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Updated and Expanded for AutoCAD 2004!
Tailoring AutoCAD 2004 is the first book for AutoCAD 2004. Download as a 204-page e-book in PDF format (US$24.95) or on CD ($29.95). Covers all areas of customization, from changing the user interface to writing toolbar macros and LISP routines.
Guest Editorial by Steve Hudson
Do you find the constant emphasis on software development for large companies frustrating, because you operate a small business (less than 20 employees)? Do they fail to recognize your needs?
Last summer, I purchased a new computer (finally) and, in a moment of weakness, had XP installed. Within two months I gritted my teeth and went through the effort to repartition the hard drive, install Windows 2000 (which I already owned), and reinstall all of my software.
XPs new features were too much of a pain to figure out -- it's hard to locate the controls for anything, even with the indexing feature of Help. I simply could not see where the benefits of the new system outweighed the disadvantages of learning to use it. Add in Microsoft's intrusive licensing methods and constant attempts to provide updates, and the decision to move back to W2K was even easier. To top it off, XP wouldn't support my two-year-old Canon printer.
The emphasis on new "features" is the mantra of the marketing crowd, but I seriously doubt most users give a hoot about most of them. I for one would be happy with something that had incremental improvements, which were easily integrated into the OS.
(Steve Hudson is with Oak Hill Marine Design.)
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Jack Kapica of 'The Globe & Mail' reported on a conference where an unnamed representative from Microsoft said, "It actually takes 4½ years to get a small business to upgrade or to think about purchasing an upgrade to software they already own. ... We need to try and bring that gap down from 4½ years to something like 18 months. We need to think about programs that we can develop and institute to help them see that value."
Mr Kapica noted that the statement reveals that the aim of software vendors is to make the corporate customer pay more for software by buying it more frequently:
Perhaps there will be a split in the software world -- those happy with their productivity running, say AutoCAD R14 on Windows 98, and those on the never-ending upgrade cycle. At upFront.eZine Publishing, we upgrade software until it works for us, then we leave it be.
'The Inquirer' reports the game Half Life 2 is available for sale in Russia. The software was stolen from developer Valve's Web site, translated into Russian, and burned onto two CDs. www.theinquirer.net/?article=13573
RaceCAD is alleged to be a Russian-ized copy of Alibre Design. www.upfrontezine.com/2003/upf-360.htm
Counting Jobs on Monster.com
"I played the opposite game: using Google and looking at resumes, rather than job listings. I figured that it isn't a good sign for the value of having a specific skill if you have the skill and are unemployed anyway or still searching for something better.
"Google results for last 12 months:
“Interesting that the proportions of desirable CAD skills (your survey) almost match the proportions of under-employed CAD people (my survey). Lots of assumptions, I know. (For example, what about most people who are skilled in two or more of these areas?)
"Conclusion: the market economy is alive,
well, and optimizing itself as usual. Now I'll go back to spending
my time more productively."
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"Interesting stats re Monster jobs. I have been using Monster for a long time, and tend to get a few hits a year for the hundreds of jobs looked at. (I'm a SolidWorks guy.) It does work. Last year (2003) was probably the worst year for engineering and design employment I have seen ever over 25 years of design work.
"Re the interesting stats on AutoCAD vs others, I have never used AutoCAD unless an employer requires it for some reason and supplies the software, but that rarely happens anymore and if it does, it is required for translation of huge databases of legacy files to SolidWorks.
"But, I am not a ‘draftsman,’ and tend to view drafting as a dying profession, kind of like the secretary -- as most engineers and Industrial designers (I am both) do their own documentation these days. Big systems projects use a lot of draftsmen or support CAD people, whereas projects that can be completed by one person tend to not use drafting support.
"Anyway, the big issue re AutoCAD's decline for me is that it has always been a drafting package, thus its clients are draftsmen or CAD techs.
"The management positions you assumed are probably engineering positions that allow the engineer to float, using one of several design packages. It is a technique for companies to broaden the number of resumes submitted and thus opens up the resource pool to more talent. A truly talented engineer or designer will be able to apply CAD talents to a broad range of packages.
"It is worth noting that Monster does
not cater much to industrial design. Every once in a while you will
see an ID position there, but the profession is not even in their
Below the Radar
A summary of CAD industry news you may not have read elsewhere, or that we find interesting.
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Top Systems is shipping T-FLEX Parametric CAD 8.0 with 300 customer-requested enhancements, improved performance and user interface, and optimized handling of complex models or large assemblies. The CAD software now works with 3GB RAM. www.tflex.com
No relation to T-Flex CAD, but JTB FlexReport is a new program that creates graphic reports of FLEXlm usage -- the network licensing software used by some CAD programs. www.jtbworld.com/flexreport
PTC is due to ship Windchill 7 next week on January 19.
Delcam has added the ability to translate files from Rhino, PTC's Wildfire, and ACIS in/out from AutoCAD to its PS-Exchange on-line pay-per-use voucher-based data translation service. www.delcam.com/exchange/demo1.htm
@Last Software has a Sketchup plug-in for ArchiCAD. www.sketchup.com/ArchiCAD
Dassault Systemes’ PLM (product lifecycle management) product for the electronics industry is called “The Integrated Mechanical Product Development for Electronics.” IMPD links apps in mechanical product development. www.3ds.com
Actify updated its SpinFire Professional Importers for Catia V5, EDS’s Unigraphics and Solidworks 2004. www.actify.com
Dosch Design has 400 3D models for use in Vue d'Esprit 4 and Vue Professional 4 (US$89). www.doschdesign.com
Seminars & Conferences
Ebig CAD Sig's "IntelliCAD event" is Jan. 28, 2004 /www.ebig.org/sig/sig.aspx?SIGid=32&eventdesc=full
The first annual Omaha CAD Conference is at the Crowne Plaza in Old Mill, Omaha, on Jan 29. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Automotive Design Forum & Competition in Toronto, Canada, Feb. 12 www.autoshow.ca
2004 series of ICEM Surf software user meetings -- www.icem.com
2004 International ARCHIBUS/FM Users’ Conference, April 18-21, 2004 in Boston MA USA. www.archibus.com
People/Companies on the Move
MicroCAD acquires CFA's Boston Autodesk dealership.
Michael Tardif become editorial director of business publications at ZweigWhite - Business and Management Practices.
Former Wordware publisher Jim Hill is now with Belo Corp, Dallas TX.
Helmers named David H. Colby publisher of 'Desktop Engineering' magazine.
3D Systems appoints Bob Kayser to vp global sales.
Delcam appoints Gordon Moir as Japan country manager.
Joseph Cox wrote the freeware Adobe Reader Speed-Up to help the painfully slow Reader 6.0 to start more quickly. The slow startup is due to the huge number of plug-ins Reader loads; with this software, you selectively disable the rarely-used ones. fileforum.betanews.com/detail.php3?fid=1069854583
Autodesk is repurchasing another 16 million shares to offset dilution by employee stock option grants. Since 1992, Autodesk has repurchased 80 million shares at a cost of US$1.3 billion.\
The upFront.eZine stock index is at www.cadwire.net/to?upfrontezine/stocks
Brand New CAD Books
"Doctor Walt’s Introduction to SolidWorks"
Letters to the Editor
Re: Pro/Desktop Express
"I was disappointed to see the announcement from PTC that Pro/Desktop Express would be discontinued. My company uses AutoCAD and has a future vision of moving to SolidWorks. In the meantime I have been using Pro/D Express for over a year now. \
"While I found that it is not the most
intuitive software to use, I thought that the tutorials were very
helpful and you certainly couldn't beat the price [free].
I agree that PTC's timing was unfortunate since the license key
is machine-specific, and had to be emailed to you by PTC."
"Installed and registered it! Did some
parts with it, but found it too crippled! Worthless software, compared
to what other CAD vendors offer to potential customers."
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Re: What's the Point to AutoCAD Revit Series?
"I can't offer you license numbers (obviously) but I think the relevant question is the speed of take-up of the product. I bought into Revit 2.5 years ago (in Australia) at which point I was user number 30 or so; there are now more than 1200 licenses, and most of that increase has occurred in the past 12 months.
"The point of the AutoCAD Revit Series is to allow companies that have Revit to have a 'reference' copy of AutoCAD for looking at DWGs as they leave or enter the office. This is particularly relevant to firms like my own, which have moved to Revit from a non-AutoCAD background (Vectorworks) and so do not have the ability as it now stands to modify or work with DWG files outside of Revit.
"Revit already has structural tools built-in;
it will be gaining the Building Services package in the future.
"I feel the AutoCAD Revit Series is the perfect match! It's the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ for 3D building information modeling and 2D production drafting.
“When the Revit migration begins, it's a gradual
transition. Initially, the majority of office staff will not be
Revit-savvy and thus, the first few Revit projects will most likely
include Revit users and 2D production drafters, using either AutoCAD
or MicroStation. What doesn't get produced in Revit gets drafted
in AutoCAD or MicroStation. Once in Revit, the imported AutoCAD/MicroStation
files can be coordinated into the project and printed as a single
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Re: WorthWhile Web
"Thanks for the worthwhile web link to "Picasso promoting 'Lady With A Fan'", pretty funny. I must admit not being familiar with the said work, even though I did spend time in college as an art and art history student, and my wife is an art teacher. I guess what got my interest piqued is that when I see the title "Lady With A Fan" I think of the seminal Grateful Dead song that is part of Terrapin Station suite:
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Re: WorldCAD Access Blog
"What will happen to the weekly email
The editor replies: "There may be some changes. But I see the blog being a spot for stuff that isn't appropriate for the newsletter, or for late-breaking news. For example, books reviews, and comments on my experiences with technology. The blog may also allow me to have less misc. stuff in the newsletter."
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"Congrats on an excellent and interesting
ezine. May it continue for billions of seconds ;-) "
“I truly enjoy your magazine.”
"If Darl McBride was in charge, he'd probably make marriage unconstitutional too, since clearly it de-emphasizes the commercial nature of normal human interaction, and probably is a major impediment to the commercial growth of prostitution."
Linus Torvalds responds to threats from SCO Group.
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