February 24, 2004
Issue #374

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T H E   B U S I N E S S   O F   C A D

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Readers React:
AutoCAD 2005

Five Minutes with Kelly Miller

Updates on Recent/Future Sales
- UGS PLM Solutions
- Kubotek / CADKEY
- A3DS / Pathtracek

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Below the Radar
- And other regular columns.

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to upFront.eZine

the Editor

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Look for additional, nearly-daily CAD commentary at our Weblog:
WorldCAD Access.



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Readers React: AutoCAD 2005

Our readers reacted with questions and with emotion at the news of the next "big-R" release of AutoCAD. Here's what they wrote:

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"Remember the dongles? Ha ha ha..."
        - Wendy Dannels

The editor replies: "I do. The software lock is more convenient: it allows you to sue the software on two computers at once. License transfer software lets you install AutoCAD 2005 on additional computers."


"In past releases, Autodesk told everyone that that they would release three or four small updates/plug-ins, and then perform a new version release. If memory serves, they only released one!

"Now 12 months after the last release, we get a brand new one. Do they think that the only thing we users have to do is learn new stuff! We have workloads, and have deadlines to meet.

"In AutoCAD, there are a hundred and one ways to break a line and not single way to glue them back together. This is really very basic, but Autodesk just don't seem to get it."
        - Steven Petersen

The editor replies: "We too wonder what happened to the stated schedule of 3-4 extensions per year -- as we detailed in last week's e-newsletter."


"I've been using AutoCAD since Release 9. I do production design and drafting, minimum of eight hours/day. Maybe my experience holds some value? Autodesk continues to fail to address any of the long-standing production drafting issues to any depth. For example:

  • Attributes still don't properly update when a block is inserted from disk.
  • The text editing continues to be cumbersome and tedious. (I had a program that worked in a DOS window that globally edited text that it color coded according to its entity type. It beats what AutoCAD presently has, but it quit working since R14.)
  • Prior to R14, all my LISP programs (most of them self-written) had more functionality than what AutoCAD currently has, yet with 1/50th the overhead. Most of them just won 't function since R14. (I don't know VisualBasic or C++. I have neither the time nor energy to learn it. I'm a mechanical design draftsman, not a programmer.)
  • When will Autodesk figure out how to fix the plotting problems?

"AutoCAD was too complicated back in R14 for the average (even the majority) of engineers to learn and properly use. For most of them, too many details are involved in properly setting up drawings, for proper presentation."
        - Chris H.

The editor replies: "One solution is to stop upgrading once the software works adequately for you. For example, Adobe is bugging me to leave PageMaker for CS-something or other. The $325 pricetag doesn't bother me nearly as much as the fear over lost productivity from switching to a new user interface."


"We are a company developer of AutoCAD. ¿What's new in AutoCAD 2005 about render?"
        - DS

The editor replies: "Autodesk has indicated that improvements to 3D will occur in a future release. We speculate that Architectural Desktop's VIZ renderer will find its way into AutoCAD, eventually."


"By any chance do you know if they _finally_ figured out that most people tend to use the COPY command a *lot* and so make the command a MULTIPLE COPY (by default) using the <ESC>ape key to get out of the command?"
        - RW

The editor replies: "Yes, the Copy command is finally multiple-enabled. That means it repeatedly prompts for the second point, until you press Esc."


"You did a special issue on AutoCAD 2005 because of its forthcoming release. Are we going to see a similar special article on the next MicroStation release?"
        - Shawn Foster

The editor replies: "All I have from Bentley Systems on the next release of MicroStation is its name: V8 2004 Edition."

Q&A: Five Minutes with Kelly Miller


Following last week's announcement of AutoCAD 2005, Kelly Miller of Autodesk called to check if I had questions. I did. Here is a paraphrase of the interview:

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upFront.eZine: Last December Autodesk said they would release AutoCAD 2005 SE (Subscription Edition) midway between annual "big-R" releases of AutoCAD. Little more than two months later, you're back to extensions. Why the change?

Autodesk: When we spoke of SE, we were thinking of 18 months between AutoCAD releases. SE  would come out after nine months. Now that we've switched to 12 months between AutoCAD releases, it makes more sense to have extensions.

upFront.eZine: I was under the impression that last December's announcement involved a major release every 12 months, not 18.

Autodesk: No, it was every 18 months. [When I checked my notes from the December meeting, I found no time period recorded.]


upFront.eZine: Beta 4 of AutoCAD Neo was supposed to include product activation, but I didn't notice it when I installed the software.

Autodesk: It was in beta 3, actually. Product activation happens invisibly when you register, so that's probably why you didn't notice it. You can learn more about it from our new Web site at www.autodesk.com/activation


upFront.eZine: Autodesk has many vertical programs that depend on AutoCAD, some of which are being released in the months following March 22 [the date AutoCAD 2005 becomes available for purchase]. Missing from the list is Mechanical 2005. What's happening with it?

Autodesk: Mechanical 2005 is waiting for Inventor 9, which is due in June.

Updates on Recent and Future Sales

UGS PLM Solutions

The sale of EDS' CAD division (recently renamed "UGS PLM Solutions") has been one of the most popular news items on our new Weblog -- as well as being the subject of commentary throughout the industry. To counter the rampant speculation, the company released a clarification of the terms of sale. Paraphrasing:

There is no intention to sell to a competitor: "EDS is talking to private equity firms and IPO underwriters only, and not to UGS PLM Solutions competitors." Our take: Competitors are not interested, or can't afford the two-billion pricetag.

There could be two parts to the sale: "The company is considering the private sale of up to 100% of its subsidiary, as well as the sale of a minority stake in the unit through an IPO." One hundred percent will be sold, but perhaps in two parts.

There is a high price attached: "EDS expects the valuation would exceed two times the unit's 2003 revenues of approximately $900 million." That's the asking price; the buying price will vary, depending on demand.

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Kubotek / CADKEY

New owner Kubotek renames CADKEY software "KEYCREATOR" and plans a new release in April that integrates NC programming. Kubotek USA is selling new licenses at half-price through April, reports CADalyst magazine. More info at www.cadonline.com/cadalyst

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A3DS / Pathtrace

Pathtrace Engineering Systems is taking over development of EdgeCAM Part Modeler, after source-code negotiations with original developer A3DS. www.edgecam.com  has a 30-day trial version.



Below the Radar

A summary of CAD industry news you may not have read elsewhere, or that we find interesting.

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Autodesk updates its Vault software free to Inventor subscribers.

IMSI has thirty million 2D and 3D symbols on [one?] CD in DXF, DWG, SAT, STEP, IGES, VDAFS, BMP, JPG, and VRML formats. The CADSymbols CD has direct interfaces for AutoCAD R13-2004, Inventor 5-7, MDT 2-6, Solid Edge 8-14, SolidWorks 99-2003, TurboCAD 4-10, and TurboCADCAM 1-2. www.imsisoft.com

Free 3D mechanical part models of bearings and U-joints from www.virtualcad.com

Version 8.0 of MicroGDS is available from Informatix Software International. Email info@informatix.co.uk

IGC adds TIFF file viewing to Brava Reader 2.0 software, free from www.bravaviewer.com/downloadreader.htm

GeoPraxis hopes other AEC vendors will pay for ads at their Web site.

Cyco Software finally ships the BOM [bills of material] Module for its AutoManager Meridian software. www.cyco.com/missinglink

LandARCH combines 2D/3D design libraries, cost estimating and BOMs, interactive plant database, custom hatch patterns, complex linetypes, and project management -- for AutoCAD, LT, and ADT. www.globalcad.com

ART VPS plans to make hardware-accelerated ray tracing available to CATIA V5 and ENOVIA V5 through a new software interface called RenderPipe, available in March. www.artvps.com/catia  [Some cool images at www.artvps.com/gallery.ihtml?page=industdesign ]

And Rand Worldwide launches regular Live Learning Series for CATIA V5 software. www.engineering.com

Seminars and Conferences

The first Nebraska MicroStation/GEOPAK User Group Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30. /www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/pworks/engine/usrgroup/index.htm

People/Companies on the Move

TenLinks celebrates its 5th anniversary, its Web site serving 1.5 million page-views per month. CEO Roopinder Tara calls his creation "the largest CAD, CAM and CAE online media company."

Practical Programs changes the name of its DataViewer software to Dv TDM.

Synergis Technologies restructures itself into three: Design and Engineering Solutions Division, Synergis Software Division, and the Educational Solutions Division.

GeoPraxis appoints James McCray as coo [chief operating officer]. Mr McCray was general manager of Siebel Systems Energy Industry Products Division.

Noesis Solutions, a company spun out from LMS, launches its new Web site at www.noesissolutions.com  . The company "focuses on delivering software solutions and services for the process integration and multidisciplinary design optimization."

Computer News Summaries

Record companies add errors to music CDs to prevent copying. (Normal CD music players ignore the errors; PC CDs are supposed to notice the errors, and stop playing.) "The trouble is, many portable players also use the error correction mechanism as the basis for their anti-skip systems. So do in-car CD players, which is why copy protected discs are causing such a fuss among UK motorists at the moment."

The Register explains why CD copy protection fails in auto CD players. For a hilarious-worded defense by record companies, read www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/35545.html

Market News

SGI raises a kool US$50 million after selling 18,181,818 million shares in a private placement transaction.

think3 latches onto US$11 million from DCM-Doll Capital Management.

The Nemetschek Group had 2003 revenues of e95.6 million, down 10% from the previous year. Net income rose to e3.9 million, a vast improvement over the previous year's net loss of e-11.7 million.

Graphisoft's revenues are up 4.0% to e27.2 million. Net income improved from a e-2.6 million loss to a e2.6 million profit.

Avatech Solutions reports total Q2 revenues of US$7.8 million, a 38% increase over the same quarter last year.

IMSI reports Q2 net income of US$402,000 on net revenues of US$2.7 million.

The upFront.eZine stock index is at www.cadwire.net/to?upfrontezine/stocks  

WorthWhile Web

"We Are Morons: A Quick Look at the Win2k source"

The Mystery Worshiper
Reviews of worship services around the world.

Letters to the Editor

"As a charter member of upFront.eZine (originally called 'CAD++' if I recall correctly?) I continue to enjoy and appreciate receiving it week to week."
        - Jonathan Linowes

"Your eZine is a great resource."
        - Cyril Verley

Spin Doctor of the Moment

"Still can't find it? Here's why: EMusic has partnerships with hundreds of established labels and artists who want to offer their music inexpensively and conveniently in the MP3 format. Since downloadable music is still relatively new, many artists and labels have not released their music in this format."
        - eMusic.com explains why it lacks MP3s from most mainstream musicians.

Notable Quotable

"It's really quite amazing how communication works. You can say *nothing at all* and people will simply read into the silence whatever it is they have going on in their own minds. It's like the astronomers who saw canals on Mars. There is something in our nature that not only notices patterns, but tends to try to create them when they aren't even there."
        - Mark Shea

Return to www.upfrontezine.com.

Entire contents copyright ©2004 by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide. Article reprint fee $500. All trademarks belong to their respective holders. "upFront.eZine," "Talking About CAD," and "On your desktop every Tuesday morning" are trademarks of upFront.eZinePublishing, Ltd. Letters to the editor may be reproduced in an edited form for clarity and brevity. Opinions expressed in letters are not necessarily shared by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.

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