Monday, July 30, 2007

Windows Live Writer plugin to paste link to Autodesk KB

If you want to link to an Autodesk Knowledge Base document make sure to use a permanent link (permalink).

To try out the Windows Live Writer SDK and API I built this little plugin using VB.NET and VS 2005 that helps with this.

Download and extract the content to (or where you have WLW installed):

C:\Program Files\Windows Live Writer\Plugins

C:\Program Files\Windows Live\Writer\Plugins

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Writer\Plugins

Start Windows Live Writer.

Go to a KB like this one

Make a selection like this in your web explorer and copy it.


Change to Windows Live Writer>Insert>Add Autodesk KB document or click on the right pane on Insert Add Autodesk KB document.

image or image

Here is the result: Knowledge Base document: Support for Macrovision FLEXNET™ Manager

It's free but if you want to make a donation (using PayPay) you are welcome. Do you want another plugin for WLW let me know.

What if? Web crash 2007

TimberTool for AutoCAD Architecture

TimberTool is a program that I initially made after a request from one ACA user but that probably others can find useful as well.

  • TimberTool is an add-on to AutoCAD Architecture or ADT based products.
  • TimberTool makes it easy to convert closed polylines into mass elements and makes the bounding box width and depth correct for scheduling purposes.
  • The product was initially created for usage with timber but works with structural steel or concrete shapes.
  • See this short video on how it can be used. (I used Jing for that)
  • More about it at my website:

    Conversion using ExtrudeLinework (notice that the bounding box is not correct).

    Result after using TimberTool

    Using ExtrudeLinework notice that the Width and Depth is based on the bounding box not the actual mass element.

    Notice that after using TimberTool the Width and Depth is correct as expected to be.

    Sunday, July 29, 2007

    SmartPurger 2.6 released

    With this release of SmartPurger you can use the option "Purge Regapps using ASDKCleanRegAppARX.arx (2004-2008)". Thanks to James Maeding that provided it. This is much better than the other options "Purge all Regapps" and "Purge all registered applications collection" that previously were available.

    SmartPurger can also execute custom script files (.SCR) or AutoLISP files (.LSP, .FAS or .VLX), batch plot or any other automated work you need to have done.

    Saturday, July 28, 2007

    Make Google Reader show URL's in the status bar

    Since Google has taken time to solve this bug in Google Reader that it does not show URL's in the status bar. I thought I should mention what I use as workaround.

    Right-click on the link and you will see that the URL shows up in the status bar.

    Thursday, July 26, 2007

    MOVEBAK for AutoCAD

    This ExpressTools command for AutoCAD changes the destination directory for BAK files. Instead of ending up in the same directory as the DWG file the BAK file can be placed in another directory.

    Command: MOVEBAK
    New value for MOVEBAK, or . for none <>: d:\temp

    Command: _QSAVE
    Unable to transmit selected drawing file. (I have no idea why this message comes, the bak file is actually placed in d:\temp)

    Command: MOVEBAK
    New value for MOVEBAK, or . for none <d:\temp>: .

    Here is how you can set the path using AutoLISP:
    (setenv "AcetMovebak" "c:\\temp")

    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Jing this or that

    imageimageJing by the SnagIt creators at TechSmith sits at the top of the screen just waiting for you to take a image capture or record a small video like this one.

    imageWhen you hovers over Jing or click on it the sun rays point to what can be done. You can capture an image or video. You can access your history of captures.  Click on more to access  preferences, help and to send feedback.

    Some annoyances/bugs in this beta is that Jing.exe takes a lot of CPU without doing anything. Sometimes if you quickly move the mouse over Jing it stays in an expanded mode. To minimize it you have to move the mouse over it again.

    imageDownload and try Jing yourself. It's free. At least during the beta period.

    To get started taking screen captures read the Jing blogpost about it.image

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Another AutoCAD Architecture Customer Council teaser

    imageI too have got the result from the latest survey from the AutoCAD Architecture Product Team.

    I cannot share more but join AutoCAD Architecture Customer Council and you can raise your voice, vote and take share of the result.

    Idea from RobiNZ

    4 GB RAM for AutoCAD Architecture 2008?

    image Hardware requirements for AutoCAD Architecture 2008 (ACA 2008) and many other software's are quite high. For example RAM 3 GB (Recommended); 2 GB (Minimum). To work with 3D in Vista using AutoCAD 2008 also requires at least 2 GB.

    Is it a good idea then to get 4 GB? Maybe not. Take a look at Coding Horror: Dude, Where's My 4 Gigabytes of RAM?

    Sunday, July 22, 2007

    Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader on Google

    I just noticed when searching on Google about Adobe's products Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader that my blog was almost at the top. Maybe I should start in the SEO (Search engine optimization) business... That will not happen.

    Searching for "adobe acrobat 8.1" and this blog was on the third position.


    Searching for "adobe reader 8.1" and this blog was on the sixth position.


    Trying searching for "AutoCAD 2007" and my website was found on fifth position.


    Notice that I used Jing for the screen snapshots. More on Jing later. But download it and try it for free. It's really cool.


    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Forida new JTB FlexReport reseller

    Hong Kong based company Forida has started to resell JTB FlexReport. Yes, JTB FlexReport works fine even on Chinese versions of Windows.

    JTB World's now also has customers in China and South Africa.

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Exit Explorer in Vista


    Killing explorer.exe in Task Manager is not a good idea in Vista. But there is a solution.

    In Windows Vista with its standard Start Menu, click on the Start button. Hold down Ctrl+Shift and right-click on any empty area of the menu or on the power/lock buttons at the bottom of the right half of the menu. One of the context menu choices is "Exit Explorer". Choose this and the main Explorer process will cleanly shut itself down.

    More details on Aaron Margosis' "Non-Admin" WebLog

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    PLIST increment in Autodesk license files

    The PLIST increment section defines the search order and priority for network licensed (floating licenses) products sold as a series or bundle.

    Always combine all increments included in all license files, including PLIST increments. The FLEXlm/FLEXnet license manager will automatically determine which PLIST is the most current and use that increment accordingly. If you fail to include PLIST increments, certain Autodesk products may not be able to acquire a network license.

    More about PLIST can be found here:

    Products that uses PLIST are:

    • Autodesk Land Desktop, Autodesk Civil 3D
    • Mechanical Desktop, AutoCAD Mechanical, Autodesk Inventor Series, Autodesk Inventor Professional, Inventor Suite, Inventor Routed Systems Suite, Inventor Simulation Suite, Inventor Professional Suite 
    • AutoCAD, Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Building, Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Structure, AutoCAD Revit Architecture Suite
    • Autodesk Revit Building, Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Building
    • Autodesk Building Systems, Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Systems Plus, AutoCAD Revit MEP Suite
    • Autodesk Revit Structure, Autodesk AutoCAD Revit Series—Structure, AutoCAD Revit Structure Suite

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Mozy among the 50 best websites 2007

    Time magazine has selected as one of the top 50 most useful websites of 2007

    I have to agree. Mozy is really great for your backup needs.

    Here is more on where you can set your rate and there is a complete list.

    Launch AutoCAD 2004 from VB.NET

    ' Get the active session of AutoCAD 2004 using late binding AcadApp = GetObject(, "AutoCAD.Application.16") If Err.Number <> 0 Then Err.Clear() Shell("c:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\WSCommCntr1.exe", AppWinStyle.NormalFocus) ' Create a new session of AutoCAD 2004 using late binding AcadApp = CreateObject("AutoCAD.Application.16") If Err.Number <> 0 Then MsgBox("Error, could not create a new AutoCAD session") End End If End If AcadApp.Visible = True

    The workaround seems to be to start WSCommCntr1.exe before running CreateObject.

    This is probably true for AutoCAD 2005 as well as if done using VB6.

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    Uninstall AutoCAD 2008 silently

    If you as are managing installations on many workstations you probably at some point want to uninstall software's easily. This is one way to do it. You can often find the uninstall string in the registry.

    Uninstall AutoCAD 2008

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R17.1\ACAD-6001:409\ProductCode
      The value can be something like this:

    Uninstall AutCAD Architecture 2008

      The value can be something like this:

    Uninstall Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Adobe Acrobat\8.0\Installer\ENU_GUID
      The value can be something like this:

    Uninstall Acrobat Reader 8

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Acrobat Reader\8.0\Installer\ENU_GUID
      The value can be something like this:

    If you are using VBScript you can read the registry using WshShell.RegRead

    Below is a sample code showing how it can be done. Save the text in Notepad with the file extension VBS.

    on error resume next
    Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
    WshShell.Run "msiexec /x " & uninstallstring & " /q",1,true

    64-bit Internet Explorer and i-drop

    imageIf you experience problems with Autodesk's i-drop (this site will notify if you have 32-bit or 64-bit IE) read this KB article.

  • In the 64-bit version of Windows XP, the default browser is 32-bit Internet Explorer.

  • In the 64-bit version of Vista, the default browser is 64-bit Internet Explorer. You can use the Start menu shortcuts to launch the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer.

  • Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Adobe License Manager (ALM)

    Adobe License Manager (ALM) was the new embedded volume license management solution for Adobe’s most popular desktop applications. ALM was first included in Acrobat 8 for the Windows operating system. ALM is based on FLEXnet from Macrovision but the experience was not good so Adobe is working to find another solution.

    ALM was rolled out in Adobe® Acrobat® 8 for Windows to our volume license customers worldwide. However, during the subsequent three months, we have learned that ALM requires a greater level of administrator resources than many of our customers have available to them. In some instances, there have also been difficulties in managing certain customer workflows and requirements.

    As a result, we have decided to disable the ALM technology in Acrobat 8 for all new volume license copies sold after March 9, 2007. Effective immediately, all Acrobat 8 for Windows installation media will be provided with ALM disabled. The final date for availability of ALM-related processes on the Adobe Licensing Website is April 9, 2007.

    PS. If you do have ALM it is possible to have it running together with network licenses from other vendors like Autodesk. JTB FlexReport is also supporting it.

    BSA rewards up to $1 Million to individuals

    Business Software Alliance (BSA) rewards Individuals Up To $1 Million for Qualified Reports of Copyright Infringement.

    An independent study* shows that 21 percent of software in the United States is unlicensed.

    BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, McAfee, Microsoft, Mindjet, Monotype Imaging, PTC, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, The MathWorks and UGS.

    The complete news here.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    ObjectDBX sample using VBA and AutoCAD 2008

    This VBA sample shows how to use ObjectDBX to get information from multiple drawings without opening them. You need to have an AutoCAD based application installed though. Here block names are listed but other things can be done with ObjectDBX like making changes to the drawings in different ways. ObjectDBX can also be used with AutoLISP, VB, VB.NET or C#.

    Option Explicit Dim objDbx As AxDbDocument ' 2007-06-08 ' By Jimmy Bergmark ' Copyright (C) 2007 JTB World, All Rights Reserved ' Website: ' E-mail: ' Runs in AutoCAD 2008 with axdb17enu.tlb (must be referenced) AutoCAD/ObjectDBX Common 17.0 Type Library ' Example of batch for listing all block names on all drawings in a directory. Private Sub ListBlockNames() Set objDbx = GetInterfaceObject("ObjectDBX.AxDbDocument.17") Dim inDir As String Dim elem As Object Dim filenom As String Dim WholeFile As String Dim newHeight As Double inDir = "c:\program files\autocad 2008\sample" filenom = Dir$(inDir & "\*.dwg") Do While filenom <> "" ThisDrawing.Utility.Prompt vbCrLf & "File: " & filenom ThisDrawing.Utility.Prompt vbCrLf & "-----------------" WholeFile = inDir & "\" & filenom objDbx.Open WholeFile For Each elem In objDbx.Blocks If elem.IsXRef = False And Left(elem.Name, 1) <> "*" Then ThisDrawing.Utility.Prompt vbCrLf & elem.Name End If Next Set elem = Nothing filenom = Dir$ ThisDrawing.Utility.Prompt vbCrLf Loop Set objDbx = Nothing End Sub

    If you read this using Google reader see the code here.

    If you want to manipulate DWG files without having an Autodesk application installed there is the option to use RealDWG.

    Adobe Reader 8.1 includes PDF Preview Handler

    image Robin raised a good question to my previous post if the Outlook 2007 preview is included with the reader.

    Adobe Reader 8.1 does include the Outlook 2007 and Windows Explorer PDF Previewer, Windows Search filter, and Windows Explorer icon preview extension (see the image).

    When I tried in my Virtual PC 2007 Vista test environment I could not get the Windows Search filter to work. Not sure why. Maybe text within PDF files cannot be searched with the PDF filter that is included with the Reader.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    PDF Preview Handler included with Adobe Acrobat 8.1

    Recently Adobe Acrobat 8.1 was released. One good thing is that a PDF Preview Handler is included so you can look at PDF files directly within Outlook 2007. The viewer is very basic and it is not much you do. I directly missed being able to zoom in and zoom out but a workaround is to resize the message window.


    The first time you click on a PDF file it takes a few seconds but after that the viewer fires up in less than a second.



    It also works in Windows Explorer


    New features in Adobe Acrobat 8.1
    New operating system support:

    • Windows XP 64-bit edition
    • Windows 2003 64-bit edition
    • Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit editions
      Note: There is a known issue with 64-bit versions of these operating systems which causes the Adobe PDF Printer to not work correctly. Microsoft has released a Hot Fix for this issue which is documented in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #930627 available at Adobe has tested and will support the Adobe PDF Printer with this Hot Fix installed.

    New features:

    • Vista Preview Handler: Preview Handler is a new user interface for viewing PDF files in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 on Windows Vista and Windows XP, as well as in Windows Explorer on Windows Vista. Preview Handler must be turned on in both applications.
    • Microsoft Office 2007 support.
    • PDF printer driver in Vista supports high quality PDF creation.
    • PDFMaker Office 2007 PDF Creation.
    • Option to create Quick and Simple PDFs from Word 2007.
    • New PDFMaker Ribbon UI in Office 2007.
    • Mac OS X version now includes Flash MPP for improved support for Flash files with multimedia on Mac OS.
    • InDesign Plug-In update supports communication with InDesign for Creative Suites 3.
    • Option to print documents to a FedEx Kinko?s office in the USA. English only.
    • Direct render of Dynamic forms
    • FIPS 140 Support

    Monday, July 9, 2007

    OpenDCL site and forums live

    I just got an email that mentioned & forums now are live. The RC1 build has also been released. PS. The site has a feed. Subscribed.


    Saturday, July 7, 2007

    JTB FlexReport 3.4.1 released

    After the release of JTB FlexReport 3.4.0 one introduced bug was found by some users with Windows Server 2003 and I found another one when I fixed that bug. The details can be found in the revision history. Several users have showed that they liked the new email notifications that where added. Different usage thresholds can be set for each application or feature. The installers have been updated so when you download now you will get the latest version.

    Shortcut links to Autodesk pages

    Here are some of the direct links that can be useful to avoid future broken links.

    Instead of using the ugly url (that might change) just use

    The complete list is available here. AutoCAD AutoCAD - Certified Hardware XML Database AutoCAD - Discussion Groups AutoCAD - Free Trial AutoCAD - Graphics Hardware List AutoCAD - Services & Support AutoCAD - Tech Pubs AutoCAD - Updates & Service Packs AutoCAD Architecture AutoCAD Civil 3D AutoCAD LT AutoCAD Migration Tools AutoCAD P&ID Autodesk - Building Information Modeling (BIM) Autodesk - Certification Autodesk - Customer Error Reporting (CER) Autodesk - Discussion Groups Autodesk - MyFeedback and Beta Autodesk - RSS Feeds Autodesk - Search Autodesk Blogs Autodesk Bug Report Submission Autodesk DWF Community Autodesk FMDesktop Autodesk Inventor Autodesk Object Enablers Autodesk Viewer Comparison DWG TrueView DWG TrueView - Free Download Revit Architecture

    Instead of using something like

    Here is what you should use:

    Friday, July 6, 2007

    Plot to PDF in AutoCAD with correct orientation and margins

    Let's say you have a drawing with a title block sized 841x594 that is A1. You want to print it to PDF with correct rotation. You don't want it 594x841. You also want the offset to be correct and no white margins.

    In this example I use Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional.

    This is what you get when you select the A1 paper size. Notice the red rectangle that is not rotated correctly.


    What you need to do is the following.

    Click on Properties...

    This will show the Plotter Configuration Editor.

    Select the tab Device and  Document Settings.

    Find Custom Properties in the tree view.

    Click on the button Custom Properties.


    In the dialog box Adobe PDF Document Properties select the tab Adobe PDF Settings.


    You will see Adobe PDF Page Size. Click on the Add... button.

    Either add a new page size or change an existing. A1 cannot be changed since it is not user defined.

    I added a A1 landscape page size to have the width 841 and the height 594 in millimeters.

    When you after that comes to the dialog box Changes to a Printer Configuration File you can select to save the changes to Adobe PDF.pc3.

    Now it looks better.


    And the result will be as expected.

    On the other hand if you want to use the build in DWG to PDF.pc3 that comes with AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008 you will not get the result you expect.

    First I had to Modify the ISO A1 (841.00 x 594.00 MM) paper size and set the margins to 0.

    The preview looks great.


    But the resulting PDF will not be located correctly. It is offset up to the right and I have not found a way to solve this. PLOTOFFSET 1 or 0 does not affect the result. 


    When I tried the same with the freeware PrimoPDF I had no problem to get the expected result.

    The same applies to other paper sizes than A1.

    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    Tired of DCL?

    Chad Wanless sold his ObjectDCL to DuctiSoft some months ago.ObjectDCL

    You can find the latest version, release 3.5, on

    It works for R16 and R17 (AutoCAD 2004-AutoCAD 2008).


    There is also an alternative that is in Development Status : 3 - Alpha

    OpenDCL is the new open source version of ObjectDCL for AutoCAD. OpenDCL is for AutoLISP programmers who want to replace AutoCAD's limited DCL (Dialog Control Language) user interface language with a rich set of modern Windows user interface elements.

    Origins of Scrum

    Scrum is an Agile Software Development Process.

    Scrum was specifically designed to deal with:

    Ziv's law - specifications will never be fully understood.
    Humphrey's law - the user will never know what they want until after the system is in production (maybe not even then)
    Wegner's lemma - an interactive system can never be fully specified nor can it ever be fully tested. This is the software analogy to Godel's theorem.
    Langdon's lemma - software evolves more rapidly as it approaches chaotic regions (taking care not to spill over into chaos)

    Read more about the origins at Jeff Sutherland's Scrum Log

    Bigger thumbnails for Vistas Alt+Tab

    The thumbnails that shows using Alt+Tab can be customized using the registry in Windows Vista. On this blog post is a reg file found to make the changes. It worked good for me.

    Wednesday, July 4, 2007

    Tailoring AutoCAD Rendering 2008 published

    The 202-page e-book by Ralph Grabowski is updated for AutoCAD 2008's modified rendering system.

    * Expanded Materials palette
    * Web lights
    * Target-free spot and Web lights
    * Photometric rendering
    * New Sun&Sky background
    * New and expanded tutorials
    * Updated for all of AutoCAD 2008's 24 new and changed rendering commands and system variables

    More about the book.

    Via WorldCAD Access

    AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008 Bible published

    From the press release:

    About the book:
    The new AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008 Bible, the 8th edition of Ellen Finkelstein’s indispensable reference-tutorial book, is a comprehensive guide to the latest AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008 releases.

    Published by Wiley, this “Bible” brings veterans up to speed on the latest features and brings novices from the basics right up to programming in AutoLISP and VBA. Some Autodesk employees even keep a copy at their desks.

    The Quick Start tutorial starts beginners with real-world work immediately. Following chapters cover the basics of creating drawings, complete 2D and 3D drawing techniques, using data in drawings, managing drawings, customization, and programming.

    The book includes a DVD with before and after drawings for each tutorial, collected from AutoCAD professionals. The DVD also contains a 30-day trial version of AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008, the entire text of the book in a searchable PDF format, and a selection of valuable add-on programs.

    “Whether you’re new to AutoCAD or a veteran, you will undoubtedly find this book to be an excellent resource,” Abhi Singh, AutoCAD Product Manager, Autodesk, Inc.

    AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD LT 2008 Bible (ISBN 978-0-470-12049-1, 1251 pages, $49.99) is available in bookstores, from, from, as well as from the author’s Web site at

    I've not read it but I suggest taking a look at Ellen's blog or her website and see if you like what you read there. If you do it's good chance you find this book valuable.

    Via AutoCAD Tips Blog

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    JTB FlexReport 3.4 now with email notifications

    JTB FlexReport 3.4 has now been released.

    The big news is support for email notifications when specified thresholds are reached for the license usage of network licenses based on Macrovision's FLEXlm/FLEXnet.

    Another addition is full support for features or modules that uses license tokens. One example of usage is to get a report on total monthly Token-hours per user or a group of users.

    Other than that there are new detailed reports as well as other under the hood performance improvements.

    Report for Concurrent Usage Per Day or Month with Max usage, Min usage, Avg usage and Standard deviation.


    Here is some background on token based licenses. This is a license that includes a pool of tokens (say 20) and a bunch of software modules.  Each module has a certain token value.  Each time a user wants to use one of modules the License manager sees if there is sufficient tokens in the pool.  So for example, if 20 users wanted to use software "AAA" and this software AAA had a token value of 1 then there would be no problem since the total simultaneous token usage does not exceed 20.  When each users stops using the software the token is returned to the token pool for use elsewhere.

    What the License Owner wants to do is to determine on a monthly basis how many "Token-Hours" each user used.  So for example if it was AAA which has a value of 1 token and the users used that at various days during the month for a total of 10 hours then there would be 10 Token-Hours for that user.  If instead of AAA lets say this user used BBB which let us say has a token value of 2.  So for the same 10 hours we would see a Token-Hour total for this user of 20 hours (i.e., 10 hours X token value of 2).  If another user used AAA for 5 hours and BBB for 10 Hours then the total Token Hours would be 25 for that user.  

    Comparison of DWG to PDF with OLE's

    This is a quick test of plotting a test drawing (87 KB) to different formats using AutoCAD 2008.


    I pasted some cells from Excel 2007 as OLE objects into a drawing and used different printers and plotted to different formats and here is the result.

    Printer Screen capture of result File size Text quality File
    Adobe PDF using Acrobat 8 Professional image 57 KB As text Download PDF
    PrimoPDF image 25 KB As text Download PDF
    DWG To PDF.pc3 included with AutoCAD 2008 image 216 KB As graphic Download PDF
    DWF6 ePlot.pc3 included with AutoCAD 2008 image 76 KB As graphic Download DWF
    Microsoft XPS Document Writer included with Windows Vista image 112 KB As text Download XPS

    As you can see the winner in this specific test was PrimoPDF a great free PDF printer. The size was the smallest and the text is still text in the PDF file and is searchable.

    Feel free to print the test drawing yourself using your favorite printer software and format and add a comment on the result.

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