Friday, September 30, 2005

New books and materials

I received two new books within the past week that I highly recommend. The first is Accessing Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006 by William Wyatt.

It gives great examples with residential design. Also available is an e resource CD with instructor supplements and PowerPoint files. You can purchase the CD from Delmar Learning.

Dr. Wyatt will be in Roanoke, VA October 13th & 14th to teach about ADT Roofs and Roof Slabs.

The second book is Paul Aubin's Mastering Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006. Paul always does a good job with his explanations.

Not that I have any stock or receive anything from Amazon, but for your money you can get a deal on the pair of books.

There are two other books out there on ADT 2006 that I haven't seen yet, but would like to receive an evaluation copy to review. Both are names I've seen around and believe are knowledgeable ADT authors.

H. Edward Goldberg, Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006: A Comprehensive Tutorial
I believe that Mr. Goldberg will be teaching at AU also.

Scott Onstott, Mastering Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2006 (Yes, it appears to have the same name as Paul Aubin's book, but it is not the same book.)

Along the AutoCAD lines, I've just received the new Ellen Finklestein AutoCAD 2006 and AutoCAD LT 2006 Bible. I must say it's the biggest book I have! I haven't reviewed it yet, but I'll let you know what I think of it. I think it's safe to say that with her reputation and the size of the book I can almost guarantee that it will be a great book to add to your library as a reference.

DWF News

A very well-written piece by Scott Sheppard, DWF Technical Evangelist, that really points out good reasons for using DWF. I'm a big DWF Fan myself!

Moore Color

Benjamin Moore & Co is now offering free color book files for AutoCAD, which of course will also work with ADT & ABS.

New CAD Blog
I noticed this with an unusual design.

Walking For A Cure
Lastly, I will be walking with the Light The Night Walk to raise money and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Any donations and support are appreciated.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Service Packs Available

Service Packs are now available for both Architectural Desktop and Building Systems. It's very important to read the readme files and install the service packs for your product.

Where's Waldo?

This is the first time that it's been more than a week since I posted and some of you have noticed. Where's Beth?

My fiance was hospitalized from September 13-21, 2005 and I was at the hospital with him rather than blogging here with you. I normally don't share much of my personal life here. I have an important message that I want to get across so I am going to break tradition.

My fiance was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 3 years ago. It's a type of blood cancer that affects the bone and which there is no cure. He has gone through chemo and a variety of new drugs and generally does well. About once a year around the anniversary of his diagnosis his condition worsens temporarily and we get a scare. This time was worse and we were not prepared. He is finally home now and weak, but doing well. He is evidence of the power of prayer and a positive attitude as well as a desire to fight.

In this go round he suffered renal failure and received a procedure known as plasmapheresis. A kidney specialist was brought in who didn't believe he was going to have a speedy recovery. He prepared us for weeks of this procedure as well as kidney dialysis and perhaps even a kidney biopsy. We tried to tell him that we didn't think he was going to need all this. I was very scared and stressed though my fiance kept a very positive outlook.

We had a lot of people praying for him and kept that positive outlook. In a matter of days his condition had improved and shocked the doctor. This sort of recovery normally takes weeks. So thank you to those that did know of the situation and prayed for him.

My grandmother was an R.N. and always taught me that dignity was the most important thing you could give a patient. The nurses and all the staff at the local cancer center here do provide that very well. They also have a lot of respect and keep me in the loop on everything. After all, I am his caregiver.

We spent a few stressful days at a local hospital as well while he was getting this special procedure. The difference in care was like night and day. It's not that the staff at the hospital was uncaring, but the level of care due to being so overworked and understaffed was unbelievable.

If you know anyone in the health care field, whether they work anywhere in a hospital, please pass my message on to them.

First, DIGNITY. Treat the patient with dignity and respect. Don't make the patient feel as if he or she is just a body in a bed. They are someone's mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, son, daughter, sister, brother, husband, or wife.

Second, the patient's spouse or significant other is an important person. This person knows the patient better than anyone else and can help you to understand what is normal for him or her. This person also has probably sat in on all the doctor's visits and can save you hours of reading in the chart to let you know what has transpired and what is considered for the future. You can then double check the information if needed. This person also is generally very scared, worried, and stressed. Not being included and treated as if he or she is not there makes this worse.

This person also can take in and comprehend what is going on with the patient. The patient may be blocking some of the situation out due to shock or may be so tired or weak that he or she can't concentrate as well as normal.

Third, rest is important for any patient. There are necessary duties that must be performed during a hospital stay, but these could be done with the patient in mind. If you work at night, just because this is your day time does not mean that you should talk loudly outside patient doors, yell up and down the hallway, carry on with laughter, and be disruptive to the patient. People are trying to sleep!

If you have to come in to the room to perform duties whether it's drawing blood, taking blood pressure, emptying the trash, cleaning, or general checking, please be considerate of a patient that is trying to rest especially at night. Don't barge in and flash the overhead light on and then leave it on and the door open in the middle of the night. Enter and leave the room quietly and if you see the patient sleeping do what you can to do your duty and leave the room the same way you found it - dark and quiet.

The last soapbox topic before I step down is regarding nursing hours. My fiance has a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) and must maintain a log book when he drives a large truck to meet the Federal Department of Transportation requirements. He can only drive a certain number of hours per 24 hour period and must be off the road for rest a certain number of hours. That is for safety. It is considered dangerous to have a truck driver fall asleep and potentially have an accident that could endanger his life and load and the life of others on the road.

Wouldn't you think we'd have the same law for health care professionals who have your life in their hands? We had nurses at the hospital that worked 16 hour shifts and some would work 12-16 hours and then were scheduled to be back on duty in 8 hours. That's not even time to travel to and from home and get 8 hours of sleep! Yes, there is a shortage of nurses in the country and yes they do get paid for working these hours and certainly many of them are accustomed to it. But that doesn't make it right or safe. We need laws to regulate the maximum number of hours a nurse can work if hospitals won't take it upon themselves to do.

We did discover that our local cancer center does not let any nurse work more than 12 hours. That's a start.

Thanks for your support and prayers and listening to my little tirade!


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Little known settings and known issues in Building Systems

It doesn't matter how much you use any given Autodesk product, it's simply impossible to know every setting. Many veteran AutoCAD experts know that there is a variable found in the Display tab of the Options dialog box to adjust how smooth a circle or arc appears. A video driver or type of graphics card you have can also impact this. Well, there is yet another setting involved at times.

If you are using Building Systems and have experienced an isometric view of 3D piping and been less than pleased with how "round" the pipe looks, there is a setting to try. AECFACETDEV
I found the help menu a little confusing on this command. First, the help menu describes the basics of the command as "The smoothness (tessellation) of curved edges is controlled by the FACETDEV variable. This variable sets the number of facets to display on curved AEC objects, and must be set before converting the polyline to slabs." So what this is saying is that by basic AutoCAD standards, FACETDEV is the command, but for any objects in ADT or ABS, the command is AECFECETDEV.

You may be wondering what setting to use. Maybe it was just me or late in the day, but one portion of the help menu stated that you could use any number greater than zero and that there was no upper limit. Yet, further down the same area in help was this. "You can enter a value between 100 and 10,000. The value you enter is stored in the AecFacetMax variable.
The default value is 128 for new drawings. "

So, I have no advice to give you other than to check out this command if you have not-so-round pipe on your screen. And of course if you were able to understand this, please feel free to leave a comment and put me on the right track here!

If you are wondering about somewhat obscure commands, you can always type ARX followed by enter and then choose the option C for commands and when you press enter you'll receive a list of every command. I used to use Express Tools and System Variable Editor, but that doesn't get everything from what I can tell. It's still a great Express Tool though and is found from the Tools portion of Express Tools. I like it because it give a description of each variable and also lists where it's saved or if it's saved.

A little known issue with Building Systems is that there are just a few areas with MVParts where haloed (or hidden) lines will not show. The product team is aware of this and working hard to find an acceptable resolution.

New Items of Interest

CAD Standards are a big area of importance to me and one I tend to get on my soap box about whenever the opportunity arises. Mark Kiker, who has a website and a blog for CAD Managers, has some good information on CAD Support Teams that you won't want to miss. I always advise people to put together a team.

Thanks to Jimmy Bergmark, we can now print DWF files from Windows Explorer.

Lee Ambrosius has done it again with another great white paper on the CUI Editor.

You're probably going to be seeing a lot of Monster House, a show on the cable Discovery Channel in the U.S. Autodesk has become a sponsor and I've seen it on the Autodesk website already. Shaan Hurley announced it in his blog and explained. Great coverage for Autodesk.

On a final note, and of no less importance, probably everywhere you look you hear about Hurricane Katrina. I don't know of any business that hasn't pledged support or has made a contribution in some way. Autodesk is certainly a part of it as well. My household has already made two donations through employers and will continue to help where I can.

I have worked in a disaster situation, though on a much smaller scale. I grew up near a town famous for flooding, Johnstown, Pennsylvania. While I lived about 30 miles away and was always fascinated with the history of the 1889 flood, I never thought I'd be a part of another when in 1977 they had their third major flood while my house was dry. In those days my family was a part of Civil Defense (now no longer in existence) and we took vehicles and helped deliver supplies through the flooded streets seeing the damage.

Later, HUD (in the days before FEMA) set up many mobile home parks with housing for the victims and my father won a contract to move and install all the mobile homes and later move them out again. I worked that following summer with him and the disaster crews from HUD. Those teenage experiences I will never forget.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and all those involved in rescue and cleanup now and in the months to come.