National Novel Writing Month

Alright, I want to do it... I'm not sure if I can, but, I've accepted the challenge:

To write a 50,000 word novella in 30 days. Starting November 1st.

Tomorrow there is a regional kickoff at a local Panera store. So, hey, at least it is an excuse to have a coffee and something yummy from their bakery. I have been reading some of the posts in their forums, especially from the St. Louis area, and there seem to be some really cool and interesting people in there.

It's great reading comments from people with such a love of words and language! Lots of different backgrounds... students, accountants, engineers, biochemists, teachers, lawyers, ministers, historians, a mortician (wow), national guard, graphic designers and librarians... AND THAT'S JUST FROM ST. LOUIS! Wow what a dynamic group!

So, writing a genre novel will be a little different from my typical tech articles, but, I really hope I will have time after the AUGI CAD/Design Salary Survey to participate!

Hmm, I wonder if I can work Building Information Modeling and Facilities Management (BIM/FM) into a story-line somehow? ~pondering~

Alright, there were some technical difficulties, so I don't believe this post was published yet, so I'll go ahead and update it before pushing it live.

I did attend the kickoff gathering at the SLBCo. Good coffee, cool people.

It was really inspirational to hear people bouncing ideas off of one another...
I must admit it was really ODD to just sort of tune into random conversations around the room. WOW. So, I hope I have time for some participation, it's gotten me really hyped to do some more writing again.

Cheers to all NaNo participants around the world! Good luck.



The last few plays had me on the edge of my seat... let me tell you, but, the Cardinals pulled it off for a win over the Tigers. WOOHOO!

This is a win, which noone thought would happen, after 24-year drought.

It is cool, sitting in my nice quiet house, I can hear FIREWORKS, Cheering, horns honking!
The sounds of general merry-making!

It's a good day to be a St. Louisan, for sure. ~satisfied nod~


Gateway AUG Drawing Winners

Well, any of the Gateway AUG members who showed up to this week's CAD Camp were winners!
It looks like roughly half of our membership were able to show up.
I'm working on a detailed report though, that I'll post soon with some photos. I LOVE the CAD Camp shirts, they are so cool! But, not nearly as cool as the instructors! Great stuff, but, that is a post for another day.

What I'm really here to tell you about...

The Gateway Autodesk User's Group of the St. Louis Metro Area has just given away

Tim Roberts
of KPFF Consulting Engineers

has won the Educational Experience of a Lifetime!

His firm is very excited for him, since they are now rolling out Revit Structure. So it is his duty to go out and pump all of the experts for information to take back and ensure that his company is a leader with this tool!!!

I think he can do it. ;)

We also gave out two consolation prizes.
NFR copies of AutoCAD Mechanical and Revit Building.

The winners are
Marianna Tripp
Mike Kindle

Congratulations to them for winning a great learning aid, hope they can get in lots of practice at home to perfect their skills.

Way to go guys!

They see that being involved in their Local Users Group can pay off with more than just the networking and tip-trading that the rest of us enjoy!


Engineering is cool... no, really!

Alright, another nod to FacilityBlog... they made a post about ASHRAE's music/commentary video called 'License to Chill'. The lyrics are suprisingly good, the engineers commenting throughout the video are young and relatively hip-looking overall (read, somewhat dorky guys and really pretty women).

ASHRAE has a few things going on to interest and support Students and that is just awesome. Here's the License to Chill page on their website.

Licensed to Chill features a hot soundtrack and interviews with young members highlighting the importance of our industry, the diverse and creative career opportunities, and the difference our industry is making related to sustainability. The video drives home the message that our industry truly engineers the world we live in, and that young people don’t want to miss out on the chance to be a part of that. The video will be made available to middle and high schools that seek information about careers in engineering from ASHRAE. It is also available for download in several formats

computer, iPod and PSP formats of the video available for download. Looks like they're covering as many bases as possible.

So, check out their site for Faces of Engineering, Absolute Zero, the Solar Decathalon, Jets and other students resources (mostly free).


Assigning an IP Address on HP800ps JetDirect Card

I had some problems when putting my HP800ps on the network. The IT guys had assigned a specific IP address to it that they wanted me to use. The card comes pre-programmed with an IP addy, but, you should be able to change it fairly easily.
I say *should* but, it was slightly convoluted. The IT guy couldn't quite access the ability, and the Help files were NOT a help.

So, I did what I do and posed the question to an Autodesk newsgroup.

Meanwhile, the IT guy physically takes the card from plotter and puts it into a desktop HP printer owned by our receptionist, and uses that to program in the number. He puts it back into the plotter and we're good to go.

After he'd worked around it, I went back and checked for some answers.

Matt Stachoni went and tried his out again and came back with these steps:

Basically, it goes like this:
Go to Top Menu > Setup Menu > I/O setup > Card Setup > Configuration

When you get to CFG NETWORK=NO* hit , then the UP arrow to YES and hit to accept this. This modifies the menu system to allow access to the card settings.

Now, hit the UP arrow (^) to start configuring the network parameters. Keep hitting the ^ arrow to access the next setting. Hit enter to change a setting, then use the UP arrow to set the setting, to accept, then UP to the next setting.

I use the following settings (* denotes the default setting on my plotter)
CFG TCP/IP=NO* : Hit UP arrow to YES, to accept, UP arrow to next...
IP BYTE 1 - 4 =
SM BYTE 1-4 is your Subnet Mask, which should be
GW BYTE 1-4 is your Internet Gateway address
LG BYTE 1-4 is something I don't know, I used

Everything else was by default (I didn't configure DNS).
Hope it helped.

So, thanks to Matt for taking the time to document that for me, I'm putting it here to share with others (with Matt's permission), as I think it is a valuable little piece of information that could save others some frustrations.

Happy plotting.


Autodesk FMDesktop Suite 7.0 Released Oct. 18th

Did you hear the news?

Autodesk will be making their first full release of the FMDesktop Suite since they acquired Applied Spatial Technologies at the beginning of this year.

Here are some snippets from the Press Release:

Developed by and for experienced facility managers, the Autodesk FMDesktop 7.0 suite of products, including Facility Manager, Facility Link, Facility Web and Facility Request, helps deliver the power of digital facility management through intuitive and easy-to-use features.

The scalable computer-aided facility management (CAFM) suite of products was built on Autodesk's DWF platform, and, by incorporating the latest DWF viewing technologies, provides facilities managers with a simple, accurate method to create, manage and share building operating data throughout the enterprise.

This is the first full version of FMDesktop launched by
Autodesk, who acquired the application in January 2006 as part of the acquisition of Applied Spatial Technologies.FMDesktop uses the DWF technology to link FMDesktop with Autodesk Revit Building software, Autodesk's platform built specifically for building information modeling (BIM), which extends the value of
the BIM created in Revit Building from design to building operation and maintenance.

This innovative approach allows space planners and facility managers to utilize CAD information without having to be trained on CAD software, and readily access graphical images that aid in day-to-day facilities management. Facility Managers can select and view the status of office spaces or equipment using readable drawings created in AutoCAD software or Revit Building.

Autodesk FMDesktop is compatible with many industry-
standard applications including AutoCAD, DWF, Microsoft Excel, Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Revit Building.

Jay Bhatt, vice president, Autodesk Building Solutions.
"We will continue to deliver new discipline-specific products that enable building professionals to leverage design data throughout the building lifecycle, from design through operation."

Distribution and Availability:The product will be made
widely available in the United States on October 18, 2006 through currently authorized channel partners, and is available with Autodesk Subscription.

So, what does anyone else think about DWF being the common file format here? I sort of cringed when I first read it, with my KEEP MY DWG INTACT mentality/kneejerk reaction with other software packages that do any sort of translation. And of course, no offense at all intended toward DWF. I'm quite excited about their project freewheel, and I'm sure they're glad to be a part of FMDesktop's solution.

(check out the following post by that DWF guy, Scott Sheppard "FMDesktop Components")

But! With wanting the ability to use Revit-based or AutoCAD or ADT-based input, we all know how DWG's get when they're passed from program to program, imported, exported, saved as, saved down, etc. So the DWF method is likely the best solution all around.

I wouldn't mind hearing opinions about anything FMDesktop from some people who use / or would like to use this product suite.


Cubicle Wars Funny

Alright, this was the Friday Funny on FacilityBlog... I'm gasping for air over here...
of course, I'm a nerd... you, faithful reader, might feel differently. ;) I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Facility Friday Funny


How Much Money Do CAD People Make?

Well, well... it's that time again! The AUGI Annual Salary Survey runs through the end of October. Please, take 5 minutes of your time to volunteer your answers for this anonymous survey. Please, take a look at last year's survey results... the FAQ document provides answers to those frequently asked questions, as well as a list of the questions asked during the survey. Due to augi member feedback, we've added Landscape Architecture as a Discipline. Also note that the site is finally compatible with browsers other than IE. I filled out my information using Firefox and it worked just fine.

I hope you enjoyed the information provided last year on top of the AUGIworld spread! If you didn't read that note in the magazine about looking on the website for additional information, you really missed out!

Remember that the more people who participate, the more accurate the numbers will be.

Salary.com posts salarys for narrow job titles based on what?
Indeed.com posts salaries for many job titles based on current want ads for CAD employees?

But, does any other place give you results based on what all types of people are currently making?
(erm, no offense to the CAD Manager's survey by Robert Green, I believe his does this, but, only with CAD Manglers)

If you have comments/thoughts/suggestions please feel free to drop me a line. I will be adding a few more bits of information (pay based on education!) due to a couple of really good suggestions from AUGI members.

Thank you so much for taking part and contributing to this valuable resource!

HURRY! The Survey ends October 31st!!!


Quick Report - Gateway AUG Meeting

We had a good meeting tonight, just under 30 attendees. Exchanged some great tips and exposed those present to some products/procedures in some projects. Mike Perry presented on AutoCAD Tips and Tricks using AutoCAD 2005, and Brian Myers walked through a project sharing information between AutoCAD, Revit, ADT, ABS and Design Review.

Expect a post later this week going into detail on the Tips and Tricks Mike went over during his part of the presentation, he'll be helping me flesh out my notes so that you can easily follow along.

We did give away two seats of Autodesk Software to a couple of lucky winners... and to the less lucky, we handed out half a dozen red swingline staplers.
(if you don't think that's hilarious, you've got a movie to rent)

GAUG member Mike M will soon be using Autodesk Raster Design and Nikki S will be using Architectural
Desktop 2007.


Gateway AUG Meeting in St. Louis on Oct 3rd

Alright, y'all! Meeting of the Gateway AUG Tuesday night at Vatterott College in Sunset Hills. (12970 Maurer Industrial Drive St. Louis, MO 63127) We will be providing pizza and soda/water for attendees. We'll begin arriving at 6, but, don't worry if traffic will keep you, come along anyway, you'll still be welcome!

The meeting focus will simply be AutoCAD Tips and Tricks!

We'll have two presenters, one from Seiler Instruments, the other... ~drumroll please~ none other than AUGI Board Member, Mike Perry! Walking cadcylopaedia and researcher extraordinaire! ;) If an answer exists, this boy WILL find it.

Where would you rather be? At home baking in the unseasonable heat? or with your fellow CAD techs, learning some ultra-cool info?

Come out for the pizza and great company, stay for some hints and nifty tricks. We'll have some handouts for you to take back to the office with a few juicy tidbits geared to many versions of AutoCAD (not just the newest one).