This wasn’t my idea but I think it is a good one!
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— Autodesk Help (@AutodeskHelp) January 23, 2015
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!