Chapter 6 (or how did I learn AutoCAD?):
The short answer is with difficulties, to say the least! The long answer… well, that’s the story of this chapter. But before that let me ask you the same question? How did (or would) you learn AutoCAD (or any other software application for that matter)? Let me guess… you’ll use some sort of formal training, a class or a course? Maybe? But not likely?! OK, how about self-learning? You’ll find some resources online; you sign up to user groups or expert forums, you watch videos on software vendors’ websites or on YouTube, Vimeo, LinkedIn Learning (Lynda), etc. etc. and/or you use books or other printed matters. Well… how does it sound? Probably more likely?
Now going back to the main question, you’d probably ask how did I do it? You’ll probably guess well… the same way? Right? Wrong, I’m afraid! Remember, although technically post-Internet, in The Flintstone era (WARNING: This last link is so “cool”, don’t miss it!) I had the honour of spending (you read wasting) my youth in, there was not much of Internet; its accessibility was limited, it was very restricted and very expensive… and do NOT forget ‘dial-up connection’ and let’s just not forget that data transfer rates were just up to 56 Kbps; yes 56 Kbps, what is yours today? I don’t know. But mine is 1,000 Mbps (according to my provider) but when I checked while writing this article, my link speed (receive/transmit) was 866/866 Mbps, so although somewhat feeling disappointed I am, still considered highspeed my internet connection is (OK, OK A little bit of “Yoda Sentence Structure” this became!!!). You got the point.
So with internet being out of the window, my next option was a good book… but again C’mon, 1988 a country where the official language was NOT English… and where there were not many computer users (in its current sense at least) let alone CAD users or more specifically AutoCAD users! So with non-existence market for such “specialised” software, you wouldn’t expect too many publications including user manuals or Dummies’ Guides lying around. So I managed to get hold of a Xerox copy of an educational workbook which was far from perfect. So I needed a plan B… but hey I was a genius or so did I thought (sadly not anymore!) so I figured something else out… The magic solution was the cool guy with the Toshiba Laptop (See my previous post)!
Afterall he was the one who introduced me to AutoCAD… my walking bible or AutoCAD… so I did contact him and after several attempt to bribe him with presents, I had to resort to a more permanent and (for him) more appealing offer of paying him for private AutoCAD tutorials… painful as it was to spend my hard-earned money on learning something which I could have learnt by myself, I just had to… not because of me being lazy, unmotivated or lost, but because it was the only way forward… and it was not cheap either! But it was worth every penny.
The first thing the cool guy provided me with was a Xerox copy of an ancient AutoCAD User Manual by Autodesk (or McGraw-Hill) and setting me a task to read a chapter for our next session where he would be demonstrating how the things I have read, would work on his cool Toshiba Laptop… and one thing he said to me, as a word of cool friendly advice was… “Don’t be an smart ass… don’t even think about jumping over the sections on (object) “snaps”” he said; what, I am sure you would know in modern day AutoCAD looks like this; but in AutoCAD V2.6… don’t even ask… it was a laborious task to do and a section very tempting to jump over and go to more exciting things… “I made the same mistake myself, and I paid the price…” said the cool guy…
OK, OK… don’t get excited and don’t expect him to have lost a left arm or a right leg like in a Spaghetti Western… “I made a fool of myself and my first professional commission as a draughtsman was a disaster” he said. “every time I wanted to draw a line starting at the end of my previous line… I zoomed and zoomed and zoomed in… then tried to catch the end of that previous line and draw my next… guess what happened…” he said “…there were many lines not reaching each other and there was almost no pair of perpendicular lines in my entire drawing simply because I thought (object) snaps were not worth spending any time on and I did not have a clue about “Endpoint” or “Perpendicular” as object snaps when I did the entire of my first professional job… disaster!” he concluded… OK, after hearing his horror story and how much it had saved me, I felt for him and came to peace with myself to forgive him for his “cool” advice which involved the word “smart ***” (see above)… but then immediately came to think… “Have I hired the right instructor?” Well… my life was not an easy one as you can imagine… it was filled with dilemmas at the time and as far as I can see it does not look any better nowadays either!!!
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