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What not to do in AutoCAD – Labels in a Base File
Today’s look into “You’re doing it wrong” is about labels in base files and drawing files.Here is a screenshot of a residential plan where a new Force Main was being tied in to an existing manhole. I have circled the manhole label because that is what I want to discuss today. This drawing file has two “base” files referenced into it. One is an existing conditions file that contains the existing residential area, the existing roads, the existing water main, the existing sewer system. The other reference drawing is the new, or proposed, line work that contains the new force main. That’s the good part. It’s always good to separate the new and the old in separate database. It makes things easier to manage, revise, and to work with.The bad part is the existing manhole label. This information is needed of course but it is in the base file. Labels don’t belong in the base file. They belong in the drawing file. Now there is nothing wrong with putting the manhole data in the file in some way; in fact, that would be a great thing to do. Put that info as attributed info in the manhole block or put it on a non-printing layer. Better yet, use Civil3D or some other information modeling program like Civil3D to manage the data. What makes it worse is that the creator of the drawing file took a shortcut and used the data labels as labels for the drawing file. It might have sounded great at the time but now somebody else has to deal with them. It turns out that the Force main was installed but not as designed. Field conditions weren't as indicated on the record drawings. Oops!! It happens. Now we have to update the drawings to reflect the changes made.We have new labels to add, new information to integrate into the drawings but because the labels are in the base file it is making things difficult to work with. The work that was avoided at the beginning still has to be done now. We will copy the labels data into the drawing file, position it so that our new labels can be seen, and freeze the labels in the drawing file. Unfortunately another no-no happened and when the labels are frozen, so are the lot numbers, and all other labels in the base file because they are all on the same layer. I hate it when a file has a billion layers, but it is a great idea to use more than one layer for your text. Put lot numbers on their own layer and put street names on their own layer. You get the idea. Also keep in mind that the shortcut you use to avoid work now will likely mean you will have to do the work later on, when there is even less time and less budget [more...
Dell: You Bought an SUV, Now Buy Our Workstation
by Roopinder Tara, Tenlinks.com Dell’s workstation division seems to be enjoying a surge of support within the company – so much so that they had their first workstation-only press event, flying in media folk from all over the world to [more...
Why and when to re-think PDM?
PDM (Product Data Management) isn’t a new discipline. Nevertheless, I think, PDM is going through the time of disruption and renaissance. Cloud, social and mobile technologies are changing the way we’ve been working in the past. From that side, I can see companies that trying to re-invent PDM with a new meaning and technologies. I’ve [… [more...
Cutting The Cable
The contract period recently ran out on our Verizon FiOS Triple Play (phone/internet/TV) service. As a result, our new monthly bill would be roughly $160, an increase of ~$10-30 depending on which features we were using at any given time. I don’t really have any complaints with the FiOS service, and the internet speeds are great, but this finally reached the mark of feeling too expensive for what I was getting. We didn’t have any movie channels, we only had the 2nd-lowest tier of internet speed, and we only used a single cable box (albeit with DVR). And rarely use the phone. This prompted a rethink of our television needs. We rely heavily on the DVR, and really only watch live TV for sporting events or mostly for background noise. That’s not to say we don’t ever watch live TV, but we don’t watch it so much that we feel we must have it. Then it was a matter of determining what our online options were for watching our favorite shows. So I went right down the list of series in the DVR, and searched around for online availability. For probably 80%+ of what we watch, online options that were either free or cheap were readily available. The remaining shows went on the list of “Here is what we lose if we do this." So here is where we wound up, and then I’ll circle back around to why we did what did: Reduced FiOS service to phone + internet (faster, actually), dropping the TV portion Purchased an Apple TV Signed up with hulu.com for TV shows (they also have some movies) Started utilizing our Amazon Prime membership for movies (they also have some TV shows) We had Amazon Prime already to save on shipping, so for our TV watching purposes it is free. If you don’t already have it, then obviously it will cost you money, but at $79/year it is cheaper than Netflix. We’ve had Netflix in the past, and found that we didn’t watch DVDs often enough to justify the price. Their online-only catalog isn’t super compelling compared to average TV channels, so we didn’t strongly consider it. Without Amazon Prime, we absolutely would have used it, and some of their exclusive content is becoming interesting, so it may wind up back on the table here soon. I was totally willing to drop the home phone service as well, but when actually looking at the available packages, Verizon offered no discount for dropping it, meaning it was effectively free, so I kept it. But considering that the vast majority of calls coming in are telemarketers, I’m about done with having a house line. The FiOS service is now $84.99, with a realistic bill of $90-95 (should be closer to $90). Hulu Plus is $7.99/mo. Combined that should be under $100/mo. If you want to be picky and consider the Amazon Prime cost as well, it is still under $110/mo. This represents a savings of at least $50/mo, meaning we absorb the cost of the Apple TV within 2 months. After that we save money. And if we decide to add Netflix at some point, we’re still coming out ahead. I was able to figure out all of these numbers before pulling the trigger, so then the mantra became “Is this worth 50 bucks?” for everything that we thought we might lose. Yes, we’ll miss some football and basketball games. Is that worth 50 bucks a month? No. Yes, we’ll miss some other live TV shows. Is that worth 50 bucks a month? No. How about all of these things combined, is that worth 50 bucks a month? That’s a harder question, but we finally decided that no, it’s not. So we cut the cord. We are now 2 months in as I write this, and so far it is going well. We have over 1000 items in our Hulu queue, so we will have plenty to watch for the foreseeable future. For the most part, instead of watching stuff off the DVR the next day, we watch the same stuff off of Hulu the next day. In fact, considering that our DVR service was something like $16/mo, Hulu really has turned out to be quite the bargain, and we will almost certainly keep it if at some point in the future we decide to resume television service. Yes, we have missed out on some televised events, but so far we’re enjoying the lower bill. That’s not to say that everything is great. There are hoops to jump through. Right off the bat, Amazon Prime is not available on the Apple TV. We have a Sony Blu-Ray player that is capable of connecting to Amazon Prime and streaming the video content. But honestly that experience is sub-par. It is very slow, and has a really awkward user interface. It is usually a better experience to use the Instant Video app on an iOS device and throw it onto the Apple TV from there via AirPlay. And despite the numerous “channels” that the Apple TV has, most of them require a login through your TV provider, and since we no longer have TV service we don’t count, so most of the channels are unavailable to us. Hulu has some issues that I’ll talk about in more detail in a future post, mostly dealing with content availability. In general, sitting down at the TV used to be a pretty brainless experience. Turn it on, pick a channel, watch. Now watching stuff requires more planning. Ok, I’m sitting down to watch a movie, flip on the Apple TV, oh crap, that’s actually on Amazon Prime, so I need the Blu-Ray player instead, turn that on, etc. Even within the Apple TV, the show you want to watch could be in any of a couple dozen apps/channels, and then within each app could be anywhere within that UI to find what you want. Specific to the Hulu app, after selecting it, I will have to click to the right 4 times to get to the queue page, and then click down a couple of times to find our favorite shows. 95%+ of the time when I go to the Hulu app, I want the queue page. But there is no way (that I know of) to make that the default page. There is a lot of industry expectation that Apple is going to do something to shake up the TV industry. Honestly, all I would want them to do is to make a standard launch screen with “TV Shows” and “Movies” as selections, and then it automatically pools together everything that has been favorited in any/all apps on the device. They’d have to get all of these providers to agree upon some kind of scheme for defining watch lists, but that hardly seems like an insurmountable problem. I don’t imagine it would be too hard to place an icon next to each show so that these providers get their branding, too. I don’t care if Apple ever makes an actual TV - probably wouldn’t buy it anyway since I don’t need it - but there is still a ton of opportunity available to significantly improve and simplify the experience on the device they already have. I will talk more about the specific services in future posts, but for now, if you are considering dropping cable, then my advice would be to test these things out before making the decision. Hulu is cheap, and within a single month you should be able to figure out whether or not it meets your needs. If it doesn’t, cancel it. At minimum, you may find it to be a viable/cheaper alternative to your DVR, even if you ultimately decide to keep your TV service. I don’t regret it, but the actual service has fallen short of what I expected in some ways, based on my preliminary research. If you’re going the Apple TV route, poke around the apps and pay attention to how many of them require a TV provider credential. Those are off-limits once you cut the cord, so you can’t really count on them, even though the Apple TV seemingly offers a lot of content. Depending on your needs, AirPlay alone can make an AppleTV a worthwhile purchase, even if you don’t cut the cord. And if you truly hate the Apple TV, you can sell it. I’m pretty solidly in the Apple ecosystem, but there are alternatives such as the Chromecast or Roku that can be used instead of or in addition to everything that has been mentioned so far. Bottom line is that it doesn’t cost very much money to find out if you can get by with these services alone, so I’d encourage you to try before making the decision to cut the cord [more...
Vectorworks Tip #047 - Preferences - Use Sound
This is a Vectorworks preference, Which means it applies to all files. You will find this preference on the Session tab in the Vectorworks Preferences. If you activate Use Sound, every time you move near a clickable point you will hear a click from your computer. Some people find this useful, other people find it extremely annoying. You can turn down the volume of the sound so that when it clicks it is quiet.For Vectorworks manuals, visit: http://store.archoncad.co [more...
Thermal Analysis webcast: March 20
In this webcast we define the concept of thermal analysis as it relates to product design. We discuss the principles of conduction, convection, and radiation using real-life products as examples. We describe ways to perform thermal analysis, specifically how you [more...
Treadmill Desk Update: 2 Years, 2 Months
Didn’t end the month on the strongest note due to being down with a cold, but overall the positive trend continues: Hours: 3196.5 Hours/Day: 5.1 Steps: 11,314,996 Steps/Day: 18,104 Calories: 691,667 Calories/Day: 1,107 Calories/Hr: 215 Miles: 3740 Miles/Day: 6.0 The weight loss contest I mentioned last time just concluded (they run for 2 months, typically). I didn’t win, but did lose 11 pounds. Now to keep that trend going... Amazon Affiliate links for products mentioned [more...
Today ACM Siggraph NewsSGP 2014
The Symposium on Geometry Processing 2014, a Eurographics symposium in cooperation with ACM SIGGRAPH, will be held from 9-11 July in Cardiff, United Kingdom.The goal of the meeting is to present and discuss new research ideas and results in geometry processing. This research field is geared towards the creation of mathematical foundations and practical algorithms for the processing of complex geometric data sets, ranging from acquisition and editing all the way to animation, transmission and display. As such, it draws on many disciplines spanning pure and applied mathematics, computer science, and engineering. This will be the twelfth meeting in an ongoing yearly series. High quality, original research contributions will be presentated at the symposium and published in the proceedings, which will appear as an issue of the Computer Graphics Forum, the International Journal of the EUROGRAPHICS Association.A related Graduate School will be held from 7-8 July, 2014, specifically targeted towards graduate students at the beginning of their PhD studies. The courses will focus on fundamental concepts and important aspects of digital geometry processing [more...
Learn more about solidThinking Evolve 2014 – Webinar
As you probably know by now, a couple of weeks ago, we released the newest version of our industrial design software, Evolve 2014. This version includes multiple new features and has a strong focus on increasing usability and creating a more efficient workflow for our users. We are very excited to show this version off to the world and have scheduled two FREE live webinars tomorrow, Tuesday, March 11th. The first is at 9:00am EDT and the second is at… Continue reading [more...
Architectural Technologist – Traverse Survey Lecture Notes
I thought you might like to see a set of notes I have made in presenting the basics of a traverse survey. For the technologist, there is always the option of hiring a specialist company to do the survey, the cost is easily passed onto the client, and to be honest, they are usually done […] The post Architectural Technologist – Traverse Survey Lecture Notes appeared first on Konstrukshon CPD Weblog [more...
Part Templates - 3D Pull Snap Settings and Initial View Extents
In this post we are going to look at some things that add more sanity to our daily life by making us only marginally more productive. Why? Because throughout your time using Inventor the little stuff adds up to minutes, hours, days. These tips probably fall into the minutes category over the course of a year, so its more for my sanity of daily operation. Starting new part files sometimes has the nuisance of not being zoomed out far enough to see the sizing of the part that you want to build. This is a quick fix in your part [more...
I am getting revved up for a trip to San Francisco. Oh Yeah, there might be a Autodesk office there. Now that's some mighty fine feed, indeed [more...
3D Warehouse Changes
With the release of SketchUp 2014, SketchUp changed the organization and URLs of the 3D Warehouse.In order to use our IRender Ready lights, trees and mirrors, you will need to refresh the local images and URLs stored on your machine [more...