Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Play It, Sam

Casablanca fans unite: The line is not "Play it again, Sam." but simply "Play it, Sam."


Many of you already know (and love?) FLEXLM utilities that are needed for network licensing of Autodesk products. Did you also know that there is a utility that comes free with most Autodesk products and can be used for more in-depth license reporting? The utility I’m talking about is SamReport-Lite, by Macrovision.

With this tool you can get a very clear picture of how many licenses are being used and by whom throughout the day. It can help you make decisions as to whether or not you need more licences.

The only trouble is that the documentation that comes on the DVD is not Autodesk-specific and is confusing. People commonly get Java error messages installing off the DVD and just give up.
The following instructions will get you past all the confusion. As long as you know how to install FlexLM, you can get through the document.


Good luck and happy reporting!

Monday, March 24, 2008

How to Be One of My Favorites

I admit it, I play favorites when it comes to the people I train and support on a daily basis. But what is the difference between someone I will go to the ends of the earth to help, versus someone I'd rather not give the time of day?

My Faves...

  • Try. They might not understand right away, but they want to.
  • Go through the proper channels for tech support. It drives me up the wall when people call my direct line for tech support - we have a 1-800 number for that, which gets tracked.
  • Are on subscription. Sometimes the best fix is installing a more current release.
  • Listen. It's easy to get worked up when deadlines loom and the software isn't behaving. Talking over me and/or being pushy will not help you.
  • Write things down. Odds are you'll need to need to perform the procedure again at some point. Why not jot down a few notes?
  • Understand the difference between training and support. There's a difference between, "How do I build an alignment?" and "Why is my alignment acting funny?"
  • Realize that there are humans on the other end of the phone line or e-mail correspondence. Its funny, there's this person who insists on referring to me by the name of the company I work for, and acts as if all the email he gets from us were computer generated. This a rarity but it rubs me the wrong way.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

WisDOT Announces to Consultants

ACEC Wisconsin and WisDot hold a join conference every year to disseminate information to the consulting firms it works with. Hundreds of representatives of the consultant community were in Elkhart Lake, WI at the lovely Osthoff Resort.

Eric Arneson represented the DOT to discuss the decision to implement Civil 3D and how it will impact the consultant community.

Eric is member of WisDOT's Methods development team. This is a unique team of WisDOT employees who's responsibility is support of all computer aided engineering software within DOT. The software they support includes Microstation, CAiCE, AutoTurn and CAE Plot.

Some additional highlights:

  • WisDOT will implement Civil 3D, Vault and replace their current plotting software by using the sheetset manager.
  • WisDOT will decide in May 2008 if a deployment of Civil 3D will go forward for Fall of 2008. They may decide to push back full implementation if they feel the DOT is not ready.
  • They will be rolling out Civil 3D to regional offices after finding people who would serve as good early adopters. They will also look for suitable projects to start in or convert to Civil 3D.
  • The Methods team will continue to support CAiCE indefinably.
  • WisDOT does not now, nor does it plan to require consultants to use Civil 3D. Consultants will still be able to submit plans in several formats including PDF.
  • WisDOT may soon require consultants to submit surfaces in a 3D surface model form. This could mean LandXML, TIN or other format that could be used with machine controlled grading.
  • All levels of project approval in WisDOT has been obtained.
  • Methods development will soon complete Autodesk training curriculum for Civil 3D.
  • Project kickoff meeting with IT and AutoDesk was conducted February 20, 2008.
And super-super coolness: There is talk of a WisDOT specific package that can be installed with Civil 3D - not unlike the country design packs that exist.

WisDOT PDF of the full slide show presentation.

I'm excited to see what happens in May. The Methods team is a sharp group.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Ok, I won't bore you with a list of new features in Civil 3D 2009 - there's lots. Let's just see some screen shots:

The first thing you will notice is the different color scheme of the interface. Seriously, don't let this freak you out. They just made it more Vista-ish. It's 90% cosmetic and 10% meant to save you screen real estate.

The first thing I noticed is the little green lollypop thing sticking out of both cogo and survey points. This allows you to individually rotate points. Yes, labels go with the object if they are set that way in the label style.

As you create an alignment you can specify design criteria. The graphic will flag you if your geometry does not meet your specified design criteria. Coolio.

You have a new, similar interface on the profile side too.

More to come, just wanted to slap this out there.