Coffee or Career?

If you are looking for more than just a job and want to start a career then read on.

For less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee, you can learn the basic skills you need to get started on a career in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM). While CAD has been around for quite a while, BIM is now just starting to gain real traction in the architectural and engineering industries. A quick search of returns a long list of open positions that require CAD and BIM skills. is an online eLearning website which offers dozens of courses on three of the most popular CAD/BIM software applications. You get access to video lessons, hands-on exercise workbooks and the same data files the instructors use, allowing you to work through the courses at your own pace, pausing, rewinding and jumping ahead as needed.

Subscription to the site lets you learn not just one application, but three! With skills in AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit and Civil 3D,  you are more marketable as a technician and have more opportunities available to you. Users of these products typically work at architecture, engineering, manufacturing, and other design firms. Entry level salaries vary by location, but average around $18-$20/hour.

Subscribers to get access to all content for all software applications for only $74.95 for the first month and $14.95 for each subsequent month. There are no contracts and no long term commitments. You can cancel whenever you want. However, since the videos are searchable and contain so much valuable information, its likely you’ll want to keep this resources at your fingertips, even after you start your new career.

So, for about the cost of a cup of coffee each day for the first month and about the cost of a single decent lunch for each month after the first, you could be well on your way to a new career. Subscribe now at and start learning.

Do really need all that caffeine anyway?

P.S.  If you’re a student, there’s an added bonus. You can get free versions of Autodesk software from their Student Center

Engineered Efficiency’s AECMentor waives sign-up fee for Black Friday only

Chicago, November 2011 – Engineered Efficiency announced today a special “Black Friday” offer good only on November 25, 2011 for their CAD/BIM eLearning site Subscribers who sign up on that day can register for only $14.95 using coupon code: LearnNow. That is a savings of $135 off the regular first month fee of $149.95. offers courses and reference material for Autodesk products including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Civil 3D and Autodesk Revit. The ever-expanding library of courses includes hands-on training video lessons, step-by-step printable workbooks, datasets, and self-tests. Subscribers can learn any time with 24/7 access on introductory to advanced level courses. All new courses include fully searchable transcripts, making it easy for users to find and jump to specific information. Users can watch and learn at their own pace, playing, pausing and rewinding as needed. This makes the content an indispensable ongoing reference tool. offers full-length hands on courses as well as short courses on very specific topics. Full length courses include workbooks and the same datasets used by the instructors, allowing learners to perform the tasks hands-on for themselves. Subscriptions are less than $15/month and plus an activation fee which includes the first month’s subscription fee. There are no long term commitments or contracts and users can cancel at any time. On November 25, 2011, individuals can subscribe at using the special coupon code LearnNow to get the activation fee waived and start learning for only $14.95.

Click the banner in the upper right and sign up using the coupon code: LearnNow

Deploying Infrastructure Design Suite – Part 2

Although it applies to any installation package, not just IDS, the next really useful skill I’ve picked up is performing a silent uninstall.  In the case of my deployment, I would like to uninstall certain applications if they exist (Civil 3D 2010, LDT 2009 Companion, and Raster Design 2010).  Figuring out the right command with the right switches to uninstall a specific program has historically been very challenging, until I met my new best friend  Here you can take advantage of the kind folks who provided uninstall codes for lots and lots of different applications.  There’s no guarantee you’ll get the right one the first time but at least it narrows it down.  For example, I searched Raster Design 2010 and got this:

There are two codes listed here and lucky me!…the first one worked.  I had to doctor it up a bit by adding a /x and /quiet switches and also an IF statement that checked for a file to see if RD was even installed.  After that, I just added this line to the beginning of my batch file and Raster Design be gone!

IF Exist "C:\Program Files (x86)\AutoCAD Raster Design 2010\acgiclipengine18.dll" Call MsiExec.exe /x{9E92FE3D-E224-0409-0002-69EA414E8E51} /quiet

Got a more eloquent way to silently uninstall program X, please share!

Deploying Infrastructure Design Suite – Part 1

Over the next few days I’m going to be building and testing a deployment for the Infrastructure Design Suite for about 150 users.  Already I’ve run into some interesting revelations so I thought I’d chronicle my experience to hopefully save those who go after me some time and headaches.
First big lesson: When you choose to include Civil 3D, Map, and AutoCAD in your deployment you get three complete installations.
That’s right folks.  It’s not three separate AutoCAD profiles like you’d expect (or at least I did), you get three complete installations.  I haven’t decided yet whether this is a good thing or a bad thing but I do know it’s going to make me rethink my deployment strategy.
Within every installer is a "staller" (couldn’t resist that play on words)
Another really helpful thing I’ve learned deals with batching your Civil 3D installation along with other stuff.  In the past, when I tried to call the Civil 3D installation then something after it, the next thing would execute before Civil 3D finished and there would be a big mess.  Thanks to this post from The CADMasters blog I was able to put a stall function in my batch file that would force the batch file to wait until Civil 3D was done.  I had to tweak it a bit to get it to work, here’s the resulting "staller" piece of the batch file:
set tempfile=c:\windows\temp\tmp.txt
REM **********Wait until Previous install is finished before calling next install************
PING -n 1 -w 10000 >NUL
del %tempfile%
tasklist > %tempfile%
type c:\windows\temp\tmp.txt |find /i "setup.exe"
if errorlevel 0 if not errorlevel 1 goto IsRunning
See you when I post Part 2!

EE Opens SSA Course Registration

Engineered Efficiency, Inc. (EE) announced the release of its exclusive Autodesk Storm & Sanitary Analysis (SSA) course to be held online June 22-23, 2011. Registration is now open and space is limited to 25 registrants. Full course details and registration information can be found at

Autodesk SSA is a comprehensive H&H application extension that is available at no extra charge to all owners of Civil 3D and Map 3D on active subscription. It is likely that once users learn how to use it, they will no longer need third party applications, such as Haestad StormCAD, SewerCAD and PondPack.

The course is presented live online over a 2-day period and includes live lectures, demonstration, hands-on exercises and downloadable courseware (PDF). It covers everything one needs to know to use SSA on their next H&H project. What makes this delivery method such an excellent value is that with the purchase of a single login, EE does not restrict the number of users at a single office location that can attend the event!

While only one computer is allowed to login, many of our past customers have held training events in their conference or training room. The presentation computer is logged into the event and the presentation projected on a screen. Attendees in the training room each participate in the class and perform the hands on exercises at an individual workstation.

If schedule conflicts prevent attendance at the live session, EE offers an alternate delivery option whereby users select their own learning dates. A user (or organization) chooses the 2 days on which they want access to a recorded version of the class (including hands-on exercises, datasets and courseware) plus a 30 minute live Q&A session with the instructor.

Learn more and register at . Email or call 630.773.8724 x 26 with questions.

Pre-Order EE ProPack CAD Manager 2011 and Save 80%

For a limited time only, you can pre-order EE ProPack CAD Manager 2011 for only $95. This price is good until the official release later this year. After the release, the price per license will go up to $225.

Quote Request Form

The pre-order grants you rights to the 2012 version upon its release next summer for no additional charge. You’re getting access to two versions for the price of one at a huge discount.

Key Features

  • 64- and 32-bit versions are both included with each license
  • Import all Styles and associated blocks, layers, etc. from an existing DWT or DWG.
  • Import individual styles/settings or pick and choose to import many at once.
  • Import Command Settings for all Styles, including Default Styles and Ambient Settings.

Quote Request Form

Sneak Peek at Civil 3D Upcoming Extensions…

Here’s a rundown of some of the new things Autodesk is working on for the upcoming Subscription Advantage Pack release for releases of Civil 3D. I’ve listed the tools/features based on product. Since C3D is built on AutoCAD and contains all Map 3D functionality too, you not only get the SAP tools for C3D, but those from ACAD and Map3D as well.


  1. AutoCAD WS Plugin for AutoCAD Software: WS Plugin lets you open your dwgs from any device from the Cloud
  2. DWG Conversion Tool
  3. IGES Import/Export allows you to share 3D data with clients


  1. FDO Provider for ArcGIS: Access more data from ArcGIS Geodatabases
  2. Work with feature classes and schemas
  3. Data provider can control level of access

Civil 3D: All SAP tools are available from the Toolbox tab on the Toolspace

  1. Point Import Tool: Parse data before its imported so you can choose the correct format before import.


  2. Style Management: Import Styles and Import Command Settings. Brings in ALL styles and settings. Download free EE CAD Mgr for a more refined tool for importing individual styles/settings
  3. Coordinate Geometry Editor:  Creates reports based on existing geometry. Provides a space for you to import a legal description


  4. DGN Import/Export Option Improved: Let’s you map layers, line types and line weights on import and export
  5. image


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