The Ghost of AutoCAD Past
Like the holiday
tale from Dickens, I am reminded that often I am visited by a
ghost... The ghost of "AutoCAD Past." In the Dickens tale,
this ghost was there to remind Scrooge of what he could have
been, but chose not to be. Business for Scrooge came
before friends, family and fun. I could launch off into a
conversation about how we need to keep things in perspective,
but that is not my point this time around. This time I
want to revisit and expand on a blog post that I did back in
Many of us have been using AutoCAD for a long time. I find that
many of the habits that I have acquired in the past are still
"haunting me" today. Sometimes these old habits
help and sometimes they hurt my productivity.
It might be that command line tool that I love and always
default to, because I cannot remember where the icon is located
or the toolbar that it is located on. It is the feeling of
handicap I get when I open ADT and find that none of my old
AutoCAD pulldowns have loaded. It is the strong desire that I
have to create a CUI for every old MNU that I have carried along
these many seasons.
This may be the
driving reason behind why Autodesk gave us the option of opening
AutoCAD 2007 in "Classic" mode rather than the new 3D Mode.
Or why some of the old dialog boxes are still around.
took the advantage of inattention; inclination was
sometimes too strong for reason... the contrary habits
must be broken, and good ones acquired and established,
before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform
rectitude of conduct." - The Autobiography of Benjamin
Franklin - Part II
He was just realizing that
sometimes old habits take over even when we "know" that there is
a better way. Even when you are trying to work in new
ways. The hands move as if on autopilot. Moving
toward the old tools and methods.
Am I being held back by my fondness for old tools? Is there a
better way of doing things that I have not embraced? Are my old
tools really that old?
I have been thinking about this for some time and have decided
that - YES - I am doing some things "the old fashioned way". But
there are also many items that I have jettisoned along the road.
Is there a problem with using old tools? Here are a few:
1. Old tools don't fully exploit the new interface.
I am typing in commands that have been converted to icons.
Icons may be faster.
2. Old tools won't create new entities like Dynamic Blocks,
Fields, etc. I am missing out on some of the new items in
the software because I am stuck in my old ruts.
3. Old tools are getting harder to maintain. If
I have old custom tools that I have created, I must verify that
they all work in a newer release.
4. Old tools use the new software in old ways.
Maybe the worst "ghost" of all. I am doing things the old
way and it actually takes longer and often does not really work.
5. Old tools may actually disappear. Autodesk
often takes away tools and variables and settings without giving
me any warning.
But wait, I am productive. I am
creating. I am working fast.
Is there a benefit in using "AutoCAD Past"?
1. The Old
tools still works fine. They get the job done.
They are still in "full vigor" as Dickens might have stated.
2. I don't have to think about which tool to use.
It is so natural for me to use the old stuff to get the job
done. It is a no brain-er.
3. I don't have to get retrained. All of the
old training that I took still works. No need to jam more
stuff into my head.
4. I am getting my job done fine without the new tools.
Ouch - it may be true, but it is very bad thinking.
Failing to move
ahead leaves you behind. Soon you will be
outdated. So stuck in the old tools that you have been
passed by. Technology has marched on and you have been
sitting on the curb watching the parade go by.
Be it old tools, old software or old methods. The CAD Manager
and CAD User has to think these issues through and define the
best and most productive environment possible. The most
effective methods become outdated as software moves ahead.
The best CAD Standard needs to be reviewed and updated.
I think that there are a lot of users out there that are happily
living in the past. How about you?