the business of computer-aided design


Issue #732 |  April 24, 2012
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In This Issue


1. Now With Even More V6 Compatibility


2. HP Z1 Hype


3. Out of the Inbox, and other regular columns.


Now With Even More V6 Compatibility

Dassault Systemes last week updated its V5 line of software so that Catia users can edit "key" features of V6 models in V5. So, not everything can be edited, but more so than with previous updates to V5. Dassault provides this example:

V6 models opened in V5 retain features created in, for example, V6's Part Design, Sketcher and Generative Surface Design workbenches and knowledgeware.

Then comes the *koff, koff* quote: "No other company in the CAD/PLM industry offers this level of downward compatibility between versions." Lessee: AutoCAD, yes; SolidWorks, no. How embarassing is that?


Also, Dassault added a "-6" to the V5 naming system, with this release being known as "V5-6R2012." The -6 emphasizes the compatibility with V6, while the R2012 indicates the year of the sub-version (aka "release"). Logical, yes; snappy, no.


When Dassault implements a new version, it is incompatible with the previous one. Dassault calls this a "major V6-to-V5 compatibility update." This has several meanings for the industry watcher:

It is a point of pride with Dassault that its software is employed by the largest and most important manufacturing corporations in the world. The pride-point becomes its stumbling block as long-term projects are antithetical to changes in file formats.


Dassault will support V5 eight more years.





CADWorx 2013 is the latest release of the CADWorx Plant Design Suite for intelligent modeling and P&IDs.

CADWorx is now easier than ever to use and helps you design faster and more accurately. The best AutoCAD-based plant design system just got better!



HP Z1 Hype
This newsletter is running an ad from HP that reads, "The world's first all-in-one 27" workstation." Reader Steve Huffman, however, reminds us...


"Either HP's marketing folks have forgotten their workstation history, or those execs are now too young to remember when Sun Microsystems debuted the first all-in-one workstation, called the SPARCstation SLC, way back in 1990.

"The SLC is the same concept as the HP Z1: the motherboard was built into the monitor casing, removing the bulky tower unit from the desktop. All you appeared to have on your desktop was a keyboard and monitor. Granted, the SLC predated today's thin LED monitors, but Sun did a good job of combining the motherboard into the back plane of a traditional CRT as compactly as possible.

"The SLC was Sun's lowest cost, entry level workstation. I recall shelling out $4995 back in 1990 just to have a Unix workstation at home for developing SunView apps without traveling to my office."


The editor replies: "Time for some research, and... Oops: The Apple iMac all-in-one comes in a 27" size. http://www.apple.com/imac . At the HP Web site, the full description includes the following qualifiers, 'Introducing the HP Z1, the world's first:

* (The Power Supply, Graphics Card, Hard Drives, Optical Drive, System Cooling Blower and Memory can all be accessed, and removed without tools. Tools may be required for all other components.)


"By contrast, the iMac is locked down, so no user-upgrades internally (have to plug stuff in externally through connectors)."


Mr Huffman responds: "Well, I think HP really should be more careful with these Z1 advertising campaigns, and make sure they have their facts straight. I'm not sure the claims in their latest Z1 ads can be backed up with facts (i.e. being the first 'whatever').

"All I know is $4995 was a bundle of cash for me back in 1990, just to have Unix at home to toy around with. The 'all-in-one' SPARC SLC was the newest and cheapest thing Sun offered at the time. I don't think the SLC had enough frame buffering to support CAD, but AutoCAD, Personal Designer, CADDS 5, and Pro/E were running on the Sun's other Unix-based 'pizza boxes' by that time.


"I've still got my old SPARC SLC somewhere in a closet. I also have a few (circa 1985) Kurta tablets that must weigh 20 pounds! Maybe they have vacuum tubes in them! But I don't quite have enough old junk to open a CAD museum (yet)."



The HP Z1

The world's first all-in-one 27" workstation.

Powered by the Intel Xeon processor.

== Professional 3D File Conversion/Viewing/Rendering Software ==


For over 2 decades Okino (Toronto) has provided mission-critical 3D conversion software used extensively by tens of thousands of professionals. We develop, support and convert between all major CAD, DCC & VisSim formats. Robert Lansdale (CTO, lansd@okino.com) tailors each package to the specific conversion requirements of each customer.

Popular formats include 3ds Max, Maya, C4D, LW, ProE, SolidWorks, Inventor, SketchUp, DWF/DWG, DGN, CATIA, IGES/STEP/Parasolid, 3D PDF/U3D, JT, FBX, Collada & more. We know data translation, and provide immaculate developer-to-customer relations.



Out of the Inbox

Oh, the woes of currency exchange. Geometric reports revenues up by 30.2% to [Indian rupees] Rs 8.1 million, but in terms of US dollars, the increase is only 22.7% (to $167.5 million). Well, not "only." Even 22% bests pretty much any other CAD vendor.

     The press release lists "key wins" and includes intriguing phrases like "A multi-million dollar deal to develop a next generation design and analysis application for a ship classification services company in North America." http://www.geometricglobal.com


Oh, the woes of web site upgrades. Autodesk is telling 123D account holders that they need to recreate their online accounts as the part of the company "getting ready for the launch of new 123D apps." http://www.123dapp.com


Dell last week showed an international collection of computer journalists their new desktop workstation line up. The T-series computers feature a very handsome-looking design (a relief from prior, ugly cases) and the latest Xeon CPUs from Intel (latest Ivy Bridge CPU for the bottom of the line model). The top of the line T7600 model lets you plug in 512GB of RAM and three graphics boards from nVidia. This model starts at $2149, but it sure ain't going to cost that much once it's fully outfitted. The new Reliable Memory Technology keeps track of RAM errors, so that those spots are no longer used; after seven errors, software suggests you replace the ECC memory card. [Disclosure: Dell provided me with air fare, hotel accomodation, some meals, and ground transportation.] http://content.dell.com/us/en/corp/d/secure/2012-04-23-dell-precision-workstations.aspx


CIMdata figures the worldwide NC [numerically controlled] software and services market grew 14.4% in to $1.5 billion in 2011. They figure in 2012 the market'll grow 12.4%. http://www.CIMdata.com


KnowledgeSmart says their testing engine will power the Club Revit Knowledge Challenge at the Revit Technology Conference "Top Cat" competitions coming up in Australia and North America. http://www.clubrevit.com


Adobe today announced its new CS6 line of software, but it looks like there isn't much of interest to make it worthwhile paying for upgrades (fortunately!) -- at least from reading the new features highlighted by Adobe. http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/22/adobe-officially-unveils-cs6-and-its-49month-all-inclusive-creative-cloud-subscription-service


Another reason to dislike the cloud: Google's make over of GMail's UI was forced on us over the weekend. Here's how to reverse some of the ultrabland look: http://jasoncrawford.org/2012/04/how-to-cope-with-the-gmail-redesign

On Our Blogs

These were some of the news items that were posted during the last week at our WorldCAD Access blog <worldcadaccess.typepad.com>:

...and on Gizmos Grabowski blog <http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com/gizmos/>:


Letter to the Editor

"Today I was given the task of taking a 2-inch tall stack of drawings and sorting them manually! The reason was so my boss could find them in the list of drawing names that they had on a 6-page list. I asked if they would need the CAD files anyway, and I could just download the drawing files from the 6-page list? The reply was, Yes, I will need them, but I am not ready for them yet."
      - J. F.

Re: How much free cloud storage is enough?

"You wrote, 'With my free accounts with Autodesk, Box, Dropbox, and SugarSync, who's going to synchronize all the files stored on all of these file synchronization services?'. Have you seen http://www.gladinet.com? By the way, Microsoft SkyDrive is offering 25GB free."
      - Jimmy Bergmark
        JTB World


The editor replies: "Just today Microsoft dropped free storage space to 7GB."

"We love DropBox. In combination with digital pics, video, music, and a work files, it is very easy to get past the 2GB-free level; we bump close to the 50GB cutoff all the time. Inside Jotne and with customers we have a simple, consistent folder structure that everyone uses such as C:\My_Dropbox\XXXX\YYYY etc


"EVERYTHING goes in there, no second thoughts. When sharing with a new customer, we simply need to add a folder at the root DropBox-level to make sure that they alone see what we are sharing. When we drop something in a folder, it syncs, and we send a note where to find it -- no attachments.


"How to sync across all the other offerings for this type of storage is a challenge but possible if you plan it out with a consistent root folder naming system. But, I'm not 100% sure if they would conflict.


"I do a weekly dump of my Outlook .pst file (or mail system of choice) to a folder in DropBox and all your mail, contacts, and more are covered by a 30-second task as you get your next coffee.


"Every few months, I copy this single root folder to the cheap monster external drive as super paranoid backup. I will never lose a file, ever! Total manual work to do all this each month is about 5 mins."
      - Jim Martin, president
        Jotne North America

"I know you are a big fan of the cloud to so you may enjoy today's post at my blog, 'Cloud Fraud for you, BIG Shopping Cart for Chinese' at http://solidedging.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/cloud-fraud-for-you-big-shopping-cart-for-chinese."
- Dave Ault


The editor replies: "The discussion over the cloud is fascinating, because I think this is one of the first times in CAD where a new technology is being shunned. We didn't see that when CAD vendors were stomping the word 'object oriented' into our brains back in the mid-1990s."


Mr Ault responds: "I just don't understand how this cloud stuff gets such a free ride all the time. All I can see is Dot.Com fraud everywhere. I think it will fail."


The editor replies: "I argue for limited use of the cllud. It is handy in some cases (like Dopbox or Gmail), but should not be relied on. I only store stuff there I can afford to lose."


Mr Ault responds: "Yes, very limited."

Re: The Big Picture at Siemens PLM Software
"I attempted to implement EEDMS way back in the mid 90s, and it was labor- and cost-prohibitive. Besides, the control involved with implementing such a system became the bottleneck of the entire operation.


"Want things to get done quickly? Rely on people, policies or systems. Policies/systems are designed to control, not flow. What Bill Lewis is proposing is the same thing I was doing back in the mid-90s, and we decided to shut it down due to the bottleneck involved. Bill's just managed to put a pretty new dress on it with some modernized cosmetics.

"In order to accomplish what Bill proposes, all competition would need to end and be replaced by a StarTrek era/age/world of 'cooperation'. Fat chance of that every happening. In order to accomplish what Bill proposes, all standards need to be centralized. Until people quit wanting to do things their way, that ain't gunna happen. Besides, history repeatedly proves that centralization of management always ends in political corruption and oppression of the weaker.


"Don't you get tired of the dreamy propaganda?"

     - Chris


The editor replies: "upFront.eZine presents iconoclastic ideas and new products; you decide whether they are worth your while."



"Thanks for keeping me informed all these years."
      - Christine Bennet

Notable Quotable

"The new Metro interface displays nonstop, trivial updates from Facebook, Twitter, news sites and stock tickers. Streams of raw noise distract users from the moment they login. In an already loud world, all Windows 8 does is increase the decibels."
      - Max Zografos, former Microsoft employee



upFront.eZine is published every Tuesday, except during summer and Christmas vacation. Editor: Ralph Grabowski. This newsletter is read by 11,000 subscribers in 70 countries. Your comments are welcome at editor@upfrontezine.com! Deadline for submissions is every Monday noon.


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Entire contents copyright 2012 by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. All rights reserved worldwide. Letters sent to the editor are subject to publication. Article reprint fee: $250 and up. All trademarks belong to their respective holders. "upFront.eZine," "The Business of CAD," and "WorldCAD Access" are trademarks of upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. Letters to the editor may be edited for clarity and brevity. Translations and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.


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