Monday, November 21, 2005

One Year Anniversary And More

It has been just over a year since I entered the world of blogging. (November 17, 2004) I continue to be amazed at the following, how convenient blogging is as a resource, and at how many AutoCAD related blogs there are now. A good resource of blogs is from CADOPOLIS.COM.

If you aren't in the habit of keeping Windows updated or checking for Spyware, there are quite a few new Windows updates available. Spybot also has a new update for the English version.

Most people in the U.S. will be spending time celebrating Thanksgiving this week and many smart (or lucky?) Autodesk users will be heading to Orlando for next week's Autodesk University. Have a safe trip for those attending.

For whom or what are you thankful? Have you done a generous act this month? Be the kind of person that can sleep well knowing you've done "the right thing" when it mattered.

Gobble, Gobble!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

On Autodesk Drawing Conversion, Subscription, and More...

The new DWG TrueConvert by Autodesk is now available as a free download. Since there are still users out there with pre-2004 release versions of AutoCAD, this will allow them to download this and use it to convert drawings they receive.

While I try to practice asking what version someone may need when a file is requested from me, that is often not the case. Sometimes I am asked by someone else to send the file and that person forgot to ask. Typically I send the file in AutoCAD 2004 format and note that in the e-mail. (This covers AutoCAD 2004, 2005, and 2006. In the next release the file format will change.) Fairly often though I am contacted by the recipient to please send in AutoCAD 2000 format.

I realize that there are a number of people that do very simple things with AutoCAD and for those users R14 or R2000 do exactly what they need. In those cases, I can't argue that they should upgrade. This product will be perfect for them. Instead of wasting time they could be using the drawing by asking for it to be saved to an older version and resent, they will be able to convert it themselves instantly.

I do remember when I was a CAD Manager and made the update request to my superiors every two years when Autodesk released a new version of AutoCAD. I had to specifically explain what features would benefit my department and the company and how as well as how much time I estimated these new features would save. It became more and more difficult.

That was in the days before Autodesk offered subscription. I haven't always been a fan of subscription, but remembering back to those painful days of begging for an upgrade of AutoCAD (maybe partly because I am such a techno geek), I think it would have been far easier to convince them to simply use the subscription process and pay one set amount each year. This would make it easier for the company to budget and would take the painful process away from the CAD Manager. If you choose not to implement one release, that's your prerogative. You automatically receive every version though either way.

I do often feel sorry for those users who have requested I save a file in AutoCAD 2000 format. Since Autodesk retires versions each year and the 2000, 2000i, and soon 2002 versions will be retired these users are lost in the dark ages forever without palettes and many other cool features that have come about in recent years.

If you have other questions about the new DWG TrueConvert, there is also a FAQ document available.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

New Blogs and New Programs

Heidi Hewett now has a blog. Welcome to the world of blogging. You have probably heard or seen Heidi's name often as she is responsible for doing a lot of webcasts and writing technical material for Autodesk.

Her blog has a little different twist from most of the technical blogs. Her focus is more on training. In her words "This blog provides a way for me to share my challenges and discoveries with those of you that teach and/or implement AutoCAD functionality so that you can take AutoCAD to the next level without a huge investment in time. " Right up my alley!

You've probably read it a number of other places. Autodesk has released DWG TrueView, a true drawing viewer. (Do you suppose that's how they came up with the name?) While the DWF Viewer allows users without AutoCAD to view .dwf files, the new DWG TrueView allows those same users or others such as your boss, secretary, estimator, to view .dwg files. That is very handy.

Shaan Hurley has also posted a link to an interesting network tip for using with DWG TrueView.

Just so you are not confused, you can view and print .dwg files. You can not measure or markup. For those features you will need the DWF Composer.

Very soon Autodesk will release a DWG TrueConvert program to allow you to convert .dwg to .dwf.

I use both the DWF Viewer and DWF Composer frequently at home. In my home business, CAD Fuel Design, I require clients to receive .dwf files. For clients that I work with often, I convinced them to purchase DWF Composer so they can mark up drawings and send them back. Of course clients never have revisions, right? The system works beautifully. And the file sizes are much smaller than sending the .dwg or creating a .pdf.