Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AutoCAD MEP Real System Requiremnts

As recommended by Autodesk.  

64-bit System Recommendations
• Intel Pentium 4 with Intel EM64T support & SSE2 technology or AMD Athlon™
64 with SSE2 technology
• Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 and later
• 4 GB RAM
• 4.7 GB disk space (full install)
• 1280 x 1024 True Color display resolution
• 256 MB or greater, Direct 3D Video Adapter Card

In real life, if you are doing drawings of large projects or are also using Revit MEP, I would suggest 6-8GB of RAM.

Note that XP will only recognize 3GB of RAM with some tweaking of what is called the 3GB switch.  You cannot take advantage of anymore RAM with XP. You would need to use Vista or Windows 7.  I would expect the new release out in the spring to be compatible with Windows 7.  That might be a smart time to upgrade.

Make sure you check your graphics card and have one from the Certified Hardware List.

AutoCAD MEP Extensions Available from Subscription Center

It was announced at AU that a new content extension for piping would be available from the Subscription Center that week.  It was reported to contain over 300 pipe fittings.

There was also a lesser known extension from Subscription Center on duct transitions.

If you are a Subscription Customer, be sure and visit the Subscription Center to download these extras for AutoCAD MEP.

Service Pack 1 is also available this month.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More AutoCAD MEP Training

I am in Wilmington, DE this week doing AutoCAD MEP training for EastCoast CAD/CAM users.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Post AU2009 - AutoCAD MEP 2010 Settings

Another Autodesk University is behind us.  It will be interesting to see if the new elements of AU such as the virtual AU will be the new norm.

The class I taught this year was a lab on AutoCAD MEP.  It was aimed at the settings that are all too often overwhelming and not understood for those new to the AutoCAD MEP program.  If you attended AU or are a Subscription Customer, you should be able to download the handout from the list of online classes.

One often overlooked and misunderstood parts of set up is Layer Keys.  AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP both use layer keys to automate the process of placing types of objects on the correct layers.  The layer keys that come with either program are based on the AIA layering standard.  To some, that in itself is confusing.

When we drew in vanilla AutoCAD, we constantly changed to a layer, created geometry, changed to another layer for another type of geometry or dimensioning or text.  If we realized after the fact that we had forgotten a note for example, we added it often without changing back to the text layer.  That resulted in both time to change from layer to layer and often objects on the wrong layers.

Layer keys can be by object or system.  The most common way that I have seen them used and used them is object-based.  So if we are designing supply duct, the layer key will "think" it's a duct and it's for supply and then choose the appropriate layer of M-SY-DUCT-SUPPLY.

You can edit and even replace the layer key style, but I would encourage you to only modify one rather than trying to start from scratch.  Always make sure you make a copy of the layer style before you modify it also.  I normally recommend preceding the new style name with your company name.

I would encourage you to look on the AU website for classes that cover layer keys for more information as well.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

AU 2009 Day 3 & 4

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending two AutoCAD MEP classes taught by David Butts.  I have always admired his knowledge of AutoCAD MEP and tried to take one of his in the past but never could manage to do so.

I was greatly impressed with his presentation skills and knowledge.  He is a good presenter.  If you want to download a good handout, go to AU Online and download any of his material.  You will not be disappointed.

I also attended a class on video training.

I was disappointed in the AUGI Annual Meeting held Wednesday evening.  The meeting wasn't opened, did not seem as professional as it did in previous years, and was not well attended.  It turned into more of an awards ceremony than anything else.

There have been many changes within the organization and many of them are not for the better.  My attempts at volunteering in recent years have fallen on deaf ears.  I no longer wish to serve on the Board of Directors as I once did, and suspect that they would not have me anyhow.

I still support AUGI and believe it's the best place you can go for peer-to-peer support.  I will always recommend it to anyone regardless of my opinions.

In past years, AUGI was a bigger more professional presence and there were daily AUGI bulletins, an assigned day to wear your AUGI-wear, and the annual meeting followed by the beer bust was THE event not to miss.

This year, besides the meeting being hugely disappointing, glasses were handed out but there was no excitement level and no mad rush to the beer bust.  The exhibit hall didn't even open until more than an hour after the end of the meeting, so I chose to not attend.  I didn't feel like standing around that long.  Yet another indication that some of the magic of AU seems to be disappearing.

Today I presented my AutoCAD MEP class at 8:00.  I had a good audience and believe the class went well.  I would have liked to have had more time with the students, but this is AU and 90-minutes is it.  I have had good reviews so far.

I also attended another AutoCAD MEP class by some well known AutoCAD MEP gurus.  I have to say that I only picked up one trick, but found that while I have seen their names and followed them for several years they really are not good presenters.  It is obvious that they know the product, but they know what's in it and not necessarily how to present it.

It is good to sit in on sessions on products that you know to see what you don't know or to see how other people present them.  In this latter class, I found myself biting my tongue because they were typing all commands and didn't know where to tell users to find them.  I certainly type commands and have for years, but when I teach a class I make a point to use the ribbon or tools available and to learn where everything is and show the students how to find them.  I found this distracting, but I realize that I was being critical.

Tonight will be the final party, where I'm headed now.  I will be leaving early in Friday morning to fly home.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

AU 2009 Day 2

I do believe that AU is scaled back in many ways from previous years.

While I normally am not a breakfast person, I at least like some orange juice in the morning.  This year there was no breakfast served in the traditional sense as past years.  There was only coffee, water, and some baked bread or muffins.

The main Keynote Address has always been a big deal.  Each year outdoes the previous year.  This year, there were some interesting points, but anyone speaking didn't seem all that enthusiastic and there was no excitement in the air at all.  There was no grand finale at the end.  A speaker finished speaking and that was it.  It seemed as if everyone looked at each other as if to say "Was that it?".

The first AU that I attended was at the MGM Grand.  It was claimed that the walk from the elevators where the rooms were to the conference area was a distance of 1 mile.  The walk at the Venetian was long, but not quite as long.  The longest distances are always to meals.

This year, the walk seemed as long as the MGM.  I don't know what it is, but if I walk as fast as I can it takes me 15 minutes to get from the conference to the room.  The walk has always been on carpeted floors, but at the Mandalay Bay it is hard floor, which is less comfortable to walk that distance.

The exhibit hall seemed much smaller too, but I do not have any facts on the actual size.

As I understand it there are a lot of Virtual AU attendees.  I'm not sure if the high virtual presence had anything to do with attendance at the live conference or if it was the economy or just how these other areas I've noticed come into play.

There seem to be people talking about how it feels "cheapened" without being less money to attend.

After I've presented my class and have more time or after I've returned home, I'll have to catch up on the other blogs and see if anyone else made similar observations.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

AU 2009 Day 1

Normally I arrive over the weekend before AU.  This year, it was easier and the same or less expensive to leave very early Monday morning and arrive in Vegas at 10:30 AM.  I simply stayed up all night so that I could not have to get up at 4:00 to get ready for a cab.

I arrived in Vegas, took the shuttle from the airport, and was surprised to check into the Mandalay Bay without having to wait until afternoon.  I stowed my luggage, checked email, and went to register and attend the ATC Conference. 

I normally do not attend ATC events, but I have been working with an ATC in Little Rock this year and had the opportunity to do so.

The Blogger Social and Speaker Social were scheduled for the same time and next to each other at Border's Grille.  They sort of intermingled together so you couldn't tell where one started and the other ended.  The AEC Mixer was also began later in the evening, though I did not attend it.

While I am not a party person, the social events at AU that are aimed at specific groups are a good way to meet people that you have only corresponded with or only get to see in person at AU.

I met Luciana Klein again and another person from Brazil.  I met Sinith Babu again from India.  I saw Melanie Perry, Lynn Allen, Shaan Hurley, Kate Morrical, Robin Caper and others whose name escapes me.

I also had some discussions with the Autodesk folks.  They wanted to know what my blog audience wants to hear?  Well, I don't blog for an audience and that's what I said.  If I get a question through support for something that I think should be heard by everyone, I translate the support question into a blog entry.

If I learn something new or want to point out something that comes up when I am writing training materials, I make a blog post.  I'm not here to impress anyone and I'm not here to be swayed by any one firm.  If I see a problem, I'll write about it.

I was also interviewed on camera for Exchange and asked what blogs I follow.  Well, thanks to Robin Caper of RobiNZ CAD Blog, I have followed RSS Feeds for a while.  I don't do the daily newspaper or watch morning talk shows.  I go to Bloglines and read the blogs that have new posts.

Tomorrow is the first official day of AU.  Need to hit the ground running and go from breakfast through a day of classes.  The class (lab) that I'm presenting is the first thing on Thursday morning.  I'll fly out Friday morning.