Dialog Box January 2008

31 Dec, 2007 By: Cadalyst Staff

Readers have their say.

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Cadalyst Dialog Box

Late, Great Cadalyst Daily
I was really impressed with the content I'd been getting via the Cadalyst Daily newsletter. Thanks for all the great information. I was so pleased with the content that I contacted one of your advertisers for information on a GIS system we are planning. I'm a long-time subscriber of Cadalyst -- I'm pretty sure I still have some of the very first issues. I've been using AutoCAD since version 2 and most of what I know came from Cadalyst. I've been really busy lately, and last night I took the time to really explore the Cadalyst Web site. Gee, what a great resource. Even though the Cadalyst Daily went away, I'm sure the Web page will still have all I need. Just keep up the good work.
—Louis Duenweg
Siskiyou Telephone, Engineering Department, Etna, California

Editors Respond
We're so glad to hear that you enjoy Cadalyst's newsletters. We have ceased publication of the Cadalyst Daily e-mail newsletter, however, the content that would normally have appeared in that publication will still be posted to our Web site as new articles, case studies, and product reviews. We'll also continue publishing all of our other e-mail newsletters, such as GIS Tech News, AEC Tech News, MCAD Tech News, and Tips & Tools Weekly. You can always check the Table of Contents in our monthly print magazine to see what new content has been posted to our Web site each month.

Autodesk University Matters
Robert Green made some interesting observations in his Autodesk University report, "Autodesk University Report from 1051 Feet." I am a CAD manager at a 90-person architectural firm in Connecticut and work under the umbrella of the IT department. It's an excellent relationship. In a nutshell, he worries about IT infrastructure and upper management, and I worry about CAD support, training, and productivity. We both have at least 30 years of combined architectural experience as well, which translates into knowing what our firm and users needs are to get the job done. It's funny that Green mentions the IT guys are showing up at AU because our IT guy just started attending AU last year and couldn't wait to go back this year. I have been going to AU for the past five years now and have always come back with something I can share with the office. So AU matters to us as well on many levels. Keep up the good work.

—Mike Hart
Centerbrook, Connecticut

Great CAD-to-Excel Tip
In reference to Hot Tip Harry's Tip 2234, I have to say, "Great job, Doug Barnes!" I used this CAD-to-Excel LISP file, and it worked wonderfully. This file will save me days of work in my shop. With a little tweaking to meet my specific needs, this is a great tool. I design wiring diagrams, and this tool will allow me to take my wire list and make it a useable CSV file in which my back shop can load it into the wire marking machine with no changes. Before this, the drawing would be released and the back shop would have to load all the data by hand before wire marking could start. This task might take a day or two depending on the complexity of the wiring diagram. Now, the drawing is released to the back shop and within 10 minutes the wire machine is working. Thank you so much. You have saved me a lot of time and -- where it counts in the end -- money. Excellent job.

—John Macaulay
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Project Collaboration and Plan Rooms
I read Jerry Laiserin's article, "Share and Share Alike," in the December 2007 issue of Cadalyst, and I had one primary question regarding the tools available for project collaboration. I could not tell from the article if any of the programs listed permit project teams to share files from different locations so that there is only one copy of the file. From what I can tell, all the plan rooms are just depositories that allow us to upload the file periodically. If the file is being edited daily, then the upload is out of date within a short time. Is it possible to have a central server that keeps the file for access/editing as needed? Does the Internet make this kind of setup too slow?

—Edward Aiken, Engineering Professional III
Tetra Tech | Complex World, Clear Solutions, Newark, Delaware

Jerry Laiserin responds
You are correct that the services mentioned in my article are central repositories for copies of files that must be kept up to date -- and inevitably will slip out of date (unless all project participants are unusually rigorous about their file maintenance).

What you are asking for is a true document management system (DMS -- single copy per document, check-in/check-out, version control, audit trail, etc.). In my consulting experience, I've observed that 99% of engineers and architects will not tolerate the administrative overhead that a true DMS entails (that is, file-naming, file-locking, creating document profiles, etc.). Perhaps your company could be a viable candidate for such a disciplined approach.

However, Web-based DMS solutions take an additional performance hit with (typically large) engineering documents (even worse with GIS). So, your wide-area network (WAN) and/or connection to the Internet cloud need to be really fast (T-1 speed is way too slow and T-3 is barely acceptable, provided WAN accelerators and other local caching are used). Again, you are correct that the Internet makes Web-based DMS too slow for engineering documents -- unless all project participants are willing to throw a lot of bandwidth and money at the problem.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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