Christmas Right-Left Gift Exchange Story: Fairy Tail Style

Left-Right-Christmas-Story-2014For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style.  This year we have a cationary fairy tail. Here is how it works. 

Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room.  Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every time the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right.  You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass.  

You can find previous years stories here:

- Film Noir Christmas
- Science Fiction Christmas
- Romance Christmas

The Wooden Horse

In a village, that sits on the left bank of the river Dreamwald, there is a good and generous family, the Leftmulds. The father is the last barrel wright left in the duchy of Cornwil-o-day-leffon.  He has a wife, two gorgeous twin daughters, and a son name… Albert.  Albert was willful and spoiled.  He thought he was always right and he always wanted what he wanted right now. 

One day, about right when the cows needed to come in from pasture, Albert stormed in to his father’s workshop, walked right up to his father, and said:  You have left me no choice but to go on strike.  I demand you make me a wooden horse toy right now.  

“Albert” his father said “You left the door open. Please close it.”

Albert replied: “I don’t care if I left the door open, you promised me a horse and I want it now. “

His father said “I told you, when you clean the right side of the barn, and there is no mud left on the floor, and there is no hay left outside, I will give you your horse”

“I hate you!  I wish you had left me with the stork!  I’m leaving right now”

And with that, he stormed out.  All is father said was “You still left the door open my son. Something is not… correct with you”

Albert ran from the village. Right past the mill, right past the well, and right out the gate into the dark and ominous Dreamwald forest.  He soon slowed, for the run had left him out of breath. But he kept walking and walking.  Presently he noticed an old woman in black standing right in the middle of the path. He walked right up to her and said. “Excuse me old woman, but you are in my way, I would ask that you step aside right now.”

The old woman peered from beneath her hood and said “I’m waiting for you Albert. You left a wish at the wishing stone last night.  I’m here to make it right.”

“You have my wooden horse?” Albert asked, having left off the idea of getting past this women.

“I do, but you must promise to give me whatever I want. Promise right now.  “

He was left with no choice “I promise”

There was a boom and a crash and right next to Albert there was a gorgeous wooden horse. It left him breathless, and for the first time in his life, something left him speechless as well. It was more than he had hoped for.

“Is it all right?” asked the old crown.

“Oh yes” he replied “It is defiantly all right.

And then she began to cackle.  The noise left his ears ringing it was so loud. And them POOF, Albert was no longer in the woods. He was inside a hut, tied right to a spit, left spinning over an open fire. 

The old women continued to cackle as she pinched his left arm and licked her licks.

He screamed “Oh no!  This is not right!  In fairy tales the little child outsmarts the old witch. You have not left me a chance to even try!”

“You looked so tasty, I didn’t think it was right to play that silly old game. I decided to just put you right on the spit and roast you right away.”

Albert began to sob as the heat of the flames became more and more uncomfortable.  He was left with a feeling of utter despair.

Then, to his left, he heard the sound of sleigh bells, then he heard the stomping of many animals. Then one of the hut doors, the one on the left, opened up and a man in a big rid suit stepped inside and pointed at the old lady.

“Ismerelda!  You have left me no choice. Yes this boy is naughty, but you are worse.  You have no right to cook him, no matter how selfish and lazy he is!”  He lifted a staff in his right hand and brought it down with a thud on the ground. A blinding flash of light filled the hut and then snow began to fall right from the ceiling.  Big, wet flakes fell right on to the witch and quickly covered her, freezing her right where she stood.  The snow also fell right on the fire, till there were no flames left. 

Albert freed his right hand, then his right ankle, and then untied his… other arm and leg. 

“Thank you Santa! I thought I was left for dead!”

As the old man walked to the other door in the hut, the right door, he turned and said.  “Don’t thank me little boy. Thank your good parents and sisters. When you left them, you left them heartbroken and they asked for my help.  So I came right away and did what I could. Let this be a lesson to you.  You need to learn Wrong from Right!”

And with that, he left the hut, jumped into his sleigh, flew away, and left Albert with nothing but his thoughts.

Posted in Fun | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Configuring Laptop “Switchable” Graphics for ANSYS Applications

IMG_4894

A lot of laptops these days come with “switchable” graphics.  The idea is that you have a lower capability but also lower power consuming ‘basic’ graphics device in addition to a higher performing but higher power demand graphics device.  By only using the higher performance graphics device when it’s needed, you can maximize the use time of a battery charge. 

A lot of the ANSYS graphics-intensive applications may need the higher end graphics device to display and run correctly.  In this article, we’ll focus on the AMD Firepro as the “higher end” graphics, with Intel HD graphics as the “lower end”.  We will show you how to switch to the AMD card to get around problems or errors in displaying ANSYS user interface windows.

The first step is to identify the small red dot graphics icon at the lower right in the task bar:

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-01

Figure 1 – AMD Catalyst Icon

 

Next, right click on the icon to bring up the AMD Catalyst Control Center, if you don’t see the switchable option as shown two images down.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-02

Figure 2 – AMD Catalyst Control Center Right Click Menu Pick

 

Right click on the same icon again, if needed to select “Configure Switchable Graphics,” as shown here:

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-03

Figure 3 – Select “Configure Switchable Graphics” via Right Click on the Same Icon

 

In the resulting AMD Catalyst Control Center window, click on the Add Application button.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-04

Figure 4 – AMD Catalyst Control Center Window

Next browse to the application that needs the higher end graphics capability.  This might take a little trial and error if you don’t know the exact application.  Here we select ANSYS CFD-Post and click Open.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-05

Figure 5 – Selecting appropriate executable for switchable graphics

Finally, select the High Performance option from the dropdown for your chosen executable, then click the Apply button.

fix_laptop_graphics_ansys-06

This should get your graphics working properly.  Again, the reason we have the two graphics choices is to allow us to better control power consumption based on the level of graphics that are needed per application.  Hopefully this article helps you to choose the proper graphics settings so that your ANSYS tools behave nicely on your laptop.

Posted in The Focus | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Getting to know ANSYS – SIwave



This video is an introduction to ANSYS SIwave – an analysis tool for Integrated Circuits and PCBs
Posted in The Focus | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Memoriam: Dr. Mark Johnson

Mark_Johnson_PADT_Equations

A picture of Mark in his office at PADT. The equations on the white board were not put there for the picture. This was taken after a meeting where he and members of his team solved a tough rotor dynamics problem for a customer.

It is with incredible sadness that we must inform you that our friend and co-owner of PADT, Mark Johnson, passed away on November 25th from complications due to melanoma. He was with his wife, resting comfortably when he left us. This is a huge loss to anyone that ever knew Mark.

He joined PADT in the early days with the goal of building the company’s product development capability.  His focus and the focus of his team was using engineering to make the world a better place.  They did this directly through their work in alternative energy and medical devices and indirectly by helping companies from a wide range of industries.  There are hydrogen powered cars and buses today humming down the street using pumps and blowers that were Mark’s creations. Doctors are using devices every day to treat patients that Mark helped to design and test.  He also participated in the Startup and Medical Device engineering community in Arizona, serving as a judge, mentor, and board member across multiple organizations.  And as a co-owner of PADT, he helped direct the company, contributing strongly to our culture and reputation in the community.

Before joining PADT, Mark had a similar impact at Garrett (AlliedSignal, Honeywell), The University of Arkansas, and Ballard.  Few people in our industry had such a strong understanding of engineering fundamentals and his ability to apply that basic knowledge to help customers across industries will be sorely missed.

Outside of work, Mark was a loving father and husband, who always took time to be with his wife and two children.  Those of you who knew him outside of work know how important they were to him, and he to them.  

Since his passing many people have asked how they can honor Mark or share their thoughts on him.  We are recommending that those who wish to honor him simply follow his example.  Look for the good in people, help others when you can, and always ask questions.  Mark was a master questioner and often answering those questions revealed more to the person he was asking the question of than anyone else.  He often began meetings with new customers and partners with a simple statement: “I want to warn you, I like to ask questions, lots of questions.”

In that this blog is mostly read by people in technology, the best way you can honor his memory is to carry on his mission of using technology to make the world a better place. Help a startup, develop a more efficient system, commercialize a new technology that improves the lives of the less fortunate, enhance patient care, or help to explore and understand our universe.  There are so many ways that those of us involved in engineering and science can make a huge difference, just as Mark did.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts about Mark in the comments below. If you would like to send a note or card to his family, please mail it to:

Mark Johnson Memorial
PADT, Inc
7755 S Research Dr, Suite 110
Tempe, AZ  85284

The family has asked that any donations be made to Heifer International or Hospice of the Valley.
Posted in News, PADT Medical, Product Development | Tagged , | 9 Comments

PADT Colorado Plays Catch on Google StreetView

padt-colorado-streetview-catch-tnTechnology has changed so much in our world that sometimes it is hard to get your head around it.  The fact that Google is driving and walking around the world taking a picture of streets everywhere is something easy to say, but had to comprehend. Everyone now has the chance of having their blurred face saved for posterity – if you are in the right place at the right time.

On my current visit to PADT’s Colorado office someone mentioned that Manoj and Stephen were caught on Google Street View outside our office. I figured they were snapped while running out the front door to leap into a car and speed off to do an impromptu demo or provide face-to-face technical support to a struggling customer.  something heroic and super hero like in a technical-guy sort of way.

So I went to Google maps and put in “PADT Colorado” and clicked on street view:
padt-colorado-streetview-catch-1
Looks like a nice summer day on main street in historic downtown Littleton. You can see the US, Colorado, and PADT flags on the balcony of our office.  I bet if I move down the street I’ll see them racing out the door.

padt-colorado-streetview-catch-2
Nope, I don’t see their cars either, maybe they are in the parking lot. Wait, that kind of looks like Manoj on the left side of the street in the blue shirt.  Let’s go one more pic down the road.

padt-colorado-streetview-catch-3
There they are, Manoj and Steve!  Being the engineers that they are, they of course recognized the Google StreetView car and Manoj is waiving at it. Hey, what is that… a football?  They weren’t rushing to solve a technical emergency, they were playing catch in the grass on a sunny bright day!  No computers, laptop bags, or pocket protectors. 

Much cooler thing to get caught doing on street view.  Bravo.

padt-colorado-streetview-catch-4
The next pictures shows Stephen saying hello to the world as well.  Awesome.

They both made PADT proud in their 1500 pixels of fame.
Posted in Fun | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ANSYS Workbench Installations and RedHat 6.6 – Error and Workaround

penguin_shWe were recently alerted by a customer that there is apparently a conflict with ANSYS installations if Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 (RHEL 6.6) is installed. We have confirmed this here at PADT. This effects several versions of ANSYS, including 15.0.7, 14.5, and 14.0. The primary problem seems to be with meshing in the Mechanical or Meshing window.

The error encountered can be: “A software execution error occurred inside the mesher. The process suffered an unhandled exception or ran out of usable memory.” or “an inter-process communication error occurred while communicating with the MESHER module.”

The error message popup can look like this:
th1

or
th2

th3
Note that the Platform Support page on the ANSYS website does not list RHEL 6.6 as supported. RHEL is only supported up through 6.5 for ANSYS 15.0. This is the link to that page on the ANSYS website:

http://www.ansys.com/staticassets/ANSYS/staticassets/support/r150-platform-support-by-application.pdf

That all being said, there is a workaround that should allow you to continue using ANSYS Workbench with RHEL 6.6 if you encounter the error. It involves renaming a directory in the installation path:

In this directory:

/ansys_inc/v150/commonfiles/MainWin/linx64/mw/lib-amd64-linux/

Rename the folder ‘X11′ to ‘Old-X11′

After that change, you should be able to successfully complete meshes, etc,. in ANSYS Workbench. Keep in mind that RHEL 6.6 is not officially supported by ANSYS, Inc. and their recommendation is always to stick with supported levels of operating systems. These are always listed in the ANSYS Help for the particular version you are running as well as at the link shown above.

Since the renamed directory is contained within the ANSYS installation files, it is believed that this will not affect anything else other than ANSYS. Use at your own risk, however. Should you encounter one of more of the errors listed above, we hope this article has provided useful information to keep your ANSYS installations up and running.

Posted in The Focus | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

From Piles to Power – My First PADT PC Build

Welcome to the PADT IT Department now build your own PC

[Editors Note: Ahmed has been here a lot longer than 2 weeks, but we have been keeping him busy so he is just now finding the time to publish this. ]

I have been working for PADT for a little over 2 weeks now. After taking the ceremonial office tour that left me with a fine white powder all over my shoes (it’s a PADT Inc special treat). I was taken to meet my team, David Mastel – My Boss for short, who is the IT commander & chief at PADT Inc. and Sam Goff – the all-knowing systems administrator.

I was shown to a cubicle that reminded me of the shady computer “recycling” outfits you’d see on a news report highlighting the vast amounts of abandoned hardware; except there were no CRT (tube) screens or little children working as slave labor.
aa1

Sacred Tradition

This tradition started with Sam, then Manny, and now it was my turn taking this rite of passage. As part of the PADT IT department, I am required by sacred tradition to build my own desktop with my bare hands – then I was handed a screwdriver.

My background is mixed and diverse but mostly has one thing in common. We usually depended on pre-built servers, systems and packages. Branded machines have an embedded promise of reliability, support and superiority over the custom built machines.

  1. What most people don’t know about branded machines is that they carry two pretty heavy tariffs.
  2. First, you are paying upfront for the support structure, development, R&D, supply chains that are required to pump out thousands of machines.
  3. Second, because these large companies are trying to maximize their margins, they will look for a proprietary cost effective configuration that will:
    1. Most probably fail or become obsolete as close as possible to the 3-year “expected” life-span of computers.
    2. Lock users into buying any subsequent upgrade or spare part from them.

Long Story short, the last time I fully built a desktop computer was back in college when a 2GB hard disk was a technological breakthrough that we could only imagine how many MP3’s we could store on it.

The Build

There were two computer cases on the ground, one resembled a 1990 Mercury Sable that was at most tolerable as a new car and the other looked more like 1990 BMW 325ci a little old but carries a heritage and potential to be great once again.
aa2

So with my obvious choice for a case I began to collect parts from the different bins and drawers and I was immediately shocked at how “organized” this room really was. So I picked up the following:

There are a few things that I would have chosen differently but were not available at the time of the build or were ridiculous for a work desktop would be:

  • Replaced 2 drives with SSD disks to hold OS and applications
  • Explored a more powerful Nvidia card (not really required but desired)

So after a couple of hours of fidgeting and checking manuals this is what the build looks like.
aa3

(The case above was the first prototype ANSYS Numerical Simulation workstation in 2010. It has a special place in David’s Heart)

Now to the Good STUFF! – Benchmarking the rebuilt CUBE prototype

ANSYS R15.0.7 FEA Benchmarks

Below are the results for the v15sp5 benchmark running distributed parallel on 4-Cores.
aa4

ANSYS R15.0.7 CFD Benchmarks

Below are the results for the aircraft_2m benchmark using parallel processing on 4-Cores.
aa5

This machine is a really cool sleeper computer that is more than capable at whatever I throw at it.

The only thing that worries me is that when Sam handed me the case to get started, David was trying –but failed- to hide a smile that makes me feel that there is something obviously wrong in my first build and I failed to catch it. I guess I will just wait and see.

Posted in The Focus | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Coming Soon to CEI

PADT_StartUpLabs-1  cei_logo

Check out this great video from CEI about PADT’s new office in Phoenix. Watch this space for more details as we get closer to launch.

Posted in News, Product Development, The RP Resource | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

ANSYS Workbench Mechanical: The Body Views Features Can Be a Huge Time Saver

ss1The following is a story of discovery. The discovery of an ANSYS feature that has been around since at least ANSYS14! How is that possible you ask? The PADT team members are the ANSYS experts of the Southwest, how could they have missed this! And we would agree with you on the former, but even we overlook some of the most fundamental and helpful features. And you are going to want to store this one away, so copy the link, bookmark the page, or make a mental note with your photographic memory and file it under productivity enhancer.

After all of that hype, what could I possibly be going tell you that is so earth shattering. Well, it’s not really a secret if you read the title but I’ll let you be the judge of this little nugget’s seismic impact. Now, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll set the stage.

A couple of weeks ago, I was compiling a report of an ANSYS Mechanical analysis. One of the report sections required details of the contact definition between each part. I hunkered down to spend what I thought would be a tedious hour of documenting each contact expecting to use a procedure that consisted in some form of isolating the two bodies of interest, capturing screenshots of the two parts in various relation to each other in order to adequately represent the contact context. As I sat looking at the screen creating my plan of attack, I thought to myself, I wish there was an ANSYS feature that would automatically isolate the two connected bodies so that I would not have to go through the finger numbing (or should I say finger cramping) task of “hiding all other bodies” (even though this is one of my other favorite features). As soon as the thought flashed through my mind, my eyes moved up the screen and, above the Mechanical graphics window, I saw it.

Body Views! The star of my post. You will find our elusive capability in the painfully obvious Connections Context Toolbar:

ss2

When I clicked on it, the graphics window transformed from this:

ss3

To this:

ss4

The relevant bodies were isolated into two different views, contact and target. I was elated. My task of manually isolating the bodies and adjusting the views while intermediately capturing the desired screens now turned into a joyful, albeit nerdy, moment of discovery. With some experimenting, I easily found that each view can be adjusted independently, unless of course you would like them all to move together. You can accomplish this by selecting the Sync Views option:ss5

Why this feature is helpful:

  • Use it to easily isolate contact/target body
  • Use it to easily identify missing or over defined contact regions
  • Use it to document contact definition
  • Use it in combination with the filtering and tagging capabilities to more easily parse through a large assembly model

Summary of steps to enable the Body Views feature:

  • Click on the Connections Branch in the Model Tree so that the Connections context toolbar appears
ss6
  • Click Body Views ssa1
  • Select your desired contact region to analyze
ssa2
  • Use the two views to evaluate
ss8
  • Use the Sync Views option to force views to move together
ss9

To my chagrin, this option has been available in ANSYS for a few releases at least and I never took note. But the possibility that some of you might have also overlooked this option prompted me to highlight it for you and I hope you find it useful in the future.

Final thought:

If you found this article helpful and are interested in learning about or being reminded of some other excellent ANSYS time saver capabilities, check out the article by Eric Miller on filtering and tagging here.

Posted in The Focus | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Fantastic Night at the 2014 GCOI – Winners, Awards, and Fancy Attire

padt_gcoi14

PADT was on hand in force at the 2014 GCOI ceremony: (L to R) FORTUS 250mc, Andrew Miller, Ward Rand, Eric Miller, Mario Vargas, Renee Palacios, and Brad Palumbo

Every year in November the Arizona technology community gathers to celebrate innovation in the state.  The 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) was a great event for the state and for PADT.  This years winners ranged from high school students to legislators to internationally recognized leaders in the software industry.  And, unlike most tech events in the state, everyone was dressed up all fancy.  The gala is put on by our friends at the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority.

This is a special event for PADT for a variety of reasons.  We have been a sponsor of the GCOI for several years, hauling out our equipment and samples for a booth to show off Mechanical Engineering in the state.  This year we were also honored to provided a judge to help choose the winners and we also made the trophies for those who won.  In addition, PADT was the winner of the 2011 Pioneering Award.  Every year we add more good memories to this event which puts an exclamation point on the year.

Congratulations to the Winners

pat-award-gcoi14

Pat Sullivan of ACTI! and Contatta Receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award

This years nominees was a great indication of the strength of technology companies and educators in the state.  As always, the students who received recognition were the most inspiring.  It is truly amazing what they have achieved while still in High School.

It was especially nice to see PADT customers Syncardia and Securaplane receive awards. Both companies are based in Tucson and are leading the way in their industries.  Syncardia produces the only FDA approved total artificial heart,  truly saving lives on a daily basis. Securaplane provides the aviation industry with a variety of security and power sub-systems.  

We were also pleased to see Pat Sullivan take home a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”  Pat started ACT! in the early days of personal computing, and many of us at PADT have been users of his software, and we still use it today at PADT. In addition, we are an investor in Pat’s new company, Contatta, through the Arizona Tech Investors.

This year the judges decided to add a special award, the Judges Award, for outstanding contributions to the technology community.  The first ever winner was the Society of Women Engineers.  This group is a big favorite of PADT because of their hard work to diversify the field and support many in school and in their careers.  

Check out the article in the Phoenix Business Journal to see a full list of winners.

3D Printed Awards

gov_gcoi14

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Holding her very own “Governor’s Celebration of Innovation” Award.

Once again, PADT provided the awards  for the winners.  It is one thing to see people you know and admire win an award, it is even more meaningful when you see them holding an award that you designed and made.  Seeing Governor Brewer pose with her special award was kind of cool.  

In the past, we have used a combination of 3D Printing and traditional methods to make the awards, but this year we were able to produce everything using additive manufacturing technologies.

gcoi-2014-finished-1bThe top portion of the awards was created on our Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 polyjet machine. This device uses inkjet heads to deposit layers of photo-curable polymers.  It has four heads, allowing us to lay down support material, a base material, and two colors.  We used a transparent material for the base, and mixed yellow and magenta to get the different colors that “float” inside the transparent oval. 

The base was created on our FORTUS 400 fused gcoi-2014-finished-2deposition modeling machine using ABS plastic.  Both of the parts were generated in CAD and printed directly.  This application shows the power of 3D Printing. We were able to create 11 unique trophies without the need for tooling, special equipment, or expertise in any given process.  We simply visualized what we wanted on the computer, then sent the resulting custom designs to the printers. Specifically, the unique text for each award was extruded as a solid inside the main body, floating above the state of Arizona.

Posted in Fun, News, The RP Resource | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment