2007-12-31

Cool Tool: Free Properties Tooltip

I'll admit it's been awhile since I'd thought about this product, but, a question on the autocad discussion groups reminded me of it today when I recommended it to a user.

They were looking for a way to display the name of a block when they hover over it.

I had to think for a second to remember the name, but, it finally came to me, Bubble for AutoCAD!
I used this plug-in a lot when doing drawing cleanup from outside companies. Sometimes I couldn't quite tell what their blocks represented, or things weren't bylayer... having this pop up and tell me the layer usually gave me the clue I needed.

Enjoy!

2007-12-26

Sanity Savers - Selection Tip for AutoCAD Architecture 2008

I'd spoken with a few people in the past couple of months about a problem we'd all been experiencing with making selections in ACA08.

Whenever I would select my objects then choose a command (either from a button or from the right-click menu), my selection set would be cleared.

But, when I typed the command or chose it from the 'recent commands' flyout in the right-click menu, it would act as expected.

So, in those cases, I would either try to remember to choose my command first, or input 'P' (for previous) if the selection set had been cleared.


Now, all of us had already tried the PICKFIRST, PICKADD and DBLCLKEDIT system variables, but, we had no joy.


I was cruising around the Autocad discussion groups last week when I came across another user who had someone experiencing the same thing.


And a forum user, Joe Burke posted the solution!


Reply From: Joe Burke

Date: Dec/22/07

Re: problem with selecting objects

At the command line check the value of the undocumented system variable QAFLAGS.

That's the problem, if it set to anything other than zero.

Joe Burke


Sure enough, when we all checked, we discovered that this variable had been set at '1'.

Well, since QAFLAGS is an undocumented SysVar, I did a bit of googling to see which nerds have revealed the finer details!


In this case, the ones who came through were Jimmy Bergmark, Owen Wengerd and Lee Ambrosius:


http://www.jtbworld.com/autocadtips.htm

Jimmy - heading: Undocumented

QAFLAGS acceps a value between 0 and 32767
bit 0 (1) : ^C in menu macro cancels grips (acts like keyboard ).
bit 1 (2) : no pause during text screen listings.
bit 2 (4) : no "alert" dialogs (text display instead).
bit 7 (128) : accepts "screen picks" (point lists) via (command) function.

Normally QAFLAGS should be set to 0. Because it might be set to other values it is a good idea to put (setvar "QAFLAGS" 0) in acaddoc.lsp or any other of your lisp files that you use for startup.

Also Owen:

http://www.manusoft.com/Resources/AcadExposed/Main.stm

and Lee:

http://www.hyperpics.com/system_variables/


For the customization guys, here was a tip posted in the AUGI AutoCAD Tips and Tricks forum:

http://forums.augi.com/showthread.php?t=24081

pemin (patrick emin)

2005-08-12

Set the QAFLAGS variable to 2 to prevent the pauses in the text window. This can be used to list all layers or blocks in order to copy paste the text in a text editor without generating pages breaks.


So, a big 'THANKS!' to Joe Burke for posting the answer in the AutoCAD discussion forum and to the other guys for documenting it, I hope that more people will benefit from hearing about this little-known variable.

2007-12-12

AutoCAD LT Resources

AutoCAD LT
This little program has a few followers out there, and I was compiling a list the other day in response to a another user's question on a forum. Like me, he was servicing a program he doesn't daily use. I have a couple of LT seats here in the Hospital, but, admit to being mostly ignorant of what the different 'limitations' of LT are... although, I've seen some rundowns...
AutoCAD vs AutoCAD LT (ie, what's the difference?)
Key Differences Between AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT (2006)
Lynn Allen's 30-minute webcast explaining the differences

So, I thought I would organize those links and share them with you here:

AutoCAD LT Community - www.AUGI.com/AutoCAD (okay, fine, it's for full and LT, but, we don't forget the LT users!)

AUGI Acad LT forums
Autodesk Discussion Groups LT forum

LT Blogs:
http://katescadtips.blogspot.com/
UPDATE: Kate M now works for Autodesk, so all of her CAD Tips for LT have been ported over to her new Autodesk Blog "LT Unlimited"! So, be sure to check there for new (and old) tips from her!
http://ltsideofthings.blogspot.com/
http://ltisacad.blogspot.com/
http://www.ellenfinkelstein.com/autoCAD.html

Books:
AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT Bible (a new edition for each release)
AutoCAD and LT 2008: No Experience Required
AutoCAD LT 2008 Tutorial
Mastering AutoCAD and LT 2008
AutoCAD 2008 for Dummies
AutoCAD LT 2005 for Dummies
AutoCAD and LT All-in-one Desk Reference for Dummies

Online Training (although most full AutoCAD training would be applicable):
OpenCAD

AutoCAD LT Reading Room

Autodesk Knowledgebase for LT
Autodesk Product Page for AutoCAD LT


Enjoy the LT side of CAD, and let me know if there are any resources which I've forgotten to mention!

2007-12-09

The Wandering Writer Meets her Bosses

Autodesk University 2007 was a special year for me because of the chance it gave me to connect with my 'bosses'. Okay, they don't boss me, but, I do work for and with them. I'd like to take the chance to recognize those who have helped me grow as a writer and allowed me an outlet for some of my articles.

This first shot is from the AUGI Writer's Breakfast. This was a nice reception where we got a rundown on the circulation and milestones of AUGIWorld Magazine, AUGI HotNews and BLAUGI.

While it was nice getting a little bit of recognition from those we work with, it was even nicer to have a chance to sit down and chat with the other writers. We're a pretty varied and scattered lot, and it was awesome to connect in person.


Next up, this is my first meeting with Marilyn Law, AUGIWorld Magazine's Managing Editor. I've been working with her for the past four years. I began working with her when I took on the role of Survey Manager. I've since dropped the monthly surveys, but, we continue to work together on the Annual CAD/Design Salary Survey.

This borders on a year-round thing for us. She helps me to work in many of the user suggestions I receive before, during, and after the annual run of the survey.
She is truly a pleasure to work with, I have seldom met a more patient and hard-working person.
I also met Dan Teeter who, along with Tim Varnau, helps bring to life the graphical side of the AUGIWorld Salary Survey spread.
This isn't my first meeting with Chris Lindner, HotNews Manager (and AUGI's new President), but, it is the first since I worked for him via AUGI HotNews. This spring I wrote a series of three articles for his TipNiques column (focused on the 2008 family of AutoCAD-based products).
(notice my ProBlogger t-shirt)
Last, but, certainly not least, I finally got to meet up with Ellen Finkelstein. I had the distinct honor of working for her in updating the 2008 release of her popular tome 'The AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT Bible' (which certainly lives up to it's name).
Writing a book is a huge undertaking, and how Ellen manages to keep things so organized and describe them so clearly, I will never know! She not only gave me guidance on the work that I did for her, but, also freely answered my questions when I spoke about some of the goals that I have for my writing career.
We had a leisurely meal at a nice Italian restaurant there in the Venetian Canal and got to know one another a little better, and I'd have to say that was one of the highlights of my week! (in addition, of course, to the great Facilities Management classes and the beta, ilk and take5 meetups)I also got some writing advice from my friend, Matt Dillon.

'Don't do it!"

Not exactly the most helpful piece of advice I've ever received, but, certainly practical and borne of experience. We met up with some friends for lunch, including Paul Aubin, with whom he wrote the ADT(ACA) Advanced Implementation Guide - 2nd Ed.
(from left to right : Paul Aubin, Matt Dillon, Richard Binning, Steve and Sandy Stafford... yes, there's someone in the back, but, I can't remember who)

Okay, so I've never worked for or with fellow blogger Robin Capper on a writing project. I did have to throw him in here, because I love reading his stuff and the fact that it took us four AU's to finally meet one another. It was certainly a pleasure, we shared more than a few laughs throughout the week. ~waving at RobinZ~
Two wonderful folks who read my blog took the time to come up and introduce themselves to me, which was really great. It's nice to know that people read and appreciate my words.
So, I'd like to say a special 'Hello' to Hugo Hernandez and to that-guy-at-the-subscription-party- who-called-me-the-next-Lynn-Allen-and-who-had-his-name-tag- turned-around-so-that-I-couldn't-read- it. It was great to have met you guys!

Evidently I barely missed meeting CADalyst writer and editor, Kenneth Wong. Sorry I missed you, Kenneth!

There's always AU2008 (December 2nd through 5th, 2008).

2007-12-06

Trends in the Building Market

I stumbled across this article over on the mindshift innovation blog about trends in architecture and building.
Changing collaboration, designs, intelligence, talent shortages, etc...

Just a little stuff to think on, I enjoyed this read.


Just for a little added content, here are some charts showing trends in new construction costs... this is from one of my favorite Facility Management resource sites, FMLink, so scroll up for some trends in the cost of operating facilities (residential and non-residential).

2007-12-05

Free Camtasia and Snagit

EDIT: This offer is now Expired! It ended on January 7th, 2008.

Recently saw
this post from Shaan Hurley and wanted to share...

http://www.labnol.org/software/download/download-camtasia-studio-free/1829/
http://www.labnol.org/software/download/free-download-snagit-with-serial-number/1841/

These are fairly old versions but great tools for free and the newer releases are even better. TechSmith used Camtasia and recorded a Screencast from New Zealander "kiwi" CAD Blogger Robin Capper who is attending Autodesk University this week as well.

Evidently you download a trial version of the software, then send off to get an auth code to keep it active. SWEET. I'll be downloading them myself soon. I've always wanted to try Camtasia.


Also, anyone care to chime in and tell me what your favorite pc audio recording software is (one that can output to mp3).
I've just installed Audacity. It looks pretty good, and with some tinkering I finally figured out how to record (using my Logitech USB headset, which I bought for Skyping and listening to movies so as not to bother DH), but, I haven't been able to play back successfully. My recorded files have visual spikes, but, I can't hear them.

Any obvious solutions to that, or any recommendations for other (free) software to do this?
Thanks!
Any reviews of better recording mics at a reasonable price would be awesome, too.

2007-12-02

Mistress of the Dorkness in 1982

Alright, Scott.

I shall rise up to meet your challenge.


I really enjoyed the trip back to 1982 that Scott Sheppard posted here, Alive in the Labs.
Nice hair, by the way, Scott. ;)
I am impressed by the solar panel though, I'll admit.


Shaan Hurley, Vegas's favorite beta geek, already ponied up and joined in the reminiscing.
So, he's answered the question 'What would Shaan look like with hair?'. There ya go.


So, the point of this post...

What was the Mistress of the Dorkness like back in 1982?

Well, I had just moved back to the United States and was living in Utah.

Ever the free spirit, I wasn't sporting the normal straight-or-ponytail hairstyle that most of you are familiar with.

Yep, I had a head full of wild curls and a pouty lip that I flashed at will.

I dare any to resist my obvious charm. ;)

Now, wild thing that I was at the time, I actually do not have any photographs of myself fully clothed.

Yep, I know you all thought that I was an ultra-conservative, but, it wasn't always so. Here is the Mistress as you have never seen her before (and never will again either)...