Thursday, January 29, 2009

JTB FlexReport 4.4 released

JTB FlexReport improves on the network license reports for FLEXlm/FLEXnet and IBM LUM with some new things and several bug fixes. The Revision History describes what is new in this release. Download JTB FlexReport here.

Contact us to get a time limited fully functional version for free.

Outlook 2007 Not Responding using instant search

I often have problems with Microsoft Outlook 2007 becoming unresponsive when performing a search through the instant search pane.

I can leave it running for 10 minutes and it is still hanged so I need to force it to close and restart it.

My system is Windows Vista and I have tried to disable all add-ons to no avail. I use the latest Windows Search 4.0.

Any ideas how to solve this or track down what the source of the problem is?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

SQL Server 2008 Free E-Book

This is nice if you want to start learning SQL Server 2008.

Twitter trial

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Let’s see how useful this turns out to be without being too time consuming or adding information overload/stress.

Friday, January 23, 2009

AutoCAD Bonus Packs not for the verticals…yet

Let’s wish and hope that future AutoCAD Bonus Packs also will work with verticals like AutoCAD Architecture, Civil 3D, etc. Let Autodesk know about your wish through blogs, news groups, MyFeedback and so on.

As to the Bonus Packs for AutoCAD 2009 vertical users need to wait for their AutoCAD 2010 based product.

Knowledge Base document: Installing AutoCAD Bonus Pack on AutoCAD vertical products

Here are previous posts on AutoCAD 2009 Bonus Pack 1, Bonus Pack 2 and Bonus Pack 3.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Revit database integration

The Building Coder have an interesting post on Database Integration. This is the kind of work I’ve done a lot of and I fully appreciate the complexity of and the need to be flexible when it comes to different customers and companies workflow. Ownership of data and information flow rules are not as easy as it might look. How many times have I not had discussions about this at meetings. Sometimes it is clear who is the data owner, sometimes the ownership changes during the projects, sometimes more than one claims to be the data owner and other times no one want to take the ownership.

Below you see some of the screenshots I used in a class at Autodesk University 2005 about Multi-discipline CAD usage at an EPC company. At this company we started with Excel lists that were extended with VBA code, integrated with other data sources, usage of Access and later .NET and SQL Server.

One example of software in this area I have created and is selling is ACA_db that makes it easier to use AutoCAD Architecture in the BIM process by making it more flexible to use external data in Property Sets.

If you have specific ideas about database integration that you need help to realize feel free to contact us.

Carol Bartz essay from 1997

Forbes has republish an old essay by Carol Bartz.

The thing that disappoints me the most about technology is that we've used it in the wrong ways. Technology may give you an extra 45 minutes, but we're not giving that back to our families. Instead, we're doing 45 more minutes in meetings. We're way, way, way information overloaded.

I was a real nerd. I love, love, love, love math… Then I took my first computer course. It was crazy. It was like math, only more fun. I switched to computer science.

I fully agree with the connection of math and computer science. Math was it that got me into programming and eventually AutoCAD, etc.

Read the whole essay at Carol Bartz: No Time To Change Others

Related post: Yahoo! for Carol!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Windows says about DWG

Here you can find what software is recommended if you if you try to open a DWG file but don’t have any software for it installed on XP or Vista.

At this point only Autodesk’s AutoCAD is listed but anyone can register a software. I wonder what company will be the next…

Looking at DXF there are a few others listed like Microsoft Visio.

More about this Windows File Association System at

The DWG dispute is still active and has been for quite a while so maybe SolidWorks will apply to be listed after this tip.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vista time

I have found that quite few are aware of the nice navigation of the calendar in Vista if you click on the time on the taskbar.

If you want you can have more time zones as well. Two additional clocks are available. This is useful if you need to quickly know the time in other time zones.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saving Easter Island

Fortune Story and CNN Video I recommend reading and seeing.

Nine hundred years ago the residents of Easter Island committed ecocide.

They learned to grow plants from rocks, grouping them together to trap enough humidity to provide moisture and grow food.

So Kelsey convinced his bosses to send him back on Autodesk's dime and create a base map that would allow the municipality to create a planning scheme, fix what's broken, track the erosion, encourage sustainable development, and think about where to move the landfill. (My comment – Might not be any trips this year because of the cost savings at Autodesk.)

The plan was to secure GPS coordinates and scans of significant artifacts and then overlay them on a map with Haoa's data, cadastral information from the municipality, topographical charts, and satellite imagery.

Via The Dirt (a lot about Civil 3D) that has several blog posts on the subject as well as the Easter Island Project Diary. All involved are really commendable.

Friday, January 16, 2009

AutoCAD 2010 to be released later than planned or expected?

“Autodesk plans to reduce its workforce by approximately 750 employees”

Wondering if this will change the time schedule for the release of the AutoCAD 2010 and other Autodesk 2010 products or later on their Bonus Packs. Last year the yearly releases started in March. Let’s hope that it does not mean that AutoCAD 2010 or other products are rushed out at the cost of lower quality, in that case it’s better to release later.

Via Autodesk Announces Restructuring to Reduce Annual Operating Expenses

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to rename a Sheet Set dst file

Here is a short tutorial on how to rename the dst file, not only the name that you can see in Sheet Set Manager (SSM) in AutoCAD.

As you can see in Sheet Set Properties you can change the name but not the name of the sheet set data file. It is grayed out.
 Sheet Set Properties

What happens if you just rename the dst file is that “the sheet set association has been lost” if you open a drawing from that sheet set directly without doing it from SSM. It will still try to open the old dst file.

To avoid this click “Ignore lost association” and close the drawing without saving.


Make sure no one is having the Sheet Set or any of the drawings in the Sheet Set open.

Rename the dst file in Windows Explorer. (If someone has the Sheet Set open you will find that the old file will be recreated by AutoCAD.)

Open the renamed Sheet Set in the SSM. Right click on the top node and select “Resave All Sheets”. You don’t want to manually open and save each file from the Sheet Set if you have hundreds of sheets.

Now the drawings have been re-associated with the Sheet Set in a correct way.

You might also find these related posts useful:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yahoo! for Carol!

First search on Yahoo! for a long time. All thanks to Carol Bartz new CEO of Yahoo! and before that CEO at Autodesk for quite a while.

I made a search for Autodesk and compared Yahoo!, Google and Live Search. Personally I think Yahoo! can improve. It is not informative to include information like copyright and all rights reserved.

Almost 6% of the visitors coming to this blog through a search engine used Yahoo! during the last 30 days. Will this increase in the coming years? Google sure needs competition.


Installing IdeaCom HID Touch Screen (PS/2) can be trouble

Windows Update has an optional install “IdeaCom Technology Inc. – Input – IdeaCom HID Touch Screen (PS/2).”.
Warning! Don’t just download and install it because Microsoft Windows Update recommends it. If you don’t know what IdeaCom HID Touch Screen is don’t install it.
Think twice before you do this or you might be in trouble. Your mouse or touchpad might stop working and will be unresponsive.
If you have installed it and want to uninstall the update here are some tips you can use.
If you have a laptop and a touch pad you might not want to install it as the touch pad will not work and maybe not your PS/2-mouse either. That means the cursor will just stick to the middle of the screen. If you have a mouse you can plug it in (it should work if it is connected to the USB port) but without a mouse you need to use the keyboard only and that can be quite a task to use.
Notice that if you install it you will not find it among the Add/Remove programs.
If you have a mouse start the device manager. Without a mouse press the Windows key and start enter “device manager” and you will find it in the result. If it is at the top you can just press Enter.

Press left arrow so the Continue button in the UAC dialog box gets active and press Enter.
When the Device Manager has started press Tab to move to the tree view. Use the arrows and move to Human Interface Devices. Right click or press the right click button or Shift+F10 on the keyboard and you can move to Uninstall and press Enter and then follow the instructions. If you want you can check the box to remove the driver as well.
Visit Windows Update select it, right click and select Hide update so you don’t get fooled to install it (again).
It might also be needed to manually remove the driver.
C:\windows\system32\drivers\idcphid.sys can be renamed to idcphid.old for example or you can delete it.
Another way is to use System Restore to roll back to previous state. (Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore) and then select your Restore Point.
I got this on Windows Vista. Could be same in Windows XP.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DotNetBar for Windows Forms 7.8

I made a comment in DevComponents Feature Requests forum 8 days ago and in today's release they have added support for TextBoxX pressing Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut will select all the text to DotNetBar Suite for Windows Forms as well as a lot of other things. Thanks for a great and quick service.

Here is the Date/Time Picker where the week numbers also can be seen. If DateTimePicker that comes with Visual Studio is not enough this one might fill your needs.

If you’re a developer take a look at their nice and useful components. Several of the components like the Ribbon are used in the new JTB FlexReport client that is in beta 2 now and in a short while in beta 3. Did I mention that DevComponents support is excellent too?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

3D Wireframe for real

I really like this design, especially as a being 3D CAD user.
Think polar array, mirror, extrude…

R60 (Reflex 60°) chair                  grid chair

The chairs are for real so you can use them.

From Jaebeom Jeong Desin Lab via designboom

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Password problem with Internet Explorer 7 and solution

In IE7 I find that some log in or sign in forms I use like the one for Autodesk forums have, does not automatically add the password that have been specified to be saved. It simply is not remembered. Or is it? The trick is to place the cursor in the first field and then use the Tab key to move to the password field and now the password is added.
Other sites where I have found this is LinkedIn, Plaxo and Wikipedia. If it still does not work make sure you have Internet Options>Content>AutoComplete Settings>User names and passwords on forms and Prompt me to save passwords checked. Then when you enter a password answer Yes to the question “Do you want Internet Explorer to remember this password?” If the dialog box does not come up you might need to use Tab to enter the Password field instead of using the mouse and click in it. It might also be that you have answered No to the question before. This choice is saved to the registry. If you don’t care loosing all your saved passwords you can use Tools>Delete Browsing History in IE and Delete passwords… If not you can use Regedit.exe and clear this using this solution.
  • Close Internet Explorer.
  • Run regedit.exe (you will need administration rights)
  • Locate this key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IntelliForms\Storage2 This is the location for AutoComplete Passwords only. HTTP Authentication Passwords and FTP Passwords are saved at a couple of other places.
  • Select Storage2 on the left pane. Save Storage2 as backup via File>Export so you can restore it later on. Name it Storage2Old.reg and save it where you want. Or you can right click on Storage2 and select Export.
  • In the right pane select all values except (Default), right click and select Delete.
  • Start Internet Explorer and visit the website in question with the log in form and enter the password you want to save and answer Yes to save it.
  • Log out and close IE.
  • Go back to Registry Editor and press F5 to refresh the view.
  • Now save Storage2 as a second backup but name it Storage2New.reg.
  • Select Storage2 in the left pane again and visit File>Import and select StorageOld.reg so it can be merged back into the registry.
  • Now repeat the previous step but select StorageNew.reg.
  • Close the Registry Editor.
  • Now you should be able to have the password remembered for the site in question and still have all saved passwords retained. I’ve used Vista but it should work with XP as well.
Then there are some sites where this does not work at all like I found with Feedburner. There are also some sites where you have to enter the password and save it on multiple places depending on where on the site you log in. Many of Google’s site are like this. Another solution is before anyone comes with a comment on it to use another web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome. On the other hand I found that both Firefox and Chrome could not save the password on the Autodesk discussion group site but could save it on Feedburner. On the topic I can also mention that there are some add-on software that can handle form filling like RoboForm and IE7Pro Auto Form Filter. But I know that at least IE7Pro cannot solve the Feedburner log in because it is a unique URL used each time. Saving passwords in IE7 is something you should only do if you are aware that if anyone else have access to your computer they can find out your password. IE PassView is a freeware that recover lost passwords stored by Internet Explorer. Don’t think that just because the password shows as ***** it is safe, not even in some applications as you can see in the Asterisk Logger. Lastly there are sites that don’t allow saving the password like online banking sites. What is your experience in this field?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

JTB FlexReport database compression tip

Here is a JTB FlexReport database compression tip.

This example is for the JTBFlexReport.NET.mdb database with real data.

If you compress/compact the database it will probably go down a bit in size.

I used Microsoft Access for this (this step is not needed though). Make a backup first and don’t delete it until you are sure the reports and everything works with the compacted one.

Stop also the Windows Service for JTB FlexReport before you compact the database and start it again when you are ready.

If I use JTB FlexReport database administration and compact it and if I also select to delete 0 license usage. If you use this application there is no need to compress the database with Access.

The reason for this is that 2,892,386 rows in the “log” table has 0 used licenses. In a coming version there will be support for the option to not save these rows in the first place.

Another thing that only can be done manually at this point. The table tblDeniedUserLog can after a while contain many rows and after deleting them and compacting the database the size can goes down a lot. This table is populated with data from the FLEXnet debug logs so you would also need to start with empty debug logs at the same time. It can be a good idea to backup the debug logs and start with new ones as it can affect the snapshot time quite a lot if they are too big in size.

Consider also if there are features that you find no reason to log to the database at all and set them to not be logged in JTB FlexReport Config.

PS. Further work to support SQL Server is going on but will still take several weeks until it is ready because of all the work included. .NET Framework 3.5 will also be required at this point meaning that Windows 2000 will not be supported (at least not fully).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

AutoCAD Xclip xrefs in 3D tips and tricks

Xref clipping has been around since AutoCAD R14 and is really useful. It has been improved upon last time in AutoCAD 2009 with ability to more easily edit the boundary as seen in this previous post that also shows the invert x-clip boundary that was introduced in AutoCAD 2008.

JTB World's XClipClean can help with the work to clean up the blocks or xrefs that has been clipped by automate the tedious work deleting and trimming geometry that is outside the xclip boundary. This can be useful for as build drawing production if you need to bind the xrefs and want to minimize the size of the drawings. Think of it as an clipped xref purger removing what anyway is not seen.

Did you know that you can clip a 3D model also in Z direction? Here is one solution.

I use the sample 3D House as an example here. I attach it to Drawing1.

Then I clip it from the top view like this.

In this step I have attached Drawing1 into a new drawing and change the view to a front view and clip it again.

And here is the result.

If you just want to clip the already clipped xref or blog parallel to the clipping boundary regardless of current UCS you can use the Clipdepth option that sets the front and back clipping planes on an xref or block. Easiest is if you are in a front, back, left or right view when you do this.

Imagine you work with a large project with multiple disciplines and maybe just want to use a small part of the building as underlay to keep good performance on the computer. This is just one practical usage.

Clipping a 2D xref also works with nested xrefs and can be really useful too.

If you work with clipped external references consider how to use INDEXCTL. Using INDEXCTL set to 3 can improve the performance up to 10 times I have seen, especially in combination with xrefs, xclip and viewports.

Feel free to share your tips in the comments or add a link to your blog post on the topic.

Monday, January 5, 2009

upFront.eZine NEWS Q&A With Jim Quanci of Autodesk

upFront.eZine NEWS #586 has an interesting Q&A with Jim Quanci, director at ADN (Autodesk Developer Network).

upFront.eZine: Some third-party developers tell me they could no longer compete against Autodesk's overwhelming marketing and sales team. As well, they could no longer be members of ADN, I am guessing?

Read the Q&A for the reply.

upFront.eZine: I recall seeing Mechanical demo'ed at AU a number of years ago, and was very impressed what AutoCAD could be made to do through ARX.

Jim Quanci: I suggest you take a look at what AutoCAD has been made to do today with AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Civil 3D, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD P&ID and so on.

Notice also that AutoCAD Plant 3D that is expected this year is based on AutoCAD. AutoCAD will be around for many years ahead.

FLEXnet options file adskflex.opt location

In the Autodesk discussion group there was a question how to specify the options file in the license file.

The recommended thing is to name the options file as the vendor daemon and place it in the same folder as the license file.
adskflex.exe is the Autodesk daemon so name the options file adskflex.opt and in this case you don't need to specify it in the license file.

If you really want to use another location and name for the opt file here is how:

Add the path to the options file in the license file on the VENDOR line for the application’s vendor daemon. This example enables the vendor daemon to look at the specified options file:
VENDOR adskflex options=”c:\path\options.opt”

Something you definitely should add in the options file is TIMEOUTALL.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Phillips, JIS, Pozidriv, SupaDriv and other screw drive types

When a Phillips is not a Phillips! was an interesting reading. Find out the pros and cons and history about some of the shapes and screw drive type. What makes Robertson square screws better than other square screws and so on.

So, why all the confusion? Why all the damaged screw heads and drivers? Why is this screw and driver thing so awkward? Read on and be amazed while I unravel the mystery of screw drives and present some you may have never seen.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pozidriv

The largest advantage it offers is that, when used with the correct tooling in good condition, it does not cam out, allowing great torque to be applied. The chief disadvantage of Pozidriv screws is that they are visually quite similar to Phillips, thus many people are unaware of the difference or do not own the correct drivers for them, and use incorrect screwdrivers. This results in difficulty in unscrewing the screw and in damage to the slot, rendering any subsequent use of a correct screwdriver unsatisfactory.

Here are a few more bits that I found on the Swedish Clas Ohlson site.

There is also a Screws category on Wikipedia with a lot of different screws.

Different types of screw drives: Square, Hex, Pentagon, Thumbscrew, Slot, Cross, Cruciform types, Phillips, Frearson (Reed and Prince), French recess (BNAE NFL22-070), JIS B 1012, Mortorq, Pozidriv, Supadriv, Robertson, Hex socket (Allen key, hex key or inbus), Hexalobular socket (Torx), TTAP (improved hexalobular), Phillips/square (Quadrex), Breakaway head, Bristol, Clutch, Double hex, Line, One-way, Pentalobe, Polydrive, Proprietary head, Spanner, Spline, Torq-set, TP3, Tri-wing (triangular slotted), Triple square (XZN), Protruding obstacle

Thursday, January 1, 2009


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A couple of the top 10 blog post: Network license news in AutoCAD 2009 and Kill a process in VB.NET

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