As Bob is my witness, I'll never be Plining Spaces Again!

Creating Spaces for Use with Autodesk FMDesktop

Alright, Scarlett O'Hara, I'm not... but, I do feel this is one of those moments in history that should be captured for posterity. I just 'p-lined' the entire floor of a building in less than 20 minutes.


What's got me so excited is that this isn't actually polylining. Any Space Manager can tell you how mind-numbingly dull that task is.

Well, at one (of many) of my fabulous classes at AU2006, Bob Fahlin was the instructor, there was discussion of how FMDesktop 7 can read ADT (ACA!) spaces and Revit rooms. So, on top of that wonderful news, there was the revelation of the AutoGenerate Spaces command in ADT/ABS (Acad MEP)!

So, instead of tediously polylining, or quasi-tediously click-dragging spaces, you can set up and automate the creation of spaces.

True, this isn't a 100% *perfect* tool, but, since no *perfect* tools exist, I will be happy with this one!

I took a floor plan, 9,500 sqare feet, just the basics, right.

First, I turned off the casework and plumbing and text layers, just leaving pretty much walls, doors and windows. This is also where good drafting practices can come into play... you need those happy little osnaps working so you don't have gaps at your walls and doors, etc. You *can* add in a 'fudge' factor to ignore gaps, but, really, isn't it just easier to do it right the first time and not have to worry about making the fudge too big and ending up with a mess?

Anyway, I ran the command and here's what I ended up with on my first pass through...
Not too shabby for less than two seconds worth of work.

I manually selected the three spaces near the top that weren't generated for whatever reason, and then I did go back through and drop in a couple of spaces that weren't generated because their openings were... erm, open. Then I quickly plined the two reception areas and three hallways that were left and generated the spaces. That, along with fixing the staircase and elevator spaces and deleting the space on the patio, took all of 20 minutes.

I know this isn't a very big floor, it is one floor of one building on my campus of over 30 buildings, but... it was so much faster than manually polylining that I will take it, and happily.

The only drawback is that, if we adopt this program at work, I'll be cross-grading from my current production software of Autodesk MAP3d (love the cleanup tools) to AutoCAD Architecture (ADT/ACA) and I'm afraid of contaminating my MEP engineers with architecture cooties. :-/ (sorry, Jason M said that earlier today and I couldn't help snickering over it)

This is just one step in setting up an FMDesktop project, but, one of the most important ones.


Next Meeting of the Gateway AUG March 20th

The next meeting of the Gateway Autodesk User's Group will be Tuesday, March 20th.

We start showing up for food around 6 and try to get the meeting started by 6:30, don't worry if you're a few minutes late, come on along anyway, we all know how traffic can be.

We'll be down at Vatterott Technical College (the front lobby of the building closest to the entrance), and our food and handouts will be sponsored by Seiler Instruments.

We'll be doing some CAD tips and tricks (nothing too discipline-specific) and will have handouts and door prizes available (loads of goodies!), along with the usual pizza, snacks and soda/water.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Ask (and perhaps answer) questions and just be ready for a good old geeky time.


50000 Visits to the Dork Side! My blog reaches a milestone!

Wow. I just noticed my counter ticked past 50,000 hits today. Wow. I know, that doesn't sound like a whole lot when you compare me to most autodesk and cad management-geared blogs, but, heck, I think it's still pretty impressive for someone in a niche field like Facilities Management.

I started this blog as a communication tool for my Local User's Group (affiliated with AUGI), at the suggestion of then-president Brian Myers. It is much easier to keep up with than the monthly newsletter I used to make.

I started blogging in April of 2005, but, didn't add a counter until July of that year; so, 50,000 hits since then.

So, I make announcements for the gateway aug and augi, talk about the salary survey, facilities management and give tips and tricks on programs I use (from autocad, map, adt (aca), fmdesktop and microsoft office products)... and I like funny stuff, too.

Some of the searches I've noticed that are popular are 'Select Similar' 'AEC objects' 'Print plt files' 'cafm programs' 'bim standard' 'bim cafm' and 'mistress training'
~helpless shrug~ well, what can you do? It's an occupational hazard of being the Mistress of the Dorkness. ;)

My hit counter says that about 20% of my hits are repeat visitors, but, as that is based on ip-address, it's hard to say how accurate that is with the prevalence of wireless access points.

Thank you, faithful reader, for coming back time and again, I hope I manage to offer some good tips and timely news about the CAD/Design Industry.

Women of Note in St. Louis

I just recently picked up another issue of the fabulous St. Louis Woman magazine.

I thought I'd point out a great feature... 'Women of Note'. This segment introduces us to women making a difference in the community. For example, a mother of four being a mayor, a hard-working fund-raiser, someone bringing to light health issues and education.

Check out the rest of the site with material on women's heart health and to download a free eBook on surviving cancer.

Also, check out StLouis BizWomen.com's Success Profiles.

You might also want to pop by St. Louis Women's Journal. It doesn't appear that they have a regular column profiling admirable women, but, they do mention plenty of great ladies in their various features.

Did you know that there is also a directory of Women-owned businesses for the city of St. Louis?

I'm sure there are various other publications in the area that profile some of the greatly talented women of this city and I apologize for not being able to recognize them all.


Free Facilities Management Class Handouts

You all remember that you can download course handouts from past Autodesk University's on AUGI.com right? One of the wonderful member benefits. Membership is free after all.

Following are a list of FM class handouts from courses offered at Autodesk University from 2002-2005 (remembering that the Facility Management classes at AU2006 which don't appear on the AUGI site yet were the best ever and I hope for more of the same at AU2007):


Developing a FM Automation Program for AutoCAD - A Real-World Example!

Instructor: Brian M. Wildt, Phil A. Leverault, dave espinosa-aguilar

In this course we'll show you how we developed an automation program from concept to implementation. We'll discuss how to get started, what things to keep in mind as the concept gets off the ground and a few problems that you may run into. We know there are many companies out there looking for ways to save time and money in their drafting departments. We want to share our experience with you and show you just what can be accomplished and maybe give you some ideas to get started with a program of your own.

Facility Management Made Easy with faciliCAD

Instructor: Bill Kilp

Needs Analysis, Existing Data Review, Software Selection, Data Input, Data Extraction, Data Management and Software Maintenance are all phases of implementing a facility management system. Each of these topics could be a class in itself. The intent of this course is to give the student a bird’s eye view of the process from the early stages of conceptual meetings, to implementation and use of the system. The main focus will be on data entry. We will discuss the minimum requirements for creating space chargeback reports to entering additional data such as employees and assets. We will cover the basic steps necessary to attach and link CAD floor plans to an external database using faciliCAD. The combination of faciliCAD and AutoDesk’s AutoCAD, Architectural Desktop or AutoCAD Map, gives the user all the tools needed to create graphic and non-graphic Space, Employee and Assets reports.

FM Desktop™ Leveraging AutoCAD to Meet Your Facility Management Needs

Instructor: Robert Fahlin

Using FM Desktop™ and Autodesk® technologies to return sanity to the chaos that is facility management.


Autodesk Map™ and Autodesk MapGuide® for Facilities Management

Instructor: Barry Kelly

This session will address both inside and outside plant FM requirements. Most facilities management drawings are not spatially referenced, a factor that can impact the use of Autodesk Map™ and Autodesk MapGuide®. You will learn tips and tricks for this environment.

ChargeBack Reports: From CAD Drawing to Database Report

Instructor: Bill Kilp

When budget time comes around, one of the goals of any facility manager is to produce a chargeback report. This session will analyze all the elements required to produce chargeback reports. We'll use AutoCAD® 2004 to define the methods for outlining the spaces, faciliCAD v2 for the data entry of room information, and Crystal Reports for the final report.

Digging Deep into Databases

Instructor: Scott McFarlane

This session takes a holistic approach to the topic of database integration with AutoCAD®. Rather than focusing only on the tools (such as dbConnect), we will examine all the issues that you are faced with when integrating a CAD system with a database system. You will learn the fundamentals of database design and SQL, and study real-world examples that show how important these skills are to the success of your application. This session will also explore how development environments, such as VBA, can be used to extend the built-in features. We will combine this knowledge with the use of AutoCAD and dbConnect to develop a complete application from start to finish.

From CAD to CEO with Autodesk and ARCHIBUS/FM

Instructor: Gregory J. Alevras

This class explores ARCHIBUS, Inc.and answers the question: "Why automate facilities?"

Introduction to dbConnect for Facilities Management

Instructor: Scott McFarlane

This hands-on lab will give you a jump-start into the world of database connectivity. Learn how to set up a database connection, create links, and turn your drawing into a powerful interface to your database. Explore the dbConnect Manager and the Data View window and create intelligent annotation using Labels.Create simple and even complex queries with the Query Editor.


Digging Deep into Databases

Instructor: Scott McFarlane

From Architectural Desktop to Facility Management Reports

Instructor: Bill Kilp and John Janzen

Learn to use Autodesk® Architectural Desktop and faciliCAD V2 to connect CAD drawings with a Microsoft SQL database, harnessing the power of Architectural Desktop with facility management-specific features. Link Space and Area objects to database records to transform Architectural Desktop drawings into intelligent resources, extending their value beyond the design phase throughout the life of the building. Learn to create a live database link between architectural Space and Area objects to records in an SQL Database. Changes in the database affect the CAD drawing and vice versa.

Introduction to dbConnect for Facilities Management

Instructor: Scott McFarlane

Publish Building FM Information to the Web Using Autodesk MapGuide®

Instructor: Bill Kilp and Glenn Stazak

Building Lifecycle Information can be entered, accessed, and edited within an AutoCAD® or Autodesk® Architectural Desktop drawing and published to a customizable web-based environment using Autodesk MapGuide® technology and faciliCAD. Use MapGuide to view and report on space, people, and asset information from a web-based format that requires virtually no learning curve. This class is designed for CAD managers and users. It will be somewhat technical but interesting for its simplicity


Autodesk® Architectural Desktop: The Facility Manager's Dream

Instructor: David Shepherd

The combination of new Architectural Desktop 2006 features, such as Display Themes and Database Fields, together with ADT Areas, Spaces, and Scheduling make the software a formidable out-of-thebox solution for facility managers. This session will demonstrate how easily room booking, asset tracking, and lease/chargeback data can be linked into ADT 2006 without complex programming or recourse to third-party applications.

Chargeback Reports: From CAD Drawings to Database Report

Instructor: Bill Kilp

When budget time comes around, one of the goals of any facility manager is to produce a chargeback report. This session will analyze all the elements required to produce chargeback reports. We will uncover the mystique surrounding the ANSI/BOMA and IFMA documents defining Standard Methods for Measuring Floor Area. We will use AutoCAD 2006 to define the methods for outlining the spaces using Polyline as the space boundaries. Once defined, these boundaries can be linked to a database using a third-party CAFM solution.

dbConnect for Facilities Management

Instructor: Scott McFarlane

DWF™ and Effective Facility Information Management

Instructor: Robert Fahlin

Learn how to unleash the power of DWF to address the facility information management and documentation needs of your organization. Learn how embedded Autodesk technologies can provide an end-to-end solution for CAD operators, administrators, and others responsible for the management and dissemination of facility information. DWF provides the catalyst to bring facility drawings and data together in an easy-to-access format.

Introduction to dbConnect for Facilities Management

Instructor: Scott McFarlane, Bill Kimbrell (Assistant), and Jimmy Bergmark (Assistant)

This hands-on lab will give you a jump-start into the world of database connectivity. Learn how to set up a database connection, create links, and turn your drawing into a powerful interface to your database. Explore the dbConnect Manager and the Data View window and create intelligent annotation using Labels. Create simple and even complex queries with the Query Editor.

Tips and Tricks for Evaluating, Selecting, and Implementing a CAFM Solution

Instructor: Bill Kilp

The following are all phases of implementing a facility management system: needs analysis, existing data review, software selection, data input, data extraction, data management, and software maintenance. Each of these topics could be a class in itself. The intent of this course is to give attendees a bird’s-eye view of the process from the early stages of conceptual meetings, to implementation and use of the system. The main focus will be on data entry. We will discuss the minimum requirements for creating space chargeback reports to entering additional data such as employees and assets.

News about Autodesk 2008 Products

Through the Interface - Kean Walmsley talks about 64bit application migration

WorldCAD Access - Ralph Grabowski talks about All the Details of Autocad 2008

Lynn Allen's blog - Lynn Allen talks about Layer Properties and Layer States in AutoCAD 2008

Revit Rocks - Daryl talks about Revit Building 10 being renamed Revit Architecture 2008, he also Learns AutoCAD

Revit JobCaptain - Daniel Hughes announces the 2008 family of products

CAD Panacea - RK McSwain reveals his top four AutoCAD 2008 feature picks

AutoCAD Insider - Heidi Hewett highlights some goodies in 2008 and talks more in-depth about Annotation Scaling, including animations demonstrating

Knowing What You Don't Know - Mike Massey says goodbye to ADT... and hello to AutoCAD Architecture, find more features details here.

c3D Paving the Way - Scott McEachron reveals compelling features in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008

Civil3D.com - Jason Hickey reveals New Point Functionality and new line and curve routines in AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008

CAD Shack - Todd Shackelford tries out the new name of the game with Revit and AutoCAD MEP

CAD Insider - Roopinder Tara announces the new naming scheme for the 2008 product line

3D CAD - Caetano Prodi notes the naming format change from Inventor 12 to Inventor 2008 and highlights new features

CADD Manager - Mark Kiker talks about new AutoCAD 2008 command DGNATTACH and DGNCLIP

ObjectARX and Dummies - Fernando Malard announces AutoCAD 208

Beyond the Paper - Scott Sheppard talks about Vault 2008, great enhancements to Design Review 2008, DWF capabilities in AutoCAD 2008 and points out the AutoCAD 2008 preview site

Beth's CAD Blog - Beth Powell blogs about Multi-leaders and other new features in AutoCAD 2008

Ellen Finkelstein.com AutoCAD - Ellen Finkelstein shows A LOT of great information about AutoCAD 2008

Mistress of the Dorkness - Melanie Perry talks about the highlights of AutoCAD 2008 and gives a basic rundown of the new naming scheme for the 2008 products

Edit: Adding more as they come in...

RobiNZ CAD Blog - Robin Capper chats about the details of the 2008 product names changes

Keith Rice's Blog - Keith Rice reveals which 2008 products he's looking forward to using

The Civil Chick
- Sarah Cunningham talks AutoCAD Civil3D

In the Dynamic Interface
- Mark Douglas gives a run-down on the top three enhancements that will have an impact on his work

Between the Lines - Shaan Hurley speaks about AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2008's (and 2007's) compatibility with Windows Vista and 32/64 bit versions

AutoCAD 2008 and the 2008 Line of Products

Well, AutoCAD 2008 is going to be called AutoCAD 2008, but, the verticals are mixing it up a little...

Revit Building will now be called Revit Architecture
Revit Systems will now be called Revit MEP
Architectural Desktop (ADT) will now be called Autocad Architecture (ACA)
Autodesk Building Systems will now be called Autocad MEP
Civil 3d will now be called Autocad Civil 3d

I have to admit that the new names should make it just slightly easier to talk about to the non-CAD-speakers in the workplace. I don't know why C3D isn't just AutoCAD Civil though?

Design Review 2008 will be FREE from the get-go... until recently Design Review was approximately $200USD.

But, I am primarily an AutoCAD person, so we'll start there.

Overall, I'm pretty excited about this release. I have to admit that I didn't even do my 2007 upgrade until two weeks ago. The only thing in that one that changed my life is the Layer Merge tool being available via a dialog box. 2008 has a lot of great tweaks that will affect quite a few people, I believe.

The really groundbreaking tool will be the Annotative Objects. You can link an object's scale to your viewport scale, so when you change your viewport, your text and hatching will adjust accordingly (Revit people, think about that thing where you choose the level of detail you show, I'm not sure the name of the feature but I see similarities). There are separate 'scale representations' for each scale, so you can sort of drag something out of your way without affecting the annotation on a different scale. Pretty sweet.

Another cool thing is being able to have more control over layers by overriding their appearance in Viewports: Color, Linetype, Lineweight and Plotstyle.

There is also the ability to split a long table to fit on a sheet (using grips or a dialog). Sweet.
There are data linking and data extraction tools with MS Excel, but, I have to admit that I didn't use them at all during testing.

There was a toolbar included for some Autodesk Impression basic tools. SWEET to have some nice visualization tools included like that.

Searching for data just got a little bit easier with the InfoCenter. You can search the new features workshop, the help file, RSS feeds and specified documents all from one little toolbar in the upper-right-hand corner of your AutoCAD session. SWEET! This has 'CAD Standards at your Fingertips' written all over it!
There were also some video tutorials in the help files. Beyond awesome. I certainly grasp concepts much more quickly when viewing them in action than just reading about them.

Hardware acceleration and 64 bit. <- I don't use these, but, I assume they must be important. Direct 3D or Open GL is good to go and so is 64bit AutoCAD on Windows XP or Windows Vista.

Workspaces now include a 2D drafting and annotation configuration right out of the box. You can customize workspaces fairly easily in the CUI.

One of my favorites so far is being able to customize dashboard panels.
I never cared for tool palettes much, aside from block insertion, but, I really dig the Dashboard. You can also associate certain tool palette groups to each panel to access them easily if you decide you do need them. I made my own panel for testing, but, this year there are more built-in panels to choose from. (panel configurations can be a part of your workspace, which makes them even handier)

You can just drag and drop within the CUI to a toolbar and panel now (it used to be more convoluted in that you had to drag the desired command up to the upper left pan that lists all of the toolbars/palettes/etc). Definitely more intuitive than ever before.
If you create a toolbar and drag another toolbar onto it... it creates a flyout. Cooool.

You can now Import/Export and Underlay DGN V8 files. Underlay doesn't support layer controls, but, it does support clipping and reverse clipping (you can also invert an x-ref clip now, too, of course).

And when you underlay a DWF, you can have layer controls... but, I believe that is IF the person who created the DWF enabled layers when they created the dwf. DWF underlays have been snappable since 2007, but, it's worth mentioning again.

There are now tooltips over Dynamic Block grips telling you what the action is.

Drag and Drop Paperspace layouts! That's pretty self-explanatory.

I've heard that the Multiple Leaders (mleader) feature is a little buggy, but, I haven't used it myself, so I can't really comment with any authority. I did have to mention it because this was one of those things from the AUGI wishlist. The CAD community has spoken and Autodesk has listened. So... speak out y'all. :-)

I'm sure I've overlooked a dozen changes/tweaks/adjustments, new features, etc, but, heck, I've only got so much room in this little brain of mine.


Photos from Meetings of the Gateway Autodesk User's Group

Photo Album...

I've posted the photos I've taken at nearly every Gateway AUG meeting on my yahoo page in a Gateway AUG album (2004-2006).

I missed the spring meeting last year (Scott's last meeting as President), as I was busy eloping a few hundred miles away, so no photos of that; and I haven't yet posted the pictures that GAUG Board Member Ken Franz took at
our Fall meeting, but, I hope to do so soon.

I did include shots from the St. Louis CAD Camp last October, as most of the Top DAUGs were GAUG members and over half of the attendees were as well!

And the last photo (of the 100 I have uploaded so far) is of the swag Mike and I have been collecting for the users over the past few months. We've got some cool stuff in there from AUGI, Autodesk and Cadopolis (our website sponsor) to give away at our meetings this year. The first one is tentatively scheduled for mid-March. We've gotten a food/refreshments sponsor and I am awaiting confirmation on the meeting date from the location and finalizing a speaker.

Don't worry, GAUG Board Member Brian Myers (co-founder and past President) is already scouting a new location and securing a date for the June meeting and we will announce it as soon as possible.

I apologize for this one taking so long to get hammered out. I was promised sponsorship/location/speaker last fall for a January or February meeting but nothing was ever finalized and the winter is my busiest time of year thanks to the AUGI Annual Salary Survey, holidays and this year I had the added pressures of contributing writing to an AutoCAD book (I'll make an official announcement about that as soon as I have a URL to refer you to); so that's my excuse for not beating something more solid out of the sponsors.

So, check out the photos... AutoCAD, Revit, Civil 3D, LDT, ADT, 3d Scanner, etc... all great meeting topics with great presenters and great members in the audience. From our first meeting at the Engineer's Club of St. Louis to Vatterott Technical College and Hagerman's CityPlace office to SLU's campus; you'll see plenty of scenery.

My blog has Tags!

Alright, I've finally finished going through a couple hundred blog postings to make sure they now all have tags (thank you to blogger for adding this feature!).

I've simplified some topics so that the tags don't get so specific that there's only one post under each...

So, whether you're here to keep up with:

Announcements and discussion about the Gateway Autodesk User's Group
Facilities Management issues
AutoCAD Tips
Mentions and Tips for various applications
AUGI announcements and reminders
Education resources

navigation is only a click or two away.

Also, the comments section is evidently working again for my posts, so please! feel free to Comment!

Also, you might have noticed my FavIcon here on the site. My husband has been reworking the layout for BLAUGI (I love the dropdowns! don't you?) and dug up the procedures for adding an icon to the site and shared them with me. Although, the steps were fewer for TypePad than for Blogger, I eventually got it figured out.
I know the avatar is really tiny, but, for the curious, it is the shot used in the 2006 CAD Salary Survey published in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of AUGIWorld magazine.


Last File Opened Not Highlighted

Just got a question in my inbox today; this hasn't happened to me personally and after looking up the answer on the autodesk knowledgebase, I can see why...

Last file opened not highlighted
ID: TS72986
Applies to:
AutoCAD® 2005, AutoCAD® 2004, AutoCAD® 2002, AutoCAD® 2000i, AutoCAD® 2000, AutoCAD LT® 2005, AutoCAD LT® 2004, AutoCAD LT® 2002, AutoCAD LT® 2000i, AutoCAD LT® 2000
When opening drawings, you find that in the Select file dialog box that the last opened file is not highlighted .
This occurs when, in the Folder Options dialog box, the operating system variable, Hide File Extensions for Known File Types, is selected.
Use the following steps to clear this option:

1. Start Windows Explorer.
2. Select Tools > Folder Options.
3. In the dialog box, click the View tab.
4. Clear the Hide File Extensions for Known File Types option.
Now... the reason that I've never experienced this is that I adjust my windows explorer settings as soon as I get a new pc (or a reinstall of an os). I like to see all of my file extensions, especially since you need to be able to see your extensions to rename your .bak files to .dwg files when you have a crash resulting in a corrupted file (which, admittedly, doesn't happen to me nearly as much as it used to, but, old habits are hard to break).

Also, props to the KB... I couldn't find this answer with Google (my usual first choice), but, it was my top hit when I moved my search to the adesk site.



I just stumbled upon this post by Autodesk blogger, Shaan Hurley. This post is announcing that Autodesk Design Review, Autodesk DWF Writer and Autodesk DWF Viewer are now all totally FREE! Here are some highlights from Shaan's post:
Import DWG and DXF Files Import AutoCAD® DWG™ and DXF™ files, including the latest 2007 format, directly into Design Review with full fidelity and accuracy.

Markup Enhancements: Rotate Objects and Symbols Rotate text, rectangles, ellipses, and other symbols, including symbols containing raster images.

Combine 2D and 3D Designs Share, review, and mark up both 2D drawings and 3D models in a single file; adding, deleting, reordering, and renaming sheets and models within the Navigator window.

Round-Trip Reviews Increase team productivity with inline markup tools that enable you to round-trip designs quickly and easily back into Autodesk design software—without the need to reenter information.

Batch Printing Print multiple DWF files, customize print settings, and save batch printing configuration for later use with the Batch Print wizard.

Preview, Select Preferences, and Print Select preferences, preview files before printing, and print files to scale or at another scale with the same high fidelity as in Autodesk design software, including the printing of 3D designs.

Need the low-down on all things DWF? Check out blogger Scott Sheppard 'Beyond the Paper'. And for more about Design and Building Collaboration check out 'Connected'; a new Autodesk blog by Alex Willingham, Jason Pratt and Mike Gemmell. 

Thanks to Beth Powell and Bobby Jones for pointing out that the comments on my posts for the last two months don't seem to be working. I'm not sure what's wrong yet, but, I'll keep tinkering! If you'd like to comment directly to me, feel free to drop me an email, I love to know that people are reading! I haven't had much time to play with my blog recently (hey, I've got tags now! I'll be assigning them to all of my earlier posts as I find the chance). EDIT: right after I made this post, comments miraculously started working again. Shazam! am I ever powerful!?!?! ;-p 

I have been so busy recently, but, I did take a nice weekend off to just relax. I forced myself to leave my laptop at home and flew out to San Rafael for some time with my husband and a chance to hang out with our augi friends. See some pics here and here

When the AUGI Board were in meetings, all I did was relax and read. I had just been loaned a few series from David and Leigh Eddings. I managed to read the first three books in the Belgariad series by the time I returned home on Sunday night. Now, I'm not normally a fantasy reader anymore, but, I was talking to one of my favorite Mechanical contractors at work about the Lord of the Rings movies and he offered to loan me some of Eddings' books declaring that I would love them. And I do. 

 Friday night we went out to dinner at a wonderful restaurant called the Wild Fox; where I had the most AMAZING lamb shank. Donnia and Lynn did mention that this was the same restaurant the BoD were at when my dearest was being grilled about the possibility of us being engaged... which resulted in this post and a flurry of newsgroup gossip and unexpected telephone calls while we were picking up my engagement ring. 

Saturday night Lynn invited the BoD over to her house and I consider myself honoured to have been allowed to tag along. Lynn is a great hostess and an AMAZING cook. While she was taking care of the fabulous food, her husband Craig showed us around the house, and Craig's son, Conner, served us drinks. An AMAZING dinner from start to finish; Thank You! Lynn and Craig for having us over; we had so much fun all evening! 

The weekend was much too short, but, it was a much-needed break for me. Now, Mike and the other Board Members might disagree about how much of a break they had while out there. They work pretty hard and were totally knackered by the end of their trip. 

 A highlight from this week... I got a NEW COMPUTER at work. It's 4x the machine the old one was and I'm no longer using Office 97! I've joined this millennium! God Bless the IT guy, I'm such an odd case and he handled my assertions with remarkable aplomb (some of the guys who don't know me as well just blow me off and think because I'm not in IS that I don't know what I need when it comes to my PC). By the time I left work today I'd finally installed (including service packs et al) Autodesk Map 3D 2007 along with all of the other little bits and pieces.