AutoCAD’s ARRAYCLASSIC command is my fault

Ever wondered why most keep-the-old-version commands in AutoCAD are called CLASSICxxx but the old version of the ARRAY command is called ARRAYCLASSIC? Why can’t Autodesk be consistent for once? Sorry, that’s actually my fault. Here’s a little history. AutoCAD Version 1.4 (1983) introduced the ARRAY command with Rectangular and Circular options. AutoCAD Version 2.5 (1986) added the Polar option and hid the Circular option (but it’s still there). AutoCAD 2005 introduced a dialog box version of the ARRAY command. The command-line version remained available via the -ARRAY command (with a leading hyphen). AutoCAD 2012 introduced many new array features, including associative, path and 3D arrays. However, the dialog box interface was removed and the old command-line interface was back. There were also a bunch of bugs and limitations with the new regime. I created and published the shareware utility ClassicArray™ to restore a familiar dialog box interface to AutoCAD’s array features. Rather than simply reproducing the old interface, I enhanced it to provide support for the new array features. I was also able to provide a workaround for some of AutoCAD’s array bugs and limitations. By producing and selling a product called ClassicArray I established that as my trademark. In AutoCAD 2012 SP1, Autodesk added the old dialog box interface back to AutoCAD and has left it in ever since. The restored interface did not support any of the new features. Calling the new/old command CLASSICARRAY would have infringed my trademark and I made sure Autodesk was aware of that fact in advance. That’s why ARRAYCLASSIC is called what it is. Anyway, my ClassicArray exists and I still think it’s usefully better than what Autodesk provides. It has been updated to 1.1.0 to install and work smoothly with all AutoCAD releases from 2012 to 2017. Existing license holders can upgrade…

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Autodesk’s social media consultant spills the beans

Ever wondered why Autodesk is putting so much emphasis on social media these days? Why AutoCAD needs Facebook and Twitter commands? It’s because Autodesk pays social media consultants lots of money to tell them about the importance of social media, and how to be social and media-ish. In this video, one of those consultants explains the process:

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Ralph Lauren – genuinely dumb or trying to be clever?

One of the blogs I read regularly is Photoshop Disasters, which recently posted a picture of a Ralph Lauren ad. In common with many fashion photos, this showed a skinny model that appeared to have been further skinnified on somebody’s computer to the point that the poor waif was ridiculously deformed. Like this: Nothing out of the ordinary there, then. Under normal circumstances it would have received a few dozen comments and scrolled off the front page in a week or so, because there is no shortage of bad image manipulation out there for the blog to snigger at. The image was reposted at Boing Boing, but it would still have been forgotten in a week. Except this time, Ralph Lauren prodded its lawyers into action and demanded the image be removed from both sites, issuing a DMCA notice. The DMCA request was spurious, as this is a clear case of fair use of an image for the purposes of criticism. Photoshop Disasters is hosted by Blogspot, which automatically complies with such requests. Boing Boing is not, and instead went on the offensive. They refused to take down the picture, instead reposting it with biting sarcasm. Read it, it’s funny. Ralph Lauren, if you’re reading this, please send me a DMCA notice too. I’m feeling left out. This led to a flurry of comments, reposts and reports all over the Internet, including here. The comments (running at over a hundred an hour right now) are almost universally mocking of Ralph Lauren, its legal team, its models and its image manipulation propensities. The criticism goes way beyond the few snipes at a mangled-body image that would have been the case if Ralph Lauren had done nothing. It has moved on to the fashion designer’s ethical standards and those of the fashion…

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AUGI | AEC EDGE magazine published

More AUGI news, but good news this time. The first edition of the on-line magazine AUGI | AEC EDGE has been published by Extension Media. It is available in high- and low-res PDF format, plus an on-line reader. The first issue has 82 pages of almost entirely Revit articles and is very light on for advertising. That’s good in the short term for readers who prefer editorial content over advertising, but in the long term the advertising ratio will have to ramp up to ensure this publication’s ongoing survival. In the meantime, I commend the advertisers who did contribute to making this publication a reality: Contex, Advanced AEC Solutions, CADzation, Autodesk Catalog, Autodesk Seek / Revit Market and HP (although I may not be so kind to HP in future posts on this blog). I also commend Editor (and AUGI Director) Steve Stafford and his big team of volunteer writers for their efforts.

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I see no ads

I have removed the advertisements from this blog. Not because I worried about people not liking them (they were fairly unobtrusive). Not because they were slowing down the page load times (although they did, a bit). Not even because I felt that they were somehow impinging upon my editorial independence. No, I removed them because they weren’t generating any income. Not a single cent! I pretty much expected any income to be tiny, and certainly not enough to cover my fairly minor running expenses. It wasn’t tiny, it was totally absent. Experiment over.

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Bad Photoshop 4

Pathetic perspective, courtesy of the work experience person doing Clark Rubber‘s brochure images: The same background is used for another table set. The perspective doesn’t match in that one either, but it’s not as bad as this. Maybe it’s just CAD geeks who notice this sort of thing? One more to come from this brochure, and it’s the worst one of the lot!

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Bad Photoshop 1 & 2

I’ve mentioned before that I love the Photoshop Disasters blog, and I’ve also mentioned that Clark Rubber has provided me with great service. Here’s the first of a few posts that combine the two. I recently received a Clark Rubber brochure, and from the look of it (and the web site), Clark Rubber is not receiving the same kind of service from its Photoshop people that it provides to its own customers. I could fill this whole blog with disasters from that one brochure, but here are just a couple for a start. Putting aside the awful water spray, the cut-and-paste problems, the strange lighting/shadow issues, the unrealistic water edge and the rest of it, how did that picture of the kid in the pool also manage to appear on the water cannon itself (sans pool and with the toy at a different angle)? Eddies in the space-time continuum, perhaps? He probably is.* My head assplode. This magic device not only fires oversized lemons, it also emits a strangely unrealistic jet of water of significantly smaller diameter than the inside diameter of the tube. I must have one! * Joke stolen from Douglas Adams.

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Leech marketing by IMSI – Part 1 – AU

A while back, I received an email from IMSI, makers of TurboCAD. The information I gained from that email is now public knowledge thanks to an advertisement in AUGI World and other exposure, so I guess I can let you all in on it. Here it is: Everyone knows AutoCAD is a fixture in our industry. But is AutoCAD LT? When is the last time AutoCAD LT has really been pushed? And how about working with Google SketchUp? Doesn’t seem like Autodesk is too keen on that. Please join us for a special FIRST LOOK of a new CAD application — that is sure to surprise. Email for appointment [removed]@imsidesign.com or call 1.415.[removed]. FIRST LOOK slots on Tuesday Dec 2nd through Thursday Dec 4th at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Regards, Bob Mayer Chief Operating Officer, IMSI/Design, LLC Tel: 415-[removed] Cell: 415-[removed] P.S. For those that can participate, there will be a business card drawing for a Dell laptop — of course, loaded with our new CAD application. For all others, evaluation copies will be provided. The date and location may seem strangely familar to those of you planning to attend Autodesk University in a week or so. So an Autodesk competitor is using the biggest Autodesk event of the year to market its wares. In one way, this idea makes perfect sense. There will be a lot of Autodesk customers at that event, so that’s the place to be if you want to steal some. In another way, it makes no sense at all. The Autodesk customers at AU are likely to be the most loyal customers there are. They have just invested a decent slab of money in attending a training event, one which is very well run, very enjoyable and generally likely to make them feel good about…

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Photoshop disasters blog

I love this blog: http://photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com/ OK, some of the “disasters” are a bit nitpicking, but there are some truly awful image manipulation efforts out there, some associated with very big companies. Look back over the archives, there are some real classics. Lesson to large companies: don’t penny-pinch, it’s not worth it. I can’t remember any Autodesk marketing image disasters, although some of you may remember being bemused by the relevance of the the short-lived Subscription Cow. The BENTLEY BIN image is pretty funny, though. Does anybody have any other CAD-related examples?

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Matt Stein’s Blog and Microsoft’s Mojave Marketing

Thanks to Shaan Hurley for revealing to the wider world the existence of Ribbon Man Matt Stein’s blog. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for a blogging n00b like myself to welcome somebody with a blog four years older than his own, but I’m going to do it anyway. Welcome, Matt (no pun intended). Some of Matt’s blog posts (particularly the early ones) make for, er, interesting reading, so don’t click if you’re easily offended. Please bear in mind that this is a personal blog, not an Autodesk one. Matt and I generally get on fine, but we have had some frank exchanges of view and often agree to disagree. One subject where we are unlikely to share the same views is the Microsoft Vista marketing exercise The Mojave Experiment. This is something I planned to post about some weeks ago but then something more important came up and I didn’t bother. Here’s what Matt thinks, and here’s what I think: While this is a cute marketing ploy and might convince the terminally naive, it pretty obviously qualifies as propaganda rather than any kind of meaningful study. Here’s how it’s done: Find a selection of people with no experience of a product but with ignorance-based negative feelings about it. Make sure the hardware and software you’re going to show them all works well. Fix up the settings for minimal annoyance. Present an expensively prepared, well-choreographed demo that presents all the best features and none of the worst. Result: oh wow, what a surprise, it’s better than they thought. A marketing company could reproduce the same results with practically anything if they set it up right. I bet I could do it with Linux, OS X, Windows Me, whatever. Give me Microsoft’s resources and open slather to present things as fairly or…

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Advertising, ethics and editorial freedom

In a recent blog post, Roopinder Tara included this throw-away comment: Pure bloggers don’t do advertising, so no worry about advertising pressure — the secret and unstated fear of us all in the trade press. I respect Roopinder, but this kind of “pure blogger” label irritates me. I have an ad on my blog for geeky T-shirts, so I’m an impure blogger? Somebody please explain the reasoning behind that distinction, because I don’t understand it. Even if I accepted (say) Autodesk advertising, the idea that it would have any influence on what I choose to write is ridiculous. Yet I see even more extreme viewpoints presented by some bloggers as the absolute truth. For example, how about this from Matt Lombard? Advertising a product means that you are beholden to that company for cash or other rewards – you have in essence sold your right of free expression about that product. This is why most ‘professional’ journalists that work for ads don’t have much of value to say, they are whores to corporations. So, if you accept advertising, or you write for somebody who does, you can’t possibly write impartially? Rubbish! Not just rubbish, but downright insulting rubbish. Maybe Matt would find it hard to remain impartial for fear of losing some pocket money, but I don’t. When I’m writing, advertising never even enters my head. Matt, please stop projecting, it’s not a good look. Back to Roopinder Tara’s comments about advertising pressure in the trade press. As a writer, all I can say is, what pressure? For a dozen years, I’ve been writing a Cadalyst column that has been known to contain uncomplimentary comments about Autodesk (a major advertiser) and its products. I have never been asked to remove or even slightly tone down any such comments. Not once.…

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Advertising Oops!

I just spotted this image flash up on a banner advertisement on a CAD-related site. At first glance, I thought it was a nasty Autodesk ad promoting Revit (it’s on top, after all) and unkindly suggesting that Bentley software is only fit for disposal. Then I spotted Bentley logos elsewhere on the ad and worked out that it was supposed to say BENTLEY BIM, not BIN. Even if you blow it up, it still looks more like an N than an M. That’s the trouble with trying to fit a meaningful attention-grabbing image into a small space. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

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