Farewell to a pioneer

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Passes away at age 92.

At a celebration in her honor, she once said:
"I am leaving this legacy to all of you ... to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die — the dream of freedom and peace."


txt2mtxt, txtexp and preparing for winter

Working on cleaning up some floor plans. Most areas have room names and room numbers, but, different areas have different-sized text.
I use a qselect to pick all of the text, then, modify the height in the properties dialog... the only problem is, that now the text is overlapping since each piece of text only had so much space between them.
Hmm, what to do?
Ah! txt2mtxt!!! I just select my two or three pieces of text, and viola'! I now I have an mtext object containing two lines of characters with a respectable space between them.

This is an express tool. From the express help file:
TXT2MTXT will work on any text objects created with the TEXT or DTEXT commands. If the original set of text objects was created with DTEXT or with successive text commands, enabling the Sort top-down option and disabling the Create word-wrap MText options will produce the most visually similar results.
The selected text objects will be removed from the drawing and a new MText object will be inserted.
This command attempts to honor text size, font and color changes between text objects.

:SHOCK:! Wow... while looking txt2mtxt up in the help file, I see a command that I'd never noticed before!
TXTEXP: Explodes Text or MText into geometry that can be assigned a thickness or an elevation.

Hmm, I can think of a few occasions when I'd have benefited from having that. cool.

Don't forget to prepare for winter! Get some good shoes and coats before all the nice styles are taken. Sew/pin/tie little mittens to the insides of winter coat cuffs. Buy some sand/salt for your steps, and an extra bag for your car. Make sure your extra blankets are out of the closet and washed, put one in your vehicle for emergencies. Dust off your space heaters and check to make sure they're functioning properly. Check the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide Dectector, and, if you don't have one, get one! You haven't fired up that furnace since early spring, so be alert!

Have a safe and happy weekend!


FREE DWG Viewer and Parents as Teachers

From Shaan Hurley's blog (imho, one of the best places to get acad news)

New and Free DWG TrueView™ - view DWG files
DWG TrueView™ is now available for free from Autodesk.
Spread the word! You can view DWG files 100% just like AutoCAD can for free.
"Share AutoCAD® drawings easily and accurately among engineers and architects with DWG TrueView™. View and plot DWG and DXF™ files, and then publish them as DWF™ files for quick and easy review and markup in Autodesk® DWF™ Composer. And you’ll always get full drawing fidelity because the DWG viewer is built on the same viewing technology as AutoCAD® 2006 software."

Parents as Teachers Program wanted to take a moment, to mention something to each of you that is very important to me, NOT JUST as an educator, but as a mom & resident of the St. Louis City area.
The Parents as Teachers program, for the St. Louis Public School District, is facing elimination. No other school districts are threatened, JUST St. Louis Public, the city district. For over 20 years now, PAT has been disseminated through EACH of the public school districts throughout Missouri (& is also in all 50 states through social services programs, FYI).

PAT is NOT a program for low income or poorly educated individuals & families, it is a program for EVERYONE that was created to strengthen the home-schoolrelationship, to better prepare our kiddos for preschool or kindergarten enrollment, while giving parents KEY INFORMATION about their child's development & to provide families with resources within their community to assist them in being their child's BEST FIRST TEACHER.
The way the program is written, for each home visit or group meeting that is conducted, a certain "payment" is made to the district, & these payments pay our salaries. For the last two school years, salaries have come in higher than state reimbursements due to LOW ENROLLMENT. The district has had to pick up some of the salaries, & this violates the way the program was written. Therefore, on April 30th, after a very tedious audit, it is possible that this program will no longer exist in our district, thedistrict that quite possibly needs this program THE MOST.This is unacceptable.
Until the administration gets out there & goes to bat for us, we have to count on each other's support. I would like to encourage you to PLEASE forward this email to EVERYONE you know & have them do the same. We need to get enrollment up to what it is in the other districts in St. Louis.Webster Groves, just as an example, has a waiting list to get enrolled.The Parent Educators are given their caseloads TO THEM on the first day of the school year. In the St. Louis Public Schools, we FIND OUR OWN FAMILIES, as the call in rate is low if not almost non-existent. We carry, or SHOULD CARRY, a 40 family caseload as a part-time provider. When I accepted myposition, I was given TWO FAMILIES. The rest was up to me. We can't do this alone.
There are 4 types of families in the city, the way I see it.
FAMILY #1. They think they don't NEED this program.
They are misinformed about what we provide & who we service. They assume it is a public schoolteacher coming for visits & with the state of the district, this concerns them. What they don't realize is we are ALL TRAINED at the National Center & CHOOSE the district we WANT to work for. I CHOSE THE CITY.
FAMILY #2. They sooooooo desperately need this information, but are afraid they will get HOTLINED when we view their living conditions.
How sad.
FAMILY #3. They don't even KNOW what PAT is or how to get involved. MY JOB is to find them.
FAMILY #4. They have either called in & been assigned, or have been recruited by someone like me. They LOVE PAT & tell all their friends!THANK YOU if this is you!

Our district not only conducts home visits, but we do group meetings at shelters, teen homes for pregnant young women, prisons, etc... this is how COMMITTED we are to providing this service.Bottom line - in a district that is already missing a KEY PIECE, the home-school connection, we CANNOT eliminate the only one left.

PLEASE HELP ME SPREAD THE WORD, & save this VITAL PROGRAM! Again, PLEASE forward this to everyone you know.
Bless you for listening to my rantings.
Julia Rottjakob
Certified Parent Educator
St. Louis Public Schools
Visit the Parents as Teachers website for information about programs available in your area.


Explaining Autosave? and block names with wildcards

Well, I'd seen this come up on a few newgroups/forums, and I thought about doing a write-up, and of course, someone else is smarter and quicker than me... but, I won't hold it against him.

RK Mcswain, on his blog, CAD Panacea reveals the mystery behind the workings of autosave. http://rkmcswain.blogspot.com/2005/07/autosave-mystery.html

And, as for my question the other day, about wacky blocks; between my readings on the autodesk knowledgebase, the help files and explanations from those more experienced/informed than myself (Mark H., Eric W., Richard L.), I've come to the firm realization that:

no, these anonymous blocks can't be edited by the normal commands (for the most part! as seeing a couple of them show up in the rename dialog but not the rest is what sent me on this crazy crusade)
yes, these blocks all seem to show up in qselect
sometimes these blocks will show up when you purge them, other times they won't (deleted the same blocks from duplicate drawings, one showed them in the purge dialog, others didn't, but, both were afterwards missing from the qselect list)

the prefixes (*E, *U, *X, etc), I'm informed, are for different types of entities. it's hard to clearly say which types. I was unable to explode a couple of them, and I'm collecting unexplodable blocks as a hobby to play with in my 'free' time. hahahahahahahaha

even more fun, I had some nested blocks (comes from copy, paste, bind, export to acad, flatten and any number of other things), some of which had anonymous blocks in them, some were anonymous blocks which just contained regular blocks within them.
so, it was just a matter of either properly exploding, or flat-out replacement of these blocks (I did a qselect of the blocks starting with asterisk u and copied them into another drawing and worked on them there for simplicity's sake).

oh, and when I was cleaning up these drawings (making sure the blocks were on '0' and bylayer then renaming them to things that make sense), I realized that when I was looking at the blocks in design center, then right-clicking to edit them, then I'd go back and I wasn't sure which ones I'd edited yet, because their previews weren't accurate any longer... I ran BLOCKICON, and viola'! the thumbnails were accurate.

I recently saw a lisp routine which changed a block's entities all to bylayer, but, I can't recall where I'd found it, so I'll have to do a search and post a link back when I think about it.

that's enough from me for now. happy cadding.


Block Thumbnails and Block Names with Wildcards

First an answer, then a question...

Thumbnail images for blocks are not displayed in AutoCAD® DesignCenter
Published date: 2003-03-06 ID: TS34512
Applies to: AutoCAD® 2002AutoCAD LT® 2002AutoCAD LT® 2000iAutoCAD LT® 2000
Thumbnail images for blocks do not display in AutoCAD DesignCenter for drawings created in previous versions of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT® software.
Blocks created in older versions of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT do not store a preview or thumbnail of the block in the drawing. Instead, you must use the BLOCKICON command to save a thumbnail image for blocks.Enter BLOCKICON on the command line. Press ENTER. Enter an asterisk (*) to update all blocks, or enter the name of the block you want to update. Press ENTER. The number of updated blocks is displayed on the command line.

Now, for the question...
Renaming blocks with wildcard characters
I'm doing some drawing cleanup, drawings have been modified with different programs such as ADT, etc. I've done some flattening, translating, exploding, etc. I have design center open, and am using the RENAME command to relabel the blocks to things that make sense.
I noticed that there were some blocks named, eg, *E535. They showed up in the RENAME dialog box, but, not in Design Center. So, I used rename to remove the asterisk, then they showed up in DC preview just fine so I could see what they looked like and rename them accordingly.
BUT! while there were a few of those that have shown up, I was moving around the drawing and saw some objects with block names of eg. *U174, etc but they show up neither in the DC nor the RENAME dialog.
Why is that? And, how can I get at them to rename them easily?
Anyone have an answer/solution/work-around for me?


Using a Block to Trim


have a great weekend, and thanks to my better half for the above.

oh, and some interesting reading: http://www.miniature-earth.com/
If we could turn the population of the earth into a small community of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would be something like...


Salary Survey

CAD Salary Survey - Designers, Drafters, Engineers, Architects & Educators!
The AUGI Annual Salary Survey is now running!
The results will be published in the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of AUGIWorld magazine.
You do have to be a member to take the AUGI salary survey, but, it is a free membership and they don't sell your information to other parties. Don't forget to set your preferences in the My AUGI control panel, which determines whether you get hotnews and other AUGI updates via email.

The results of past Salary Surveys (among others) can be found on the Surveys Archive page. Please give your input in this anonymous survey, to give validity and ensure accuracy to our survey results.

I volunteer as the Survey Manager for AUGI, and I've held this position since this time last year. This announcement is not an official announcement of AUGI's, it's just something that I thought would benefit the user base from my perspective.
Last year I got quite a few questions about the survey and answered them as best I could, and I thought I'd share some of them here.

The survey results are not tied to your user name, and the results are not sold or given to any other entity, and results will only be given by wide groups and categories.

The currency is in US dollars only for simplicity's sake. This year we have included a link to a site which will convert other currencies so non-US residents can easily participate.

What does Salary Include?:
This question came up a few times. The conclusion is that your salary should include your base pay plus bonuses, commissions, and overtime.

Salary Increase?:
Also, we have added the option of noting whether your salary has decreased (in previous surveys we only asked if it had increased or stayed the same).

We've tried to cover a wide-variety of disciplines, but, at the same time, we want to have meaningful results so don't want to get overly specific. The more respondents we have, the more we can break down the information in future surveys.

Job Title:
This one is a biggie! I know! that you do more than one job. You might do drafting, cad management, IT, training, etc, but, my assumption is that your pay is going to reflect your actual job title and how your company classifies that, not necessarily all of the additional things that you do, so, please just select the one job title that most closely matches your own.

Size of Company/Size of Department:
This got a few comments last year, when we asked how many employees does your company have? I'll admit I thought about it too. For instance, I work in a company of 20,000, but, there are less than 10 CAD users. So, this year, we have separate fields for size of company and size of department.

Please, pop up to the site and take 2 minutes to fill out this survey to make the information that AUGI provides to you more accurate and useful.

Browser: I have been told that Firefox and some other browsers don't work to take this survey. If you are using another program, please send your feedback to surveys@augi.com. I'd like to hear what you do use and whether or not this will actually affect your taking the survey.

Thank you!