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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Missing Menu Madness

One of my many complaints about about the CUI system introduced in AutoCAD 2006 is that it’s not very friendly to third party developers. In my opinion, it’s not very friendly to end users either, but I digress… One example of the unfriendly CUI is the case where a third party application installs a partial …

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