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Kevin C

Setting up the office for remote working (and sharing) - Help

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Looking for some help please.

 

My practice is probably is the same situation as most others at the moment.  We had to scrabble around to get everyone set up for working from home with regards to hardware and basic software issues.  The lockdown looks as if it is going to be going on for at least a few weeks, if not months (please no), and the 'haphazzard' office setup really has to be sorted out as things are starting to get messy (file structure, multiple copies of files etc.).

 

There are a couple of things which we will not be doing - most notably is project sharing.  This is of little or no use to a small practice (there are four of us) and we collaborate just fine with external consultants just fine - they all use AutoCAD or Revit, and does not get over the bigger problems of office libraries and standards, which are continually reset every time there is an update to VW.  

 

What we need is the following:

 

  1. A setup that allows each user to have their user preferences set.
  2. A set of office templates and libraries that is fully accessible by each member of the team (Title blocks as well)
  3. An ability to remove the libraries from the local machines and force everyone to use the office standards.

 

This has been a goal in the practice for a number of years and have never managed to get it to work as we could just shout across the office when a change happened - this is much more important now than ever before as we can no longer do this. I can recall when I was using AutoCAD many years ago (around AutoCAD V12), that it was a simple task to change the preferences folder so that it would only read network files for certain items.  We all have access to OneDrive for Business, so the network folders can be cloned to local folders and everyone should theoretically be able to work100% remotely and when we get back to the office - it would be a simple change to go back to reading from the network.

 

What would be nice moving forward is when service packs and new releases come out that an option to simply download a custom setup along the lines:

 

  • Download all the templates and libraries separately and give the option of saving them to a separate location (instead of the hard drive)
  • Download and install the program as a standalone (with the current user data migration kept). We should be able to direct the installation to a network (or cloud sharing / local) folder so that the templates and libraries will be the same on each computer in the office.

 

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

 

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1 hour ago, Kevin C said:

 

  1. A setup that allows each user to have their user preferences set.
  2. A set of office templates and libraries that is fully accessible by each member of the team (Title blocks as well)
  3. An ability to remove the libraries from the local machines and force everyone to use the office standards.

 

If you're all on Macs then Apple Remote Desktop might be the most straightforward way to deal with 1 and 3. And a Workgroup folder on OneDrive for 2.

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1 & 2 straightforward - put your drawings standards on your preferred cloud based system, not sure 3 is possible.

 

someone needs to be in charge of 2 so libraries can be updated for all.

Screenshot 2020-04-03 at 13.08.08.jpg

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We're on a combination of Mac and PC.

 

Thanks Christian, but I don't think you understood the call for help. Apple Remote Desktop is useless.  This is going on the assumption that we have been able to set this up previously.  I have asked many, many, many people about this before and unfortunately everyone comes up with 'Workgroup folders'.  Funnily enough I have never had a workgroup folder appear on the resource manager, no matter how many different ways it has been set up, that's where the problem lies.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, fabrica said:

1 & 2 straightforward - put your drawings standards on your preferred cloud based system

 

My experience of doing item 1 on Dropbox was not good. The problem is the log file is continually updating and so everybody's log file changes clog up the syncing queue. 

Edited by Christiaan

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Fabrica,

 

Tried this - doesn't seem to work.  Rebooted the machines and VW just doesn't want to find the folders.  There will be a silly setting somewhere that directs everything to a local folder irrespective of user folders.

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Christiaan,

 

Not using dropbox - know about that problem, that's why we are using OneDrive (also helps that as a business user I get 1TB of online storage) and I can choose when to sync from local to Network

 

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5 minutes ago, Kevin C said:

Apple Remote Desktop is useless.  This is going on the assumption that we have been able to set this up previously.  I have asked many, many, many people about this before and unfortunately everyone comes up with 'Workgroup folders'.  Funnily enough I have never had a workgroup folder appear on the resource manager, no matter how many different ways it has been set up, that's where the problem lies.

 

The only way I know of to do item 1 is to manipulate each users preferences folder, and the only efficient way I know of doing that remotely is Apple Remote Desktop. I haven't used OneDrive, so maybe that could work.

 

You don't need Apple Remote Desktop to use a workgroup folder on OneDrive (item 2). You just need OneDrive.

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Going to try again, but I'm not holding out much hope.  Thanks for your thoughts.

 

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4 minutes ago, Kevin C said:

I can choose when to sync from local to Network

 

That would necessarily require extremely good communication, to know when others are working on files.

 

We find Dropbox + Project Sharing works very well. Communication is only needed when working on large files together.

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Just now, Christiaan said:

That would necessarily require extremely good communication, to know when others are working on files.

 

Not really - Just set up the syncing to happen in the middle of the night. OneDrive has a set of conflict rules, so any sync conflicts are highlighted and are manually resolved. Shouldn't happen that often as this is for libraries and templates and if it does - I am judge, jury and executioner.

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2 minutes ago, Christiaan said:

 

That would necessarily require extremely good communication, to know when others are working on files.

 Having a whatsapp group for this purpose seems to work quite well!

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@Kevin C it should appear on your resources as below - just make sure all icons ticked on top bar at red line? - you will have to set up the files first also.

 

My understanding is that 1 is for each user and is not shared online - ie. each user can set up their own preferences and hot keys etc to suit. ,

 

2 - templates, title sheets, wall styles etc are in a shared 'office' vectorworks file on your cloud. 

 

Screenshot 2020-04-03 at 13.20.02.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Kevin C said:

 

Not really - Just set up the syncing to happen in the middle of the night. OneDrive has a set of conflict rules, so any sync conflicts are highlighted and are manually resolved. Shouldn't happen that often as this is for libraries and templates and if it does - I am judge, jury and executioner.

 

We couldn't work like that as we can often have multiple people working on a file. We let Project Sharing be the judge jury and executioner. Microsoft Office apps also play nicely with Dropbox, so you can see if somebody is viewing or editing a file.

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This is an interesting read. If the lock down continues here in New Zealand for too long we will need to look at setting up file sharing on Dropbox or similar.

 

At the moment however what we are doing is working really well. We have left our office workstations running and are simply remoting into our office network. No significant change in workflow, all libraries and resources all fully accessible like they were before. We use ms teams for keeping in touch which is simple, allows video conferencing and screen sharing etc.

 

Hopefully it doesn’t get to the point where we have to abandon the office altogether. 

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18 minutes ago, Boh said:

Hopefully it doesn’t get to the point where we have to abandon the office altogether. 

 

We're thinking we'll do just that.

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