Autodesk University 2008: Follow AUGIatAU on Twitter

Follow AUGI highlights and other event mentions on Twitter (a micro-blogging tool): http://twitter.com/AUGIatAU Also, check out who AUGIatAU is following to easily locate the micro-blogging feeds of Joseph Wurcher, Shaan Hurley and the AUGI BoD. If you Tweet from AU, use the hash code #AU2008 so people can follow your updates (also, if you blog from AU, don't forget to tag your posts).


Welcome to the World Offspring Beta

November 4th was the big day for the Perry family.

Our 2nd son entered the world a healthy 7lbs 12oz and 21" long.

Our Picasa brag book.

We came home on Saturday and are both doing great. Offspring Alpha and dear hubby are looking after us well. Thanks to all for the good wishes on the forums and blogs.


Programming webcast: .NET for LISP Programmers

Another webcast you might be interested in:

Free AutoCAD programming webcast: .NET for LISP Programmers

As mentioned in this previous post, my team delivers regular webcasts on programming with Autodesk technologies.

Assuming you're reading this while the metaphorical ink's still damp, it's still not too late to register for a class being held on Thursday October 16th at 8am Pacific, 5pm CET: AutoCAD: .NET for LISP Programmers.

Otherwise you should be able to find a recording of the webcast on this page within a few weeks of the session being delivered. In fact, here's the recording of the last time this session was delivered (although it may well have been updated slightly, as the session will also be delivered at AU 2008).

Here's a brief synopsis of the topic covered by this webcast:

You know that .NET is a modern and powerful programming environment. But, no matter how much you might want to start using it, you can't abandon all your old LISP code. We’ll show you how to write .NET code that can interoperate with your existing LISP code, with a special emphasis on user interface components.


AutoCAD LT Webcast: Making the Most of Annotation

Update: this webcast was recorded, and should be posted in about a week to:


via Autodesk:

AutoCAD LT Webcast: Annotation Unlimited: Making the Most of Annotation Tools in AutoCAD LT
Date & Time: Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. PDT

Annotating drawings is something that everybody has to do. No matter how clearly a plan or detail is drawn, it almost always needs some text inserted to convey all the information it should. With AutoCAD® LT, however, that task is easier than ever. In this webcast, AutoCAD LT Technical marketing manager Kate Morrical will explain and demonstrate how built-in tools make adding annotations a snap, whether they’re simple text objects, intelligent dimensions, or detailed tables. She’ll also cover newer features, such as fields and annotation scaling.

REGISTER HERE: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/oc/offer/form?siteID=123112&id=11808649


Reminder: St. Louis Metro BIM/CAD meeting tonight!

Just a reminder...

The Gateway Autodesk User's Group is meeting tonight at the Masonry Institute on Big Bend. From 6-7:30.

Local BIM guru and educational advocate Tomislav Zigo will be presenting on Interoperability and Building Performance tools.

We'll be giving away a pass to Autodesk University (must be 21 and over, and able to cover own transportation costs), among other prizes.

What else: If you are a GAUG member and if you are present at the meeting, you might win a pass to Autodesk University 2008. ($ 1,845 value).
You can RSVP here to make yourself eligible for this AU draw by joining GAUG!!!!

As always, there will be food and drink, thanks to sponsor, Seiler Instrument.
There's also a new reseller in town, and I believe they'll have at least one rep in attendance if you'd like to meet them.

As an aside, world-renowned CADD Manager, Mark Kiker (current President of AUGI) has just started a BIM Manager's group. If you want to share your opinions and gather feedback from other's, pop over and sign up.


AUGI Local Events this Week

I love the calendar reminders on the AUGI forum site.

I can easily see there are a few LUG's/Local Chapters/SIG's with events this week (I also see by the calendar page itself that there are six more events the following week).

September 9th, 2008 -
- San Francisco Revit Structure Special Interest Group
- Redwood Empire Revit User Group

September 10th, 2008 -
- Sacramento MEP User Group
- GAUG (St. Louis Metro Area) CAD/BIM Meeting
- North Bay Civil GIS User Group

September 11th, 2008 -
- Denver Revit Users Group
- San Francisco MEP User Group
- Bend Revit User Group


St. Louis CAD/BIM Meeting on September 10th

There is another meeting of the Gateway AUG coming up. This is for anyone interested in design tools who is in the St. Louis Metro Area. Our meetings are always free, and you don't *have* to RSVP. Feel free to show up and bring a friend. Not only do you hear from some local experts about their fields, you can also network and hang out with some really cool folks. Hope to see you there! P.S. Please note, our Fall Quarterly meeting was supposed to be the night before the CAD Camp, but, it looks like that event has been canceled. We'll miss the instructors and the chance for some good classes, but, that's all the more reason to try to show up to some Gateway AUG meetings. If you've got an idea for a topic you'd like to see (or present), please feel free to contact any one of us. (PLEASE NOTE: the below is a copy of an email sent out to all GAUG members, if you did NOT get this email, please contact nicholas to make sure he has your correct email address)


Here are the details of our next Gateway Autodesk User Group meeting

When: 10th of September - Wednesday - from 6 to 7:30 pm

Where: Masonry Institute, 1429 S Big Bend Blvd, St Louis, MO (google map).

What: "Interoperability between BIM and Building Performance modeling applications like Eco-tect and Green building studio" by Tomislav Zigo

What else: If you are a GAUG member and if you are present at the meeting, you might win a pass to Autodesk University 2008. ($ 1,845 value).

You can RSVP here to make yourself eligible for this AU draw by joining GAUG!!!!

I hope to see you there!


President - Gateway Autodesk User Group


CAD Manager Survey 2008

Now that I've asked you to take part in the AUGI Annual Salary Survey (for all job titles and all disciplines) and you've given such a great response, I'm going to encourage you to take part in Robert Green's CAD Manager 2008 Survey (if applicable).

He does a great job with this every year, and his results are one of the multiple resources that I keep handy to analyze how competitive my pay is.

The results of my Salary Survey come out in the September/October edition of AUGIWorld Magazine, and the results of Robert's CAD Manager Survey will be in the November issue of CADalyst Magazine (You can find additional results respectively on the AUGI Survey Channel and in the October and November issues of the CAD Manager's newsletter).

From the CAD Manager's Newsletter:

Thanks to all the readers who sent in their comments regarding the survey. I've incorporated a number of questions into this year's survey to reflect reader concerns!

Now the fun begins: Participate in the survey! Forward this newsletter to everyone you know who functions as a CAD manager and ask them to participate. I'm especially interested in getting responses from Canada, European Union countries, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand because these markets haven't been analyzed as completely as I'd like.

To take the survey, just click on this link: http://www.cad-manager.com/survey

Results will be published in the November issue of Cadalyst magazine, and more detailed analysis will be included in CAD Manager's Newsletter in October and November, so be sure to check back!


Color me Happy, my new Dell is here!

Well, contrary to the cautionary tale from our friend over at Dell, it wasn't held up for two weeks, and my DH has just taken receipt of a brand spanking new 17" Dell Studio for me.

I plan on posting a review on the Tech-Tea blog within the next few days (as soon as I have time), complete with pictures and comparisons to the Dell Inspiron that I had been using.

I'll be happy to be up and running on a fully running machine after all of these weeks banging my head against the wall.

Other tiny updates... the next Gateway AUG meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 10th, the AUGIWorld staff is currently working on prettying up the results and article I've given them for the 7th Annual Salary Survey (my 5th as Manager), my first offspring is about to start kindergarten, I'll return to school myself the following week and my second offspring is trying to kick a hole in my abdomen to make sure I really enjoy the remaining 85 days (or so) of his gestation.

Oh, and in case you hadn't heard about it yet:
AUGI Changes Management Companies
Big changes ahead for some of the AUGI programs but the Board of Directors and the Volunteers hope to make it as painless a transition as possible.

The official announcement is here:

Current volunteering opportunities are listed here:

To offer your services for anything else, contact the Volunteering Manager (currently Jennifer Loftfield volunteering@augi.com ).


Two More Weeks?

Looks like it could be two more weeks before my computer woes are fully resolved. ~sigh~ I'm a little twitchy and feeling technologically crippled.

Please bear with me. :-)


I miss my Dell computer

I've been having some problems with my home computer (a sweet 'little' 17.1" widescreen Inspiron 9400/E1705 laptop). It's something related to the graphics card and driver.

My #1 IT guy has been propping it along for the past 6-8 months with some hacked versions of the drivers (something about Dell only having propriety stuff, but, stuff that won't work correctly).

We've finally had to give up on that route, as it's no longer good enough and he has been dueling with the Tech Support personnel for a five weeks now.

He's gamely walked through every 'script' they have, and he's also had techs remote into the pc and get the same results he's been getting.

So, they sent out a tech who also couldn't get it to work properly.

They finally sent out a box via DHL, and he packed up the machine and had it sent off with their assurances that we'd get back a working machine, one way or the other.

Well, we got it back quite quickly... that was nice.

Um, what was not so nice? The note inside. Assuring us that they'd tested it six ways to Sunday and found NOTHING WRONG!?!?! Also in the note, claims that they tried to contact us for further information but were unable to do so (which is just BS, because I have no emails from them, and he's had no calls from them, so I don't know if they sent carrier pigeons or what). There was another note that they'd checked the support ticket history for further information and found nothing... and finally ended with the notation to call Dell Tech support for assistance in installing the driver.

:-/ Um. Yeah.

When he called back to complain about them having returned a broken computer to us, he was immediately bumped up the chain of command and the supervisor that he talked to did apologize PROFUSELY and after checking the ticket himself could NOT understand why it was sent back when the problems were clearly documented. He is sending out ANOTHER box for us to send the computer back.

We're happy with his response, but, obviously, we're more than ticked off at the tech who did not make every effort to fix or replace my computer.

I didn't intend for this to be a rant on the Dell service center, but, the point is... I miss my computer. I've been without it for a few weeks now.

I've got work to do.
I've got finals next week and I have papers to prepare.
I need my personal email!!!
I miss having the world at my fingertips while I'm preparing dinner.

It's painful, it really, really is. I twitch at the iTouch commercials where folks are browsing the web and getting maps and telephone numbers so quickly.


Now, it seems that my #1 IT guy has been contacted by a Dell employee who saw his twitter posts... erm, tweets. So, we'll see if that helps.

Hopefully I'll be back up and running soon, very soon.


Autodesk University 2008 Course Listing

Looks like the AU 2008 class listing is now available!

Of the over 600 classes available across every discipline, there will also be six 'Power Tracks'.
AutoCAD, C3D, Geospatial, Industrial Design, Inventor and Revit

There is also some further breakdown in the Mechanical classes, I think there are five different categories. Customization & Programming and Development are now in two different categories as well.

There are nine Facilities Management/CAFM/BIM classes this year (to check out the class handouts from some of the past courses offered at AU, refer to post “Free Facilities Management Class Handouts”).

FM100-1 - Space Management on a Shoestring Budget: Using Autodesk® FMDesktop™
James Niles - Virginia Commonwealth University - Autodesk FMDesktop
FM210-1 - BIM for FM and Beyond
Bob Fahlin - Autodesk - Autodesk FMDesktop
FM214-1 - Autodesk® Facility Manager: Beyond the Basics
Stephen Komisarek - Autodesk - Autodesk FMDesktop
FM300-1 - It's Official! Autodesk® FMDesktop™ can Make your Practice More Profitable!
Shaun Bryant - CADFMconsultants - Autodesk FMDesktop
FM304-1 - Blue Line to Bottom Line with Autodesk® FMDesktop™: The Real World
Matt Davoren - CADD Microsystems, Inc.- Autodesk FMDesktop
FM310-1L - Autodesk® Revit® and Facilities Management: What's in Your Toolbox?
Clyne Curtis - Brigham Young University - AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite
FM314-1 - Revit®, AutoCAD® Architectural, and AutoCAD® Drawings to DWF™ for FMDesktop™
Arthur Franz - Simple Solutions FM - Autodesk FMDesktop
FM318-1 - NCS Version 4.0: Revisions You Need to Know About
Charles Green - Wilson & Company - AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite
FM500-1 - Facility Management: Down to the Nuts and Bolts
Jon Luby - Raptor Software - Autodesk FMDesktop

Some pretty interesting stuff there with some good instructors. I'll really miss not attending these classes this year (as well as classes for MEP and CAD Management), especially since we FINALLY GET A LAB. I've been waiting for that and asking for that for a few years now. I'd love to hear some reports from those who do attend and participate in this track (either just a personal email for my own information, or a nice writeup that I can post here with proper credit given back to the writer).

Do check out the spreadsheet on the referenced blAUg post for a complete listing of courses and teachers to see what you might find valuable in your industry and discipline.


Customization: Hot Topics

I thought I'd share with you today, a little listing of some posts I have come across in the customization newsgroup on the Autodesk Discussion Groups. These are just topics that I found fairly interesting to read; I hope you enjoy some of them, too (if you don't want to read through the whole list, don't forget to utilize your browser's 'Find' command to locate a certain topic - CTRL + F).

I've listed the original thread title, the username of the original poster, the date the thread was begun and then a short description of the topic:

Please, Need Help with this problem - Crislem - 6/27/08
application that copies attributes properties and transfers them to all other attributes in the drawing with the same tag in the same block, multiples drawings.

Need a new version of Distance - lsaapedd - 6/5/08
Distance utility shows results in various units (current units and metric units)

Launch Toolbar from Menu - AlbertRKK - 5/12/08
Describes how to launch a custom toolbar from a pulldown menu

Swap Layer Colors - KDispoto - 4/30/08
(see 5/1 reply from Jason Piercey)

Flatten Command - CadTun - 4/18/08
Check out the replies for a couple of Flatten Routines

Block Description at Tooltip - DrewJones - 3/13/08
A couple of simple suggestions for getting block information to show up

Force Anonymous Block redefinition - Hutch - 02/08/08
(any comments on whether Ajo1's suggestion works well or offer alternatives?)

Return Answer using DYN - nvanlaar - 1/29/08
Posted lisp routine adds up dynamic parameters, but, returns results in the command line
Various suggested work arounds, and one solution posted

Move object to z=0 - adwelling - 1/11/08
lisp routine posted to move a selected object to 0 'Z' elevation

I want to delete all mtext with a height 2.5 - syria89 - 1/8/08
users give multiple suggestions for automating the selection and deletion of entities of a specific type

How to replace %%U for {\L on MTEXT - Alex Diaz - 11/14/07
reminder that this is case-sensitive so %%U and %%u are not equal

xref path drive letter - rickdputo - 10/7/07
suggestions on repathing with the Reference Manager (application external to AutoCAD, availabe since R2004)
op made use of scripting with Express Tool 'REDIR' (Express > File Tools > Redefine Path)

Better SelectSimilar Command! - Nrhoads - 6/28/07
Commentary and variations on SelSim command that I'm already so fond of!

Attention All Logitech Mouse / Keyboard Users! - docsaintly - 6/28/07
tips on configuring extra mouse buttons to perform CUI functions in AutoCAD, alternative driver
(I haven't tried this one yet, although I've been meaning to)

*E Anonymous Blocks - Joe Burke - 6/26/07
discussion on type origin of anonymous blocks with certain prefixes (eg. *E, *D, *U & *X) and how to work with them

anonymous blocks - bustr - 3/22/07
link posted to file Unanon.lsp and article listing origins for *U, *E, *X, *D and *A prefix blocks and replacement tips

How to find duplicate text string ? - weechoo - 6/11/07
lisp routine draws lines between identical strings of TEXT or MTEXT
another posted displays a summary report

Insert Titleblock - Brynn-PHi - 5/17/07
tips to user who wants to insert titleblock and get attribute dialog box, rather than the cmd line

Rename Layout Tabs - S Buckley - 5/17/07
lisp routine to rename layout tabs

Plot Multiple Layouts on a single sheet - Ken Dispoto - 5/16/07
flexible lsp routine creates an array of layouts to plot multiple layouts on one sheet

Anyone ever heard of this routine? - Dave Drahn - 5/15/07
moves text in a displacement relative to it's current rotation

Annotative text gets HUGE!! - galleyslave - 5/9/07
lisp routine takes an attribute (or text) and capitalizes it (doesn't work well with annotative text objects)

Batch Processing - Jason@Draftech - 4/11/07
Best practices and resources for batch-processing CAD files (lsp, vba, scripting, scriptpro)

English to Metric Dimensions - jsteve2 - 4/11/07
user wants to use imperial units, but, have them show up with both imperial and metric when dimensioning

How to get an MLeaderStyle object - Allen Johnson - 4/5/07
posted routine provides a method of searching for and returning and mleaderstyle object

Check Numbers - shinji130 - 3/29/07
routine provided to find duplicate text strings, but, user still wanted to know if there is a way to search for text strings missing from a sequence

Simplify polylines - hmsilva - 3/12/07
suggestions for simplifying polylines, removing duplicate vertices, weed.lsp

Rotate view in floating viewport horizontal - theman1771 - 3/7/07
dview twist, ucs and macro suggestions

Compare two lisp files? - hutch - 2/26/07
method for using microsoft word to compare two files

Drawing Compare - Schmid, Martin - 2/25/03 (updates in 08)
methods and software for comparing two drawing files for differences

Applying page setup to drawing - ipower_BH - 2/14/07
routine posted

Load layers from comma delimited text file - Patrick Porter - 2/7/07
two websites given as resources

qselect in command line - varun_bose - 2/7/07
cannot be done, use ssget instead


Book: AutoCAD and LT 2009 Bible Available

I just noticed a post on Shaan Hurley's blog revealing that the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2009 Bible is now available.

As I mentioned, I've been lucky enough to have been able to assist Ellen Finkelstein in the updating of her priceless teaching and reference work for the past two releases. Lee Ambrosius also works with Ellen on this book, in addition to everything else he does (such as programming and writing AutoCAD for Dummies).

So, if you need to learn AutoCAD, or just want to have a handy reference of anything and everything in the program, I'd recommend the AutoCAD Bible. It's heartily cross-referenced and well organized and indexed so that you can find what you need. (And don't worry that you'd be lining my pockets with this endorsement, I will not receive any royalties based on sales, so I'm purely recommending it because I think it's such a great book. Even with my 14 years behind the wheel of AutoCAD, I use my Bible for reference quite a bit)

Ellen has also done books on Powerpoint, RSS, Flash and the Open Office products... so, if you're in need of training, tips and tricks and tutorials for any of the above, you can just go here.

Nerding of America

I just read an entertaining column from one of my favorite local Post-Dispatch writers, Bob R (I can't spell his last name, but, I can pronounce it!).

He's written a piece with examples of how nerds, dorks and geeks are taking over America, from business to movies and bookstores. Sweet.

You can check it out here.


AutoCAD LT Tips and Tricks Webcast

July 16th at 10am (pacific), Kate Morrical (AutoCAD LT's Technical Marketing Manager) is hosting a Tips and Tricks Webcast just for LT users.

See the original announcement from Kate here, or go to the Registrations page here to sign up.


Salary Survey Participation Numbers - Update

This year's AUGI Salary Survey run is officially over!

The numbers are in and I've post an updated participation chart below.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the nearly 6,000 participants this year!
Many of my peers suggested that participation levels might drop significantly this year, due to the downturn in some sectors of the US building industry, but, the numbers are fairly steady. We'll see if the demographics have changed much once the results are in.

The initial survey results article will be posted in the August/September issue of AUGIWorld Magazine, with further breakdowns to be posted to the web. I did get a lot of good feedback on the podcast I did last year, so I intend to do a follow-up this year.
Don't forget, about the time our survey comes out, Robert Green will be conducting his annual CAD Manager's survey; after you take part, you can find the results through CADalyst.

Ours is a somewhat unique survey in regards to the information that we collect and present, and I am happy to give a bit of support in your review of job conditions.
But, as always, I recommend at least three supporting sources when asking for a raise, so be sure to get your vague, but, geographically representative number from www.salary.com and see what you can find from www.indeed.com/salary (their numbers are based on currently posted job openings). If you can find any resources specific to your industry, I'd encourage you to include them as well, if they apply to you.

And instructors, and those looking to change industries, be sure to check out the field comparison document which will illustrate differences in job satisfaction levels and employee perceptions of job security.


OT: Really staying busy

Well, it's been a busy time in the Perry household.

We were thrilled to have hosted our dear friends Bill and Karen from Australia for a week. It's fun playing tourist here in St. Louis, especially in the beautiful springtime.

While at Grant's Farm, we did get caught in a pretty heinous downpour. But, rather than run for the meager shelter with the rest of the human cattle, we stayed standing below the umbrellas on the dining tables. Offspring Alpha, having been placed standing on the table by Bill, stayed pretty dry with the exception of his feet. Alas, we adults were cursed with soaked backsides. But, at least we had some breathing room. I always love feeding the baby goats and watching the other animals on the farm (some animals from each continent, except Antarctica).

Their tour included the Arch, the floods, the St. Louis Zoo, the Science Center, Antonio Winery and Schlafly bottleworks as well as some of our favorite restaurants. We also spent some much-needed relaxation time at home with them. Gosh, what big kids we all are!

Mike and I got to see Offspring Beta for the first time via Ultrasound two weeks ago. MAN has that technology gotten even more impressive in the five years since I first saw Alpha in his! Oh, and of course, this means TWO BOYS! A girl would have been lovely, too, but, I have so much fun with our son that I'm really looking forward to another.

I recently started a new course in my Bachelor's studies at SLU (they're compressed classes, one four-hour course per week for nine weeks). It's technically a Biology course, but, with more of a medical slant, since most of my classmates are in the medical field. It's about how cultural and ethnic differences can affect the care medical workers give to patients and how patients communicate with their caregivers. Really thought-provoking. I'm in the midst of doing a group project with a couple of sharp women from the group. It's a challenging class, but, I really like it.

Mike has also been insanely busy with his work with the AUGI Board, and just returned yesterday from his tri-annual face-to-face meeting with the other volunteering BoDs. It's obviously good to have him back home helping to keep things running smoothly.

Oh, and thanks to those friends who saw my interview in the June issues of CADalyst Magazine about online networking in the design world and gave me positive feedback about it. Obviously it's an interesting subject that is changing the way that we work (especially how we find work).

Also, the Salary Survey is ending right now, so I'll be delving into that starting tomorrow and will be immersed in it for the next couple of months.

And, St. Louis is getting another CAD Camp this year (September 23rd), so keep an eye out to see when classes are posted and registration opens up (don't forget, in year's past, you could get the cost of your CAD Camp discounted off of your Autodesk University registration fee).

If you're interested in all of the little things going on in the CAD world, check out all of the announcements, press releases, favorite resources, etc that I post for the benefit of the Gateway AUG in their discussion group.

I'm also busy tackling some other things in my personal life, so it's really never a dull moment with us.

That's okay, evidently, that's the way that I like it.



Salary Survey Participation Numbers

Well, as we all should know, the Annual Salary Survey is getting close to the end of it's run (so be sure to take part within the next 5 days!)

I thought it might be fun to take a peek back at the participation numbers over the years:

2002: 1,629
2003: 1,271
2004: 3,259
2005: 6,026
2006: 7,830
2007: 6,721
2008: ?,???

Those are some pretty impressive numbers there, but I'm sure that, with your help, we can do even better here in 2008.

Remember that the results will be available in the September/October 2008 issue of AUGIWorld Magazine and additional results will be added soon after to the Survey channel of the AUGI site.


CAD/Design/Architecture/Engineering Salary Survey

AUGI is currently running the 2008 Annual Salary Survey!

Which means that your peers need YOU to log in and report your views. We call this a survey because that's precisely what we're doing. We're collecting information from the members to compile and share back with the members. What a great idea! But, unfortunately, only about 10% of our membership takes part each year, which limits the amount of meaningful data that I've got to work with. Remember, every little bit helps. Speak for your industry!

Normally we do this survey in the fall and publish the results in the first issue of the following year. While each company may be slightly different, many will hand out raises and bonuses at the end of the year. So, in order that you can have as many resources as possible at your disposal before then, we're running this survey in June, so that it can be published in the fall.

Of course, if you have any concerns about participating in this anonymous survey or have questions about any of it, be sure to check out the updated FAQ. And the 'F' in FAQ, REALLY means FREQUENTLY. I receive emails about this survey all year round, and if folks would take the time to read the Frequently Asked Questions document, they wouldn't need to waste their time contacting me.

I did get more constructive suggestions than ever last year and, as usual, I have made changes based on the well thought out requests from our members who are interested in helping me improve what we're offering.
Many "Thanks" to those folks who truly appreciate all of my volunteer time on this and tell me about how our survey has benefited you. That's what AUGI is all about, users helping users.

Check out the results from the 2007 Survey which include: the Salary Survey article and charts from AUGIWorld Magazine, the FAQ document (which includes a listing of all questions asked on the survey, frequently asked questions and other salary sites), a Podcast (mp3 containing survey observations and tips on asking for a raise), a spreadsheet containing various comparisons and rankings between each discipline/industry as well as individual downloads providing more information on each industry/field by themselves.


Autodesk Offers AIA Podcasts and Webcasts

Looks like Autodesk has posted a new site for the AIA Convention resources they've put together. Podcasts and webcasts on BIM and Sustainable Design. Sounds pretty interesting. See below for a snippet of what you can find:

Check out the “Voices of Architecture Podcast Library” where you’ll find a series of podcast interviews including:

Bob Berkebile, BNIM – Bob discuss the topic of Architecture and Public Identity and why it is a hot topic in the industry. Bob also describes one of the most interesting projects his firm is currently working on today, what he sees as a key trend in global architecture and the importance of BIM knowledge as a key factor when evaluating employee prospects.

Mark Dietrick, Burt Hill – Mark comments about the biggest new trends in the architecture industry, and what Burt Hill looks for in terms of BIM knowledge when searching for new employees.

John Moebes, Director of Construction for Crate & Barrel - Mark discusses how the Revit platform helps his company improve the design and build process, what Revit platform solutions they use, how Crate & Barrel has adopted integrated project management, and what he sees as the biggest new trend in architecture today.

Interviews with Jay Bhatt, senior VP of Autodesk AEC Solutions and Phil Bernstein, VP building industry & strategy relations for Autodesk posted at this site, along with a host of interviews with Autodesk BIM and Revit experts.


BIM Manager - What's the Deal?

A term that's appearing a lot these days in the design world is BIM Manager.
How is that different from a CAD Manager? How vital is the role that they play? How much money can they expect to earn?

Well, as we all know... information is only as important as what you do with it.
Do you keep it up to date?
Can everyone find it?
Is it accurate?
Is it being passed along to everyone who needs it in a usable form?

Check out the following commentary and see what others have to say (and, I have to admit, it's difficult to find BIM Management articles, since when you google... you mostly find job advertisements for this in-demand hot job)...

The Importance of a BIM Manager in a Firm - Architectural Graphics Standards Blog
The New 'Must Have' - The BIM Manager - Dominic Gallello (via AECBytes)

Mark Kiker announced on the CADD Manager blog that he requested teach a course on Defining a BIM Manager and their duties at AU2008.

Read the BIM Manager Blog by David Kingham.

Job Descriptions:
If you really want to know what BIM Managers are doing, check out the job advertisements, Indeed.com alone shows over 260 active advertisements at the time of my search.

You can also check out the estimated salary here (around $80,000 usd).

According to the 109 BIM Managers who took part in the AUGI Salary Survey in 2007, their average wages were about $62,000usd (this survey is worldwide, whereas Indeed.com's only refers to positions posted in the US)
We're running this anonymous survey again next month, please take part (June 1st - 31st, 2008).


FMDesktop Pilot Program Status

Hi there, fellow FM'ers. I just wanted to give you folks an update on how my project has been going.

I started out about a year ago with FMDesktop 7.0 (FM, FL, FW) and cross-graded to ACA08 (for the SpaceAutoGenerate feature), which then made me update to FMD7.1 (because the older one didn't work with anything newer than 2007, also remember that 2009 will not work with 7.1, so I hope you've got FMD subscription for when the development team adds that ).

Anyway, both programs were a slight learning curve for me. I've been on the discussion groups and at AU pumping everyone I could find for guidance on FMDesktop for the past couple of years. I made a few mistakes (accidentally deleted one field which undid a couple of weeks of work, there's the drawback of working in a database, there's no 'undo' button). But, it was quicker redoing the information since I'd already done it once before (if we push this live, I'll set up automatic nightly backups to a portable hard drive, IT does this, but, it's a big hassle to just look for and restore one file or folder on a system as large as ours).

The space creation and cleanup took about two weeks for one floor of my campus (big campus), the export to DWF went okay (once I realized I had to save in the current file format... we're saving down to an older one to accommodate older seats), import into Facility Manager was totally painless.

I found it really simple and easy to start clicking and picking to assign departments, room usage and other data. I imported a bunch of plans with my MEP info to show how easy that was, and I created queries for the information I added during my pilot (asbestos locations, plumbing shutoff valves, which air handling unit serves each area) and liked the out of the box reports (although, if you've used Access before, you know these are pretty easy to modify with some practice).

So, I'm in the second year of my pilot as we speak, but, the BIG thing in this project was the presentation I just made a couple of weeks ago.

Every year my department hosts a planning and education conference for all of our facilities group (managers and supervisors), some of our corporate folks and even some facilities people from the system's other facilities. We present on various projects we've done or wish to do and get feedback from our experienced coworkers.

I put together a presentation (I only had an hour) and had to remember that these folks were engineers, project managers, skilled mechanic managers and nontechnical administrators; NOT software or computer technicians. That's a challenge for a dork like me who is surrounded by other nerds like me all the time, they sometimes tell me I speak a different language.

But, we did just practice effective speaking and did test presentations in a course I just took in my studies at Saint Louis University, so that allowed me to hear some good tips and feedback from the professors and other students.

I reminded them of the definition and the purpose of CAFM, gave some examples of other facilities who utilize such systems and reminded them of pitches we'd been given in the past by software vendors.
Then I told the positives of FMD over others (cheaper startup cost, ease of modification, no need for a web server so we can just use our existing file server, ability to expand to include a work order system [ours is a bit outdated]), informed them of the information I put in this pilot and walked them through how it can be accessed and easily modified, suggested either having our space management firm adopt this or bring a portion of it back in house, queried for the office and associated equipment of our director as a sample and finally showed them a brainstormed list we'd put together years ago with the type of information we might choose to include with a full rollout.

I ended by telling them where they can watch a video I made (I love CAMTASIA!) walking through how easy it is to use the program to make changes (they've all seen me polyline spaces in AutoCAD before when I first did some of these plans and know it takes awhile).

Of course, I also revealed to them how many staff I thought we'd need and was grilled on that a bit, which gave me an opportunity for my long-standing justifications.

Anywho, wish me luck. This lives or dies by the reactions to that presentation. I was told by my Manager and Director that I'd presented well and they were re-convinced (believe me, it took a lot of talking to get the ten grand I needed to just get this far).

It seemed to be well-received and I got a lot of good questions from the audience (about 45 people), and even managed to mention BIM (which our corporate overlords kept mentioning during their presentations because they're starting to require it... I'm trying to make the point that I need to be more involved in that, because their current open standards will not help me much from a long-term system management position, although it's been proven to streamline the design process).

All I can do now is... wait.

Wish me luck.


Stray Rescue of St. Louis Wins $1M

Congratulations to Randy Grim, Stray Rescue and the St. Louis community for winning a recent contest that earned them one million dollars for a shelter makeover.

ZooToo sponsored this makeover contest and searched the country looking for the most worthy program and gave financial gifts to the top three.
This looks like a really great resource site, which was founded by the former CEO of Meow Mix (Richard Thomas).

A.G. Edwards has apparently donated a warehouse to Stray Rescue which will house them and other services including Pound Pals (Randy's ultimate goal is for them to be able to offer 5,000 free or low-cost spay/neuter services to the poor each year to help reduce the number of strays who need rescuing).

With this contest combined with funds they've set aside, they've got roughly half of what they'll need to fit out this new space for occupation and use. So, as they enter into the Design and Development phase, I wish them luck toward the successful completion of this project.

~a round of applause~ Great job and keep up the good work!

AutoCAD 2009 - All the rest

I went over some of the highlights of the my initial product review of the AutoCAD 2009 release in this article back in February.

In April, AUGI HotNews published my TipNiques column on the Interface changes with ACAD09.

And in May, I did a follow up (AutoCAD 2009: Odds and Ends) listing all of the little changes, enhancements and new features that I'd come across.

In June, Brian Benton is scheduled to round out this series with a good walk through on the Action Recorder, so be sure to check it out.

There have also been some articles in AUGIWorld and in other HotNews columns about making the most of new features.

And, please note, if you want the menu bar back and things to look more traditional, just switch to the Classic Workspace.

Of course, if you're not quite ready and willing to upgrade, feel free to refresh yourself and make sure you're taking advantage of the AutoCAD 2008 features!

TIPniques: Dashboard Customization
TIPniques: Using Referenced Files
TIPniques: AutoCAD 2008 Odds and Ends


My Status Update

Alright, I've been a little busy lately.

Okay, a lot busy.

Since it's new product time, I'd finished up my work for Ellen on the 2009 AutoCAD and LT Bible, then started on a couple of articles for AUGI HotNews TipNique's column (April and May 2008).

I returned to college as a student of St. Louis University's School of Professional Studies to resume my Bachelor's degree.

Then my husband and I found out that we were expecting offspring #2... so I've been having to spend an awful lot of time napping because I'm EXHAUSTED.

Also, the Gateway AUG had their Spring Quarterly meeting. I presented on AutoCAD 2009 and Haden Smith presented on workflow with BIM. It was a pretty good meeting with a lot of great commentary by the members in attendance. We do apologize for going out of character and gathering on a Friday night rather than during the middle of the week, but, we had multiple scheduling conflicts that necessitated our departure from that norm.

During the meeting, I announced to the group that because of my schooling and impending bundle of joy, I would be resigning as President and would be replaced by Nicholas Iyadurai.
I'll still be serving on the board as a Member at Large, promoting and attending the meetings, probably presenting on occasion as needed. But, I'll no longer perform emailing or treasurer duties, as I have since the group's inception.
So, since then, past-President Brian Myers and I have been meeting with Nicholas and Chris VonFeldt about procedures, history and the new website revisions (Chris has been working hard to tidy up our site, lots more to come!). Also thanks to members Elle and Rich for their review of the site and additional ideas and to Rudy for helping to arrange our meeting space.
Our members are why we can do what we do.

As for why I asked Nicholas to step into my shoes... well, his company does a lot of work for mine, and I've always been pleased with his professionalism, enthusiasm and skills, and he was ready and willing. So, many thanks to him for agreeing to take on this laborious yet rewarding task!

Last week I had my final for my first college course in over five years. Whew! That's a lot of pressure. But, I read and studied the book and lecture notes and paid attention to the comments my classmates made in our online arena (which was hard in a night class considering I've given up almost all caffeine)... and surprisingly did really well and feel a lot better now than I did at the beginning of the class. So, I'm off for a couple of weeks before my next class starts.

I was a bit disappointed that the Industry Advisory Board for Vatterott's CAD program was scheduled for the same time as my final, as I do normally enjoy those quite a bit. I did ask my husband to go in my stead and he really thought it was a pleasant and productive evening as well.

AS IF THAT WASN'T ENOUGH! Last week I also had a BIG presentation to give at work. As I've mentioned, I've been piloting the FMDesktop CAFM suite over about the past year. I've been trying to get enough support for a CAFM implementation campus-wide for almost as long as I've been here. FMD was finally cheap enough for me to push through a test, thanks to the support of my Manager and Director.

Every year we (the Engineering group) host an Education and Planning conference for our hospital, but, we also invite the pertinent corporate overlords, as well as FM leaders from some of the health system's smaller hospitals. We all present on various projects we've completed or would like to tackle, and it's a great time to get feedback, garner support and share our opinions with one another.

Well, since I'm the only nerd left in the department, I had the distinct pleasure of arranging the setup of the presentations and the A/V needs. I don't know just how many ways there are to break or choke up a Powerpoint file, but, I'll bet that I saw at least a half a dozen different methods early last week (although the deadline for submissions was the previous week).

So, everything ran smoothly technically as the two day conference went along, and last Friday I had made my presentation to the group (next to last, THAT really helped my nerves).

It was really very well received. I think we're getting to the point where we're willing to embrace technologies out of our traditional MEP engineering realm. There were some GREAT questions from the other Managers and the Supervisors. My boss and the director told me that it came off really well and they thought I'd done great.

I only hope that I did the possibilities the justice that they deserve. There's so much we could do better. We're already good at what we do, but, we can always improve things.
Wish me luck.

I'll be starting my next class soon, and I'm in the process of making my annual revisions to the AUGI CAD/Design Salary Survey. YES! You heard that right, ALREADY! We're going to run it in the summer so that we can publish it in the fall in time for year-end reviews. I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner.

Whew. Now I remember why I'm so tired.

Oh, and my office move that was scheduled for the 8th of May has been pushed back until the end of the month. Boy, oh boy. I can't wait. (rolling eyes)


Rock and Roll... that old familiar feeling

Well, some residents of the Midwest are talking today.

Evidently overnight, there was a 5.4 Earthquake (or 5.2) on the border between the states of Illinois and Indiana.

Now, the Perry household resides in Missouri (over 130 miles away) but, we felt it. Near 20 to 5:00 this morning, both myself and my husband woke up. He didn't realize what woke him and fell back asleep.
But, past Californian that I am, I recognized the feel and sat up to see how long it would last and see how strong it was. It probably lasted half a minute. It was strong enough to shake the bed, but, not hard enough to knock anything over. After getting up to check on Mini-Mike, I went back to bed.

I do have to call my Mom over in Illinois later... she's got quite a collection of glass, metal and porcelain bells, so I'm sure the ringing noise was enough to wake my parents up.

There was a big to-do here when I was about ten years old, maybe a mild tremor with some guy predicting 'the big one' for the New Madrid fault. But, nothing came of it (except the wasted effort of packing away all of my Mother's bells).

The really memorable one for most people was the year prior, in 1989 I remember only that we were at DisneyLand and had to leave early because it was shut for inspections after a sizable quake. My Grandparents were fully woken, but, said that my Dad, my Sister and I slept right through it (so, sue me... a kid is pretty tired after a day at Disney!). Although what most folks talk about was a canceled baseball game, and the horrifying freeway collapses.

As for today's results... I haven't seen or heard of much damage around here (but, there is some elsewhere) but for a rickety old bridge on Kingshighway Blvd. It's been partially shut down until it can be further assessed (personally, I think the whole bridge should have been shut down long ago... I like to compare the appearance of it to a half eaten Windmill Cookie but, I'm not a bridge inspector, so, what do I know?).
This wasn't directly in our route on the way in, but, we did pass by it. I heard that it was shut down totally, but, now the center two lanes are open to traffic. That is a major artery for the South part of St. Louis city, so I can't imagine what a total shutdown would do to our roads (and tempers).

So, here's hoping everyone came through the excitement unscathed. And, here's to me being cautious and adding earthquake coverage to my home insurance policy last summer.


Using MrSid files with AutoCAD 2009 Products

Check it out, Autodesk just posted the Raster Design Object Enabler yesterday.

ID: DL11091617
Applies to:
AutoCAD® 2009
AutoCAD® Architecture 2009
AutoCAD® Civil 3D® 2009
AutoCAD® Electrical 2009
AutoCAD® Land Desktop 2009
AutoCAD® Map 3D 2009
AutoCAD® Mechanical 2009
AutoCAD® MEP 2009

The AutoCAD® Raster Design 2009 Object Enabler is a freeware application that you can use to display AutoCAD® Raster Design 2009 image files. This release allows object data created in AutoCAD Raster Design 2009 to be accessed outside the AutoCAD Raster Design environment.

At each new release, there is an onslaught of questions on the discussion groups from people wondering why they can't use their MrSid files in the new version, so, we just have to wait patiently (yeah right) for the object enabler to show up, and here it is. Enjoy.


AU Course Proposals Due by April 27th

Autodesk University is accepting course proposals from those who wish to teach classes at AU2007 in Las Vegas.

Get them on in, don't wait until April 27th!
The great teachers and targeted topics are what make this trip worth it for eager students! Submit multiple proposals if you'd like!

Specifically for those Facility Management/CAFM folks out there, Mark Evans from Autodesk is willing to talk over ideas with you, if you'd like some feedback or refinement on a topic you're thinking about teaching.

Sadly, as mentioned, for the first time, I will not be able to attend AU this year, but, we have been increasing the quality of the Facility Management/Document Management/Coordination/CAD Management/CAFM track every year since they started being offered and I'd like to see that continue, even if I'm not there to benefit from it.


Our son shows off some new threads

My little dork in training (also known affectionately as 'Mini-Mike') is very happy with his new shirt.

What do you think of it?Early November, if you're curious.

So, it looks like that class I was planning to co-teach at this year's Autodesk University will just have to be put on hold for awhile.


St. Louis Metro Area CAD/BIM Meeting on Friday!

The Gateway Autodesk User Group (serving the St. Louis and Metro areas) is going to have it's Spring quarterly meeting on April the 4th from 6:00-8:00pm.

We'll be meeting at the Masonry Institute. Google map here.

I'll do a quick rundown of the interface changes with the AutoCAD 2009 family of products, and we'll have another speaker tackle a task in Revit Architecture. I might also prepare a couple of slides talking about the industries with the highest salaries (based on the recent AUGI Design Salary Survey).

As always, food and drinks will be provided (by our sponsor, Seiler Instrument, 'thanks' to them!).

I hope to see you there; bring a friend, no RSVP necessary.

If you have any questions/comments/suggestions for future meeting topics or locations, pop over to our Google Discussion Group to share your thoughts.


I'm twenty-seven & online photo editing

Yep. 27.


Just wanted to establish that.

Got it?

~moving along~

For fans of services like Picnik who allow you to edit photos online, you may be interested in hearing that Adobe has put up a Photoshop Express online. Make sure you've got Flash 9 and head on over to try it out.


What's your Favorite Express Tool?

Bonus tools, express tools... whatever you call them, you've got certain tasks that just wouldn't be as easy without them!

The past few years, Autodesk has rolled more of them into the AutoCAD-based products (like the layer tools now on the Layers II toolbar like LAYISO, Change Space, Layer Merge). A couple of those tools have really been improved/expanded, too.

BUT, there are still a few more tools left over on the old EXPRESSMENU.
Autodesk wants to know which ones are your favorite!

So, take this survey and share your thoughts with them. Who knows that could happen next?


ADDA Education Conference is in St. Louis in April

Some of you may or may not be familiar with the American Design Drafting Association, so feel free to check them out here.

It looks like they will be hosting their 49th Annual educational conference here in St. Louis. The Gateway to the Wet (that was intentional, because we're flooding a bit right now).

The conference runs from April 14th through the 18th,

It looks like there are a few opportunities for attendees to qualify to receive some free software. They also encourage you to bring a laptop because many vendors will be offering free downloads? Interesting.

Here are some highlights mentioned: CAD Academy, LEED (green certification and implementation), NCS (National CAD Standard), BIM (building information modeling), AutoCAD, Dynamic Blocks, Annotative text and scaling, CUI, Solidworks, PTC Pro-Engineer, Google Sketchup, the General Aviation Space Group, Digital Photography and Documents and Inventor.

Wow. Sounds like there will be a lot going on.

I don't clearly see the conference location listed... I'd have to guess it's at a hotel on 9th street downtown?

Anyway, yet another education opportunity to enjoy for those that are interested.

Here's one to put on your calendars for next year: the National Organization for Minority Architects will be hosting their 2009 NOMA conference here! You can check out NOMA's 2008 conference details here. It will be held in Washington D.C. this October.


In Honor of St. Patrick's Day...

In recognition of St. Pat's day, for myself, my half-paddy hubby and the 34.5 million Americans who claim some Irish ancestry, how about a look at Irish Architecture (from About.com's Architecture page).
Mike showing off our little dork in training sporting his Irish gear last St. Patty's day.


Pi day is March 14th!

Well, well, well. It's every nerd's favorite time of year again... Pi day!

Find out more on the Official Pi Day site.

Show your support for your geeky brethren and... erm... sistern, and sport some pi wear (my favorite is the digits mug), geeky humour shirts or just ThinkGeek.


Back to School Time!

I mean me.

Yes, at the same time that I'm going through the fun of getting my offspring registered to begin school, I am getting ready to become a student again myself.

Not to his school, of course.
Although, elementary might be a bit easier than university.

I'll start my first class on Thursday though St. Louis University's School for Professional Studies. I've been wanting to complete my Bachelor's degree, and am thrilled to be able to start back up on it again.

The thing that is different about the Professional Studies curriculum is that it is comprised of evening, weekend and online courses as opposed to the traditional full-time daily classes.
I'll be doing night classes for now, but, might end up seeing if I can take some online courses later in my degree.

Looking over the history of SLU; it is the oldest university west of the Mississippi, founded in 1818. (Given the fact that they've been around twice as long as my hospital, I'm sort of relieved not to be on their Facilities staff ;-p... okay, their midtown campus wasn't opened until 1888, but, still, old is old.)

So, anyway, wish me luck with this challenging opportunity!


Gateway AUG Spring Meeting April 4th

The Gateway Autodesk User Group (serving the St. Louis and Metro areas) is going to have it's Spring quarterly meeting on April the 4th from 6:00-8:00pm. We'll be meeting at the Masonry Institute. Google map here.

We'll have some tips and tricks for various disciplines, as well as a quick showing of AutoCAD 2009 so you can take a peek at some of the interface changes and other tweaks.

As always, food and drinks will be provided (by our sponsor, Seiler Instrument, thanks to them!).

I hope to see you there, bring a friend...

If you have any questions/comments, pop over to our Google Discussion Group to share your thoughts.


Springfield Autodesk User Group Meeting!

Hey, faithful readers... I figured some of you Midwesterners would like to know about some upcoming user group meetings in Springfield, Illinois. The Central Illinois Autodesk User Group has announced the dates for their next three meetings:

March 12th
April 23rd
May 21st

They'll all start at 7pm, and be held at Hanson Engineering. So, if you're in the neighborhood, why not pop on by?

For questions contact: Nick Del Faro

And for you Gateway AUG members, yes, we've been in planning for our spring meeting for awhile. We had a date schedule, but, my school timing mucked that up, sorry. Check back for a final announcement on the details, soon. Thanks!


Making another move

Pardon me as I meander down memory lane today...

I go by the username 'Wanderer' on a few forums, for the simple reason... I am one. I have moved quite a bit in my short(ish) life. I was chatting with my boss last year during my most recent house move, and we realized that was the 8th address I'd had in my seven years of working for him.

Well, last Friday we had a meeting to review our project, and we've set a move date.
As of May, I will be moving out of my current office building and into another one.

The amusing part of this is that, the Engineering department has been in this office suite for about 9 years. Prior to that, they'd been placed in a building for a few years... which was torn down. Now this one is being torn down... and the one they're putting us in... pretty good chances of being the next one to be torn down.
I'd laugh if I didn't know how much stuff I have to move.

So, I have to realize that, while I have lived in two states, four counties and eight bedrooms... I have always come to work in this office. I have taken the same stairs and walked through the same door for more years than I have ever kept a home address (by about a factor of four).

I was hired on my 20th birthday.
I have had three cell phone and two home phone providers.
I obtained three certificates.
I completed my Associate's degree.
I began my Bachelor's degree.
I experienced my pregnancy (woohoo! morning sickness!).
I scheduled the date for my son's kindergarten screening.
I learned about Facilities Management.
I fleshed out my educational AutoCAD experience with real-life applications.
I have met with hundreds of people, anywhere from Maintenance to Architecture to the Historical Society.
I have had four pc's, two pda's, two laptops, three projectors and two fax machines.
I have drunk a lake's worth of coffee and burned hundreds of CD's.
I have laughed.
I have cried.
I have hired a lawyer.
I have exchanged PM's on AUGI with a special someone who later became my husband.
I have received the phone calls informing me of a two dearly loved ones deaths, and those of a half a dozen friends.
I have scheduled and attended 7 Autodesk Universities.
I have met another St. Louis user and started the Gateway AUG.
I have started this blog.
I have held four part-time jobs.
I have written a CAD Standards package.
I have beta-tested and piloted at a dozen programs.
I've driven four owned cars and seven rentals to the office.
I have filled out 97 monthly reports.
I have had 100 network passwords.
I have used and maintained 4 HP DesignJet plotters and two Xerox copiers.

All... from this office. Right here.

The past eight years have seen a lot of changes in my life, of course, any person my age experiences quite a few anyway. But, I've suddenly become reflective and playing through old memories with the knowledge that the 'address' I have held the longest of any other in my life, even if just on my business card, will no longer be 'mine'.
Of course, I'll still be on the same campus, with the same coworkers and most of the same office furniture... but, still... this place has been my working home for so long, I can't help reminiscing for a little bit. Smiling on the good times, and taking five to remember the not-so-good.

One good thing is that the my new office will be slightly bigger (and we'll finally get a new microwave in the kitchen to replace the poxy one with a broken clock). ;)
One bad thing, there won't be a ladies-only restroom anymore. :-(

Once I'm in my new digs, I'll post a shot. It is pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

So? How long have you had the same desk location? Longest stretch of years?


New St. Louis Downtown Bridge Finally Moving Forward!

Finally! Some great news commuters have been waiting for! Missouri and Illinois have finally reached an agreement enabling them to move forward with the plans to add another bridge across the Mississippi River.

An official announcement (press conference with MoDot?) is evidently planned for Thursday.

The sigh of relief is over the fact that we've had $$money$$ approved from Congress for like two years, and hadn't moved forward yet.

As a reformed Illinoisan, I have spent many a long rush hour on the Poplar Street Bridge. Four Interstates converge on this one bridge between St. Louis and the Metro East. (check out this cool collection of information on other area bridges)

For some extra span-loving fun, check out this Nova page describing the strengths and weaknesses of different bridge types (Nova did a great special on the construction of the Clark Bridge, a cable-stayed design located in Alton, Il). More PBS building fun here.


The Army of Dorkness continues to grow

Oh, yes, another CAD weblog is born...

Blog is Dead, my foot (Chris Lindner at AU2006).

A plug for my friend Steve, otherwise known as that Bug Watch guy or one of the CADLock guys: he has started a new blog! Blog Nauseam. Nice.

AutoCAD, music, images and video make this a well-rounded site, check him out.

To Give Up or Not to Give Up my Viewer?

Well, with this announcement on Volker Joseph's 'Beyond the Paper' blog, I might finally be convinced to switch back to an Autodesk drawing viewer.

Since VoloView Express (Autodesk's prior FREE dwg viewer) went the way of the dodo, our mechanics, supervisors and project managers needed a drawing viewer to see the systems prints on our server.

All they needed to do was to open, print and measure within these files, but, of course, they didn't want to spend any money. We needed the bucks for more important things like chillers, etc.

I ended up selecting Bentley Viewer for them. It was easy enough for them to use, and did what they needed it to at the right price ($0).

When Design Review came available, I contemplated switching to the Design Review/True View combo which would convert a dwg to dwf on-the-fly and allow them more capabilities.
But, there were two things in my way, the fact that it was two programs, and the fact that I'd read x-refs would sometimes be dropped during the conversion.

So, we stayed with what we were using.

BUT, now, it appears that TrueView 2009 will measure by itself, with no need of the addition of Design Review or file format conversions!
I'll be checking it out as soon as the new version is available.

You can also read Ron LaFon's evaluation of a few viewers over on CADalyst Lab Reviews.

And, as long as I'm here, I'll also link to CADalyst's Benchmark test for AutoCAD 2008 (actually R2000 through 2008)... since I'm always been asked questions about a newer version of AUGI's 'Gauge' benchmark (there isn't one! it says up to 2005 and means up to 2005, I didn't write it, please quit asking me! :-D).


Hey, it's National Engineer's Week!

February 17th through 23rd, 2008 is National Engineer's Week!

And, a special note is that February 21st is 'Introduce a Girl to Engineering' day!

Check out these links to find resources and ideas of how you can participate.

Sometimes I worry that Engineering and other technical design fields have an image problem. Students contemplating different careers think of engineering as 'too hard' or 'too nerdy' or as needing too much science or math. Most folks that I talk to in the industry have a parent, grandparent or other close relative in Engineering.
So, yeah, we've obviously got the insight that engineering is cool (very cool), too bad most students don't know that... yet. ;)

Linky linky:

Google observes
Nxt Step celebrates
Sun Encourages
Motorola participates
Wear Your Own Skin recounts her experiences as a volunteer
Curious Cat comments
SanFran Chronicle reports (via paul ferguson's tech blog)
Science Blog supports
TMWorld explains
Time steers
Live from Austin! lives it and loves it
MSU makes it matter
FunMurphy's hopes
DataCenter journals
LuckyGirl notices
Education News remembers
Engineering Pathways provides
Cherish stars
Salty Snack chews over


Some AutoCAD 2009 thoughts

Alright, it's getting to be that time again. New AutoCAD time.

I have been lucky enough to get to work again for the lovely and talented Ellen Finkelstein on her AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT 2009 Bible, so be sure to keep an eye on her store and check it out if you need a wonderful reference.

Alright... let's just get this out of the way...


There's a new interface!

Right. Now that that's out of our system. We don't have to be afraid. Some of us have already been annoyed by this in Office 2007.

I'd like to take a little step back in time. AutoCAD 2008. Lookee lookee, I can customize my dashboard panels, and I love them! Well, take a peek at my screenshot up here.

I right-clicked on the ribbon, and chose to 'Undock' it. Wow, check it out, it's my dashboard... only we're calling it a ribbon.
I had to use AutoCAD in it's default configuration for testing purposes, and found, after a couple of weeks, I kind of liked coming home to this nice, clean interface. It's purty.

BUT, I'll be the first to point out, I don't use the drop-down menus. I type many things, and use the dashboard for others. But, not everyone grew up on r10 and never took to toolbars like I did.
Oh, and YES, the Screen Menu is still here.

I'll admit I'm a bit irritated by the new icons down on the status bar, I'm used to text down there, so it will take some getting used to. I do like some of the new icons up on the ribbon, though.

I also included the 'menu browser' in my screencap at the beginning, because the entire menu system is right there, under the big red 'A'.
You can even search through this menu, which is pretty cool.
Documents here (recent and open drawing lists) can now have a thumbnail image.

I also like that the file close button is moved away from the application close button. It's now a little white 'x' down in the drawing area instead of resting directly below the button that closes AutoCAD. Some folks are really annoyed by this, but, I must have really bad eyesight, because I'm forever clicking the big one when I want the small one.

Of course, you can just switch your workspace to AutoCAD Classic, and you've got your menu and standard toolbars back how they were in past releases.

Now to My Favorites

Finally, a modeless layer dialog!!! Yay!
Alright, I've already talked to some other folks who are sorta 'meh' about that feature. But, honestly, with the type of work I do (finding, compiling, standardizing, tidying and disseminating loads of varied multi-discipline information), I'll find this pretty handy. It's like when I got so excited about a dialog box for the Layer Merge (LAYMRG) command. That made SUCH a difference in my work. (And, yes, I do automate some of what I do, but, believe me when I say 'CAD Standards' have been historically very loosely interpreted over the years)

Arrays can be previewed live... that's sweet, because I tend to muck these up at times, I'll admit.

DGN support isn't just for V8 anymore, now V7 is covered, too. You've now got layer control with DGN underlays, too.

Oh, speaking of working with referenced files, clipping boundaries can now be grip-edited. This isn't as cool as the 'invert clip' that came out in 2008, but, it's still an improvement.

Find and Replace is on steroids. Good tweaks here, a lot more control available now.

Things that should be mentioned

Macro Recorder. I think that pretty much says it all. This will open the door to automation to a lot of folks.

Geographic locations with Google Earth import.

View Cube/Nav Wheel thing. I like this better than 3d Orbit.

Quick Properties tooltip palette-like thingy.

Quick View Layouts and Drawings. This is actually pretty cool with the ability to scroll through like windows explorer thumbnails, but, with the added bonus of being able to zoom and print or save, etc.

Tooltips are on steroids. This could be helpful to some people. You get your basic tooltips, but, many of them expand further if you hover over them longer, providing visual examples of tools, or longer definitions.

Oh, a few people should appreciate the little tweak of better control over Hidden Message Settings (ie, the things you click 'always do such and such' or 'don't show me this again').

Layiso is now in the layer properties manager (and there's something about undo/redo operations in there, too, but, I haven't touched that yet).

There were a couple of other things listed in the docs, but, I don't really care about them.