Issue #451 : : November 15, 2005
C o n t e n t s
the Radar, and other
Write the Editor.
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Access nearly-daily CAD commentary at our blog: WorldCAD Access.
Last week, Microsoft's marketing firm pretended to leak a memo by Bill Gates directing Microsoft to change its direction from its current position as desktop monopolist, towards software running on browsers.
Tom Taulli of Motley Fool reported, "...the new trend is software as a service. That is, you will not download software; rather, you will subscribe to it and start using it straight from your browser." Think Google Map instead of Microsoft MapPoint. Or the 10-year-old 'upFront.eZine' e-newsletter, for that matter.
Mr Gates description of a "sea change" for Microsoft does not apply to CAD. It's been tried and it doesn't work. Examples include:
Viewing CAD drawings from servers through browsers is happening; creating and editing CAD models will not.
Q&A: Two Minutes with Alibre CEO Greg Milliken
Alibre announced the removal of advertising from its Alibre Design Xpress software in three stages: (1) a hint by CEO Greg Milliken on the company's forum; (2) a leak to the CAD media by their PR firm; and (3) finally the official press release and blast-mail to customers. The ad-free version used to cost US$50.
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upFront.eZine: I'm a business man too, so I know there are two reasons for lowering prices: generosity or desperation.
Greg Milliken: There is a third option: we just want to accelerate our initial progress, and ultimately profit. For the sake of argument, if one assumes what we are saying is true (i.e., that Xpress is spreading and we are generating good leads for full product sales from it), then removing the Internet requirement to expand usage makes sense. We are confident that the more people who touch the Xpress the more who will buy the full product.
We used to require each and every person to register and get a key from us to run the software. We changed the installation so you don't even need that. Of course, if you do register you get more features, but the goal is to eliminating literally any stumbling block to getting the product installed.
upFront.eZine: Did 100,000 people actually sign up by the 1 August deadline? It would have been easy for you to fix the numbers.
Greg Milliken: Regarding the basis for your skepticism, we had decided to release the product even if we did not reach 100,000, so one could consider that as meaning the "fix was in," but the response exceeded our expectations.
Consider the downloads from Download.com now: over 4,000 a week from that source alone. We can't fake that. Well, I suppose we could hire someone to sit and download all day, but we aren't.
I'm pleased to announce that upFront.eZine Publishing this week launches a new imprint: upFront.reSearch. The new brand name formalizes the whitepapers and research papers produced over the last ten years for various CAD companies.
The first research paper is "IntelliCAD: The Un-AutoCAD", reporting on IntelliCAD's history, current state, specific competitors (Autodesk, Bentley Systems, GiveMePower, IMSI, and SoftSource), and future plans. Included is an analysis of how open DWG will benefit IntelliCAD in the future.
You may purchase the independently-produced, 72-page, PDF-format monograph for US$720.00 using PayPal, cheque, or money order. More information available from www.upfrontezine.com/research
A summary of CAD industry news you may not have read elsewhere, or that I found interesting:
Delcam is granted a UK patent for its Total Modelling Method for adding logos, textures, styling details and other decoration to CAD models. Total Modelling lets triangle models, such as those from reverse engineering systems, be included in surface and solid models. www.delcam.com
CAD Learning is shipping its AutoCAD 2006 Tutorial Series -- on CD or streaming on the Web. www.4Dtechnologies.net
ARCHIBUS releases FM Web Central 15 for facilities management. The new release adds Web-based apps: Project Management, Capital Budgeting, and Move Management. www.archibus.com
Informative Graphics has a free PDF and TIFF viewer at www.tiffviewer.com/pdfreader.htm . The package includes plug-ins for IE, Netscape, and Firefox browsers -- what, and not Opera?
Dassault Systemes releases Version 5 Release 16 of CATIA, ENOVIA, and SMARTEAM. www.3ds.com/V5R16
Enact Technology says its speak4CAD recognition
software is "the first software product that dramatically improves
AutoCAD productivity." I recall speech input for AutoCAD being
written up in the late 1980s in 'CADalyst' magazine, where the reviewer
found it wasn't helpful. Some years ago, think3 flattened the command
structure of its thinkdesign software so that it would work well
with speech input, even included the headset; but then abandoned
it with the next release. Sort of like handwriting input, never
quite getting there.
A new VX Wrap tool wraps 2D sketches around surfaces. www.vx.com
GiveMePower ships PowerCAD SiteMaster 2 (US$995) for creating AutoCAD-compatible floor plans, inspection drawings, and area calculations using handheld lasers and handheld (or notebook) computers. www.givemepower.com/products/powercad_sm.cfm
Autodsys has a Navigator Block Manager and Toolkit software for AutoCAD and IntelliCAD. It manages block libraries, and includes Autolayer for placing entities on the correct layer. www.autodsys.com
And MagicTracer is a new raster-to-vector conversion program from Elgorithms. Full function demo at www.magictracer.com/download
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These news items were posted during the last week at the WorldCAD Access blog <worldcadaccess.typepad.com>:
And at the Gizmos Grabowski <worldcadaccess.typepad.com/gizmos/ > Weblog:
Matrox Graphics has an external display dualizer
(I made up that term). You plug the DualHead2Go box (US$169) to
your computer's display port, and then attach two monitors to the
DualHead2Go box. The operating system sees the DualHead2Go
as a monitor that supports a resolution twice as wide as before;
in turn, the DualHead2Go divides the graphics board output to two
One problem with 3D plotters is the small size of the output. Stratasys calls its new Eden500V a "large format" prototyping system. It can create objects as large as 19.7x15.7x7.9 in. (500x400x200 mm), which still ain't huge. www.Stratasys.com
Seminars & Conferences
Autodesk University 2005 is Nov 28-Dec 1 in Orlando FL USA. (I'll be there on Nov 29-30.) www.autodesk.com/au
SolidWorks World 2006 is Jan 22-25 in Las Vegas NV USA. (I'll be there Jan 23-25.) www.solidworks.com/pages/swworld/index.html
CADlearning.com is launched by Geoff Langdon with dozens of video tutorials for numerous CAD packages. CADlearning.com
People/Companies on the Move
Qlinks America purchases two online communities, GeoCommunity and Wireless Developer Network from ThinkBurst Media. "I am saddened to no longer be a part of these two online communities which ThinkBurst jointly built with our loyal client and member base over the past 10 years," writes ThinkBurst CEO Tom Knighten in the press release.
Autodesk outsources application administration, software configuration management, monitoring, maintenance, technical support, support tools, and utilities implementation to India's HCL Technologies. The five-year contract is worth US$50-$100 million.
ProgeSOFT of Italy agrees to let Portland Backup become its US distributor under the name ProgeSOFT.US to resell its IntelliCAD-based ProgeSOFT software. www.progesoft.us
PTC acquired Arbortext not Arbortech. Thanks to Rob Doucette and others for the correction.
The incorrect download link for version 2.5 of HatchKit was provided in the press release. The correct link is www.cadro.com.au/hatchkit . If you can't trust a marketing person, then who can you trust nowadays?
Revenue at UGS keeps growing, up 73.8% over last year (including acquisitions) or 45.9% sans acquisitions. Revenue during the quarter was US$290.2 million, up from $285.0 million in the previous quarter -- although the numbers vary, depending on the accounting system followed. The company has nearly four million licensed CAD and PLM seats, yet no longer uses the word "CAD."
Nemetschek continues to recover. In the first nine months, net earnings were e5.4 million euros, up from e1.9 million a year earlier. Gross revenue was e69.5 million, up from e68.4 million the previous years. Note that these numbers are for the first nine months.
Avatech Solutions had Q1 revenues of US$9.2 million, up 37% from a year ago. Net income was $205 thousand, up from a loss of $813 thousand a year ago. It's good to see the company finally making four quarters of profit, following years of losses. Piper Jaffray notes that Avatech is Autodesk's largest reseller and beat its third-quarter quota by 5%.
Brand New CAD Books/eBooks
"MicroStation V8 XM Edition"
"Tailoring AutoCAD 2006"
"CATIA V5R15 for Designers"
The following new paper books are due from from Schroff Development in the next two months:
"Interior Design Using AutoCAD 2006"
"CATIA Version 5, Release 14 & 15, Mechanism Design
"Beginnerís Guide to SolidWorks 2006"
"Automating Macros Using SolidWorks 2006"
"SolidWorks 2006 Tutorial"
"SolidWorks 2006: The Basics"
"Introduction to Autodesk Land Desktop 2006 and Civil Design
"CATIA Version 5, Release 14 & 15, Design & Engineering"
"ANSYS Tutorial 10"
"ANSYS Workbench Tutorial"
"GibbsCAM Tutorial, Version 2005"
Letters to the Editor
Re: LCDs vs CRTs
it interesting that you and a reader express a preference for CRTs
over LCDs. When I moved to LCD several years ago, I noticed that
eye fatigue from spending too much time at the computer disappeared.
I attribute it to the lack of flicker."
"I have moved from CRTs to all flat panels, both at work and at home. I've kept one 21" IBM CRT just for test purposes when tinkering with old hardware (that, and it works well with my cable-to-VGA box).
"I migrated for one reason: eye fatigue. I have found that as I'm getting older and have stared at CRTs since the mid-seventies (Computervision CADDS 1, now I'm dating myself) I have developed a sensitivity to the scanline in CRTs, no matter the speed of the refresh. This sensitivity drives others crazy at work, 'cause when they ask for help, the first thing I do is set their refresh rate to something other than 60Hz before I analyze their problem.
"I find that LCDs don't trigger this sensitivity, and I'm much more comfortable in front of a computer for longer periods of time.
"I did have a pair of CRTs at work on my desktop workhorse machine until about two months ago for only one reason: resolution. I run at 1600x1200 and most LCD panels won't reach this resolution. The difference was dramatic when I finally switched out these last two hold-outs. Much easier on the eyes and using the DVI interface cabling, Clear Type option and tuning tool for XP I get the best results.
"If your readers don't mind buying off-lease equipment,
www.tigerdirect.com has a whole host of 19" to 21" monitors
from several reputable companies for low prices (way less than $100US
The editor replies, "I am noticing eye fatique, too."
Re: Mind Mapping
you are interested in novel software: try this free software called
Freemind. The concept is really simple. It links ideas together;
I have used it for three days and completely hooked. I can build
a map of software (Pro/Engineer) and link locations of license files,
useful Web sites, configuration documents etc. http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
Re: Getting Off the A-Train
Ed Duff's comments, he and others might be looking for a solution.
[Our] SiteMaster 2 is designed for the type of job Ed is doing."
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"Great eZine. I've been getting it for 7 or 8 years now."
"Love the newsletter."
Spin Doctor of the Moment
"...the Company announced that it has identified additional
process improvements and expense savings opportunities related to
the organizational realignment efforts."
"Businesses are like buses. You stand on a corner and you
don't like where the first bus is going? Wait ten minutes and take
another. Don't like that one? They'll just keep coming. There's
no end to buses or businesses."
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