Discarded Autodesk employees – how old were you when you were let go?

Some things have been mentioned to me privately that have made me curious. Curiosity is like an itch for me, I just have to scratch it. So here goes. If you have been let go, fired, made redundant, discarded, dumped, sacked, had your office closed, encouraged to take a termination offer, sidelined into an untenable position, failed to have your contract renewed or otherwise ceased your employment at Autodesk in a not-entirely-voluntary manner in the last ten years, I’d like to know how old you were at the time. There’s a poll in this post and in the left sidebar. …

Guest post (BlackBox) – Why every click counts

With a bit of tongue in cheek, “This is not only my first guest post on [blog nauseam], it’s also my first guest post on any blog.” Thanks, Steve! I get to write about one of my favorite AutoCAD features, and share a short personal story. Yesterday I read Frank Mayfield’s article on time-sensitive Right Click, which made me recall an opportunity to help a new user on a design task the other day. I led them through an approach to mitigate a design issue, noticed they weren’t using time-sensitive Right Click, and asked them why? User: Why not? Me: Fair …

CAD Nostalgia Video

For the first video in the new cad nauseam YouTube channel, I’ve had a bit of fun. I unearthed a bunch of my old stuff to show you. Does any of this take you back? Enjoy!

Interviewing the creator of BLADE – CAD’s best LISP IDE – part 2

This post continues my interview with Torsten Moses about BLADE, the new LISP IDE that arrived with BricsCAD V18.2. See here for post 1. Steve: I’ve noted before that BricsCAD execution of AutoLISP and Visual LISP is several times faster than AutoCAD’s. How does the new technology affect that performance? Torsten: All the new BLADE-related stuff doesn’t really affect normal LISP execution outside the IDE and debugger. The connection is made by a few callbacks, which take zero time in normal processing. Therefore there is also no chance of breaking things. The BLADE implementation is very safe, and performance remains …

The day my dog went viral

I’ve been on Twitter for nine years and currently have 903 followers. Sometimes a post strikes a particular chord and it might get a handful of likes. One post, however, has received 1424 likes so far. It’s this one: When I posted that photo, I was expecting maybe a handful of likes. Then my phone started going mad with notifications. What happened was that the popular Twitter account WeRateDogs (@dog_rates, which I had tagged) noticed my post and liked it. That was all it took. 100 likes, 200 likes, as more people liked it, it appeared on more people’s feeds …

Interviewing the creator of BLADE – CAD’s best LISP IDE – part 1

Easily the most impressive new feature of BricsCAD V18.2 is the new Visual LISP IDE, BLADE (BricsCAD LISP Advanced Development Environment). The lack of any LISP IDE has been a BricsCAD stumbling block for a while, dissuading CAD Managers from adopting BricsCAD to replace their stagnant and increasingly expensive AutoCADs. As I will relate elsewhere, Bricsys has not just caught up with Autodesk here, but has shot so far ahead it’s unlikely to ever be caught. BricsCAD’s BLADE is so superior to AutoCAD’s VLIDE in so many ways there’s really no comparison. Yet it remains highly compatible. I have personal …

Bricsys shows Autodesk how to do mid-term updates – again!

BricsCAD V18.2 for Windows is out. The new stuff in this mid-term update is again showing up Autodesk’s lack of progress with its once-flagship product, AutoCAD. I’m sure Autodesk would love customers to accept that there’s only so much anyone can do with a DWG-based CAD product once it reaches a certain level of maturity. Customers should get used to nothing of significance being added year after year. Diminishing returns, and all that. Pay to continue using the product, but don’t expect it to get better. What a shame for Autodesk, then, that Bricsys exists. By consistently providing a raft …

That awkward moment when I just failed to create BIM

I recently updated my resume, and I thought it might be relevant to include an episode from my early career. This post is an expansion on what I had to say about that episode. I was managing a tiny CAD training and development company, Educad. Much of my time there was spent developing software called NIDIS (originally called NEEDS), a project that was started in 1987 or 1988 with Nixdorf Computer as the client. It was intended to take over the market among first the home building companies of Western Australia, then Australia, then the World! What’s special about NIDIS …

Are your drawings SHOUTING?

This post was inspired by a question raised by Jamie Myers in the CAD Managers Unite! Facebook group. Long ago, before CAD was in common use, I was taught technical drawing at school. One of the things I was taught was to follow drafting standards, BS308 at the time. Later, I was expected to follow AS1100. One of the things I was taught was to always use capital letters in text on drawings, using the approved ISO font. Without a machine, without a template. This stuck to me to such an extent that even today I use all caps when …

How to sign your LISP files

This post follows on from Why digitally sign your LISP files? and How to obtain a digital signature to sign your LISP files. In the first post, I explained why you might want to digitally sign your LISP files. In the second, I explained how to obtain and install a digital signature. This third and final post in the series assumes you have done all that and now want to sign your files. There are two methods available to you, using a dialog box or command-line interface. Signing LISP using the AcSignApply.exe dialog box Autodesk has provided a utility called …

Gallery – Gent visit 2017 – Sights

Here are some pictures of some sights I saw in Gent (Ghent) and Brussels during my visit attending the Bricsys Insights press event in April 2017. I published some of these photos at the time but had to remove the post due to technical difficulties I was having with WordPress galleries.

I agree with Serge Jonnaert in Why every Architect should Visit Gent, except I wouldn’t limit it to architects. It’s a very lovely place, well worth a visit by anyone.

How to obtain a digital signature to sign your LISP files

In an earlier post, I explained why you might want to digitally sign your LISP files. If you decide to go ahead with that, then this post explains how you can obtain and install the digital signature you will need to sign your files. This is the most difficult part of the process and it involves spending money. Getting a digital signature Although you can make your own digital signature (there’s an Autodesk Knowledgebase article describing the process), there’s little point in doing this. You can sign your files, sure, but that signature won’t be seen as trusted by software …

Autodesk subscription offer – the first cracks appear in the all-rental wall

Thanks to a comment by Fabien, I recently learned of a new offer from Autodesk to convert perpetual licenses to subscription (rental). It turns out that this is a global offer from 7 February to 20 April 2018. Such offers come and go from time to time and most are not particularly interesting. This one is. Not because you’ll want to take it up (you probably won’t), but because of what it represents. Here’s how it appears on Autodesk’s site: What’s really interesting about this offer is this sentence: If you are not satisfied, you can switch back to your …

Gallery – Gent visit 2017 – People

Here are some pictures of some people I met in Gent (Ghent) during my visit attending the Bricsys Insights press event in April 2017. I published this at the time but had to remove it due to technical difficulties I was having with WordPress galleries. This post is partially a live test for an alternative method of displaying galleries on this blog.

Click on an image to enter the Carousel full-screen gallery viewer. If you have any difficulties, please let me know the problem and the device you’re using. Thanks!

Why digitally sign your LISP files?

After I mentioned in an earlier post that I had digitally signed the sample LISP file I had provided, this generated some interest. In this post, I’ll explain why you might want to sign your LISP files. In a later post, I’ll explain how to do it. These days it is standard practice for developers to digitally sign their code. Operating systems and applications are displaying increasingly scary warnings when coming across unsigned code. Here is an example of the sort of message you get when you load an unsigned LISP file into AutoCAD from a location that has not …

Setting your application or document window size using LISP

I intend to produce a few videos containing tips, tutorials, product comparisons and the like. I’ve set up a cad nauseam YouTube channel, but don’t bother visiting it yet because it’s empty. One of the things I need to do for these videos make sure I’m capturing the screen at an appropriate resolution. I knocked up a bit of Visual LISP to take care of this task quickly and accurately, and you might as well have it. It’s a simple routine that allows you to accurately size either the main AutoCAD application window or the current document window (drawing area) …

Autodesk kills ArtCAM, proves subscription is terrible for customers

This story goes back over 50 years. A British company called Delcam was founded in 1965 and developed many products. These included ArtCAM, an application for producing 3D parts using 2D artwork as a base. It won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2003. In 2014, Autodesk acquired Delcam for approximately USD$286 Million and ArtCAM (among others) became an Autodesk product. As with all Autodesk products, sales of perpetual licenses ceased a couple of years ago. Owners of perpetual licenses were encouraged to ditch them and switch to subscription instead. Financially encouraged, with “discounts” and promises of price rises for …

Autodesk has lost some of its best people

If you follow certain people on social media this may not be news to you, but Autodesk has just suffered a shocking loss. People at SOLIDWORKS World were amazed to see Lynn Allen, probably the most famous person in CAD, and for decades the face of Autodesk, in attendance. Image credit: Craig Black via Facebook No, she wasn’t spying on the competition; she’s praised aspects of what Dassault is doing and has described the event as “pretty amazing”. In her own words, she’s now a free agent. Lynn, a highly professional and entertaining presenter, was undoubtedly Autodesk’s biggest drawcard. No …

Why Bricsys makes the best AutoCAD for Mac

Bricsys has just released BricsCAD V18 for Mac. Here’s the download link and here are the release notes. BricsCAD V18 is an excellent DWG 2018-based CAD application, and the Mac version lacks little in comparison to the Windows version. It’s so much more capable than the perpetually half-baked AutoCAD for Mac that I struggle to comprehend why anybody with the choice would even contemplate the notably inferior and seriously overpriced Autodesk offering. That’s not just opinion, it can be supported objectively. Price first. US prices are shown here for a single standalone license over five years, inclusive of the cost …