Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm back

It’s been a while since I posted anything to “R Cubed” so since there doesn’t seem to be anything on TV (although it took great discipline not to watch John Wayne in The Green Berets) and I left the book I’m reading out in the car I might as well post something.  So to paraphrase my son’s famous quote “what to write? What to write?”  You see that is one problem with a blogs you have to write something now and again (as soon as those talking computers come on line look out).  

So what to write?  During the day I can think of all kinds of “heady topics” but when I get a chance to jot them down I have trouble remembering them.  Couple of things, I read a lot.  Because of all the different magazines, I read during the week I have gotten pretty good at noticing IT trends and tools before they really get popular.   A case in point is wikis and blogs – they seem to have become all the rage lately.  I was giving presentations on using them over a year ago.  Funny thing is that even though I was out in front of the curve and now that wikis are hot my organization doesn’t know they exist… so much for the prophet business.

I have talked about wikis before.  In particular a specific kind of wiki called a Tiddly Wiki.  I recently gave a short presentation at the 2006 HEEP International Conference held this past September in Williamsburg Virginia.  If you would like to take a look at it (remember power points lose a bit without my unique translation) you can download it and other HEEP presentations at

you can find it under Thursday presentations and the title is

“Tiddly Wiki and Things – another internet technology that you never heard of but might find useful.”  

I gave two other presentations that day but I think I’ll save them for another posting.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Upgrade advice

Today it seemed like all the cadd newsletters and blogs (most of them anyway) were talking about the latest release of AutoCAD (with the catchy name of AutoCAD 2007) that is due to be released in late March.   While the pundits can’t wait, and are touting all the new 3D features I’ll lay money that the average user is thinking – “Oh shit, not another upgrade.”

Having just gone through a major upgrade at work (from MicroStation J to MicroStation V8) in 2005 I can relate.  For both users and the support staffs new versions suck.  Not that the features aren’t cool, they rarely seems worth the pain.  When you think that the average user at most uses 10-20 percent of a program’s features you have to wonder how bad we really need new ones.  I know the vendors say that the users demand them but to tell you the truth I’ve never met an average user who has ever been asked about what they need – Have you?

Unfortunately the biggest problem with a new version is all the grunt work you have to do to get them installed and running.  Not only are there general problems inherent in any new release, but it is rare that all the other programs you depend on will work with the new release out of the box -- this is where the problems really begin.  It seems to me that users tend to skip at least every other cadd release these days.  You think the vendors might take the hint…

If I could offer any advice to the cadd vendors of the about upgrades it would be this.  Stop worrying about features and make sure that when they release a new version that it solves our problems rather than creating new ones…

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Just a quick note to wish everyone a Happy New Year…  I generally don’t make new years resolutions (hard to keep) but I will try to post to my blog on a bit more regular basis this year…  So check back soon…