Rambling about Sociology...

A friend sent me a link this morning from MSN... http://articles.health.msn.com/id/100103843
This article ranks St. Louis at the #4 most depressed city in America. ~raised eyebrow~ I don't know about all that.
Hmm, 3 of the top 4 happiest are in Texas... interesting.

This made me think of other sociologically themed conversations that I had been a part of on the AUGI forums... pop by and check some of them out for some interesting reading (I believe that you'll have to be logged in to the forums in order to see this Off-Topic area):

The above links take you to some interesting conversations, if you're up for some quasi-deep sociological stimulation ala' 2am discussions with college buddies.

Okay, so the 2nd one in that list is more of a giggle than a deep introspection, but, I'm sure you can see how it ties in.

Because I find the above type of discussions very interesting, I have a little folder on my hard drive dedicated to bits and pieces I've picked up. The topics really run the gamut, anything from Horoscope profiles/Relationships (male/female, parent/child, professional, etc) and psychology articles.

I also have another folder dedicated to hard sciences. Black holes, birth of the universe, biology, health issues/breakthroughs, etc... too bad I suck at school... I do tend to enjoy science a rather lot. Dang do I need to get out more, or what? ~laughs at self~
I wonder if a LUG meeting counts as getting out. ~looks hopeful~

Tonight is a meeting of the Gateway Autodesk Users Group! We'll be doing a little Q&A about AutoCAD 2006! It will, again, be held at the Sunset Hills Campus of Vatterott college.
We will be having some St. Louis-style pizza from Cecil Whitaker's, mm m, my favorite!


Spring in the Air

Spring is in the air... temperatures are fluctuating between 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 35... my barometric knee is killing me.

That CD is still in the case... taunting me.
I feel like the worst nerd EVER because my newest version of MAP 3D is STILL sitting, uninstalled, in it's packaging.

With the very important deadlines looming inexorably over me, I've come to the unavoidable conclusion that I need a looong vacation.

I promise I'll have something more worthwhile to say about CAD and/or technology next week, but, for now, I'm waiting for some relaxation time... not holding my breath.


Upcoming Deadlines?

I've got a big presentation which needs to be finalized soon. ~nervous~

I was just handed the monthly survey for AUGI to prep.

I am updating the AutoCAD Community Forum Page with more great tips!

I am in the midst of writing an article (really, a collection of tips) for next month's ICC newsletter [now defunct]. (hint, it WON'T be about AutoCAD 2006! for those of you not upgrading, and sick of hearing about the new release)
I'll also be editing the other author submissions.

I'm getting ready for my next LUG meeting on the 26th.
You can see the information on the GAUG website, or on the AUGI LUG Calendar.

Remember, if you have any questions, comments, reports from meetings, popular topics, do post them in the AUGI LUG forum! (there is also a running thread in there with posts from users wishing to start a lug in their areas, pop in and see if there is someone you can connect with!)

I am also in the midst of moving (Yes! Again! They don't call me the Wanderer for nothing, you know).

I'm also trying to finalize my plans for a trip to Washington this summer to visit with relatives out there, whom we don't see often enough.

So, there are a lot of very exciting things going on in my world, but, I am looking forward to very many wonderful things in the future! Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, birds are singing... and all that other treacly rot.

Hope you have the opportunity to get out and enjoy life a little.


What's New in my Office?

I just got a knock at the door and took possession of my copy of MAP 2006! Woo-hoo! 

I was involved with the beta testing cycle for the first time this year, but, I must admit that I spent most of my time exploring the new vanilla features.

I am looking forward to installing the new release, as I do every time I get my hands on a new toy... ahem, I meant, a new productivity-enhancing piece of software.
~laughs... then sighs~ Man! Do I need to get out more, or what?!?!

The best thing about the internet, is being secure in the comforting knowledge that I am not the only one, though!

I am still working on my upcoming big presentation.
The only problem with being the 'graphics person', and one of the few pc literate in the office, is that everyone else suddenly needs help with THEIR presentations, too... 
Gee... how nice, because I was getting so bored with my normal workload, my presentation, and any other random crisis that manages to crop up at the most inopportune moments.

On a brighter note... my sister is coming over to see me on Sunday, and we are going out and spending all day shopping... I've already planned our route to go by a good espresso stand, and the cheesecake factory... ahhh, girl time


Facilities Management Programs and Resources

Alright... I held off during the first week... but, I couldn't take it any longer! I will be using this as a platform to talk about FM related issues. CAD monkeys working in FM seem to be sort of hard to come by, so I will take the opportunity to speak when I may.

First off, I'll list the CAD FM discussion groups that I am aware of. These are places for folks to post questions and discuss experiences with others dealing with software issues in Facility Management:
FMDUGI - FMDesktop User Group International
AUGI - FM forums for the Autodesk Users Group International

The main point of my post today was to list some FM programs and associated websites.
so, the following are (in no order, and with no recommendations, implied or otherwise) some of the links which I have added to my FM-favorites in my browser over the past couple of years.

Autodesk MapGuide - Sample Applications (heading: Facility Management)

BOMA - Building Owner's and Manager's Association

Facilicon 2005 - The Premier Event For Facilities Management In Higher Education

Facilities Desk - CAFM software

FacilityCity - Resources for the Entire Life Cycle of your Facility

FM programs Ten Links

FMLink-Your Facilities Management Resource on the Internet

FocusFM Online

IFMA - International Facilities Management Association

ISFE - Home Page

NetFacilities - CMMS,EAM,CAFM


Giving up

Okay, I've been sitting here trying to this of something remotely useful about CAD to talk about today... but, I've got to admit defeat... It is a gorgeous spring day here in St. Louis... and I really cannot concentrate on anything right now except trying to figure out how to seriously injure myself because the ER has a much better view of Forest Park than my office does... 
I'm resisting the urge to go for a walk during this, my lunch hour, because I know I won't be able to force myself to return to the confines of my little brick prison. ~sigh~

I'm working on an outline for a big presentation that I have coming up next month.

Basically, I am supposed to talk about the future of electronic data/AM/FM/CAFM, etc here at my facility. In essence, it will be a run-down of the way we (read: I) do things now, and how we could improve processes, add services, and otherwise plan for the future.

Last year I was really frustrated with my workload, and took the initiative to write a concise report detailing how far I've brought my position and processes, things that are still sub-par, and a proposal of how to fix it.

That was really fun for me, actually, as much as I love research and telling people what they're doing wrong. ;) A portion of this report was spent on job descriptions, because, honestly, I can't do all of the things that someone in my position could be doing in order to make things work properly around here.

The only problem being, of course, that no one wants to add full-time employees... especially not 4 additional skilled technical employees in a department that does not really have a revenue stream (such as one of the patient care areas here in the hospital).

So, I'm pretty nervous about the whole thing. I don't really want to have to speak in front of these people, but, I am really happy with the fact that my boss and the director were so impressed by my findings/report/goals/methods, etc, that they want me to share them with the administration.

Enough waffling from me... back to _ork...


Quick Tips - A couple handy system variables

A tip for 2006, don't forget to check out the new features workshop, and, even if you've used 2004 and 2005, I'd still recommend that you take a few minutes to check out the entries, you might have missed something interesting.

Very Valuable Variables

These are a couple handy System Variables... the following are clipped straight from the help files:

2006 only - Deletes excessive layer filters to improve performance. When a drawing has 100 or more layer filters, and the number of layer filters exceeds the number of layers, LAYERFILTERALERT provides a method for deleting layer filters to improve performance.

0 - Off
1 - When the Layer Manager is opened, deletes all layer filters; no message is displayed
2 - When the Layer Manager is opened, displays a message that states the problem, recommends deleting all filters, and offers a choice: "Do you want to delete all layer filters now?"
3 - When the drawing is opened, displays a message that states the problem and offers to display a dialog box where you can choose which filters to delete

0 Image frames are not displayed and not plotted.
1 Image frames are both displayed and plotted.
2 Image frames are displayed but not plotted.

Suppresses display of the Object Selected Is Not a Polyline ('do you want to turn it into one?' prompt in PEDIT.
Entering y converts the selected object to a polyline. When the prompt is suppressed, the selected object is automatically converted to a polyline.

0 - The prompt is displayed
1 - The prompt is suppressed


Upgrading AutoCAD soon?

Upgrading AutoCAD soon?

That seems to be the question... some people can't upgrade, some people won't, some people would like to install the software sitting on a shelf... some people just like to look at the boxes.

Here at work I have vanilla 2002 & MAP 3D 2005 on my production machine. I am waiting for MAP 2006 to come out so that I can install that.

I have been using 2006 for awhile now (you might have read my review in the last issue of the ICC newsletter [now defunct], or gained that insight from reading my ~admittedly mostly inane~ posts on AUGI and Autodesk discussion groups). I have to admit that I'm really loving the new things like rollover highlighting and dynamic input. Going back to one of the older versions makes me sort of twitchy. Little things, but, they save a lot of aggravation with the type of work that I do.

Whether you're willing and able to update soon or not, ~cheers~ to those who make the best of use of what technology they have access to...


My First Post!

Alright, this is my first foray into the wonderful world of blogging!
I do hope you like the name of my blog. I gave up on coming up with anything terribly clever, and decided to go with something quirky instead.

Shortly after I began my current position in 2000, some mechanics noticed the new nameplate on my office door and stuck their heads in to introduce themselves. 
They inquired as to whether I was the new 'CAD Master'. 
I said, 'I suppose it would be the new CAD Mistress, wouldn't it?'
And they snickered and asked if I was the "CAD Mistress of the Darkness"?
At which point I laughed and said 'more like Mistress of the Dorkness', and of course, like any other inane comment, it stuck. ~shrug~ so, here I am.

This weblog is primarily intended to be a platform for me to talk about CAD and all things somehow related (software, hardware, emerging technologies, management, education, etc, etc, etc,), which is alright, since, I can produce enough convoluted logic to chain the topic of CAD to just about anything! Haha! I'll also be posting news about St. Louis, the Gateway Autodesk User's Group (GAUG) and the Autodesk User's Group International (AUGI).

I am an Autodesk product user, so most of my topics will center around them. But, if I hear interesting things about other platforms, I will certainly share them here. Education is a powerful tool! 

I currently use Vanilla Autocad 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006, Map 3D 2005 (until my next box comes in!), and Revit 5.1 (not in production, just trying to teach myself so that when Revit comes out with a Parametrically enabled Struct/Arch/MEP family of products, I can use them easily, I am an optimist!)

I work in Facilities-Management, which is one of those sort of obscure fields... so, be prepared to see plenty of things about the challenges that I face, which are unique to my position. I am always hoping to connect with more FM people and exchange information.

Please, bear with me as I learn to fully explore/exploit this medium...