Thursday, August 31, 2006

TeamDWF has RSS feeds

I was almost sure RSS feeds would be added when I found out that Randall Newton and also Martyn Day where behind the new site TeamDWF, "a specialty portal devoted to the use of Autodesk's DWF publishing technology for AEC, GIS, and manufacturing". Thanks to both a comment on RobiNZ CAD Blog and AECnews.com I now know more. Feed now subscribed using RSS Bandit. I'm looking forward to read more about DWF. As of now some older articles have been added so there is already a lot to read.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Open Design Alliance supports DWG 2007

The Open Design Alliance (ODA) now have DWG 2007 (file format used in AutoCAD 2007 based products) support including Trusted DWG functionality. Evan Yares will probably let us know more. I wonder if ADT 2007 objects are supported yet.

Update 2006-09-12 - I read at AECnews.com that DWGdirect is released to all members supporting DWG 2007.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Online remote backup service

I'm trying to find an online remote backup service. I found mozy and tried it a few days and so far I'm really happy about it.

It seems to be good priced. 2 GB of 100% free backup space and 30GB - $4.95/month.

Features I like are:

  • Open/locked file support - I always have some files locked
  • Block-level differential backup - this really speed up the backup transfer
  • 128-bit SSL support (to secure your data during transport)
  • 448-bit Blowfish encryption (to secure your data on our server)
  • Continuous or scheduled backup options - I can have it running the backup several times during the day and no need for backup tapes, CD's or DVD's that I anyway will forget to take
  • No restriction on how much to download except that the limited to a few times per month but I don't expect to need my backup that often

Mozy screenshot - click to enlarge

 

 

Please use the referral code VWW637 if you start using mozy and I'll get another 256MB of free backup space.

If you have other alternatives you like and would like to suggest please add a comment including reasons why you like it.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

LSharp another Lisp alternative for .NET

LSharp is available on http://lsharp.sourceforge.net/

"L Sharp .NET is a powerful Lisp-like scripting language for .NET. It uses a Lisp dialect similar to Arc but tightly integrates with the .NET Framework which provides a rich set of libraries."

Via Rob Blackwell's blog

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

ADT 2007 SP1 Beta

Tony Michniewicz at Autodesk confirms in the Discussion Groups "that a beta of the ADT service pack is now available, for details visit myfeedback.autodesk.com". All I can say at this point is that if you want to help out trying the beta for Architectural Desktop 2007 SP1 register at myfeedback.autodesk.com and select that you use ADT.

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More about TeamDWF

A new website TeamDWF has launched according to Beyond the Paper. My first though was, where's the feeds? My second though, if Autodesk is sponsoring, who is behind it. Looked pretty anonymous at first. A quick look and I found Randall Newton as the owner of the site. He is also Editor-In-Chief for AECnews.com. I also recognized some articles like Q&A with Autodesk's Amar Hanspal that was published first in AUGI HotNews. What's your thoughts?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

AutoCAD 2007 SP1 released

Now you have hardly no excuse to not install AutoCAD 2007. AutoCAD is now more stable than ever. Based on my experience of SP1 my recommendation is: INSTALL IT.

Via Shaan Hurley, Autodesk.

  • AutoCAD 2007 Service Pack 1
  • AutoCAD LT 2007 Service Pack 1
  • AutoCAD 2007 Service Pack 1 for Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series 9.x
  • The problems fixed I like most are:

  • Intellimouse scrolling with ZOOMWHEEL set to 1 now works as expected when in Orbit modes.
  • 3DORBIT performance has been improved.
  • Constant reload of relative external references has been resolved.
  • A number of improvements made to use memory more efficiently.
  • Sheet Set Manager field evaluation has been improved to allow for significantly faster opening and publishing of the drawings.
  • Improvements made to allow editing of very large solid models.
  • Corrupted or zero-byte drawings no longer created when insufficient disk space conditions are detected.
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    ObjectDCL for AutoCAD is open source

    A time ago I mentioned that ObjectDCL (an interactive replacement of the DCL language for developing dialog boxes within AutoCAD using AutoLISP) was about to be open source and now it is.

    364 files and 7740KB source code in C++ available right now at http://sourceforge.net/projects/objectdcl/

     

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    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    FileDependancy object in AutoCAD

    I will give Steve Dunn's free Code Formatter Plugin for Windows Live Writer a try here. This is really a great plugin. One problem I run into is that I'm not able to use the word wrapping. It looked OK in the Normal Layout but in the Web Layout it was not nice. The width was just a hand full characters and could not be resized. Another thing is if editing the code use CTRL+Enter to add a row since Enter will trigger the OK button.

    Below is a modified VBA subroutine from AutoCAD developer documentation on the FileDependency object that can be used to see information about file references in a drawing. For example FullFileName will give the absolute path of a relative xref and IsModified will show if the file has been modified.

    Sub Example_AcadFileDependencies() ' Note! ' The drawing has to be saved first to reflect ' recent changes to the file dependencies ' If you attach an xref and then run this code ' without saving the added xref will not show up ' If a modified xref has been reloaded and you ' run this code without saving it will show as modified ' Another way is to use UpdateEntry before as showed Dim objFDLCol As AutoCAD.AcadFileDependencies Dim objFDL As AutoCAD.AcadFileDependency Set objFDLCol = ThisDrawing.FileDependencies Dim strTemp As String For Each objFDL In objFDLCol If objFDL.Feature = "Acad:XRef" Then objFDLCol.UpdateEntry objFDL.Index strTemp = "FileName: " & vbTab & objFDL.FileName strTemp = strTemp & vbCrLf & "FileSize: " & vbTab & _ vbTab & objFDL.FileSize strTemp = strTemp & vbCrLf & "FullFileName: " & _ vbTab & objFDL.FullFileName strTemp = strTemp & vbCrLf & "Modified?: " & _ vbTab & objFDL.IsModified MsgBox strTemp End If Next End Sub

    Update for Steve. Here is an image showing the problem in the Web Layout. The problem also showed up when published. In the normal view it's possible to adjust the width but it's a narrow column when published as well as in the web preview.

    2006-08-26 Update again. I found out that "pre" had a fixed width in the blog template that gave this problem. pre{color:maroon;background:#e4e4e4; padding:5px; width:100px; font-size:85%;} When I removed the fixed width the problem disappeared.

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    Friday, August 18, 2006

    Interested testing Autodesk Plant P&ID aka GuinnessBeta?

    If you are interested testing the Beta for Autodesk Plant P&ID application take a look at Peter's comment in the previous post.

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    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Autodesk Plant soon here

    At Autodesk University 2006 there are several classes on Autodesk Plant. Seems like Peter Quinn, Derry Vaughan and the Autodesk team is getting close to a release of this new P&ID application.

    PD11-1: Introduction to Autodesk® Plant: The New P&ID Solution from Autodesk

    Learn how to use Autodesk Plant to draw intelligent Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) At the end of the session, you will understand how Autodesk Plant leverages standard AutoCAD productivity tools with user-customizable symbols to quickly and easily create and edit drawings in a way not possible using base AutoCAD...

    PD12-1: Getting More from Autodesk® Plant: Reports, Leveraging External Databases, & Change Control

    Most companies need to reuse and distribute the information on the P&IDs to other departments and engineering disciplines This class will show you how to create company-specific project reports that can be automatically generated from the information contained on the drawings...

    PD13-1: Autodesk® Plant P&ID Project Setup and Customization: Managing Projects and Creating New Project Standards

    Learn how to customize Autodesk Plant to suit your own company standards You will receive detailed step-by-step instructions on how to configure Autodesk Plant to suit your own company or site standards...

    PD25-1L: A Quick Spin on the New Autodesk® Plant

    We invite your input to help refine the user experience of Autodesk Plant, Autodesk’s new product for P&IDs...

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    Update based on Peter's comment below.

    Visual Studio NET 2003 Service Pack 1

    I'm not using 2003 much nowadays, 2005 is so much better, but I installed SP1 anyway that was recently released.

    The extensive list of bugs that are fixed in Visual Studio NET 2003 Service Pack 1.

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    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Fractals with Lisp

    I've always been interested in fractal theory, math and art so I was happy seeing this AutoLISP code available on TheSwamp to do it in AutoCAD too. CHEN QING JUN at http://autolisper.googlepages.com also have other interesting AutoLISP routines.

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    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Windows Live Writer test

    Having first read Dag König blogging about the new Windows Live Writer and reading more on Windows Live Writer team blog I had to give it a try and I must say that I'm hooked by it's clean and simple to use interface and sometimes I just prefer a desktop application instead of a web application. I've always found bloggers web editor hard and slow to use so this one I have to keep using for a while.

    • Take for example this image. I used SnagIt and just copy and paste with the clipboard quick and simple.
    • Then there are standard formatting, bullets and spell checking.
    • The coolest thing is the Web Layout and Web Preview so I can see what it will look like when published with all the formatting. And of course I can edit the HTML code.

    So soon I'll see how this will look like when published.

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    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Persist this post

    For those of you new to databases. Here is a word definition that is useful to know about. Database persistence is one of these words many working with databases seem to use but for someone not knowing what it means it can be hard to understand. It's pretty easy actually. If you persist something you save it permanently (to a file or a database) so it's still there if your restart the computer. Persistence is about saving and also retrieving data.

    The words persist and persistence are used in different contexts like talking about a persistence layer, persist the recordset, making persistence operations, manipulating persistent models, persistent references, persistence strategy, persist the business objects or persistence object. Would memorizing this post be considered having it persisted?

    Speaking about database terminology. SQL Server 2005 Everywhere Edition is a soon to be released for free by Microsoft and useful if you want to persist to a relational database that has a compact footprint and is embedable in applications. The CTP is so stable that it can be used for production.

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    Friday, August 11, 2006

    AutoLISP sample code for xclipped blocks

    Here is a sample AutoLISP code that shows how to identify xclipped blocks.

    (defun xclippedblocks (/ lst ss i ent ed xc)
      (if (setq ss (ssget "X" '((0 . "INSERT"))))
        (progn
          (setq i 0)
          (while (setq ent (ssname ss i))
           (setq ed (entget ent))
           (cond
             ((setq xc (member '(102 . "{ACAD_XDICTIONARY") ed))
              (setq xc (cdr (cadr xc)))
              (cond
                ((dictsearch xc "ACAD_FILTER")
                 (setq lst (cons (cdr (assoc 2 ed)) lst))
                )
              )
             )
           )
           (setq i (1+ i))
          )
        )
      )
      lst
    )

     

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    Double-click recovery in AutoCAD

    A question I get quite often is why can I not double-click on my text or mtext and edit it or why can I not double-click on a block and edit it or something like that.

    In AutoCAD there are a lot of variables that together make this work one way or the other or not at all.

    Why does the setting change suddenly. It can be a program that changed the value and didn't restore it correctly or you might without knowing the consequences change the settings.

    Here is what you should look for to get it working again.

    The DBLCLKEDIT system variable must be on and the PICKFIRST system variable must be on (set to 1, the default) for double-clicking to work.

    Tools menu>Options>Selection>Noun/verb selection changes the PICKFIRST system variable. Controls whether you select objects before (noun-verb selection) or after you issue a command.

    Tools menu>Options>User Preferences>Double click editing selection changes the DBLCLKEDIT system variable.

    Double click actions can be customized using the Customize User Interface (CUI) editor. In the CUI editor>Customize tab>click the plus sign (+) next to Double Click Actions to expand it. The double click actions are object type sensitive, allowing you to set up a specific command to use for a specific object type. Take a look there and see if this is the problem. The CUI file can be restored or reset if you have messed up with it and cannot recover the problem.

    BLOCKEDITLOCK can affect if you are not allowed to double-click a block and edit it. When BLOCKEDITLOCK is set to 0 the Block Editor can be opened. When BLOCKEDITLOCK is set to 1, double-clicking a dynamic block in a drawing opens the Properties palette. If the dynamic block contains attributes, double-clicking the block reference opens the Enhanced Attribute Editor.

    In some older versions of the Express Tools DCPROPS could interfere with the double-click behavior.

    [Related posts: Double-click blocks in AutoCAD 2007 | Lock the users from messing with your dynamic blocks]

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    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Regular expressions in Visual Studio Find and Replace

    Did you know that a specific set of regular expressions can be used in the Find what field of the Visual Studio Find and Replace Window. But look out there are syntax differences between the regular expressions that can be used in Find what strings and those that are valid in .NET Framework programming. There are also some bugs that might make this not that useful as you first think. The Lead Program Manager makes comments on this blog post about it.

    [Link: MSDN]

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    Skandinavisk inventorforum

    The following tip is only for those that understand Swedish so here we go.

    Om du använder Autodesk Inventor så rekommenderar jag dig att ta en titt på Skandinavisk inventorforum. Använd forumet för att ställa frågor eller besvara dem. Dessutom finns det en hel del annat användbart som  nyheter, länkar, bildgalleri och part-bibliotek. Det mesta är på Norska men är för de flesta inget problem att förstå.

    Wednesday, August 9, 2006

    Tip on a bunch of free Microsoft software's you maybe didn't know about.

    Here are some free Microsoft software's that you maybe didn't know about and that you too might like or see a need to use. I'll add them here as a reminder for myself anyway. If you have any free Microsoft software you would like to add please make a comment.

    Microsoft PowerToys for Windows XP including SyncToy (copy, move, and synchronize different directories), ClearType Tuner (tune the ClearType settings to fit your eyes the best), Open Command Window Here, Tweak UI (gives you access to system settings that are not exposed in the Windows XP default user interface, including mouse settings, Explorer settings, taskbar settings, and more), Power Calculator (you can graph and evaluate functions), etc.

    Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a free program that helps you stay productive by protecting your computer against pop-ups, slow performance and security threats caused by spyware and other potentially unwanted software.

    FolderShare allows you to create a private peer-to-peer network that will help you to synchronize files across multiple devices and access or share files with colleagues and friends. Share files up to 2 GB in size. No limits on quantity or size or type of files transferred.

    Microsoft Time Zone conveniently runs in the system tray and allows you to easily view the date and time in various locations around the world. You can also quickly and easily add your own personal locations to customize Microsoft Time Zone the way you want.

    Calculator Plus a better Calculator that also performs many different types of conversions.

    Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel for Windows XP allows image files (ISO) to be mounted virtually as CD-ROM/DVD-ROM devices. Useful if you don't want to write the image to a CD/DVD-R using software's with ISO image file support. Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit includes the DVDBURN.EXE command line tool useful for writing ISO files to CD-R or DVD-R.

    Tweakomatic utility that writes Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) scripts.

    Windows Deployment and Resource Kits including among many other useful tools Robocopy.exe - Robust File Copy Utility

    Virtual PC to run multiple operating systems at the same time on the same physical computer. Switch between virtual machines with the click of a button.

    Agent components for animated characters that can be useful in your applications. With interactive personalities in the form of animated characters you can make them move, talk, listen and react and more. I've used it for guiding users through lengthy installations using VBScript for applications like Autodesk AutoCAD and ADT.

    GroupBar is lightweight desktop tool that offers enhanced window management capabilities in a Windows taskbar-like setting.

    Scalable Fabric  is a task management system for the Windows desktop. Download here.

    User State Migration is used to migrate user data and application configurations for a user's current client computer to a new client computer.

    Windows Media Encoder including Windows Media Encoder Studio Edition and Windows Media Encoder 9 Series. Use it to capture, compress and encode audio and video content.

    And much more...

    Update: Road to Know Where! has the Ultimate List of Free Windows Software from Microsoft and the Ultimate List of Free Office Software from Microsoft

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    Monday, August 7, 2006

    McAfee SiteAdvisor - are the websites you visit safe?

    I just checked with McAfee SiteAdvisor that both www.jtbworld.com and http://jtbworld.blogspot.com are tested and OK.

    Green Verdict Image

    McAfee SiteAdvisor is a free tool that works with Internet Explorer. As you search or browse, SiteAdvisor's safety button changes color based on our test results to let you know if the website is Safe, needs Caution or needs Warning. More about it here. Their blog has also interesting articles like the one about clone detection.

    Update. For some reasons the blog shows as not tested but it is if you check here: http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/jtbworld.blogspot.com

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    Confirm File Replace in Windows Explorer tip

    Here is a small Windows Explorer tip. How many times have you copied or moved files and got the dialog box Confirm File Replace saying "This folder already contains a file named 'whatever.ext'." and asking if you "Would like to replace the existing file" "with this one?"?

    Now you want to say No for all the rest of the files for some reason. If you have many files it can take a while and you don't want to wait for the process to be interrupted by this dialog box.

    The tip in this case is to hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and press No. That way no existing files will be replaced.

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    Sunday, August 6, 2006

    Ceiling Height property in ADT 2007

    I made this image a time ago and now there is a knowledge base article describing the solution if you think Ceiling Height property in Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2007 not available to be scheduled. "The Ceiling Height property that is visible on the Properties Palette when a space object is selected is equivalent to the Height automatic property in Property Set Definitions that apply to space objects."

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    Linus Torvald about Visual Basic and me about Sinclair ZX81

    I recently learned from "Stiff asks, great programmers answer" that Peter Norvig Director of Research at Google has Lisp as one of his favorite languages. Linus Torvalds (behind Linux) also comments how "Visual Basic" did more for programming than "Object-Oriented Languages" did.

    The questions he asked where the following and for the fun of it and for your curiosity I added my answers too.

    - How did you learn programming? Were any schools of any use? Or maybe you didn’t even bother with ending any schools :) ?

    Sinclair ZX81I learned programming using a Sinclair ZX81 in the early 80:ies. I got an extra 16KB RAM pack (the base system only had 1024 bytes RAM). I used the black and white TV as screen as well as an old tape recorder to save my programs on magnetic audio tapes. The language used was ZX Assembler and BASIC and I had a lot of fun creating games, logical, math and graphic programs.

    10 PRINT "Hello world!"

    Then I used computers in school as much as I could. From computers like ABC80 and ABC800 to Compis (based on the Intel 80186 CPU and with CP/M-86 as the operating system in ROM). I used Compis from 1986-1988 and did my special school work programming in Comal and Pascal. I reverse engineered a database format and provided a user interface to work with the demographic data in it.

    - What do you think is the most important skill every programmer should posses?

    Be open and flexible to use the tool or method that is best for the specific case. That's anyway one important skill even though I don't think there is only one that is most important.

    - Do you think mathematics and/or physics are an important skill for a programmer? Why?

    It all depends but if you learn math and physics it might help. I have done several programs that has required both math and/or physic skills.

    - What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, y language, quantum computers, what?

    I have no idea.

    - If you had three months to learn one relatively new technology, which one would You choose?

    Web 2.0 and the like.

    - What do you think makes some programmers 10 or 100 times more productive than others?

    Concentration and focus does a lot. Some are more "into" programming than others, love programming, logic thinking, problem solvers.

    - What are your favorite tools (operating system, programming/scripting language, text editor, version control system, shell, database engine, other tools you can’t live without) and why do you like them more than others?

    I use whatever needed to do the job done and sometimes I use the tools that I use the most. Right now it's Windows OS, Visual Studio 2005 and VB.NET, VBScript, AutoLISP, SQL Server and Access. One language that I don't use now but I loved to use was Modula-2. Lisp is really a favorite language.

    - What is your favorite book related to computer programming?

    Don't have any but one good one is Applying Domain-Driven Design and Patterns by Jimmy Nilsson with a lot of .NET focus.

    - What is Your favorite book NOT related to computer programming?

    Being a CAD related blog I appreciated reading The Autodesk File. "The history of Autodesk and AutoCAD told through contemporary documents, edited and annotated by Autodesk founder John Walker."

    - What are your favorite music bands/performers/compositors?

    Level42 / Bryan Adams / Benny Andersson just to mention some that have made a lot of great music.

    [Via Coding Horror | stifflog²]

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    Thursday, August 3, 2006

    Autodesk® Architectural Desktop Customer Council

    There are several benefits to participating in the Autodesk® Customer Council.

    • You join an exclusive group of customers who will have more communication with the Architectural Desktop team and better visibility into our development process.
    • You have the opportunity to provide direct feedback about Architectural Desktop to the product team which will help us deliver a higher quality product that is more relevant to your needs.
    • You will receive exclusive access to survey results that will enable you to see how other professionals from around the world are using Architectural Desktop.

    Join here: http://adtcc.com/

    It does matter to participate for both parts. Autodesk want you to keep purchasing ADT and to do that they need to know what you think. You might have ideas that you want to communicate with Autodesk and this is one way.

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    Windows Live Toolbar 3.0 released

    There are a lot of toolbars existing. Microsoft has now updated theirs. I recently made buttons for Google Toolbar and now I've also made one for Windows Live Toolbar. Version 3.0 also supports custom buttons and it was much easier to create the button than for the Google Toolbar. Take a look at the left side of the blog if you want to add this button to Windows Live Toolbar. It makes it easy to access the website, blog and make searches on them.

    Onfolio seems like an useful feature. "Easily save, organize and share your online research with Onfolio. Capture copies of pictures, text or Web pages to your PC for reliable access later. Organize your Web research and publish it in emails, blogs and documents. Search through your clippings anytime with Windows Desktop Search." Tabbed Browsing is also of course great for those that don't already have it one way or the other. The integration to easy get maps of addresses that you run into on websites is also a cool feature.

    AU 2006 blog

    Autodesk University 2006 now has a blog. Joseph Wurcher from Autodesk "will use this blog to keep you update on the “behind the scene” look of AU and what it takes to manage a 6000 plus attendee event."

    Wednesday, August 2, 2006

    ImageConnect plug-in for Autodesk software

    I just run across this. GlobeXplorer now has a comprehensive collection of 1-foot resolution aerial photography for USA. This tremendous imagery resource is now available to Autodesk software users as a simple plug-in.

    [Via GlobeXplorer's Earth Mapping Blog]

    [Links: www.globexplorer.com | www.autodesk.com/globexplorerdata]

    How to publish selected objects to a 3D DWF file

    The export to 3D DWF files have changed in AutoCAD 2007 compared to 3DDWFPUBLISH that was in AutoCAD 2006.

    Use File>Export or click on the 3DDWF button on the Standard toolbar.
    In the Export Data dialog box, specify a name and location for the DWF file.
    Click the Tools button at the upper right and select Options.

    In the 3D DWF Publish dialog box, click Selected model space objects and then click the Select Objects button.
    In the model, select the objects that you want to publish.

    Bug note! Here is something you should be aware of. If you have blocks or external references there are some things that doesn't act as they should do. If you select block or xref it looks like it is completely selected but in reality it is only the object within that will be exported. It works to use "all" as a way to select everything in the drawing and then if you want to remove objects it doesn't work as expected either.

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    AutoCAD & AutoCAD LT All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies book

    Having read a lot of Lee Ambrosius' writings about AutoCAD I'm assured that his newly released AutoCAD & AutoCAD LT All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies book is great. Lee is definitely a non-dummy and knows AutoCAD in and out. Learn from him no matter if you're an AutoCAD-dummy or not. There's always something new to learn.

    Tuesday, August 1, 2006

    University usage of CAD and blogs

    Interesting concept that this architecture blog by wits university has taken to combine usage of blogs in the education. The teacher has a blog as well as all the students. They've recently used AutoCAD and SketchUp in the lectures.


    Some of the latest blog posts

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