Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Training Available

What are your New Year's resolutions? I hope that learning more of the software you have available will be one of them either for personal or professional reasons. There's not much that bothers me more than someone that has invested in software to help them save time and money, yet continue to use it the same way with only the same commands that they used 10 years ago. I see a lot of that.

I've always tried to learn one new thing each week. Even one new thing each month will move you along to working smarter with your software.

I have finalized my 2005 training schedule. I insisted on having an entire schedule ahead of time to allow students to plan and to allow budget approval where necessary. While it is subject to change and there will most likely be upgrade and custom classes in between all of these, this is a good start.

Also, the AUGI ATP program will be starting again in January. This is free training on your time. I'll be offering a very brief overview of Revit in January.

If you're not in the Roanoke area and would like to take advantage of any of my training classes, please contact me and I'll be happy to find a way to work with you. I believe that everyone deserves the chance to receive good training. No exceptions!

2005 Seminars
Last year EDSI introduced an innovative new approach to the powerful Architectural Desktop (ADT) software training in our series of seminars. The idea has proven to be a valuable tool to help our clients be successful with their investment of software by learning the product in more manageable, incremental stages.

These seminars, while taught with the latest version of ADT, are actually focused to help users of all versions of Architectural Desktop as well as Autodesk Building Systems (ABS).

In 2004, we were honored to have Dr. William Wyatt, author of Accessing Autodesk Architectural Desktop series of books here as a guest instructor. We will continue to invite guests from time to time. Please let us know if there is anyone that you would like to see us host.

We offer the seminars the second Wednesday of every month.

Jan 12th
Stairs & Railings
Stairs are easier than ever to add to your design now with new tools available. Choices of display allow your stairs to be customized for the way you produce documentation. Whether with landings or spiral stairs, riser dimensions and more can be automatically calculated.

Feb 2nd
Lunch & Learn: Project and drawing collaboration with DWF
You’ve been seeing and hearing DWF mentioned in more and more places. What is DWF? How can DWF help you to communicate better with other employees in your office, subcontractors and customers? We’ll look at how to make .dwf files in any Autodesk application, how to utilize the FREE DWF Viewer to share drawings with anyone that doesn’t have AutoCAD or as a method of drawing security, as well as how the DWF Composer and DWG Viewer can help streamline your office.

February 9th
Repeat of Wall/Doors/Windows
Architectural Desktop has powerful new wall, door, and window manipulation and management capabilities. We’ll dive into the Style Manager and learn how to customize walls, doors, and windows. Learn how to automatically and manually handle wall cleanup. We’ll also learn how to apply these custom styles to your Tool Palettes.

February 23rd
Building Systems Workshop
If you do any type of design work with mechanical systems (HVAC), plumbing, piping, or electrical, you will want to come test drive the Autodesk Building Systems software. You will be amazed at how much easier it is to do intelligent designs complete with sections, elevations, and schedules with real parts. You’ll be able to tell on the screen where any interferences may occur as well as what options you have to avoid the interferences. Far better than finding that out in the field!

March 9th
Areas, Spaces & Groups
Learn to use spaces with room finish schedules to schedule out floor coverings, moldings, paint, and more for your existing plans. Areas and Area Groups can be used to display construction areas, demolition areas, and calculated areas for facilities management to name a few uses.

April 13th
ADT Productivity Update
Whether you’ve recently upgraded or are planning on soon upgrading you won’t want to miss this class. Anyone that is new to either 2004, 2005, or the newest version from any release of Architectural Desktop will gain a lot of speed and productivity tips on how to make the new user interface work best for what YOU do. You’ll also get lots of tips and tricks on the software and where to turn for help and develop a plan for success. This course is also a good starting point for anyone who is converting from AutoCAD to Architectural Desktop.

April 22nd
Lunch & Learn: Sheet Sets & Plotting
If you’ve been using any Autodesk product for any length of time, you probably think you know all there is to plotting, right? We find that most users still follow their old procedures through every upgrade. It’s time to take a look at how you’re plotting and what other things there are to consider to improve efficiency in your office. Named page setups, plot styles, and the Publish command are some of the topics to be covered. Information on the new 2005 Sheets Sets will also be covered to take the mystery out of this new feature found in all the Autodesk 2005 family of products.

May 11th
Curtain Walls
You may have a misconception of what a Curtain Wall is in Architectural Desktop and its uses. It’s not just for a large series of windows in a high rise building. It is an architectural style used for any geometric repeating pattern. What that means is that you can use this style for screened porches, sunrooms, glass block walls, dividers, and things you would never imagine. Curtain Walls can have doors and windows inserted in them just like any wall style, but the process is a little different. Come learn how to utilize this style you’ve been missing.

June 8th
Repeat of Schedules
Architects have used schedules for years. Previously it meant manually adding and editing text. Now you have a powerful tool to save you a day’s time and endless mistakes with schedules that update automatically. Learn how to configure property set definitions, property data formats, and schedule table styles. Welcome to the world of data management and construction document productivity!

June 22nd
Revit Workshop
Come and test drive Revit 7.0. See for yourself with first hand experience just how easy this product is to use. We’ll create a project from start to finish and you’ll get a copy of the program to take with you and continue trying it on your own time. We’ll also show you where to go to ask other Revit users how they’ve made their offices more successful and profitable since implementing Revit.

July 13th
Structural Members
Architectural Desktop comes with built-in tools for use with Structural Members. These can be for beams and columns in commercial buildings to framing found in residential markets. We’ll take a look at these styles and how they work together and how to customize them to work for you.

August 10th
Viz Render
With Viz Render now included with Architectural Desktop, you have a powerful visualization tool to which you can link your designs. We’ll discuss how to do simple, easy renderings of your work with materials assigned to your styles in Architectural Desktop. Other topics will be lighting and brief animation.

August 24th
Workshop: AutoCAD or ADT? Which one is right for ME?
If you draw anything that resembles walls, then you may want to take a look at Architectural Desktop. It is the powerful software built on the AutoCAD platform that is designed just for architectural drawings. You can more easily edit your floor plans as designs change as well as save time with automatic elevations and scheduling. We’ll compare the two products and let you try out the features in the newest version. You’ll also get to take a sample copy back to your office to use further. Come test drive a better way to draw walls than offsetting a line!

September 14th
One of the biggest decisions you may face in your designs is how much detail to show in particular views. We’ll discuss some of the situations where you may want to show detail, how to add details to your elevations instead of spending time on extravagant wall styles that may not be important to the drawings, and how to use the powerful Detailing functions for making fast and accurate details needed in your set of construction documents.

October 12th
Repeat Roofs
Roofs, roof slabs, and gables are perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of Architectural Desktop our clients tell us. To help you become proficient with most aspects of roof design, we’re devoting this class to all roof styles. We’ll cover the many ways to create even the most complex of roof styles and what tips you need to keep in mind with your roof designs. Send in your biggest roof questions and sample drawings ahead of time and let us help you to master any roof task!

November 9th
Managing Projects and Sheets
Project Navigator
Sheet Set Manager
Beginning with Architectural Desktop 2004, the Project Navigator and Project Browser were introduced. In the 2005 product line, the Sheet Set Manager was introduced. Both of these new tools can help you to work much faster and keep much better organized than the method you may be using. Learn how to set these tools up to work the way YOU work and to help you quickly link sheets and views in your drawing sets together as well as more efficiently plot out finished sets.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Goooood Cookies

I'm not a cookie connoisseur by any means. My favorite is by far homemade chocolate chip (not in a roll or from the refrigerator sections) with peanut butter second. I'm definitely a dunker.

I just tried a cookie that was part of a gift box sent to our office that I just have to tell you about. It's outstanding! I wouldn't dare dunk it in milk. Just let it melt in your mouth and cherish the taste as long as you can.

The cookie is a Sugar Cane Lime Cookie. It can be found at http://www.dancingdeer.com/. It also looks like this is a pretty neat company right along with my viewpoints and philosophies.

Try this cookie. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

CAD Management & CAD Standards

It's been a week since I updated my blog due to being out of town.

If I solve a particular problem, I'll post it here. Otherwise, as I read through various newsletters that I receive or web sites that I frequent, I'll be inspired to pass something along. That's what's happened with most of the posts here to date.

Today's topic is my number one soap box topic - CAD Standards.

Like most CAD Managers, I found myself in that position with my former company, Jones & Frank Corporation; quite accidentally. Most users I talk to will say that no one is appointed or hired as a CAD Manager, but generally speaking one individual is considered the CAD Manager. The term doesn't equate with a larger paycheck, just more responsibility.

Probably the best authority in the country on CAD Management (at all levels) is Robert Green. He has authored articles, teaches classes, and speaks about CAD Management. You can find many of his writings at http://management.cadalyst.com/cadman/author/authorInfo.jsp?id=6743.

One of the most important lessons I noted from his recent article this week is that companies need to keep our time billable with the least amount of overhead. That is why you don't see dedicated CAD Managers. You see users acting as CAD Managers.

We all need to find ways to become more efficient at what we do. This also will help prevent our CAD jobs being outsourced. Good CAD Standards will help that as will not being afraid to change how we work. Being an old stick in the mud will get you nowhere.

I'll keep this brief before I get into a long drawn out rambling about CAD Standards. Short and sweet!

Friday, December 10, 2004

AU & Christmas

The big news everywhere in the Autodesk community is all about AU. There are dozens of web sites and blogs talking about how big (~4500) this years Autodesk University was with photos and each author's own write up on the event.

The other big news is that next year's AU has been announced. For the first time in several years it will be somewhere other than Las Vegas. That's good news for those of you that had trouble convincing your boss to send you to Vegas. The new location will be much easier for those of us on the East Coast. It will be Orlando. The dates are still less than ideal, being November 29 - December 2, 2005.

The reasoning behind the week after Thanksgiving when it was in Vegas was that Autodesk was able to secure the absolute best rates that week. I do not know if that still stands for Orlando or if the planners wanted to keep it during the same time for standardization.

In my opinion, this still makes it extremely difficult to attend for many. Aside from the fact that travel that weekend after Thanksgiving is dreadful, many users would prefer to spend the time with their families. Yes, you could travel on Monday. More importantly, with most U.S. businesses closing for Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week and many employees taking the rest of the week off for vacation, being out of the office the very next week for a conference (no matter that it is the Mother of all conferences) is out of the question for many companies.

You can read more about AU 2005 on Shaan Hurley's website http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/ or read the discussion on the AUGI site or others.

And on Christmas...
I have either bought or made most of my gifts back in the summer and early fall. O.K., so those of you that are rushing around frantically don't want to hear that from me!

While working on a volunteer project with the earlycj5.com group, I discovered a great publishing website. I thought I'd share it with you. You could make someone a special gift of a calendar or photobook.

The site is interesting to me as it offers publishing of books and manuscripts as well.

There are more sites out there than I'd care to visit offering some form of gifts you can make with your digital photos. If you have some good ones to recommend, please list them here. Some of the other ones that I've used in the past are Photoworks and Sony Imagestation. I also was turned on to Webshots by my involvement with the Early CJ5 Club. If you've visited the link in my profile you've already visited Webshots.

This week in history John Lennon was shot December 8, 1980. I remember it well. I am a huge Beatle's fan.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Recommended Links for Tips & Tricks

Two good links with tips and tricks are

Lee's site has good lisp routines also.

Good ADT tips and tricks:

Check these out for good resources.

I've completed a document for the basics of the 2005 interface and will post it here in the near future. I've got to set up a place to store it online to have the ability to link it here and am working on that currently. Watch for that soon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Pearl Harbor Day - 12/7/1941

Before beginning today's blog, let us pause for a moment of silence to remember today. It is known as a "Day that will live in infamy." December 7th, 1941 Pearl Harbor Day.

Thank you to those that gave their lives during this time and since.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Good Troubleshooting Goes A Long Way

I receive lots of calls and emails for support. In many cases I've been able to answer the question quickly because I've seen the symptoms before. Other times there just isn't enough information to go on to determine the problem, let alone the symptoms.

A good practice is to document and analyze any problem you are having. This procedure works with any computer problem, not just AutoCAD. By following some of the following rules (and post any of your own here), you'll be able to get an answer from your support person and possibly even be able to answer your own question.

  1. What is the error (or perceived error)? If you are receiving an error message, write down exactly what it says or do a screen capture (Ctrl + Prnt Scrn) and paste the result to a Word document.
  2. What command(s) did you perform immediately before this?
  3. What other applications are running?
  4. What operating system and is this a stand-alone or network application?
  5. Can you reproduce it by doing the same thing again?
  6. Can you reproduce this with another drawing?
  7. Can you reproduce this on another workstation?
  8. Can someone else reproduce this on another workstation? (In case it's related to your login.)
  9. Have you noticed any problems with other applications?

Probably the top three culprits I can say we are seeing today (strictly off the top of my head) are:

  • Spyware, adware
  • Drawings that have not been audited and purged
  • User error

The good news is that there are cures for all three diseases! I'll outline those soon.