If you have an AutoCAD question check out the upcoming answer day (May 7th US Pacific). Post your question and get an answer direct from AutoCAD Platform team members. Their post below has all the details:
We’ll be kicking off the Autodesk Answer Days series with the one and only AutoCAD®! Join us at our first AutoCAD Answer Day online event on Thursday, May 7th from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Pacific Time.
Have AutoCAD® or AutoCAD LT® questions that you’ve always wanted to ask? Come spend a minute, an hour, or the whole day in the Autodesk Community to interact directly with the folks who bring you your favorite CAD software!
How The Day will work!
It’s easy. It’s free. It’s all about AutoCAD®.
Come to the Autodesk Community and post your AutoCAD® or AutoCAD LT® questions! Engage in real time conversation with the teams and experts that develop and support AutoCAD®:
When you visit the AutoCAD Answer Day on May 7th the CREATE NEW POST button on the AutoCAD Answer Day board will be available for posting questions. And there’s no limit on how many questions you can ask, we’re up for the challenge!
Millions of customers come to the Autodesk Community every month; we hope that you’ll join us on this special event, May 7th!
I’ve been doing a few software installs recently; updates to Autodesk Building Design Suite 2015 at the previous workplace and a fresh install at the new one. As a result I’ve come to really appreciate Autodesk Application Manager; one of the best support applications Autodesk have ever made.
Remember the pain?
Install an app — or more like a dozen for the Design Suites — then spend hours finding which have been updated, downloading patches and installing (or updating deployments) on the machine. That is history as Autodesk Application Manager makes it a one click process, well nearly. You still do have to select which updates and click install but that is trivial compared to the alternative!
Updates tailored to your device:
The Application Manager looks at the software installed (not just the software in the suite), the user subscription rights, the device and existing patches to decide what is needed. I was impressed that the same Design Suite installed on my Tablet (where had just picked AutoCAD Architecture & Revit) only got a those updates, my desktop picking up the full set for all the installed applications.
Download overhead shared:
If you have multiple machines to update Application Manager can eliminate duplicated download overhead and time.
In Settings>Files tick the “Use shared storage or content downloads” and set the path to a common network folder all your PCs can access.
The first machine to encounter a new update will download the install file to the shared folder. Other machines will check the folder first and install from the existing download. With some updates being up to a gigabyte (Recap) you can save a lot of download data and time.
You can export and import Application Manager settings to easily configure multiple machines.
First phase of a cloud delivery framework:
The Application Manager framework currently delivers:
For the User:
Desktop notification of update availability
Delivery and install of updates: 'The best experience is no experience', not to get in the way of productivity
For Administrators/CAD Managers:
Discover and download updates
Manage updates distribution
Manage users access to notification updates and install
There are still some limitations — local user rights may need admin permission, users can ignore notifications — but the system is a vast improvement.
Updates are just the start:
Autodesk have put in place the framework to support a far more comprehensive solution. The future could include full installs and possibly even Microsoft Office 365’like click to run. In that case you can start using the core software almost immediately while the rest of it installs in the background.
And using Autodesk PLM 360 to do it!
It was interesting to hear the data source for the system is a case of Autodesk ‘eating its own dog food’. The Product Data Master, a complex mesh of products, applications and applicable updates is being managed with Autodesk PLM 360. The only glitch I’ve seen was Navisworks wanting to install a language update for a language pack I hadn’t installed. This disappeared off the list after a couple of days, presumably after the Product Data Master was updated.
As the complexity of software increases it is nice some attention is being given to making it easier to manage.
A place to think, dream, tinker and play with ideas that could change the world. Imagine it packed with all the design and manufacturing technology you could desire. Imagine the ultimate location for your ‘shop’: harbour side in centre of a beautiful city, a short walk from a bustling commuter hub and market with restaurants, cafés and gourmet fresh food & produce.
You just imagined Pier 9
Part of the AutoCAD Blogger Day was a tour of Pier 9. A short walk from Autodesk’s 1 Market Street office, past the Ferry Building Marketplace, you find a converted waterfront cargo pier. These sheds, once the domain of ships and cargo trading, now house offices for lawyers (this is the U.S.A. after all), Architects and Autodesk’s innovation hub: The Pier 9 Workshop
A place to explore
Pier 9 is a place for Autodesk employees and artists, designers to explore the limits of design software and manufacturing technology. Autodesk support this by offering small stipend, software, hardware and an impressive workspace through the Artists in Residence Program. As we wandered through the various workshops the it was fascinating to see a wide variety of disciplines and industries working side by side.
A place to build
The simplest way to explain the scope of Pier 9 is as we experienced it, a tour. From the reception, with meeting rooms overlooking the harbour, you move through a variety of open plan office spaces. There is typical designers clutter of computers, sketches and (not so typical) desktop printers churning out prototype models!
From there we went into the first workshop. The CNC Machine Shop has industrial spec CNC 5 axis machining centres, lathes, routers and milling machines.
Add to that a 10’ x 5’ (say 3000 x 1500mm in real measurements) water jet cutter that can blast through 8” (150mm) of material. I watched it, somewhat mesmerised, cutting organic shape components but never thought to ask what they were going to be!
The Woodshop has industrial spec table saw which features a Sawstop Accident Prevention System designed with Autodesk Inventor. It detects when skin (or any conductive matter) touches the blade, stopping and retracting it almost instantly. I didn’t dare to test it but have seen a demo which proved it works (on a BBC science program).
Add to that table routers, drill presses, planers, bandsaws, belt/drum sanders and hand tools making this Woodshop better equipped than some Kiwi cabinet making companies I’ve worked for!
Into the Commercial Test Kitchen where there was, from memory, a range and other commercial kitchen equipment. I most remember being captivated by the view!
Then it was upstairs to the 3D Printshop which which is packed with direct manufacturing technology. There are seven, yes seven, Objet 3D resin printers, five laser cutters of various types, a 3D paper printer (contour printing with paper), Arctec 3D scanners and a wide format printer vinyl cutter.
Next was the Sewing and Project room with industrial sewing equipment and a Centroform Vacuum Former. It has a view of the Electronics Lab which I didn’t get to see in detail but looked to have the oscilloscopes, spectrum and logic analysers you see electronic techies playing with.
From what I saw Pier 9 is a place to explore new frontiers. Autodesk Employees and Artists in Residence get to use their software with the latest in technology. This ‘eating your own dog food’ experimentation goes beyond the usual industry work streams. The mix of disciplines working together must also generate some interesting collaborations.
In a short tour we saw engineering projects, furniture manufacturing, additive printing a logo onto an existing product, apparel design and electronic design and production. The kitchen was empty, sadly no samples, but there was talk of making sugar and flour from insect protein. Not exactly your typical foodie recipe.
The 3D printers were making cityscape models of New York and San Francisco, for urban redevelopment planning. I was interested to see a 3D paper print (the bust below) as had only recently heard about the technology. The Mcor IRIS 3D paper printer uses copy paper as the medium printed on the cut edges. You get a paper thickness resolution contour model with reasonable colour reproduction.
Some bloggers, and Lynn Allen, had fun on the meeting table swing!
Pier 9, evidence that Autodesk is far more than just a software company?
Autodesk has always had a relationship with the industries that use its products. Pier 9 shows they are looking to enable industry professionals, artists and the rapidly growing maker movement take new processes, new technologies and combine them in new ways.
Some projects investigating mixtures of biotech, engineering and new manufacturing technologies (also showcased in the nearby Autodesk Gallery) were fascinating. Imagine growing a building, self assembling furniture or flying in aircraft printed, even grown, running on fuel harvested from bacteria…
Beyond Manufacturing, it’s happening in AEC too.
While the Pier 9 focus seems to be ‘making’, a move mid last year indicated Autodesk are taking a similar approach for AEC. They acquired David Benjamin’s Design Studio | The Living. It will concentrate on research and development projects in the fields of architecture, art, industrial design, aerospace, computer science, engineering, manufacturing and synthetic biology.
Another sign that Autodesk is rapidly evolving far beyond the traditional software business model?
I did have some warning, seen but not used the beta, and like the look of the new simpler rendering, enhanced point cloud features and BIM coordination using Navisworks linking or BIM 360 Glue integration.
* My travels and workflow around projects delayed it rather than any technical or product concerns!
It was an early start for a call to learn about some big changes to Autodesk software purchases from 1 February 2016 onwards.
New commercial seats of most stand-alone desktop software (not Design Suites) will only be available on ‘pay as you go’ Desktop Subscription, not as Perpetual Licenses or the current annual Maintenance Subscription.
Purchases before 1 Feb 2016 will continue to receive existing benefits:
Existing perpetual licenses will continue to work forever.
Existing Maintenance Subscriptions (annual updates & bundled services etc.) will be honoured for as long as the subscription payment is maintained.
If current Perpetual or Maintenance Subscription customers require additional seats after 1 Feb 2016 the new Desktop Subscription will apply.
This is a response to changes in the way people design and make products;
Projects using multiple applications, at multiple sites.
Changes in how people expect buy products and software: more durable, flexible, local and personalised to them.
Expectations products are connected, responsive and updated.
Flexible teams, project not company or task specific
What does this mean?
A move towards cloud based services for better software delivery.
Simplified deployment update process. Ongoing updates rather than annual releases through the Autodesk Application Manager and cloud.
More integration between products (enabled by cloud nature)
Better & new cloud services.
Full year notice
New multi-year subscriptions for desktop applications
No change to current Maintenance Subscriptions
New programs like floating licenses (not tied to user/hardware) without current network license overhead.
Details in the Autodesk news release and links below:
SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TodayAutodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq:ADSK) announced that new commercial seats of most standalone desktop software products will be available only by Desktop Subscription beginning February 1, 2016. Through these changes, Autodesk is continuing its transition to subscription-based offerings for its products, which provide customers a simplified product management and deployment experience, and makes it easier to introduce new tools and technology into the workflow with lower upfront cost and the ability to pay as you go.
"How the world is designed and made is changing, and how software is delivered is changing as well. The companies that embrace these changes will lead their industries toward a more nimble, connected and richer future,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk senior vice president of Industry Strategy & Marketing. "Our customers have long asked for greater flexibility and more value from their software investments. The shift to subscription allows Autodesk to deliver both, as well as an improved user experience and easier access to a broader portfolio of technology.”
Autodesk Desktop Subscription offers a simplified installation, management and upgrade experience, flexible payment terms, and broader access rights across multiple devices. Autodesk plans to continually innovate and improve Desktop Subscription products to more tightly integrate them with Autodesk cloud services and reduce file compatibility issues.
Autodesk customers who have purchased perpetual licenses prior to February 1, 2016 will be able to continue to use those licenses, and customers on Maintenance Subscription will continue to receive corresponding benefits for as long as their subscription remains active. Autodesk will also continue to offer Cloud Services Subscriptions.
“With today’s announcement, we are giving our customers a full year to plan for these changes, and will continue to be transparent about our plans,” continued Anagnost. “Autodesk will be working closely with our customers and partners to ease the impact of these changes, and we are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible.”
AutoCAD Blogger Council member Melanie came up with the idea of tweeting the day in the life of a CAD Dork. You can find the others with the #CADdork tag on Twitter and Facebook.
I was going to tweet during the day (within personal and commercial disclosure limitations!) but it turned out to be a rather unusual day. The tweets would have read:
Got up, walked the dog #CADdork #AutoCAD
Went to work #CADdork #AutoCAD
Came home at midday to supervise a tree felling #CADdork #AutoCAD
Dinner! #CADdork #AutoCAD
Last weekend I discovered a pencil willow tree behind the house had rather structurally compromised trunk. It was beyond both me & my little electric chainsaw so today the professionals came to deal it before the wind did. What follows is more typical day in the life…
Getting to work;
I hope to wake before my 6:30 alarm, and usually do, because an alarm is an awful start to the day. I crawl out of bed careful not to trip over the dog already waiting for his morning walk. That is next on the agenda, usually a couple of kilometres around the neighbourhood or local park.
Then it is exciting stuff like making lunch, showering etc. before heading off on my (nearly) cross country commute. I live in West Auckland and commute to the North Shore. Although it is only a 25km (usually a 35-45 minute) commute New Zealand is rather thin where I live!
A favourite weekend bike ride is literally coast to coast, about 100km loop you can easily do in a day. The photo below from the ranges near my suburban home shows the East (Waitemata Harbour) and West (Manukau Harbour) coast in one shot!
I use the radio on my phone (Windows Phone has FM built in) to hear the news while getting ready so by commute time have heard enough. I generally listen to podcasts in the car: topical comedy (News Quiz, Wait wait don’t tell me), geeky IT (TWiT & Windows Weekly) or Science/Skeptic type stuff (Infinite Monkey Cage, Doctor Karl, Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Radio Labs).
I time my run to miss the worst of the rush hour; more of a start late, finish late person than racing the sun to work. Unfortunately traffic flow means I have to go via the city ‘spaghetti junction’ but there are alternatives if that clogs.
There isn’t really a viable alternative to the car for me. Public transport would take 2 hours (one way) and I could get there by bicycle slightly faster! I’ve actually tested that in the weekend and even waiting for a ferry (no cycling on our harbour bridge) meant bike beat the bus/train combo! It is just the hassle of getting up another hour earlier, showering etc. at work that puts me off cycle commuting!
First excitement is logging on. Our machines sync documents & desktop so a cold boot to Outlook + CAD running can take long enough to get that vital first cup of coffee! Thankfully most days restoring from logged off sleep mode is a lot faster. I use an HP Mobile workstation, achieved after taking a desktop to meetings for presentations, but most the CAD machines are HP 620 desktops.
A typical day for me might be meetings (company, team or project), production work, some tech support and IT related activity. The production work is mostly AutoCAD Architecture or Revit Architecture. I occasionally stray in to the MEP flavours, more rarely Max, Navisworks and other supporting apps in the Building Design Suite. I also use & support Costx which takes CAD (Revit is CAD too!) layouts to component orders.
We have a great IT department supplying network and core app’s (Office etc) and hardware so my support role is CAD IT focused. I look after the local machine CAD install/deployment and any related patching. There are still not many 64bit desktop users at work so occasionally we need patches etc. the business doesn’t get. Patch Tuesday is Wednesday in NZ. I tend to install them on my machine and if OK update the other machines on Friday evening.
I sometimes get random requests for non-cad support and try to help if I can. Often that is just finding the answer on-line (sometimes ending up on my own blog!) and passing it on or another expert in the office to refer people to.
My desk has turned 90º since this picture was taken but the location and clutter is much the same!
I try & break for lunch, if not always at lunchtime. Its a good chance to meet folks from other teams (amazing how much you can learn), get a change of scenery (view from the office café below is a few metres lower!), fresh air and avoid crumbs (or worse) in the keyboard.
I check out the news or sometimes read a book on my Lumia 1520 Phablet if nobody else is around. As an aside, I’ve decided Phablet is a real word since it was used in the Windows 10 announcement!
And More Work:
Work and platform varies by project. We currently have projects with AutoCAD Architecture store refit models, a Revit building model from point cloud scan and a development plan based on a PDF underlay because it was all we could get!
Most of my communication is email, although we are trying 360 Drive for plan data sharing to replace DWF based intranet viewing. If I had an app use log CAD and Outlook would dominate followed by Excel for project work. I’m tending to use OneNote for meetings and as a digital idea capture/record tool mainly because it is available everywhere.
I still author my CAD support documents in MindManager—love the structure it imposes and flexibility of output to Word, PowerPoint, HTML or SWF (for intranet)—and use SnagIt and ActiveWords all the time.
Favourite recent email was thanks from a Store Manager for the comprehensive support notes I sent within minutes. I literally hit reply and typed 4 characters to insert several paragraphs of instructions and tips for our intranet plan viewing using ActiveWords!
Social Media & Work?
Social media overlaps work in a number of ways:
Twitter: I have some CAD, Retail and IT Twitter lists for ‘breaking news’, gossip and support. I add accounts to a list as you can follow/unfollow, to keep the Twitter main timeline manageable, but still keep in touch. I’m amazed to find have accumulated 719 members on my CAD/BIM list and 54 other people using it!
I tend to check Twitter on the phone when the dreaded progress dialog or Windows 7 circle cursor indicate the PC is busy. Plotting, re-pathing AutoCAD Architecture projects, data exports or big file moves are the main culprits as I don’t do a lot of rendering.
Twitter is also awesome for support with accounts like @AutodeskHelp responding in seconds if you have a question that can be asked/answered in 140 characters. Here’s an example from home where my Tablet was getting short on SSD drive space and I wondered about future uninstall after deleting the C:\Autodesk extract files:
@robincapper Hi Robin! Yes, it will work. The uninstallation files are part of what has been installed on your computer. ^CAM
RSS Blog Feeds: Although Twitter is great it is very transient. I still use a feed reader but more like weekly than daily before Twitter arrived. Its great to catch up with those blogs, news and discussion groups which can be distant history in a few seconds on Twitter.
I also make a news round-up for the monthly Revit User Group Auckland selecting posts from the past few weeks with links to the relevant blogs.
I’m still using an old desktop RSS application as haven’t found a decent on-line or multi-platform one which works for me. There are some nice Windows Modern apps (desktop & phone) but they choke on my 1000+ feeds.
A good view of the motorway (and great ‘nz bee’ Windows Phone Auckland Traffic app for further afield) allows me to time my departure to avoid the rush. I generally go North (Hwy18 on map above) to avoid the city traffic and have a change of scenery. Although longer there is more motorway (freeway for US readers) so little time difference. As in the morning I usually listen to podcasts on the drive.
The nocturnal life of a CAD Blogger:
CAD blogging is a hobby, as seen by my erratic posting schedule! Most these posts are written on the couch in front of TV (on my ATIV Hybrid Tablet) which probably explains the proof reading. I still have a desktop PC at home but don’t often use it.
I’ve adopted OneNote as my blog notepad as find it’s cross platform nature great. If I stumble across something blog’able in the day I note, capture or send the link to OneNote for later review.
Of course on-line events, mostly US based Autodesk/Microsoft or Apple even, are at a ridiculous time in the morning here (typically 3:00-6:00) and I sometimes get up for them. Even more ridiculous is I don’t blog about everything I see on those calls. Often relevance or being unable to add to more to the topic than deadline focused outlets decides that. I compose, or more accurately partially compose and abandon, far more draft posts than ever get to the blog.
In the early days of CAD blogging companies were doing such a poor job of covering their own products on social media there was demand for those new features of release x posts. I feel they, and other full time blog/media, do that perfectly well so just try and find my spin, my thoughts, or things I find interesting or useful. I also tend to blog on things I use, or would like to use so that limits some of the scope.
So that is a Day in the Life of this CAD Dork, except I think I prefer CAD Geek as a description!
PS: Had to backdate this post an hour because it is already tomorrow. Another hazard of being a CAD Blogger is insomnia!
I arrived back from Tibet to find some very welcome news from Shaan Hurley. Autodesk now provides students, teachers and schools WORLDWIDE with free* access to Autodesk software: 3-year licenses of 80 titles of the exact same software that our commercial customers use.
Hooray! I have been anxiously awaiting this for years. Effective today, Autodesk provides FREE access to our software to students, teachers and schools around the world. If you are an engineering school or teach CAD drafting or design classes, or a computer lab facing tight budgets, you can now get the software free without limitations. There is no catch or fine print or restrictions on use in school… [cont]
* Free Autodesk software and/or cloud-based services are subject to acceptance of and compliance with the terms and conditions of the software license agreement or terms of service that accompany such software or cloud-based services. Software and cloud-based services provided without charge to Education Community members may be used solely for purposes directly related to learning, teaching, training, research or development and shall not be used for commercial, professional or any other for-profit purposes