AEC Tech News #191

28 Feb, 2007 By: Scott MacKenzie

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Customize Your CAD User Interface

You have the power to set up your system in a way that best suits your work environment.

CAD MANAGER GENERAL’S WARNING: Customizing your GUI (graphical user interface) and command behavior to suit your personality will result in a unique user interface. Prolonged use will increase productivity and may produce a sense of euphoria.

To get the most out of your CAD/BIM (building information modeling) package, you should tailor it to your specific needs. If you told me I could no longer customize the layout of my toolbars and palettes or make keyboard shortcuts or macros, I would be upset. I would be forced to conform to a generic menu interface designed for general purpose use. That would mean my production speed would be less than it should be.

Those of you who are making your own menus understand that we are in the minority. Our passion is a good thing because we like doing it and we can get paid for doing it. But, getting co-workers and management to embrace our works of art can be tricky. Not everyone cares about being as fast as they can be. Not everyone seeks to become a master with their tools, either, which is a very good reason for you to customize your interface: to help those who are software-challenged. Some people are unable to think beyond the next step, explore the menus for what they need or even read help files. If you can give them a special button to push that does a bunch of things at once, it will make everyone’s life easier. But the downside is you have now made them dependent on your custom tool. If it disappears, they will be lost.

CAD MANAGER GENERAL’S WARNING: Use of custom macros, e.g., LISP routines, GDL scripts and keyboard shortcuts, can result in dependency on these customizations. Loss of these customizations after prolonged use may cause depression.

The most effective way to implement and control your company’s CAD standards is through automation, and the only way to have effective automation is through customization of your CAD/BIM software. Firms that don’t invest time in customizing their environments are fooling themselves. Would you invest thousands of dollars into a high-performance sports car, and then drive it no faster than 55 miles per hour? I don’t think so. Well, that is what you are doing if you don’t tweak your CAD/BIM application according to your needs.Read more>>

First Look Review: Diamond BV300

By Ron LaFon

For the past 20 years, Diamond Multimedia has been making graphics, digital television, communications and sound-hardware products for home and business users. The company's line of BizView Multi-View graphics cards are designed with business users in mind. I examined the Diamond BV300 graphics card, a compact PCI Express (PCIe) graphics card that offers 256MB of GDDR2 onboard memory. Read more>>

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events

Webcast: Civil 3D Quickstart Class
March 5, 2007
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PST
Learn how to navigate the new Autodesk Civil 3D interface; adjust drawing, feature and command settings; incorporate Autodesk Civil 3D styles into CAD standards; and exchange design data between Autodesk Land Desktop and Autodesk Civil 3D. Read more

Webcast: Autodesk Revit Structure
March 21, 2007
10:00 - 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT
Avatech Solutions invites structural engineers and drafters to participate in free webcasts that will introduce the benefits of Autodesk Revit Structure, including how concurrent modeling can improve efficiency and lead to more effective coordination among architects, MEP engineers and contractors. Read more

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

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