CAD Tech News (#27)

1 Oct, 2015 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Learning Curve: New Tricks for an Old DOS

Sometimes, you can do things with an old-fashioned DOS command prompt that Windows can't do at all.

By Bill Fane

It was a warm and sunny afternoon. Captain LearnCurve's son Trevor was visiting from Adelaide, Australia, where he and his wife Jenn are currently living. While driving the ski boat, Trevor captured a video of the Captain waterskiing that he subsequently posted to his FaceBook page.

Captain LearnCurve's son Trevor provided this caption: “Selfie with Dad. He's the one on the end of the rope. He's 72.”
Captain LearnCurve's son Trevor provided this caption: "Selfie with Dad. He's the one on the end of the rope. He's 72."

That's it! The topic for this article!


Old things performing cool tricks.

I say again, Huh?

For all the cool things that Windows can do (such as sucking up system resources, multitasking so minor programs can keep bugging you regularly to install the latest update when you're trying to do useful work with a major program, crashing at the worst possible time, and so on), there are times when an old-fashioned disk operating system (DOS) command prompt can perform better than Windows. In fact, as you'll see if you read on, there are things that can be done using the DOS prompt (also known as the system command prompt) that Windows can't do at all.

Here's an example: Suppose you're working on a very large project, which involves several thousand drawings in a multibranch folder structure that is several layers deep. Mixed in are several thousand Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and raster images in a variety of file formats.

Your boss comes out of her office to announce, "The client and I are going out for lunch. When we come back, he wants a copy of all the AutoCAD drawings for the project that are new or have been revised since a week ago Tuesday, maintaining the original folder structure. Oh, and be sure to include a printout of all the file names. Thanks." Most people's first reaction is that this could take hours, or even days! By the time they get their coats on, however, you meet them at the door with the printout and a USB flash drive containing the desired files. "Join us for lunch?" invites the surprised client.

Impossible? No, not if you use the system command prompt. Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.


▶ Herrera on Hardware: Virtual GPU Technology Gains Steam, Diversifies Options for CAD Computing

Nvidia dials up its commitment with the release of GRID 2.0, while AMD and Intel join the party with solutions of their own.

By Alex Herrera

As discussed in detail in a previous three-part Herrera on Hardware series, virtualized workstations are coming to the forefront in professional computing, presenting a compelling alternative to traditional deskside models. Virtual, server-hosted workstations offer solutions to many of the thorniest problems facing IT departments, including flexible access, security, and big data management.

Remote workstation technology, both physically hosted and virtually hosted, has played a minor role in graphics-intensive computing spaces. But to cross over as a mainstream solution that can both broadly serve, and appeal to, professional segments such as CAD demands one linchpin in particular: virtual GPU (vGPU) technology embedded in graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware. vGPU technology provides a level of performance, reliability, and compatibility that previous hosted, shared-graphics approaches could not.

These less-effective technologies include the pass-through GPU approach (also known as the dedicated approach), which can provide high performance and superior application compatibility and reliability, but by definition does not scale across users. Moreover, pass-through GPU in essence doesn't share physical GPU resources at all. Conversely, software-based GPU sharing can share resources across users, but has suffered from deficiencies in both performance and application compatibility.

vGPU technology promises the best of previous solutions: performance and compatibility that can scale with users. Graph incorporates images courtesy of Nvidia.
vGPU technology promises the best of previous solutions: performance and compatibility that can scale with users. Graph incorporates images courtesy of Nvidia.

Hardware-based vGPU technology, in contrast, allows a GPU to be shared across multiple CAD clients, for example, with maximum performance and reliability. Nvidia was the first to provide the technology, with its GRID vGPU supported in the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions of both Citrix and VMware.

But Nvidia won't be the only vGPU game in town much longer. Both Intel and AMD have jumped on the bandwagon this month, announcing their own takes on virtual GPU technology. It's no coincidence that Nvidia pitched new enhancements to its existing GRID vGPU technology at the same time. In the process, these events have conspired to further spur momentum in a computing technology that CAD IT professionals are well-advised to keep an eye on. Read more »

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Cadalyst Contributing Editor Alex Herrera is a consultant focusing on high-performance graphics and workstations.


Three Ways to Put a Frame around Your Text in AutoCAD
If you've ever needed to put a frame around your AutoCAD text objects, then you'll appreciate this quick tip from Autodesk Evangelist Lynn Allen who shows you three very different ways to accomplish that very goal — all with different advantages! Watch the video »

Add a Gable Roof to a Building in Revit Architecture
Quickly generate a roof with two sloped sides that meet at a peak. Watch the video »

Create Wall Footings in Revit Structure 2016
Learn about two types of footings — bearing and retaining — and how to place them. Watch the video »

First Look Review: Orbital Computers C1000
Quiet workstation provides good power without overclocking. Read more »

CAD Manager Column: Prevent Workload Overload with Project Prioritization Strategies
Make sure your priorities are structured around project completion. Read more »

CAD Manager's Toolbox: Task Management Spreadsheet
Sample spreadsheet helps you track your management tasks and create priority lists. Read more »


Simulation and Optimization of Electric Motor Noise
October 7, 2015
9 a.m. ET
This Siemens PLM Software webinar will provide insights in the complete simulation process to minimize noise and optimize sound quality in new electric machine designs, covering noise source modeling techniques, accurate structural FE modeling and analysis of the final acoustic signature. Read more »

Collaboration and Innovation in the Digital Age
October 7–8, 2015
Louisville, Kentucky
CIMdata's Social Product Development & Collaboration Knowledge Council will share real-world examples of how mature companies are inventing and adopting new collaborative partnership models for innovation and joint value creation. Read more »

11th Annual COMSOL Conference
October 7–9, 2015
Boston, Massachusetts
The COMSOL user conference focuses on advancing cross-discipline, simulation and application design via the company's multiphysics software. Read more »

ISW: Auditing your Revit Project with Ideate Explorer
October 8, 2015
11:30 a.m. PT
This Ideate webinar will take attendees through nine additional auditing processes to help keep Revit projects running smoothly. Read more »

Strata 3D CX ProSkills Class
October 14–16, 2015
Chicago, Illinois
This three-day course will provide an introduction to Strata 3D CX software for SDS modeling and animation as well as practical application and hands-on projects. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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