Autodesk University

I’ve been getting emails and reading various comments on blogs about the upcoming Autodesk University (AU), to be held this year at the Venetian resort in Las Vegas from November 28th to December 1st. Apparently early-bird registration opened this week, and course offerings and schedules have recently been made available on their website. It looks like it’s going to be another great event.

I learned about AU only three or so years ago and have wanted to attend ever since. It’s an event where users of Autodesk products (AutoCAD, Revit, Architectural Desktop, VIZ, Building Systems, etc.) get together for training, networking, new product announcements, etcetera. Like any large conference, it looks like a lot of fun (just take a look at Shaan Hurley’s photos from last year, which was held in Orlando Florida). On years I haven’t attended, I’ve usually watched closely all the info that gets blogged about, and have usually found it pretty interesting. I’m not sure if there’s $$$ in the budget for me to go this year either, but I think it would be a great experience. Already there’s been a bunch of talk around the office about who might be able to go.

If I do end up going, one thing I’ll be looking into with interest is how people have reacted to Autodesk’s decision to change the DWG format once again for their 2007 product line. Our office has hesitated to adopt these because of problems sharing effectively sharing files created in them with anyone else who doesn’t have version 2007. Sure, you can convert drawings to an earlier format using DWG TrueConvert, but if you’ve used any intelligent objects such as walls, doors, windows, intelligent schedules, etc., they’ll be converted to plain geometry. To me that’s just a big waste of time & effort.

I’ve heard complaints that this has been the case for a few earlier releases as well, and I suppose it’s just part of adding new features to the product, but I still wish there was a better way. I really like the approach that Microsoft has taken with the new file format they’re introducing for Office 12 – they’ve actually released a compatibility pack for earlier versions that enable them to use the new format. I realize I’m probably just dreaming when I wish Autodesk would follow suit and do something like that with their CAD products, I guess it doesn’t hurt to dream.

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