CAD Manager's Newsletter (#230)

9 Dec, 2009 By: Robert Green

CAD Managers Seek Self-Improvement
at Autodesk University

CAD managers arrived at this year's AU determined to learn new skills and safeguard their careers.

Author's note: I'm interrupting my series on multi-CAD mayhem to bring you my findings from Autodesk University 2009. I'll resume my coverage on multi-CAD offices in the New Year.

Last week I attended Autodesk University (AU) in Las Vegas to teach some classes and gather information from the biggest gathering of CAD managers I'm aware of. I'm not writing a show report, however, because I think the real news was what I gathered from CAD managers in informal conversation. What follows is the information I think might be useful for you. Here goes.

Attendance and Mood

AU attendance was clearly down from past years, but not drastically. I heard numbers between 5,500 and 6,000, which sounded about right given that the Mandalay Bay Events Center seats 12,000 and was approximately half-full for Autodesk CEO Carl Bass's keynote speech. I was actually pleasantly surprised that attendance wasn't lower.

The atmosphere at AU this year was not one of good cheer, but rather of silent resolve to learn new skills and recession-proof careers. The mood was not bad, but it was restrained and serious. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox:
Survival Kit for CAD Machines

To recover from a computer disaster, follow a few simple steps before anything
goes wrong.

I had an interesting experience with Microsoft's XP Service Pack 3 on an old machine this week that made me think really hard about backup strategies. My venerable Dell 8200 machine, which I keep for compiling legacy code as far back as 2002, became unbootable after a service pack was applied. "No problem," said Microsoft; "simply boot in safe mode and perform the following fixes" — all of which makes no sense if the core problem is that the machine is unbootable! I've since recovered by performing a repair installation on the machine, but if I hadn't had the right information backed up, the whole experience would have been a disaster.

So what should you do to make sure your machines are prepared for such a disaster? I offer the following checklist. Read more »

Expert CAD Manager book by Robert Green

:: Resources

Lattice Technology Releases Chapter 13 of Lean Manufacturing Guide

Lattice Technology, a developer of digital manufacturing applications, released chapter 13 of a new book, Improving Lean Manufacturing Through 3D Data by Dr. Hiroshi Toriya. Chapter 13 delivers insights into the keys and steps needed to implement 3D processes into the entire manufacturing process. Readers can learn about successful strategies and tactics, and plan out how to introduce 3D into their own operations.


Planet Vectorworks Offers Nemetschek News

CAD software developer Nemetschek North America unveiled Planet Vectorworks, a new community-focused component of their web site that offers global news to English-speaking customers, prospects, and members of the press. In addition to weekly news posts, Planet Vectorworks also includes links to Nemetschek North America's social networking sites, such as Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter.

:: Events


Webinar: Simulating and Optimizing Reaction Forces

January 27, 2010
2:00 p.m. EST
In this webinar from Mentor Graphics, presenter Nate Hanlon will discuss the complexities surrounding the design of a water pump, analyzing the forces it creates and what this means for the overall design of the finished product. Read more »

Collaboration and Interoperability Congress

May 3–5, 2010
Estes Park, Colorado
Now in its sixth year, the CIC is a conference addressing collaboration and interoperability in CAD, manufacturing, and business communications. Read more »

Be Together: The Be Communities ‘Live’ Conference

May 17–20, 2010
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
In the spirit of Be Communities, Bentley's new professional networking site, this community-minded event will be built on the ideas of its members, as well as those of Bentley User Groups around the world.
Read more


For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

:: What's New at

Live Nesting in Microstation v8i
If you're making the transition from v8 2004, learn how to overcome problems in linking sheets with the Master Container file. Read more »

Q&A Series: Autodesk Subscription, Part 5
How do I register my subscription on a laptop? How can I also use the software on my home computer and remain compliant? Read more »

When it Comes to LEED, Platinum is the New Green
An architect committed to environmental stewardship uses 3D BIM software to design a home that's a Wisconsin first. Read more »

SolidWorks 2010: Yes, There's Some Wow
Most development for latest version was under the hood, but we found some fantastic new features on the surface as well. Read more »

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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