It’s no secret I love my gMail. I can’t imagine using email any other way. Indeed, I’ve thus far refused to use it any other way. At one point a couple of years ago I was informed by some ITS folks here on campus that due to the switching of some systems I’d no longer be able to forward my .edu email to my gMail account. I immediately began to threaten insurrection, which eventually landed me in the office of the campus ITS Grand Poobah, who obligingly showed me how to regain my Googly goodness. As I said, I love gMail.
And that’s not all. I love iGoogle. I love Google Calendars, without which I’d likely miss many a meeting. Google Docs houses all my grade sheets and quite a few other useful-from-anywhere documents. Google Tasks is new but already infiltrating my work habits. Google Chat and Video has helped me stay connected in more ways than one. Google Books has actually helped me complete research for an article or two. Google Chrome has very quickly become my web browser of choice. Google’s Picasa runs my photo and video libraries. Oh, and their search engine doesn’t suck, either.
I mention all of this to admit my predisposition to Google-giddiness. When I’m trying out some new bit of software (or cloudware) from Google, I’m liable to go into it assuming a good outcome. Doesn’t always hold true — I still don’t care for some of their changes to iGoogle, and I don’t really get the point of Google Reader — but more often than not I’ve found that Google just does things right. And so it is with the latest bit of Googleware I’ve discovered: Google SketchUp, which is a free (natch) 3D-modeling program.
I first heard about SketchUp quite a while ago, and I’d always wanted to try it out. I have an architect buried in me — at one point I was certain I’d want to be one when I grew up, and I have several basic residential architectural design and engineering classes under my belt — and SketchUp looks like a great tool for playing around with house designs.
Still, I never got around to it (sorta busy, you know) until this weekend, when I was looking at my Jeep Commander and contemplating the few aftermarket accessories available for it, all of which strike me as too expensive, too poorly engineered, or both. Since I can’t hardly think about anything without wanting to improve it, I made a few sketches before realizing that a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program would make my life easier. I remembered SketchUp, quickly downloaded it, and I watched the first couple of tutorial videos on YouTube. Here’s the first:
Literally, within 15 minutes I was laying out virtual sheet metal.
It’s sweet. Honestly. I’m not a very clever guy, and I was spinning 3D models of a complex metal-and-tube bumper system in no time at all. I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere, but I have to say it was a lot of fun to goof around with. So chock up another victory for the Google Gods.
In other news, I got to sleep around midnight last night, and a caterwaulin’ child didn’t wake me until the sun was up. Seriously. It felt like hitting the lottery (at least in the short-term).
Probably means tonight will be another 3-hours-of-sleep extravaganza. Oh well.