The BLADE video watchlist

I did my third and final (for now) BricsCAD Unplugged webcast about BLADE last Wednesday. Here’s the video:

Before I dig into DCL, I start with a brief description of an absolutely brilliant feature that was added to BLADE in V19. If you code in LISP, you’ll love this feature.

Then I move on to some ancient history. Did you know that we can thank the far-sightedness of some slightly renegade Autodesk OS/2 developers in the early 1990s for the dialog boxes we use today? Did you know that you could program dialog boxes for AutoCAD for Mac in 1993 but you can’t today? Can you spot the items of interest in the background?

The rest of the video is dedicated to describing DCL programming and debugging, and I explain how BLADE is the best tool for that job using examples.

If you want to watch all three of the BLADE videos in a row (that’s 1 hour 49 minutes of viewing), Matt Olding has created a YouTube playlist for this series.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Bricsys people in putting this series together. Torsten Moses has informed me about yet another bunch of enhancements that are coming very soon to BLADE, so maybe you haven’t heard the last from me on this subject on BricsCAD Unplugged.

More BLADE videos

As mentioned previously, In December I made a guest appearance on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast series to discuss the LISP development environment, BLADE (YouTube link).

I made another appearance last week describing debugging using BLADE (YouTube link):

If you’re dealing with LISP code for AutoCAD and/or BricsCAD, you really should be doing it in BLADE. It’s the best development environment for AutoLISP/Visual LISP that you’re ever going to get.

I have another appearance scheduled for later today (13 February) in which among other LISPy things, I will be discussing using BLADE for DCL programming. Again, even if you’re AutoCAD-only, I believe this is worth a watch. BLADE is better for DCL programming, too.

Even if you’re AutoCAD-only and not a programmer, you might find my brief ancient history lesson of interest. Did you know that BricsCAD for Mac users can thank a far-sighted early 90s Autodesk OS/2 team for the dialog boxes they use today?

The BricsCAD Unplugged webcast broadcasts run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. Today’s session will start at about UTC 14:15 (2:15 PM) on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 (click here for your local time)

Video – who is that masked man?

Last night I made another guest appearance on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast series. This time I was discussing the LISP development environment, BLADE. Here’s the video:

Bonus points will be awarded for identifying three items of interest in the background. No, not counting my dog Sunday asleep at lower left.

Despite going way over time, there was still nowhere near enough opportunity to describe the full LISPy awesomeness that BLADE represents. I am therefore scheduled to return for another two or three episodes beginning in February. In those, I’ll be doing more of a step-by-step demonstration rather than the overview and V19 new feature description I did in this episode. If you have any particular requests for what you want covered, please comment on this post.

I also showed how the tools in BLADE (e.g. the (inspector) function) are still worth having for any DWG-based CAD Manager or power user, even if you’re not a full-on LISP programmer. If you have to work out what’s going on with dodgy DWG files, you’ll want to have (inspector) in your set of tools.

The BricsCAD Unplugged webcast broadcasts run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. This was the last episode for 2018 because of Christmas and New Year.

Video – Steve on BricsCAD Unplugged

Following on from Lynn Allen and Robert Green’s guest appearances on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast a couple of weeks ago, this time it was my turn. Last night (my time) I was the special guest on the episode BricsCAD Unplugged – Steve Johnson 5 surprises moving to BricsCAD. I’m introduced at 2:12 and appear at 3:30. Here’s the full video: In this week’s episode, you’ll witness: Me discussing the five biggest things that pleasantly surprised me about BricsCAD. (I have more than five, but time was limited). Don Strimbu bribing me with drinks containers. An actual printed copy of Cadalyst …

Where on Earth is Lynn Allen going?

Well, this is a fun video for CAD geeks. The third in the BricsCAD Unplugged series of weekly webcasts, this one promotes the Bricsys 2018 conference which will be held on 23 and 24 October in London. These live broadcasts run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. This one is interesting because of the people in it and some interesting news. It features Bricsys regulars Don Strimbu, Heidi Hewett, Vince Aman and Matt Olding, but also a couple of special guests. First on the scene is Robert Green (see 4:57) but the real surprise …

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 …

When spambots get it wrong

I’ve posted before about the amusement that can be had at the expense of the clueless spammers who set up their bots with poorly written strings. Thanks to the various anti-spam tools now protecting this blog, there are few comments appearing in my spam folder. There was one today though, and the cluelessness reached new heights. The dolt writing the spambot was too dumb to set it up correctly to spew out a series of inane generic comments from a list, but instead put the whole lot of the comment strings in a single self-contradictory comment! Here it is in …

Schrodinger’s CEO – Autodesk top job speculation

In an earlier post, I asked for your votes on a pair of polls regarding Autodesk’s replacement for Carl Bass as CEO. Here are the final results from those polls. Although the details of who voted and for what will remain strictly and permanently confidential, I found it interesting to see a number of votes logged from IPs that originate from a well-known software company. I will get no more specific than that. First, here’s who you think is most likely to be appointed: Amar’s well ahead in the “person most likely” poll. But note the contrast with who you …

Autodesk acquires Angry Birds developer Rovio (repost)

This post, originally published on 1 April 2012, brings back fond memories. That’s mainly because of this tweet from Carl Bass: Autodesk announced today that it had welcomed Rovio Entertainment into the Autodesk fold. Following a US$2.6 billion acquisition, the publisher of mega hit video game Angry Birds is now Autodesk’s Mobile Entertainment division based in Espoo, Finland. “This is a tremendously exciting development for Autodesk going forward,” said Autodesk CEO Carl Bass. “Rovio is the world leader in mobile entertainment software,” he added, “so for Autodesk to have access to that market and that technology opens up a whole new …

Hot tip for Autodesk

Hey Autodesk high-ups, I’m sorry you’ve been having so much trouble persuading your customers to throw away their perpetual licenses and throw themselves on your perpetual mercy. It’s clearly difficult to persuade technical types to do dumb things like rent your software at enormous and ever-increasing prices. I feel for you. But there’s an answer. Find dumber customers. Lots of them. And fast, before the stock market notices that you’re no Adobe and we’re not buying it. Sorry, I mean not renting it. Look no further! Simply buy this company, discard the product when you’re bored with it (you’re very …

Steve’s fencing year 2016

Some of you may be aware I’m an active veteran fencer. I’ve been a bit quiet over the past month because I’ve been away, attending two major fencing tournaments. I’ll post some video later, but here are my national and international medal results this year: Australian Fencing Circuit 1, Melbourne, Australia Veteran Men’s Sabre – Bronze and 50+ Gold Asian Masters / Oceania and AFC 3 Veterans, Perth, Australia Asian Masters / Oceania Veteran / AFC3 Veteran Men’s Sabre (50+) – Gold Asian Masters / Oceania Veteran / AFC3 Veteran Men’s Foil (50+) – Bronze Asian Masters / Oceania Veteran …

Selfie contest – we have a winner!

Congratulations to Ed Martin, who won the selfie contest with this entry:

1. This is Don Strimbu – a tricky angle on the picture, but his smile gives it away
2. He’s famous for the drawing of a nozzle – a fire hose nozzle to be precise – that he drew in 1984
3. Don used block scaling to simulate a 3D effect on the text, knurling, and fins
4. Autodesk used the drawing in its promotional material starting with an ad in the September 1984 issue of Scientific American
5. Don is now promoting products from Bricsys, notably their BricsCAD product
6. Wow, I really don’t know how long it took him, and it would be cheating to ask him … so I’ll guess. 18 hours?

Some clarifications:

1. Indeed it is Don. It was a privilege to meet him at the recent Bricsys International Conference in Munich, among other notables.

2. Correct, NOZZLE.DWG (we were all upper case 8.3 filenames at the time) which is quite possibly the most famous AutoCAD drawing of all time. It was the first complicated drawing ever done with AutoCAD, and was done in 1983 (not 1984), according to John Walker. See The Autodesk File for more information.


3. Yes, it was block scaling. In addition to the 3D effect, the thing Don came up with that amazed John Walker was using negative scale factors to achieve the equivalent of the MIRROR command. That command didn’t exist at the time, along with object snap and a bunch of other things it would be difficult to imagine life without these days.

4. Yes, it was also on Autodesk’s Task Force Tips’ letterhead for a while…

5. Yes, Don and former Autodesk Senior Vice President Dr. Malcolm Davies (also at Munich) are important figures at Techevate, enthusiastic promoters of BricsCAD in the USA.

6. 18 hours is a bit off. How about 400 40?

I remember using NOZZLE.DWG as a benchmark for comparing AutoCAD hardware back in the 80s. Open the drawing, enter REGEN and see how long it takes to get a command prompt back again. As every single zoom or pan required a regeneration back then, regen time was very important. I remember an HP Vectra taking 17 seconds and an NEC APC III taking 19. An IBM PC without math co-processor took much longer; 2 minutes 39 rings a bell, but I’m not certain. These days, it’s so fast it’s hardly measurable.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing what Ed has to say in this blog’s first ever guest posting. Could be anything!

Don’t be a technology lemming

In response to Shaan’s variant on the old “if you question the value of any change you must be a Luddite” argument, I was going to write a lemming-based parody. I didn’t, mainly because I didn’t want to perpetuate the lemming mass-suicide misconception. Instead, I’ll answer the point more directly. Autodesk will acheive better success in convincing customers about Cloud computing and other concepts by actively and interactively engaging with them. Addressing their specific and legitimate concerns has a chance of success if the concepts have merit. Insultingly likening customers to allegedly stupid animals isn’t going to convince anyone. Besides, the point …

Autodesk’s social media consultant spills the beans

Ever wondered why Autodesk is putting so much emphasis on social media these days? Why AutoCAD needs Facebook and Twitter commands? It’s because Autodesk pays social media consultants lots of money to tell them about the importance of social media, and how to be social and media-ish. In this video, one of those consultants explains the process:

Dilbert and the Cloud

I have an Autodesk-related Dilbert story to share. Back in the late 90s, I was visiting Autodesk’s San Rafael offices (at Autodesk’s expense) and had an appointment to see a product manager. There was some confusion when I arrived at Reception, but after a few phone calls I was shown into a meeting room containing the manager and a lot of other Autodesk people. However, the open mouths told me that they were discussing very confidential stuff. They were clearly shocked and horrified that an outsider had been allowed into that particular room at that particular time, even though I had …

Autodesk acquires Angry Birds developer Rovio

Autodesk announced today that it had welcomed Rovio Entertainment into the Autodesk fold. Following a US$2.6 billion acquisition, the publisher of mega hit video game Angry Birds is now Autodesk’s Mobile Entertainment division based in Espoo, Finland. “This is a tremendously exciting development for Autodesk going forward,” said Autodesk CEO Carl Bass. “Rovio is the world leader in mobile entertainment software,” he added, “so for Autodesk to have access to that market and that technology opens up a whole new world for us.” Bass was effusive about the synergistic benefits of the merger and the benefits it will bring to the …

Software as a service is great…

…for some things. The other day, I amused myself by creating a video using a site called Xtranormal. You’ve probably seen 3D cartoon-like videos of people with stilted voices. It’s done by signing up for a free account, choosing a background and some characters, then typing in your script. This is converted, generally fairly successfully, to spoken words. The characters lip-sync to your script, you publish the video and you’re done. If you have a YouTube account, the site will upload the video for you. Video creation service provided on line, video hosting and viewing service provided on line. No …

Poll of evil

I have closed the Which of these is most evil? poll, which had been running from 20 February 2009. It attracted 2,351 voters, each of whom could distribute up to three votes among thirteen (yes, that number was deliberate) candidates. Here are the ranked results: Satan (36%, 846 Votes) Microsoft (31%, 721 Votes) Apple (26%, 614 Votes) RIAA/IFPI/MPAA (26%, 601 Votes) Miley Cyrus (23%, 546 Votes) Autodesk (23%, 536 Votes) Disney (16%, 382 Votes) Google (10%, 230 Votes) Dell (7%, 172 Votes) The Pirate Bay (6%, 147 Votes) Sony (6%, 140 Votes) Steve Johnson (4%, 89 Votes) Gaahl (3%, 82 Votes) That top …

This blog is just wonderful, apparently

One of the more interesting things about running a blog that is visited by a reasonable number of people is the fan mail. My immense modesty prevents me from keeping visible the thousands of positive comments that are posted here, but I thought I would give you an idea of the sort of praise I receive (and Akismet hides) on a daily basis. This small sample is all from the past 48 hours, with my comments in blue: My brother recommended I might like this website. He was entirely right. This publish truly made my day. You cann’t believe simply …