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                                                                                   Volume 1, Issue 7   August 1, 2008
Editor-in-Chief, H. Edward Goldberg
Copy Editor, Judith Goldberg

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This issue examines new developments in two good old industry standards.

ADOBE Acrobat 9 Pro Extended and Acrobat.com
http://www.adobe.com

Acrobat.com
Although I often recommend software solutions, I don’t often feel compelled to bring
particular technologies to the fore. All of us in the AEC/C industry have been concerned about the need to make the documentation and production of buildings more efficient. To this end, Adobe has been revolutionizing the communication and collaboration arena. Adobe, a developer best known as a leader in image creation and modification, has been evolving its Acrobat tools for several years with our industry in mind. With Acrobat.com, they have now created a complete communication and collaboration system managed over the WEB. In addition, the latest version, Acrobat 9, has been radically improved with many new features.
What does the Acrobat.com communication and collaboration system do?
Be it linked tele-video which allows clients to watch your screen, actual control of other computers, instant text messaging, document storage, document sharing, distant proofreading and correction of PDFs, or online word processing, Acrobat.com has it --and it is free!

I became convinced of Acrobat.com’s importance after an online demonstration by the group marketing manager.  Later, I received my reviewer’s CD containing a video demonstration of what appeared to be simultaneous video conferencing. As I am always curious, as well as foolish, I decided to test the system with one of my clients. I chose a client who is fairly computer literate, and usually willing to try new software. Without much effort I was able to link up with him. I accomplished this by going to the Acrobat.com web site, where I created a username and password. An email was automatically generated to my client, granting him access. When he responded to the email, we were connected, and he could see my screen. After a discussion, each of us “marked up” a building plan; I saved the file on Acrobat.com, as a PDF and gave him access. This entire process, plus telephony (phone) was done directly through the Acrobat.com site.

I asked the Marketing Manager about cost. I learned that Adobe Connect is free for three collaborators at a time. For larger networks, there is a $39/ month fee for 15 collaborators.
This works for me—as I have been paying $49.00 a month to rent multiple communication space from Go to Meeting, but rarely communicate with more than two persons at once.

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Acrobat.com is free for three users at a time.

Acrobat 9 Standard, Acrobat 9 Pro and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended.
If you are like me, you are probably getting most of your online information by PDF, and transmitting most of your construction documents with that same format. The latest version of Acrobat brings improved PDF tools such as better verifiable signatures, improved 3D model and video integration, and PDF portfolios. If your PDF needs are modest, you can order the Standard version. If you are a very technically creative collaborator, the Pro Extended version is for you.  I could write three thousand words about Acrobat 9’s new features, but Adobe does a better job illustrating all the new features on its Acrobat 9 website
Below are just some of the Acrobat 9 improvements:
Unify a wide range of content into a PDF Portfolio:
Combine documents, drawings, email, and spreadsheets into a single, compressed PDF Portfolio. Use professionally designed templates that can be branded with your logo and include descriptions to guide recipients through the contents.

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Acrobat 9 has the ability to import 59  different file formats

The Following are just some of Acrobat 9's new features

Convert paper documents to PDF:
New optical character recognition (OCR) technology supports a broader range of scanners, improves search ability.
Convert web pages to PDF:
Improved web capture allows the conversion of select portions or complete web pages, including or excluding rich and interactive media.

Compare PDF documents:
Acrobat automatically highlights differences between two versions of a PDF document, including text and images.

Collaborate in online meetings:
Adobe ConnectNow, a personal web-conference tool, facilitates desktop to desktop real-time meetings. Attendees log into a web-based meeting space from their own computers, use live chat, share online whiteboards, and use other collaboration features.

Synchronize document views:
This feature insures that colleagues, clients, and partners are on the same page at the same time with the ability to co-navigate documents.

Create and edit electronic forms:
(Windows) The new Forms Wizard converts Microsoft® Word and Excel documents or scanned paper into PDF forms. Form fields are automatically recognized and converted to fillable fields that can be added, edited, and named.

Track forms:
The Tracker shows which forms have been completed and who has completed them.

Use QuickBooks data in forms:
(Windows English only) Custom templates import and export Intuit QuickBooks data. 

Include Flash content in PDFs:
This feature adds Flash® videos and animations to PDF documents. Native support for Flash enables reliable cross-platform playback without an additional media player.

Create interactive presentations:
Adobe Presenter enhances slides with video, voice-over, demos, and interactive quizzes, and then converts to PDF for easy sharing.

Expanded 3D features:
New Adobe 3D Reviewer combines multiple CAD formats into one assembly, compares a revised design to an earlier version, measures and creates exploded views, animations, and balloons. Exports work to 2D vector or raster files, or saves as a PDF.

View and interact with PDF maps:
This feature enables the import, measurement, and mark up of geospatially enabled PDF maps. Determine longitude and latitude, measure PDF maps in kilometers or miles and navigate 3D PDF map content in 3D with the Fly tool.

I highly recommend that you go to the Acrobat website, download a trial version of one of the three Acrobat 9 programs, and see for yourself how much more productive you can be. Then you will appreciate why I am so excited about this latest iteration. 

Acrobat 9 reader is free, Acrobat 9 Standard is $299.00, Acrobat 9 Pro is $ 499.00, and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended is $699.00

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AutoCAD 2009 and AutoCAD LT 2009
http://www.autodesk.com

I’ve been writing a lot about BIM and Revit, but I know that many of you are still using CAD and want to know what’s happening in that arena.
AutoCAD, now twenty five years old, is still Autodesk’s best selling product, because it is the industry standard foundation product for creating CAD drawings. Even though many of us architects, engineers, and contractors are moving to BIM, many are still using a mix of software including AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. In fact, many of the Revit seats that Autodesk sells include AutoCAD as part of the AutoCAD Revit Suites. Most facility management is still done with 2D AutoCAD and polylines.  I personally, link my AutoCAD 2D detail drawings into Revit Architecture, thus allowing me to re-use my 20 years of legacy dwg content. Because I can electronically link the files, any changes I make to the AutoCAD drawings are automatically changed in Revit. Although I really like using Revit Architecture, I still prefer doing my 2D detailing in AutoCAD – it’s quicker. 

AutoCAD is widely taught in Community Colleges, High Schools and Universities
Because AutoCAD has been the leading CAD software for so many years, and because it is the most taught CAD software in the community colleges, skilled operators are readily available. This is an important factor if a CAD operator in an organization needs to be quickly replaced. Because the AutoCAD user community is so massive (over five million), there is a larger pool of talent to fill jobs and project work.  

What is the difference between AutoCAD LT and AutoCAD?
Although AutoCAD and AutoCAD are based on the same programming, there are some important differences. AutoCAD LT is Autodesk’s entry level 2D CAD software for those who do not require 3D capabilities and do not need to customize their software by adding specialized or third party programs. AutoCAD LT is a “single seat” program, meaning  it cannot be utilized through a server. AutoCAD LT can be bought from retail outlets such as Computer Discount Warehouse

AutoCAD 2009 has a network licensing option (licenses can be managed across a network which is important to firms that require many seats, and need central control over everyone’s copy). AutoCAD is totally customizable, and has an excellent 3D capability. Typically, AutoCAD is sold through resellers, and offers a yearly subscription.

 What is new in AutoCAD LT 2009 and AutoCAD 2009?
Below are just some of the AutoCAD 2009 improvements:
User Interface:
With the ribbon interface, overall drafting productivity increases as the number of steps needed to reach a command decreases. The ribbon is both customizable and expandable so that it can be optimized for each user and can meet each company’s standards.

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Solid and Surface Modeling and Visualization (AutoCAD 2009 only)
Robust modeling capabilities enable one to shape and visualize ideas. A newly redesigned interface uses a single environment for creating both solids and surfaces. Users can now create solid objects that have faces defined by complex surfaces. To apply materials to a model, just drag materials from a predefined library onto any solid face or surface defined in their model.


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Annotation Scaling:
The addition of annotation scale in AutoCAD helps users avoid the creation and management of multiple text, leaders, hatch patterns, blocks, linetypes, and multi-line leaders across multiple layers. A control on the status bar enables designers to set the current scale of a viewport or model space view. Designers can then apply that scale to each object and specify its size, placement, and appearance based on the scale set for the viewport.
Action Recorder (AutoCAD 2009 only):
The new action recorder saves time and increases productivity by automating repetitive tasks without requiring the skill or assistance of a professional CAD manager. Users can record a task, add text messages and requests for input, then select and play back recorded files.


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I suggest that you take a look at Lynn Allen’s screen cast demonstrating the new AutoCAD 2009 features and more. 
In addition, 64-bit capability comes with AutoCAD 2009 and AutoCAD LT 2009. Customers who purchase AutoCAD on subscription can also take advantage of the new “Flexible Software Delivery” model, supplying new Bonus Packs to subscribers during the year, instead of waiting for new releases.  AutoCAD users on subscription also receive free copies of “Autodesk Impression” software, enabling them to create compelling graphics with a hand-drawn look.

AutoCAD starts at $3995.  AutoCAD LT starts at $1200 – these are suggested retail prices. 

 

About Ed:

I am a well known analyst in the AEC Industry, having been a journalist and lecturer in this arena for the past 10 years.  In my primary occupation as an Architect, I use the cutting edge digital technology about which I write, for the design and construction of buildings. I have been a Licensed Architect for 30 years, and have designed and/or built dozens of commercial, multifamily, and rehab projects. I also headed the CAD and Multimedia Department at Carroll Community College and the Industrial Design Department at Towson University. For many years I wrote the AEC column in CADALYST magazine. I authored seven books, in as many years, on AutoCAD Architecture (formally Architectural Desktop), for publisher Prentice Hall. My new Revit Architecture 2009 book will be on sale this May.

I continue to attend key industry events and keep abreast of the newest developments. If you see me at an event, please come over and chat with me; I like people, and would enjoy meeting you. You can recognize me by my trademark hat – black in winter, and white in summer.
 Please take a look at my Web Site:  http://www.hegra.org
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© 2007 H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, Ed’s Independent Voice. All rights reserved

 

Architecture Exchange East '08: Richmond Virginia

http://www.aiava.org/archex_index.jsp
November 2008

Ed will be giving a seminar on
Estimating with Revit & utilizing Acrobat 9 with Acrobat.

1.5 LU

Presented by

H. Edward Goldberg AIA, NCARB, HEGRA Architects &
Ed’s Independent Voice

 

Ed Goldberg’s new Revit 2009 book is now available.

For information go to http://www.Prenhall.com
Purchase at discount from:
http://vig.pearsoned.com/store/product/
1,1207,store-19880_isbn-0135134757_
contentid-37553,00.html

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