Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Going to Tech Camp 2008? I'm Jealous!

I'll be missing Tech Camp this year for the first time since Sheet Set Manager, but I figured I would still share my invaluable (or non-valuable) wisdom with you young whippersnapper AEs out there who will be storming the Hilton Anatole Dallas in a few weeks.

1. Everything from What I Learned at Tech Camp and Tech Camp Survival Guide still apply. Read those posts. Commit them to memory. Thank me later.

2. Join Hilton Honors. Last time I was at the Anatole, there was a special line for HH members. So leave your non-Civil3D Rocks reading chump friends in the long line, while you get VIP service. HH members also sometimes get free WIFI or other perks. Once, I even got a free bottle of water. If my HH membership wasn't split between two accounts (Dana Breig and Dana Probert. Dude, they just don't get it) I might have even gotten a free breakfast coupon. Jason says he sailed past a line that was at least 30 golf shirts deep in 2006.

3. Don't ride the elephants. There is a lot of really cool art at the Anatole. REALLY cool art. Like jade horses and stuff. They aren't for riding. Keep your butt on the semi-comfortable seats, no matter what tall Italians might try to talk you into.

4. Learn how to use your phone as a modem. Last few Tech Camps they've blocked WIFI in the training rooms. AS IF you didn't need to check your Facebook feed every hour. Seriously, who made these rules? You can TOTALLY pay attention while streaming last week's LOST. Last year, within 20 minutes of class beginning, at least 50 bluetooth devices showed up on my phone's radar, and you could see people struggling to get configured. Practice before you get there, and you won't miss a beat. Of course, if you are cool, you have an aircard. So get one of those instead so you can be cool, too.

5. The lobby is big and airy with lots of tables and chairs for working (if you are like me) or refreshment (if you are a normal person.) There is a nice Mexican place in the lobby with tasty margs, and a Sports Bar downstairs. Jason would like me to add, that it IS downstairs literally. You'll have to walk (or fall) down the stairs to find it. Two years ago, I sat in the lobby working while the "cool kids" were hanging out at the Mexican joint. I kept hoping that one of them would come over and say "Hi" and ask me to be their friend. Alas, they didn't. I swore I would find a way to become cool. I'm still looking for a way to be cool, but I have added a few gtalk contacts since then.

6. The floors are slippery- some kind of polished, textureless marble or similar. Avoid stiletto heels and/or those $0.99 flip flops that hydroplane on smooth floors.

7. If someone hands you a bandana and tells you that there will be SWAG giveways for wearing it "creatively", try to visualize yourself on youtube before you get too creative. Two years ago, I thought we were shoe-ins for the big prize. But then again, twenty minutes later couldn't figure out how to operate the locks in the ladies room.

Have some fun for me, won't you? And learn lots. Seriously, the world needs us all to learn as much as we can so that we can influence and improve design around the world.

And if you get a cool bag, mail it to me. I've become a collector.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm Teaching A Pre-Conference Workshop at the DE GIS Conference...

I'll be teaching a pre-conference workshop on Tuesday April 22, 2008 at the DE GIS Conference in Dover, DE. The Conference itself is on Wednesday, April 23, and is always a great program. I'll be attending the conference as well. If you hustle up and register by April 4, the conference is only $90, and add $20 for the pre-conference workshops. I'd say that's a STEAL, wouldn't you?

I'll be giving away two (2!) copies of Mastering AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008. So bring your business card!

GIS for Civil Engineers and Land Development Professionals in the CAD Environment (Dana Probert, Engineered Efficiency)
Tuesday, April 22, 2008 1:00pm - 4:00 pm

Learn more about the Pre-Conference Workshops here:


Read below for my agenda (which is also on the Workshops page)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blog Blog Blog It All, Blog It If It's Big or Small

A Budget Guide for Working Mothers

When a career woman is planning her first child, this is how she visualizes the her additional income being used.

After about six months back at work, this is where your income is really going.

More on this later. I've been reading too much indexed lately.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What should I submit for AU 2008?

I am having a bit of analysis paralysis over my submissions for AU 2008 and I'd like your help.

There is a poll in the left sidebar on Civil 3D Rocks where you can vote... or submit your ideas in comments on this post.

I'm retiring my Stormwater Management Ideas class after doing it twice. Here are links to the screencasts and papers for SWM 2006 and SWM 2007. I considered revamping it and including a bunch of information about integrating Civil 3D with Hydraflow tools, but I know I won't have enough time over the next 7 months to really dig into it and do it well. I have to contribute to two books, take the P.E. in October, and man, there is this whole cooking dinner and doing laundry thing that really cramps my style.

Two years ago I did a River Class that was OK. It had potential, and I could really take it to the next level this year with some of the new subassemblies, import/export tools and two more years of experience.

Of course, there was my Get Your Head Out of the Point Cloud class last year that was really fun, and with the new large surface weeding tools in Civil 3D 2009 it could be even better.

Of course, there is no guarantee that any class that I submit will be chosen.

Thanks for your help!

Monday, March 17, 2008

It Was A Construction Theme Party

A little boy in Panorama's class had a birthday party over the weekend with a construction theme. The morning of the party, I rushing around trying to prepare my office/guestroom for a visiting relative and also digging for some non-pink, non-princess wrapping paper. While rooting through the 40 tons of obsolete subdivision plans under my desk, I had a brainstorm.

I always like keeping a few rolls of old plans around for coloring. It is particularly fun to trace a toddler's whole body on the back of a Arch D sheet. The first time I took a boxful of dead plans to my cousin's house for her little kids, they approached me shyly and asked if they were allowed to color on the printed side. I was pretty amazed- the kids really like coloring in the neighborhood plats, profiles and even the Erosion Control Details. I like that I they are getting just a little bit familiar with my work, not to mention that instead of buying big sheets of new paper, they were reusing some paper that would be recycled. Win-win-win-fun.

So the brainstorm. Panorama colored a subdivision utility plan, and we wrapped the gift. I made Mr. Probert go out to the shed where I keep a few rolls of survey tape and some lath. I couldn't figure out how to incorporate the lath, but the survey tape made a heck of a bow.


The Finished Gift

Mr. Probert said that I was a big dork and that nobody would "get it" except me. He said the other moms would just think I am too cheap to buy wrapping paper and that I have horrible taste in ribbon. He was right, but it was fun anyway.



A Little Bit Weird Science, a Whole Lot of Fun

I've discovered this neat site where you can make mock up "gals" and send them to all of your friends. You can also make cute stickers, notepads, mugs, and more with your gal printed on them.

So on the left there is "me". The best part about Design-Her Gals is that you can make them look like you on your best day- or your worst day.

I'd write more about it, but I've developed a bit of an addiction, and I have about 10 more gals I'd like to make before lunch.

I've send e-cards to Lou, Kristin and Sarah. Maybe we can get a bit of a Meme going?

(If you want to use your Design-Her Gal on your blog, you must follow the directions here- otherwise it's a copyright violation. Follow the rules- and have fun!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Somebody in Salisbury is Just a Little Bit Smarter Thanks to Me

Today I woke up feeling a bit "ick" and needing one of those motivational kicks in the rear that I seem to need more and more now that I am knee deep in the struggle to balance work and family. I had a few hours of freedom thanks to a blessed young woman who comes to my house occasionally and keeps Prospector from rolling out the door and down to the highway, so I headed to town to find a quiet corner with some coffee and WIFI.

On the way, I passed a Barnes and Noble, and I thought- "What better way to inspire my writing muse than to see my book on the shelf?", so I pulled into the parking lot and strolled over to the computer books. My stomach butterflies fluttered and my HTC Touch was in camera mode ready to take the picture of Mastering AutoCAD Civil 3D 2008 on the shelf...

It wasn't there. My intial reaction was disappointment, but I remembered the story of the little girl shoveling manure.... there's gotta be a pony in here somewhere.

I can only assume they've had a hard time keeping it in stock, which explains the hushed whispers and sideways glances that I noticed when I walked in the door. I had thought that people were commenting on my pajamas, unbrushed hair and watery eyes, but really, I think they were like "Dude, That's Dana PROBERT, a local author and colorful figure. Writers are so eccentric. Where can I get baggy sweatpants JUST like that?"

I did make it to Starbucks, but I will be moving over to the Popeye's next door as soon as I finish my mocha. While it doesn't have the rich aroma of trendy sophistication, Popeye's has something more important. Popeyes has free WIFI.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Now I Just Want the Seller to Make Some Cash

Thank you to the mystery ebayer who posted my beloved bag today. Alas, my maximum bid was exceeded, and I am out of the game. So now, I just want my good friend to get as much as s/he can for the best bag ever made.

Go get yours:

TechCamp 2007 Messenger Bag on eBay

And I saw some redbuds, too.

Sometimes words aren't enough to express the joys of spring.

*sent from my mobile device*

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wanted: Your TechCamp Bag

Dear Americas Channel Applications Specialists:

I love this bag.

TechCamp Bag

It was a give away at TechCamp 2007. You know you don't use yours.

I had stuffed mine away in the giant pile of conference bags myself until right before AU. I pulled it out because my old laptop bag had a hole in it and I was too cheap to buy a new one. I wound up LOVING this bag so much that I almost married it.

Now, I have decided that I like it not only as a laptop bag, but as a diaper bag. Since it is annoying to remove my laptop, multicolored pens and HB every single time I want to take Prospector to watch heavy construction machinery (This is a loader. Can you say Low-der?), I would like another one.

You know you have one.

I never ask you for anything. Send it to me. If you don't have my mailing address, email me at civil3diva at gmail and I will give it to you. Unless you are scary. Then I will give you Jason's address.



When Making Room For the Next Generation, Don't Abandon Those That Have Served You Well

I was up at my parents' house a few weeks ago. They had just switched from cable to FiOS. The friendly FiOS people installed a new and nifty wireless network. My brother once described my parents' house as a luxury hotel, only with better food and bigger portions. Now, it is a luxury hotel with free WIFI. I am not sure they have a points or rewards program, but each visit comes with a complementary round of The Third Degree, Prairie Home Companion served up at a DEAFENING volume, and if you are lucky enough to be there on a Monday night- popcorn and Dancing with the Stars.

I went down to the basement to read the wireless key, and saw what the FiOS man had cast aside- an old router, tons of network cable, coax, power cords, and a few other things that I couldn't identify, but I KNOW I need.

FIOS Roadkill

I had neglected to mention in my previous post regarding The Tech Bucket of Stuff that siblings over the age of 25 that are currently residing in your parents' basement get first dibs on any of their spare bits. Lucky for me, my brother had so much superfluous network cable that he had it strung up across the rafters and was using it to hang his shirts and pre-tied ties.

I thanked my parents by taking out the garbage, cleaning my room, and promising that I wouldn't go out into public wearing that shirt.