Lockheed Martin, with annual revenues of US$28 billion, is the majority shareholder of CalComp, the maker of digitizing tablets, scanner, and plotters for the CAD industry. Lockheed has tried several times over the last several years to sell CalComp but could not find a buyer. The news also affects the production of Summagraphics brand digitizing tablets, which CalComp had acquired in 1996.
CalComp was incorporated Sept. 17, 1958, and introduced the world's first drum plotter (the Model 565) in 1959. The legendary 1040-series pen plotter was introduced in 1984. In 1986, CalComp became a unit of Lockheed after the company purchased Sanders Associates. For a while, CalComp distributed IsiCAD software, now owned by FIT Systems. More recently, CalComp had announced the first digitizing tablet with a USB connection and multiple monitor support. CalComp said it expects "to cease shipments of its recently developed CrystalJet-based line of printers until current issues are resolved."
"We appreciate Lockheed Martin's long-term support of CalComp, but understand that our organization is not considered strategic to their primary business," said John Batterton, president and ceo. He said that Lockheed Martin indicated it will consider providing six months of funding to help CalComp with a non-bankruptcy shutdown of its operations, which will "likely lead to its liquidation and dissolution."
The concern for owners of CalComp and Summagraphics products is three-fold: (1) driver updates for new CAD software and operating systems; (2) maintenance and spare parts; and (3) plotter supplies, although this last item (paper and ink) can be provided by third-parties.
Meanwhile, Visio Corp is set to ship IntelliCAD 98D in mid-January.
SofTech is offering a deep discount to expand its market share for its CADRA software. Regularly US $3,995, the software is US$2,399 for orders placed on its new Internet ordering system at http://www.softech.com . When the order is for five units or more of CADRA software, or "replaces industry rival Autodesk Inc.'s AutoCAD seat, the unit price is $2,199 -- a 45% discount. The program is in place until the end of January. "It is our goal to make CADRA the standard design, drafting, and documentation product on the market and we see the Internet as a tremendous tool to help get us there,'' said Tim Weatherford, vp of sales.
A three-page SolidWorks ad currently running in CAD magazines tells AutoCAD users, "Unlike Mechanical Desktop, which was built on a 15-year-old 2D foundation, SolidWorks software was designed from the ground up as a 3D tool ... No wonder more than 22,000 users, including over 10,000 former AutoCAD users, have already made the move to SolidWorks." For more info, including how to get free AutoCAD migration tools, go to http://www.solidworks.com
I wonder if these offers from competitive CAD vendors are at all effective. I don't see CADRA becoming the standard in CAD in 30 days -- or ever. When SolidWorks says 10,000 AutoCAD users have switched, it is more likely that a SolidWorks sales team convinced upper managements to change their firms' CAD systems -- we're not talking grassroots rebellion here. There is a huge Stickiness Factor to overcome for a user to switch their familiar CAD software for some other software that might be better, or no better, or worse.
Would you actually pay -- whether $2,199, or $495, or even nothing -- to try out a different CAD package?
When the package arrived, I immediately installed the Solus software on my PalmPilot; the HotSync failed since there was not enough free memory on the PalmPilot. The Solus manual does not state how much memory is required. After deleting several apps, I re-installed the software on my Pilot. The Solus software immediately began decompressing sample map data. After a half-hour, the PalmPilot was still displaying the "Decompressing" message. The manual does not say how long I should expect to wait.
When I got tired of waiting, I pressed the PalmPilot's reset button (there seems to be no way to interrupt the decompression process in Solus). Since then, my PalmPilot has refused to turn on again. I tried all the conventional PalmPilot resuscitation methods; nothing worked. Not only that, the PalmPilot's warranty expired two days earlier.
I contacted email@example.com, which sent back 64KB of FAQs. Wading through, I think I found the answer: the adapter cable may have fried my Pilot. Says the FAQ: "After the cables were developed, 3Com informed us that they built some older Pilot 1000 [which I have] and 5000 models to different pin-out specifications. Some models do not send the proper power from the first pin." There is no warning attached to the adapter cable itself.
Other annoyances I found in the Solus Pro package:
You can now download Corel WordPerfect 8 for Linux from http://linux.corel.com . But you'll need a high-speed link: the 23.6MB software package is divided into seven 3.5MB files, just in case you don't want to tie up your phone line for too many hours. The shrink wrap version will be available in early 1999 for US$69.99.
Seriously, though, Bristol Technologies will meet Microsoft in court on 1 June, after a judge agreed that there was a substantial likelihood Microsoft had engaged in antitrust behavior. Said the judge, "Moreover, there is ample evidence that Microsoft intended to harm Bristol with respect to limiting the effectiveness of its Wind/U product."
Autodesk announced a quarterly cash dividend of US$0.06 per share payable January 22.
Think3 (formerly Cad.Lab) announced a minority investment by Intel Corp.
Sends you to the Y2K compliance Web page of the vendor you select.
Cad User Ring
This web ring is to allow CAD users to find tools to make them more productive. This site is open to anybody with an interest in CAD, be it AutoCAD, MicroStation or anything else that helps you get through the day.
SPEC/GPC Benchmark Tests
SPEC/GPC's OpenGL Performance Characterization (OPC) project group has posted the first performance results for ProCDRS-01, the newest viewset running under its Viewperf 3D graphics benchmark. Results for 29 system configurations from 11 vendors are posted in the current issue of SPEC/GPC's on-line newsletter. Also available for the first time are updated versions of Viewperf and the five other viewsets.
CADCAM Connection Point
This site deals With CAD/CAM and its applications.
ClipMate v5.0 is the ultimate Clipboard enhancement too [I use it myself -- Ed.]. The newest version is available now for download as shareware.
"I am from Auckland (not Aukland), New Zealand and I must correct you
slightly in regards to the trivia Q3 question. Auckland is the largest
city in New Zealand (approx 1 million people) but Wellington is the country's
capital (where government resides). New Zealand will be the first country
in the world that will see the sun rise in Year 2000.
"Best Wishes for the New Year and look forward to the newsletter again in 1999."
-- Shane Beaman
"Well done. Just one major problem, Auckland is NOT the capital of New
Zealand: Wellington is. So there, I win first prize. :-) PS: great newsletter."
-- Brian Corbin
"Thanks for posting our trivia questions. I have to warn you that
we corrected the answer to #3 after receiving lots of email from New Zealand
subscribers. Hope you don't get flamed for this. :) Happy New
"Here's the correct answer: Wellington (not Auckland, as published in our e-newletter), New Zealand (first) and Avarua, The Cook Islands (last) or is it Apia, Samoa? FYI: Gisborne will be the first city to see the new year and Mount Hikurangi will be the first to see the sun."
-- Ann Forte
"Actually, I think that it is possibly a tie as to the first, as Fiji
(capital Suva) is in the same time zone and also possibly closer then Gisborne.
Just to confuse issues even further."
-- Peter Coburn