CAD Manager's Newsletter (#288)

11 Sep, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

CAD Managers Resist Social Media Infiltration

Reader feedback indicates serious concerns about the impact of incorporating social media tools in CAD applications.

In the previous edition of the CAD Manager's Newsletter, I ranted a bit about social media — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the like — and how direct access to these often-distracting sites is creeping into our CAD tools. It's becoming increasingly common for CAD software to include links to social media sites for user support. The problem is, once users head to these sites for work-related support, the temptation to spend "just a few minutes" checking out all the nonwork-related content is often too great, and wasted time results.

I was prepared to get a lot of feedback from both sides of the debate, and in all honesty, I figured I'd be called a curmudgeon for my generally anti–social media stance or be accused of being overbearing or stifling user creativity.

To my surprise, all the feedback I received from CAD managers was in agreement with my position, either substantially or completely; I didn't receive a single response saying I was wrong. Much of the feedback made for interesting reading as well, so in this issue I'll be sharing it with you and drawing some additional conclusions as we go along. I hope you find the extended discussion useful. Here goes.

Clarifying a Position

Before we begin, I'd like to make one thing clear: I do believe social media is a valid way for CAD managers to find information and make contact with their peers. I even maintain a Facebook page just for CAD managers. Does this make me a hypocrite? I don't think so — and here's why.

I see the CAD manager's use of social media as being very different from that of CAD users. I make this distinction because any information the CAD manager derives from social media sources should be processed, purposed, and positioned for maximum user productivity. The CAD manager then shares this information internally, using company-standard processes. This is a totally different social media strategy than allowing all users to run wild on Facebook. Read more »

:: CAD Manager's Toolbox: Work Bigger, Better Monitors into the Budget

Is your company avoiding a much-needed display upgrade? Try bolstering your argument with these facts.

I'll begin this toolbox tip with a question you may have already puzzled over:

Why will companies spend thousands on software, computers, networks, and other modern tools, yet refuse to upgrade old, small, efficiency-hampering monitors?

I am amazed by how many CAD users I see struggling with outdated monitors that can barely display the new ribbon-based CAD interfaces that are ever more prevalent in today's software. I'd love to give everyone a 27" flat-screen monitor, but I can't. What I can do is give you some ammunition to make new monitors a priority in your company's budget. Read more »

Do you have a question or tip for the CAD Manager's Newsletter? Send it to me at; if I use it in the newsletter you'll receive a cool Cadalyst prize!

:: Resources

CAD/CAM Portal Offers Product Reviews and Information
A new web site, CAD/, offers products, reviews, news, training, and discussion groups. Through the site, suppliers offer products and services such as CAM software, rapid prototyping, CNC machines, document scanning, reverse engineering, 3D content, translators, hosting, and IT consulting.

:: Events

CAD Americas Training Days
Through October 25, 2012
Various cities
At CAD Americas' 2012 training events, users of Autodesk software products can build their professional skills for architecture, manufacturing, civil engineering, Revit, 3D design, or management applications. The product training comprises best practices, tips and tricks, 2013 product features, and more. Read more »

Experience SolidWorks 2013
October 2–19, 2012
Various U.S. cities
At these SolidWorks launch events, Fisher/Unitech representatives will demonstrate the new features of SolidWorks 2013. Read more »

PLM Innovation Americas 2012
October 25–26, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Attendees of this independent event will be able to learn from experts, network with peers, and visit with PLM (product lifecycle management) solutions providers. 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

Add a Drop-Down List of Your Favorite Commands to the Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick Access toolbar is so accessible — why not add plenty of your most frequently used commands to it? Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how easy it is to add a drop-down list to the Quick Access toolbar, making you instantly more productive! Watch the video »

SolidWorks 2013 Hits the Street
Notable new features are many, including CAD Administrator Dashboard, costing, simplified simulation, and interoperability with version 2012. Read more »

Autodesk Announces Revit LT
Autodesk today celebrated the one-year anniversary of Project Spark — an Autodesk Labs technology preview that is essentially a smaller, lighter version of Autodesk Revit software for building information modeling (BIM) — by announcing the impending release of Autodesk Revit LT 2013. Read the blog post »

Preview of the HP Z1 CAD Workstation
Take a personal tour of the HP Z1 workstation with Curt Moreno. The HP Z1 is the world's first all-in-one workstation with a 27" (diagonal) display that snaps open to let you swap out parts and make upgrades. No tools required. Watch the video »

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