Welcome!

The traditional print publishing industry requires long production cycles before any book or publication can see print. This situation has become more acute for authors like myself who publish books on annual software releases. I hope to use this blog to publish information, updates, addenda, ruminations, and other "mid-cycle" missives. I hope you enjoy it.

Please be sure to also visit my website.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hotfix for AutoCAD MEP

On page 445 of Mastering AutoCAD MEP, step 36 doesn't work right because of a problem with Service Pack 1. There is a Hotfix for this available at:


http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=14298012&linkID=9240938

Happy New Year all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Another MEP typo

Another typo spotted by a reader in Mastering AutoCAD MEP:

Page: 59

There is a reference to locating the Options dialog: "(Access the Options dialog from the Application menu as shown in Figure 1.14 above.)" However, the referenced image of the Application menu is actually found in Figure 1.4 on page 50.

Thanks and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Minor correction in Mastering AutoCAD MEP

In the Quick Start chapter, there is a typographical error at the beginning. The book mentions finding Quick Start files in the: C:\MasterMEP 2010\Quick Start folder (see Page 2 item 4).

The folder is actually located at C:\MasterMEP 2010\Chapter00\Quick Start.

Our appologies for any confusion. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh well, time for moderation

I had to delete the last post because of a comment with material that I would rather not have on the blog page. Unfortunately, this means I had to turn on comment moderation. I appologise ahead of time for the inconvenience. Please don't let this deter you from commenting. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Time to start again

believe it or not, it is already time to start the new editions... (I am not sure I am ready...)

I just got "extracted Word docs" from the publisher. After we submit our files, they go through several hands and changes before becoming printed pages. There is a compositor who does the paste-up of the final pages. The artwork must be processed into the required format. There is a proofreading pass, the index is compiled, the table of contents finalized and built and probably a few other steps I forgot. Much of this work is performed in Microsoft Word, but the final steps occur outside Word. So, when it comes time to repeat the entire process and start over again for the new release, we need to get Word documents back. So they "extract" them from the page layout files. This is not completely automated from what I understand and someone must manually check each document before making them available to us.

This year we get a new Word template, so style names are changing and some other subtleties. (Never a dull moment). Our task now, as the authors, is to:

1. Decide WHEN to start writing. Factors influencing this are the current state of the beta release of the software, how likely that whatever we want to start writing about will change in the next build and of course our own schedules.
2. Setup folders, files, SnagIt profiles, schedule time, and plan tasks with co-authors.
3. And most important, become familiar with the new version of the software.

Every year it is the same. This time a year comes around and we say:
"this year we will get the manuscript out earlier..."

"Hey Paul, how's that working out for ya?"

Let's see how that goes this year... Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snowing in Chicago

So it's official. Winter is here. We got the cold, wet, sticky, wind-blown type snow going on right now. Burrrr.... Think I'll stay inside.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Master the Family Editor Series available on DVD


Upon my return from AU, I was very pleased to find the proofs for the Mastering the Family Editor Series DVDs sitting on my desk.

Earlier this summer I conducted this five-part course online using GoToMeeting and presenting to a live audience. I have since used the recordings of those sessions to produce a high-quality five DVD series. You can buy each individually if there are only certain topics you wish to see, or buy all five to view the entire course. A download link to a PDF course handout and a collection of Revit files is included with the purchase of the DVDs and includes complete step-by-step instructions accompanying the video lessons.

The videos are distributed via Amazon CreateSpace and will also be available on Amazon's Video On Demand service as well. Stay tuned for further details on availability. I have other courses in production and hope to have them ready soon. Please be sure to let me know how you like the Family Editor Series and post any questions or requests for future sessions.

You can learn more about the titles and find links to order here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hot off the presses


I am here at AU and preparing for today's sessions. I teach five classes here this year and the first one is this afternoon. Every year, my publisher generously provides copies of my latest books for me to give away at the conference. This year I have three new books including the first edition of Mastering AutoCAD MEP hot off the presses! I have not even received my author copies yet, but I have one copy in  my hands that was drop-shipped from the publisher. One lucky winner in my Mastering AutoCAD MEP: Ask the Experts class today will go home with it! (sorry for the poor photo, my cell phone does not do a nice picture...). I will be teaching the class today with my three co-authors: Darryl McClelland, Martin Schmid and Gregg Stanley. We will also have some copies of MEP Course|Notes to give away. Hope to see you there.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Errors and omissions

My least favorite part of the writing process. When someone sends me an email with an error they found and it turns out to be an actual error on my part... I hate those.

Got this email today:

Page 135: Toward the bottom of the page, there is a reference to Appendix X, but I can't find Appendix X in the book or on the DVD.
Page 136: I can\'t find the file "03 Residential - Walls.rvt" on the DVD.

That's because I goofed on both of those. Here was my reply to the email:

Thanks for the email. Boy do I hate when people find errors that were my fault... :-)


I am grateful when they alert me however. Thank you. I have posted the missing Chapter 3 files here:

As for the appendix, my apologies. That Appendix did not make the cut and the reference should have been eliminated. What I can offer you instead is this. I was planning to rework my paper from Autodesk University 2007 where I gave a class on Design Options and Phasing and make that the appendix. You can visit that class here:

You can download the paper that I wrote then. It is not up to date for 2010, but phasing has not changed at all, so the information should still be useful. Again, my apologies for the mistake in the book.

So, if anyone else reading this has found these errors, I hope that the above helps. As always thank you all for buying and reading my books and please keep the comments coming!

AU has arrived!

I leave today to fly to Vegas for Autodesk University 2009. Just a quick note before I go. All of the papers were uploaded to the respective class listings. You can go to your agenda, click on a class link and at the top right you will see a link for the class materials. Last night I added datasets to several of my classes. If you are signed up for one of my sessions and want to download, be sure to check these out. I also updated my papers (resaved the PDFs) apparently some folks were having trouble opening them.

If you are going to AU, please stop by one of my classes and say hello. If you are not signed up for any of my classes, you can read about my FIVE sessions here. I also blogged about them a few weeks ago here.

Hope to see you all there! Thanks.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gregg is almost ready for AU

It is Friday night and I finally think I am almost ready for AU, not like waiting till the last minute. I am teaching 6 classes this year, a personal record for me, and can't wait for the 1st one to begin on Tuesday morning. (New Tips and Tricks for Piping in AutoCAD MEP if anyone is interested. If you attend because of this post, please let me know!!!!)
Our AutoCAD MEP book is finally shipped from the printer and will be available at AU!!! Woo Hoo!!! i am a published author and it is really cool. I can't wait to actually see the book in print.
We have 40% off coupons available at AU if you want to purchase a copy of the book. Please ask Paul, Darryl, Martin or me for a coupon.

Here are a couple of key AutoCAD MEP AU Classes:

AEC Mixer: Monday Night (7pm - 10pm) South Pacific Ballroom, Mandalay Bay Resort

Tuesday: MEP Classes (Gregg):
8am - 930am - MP104-1 New Tips and Tricks for Piping in AutoCAD MEP
3pm - 430pm - MP118-1 It finally flows downhill, Sloped Piping in AutoCAD MEP

Wednesday
5pm to 630pm Paul, Darryl, Martin and I have a Ask The Experts class on AutoCAD MEP. The class focuses on answering the burning questions you have with AutoCAD MEP, so bring your pressing questions as we will be looking for challenging issues.

Thursday

Thurs: 8am – 930am MP-304-3 Parametric Fitting and Equipment Content Creation for AutoCAD® MEP

8:00 – 9:30 AM AB304-2 Breaking Free of the Plan: AutoCAD® Architecture Sections and Elevations

10am – 1130amMP-308-2 AutoCAD® MEP Tips and Tricks for Ductwork and Piping


3pm - 430pm MP-318-2 Display System for AutoCAD® MEP: A Detailed Dive Into Display Manager

If you are attending AU, please stop by the AEC QA Lounge located on the 2nd floor to meet the QA folks for all the AEC products (Civil 3D, AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD MEP, Navisworks, Revit Architecture, Revit MEP, Revit Structure).

Please stop by and say hi,

Gregg

Monday, November 23, 2009

Course|Notes X 3

Pick your flavor! Course|Notes for AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD MEP are now available! These are six page reference cards packed with tips and tricks for using each application. I now have them for Revit, AutoCAD Arch and MEP. Please contact me for details and if you would like to get a copy.






Sunday, November 22, 2009

Badges!

While we are all gearing up for our two-and-half day week and too much turkey, those of us (like me) who have procrastinated till now are panicking at the prospect that AU is just days away! Do I really have five classes to prepare???
Well, I happened to be rummaging through my closet the other day looking for something when I stumbled across a collection of old AU badges! There seem to be a few missing here unfortunately, but I have most of the last several years. What fun!
Back in 2001, (I think this is the first year I taught) I was signed up for a "VBA Primer for Architectural Desktop" and a couple "VIZ" classes. (Never did much with either of those unfortunately. What about 2002? Seems that was the year Revit came on the scene, because I was signed up for: "Autodesk Revit - Implementing Building Information Modeling in your Firm." Based on the number of holes in my schedule that year, I assume I taught three classes that year. For 2003, the theme was "See what's out there"... Hmmm... I don't know about that one. OK, let's see what we had....  I was teaching four classes: Curtain Walls, Schedules, Scale-dependent annotation and Project Navigator - all in ADT. I was still working at CFA at that time (at least for a little longer), so a few other badges slipped in there like the Autodesk One-Team Conference.


In 2004 I don't have my agenda anymore, but from the little booklet in the badge, I can see we were still at the MGM. In 2005 we went to Disney World! Most people complained about this AU, but I loved it. Mainly because we took the whole family the week before and the kids had a blast at Disney. They were the perfect ages then. My oldest was 9 and the twins were 7. What a nice time. Sure the Swan and Dolphin hotels are not the best place for an AU, but having AU in a spot where the kids could come too and have a great time was a nice switch for me. I will always remember that one fondly. This was also the time I was striking out on my own (March 2004 actually, but AU 2005 would have been my first AU as an "independent") As such, I found a bunch of old business cards in my AU 2005 badge.

I think the business card my designer made for me and that I use now is much nicer. What do you think?
In 2006, we were "Agents of Change". We were back in Vegas at the Venetian. I liked the Venetian better than the MGM. The rooms are nicer, and the conference center much closer. I think this was the year we had Blue Man Group at the party. Pretty cool except I couldn't get a seat it was SOOO crouded. But great show anyhow. I was teaching both ADT and Revit at this point and from my agenda, I appear to have been taking many classes on both as well.
Well, I appear to have misplaced the 2007 and 2008 badges. Last year I taught five classes! 3 ACA and 2 Revit. Probably similar in 2007. This year I have five as well. I have a previous post here on what I am teaching this year.
This was a nice little trip down memory lane. While attendance is sure to be lower this year at AU, we are in a new venue at the Mandalay Bay so it is sure to be exciting as new places often are. I'll get another badge for my collection and hopefully we'll all come away a little smarter. Hope to see many of you there!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mastering AutoCAD Architecture has arrived!

Got a box of latest edition of Mastering AutoCAD Architecture 2010 today! My apologies for skipping the 2009 release, but MACA is back and better than ever in its 2010 edition.

Still weighing in at nearly 1000 pages, however the trim size is larger. Take at look at the image here to compare its new size to the 2008 edition. I could not have completed this edition without the invaluable assistance of David Koch. David helped on several chapters and maintains his own blog here. Drop on by and see what he has to say. Thanks David!

Naturally, the ribbon was a big part of what's new in this edition. So nearly every screen capture is new. AutoCAD Architecture has a new file format in this release, so all the files were updated as well. We have also covered the new enhancements to Walls, Wall Cleanup and Endcaps. You will also find coverage of all the Project Navigator enhancements from both 2009 and 2010. If you woudl like to see a complete table of contents and learn how to order, please visit my website here.


And now for a little contest
As many of you may know, Autodesk University is right around the corner. Every year in each of my classes, I have a give-away of a copy (or sometimes two) of my book. This year is no exception. In the past I have done the business card draw thing, and raffle tickets, and last year I placed stickers on the back of people's handouts. I am looking to do something different this year. If anyone has a suggestion, please send it to me. If I pick your suggestion for AU, I'll send you one of the copies of Mastering AutoCAD Architecture 2010 you see here! I am looking for a fun and different way to do the give-away, so please any suggestion welcome. You can post it as a comment here if you like, but if you want to be eligable for the book, please visit the contact form on my site and send me an email with your suggestion and your email address. If you're idea is chosen, I will email you for your address to mail the book. Thanks very much! hope to see you at AU.

Friday, November 6, 2009

View Range

We could also call this post "me too..."

Seems like everyone is talking about View Range these days. Last week I was working on my AU class presentations and also had the need to prepare a video for a client. So, since I always like to "kill two birds with one stone" so to speak, I decided to record one of the portions of my Revit Tips and Tricks class. Wouldn't you know, it was on View Range!

Turns out the same day I was reading my daily blog posts and Steve Stafford posted on his blog about View Range and commented on how he was following up on another blog post (at Design ReForm) on View Range! So everyone has View Range on the mind it seems.

So, not to be outdone... and since I recorded this already anyhow... here is my View Range video. :-)


Paul F. Aubin's View Range Video

I hope you enjoy the video.

Turns out it came out WAY too long for both the client purpose and AU. It's 20 minutes! I have to get it down to about 10 for AU. So it is nice to have the video to send people to that still have questions after the session.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Extracted Word Files

Hard as it is to believe, it is almost time to start 2011 round of books... Wait, didn't I just finish the 2010 editions? Well... uh yeah, but they got finished WAY too late this year. Maybe if we write on beta this year we can.... (I know where this is going).

A couple weeks ago, I received my first batch of "extracted Word documents." I am not sure if I written about these before, (and I am much too lazy to reread the old posts). Basically, it works like this: manuscript is written in Microsoft Word. Now this is not your run-of-the-mill Word, we have a special "authoring template." This baby's got special styles, formatting and some macros for numbering images. Great stuff. So work progresses in Word, one file per chapter. These get sent to the next person in the chain (either a co-author or technical editor). That person uses the track changes feature and makes their corrections. They come back to me, I approve/reject, then send on to the next person and so on.

All this time (usually a few months at least), the Word docs bear little resemblance to final pages. Sure they have headings and numbered steps, but all the final graphical flourish and formatting occurs outside of Word in a page layout program. When the documents finally get to this page layout stage, the compositor imports the Word files into their software (one of these days I will think to ask them what they use. I am uncetain). They do their layout and from then on, I review pages in PDF files.

However, before we can start the next edition, they have "extract" the text and images from the page layout software and create a new Word document. I have no idea what process they use for this, but I like to image little elves sitting in front of two computer screens manually transcribing from one program to the other...

When the new "extracted Word Docs" get back to me, they have been processed and formatted in the new template. This is the theory anyhow. It does not always work so smoothly. We are getting a new template this year and some of the formatting is changing. We had a meeting about it the other day. I don't know, it always seems to me like "improvements" designed to take time off the back end, always add more time for me. So while most of the new changes in the template do not concern me, I remain skeptical. Now if I could just get the silly macros to run without pulling out the incense and performing the ritual dance.


Oh, and I REALLY hate the way that macro toolbars are presented in Word 2007... but don't even get me started with that.

Well, back to work. But as noted at the beginning of the post, this year we have a lot of projects on tap and I think I need to get a lot more serious about writing on the beta... (or maybe the alpha... )

Cheers for now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Soooo glad we caught that one...

You know the old saying: "two heads are better than one" or the notion that it is always good to get a "second set of eyes" on something? Well both of those clich├ęs were proven to be valid big time in our final proofing stages of Mastering MEP. Page proofs is the final stage of the process for me as the author of a book. The composition team works up the pages as they will look in the final layout in the actual printed book. They prepare a series of PDF proofs and send them to me for review. When I get them, I have the opportunity to review them, point out any errors and make last minute changes. Usually in the proofing phase, we try to avoid any serious editing as it would delay the schedule. However, the proofing phase gives us the opportunity to take one last look at the pages before they go to press. And if necessary, make any critical corrections of anything discovered. Well, thank goodness I decided to share the proofs with my co-authors this time. While I was busy focusing on the overall look of the pages and looking for problems with the artwork (which is usually where I focus most of my efforts in proof review), my co-author Gregg discovered that the header on all left-hand pages had a “tiny” error.

The title of the book is listed as: Mastering AutoCAD Architecture 2010 Manufacturing, Engineering, and Plumbing.



Ouch.

Way to enhance your credibility with your readers. Sure, we know what MEP stands for… Needless to say I fired off a “stop the presses” email to team.

What a great catch Gregg. Saved me a flood of emails, that’s for sure… 

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Revit Detailing

Got an hour tomorrow at lunchtime? Put it to good use… Join me for part one the Revit Detailing class. This is a two-part class on the detailing tools and features in Revit Architecture. (Although I see no reason why it wouldn’t apply to Structure and MEP as well). I know training budgets are in tatters and travel budgets are nearly non-existent. So I priced this very affordably and you can stay at your office, login to the session and learn what Revit can do for your detailing. Heck it’s only an hour of your time tomorrow and an hour next week. Grab a sandwich, pull up a chair and turn up the speakers. Let’s draw some details! (that’s about as exciting as I can make detailing sound… :-)

For complete details, visit the registration page.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Autodesk University

I am teaching five classes at Autodesk University this year! (Yeah, nuts I know, but I've done it before). If you are attending, please consider signing up for my sessions (names and descriptions below). For the MEP class, we have begun soliciting questions from the attendees to include in the class paper. I thought I would place the call here as well. This will be a panel descussion class so the more user questions that we have the better. We will compile all the questions in our class handout with responses and then discuss them in the session.

If you have a question that you would like to see address in the session (or any of my sessions for that matter) please email me or post them here. Hope to see you all at AU!

AB304-2 Breaking Free of the Plan: AutoCAD® Architecture Sections and Elevations
Class Description:
Sections and Elevations in AutoCAD Architecture have matured with each release—so why are so few firms tapping into the full potential of these features? In this session, we will explore the ins and outs of 2D Section/Elevation objects. Can you say, "Give me all four elevations of this building in one step, please?" Well, with callouts you can! In addition, the powerful material definitions in AutoCAD Architecture make generating sections and elevations, complete with surface and section hatching, a snap! Finally, we will take a look at the built-in functionality and ways to maintain edits automatically with each section or elevation update. And if that isn't enough, recent versions of AutoCAD Architecture allow you to generate a section or elevation using your model's layers! If you are ready to begin stepping out of the plan and getting the most out of your AutoCAD Architecture models, don't miss this session.

AB214-4 Detailing in Autodesk® Revit® Architecture

Class Description:
Part of creating a successful building information model is knowing what to build into the model and what to apply as supplemental information or graphical embellishment. When it comes to graphical embellishment, Revit offers a powerful suite of detailing tools. This session will explore the process of extracting views from your model and then detailing them within Revit. You will learn about model views and drafting views. You’ll gain understanding on when to model, when to draft, and when to import graphics from other CAD programs. We’ll cover detail components, drafting elements, symbolic lines, text, annotation, and keynotes. New to this year's session—we'll cover Note Block Schedules and generic annotations. If you still believe the myth that you can’t do construction documents in Revit Architecture, then join us in this session of “myth busting” as we explore the complete detailing process in Revit Architecture.

AB318-3 Autodesk® Revit® Architecture Tips and Tricks

Class Description:
So now you're "BIMing" with Revit®. Weren't your projects supposed to be completed faster and easier? It can be a challenge to stay up to speed on all the latest techniques and features. In this session, we'll explore many tips and tricks to help you overcome many common hurdles in the Revit workflow. Learn how to show clerestory windows. Discover techniques to show items "beyond" lighter in elevation. Learn to create 3D sectional cutaway views. Sort your project browser to suit your viewing needs. Sort and group a schedule to maximum benefit. Understand how to set up shared coordinates and more. Whether you are new to Revit or a seasoned professional, there is something for everyone in this session.

AB308-2 "Revit Inside": Autodesk® Revit® Architecture for the Interior Designer

Class Description:
Wondering if the "Revit-olution" and Building Information Modeling have anything to offer interior design firms? Well, wonder no more. The answer is yes! In this session we will explore how you can use Revit Architecture to help you explore, create, and document an interior design project. Part "case study" and part "how to," this session will walk through a space designed by an interior designer and realized in Revit Architecture. We will learn how to build basic elements in Revit like walls, doors and glass partitions. We will explore incorporating design sketches and DWG files into the workflow. We'll take a brief look at Design Options, Color Fill plans, Area calculations, Perspective views, Walkthroughs, detailed Schedules, Material lists and more! Ninety-minutes isn't much time, so grab a seat and let's get started.

MP222-4 Mastering AutoCAD® MEP: Ask the Experts

Class Description:
Join the authors of the new book Mastering AutoCAD MEP for an informative Q&A session. Do you have a burning question about AutoCAD MEP? Come to this panel session and ask! The panel will include veteran author Paul F. Aubin, and industry experts and co-authors Darryl A. McClelland, Martin Schmid, and Gregg Stanley. Together they have nearly 80 years of building industry, architectural, and engineering experience. If these guys don't know the answer to your AutoCAD MEP question, who will?

Final Stages of Book Production

When I first started this Blog, I began with a discussion of the print publishing process as it pertains to CAD books. (I suspect that my experiences with CAD books are similar to those had by publishers of other kinds of books, but lacking first-hand experience, I cannot be sure).

I have written three books this year. Two updates to existing titles and one new title. In addition, I authored three Course|Notes Reference Cards which have a similar (but abbreviated) process. This is quite a bit of work; especially given the annual release cycle of Autodesk products. It looks like we will make Autodesk University however (refer to this post where this crucial deadline is discussed), so I consider that worth it.


At this stage of the process, I still have a few proofs to review, but the projects are mostly out of my hands. I now must shift my attention to the next phase of the process... selling books! In the end, we all want a best seller right? So, I am now polishing up my "online image". Got to log in to sites I haven't updated in a while and update profiles, edit information, spruce things up. First stop, Amazon.com. Most of my book sales come from places like Amazon. So it is important to make sure that the listings are correct and easy to find. We had a few issues there recently with the new MEP book. Seems they were missing one of my co-authors and the pre-order link was not working. Note to Amazon: if someone wants to buy something early, let them! Apologies to Gregg for the initial omission of his name, we got it squared away now.

Once we have correct information, we need to get those five-star ratings! Ideally, they just happen by themselves. If I do my job correctly, and write a top-notch book, people will be so thrilled with what they learned that they will be compelled to write a glowing review. This is my preference. I must admit in the interest of full disclosure, that I sometimes encourage people to review my books on Amazon. I NEVER tell them what to say, or how many stars to give.

But here's a hint, if the author asks you, "hey, if you get a minute and don't mind, please visit Amazon and post a review of my book", they are really saying "Hey, please go up to Amazon and post a five-star review full of heavy praise for the book."

I don't know too many authors that would say: "Hey, if you get a minute, please post a review trashing my book and oh, two or three stars is fine." Heck, we don't even want four stars. People make purchasing decisions on those stars. Five-stars all the way man! That's what we want.

Oh, and don't shoot the messenger. You are reviewing the product (the book in this case), not Amazon. If you have an issue with Amazon, or delivery, click the Help link on the Amazon home page and send them a note. Amazon is excellent about returns and replying to customer issues. I have contacted them myself several times and they have always done everything they can to make whatever I was calling about right. So please, if you think my book is five stars and Amazon's delivery was one star, don't round off to three stars. The next guy that browses for a book may not bother to read the review where you said the book was great, but Amazon was the issue, they might just move on. Every three star review means fewer pennies in the kid's college kitty.

OK, so there you have it. That is the complete process:

Idea
Contract
Manuscript
Tech Edit
Copy Edit
Proofing
Proofs
Send to Press
 
Real book available to purchase and Shamless plugging and fishing for good reviews on the part of the author.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Design Options Online Class

It's not too late to sign up for tomorrow's web class on Revit Design Options. I just completed a 12 page paper that will be shared with all attendees. This 50 minute session will explore all of the features of the Design Options feature in Revit. The class will be conducted live using GoToMeeting and Revit 2010. You are free to follow along on your own computer or simply watch and listen. Pauses are made throughout for Q&A. Sessions are recorded and the recorded sessions are made available to all paid attendees at no additional charge. For complete details, please visit:

www.paulaubin.com/GoToRAC

Thanks and hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Deadlines

There are three basic deadlines in the CAD book business: the first is Back to School. If you want to make this, you need to have a bound book sometime in early August. To hit such a deadline, you need to have manuscript complete end of May, early June at the latest. If you can't make back-to-school, then you set your sights on Autodesk University which is typically the last week of November or first week of December. It is so important to have a bound book at AU, it almost cannot be overstated. People browsing the show floor, like to be able to hold a copy in their hands when contemplating if they will buy one. Looking at a flyer or a catalog is not at all the same thing. If you can't make either of these, then set your sights on the holiday season. While perhpas not the most sought after stocking stuffer, many a "CAD geek" have no doubt hinted to their spouses and significant others about getting the latest Revit or AutoCAD tome.

So what happens if you cannot make any of these three? Well, skip it. There will be a new release a few months later. Not much point in releasing a "new" book on the old release... This actually brings me to the fourth critical date. (This is really the first sequentially, but nearly impossible to achieve). That date is: FCS with the product. FCS is "First Customer Ship." The best time to release your new CAD book is the same time the software releases. Achiving this "holy grail" is nearly impossible with the way the publication process is currently run. If you wanted to get a book out for FCS, you would have to be finished writing two months before FCS. Tall order considering that we rarely have a release candidate build that early. So you would have written your entire manuscript on beta software, which is not always advisable.

A few years ago, I set out to write an update to my Revit book for the 2008 release. Back-to-school came and went, AU came and went, and oops, there went the Christmas season. So, we decided to push the book to the 2009 release. We were able to get it out earlier in the 2009 cycle this way and had a bound book late in the Springtime. Still a few months after FCS however. So, this goal still remains quite elusive...

It takes a good two months (sometimes more) to go from manuscript files through copy edit, proof reading, page layout and time on the press. For me, this two month period is agonizing. More so is the "silent time" between when the final review of proof is made and the time when a bound book finally shows up at my door. This year's edition of Mastering Revit Architecture did finally arrive at my door early in August, so we just made it in time for back-to-school.

This leaves Mastering AutoCAD Architecture and Mastering AutoCAD MEP. A few weeks ago, I was deep in "crank" mode. Staying up till 2 or 3 AM nearly every night cranking through manuscript. Mastering ACA is (and has been) done. I am in that "silent time" right now. Very agonizing. We are supposed to have a bound book early in October. So I will keep you posted here. The all-nighters were for Mastering MEP. This being a first edition, it requires quite a bit of effort on the front end. We can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here is the status:

Manuscript - Done
Tech Edit - Almost Done (3 chatpers left)
Copy Edit - 3 chapters complete (12 to go...)
Proof - None yet, stay tuned

Meet the AU deadline... This is still our goal. Hope to see you all at AU, and maybe I can show you a copy in person!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Where have I been?

The next time I agree to do three books in one season, someone please try to talk me into my senses. WOW. This is a A LOT of work. So you figure, hey, how bad can it be, two revisions and one new title... yeah right.


OK, so here's the status. Mastering Revit Architecture 2010 is DONE. It is available now and you can visit my website to purchase.


Mastering AutoCAD Architecture 2010 is in Copy Edit and Proof. I am reviewing Copy Edit of Chapters 10, 16, 17 and 18 right now. I should have those posted back to the production folks tomorrow. We have already finished Chapters 1 -9, and 12 and 13. So the only Chapters I still need to see in Copy Edit are 14 and 15. (Yes we sometimes work out of order). Proofs are moving a little more slowly. I have only seen two chapters in Proof so far, but I am told that many more are expected soon. We have an ETA for this book of sometime in October. I will update the progress here when I know more. You can learn more and order here.


The book that is taking all of my time right now is the brand new title. Mastering AutoCAD MEP 2010. As I noted in a previous post, I am authoring this book with three industry experts: Martin Schmid, Gregg Stanley and Darryl A. McClelland. Darryl is my SME for Mechanical and HVAC, Gregg for Plumbing, Piping and Content Builder, Martin is Electrical, Content, and Programming. These guys are top notch professionals. However, it is quite a challenge to take four very different writing styles and make it all sound like one voice.


The basic process we have established goes like this: we devised a table of contents. Then we split the chapters up between us by area of expertise. Everyone goes off an works on their first draft and then sends them to me for as what one of my previous co-authors (Jim Smell) called it: "Word smithing." Sounds great until you realize that three guys can write faster than one guy can review. So at the moment, I am the bottleneck on this project. They have all pretty much finished their first drafts. They are now waiting patiently for me to send them bloodied reviews. :-)
This process is taking me quite a while. As many of you may know, my background and expertise is architectural, so I am learning MEP, learning about engineering and writing / rewriting these chapters as I go. However, it is moving very swiftly now. We have the Quick Start, and Chapters 1 - 7 in to Tech Edit. I am finisihing Chapters 9 and 10 this weekend. Chapter 8 will follow. That will leave 11 - 15. We have two chapters in to Copy Edit. More to follow soon. So there is still plenty of work to do, but everyone is busy and things are moving. Our goal with this book is to have it ready in time for Autodesk University. All four of us will be moderating a panel at AU. It is a 90 minute session call AutoCAD MEP Ask the Experts. If you are going to AU, drop by and join the session.
Well, that is all I have for now. I have to get back to editing chapters.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Master the Family Editor Series

Today at noon Central time, the Mastering the Family Editor Series begins. There is still room, so if you would like to spend the next five Tursdays learning the "ins" and "outs" of the Family Editor over your lunch hour, please visit the registration page and sign up!

The class will be conducted using GoToMeeting software. They are LIVE classes, not recorded and will be conducted by Paul F. Aubin using advance materials from the latest edition of Mastering Revit Architecture (available August 7, 2009).

Class Information:
Classes will be taught in a series of five 50 minute segments one per week for the next five weeks starting today. All attendees will be given access to an exclusive 44-page workshop manual and an accompanying dataset with the files required to perform several hands-on lessons. Topics Include:

  • Family Editor Concepts
  • Family Editor Strategies
  • Create Annotation Families
  • Create basic Model Families
  • Add Constraints and Parameters
  • Add Material Parameters
  • Build Parametric Arrays
  • Work with Visibility and Cut Plane issues
  • Add Formula Parameters
  • Tips and Tricks
Visit the registration page for complete details including, schedule, class size, pricing, registration information and secure checkout via PayPal.

Class Size:
The class size is limited to 15 participants only. Attendance will be first-come, first-served. PayPal will automatically stop taking registrations after 15 participants have registered. If a class is sold out, please visit my contact page to request being placed on the waiting list. Additional sessions will be scheduled based upon demand. If you have suggestions for future topics in both Revit and AutoCAD Architecture, please let me know.

If you are interested in seeing the new release of Revit Architecture first-hand without having to leave your desk, sign up today for one or more of these information packed sessions. I Look forward to "seeing" you there!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mastering Revit Architecture Available August 7!

Hello folks, I just got word from the publisher that Mastering Revit Architecture should be available for shipments starting August 7, 2009. That is next week! I am very excited. I always hate the wait for a new title to ship. The longest period of time on my annual calendar is the period from when I hand off te last chapters to when the book hits the streets. It always seems longer than it should...

I will post back here as soon as I receive my author copies, but in the meantime, you can learn more about the book here.

If you place a pre-order, Thanks!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mastering AutoCAD Architecture


I am happy to report that the latest update to Mastering AutoCAD Architecture is well under way. The 2010 edition shoudl be available later this Fall. You can see the table of contents and ordering information on the newly posted book page.
I have several chapters "in the can" already. The Quick Start (Chapter 0) through Chapter 5 are complete through copy edit. I will post my comments on these first six chapters back to the editor on Monday. Chapters 6 through 9 are finished through technical edit and I await the copy edit on those. Chapters 11 through 15 and Chapter 17 are completed manuscript and in the hands of the tech editor. The manuscript for Chapters 10, 16 and 18 are in progress. Several of the appendices are underway as well. So, even though I have not posted here on this book earlier, as you can see the project is well underway and we are hoping to have a bound book in a few months. Maybe October or November.
I would like to thank David Koch. David has been assisting me in getting the new manuscript ready for publication. You may know David from the Autodesk News Groups. He is a very active member of the AutoCAD Architecture forum and a registered Architect practicing at the firm Ewing Cole in Philadelphia. Thanks David. I could not have gotten this far or even had hoped to get this update done without your assistance.
Please post comments here if you have any questions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AutoCAD MEP 2010 Book in Progress



Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I have signed on to write my third book this year!

I have teamed up with three industry experts to write Mastering AutoCAD MEP! The first edition of this book should be published this fall. We expect to have it available in time for Autodesk University and hopefully several weeks before. As many of you may know, by background and experience is in architecture.

Therefore I have teamed up with three top-notch professionals in the MEP space for this project:


Darryl McClelland has 19 years of practical design in MEP engineering. Although his primary focus was the design of mechanical systems, he spent 11 of those 19 years designing electrical and plumbing systems’ as well. He also ran his own engineering business for 8 years. His design experience ranges from complex research laboratories and institutional facilities to medical and professional office buildings, and everything in between. He is a graduate of Purdue University and an active member of ASHRAE and ASPE.

Martin J. Schmid, P.E.
has worked with Autodesk for the past four years working on site with customers to implement best practices using AutoCAD MEP and Revit MEP. Prior to joining Autodesk, Martin worked in a variety of roles in a variety of architecture and engineering firms, including electrical designer, engineering coordinator, and application developer. Martin has a Master's Degree in Architectural Engineering from Kansas State University, and a Masters in Business Management of Technology from the University of Texas in San Antonio. Martin has used AutoCAD since version 10, and has developed custom applications built on top of AutoCAD MEP extending the capability to suit the specific niche needs of customer applications. Martin has a beautiful wife and two lovely daughters, and works from his home in San Antonio, TX.


Gregg Stanley
has over 22 years experience in Mechanical Process Design focused on Water Wastewater treatment systems using AutoCAD based solutions since Release 1.1. Gregg has also been in the position as a CAD Manager responsible for developing and instituting company specific customized applications, CAD standards and training. He has written and presented several training classes on AutoCAD and AutoCAD MEP both internally to coworkers, as a independent consultant and at Autodesk University. Gregg's current position is at Autodesk as a Quality Assurance Analyst and with Product design as a Piping Subject Matter Expert for AutoCAD MEP focused on the Piping application. Gregg is responsible for working with the larger development team and a Usability / Interaction Designer to redesign the 3D piping application and for quality assurance and quality control of several AutoCAD MEP features.


I am very excited to be working with this fine group of experts and look forward to having the book available soon.

Here is a quick look at the (preliminary - i.e. subject to change) table of contents:

Preface

Section I Introduction and Methodology
Quick Start General Overview
Chapter 1 User Interface
Chapter 2 Conceptual Underpinnings of AutoCAD MEP
Chapter 3 Project Navigator

Section II Working with MEP Objects
Chapter 4 Energy Analysis
Chapter 5 Mechanical Systems
Chapter 6 Piping Systems
Chapter 7 Electrical Systems

Section III Content and Display
Chapter 8 Content Creation - Styles
Chapter 9 Content Creation - Equipment
Chapter 10 Content Creation - Fittings
Chapter 11 Display Control (Advanced)

Section IV Drawing Documentation and Coordination
Chapter 12 Sections
Chapter 13 Managing Updates and Interference Detection
Chapter 14 Annotation, Property Sets and Schedules
Chapter 15 Plotting and Publishing

Section IV Appendices
Appendix A Online Resources
Appendix B Tips and Tricks
Appendix C Network issues, WAN

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Edition of Mastering AutoCAD Architecture

Having skipped the 2009 release, there has been a bit of a hiatus, but I am happy to say that the new edition of Mastering AutoCAD Architecture is well underway. The book remains 18 chapters plus appendices. This new completely revised edition will cover all of the topics of previous editions and is fully updated to utilize the new 2010 interface and ribbon. Chapter 1 through 6 have already been completed through tech edit. The manuscript for Chapters 7 through 9 and 13 through 15 are currently finished and in the hands of the tech editor. Those should be flowing through to the copy editor soon. Chapters 10 and 17 are currently in manuscript edit. For this edition, I have enlisted the services of David Koch to assist with manuscript edit. David is a long time member of the ACA user community and helps moderate the Autodesk ACA discussion forum. David has provided invaluable assistance to me in helping get these chapters updated quickly. At the current rate, we hope to finish the remaining manuscript by the end of the month and hopefully tech and copy edit shortly after that. That puts us well on track for a late summer, early fall release. I will post back here with more details as they become available.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thumbnails!


So maybe you noticed all the blogs reporting of the new Web update for Revit 2010 products. Well if you somehow missed it, here is a link to page.

So I download and install the update figuring that it is probably a good idea and hoping maybe it would solve the PDF problem one of my clients is reporting. (Well, no word on that yet), but hey... bonus... as long as I have been on Windows Vista, Revit has shown no preview images. All I get is a big 'ol "R" icon. Not very impressive. I have asked all around and no one had a solution. Well, what do you know, the WU1 solved the problem! I now have previews! That was worth the update right there for me.

I can't wait to install it on my Windows 7 setup. Stay tuned.

Windows 7 Update:

It works here too! Awesome!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Special Pricing on Mastering Series

The Paul F. Aubin Mastering Series is off an running and the sessions conducted so far have gone very well. On July 7th, the next session: Revit Architecture 2010 Tips and Tricks will be conducted at 12noon Central time. Beginning July 30, the Master the Family Editor Series kicks off. There are still seats available for this unique training experience.

Independence Day Special Bundle:
For a limited time, sign up for both and save 10% off the price of each one individually. Use the registration button here to sign up for the bundle. Don't miss out on this special price!
  • Revit Architecture 2010 Tips and Tricks
  • Master the Family Editor Series
$166.95 per registrant

Visit the registration page or complete details and to register.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Course|Notes - Quick Reference Guide


Course|Notes quick reference cards reinforce the most important and widely used features of software applications in a visual and user-friendly format. They serve as a great reference guide during and after a course or training session and can be used as a stand-alone learning guide or as a resource to accompany other reference materials such as Mastering Revit Architecture 2010.

The Course|Notes reference card for Revit Architecture 2010 authored by yours truly is now available. You can email me for further details and information on how to order.

I have create an eBay sales page for this. You can click here to order. Thanks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Revit Conceptual Modeling

Don't miss the two-part Revit Conceptual Modeling online class with Paul F. Aubin on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 12:00 PM Central time. This is a live class conducted via GoToMeeting software. For complete details and to sign up, please visit the registration page.

Thank you. Hope to "see" you there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Revit Web Classes

Last month, Paul F. Aubin Consulting Services began a new initiative offering online live training classes. The initial class was met with much enthusiasm and was a great success. We have scheduled three new classes throughout the summer on various Revit topics. These classes will be conducted using GoToMeeting software. They are LIVE classes, not recorded and will be conducted by Paul F. Aubin using advance materials from the latest edition of Mastering Revit Architecture (available soon).

Class Information:
Classes will be taught in one or more 50 minute segments at pre-scheduled times. Class length varies from one to several consecutive sessions. The following classes are currently accepting registrations:
  • Revit Architecture Conceptual Modeling Introduction
  • Revit Architecture 2010 Tips and Tricks
  • Master the Family Editor Series
A registration page has been posted containing complete details on each class. Complete details are provided including, schedule, class size, pricing, registration information and secure checkout via PayPal.

Class Size:
The class size is limited to 15 participants only. Attendance will be first-come, first-served. PayPal will automatically stop taking registrations after 15 participants have registered. If a class is sold out, please visit my contact page to request being placed on the waiting list. Additional sessions will be scheduled based upon demand. If you have suggestions for future topics in both Revit and AutoCAD Architecture, please let me know.

If you are interested in seeing the new release of Revit Architecture first-hand without having to leave your desk, sign up today for one or more of these information packed sessions. I Look forward to "seeing" you there!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mastering Revit Architecture: To the press!


The newest edition of Paul F. Aubin's Mastering Revit Architecture goes to press in a couple days. So begins officially the longest period of time in my personal calendar: The time between when i deliver the last of the final manuscript to the time it takes to get a printed book. Truth be told I am posting this a little early. There are still a few more proofs to finalize but we are REALLY close now. The files shoudl deliver to printer in about two weeks. Unfortunatley it then takes them a few weeks to print, package and ship the books to warehouses, soooo, this is why this is officially the longest period of time in my personal calendar. At this point, I have done all I can, and now like my readers, I have to just wait for the new book to arrive in the mail.

There are several new enhancements to this edition that I would like to share with you. This year, we go to a new trim size for the book. It is now larger using the 8 1/2" x 11" size. The page layout has been freshened up a little too which should make pages easier to read. Obviously, the new interface in Autodesk products dictated a major re-write of nearly every tutorial step in the book. Also, just about every screen capture is new. (Let me know if you find any lingering references to "Design Bar" lurking in the text... we tried to catch them all, but you never know...)

In this edition I have completely revised the previous coverage of shared coordinates. I moved the topics around and refined the workflow to better suit actual best-practice usage in most of the client firms I have visited. I also incorporated the new Project Base Point and Survey Point features in this discussion. You will find these topics now in Chapter 6.



We are including a video lesson for the first time on the CD ROM. This lesson is a quick start overview. It covers materials from the Quick Start and the User Interface chapter.

CourseNotes - Brand new with this edition we are including a CourseNotes reference card. You will be able to buy this bundled with the book or separately. (I don't know all the details on packaging and pricing yet, so stay tuned). The CourseNotes is a fold out reference card that includes quick reference material to help you get started with Revit. The card includes an overview of the interface, steps to use the most common features, zoom, pan, modeling tools and a complete list of keyboard shortcuts. You can keep this card handy as a reference as you work in Revit. A bonus page in printable PDF format on Worksharing is also provided on the book CD!

New Chapter - The Conceptual Modeling Environement is new in Revit 2010 and in the new edition of Mastering, it scores its own chapter. While comprehensive coverage coould fill an entire book on its own, look to Chapter 15 for an extensive overview of the new conceptual modeling environment.




New Appendix - Rendering! Many of you requested coverage of Rendering in Mastering. In the 2010 edition it is here! Look to Appendix C for a handy reference and overview of rendering features in Revit 2010.

Families - Chapter 10 has always been a detailed exploration of Families and Family editing. But did you realize that it is nearly 100 pages of tutorial coverage? You will learn how to use existing Families and create your own in this detailed resource.

Expanded Appedices - Many chapters begin with a dataset that varies sometime considerably from the end point of the previous chapter. To bridge this gap, I have expanded Appendix A - Additional Exercises to include more exercises to fill in these gaps on your own. Of course Appendix A remains totally optional and you can still open the dataset at the start of each chapter with all edits and features ready for the current lesson. But if you are wondering what was added, or prefer to add it yourself, you can do the lessons in Appendix A in between each chapter.

I am looking forward to getting this book out and available. I truly think this is the best edition yet. I had a lot of help getting it to this point and I thank everyone involved (you know who you are, but if you want to see your name in print, read the Preface ;-)

Thanks everyone. You can visit the "official" book page on my site for more info and to order from Amazon here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Windows 7 (RC1) is available

Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is available. I have downloaded it and installed and spent about 45 minutes noodling around.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/

I have not installed Autodesk software yet. Usually, when I build a new system, I install OS, patch it, reboot, patch it again, reboot, patch it again... (you get the idea) and then build an image of the clean OS. Then I add all my business apps. (Office, Photoshop, CD software, utilities, etc). Patch all those then make another image. This is my clean system before Autodesk software. I then install my Autodesk stuff.

For Windows 7, I am going to approach a little differently. I think I am going to install only the necessary business apps, then go right to Autodesk software so I can test it out. I have two hard drvies on my system, so I set up dual boot. I might be crazy, but I am actually contemplating doing some of my book chapters on Windows 7...

I stuck with 32bit for now, but I am also considering downloading and installing 64bit as well. Don't have a third hard drive, so I would have to re-image for that.

Anyone else tried Revit or ACA on Windows 7 yet?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Central and Local Files

Many of the large Revit firms (HOK, SOM, many others) have developed scripts or macros to assist users in creating their Local files from the Central in Revit. Autodesk threw their hat in the ring this year in 2010 with the new "Create New Local" functionality. I am very pleased with this new feature which has mostly flown under the radar but I think is a HUGE benefit to all the firms that DO NOT have a home-grown routine. The little check box in the open box allows you to select a Central file, but when you click Open, Revit actually creates a new Local file on your hard drive with your user name appended. Very cool. Long overdue.

However, now this raises the inevitable file naming / office standards debate. The problem revolves around the word "Central" that most firms have been appending their Central file names with. Should this practice continue? It is an interesting question that I think will take some time to resolve. Here is a passage the I just penned for the Worksharing appendix in my new edition of Mastering Revit Architecture (due out soon):

BIM Manager Note: There is some debate as to what the “proper” name for a Central file ought to be. It is current common practice in many firms for the word “Central” to be added to the name. This has been the defacto standard for many years. However, with the 2010 release and its ability to automatically create a Local file (see the “Creating a Local File” topic below), some now question the wisdom of including “Central” in the file name. When you let Revit create a Local file automatically, it will use the same file name as the Central file and append a suffix with your user name. You can see an example below in Figure B.14. This may cause confusion for some since the word “Central” will now be included in their Local file name as well. The most important thing is that it is clear to all team members which file is the Central file and that they do not open it and work directly in it. The traditional reason for appending the “Central” suffix has always been to help make it clear to users which file is the Central. However, with the new functionality to create Local files, it may be a moot point. Consider that even without the “Central” suffix; the file names will always be unique because Revit will automatically append the user name to Local files. So in summary, you may now want to consider a new policy for file naming: Name the Central file without the “Central” suffix such as: ABC Office Towers.rvt. When you create a local file, it will become ABC Office Towers_User Name.rvt. further, since the Central file will always be on the network server and the Local is typically in the My Documents folder (by default), this should also further clarify the difference. What even naming convention and procedure you adopt, make sure it is clearly communicated to all project team members and that all are required to follow it.

Many other bloggers are discussing this topic as well:
Do U Revit?
Revit OpEd

Thought? Comments?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Revit 2010 Keynotes

I just finished updating the detailing chapter in Mastering Revit Architecture 2010. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the out-of-the-box detail components that ship with Revit now have keynotes assigned to them. This has been a long running complaint of mine. I have not read about this anywhere and discovered it quite by accident. It was a nice little surprise. This makes using keynotes that much more advantageous because a great obstacle in upfront setup is removed. If you have never tried the keynotes, you might want to give it a try. When you add a a detail component, then add a keynote by element, the note will just appear. Nice!

This is how it should be. Here's hoping that they get around to doing the material library and other Families next.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Voting is on for AU

For those of you planning to go to Autodesk University (AU) this year, I may have overdone it. :)

I have proposed 8 sessions! Yikes. If they choose them all, I'll do it, (but I am kind of secretly hoping they only choose like 5 or 6... ;-)

Anyhow, voting is on for sessions, so if you are planning to attend and would like to do your part in overloading my schedule, you can login to AU voting here:

Public Voting for AU 2009

My sessions:
Breaking Free of the Plan: AutoCAD® Architecture Sections and Elevations

Revit® Families: the Step-by-Step Introduction

Detailing in Revit Architecture

Design Options and Phasing in Revit® Architecture

Revit® Architecture Tips and Tricks

Shared Coordinates - Exposed!

"Revit Inside" Revit Architecture for the Interior Designer

And my first AutoCAD MEP session, co-taught with three industry experts:
Mastering AutoCAD MEP - Ask the Experts


And here is a link to my sessions from last year. You can download handouts, view recorded sessions and post questions. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Celestia!



Welcome St. Linus fourth grade!

I did a presentation at my children's school today on this terrific piece of software called Celestia. The software is free and provides a complete simulation of the solar system and in fact the entire known universe. You jump aboard your virtual space ship and can literally fly anywhere! It gives you some astounding views and a REAL sense of just how BIG the universe is. Very cool. i highly recommend it. It may not run on every computer, it does require some horsepower and decent video card, but its free, so download it and try it out!

I gave the kids a bunch of web links and as promised, here they are:

Astronomy Web Sites:

Celestia
The free space simulation that lets you explore our universe in three dimensions. Celestia runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

http://www.shatters.net/celestia/

The Celestia Motherlode
A repository for various add-ons like textures, models or celestial objects for Celestia.

http://www.celestiamotherlode.net/


Celestia Educational Activities
You can just download the free version of Celestia and start to explore, but I HIGHLY recommend Frank Gregorio's excellent educational resources. Basically the presentation I did today was one of his lessons. Whether you are teaching an astronomy class, or just prefer a self-guided tour, you can't go wrong with these resources. You can download them individually or purchase a CD from Frank at nominal cost which installs everything you need.

http://gregs-educational.info/


Images
Interesting diagrams of the solar system

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/HBASE/Solar/solill.html#c1


Google Earth
Amazing free interactive model of the earth with high quality aerial satellite photography, 3D buildings, the sky, the oceans and more.If you haven't heard of Google Earth, really, where have you been?

http://earth.google.com/


NEW - Google Moon
Online only, similar to Google Earth, but showing the moon.Very cool.

http://www.google.com/moon/


Sky and Telescope
Probably the premier Astronomy magazine

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/

Interactive sky chart from Sky and Telescope. Use it to see what objects are in the night sky where you live on any day and time.Print a chart and take it with you in the backyard.

http://skychart.skytonight.com/observing/skychart/skychart.asp


Microsoft Worldwide Telescope
I haven't explored this much yet, but it looks very cool. Check it out.

http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/Home.aspx


NASA Image of the Day
Vast archive of photos from NASA missions, Hubble and you name it!

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/index.html


Scale model of the Solar System on the web
An interesting model of the solar system. Don't scroll too fast, you might miss it...

http://www.phrenopolis.com/perspective/solarsystem/index.html


Build a Solar System
This tool lets you plug in the desired size of the Sun, and it tells you how big and how far apart everything else needs to be. Neat. In the session, I showed the kids a schematic based on this tool of creating a Solar System model at St. Linus. The long dimension of the St. Linus campus is 1,300 ft (from 103rd to 105th). If we place the Sun at the corner of 105th and Lawler, the Sun would be about the size of a softball (3 1/2" in diameter) and Pluto (yes I know it is no longer a planet, but I still like to include it - poor Pluto) be the size of the haed of a pin and would be right at the corner of 103rd and Lawler. WOW!

http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/solar_system/


Powers of Ten
Forgot to show this one to the class, but it has always been a cool one. I think it was Charles Eames in the 60's that did a movie on this concept. This website has lots of items devoted to the idea. Amazing how similar things at the micro and macro scale start to look... Hmmm, divine design?

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/

World's Largest Solar System Model
One more - I mentioned the Solar System Model in Peoria, IL. It is listed in the Guiness Book! Here is the link:
http://www.bradley.edu/las/phy/astronomy/about_solar.html


Well, that's all I have for now. It's a big universe out there. Enjoy it!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The First Proofs are in


When I began this blog, I promised a peek into the process of CAD book creation. Well, I have been quite the last few weeks because I have been busy... ehem.... creating CAD books. :-)

Well, I started getting proofs back.In the old days, you would literally get a printed proof to review. These days we get a PDF. The PDF looks like the final page will look in the printed book. It is the first time I "see" what the final pages will look like. The publisher has changed a few things this year. There are some new header graphics and slightly different fonts. But the big change is that the books are going to 8 1/2" x 11" trim size. I am not sure how I feel about the new size yet, but everyone else seems to like it and think it is a good thing, so we'll see.

In the image I have posted here, you can see a bit of the process. Basically, I scroll through the PDF document and look for items that need to be fixed. This is my last chance, so if I miss somethign in the proof, then you guys email me about it. :-)
The newest Acrobat has some nice text editing and proofing tools, so the process is pretty easy, if I see something, I just add the edit directly in the page. I can also highlight items or add callouts to explain changes I need. Right now I am working pretty closely with the compositor to get the figures right. They are currently coming out too light and too large. They are working on it and will send an updated proof when they have the changes made. Once we get a final proof that we all like, I "sign" off and that's it. That chapter is ready for press.
Now we just have to repeat for every chapter before we can actually GO to press...

So, with that, I must get back to writing... Cheers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Video - Revit 2010 Quick Start online class

Here is the video from yesterday's online class. Enjoy. Please follow the link below to fill out an evaluation after you view the video. Thank you.

video

For a high resolution version of this video, look here:
2009-04-21 13.12 Paul Aubin Revit Presentation

Evaluation:
http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?C7E38F92C78C9395

Online Training Delivered Yesterday

Yesterday I conducted an online training session giving an overview of Revit 2010 basic functionality and a look at what has changed in the User Interface. The class was conducted to an invited group of attendees from my client list and was overall well received. I am compiling the recorded session and assuming I can overcome a few CODEC issues I seem to be having, I intend to post the recorded file here.

Meanwhile, let me share some of the questions, comments and other tidbits from the session. First, I showed the "Where is my command" feature at the start of the session. This is a help file provided by Autodesk in all 2010 products to help you find your commands when you upgrade. The new ribbon interface can make it difficult at first to get acclimated, so this tool will help. Simply choose Where is my command from the help menu on the application frame (top right corner) and then choose the menu where it used to be and then select the command. You will be directed to the new location. After sharing this tip, one of the attendees: Sean Walton from OWP/P (who also hosted the session - thank you to them) sent me this link:

http://www.nichitecture.com/downloads/Revit%20Architecture%202010%20User%20Interface%20Help.html

This link takes you to a webpage using a flash application that allows you to click where your command was in the 2009 screen and it will show you the new 2010 location. It is not complete yet, but still very nicely done.

Some of the other questions asked by attendees:
Can you bring existing AutoCAD drawings into Revit?

Yes you can. click on the Insert tab of the ribbon and then click the Link CAD button.

I showed customizing the Quick Access Toolbar and ribbons to which an attendee asked:
Can you customize the icons?

To this I answered that I was nearly certain that you could not. This was confirmed by another attendee. If anyone knows differently, please let me know.

I showed the new Project Base Point and Survey Point feature. The question was asked:
Do the Shared Coordinates come across to Navis Works?

I was not certain the answer as I have not had time to review the new Navis Works 2010 yet, but another attendee said that it did work. I would like to learn more on this to confirm so if anyone has information to share, please do.

Finally a pretty standard question:
Can you save 2010 back to 2009?

Sadly no you can't this has never been possible in Revit. Once you go forward you cannot go back except through exporting to DWG or IFC neither of which is an ideal (or even acceptable) alternative. So, stay on your current version for projects that are underway and switch to 2010 for new projects.

Next post, I will try to get the video posted. Until then thanks to all who attended!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

User Interface


There has been a lot of chatter on the new user interface of Revit and other Autodesk products. I believe that now nearly every Autodesk product will be using ribbons. I don't know the "official" reason for the change but I suspect it has something to do with making all of the disparate Autodesk products appear like they come from the same company. Regardless of what you might feel about ribbons specifically, I think that most would expect that when you buy more than one product from the same company that they should look like they come from the same company (at least a little...) This has rarely been the case with Autodesk products. AutoCAD products have always had (and probably always will have) their command line. Max products had the command panels and Revit the Design Bar. I don't know Inventor, but I assume that it looked unique too. So, again, pure specualtion on my part, but I am sure that the new ribbon UI has something to do with unification among the product offerings. The process began last year with the unified appraoch to 3D navigation and continues this year with the ribbons. This in theory anyhow would make using multiple products easier.

In this post, I would like to offer my thoughts on the new Revit 2010 UI. I will comment on the AutoCAD Architecture UI at another time.

Overall Impresion
Overall, I like it. I didn't think I would to be honest. I have held off on upgrading to Office 2007 and the ribbon had a lot to do with it. SnagIt took me awhile to get used to with its new ribbon, so when I heard that Revit was being "ribbonized," I was skeptical. However, when I got a chance to use 2010, my overall impression was and remains favorable. Mostly this is my impresion in the Project Editor. I am less convinced in the Family Editor. Let me offer some specifics.

What I like about the new UI
In the project editor, I am pleased with the organization of buttons on tabs. I like that we now have all modeling tools on the Home tab where before they were on basics and modeling.
Split Buttons - I like split buttons. The most common function appears on the main part of the button, but other related tools are tucked away on the pop-up part. Consider Roofs for example. In previous versions of Revit, you clicked the Roof tool, and the pop-up always appeared even if you wanted the most common roof type: the footprint roof. Now, if you click the Roof tool, you get footprint roof automatically unless you click the pop-up part of the button for other options. I think that works pretty well. The split button is basically a combination of the other two kinds of button. Here is a picture:


Customize the UI
We had really no way to customize the UI in previous versions of Revit. 2010 offers several opportunities:

Three ribbon modes - Don't like the default ribbon with its large icons? Choose from two other minimized modes.

Don't want to see the panel titles? Right-click and hide them.

Want to move the Options Bar? Right-click it.

The QAT (Quick Access Toolbar) - the Quick Access Toolbar, has some default common icons, but you can add almost anything you like to it. Simply right-click any tool and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Want more room on the QAT (to add more buttons)? Right-click and move it below the ribbon.

Upset that they moved the Type Selector off the Options Bar? Add it to the QAT.

Tear off the Project Browser! And it Remembers! Unlike previous versions of Revit, you can tear off the Project Browser and move it wherever you like (even another monitor) and it will still be there tomorrow when you launch Revit again.

I have added buttons like Align and Trim to the QAT, we use them all the time so this is a good spot for them. I also put Switch Windows there. It was really bothering me that I had to go to the View tab, then click Switch Windows, then choose the Window from the pop-up. But adding it to the QAT eliminates that and makes it easier to switch windows. Of couse all open and recent documents and windows are also available on the Application Menu. So that is a good alternative as well.

Recent Files Window - This was added in the previous release, but was a little clumsy. It showed on the Window menu all the time and was always sort of in the way. Especially when you tile windows. But now, it only appears when there are no projects loaded or when you decide you want to see it. If there is a project loaded, go to View tab, and choose Recent Files from the User Interface tool. Pretty good improvement.

Tear off Panels - Ribbon panels can be torn off. Nice.

Type Selector - I really like the inclusion of previews, tooltips and recently used Types. The menu is more graphical and you can see what Family a type belongs to at a glance.


What I don't Like
I am not as enthusiastic about the Family Editor. Buttons seem to jump around when you go from mode to mode. Switch Windows is a good example or when you go into a sub-mode like Extrusions or Sweeps. The tabs do not seem as well organized as they are in the project editor either. Dimensions appear on the Detail tab. They are not being used to detail anything in the Family Editor. Dimensions drive the geometry so this seems misplaced to me. I am not sure why we need Create and Detail. In the Family editor, it is all about creating something and you will have to flip back and forth between these often. Maybe they should just be the same tab?

I don't like that the QAT is different in each environment. I am sure there is a logical reason, but I hate that I have to add my custom tools to the QAT over again in the Family Editor. Nit picky yes, but still a bit of a pain to me.

Summary
New UIs are always tough. We get so used to where tools are and how things function and even if it doesn't make sense, or it is five clicks, I know the five clicks by heart now dang it!

However, I was comfortable in about a day in the new UI. I actually prefer it now over the old one and was bummed when I had to go back and do a Revit project in 2009 recently. Overall, I like it. I hope that you will too. Comments welcome.