Thursday, January 01, 2004

First Post of 2004 - Happy New Years Everyone!


Well the West Coast has now rang in the new year. I hope everyone has a safe new years day and a better year than the last. Also please note it will take me the next 9 months to stop writing 2003 in my email and documents...

And now some of my new years resolutions...

  • Catch up on my email, I promise. I get almost a hundred a day and try not to get too far behind.
  • Post more product tutorials and tips and tricks in this blog.
  • Post a very special and exciting announcement very soon.
  • Get back to Germany for some well needed rest and great beer. :-)
  • Visit more worldwide Autodesk user group meetings and events. Just send the invites far enough in advance, and I will see what I can do. I almost got to New Zealand, but it was too short of notice. I can also do Autodesk/AutoCAD Technical Q&A for user groups via phone or web.
  • Get as many user requested features into the products as possible.
  • Gather much more research and use cases on non US localised product for usability or localised customer issues. I am currently gathering issues from Europe as we pretty much have a good handle now on the Asian issues like double byte fonts and are working to address many of these in the future.
  • And finally, at this years Autodesk University set up a more formal event and itinerary for my 4th annual CAD Geek Fest!

    Posted on January 1, 2004 at 12:00 AM in AU 2003, Announcements, AutoCAD, Beta Info, DWFit, Inside the Desk, Misc., Tips–n-Tricks, Tutorials, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2)

    Friday, December 12, 2003

    Be Safe Out there..

    After a recent event, it came to my attention that some computer users still do not understand the simple concept of wireless or virus security. When you attend an event, hotel, coffee shop, airport, or your home and connect your computer up you are responsible for your own data and machine safety. What I mean is running without any anti virus, firewall or encryption is not a very wise thing.

    Some people recently blamed a hotel wireless and room connection for the virus they got on their machines. Had they simply taken proper precautions they would have had no problems. Someone came to the event and obviously did not care about their machine or others and spread a virus. Of course those in the same boat lacking proper knowledge or caution got infected with an old virus that a freeware virus checker or a cheap one would have caught. Is it the responsibility of the host to make sure and inspect each and every machine coming to the location such as wireless access point like a coffee shop, airport, or a hotel? Not in my personal opinion. So the small minority of people running around these public network access spots either spread or get infected thus creating a network overload and problems for everyone and the cycle goes on and on. So make sure you have anti virus and a firewall running on your machine at all times especially in a open network. Expecting the host of a connection to be able to protect you is unreasonable. In the latest virus if you were not updated on your Operating System service packs, the only way to stop the spread is to disable on the network all connections which will defeat any access to all others on the network. Filtering on the server for all viruses known and unknown is not realistic so your machines safety is ultimately up to you. When I get in my vehicle, I do not expect the manufacturer to buckle my seat belt or make sure I do not drive unsafe as that is my responsibility.

    As far as wireless security, simply having a personal firewall on your machine does not prevent access to your sensitive data. It only protects the local machine and not the data you are broadcasting to the wireless access point. You must make sure at any time you run encrypted (WEP) packets if at all possible. This prevents someone with a free utility from capturing and viewing all of your email and other data transferred in airborne packets. It is scary to see how many use little to no security out there. Your neighbors could be snooping or even a bad person could be using your wireless router to gain access to the internet. Make sure you setup a WEP encrypted wireless network to prevent bad things. Recently the Canadian court has been considering that the owner of a home wireless network that was unencrypted and used to access illegal content from the internet may be responsible because the router owner did not take proper precautions to protect access.

    Why does it always appear to be Microsoft operating systems that are vulnerable? This is a hotly debated topic but the facts show that hackers and virus writers want to infect or compromise the largest populations and that is the 90%+ share of all PC computers, the Microsoft Windows crowd for now.

    I will write more on this subject soon but just as you would hopefully not get in your car without fastening the seatbelt, getting on a motorcycle without a helmet, or wear safety goggles with power tools you should be also responsible with your computer and not rely on others to make sure everything will be 100% safe.

    Helpful articles/links:
    Microsoft Security Site
    Microsoft AntiVirus Site
    Microsoft Steps to Security
    Article on Canadian WiFi case
    Defending Against Insider Infections.
    Survey: Increasing Number Tap Into Neighbors' Wireless Net
    Nosy Wi-Fi Neighbors

    Be safe out there...


    Posted on December 12, 2003 at 02:26 PM in AU 2003, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Thursday, December 11, 2003

    Lee Ambrosius Created a No-Explode Routine Requested During AU 2003


    AU 2003 Photo Link - Lee at AU 2003

    During the Industry Session for General Design with the AutoCAD Team panel, a question was asked about the ability to filter out objects like Mtext, Blocks and Dimensions so they can't be exploded. Well Super AutoCAD user Lee Ambrosius just created a routine to do just that.

    "No-Explode - Undefines the standard Explode command and redefines it with a filter to block the selection of certain object types like Blocks, Mtext and Dimensions. The filter can be changed very easily in the code."

    Thanks Lee!


    Posted on December 11, 2003 at 06:21 AM in AU 2003, AutoCAD, Helpful Resources, Tips–n-Tricks | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Wednesday, December 10, 2003

    Autodesk University 2003 Class Materials Are Being Posted

    A lot of hard work went into these class handouts. Make sure if you use the material in your company to give full credit to the author/instructors and AU. Seeing just the class materials is a far cry from the experience of actually being at AU and attending the live class.

    Hopefully you can attend next year if you were not able to this year.

    Update 12/16/03: You will need your login emailed to AU attendees to get the files now.


    Posted on December 10, 2003 at 11:43 AM in AU 2003, Announcements, AutoCAD, Autodesk, Helpful Resources, Tips–n-Tricks, Tutorials | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Saturday, December 06, 2003

    Autodesk University 2003 - AutoCAD Top 10 AUGI User Wish List

    Every year at Autodesk University AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) presents their member’s top ten AutoCAD wish list to Autodesk. We at Autodesk try our best at getting them in. The AutoCAD Team has been fairly successful in adding many of the items from past AUGI top ten wish lists including the recent tabs and indents in MTEXT in AutoCAD 2004 as well as many others. While the AUGI wish list on is a great way to get your ideas heard it is not the only one Autodesk listens to and there are many other ways to speak with Autodesk in person and online. For example by posting in the Autodesk discussion groups and by participating in usability studies, Autodesk surveys, Autodesk Product feedback page which goes direct to the product teams, and of course beta testing.

    I will write a quick post very soon showing all of ther many ways to provide your ideas or suggestions and feedback to the product teams year around. We definitly want to hear from you and also get your feedback on what our ideas are for future development.

    The 2003 AUGI Top Ten AutoCAD Wish List:

    #10 The ability to display object properties using a hot-key that opens a popup or tooltip while the cursor is over the object.

    #9 A Blank and Unblank visibility command. Would be used when cleaning up leader and extension lines that cross each other. Like a two point break but does not split object, just changes visibility.

    #8 The ability to create “paperspace only” layers. Some layers are used only for paperspace objects such as title blocks. When a model is inserted or attached, do not bring “paperspace only” layers in.

    #7 A true decimal feet setting for civil engineers. When I get work from an architect I need to scale it down by 1/12, or the architect needs to scale my work by 12. This adds margin for error and cuts productivity.

    #6 Provide a VBA Macro recorder.

    #5 The ability to set certain properties by viewport. Objects could be assigned different colors, lineweights or shades per viewport for plotting different appearances in different views.

    #4 An all new AutoCAD-centric “Swiss Army” GUI calculator with all ‘cal functions and the ability to add and subtract feet and inches, conversion to and from metric, and figure incline angles, and distances, yadda-yadda-yadda…

    #3 The ability to automatically correct misspelled words when typing, like MS Word.

    #2 Change the copy command default to “multiple”. For a single copy, hit enter to end the command.

    And the number one item voted on by AUGI members:
    #1 “File” tabs like layout tabs for quick change when multiple files are open. Searching through them in sequence with control-tab, and existing “Window” menu is too slow.


    Posted on December 6, 2003 at 03:46 PM in AU 2003, Announcements, AutoCAD, Autodesk | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Another Site with AU 2003 Photos

    You can find a few more AU 2003 photos on There is a free registration required.

    I will also be updating my AU 2003 photo gallery over the weekend with even more photos and annotations.


    Posted on December 6, 2003 at 03:44 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Friday, December 05, 2003

    AU 2003 Winding Down

    Over 3300 in attendance at Autodesk University 2003 have many news stories and new ideas and information to take back to their offices and share. It was one of the best Autodesk University events I have ever attended. The course materials should be available online soon and I will also post a notice when I know the location.

    Last night one of the conference floors was transformed into a large movie theater with food, popcorn, candy, drinks and 3 large movie screens. We watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail. After the movie we were entertained by John Cleese of Monty Python. A few attendees even won the opportunity to meet John Cleese including myself.

    The red carpet was rolled out for subscription customers this week.
    A real red carpet to the subscription registration booth where subscription customers received a thumb drives with the latest extension on it. They had many other perks including getting special VIP seating for the Monty Python event in the front.

    Wish you all were here,


    Posted on December 5, 2003 at 08:52 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Thursday, December 04, 2003

    Another great evening and day of AU events

    Last night myself a few Autodesk customers went out on the town and then to breakfast. There really is no time for sleep at this event. Today there are more classes and the ever popular Industry Sessions where you speak with various teams about the industry and their product directions. There are also some great Q&A opportunities. I will be attending the AutoCAD session which is from 5 to 6:30. Afterwards is dinner and then a comedy and movie event featuring John Cleese from Monty Python in person.

    I have posted some more photos to the AU 2003 photo gallery.


    Posted on December 4, 2003 at 12:51 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Wednesday, December 03, 2003

    Live from AU 2003 Wednesday.


    I am posting more photos currently. The hardest part is actually finding time to do anything besides AU discussions and customer meetings.

    Yesterday was a great day here and the exhibit hall opened to a record crowd of over 3000 people. I even got my photo with the legendary skateboard master Tony Hawk who was here for the Video Gaming Awards.

    I will try to make a more detailed update soon but I have to get back to the keynote presentation.


    Posted on December 3, 2003 at 09:50 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Tuesday, December 02, 2003

    AU 2003 Online Photo Gallery

    I just started posting some photos from AU 2003 Monday & Tuesday.
    I will be posting more later in the day.


    Posted on December 2, 2003 at 11:03 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    AU 2003 update

    It was a very eventful Monday night here at Autodesk University in Las Vegas. I attended many different meetings and even had some informal discussions with some CAD press. I also found out that the professional skateboard legend Tony Hawk is here although when I asked his people that he come down to the lounge, he chickened out.

    I will be posting some photos from yesterday and today later on.


    Posted on December 2, 2003 at 09:58 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Monday, December 01, 2003

    Look Out Vegas, Shaan Has Now Arrived for AU

    Todays schedule is getting settled into the hotel, some meetings for ADN developers conference and some AutoCAD Team meetings.

    Between 5 and 7PM you can most likely locate me at the Zuri in the main MGM Casino floor. At 7PM I have a meeting/dinner until 9:30 and then back to the Zuri and perhaps some good CAD discussions and stories, and a roller coaster ride or two.

    Later tonight I will start posting some photos in the AU Photo Gallery.

    Hope to meet you at AU!

    Cell 415 328 6747

    Posted on December 1, 2003 at 11:35 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    On my way to AU

    I am now on my way to the airport and will arrive in Vegas by 11AM. I have a fairly busy schedule today including travel.


    Posted on December 1, 2003 at 06:30 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Sunday, November 30, 2003

    Autodesk University 2003 Packing Day

    Well, I am finally packing up for my Monday morning flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas and Autodesk University 2003.

    I get to escape Thanksgiving turkey leftovers no matter how creative they were .

      I am bringing:
    • My cell phone of course.
    • 3 computers (1 IBM laptop and 2 TabletPCs)
    • My digital camera
    • Potentially my digital camcorder
    • More cables for every purpose than most space shuttles.
    • 250Gig External USB/Firewire hard drive.
    • Contest Giveaways including some full licenses of my favorite screen capture and video tutorial recording software from SnagIt 7 and Camtasia 2.
    • Plenty of clothes both formal and casual. Formal is nice dress shirts and Dockers. No ties or tux here.
    • Plenty of aspirin, eye drops, vitamin C & A, and a roll of tums.
    • Special padded soles for my shoes as the 3/4 mile walk I do at least 8 times a day from the hotel room to the conference center can take a real toll on your feet.
    • Spare change for the occasional slot machine.
    • Plenty of business cards.
    • and more....

    There is wireless available in the conference area but remember to use some security to prevent someone from browsing and taking your data. You can use a free firewall such as Zonealarm to protect yourself.

    Nightclub tips:

    • Most do not start until very late such as midnight.
    • You must be casually dressed as they will not let in people with tee shirts or sneakers so bring some casual leather dress shoes.
    • The awesome Studio 54 is free for MGM Hotel guests and Tuesday night is the special EDEN night and I will be there from midnight on.
    • Monday night is the only night you can get access to the exclusive nightclub House of Blues - The Foundation Room on the top of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
    • The Rum Jungle is a fun spot for a good rum drink and an interesting environment.

    I hope to see you at AU this year.


    Posted on November 30, 2003 at 11:27 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Friday, November 28, 2003

    Autodesk University is only 3 days away!

    I am starting packing as I fly out Monday to Las Vegas to attend AU. I am also trying to make some sense of my schedule as I have so many meetings, classes, events, and people to visit. It will be a great event as there are over 3000 customers planned to attend the week long event.

    You can keep a tab on AU here in this blog and starting Monday the picture gallery will start to get some AU related photos.

    You can find me in the evenings talking with customers in the Zuri Lounge (former Betty Boop Lounge) before heading off for fun evening events like rides on coasters and dancing. Tuesday night is the Eve night at Studio 54 and all MGM Grand guests get in for free and you have to see this to believe it. This is one of the late nights of dancing and fun.

    Studio 54

    The Zuri Lounge

    A marked up map showing the Zuri Lounge

    Hope to see you there!


    Posted on November 28, 2003 at 12:25 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Wednesday, November 26, 2003

    Autodesk University 2003 is next week.

    I have been very busy preparing for Autodesk University next week and trying to figure out my schedule. If you would like to get together and chat about AutoCAD look me up as I will be all over the place including the AutoCAD booth, Autodesk subscription booth, Intel/Microsoft booth, and many classes. I will also be found many times meeting with people at the formerly named Betty Boop lounge in the MGM Grand main casino floor. This is the gathering spot for many of my 4th annual “geekfest” outings with many people for fun and discussions all throughout the week.

    More details will be updated in this blog as I get more plans and my schedule formalized.

    You can also also give me a call on my cell phone at AU at 415.328.6747 or email me at

    My AU Beta Page
    Click Here

    Hope to see you at AU,

    Posted on November 26, 2003 at 05:06 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Thursday, November 13, 2003

    Tablet PC One Year Anniversary

    The TabletPC is now 1 year old and some consider them a glimpse at the future of computing as they get more powerful and cheaper. The new machines called the second generation devices are just now hitting the market now are in some cases equally as powerful as current laptop and desktop systems. Microsoft also has some real surprises coming up for these devices and after COMDEX I will be able to discuss this a little further in detail.

    I will be presenting with Microsoft at this years Autodesk University showing some of these new devices as well as carrying one around for live updating of this blog. I love these devices and where they are headed.

    Inked handwriting "Inking" is cool and natural and you are starting to see this in mainstream ads and even now supported in the latest Microsoft Instant Messenger 6.1.

    Here is a great article on the one year anniversary and 65 ways people are using the TabletPC. Click Here

    Oh I forgot to mention AutoCAD 2004 is Windows XP TabletPC Edition tested and I run AutoCAD on my Toshiba TabletPC just fine.


    Posted on November 13, 2003 at 07:14 AM in AU 2003, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Thursday, November 06, 2003

    Autodesk University 2003!

    au-2003 logo.gif

    I will be posting to this blog live from AU in Las Vegas this year. I will also have some special surprises planned. More details will be posted as we get closer to AU.

    For more information on Autodesk University

    I hope to see you all there and hopefully meet you.


    Posted on November 6, 2003 at 12:50 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Wednesday, November 05, 2003

    My Unofficial AU Page

    In case you have not seen it, I have been keeping an unofficial Autodesk University page for a few years now.

    Click Here

    This years AU is going to be great! Perhaps we could take a ride on the new projectXsky...


    Posted on November 5, 2003 at 02:45 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    AU 2003 Online Photo Gallery Link

    I am creating an online photo gallery for Autodesk University this year.
    Direct Link:


    Posted on November 5, 2003 at 12:19 PM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)

    Viva Las Vegas!


    I have now booked my air travel to Autodesk University. I fly in on Monday morning and fly out Friday late afternoon. I hope to see you there and meet you. I will be posting to this blog almost hourly at times with photos and details on the AU events and evening get togethers.

    I will be providing more specific information on plans in the upcoming days and hopefully organizing some fun activities that you can join in on.


    Posted on November 5, 2003 at 11:50 AM in AU 2003 | Permalink | Comments (0)