Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This past week I've been staring into the face of Doom. The expiration of my 14-month student AutoCAD 2008 license was looming up before me; yea and verily, an on-screen notice a couple days ago gave me to understand that at the stroke of the midnight just past my program would fold up like Cinderella's coach-and-four and I'd have no more access to the drawings I've been doing on my house.

So all day and all evening today-- yesterday the 16th-- I've been drawing and drawing and printing things out and saving things as pdfs and using this cute little app I have called FastStone Capture to get screenshots of all my plans and elevations.

So at 11:54 PM, I was thinking, Oh-oh, I never did a printable layout of my overall site plan-- I'll do it really quick. But first I had to go into model space and move all the drawings that were cluttering the site plan up [Brief explanation-- in AutoCAD, "model space" is the window where you do the actual drawing. It's like having a drafting board that goes off into infinity in all directions, and you draw on it full-size, as in 1" = 1". It's on the layout tabs that you scale things for printing.]

All right, I got my site plan decluttered. I created and named a new layout tab for it, but when I opened the viewport, nothing was there! I tried zooming in and out to find it, but all I had was white space and the X-Y axis marker! Huh?! Is this what happens when your license runs out while the program is open? Everything on your layouts disappears?

No fair! It's only 11:57!

Uh, no, checked the caller ID on the phone. 12:01 AM. Oh.

Nothing I can do about it now. So I opened my documents file and checked the pdfs and jpgs I'd stored. Pretty good job of getting them all filed away . . . then I switched back to AutoCAD.

Hmm, funny. I could still open model space. And draw in it. And look, some of the layout tabs were showing just what they ought to. Does the program close down piece by piece, bit by bit?

Short answer, no. Turns out it's my own fault I can't see most of my drawings-- they got disassociated from their layout pages when I moved all those plans and elevations in model space.

I was trying to get them back where they belonged when I suffered a Fatal Error and had to close the program.

Yes, it opened again. And the on-screen notice said my license expires tomorrow. Meaning today, but long enough for me to stop cranking and get some sleep. I'm not turning into a pumpkin quite yet.

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