AEC Tech News (#167)

17 May, 2006 By: Michael Dakan

NCS v3.1 Available in Digital Format

Also, how one firm cut document-related costs by 85% using Adobe Acrobat

Retrieve Media has released an online version of NCS v3.1, the U.S National CAD Standard.  Called a vBook, the title joins other CAD-related publications in the Retrieve Media vBook library, including several instructional guides for Autodesk applications, such as AutoCAD, Land Desktop, Revit and so forth. Check out the complete line-up on the Retrieve Media Web site.

Most Retrieve Media vBooks are tutorial in nature, but instead of the typical step-by-step written instructions and general information and illustrations to tell you how to perform an operation, vBooks use screen-capture audio and video clips to show you. This approach can offer some advantages when learning an application, depending on an individual's preferred learning style, and the digital format is fully searchable. However, potential purchasers will have to consider whether they will use the vBooks as an ongoing reference as well, and if the video format will support that purpose. For a fee, you can create your own custom vBook. Contact the company for details.

On the other hand, the National CAD Standard v3.1 vBook is almost exclusively a reference work, and contains fewer videos than most other vBooks. Most chapters begin with a short video about the contents of the chapter, which might be useful at first if you are not familiar with the NCS and what it covers. The rest of the volume consists of static pages of the NCS content.Read more

Cadalyst Labs Review: VectorWorks 12

by Steven S. Ross

This major upgrade of an old standby from Nemetschek North America (formerly Diehl Graphsoft) comes in multiple-feature flavors for Windows 2000 SP 4 and newer and Macintosh (higher than OS X 10.2).

The most confusing thing about the product seems to be the marketing. The software itself worked fine in my tests using Windows XP and Macintosh OS X 10.3. Although the VectorWorks interface has been simplified a bit since v11, it's highly customizable, and most users will quickly adapt to the shorter menu command chains. The Mac and Windows interfaces are almost identical.

I reviewed the Designer version, which used to be called the Industry Collection. It combines VectorWorks Architect, Landmark (for planners and landscape design), Spotlight (stage and movie set design) and Machine Design (formerly Mechanical, for designers and fabricators). The multiple-discipline package and a nifty multimedia CD of core VectorWorks functions carries a list price of $1,795. Individual disciplines are $400 less, and the base product (Fundamentals) costs $995. Street prices through independent dealers tend to be lower, of course. Upgrade of the complete package from v11 runs $500; individual upgrades start at $280.Read more

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Large-Format Document Management
Various dates
IDEAL offers webinars every Tuesday and Thursday on large-format scanning and document-management problems. An interactive question and answer session is included. Read more 

June 8, 2006
Marina Village Conference Center, San Diego, California
This is an official Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) learning and networking event designed to help you gain knowledge and skills you can apply immediately to solve existing challenges and make you more productive. Read more 

BE Conference Europe 2006
June 11-15, 2006
Hilton Prague, Czech Republic
The BE (Bentley Empowered) Conference is an annual gathering of Bentley software users and their managers who want to sharpen their skills and expand their knowledge. Read more

VisMasters Design Visualization Conference
August 4, 2006
Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
The VisMasters Design Visualization Conference is a one-day event focused on the business, art and technology of design visualization. Read more

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here>>

what's new at

Cadalyst's New Job Search Now Live! If you're in the market for a new job -- or if you just want to see what's out there -- offers a new online Job Search that will help. Powered by Indeed, this new search tool offers a state-by-state list of CAD-related job openings, or you can customize a search to find your own list of U.S. job openings based on the keywords and locations you specify. Check it out today! Use the Job Search button on Cadalyst's AEC Web site or click here for a direct link.

Get the Code!Cadalyst’s May code from Hot Tip Harry is now available for download. Pedro Ferreira is this month's $100 winner with code that lets you erase inside a closed pline.

May Tutorials Now Live Online: The latest editions of all your favorite Cadalyst tutorials for AutoCAD as well as ArchiCAD, MicroStation, Revit and more are now live on

Cadalyst Daily Update: For all the latest news and new products, subscribe to Cadalyst Daily e-newsletter. Plus, every issue includes a feature you won't find anywhere else -- hardware and CAD software reviews, success stories, AutoCAD tips and much more! Here's what you missed in the past week:

  • Q&A: Design Turns Green, Part 2: In anticipation of an upcoming PBS series, Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, tells us sustainability is a matter of survival.