SW File Types At-A-Glance

Posted: October 16th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Solidworks | Comments Off on SW File Types At-A-Glance

My file conventions are always a bit in flux, but the one constant I’ve kept for several years now is this: For help with visually locating the drawing and assembly files in Windows Explorer, I put a “_D” and “_A” at the end of the file names. I know there are already icons and file type descriptions but for some reason this is much more effective for me.

Fini-Key Boards

Posted: October 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Solidworks | Comments Off on Fini-Key Boards

Apple keyboards are very finicky. I’ve just purchased my fourth one. The first two met untimely ends because of cat vomit. I have forgiven Apple this because of the obvious fact that cats are here to wreak havoc. But last week the third one died suddenly and unexpectedly while I was away from the computer. I have no idea why it stopped working (there were no liquids within a 12-foot radius), but the <esc> key and <F1> through <F7> stopped working. Because I use these very frequently, I was not able to keep using Solidworks with the Cupertino keyboard and was forced to use my backup keyboard, a black behemoth that shipped with my Dell. After only a few days, my left hand began to cramp up. Not only is the Dell keyboard way too high for my comfort, but the F-keys are placed too far away from the rest of the keyboard. So I headed over to my local big box store and bought myself a Magic Keyboard with Extended Keypad. In a way It seems foolish to purchase the same item over and over again, but the layout of the Apple keyboards is perfect for what I do. I like the layout of the new keyboard over my previous USB Apple Extended Keyboards – the <esc> key is bigger, and the F-keys are not smaller than the rest of the buttons. (I cannot over-stress how useful this is). The apple keyboard also has  more of the F-keys than any other keyboard I’ve seen, from <F1> through <F19>. This means more keys to use with custom keyboard layouts for my Solidworks workflow. I am looking around at some of the custom keypads made for gamers, but haven’t decided to get one yet.

So I’m happy again with my keyboard, Until it breaks again. This time though I purchased some insurance from the big box store so this time I don’t feel as foolish.

* For those wondering how I can use the apple keyboard effectively with a PC – I re-map my control keys using a shareware app called “Sharpkeys.” (I do this with my Dell keyboard as well – because who in their right mind put the control key so far away from the space bar?)

UPDATE: It is late 2019, and I am still using the same Apple Magic Keyboard I bought back in 2017, so I only have good things to say about Apple Keyboards now!

True Synchrony

Posted: January 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Solidworks, Work | Comments Off on True Synchrony


I use a PC every day. I also use a mac every day. My workhorse, the PC ( a Dell Precision T1650), is for CAD work – Solidworks, Rhino, AutoCad. The mac (a workhorse 2008 MacBook Pro with a great 17″ screen and a 500Gb SSD) is for pretty much everything else – emails, some web surfing, timekeeping, bookkeeping, image editing etc. Tying together these two computers and their files has been a slow evolution to a pretty great system which I thought I’d share:

Synergy – I’ve posted before about how I use the two computers with the same keyboard & mouse using Synergy – which is priceless. The seamless use of one keyboard/mouse for 2 computers is beyond awesome (I’ve even discovered that when I copy text in one computer, I can paste it into the other computers’s document – COOL!)
Dropbox – It seems old hat by now but when I started using Dropbox a few years ago it was a revolution for me – I could share all the files between computers without having to set up a finicky network between pc & mac. This is a pretty big deal since I like to use a mix of PC & mac applications to do various things while I do a project. While I’m working on the PC, Dropbox is making sure that I have everything also available on my other computer if I need it.
Time Machine – this is an Apple feature that saves backups every hour for the past 24 hours, and keeps daily & weekly versions thereafter. Time Machine is seamless – it is built into the operating system so you don’t even know it’s there until you need it. Since all my work files are on Dropbox – which is shared by both computers –  all of my CAD files are backed up on the mac’s Time Machine while I work. Since the mac is saving files while I’m working on the PC, there’s no noticeable lag (I have Acronis True Image for saving daily PC backup images, but I’ve found that if I set it for hourly backups it tends to slow down Solidworks). So if a Solidworks file gets corrupted (which happened the other day) I can easily go to the mac’s Time Machine to restore the previous hour’s files or folders that need to be restored. Dropbox will then make sure I have the files on my PC so I can get back to work!