My Real World BricsCAD series is coming soon on the Bricsys blog

In February, my first Bricsys blog post appeared: Inside Bricsys: Interviewing the creator of BLADE – the new Visual LISP IDE in BricsCAD V18.2 This was an amalgamation of my two similarly named posts on this blog where I interviewed BricsCAD’s Torsten Moses about BLADE, the LISP IDE that arrived with BricsCAD V18.2. Today marked my first original-material post on the Bricsys blog: Real World BricsCAD Series Coming Soon I encourage you to hop over to the Bricsys blog to check it out. I’ve been interviewing real people about their use of BricsCAD and will be reporting what they have to …

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 …

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!

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 …

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 …

What’s changed at blog nauseam and why

Last week, blog nauseam died. This post explains the background to that. You’re probably not that interested, so feel free to skip to the dot points that list the changes that have resulted. The problem was a faulty WordPress installation was using excessive resources. This caused severe performance issues and resulted in the server software stepping in to throttle the site to prevent more widespread problems. The trigger for the WordPress fault has not been determined and may never be. This is somewhat akin to an old AutoCAD drawing suddenly going bad for unknown reasons. The problem may date back …

Why owning stuff is still important (repost)

This post was originally published on 19 November 2012. What’s happened since then is that Autodesk has indeed ended the sale of perpetual licenses and gone all-rental even though customers remain reluctant. Autodesk’s cloud push, however, is struggling. Many Autodesk cloud products are dying or dead. Others (mostly free) carry on but many have failed to live up to expectations.  Some paid cloud products (e.g. Fusion 360) are starting to generate some return on Autodesk’s huge investment. However, it’s all years behind schedule. We were supposed to be cloudy CAD users several years ago. It hasn’t happened. How much of …

Top 20 posts of 2016

According to Jetpack site statistics, these were the most viewed posts on this blog of 2016. Many of them are from previous years. Note that these stats began being collected in May when the blog became active again so the list doesn’t cover the entire year. AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal” (April 2011) AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” (March 2010) Disaster in progress – Autodesk’s all-rental plans are failing (June 2016) Why AutoCAD for Mac is a bad idea (May 2009) AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal” (July 2016) What is loaded …

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 of the day – who is this man?

I have just returned from a very interesting trip half way around the world. In addition to learning some fascinating stuff about certain things (to be discussed later), I met some interesting people. One of these people can be seen in this photo, which I took with my phone at a party at a trendy location, just like all the cool kids do these days.
20161020_203442The person who answers all (or most) of these questions correctly (or close to correctly) in the next 72 hours (ish) gets a fun but worthless prize.

  1. Who is this man? (Not the one in the corner, that’s me).
  2. Name the drawing he’s most famous for.
  3. Name the technique he developed to help create this drawing. (It still works today, but now has a much simpler equivalent).
  4. Name the CAD company which used that drawing in its promotional material.
  5. Name the CAD company whose products this man is now promoting.
  6. (Tiebreaker question) Estimate the number of hours he says it took to produce that famous drawing.

I reserve the right to make up new rules as I go along without telling anyone. Hopefully nobody will care too much. I’ll be putting all comments on this blog into the moderation queue until the end of the contest so nobody can see anybody else’s answers, so don’t panic if your comment doesn’t appear.

The prize? The right to create a guest posting on this blog with a subject of your choice. As long as it’s probably legal and not too indecent, you can write what you like. Even if it’s “Steve is a poo poo head!”

I hope I don’t regret this. Good luck!

Edit: contest is now closed, see here for the winner.

AutoCAD’s ARRAYCLASSIC command is my fault

Ever wondered why most keep-the-old-version commands in AutoCAD are called CLASSICxxx but the old version of the ARRAY command is called ARRAYCLASSIC? Why can’t Autodesk be consistent for once? Sorry, that’s actually my fault. Here’s a little history. AutoCAD Version 1.4 (1983) introduced the ARRAY command with Rectangular and Circular options. AutoCAD Version 2.5 (1986) added the Polar option and hid the Circular option (but it’s still there). AutoCAD 2005 introduced a dialog box version of the ARRAY command. The command-line version remained available via the -ARRAY command (with a leading hyphen). AutoCAD 2012 introduced many new array features, including …

Microsoft demonstrates why automatic updates are a terrible idea. Listening, Autodesk?

I like Windows 10. After some investigation and with some trepidation, I have upgraded two Windows 7 computers and one Windows 8 (ugh) computer to Windows 10. In use, I’m generally very happy with it. It boots fast, works well and most of the more ridiculous aspects of the Windows 8 “let’s assume your computer is a phone” interface are gone. The fact that I can scroll windows using my mouse wheel without first clicking on those windows to obtain focus is a real productivity plus. I would be happy to recommend Windows 10 to all Windows 8 users and …

Is there anybody out there?

I wonder if anyone still reads this blog? Would there be any point in reactivating it? I have stuff to say, but would anybody notice? Please let me know. Note that currently, I need to approve comments before they appear. I may change this setting later, but if you comment and nothing appears instantly, don’t panic.

Why owning stuff is still important

Let’s start with a few questions: Do you own your home or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why? Do you own your car or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why? Do you own your TV or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why? Do you own your computer or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why? If you’re like me, you answered the same for most or all of those questions. I own all of the above and rent none of it. I prefer owning all of the …

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 …

Australian Fencing Championship 2011

I have been away in Sydney for a while, attending the Australian Fencing Championships. I fenced in five events with uneven success (I came 52nd out of 70 in the Open Foil, for example), but a few things made me happy. First, I was able to fence for Western Australia in the Team Foil event as captain of the WA ‘B’ team, which put up a decent performance in going down to a strong ACT ‘A’ team. Next, I came 6th in the Veteran Foil; down from last year’s 2nd, but quite respectable given the strength of the field. The …

Cloud discussions generating interest

This is one of those self-indulgent posts you probably hate, so feel free to skip it and just read the more interesting stuff. Last month, my site statistics went through the roof. Here’s a graph that shows the number of unique visitors and the number of visits per month since I started the blog in February 2008. Page views, hits (a pretty useless statistic) and bandwidth all spiked in a similar fashion. I remember being very surprised when over 1,500 people visited my blog in the first month, as I would have been very happy with a few hundred readers. …

Fencing in Canberra – video

It’s about time I posted about something other than the Cloud, or even CAD. Every year, there are four national-level fencing competitions in Australia. As they are almost all held on the other side of the continent, I don’t get to compete in them as often as I’d like. However, a couple of months ago I did have the opportunity to compete in the third of these competitions for 2011, held this year in Canberra. This was very special to me because my mother and sister were in the audience and it was the first time either of them had …

Will Autodesk have to explain itself to the SEC?

The observant among you may have noticed that for many years, Autodesk’s free patches, service packs and updates haven’t added any new functionality. Bugs may get fixed, severe performance issues may be addressed, but design errors generally have to wait for the next release (at the earliest), and new features definitely don’t get added. The last time new functionality was added to AutoCAD in a free maintenance release was Release 13’s c4 update which shipped on 12 February 1996. (There was a public beta available some months earlier; I picked up a copy at Autodesk University 1995). That free update contained …

Why do you comment here?

One of the things that most pleases me about this blog is the amount of comments it gets. I’m sure there are several AutoCAD-related blogs that are much more frequently visited than this one, especially the Autodesk ones. However, I’m not aware of another AutoCAD blog with the volume of comments I see here. On average, each post here receives just under 5 comments, and the most popular subject for discusssion is now not far short of the 100 mark. I recently went four complete calendar months without making a single post, but comments kept trickling in anyway. When I …