Another Day at AU

Where has the time gone?!?!?!
Been busy all day. Was up till 3am (shhhh, don't tell my boss!), but, I was one of the few up that late who made it to class on time... if at all. It was good, at least the first half.
The first half was going over the way MAPguide is used for FM, but, the 2nd half was a little over my head, so I went to 'work' in the AUGI booth. I tried hard to look clueless, but, kept being asked for help anyway. Lots of new members which was great. Reminds me of AU2001 at the beer bash when I first became an AUGI member, now, 5 AU's later, I'm helping others get signed up. It's really cool. I didn't take the Top DAUG contest, but, encouraged many others who are smarter than myself to do so.

My better half (aka, Board Member, Mike Perry) has been working tirelessly and I only see him a few minutes a day. ~rolls eyes~ ;) Don't get used to this AUGI, it won't last once he's legally mine. So very sorry.

I'm being shooed out again, more later. Time for the ladies night out. Thanks so much to my good friend and such a sweetheart, Jane Smith for the lovely bachelorette gifts. This is awesome. :)



From the AUGI Booth

Hello from the AUGI booth!!! And the playpen... you can test-drive all autodesk software here.
The AUGI daug was hilarious... I've got a minute-long video of him scaring Yoshi, the AUGI president.

Oh, the exhibit hall is closing in 10 minutes, the beer bash is almost over, sending the AUGI daug off to fetch one more round.

We handed over the wishlists today for Autocad and Inventor.

Saturday was great fun, met up with some friends from AUGI and an email list I belong to. Finally met Shaan Hurley in person, hopefully a DECENT picture of me will make it to his blog. ;) My fault Shaan, not yours, I know.

I was in all FM classes today. They were really great! The instructors were all people who work in the field or develop software for it. Winning approval from Executives for Automation was marginally my favorite. The FM track here is so impressive compared to past years. I appreciate the effort Autodesk has made with regards to our field.

I hope to post more this week, but, it does stay pretty busy, especially since I am the 'intended' of someone as well known as my fiance', AUGI board member, Mike Perry. ;) There's something to embarass him as much as the 'property of mike perry' button I'm wearing right now.

It's been fabulous meeting all of the augsters, adeskers, ilkers, swampers and... ~wink, wink~ the other super, secret, autocad society. It's fabulous to finally meet up with all of you, at this, my fifth AU... I've been thrust from dark corners to the center of the AUGI booth, and I'm actually enjoying it, thanks to all of you guys.

Oh, I'm being shooed off right now... later.

~mistress of the dorkness ;)

Engineering Terms... and their real meaning.

Top Engineering Terms and Expressions
(What engineers say versus what they mean)
1. A number of different approaches are being tried.
(We are still guessing at this point.)
2. Close project coordination.
(We sat down and had coffee together.)
3. An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach.
(We just hired three punk kids out of school.)
4. Major technological breakthrough!
(It works OK, but looks very hi-tech!)
5. Customer satisfaction is believed assured.
(We are so far behind schedule, that the customer will take anything.)
6. Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive.
(The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.)
7. Test results were extremely gratifying!
(Unbelievable, it actually worked!)
8. The entire concept will have to be abandoned.
(The only guy who understood the thing quit.)
9. It is in process.
(It is so wrapped in red tape that the situation is completely hopeless.)
10. We will look into it.
(Forget it! We have enough problems already.)
11. Please note and initial.
(Let's spread the responsibility for this.)
12. Give us the benefit of your thinking.
(We'll listen to what you have to say as long as it doesn't interfere with
what we have already done or with what we are going to do.)
13. Give us your interpretation.
(We can't wait to hear your bull.)
14. See me or let's discuss.
(Come to my office, I've screwed up again.)
15. All new.
(Parts are not interchangeable with previous design.)
16. Rugged.
(Don't plan to lift it without major equipment.)
17. Robust!
(Rugged, but more so)
18. Light weight.
(Slightly lighter than rugged)
19. Years of development.
(One finally worked)
20. Energy saving.
(Achieved when the power switch is off.)
21. No maintenance.
(Impossible to fix)
22. Low maintenance.
(Nearly impossible to fix)
23. Fax me the data.
(I'm too lazy to write it down.)
24. We are following the standard!
(That's the way we have always done it!)
25. I didn't get your e-mail.
(I haven't checked my e-mail for days.)


Brief Release History

I made the following summary of features for my LUG newsletter after R2005 came out (having just added the information for 2006). Enjoy!

Obviously, I cannot include when every command was added or significantly improved,
but, I have selected the ones that I found most interesting. (A more complete, yet unofficial list of feature changes is posted on
the Autodesk website.)

Version 1.0 (Release 1) Dec-82
Initial release of AutoCAD, demonstrated at COMDEX
Version 1.2 (Release 2) Apr-83
Dimensioning added as an extra-cost option
Version 1.3 (Release 3) Aug-83
Layer-to-layer move via CHANGE -- Removed 40-item limit from menus -- Large plotter support added -- Standardized color numbers
Version 1.4 (Release 4) Oct-83
WBLOCK -- Blocks redefined -- Toggle Snap Grid Ortho & Tablet modes -- HATCH -- SKETCH -- AXIS to display ruler lines -- UNITS -- BREAK -- FILLET
Version 2.0 (Release 5) Oct-84
Layers have user-chosen names, with no limit to the number of layers -- Four tablet menu areas allowed -- Screen menu and the text-prompt area can be disabled, to provide a larger area for graphics
LIST -- DBLIST -- Angles in 0d0’0” – Attributes -- Mirror -- Vslide -- Osnap -- Save -- View
Version 2.1 (Release 6) May-85
Multiple pens can be used with single-pen plotters; will prompt you to change the pen manually
LIMITS On/Off option -- CHAMFER -- BREAK – Plines -- 3D Level 1 for 3D visualizations with optional removal of hidden lines (ELEV, VPOINT, and HIDE commands) -- Freeze and Thaw for LAYER command -- Objects highlighted during selection -- AutoLISP in Version 2.18 (January, 1986)
Version 2.5 (Release 7) Jun-86
Context-sensitive Help -- UNDO/REDO -- Color and linetype by entity -- CHANGE -- SETVAR -- SELECT -- TIME -- DIVIDE -- EXPLODE -- EXTEND -- OFFSET -- ROTATE -- SCALE -- STRETCH -- TRIM -- Angles entered and displayed in surveyor's units
Version 2.6 (Release 8) Apr-87
Transparent ZOOM PAN VIEW & REDRAW -- AREA enhanced -- Associative dimensioning -- UNITS fractional mode -- 3D Line & 3D Face (3D Level 2)
Release 9 Sep-87
MULTIPLE -- Menu items repeat -- Slide libraries -- Menu bar, pull-down menus, icon menus, and dialog boxes -- Crossing object selection boxes drawn as dotted lines -- Provisions for 3D Lines and 3D Faces added to the DXB file format -- Large selection-sets handling
Release 10 Oct-88
LINETYPE Load -- binary form of DXF -- ZOOM Previous restores 10 views -- CHPROP command -- PEDIT -- User-defined start-up function added to run when acad.lsp is loaded
Release 11 Oct-90
Viewports -- Vport-specific layer visibility -- Network server authorization -- Drawing File Recovery -- AUDIT -- XREFs -- Solid modeling capability -- Arrow cursor for drop downs -- UNITMODE system variable -- SHADE
Release 12 Jun-92
Main menu eliminated -- OPEN command converts older drawings -- Selection grips -- Timed saves -- Plot Preview -- Import common raster files -- APPLOAD -- CAL -- DDMODIFY -- FILTER
Release 13 Nov-94
Flyouts -- Tooltips -- Drawing Preview -- Mline Text Editing -- Spell check -- Associative hatching --
LENGTHEN -- GROUP -- Mlines -- Rendering enhancements -- Learning AutoCAD for Windows is an on-line tutorial
Release 14 Feb-97
HEIDI-based graphics -- Paper Space -- Max # of active viewports in paper space increased to 48 from 16 -- Plines stored as single objects -- Hatches stored as single objects -- Drawing Template Files -- Toolbars dialog box -- Draworder -- Preferences dialog -- -XBIND -- MATCHPROP
AutoCAD 2000 (Release 15) Mar-99
Multiple drawings – DesignCenter -- 3DORBIT -- Multiple Active Work Planes -- UCS Manager -- Reference Editing -- Object Properties Toolbar -- IntelliMouse -- Layer Properties Manager -- Boundary Hatch dialog – hyperlinks -- Layouts -- Nonrectangular Viewports -- Block Descriptions
AutoCAD 2000i(Release 16) Jul-00
Double click edit objects -- Trim to objects in blocks -- Closeall -- True Color plot styles -- Layer States -- eTransmit -- Live Update -- Help has natural language query -- MSI based installation
AutoCAD 2002 (Release 17) Jun-01
Associative Dimensioning -- Block Attribute Manager -- Layer Translator -- Layer Previous -- i-drop -- Standardsaware eTransmit -- Today -- Meet Now -- DWF -- Point A design portal -- Project Point Plans & Specs system -- Construction Manager online workflow -- DesignXML -- Enhanced Attribute Extraction
AutoCAD 2004 (Release 18) Mar-03
Express Tools -- Tool palettes -- Multisheet DWF -- Digital signatures -- password protection -- CAD standards management tools
AutoCAD 2005 (Release 19) Mar-04
Sheet Sets -- Tables -- Publish -- Hatch ‘fuzz factor’ -- Hatch Trim -- Layer Descriptions -- Object Zoom

AutoCAD 2006 (Release 20) Mar-05
CUI/Workspaces -- Dynamic Input -- Dynamic Blocks -- Mtxt Improvements -- Quick Calc

Lots of stuff. Looking at the 2006 page I see a really great list showing the new commands, changed commands and new system variables. Sweeet... put this is favorites.


AU 2005 and AU Handouts from 2000-2004

Alright, it's almost that time again. Orlando here I come! There are some great classes for FM this year, and it looks like there will be an after-hours mixer for Facilities Management CADdies... that's rolling out the red carpet for sure.

I will be there the whole time, so come up and say 'hi'! Unless you're a salesperson/representing a service company, then, only say 'hi' if you have a gift to give me.
Even if you are not an AUGI member, stop by the AUGI annual meeting monday night, and the AUGI beer bash afterwards. There is a lot of good stuff for everyone to see/learn there! This is when we do the official handover of the AUGI wishlists to Autodesk representatives, and there are typically some software giveaways as well.

If you've not been to Autodesk University (first of all, shame on your boss for their lack of training budget!), be sure to check out the AUGI website for class handouts from previous years.


More Engineers?

This is a subject I tend to think about, and since I just saw a good article in CADalyst (Growing Our Profession) about how to get future generations interested in Engineering, I thought I would make this my topic of the day.

Assuming China is graduating so many more engineers because they need the infrastructure build-up more than we do wouldn't cover it all. Every source talking about this topic mentions the bad math and science scores in this country, St. Louis is no exception.
I started reading an article about how the gap in achievements between black and white students has virtually disappeared in this city, and was disappointed to discover it wasn't because there was a vast improvement with one group, but, because of the severe decline in the other.
Also, a thought to ponder; who do kids look up to? Musicians, athletes, etc? Not many teenagers have trading cards or posters of famous engineers.

Jeffrey Rowe (the author of the CADalyst article mentioned above) spoke from his viewpoint as a substitute teacher about the curriculum being offered in today's high schools. Speaking from my own experience, geometry was dropped as a requirement before I had to take it, and was then marked as a 'remedial' course. After I failed Algebra, I was put into the geometry class along with the BD (behaviour disorder) and LD (learning disorder) kids.
I passed geometry, passed algebra on my second try, and when I moved to Trigonometry... almost everyone in the class was getting 'D's except me. Why is that? Because the school district assumed we didn't need to know geometry? That it was 'remedial'? ~shrug~ I don't know who makes the decisions on class requirements, I believe that is done at a state level?

As with a paper I wrote a while back on the state of literacy in the US, it makes you wonder who is to blame? Do we blame the schools? Do we blame uninvolved or uneducated parents? Do we blame our society's focus?

Well, instead of being part of the 'problem' I encourage us all to be a part of the solution.
Volunteer your time for a movement like
FIRST... "to create a world where science and technology are celebrated... where young people dream of being science and technology heroes" - Dean Kamen.
Even parents with a non-technical background can take their children on outings to places like the
St. Louis Science Center. A mostly-free attraction with interactive exhibits (and, incidentally, home of the Ansari X-prize). Learn about bridge building, computers, convservation, and more!
Or search for your own way of encouraging a technical career for your child/children in your community.
In case you are wondering, my son's favorite place to go 'play' is the science center. We build things with blocks large and small, we have built a 7' tall foam arch, and we cruise the toddler section in the computer exhibits. There are many more things at this center, and different types of exhibits at other places (I recall going to a 'children's museum' or something when I lived in southern california and it was awesome).
Happy weekend...



From Help: Sets the content of the sample text displayed at the cursor location when the MTEXT command is started. The text string is displayed in the current text size and font. You can enter any string of up to ten letters or numbers or enter . (period) to display no sample text.

From Help: (although my nagging memory says I've already posted this, sorry if I'm repeating myself)
Suppresses display of the Object Selected Is Not a Polyline prompt in PEDIT. The prompt is followed by “Do you want it to turn into one?” Entering y converts the selected object to a polyline. When the prompt is suppressed, the selected object is automatically converted to a polyline.
The prompt is displayed
The prompt is suppressed

From Express Tools Help: Aligns text, mtext and block attribute objects to new orientation.
Rotates text, mtext, and attribute definition objects so that they end up being as close as possible to horizontal or right-read (similar to the behavior of dimension text). Objects are rotated about their middle point in 180-degree increments. For example, if the text is upside-down, it becomes right-side up after a TORIENT operation. Similarly, left-read text becomes right-read text. The overall object location is not changed. As an option, you can specify a new absolute orientation angle for all selected text objects.

Microsoft Access 97: Any database managers out there who work with Access? You know that picture you have to look at while the program takes forever to boot up?
You can replace that with an image of your choice. All you have to do is place a .bmp of the same name as the database file into the same directory.
So, I rename ViggoM.bmp to PlansIndex.bmp, and I get to look at my fave lotr actor while I wait for Access to open.


Geek Pickup Lines...

[Edit: if you're looking for -> Lord of the Rings pickup lines

I just got this email from one of my fellow lug members...
These are hilarious, thanks Allan S!
(I realize this is an email forward, but, if anyone knows an originator, I'd like to give credit where it's due?)

Geek Pick-up Lines
11. Tell me of this thing you humans call *dramatic pause* love.
10. If you turn me down now, I will become more drunk than you can possibly imagine.
9. They don't call me Bones because I'm a doctor.
8. Your name is Leslie? Look, I can spell your name on my calculator!
7. What's a nice girl like you doing in a wretched hive of scum and villany like this?
6. You must be Windows 95 because you gots me so unstable.
5. My 'up-time' is better than BSD.
4. I can tell by your emoticons that you're looking for some company.
3. Is that an iPod mini in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.
2. Want to see my Red Hat?
1. If you won't let me buy you a drink, at least let me fix your laptop.

Geek Pick Up Lines: Part 2

11. You had me at "Hello World."
10. Mind if I run a sniffer to see if your ports are open?
9. You make me want to upgrade my Tivo.
8. By looking at you I can tell you're 36-25-36, which by the way are all perfect squares.
7. Jedi Mind Trick: "This is the geek you're looking for." *waves hand*
6. You can put a Trojan on my Hard Drive anytime.
5. Have you ever googled yourself?
4. How about we do a little peer-to-peer saliva swapping?
3. With my IQ and your body we could begin a race of genetic superchildren to conquer the earth.
2. What's a girl like you doing in a place like this when there's a Farscape marathon on right now on the Sci Fi channel.
1. I'm attracted to you so strongly, scientists will have to develop a fifth fundamental force.

Geek Pick-Up Lines: Part 3

11. I'm attracted to you so much that scientists will begin to doubt the Theory of Relativity.
10. What's a nice girl like you doing in a chatroom like this?
9. Resistance is futile.
8. No matter how I sort things, you'll always be first.
7. No, that's not a Logitech MX-100 in my pants, but thanks for noticing.
6. I think you could be an integral part of my project life cycle.
5. I'd switch to emacs for you.
4. You put the SPARC in my workstation.
3. If you have an empty slot, I have the card to fill it.
2. We're like SLI. Were great alone, but we'd be so much better together.
1. You got me stuck on Caps Lock, if you know what I mean.

Geek Pick-Up Lines: Part 4

11. I have so much love to give you'll have to pipe it through more.
10. Did you make a Google Bomb? Whatever I search for, it's you I find.
9. Do you work for a TelCom? Because I bet you'd be good at pulling cable.
8. I was hoping you wouldn't block my pop-up.
7. Would you like to play Scrabble with me? I am tired of playing with myself.
6. You compute me.
5. Girl, I wish I was your differential, because then I'd be touching all your curves.
4. But enough about me, let's talk about mu.
3. Be my queen and mate me with your knight moves.
2. You've stolen the ASCII to my heart.
1. You must've been made by Intel to be that hot!


Since Sliced Bread (aka R14), a couple of blogs, Salary Survey complete

What’s the best thing since sliced bread (aka autocad release 14)?
I’ve been following some interesting discussions on the Autodesk CAD Manager’s Newsgroup… what features do these users value? Which irritate them? Which missed the mark, but, could be a slam-dunk with some more work?
Best Features Since R14:
Worst Features Since R14:
Forget sliced bread, this came out half-baked…
Half-baked features Since R14:

Hey, not to drive away any of my faithful readers, but, the AUGI home page this month is showcasing BLAUGI, the new official blog of the autodesk user’s group international. Check out a couple of posts under the heading ‘the rules of cad’, very interesting reading.

There was also some great reading in a
recent blog posting by heidi hewett of autodesk on how tv and video games affect our learning.

I’d like to take a second to make a personal THANK YOU to the record thousands of respondents to the AUGI
Annual Salary Survey, which is a project that I volunteer my time for. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next issue of AUGIworld for the first round of results! Every year we make changes based on the feedback of participants, and we hope those changes help to make the results more useful to you.


New Playground, Grand Canyon Skywalk, Excel (97) Header Row

Well, it snuck up on me, but, it's FALL now! Wow. Just took my 2 1/2 year old out trick or treating for the first time (at the mall). I almost passed on it again this year, as I figure he's too young to know what he'd be missing, and I don't really give him candy very often anyway. But! after he thanked me for taking him to the park and zoo, etc, I just had to. I bought him a pirate costume and away we went! He was just wide-eyed with wonder no matter what he was handed; a tootsie roll, a coupon, stickers, shampoo samples... lol. Nothing has ever felt so good as noticing the light in his eyes seeing our favorite mall turned into a halloween wonderland with decorations and hundreds of kids dressed as everything from lobsters to elmo. He didn't actually eat any candy that day. He just kept looking at it, putting it piece-by-piece into and out of his bag (then, after that wore out, I gave him a box, and almost a week later, he can still amuse himself by doing that). What a wonderful experience for the both of us. Something new for him, and a renewed sense of wonder for myself.
We played hookie one day this week, and I took him out to the zoo and to play at the park to enjoy this wonderful weather.
Laundry can wait.

In the news! Forest Park has recently completed building an 'all-inclusive playground', a place where children with handicaps can play along side the rest of the kids. Hopefully this will foster a sense of understanding and acceptance by children and their parents, seeing that those with handicaps are pretty much just like them, as well as a feeling of belonging for the ones who normally can't play on most playgrounds. Excellent work to all of those involved, including St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Check out the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Wow! (I snoped it, it's twue, it's twue!) I don't think I would feel comfortable walking out on that, but, it seems to have some pretty impressive specs on it.
Nothing but a glass bottom and sides
Glass is supported by steel beams
Accommodates up to 120 people at a time
Can hold up to 72 million pounds
Can withstand 100 mph winds coming from 8 different directions
Can survive earthquakes up to 8.0 in magnitude Admission is $25

Working with Excel (97, not sure if that makes a difference) spreadsheets with an obscene amount of data, I have my forumlas below the data, and I can't see my header rows! So, I select the row BELOW the one(s) I want to be able to see, then go to the Window pulldown and select 'Freeze Panes', and I can scroll down and still keep my titles visible.
This also works vertically, if you select a cell below and to the right of the content you want to remain visible.