Dialog Box February 2005

14 Feb, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff

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Helpful CAD Manager
The newsletter for cad managers is really helpful and great perspective. Thanks for doing a great job with that. I have been a one-man CAD department for 10 years for a contractor and now I am helping an architect develop a practice and I really appreciate the information.

If you ever need information about building large expensive homes in a winter climate, let me know.

— David Lister, via Internet

Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your CAD Manager's Newsletter.

— Donald Perry, PE, via Internet

E-Zine Works Great
Thanks for the latest issue! Now that the online digital magazine is working, I prefer it compared to paper because it links to other sites, helpful articles online and so on. Keep it up, this is turning out to be one of my most important professional publications.

— Erin Silva, via Internet

Hot on the Trail of the Software Pirate
I am an occasional reader of Cadalyst in that it tends to favor the AutoCAD world and most of our customers tend to want SolidWorks and Pro/ENGINEER. I did happen to read your article, "Hot on the Trail of the Software Pirate," and had a couple of comments.

You write: The software lock exists on all copies of AutoCAD 2005, tying each licensed copy to one machine, so it can't be transferred without Autodesk authorization. Boulton reports that this feature--a technology common in Europe and Asia but resisted in the United States in the past--has been generally accepted this time around. 'We haven't received too many complaints from users,' Boulton says."

I think Boulton may want to check around a bit on this statement. I wonder how many IT hours are wasted in dealing with these software locks on CAD software. I have seen situations where hard drives crash and additional hours are lost in trying to get the license to work again. I guess Autodesk can get away with it as long as its bottom line is not affected. Too bad for the customer, though... I guess Autodesk and other vendors that do that to their customers really don't care about that kind of problem.

In a similar vein, one of the advantages of better enforcement that was stated several years ago at the beginning of the piracy abatement programs was that the software vendors would have additional revenue coming in from all the lost revenue due to the piracy and that additional revenue would improve the quality of the product the user receives. I have not found that to be the case, have you? Rather, CAD users seem to become even more accustomed to being beta testers for buggy first releases, unresolved performance issues and increased license costs at pace or exceeding the pace of that set in years past.

Though I depend a great deal on these products and respect the need of the vendor to be paid for their product, I find that much that is written in Cadalyst and other CAD/modeling magazines are reviews that crow about the additions of the latest revision and very little on what these vendors need to do to fix the problems they already have and seem to forget.

Examples? How about accurate--and I mean accurate--conversions from say, SolidWorks to DWG files. In the 3D modeling arena: speed and performance, taking better advantage of compact kernels and hardware aids such as hyperthreading and dual CPUs. These criticisms have been around since the mid-eighties.

— Phil Hobden, via Internet

Editor responds:
Thank you very much for taking the time to send some feedback about the piracy article. It helps us to hear all perspectives so we can develop articles that serve the reader better down the road. It also helps us editors because when we're talking to these vendors, we know which issues our readers are facing and which questions need asking.

I hope you'll take another look at Cadalyst's contents of late. While the majority of the CAD community is using AutoCAD, and a CAD magazine naturally has to reflect that, I think you'll find that we are pretty balanced in the subjects and products we cover today. In the current issue (January), I found only one article that focused on AutoCAD -- Hot Tip Harry -- and that is now moving online for February. We have an entire site now dedicated to manufacturing, including a new SolidWorks tutorial every month. Today's issue of MCAD Tech News focuses entirely on the SolidWorks World show that just concluded.

Please continue to send us your thoughts about our work or any topic we cover. It keeps us on our toes.

How Much is it Worth?
I sat on this invoice while I tried to think of what value I received from Cadalyst this last year. I could think of none. After years of subscribing to Cadalyst and anxiously waiting each month to see what new Hot Tip Harry code I could use, or what other information I could learn about AutoCAD, I find that AutoCAD is no longer your focus.

There are still so many useful AutoLISP routines to be written, such as a routine to draw tension and extension springs, a routine to draw lines, circles, offsets and other commands in millimeter while you are still working in an inch drawing, and the list goes on. Perhaps you could ask readers what routines they would like to be written. There are many good AutoLISP writers out there who could handle most anything.

I am an AutoCAD 2005 2D user. This is still the nuts and bolts of industry.

I am renewing for one more year in the hope that Cadalyst can again be something I can look forward to each month.

— Ron Sanderson, via Internet

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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