Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New Revit Blogs

I just discovered on Robin Capper's blog that there are two new Revit Blogs. Both are from great Reviteers (my own word) that you can count on for quality Revit information.

First, Chris Zoog, has creatively named his blog REVITlution. I love it! Chris, if I recall correctly, was the mastermind behind the main Revit site in the world, ZoogDesign, in the days of the Revit Users Group International (RUGI).

I can remember when Autodesk purchased Revit. I was a member of the AUGI Board of Directors and there was discussion about inviting RUGI to join or or somehow merge the two together. We didn't want to appear that AUGI was trying to absorb them in any way.

Since that time, the Revit community has become a part of AUGI and the same great Revit help can be found on the Revit forums and in the Revit Community at AUGI.com. I love hanging out with the Revit bunch, though I don't get as much opportunity lately.

The second Revit blog, and no less important, is Steve Stafford's Revit OpEd. Steve is also a big part of the Revit community. He was one of the top posters at the old Zoog site and is probably right up there on the AUGI site too. He's been one of the masterminds behind the Revit Community at AUGI.

If you've ever seen any Autodesk webcasts or sales materials where WATG was mentioned, Steve and Jim Balding (another AUGI supporter) are employed by Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo in Newport Beach, CA. WATG has been very successful with Revit and Autodesk likes to brag about them.

I've already made a mistake posting a comment on Steve's site. I replied that I saw his link on Matt Dillon's site. It was Robin's site. Ooops!

I may have totally confused everyone here mentioned above. It's late in the day for me and I've had a long day of teaching so I'll apologize in advance. Be sure and leave a comment if there is any clarification or correction needed.

Welcome aboard fellow Reviteers!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars Opens Today

Even though some people have had the opportunity of a special release showing and many more attended the midnight showing across the country, today is the official opening day of the final chapter in the Star Wars saga.

I've been a long time Star Wars fan. After the release of the original Star Wars movie, I experienced a Star Wars Christmas. Being an only child I was always showered with gifts. I was so wild about the movie, my parents bought me everything Star Wars they could and 90% of my Christmas gifts were Star Wars related. I saved everything, unopened. I have socks, puzzles, bop bags, a Texas Instrument LED watch, and all sorts of collectibles. We would drive for 30 miles to buy lunches that had Star Wars plastic cups (we had no fast food in our small town). I now have one huge plastic foot locker with all the original collectibles. Someday, I guess I'll sell it.

I've never collected anything from the later Star Wars movies, but have never missed seeing each.

I purchased a pair of advanced tickets yesterday for the earliest show I could get after work. So, you'll find me in front of the big screen for the last big Star Wars at 5:30 EDT.

May the force be with you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New AutoCAD 2006 Commands & Misc.

I’ve found myself teaching AutoCAD 2006 already and discovering more and more command options that seem almost hidden. (Yes, I went through the New Features Workshop for a review when I loaded the software.)

I’ve been forcing myself to keep the command line turned off and use the new dynamic input. Here are some of my observations (from an old dog).

I mentioned in an earlier post that the dynamic input seemed to have some draw backs. I still like it. One thing that has taken some getting used to is that with the old command line I would see the options available in front of me. I could type the letter of the option I wanted. For example, I could type O for Offset when using the Construction Line command or F for Fillet when using the Rectangle command. I have found that I can type the first letter just like I used to do if I rely on my memory.

The other problem (possibly I haven’t learned the right way to use this yet) that I found is that from the command line I could choose one option and then choose another option. With some of the options I’m trying, I am finding that once I choose an option I’ve been moved on to the next step. Definitely going to need some more playing.

I found some new options to old commands.

Already mentioned here.
Erase – option to erase source object after offset
Layer – option to create offset on current or source layer
Copy – option to create a copy that is rotated
Copy – option to create a copy that is scaled

These are just a few hidden gems. How many more have you found?

I returned from a delightful time off with friends. A few pics here.

I was also pleasantly surprised by my weekly CADzette newsletter from Elise Moss.

A quote from her newsletter.
"As I reviewed the most popular links this past year, I had some surprises. Lynn Allen and Bill Kramer remain popular links (although they didn't make the top ten). Beth Powell, my friend in Roanoke, Virginia, and her blog, who is a relative newcomer to the CAD scene, had click-thru rates pretty close to theirs. Shaan Hurley, Autodesk Blogger, was in the bottom ranks. I expected Shaan to be up there with Lynn and Bill, but it could be that folks are accessing his site directly and don't need to click-thru CADzette to read him."

Wow! Is all I can say. You can subscribe to her newsletter at her website.

Friday, May 06, 2005

In case you miss me...

I'll be gone May 12-16, 2005. I'll be meeting many members of a unique online club of Jeep enthusiasts at Tellico. Tellico is officially in NC but is very near the TN state line. It's beautiful country.

Our club, which is more like a family than a club, is the Early CJ5.com group. A visitor would not truly understand the family atmosphere that is present as visitors only see the technical forums. Upon joining, or signing up, a host of other forums become available. There's an off-topic forum that is the place everyone really meshes. It's a true addiction. First thing every morning, most of us regulars log in to stay "Good morning" and and a brief line or two about our day in the daily useless thread post. When we're having a personal problem, we head straight to the off-topic forum to tell our ecj5 family about it. We know almost everything about each other. We discuss, spouses, children, work, neighbors, health, faith. We've been through births and deaths together. When something happens at home we can't wait to tell the "rest of the family" at ecj5 about it.

I don't know of any other online organization that is so close. At the same time, most online groups are only online. Not our group. We get together in May and October at Crawford's Campground and spend 2-4 days riding the Tellico trails together. And keep in mind that these are not new Jeeps and not usually heavily modified Jeeps. These are 50 year old mainly stock Jeeps that we drive! Jeeps, the way Jeeps were meant to be.

Last year (2004) in May was my first trip with them. Words just cannot describe the experience. It's just proof that I am truly insane. I would drive ~350 miles each way to spend 8 hours a day driving off-road? You bet I would!

We have people coming from as far north as Michigan, as far South as the tip of Florida, and as far West as New Mexico for next week's event. I'm so excited it's hard to think of much else.

Beside the Tellico event, we also have rides all over the country that are closer to members geographically.

So, if you miss me next week, I'll be out of all cell phone and laptop range so there will be no postings. Enjoy your week!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Command line vs. Dynamic Input

I recently had the pleasure of teaching AutoCAD 2006 to a group of brand new users. I've taught a lot of new users, but the difference this time was that I taught this class totally without a command line.

For those of you that have wondered what was behind Autodesk giving us the option of no command line, here's what I understand. Many users that are new to AutoCAD, have difficulty with the concept of the command line. Some have used some other CAD program that doesn't have a command line.

The biggest problem for new users (and sometimes even experienced users) is to keep reminding them to read the command line. The command line tells us what AutoCAD wants to do, though sometimes you have to read between the lines to figure that out.

It's been a long-time request to eliminate the command line. Of course those of us that have been using AutoCAD for many years feel naked without our command line. But with this all in mind, I made up my mind to teach this class to users who had never heard of a command line how to use the program for the first time using the Dynamic Input.

This of course was harder for me to get used to than it was for them. I did find out something interesting though. Even though I don't have to keep repeating to read the command line, I do have to do essentially same the same thing. The prompts are now at your cursor, but you still have to read them. This was a surprise because I was expecting that with the text right in front of their noses they'd be fine. This proves that it doesn't matter whether we use a command line or dynamic input. Reading the information is still key.

The other thing that I discovered is that even though you have more screen space with no command line and have the information right under your nose, the dynamic input is lacking in one area (my opinion). With the command line, we can read available options. With the dynamic input, there is a drop down arrow when we have options. This arrow is too often missed by the new users and me included. In some cases, I knew that there should be options available and tried to remember to look for the arrow. But in many cases we missed that arrow all together.

My suggestion would be to set your dynamic inputs settings (right click on the DYN button on your status bar and choose Drafting Tooltip Appearance or choose Options>Drafting tab>Drafting Tooltip Appearance) as large as possible. This way you may be less likely to miss that little drop down arrow.

To access command options, simply use the down arrow on your keyboard. The options appear grayed out to me, but they are available. Choose the option with your down arrow. A small dot will appear in front of each option. Then press Enter.

Don't get me wrong. I like the dynamic input feature. Just remember that you still have to read the input and you have to train yourself to look for the down arrow.

Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo!