a postcard with a pin on the back for me to re-enter into my ad sense dashboard… once I did these two things my ads were being generated within 20 minutes.

In an age of electronic identities and wallets why must we still fall back to colonial methods of payments… I don’t know the answer, but I’m not necessarily blaming Google…. just venting. I am sure it has something to do with some old mandate / law by some archaic branch of the US Government. What I am blaming Google for is why they had to stop generating ads for my ad slots… they were still going to get paid for them by the companies, and they did not have to release any funds until I updated their forms anyway… which i am sure all the IRS cares about…

sometimes the easiest things that makes sense get convoluted by third parties to make non-sense I guess. Oh well…. just wand to share the story to bitch out loud and hopefully help someone else if they have the same situation and can not figure out why their Adsense ads are not generating properly on their websites.

how to get harmony remote out of safe mode

The Harmony remotes from Logitech are some of the best universal remotes available… when they work that is… I had some trouble with mine and I figured I would share how i got it working… scroll to the bottom of this post to get the answer without hearing my associated story and reason for having a harmony remote.

With today’s home enthusiasts array of various media devices hooked up to the TV a house can easily have 10 or more remotes for DVRs, game consoles, netflix enabled devices, cable boxes, BlueRay, etc… The only downside of them is the somewhat over simplified setup and their price, but once you get past that their activities buttons are god sends for grandparents that might be at your house alone watching your kids. If they want to watch TV… they hit the “watch TV” button… if they want to “watch a movie”… they hit the “watch a movie” button… after the initial setup the remote turns off and on the devices that need to be for that activity and changes and master buttons like play, pause, menu, etc… to the master device for that activity… easy as pie… when it works.

Today I was watching something on netflix, and after the show was over I grabbed the remote to see the screen at the top was blank… I just changed the batteries a couple of weeks ago, so I popped open the case removed and reloaded the batteries only to have the screen on the remote say “SAFE MODE”. No matter what buttons i pressed no command was issued to any devices.. not even power. So I hooked the remote to my computer to try and reload the software to it hoping that would fix the issue, but it only got to about 17% before giving me an error saying the software could not be updated.

This is the solution I came up with to get the remote out of “safe mode” and working again.
After some trial and error I came to the conclusions that I basically i needed to remove the batteries from the remote then plug it in to the computer. Then i started the Harmony Remote software, went to the top of the window and clicked on “Downloads”. Ten I clicked on “Firmware” and followed the prompts to update the remote firmware, then I clicked on the other button above that “software” and followed the promts to update the remotes software and all my device settings.Once that was done the remote was back to the way it was before i got the “SAFE MODE” error.

Hope this post helps if anyone is having trouble with their harmony remotes. Let me know in the comments.

2 Years and Still no Cable

Well, Its been two years and I still have no extended cable. I still get the regular big 4 and a bunch of PBS stations via my digital antenna in my attic, but that is it as far as a “live television” feed. I utilize my Media Center computer to record numerous shows  from those, which is great… but when I first cut the chord i was most disappointed with my history, nat geo, and discovery channels. I am a big sucker for the shows on those networks, and they don’t have any local syndicates to pick up with my antenna.  However I am now noticing that many of the shows that i watched before i cut the chord (and more still that I’m getting into) are now available on Netflix Streaming.

What does this mean… well it means it means that I just realized my family has different TV viewing habits than I did when i was a kid… and I like it. Gone are the days that i would turn on the TV and flick the 100 channels (back then compared to the 8000 now)… Instead I find my wife and myself going directly to the recorded TV section to watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it. That works great for the big 4 network shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox… but it does not give me my fix for Modern Marvels, Nat Geo Documentaries, and other shows of that nature that previously fueled my need for subscribing to extended digital cable when i had cable.  However with netflix on my Xbox when i don’t see anything on my DVR simply go to my Netflix instant que which is loaded with more TV shows… The other bonus is the Xbox also has ESPN3 for live and On demand viewing of sports content that might not be shown on the big 4, but is available through that.

In hindsight the only advantage that I see cable having over how I view TV today is that it is a larger aggregate. What I mean by that is that you can go to 1 place for network TV, expanded cable TV, Non-Premium carried sports, as well as on demand movies. I get all those things now, however there are several places I have to go to get to them, rather than having them available through one interface. What I like about the trade off though is I am only paying for what I want to watch… vs. getting some top tier cable package which costs more because it comes with 700 other channels I do not watch.

I do not get these companies that have a willing costumer base, but do not provide. I know its tied up into red-tape and legal jargin, but seriously… ESPN… if you offered me to pay a low monthly fee for ulimited live and ondemand content you sell to cable providers… I would… as would countless others… yet they do not… same with the forementioned expanded cable channels TLC, Discovery, Nat Geo, etc… they are getting better with giving content to netflix, hulu, and EPSN3 on Xbox… but come on now… the model is working so what i holding you back from getting the rest of your content out there to people who are willing to pay for your content???

…I don’t get it… but in the mean time I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and getting pleasantly surprised as I see new shows, and sports on ESPN3 and Netflix… I’m interested in hearing what the readers of this article have to say about it… are you still on cable, watching netflix tv content… chime in below in the comments… don’t be afraid with the required email to leave a comment… no one see its… including me… its just a precaution to help lower spam and a requirement of my wordpress, which is what my blog runs on

Should I get a 3g tablet or non 3g tablet

That is the question?

I recently had a person in my office, who was looking into getting a personal tablet (the iPad to be specific), ask me for some advice. They wanted to know if it was worth paying the extra bucks for the 3g models, or if they should stick with the basic WiFi only version… He thought if he spent the extra bucks of the 3G model he would have it forever, even if he didn’t need it, he would at least have it in case he did…

I told him in my opinion, the answer is easy, and basically depends on what type of phone you have?

He didn’t understand, but told me he had the droid incredible… I then asked if he like paying twice for the same thing??
Obviously not…

You see… most people get these smart phones and don’t even realize how smart they are… In case you don’t own a smart phone, when you get your monthly bill there are two basic charges on it…
1. The phone charges (which is the minutes or plan minutes you used)
2. The data charges (which is not only the internet, which is a type of data, but your email and any other communication that utilizes your phone companies data network.

Now… back up to the iPad again… It, and any other tablet you might get, can use the internet. When you are at your house or office it utilizes the built in WiFi to connect to your wireless router to access data on the internet… if you were to get the 3G model you could still access the internet even without a Wifi connection (like when you walk far enough away from your wireless router, or if you took it in vacation) However if you did, you would have to pay for the data it uses just like you do with your smart phone.

Here is where what type of phone you have is important…
He had the droid incredible… so… that has a built in feature called mobile hot spot… which basically means it can act like your “wireless router” and give internet and data access to other devices… So if you got the Non-3G model and it only had WiFi, you could still take it on vacation and use your phone as a wireless hot spot. Not only would you save the couple hundred bucks by getting the non-3g iPad model, but you would also be paying only once for data costs (on your phone bill) rather than paying for data cost on your phone and your iPad or other tablet.

Even cooler news for those apple friendly consumers that have an iPhone that dies not have a mobile hotspot feature… yet… is to wait… because in the next software update it should… which means one bill rather than two for you as well…

although if you don’t have a smartphone that support mobile hotspots for other devices (or tethering as its sometimes called) you still might want to consider getting the 3G model if you ever “need to have internet access” when your out and about… although if you did “need” this access… you should probably get a smart phone with this feature first… as it will fit in your pocket unlike a larger tablet… unless you have big pockets.

as always, everyone feel free to ask questions in the comments below.