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.



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:


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:


and Lee:


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


pemin (patrick emin)


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.


AutoCAD LT Resources

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:
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!

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):

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!


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).


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).


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...


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?
Any reviews of better recording mics at a reasonable price would be awesome, too.


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.


Mid-week report

Today's post won't be really in-depth and I'll have to post pictures later, but, I did want to check in. Monday was a great day with lots of fabulous people. I popped by the AUGI Local Chapters Leadership Conference just to say hello to some friends and then it was back to my room for a little while to work on the Salary Survey a bit more. Then Mike and I decided to take 5 and meet up with the MyFeedBack (beta) guys and some others down at La Scena. We ended up heading out to dinner fairly late and walked far too much. Yesterday was excellent. I had some AWESOME classes. The opening session blew me away with these 360 screens and surround sound. WOW is all I can say about that. I went to a subscription breakfast right before that that showed some pretty cool developments with the products, such as Autodesk's recent acquisition of Robobot and how it works with Revit Structure (something I'd spoken with Peter Jamtgaard about the previous evening during dinner. Sitting next to him and Shaan Hurley was fascinating, great discussions). My next session was 'Using FMDesktop for Space Management on a Shoestring Budget'. Great stuff, and the presenter gave some good resources and perspective that will come in handy for me later on, I'm sure. Next I had the opportunity to be in the class 'A Survey of BIM Programs at US Federal Government Agencies'. That was very interesting stuff, and also provided some resources that I'll be delving into more later. My last class was 'Building an ROI (return on investment report) Case for Autodesk FMDesktop. Again, something I'll be saving for future reference. This was a smaller class and there was a lot of good discussion. I got to meet some guys I'd spoken to on the phone, or whose work I had read. Afterwards was the AUGI Annual Meeting with the official turnover of the wishlists to Autodesk, which is always exciting. The new AUGI President was announced as Chris Lindner. He gave a great talk. The sponsors were thanked, the new Top DAUG t-shirt design was shown and the winner introduced. We were told about the new Country Chapters around the world. As always, I took plenty of photos, so I'll post them somewhere soon. THEN, of course... the Beer Bust. I hung around the AUGI booth and met all sorts of friends and colleagues. FINALLY got to meet my friend and fellow blogger, Robin Capper, from New Zealand. We've always managed to miss one another before. The exhibit hall was truly impressive, the AUGI booth had a new and fabulous international corner, and the Top DAUG and Stump the Chump areas were hopping all night. This morning started out with a breakfast reception for AUGI writers (AUGIWorld magazine and AUGI HotNews eNewsletter). So, turns out HotNews has a subscribership of over 95,000 people so far!!! That should probably increase as the articles are starting to be translated into other languages for the new country chapters. It was really good to get together with and meet face to face the other people who do such a great job either as the production staff or the volunteer writers. My next class is the Facility Manager Handbook. I have taken this course before, but, appreciate a recap and learning about any new resources available. I'd love to do a list of all of the great people I've run into like I did for Sunday, but, there are just too many... I think Matt Stachoni wants to see his name here though, so I'll say 'hi' to him just so he feels appreciated.


Getting off to a good start at AU

*yawn*stretch* Well, yesterday was, of course, a pretty busy travel day. We left early in the morning and had a fairly uneventful flight, no major holdups in the security lines. We did have some fun flight attendants slipping some entertaining commentary into the announcements which was pretty enjoyable. After a brief stop in Phoenix, we were heading into Vegas and passed over the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. I don't normally fly over those in my path from St. Louis (for some reason I've been routed a most times to Minneapolis for my layover, but, whatever). Unfortunately, the Dam was only visible from the other side of the plane, but, I got some lovely views and good shots of lake mead.We landed just ahead of Bill Adams (AUGI Board Secretary) from Australia. He was accompanied by Christine and Earl. Earl is an AUGI CWC'er, but, Bill met Christine on the flight when she saw his AU pin on his bag. They both happen to be from the same town but didn't know one another (she works for Imaginit on manufacturing products, whereas Bill is in Architecture). We headed to the hotel, checked in and got comfortable. The suites here are really nice, as I mentioned last year. We've moved up from the older tv's to have LCD's flatpanels in every room... yes, that's one in the bedroom, one in the sitting area and one in the bathroom with a clear view from the bathtub. I love the view from my room. Some green... AND some hvac equipment. Yeah, baby. Mike and I grabbed a snack with Bill and Christine and I also ran into another friend, Owen Wengerd. We caught up a bit and he ate with us until it was time for him to meet up with some business contacts. Now was time to schlep on down to AU registration. I got my bag, some of my class handouts and some nifty little pins that describe me. Very cool. We ran into many AUGI friends down there: The Raster Design Queen, Jane Smith. CADKitty (Jen Leamy) and her better half, Roy. My AutoCAD Community cohorts Greg Silva and Craig Black. ADT/ACA guru David Koch, AUGI member Paul Jordan and Larry Swinea President of the DFWAUG (Dallas/Fort Worth Autodesk User Group) and his lovely wife. I also finally got to meet David Kingsley in person. He was the Forum Manager who made me a moderator on AUGI. You can find his column 'On the Back Page' of AUGIWorld magazine. It was dinner time by now and we met up with Donnia Tabor-Hanson, Mark Kiker and Chris Lindner. I think about 13 of us ended up heading over to the Treasure Island buffet. Note for those who love to eat there... the cost almost doubles on a holiday weekend. And no, that didn't mesh with the price given during an email inquiry. Bogus. We had a great time, ate some good food and headed back to the Venetian in enough time to watch the volcano erupt at the Mirage. After some more great chatting with our brilliant and amusing friends, we all headed to bed. The AUGI Board is meeting today, so I breakfasted by myself in the main food court and enjoyed people-watching of all of the nerds. I've never seen so many women with laptops working over their coffee in my life. ~draining my own cup of joe~ My personal philosophy is to always find something in common with everyone I meet to better connect and empathize with them. But, there's a special kind of feeling here at AU, when a slightly oddball like myself can find so many people with so many many things in common with me. From love of computers, technology and engineering, to favorite types of music and movies, favorite vacation spots, friends and colleagues in common. Not that we all look totally alike or laugh at all of the same jokes, but, we all do share quite a few commonalities, not least of which is our love for learning and trying new things. Which is pretty much why we're all here at Autodesk University again.


Learn in any language

Okay, you regular readers might be wondering why I am posting in languages other than English...

As a moderator on the AUGI forums and a frequent reader of the Autodesk Discussion Groups, I see questions posted in other languages or questions posted in English where someone would prefer to use their own native language.

Once the International forums were created and expanded, I realized that many people didn't know about them, so I asked my resourceful husband to help me find translators for the paragraph that I just posted in four different languages...
Did you know that AUGI has discussion forums for seven (yes 7) other languages/geographic regions in addition to English (do we count American and British English separately?)?


Wow... that 'I' in AUGI really does stand for something, doesn't it?

Check out the AUGI Country Chapter's page over on BLAUGI for a current list of Country Chapter websites.

Now, I'm going to repeat the paragraph I just posted, but, the Italian and Japanese will have to come from Babelfish... and I've pasted in the Nordic forum descriptions from the AUGI forums.

State cercando le risposte alle vostre domande circa AutoCAD, adattamento, Revit o altri prodotti di Autodesk in vostra propria lingua? Il gruppo di utenti di Autodesk internazionale ha una zona nelle loro tribune di discussione per fare e rispondere alle vostre domande in vostra lingua madre. Segua il collegamento per osservare intorno e leggere le domande e le risposte inviate da altri utenti, o uniscasi come membro per nessun pagamento e faccia le vostre proprie domande.

あなた自身の言語のAutoCAD 、カスタム化、Revit またはAutodesk 他のプロダクトについてのあなたの質問に答えを捜しているか。国際Autodesk のユーザ・グループにあなたの自国語のあなたの質問をすることおよび答える為のディスカッション・フォーラムで区域がある。見、他のユーザーが掲示する質 疑応答を読むためにリンクに続きか、または支払のためのメンバーとして結合し、そしてあなた自身の質問をしなさい。

Nordic Nordiskbaseret diskussions / support forums.
"Nordic - Sofahjørnet" er stedet hvor du kan chit-chat med andre AUGI venner, slappe og have det sjovt, og glemme alt om CAD.
Stil dine AutoCAD Architecture (tidligere ADT) spørgsmål her !
Stil dine AutoCAD MEP (tidligere ABS) spørgsmål her !
Stil dine Revit Architecture spørgsmål her !
Stil dine Inventor spørgsmål her !

Busca usted las respuestas a sus preguntas acerca de AutoCAD

Busca usted las respuestas a sus preguntas acerca de AutoCAD, la Personalización, Revit u otros productos de Autodesk en su propio idioma?

El Grupo Internacional del Usuario de Autodesk tiene un área en sus foros para preguntar y contestar sus preguntas en su lengua materna. Siga la conexión para hechar una mirada y leer las preguntas y las respuestas anunciadas por otros usuarios, o Unase como un miembro por gratis y presente sus propias preguntas.

Español Bienvenidos a AUGI en Español grupos de discusión y foros de apoyo.

Vous recherchez, dans votre propre langue, des réponses à vos questions sur AutoCAD

Vous recherchez, dans votre propre langue, des réponses à vos questions sur AutoCAD, la personnalisation, Revit ou d'autres produits Autodesk?

AUGI (Le Groupe International des Utilisateurs Autodesk) vous propose des forums de discussion où questionner et répondre dans votre langue maternelle.
Suivez le lien, puis parcourez et lisez les questions et les réponses posées par les autres utilisateurs ou rejoignez nous gratuitement comme membre pour poser vos propres questions.

AUGI Français Forums

O AUGI - Internacional de Usuários/Utilizadores Autodesk tem uma área nos seus fóruns de discussão para fazer perguntas, dar respostas em Português

Está procurando respostas para as suas dúvidas sobre AutoCAD, Customização/Personalização, Revit ou outros Produtos da Autodesk na sua própria Língua?

O AUGI - Grupo Internacional de Usuários/Utilizadores Autodesk tem uma área nos seus fóruns de discussão para fazer perguntas, dar respostas em Português. Venha daí por favor:

AUGI Português Forums

Suchen Sie Antworten in Ihrer Sprache zu Fragen zum AutoCAD?

Suchen Sie Antworten in Ihrer Sprache zu Fragen zum AutoCAD, zur Benutzeranpassung, zum Revit oder anderen Autodesk Produkten?
Die Autodesk User Group International hat einen Bereich im Diskussions-Forum für Fragen und Antworten in Ihrer eigenen Sprache.
Folgen Sie dem Link um sich umzuschauen und lesen Sie die Fragen und Antworten der anderen Forumsteilnehmer oder werden Sie kostenlos Mitglied der Usergroup und stellen Sie Ihre eigenen Fragen.

AUGI Deutsch Forums


We're all thinking about university

Yeah, it's Autodesk University time again. Thinking about all of the new classes, the after events, the AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) events, booth and prizes. Even the beta guys are having their own booth this year. I look forward to stopping by to bug all of them and play with their dough.

So, in honor of trying to arrange childcare while both dear hubby and I are at nerd-central for six days and other general distractedness, I'll just offer up some tips and reminisces for AU.

I posted a video slideshow (no music or sound) from last year's Grand Canyon trip, Venetian hotel highlights, conference registration, some classes, one shot of the opening session, the AUGI Annual Meeting and the turnover of the product Wishlists, the AUGI Volunteer appreciation before seeing the Blue Man Group, Lynn Allen and Don McMillan, the showroom floor from left to right... ALL sorts of good stuff.
If you weren't there last year and want to know what to expect... look no further... and yes, that is, in fact, a tiered suite you'll be staying in at the Venetian. (you can also find a few of my photos scattered around in Shaan Hurley's AU2006 collection on Flickr)

I also posted about arrival and check-in to the hotel and registration for AU, if you'd like to read it here.

And just a quick summary of the survival tips I posted last year...
Wear comfortable shoes
Carry as little as possible with you to class
Take copious notes!
Bring business cards (maybe make personal networking cards)
Stay hydrated! (Grab water and drinks whenever you see them)
Wear comfortable shoes
Go to the AUGI Annual Meeting and Bash afterwards even if you're not a member, it's a good time and you'll find out a lot about what's going on in the world of drafting and design
Sign up for usability studies
Go to the industry parties
Last, and most important, wear comfortable shoes!

So, I look forward to seeing everyone that I've met before and meeting new cool people. Taking more pictures of the cool Vegas architecture and decor.


Poll: Mike Perry's Blog

Alright, friends and readers... some feedback, Por favor.

You may know that my husband is a regular contributor to news items, etc over on BLAUGI (the official blog of the Autodesk User's Group International).

He reads a lot, always keeping up on current events, technology, developments, etc. Many of the items he passes along to me aren't really CAD/Design news, so he doesn't post them on BLAUGI often. BUT, he does talk about starting his own blog to post about a wider variety of things.


Poll question #1... Should Mike Perry start a blog?

Poll question #2... What should he call it?

We all get a little creative from time to time, but, when it comes to naming things, Mike (you can recognize him on any and every forum as Mike.Perry) can be a little less than imaginative.
I, of course, suggested he call his weblog 'Master of the Dorkness', but, he was, shall we say, less than enthused about that idea. But, wouldn't it be cooler than 'Mike Perry's blog'?

Please, cast your vote and make your suggestions in the comment area to give him some more creative ideas.


Autodesk Launches FMDesktop 7.1 product suite

Looks like Autodesk has made a few more improvements to Facility Manager, Facility Web and Facility Link (and, I assume also, Facility Request), and released them as FMDesktop 7.1.

Announcing Launch of Autodesk FMDesktop 7.1 Products

Autodesk® Facility Manager software brings drawings and data together in a way that gives users more information than stand-alone floor plans, databases, or spreadsheets. The open architecture in Autodesk Facility Manager software makes it flexible enough to meet the needs of the many disciplines involved in facility management.

The new release of Autodesk® FMDesktop™ software launches today, October 19, with enhancements to Autodesk Facility Manager software, including:

    • Performance improvements that allow users to run reports faster
    • New drawing viewer improvements
    • More powerful .DWF import capabilities

Facility Manager 7.1 software users can now:

    • Import asset information from CAD or BIM using the .DWF import wizard
    • Receive instant audit reports of new, existing, or orphaned assets
    • Share facility drawings and data with others who have the free Autodesk® Design Review viewer

The Autodesk FMDesktop 7.1 products are compatible with the 2008 versions of AutoCAD® and Revit® products.

I reported in a post this spring that the 2008 product compatibility was going to be released as a Hotfix eventually, but, it was apparently rolled into the new release instead.

Of course, you'll still be able to use it with older versions of AutoCAD, verticals, etc.

One handy tip from the ReadMe file, Facility Link will work with AutoCAD Architecture (ADT or ACA) and AutoCAD MEP (ABS or AMEP), BUT, it will not work if you try to use it with the profile option "run as AutoCAD".


CAD/Design Salary Information

The Autodesk User's Group International is running it's Annual CAD/Design Salary Survey right now.

The information gathered will be printed in the January/February issue of the free bi-monthly AUGIWorld Magazine.

*The point of this post is to solicit more respondents for our survey.* We need user input to provide the results of this survey!

To find out more, please read the FAQ in the www.AUGI.com/surveys area, here are some highlights:

Is the survey anonymous?
--YES, it is totally anonymous... But, yes, you are required to login with your free augi member account in order to participate in and read the results of the survey. The login is mandatory so that we can be sure no one is skewing the results of the survey by taking it multiple times.
--But, NO, there is no way for ME, the Salary Survey Manager, to link any single line of data in my spreadsheet to an individual user

What is the purpose of the survey?
--To reveal average salaries for many job titles
--To indicate which fields pay the most
--To indicate which disciplines have the greatest levels of job security and job satisfaction
--To show how certain things affect pay (world region, level of experience, education received, gender, etc)
--To gauge the health of the building/design market

Is it a query-able survey like Salary.com?
--No. You have to pick all categories applicable to you and average them out yourself. Sorry.

PLEASE, take 5 minutes out of your day and participate. We've got 6 more days left (survey ends October 31st), and we're still about 1,800 responses fewer than last year. I know this issue of AUGIWorld is popular and constantly downloaded, so please do your part and provide a little information for others to share.

Fellow bloggers and networkers of any ilk, I'd really appreciate it if you could remind your buds about this chance to contribute!

To see past survey results (magazine spread, as well as additional results posted to the site):
2006 - http://www.augi.com/surveys/default.asp?page=1440
2005 - http://www.augi.com/surveys/default.asp?page=1053
(must be logged in to access the archives - don't forget to read the FAQ, it also contains a list of the questions asked)

Thank you to those who have and will participate, we're all volunteers trying to provide resources to one another, and you guys are the ones who really make this possible.


Melanie Perry
Volunteer AUGI Salary Survey Manager
Volunteer AUGI AutoCAD Community Chair
Volunteer GatewayAUG President
Freelance Writer/Editor/Proofreader


Woohoo! A new Revit MEP blog!

Alright, Kyle B (Revit MEP Product Manager) has finally joined this generation and started a weblog for RMEP! (okay, Kyle and I are of the same generation, but, whatever, you get my point)

Those of you who hang out on the discussion groups would know Kyle not only for his frequent postings, but, also for his how-to videos!

I did a quick search (from the webside) of the Autodesk Discussion groups and found at least a dozen of his videos posts. So, he promises to continue that trend and utilize video on his new blog.

He's also got links to the other RMEP bloggers out there, as well as to the Revit Systems resources page on the Autodesk site.

And for those who work with me... no, I don't currently use BIM in my Facility. Being a Facility Manager for me is all about Building Systems (MEPFP), so I have been keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry. And, a good thing I have, because my corporate overlords recently announced that they will be phasing in BIM over the next couple of years, and I will be prepared.

You know, being a Mom and a working woman and a homeowner and a wife and a LUG president and an AUGI Volunteer does NOT leave me with a whole heck of a lot of free time.
I was pumping other users for information at the recent St. Louis AUGI CAD Camp about their experiences with local Revit training, and I'd picked out an instructor based on their recommendations... but, let's face it... I'm too swamped to take off of work, and too busy to arrange other times. SO! instead, I'm trying out the Revit Training on CAD Learning. They don't currently offer any RMEP classes, but, I need to just get familiar with the Revit interface plain and simple before I begin to delve into Systems. I've been an AutoCAD user since R10, so I've got a lot to let go of.

But, I was reading in Robert Green's recent article in CADalyst (Managing 2D and 3D in the same office page 2 online) where he states that he believes a good indicator of how well someone adapts to the 3D switch is how handy they are with computers overall. So, being the office go-to-girl, I did feel a little bit better about really tackling this training.

I started the Revit Building 9 series on CADLearning, which consists of 11 hours of training split between 104 lessons. I went through the first dozen videos over the weekend. They really ease you into the interface and options (it helps when they make applicable comparisons with other software products like autocad and word, it's comforting). I'm really liking it so far. I've been able to follow all of these early lessons, but, when I did get a tiny bit lost, I just rewound the video a little bit and watched it again.

I'll keep you guys up to date on my progress as I go along (well, any of you Reviteers will see me posting questions on the discussion groups, I'm sure, but, I know you guys are nice to noobs).


St. Louis Women's Career Expo Oct. 30th

Alright, ladies of the St. Louis metro area...
Polish up your resumes, print off plenty of copies, get out your business best, and head down to the Sheraton Westport Chalet to find your next job.

You don't have to pay for admission and you can register on-site. Check out the Women for Hire website for a partial list of employers who will be there to see you. Many of these companies have profiles pages with additional information like which positions they're hotly recruiting for.

IS, Security, Engineering, Customer Service, Administrative, Light Industrial, Development, Accounting, HR, Management, etc. Many positions are also willing to train if you'd like to try something new and you fit their personality and skills requirements.

How the Data Center Views FM

This is SO far off the mark of reality...

It wasn't so long ago that the facilities management (FM) team stalked the corridors of office buildings with greasy blue coats and large bunches of keys. That image is now as out of date as carbon paper and typing pools: Today's facilities manager is more likely to be found in a white short-sleeved shirt behind a 21-inch flat-screen monitor looking at CAD drawings and updating an asset database in a high-tech basement lair.

Well, you know, because... I don't wear white, short-sleeved shirts, first of all (overall, I think we FM'ers are a handsome and stylish bunch).

Secondly, and most important... I do NOT have a 21" flatscreen... I have a 20" AND a 19" (Facility Managers scavenge, ok we don't have big budgets like the data center does).

Seriously, the above quote is the opening paragraph of an article for those IT guys that manage servers, etc and tells what an asset their Facility Manager can be to them.

Although, it does make the assumption that a facility of any reasonable size has a working CAFM system in place.

A facility manager can help with a number of environmental factors, purely because he has a complete overview of a building and its current and planned future uses — something IT staff probably lack. "Obviously you don't want the IT department creating a data center when there are kitchens on the floor above because of the danger of leaks," Janus points out.

But the real issues are power and air conditioning. Air conditioning is the number one consumer of power. Servers, as anyone who has worked in a data center can testify, generate a great deal of heat. The high density racks that are becoming increasingly common in today's data centers consume vast amounts of power, and a similar amount of power is needed to dissipate this heat. That makes the planning and layout of the data center, and the provision of power and air conditioning equipment, crucial.

This falls clearly under the FM purview.

How can FM help? In an organization of any size, it's likely that the facility managers will have a computer aided facility management (CAFM) package at their disposal. Among other things, a CAFM will usually store CAD floor plans of the building and a database of assets. For the data center, this will likely include plans showing the layouts of racks. In many cases, the database will hold the location of each server, the applications running on these servers, and information about the departments that "own" each application, where relevant.

Software tools can also carry out calculations to work out the amount of power that must be supplied in a given area of the data center, and the corresponding cooling capacity needed to remove the resulting heat. Information like this is clearly invaluable for the IT department because no matter what IT strategy is in place, the available power and cooling capacity presents constraints. The only way the IT department can be free to install and run the hardware it wants is if FM has already put in place the power and cooling it requires. And the only way for FM to know the IT requirements is for the two departments to communicate regularly.


It's okay, I'm not bitter... one day, that WILL be me.

I do support any effort to break down divisions and foster communication and sharing between different 'information kingdoms', which is a huge hurdle for any Facility Manager. We each have our specialized skills, knowledge and resources that help our buildings, systems and companies function.


Cast your vote! Autocad, Revit Architecture, Civil3d and Inventor

Alright, I'm back from my two-week sabbatical. Prior to leaving for vacation, I had a great CAD Camp experience, yet again. One of the highlights was when I got to chat again with Robert Green briefly about his recently wrapped up CAD Manager Survey and our ongoing AUGI Salary Survey. I loved my classes, those guys put on a great day of training; thanks to Matt, David, Robert, Dan, Melody, etc, and those from SV and Hagerman who organized this day. MUCH better venue and MUCH MUCH better catering than last year's event... luckily, same great instruction and networking. Kudos to David and Matt who presented at the user group meetings the evening before, and to Seiler, Hagerman and D3 who sponsored our food and drink and gave out nice pressies (Pat Stack is my hero with the Starbuck's card, I must admit). NOW, on to the point of my post! It's wishlist time... users make wishes in their AUGI Product Community, then their peers comment on them, then their peers vote on them, then their AUGI Volunteers pass the wishes directly on to Autodesk who usually implements them. Wowee. autocad http://www.augi.com/autocad/ballot.asp revit architecture http://www.augi.com/revit/ballot.asp civil 3d http://www.augi.com/civil3d/ballot.asp inventor http://www.augi.com/inventor/ballot.asp And, since you're up there sharing your opinions on product improvements, why not pop over and vote for a design to adorn the shirts of the AUGI Top DAUG participants at this year's Autodesk University? top daug http://www.augi.com/autodeskuniversity/tshirts.asp Now, about my lovely vacation... two weeks spent with my fabulous family and some wonderful friends... it couldn't have been more perfect. We had really good weather, even better food, and even more spectacularly fun conversations. Ireland is just as green and beautiful as I remember it, and springing up with more building and roadworks, England was lovely and historic, but, positively BRISTLING with cranes and other evidence of massive building projects. We got to visit Leed's and Hever castles and while they were lovely and enjoyable, they couldn't hold a candle to the awe-inspiring St. Paul's and Canterbury Cathedrals. Not only are they gorgeous buildings whose designs we studied and admired, they're also a step directly into the past. We had great weather for our viewing from the London Eye to take in Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the Omnimax at the Science Museum (my husband worked on that :-D), St. Paul's, the Thames, Tower Bridge, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and we also had curry, twice... yeah, we had fish and chips, too, but, our crew was definitely more excited about the fine Indian food. :-)


Gateway AUG Fall Announcements

Well, as usual, my messages are bouncing, so I'll copy this quarter's announcements here for those in whose spam bims I am forever lost. ;)

Dear GAUG Member,

I hope those who made it to our March meeting at Vatterott Technical College in Sunset Hills enjoyed the Overview of AutoCAD 2008 features, as well as the General Tips and Tricks Session.


We also had some very stimulating conversation on BIM in June at the Masonry Institute on Big Bend. I know I normally attach meeting handouts on the following emailing, but, I was so caught up in the conversation that I didn’t really take very good notes. We discussed everything from who should pay for the model and who should have access to it after building, as well as ‘lowest common denominator’ file formats for archiving, how easy or hard it is to train and retain and upgrade and convert. Tomislav Zigo sort of led the group, and he showed a few slides roughly defining BIM, and listing different BIM software programs. ‘Thanks’ to him and Rudy Beuc for putting that gathering together. And ‘Thanks’ to Seiler Instrument, as always, for their financial support of our meeting refreshments. It is much appreciated.

This is one last reminder of the meeting we’ve all been looking forward to for the last 12 months… the pre-CAD Camp gathering!






This is a free meeting, with food provided by the joint reseller sponsors (Seiler, Hagerman and D3) and presentations by the out of town instructors. As per our norm, we do not allow selling by presenters, but, you can pick up contact information from tables they’ll have set up. Anyone can show up, whether you’re a member of GAUG and SLAMSUG or not, so feel free to bring friends.

Remember that you can still register for CAD Camp, the one $179 day regional training event up until the 17th (Monday), for a full day or a half day of classes on the 18th (Tuesday). There were over 100 attendees last year, and I’ve heard we’ve far surpassed that for this year (fees are lower if you registered early).

Also remember that with that CAD Camp registration, you will receive a code entitling you to $150 of an Autodesk University registration. A week of training offered annually, allowing you to hand pick 13 advanced classes in your chosen field taught by the best instructors from around the world. www.autodesk.com/au

This year will see a repeat of the Local Chapter program, where, if we register at least 3 people from our group, we can be eligible to win a free AU Conference pass, which will be given away to a lucky member by an email drawing like last year.


So, I’ve already registered, all I need is information from at least two other registrants to send in our request for a free pass. If you’re already signed up, please send me the following information, which I will use only for the request for this free pass: name, email address, phone number that you registered with.

Remember that AutoCAD has just come out with a Service Pack fixing some irritating bugs, so make sure you’re up to date!


And don’t forget that October is AUGI Annual Salary Survey time! I hope that everyone enjoyed the improvements I made to last years magazine spread. I know that everyone loves to read the Salary Survey results to see how they stack up or which industries are paying the most these days, but, in order to provide this information, I need a lot of (totally anonymous to me) members to sign in and take a couple of minutes to participate in the survey. The survey is scheduled to be pushed live on October 1st, so please take the time to take it and mention it to your coworkers. Results will be published in the first issue of the free AUGIWorld Magazine of 2008. http://www.augi.com/surveys/default.asp?page=51 (to check out the results from all past salary surveys, you must log in)

Our next quarterly meeting will be in March, as we all tend to be so busy during fall and winter months that we don’t get together. Please check my blog and the Gateway AUG website for details, announcements and tips (you can even add the rss feed to the InfoCenter in AutoCAD 2008).

I’ll be happy to answer any questions about Gateway AUG, AUGI, Service Packs, Autodesk University training, the Salary Survey, etc… BUT, I must warn you, the moment that CAD Camp is over, I’m on vacation for two weeks, so I won’t promise a response anytime in the next three weeks.

Thank you!

Melanie Perry Gateway AUG - President AUGI - Salary Survey Manager, ACAD Community Chair AutoCAD and ACAD LT 2008 Bible - Contributing Writer Applying AutoCAD 2008 - Technical Editor