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AutoCAD WS Changes its name to AutoCAD 360 and goes PRO!
Autodesk has released a new version of AutoCAD WS and has implemented several changes to their mobile CAD product. First off, AutoCAD WS has a new name. From henceforth it shall be called “AUTOCAD 360”!! That makes sense. It goes along with the rest of Autodesk’s cloud based 360 branding. The WS, according to Autodesk, never actually stood for anything anyway. (I always suspected it either stood for Web Service or that the URL was available so they went with it.) The other big change is that there are now three versions of AutoCAD 360; free, Pro, and Pro Plus. The free version will essentially look and feel like what we have been using these past few years. The Pro and Pro Plus versions will require a monthly subscription but provide more storage space, more tools and better support.There are several new tools and features in this latest version of AutoCAD WS 360. (I’m still getting used to the name change.) One of the newest features is the Smart Pen. This new tool aids in creating basic geometry. It allows users to sketch a shape, one that is not exact, and then automatically form it so it is a square, or circle, etc. It makes for easier object creation or for quick sketching. You can always take your time and create exact figures. There are other minor tweaks and improvements in the already existing tool sets. The biggest change will be in the Pro versions.The Free version is free of course; the Pro version will cost $4.99 per month (U.S. Dollars) or $49.99 per year. The Pro Plus version will be $99.99 (U.S. Dollars) per year.The Pro plan allows you to create drawings. This has probably been the number one request for AutoCAD 360 since it was first available. You also get larger file support. The Pro version allows for files up 30 MB and the Pro Plus allows for files that are up to 40 MB. AutoCAD 360 Pro also allows for editing files directly from third party file storage services like Dropbox, Box, Egnyte, Buzzsaw and custom WebDAV connections. The free version will open files stored in these services but to edit and save them the files will have to be stored in your Autodesk 360 account. The Pro version also provides for viewing point coordinates. Pro has the ability to use and draw Arc and Arrow drawing tools. There are also more tools in the Pro version. They are: Extend Vertex, Offset, and Mirror. Advanced Layer Management tools are available (add, rename, isolate, invert, lock.) There is a Properties Viewer (you can view object properties like layer, length, and area.) The Pro version also allows users to view, edit and add block attribute data. Now you can (with the Pro version) easily drag and drop blocks (insert blocks) from the drawing’s block collection. The block has to be in the file already, but the new block manager tool helps to insert them into the drawing. There are more measuring tools (measure lines, radius, and angles) There are also more dimension tools that can help document drawings more easily. Pro Users receive Priority-Support from Autodesk when things go badly. Pro Users also get more storage space in their Autodesk 360 accounts; up to 25 GB with a Pro plan and up to 100 GB with a Pro Plus plan.The Web App (the browser based version of AutoCAD 360) has gone through a redesign. The tools are all there, the UI is different. It is meant to help stream line use and make things easier. Change is hard so if you have been using AutoCAD WS in the browser then you will need a few minutes to get used to AutoCAD 360. This new version of AutoCAD 360 is based on HTML 5. The old Flash Based version is gone. That means that it should work on a tablet’s browser now providing even more flexibility to users when out in the filed or when away from the computer. Right now the web app (browser version) is still in beta but you can access it and use it just as before.Since the name has changed that means the website addressed has also changed. Going to autocadws.com will get you where you need to go, but the official address is now autocad360.com. The new mobile apps are available now on iOS and Android app stores.https://www.autocad360.com/mobileplansAutodesk has stated that the intent of AutoCAD 360 has always been to provide a mobile tool that provides remote access to your data. AutoCAD 360 also is intended to provide a tool for collaborating with others. This new release and the release of the Pro versions will help to close the gaps between mobile, web and desktop.Will you go Pro [more...
3Dconnexion wins “red dot award: product design 2013” - SpaceMouse Pro Wins
SpaceMouse Pro stands apart among more than 4,500 products for its superior design quality.3Dconnexion’s SpaceMouse Pro 3D mouse has received a red dot award: product design 2013, one of the largest and most prestigious design contests in the world. The SpaceMouse Pro, 3Dconnexion’s newest 3D mouse, impressed the 37-strong jury, which reviewed more than 4,500 products in 19 categories.This year’s red dot awards will be presented at the annual red dot gala on 1 July 2013 at Essen’s opera house, the Aalto theatre. The SpaceMouse Pro will then be exhibited in Essen's red dot design museum from 2-28 July, where visitors can learn about the latest product design trends and experience prize-winning products first-hand.The SpaceMouse Pro design was jointly developed by 3Dconnexion and Design Partners, 3Dconnexion’s product design agency, in close cooperation with users. Its stylish, functional and ergonomic design is tailored to the needs of CAD professionals that work with 3D models on a daily basis. For example:•The 3Dconnexion Controller Cap, allows users to simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D objects, offering smooth and intuitive navigation.•The full size hand rest ensures the optimum hand position, allowing users to operate the 3D mouse comfortably, even during the longest working sessions.•All fifteen ergonomically shaped buttons programmable and positioned for fingertip access.As a winning design this year, the SpaceMouse Pro is following in the footsteps of the original 3Dconnexion 3D mouse model, the SpaceMouse Plus, which won the red dot award back in 1995.“We are very proud to receive this award for the second time, as it acknowledges the effort we invest in our design work,” says Antonio Pascucci, vice president, products at 3Dconnexion. “We strive on a daily basis to retain a competitive edge by continuously improving products to optimise our customers’ design processes. SpaceMouse Pro is a perfect example of this. Its ergonomically optimised design, intelligent control, and intuitive operation meet all requirements of the most sophisticated 3D workflows.”Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of red dot, believes that design competency and economic success go hand in hand: “The winners of this year's red dot award: product design are pioneers of a cutting-edge design culture and industry. It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between products that are both well developed and well designed. Often, their unique qualities are only discernable in the details. However, it is precisely those products that excel when examined by the critical eyes of our jury that will stand out from the crowd in the global marketplace.”About 3Dconnexion3Dconnexion makes 3D mice that revolutionize the way people interact with 3D applications, providing a more natural and intuitive way to interact with digital 3D content. By gently manipulating the controller cap, 3D mouse users can simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate their 3D models or camera position while using the standard mouse or tablet to select, create and edit.It’s an intuitive, balanced and cooperative work style that results in increased productivity, improvements in creativity and enhanced comfort.Supported by today’s most popular and powerful 3D applications, 3Dconnexion’s award-winning 3D mice serve a wide variety of industries and are used by engineers, designers, architects and artists across the globe.3Dconnexion’s North American headquarters are in Boston, Mass., with offices worldwide. Stay up-to-date with all the latest company and industry news via Facebook and Twitter [more...
The Future of AutoCAD WS: My interview with the AutoCAD WS Project Managers
Autodesk is best known for its flagship design program AutoCAD. But did you know Autodesk has a mobile version of AutoCAD called AutoCAD WS? I had a chance to talk with the great people at Autodesk that manage AutoCAD WS; Ilai Rotbaein (Manager, Product Management, AutoCAD Products) and Dusty DiMercurio (Marketing Manager, Small Business). What they had to say was very interesting.At the time of the interview AutoCAD WS had been downloaded a total of 10,000,000 times. There were over 6.6 million downloads on the Android mobile platform with 4.1 million on the iOS mobile platform. AutoCAD WS was first released over three years ago and is now on version 1.6. Typically Autodesk has released their mobile apps on iOS first, but during the interview it was stated that they realize Android is closing the gap on hardware and software. It is also obvious that more users are downloading AutoCAD WS to Android. It is easier for developers such as Autodesk to create software for iOS because it has fewer hardware options to have to plan for.One of the biggest questions that I had was what is in store for us in the next version of AutoCAD WS. Ilai and Dusty where more than happy to give me clues as well as insight into what Autodesk has planned.Here is a list of things that we can expect:More tools that can be done on a tablet and not on a desktopMore gesture controlsMore tools from the desktopSketching toolsBrush tool improvementsNew toolsIt seemed from the interview that Autodesk plans on making AutoCAD WS a truly mobile experience. Autodesk is wise enough to understand that a tablet (and especially a phone) cannot do the same work a desktop can do so there is no reason to try. Autodesk said that they want to bind each platform (desktop, mobile) together to be a series of tools that work together. Each platform will focus on what its form factor can provide. No platform will be an answer to everything but they will all work together. That makes sense.They did not give me a release date for the next release, but they did say that we should expect a new tool that is “new and that you won’t expect! It’s going to be different, new and groundbreaking.” I was told that there is nothing like it! I was also told that the next release will be very big and will address many features requested over the past two years. You can imagine my frustration when talking with these gentlemen. They would not budge nor would they give me any sneak peeks! Only glimpses and teases of what is to come.Being that AutoCAD WS and AutoCAD are meant to work together, I asked them several questions about the next version of AutoCAD and the platforms where you can use AutoCAD WS.Question: Will design feed come to AutoCAD?Autodesk: No comment.Question: Will there be a mobile version of Fusion?Autodesk: There will be a web hosted version but they are not aware of a mobile version.Question: Will there be a Windows Phone version of AutoCAD WS?Autodesk: Autodesk is monitoring Windows Phone market share. At some point the Windows Phone platform cannot be ignored any longer.Question: Will there be a Blackberry version of AutoCAD WS?Autodesk: A Blackberry version is not in the plans.(my personal note: this is a very different answer from the Windows Mobile answer.)Question: AutoCAD WS browser version is Flash based. Will it ever fully switch to HTML 5?Autodesk: Autodesk wants to stay current with programming so it will likely move away from flash.We wrapped up our time discussing the future of AutoCAD WS with them sharing some thoughts and ideas on the product. Autodesk’s goal is to “make AutoCAD WS your companion.” They want to give users the tools needed in mobile and tools that allow greater collaboration. They see AutoCAD WS as a tool that can markup, help design, change design, and sketch. They want users to work together with these tools. They look at where you logon to work and what tools you need there and they strive to create the appropriate tools.They also expressed that the platform as a whole is moving and AutoCAD WS will be a part of it as an access point.One last nugget that they left me with wasn’t specific, but they did say that the next release of AutoCAD will expand its AutoCAD WS abilities.It seems that Autodesk means to create a platform that allows design professionals to work where, when and how they want and need. AutoCAD WS is meant to provide a tool that allows light mobile access to our data. They don’t see it as a standalone product, but a supplement [more...
Google Chromebook Pixel – Mobile CAD Workstation or Overpriced Web Browser?
image from Pixel order pageGoogle just announced their newest piece of hardware, the Google Chromebook Pixel. It’s a Chromebook so it runs on Google Chrome. Want to know what that’s like? Run the Google Chrome browser and nothing else. That’s an over simplification but you can get a good idea of what it is like.Google has been trying to sell Chromebooks for a while now and I have always been interested in them. None of them have been powerful enough for my liking but they have been set at a good price. Now that the Pixel is out and available for purchase and that Autodesk is making a major push for in the browser cloud based CAD software, could the Google Pixel be a viable candidate for a mobile CAD station? I can’t honestly say yes or no until I get one (Google can you send me one to test please?) and try it out but my gut feeling is that it could be useful in certain situations. Obviously since it can’t possibly run most of Autodesk’s programs like AutoCAD or Revit it can’t be a full on CAD or BIM workstation. It’s specs are pretty impressive and fall inline with most Ultrabooks. Let’s take a quick look at some of the spec points:12.85-inch, 400 nit display at 2560 x 1700 resolution (239 PPI)Gorilla Glass multi-touch screen32 GB storage (64 BG Option)Backlit Chrome keyboardHD Webcam2 x USB 2.0 portsMini display port2-in-1 card reader supporting: SD, MMCIntel Core i5 Processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz)Intel HD Graphics 40004 GB DDR3 RAM59 Wh batteryThese specs are nice. There are two models, the main one with 32 GB of storage and a second one with 64 GB of storage and LTE. The storage spec is small I’ll admit but you can’t install software so that helps. It also helps that Google will give you 1 Terabyte of Google Drive storage for three years. After three years, well, pay up I guess. This device probably won’t work well unless you are connected to the cloud anyway, so that LTE and WiFi connectivity mill probably be a must.The price is amazing. Amazingly huge!! The 32GB model is priced at $1299 (U.S.D.) with the 64GB with LTE model is $1449!! OUCH!! These are Mac Book Prices. The screen resolution is better than the Mac Book with Retina and the Pixel has a touch screen interface. Another question is battery life. Will it last all day? My gut says no. Google claims that it will give you up to five hours. that probably means two to three.Besides all of the possible negatives, there are many positives and many possibilities. The nearly instant on is a huge deal. Touch interface is very nice to use. No maintenance is an IT manager’s dream. It’s always up to date. And the Chrome Web Store is very robust for a browser only market place. Autodesk alone has AutoCAD WS, Pixlr-o-matic, Pixlr Editor, 123D Design, Homestyler, 123D Make, 123D Catch, Autodesk 360, and soon Fusion 360! All of these should run on this Chromebook. You have an AutoCAD (ish) program, a Photoshop (ish) program in Pixlr Editor, and soon a design program in Fusion 360. Plus you can manage all of your files through Autodesk 360. That’s just Autodesk. Need to write a report? Microsoft Web Apps or Microsoft 360 provide nearly full versions of their Office Programs. The web browser is a valid operating system that can handle most work. In this case I think the Google Chromebook Pixel has the potential of being a useful machine.I may be crazy but I think that this device may be a viable mobile computer for designers. Maybe a laptop is cheaper and it can load full AutoCAD. But maybe this is a better machine than perhaps a tablet like the iPad or Nexus 10. Buy one of those, add a keyboard, and your cost isn't much lower. The Pixel is higher in cost but it has access to fuller software like AutoCAD WS for browsers (which can do much more than the AutoCAD WS App) and Microsoft Office 360. That all being said, why wouldn't we just purchase a Mac Book Air or Ultrabook and run Chrome on either one? As cool and interesting as this device is to me, I don’t see myself or many others purchasing it. But I so want it to work.Full SpecsScreen12.85" display with a 3:2 aspect ratio2560 x 1700 at 239 PPI400 nit screen brightness178° extra-wide viewing angleInputsGorilla® Glass multi-touch screenBacklit Chrome keyboardClickable, etched-glass touchpadIntegrated 720p HD cameraSize / weight297.7 x 224.6 x 16.2 mm3.35 lbs / 1.52 kgIndustrial designMachined from anodized aluminumActive cooling with no visible ventsENERGY STAR® certifiedCPUIntel® Core™ i5 processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz)Intel® HD Graphics 4000 (Integrated)Ports2 x USB 2.0mini display portSD / MMC card readerMemory4GB DDR3 RAMStorageOne terabyte Google Drive cloud storage for three years132GB solid state drive (64GB on LTE model)AudioCombo headphone/mic jackBuilt-in microphone arrayIntegrated DSP for noise cancellationPowerful stereo speakers tuned for clarityBatteryUp to 5 hours of active use (59 Wh battery)3ConnectivityDual-band WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n 2x2Bluetooth® 3.0Built-in LTE modem (LTE model)GoodiesOne terabyte Google Drive cloud storage for three years112 free sessions of GoGo® Inflight Internet100 MB/month for 2 years of mobile broadband from Verizon Wireless (LTE model [more...
Bike Manufacturer Duratec Wants to Build You a Flying Bicycle
In an iconic scene from the Star Wars movies, hero Luke Skywalker out-races the evil Empire’s agents by riding flying speeder bikes through a dense forest. Needless to say, the bad guys get up close and personal with some bark and our heroes live to fight on.Custom bike frame manufacturer Duratec Ltd wants to make that scene a reality—minus the face full of foliage.Duratec made a name for itself designing, manufacturing and shipping bike frames tailored to customers’ comfort and performance needs. Because the small company keeps all production and manufacturing in-house, it needs software tools (like SolidWorks, CATIA V5 and 3DVIA Composer) and 3Dconnexion 3D mice to speed up and streamline design cycles.Those tools give Duratec’s designers the time and creative energy for imaginative projects. Their latest is a groundbreaking flying bicycle. Using 3D mice and CAD software, the company’s creative minds turned a concept design for an electric bike into a two-wheeled heli-cycle that should be able to take off and land vertically.“We relied heavily on modern technology to bring a childhood dream to life,” says Duratec owner Milan Duchek.The bike is powered by electric motors, horizontal propellers and lithium-polymer batteries and sports a lightweight Duratec frame that weighs just 187 pounds.Flying to work is likely some time off: the bike’s currently in the design phase. A prototype, however, is slated to debut later this year.“We set ourselves the challenge more as an exercise in creativity and imagination,” says Duchek. “Thanks to our design suite, a modest idea was given wings! 3Dconnexion 3D mice played a significant role in that.”And that’s what 3D design is all about: Dreaming up—and then creating—the impossible. Using CAD software and 3Dconnexion 3D mice, Duratec’s designers are keeping their heads firmly in the clouds. And their wheels on the ground. For now.Read more about Duratec’s creative works and new-found productivity.John Moseley is the director of global marketing for 3Dconnexion, the creator of 3D mice for design and visualization professionals [more...
Autodesk Homestyler App for iPad Released
Autodesk has released another free iPad design app. This time it is their Homestyler home design software. Homestyler has been around since 2010 as a browser based program. This program provides a 2D or 3D design tool that helps in interior design and floor layout. Contractors can use it for remodels, architects can use it to quickly generate a floor plan, and interior decorators can choose from a multitude of commercially available appliances, furniture, doors, windows, and other finishing touches in a range of colors and designs.Homestyler allows for real time design that can blend high-quality 3D models from popular products. It is very simple to use and is now an iPad app. This is a great platform for this type of design tool. Designers can take their iPad to a client meeting or on the job site and quickly generate a design plan. One of the great benefits to using Homestyler is the fact that users can access a library of design items that actually exist in the real world. “ We've taken home design to a new level of ease with the Homestyler app for iPad. The app is unique because it can transform a single snapshot into a virtual home design playground,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products at Autodesk. “Extending this technology on iPad lets our users express their creativity on the go, tap the existing vibrant community to find inspiration for their home and showcase their personal style with greater ease than ever before.”“The Homestyler app lets users tap into more than 1,500 Sherwin-Williams colors for inspiration as they create their perfect space," says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing, Sherwin-Williams. "Color is a critical element of design, and the new iPad app is a great way to explore the impact of different hues and the relationship between wall colors and furnishings."You can read more about this new app from Autodesk’s Press Release.You can try the Homestyler app on iTunes.No iPad, you can go to the browser based version.Now Autodesk, release this for Android [more...
What’s new in AutoCAD 2014?
Autodesk is about to release the latest version of its flagship design program AutoCAD 2014. AutoCAD 2014 is the 28th release of AutoCAD and is noted as being version 19.1. It continues with the AutoCAD 2013 .dwg file type and format and is supported on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems. No official support from Autodesk will be given for Windows Vista. AutoCAD 2014 continues Autodesk’s reach for the clouds with its integration of Autodesk 360, new geographic location tool, reality capture, design feed (my personal favorite new tool), and increased control for Autodesk Exchange Apps. Autodesk also makes an attempt to protect us from malicious files with the Secureload tools. We will take a look at these new features.The User InterfaceAutodesk recently adopted a new logo and branding, well here is the new Application Menu Icon for AutoCAD 2014 along with the new file Tabs.Figure 1: The Application Menu is updated to reflect Autodesk's new branding. File Tabs can assist in file navigation and creation.The File Tabs are a carryover from a third party add-on. They are now part of AutoCAD. Click on a tab to access that file, right-click on a tab to open, save, or close a file or files. The Plus Sign on the right will start a new file or open one. Clicking on a tab while it is active will give you a preview of the files model and paper space tabs providing quick access. Click the File tabs button in the Ribbon on the View Panel to toggle these tabs on or off.The Command LineThe Command has been enhanced with several autocomplete like features. There is a new Autocorrect that will help you spell your commands properly; Autocomplete will provide a list of commands with your typed text no matter where that text is in the word. It used to only display commands that started with your typed text. Typing SETTING will display many more commands that it used to in previous versions. The command line now has Adaptive Suggestions. AutoCAD will learn which commands you use most often and display them first in the autocomplete feature. You can also take advantage of Synonym Suggestions. These are alternate strings of text that can be typed in place of the command. Type ROUND to start the fillet command. This list can me edited using the Edit Aliases tool in the Manage Tab in the Ribbon. When AutoCAD provides you a suggestion for a command you are typing there will be an icon that you can click to open either Help or to perform an Internet Search for the command. The Command Line also has access to layers, blocks, hatch patterns, text styles, dimension styles, and visual styles. If you type BOLT and there is a block in the file named BOLT the insert command will start with the BOLT block ready to go.Expandable categories are available in the command line to make it easier for users to navigate. You can customize the behavior of the command line’s suggestions by using the controls in the Input Settings menu. Right-click in the command line to gain access to this menu. There are a few small things that have been added that many users will like. The number of layers displayed on the Ribbon has been increased, and layers are now displayed in a natural order meaning that layers numbered 1, 6, 32, 16, 3, and 225 will be sorted 1, 3, 6, 16, 32, 225. Before they would be sorted 1, 16, 3, 32, 6, 225. The new Merge Layer option in the Layer Manager allows you to merge all objects on multiple layers to one layer while purging the other layers.Figure 2: The Command Line has many new autocomplete options available.Xref linetypyes are no longer displayed in the linetype list or in the Properties palette. Before they were displayed in these lists but you could not assign them to the object. They just got in the way. Xref attachment type is easily toggled between Attach and Overlay by double clicking the type in the xref manager and selecting the style you want to use even once it has been set. You can also switch between Absolute and Relative path. You can also remove the path completely and the –XREF command has a new PATHWAY option available in order to facilitate these changes easily through scripting.The CloudSeveral new features in AutoCAD 2014 get their power from the cloud. To use many of these new features you will have to be logged into your Autodesk 360 account. You don’t have to of course but you won’t have access to these new tools. One feature is to sync your settings. Save your settings to your account and download them to any machine where you are logged in to your account. This also enables command line internet search, Autodesk Live Maps (we will look at those later), Design Feed (this is the best feature in this update) and exchange apps. The Online Ribbon Tab has been renamed to Autodesk 360 to better match the branding of Autodesk’s cloud features. This ribbon tab includes the new Open Folder tool that allows easy access to your Autodesk 360 folder on your workstation. It also provides easy access to the new Design Feed tool. The Autodesk 360 Ribbon tab also includes tools uploading images for a drawing that you can share online through Design Feed.Design FeedThis is the best new feature added to AutoCAD 2014 (in my opinion.) Design Feed was introduced to us in AutoCAD WS. It enables users to communicate through a drawing by adding notes and images for discussions. You must be logged into your Autodesk 360 account to use this feature. When in use, it will display a pallet where you can share messages and images with colleagues, clients, or consultants through Autodesk 360. Posts appear with related drawings on a desktop, on the internet, and on mobile devices. These messages and images can associated with a location in the drawing or just generally relate to the file. There are tools that allow users to tag colleagues, clients, or consultants in order to notify them of the post. These notifications will be delivered via email and will also appear within AutoCAD. Once the post is completed and saved to Autodesk 360 the people that have been authorized can view the drawing and associated posts. The people that have been tagged can post replies. When a question in a post, along with its replies, are no longer active, users can resolve the thread to hide it in the Design feed palette.Figure 3: Design Feed provides a means for communicating with others about a specific file.Geographic LocationOne new feature to take advantage of is the new Geographic Location tools. These tools allow you to find the location of your project and project a map into your drawing. This can help in design your site based project according to its geographic surroundings. These maps though will not print and are for aiding in design only. To some this will make the new feature useless or at least not good enough to even bother with. But for others it can help to quickly verify geographic features for their project. You must be logged in to your Autodesk 360 account to take advantage of this new tool as it is cloud based. You set your location using the Set Location tool in the Insert Ribbon tab. You can set it using the new Autodesk Maps Service or you can opt to set it using a KML or KMZ file. When using the Autodesk Maps to determine your location you can search for an address, latitude/longitude, or zoom and pan across the map. Figure 4: Geographic Location uses Autodesk Maps Service with maps provided by Microsoft Maps.When a map is displayed in your file it will always be set below your drawing geometry. You won’t have to keep messing with draw order to keep it underneath anything. If you are working on a GPS enabled workstation or laptop, use the Locate Me tool to determine your current location. This is a great feature when working on the job site.Exchange AppsAutoCAD 2014 has direct access to Autodesk Exchange Apps. Get there by going to the Featured Apps Ribbon. This ribbon tab will also a selection of featured apps that are available for you to download. The Plug-Ins Ribbon tab will give access to the Exchange App Manager and the Import SKP file tools. The Exchange App Manager makes it easy to view and update installed apps. Double-click on an app to choose the Help option from a right-click menu to learn more about it. You can also uninstall or rate the app here as well. Keep in mind that any apps you purchase are associated to your Autodesk Exchange account.More Point Cloud SupportAutoCAD 2014 comes with a new tool, Reality Capture. It is a tool that runs outside of AutoCAD similar to reference Manager. This tool takes raw 3D laser scan data of any object or project and processes it into point-cloud data that is more easily read by AutoCAD. This enables users to take large amounts of point cloud data and put it in a more manageable format. Autodesk ReCap will convert the data into RCP files that reference RCS files. ReCap supports many popular formats including Faro, Leica, and Lidar.Improved Point Cloud SupportAutoCAD can now support RCP, RCS file sin addition to the previously supported PCG and ISD formats. Once a point cloud is attached, the contextual tab displayed has more features than previously were available. Stylization controls (clors) are now available making the displayed data match the scanned colors of the actual object. This will assist in visualizing the scanned object. There are also settings for displaying the colors of the objects to a Normal setting (colors based on the normal direction of point) and a setting for Intensity (sets the reflectivity value of points). If normal or intensity data was not captured then these options will be grayed out an unavailable. There are also more clipping tools in the ribbon similar to the clipping tools of an Xref drawing. This reduces strain on the computer systems in that it will have less data to have to deal with. AutoUpdate is turned OFF by default making panning and rotating of the views more smooth in that the computer will not try to render the screen every time the view changes. Touch ScreenAutoCAD 2014 does have windows 8 touch screen support. If you are using a Windows 8 touchscreen device you can benefit from smoother zoom and pan performance. There is a new control feature on the System Tab of the Options dialog box that displays a touch ribbon panel when a touch screen device is detected. This Ribbon Panel lets users cancel the current command and returns them to the Select/Command prompt. I tried this out on my Touch Screen running Windows 8 and I rarely needed it as the transition between panning and selecting was rather intuitive and smooth. But from time to time it was needed and it was very useful.SecureloadAutoCAD 2014 provides a new system meant to help keep you and your users more secure. It is called Secure load. It is meant to help prevent the loading and running of unauthorized or malicious AutoLISP and VBA applications. Go to the Files tab on the Options dialog box and find the Trusted File Search Path. You can also access these controls by using the TRUSTEDPATHS and TRUSTEDDOMAINS system variables. A Security control area of the System Tab in the Options dialog box provides access to the new Executable File Settings. Here you can allow executable file to be loaded from all search paths or only from locations specified by the Files Tab. You can also choose to display warnings before loading executable files outside the trusted locations. These options are applied to the new SECURELOAD system variable. When creating a network deployment these options can be set ahead of time in your deployment. Figure 5: Secure Load can prompt users when executable files are being loaded.The Little ThingsA new AutoCAD means that there are several “little” enhancements that have taken place. These are small changes to make existing tools better. You can now draw arcs in either direction by pressing the CTRL key to switch directions. The AUGI Wishlist request to able to fillet a polyline on itself has been granted. Why wasn’t this in there to begin with? When you create a new sheet using the sheet set manager the CreateDate field stored in the associated template file (.DWT) displays the creation date of the new sheet now instead of the creation date of the .DWT file. The CONVERTPSTLYES command lets users convert the current drawing to either a named or color dependent plot styles. It now supports spaces in style names. This is a very small thing but one that might help when naming styles. The default behavior for inserting blocks with attributes displays the dialog box. ATTDIA is set to 1. Single line text is changed to maintain the last justification setting until it is changed. The new DIMCONTINUEMODE system variable gives you more control when making continued and baseline dimensions. When DIMCONTINUE is set to 0, the DOMCONTINUE and DIMBASELINE commands make dimensions based on the current dimension style. When set to 1, they apply the style used in the selected dimension being continued. The Ribbon Hatch tool will maintain the previously used method of selecting a hatch, either Pick Internal Point or Select Objects. The undo option has been added to the command line.ConclusionIn this article we were able to take a closer look at the new features than we normally do because this release had a shorter list than in past updates. What do you think of this releases features? Was it enough? Should more have been added? It was nice to see AUGI Wish-list items marked off. Is this release worth an update? Should you wait for the “bugs” to be fixed? I’m excited to start using the Design Feed tool and I can’t wait to see how others use it. I’m worried the Secure Load features will get in the way (I also predict many rants on the Internet about it). Regardless you will always be able to come to the AUGI Forums for help and for discussion on these new features and tools that Autodesk has given us [more...
3Dconnexion Announces Enhanced 3D Mouse Support in Rhino 5
Rhino users rejoice; the latest software version, Rhino 5, is compatible out-of-the-box with all current models of 3Dconnexion 3D mice.The introduction of Rhino 5 sets a new benchmark for how good the 3Dconnexion 3D mouse experience can be. Now, a 3D mouse provides Rhino 5 users an incomparable level of design interaction, making it a rewarding and creativity boosting tool. What’s capable with this 3D design duo?Intelligent 3D Navigation—The 3D mouse automatically follows the user's point of interest to continuously determine the optimal center of rotation. Alternatively, one can choose to rotate around a selected item.Enhanced Camera Navigation—The 3D mouse can be used to manipulate models in any of three navigation modes: Camera, Target Camera or Helicopter.Customizable Buttons— With Rhino 5’s new 3D mouse button mapping editor, it’s quick and easy for users to assign their favorite commands to the 3D mouse function keys, helping them to "stay in the zone" by reducing keyboard and standard mouse use.See the complete press release below.From illustration and animation to engineering and product design, incorporating a 3D mouse in the design process helps Rhino users create a more natural connection to their 3D content.Unleash the Power of RhinoA 3D mouse provides Rhino 5 users an incomparable level of design interaction, making it a rewarding and time-saving tool. With the latest version of Rhino, users of 3Dconnexion 3D mice will see improvements in the following feature areas:Intelligent 3D Navigation—Whether working with larger models or focusing on intricate details, the 3D mouse automatically follows a point of interest to continuously determine the optimal center of rotation. Alternatively, users can easily choose to rotate around a selected item.Enhanced Camera Navigation—The 3Dconnexion controller cap allows users to manipulate models comfortably in any of three navigation modes: Camera, Target Camera or Helicopter.Customizable Buttons—With Rhino 5’s new 3D mouse button mapping editor, it’s quick and easy to assign commonly used commands to the 3D mouse function keys—saving time and reducing keyboard and standard mouse use.“Rhino 5 includes a significantly improved 3Dconnexion 3D mouse integration, making 3D navigation a much richer experience.” says Carlos Perez Alba, EMEA Sales & Marketing Manager at McNeel Europe. “Users who integrate Rhino 5 with a 3Dconnexion mouse can take advantage of the updated navigation features, allowing them to design, view and position their digital content faster than ever."View a quick video to learn more about how to enhance Rhino 5 using a 3D mouse.Rhino 5 is compatible with the entire 3Dconnexion product line, including the SpacePilot Pro, SpaceMouse Pro, SpaceNavigator and SpaceNavigator for Notebooks.About 3Dconnexion3Dconnexion makes 3D mice that revolutionize the way people interact with 3D applications, providing a more natural and intuitive way to interact with digital 3D content. By gently manipulating the controller cap, 3D mouse users can simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate their 3D models or camera position while using the standard mouse or tablet to select, create and edit.It’s an intuitive, balanced and cooperative work style that results in increased productivity, improvements in creativity and enhanced comfort.Supported by today’s most popular and powerful 3D applications, 3Dconnexion’s award-winning 3D mice serve a wide variety of industries and are used by engineers, designers, architects and artists across the globe.3Dconnexion’s North American headquarters are in Boston, Mass., with offices worldwide. Stay up-to-date with all the latest company and industry news via the 3DxBlog, Facebook and Twitter [more...
Kickstarter Project to Build an Open Source Death Star Now Available for Backers
(photo from Death Star Kickstarter Page)Yes there actually is a Kickstarter looking to build an actual Death Star! I love the internet. I love free will. Kickstarter is a great use of both. I also love Star Wars. I have no idea how many times I have imagined myself running through the Death Star, swinging on cables, dodging laser blasts from Stormtroopers (not that you really have to dodge them, they can’t hit the backside of a bantha unless they are off screen while shooting) and escaping from the clutches of the evil Empire! If this Kickstarter project gets funded then I may get my chance to do this in real life!Kickstarter is a website based company that provides a place for people with ideas to get funding through pledges from ordinary people like us. It isn't for venture capitalists or investors. It’s a place that gathers a whole bunch of little donations to fund an indie movie, a video game, or perhaps a “smart watch” like the Pebble (I totally fell for that one and ordered two; neither of which I have received…yet.) Evidently there is a large enough group of people that really want the human race to build a Death Star. A group first petitioned the United States government to build one. The White House has a petition site where you can go and present your issue, demand, request, or whatever. When that petition garners enough signatures the White House will address it. Typically it means some intern types a response telling you why you are “nutz”, silly, ignorant, and what you want just “aint gonna” happen. Get over it. It also provides a way for the executive branch to claim they are listening to the public. Regardless, the U.S. Government had, in my opinion, a fantastic response. You can read it here but suffice it to say there was much tongue-in-cheek, sarcasm, and humor involved in the response. I found it clever and enjoyed reading it. Since the U.S. Government said no to the Death Star Project, a user from the U.K. known as www.gnut.co.uk, has set up a Kickstarter project to fund an open sourced Death Star. The website (www.gnut.co.uk) is host to a game called Pirates vs. Ninjas. The plan is to build the plans for an Opened Source Death Star. That way they can reduce the cost by using free software and hardware. Free meaning no licensing fees, etc. The good news for the rest of us is that since this Death Star will be opened source, the plans will be made available to everyone that wants it. That’s fair. The project is looking to raise £20,000,000 000 ($31,400,000). The money raised will go into research and development in order to figure out exactly how to build a Death Star. This is just the beginning stages folks, be patient. Their next goal is to raise £543,000,000,000,000,00 ($850,000,000,000,000,000) for construction. Sounds about right to me. Those pledging £1 or more receive “Our thanks and the knowledge that we're one step towards a safer planet.” Those pledging £10 or more receive “As above PLUS your name etched onto the underneath of one of the MSE-6-series repair droids used on the finished station.In the project description, the user states that the initial goal of £20,000,000 ($31,400,000) (wait, is that Pi???? SWEET!!!) was set to show that this is a joke project. The user describes the project’s largest challenge in this manner, “The main challenge is assuring Kickstarter that this is a joke and not a serious project. As proof, the goal has been set high enough to make successful funding almost impossible.”Will it work? Will they get enough funding for the project? Let’s say they do. Where will the money go? I bet they will give it to charity. That would be nice.But if the funds are raised, Autodesk has already given them a head start on how to manage the construction of this Death Star [more...
Autodesk Must make AutoCAD WS for Windows Phones
&If Autodesk doesn't make a Windows Phone 8, or Windows 8 App store version of AutoCAD WS (and their other apps) they will miss the boat.Windows is not going away any time soon. Windows Phone 8 is not that big of deal right now but it is growing. The thing about Windows Phone 8 is that it works very well with other Microsoft software like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office. Many AutoCAD users use many Microsoft Products (like Office and Exchange.) Windows Phone 8 will get adopted, how much, I have no idea. In the U.S. it only has a small market share (at the moment) but it is growing. Windows 8 will eventually replace most of Windows XP, Windows Vista and eventually Windows 7. Honestly that may not happen until Windows 9 comes out, but you get the idea. Windows, for the moment, is here to stay in the enterprise and in small business. Autodesk has already begun rolling out other apps onto Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. They have Sketchbook available now. Putting their software on Windows 8 is easy enough. Just take the software and make sure it works in this version of the OS. Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT is a bit different. But as a CAD Manager and IT guy, I would much rather give my users a Windows 8 based tablet than an iPad. Why? Because it’s Windows, that’s why. I can get one software version and put it on their desktop, laptop, or Windows Tablet (with the proper amount of licenses of course.) But if I give them an iPad or Android tablet I have to get and manage yet another set of programs and operating systems. I don’t want to do that.I am nearly certain that Autodesk understands this and I am willing to bet that all 2014 versions (assuming there will be AutoCAD 2014 and the like) will be Windows 8 compatible. I also think that we will see AutoCAD WS on Windows Phone 8 as well [more...
Contest Results - The Winners are...
CAD-a-Blog held it's first ever contest. To enter, readers had to like Infinite Skills on Facebook and either follow CAD-a-Blog on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or sign up for our email alerts. You could have also tweeted or posted on Google+ about the contest with the hash-tag #CADaBlogDVD2013.Many of you did these things multiple times. In fact we had thousands of entries and picked up many new followers. Thank you. I love you all. Dearly. Here is what the three winners (you are all winners just for reading posts here on this blog or for following us in your social media client of your choice) will receive:AutoCAD 2013 Bundle training DVDThis title is a combination pack of two separate training DVD’s that will take you from knowing nothing about AutoCAD to being an expert in AutoCAD. The first DVD, Learning AutoCAD 2013, assumes you know nothing (or very little) about AutoCAD. It introduces you to AutoCAD 2013, takes you through the user interface, and shows you how to use AutoCAD. The second DVD goes even further and deeper into the workings of AutoCAD. It shows you how to manage your files and how to use the cloud integration that is native to AutoCAD 2013. And more. You get the benefit of learning AutoCAD from me, a professional AutoCAD user with 20 years of experience in multiple design fields. Not only do I show you the commands and tools in AutoCAD, but I show you how to use them in real life. Each title has several projects that build on top of each other. It is a visual and audio learning experience. Reading instructions on how to use AutoCAD can be difficult to follow. But with these DVD’s you can hear and see exactly what to do. No more guessing what the author meant! The Learning AutoCAD 2013 DVD has 15.5 hours of instruction. The Advanced AutoCAD 2013 DVD has 14.5 hours. Together that’s 30 hours of training.Thousands of copies of my AutoCAD training DVD’s have already been sold. If you want to learn how to use AutoCAD or want to be better at, then you need these DVD’s. And the winners are: Robert Mahler Paul Munford Rob Heggen Congratulations to you all! Look for an email from Infinite Skills soon.Thank you [more...
November 14th is GIS Day around the world. GIS Day is an international forum of geographic information systems technology users. This day is set aside each year for those users to get the word out about their industry. If you work with GIS or in the field in some way you may want to participate in GIS Day (which is today by the way.) Many of us use GIS related information every day and don’t even know it. It’s how we get to work or school. It’s used by Police and paramedics to find you faster. Politicians used it in the recent election. Utility companies, governments, health officials, distributors engineers, environmentalists, television companies, car manufacturers, candy bar makers, UPS, the Post Office, schools, NASA, soccer coaches, boaters, moms and dads all use GIS and the information this field creates, organizes, and provides. Our modern world would not exist without GIS.Check out eh official GIS Day website and see what you can do to celebrate.http://www.gisday.comMake sure to check out the Discover GIS site.http://www.gisday.com/discover.htm [more...
Win an AutoCAD 2013 Training DVD Bundle!
Who wants to be a winner? There are two way for you to be a winner! One is to buy my AutoCAD 2013 training DVD and skyrocket your skill set above all others! The other way is take part in CAD-a-Blog’s first ever contest and win a copy of my AutoCAD 2013 Training DVD!!This is what you get:AutoCAD 2013 Bundle training DVDThis title is a combination pack of two separate training DVD’s that will take you from knowing nothing about AutoCAD to being an expert in AutoCAD. The first DVD, Learning AutoCAD 2013, assumes you know nothing (or very little) about AutoCAD. It introduces you to AutoCAD 2013, takes you through the user interface, and shows you how to use AutoCAD. The second DVD goes even further and deeper into the workings of AutoCAD. It shows you how to manage your files and how to use the cloud integration that is native to AutoCAD 2013. And more. You get the benefit of learning AutoCAD from me, a professional AutoCAD user with 20 years of experience in multiple design fields. Not only do I show you the commands and tools in AutoCAD, but I show you how to use them in real life. Each title has several projects that build on top of each other. It is a visual and audio learning experience. Reading instructions on how to use AutoCAD can be difficult to follow. But with these DVD’s you can hear and see exactly what to do. No more guessing what the author meant! The Learning AutoCAD 2013 DVD has 15.5 hours of instruction. The Advanced AutoCAD 2013 DVD has 14.5 hours. Together that’s 30 hours of training.Thousands of copies of my AutoCAD training DVD’s have already been sold. If you want to learn how to use AutoCAD or want to be better at, then you need these DVD’s. Contest RulesThis contest is simple. All I want from you is to promote my DVD’s and website. That’s really the point here. I want more people to know about this great learning tool I've made and I’m asking you for help. In return, three lucky people (chosen at random) will get a free copy of the AutoCAD 2013 Bundle DVD. Each title normally costs $99.95 (USD) each. The bundle DVD is a bargain at $149.95 (USD). It’s “Buy one, get one half off!” If you win, then you get the bundle for FREE!!This Is What You Do to EnterStep One:First, you must like my publisher Infinite Skills on Facebook: www.facebook.com/infiniteskillsThis is required. If you already LIKE Infinite Skills on Facebook, then proceed to step two.Step Two:Tweet and/or Google+ this link and hash tag together (must have both to qualify):http://cad-a-blog.com#CADaBlogDVD2013or...Follow me on twitter: www.twitter.com/bcbentonLike on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CADaBlogCircle on Google+: CAD-a-Blog on Google+or...Sign up for the CAD-a-Blog email notifications (see side bar)Only one like, follow, circle, etc. per account please. If you already follow, like, circle, etc. then you are already in the contest!You can post or tweet once per day per account. We want to get the word out so I encourage you to tweet once per day during the competition. Make sure to have the link and hashtag. #CADaBlogDVD2013The contest runs all week (November 12 through midnight EST November 16, 2012) with the three winners being announced here on Monday, November 19, 2012. The winners will be listed here and contacted via email (make sure your email contact info is listed in your accounts so we can contact you).Infinite Skills is graciously providing three copies of these training videos and I appreciate them doing this. The three winners will be contacted by me and then by Infinite Skills with a link to their free download of the videos. Sorry, no DVD’s will be shipped but you get the full downloadable version complete with working AutoCAD files. This also means that anyone that can purchase from Infinite Skills, meaning almost anywhere in the world, can participate. If we shipped the DVD’s that would limit the contest to the USA and Canada only! We have readers all over the world and we want you to be able to have a chance at this great opportunity.So start tweeting, liking, and posting on Google+!!Don’t forget you can follow CAD-a-Blog by signing up for email notifications, link to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Here is a link to all of my Infinite Skills AutoCAD training DVD's: BUY ME NO [more...
Feb 4, 13