Friday, August 28, 2009

How to Be an Annoying Trainee

Training people how to use Civil 3D can be very satisfying. It's great to see the light bulb go off in people's minds and help them use a tool that will make their jobs easier and possibly more fun. However, there are a few things trainees do that drive me up the freekin' wall.

How to Be an Annoying Trainee:

  • Answer your cell phone in class. This works best if you have a really obnoxious ring tone. Speak loudly and remain in the room for the most irritating effect.
  • Ask questions that are clearly not on topic. When getting a guided tour of the interface the first 20 minutes of class, make sure to raise your hand and ask, "Um, are we going to do cross sections soon?"
  • Ask stupid questions. Yes, Virginia, there is a such thing as a stupid question. Make sure to ask something like, "What happens if I delete everything in my project? Is there a way to compute volumes after that?"
  • Start your own sub-class in the back of the room. You saw a demo once of creating a parking lot with a corridor. The instructor is not getting there fast enough for your taste, so you get the attention of the 3-4 people around you and start your own lesson.
  • Skip the fundamentals. You don't know Autocad? No problem! Surely the instructor has time to go into a lesson on using paperspace just for you. If she doesn't, act indignant.
  • Constantly whine about making the change from your legacy software. The instructor will certainly appreciate your insight on how easy it was to model surfaces with the LISP routine you used in 1997.
  • Bring a laundry list of tech support questions from your coworker. Corner your instructor on these during break, before she has a chance to use the restroom!
  • Don't bother paying attention. After the instructor has just spent the last 10 minutes explaining and demonstrating the uses of frequency lines, get your head out of your email and ask, "Hey, what are theses lines on my road for?"
  • Interrupt. This isn't kindergarten -hell if you're going to raise your hand. Why should you wait for the instructor to pause to make your point?
  • Give up. This is hard. You're tired. You will retire in 5 years, anyway. F it. For full effect act visibly bored or just put your head down on the table for a nap.

Got any more good ones? Leave a comment! I'd love to hear your stories of annoying trainees. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Civil 3D 2010 Out of Memory Problem

Last Updated 01-11-2010:

Civil 3D 2010 is fully supported on Windows XP (both 32 and 64 bit) and Windows Vista (both 32 and 64 bit).

Civil 3D 2010 is also supported on Windows 7 with a few known issues.
Previous versions will *probably* install on Windows 7, but are not supported.

Civil 3D 2010 is NOT supported on any of the following OSs:
Windows emulators on Mac, Linux, etc...
Windows ME
Windows 98

Ok - so what is the solution to an out of memory problem in Civil 3D 2010? You will need administrator rights on your computer to do most of my suggestions. Most of these require a reboot to take effect. When in doubt, seek out your IT person.

I promise one of these actions will work. Try them in the following order:

  1. Check out your video card driver's date. Right-click on your Computer icon and go to Manage. Double click Device Manager. Expand Display Adapters. Right-click on the name of the video card and select properties. Look at the date on the driver. Is it more than a few months old? If you are connected to the interwebs you can click Update Driver and have Windows seek out the newest driver (if a newer one exists).
  2. Install Civil 3D 2010 Update 2.
  3. Get more RAM. 4 gigs are reccomended. Is your machine recognising all of what you have? I ran into a case not long ago where the guy insisted he had 4 gig, but the hardware guy didn't install it correctly. Doh! Go to your Computer Properties to verify.
  4. Throw the 3-gig Switch. Here are my favorite directions. They are a little more clear than the TS1071001 doc.
  5. Increase Virtual Memory. Windows uses a chunk of your hard drive and pretends it is RAM when needed. Right-click Computer > Properties > Advanced tab. Click Settings under the performance area. Go to the Advanced tab. Click Change next to virtual memory. Whatever its set to now for initial and maximum size, double it.
  6. Set your WHIPTHREAD variable to 3. Got multiple core processor? Use it!
  7. Is the Problem Drawing-Specific? Use Recover with XREFS under the Application Menu > Drawing Utilities > Recover > Recover with XREFS to verify the health of your drawings. AUDIT, PURGE, -PURGE for regapps.
  8. Do Less Stuff. If you can get by with running just email and Civil 3D at once, that might help your RAM situation. If you're on a beefy machine, this shouldn't be an issue, but know your computer's limitations.
I really hope this helps.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How to Force Raster Design to Work with a PDF

Background: While AutoCAD 2010 can insert a PDF or use it like an XREF, the Raster Design software can’t work with PDF documents. The PDF file needs to be converted to a bitonal image in order to work with the vectorization tools in Raster Design.

There are several options for working with a PDF with Raster Design.

  1. Use Adobe Acrobat to convert PDF’s to a TIFF image.
  2. If you don’t have “full blown” Adobe Acrobat, do the following
    a. In Adobe Reader, go to Tools > Select and Zoom > Snapshot tool.

  3. b. Place a Window around the portion of the PDF you wish to use with Raster design.

c. This will copy the selection to your windows clipboard.

d. In AutoCAD 2010 go to Paste Special (Home tab, Clipboard panel, Paste Special).

e. Paste the object as an Image Entity. Click OK.

f. Click in the drawing to place the image. Hit enter to accept a scale of 1, rotation of 0.

g. Once the image is placed in the DWG, select it, the right-click on the it.

h. From the right-click menu, go to Image > Write > Save As.

i. Save the image with a name that you can recognize and in the same Windows directory as your cad file. (If you don’t do this step, it will be easy to lose track of the file!)

Next, you’ll convert the image to Bitonal, then convert it to indexed color, then back to bitonal. The reason we need to do this is because the first bitonal conversion inverts the colors (white becomes black and vice versa).

j. From the Image tab, the Edit Panel, click Process image and select Change color depth.

k. At the Command line you are prompted to type B for bitonal. At this point the image becomes a “negative” of itself.

l. Repeat the command, but this time convert it to indexcolor using I. The image will not appear to change.

m. Repeat the command for a third and last time. Convert the image back to Bitonal and the colors will be back to normal.

n. Save the drawing and proceed to work with the image as you normally would in Raster Design.