Quick Tip: Windows 7 Calculator

Here’s a quick tip that suprisingly most people are unaware of. There is some not-so-apparent functions within the Microsoft Windows 7 calculator that are useful for any good designer or engineer. Hidden under the View menu is a trove of cool tools such as a unit conversion tool, a data calculation tool and various built in worksheets for calculating payments.

The unit conversion tool contains the standard categories you’ll find in any good conversion utility with the added benefit of being built directly within the Windows operating system for quick access via most keyboards calculator quick key.

The date calculation utility allows you to get the number of days between two dates or calculate the date from a set date to a set number of days. This is a great utility for project management reference.

The worksheets functions contain tools for mortgage payment calculation, a vehicle lease calculator and miles per gallon calculation.

If Microsoft just isn’t your thing, you can always do a Google search for “Calculator” and display Google’s in-browser calculator.

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Permanent link to this article: http://cadtoolbox.com/2012/09/05/calculator/

Stand and Deliver

Recently I Tweeted that I stand up to work for almost my entire work day. CADsetterout.com included this Tweet in a great blog post about the zen and art of technical drawing:

No one can create technical drawings productively and with their full concentration indefinitely. Like all things in life there is a balance.

This prompted @MPetrikas to ask me:

So here it is, what my basic working office looks like. It consists of an L-shaped desk with a standing height desk and a sitting height desk. I use a laptop workstation that I connect to a docking station during the entire day. When I stand to work, I simply use the laptop screen.

When I choose to sit, which is actually vary rare I can turn on the dual monitors on the sitting desk and work. Both setups have separate 3Dconnexion Space Pilots so I do not have to move anything around.

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Permanent link to this article: http://cadtoolbox.com/2012/08/25/stand-and-deliver/

Autodesk PLM 360 on YouTube

Kevin Robinson from Autodesk (@KRobADSKPLM) says you should check out the Autodesk PLM 360 channel on YouTube. So get crackin’. It’s chocked full of great tutorials on how to perform certain tasks in PLM 360 such as:

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Permanent link to this article: http://cadtoolbox.com/2012/07/25/autodesk-plm-360-on-youtube/

Create a Recycle Bin for Vault

If you’re familiar with Autodesk Vault you know it’s great at retaining versions of your design files. These versions can accumulate quickly through your design process and Vault allows you to purge unnecessary versions as you see fit.  Sometimes though, you just need to delete a file or folder. Either it was created in error or it is just plain clutter that needs to be removed for whatever reason.

Any good CAD manager will probably tell you that giving your employees the power to delete files from the Vault at will can be a dangerous thing. Most Vault instances are setup where normal users only have read, write and modify permissions on a folder. Normal users do not have the ability to delete files or folders.

When a file is not yet controlled by a lifecycle state, promoted to an item or some other means by which Vault prevents deletion the folder permissions are the only means by which deletion of files is prevented.

So the question is, how do you handle cases where a file or folder really needs to be deleted? You could setup some separate process where users can request a file or folder be deleted and then a Vault administrator would perform the deletion. This can become quite burdensome quickly.

A possible solution to this problem is to create a Vault recycle bin folder.

Set the permissions for the “Recycle Bin” folder to allow deletions of files by everyone.

Now that you have created this folder, here’s how it will work. If a normal user has a file or folder in their working design folders they would like to delete, they simply move the file or folder into the recycle bin folder.

They can now delete the file or folder from the recycle bin since permissions allow them to do so. If the file is still used elsewhere in your project folders, Vault will not allow the file to be deleted since permissions prevent them from doing so.

This method provides the means for users to delete files or folders on their own while also providing a secondary step before deletion in order to reduce accidental deletions.

Ideally, it would be great if Vault provided a system wide recycle bin that saved a deleted file for a set duration before the file is purged permanently. This is definitely something that I’ll be adding to the Vault wishlist.

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Permanent link to this article: http://cadtoolbox.com/2012/07/11/create-a-recycle-bin-for-vault/