Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nakheel Tower, Dubai, a tower more than 1 kilometre in height

Another one of the amazing structures to be built.

“The design challenges are met by an innovative solution in shaping the tower geometry to provide a highly robust and redundant structure, at the same time as creating an aerodynamic effect to minimize the effect of the local wind storms. The cylindrical tower is 95m in diameter, but in actuality is four towers encircling an internal void, linked at intervals by ‘sky bridges’.”

Nakheel Tower

More on

Via WSP press release - WSP Group is the structural engineer for Nakheel Tower, Dubai, a tower more than 1 kilometre in height.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

FLEXnet network licenses via VPN

Even though this Knowledge Base document about FLEXnet/FLEXlm:
License management and support for VPN connections says that it is not supported by Autodesk it does not mean that it does not work. See this previous post on how to use FLEXLM_TIMEOUT and you will most likely find that it does work just fine with this solution to the problem.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Autodesk’s new headquarters for its AEC division

Autodesk eat it’s own dog food and will live in it too.

Autodesk is opening a 65,000 square-foot office building in Waltham, Mass., to serve as the new headquarters for its architecture, engineering & construction (AEC) division. This is where Revit is developed. (The office in Manchester will still be where it is where a lot of AutoCAD Architecture folks are located.)

The interior of the building is being designed and constructed with Autodesk's portfolio of products for building information modeling (BIM) and is the first project in New England to use the integrated project delivery (IPD) model, an innovative approach to design and construction that can accelerate project timeline and reduce costly errors.

The building is located at 1560 Trapelo Road in Waltham, Mass., and the interior was designed by architecture firm KlingStubbins and built by general contracting firm Tocci Building Companies. Using the Autodesk Revit platform for BIM, the firms were able to create coordinated, digital design information and documentation, and use that information to more accurately predict energy performance, as well as appearance and cost.

I think this is the building that one of the Google cars have taken a photo of.image

Or click here for Bird’s eye view on Live Search Maps. I think it now shows the old building though.

Map picture

See press release for more details.

See also this post

Monday, November 24, 2008

Disable Help Menu Content in Autodesk Design Review 2009

Now Autodesk have provided a way to Disable Help Menu Content in Autodesk Design Review 2009. This is good news as you might not want your users to check for updates for example.

See the post on Beyond the Paper

BIM blog tips

If you work with BIM or about to start doing it I suggest you visit ThinkSpace for several great posts on the topic. Right now there is Effects of BIM On Project Lifecycle Phases the 10:th BIM episode.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

JTB FlexReport 5 beta 1 is available to test drive

If you’re curious take a look at the draft documentation JTBFlexReport5B1.pdf (3 MB) or you can request a fully functional trial. Make it easier to assess you network license usage of applications using FLEXnet/FLEXlm/IBM LUM or 12D.

Multiple features in one chart


Saturday, November 22, 2008

How to sort 1TB of data in 68 seconds or even 1 PB

“We are excited to announce we were able to sort 1TB (stored on the Google File System as 10 billion 100-byte records in uncompressed text files) on 1,000 computers in 68 seconds.” – Google Blog

But that was not enough they tried with 1000 times more data. 1PB.

“It took six hours and two minutes to sort 1PB (10 trillion 100-byte records) on 4,000 computers.”

The method they use is MapReduce that makes it possible to run multiple processes simultaneously on multiple computers.

Programming model for MapReduce

Input & Output: each a set of key/value pairs

Programmer specifies two functions:

map (in_key, in_value) -> list(out_key, intermediate_value)

  • Processes input key/value pair
  • Produces set of intermediate pairs
reduce (out_key, list(intermediate_value)) -> list(out_value)
  • Combines all intermediate values for a particular key
  • Produces a set of merged output values (usually just one)
Inspired by similar primitives in LISP and other languages.

Adobe Updater problem solved

AdobeUpdater.exe started to show an annoying empty dialog box each time I restarted the computer. It said the installation was not ready and I could continue it later. I found no way to clearing it or accessing the settings or stopping it from showing up again and again.

I tried installing the latest Adobe Updater 5.1.1 update to no avail.

Eventually I solved it by deleting the Updater5 folder (I have Windows Vista):


Friday, November 21, 2008

HP+Autodesk+NVIDIA deal

If you’re about to purchase both AutoCAD 2009 and a new PC this is worth taking a look at.

Each of the bundles include:
•AutoCAD® 2009 Software, the latest version of the world's leading 2D and 3D CAD application.
•HP xw4600 Workstation with Intel® Core 2 Duo E7200 processor offering next-generation performance technologies in a powerful, flexible and reliable workstation.
•NVIDIA Quadro® Professional Graphics providing unmatched power and performance.

Visit and NVIDIA’s Autodesk site

BTW. I noticed in NVIDIA’s newsletter NVIDIA Tesla Personal Supercomputer. It is based on the NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing architecture and powered by up to 960 parallel processing cores. I wouldn’t mind having that as a rendering machine.

3D Printing Service for AutoCAD models

This Autodesk website has links to several services:
Print an AutoCAD Model Through a 3D Printing Service

Here is a document describing how to optimize your models and prepare them for 3D printing. You can print 3D solids, but not surfaces, parts of a block, meshes, 2D
geometry or text.

This is related to the AutoCAD 2009 subscription bonus pack 3 Shaan has posted about.

Small Basic - for kids or if you want to learn programming

I started programming on Sinclair ZX81 with a built in Sinclair BASIC interpreter in the early 80:ies and think it is great to see a brand new, simple and free programming language and IDE.

Visit Small Basic to download it and for more information.

Small Basic

Small Basic starts with a really simple programming language that gathers inspiration from the original BASIC language.  It has no more than 15 keywords and is strictly imperative.  There are no classes, scopes, generics, lambdas, etc. - just pure imperative code.  The language is typeless and all variables are dynamic and global all the time.  The code gets compiled to IL and runs on the .Net Framework.

It comes with a set of libraries that can be accessed from within a Small Basic program.  Since the language itself is .Net based, new libraries can be created or the existing libraries modified using any .Net programming language.

Next, it combines the features of the language and the libraries into a very simple and friendly programming environment.  This environment gives beginners, access to professional features like Intellisense(TM) and Instant context sensitive help.  It makes writing programs and executing them a breeze.

Small Basic blog

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Project Newport real-time 3D story building technology

Project Newport involves a mix of architecture, movies, and games. This sounds really interesting.

Convey design intent with Project Newport – real-time 3D story building technology for architectural visualization and presentation. With breakthrough game-engine technology, Project Newport is easy to use and enables architects to show their designs in context.  They can explore design options, visualize changes instantly, and create vivid, immersive 3D presentations.

Keep an eye on Project Newport

Via the Autodesk Lab

Wonder how it might relate to or have similarities with Wikitecture

ADN member access to Autodesk Subscription site

Jim Quanci just emailed me that “You have access to the Subscription Center including all extensions now - see right hand sash of the ADN extranet home page -

As an ADN member, you have “Visitor” access to the Autodesk Subscription Center for two uses:

  1. Access to quarterly extension releases for add-on design and testing purposes. As with all Autodesk software provided to ADN members, these quarterly extension releases may not be used for end-user “production” design and modeling purposes – and may not be shared with end-users or outside your company.
  2. Access to on-line training classes so you can quickly learn and understand how Autodesk products are designed to be used by end-users – enabling you to better design and integrate your technologies with Autodesk products.

This is really great news for Autodesk Developer Network members. Now I can also read “Stoeckel on Subs”. I find no feed though.

Process Explorer v11.3 now with physical memory history graph

Process Explorer v11.3: This update to Process Explorer includes numerous enhancements and bug fixes, including a physical memory history graph, options to configure memory tray icons, asyncronous thread symbol resolution and security ID lookup, dynamic recognition of new volume drive letters, multiple character matching in the process view, and a smaller memory footprint.

Notice the new tray icon.

Read also the excellent post Pushing the Limits of Windows: Virtual Memory on Mark Russinovich's technical blog for interesting facts about physical memory, address space, virtual memory, committed memory, paging file and more. Learn more about what’s in the task manager or even better the Process Explorer.

Via Sysinternals Site Discussion

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Microsoft anti-malware protection for free for consumers

If you are about to planning for purchasing antivirus software consider this.

In hopes of getting more consumers protected, this week, Microsoft announced that it will offer a new security solution to consumers at no cost beginning in the second half of calendar year 2009. This new offering will focus on getting the majority of consumers the essential protection they need by providing comprehensive, real-time anti-malware protection, covering such threats as viruses, spyware, rootkits, trojans, and other emerging threats, in a single, focused solution.

In order for us to focus on delivering this new security solution to millions of customers around the world, we have decided to phase out Windows Live OneCare and will discontinue retail sales of Windows Live OneCare subscription service beginning June 30, 2009.

Question is why? OneCare even have outsold McAffee Virusscan. It probably is another goodwill thing to make Microsoft and Windows look better. Or maybe there was no future in OneCare as it was bloated with printer sharing, networking and performance tuning. Another question is how this will affect other third-party consumer security products.

Via OneCare blog


We know that there are still some 60 percent of consumers in developed markets, and even more in emerging markets, that don’t have up-to-date security protection on their PCs, and we want to help provide that core level of protection.

…core malware protection in low-bandwidth scenarios, or that will run on less powerful machines. That's why we will design “Morro” to have a smaller footprint and to use fewer computing resources.

Via PressPass Q&A: Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management, discusses Microsoft’s strategy to provide broader access to critical anti-malware protection.

Acrobat crash on startup - solution

I got a problem with Adobe Acrobat 8.1.3 Professional on Windows Vista SP1.

I opened a document and after a few seconds looking at it, it disappeared.

I tried a repair and then it got even worse. It was not even related to that document.

Only a few seconds after I start Acrobat it crashes with no error message whatsoever. Acrobat just quits and exits silently.

I tried to run Acrobat as Administrator and then it worked just fine.

Then I though about using the general trick to delete everything in the TEMP folder. That solved my problem and hopefully yours if you run into this.

This also solved a problem with the Adobe PDF writer that I started to have recently.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Autodesk certification voucher at AU

Great news for those attending Autodesk University. I wish you a great time at AU.

Via Beside the Cursor

Related: Autodesk Certification Program in Northern Europe

Move all file types with Live Mesh even Outlook PST files

There are some limitations with Live Mesh even though it is a promising product. Some files and folders cannot be shared or synchronized. According to this help document there are limits that I sometimes need to work around as I want to use Mesh to move data from one PC to another.

I need to sync even files with these file extensions:

  • .bak
  • .lnk (links / shortcuts)
  • .pst (Outlook personal folders)
  • .tmp

My solution was to zip the folders I needed to move/copy and then I synchronized the zip files. For the zipping I use the excellent freeware 7-zip.

I wanted this to happen peer-to-peer only so for this purpose I stopped synchronizing with the Live Desktop for the folder I used.

The Live Mesh forum is found here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Purge layers that don’t want to be purged in AutoCAD

Want to clean up you drawings from extra or garbage layers?

The obvious way to purge layers is to use the Purge command but sometimes it’s not enough. Purge might need to be run several times. Make sure to select purge nested items.

I got a request per email and the not so obvious tip that worked was the following:

Try to open the drawing with RECOVER or run AUDIT on it and then run PURGE and select all and also purge nested items and it will probably go away. Sometimes this needs to be repeated several times.

Notice that you cannot purge

  • the active or current layer
  • layers with objects
  • layer 0
  • layer Defpoints (It can be purged if you remove all dimensions)
  • layers in XREFs (xref-dependent layers)

In the Purge dialog box you can find items you cannot purge.

Layers can exist nested in blocks. They can be used by empty text strings (QTEXTMODE can be used to show these) or lines without length or even viewports that have the layer frozen.

LAYMRG (Layer Merge) or LAYDEL (Layer Delete) might be able to help you either merge the layer to for example layer 0 or if you don’t care what’s on the layer delete it.
LAYWALK is also useful to see what is in each layer and can purge unreferenced layers.
LAYTRANS can also purge layers. In the Layer Translator, right-click in the Translate From list. Click Purge Layers.

To use the filters in the Properties palette (QSelect) can also work but you might need to explode everything several things first.

Another way to generally purge a drawing is to Wblock the entire drawing to a new drawing or use –WBLOCK and * for whole drawing or you can Wblock selected objects.

You can also try to isolate the problem by deleting 50% of the drawing, try to purge and then keep repeating it until nothing is left. If the layer is still there it might be used by some kind of object that is not purged using the plain purge command. It might be something in a vertical like AutoCAD Architecture and then you have to maybe purge using the style manager.

DXF can also help. Save as DXF or use DXFOUT command and open in a text editor and search for the layer to see where it is used.

SmartPurger can help you automate your purging and scripting work.

What is your trick to purge layers?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

AutoCAD Architecture on Wikipedia

WikipediaAutoCAD Architecture 2009 I noticed that the AutoCAD Architecture page on Wikipedia was really limited so I have edited it. Please head over to the page and add to it or make further changes. If there is anything that is unclear you can add to the discussion page to discuss about the content.

I think I got the release dates correct for ADT v1 up to ACA 2009.

Maybe add something on BIM. Personally I’m among those that think that AutoCAD Architecture is more than only AutoCAD for architects.

Virtual Architecture in Second Life

Interesting concept using among other things a so called "Wiki Tree," a 3D version control and voting system that resulted in Studio Wikitecture won Architecture for Humanity’s Founders Award for their submission; a health facility in Nepal.

Via O’Reilly Radar, The ARCH and Studio Wikitecture

Friday, November 14, 2008

Better PDF functionality in AutoCAD 2009 with SBP2

Subscription Bonus Pack 2 is now available if you have subscription. This is for AutoCAD 2009 only.

If you have complained about the bad PDF output and still don’t use any 3:rd party solution this is great news. File sizes have been reduced. TrueType font support has been added, giving you control over precisely how your fonts are displayed and so that you can search text within the PDF files.

On top of that you will be able to use PDF’s as underlays (xrefs) just like with DWF files and you can snap to lines and objects, control the display of layers, move, scale, rotate, and clip the PDF underlay.

If you are not a subscription customer you can expect these news to be included in the next version AutoCAD 2010.

Update. Shaan also mentions Bonus Pack 3 The ability to prepare and print a 3D model to an online service and get back a 3D print of the model. There is also a new blog “Stoeckel on Subs” that I won’t be able to read as I’m not on subscription. I’m only an Autodesk Developer Network member.

SSMPropEditor 2.1 beta

Would you like to try out this SSMPropEditor beta in your environment within the few next days?

What has been improved in this version is the locking of the Sheet Set. If the Sheet Set is locked you can open it Read Only in SSMPropEditor and if it is not locked SSMPropEditor will add a lock on it so you cannot modify it within AutoCAD even though you can open it. The aim is that it should play more nice with AutoCAD this way.

Please contact me either as existing customer or if you just want to give it a try.

Microsoft Office Web Applications and Windows Live

Some of the recent news from Microsoft.

Microsoft Office Web Applications will work on iPhone and work best with Silverlight, might be available for free and more in this FAQ.


Windows live announcement Windows Live – Keeping your life in sync talks about ONE contact list for Hotmail and Messenger. Read the post as it is quite extensive.

Windows Live Essentials will soon be out of beta (to be installed on your PC The Essentials include Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Writer, Toolbar, and Family Safety).

Live SkyDrive is adding space. This post describe some news like 25 GB of free online storage. (Mine is still at 5 GB so far though)

Some quotes on Torres Talking blog

And finally a link for the developers. Describing Live Framework

Posted using Live Writer that also have got a new icon.

Live Writer

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Side-by-side configuration is incorrect solution

I found this problem after upgrading a C# application from Visual Studio 2005 to Visual Studio 2008 and wanted to share the solution.

When running the application after compiling it in 2008 I get this error:

The application has failed to start because its side-by-side configuration is incorrect. Please see the application event log for more detail.

The application event is:

Event ID: 10

Source: SideBySide

Activation context generation failed for "D:\Sample.exe".Error in manifest or policy file "D:\Sample.exe.Config" on line 2. The application config file root element must be configuration.

Here is line 2 in the Config file:
<configuration xmlns="">

The solution is to change this line to:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2.5 GB space online at Mozy for your backups

Mozy has been extended this special offer to end of November.

See 2.5 GB backup space for Free on Mozy for more info. Notice that it’s not just space it includes a great software that handles the backup for you.

On the topic of online backup systems see this post on Obsessable that talks positively about Elephant Drive. I have not tried that one myself so far though.

Error -125,147 using LMTOOLS.EXE explained

LMTOOLS.EXE>Server Diags Perform Diagnostics is not working if you have Autodesk 2009 products like AutoCAD 2009.

Knowledge Base document: Error -125,147: This license cannot be checked out because: A PACKAGE component must be specified

Monday, November 10, 2008

IKEA using computer generated and rendered images

IKEA is in the 2009 furniture catalogue having 25% of the pictures being modeled in Autodesk 3ds Max and rendered with V-Ray for 3dsmax.

It would be interesting to know and see what pictures are not real photos.

Via Teknik360 (Swedish site)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Network licensing error [1.5.-4] when starting AutoCAD

Have you got this error message when you start AutoCAD?

The network license manager was not able to get a valid license. If this problem continues, please contact your system administrator. Error [1.5.-4]

This error indicates that no network licenses (FLEXnet/FLEXlm) are available to be checked out. All available licenses are either reserved for other users or are currently in use.

Knowledge Base document: Network licensing error [1.5.-4] when starting the software

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leaning towers

First Leaning Tower of Pisa (3.97 degrees) then Puerta de Europa (15 degrees) and now Capital Gate (18 degrees).

Capital Gate

When complete, Capital Gate located in Abu Dhabi will be 160 metres and 35 storeys tall and leaning 18 degrees. It look like a bit more than 30 meter overhang. Will it become Guinness Book of Records' most inclined tower? “ADNEC, the developers, and RMJM, the project’s architects, have submitted a joint application to the Guinness Book of Records to recognise the tower as the 'most inclined in the world'”

Leaning Tower of Pisa Puerta de Europa Capital Gate

Via Teknik360 (In Swedish)

JTB FlexReport 4.3.3

JTB FlexReport 4.3.3 is now available. It is important that you upgrade if you have a 4.3 version installed as it fixes issues with borrowed licenses not being saved to the database and a minor problem in the detailed report.

See the Revision History for all details and download here.

Request your free trial right now and give it a try.

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