CAD Manager's Newsletter #141

7 Dec, 2005

Cadalyst CAD Manager's Newsletter

Autodesk University 2005 from Sea Level

A visit to Orlando confirms my instincts about how
the CAD manager's role is changing

Normally I write my Autodesk University status report during my plane ride back to Atlanta. This year I'm driving back from the Orlando, Florida, venue, so I'm writing my recap after a seven-hour trip on interstate highways.

Each year I've attended AU (since 1994), the conference has grown larger, more managerially focused and much more multidisciplinary. This year's AU was no different, as reported attendance grew to 5,700 from 4,400 last year. All manner of architects, engineers, designers, visualization specialists and CAD managers represented every slice of business conceivable, from all over North America, Europe, South America, Japan, Australia/New Zealand and India. Although it seems to be conducted in English, CAD business is definitely much more global now than in years past.

So, in no particular order, I'll share the trends and interesting tidbits I took away from Autodesk University last week. Here goes.

New Software?
This year Autodesk didn't show nearly as much of its new technology as it did last year. The company continued to talk a lot about how much attention you need to pay to managing your CAD files and sharing them with everyone, as it has done for the past few years. The buzz phrase "create, manage, share" was again part of every Autodesk presentation I saw during AU.

And although Autodesk clearly wants to sell its advanced design products, it's still cognizant of the role AutoCAD plays in the market. Company representatives leading the Main Stage presentation even went so far as to show off some new AutoCAD features that looked very much like a freeform 3D modeling and lightweight visualization tool. Could it be that AutoCAD will become more 3D even as Autodesk bills it as a 2D tool? We'll see in the coming year, when the full feature list of the new AutoCAD product is revealed. Read more >>

:: CAD Manager's Q&A

A long time ago you published a multiple-choice CAD test. Do you still have this test?

Robert Green answers: I got out of the test-writing business a while back when CAD programs become so graphically oriented that wording of questions became problematic.

Over the past several years, I've been using a software-based testing tool called AutoTEST Pro from ACADEMIX software. It's a mere $39, and I haven't found anything else that is as cost-effective or flexible, or that allows you to write and deploy your own questions. A free 30-day trial version is available for download. Even if it turns out you don't like AutoTEST Pro, the trial will be worth your time as you'll see what an electronic testing tool can do for your organization.

If you know of any other testing tools that offer a similar level of functionality for a reasonable price, let me know!

Submit your questions to Robert Green

:: Resources

Ten Ways to Rev Up Your Company's Driving Force: In his new book, The Driving Force: Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People ($24.95), the former CEO of Porsche explains how to spark passion in people and move performance from mediocre to extraordinary. Peter W. Schutz reviews how to access motivation and ignite passion in people to produce winners. The book is available from major booksellers.

Send us the address of your favorite Web site or other resource and a few words about why you like it.

:: Events

Alias Design MasterClasses
December 9, 2005, Atlanta, Georgia
December 13, 2005, San Francisco, California
Presented by industry experts, 90-minute sessions will focus on tips, tricks and techniques for modeling and rendering in Alias StudioTools, as well as techniques to improve users' speed and efficiency.

Introduction to AutoCAD Electrical
December 16, 2005, 8:30 a.m. PT

Free Autodesk Web presentation will show how AutoCAD Electrical allows you to create and modify electrical control designs that integrate with the AutoCAD design environment.

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

:: What's New at Cadalyst's Management Web Site

Get the Code! Cadalyst's Hot Tip Harry and AutoLISP Solutions code for November 2005 is now available for download. The latest routines handle calculating fuel mileage, selecting a plotter, editing attributes and more.

Lynn Allen's Circles and Lines (AutoCAD Tutorial): Customize your AutoCAD shortcuts with the new CUI.

Cadalyst Labs Review: Need Speed? Dual Chips Max Out CAD Power: In its second workstation roundup of the year, Cadalyst Labs reviews the latest in dual-processor technology from @Xi Computer, HP, Monarch Computer Systems and Polywell Computers.