The Ribbon Man interview – fluff?

Looking at the comments, it seems not everyone is happy with the Matt Stein interview. If so, I’m sorry you feel that way about the piece. In my own defence, I would point out the following: I like to think my work at Cadalyst represents a balanced viewpoint. I pride myself on being fair. Whether Autodesk deserves praise or criticism for something, I provide it. But an interview isn’t really the place to do that. An interview is supposed to be an opportunity for the interviewee to say things, not a platform for the interviewer’s opinions. My job as an …

AutoCAD 2009 – Ribbon content for Express Tools

One of the many unfinished aspects of the AutoCAD 2009 Ribbon is the lack of Express Tools content. One enterprising user has put the effort into correcting this, and has posted an Express Tools CUI replacement in this Autodesk newsgroup thread. I have not tested this myself. As usual with CUI, be paranoid. Back up everything before you touch anything. While I wouldn’t normally suggest you do any Ribbon custom work in 2009 in its current state, it shouldn’t hurt in this case as it should be easily redoable once Autodesk has fixed up the worst of the 2009 CUI …

The Ribbon Man interview – part 2

The second and final part of my interview of Matt Stein has now been published on the Cadalyst site. There were some other questions I would have liked Matt to answer, but some unfortunate logistical problems prevented that from happening. Never mind, I guess it ended up plenty long enough anyway!

AutoCAD 2009 – Do your old drawings need recovery?

I’ve seen quite a few complaints that AutoCAD 2009 refuses to open some drawings saved in 2000 or 2004 format unless the Recover command has been used on them. Autodesk has now issued a Knowledge Base item about this issue. There’s no real fix in AutoCAD 2009 yet, just an external workaround. You will have to fix up the drawings in AutoCAD 2008 or TrueView. Either save the drawings in 2007 format or set the system variable 3DCONVERSIONMODE to 0 and then save them in the old format.

AutoCAD 2009 – How do you use the Ribbon?

It would appear from comments made on the Autodesk newsgroups that a lot of AutoCAD 2009 users have their Ribbons turned off. That’s actually one of eight possible states for the Ribbon to be in. Is it really the most popular configuration? Does it apply to 12.5% of you or is it more than that? I’ve added a poll to find out. Please vote only if you’re an active AutoCAD 2009 user, as I want to see what people use in production.

AutoCAD 2009 – The Reaction Part 3

I’ve closed the poll asking for your initial reactions to the shipping release of AutoCAD 2009. It’s interesting to compare it with your reactions when asked to speculate prior to the release date. It seems your collective opinion of AutoCAD 2009 has taken a sharp drop now you’ve actually had a chance to use it. In the speculative poll, the average opinion was “OK”; in the first reactions poll, the average opinion has slipped two levels to “Bad”. In the speculative poll, 39% of voters used the “bad” half of the poll; in the first reactions poll, that number has …

AutoCAD 2009 – Drawing integrity tip – urgent!

AutoCAD 2009 users, I strongly suggest you go and set the new system variable OPENPARTIAL to 0. Now. Why? Because if it’s set to the default value of 1, purging can be harmful to your drawings. I’ll fill in the details in a future Bug Watch column, but for now I suggest you just go and fix up that variable. It’s stored in the Registry, so you should only need to do it once unless you use multiple profiles, in which case you should do it once per profile.

AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to normal revisited

I see Lynn Allen has written a post explaining how to restore the “classic” interface. I commend Lynn for doing this in response to the requests she’s been receiving. It must be pretty painful for some people at Autodesk to see their Technical Evangelist showing people how to turn off AutoCAD 2009’s Big New Feature, but it’s absolutely the right thing for her to do. The worst thing Autodesk can do right now is go into denial mode, which has happened more than once in the past when users have reacted negatively to various things. This post from Lynn gives …

AutoCAD 2009 – The Reaction Part 2

I won’t beat about the bush, AutoCAD 2009 is getting a pretty hostile reaction out there. Have a look at Autodesk’s AutoCAD 2009 newsgroup, for example. It’s true that many releases receive a hostile welcome, but this year it looks particularly bleak. Frankly, AutoCAD 2009 is taking a hammering. I think it’s possible to gauge the general AutoCAD user reaction reasonably well by looking at what is said in places like this, but adjustments do need to be made. There are always some people who are resistant to any change, some who are habitually hostile to Autodesk, some who dislike …

Where have all the developers gone?

I noticed in Ralph Grabowski’s latest upFront.eZine that Autodesk has announced that 100 developers have 200 add-ons working with its 2009 series of software. I hope I’m not supposed to be impressed by those numbers. I remember when Autodesk boasted about having over 3500 third-party developers. What happened to the other 3400-odd? This is a serious question; if anybody knows where they all went, and why, I’d love to know. Of those two hundred 2009-ready applications, how many of them take advantage of 2009’s Big New Feature, the Ribbon? My guess would be close to zero. Why? Because the AutoCAD …

The _XREF_XREF killer

If you’re an AutoCAD 2008 user you probably already know what the title refers to. If not, you probably don’t need to know. If your drawings are afflicted, I suggest you hop over to Between the Lines, grab the scale list cleanup utility and start cleaning up. Although I’ve found that this utility works very well, paranoia is usually wise in computing so make sure you back up everything before you start! The utility is installed into the AutoCAD 2008 or 2009 main installation folder, and you can make a shortcut to the CleanupScales.exe file on your desktop if you …

AutoCAD 2009 – Video from product managers

I generally dislike blogs that just regurgitate contents from elsewhere, so I’m going against the grain here to repost something from Shaan Hurley’s Between the Lines blog. Shaan has been a bit quiet over the past few weeks, but has recently made up for this with a vengeance. A flurry of new posts has pushed this video way down the page, so you may well have missed it. I’m always happy to see Autodesk communicating with its customers (even if I don’t agree with what’s being said), so I decided to bring it to your attention. Here, Autodesk product managers Eric …

AutoCAD 2009 – Tooltips are bad for my sanity

In the general scheme of things, this is a relatively trivial issue, but it’s sometimes the little things that get under my skin. Winner of this year’s prize for most annoying new feature just has to be the new tooltips. They are really not good for my mental health. If I have tooltips turned on, I find it hard to use AutoCAD 2009 for more than a few minutes without wanting to smash my fist through the screen. I would like to leave tooltips on just a little bit so they will let me get used to AutoCAD’s modified button …

AutoCAD 2009 – ViewCube problems?

Having been very effusive in my praise of AutoCAD 2009’s ViewCube feature, stating among other things that “the ViewCube looks like a finished, polished tool”, I may need to backpedal. Those views, along with all of my 2009 Prequel posts, were based on my experience with the Release Candidate.  Although ViewCube was very stable for me in pre-release versions of 2009, I’ve seen severe ViewCube stability problems in the shipping software. I’ve seen the following problems in just a few minutes use of the ViewCube, on two different PCs: Picking the WCS button under the ViewCube and then picking a …

AutoCAD 2009 – Automatic spell checker

I’ve seen quite a few positive comments about the new automated spell checking feature, with some people saying that it alone is enough to make AutoCAD 2009 worth the price of admission. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it is a nice feature. If you enter or edit text or mtext, a little dashed red line appears under words that are not in the dictionary. Right click on an unknown word and the menu will offer several suggestions, allow you to ignore the word or add it to the dictionary. It does have limitations, though, such as not working …

AutoCAD 2009 – Layer Palette and performance

If you’ve noticed some normal drafting operations are much slower in AutoCAD 2009 than in earlier releases, try turning off the new Layer Palette and see if the problem goes away. For example, editing viewports with the Layer Palette visible can be completely unworkable. Don’t just auto-hide it, close it altogether. Another problem presented by the Layer Palette is that any layer changes you make are applied as you make them. This sounds great in theory, but if each operation takes a while to perform then that’s much less efficient than the old method where all changes are made at …

AutoCAD 2009 – Action Recorder needs action

One of the banes of AutoCAD over the past few years is the phenomenon of the half-baked feature. A new feature is added to the product with serious design deficiencies and/or bugs and other shortcomings that make it much less useful than it should have been. I’m sure you have your own favourite examples of this. I may expand on this theme in future, but for now let’s concentrate on one brand new and particularly undercooked feature, the Action Recorder. The ability to record and play back macros is undoubtedly something that many users want, and has featured prominently in …

AutoCAD 2009 – A new release is on the cards

When AutoCAD 2009 arrives, what exactly do you get? Inside the brown cardboard box is a fatter DVD case containing one DVD and a set of cards describing the new features: I haven’t discovered the rules yet; maybe they are in Help somewhere. Is Menu Browser worth more than ViewCube? Does Action Recorder trump Quick Properties? Is DWFx a wildcard? Inquiring minds want to know.