Thursday, December 31, 2009

Autodesk University Content - Prior to 2006

When you visit the Autodesk University site you can review the classes that are archived back as far as 2006. The classes from 2005 and as far back as 2000 are archived at AUGI (Autodesk User Group International). I received a comment on an older post of mine letting me know that the links I provided back then were no longer working. I fixed them this morning and also thought I might as well post about it too.

Autodesk University Content - 2006 to Present
Autodesk University Content - 2000 to 2005

If you are curious about what you find at AUGI these two images might help. You start by visiting AUGI and clicking on the Education menu item, then click on the AU Class Handouts link on the left side bar.

Now you need to select the year, the industry and finally click Go!

You'll receive a long list of classes to peruse. It would be nice if it could be searched by Author or product but this is what we have for now.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Revit Family Editor Videos

Warning!! Sales pitchy...

In the category of "Things I've meant to get around to but haven't", Paul Aubin HAS taken the time to record and produce videos from the summer series of online classes he did on the Revit Family Editor.

It is comprised of five DVD's (sold as individuals) and yes they cost money, but not a lot of money. Any seasoned family editor will tell you that doing the work, using the tools is the key to success. Not doing the work over and over and over, wrong and wrong...and finally correct, has value too. If Paul's videos can help you get there then I can put my hurt ego aside long enough to mention them to you here.

So if you've got some serious family editing ahead of might want to take a minute or two to check them out, they could save you some time in the long run? If you use this super secret code (don't tell anyone else) you'll be able to get 10% off the regular price (and I get a small share of the "riches" - full disclosure). Check out his site for details.

The DVD's are sold as individual purchases and Paul says he is working on a solution to provide a bundle order but as I wrote this it wasn't finished.

Hey Paul I'm looking forward to retiring early, thanks for putting them together!

[P.S. The code is displayed when you hover over the Secret Code hyperlink, in a tool tip. The secret code will be valid for purchases made from 12/28/09 to 1/28/10, one month]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays 2009

Another year has passed already! It is that time again!! Wishing you a happy holiday season and a nice start to the new year!

I enjoyed Alan's politically correct season greeting! You might too?

Christmas Gift from Jason Grant - Sheet Creator

As I mentioned in an earlier post Jason has posted an application he wrote for Revit 2010. It allows the user to create sheets sequentially avoiding the opening and closing of dialogs that the existing process in Revit requires. His post has a video the demonstrates the tool in action as well. He also provides a step-by-step process to get it installed.

A still faster way to make sheets if the actually naming isn't very important yet is this TIP.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Revit MEP and the Phase Feature

You have existing HVAC equipment. You've documented the existing system and connected everything. Once you demolish it in a later phase however it becomes disconnected in the earlier existing phase.

This comes up every now and then during discussions and a recent thread at AUGI brought it up there too. Jason Martin, with Autodesk, wrote a nice response worth echoing:

Jason wrote:

The basic problem is that things like ducts and pipes are only allowed to be connected to one other thing "per connector". If I have a duct that is connected to an elbow the connection between those two are "properties" of those two elements (i.e. the duct knows it is connected to the elbow and the elbow knows it is connected to the duct).

The secondary problem is that the "temporal" concept in Revit (phasing) is primarily a "display only" concept (there are some special cases where other things are done, but primarily it is limited to display). I'm not arguing that adding temporal intelligence to these elements isn't a good thing, as there are a number of other cases that it would solve (i.e. like the ability to move something that exists in "this" phase to a different location in a "future" phase phase), but it isn't there today.

From a practical standpoint this means the mantra of assign stuff to systems can't be met completely with existing demolished stuff. Something I'm sure the designers at Autodesk are wrestling with internally.

With regard to the AUGI thread and getting the appearance of the documents they wanted, Jason went on to suggest that they use Filters based on a different parameter than System Type since that parameter is lost when the elements are demolished.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Revit Xmas Eve

Jason Grant is teasing us with a post promising a free tool to create sheets more easily and quickerer. It won't be available until Christmas eve so you'll have to be patient till then! They say patience is a virtue!

Think Like Me

I spend most of my time teaching Revit actively in a class setting or one-on-one/one-on-few mentoring. I also end up doing it passively like with this blog or editing AUGI | AEC EDGE for example. One important thing (as instructor/teacher/writer/editor) I must do is connect with students/readers, in a manner that they relate to. Fortunately I manage to do this pretty well. I can't really expect 100% but it is a nice goal.

It is important to remember this bit of wisdom, Seth Godin wrote in his post today, "The problem, of course, is that people don't always think like you." His focus is on marketing your product but it applies pretty well to most anything you are trying to push uphill. I'll go so far as saying that anything Seth bothers to write is worth reading (if you think like I think).

You may not teach Revit but if you are using Revit you are probably trying to help it along, help co-workers's a good thing to keep in mind as you go about your day and try to help others along.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thinking Ahead - How Far Should That Be?

In September 2009 I wrote a post about the future already being here and now. I then read a post by Steve Johnson (from Perth, Australia) called, "Trusting Autodesk? Contemplating a New Product" on his blog Blog Nauseum.

I'll let you read his post there but the essence of his post was how can we be certain that the software we use today will be able to support our needs far into the future. His post was focused on the new Plant 3D product. It was this part that caught my attention (my emphasis in bold):

In a word, it comes down to trust. Each drawing used or issued by this utility is a legal document with a potentially very long life ahead of it. I showed the Autodesk person a drawing issued in 1901. The assets documented by that drawing are still in use today; indeed, many thousands of people daily depend heavily on them. Before we invest our money, time and training in Plant 3D, we need to know that the electronic drawings produced with it are going to be fully functional in the long term.

My reaction was, what software can boast that it will support a legacy file format that is as ancient as the document he pulled out of a drawer? I dare say none can. The first software I used to produce drawings was MAC Draw on a Macintosh Enhanced with an internal 800 kb hard drive AND an external 800 kb hard drive. Good luck opening that file today. The television studio equipment that my drawings documented was installed in 1988 and the drawings were probably never needed again, they were installation/shop drawings.

I've met firms that (a few) are actually upgrading every project they have done in CAD/BIM to the latest version of software they use each time they start using the newer version. Just think what committing to this means on a practical level as a task for each project. The thing is, unless you do this, you must continue to rely on the printed documents (or perhaps pdf versions) forever because you may not be able to open the project files in five, ten, twenty, thirty years from now if you don't upgrade them (current and old) routinely.

What if the software ceases to exist as Steve suggests in his post? What shall we upgrade to then? We can keep the software but we'd also have to keep a working computer available indefinitely that could run the software too! A trip to the DigiBarn perhaps?

Something to mull over...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Autodesk University 2009 - Missed It

Apparently I missed AU2009? I thought I was there but maybe it was just a dream compiled from previous trips? My wife and kids would like to know where I was for the week though... I received this in an email the other day and it made me chuckle. I imagine that many other attendees got the same message?

I know Autodesk is a big company and putting on AU isn't a simple task but I'd like to think that they'd at least know that I attended AU. I feel soooo like just a number right now. I DO understand that they are just trying to make sure that I understand I can access all that learning even though AU is over.

No worries...I got to talk to both Lynn and Shaan so I KNOW I was there!!

Autodesk University 2009 Day Four

A bit overdue but here it is...

I started out with another early morning meeting after getting far too little sleep the night before. A certain group of Australians (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) kept beverages appearing in front of me. It would be rude of me not to accept their offering(s) so I found it necessary to indulge their kindness. Thanks Shane, you aren't as mean as I've made you out to be before! It was good to see Bruce again too and I hope he had a blast motoring in Nevada after AU.

I made sure to prepare for the labs that I was assigned to as an assistant, three of them as I mentioned in my previous post. The first was a family editor focused lab presented by Joel Londenberg and Jarrod Baumann. Lots of good information for Revit MEP users as they went through the process of creating a nice air terminal family.

As many lab presenters experience there just wasn't enough time to really cover all the material (been there done that myself). I think my old boss Jim Balding once gave me the sage advice that you can cover about one-third the material you think you can. Mock-up your ideal class and then cut two-thirds...that's how much you'll actually cover. Their example of a built-in warning to indicate when the airflow is out of a specific range is a nice touch and would be a good topic for a future video post.

The second lab was Duct Duct Route Route by Michael Schinn with BIM Solutions. This lab ran out of time too but could have made it if the power point about "what we are going to do" was cut out in favor of a simpler summary. It might seem like I'm being critical, I'm not...labs are very hard to do. A typical training lab class at a firm or reseller is six to twelve, maybe a few more. When at AU it is 80-100 sharing 40-50 computers, a completely different animal. The thing that makes it really hard for students is that we tend to expect them to watch the presenter and do something at the same time.

This is why less is more in a lab. To Paul Aubin's credit his family editor lab last year was the first I've been a part of that not only covered everything but did so at a comfortable pace and seemed to keep everyone on track. Not an easy feat.

My last lab was for Jeffrey McGrew's repeat performance of his rendering class, "From Model to Marvelous". He's got a natural comfortable speaking style and his session has a nice balance of tasks and explanation. This class had fewer students than the first so it was a lot easier to assist and we had only one crash during the session (that I observed). It also ran out of time but deliberately so by choosing to leave the interior portion of the session for exploring on their own time after AU. The key to mastering this stuff is to keep using it later anyway.

After the last lab wrapped I had just enough time to hang out in the AU wrap up party for a little bit before heading off to a very nice CDV dinner at Aureole, thanks CDV!! The next morning I met with a few folks for breakfast before hopping into Jim's truck for the return trip to Southern California. The trip home was smooth sailing with none of the miserable traffic we saw heading west on our way to Vegas. Driving home from Vegas on Friday is a BIG difference from Sunday, everyone is heading TO Vegas on Friday.

As usual for me AU was gone in a flash, a blur of seeing old friends, meetings, trying to attend classes (only made half of one this year), participating in classes and late nights (too late nights). Only 11 months till AU2010...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Revit MEP - US and UK Content Extension - Subscription Only

Received word that there is new content available to subscription customers for Revit MEP 2010. David Pothier posted at Inside the System this morning.

US Content and UK Content

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hotfix Posted x 2

My prediction came true a day and then a few more days later. Two Hotfixes (what's the plural of hotfix??) have been posted now. The first deals with wall issues and the second with the missing Structural Settings access on the Ribbon panel for Structure. Click the links (Is there a Hotfix/Update?) on the sidebar at the right to visit the hotfix page for your version of Revit.

Revit Toolkit from Excitech - Coordinate Scheduling Tool

David Light's old firm Excitech has released a new tool that is free (for now) called Coordinate Scheduling Tool. It is intended to allow us to acquire X,Y,Z coordinates from certain Revit elements. It is currently limited to Revit 2010 versions and the 32Bit version of Windows XP/Vista (64 bit in development). This is an image of the Ribbon panel installed with the tool.

Here's a screen capture of User Options (snipped from their site).

Check it out!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Autodesk University 2009 - Day Three

Started out the day with a 7am meeting that wrapped up shortly after 8am. I ran into David Driver of 4D Design and we decided that we both needed some breakfast. I then wandered up to the speaker ready room to do some prep work for the labs I was scheduled to assist with (lab assistant). It was a bit hard to concentrate because Paul Aubin and I kept distracting each other with kept getting in the way!!

The first was Jeffrey McGrew's (Because We Can) From Model to Marvelous rendering class. It went well but we did see some random crashes while working with the materials dialog and several computers lost their licenses toward the end of the session, odd.

The second lab was A Quick Spin on Curtain Walls with Reid Addis, an applications specialist with Microsol Resources. We didn't see any odd crashes during this one and it was in the same room.

Three more lab assisting assignments tomorrow, a repeat for Jeffrey's class and two MEP related sessions, one called Duct Duct Route... and another about MEP content.

At 5pm AUGI had its general meeting. The board discussed AUGI's current status and the planning for the future. Looks like CAD Camps are coming back strong in 2010, hope that the economy supports them! They also turned over the latest top ten wish lists to the product managers for AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Revit Architecture and Inventor. The financial report shows that AUGI came in about the same place they did at the end of the fiscal year for 2008 based on the tax returns for that year. Not bad considering how the year started, with just 0.88 in the bank!

I shared a beverage with Chris Needham of C3 Consulting (Melbourne, Australia) and we caught up with what each other has been doing since we last saw each other at the RTC Conference held in Melbourne last June. Thanks for the beverage!! I finally got to spend some time chatting with Simon Whitbread from New Zealand during the AUGI Beer Bash.

I spent the rest of the evening on the convention show floor visiting various vendors, running into friends and hanging out at the AUGI booth. I got to take a look at the new site tools from Eagle Point for Revit which I hope to be able to play with a bit during the next couple weeks. Naturally I spent some time hanging out at the CDV Systems booth since I do so much work with them.

I wrote this from the AEC Lounge wireless zone practically alone except for a couple others chatting on the other side of the area. Must remember to take pictures...

Hotfix Pending or Posted

Word is a Hotfix will be out soon or already to address the Subscription Advantage Pack issue where the Structural Settings dialog is inaccessible unless you enable the old UI to get to it. Check the Hotfix shortcut links to the right side bar of this blog to see if it is posted already or soonish anyway.

Autodesk University 2009 - Day Two

The second day at AU started out with a trip to a class presented by Danny Polkinhorn (with WATG) about the Revit API. I only made it halfway through before getting a text summons to join an impromptu meeting. Once that wrapped up we went to the General Session where Elvis sang the legal disclaimer and gave Laura Wood (The AU Video contest winner) a peck on the cheek. I also got to meet her after the session wrapped but since I lack the gene that takes picture.

Amory Lovins discussion was inspiring and though provoking, people need to hear what he has to say more and more often. The notion of design the whole system makes sense in a "duh, no kidding" way...but why aren't we already doing these things if it is so obvious?

The first airing of my AU Virtual class went live at 1:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time) and was marred by over-modulated audio (distortion). They discovered that my class and a few others suffered from this issue too late to fix mine for the first round. Nearly all the comments were focused on the audio and the goal of appearing live was very successful since most assumed that I could fix the issue by moving my microphone or talking more quietly...except I taped the class on Sunday night! *-) Apart from audio most attendees seemed pleased with the work. There were 1750+ attendees signed up for the class when it started and 1850+ after it ended. Today there are just under 2000 signed up.

The second airing of the class went live at 9 PM (Pacific Standard Time) and no audio issues!! Four comments at the end of the class and a few questions since so it went much smoother the second time around. For those of you who attended, thanks for making it successful for Autodesk to deliver this kind of learning opportunity.

I attended the special event after dinner that previewed the upcoming Avatar movie, pretty amazing 3D technology behind the movie!! The Marriott Hotel chain design story was pretty interesting too since I spend a fair bit of time in hotels and worked for a hotel/resort design firm in the past too.

I ended the evening attending Phil Read's "Order of the Drunken Leprechaun" get together at the Mix Lounge. Enjoyed getting to catch up with many people I only see once maybe twice a year.

Off to assist Jeffrey McGrew's rendering lab now...more later!