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Distance no object - time holds no dread.

Since the period when I added 13 countries in four years to my “new placed visited” map, my professional life has calmed down somewhat with respect to a frenetic pace of business travel.

Very recently I made my first intercontinental business trip for a while. To Germany. Germany has changed a little in the last decade since I visited. Some new sights around Frankfurt Airport. My rental car was a Hyundai – and Korean cars on the Autobahn were pretty rare ten years ago.

This is new - Germans ignoring official signs

During the week I was with a customer. A workshop with an advanced team of users. The principal themes of the work included transmitting the corporate know-how, and communicating well through a multi-national corporation those technical details of the Capital application which if you don’t watch out can seem like well-kept secrets rather than pieces of information to be used for everyone’s benefit.

Listen before you act. Good things happen. Pleasant surprises.

One of the hits of the week was this picture below. Some of the Capital users where I was visiting are seasoned professionals who have used Mentor Graphics’ LCable tool. These same users of Capital did not realize that strokes could be used  – mouse “gestures” as short-cuts to frequently used operations. 

Different strokes for Capital folks

 So here it is for everyone to admire and use. Click and hold down your mouse wheel button and drag the mouse dround the shape of the “stroke” and let go the mouse wheel.

Sharing the useful, the practical knowledge happens with an application like Capital in formal situations (like training courses) and in informal ways too. The transfers of knowledge which are most powerful are ones which are timely for people, when they fit like a key in a lock to the tasks which engineering users face. And face day in day out – because memory for functionality fades over time if not used.

That’s something which we at Mentor Graphics can quite easily overlook, because we use the features of this great product day after day after day. But often at our customers’ places of work, even very advanced users dip deeply into the depths of the tool perhaps once every month, sometimes even less than that.  So it is no surprise if there are some questions about basic functionality to address. It is an ongoing mission to make the functionality accessible, easily understood and thoroughly explained.

I speak some conversational German, and after some years of not using it, of course this too is knowledge which fades, so that I was less confident in speaking a few sentences at the start of the week than I was at the end. That’s normal. So goes it with our customers’ product knowledge.

 Getting away from the normal surroundings is refershing at least every once in a while if your get the chance. I’m very fortunate.


 On my way back to the airport I had time to go for a stroll around a town’s old streets.

We're not in Frankenmuth Michigan any more Toto.

Customers, LCable, Capital, Training

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About Paul Johnston

Paul JohnstonI help Mentor Graphics customers to be successful, accomplish a more rapid return on investment. My professonal focus is on the Capital product line. Customers need a good technical and commercial understanding when making software system purchasing and adopting decisions and in addressing issues through to best resolution. I am one of the team of experts Mentor employs to support the Capital worldwide. I was born just outside of Manchester England, am now resident in the metro Detroit area of Michigan USA. I have worked for Mentor Graphics for more than 15 years. Visit Paul Johnston's Blog

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