February 24, 2011

AutoCAD VBA/VB6 to .NET Similar Function Comparison

Filed under: AutoCAD,Development — Tags: , — Darrin Maidlow @ 11:53 am

I’ve been working on supporting the team doing the VB6 code migration to .NET the past few weeks.   This code is many years worth of COM based AutoCAD development.   Came across this that will give you a good head start in the right direction on which functions are the new equivalents in .NET of the old VBA/COM  calls.

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February 21, 2011

1337 System Idle Process

Filed under: General — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 2:14 pm

Came across this by chance today on one of our servers =)

1337 uptime

Usage based billing vs. Text Messaging

Filed under: General — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 12:48 pm

Text messaging pricing has always annoyed me.  Given the recent craziness around the I wondered how the proposed rates of UBB stacked up against what we’re charged for text messages.  Here is some figuring based on some maths I pilfered and simplified from on .

1 text message is capped at 140 characters (140 Byte) – Cost per text ~0.25$

Cost per byte (in dollars) of text message: (0.25/140) == 0.0017857142857142857142857142857143

Now some math around internet usage and UBB -assuming one of the proposed usage based billing rates of 1$/GB

1GB = 1,073,741,824bytes

Cost per byte (in dollars) at 1$/GB  = 0.000000000931322574615478515625

UBB cost for the equivalent of one text message= 140 x (1/1,073,741,824) = 0.0000001303851604461669921875

So I guess we should be thankful that the proposed UBB rates were lower than text message rates, 13695 times lower – (thanks for the maths there ])

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February 16, 2011

Creating a custom notepad for use with FullCircle SmartInk

Filed under: General — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 4:41 pm

I’m in love with …  I’m using it for just about everything I write on paper.   Initially I started laying down ink purely as a testing exercise for SmartInk – but now I’m finding more and more uses for the pages that are getting saved up into the cloud.

One thing that I decided would help me would be to create a pre-printed notepad so I was not having to constantly print out new pages to write on.  I decided to build out a nice little Microsoft Word “template” that could be printed off en-mass in using SmartInk.  And well, sharing is caring.  So here it is!

Creating this template was pretty simple.  I fired up word and started a new blank.  I added a stock header and footer.  Slapped in the SmartInk logo and typed in a title.  Added a footer and that was it.  All you SmartInk users may to download this template and modify it to have your own corporate logo or company name – feel free to do so.  You could even go so far as to hire a designer or work with your corporate marketing department to build you out a custom design.   If your organization has an existing corporate letterhead template you can simply load this up in word and print off a blank page using the SmartInk print driver.

Last step is to bind the pages.  You can go as simply or as crazy as you like!  The easiest option here would be to use a 3 ring binder and simply use the standard hole punch.  Optionally you could also invest in a or some binding glue (rubber cement).  More details on here.  One last thing to look into, though this might be the most expensive would be to have a printing company bind the pages for you.  You could get some seriously cool notepads done with this method – hard cover, embossed corporate logos, etc.  Just remember though that the printing needs to be done on using the SmartInk printing driver.

I’ve attached a zip file to this post that contains a Microsoft Word docx file that can simply be printed out using the SmartInk printer driver.

If you have any suggestions on how to make this template better I’d love to hear from you.  Please comment here, or head over to the and post a topic there  It’s funny – I’ve been using Microsoft word forever – at least since – but I’ve barely scratched the surface of its functionality =)

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February 14, 2011

Debugging Visual Lisp and ObjectARX.NET Together

Filed under: AutoCAD,Development — Tags: , , — Darrin Maidlow @ 12:22 pm

I encountered the following error when trying to debug a new ObjectARX .NET assembly using loaderlockwasdetected

Attempting managed execution inside OS Loader lock. Do not attempt to run managed code inside a DllMain or image initialization function since doing so can cause the application to hang.

This error would occur 95% of the time and pretty much took out AutoCAD each time it happened.  Fortunately this can be disabled manageddebuggingeceptionspretty easily within Visual Studio (I’ve tried both VS 2008 and VS 2010).   In Visual Studio bring up the exceptions dialog from the Debug / Exceptions menu (or via the keyboard shortcut Cntrl D+E). 

Expand the “Managed Debugging Exceptions” section and uncheck “LoaderLock” in the “Thrown” column.  Next time you start AutoCAD from Visual Studio and load Visual Lisp you should no longer get this exception and you should be merrily debugging away.

February 4, 2011

InfoCenter hanging AutoCAD when debugging ObjectARX .NET code

Filed under: AutoCAD — Tags: — Darrin Maidlow @ 7:05 am

I’ve been having an annoying problem this week when starting AutoCAD Map 3D 2011 from C# to debug.  Each time AutoCAD starts it hangs on the communication center.  Until I kill the WSCommCtr2.exe task AutoCAD will not finish loading.  Disabling the communication center involves a quick registry change the following key value to 0:

   1: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R18.1\ACAD-9002-409\InfoCenter\InfoCenterOn 

You may see a different version (R18.1) or product id (ACAD-9002-409)  depending on which AutoCAD flavor you have installed.  Tweak that key and you should be good to go!

February 3, 2011

Hey Canada – Speak up against usage based billing (UBB)

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Darrin Maidlow @ 8:00 pm

I’ve been following this decision for quite some time.  Recently the petition against hit – and turned the head of even the Canadian ruler.   Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not against companies making a profit -  but come on.  Lowering bandwidth caps and charging between 1 and 15 dollars per gigabyte is gouging.

Keep pushing the CRTC to stop the meter on Internet use. If 400,000 could turn their heads, then 1,000,000 ought to bowl them over.

So please spread the word and sign

February 2, 2011

Too many languages – they’re melding together into one..

Filed under: Development — Tags: , — Darrin Maidlow @ 12:40 am
   1: (if (== (db_checktrouble) 1)
   2:     (princ "db_Checktrouble returned correct value")
   3:     (alert "db_checktrouble returned wrong value")
   4: )

Writing lisp based unit tests for ObjectARX code written in C# and its all melting together into one….Could this be a new Super Language…..nah…..

February 1, 2011

My House is For Sale – Edmonton Area

Filed under: General — Darrin Maidlow @ 1:43 pm

Hey everybody – Just a quick note we’ve just put our place up for sale.  If you or someone you know is looking for a place in the Edmonton area – check out on the MLS =)

Contact me with any questions you may have!

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