SketchUp Basecamp – Day One

It’s unseasonably warm in the People’s Republic of Boulder, which means its a gorgeous fall day here. Yesterday many of SketchUp’s 280 Basecamp attendees were making liberal use of the streets and sidewalks,  overflowing between sessions and soaking up the incomparable weather.

Like most attendees, I awoke with a mild case of bottle-flu this morning, after playing SketchUp Pictionary with a couple hundred folks last night at the Absinthe House in downtown Boulder. Teams of attendees challenged each other to large-screen draw-offs and the person that guessed the drawing first, won a drink – as did the person who’s screen triggered the correct guess.

There were a staggering  amount of drinks given away, and I won more than my share. So here in loose order are the accounts of yesterday’s SketchUp Basecamp.

-Yesterday we all arrived at the Boulder Theater at 9:30am, but things are running late.  Aidan explains that everything was scheduled for 10am originally, but then he moved it up to 9:30 for the attendees, but forgot to tell the staff. Not a problem people were loving the weather, and seeing old friends.

Aidan rallies the troops in front of the Boulder Theatre. Yes the red Sketch-Steps is the new Trimble SketchUp logo, and it followed us everywhere throughout the day.

Key Bits and Bytes:

– The SketchUp Team is hiring and a 2D bar code was posted in the lobby saying so.

– The WiFi provided in the theatre woefully did not work for anyone, including the presenters. One guy with a personal hot-spot saved the day.. at least for the presenters.

– Aidan really is wonderfully good at being master of ceremonies.. it’s his gentle Canadian humour eh!? Whatever they’re paying him, it isn’t enough!

– Trimble’s Bryn Fosburgh the man responsible for the SketchUp acquisition, spoke briefly about Trimble and why they bought SketchUp ( it was for the A, in the AEC). He explained a bit about Trimble’s history.

– Much was made of the fact that SketchUp will always have a free version, and even the pro version will remain affordable. John the Team will try against all odds to maintain the product’s ease of use.

– John Bacus said the SketchUp Team is happy to be at Trimble, and showed a photo of a couple of guys with disk drives and an iMac containing all the source code, which was put in a car and driven down to Trimble.

– John said work has begun on the new 3D Warehouse, which is being built on new (non google) software, and he previewed a gallery images for a new SketchUp Showcase.

– The Development Team has been consumed with things like getting the product to build on their new ‘build farm’ and other things like this.

– SketchUp quietly released a C++ API just after the acquisition, but still not widely known.

– SketchUp is now a Platform.

-SketchUp Team is releasing some internal tools for testing Rubies. The package is called TestUp and is now available on GitHub.

– The SketchUp Dev Team is going to participate in some Open Source Community Development projects around Ruby.

– The SketchUp  Team released an STL Import/Export feature at Basecamp. It should be available soon on GitHub, if not already. Bre Pettis, founder of Makerbot and our keynote speaker was joyous.

– The morning concluded with a panel session wherein anyone could ask questions of the Trimble Team. Questions and answers were pretty standard fare.

– Box Lunch

– The afternoon sessions included a panel presentation from all the players who have made Renderers for SketchUp. The Rendering RoundUp session gave each company 5 minutes and it was surprisingly informative. It’s clear rendering is really one of the most successful third-party spaces for SketchUp Plugins.

– The Product Showcase gave several folks a chance to show their latest Plugins for SketchUp inlcuding:  Igloo Studio’s Product Connect,’s cloud collaboration platform, and others.

– UnConference pitches were Pitched.. to the first hour of party last night. This was done oestensibly to save time, and it probably saved a lot of time. But making people pitch to a room of 300 hungry and thirsty people who were all talking was rediculous and even the note-takers 10 feet away couldn’t hear what people were saying.

– 6pm onward..Chicken Wings, SketchUp Pictionary, and Party at Absinthe House

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