Wednesday, December 3, 2008

AU 2008: Class Day 1

Tuesday, December 2nd, at Autodesk University 2008.

This day was non-stop. Classes all morning and lots of networking throughout the evening. Tuesday's classes were outstanding and I made sure to stop by the registration center and fill out the survey on every class I attended.

For lunch I attended a subscription luncheon and we were treated to a discussion on the future of subscription services. It appears that the Autodesk subscription folks have been listening to "the people" and are trying to provide what we want. Autodesk will be providing product updates on a schedule more in keeping with other product lines such as Adobe. This means that we might be seeing product updates as often as quarterly depending on when the product is truly ready for the public. The subscription customers will be able to download and install these updates and enhancements before they are added to the following year's products that are released to the general public. This methodology has already been put into affect by offering three product enhancements for AutoCAD 2009 (AUGI wish list items, PDF attachment, and 3D printing). Unfortunately, these same enhancements were not offered for vertical products so I haven't been able to enjoy these new features. I have, however, found some enhancements for Civil 3D including the conditional subassembly. If you haven't been to the Autodesk subscription website lately, you really should give it a look. You might find something you like while you're there.

Between afternoon classes, I managed to schedule a Civil 3D Usability Test where I was able to meet Kate Russell with Autodesk and to see another Autodesk employee, Tarang Taunk, that I met during a Civil 3D Usability Test at AU last year. Kate and I have spoken on the phone several times, but we've never met in person. It's great to finally have a face to go with the voice.

During the session, I was given the opportunity to voice my opinions about certain aspects of the current and possible future software. It really made me feel that I had a voice in the future of the software. When I had completed the session, I was given a sticker to put on my badge. It says, "AutoCAD Civil 3D co-designer AEC Usability". There were also other benefits for participating in this study so if you get a chance, stop by the AEC Usability Center is located at Zeno room 4601 in the AEC Campus on the 4th floor. Even if you don't get to test something at AU this year, maybe you will get a call later in the year.

During the day, I posted a few status messages on my twitter account. During a class on conditional subassemblies being instructed by Nick Zeeban, I posted my location. One of the guys following my tweets, Josh Nelson, happened to be in the same room as me. We were able to meet and chat after the class.

Josh joined me at the AU blogger social where we spoke with Shaan Hurley before speeding off to the top secret preview of the "possible" future of Civil 3D. That room was filled with a who's who of Civil 3D. WOW! During the gathering, I was able to see some of the Autodesk employees that do the webcasts such as Dave and Dan. I also met Rob Todd, who is evidently very pleased with some of things I previously shared with him about the product. I can't wait to visit with Rob more in the future.

After all the oohs and aahs were done, I slipped down the hall to attend the DC CADD social. There I visited with many DC CADD employees including Gabe, Matt, Mark, Mike, and Kim.

Next I was off to the opening of the exhibition hall and dinner. What I didn't realize was that there were four different types of dinners being offered. I happened to get in the "Fajita" line. Not sure if that was considered the "American" or "Latin American" food line. Honestly, I'm not used to such "high end" food so it's hard to find anything that I'll eat at any of these meals.

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