Monday, December 31, 2007

Google Blog Search problem to get complete result

A comparison on two searches and I found the following confirming that this Search Box for Blogger still is not good. The problem is probably not so much related to this Search Box (on the right side of this blog) but it's all Google and the blog search should really be fixed. Being one of the largest search companies Google should have fixed this a long time ago.
18 found using Google Search (the result includes the monthly archives) compared to Google Blog Search that only finds 3 out of 9. That means a lot of the posts are missing on this search and other searches as well. The index is obviously very incomplete and needs to improve. Searching within Blogger 9 posts are found and is the correct.

Search within Blogger

Friday, December 28, 2007

Add a comma to the sheet title of a sheet in AutoCAD

I got an email with the following question:

I was Google searching for a way to add a comma to the sheet title for ADT2007. ... However I did not find any way to do such, just a comment by someone that it was impossible.
I have figured ways to add formatting code to other text fields (like capitalizing the date and doing a shortened month)…and was wondering if you knew a way to use escape characters and/or ASCII codes to include commas and other special characters in sheet tiles?

The error message can say something like Invalid characters in the name: test , with comma. The following characters are not valid: <>\/":;?*|,=`

This reply helped this user. It works in Sheet Set Manager (SSM) in AutoCAD as well as in the Project Navigator in AutoCAD Architecture (ACA) / Architectural Desktop (ADT).

Run the program CharMap.exe found in Windows Accessories>System Tools and there you can find special characters and copy them to use.

But you cannot use the real comma , but you can use something similar like ‚ that is U+201A or Alt+0130. You can enter it by holding down Alt on the keyboard and then on the right part of the keyboard enter 0130 and release Alt. Or you can copy it from the Character Map program.

Hopefully Autodesk does something about this in a future release.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tafiti and the AutoCAD blog tree

Below a screencast video showing how Tafiti beta search works.

Tafiti, which means "do research" in Swahili, is an experimental search front-end from Microsoft, designed to help people use the Web for research projects that span multiple search queries and sessions by helping visualize, store, and share research results. Tafiti uses both Microsoft Silverlight and Live Search to explore the intersection of richer experiences on the Web and the increasing specialization of search.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Convert a photo into a talking character

Just for the fun of it. I got an email about PQ Talking Photo and here is what it can look like getting a cartoon talk. Head over to PQ Talking Photo and see some other samples. Make your favorite animal talk or some in your family. All you need is a photo and their soon to be released software and you can then place it on your blog, myspace, facebook, iPod, iPhone, PSP, Zune, Mobile Phone.

blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album

Last minute ODA membership for free

If you are interested to become an Open Design Alliance associate member you better hurry. This membership is free this year but will cost you $250 next year.

The DWGdirect library supports the formats DWG, DXF and DWF.

The ADTdirect library provide support for Architectural Desktop custom objects. A beta version of Civil 3D libraries is also available

The DGNdirect library supports the MicroStation file formats.

You may incorporate the Open Design Alliance libraries into programs that are used within your organization or school, or are distributed for free to the general public via the Worldwide Web.  You may not, however, distribute these programs in any commercial fashion, or in conjunction with any other commercial software applications. (This membership level is also appropriate if you are developing commercial application programs incorporating our libraries, but are not shipping. At such time as you are ready to ship, you may upgrade to a higher membership level.)

ODA is still don't offering a managed code solution for .NET but are planning to to add that in 2008.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Adobe's Acrobat 3D compared to Autodesk's DWF Viewer

Know the market.

"I often get asked how Acrobat 3D compares to the various view and markup tools on the market like Autodesk’s DWF Viewer, Solidworks’ eDrawings, Siemen’s JT2Go and VisView."

Autodesk’s DWF Viewer isn't even on the market. Nowadays it's Autodesk Design Review.

Other than that if you want to combine most any file into a PDF document Acrobat might be the best choice. The extensive API is also a big plus.

"While the main area of overlap between Acrobat 3D and view and markup tools lies in their ability to distribute 3D geometry and 2D drawings while leveraging a low/no cost viewer, it is Acrobat 3D’s ability to convert 3D content as well as combine it with other project information to create a single compound PDF document, complete with security options like encryption, digital certificates and digital signatures that sets Acrobat 3D in a class by itself."

Via And the Difference is: "As Well As" that I could not add a comment on or contact so I made it here.

mental images (mental ray) is now part of nVidia

Another reason to consider a nVidia graphic card. At least in the future.

mental images, is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of NVIDIA.

mental ray is the integrated rendering technology within such leading Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Digital Content Creation (DCC) software products as Autodesk's AutoCAD®, Autodesk® 3ds Max®, Autodesk® Maya®, Dassault Systems CATIA® and Solidworks ®, and AVID Softimage®|XSI®.

The Berlin-based visual effects studio has one major product, the Oscar-winning Mental Ray software used in film special effects. Among metal images customers are Lucasfilm, Sony Pictures and Dreamworks.

Via A good reason to have nVidia card in CAD workstation

Windows Vista SP1 RC Evaluation Copy watermark on desktop

If you are about to install Vista SP1 RC consider this.

"Windows Vista (TM) Evaluation Copy. Build 6001" will show on the bottom right of your desktop.

Notice the following from the included readme document.

Windows Vista SP1 RC is time-limited software.
Windows Vista SP1 RC will no longer operate after June 30, 2008 and should be uninstalled prior to that date. After installation your desktop will show the text “Evaluation Copy”. This does not mean that your system is no longer genuine but that you have installed a test version of software which is time-limited. The “Evaluation Copy” text will appear on your desktop after the second reboot after installing the service pack. Likewise, the “Evaluation Copy” text will remain on your desktop during the first reboot after uninstall the service pack, but will disappear after the next reboot.

There is a hack to remove the watermark but it's definitely unsupported by Microsoft.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Using the registry or an INI file to save and retrieve information

When programming there are often information that you want to save and later read. If you consider to use an INI file I suggest you read this post Why are INI files deprecated in favor of the registry?

Here are some reasons I find useful:

  • INI files don't support Unicode.
  • Multiple writers to an INI file can result in data loss.
  • INI files can suffer a denial of service.
  • Parsing an INI file is comparatively slow.

If you think XML is a better choice there are some arguments there as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Search and find DWF's online

This is a bit old news. It's been mentioned before. But it's great that DWF files can be searched. Not just the files but also the content like text within the DWF.

Make a search for the word motor in a DWF and see what can be found.


Because DWF files can now be indexed and returned by leading search engines, designers can be confident that others can access and experience data-rich information online, improving collaboration and communication.

Autodesk says users can search by file type and find pages that are CAD documents posted online. To locate a drawing, map, or model, users construct a search including the phrase “Filetype:dwf” and terms regarding the type of file sought.

Complete article.

Notice that you cannot use Filetype:dwf as the article says. You must use filetype:dwf with lower case to have it work. Wondering when DWFx will be supported.

Searching for DWF files on Google results right now in 88,100 found. Searching on Windows Live Search and 103,000 are found.

In the Google advanced search it's also available among the File Formats for easy access.

Change the title of your AutoCAD application

I got an email the other day asking if I still had this code around. Yes it is. Why is it useful. One reason is that you might want to take snapshots without the text "NOT FOR RESALE". Another is that you want to brag about having AutoCAD 2009 a few months earlier than the most or just play a prank.

Here is what it look like before running the command.
It says AutoCAD 2008 - NOT FOR RESALE.

AutoCAD 2008

After running the command JTB_SetTitleBarAutoCAD2009 based on the code found on my website it look like this and says AutoCAD 2009.

 AutoCAD 2009

I modified JTB_TitleBar.lsp to this:

(defun c:JTB_SetTitleBarAutoCAD2009() (vl-load-com) (setq JTB_TitleBar "AutoCAD 2009") (vl-vbarun "C:/JTB World/JTB_TitleBar2005.dvb!JTB_TitleBar") (princ) )

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Five presentations from AU 2007 available for all

Autodesk University 2007 is over but you can get some from it anyway.

  • CV400-1 Three Sheets to the Wind (AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008) - Scott McEachron
  • PM304-1 The Essential Guide to NavisWorks - Paul Jonathan Walker
  • GD111-2 Getting Up to Speed on AutoCAD® 2008 - Lynn Allen
  • CM311-3P CAD Manager’s Training and Standards Guide - Robert Green
  • AB210-2P Sustainable Design Systems Based on Revit® Architecture - Kenneth Hall

You find these screencasts here without need to login. If you sign up you can access all sessions at

Friday, December 14, 2007

DivX Pro for free

Head over to and get it free instead of $9.99. It's only available a few days more.

Inlcuded are DivX Converter and DivX Pro Codec.


Freeware to remove duplicate files

DoubleKiller is a freeware that can help you with this task.


I typically have a lot of small files that are identical because I use Visual Studio but in the options it's possible to leave out smaller files below a specified file size.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Solution for Google Analytics tracking code problem with Blogger

Google is behind both Blogger and Google Analytics but this problem slipped through. If you get the error below when you try to add the new tracking code for Google Analytics to your blogger/blogspot blog take a look at this solution. Notice that if you just copy the code from that page you will get _gat is undefined error on your pages so use the code below and just make sure to change UA-XXXX-X to your code.


<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-XXXX-X"); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview(); </script>


<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-XXXX-X"); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview(); </script>

Error message:

We were unable to save your template
Please correct the error below, and submit your template again.
Your template could not be parsed as it is not well-formed. Please make sure all XML elements are closed properly.
XML error message: Open quote is expected for attribute "{1}" associated with an element type "type".

Why would you want to make this update and switch from urchin.js to ga.js?

This will allow you to take advantage of the most up-to-date tracking functionality as it is added to Google Analytics.

Reading through the migration guide I also learned how to track downloaded files.

Save filled forms in Adobe Reader as PDF file

If you have Adobe Reader and fills out a form you might see the message below. This is what Adobe Reader 8.0 shows.

Then if you try to Save a Copy you  will get this message.

Save a Blank Copy of this Form

Data typed into this form will not be saved. Adobe Reader can only save a blank copy of this form. Please print your completed form if you would like a copy for your records.

If you really want a PDF that has the forms filled out and you don't have for example Adobe Acrobat 8.0 what do you do? Here comes the solution to the problem.

You can print it and scan it to a PDF file or even better get a free PDF printer like CutePDF Writer, pdf995, PrimoPDF or PDFCreator. With  any of these freeware's installed you can select to print to that PDF writer and you will have a PDF with the filled forms.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Autodesk Design Review 2008 keyboard shortcuts

If you both use Autodesk Design Review 2008 as well as the keyboard a lot notice that to zoom in and out you need to press CTRL and the + or - key. Combine that with panning using the arrows and you need to press and release the CTRL button. Not so good, but there was hopefully a valid reason for removing the ability to only use the plus or minus key.

Some other useful keyboard shortcuts are:

Command Keyboard Shortcut  
Zoom Rectangle R image
Fit to Window (show extents) F image
2D Navigation Wheel Spacebar image

Most commands have keyboard shortcuts. Hover the mouse over a button and as you can see just use E for Distance Measure.

Knowledge Base document: Zooming in and out by pressing +/- keys

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Digital Signatures in the CAD world

Owen Wengerd has put together a series of posts that explains about Digital Signatures.

AutoCAD dimension background fill and text frame mismatch

As can be seen the fill matches better when Verdana is used as on the left side than with txt.shx as on the one to the right. But still it does not look as good as it should.

What it look like in AutoCAD 2008

Settings using the dimstyle command.


A wish for the future is of course to be able to control the fill and frame size/offset factor like you can with mtext.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Live OneCare purchase problem

OneCare is still not for everyone as I also found out before.

The only payment methods online that are available are MasterCard, Visa and American Express. You must be in the same country as where your credit card is from to get this work or you might get this message:

"We can't authorize the payment method. Please make sure the information is correct, or use another payment method. If you continue to get this message, please contact your financial institution."

According to the OneCare FAQ:

In which countries and languages is Windows Live OneCare available?
The Windows Live OneCare subscription service is available in the following countries and languages: Australia (English), Austria (German), Belgium (Dutch, French), Canada (English, French), France (French), Germany (German), Ireland (English), Italy (Italian), Japan (Japanese), Mexico (Spanish), Netherlands (Dutch), New Zealand (English), Singapore (English), Spain (Spanish), Switzerland (French, German), United Kingdom (English), United States (English, Spanish).

There is an unofficial workaround described if you have someone you really trust in any of these countries.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Make changes to a drawing without changing DBMOD

In an earlier post about layer notification I mentioned how to us acaddoc.lsp to disable unreconciled layer evaluation and notification. In AutoCAD Insider I read about how this makes changes to the drawing so that if you just open a drawing and then try to close it you will be asked to save changes.

One way to partially solve this is to only make changes if there is a need to change.

(if (/= (getvar "LAYEREVAL") 0) (setvar "LAYEREVAL" 0))
(if (/= (getvar "LAYERNOTIFY") 0) (setvar "LAYERNOTIFY" 0))

If you completely want to trick AutoCAD to think no changes has been done to the drawing you can achieve this using (acad-push-dbmod) to store the modification status of a drawing and finally (acad-pop-dbmod) to restore the original status.

If you start a new drawing and run (setvar "LAYEREVAL" 0) you will find that the DBMOD system variable changes to 4. But if enclosed with (acad-push-dbmod) and (acad-pop-dbmod) no changes will be made to DBMOD and you will be able to close the drawing without any "problem". You have to do something else with the drawing to trigger AutoCAD to ask you to save the drawing if you just close it.

Here is an example of what you can add into acaddoc.lsp.

(setvar "LAYEREVAL" 0)
(setvar "LAYERNOTIFY" 0)
(princ "\nacaddoc.lsp loaded")

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Autodesk products on Vista white paper

More companies starts to consider to upgrade from XP to Vista and then this Autodesk and Windows Vista white paper can come handy.

Some highlights are:

"companies that run AutoCAD 2008 64-bit on Windows Vista can speed up their work."

"AutoCAD Architecture 2008 users should experience the same high performance. Benchmark testing shows no degradation or enhancement to performance on Windows Vista."

"Autodesk has found that the performance of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 undergoes some changes when run on Windows Vista. Benchmark testing shows that while some processes perform the same when run on Windows Vista and Windows XP, some are slower on Windows Vista. Autodesk has found that the more RAM a system has, the less perceptible the slowdown. Conversely, processes leveraging the .NET framework, such as corridor processing, are up to 10 times faster on Windows Vista."

"Autodesk’s benchmark testing shows neither degradation nor enhancement of performance when AutoCAD Map 3D 2008 is run on Windows Vista."

"With 64-bit, users can handle larger and more complex scenes and experience improved large model and data set performance. With 3ds Max 2008, users can start in either Direct3D or OpenGL modes. If they run the application in Direct3D model, they will experience additional performance improvements."

"the software client version of the Autodesk Buzzsaw 2007.3 is not Vista compatible."

Inventor - "Autodesk has found that by leveraging Direct3D, Inventor implementation on Windows Vista shows performance gains of approximately 5% when compared with Windows XP."

Revit Architecture 2008 - "Benchmark testing shows no degradation or enhancement to performance on Windows Vista."

Via the Autodesk Labs Blog and Microsoft Vista Compatibility

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Free CAD software for personal use only

If you are used with AutoCAD and for one or the other reason don't have AutoCAD, ProgeCAD 2008 Smart! might be an option. ProgeCAD 2008 Smart! is available for download at It can read and write DWG files compatible with AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008. Personally I feel a bit uneasy about the concept of AutoCAD clones like this one but free is free.

Via ProgeSOFT blog

Macro recorder for AutoCAD

It's hinted in the latest AUGIWorld Magazine that some kind of macro recorder can be included in a future version of AutoCAD.

Other things are UI enhancements and support for MicroStation DGN V7 versions.

Maybe some of it will show up in AutoCAD 2009 that is to be released in 2008.

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