the business of cad


Issue #754 |  October 30, 2012
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In This Issue


1. Yes, we have no Windows 8 apps


2. Autodesk reports on its progress in mobileCAD apps

   Guest editorial by Stephen Preston


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


Yes, we have no Windows 8 apps
Windows 8 has launched, so where are all the CAD vendors lining up staunchly behind Microsoft? **sound of crickets** The problem for Microsoft is that in Windows 8 it designed itself a enterprise-hostile operating system, and so that sticking-with-XP strategy is looking pretty solid now for corporations.


Some CAD vendors have announced that their CAD software runs on Windows 8, but that's no different from any other software package: most will, unchanged. The significance is when (a) CAD program supports the metro ui and (b) offers technical support for subscription customers who run their software on Windows 8.


Brian Benton on his CAD-a-Blog asked Autodesk, who told him:

"As of today [October 18th, 2012] no Autodesk products are supported on Windows 8, but it is our intention is to support many of our key products on Windows 8 in future versions. Our current offering of mobile apps are limited to iOS and Android but we are actively investigating opportunities to broaden offerings to include Windows 8 mobile versions."

For me, the words "intention," "many," and "future" indicate a lack of enthusiasm for what I predict will become Vista Release 2.




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Autodesk reports on its progress in mobileCAD apps

Guest editorial by Stephen Preston

It's great to see articles on cloud/mobile development in your eZine -- not least because it means Jim Quanci [head of Autodesk's developer network] will have to stop teasing you for those comments about the cloud you made a very long time ago <g>.


Perhaps IMSI/Design's TurboApps API this is a first example of a specific mobile SDK for design data, because the tablet/smartphone platforms make it incredibly easy to manipulate and visualize design data using the native APIs provided by the OS vendors -– without the need for a CAD vendor to create a dedicated mobile API. Being an ADN member, you've seen us encouraging our third-party developer community to adopt cloud and mobile technology for more than three years now. These platforms make it embarrassingly easy to create advanced apps, even 3D visualization (which is now expected, rather than being a differentiator).


My team has published a number of sample projects and blog posts covering just this, for example:

Here are a few links to some cool apps, in case you're interested.

We're seeing developers posting apps on Autodesk Exchange that integrate our desktop software with the cloud. Some more links for you.

This is an exciting time to be a software developer. These new technologies are an opportunity to fundamentally change how our customers use design data, and they give individual developers access to infrastructure that was previously only available to someone with significant startup capital. The early apps you're documenting in upfront.eZine are just the start.


[Stephen Preston is senior manager of developer technical services worldwide at Autodesk Developer Network.]


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== 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.

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Out of the Inbox

Trimble makes another BIM acquisition: the ex-Graphisoft Vico Software of which we've written about before. They describe their software as 4D, because it adds time and cost to BIM models. How much longer will we continue to ignore the company best known for its bright yellow survey instruments? Earlier this year, they bought SketchUp from Google.


I have a copy of ManneQuin on my bookshelf, software that sports a copyright date of 1992 -- and it was a big deal, because it was the very first software to simulate how human bodies fit, reach, and see in 3D CAD models. Now NexGen Ergonomics has updated the software, and is selling it as HumanCAD V2. http://www.nexgenergo.com/ergonomics/humancad2.html


MathCAD is free! Beth Stackpole of DesignNews says the free version has math equation editing, basic functions, and x,y plots -- but not advanced functions or plots, programming, or spreadsheet integration. Read her report here: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=253184&dfpPParams=ind_186,bid_26,aid_253184&dfpLayout=blog


JetCAD has a new logo that's looking awfully bold. Take a gander at http://www.jetcam.com


Scott Anderson of TeamPlatform tells me he has a cloud API for 3D CAD, and he's calling it "the first Web API to support 3D models, projects, and collaboration with secure OAuth2 authentication." Large files are uploaded in chunks, then processed for viewing (of graphics) and searching (of text and meta-data). https://github.com/vispower/teamplatform-api


Did you know Epson has large format printers? I didn't. Problem is, I don't like their printers (worst color desktop printer I ever owned), but here you go: SureColor T-Series for CAD users is their new line of large-format color plotters, 24" T3000 for $3,000, 36" T5000 for $4,000, and 44" T7000 for $5,000. http://www.epson.com/Tseries


Two weeks ago, MecSoft took back Alibre CAM from 3D Systems, and is now selling it on their own. No coincidence, but last week MecSoft launched Alibre CAM 3 at http://www.alibrecam.com


Two things about last week's announcement about Solidworks founders and former execs forming a new CAD company: (a) they had no product plan to announce and (b) Mike Payne.

On our blogs

Here are some of the items that appeared recently on our WorldCAD Access blog at http://worldcadaccess.typepad.com:


Letters to the Editor

Re: Here's Why CAD Should Run 10-100x faster in 2-3 Years
"All I could think is 'Why wait?' Go get an Mac Pro (12 cores on the CPU) with solid state hard drives and an nVidia Quadro FX 4800 for Mac (192 cores) video card. Install Parallels or VMware and then MS Windows and finally your CAD or BIM application. We have AcroPlot Pro users that have been running Revit this way since 2008 with no regen problems.


"Cost recovery is quick because there is more work getting done and less sitting around waiting for the application to do it's thing. If a user could save an hour a day, then that's five hours a week or ~240 hours a year. 240 x Burden Labor Rate = Payback. Spend the money, it pays for itself in more ways than just cash.


"On a side note, in discussing a new laptop configuration for my 15-year old daughter, we concluded that a Mac Book Pro with Parallels / MS Windows is the ideal solution because some of her classes at school are on Mac and others are on PCs running MS Windows, plus she is sick of dealing with incompatibility issues between the two (PowerPoint files created on Windows don't work the same when opened on Mac's at school). Why not have both OSs and get things done right the first time with a blazingly fast system? We both agree."
      - William J. Munson, executive vp

"I recall while I was at GE Calma in the mid 1980s, we were preparing a customer demo and waiting for the 3D model to refresh. Our CEO stopped by and asked sarcastically if he had time to get a cup of coffee while waiting for the refresh; we informed him that he had time to eat dinner!"
       - Malcolm Davies


The editor replies: "We forget how slow CAD was in those days. While I was at CADalyst, we got an AutoCAD model of the Taj Mahal. Generating a hidden-line removal took a whole day. Even a regen would take minutes to complete."

"I have received your e-newsletter for many years, and only today realized it is CAD-oriented. Today I just happened to notice the subhead 'the business of cad,' and investigated further. Anyhow, I'm sure it is quite informative for people in that space but it's not my area."
     - C.C.


Notable Quotable

"There are players in the industry who were unhappy about more competitive pricing for the consumers. They want to keep the prices high, they want to force the price to be so high that operators have to subsidize the devices very highly. That's not only the Cupertino guys but also for the guys up in Seattle. They want higher margins, they want to charge more for software."
      - Brian Chen, Android director on Nexus strategy, Google



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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