Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Error 1603 during installation

Quite many times I have run into this 1603 error message when installing Autodesk software's like AutoCAD.

If you get this error take a look at this Knowledge Base document: Error 1603 during software installation

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My favorite Internet Explorer keyboard shortcuts

These are probably those I use most in Windows Internet Explorer 7.

Open links in a new tab in the background


Open links in a new tab in the foreground


Switch between tabs


Close current tab


Toggle Quick Tabs


Switch to a specific tab number CTRL+n (where n is 1 up to 8)
Switch to the last tab CTRL+9

Go to the next page


Go to the previous page


Select the text in the Address bar


Add "www." to the beginning and ".com" to the end of the text typed in the Address bar


All Internet Explorer keyboard shortcuts.

Monday, January 28, 2008

SAMreport alternative

Macrovision has retired SAMreport and has replaced it with FLEXnet Manager. After December 31, 2007, Macrovision will no longer provide any support to resolve SAMreport issues. The end-of-life notice does not apply to SAMreport Lite.

There is a great alternative available though.

Take a look at what JTB FlexReport can offer you to help you with your license tracking of FLEXnet or FLEXlm licensed software.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Defraggler a great defragment freeware

If you want to defragment some specific files or even a whole disk try Defraggler. I've used it in Vista and it has work really good.


Take a look at CCleaner (tool for clearing hard disk space and maintaining Internet privacy) and Recuva (file recovery tool that will unerase files) that too are really useful.

Via Piriform Blog

Friday, January 25, 2008

FLEXnet Error [1.5.-18]

If you get this message:

The network license manager was not able to get a valid license. If this problem continues, please contact your system administrator. Error [1.5.-18]

Take a look at these Knowledge Base documents:

There is also another thing I have found:

If all licenses are checked out or reserved the use can get this misleading message:
AutoCAD 2008 License Alert
A valid license could not be obtained by the network license
manager.  Try again.  If you are still unable to access a
license, contact your system administrator.

Error [1.5.-18]

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bug or product suggestion for VB made really easy

Now you can submit a bug or product suggestion into VB’s internal bug tracking system by just posting to their public forums.

This is great and I hope it will expand even to other vendors like Autodesk.

Via The Visual Basic Team blog

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Truly amazing kinetic animal like constructions that walk in the wind

I ended up at strandbeest after reading about An amazing kinetic sculptor at SolidWorks World 2008.


Take a few moments and watch these amazing constructions.

VBA's future in Office and AutoCAD

"the next generation of the Microsoft Office system will definitely contain all of the functionality that developers and power users expect from VBA"

Microsoft "will no longer license Visual Basic for Applications to new partners".

"Over the years, a number of partners such as Corel and AutoDesk, have licensed VBA to add application automation functionality to their products.  Any existing partner can continue to ship VBA and Microsoft Office will continue to include it."

Let's see how long Autodesk will support VBA for AutoCAD.

Via Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Is DWF what you think it is?

I searched for DWF and found it interesting to see that the top result was a law firm and the second one a wedding forum. Among the top ten was also a not for profit association based in France. Autodesk's DWF was the only one I recognized.

  image image

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Microsoft Excel Viewer available for download for free

If you don't have Excel and want to view xls, xlsx, xlsm or xlsb files try the Excel Viewer compatible with Microsoft Excel 97 up to Microsoft Office Excel 2007.

Via Microsoft Excel blog

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Error Connecting to Weblog - solution

I got this error trying to post from Windows Live Writer (WLW) and it took a while to figure it out. I had no problem posting from the Blogger web interface.

Error Connecting to Weblog
An error occurred while attempting to connect to your weblog:
Unable to connect to the remote server
You must correct this error before proceeding.

The problem was that for some reason the antivirus/firewall had blocked Windows Live Writer.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Full length post feeds thanks

I've noticed some of the blog feeds I read have started to use only partial posts or have had it for a while. For whatever reason you do this it makes me hesitate to read the full post having to do the extra step to go to your site and read the rest. Unless you have a good reason like Through the Interface has.

"Firstly I should apologise to those readers using RSS to access this site: I've been playing around with the configuration, to integrate FeedBurner but also to switch from publishing entire articles via RSS to publishing introductions - my posts are just too long, which seems to cause a problem for some RSS readers."

But other blogs that only offer a partial feed consider offering your reader at least the option to get a full length feed. It's a waste of time IMHO to go through the extra step and it will not make me visit your site more often. Better ways to get me visit your site is to link back to an old post or give me some other reason to visit the site.

Another reason why I think full length posts are good is that I often search among old posts in Google Reader and it only finds what is in the excerpt and thus makes harder to find what I look for.

Offer something like this:

Please share your thoughts. Would you like a feed with excerpts for this blog? Why do you think a partial feed is good?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Automate testing of GUI

I just subscribed to I'm looking forward to read more about his finds on "how to test your AutoCAD applications (AutoLISP, VBA, .NET or ObjectARX) against AutoCAD interface."

Fernando Malard have started looking at AutoIt that is a great product for automation.

Via CADptbr

Thursday, January 17, 2008

AutoCAD Palette Auto-hide Speed freeware with LT support

I've made an update to the AutoCAD Palette Auto-hide Speed freeware.

Version 1.2 now also supports AutoCAD LT.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Too large to send by e-mail tip

If you want to e-mail drawings or whatever attachment that are too large for either you or the recipient here is an alternative to FTP.

Using (Swedish company but the site is in English) you can send files up to 2 GB for free. I've tried it several times and it worked very well and with great speed.

Another one I've used many times for several years is YouSendIt but it's limited to 100 MB if you want to do it for free.

Some others are RapidShare,, and PipeBytes. PipeBytes is more private because "The file is not shared on Internet - it is sent directly to your recipient."

Another tip is to zip the file(s) first using 7-zip that often is smaller than ordinary zip. IZArc is also a great freeware that among many other formats handle 7-ZIP. You ca

Via IDG (in Swedish).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What LUPREC is and what it can do in AutoLISP

I got a question on how to change BomLengths.lsp to not show decimals.

BomLengths.lsp is a freeware that reports the accumulated sum length of multiple objects. As default it uses the current number of decimals according to the LUPREC value.

The solution is the following:

Change the following rows
(princ (rtos %l (getvar "lunits")(getvar "luprec")))
(princ (rtos %t (getvar "lunits")(getvar "luprec")))


(princ (rtos %l (getvar "lunits") 0))
(princ (rtos %t (getvar "lunits") 0))

According to the manual on luprec:

Sets the number of decimal places displayed for all read-only linear units, and for all editable linear units whose precision is less than or equal to the current LUPREC value. For editable linear units whose precision is greater than the current LUPREC value, the true precision is displayed. LUPREC does not affect the display precision of dimension text (see DIMSTYLE).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lambda expressions and mapcar with VB.NET in VS 2008

I've started to work with Visual Studio 2008 and it's great to see that lambda expressions are supported, something I'm familiar with using in AutoLISP.

I also made a simple .NET variant of the mapcar function. If you have another way or better way let me know.

Module Module1 Sub Main() Dim f1 = Function(i, j) If(i >= j, i & " is " & j & " or more", i & " is less than " & j) Console.WriteLine(f1(1, 0)) Console.WriteLine(f1(-1, 1)) Dim s1 = Function(x, y) x + " " + y Console.WriteLine(s1("Jimmy", "Bergmark")) Dim res() As Object = mapcar(Function(x) x * 2, New Integer() {35, 55, 21, 30}) For Each r In res Console.WriteLine(r) Next Dim mult As Func(Of Integer, Func(Of Integer, Integer)) = Function(x As Integer) Function(y As Integer) x * y Dim mult_2 = mult(2) Dim r1 = mult_2(4) ' r1 is now 8 Console.ReadLine() End Sub Function mapcar(ByVal f As Func(Of Object, Object), ByVal ParamArray x() As Object) As Array Dim res(UBound(x(0))) As Object For i As Integer = 0 To UBound(x(0)) res(i) = f(x(0)(i)) Next i Return res End Function End Module

Here is the output of the code.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to get e-mail support for Windows Live Hotmail and other Windows Live products

It is not so easy for some time find the way to get help with problems. This support article should really be updated. But it's possible and I've tried it several times with success. Fill out the form using this link to Windows Live Hotmail E-mail Support.

Here are some other useful links:

Support for all of the Windows Live Services you find here like Windows Live OneCare, Windows Live Spaces, etc.

PS. There is even an Email Support Space for the email clients.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Save desktop icon layout so it can be restored

I typically find that when I upgrade graphic card driver (NVIDIA's driver setup) or change to lower resolution for one or the other reason that the desktop icons move like I don't want them to.

With this solution you can save the desktop icons positions and restore the location of the icons later.

Download (Layout.dll comes from an old Microsoft resource kit and works on Vista 32-bit or Windows XP 32-bit) and copy Layout.dll into C:\Windows\System32 or %windir%\system32. Then double-click on Layout.reg or right click and Merge.

If you now right-click on your desktop you will find the menu options Save Desktop Icon Layout and Restore Desktop Icon Layout.

It's also available if your right-click on the Computer on the start menu.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Future 3D CAD monitor

I have a contrast ratio of 2000:1 on my LG FLATRON monitor. The 27-inch OLED prototype monitor from Sony has 1000000:1 and . What is great with Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) monitors is that they can be much thinner (how about 3mm?) than today's flat screen monitors as well as consuming less power and with no need for backlight.

Monitors like this might be available in a few years to the mass. Perhaps next year according to Sony.

Probably in a more distant future you will have something like this on your desk when designing in 3D.

Wondering if Autodesk labs or other CAD vendors are working on software that will work with the 3D-ready, flat-panel HDTV from Samsung, the almost one year old 3D FLATRON M4200D from LG, the 3D LCD from Hitachi, the 3D 4YOU from Philips or other monitors that makes 3D real without special glasses.


What makes the 3D FLATRON M4200D special is that it uses a lenticular 3D filter that provides auto-stereoscopic images, which allows viewers to experience dynamic true 3D Display without wearing special glasses. The 3D monitors only require a three to seven metre viewing distance to achieve a 3D image with a perceived depth of over 50cm. It also displays more natural 3D display images since it uses 25 different perspective views to display the one image. The more perspective views used, the more true to life the images a 3D monitor can display.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Visual Studio 2008 Shell

Visual Studio 2008 Shell is a new Microsoft product (to be released) based on Visual Studio 2008. Maybe something for Autodesk to make use of instead of the old VLIDE (that is not improved much) and VBAIDE.

"The Visual Studio Shell accelerates development by providing a base integrated development environment that can host custom tools and programming languages."

This means that AutoLISP could be added to this environment.

"Created in response to requests from our partners" - Maybe Autodesk already is working on this...

Visual Studio Shell (isolated mode)

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Email Standards Project

I recently found this website Email Standards Project and think it's a great initiative.

Find out how your email client is doing.

Here are some samples showing how clients like Google Gmail, Lotus Notes 8, Outlook 2007, Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Mail ended up in their acid test.


Some companies like IBM and Yahoo! have responded as can be seen on their blog.

Lines Merge for PDF created from AutoCAD using Acrobat

Line merging is possible to achieve using Adobe Acrobat 8 and AutoCAD 2008. I just confirmed it and here is the result with lines merge and lines overwrite.

lines merge                       lines overwrite

The built in DWG to PDF.pc3 that comes with AutoCAD cannot do this and if you just use the Plot command and the Adobe PDF.pc3 it will not work.

In short here is how.

  • In the Page Setup select Adobe PDF.pc3 or some other pc3 file that supports lines merge. Click on Properties>Devices and Document Settings>Graphics>Merge Control and there you select Lines Merge.
  • Acrobat PDF Maker must then be used. Either via the toolbar or with the PDF command.

In step 14 in the post below you don't have to retain the layers. Flatten all layers works as well.

Via Acrobat “Lines Merge” adjustments for PDF created from AutoCAD » I did not know Acrobat could do that

Thursday, January 3, 2008

AutoLISP without AutoCAD with ZWCAD 2008

ZWCAD 2008 Beta is now available. ZWCAD 2008 supports 80% of the Visual lisp functions. For more news see What’s new in ZWCAD 2008.

I could get some basic programs running like accdist.lsp but hatchb.lsp didn't work. I also got a complete crash when using vl-file-copy but this is beta and things like that can happen.

Below I've tried to open one of the sample drawings from AutoCAD 2008. The compatibility benchmark drawing BUDWEISER2008.DWG could not be opened at all for some reason.

After contacting ZWCAD Software I found out that ZWCAD could not provide the function to decrypt the files that have been encrypted. I removed the password from the drawing and tried again and found that there where some discrepancies. From what I could see in BUDWEISER2008.DWG there where at least 12 tests that failed.


Will Autodesk react on this and add some API support for AutoCAD LT?

Via Cadalyst.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tessellation Paradox not with DWF

Here is a tessellation paradox I recall from school were we got to cut out the four pieces from a paper, rearrange them and try to find out why the area didn't match.

The upper figure is a square 13 units on a side, with an area of 169. The lower figure, made by rearranging the pieces, measures 8 by 21 units, for an area of 168. Where did the missing unit of area go?

Take a look at this DWF where you can zoom in an find the issue. Here is the DWG I created for this purpose.

The solution to the puzzle is the slanting line. If we were to draw the figure accurately on graph paper, the slanting line would not pass exactly through the ends of the adjoining pieces. The "missing" unit of area is actually spread out along the slanting line as a very narrow gap or overlap too small to be easily noticed.


I found the above website when I read about Penrose tiles on Swedish on Peter J. Lu research on Decagonal and Quasicrystalline Tilings in Medieval Islamic Architecture. Very interesting reading.

The image to the right shows how the tilings are made up of pattern using girih tiles.

girth tiles

"We show that by 1200 C.E. a conceptual breakthrough occurred in which girih patterns were reconceived as tessellations of a special set of equilateral polygons (girih tiles) decorated with lines. These tiles enabled the creation of increasingly complex periodic girih patterns, and by the 15th century, the tessellation approach was combined with self-similar transformations to construct nearly perfect quasi-crystalline Penrose patterns, five centuries before their discovery in the West."

kites and darts

Original research paper in Science [ pdf ] [ supporting online material ]

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