Tuesday, January 31, 2012

IMSI Design First to 3D DWG Viewing on Android

IMSI Design announced today that their popular CAD Viewer application TurboViewer is now available on the Android Platform.  IMSI Design released two versions of TurboViewer; TurboViewer (free version) and TurboViewer X ($3.99 U.S.)  IMSI’s Turboviewer for iOS was named one of the Top 5 apps in the iOS world by Macworld/iWorld.

The Android versions match the iOS versions in abilities.  They support native 2D and 3D .DWG and .DXF viewing, smooth multi touch navigation for panning, zooming and orbits.  Offline file support, ability to restore saved views, full screen previews and more.

TurboViewer and TurboViewer X are about the same in functionality.  TurboViewer Free is, well, free.  It is supported by adds.  TurboViewer X has no adds.  Both read DWG and DFX files.  Files can be viewed via web downloads, FTP, Dropbox®, WebDAV, through email attachment, and several cloud based storage systems.  There is an online Wiki help if you get stuck using the app.  TurboViewer X adds more features to the mix.  Besides having no adds, it has a layer visibility manager.

TurboViewer v1

TurboViewer X

Wiki Help

For more information see www.IMSIdesign.com/TurboViewer

2012 the Year of the Software Update

I am dubbing 2012 “The Year of the Software Update” because of all of the major updates that are scheduled to take place.  Autodesk has a yearly update schedule and if they follow what they’ve done since 2003 the next release of AutoCAD® should have a new DWG file type.  Adobe has announced that they too are on a yearly release cycle for their Creative Suite® with CS 6 due this year.  Solidworks yearly cycle will give us a new version this year.  Draftsight seems to be on a yearly release that should come out this April. Now Microsoft has announced that Office 15 will come out this year.  On top of that Microsoft Windows 8 is also scheduled to release this year.

Autodesk Ended Support for Microsoft Windows Vista, but not Windows XP for 2012

On January 1st, 2012, Autodesk formally ended support of products released in 2012 that will be running on the Windows Vista Operating System (See Press Release).  However, they have not ended support for their products running Windows XP.  Interesting isn’t it?

Right now nothing has really changed because as of the date that this is posted, Autodesk hasn’t released anything (that I am aware of) in 2012.  The 2012 line of products were released in the year 2011 so they are still supported, if you are running Vista.

Why are they doing this?  They ended sales support for Vista way back in 2011 so they are following suite with the rest of their support system.  Ok, that makes sense but why support XP and not Vista?  According to their press release they have enough customers using XP that they need to support it.  That’s just crazy isn’t it?  What’s going to happen when Windows 8 comes out this year?

I don’t know either but all of these updates makes my head spin!  It’s going to be a great year for IT support and CAD managers dealing with software updates.  Maybe this is a great year to get all of your users on the same Operating System?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Microsoft’s Next Release of Office® is Coming!

The Microsoft Office Exec Blog announced today that the next version of Office, dubbed “Office 15” (during testing anyway) is now in Technical Preview.  This preview is the first time a new version is released to the public.  This preview is not available to everybody (yet.)  It is a small closed group of users that will test it out before Microsoft goes forward with a public beta.  The preview is full so no point in trying to get in on it (I know right?  I want in) but the public beta is set to be available “later this summer.”  Can’t wait!
So what’s in it?  They didn’t say too much but I like what they did say.  According to the blog “Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division.”  What does that mean?  Let’s be honest.  It’s hype, but I’m listening.  Here is another quote, “With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio. Quite simply, Office 15 will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than ever before.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Autodesk releases 123D Make Web App as a Technology Preview

Autodesk has a series of applications based on 3D creation.  Several of them came from their Labs Projects and others have made it iOS iPad applications.  When released, 123D Make was only available as a free download for Macs on OSX.  Now Autodesk has released a preview web based application that is available to those with a web browser.

123D Make is a program that takes a 3D model and assists in creating a real life 3D physical model.  It creates a pattern of flat panels that can be cut and put together to recreate your model.  It can be used in one of two ways: order pre laser cut plates, or create eps files that you can print and use as templates to cut the material yourself.

Now that anyone can use it give it a try.  Autodesk has several premade models that you can try out.  The 123D series of programs are a great way for users to create 3D models, to capture 3D models, and to create 3D models.

If you are using AutoCAD and do not create 3D content then why are you using AutoCAD?

Is this a fair question to ask?  AutoCAD LT® can do almost everything "regular" AutoCAD® can except for 3D modeling/rendering features and LISP routines, essentially.  Are you waisting your company's resources by not purchasing AutoCAD LT®?  I don't know, ok I do, but, still.  What do you think?  If you aren't creating 3D content, why?  If you aren't using LISP routines then I ask the same question, why?

Why do you limit yourself?  Why do you pay for tools that you refuse to use?  If you are creating items that only have two dimensions why are you using a three dimensional creation tool?  Many sheet metal fabricators use AutoCAD LT®.  They get it.

I'm not trying to be mean here I am honestly curious.  If you purchased a house with three floors would you only use two of them?  At least store stuff in the third floor right?  Have you ever said to yourself or others, "I've never seen a real need to walk up the stairs to the third floor so I don't use it."  You're paying to heat/cool it and to protect it from the elements.

Make an argument for purchasing full on AutoCAD® but for using it like it's AutoCAD LT®.

Friday, January 27, 2012

AutoCAD Quick Tip – Create Multileader Style with Right Click

AutoCAD® has an annotation tool known as Multileaders.  Their display features are controlled by styles (if you are doing it right that is) in the same way dimensions and text styles control the display settings of their objects.  If you find that a multileader has been customized and is no longer controlled by a specific style you can quickly create a new style from it.

Here’s how:

  1. Select the multileader.  
  2. Right Click.  
  3. Multileader Style. 
  4. Save as New Multileader Style.

Done.  Now open it in the Multileader Style Manager and double check that it turned out the way you hoped.  I tried it several times on different leaders and sometimes it did funky things, but they were easy to remedy.

Autodesk screen shots reprinted with the permission of Autodesk, Inc.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Take on SOPA/PIPA

On January 18th Wikipedia and many other high profile websites will be shutting themselves down for the day (or half day in many cases) in protest of the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills in the United States congress.  These bills intended to be a tool to fight against online piracy.  I believe that was the initial intent and that intent is good.  Content Piracy is already illegal.  These bills would not suddenly make them legal.  What these bills will do is empower companies and the government.  The power given allows them to circumvent constitutional rights and rule of law.  A simple accusation of piracy is enough cause (according to these bills) search and seizure of any company or individual by the government.   Instead of being innocent until proven guilty the accused would be considered guilty.  This may be a harsh and over simplification of the bills but the possibility is there. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Where do AutoCAD Dimensions Belong? Paper Space or Model Space?

There are some topics that will always be debated; Paper or Plastic, Mac or PC, Football or Soccer, Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time, Dimension in AutoCAD’s Model Space or Paper Space?

The problem with this question is the same as with the other questions that I mentioned, the answer depends on what you are doing.  That answer sucks to be honest, but it’s the truth.  Many times it really won’t matter.  Other times having dimensions in model space is the worst thing to do!  Or the worst will be having a million dimensions in paper space across several tabs that have to be updated when one model space dimension would have updated everything.

When is dimensioning in Model Space ok?  When that dimension (and this goes for text too) needs to be shown everywhere (or nearly everywhere) or when there will only be one paper space tab in the file.

When is dimensioning in Paper Space ok?  When you have multiple paper space tabs in your file and your dimensions do not carry over from sheet to sheet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Free TurboViewer SDK is First to Offer 2D & 3D Programmability

IMSI/Design, producers of TurboCAD®, DoubleCAD™, DesignCAD™, and the TurboViewer families have announced that in February they will be releasing the TurboApps™ SDK.  This SDK (Software Developers Kit) will allow developers to produce applications that incorporate features from IMSI/Design's mobile CAD apps based off of their  TurboViewer®  series.  The TurboApps™ SDK will be free and will be available in February 2012.

See a copy of the press release below.

Monday, January 9, 2012

What AutoCAD Variables do You Set in your ACAD.LSP file?

A quick question if you have the time to answer.  I am working on something and I want to get input from the best CAD readers on the internet.

What AutoCAD Variables do You Set in your ACAD.LSP file?  or the ACADDOC.LSP file?

I want to know how other people use these two files.

I want TV to be like an RSS Reader

I'm tired of paying my cable bill to have at my disposal tons of shows that I don't want to watch.  At my home we have officially dropped cable.  We set up an  indoor antenna so now all we get is over the air local broadcasting.  Now I only have about six channels that provide shows I don't want to watch.  Not true really.  Most of our TV viewing was done through local over the air stations anyway, the "big" networks.  We purchased a Roku Box, applied our Amazon Prime Account, Netflix Account and Signed up for Hulu Plus.  Each of these services cost approximately $8 to $10 per month (the Roku Box is a one time fee, no subscription) so our monthly bill is about $30 per month (U.S. Dollars) and not $100+.  That savings adds up.  What ever I want to watch, I go and get.  That's great and all, but it's still not perfect.  Not all of the content that I want to watch is available this way.  I don't mind having to wait an extra week or two for the networks to release new content after they broadcast it via the typical over the air way.  But I do want access to the entire season.  I don't even mind waiting until the season is over for access.

But what I really want is for TV to be like my RSS Reader.  I sign up to the feeds that I want to watch.  When I have the time, I watch the episodes until there are no ore to watch.  TV is near to this model only there is no que of past episodes.  I want the que.  I want to watch TV on my own time, whenever that might be.  Is that too much to ask?

So give me my content when I want it.  Just like my RSS feed.  That's all.

I can't take credit for this idea though.  Mrs. CAD-a-Blog had the idea.  She's the one that mentioned to me that she wanted one device that could find the show she wanted to watch and load it up on the screen, regardless of which service or network it aired on.  We want (need) RSS for TV.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How Not to CAD – File Paths and Name Changes

File paths, yes, file name changes and/or relocations, no!  Some background.  I was presented a drawing from a former project and was instructed to use the details from that sheet.  I knew we were starting off on the wrong foot.

Side note:  Avoid using notes, details, etc. from past projects when possible.  You never know what will be carried over accidently that you do not want to deal with.

Regardless of my pet peeve of not using custom details from other projects I did anyway.  With a lot of time and effort.  The drawing I was given had a date on it that makes the drawing about five years old!  A file name was given in the titleblock as well as a project number.  But nowhere to be found was a file path showing me where the file was located on our servers.  I assumed (my mistake) that since our project folders are named by their project numbers that I would simply go to that project folder and would be able to find the drawing file.  There was no project folder with that name!  Not wanting to waste time I queried the PM that gave me the work as to the location of the example drawing.  He had no idea.  I was on my own.  Everyone’s initials that were on the title block were no longer employed here so I could not go and ask them.   Grrrrr…

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

File Naming Conventions are Really Data Management Rules

How you name your files is important.  In fact, it is crucial that you name them properly.  Since file naming procedures are so important why do so many companies (and individuals) do it so poorly?

In our design process we need and use many different types of files.  We share files.  We send files.  We receive files.  We use files like crazy!!  How do you know which file is the right file?  Which one is the latest version?  Which file goes with which submittal package?  Is it a concept plan?  Is it just a “one of” exhibit?  Does it need to be updated when the design is updated?  How do we collaborate with other departments?  How do we incorporate third party files?  File naming conventions are difficult to manage because there are many issues to consider.  That’s why so many of us do poorly in this part of the design process.  Yes, file naming is part of the design process, unfortunately.

The name of your file is irrelevant.  It can be as simple as FILE-01.dwg.  Your next file can be called FILE-02.dwg.  It really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you are using the correct file at the correct time in the proper place.  If you have created a list of file names to use then you have started off on the wrong step.  Instead, create a method to name your files that includes their saved location.  The method is in the method, not in the naming.


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