Dialog Box July 2005

14 Jul, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

Readers have their say.

To be considered for publication, you must sign your letters and include your company's name, address, and daytime telephone number. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity. Send letters to:
Cadalyst Dialog Box
859 Willamette Street
Eugene, OR 97401
fax: 541.984.5328
Bug report
I was thumbing through my May issue of Cadalyst and got to Essential Guide to 2D Publishing (page 18). At page 20, I suddenly became amazed at how realistically the PDF Composer worked. I thought WOW-Holographic. Then after second and third looks realized that it was a Big Bug (2.5D) stuck on the page! I think the magazine at one time came packaged in plastic, but I don't know if that was just to keep the non-subscribers out. In any case, I've been a longstanding subscriber to Cadalyst (and Cadence) and still enjoying it ("bugs" and all), even though it's a lot thinner :( than in the old days.
— Tom Sippel, via Internet


Editors respond: Here we thought we'd moved all the bugs to our Web site.

Another one for the free list
I'm a subscriber to Cadalyst and enjoy reading it very much. I noticed in Top Products - Cadalyst Salutes Top New Hardware and Software for CAD/CAM/CAE in the June 2005 issue that you covered freely available tools. I appreciate the tips provided there, and would like to point your readers to another excellent resource called Blender 3D, an open source 3D modeling, rendering and animation software program available free from Produced by the non-profit Blender Foundation and supported by several excellent online communities (such as elYsiun) this very capable software package can be run on a variety of operating systems. It incorporates several geometry import scripts, IK and armature animation, and an internal ray tracing-capable rendering engine. It also interfaces with an excellent external radiosity-capable rendering package (Yafray, also freely available at and even has a built-in gaming engine. I would love to see the word get out about this program, as I feel it could be of great benefit to many organizations out there. I encourage you and your team to investigate it for yourselves and see if it may indeed be worthy of calling to your reader's attention.

— Kelly Lasse, via Internet

PS: I am not affiliated with the Blender Foundation or any related organizations, just an enthusiastic user wanting to pass along my eagerness to other 3D users out there. Your helpful Free Finds sidebar made me think you all might find this interesting.

Editors respond: Thank you for the tip. We'll try to line up a reviewer to evaluate Blender 3D in an upcoming issue.

Look out for licensing
I would like to offer a different perspective on the think3 subscription system.

I've used thinkdesign for over four years, but have not renewed this year because they have dramatically increased the cost of subscription. I just squeezed it to the old price last year. In the UK, it has gone up from 1,800 pounds to over 3,000 pounds per year! You can now buy it, if you want, for 10,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds maintenance.

thinkID's a very good product, and I've enjoyed using it, but with this pricing it seems to me that think3 has taken leave of its corporate senses, and I'm sure I will not be the only SME looking elsewhere. But there are very serious ramifications to moving that are not often discussed-when the license ran out, all the work I've done in thinkdesign became inaccessible.

— Christopher Laughton, via Internet

TurboCAD twist
I have been a TurboCAD user since v2 Currently I am using version 10/10.1. As I am strictly a 2D user, all the versions (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10) have been able to handle just about everything asked of them.

According to the Cartesian coordinate system, the y positive direction is up from the 0,0 origin and the x positive direction is to the right. When constructing parallel lines, however, typing in a positive number for the x offset results in a parallel line in the negative x direction, which seems contrary to convention. Is there any way Cadalyst can nudge IMSI to address this?

— Richard Xeller, via Internet

Spreadsheet surprise
I just read Brian's response to Lynn's column on tables, and I could not agree more with him concerning AutoCAD's continued capability to completely ignore and/or fail miserably as such a remedial task. We use Spanner on every project. I have tried over and over again to OLE link, import, fields, etc. from office products into AutoCAD and always, without fail, AutoCAD proves unreliable. I am with Brian-give me my Spanner for Excel spreadsheet and let AutoCAD keep their tables and fields.

— Jack Schneider, via Internet

Editor's note: For more information about Spanner, visit

Print is preferred
I recently resubscribed to Cadalyst. I have to tell you I'm not real happy with the change. Yeah, yeah, change is good, change is imminent, blah, blah. But when I pick up a magazine to read, I expect to have a magazine in my hand to read. What I have now is a pamphlet. All the rest is at Not that you're going to change your format because of my opinion, but personally I think the online magazine (while packed with tons of CAD news and info) does little good for those, like myself, who like to read on the go, while traveling, in a hotel room or by the pool. I like my CAD, but not so much that I need a computer to read about it.

— Ted Kettler, via Internet

Editors respond: The size of the print issue is constrained by production costs and the number of advertisers.

Chip shot
I'm planning to upgrade my custom-built CAD workstation. Which Athlon 64 processor do you recommend for doing mapping with aerial photos using Autodesk Map 3D?

— Bob Heintze, via Internet

Editors respond: You can check our most recent workstation reviews here and here. We did encounter early difficulties with the AMD Opteron systems, but those seem to have been resolved in the latest workstations.

Plea for PDF product
I wonder if you could help me with advice and recommendation for the best software to buy to convert DWG to PDF. We are using Autodesk Map 2004. Thank you.

— Elizabeth Sobczak, via Internet

Editors respond: We covered several options for generating PDF files in our May issue. There are also many other options available, all suggested by readers. Your best bet is to download demo and evaluation copies, where available, and see which suits you best.

Can you help?
I am running Windows XP Pro and AutoCAD 2002. All my coworkers are able to preview their AutoCAD drawings and I am not. What am I doing different?

— Jorge E. Bernal, via Internet

Currently architects use layer 0 to create blocks and then copy them to different layers to assume their color, linetype, etc., which is fine except when you try to xref the architect's drawing into yours and cannot control their color from your drawing because the blocks were created on layer 0.

Is there an AutoLISP routine that can transfer objects in the block from layer 0 to the layer the block resides on and change color and linetype to bylayer, so that we can control linetype and color in our drawing?

Please refrain from giving any advice to use the layer 0. In the building industry, it is the bane of our lives.

— B.G.Ottley, via Internet

E-mail if you have suggestions for the above problems.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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