Crikey! A LUG Meeting Down Under

Looks like the Victorian AutoCAD User's Group is about to have a meeting on Monday, October the 2nd. If you happen to be in their hemisphere, drop by for their meeting at 6:30. Catch up by reading their blog.

For those on this side of the world, don't forget that the Gateway AUG, serving the St. Louis and Metro areas, are scheduled to have our meeting on Tuesday October the 3rd.


How Do I Search for Wildcard Characters? #@.*?~[]'

How Do I Do a Find and Replace for Wildcard Characters? #@.*?~[]'

I've seen this question come up a couple of times on the augi and autodesk forums, so...

Most of us know at least a little bit about using wildcard characters to find something within a range. This works in most programs, handiest in databases, but, very useful in AutoCAD as well.

BUT! What do you do when you want to find one of those 'special' characters?

Well, you just precede the character with an apostrophe... like '*

see also autodesk knowledgebase entry ID: TS1051672

Edit: Due to the site redesign, most URL's pointing to Autodesk's website are broken. Here's an updated link.


Overview of Install: Revit Systems Series (with ABS) 2007

Installing MAP 3D on my computer always tend to be a bit of a noteworthy event (one I have not yet taken on this release cycle, maybe next year, but, too many harried users in the discussion groups)...

So, I started to take notes during the install of Revit Systems Series... assuming it would be a noteable event. ;)

I open up my DVD case (yes, I have a DVD drive... although there is a card in the case which points you to a media request site to ask for CD's if you can't do the DVD thing.

There is one DVD for RSys and one for ABS. I'm pondering whether one should be installed before the other? ~shrug~ I choose to install RSys first.

While I have installed Revit products before, those who haven't will notice that you don't get exactly the same little install and information dialog as you will with AutoCAD-based verticals.

I take a little wry note of amusement in that the RSys 'Getting Started' booklet did not include a section on installation, where the ABS 'Getting Started' booklet did.

I started my install, and about five minutes later, I was finished.

On to ABS... ah, there's that familiar screen... take a second to find the 'install button'... I choose not to go the 'Typical Install' route and choose 'Custom' instead...

For the curious, I manually included the following options which were NOT selected by default:
Viz Render
Express Tools
Visual Lisp Samples
Viz Render Tutorials
Visual Lisp Tutorials

When nearing the end of the install options you'll see the 'Create Shortcuts' section.
The first option is checked by default, I chose to include the second option:
Create Building Systems and Viz Render shortcuts on desktop
Create AutoCAD 2007 (plain) shortcut on desktop

you can make those shortcuts yourself with profile switches yourself, of course... for the curious, here is what the path to the vanilla Acad setup is...
"C:\Program Files\Autodesk Building Systems 2007\acad.exe" /p "AutoCAD"

It might be worth mentioning that the install of ABS took 33 minutes.

Don't forget, if you need a manual in your hand instead of all electronic documentation, go to the request site with your serial number and part number and order the accompanying documentation at no charge.

So, here I am, set up and ready to go... I've got my shortcuts to the discussion groups and augi forums at the ready.

An Engine with NO Moving Parts?

Alright, I just read on New Scientist about a 'relativity Drive'.

It links to a theoretical paper by a guy named Roger Shawyer.

From the article:
Of course, any crackpot can rough out plans for a warp drive. What they never show you is evidence that it works. Shawyer is different. He has built a working prototype to test his ideas, and as a respected spacecraft engineer he has persuaded the British government to fund his work. Now organisations from other parts of the world, including the US air force and the Chinese government, are beating a path to his tiny company.
The device that has sparked their interest is an engine that generates thrust purely from electromagnetic radiation - microwaves to be precise - by exploiting the strange properties of relativity. It has no moving parts, and releases no exhaust or noxious emissions. Potentially, it could pack the punch of a rocket in a box the size of a suitcase.
Hang on a minute, though. If the cavity is to move, it must be pushed by something. A rocket engine, for example, is propelled by hot exhaust gases pushing on the rear of the rocket. How can photons confined inside a cavity make the cavity move? This is where relativity and the strange nature of light come in. Since the microwave photons in the waveguide are travelling close to the speed of light, any attempt to resolve the forces they generate must take account of Einstein's special theory of relativity. This says that the microwaves move in their own frame of reference. In other words they move independently of the cavity - as if they are outside it. As a result, the microwaves themselves exert a push on the cavity.
Shawyer's electromagnetic drive - emdrive for short - consists in essence of a microwave generator attached to what looks like a large copper cake tin. It needs a power supply for the magnetron, but there are no moving parts and no fuel - just a cord to plug it into the mains. Various pipes add complexity, but they are just there to keep the chamber cool. And the device seems to work: by mounting it on a sensitive balance, he has shown that it generates about 16 millinewtons of thrust, using 1 kilowatt of electrical power. Shawyer calculated that his first prototype had a Q of 5900. With his second thruster, he managed to raise the Q to 50,000 allowing it to generate a force of about 300 millinewtons - 100 times what Cosmos 1 could achieve. It's not enough for Earth-based use, but it's revolutionary for spacecraft.
Hmm. Makes a body curious, that's for sure. I encourage you to take a read of the entire article... the above is just a little snippet with my favorite bits.

What do you think? Is this feasible? If you believe, how soon before something like this could replace the internal combustion engine?


Nerd, Geek or Dork? Find out.

Alright, my smarty-pants of a husband sent me a link to a test. The much-debated... is Melanie really a Dork? can finally be solved.

I call myself a dork, but, somewhere deep inside have viewed myself as a geek...

well, the official call is PURE NERD!

56 % Nerd, 39% Geek, 17% Dork

Alrighty then.

From the site:
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

Now, compared to others of my Age and Gender:
I scored higher than 42% on nerdiness
I scored higher than 61% on geekosity
I scored higher than 15% on dork points

Very Valuable Variable: get a grip on Mtext

Variable: CENTERMT

from AutoCAD help:

Controls how grips stretch multiline text that is centered horizontally. CENTERMT does not apply to stretching multiline text by using the ruler in the In-Place Text Editor.

0 - When you move a corner grip in centered multiline text, the center grip moves in the same direction, and the grip on the opposite side remains in place

1 - When you move a corner grip in centered multiline text, the center grip stays in place, and both sets of side grips move in the direction of the stretch


Work or Art? Erm... Work OF Art

Check out this local upcoming art show at the Atrium Gallery...

The artist is Leila Daw:
The show will feature both large scale and small mixed media works presenting her themes of mapping and geographical imagery. Several pieces are multi-part unstretched panels, and also included are modular small works in grid arrangements.

Daw is well known for her layered, complex work on paper and canvas often depicting illusions to topographical features, incorporating both real and imagined elements.


New Facilities Management and FMDesktop Resource

I am happy to announce that the augi forums have added the following new areas just for us Facilities Management people...

Facilities Management General - general discussion topics pertaining to practices and FM issues.

and the following forums pertaining to FMDesktop software:

Facility Manager
Facility Link
Facility Request
Facility Web
FMDesktop Wishlist

Big thanks to Forum Manager, Mike Perry and the web staff for bringing this about.

There are a handful of threads in these forums, so, please, check them out and add to the content, share your thoughts with other FM'ers out there.
(pss, one of the threads contains a list of free fm course handouts available for download!)

Don't forget your other FM peer to peer resources on the web:

Autodesk Facilities Management General Forum
Autodesk FM Desktop Forum

FM Desktop User Group International forum

FM Forum.org

CADville's FM forum


Federal Facilities Council Forum: A Cultural Revolution

Advisors to the nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine, that's the FFC. Their goal: to identify and advance technologies, processes, and management practices that improve the performance of federal facilities over their entire life-cycle, from planning to disposal.

These guys have got the gist... noticed the trends... saw the bandwagon coming over the horizon...
Building models are becoming more practical and useful. The coucil speculates that intelligent models will benefit information gathering, planning and maintenance, saving money across many different stages of facilities planning, construction and use.

They'll be staging a forum on October 31st: to showcase projects and initiatives that implement interoperable data solutions, improve decision making on capital and operations and maintenance programs, and enhance design and construction programs; to review the resultant contractual and programmatic changes to business processes; and to announce and review the initial U.S. National Building Information Model (BIM) standard.

So. Obviously I'd like to hear from anyone who might be attending this forum. Or, as always discuss anything related to BIM and FM whether you work in government facilities or any other kind.


Autocad Express Cool: XLIST

How can I see an object's properties within an xref?

So, you've got an external reference and want to see just what it's made of.

Say there's sort of an obscure block and you want to know it's name, or you want to continue with the same standard of layer placement... just type XLIST and select the entity in question and you'll be presented with the Object Type, Block Name, Layer, Color and Linetype.

US Labor Day Meme

Alright, Robin Capper tagged me with this Labor Day Meme. I'm always up for a little fun and games so here goes...

1. Are you craving anything and if so, what?

I am craving some Hot Wings. I haven't had any in a while and it just sounds good.

2. What is the weather outside, and do you wish it would change?

It's getting on into evening. Probably around 75 degrees, so not too bad. I wouldn't change it at all.

3. What two web sites do you think you will go to next after you are finished here?

AUGI ! of course
blogher.org to keep up with other blogging ladies
+ several hundred, okay, fine, dozen RSS feeds

4. Do you wish you were somewhere else and if so, where?

I’d like to be on a plane to Ireland. Hey, I like chilly rainy greenery. :-D

5. Do you wish you were someone else, and if so, who?

I'd be me... only richer and better looking. ;)

I tag... well, anyone else who wants to play.


GIS Day November 15th

In preparation for GISday a video series has been created, showing the role GIS plays in fighting wildfires, planning for a possible pandemic... and the slightly more mundane retail, law enforcement, health care and fire fighting.

~snip~ GIS Day is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and ESRI. ~snip~

Women in Design

I was recently inspired by a post on Blogher.org about women mentors, then again by the report of a 16 year old girl with an interest in science who sought out a female mentor in a lab, and started researching better ways to treat cancer.

These two articles reminded me of all of the fantastic women in design that I have had the pleasure of meeting. The actual jobs vary... from Structural Engineer to Architect to Teacher to Project Manager to CAFM Consultant and Interior Designer. There are SO many amazing women in design and I would like to meet them and introduce them to you!

I would like to ask some questions of Women In Design, and post the results here on my blog. This is done with the hope of not only recognizing accomplishments, but, also providing an inspiration and a goal to young women still deciding on a career path.

These articles aren't going to be about females who have single-handedly changed the world, they will be about women who've got a passion for design technology, have pursued an education and are doing their part to build the world around us.

This is an introduction to my upcoming series of interviews, but, it is also a casting call. If you are, or if you know, an inspiring woman working in any design field, drop me an email and I'll send a list of questions.

Thank you!


Ruth Rogers - Architect

Beth Powell - Applications Specialist (with a varied design background)