Simplifying the problem: plain vanilla configuration

One of the stages in simplifying an AutoCAD software problem is to rule out (or in) third party add-ons as the cause. To do that, you’ll need a “plain vanilla” test bed configuration that consists of only the out-of-the-box components with no add-ons loaded. The best way to test in a plain vanilla AutoCAD configuration is to install it on a …

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Simplifying the problem: divide and conquer

When a customer reports a drawing-specific issue, the next stage in simplifying the problem is to eliminate all drawing content that has no bearing on the problem. Unless the drawing object that causes the problem is obvious and can be immediately ascertained, I use the divide-and-conquer method to zero in on the cause. To divide …

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Simplifying the problem: is it the drawing?

One type of support request that I occasionally receive from CADVault users goes something like “when I create a vault, AutoCAD crashes”. I’ve learned that problems like this are usually drawing-specific, so before going any further in simplifying the problem I ask the customer to check whether the problem occurs in an empty drawing. But there’s a trick to this. The problem is that …

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The art of simplifying the problem

One of the most important skills in resolving technical problems is not problem solving, but problem definition. Stripping a problem down to its essence often makes the solution obvious. I think this is generally true, but especially true in my experience with software tech support and tracking down software bugs. The first stage in problem simplification …

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