Friday, November 18, 2011

Uninstalling FLEXnet Manager

I have been working with Flexera's FLEXnet Manager for a while now. It is the workable version of SAM-Report Lite that you can install to analyze your network license usage. Installing is quite the chore but not impossible if you have an experienced IT department. Uninstalling it is not so easy of you have a 64-bit server.

On a 64-bit server (ex. Windows Server 2008), there is no official uninstall tool so it has to be done manually if you intend on keeping the server. Here's what I did to remove it from our lab server (the production version is staying for obvious reasons...).

1- Stop all related services from the management console.
2- Backup all related folders.
3- Open a command prompt with administrative privileges (Windows Server 2008 only).
4- Navigate to the folder that contains the FLEXNET.BAT file for the Admin, Reporting or Agent module.
5- Type the following command: flexnet service uninstall
6- Repeat step 5 for each module.
7- Use an uninstaller such as RevoUninstaller to uninstall each program module (a WIN64 error will appear for Admin and Reporting. Just skip it).

There you go. Worked for me. A little bit of a pain but not impossible. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

LISP programming primer

I received a request from a client asking me to look at a LISP program he wrote that did not work correctly. I said yes and received the following code:

(COMMAND "osnap" "End,Mid,Cen,Node,Quad,Int,Ins,Perp")

LISP and all programming languages require a certain syntax when writing code for it to work. The above code did not conform to the needed syntax. Here is the corrected version:

(defun C:MYOS (/)
(setvar "OSMODE" 255)

The first rule of LISP, everything HAS to be in parentheses. The second rule is that each set of parentheses gets evaluated individually. The third rule is that all LISP functions must be defined with a DEFUN command.

The C:MYOS defines a function that can be launched from the command line by typing MYOS and then ENTER. The (/) indicates that no arguments or local variables are being used. The SETVAR command is used to modify AutoCAD variables like OSMODE which is responsible for the active OSNAPS in your AutoCAD session. Each combination of OSNAPS will have a unique code. The AutoCAD documentation explains this variable very clearly. The text following the semicolon is a LISP comment which is ignored by AutoCAD when running the function.

An alternative to this simple little function is to script the operation is a file like MYOS.SCR. In Notepad, type the following text with NO spaces at the end of each line and press ENTER at the end of each line as well.

Scripting is handy for some operations but can be tricky at times. The underscore + dash before the OSNAP command are used to internationalize the script (any non-english AutoCAD will recognize it) and to deactivate the dialog box so that the answers are sent as plain text.

In both scenarios, write your code in Notepad and then drag and drop the file into your AutoCAD session to load it. The LISP function must be launched on the command line but the script will run automatically if no command is already active.

Hours and hours of fun are possible when you start dipping into automation. Not for the faint of heart!!!

Happy coding!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

AutoCAD 2011 Updates

With my preparations for my next AutoCAD class, I realized that my copy of AutoCAD 2011 was not updated. Currently, Update 2 is the most recent patch. To install it, you must install Update 1.1 as a prerequisite. A nice change from previous versions, you do NOT need your installation media to install the patches. Go to to download them.

Avec mes préparations pour mon prochain cours d'AutoCAD, j'ai découvert que ma copie d'AutoCAD 2011 n'était pas à jour. Update 2 est le correctif le plus récent. Pour l'installer, il y a un prérequis que l'Update 1.1 soit installé au préalable sur votre poste. Il est bien de noter que vous n'avez PAS besoin de votre média d'installation pour appliquer les 2 correctifs. Visitez le pour les obtenir.

Projects update

Well, it was a busy month of May. My compost bin was fixed by the city. The clover I planted in the backyard is growing nicely. I planted my vegetables and herbs for the summer and I have been giving some AutoCAD courses to a few clients.

Preparing for the courses has soaked up a lot of my free time. My favorite features from the last 3 versions are:
  1. Parameters
  2. Arrays
  3. Splines and Polyline grips
I have not tried the 3D improvements yet since my customers are only using the 2D tools. I will try them out this summer for sure.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Project 5: Replacing my compost bin - Follow-up

Well, I did get a response from the city about the bin. They will send someone to repair it. Hopefully, it will be done soon. TBC.

Project 2: AutoCAD 2012 Review

Tonight, I am digging into what has changed in AutoCAD, notably since the 2009 version since that is the version I use on a daily basis. Two things of note:

The default support path is as follows on a Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer:

C:\Users\\appdata\roaming\autodesk\autocad 2012 - english\r18.2\enu\support

A nice improvement is the ability to add multiple support paths for printer files. Many users have CTB files in different locations and instead of adding shortcuts in each folder, a new search path can be added. This should also help when using ETransmit.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Project 2: AutoCAD 2012 First Look

I will be giving an AutoCAD 2012 class next week so I finally registered my copy of AutoCAD 2012 and here is a pic of the workspace. I will be blogging this week to share my thoughts on the changes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Project 5: Replacing my compost bin

This city of Pointe-Claire (QC) instituted a green recycling program a few years ago. A green bin is picked up every week with all your garden trimmings, pizza boxes, kitchen scraps (no meat) and composted. A great way to reduce green waste from landfills. My bin cover was damaged by the collection machine and a small hole was added. Since then, animals have been chewing away at the hole making it bigger so that they can feed on the contents. Last year, I found 2 dead squirrels in the bin (1 died from heat exhaustion during a heatwave and the other drowned when the bin filled up during a heavy rain storm.

I contacted the city twice to replace the bin. My first attempt was for naught. Let's see if the second attempt bears fruit.

Lesson: if at first you don't succeed, try try again.

I will post a picture of the bin this week. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Project 3: 41st Canadian Federal Election

Well, our 41st election came and went. Voting in the evening went very well. A small lineup that took about 30 minutes. The NDP crushed all opposition in Quebec and the Conservatives got a majority.

It will certainly be an interesting 4 years in Ottawa! Click here for the results.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Project 2: Install and test AutoCAD 2012

My second project is to install and test the new functionality of AutoCAD 2012.

I downloaded the 64-bit version and did a full install on my laptop. I now have AutoCAD 2012, Design Review 2012 and Inventor Fusion 2012 (a patch was available for download during the installation). Everything went well and went fairly fast when installed from a USB hard disk (less than 15 minutes).

I will post some screenshots tonight after I go vote tonight in the Canadian Federal Election (Project 3). The converage should be a hoot to watch this year.

Project 1: Fixing my backyard lawn

I have owned my house for 5 years and have complained about the crappy lawn in the backyard. Well, I finally did something about it. I used our family's 3HP rototiller to tear up half the lawn, added sand and compost and seeded the ground with clover yesterday afternoon.

Why add sand and compost?  Since the soil is very compact and has lots of clay in it, adding sand and compost will loosen the soil to help promote better root growth.

Why plant clover? Clover is a green fertilizer meaning that it will lock nitrogen into the soil, which is essential for root development. In August, I will till the whole yard under and possibly plant some grass at that point or a second batch of clover and seed a new lawn next year. Clover is also very good to get rid of grubs (which eat grass roots for lunch).

I will post a few pictures of the lawn as it develops. The germination time for the clover is 3-10 days depending on the amount of water the seeds get.

May is Project Month

I am starting a new initiative this month. I want to complete many little projects that have been lying around for a while. I will blog about technical issues on this blog and about fun, cool stuff on my other one. Stay tuned to either one for daily updates.

Fun blog: Fortress of Fun
Technical blog: ConsultSKC

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Updating your FLEXlm installation / Mise à jour de votre FLEXlm

Hello all,

With the arrival of the latest AutoCAD comes a new version of FLEXlm. The new 11.9 version replaces the 11.7 version that came with the 2011 products. You can upgrade your server with either of these methods:

Method 1

1- Stop all FLEXlm-based services on your licensing server.
2- Uninstall the current version.
3- Install the new version from the DVD or downloaded media. (You will have to use the appropriate x86 or x64 version for your server).
4- Start your FLEXlm-based  services

Method 2

1- Install the new version from the DVD or downloaded media on a dummy computer. (You will have to use the appropriate x86 or x64 version for your dummy machine).
2- Copy the following files to a shared folder on your server:
        a) C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager\adskflex.exe
        b) C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager\lmgrd.exe
        c) C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager\lmtools.exe
        d) C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager\lmutil.exe
3- Go to your licensing server and stop all FLEXlm-based services.
4- Make a copy of your Autodesk Network Licensing Manager folder.
5- Copy the new versions of the 4 files over the existing ones.
6- Start the FLEXlm-based services.

Since I had to update 4 different servers, the second method worked best for me. If you have only 1, then method 1 will go fastest. In all cases, you can do this in the middle of the day since the actual updating takes less than 60 seconds. Your users will never notice the difference.

Good luck!

Bonjour à tous,

La procédure ci-haut explique les 2 méthodes à suivre pour mettre à jour vos gestionnaires de licences pour les produits Autodesk. La version actuelle de FLEXlm 11.7 est remplacée par la version 11.9. Si vous des questions sur la procédure en anglais, laissez un commentaire et je vais ajouter de l'info en français pour vous aider.

Bonne chance!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2012 Products Available - Produits 2012 Disponibles

As of the 23rd of March, the following products are available for download for subscription customers:
  • AutoCAD 2012 Multilingual
  • AutoCAD LT 2012 Multilingual
  • AutoCAD Architecture 2012 English
  • AutoCAD MEP 2012 English

More should be available in the next few weeks including additional languages.

Depuis le 23 mars, les produits suivants sont disponibles pour les clients avec un contrat de souscription:

  • AutoCAD 2012 Multilingual
  • AutoCAD LT 2012 Multilingual
  • AutoCAD Architecture 2012 English
  • AutoCAD MEP 2012 English

D'autres versions seront disponibles dans les semaines à venir incluant des langues supplémentaires.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Portable Applications - Part 3

Here is another portable app that I am enamored with: GreenShot. For years, I used Gadwin PrintScreen as a screen capture tool. Version 4.3 was great but the 4.4 was buggy and did not work on Vista (for me that is). I then moved on to FastStone Capture with I discussed last year in a post. Thanks to my friend Marc, I have found GreenShot and it is perfect. It is portable or installable, works better than the others combined and it's FREE!!! Check it out here.

Voici un autre logiciel portable que j'adore: GreenShot. Depuis longtemps, j'ai utilisé Gadwin PrintScreen pour faire des captures d'écran. La version 4.3 était fantastique mais la 4.4 un peu moins (bogues et compatibilité). J'ai passé à FastStone Capture l'année dernière (discuté dans mon blogue). Merci à mon ami Marc pour m'avoir dirigé vers Greenshot et ce logiciel est parfait. Il est portable ou installable, fonctionne mieux que les autres ensembles et il est GRATUIT!!! Téléchargez-le ici.

Friday, January 28, 2011

AutoCAD API error when adding text to a drawing Part 2

Well, the answer to yesterday's question was Test2. In order to avoid the layout locking problem (which I don't know why I had it in the first place), AutoCAD must load the form in memory. The downside to this is that I can no longer set my form to appear in the center of the AutoCAD session. I have to find a more elegant way that to move the form into position manually.

On to bigger problems for now...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

AutoCAD API error when adding text to a drawing

I have been working on a C# program that will ask the user for an insertion point and an angle before adding a simple DTEXT object to the drawing. I have encountered a problem that I have never seen before.

After the text was added to the drawing, in ModelSpace or PaperSpace, I could no longer change the active layout. The workaround was to do a REGEN and all returned to normal. I have spoken to Autodesk about this and it might be an issue with French versions of AutoCAD (I tested with 2008, 2009 and 2010 French).

To avoid the problem, the way I called my dialog box had to be changed. A command-line version of my program does not have the problem at all so it was probably related to the dialog box anyway. Here are the 3 different ways I can call my form:

Can you guess which one does work properly? I will post the answer tomorrow and will try it out on my English versions of AutoCAD for good measure as well.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

AutoCAD performance problems on Windows 7 / Problèmes de performance avec AutoCAD sur Windows 7

A customer contacted me about a performance problem on 64-bit versions of AutoCAD running on Windows 7. The problems were related to dimensions and layers when the Properties or Layer Properties Manager was permanently docked. I spoke to Autodesk about this and here is their official recommendation:

Turn off Windows Aero themes and use the Windows 7 Basic theme instead.

It would seem that the Aero theme causes AutoCAD to refresh palette data too much for comfort.

Here is a screenshot of the theme to choose.

Un client m'a contacté concernant un problème de performance avec AutoCAD sur Windows 7 64-bit. Les problèmes étaient reliés aux dimensions et aux calques lorsque les palettes des Propriétés et le Gestionnaire des Propriétés des Calques étaient accrochées et toujours ouverts. J'ai parlé à Autodesk et voici leur recommandation officielle:

N'utilisez pas les thèmes Aero de Windows 7. Utilisez le thème Windows 7 Basic.

Il semblerait que la technologie Aero cause un rafraichissement des données dans AutoCAD beaucoup plus élevé causant des délais et des problèmes de performance.

Ci-dessus, il y a une image avec le choix du thème Basic.