Thursday, September 28, 2006

ADT 2007 Service Pack 1

Earlier this month the AutoCAD 2007 & AutoCAD LT 2007 Service Pack 1 was released.

Yesterday, Service Pack 1 for ADT 2007 was released. I would anticipate that the Building Systems 2007 Service Pack 1 will be out next.

There is also a Hotfix to improve performance when plotting raster files such as TIFF.

One much asked for tool now available for almost all 2007 products gives us the ability to export plot style tables to a file. Very useful!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Light The Night

Each year I walk proudly with Peter, my astounding fiance, in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night walk to raise money to support and fight blood cancers like Peter's Multiple Myeloma.

Feel free to read more about it here on his blog.

If you'd care to donate, you may do so online at his fundraising page.

We greatly appreciate your support!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interferences with Autodesk products

With each release of software (annually now) from Autodesk, I continue to be amazed. I can remember when we upgraded software and focused on the new features.

What amazes me now is that we install a new release of software and then fasten our seat belts and wait for the fallout. I don't blame Autodesk for this. I think it's become the general way the software industry works. Perhaps it's partly because of the fast-moving train of technology today.

There have been a number of conflicts over the past release or two of Autodesk products. It's not all with one product. With some products, there is a problem with Macromedia's Flash Player. At the time Autodesk tests and releases products, they are designed to work with a certain version or older versions of Flash. If you have been on the Internet and visited a site where a newer version of Flash is required and choose "yes" to download and install it, you would never guess in 100 years that this will have any impact on a CAD program. It's certainly mind-boggling to me. It's simple though. The newer version of Flash was developed post-release of the Autodesk product. By the time you are installing your Autodesk software, you already have the newer version of Flash and this prevents your product from completing the install. Of course there is no way for there to be any error message to tell you this.

Sometimes there have been reported problems with Outlook or other programs after installing Autodesk products and I would be willing to bet that there are far more interferences that we aren't even aware of yet.

When errors are reported, whether through error reporting or through tech support, Autodesk analyzes all of these items for any patterns at all. When there are enough of them, they post the problem so you aren't pulling your hair out wondering what is going on and when possible any involved software companies work to post solutions.

Because of this, it's important to keep diligent account of what changes you have to your system and to use all of this information to report errors whether through error reporting or as a tech support issue. I think it's also a good idea to be prepared for these unusual circumstances and to wait, read, and research installation information posted in discussion and user groups by other users.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Autodesk Multi-Seat Stand-Alone Deployments

There are two basic ways to license your Autodesk products, Network or Stand-Alone. A network installation means that you get a license file from Autodesk that allows you to run a certain number of seats. This is often useful when you have more users than software you can afford and prevents you from being charged with piracy (after all, you wouldn't look too good in stripes and a tin cup!). If your users may not need to use the software for the entire day, then it doesn't make sense to buy a seat of software for Ralph to use for 2 hours and Sara to use for 3 hours.

With a network license, the software is run from the server. The license is "checked-out" like a library book. If you have 10 seats of ADT and 10 users have ADT open and running on their workstations, then you don't have any seats left to use. If you have 15 users however, it is much more cost efficient to have Ralph open his ADT for 2 hours and then close it. The license is then available for Sara to use for the remaining hours. Get the picture?

Network licenses are not for everyone however. There are reasons that I won't go into here as to why you may be better suited to stand-alone licenses. Many smaller firms own stand-alone copies of Autodesk software. This simply means that you install the software on each computer. If you have one or two computers, this isn't too bad. But if you have three or more, this can be time consuming as well as less than perfect.

The answer? Multi-Seat Stand-Alone. This is almost the best of both worlds. To make this work optimally, you need to have one serial number for your seats of software. If you are an Autodesk subscription customer, then this is already the case most of the time because your subscription contract number is your serial number. If you are not a subscription customer, you may have requested a single serial number in the past.

When you begin installation by inserting the media (DVD or CD's), you will be provided with the installation dialog box. Under Install, you have options of

  • Stand-Alone Installation
  • Multi-Seat Stand-Alone Deployment
  • Network Deployment

Deployment simply means to deploy or distribute files, normally this is across a network.

The documentation that is provided regarding deployments on the DVD or CD is excellent. I find that few people read it. It really does spell out everything for you. You can also order a network installation guide from Autodesk in printed form.

You first must install the deployment wizard. The deployment you create is very similar to installing the software directly. You name the deployment and give it a path. For this reason, you do not necessarily need to do this from the server, but most people do. You then select what you want to install and where you want to install it. A shortcut will be created in the end. You will go to each workstation and find the shortcut and double click it to begin deploying the software to that particular workstation.

I use Multi-Seat Stand-Alone Deployments anywhere I can. This saves the time of going to every workstation and going through the tedious installation process. It also allows all installs to be exactly the same. And thirdly, if you have to install to a new computer or reinstall due to a hardware failure, it makes it very easy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blog Links Updated

I have updated the links of reference blogs on the right of the posts and added several. I hope to also add in the future a list of links that I generally provide to students. I hope you will find them useful. Generally I begin each morning by checking email and then going down this list to see if there have been any new posts of interest.