Thursday, December 01, 2005

Autodesk University 2005 part 2

Nov 29 - While I was doing paperwork and hanging makeshift curtains in one of our training rooms, Ralph Grabowski reported on a couple of potential new Autodesk products, Vespa and Northland Render. He also saw some hints of things to come in AutoCAD 2007 – you can read about it at Autodesk University 2005 - Day 1.

I got an email from Lee Smith. He met up with Greg Silva at AU. They are both from the Tulsa Autodesk Users’ Group. Greg is President of the group and always does well in the Top Daug competition.

Ralph later posted some photos at Autodesk University 2005: Photos, including a shot of future AutoCAD features.

Nov 30 - More paperwork and phone calls for me.

Meanwhile, Ralph enjoyed another day in Orlando and reported on a few more details of Vespa in Autodesk University 2005 - Day 2 and other odds and ends in Autodesk University - Day 2, Part 2 and Autodesk University - Day 3.

Greg Silva made it to the Top Daug Top Ten to compete in the AU 2005 Top DAUG showdown.

Shaan Hurley posted his impressions on Autodesk University 2005 Day 3.

Dec 1 - I'm working from home today.

Shaan posted some additional thoughts on Day 4 of AU 2005 in Orlando- the final day.

Check out Shaan Hurley’s ongoing online photo gallery of Autodesk University 2005.

AU 2005 attendees and Subscription customers have access to AU Online.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Autodesk University 2005

Autodesk University 2005

I didn't make it to AU this year, but about 5,000 other people did...

Nov 25 - While I was recovering from Thanksgiving Day's overeating and overrelativing, Ralph Grabowski was Off to Autodesk University

Nov 26 - I spent most of the day at my mom's antique store and then drove about two hours home.

Nov 27 - I drove through what seemed like 60-70 mph winds for several hours and had to pry my fingers off the steering wheel after we arrived at my wife's parents' house. Meanwhile, Shaan Hurley and few thousand other people are Now at Autodesk University

Nov 28 - We left the kids with their grandparents and spent another forty-five minutes on the road to attend the funeral of a friend's mother who was killed in an automobile accident Thanksgiving Day. In Orlando, Shaan Hurley announces And they're off! AU 2005 classes kick off
After the funeral, it was back on the road with a side trip back to my mom's house to pick up a library book left there (just another three hours added to the day).
Shaan prepared for the AUGI Annual Meeting and Beer Bust Tonight and left a hint about the 1pm meeting on Tuesday. Then he reported Day 1 done, Day 2 of AU 2005 coming

Also, Shaan is keeping an ongoing online photo gallery of Autodesk University 2005

And you can now find AU Online at

So, for those of you at AU, what are you doing?

Friday, October 21, 2005

DWG TrueView views and plots DWG and DXF files

Free DWG TrueView software to view and plot DWG and DXF files can be downloaded at

See Shaan's comments at Between the Lines: New and Free DWG TrueView - view DWG files

Friday, August 19, 2005

CAD Mgmt: Autodesk Software Retirement - part 3

Autodesk announced today that it is extending the retirement date of AutoCAD 2002-based software to March 15, 2006. This moves the retirement date into Autodesk's first fiscal quarter.

For details about Autodesk software retirement contact your reseller and go to

For my previous blogs about software retirement see:
CAD Mgmt: Autodesk Software Retirement - part 2
CAD Mgmt: Autodesk Software Retirement

Does this mean the retirement parties have been rescheduled as well? I'm still waiting for those invitations...

CAD Mgmt: New Features Workshop(s) Online

Updated September 18, 2006

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

CAD Mgmt: Autodesk Software Retirement - part 2

Retirement Update
Now you have until the end of October to get up to 15% off your upgrade from AutoCAD 2002-based software (not including AutoCAD LT 2002).

For more information about Autodesk software retirement, contact your reseller and go to
To see my previous blog about retirement, go to CAD Mgmt: AutoCAD Software Retirement. I'm still waiting for some retirement party invitations...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

CAD Mgmt: Autodesk Software Retirement

Mandatory Retirement Age
Regardless of your opinion about software retirement, the fact is that Autodesk is retiring Inventor Series 7 software on Saturday, October 15, 2005 and all AutoCAD 2002-based software on Monday, January 16, 2006.

And Don't Count on Social Security
After those dates you will not get support or upgrades from Autodesk for that software.

Senior Discounts
If you upgrade before the end of July you may get a discount of up to 20% off your upgrade (if you also purchase subscription, which is not discounted). I have found no mention of discounts for eye glasses, dentures, or hearing aids.

Fading Memory
Last year the best retirement discount was May through July, second best was August through October, and there was no discount after that. Those odd dates, by the way, coincide with Autodesk's fiscal year which begins February 1: Q1=Feb-Mar-Apr, Q2=May-Jun-Jul, Q3=Aug-Sep-Oct, Q4=Nov-Dec-Jan. If you can't upgrade right away, you will need to check with your reseller after the beginning of each quarter. BIAS ALERT: I work for a reseller during the day, so of course I want you to upgrade (with me) as soon as possible.

Retirement Party?
I'm not planning a retirement party, but if you do, please send me an invitation. For more information about Autodesk software retirement, contact your reseller and go to

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Autodesk Realize Your Ideas Webcasts

Did Autodesk miss your city for the recent Realize Your Ideas Tour?

You can still get great information about the latest Autodesk software through a series of Realize Your Ideas Webcasts. Both general and industry-specific webcasts are scheduled:

AutoCAD Webcast Series
Architecture Webcast Series
MEP Webcast Series
Manufacturing and Mechanical Design Webcast Series
Electrical Controls Design Webcast Series
Mapping and GIS Webcast Series
Civil Engineering Webcast Series

The first webcasts start July 12, so register soon at Autodesk Realize Your Ideas Webcast Series

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

My Blog got Spammed

I guess it was inevitable. My last posted article received an odd comment:

Good news. AutoCAD 2006 trial version can download from

That's a curious comment for an article about purchasing a portable DVD-ROM for installing software isn't it? The link for the person leaving the comment is Apparently someone there decided to do a little unorthodox marketing. Anyone else experiencing this on their blog?

Friday, April 29, 2005

CAD Mgmt: AutoCAD 2006 CD-ROMs

Remember when I told you to buy a portable DVD reader? (CAD Mgmt Toolbox: Portable DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
Several Autodesk products, including Architectural Desktop 2006, Building Systems 2006, Inventor Series 10, and Inventor Professional 10, are now delivered on DVD-ROMs instead of CD-ROMs. If you are a subscription customer you can request CD-ROMs by mailing back the Media Request Card that came in your DVD-ROM case or by filling out the form at If you are ordering a new license, be sure to ask for the media format you want.

Or you can still purchase a portable DVD-ROM here:

GCC-5241P - LG Portable DVD-ROM/CD-RW"LG Portable DVD-ROM/CD-RW"

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

CAD Mgmt: AutoCAD 2006 Books

Looking for your user guide in your AutoCAD 2006 or other Autodesk software box? Look inside the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM case for your book request card, fill it out, and mail it.

If it got misplaced as lap trash when you opened the case you can also request your user guide at

You can purchase additional manuals here:

Here is a smple of the titles available:
AutoCAD 2006 User's Guide
AutoCAD 2006 Customization Guide
AutoCAD 2006 Network Administrator's Guide
AutoCAD 2006 Command Reference Volumes I & II
AutoCAD 2006 ActiveX & VBA Developer's Guide
AutoCAD 2006 ObjectARX Developer's Guide
AutoCAD 2006 AutoLISP Tutorial
AutoCAD 2006 AutoLISP Developer's Guide

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Lunch with Lynn Allen and Jon Hansen - more details

Lynn Allen and Jon Hansen want to have lunch with you in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 30.

Please pre-register for this FREE event (so there is enough food) by sending an email to or go to for other registration options.

Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Main Seminar Room
12777 N Rockwell Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73142
10:30am The registration table will open.
11:00am Lynn Allen, Cadalyst columnist and Autodesk Technical Evangelist, will demonstrate AutoCAD 2006. Lynn is a great presenter and a great friend to AutoCAD users everywhere. You can count on her presentation to be both informative and fun.
12:00 Lunch (FREE!) and Q&A with Lynn
12:30pm Jon Hansen, Asst. Fire Chief (ret.) Oklahoma City Fire-Rescue and Autodesk Manager of Emergency Response Solutions, will discuss Autodesk's Emergency Response Solutions. Jon is a familiar face and voice to everyone in the Oklahoma City area.

Lynn and Jon will be the guests of the Francis Tuttle Training Center and The Design Team, an Autodesk Value Added Reseller with offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Wichita.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

CAD Mgmt: AutoCAD 2006 Background Plotting

Plotting in the Background (finally)
With AutoCAD 2006 you will be able to truly plot in the background. This is something CAD Managers have been waiting for a long time.

By default publishing in the background is turned on and plotting in the background is turned off. These settings can be changed in the Options dialog in the "Plot and Publish" tab or with the BACKGROUNDPLOT system variable:
0 = Foreground Publishing and Foreground Plotting
1 = Foreground Publishing and Background Plotting
2 = Background Publishing and Foreground Plotting (default)
3 = Background Publishing and Background Plotting

Hint: This is a little nerdy, okay, really nerdy, but if you can remember the idea "Publish now and Plot later" and a little binary (you remember binary don't you?) then you can easily remember the settings:
00 = 0 = Background Publishing off (0) and Background Plotting off (0)
01 = 1 = Background Publishing off (0) and Background Plotting on (1)
10 = 2 = Background Publishing on (1) and Background Plotting off (0)
11 = 3 = Background Publishing on (1) and Background Plotting on (1)

Plotting in the Background (sometimes)
If you use the PUBLISH or PLOT commands (or -PUBLISH or -PLOT) from a script file then the BACKGROUNDPLOT setting is ignored and publishing or plotting occurs in the foreground.

Plotting in the Background (are we there yet?)
To check the status of your plotting just hover your cursor over the AutoCAD status bar plotter icon.

More about AutoCAD 2006:

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Lynn Allen coming to Oklahoma City

Autodesk Technical Evangelist Lynn Allen will be in Oklahoma City on March 30, 2005 for an event hosted by The Design Team and Francis Tuttle Training Center. If you are anywhere in the Oklahoma City area, please plan on attending so you can hear about the latest version of AutoCAD from Lynn.

Lynn is a great presenter, a great writer, and a great friend to Autodesk software users worldwide. Her blog should be part of your favorites:

The Design Team is an Autodesk Value Added Reseller with offices in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Wichita. (bias alert - this is my day job.) For more information about this special event, just send an email to Their website is

Francis Tuttle Training Center is an Autodesk Authorized Training Center in Oklahoma City. Their Website is

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

CAD Mgmt: AutoCAD New Features Workshop

Start at the Beginning
One of the first things people see in AutoCAD is the New Features Workshop. Unfortunately it is also one of the first things many people turn off. Promise me as a CAD Manager that you won't select "No, don't show me this again" until you've at least skimmed the entire workshop or given me an acceptable justification. Here's why...

New Features Workshop = "Free" Training
Please don't ignore this "free" training opportunity for you and the designers you support. Read it. Use it. Share it. You didn't read the User's Guide in one sitting (did you?), so don't expect to make it through the entire New Features Workshop in one sitting either. Each time you open AutoCAD just go through one or two lessons and move on to your original task.

Starting Over
If the New Features Workshop does get turned off you can still access it from the Help Pull-Down Menu or the _AI_INVOKENFW command. (Now there's a command name for your next AutoCAD Jeopardy party). Also, if you use installation scripts, be sure that "NFW" is not in your REMOVE list.

__The Bottom Line__
The New Features Workshop is a training tool that you, the CAD Manager, can use for yourself and the designers you support. Remember, "more training usually results in fewer tech support calls."

Friday, March 04, 2005

CAD Mgmt: AutoCAD 2006 coming soon

Just a quick note to let you know I have been given permission to post a few thoughts about the upcoming AutoCAD 2006 release. Check back within the next couple of days and I'll see what I can get accomplished between Cub Scouting, Cheerleading, and traveling to Las Vegas.

Hmm... What will CAD Managers want to know about most? Installation/Migration Improvements? Mtext and Table Improvements? Oh yeah, how about Dynamic Blocks - those are really cool. They definitely need to know about the new Custom User Interface (CUI) file. Decisions, decisions.

Thanks for reading. Check back later...

Meanwhile, check out Shaan Hurley's post here: Between the Lines: AutoCAD 2006 is coming - you heard it first here

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Non-CAD: Steve Fossett and the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer

I hope you have been following Steve Fossett's world record around the world flight. Their website is at Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer

Check out the Burt Rutan's "Napkin Aided Design" at Original Sketches by Burt Rutan

By the way, for anyone who caught one of the original newscasts at takeoff, Salina is actually pronounced "suh-LINE-uh" not "suh-LEEN-uh"

Friday, February 25, 2005

CAD Mgmt Toolbox: Portable DVD-ROM/CD-RW

(MARCH 30, 2006 NOTE: The Portable DVD-ROM below is no longer available. The link now goes to the main Laptops-for-Less web site where you may be able to find a similar item.)

This is another important tool for CAD Managers recommended by my friend and business associate, Jim Brittain (author of the original "AutoCAD Productivity Book"). More and more software is being delivered on DVD-ROM rather than CD-ROM, but not every computer you install software on has a DVD. Purchase an external DVD that works via a USB connection like the one below to make your installation process easier:

Laptop Accessories at Factory prices and Same Day Shipping!
GCC-5241P - LG Portable DVD-ROM/CD-RW"LG Portable DVD-ROM/CD-RW"

Thursday, February 10, 2005

CAD Mgmt Toolbox: is a great resource for CAD Managers.

I like this quote from their website: "Roopinder [Tara] founded based on the simple principal that ten links picked by experts is far more valuable than ten thousand picked by the typical search engine." We've all been there. Next time you are researching something CAD related go to first.

TenLinks Daily
TenLinks also does an incredible job of keeping CAD Managers updated through their "TenLinks Daily" email of CAD related news.

CADdigest Weekly
TenLinks also owns where you will find a HUGE list of CAD related articles. You can also subscribe to their "CADdigest Weekly" email to receive a list of new articles each week.

__The Bottom Line__
Your tasks as a CAD Manager include research. Your goals as a CAD Manager include professional development. Increase your effectiveness in both by adding the resources from TenLinks to your CAD Management Toolbox at: - Ultimate Directories for Technology Professionals

Saturday, January 01, 2005

5 CAD Resolutions

I've been thinking this weekend about what type of resolutions CAD Managers make. Some are just the generic "I'll eat better and exercise more" type of empty promises. In CAD terms you might say "I'll design faster and read more." In management terms you may "increase revenue and lower expenses." But let's consider some specific areas where resolutions are needed. In quality improvement these would be considered "low hanging fruit" where achievements can be quickly realized.

1. Go Home
Co-workers can be great friends and I know you have the perfect boss, but get some perspective in your life. Oh, wait, you don't have a life. And you won't get one at work either. Go home and spend time with people who care about you regardless of where you work. Your family vaguely remembers wanting to have you around. Remind them how great it is to have you around by being there.

If necessary, give yourself a curfew. Make it rigid and make it flexible where it needs to be. For example, on Mondays you have to work late to solve all the challenges that occurred because people lost too many brain cells over the weekend and on Friday you have to work late because there is always a project that has to go out on Friday afternoon; so on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays you resolve to stop "work" at five, go through your email, plan out your next day, and leave by six.

Tell your family I said "hi."

2. Say "Thank You"
Is it possible to say "Thank You" too much? I don't know the rules of etiquette on saying thank you, but I don't personally know anyone who has said it too much. People add to the experience of your life every day. You should thank them for adding to that experience, because good or bad, their input can make you a better person depending on how you respond to it.

It really is surprising how awkward we feel when we are out of practice saying thank you. Practice these phrases:
"Thank you for telling me about that."
"Thank you for bringing that to my attention."
"Thank you for your time."
"Thank you for calling me back."
"Thank you for coming by."

And thank you for reading my blog.

3. Think Like a Manager
What does that mean? Most CAD Managers I have met are neither trained nor experienced as managers. You need to begin thinking the way managers think. Think cost and benefit. Think long term. Think continuous improvement. Think win-win negotiation. Think profits. Think profits. Think profits.

Now, make it a specific resolution by resolving to read fifteen minutes a day from a management book that deals with your particular needs as a manager. Don't know what your needs are? Ask your HR manager. Ask your boss. And remember, I said a management book, not a tech book.

4. Feel Like a User
Even with all the new management thinking in your head, you will still have a tendency to combat challenges with your arsenal of tech experience. But remember that most of those challenges have a human element. Look at the challenge from the user's perspective. Challenges are personal and can be intensely emotional to the person being challenged. Present solutions that edify the person.

If you need some help in this area, read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

5. Write Down Your Goals
Whatever resolutions you make - write them down. Read them often. Measure your progress. Celebrate your success. If you write your goals you remember them better. If you write your goals you reinforce them by reading them. If you write your goals you know if you are achieving them. If you write your goals you know what you will accomplish and have accomplished.