Saturday, November 10, 2007

The baby has arrived!

Almost exactly one week ago today (Sun. 11/4/2007 @ 7:43pm) our new baby boy came into the world, Dylan Andrew Rice (7lb. 4oz.). It's been a somewhat sleepless first week having to feed him every 3 - 5 hour which you wouldn't think to be enjoyable but it was for me. My work was kind enough to offer the remainder of the week off after returning from the hospital Tuesday which has allowed my wife some time to catch up on sleep. Here are a few photos that I took today and yes he's only 1 week old.

After a hard night on the town...

Catching up on some sleep...


Friday, August 31, 2007

Catching Up

It's been about 5 months since my last post and much has gone down. Work has been keeping me very busy with preparing and rolling out new CAD standards throughout the company. The Philadelphia AutoCAD Users Group (PAUG) has been continuing to grow which I'm currently serving as Vice President for 2007. Lastly I have a little one on the way, and it's my first, so planning and preparing is the task at hand!

Hopefully all of you have been keeping up with the latest engineering application offerings from Autodesk, Bentley and others and if your lucky enough to be on a Subscription, SELECT, or Maintenance program it makes it a little easier. So much to take advantage of and so little time to get up to speed with everything. I've always been the type of person to learn things on my own through trial and error which seems to have served me well over the years. This type of learning process has allowed me to have a much deeper knowledge of how things work and how to get around issues as they arise. That type of learning method is getting much more difficult to keep up with due to the reduced amount of time between new releases of software and major service packs.

I've recently decided to change gears and rely more on training resources before I dive into using new software products or versions. This allows for more time to figure out best practices, tips & tricks, and to find out known issues which I would have otherwise had to find out on my own. Even though this learning method for me takes away the potential of obtaining a deeper knowledge of how an application may function due to less need to troubleshoot issues as they arise but it may allow for a little more time for other things, face it, we're all looking for a little more time.

With that said, I'm sure those that still try to learn things on their own or are forced into that situation will have a little more underlying knowledge of an application but I'll have the extra time to find out about and avoided the problems in the first place. My new resources are the many free knowledge articles posted all over the Internet from professionals, software developers, and resellers. Blogs are becoming a much more dependable resource for up-to-date information about the bleeding edge of new software products and how their used. Vlogs (Video Blogs) are becoming free video-based training resources on specific tasks as well as providing solutions to questions or problems that would normally be time consuming to figure out on your own.

A person recently said to me, "it's better to admit that you don't to something to everyone than thinking you have a way to find the answers for yourself." That statement may be the underlying reason many people become members of User Groups, Discussion Groups, or Forums because if you share the things you don't know with others your bound to find many willing to provide you their potential solutions. Without thinking much about it, this may have been one of the reasons I got involved with the PAUG. Another reason I joined PAUG was to share my knowledge with others which has been gathered over my 15 year career using various design and engineering applications. My previous trial and error learning habits allowed me to obtain a very deep and extensive knowledge of how the various software applications and versions I've used over the years work.

Well, with all that said, I now tend to recommend formal training when budget and time permits. Many times training is obtained through your value added reseller (VAR), but I've also found many software company's offering training and implementation services via their own professional services teams. Always be sure to weigh all your options before implementing new versions of software or entirely new software products on your own.

That's my 3 cents for today.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Information Overload!!!

Holy cow, there seems to be an endless amount of new and enhanced features coming in the 2008 Autodesk products. In addition to all the great enhancements comes major product name changes and entirely new products being introduced. Autodesk is really bring the heat so to speak come April, and I'm excited!

From minor command enhancements to entirely new applications such as Impression, I can only ponder as to what will come next. Products that once came at a cost that are now free to playing well with the competitions file types (DGN), Autodesk seems to be listening to all the feedback from it's customers and delivering the goods.

I hope to find a little extra time soon to comment on some of my favorites being introduced in the 2008 platform product AutoCAD as sell as some some of the Verticals. With information assistance from some of the Autodesk Bloggers out there I'll begin compiling some of the hottest new features in my opinion and posting some detailed information about each.

Check back soon...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

2008 Autodesk Products Up Close and Personal

More information about the 2008 Autodesk product line continues to rain out of the San Rafael, CA headquartered powerhouse of design software. In addition, many bloggers are beginning to review all the new features of each product which should be publicly available around April. I for one am looking forward to many of the new features in the AutoCAD platform product such as adjustable columns in Mtext, Tables with 2way link to Excel spreadsheets, and unique Layer Properties per Viewport just to name a few.

Click here for more info from the Autodesk Preview 2008 site.

Lets take a look at the product packaging:

Autodesk Platform Products:

AutoCAD-Based Solutions for Architects, Civil, and MEP Engineers:

Revit Platform for Building Information Modeling:

Autodesk Geospatial Solution Suite:

Manufacturing Software Products:

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2008 Autodesk Products Heading Our Way Soon

Once again a new year at Autodesk and their almost ready to introduce their new 2008 product lineup to the public. Recently there have been some other exciting announcements such as Design Review becoming a free product and Home Use Licensing available to Subscription customers as I mentioned in my previous 2 posts. Lynn Allen already is posting information about some of the new features of the new AutoCAD 2008 base product on her blog.

Of course AutoCAD will be their first unveiling with the other desktop verticals coming shortly after. Personally I'm excited to begin working with the much refined and well performing Civil 3D 2008 compared to its predecessor versions. I also look forward to the new features in store for us with Design Review 2008 which you can check out on Scott Sheppard's blog.

If you want to keep updated on the entire 2008 Autodesk product line as its introduced visit the Autodesk 2008 Preview mini-site and sign up to receive e-mail notifications or subscribe to the RSS Feed. Also available is Autodesk formal Press Release describing their global vision for the design software industry.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Home Use Licenses Now Available for Autodesk Subscription Customers

Autodesk Subscription customers can now request home use of Autodesk products for their employees. Home use licenses are governed by an "Ancillary Service Agreement for Home Use" and can be obtained through your Autodesk Subscription Center. All eligible products are listed below:
  • Architectural Desktop
  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Electrical
  • AutoCAD LT
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
  • Building Systems
  • Civil 3D
  • Inventor Professional
  • Inventor Series
  • Land Desktop
  • Map
  • 3ds Max
  • Raster Design
  • Revit
  • Revit Series
  • Revit Series Structure
  • Revit Series Systems Plus
  • Revit Structure
  • Survey
  • Viz
Wow, that's a long list! Be sure to check out all the details on the Subscription Center site because the procedures differ for stand alone and network licenses. Now if people could only work from home without interruption and loosing focus on their work we could save commuting time and the expense that comes along with it. Wait, as I mentioned in my last post, Autodesk Design Review is now free so even the markup and review process can take place electronically without any additional cost, makes you think this working from home thing could be a reality after all.

Everyone have fun working from home!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Autodesk Design Review 2007 and Beyond!

Autodesk has decided to trump Bentley which offers their electronic markup tool Redline to SELECT customers for free by giving away Autodesk Design Review 2007 and future versions to the world. I feel this is a huge value Autodesk is providing it's customers because it will allow anyone producing DWF files in their design environment the ability to eliminate paper prints for the purpose of review and markup and now perform those same tasks electronicly without the need to purchase another software package. This could also have a huge impact on what companies currently spend on large format plotting equipment due to reduced volume and media consumption. Granted the Engineers, Architects, and Designers will need to buy into the idea of marking up plans electronically but the fact that Autodesk has made this a free option, it should catch on much faster and at the same time save a few trees. It seems as though Autodesk may have plans to formally introduce Design Review as is free product with the 2008 version due out around April 2007.

I'm looking forward to implementing Autodesk Design Review throughout my company very soon and have been pondering this idea for quite a while. No need to justify the cost to upper management now that it's free. We can concentrate on getting buy-in from all the potential users within our many disciplines to start taking advantage of all its capabilities after a little introduction training. Potentially we could have close to 600 people using Autodesk Design Review in some capacity so the cost savings for us is huge now that it's free!

With a suite of free applications offered such as DWG TrueView, DWG TrueConvert, DWF Writer, DWF Viewer, Inventor View, DWF Toolkit, Project Freewheel, and now Design Review, I get the feeling Autodesk is really trying hard to provide increased value to its customers. My company has been using various flavors of Autodesk products sense the 1980's and I don't see that changing that any time soon. Autodesk has continued to provide innovative tools to efficiently complete designs for our clients. They've always strived to make them perform well and include desired new features by continuiously requesting feedback and allowing customers to be involved during beta testing phases of development.

Keep it coming Autodesk!

Shaan Hurley's Blog Post

Scott Sheppard's Blog Post

How to install Autodesk Design Review 2007 silently

About Autodesk Design Review 2008

Thanks Scott and Shaan for all the great information about the now free Autodesk Design Review!