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My First Week With Vista

 

imageWednesday, January 16, 2008, the day in which I decided to say goodbye to my beloved Windows XP and hello to the monster known as Windows Vista.  Be it press releases from numerous government agencies, or the ever entertaining Apple I’m a Mac, I’m a PC ads – Vista hasn’t found too many friends.  Despite all of that propaganda, I decided to roll the dice with Vista.  Vista / Vegas – coincidence?

Much like AutoCAD installations, Vista installations are quite literally defined by the hardware you have backing it.  For me I am actually working on a late Windows XP laptop, a HP Compaq nw8440 to be exact.  Inside of it I have a 2.0 Ghz Intel Centrino Duo processor with 2.0 GB of RAM.  Overall I see my machine as a pretty typical AutoCAD 2008 capable laptop.

Coming from a civil engineering firm, it’s only natural we are using AutoCAD Civil 3D and an array of other verticals; Land Desktop, Map 3D, and Raster Design.  We are using the 2008 versions of the products mentioned above.  But enough information about platform, what about usability and reliability?

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MS Office 2003 Stops Opening Files

In September of last year, Microsoft released Service Pack 3 for its Microsoft Office 2003 system.  Along with fixing numerous bugs, they seem to have caused another.  To sum things up, Service Pack 3 disables a users ability to open pre Office 2003 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc) documents.

Today I got a call from one of my users with the error message "You are attempting to open a file type that is blocked by your registry policy setting."

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NewsGator & FeedDemon Now Free!

image Over the last several years the number of CAD blogs, and blogs in general, have multiplied many times over.  Back when there were only a handful of CAD sites worth visiting, it wasn’t too tough to manually visit each one on a periodic basis.  These days that number has multiplied many times over, as there are a countless number of blogs worth visiting.

One challenge that comes from so many great sites is keeping up with them all.  Most modern-day blogs out there have what is known as an RSS Feed.  By subscribing to the RSS feeds of the sites your frequent, you can be notified as those sites are updated with new content.  A program or utility known as a "Feed Reader" is actually what will notify you of a new post.

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Free Tools for the CAD Manager/User

Those who read my last post, “Inserting DWG’s into MS Word or PowerPoint” may recall the mention I made about PDF Creator.  Since it seems many of you were interested in that tool, I thought it may be appropriate to share some other tools that I have used and/or know about.  If you’re a big web surfer you have likely read a number of Top 100 Free Utility lists.  It’s not my intention to litter this post with so much excess baggage.  Instead I have tried to keep this list as concise, and as relevant to CAD users as possible.  Even to that end, I know there are probably many more free tools than included on my list which a CAD user may find helpful.  If you would like to share such utilities, please do so by leaving a comment on this post.

PDF Creation

  • PDF Creator – I have found this tool to be one of the most versatile free PDF creators.  A couple things which stand out to me is the ability not only to create PDF’s but also PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP, PCX, PS, and EPS.  Better still is the way you can plot to a logical sheet size like Arch D as opposed to some pixel resolution.  Another interesting feature is the way you can combine multiple PDF’s into a single PDF.
  • CutePDF Writer – If all you need to do is create PDF’s than this tool is second to none.  It’s both quick, lightweight, and FREE for both personal and commercial use.

Online Meetings and Web Conferencing

  • Yugma – This is an awesome alternative to services such as GoToMeeting or MS Live Meeting.  If all you need is a basic online conference room this tool is perfect.  For the audio portion they have recently teamed up with skype, and they also provide a free conference line (non 1-800 number though). More advanced features are available through their reasonably priced paid plans starting at $9.95/month.

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