Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Whetstone 12-12-2008

I don't think I am the only geek in the CAD universe who celebrates the new year on the day I return from Las Vegas. Everything we work on comes to its apex during AU. There hasn't been a year yet that I don't sit in McCarran and scribble down my "AU Resolutions". The first year it was "Submit a Proposal", then the next "Learn how to write a paper that doesn't suck" and of course "Wear more comfortable shoes".

In all seriousness, we have 361 days from one Autodesk University to the next. How are you going to take advantage of each day? Those days are going to go by whether you like it or not, and before you know it, we'll be right back here again.

If you spent one lunch hour per week watching an AU Class (crank it up to 2X speed to get through it in 45mins), you'd be able to experience 52 classes. If each one of them gave you one little idea, think of how far ahead you'll be. If you download the AU Online podcasts and listen to them while you drive to work, you can dig in even more. I know I will spend a lot of time watching and listening because the AU crush always leaves too little time for me to see as much class as I would like.

On that note, what do you do on your drive to work? Replace one commute time rock out session per week with a ULI podcast, a TED talk, or maybe an interesting audio book or language program. That's another 52 hours of ideas, insights and skill.

What if you spent an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon once a month flipping through Urban Land, Landscape Architecture, New Civil Engineer, CE News, ENR or another industry magazine to keep up with what is going on in the industry and feed your brain some new ideas?

In addition to learning more about graphic design, presentation skills, visualization and of course civil 3d civil 3d and civil 3d, I need to find my former physical self. I read an article this year about an Estee Lauder executive and mother of four who said Take Care of Yourself First: “You’re going to need energy for this juggle.” She was right and running around like a maniac in the month before AU and while in Vegas let me know that I need more endurance to keep up. Like learning Civil 3D or preparing for a presentation, physical fitness is an exercise in consistency over the long haul.

Here is some stuff I have on my list for this week:

1. Presentation Zen Webcast. You've heard me talk about Garr Reynolds before. While I didn't get a chance to implement all of his ideas, Presentation Zen helped me immensely this year, and I can't wait to learn more to become even more comfortable with my talks.

2. This month's Urban Land Magazine

3. Tons of Classes on AU Online. I'm beginning to bookmark my MUST WATCH AND READ list here.

4. An article called Water In Balance from this month's CE News. Salvatore Napolitano from Metcalf & Eddy /AECOM shows some ideas for using Civil 3D for floodplain modeling.

5. ENR's Continuing Education Center features tons of online readings and quizzes that you can use for continuing education credits and general learning fun. I'm checking out Pedestrian Friendly: Planting Trees and Celebrating Stormwater in Urban Areas and some of the other topics under sustainability and site infrastructure design.