Visio Technical and new partner Visio Professional began shipping last week, sporting the Office 97 "button-free" look in its toolbars. upFront.eZine is "the very first to take a look at the real thing," according to Visio's pr firm. Version 4.5 features four Web-oriented functions:
Firstly, when it comes to Web features, we found that Visio now has the most advanced user interface -- admittedly to something that's kinda trivial -- with a Hyperlinking Wizard for attaching a link to an object. This is the kind of flexibility Visio has for attaching links:
Secondly, Visio v4.5 allows you to publish Visio drawings to the Web. The feature is innocently called "Save As HTML" but goes through a bit of a sophisticated process:
Thirdly, Visio v4.5 includes the ability to map a Web site. We're proud to say we suggested this feature to Visio just over a year ago, since Visio is a natural for doing that type of drawing.
Fourthly, the Help item on the menu bar lets you access Internet search engines and the Visio Web site. (Admittedly, both features are kludges: Visio launches Netscape Navigator with the appropriate URL.) When Visio first loads, an "earth" icon on the toolbar is for "searching the Internet," which also launches Navigator.
Criticisms: Visio is no longer a small app: a complete install takes nearly 50MB (I think I'll leave v4.1 on my notebook computer). Like Autodesk, Visio now only produces its software for Windows 95/NT; Windows v3.1 users will always be stuck with v4.1. Visio still does not read AutoCAD R13 DWG files (metafile only). In addition:
More info at http://www.visio.com
Last issue, we got the percentages mixed up on a new, lower-priced version software product from Spatial Technologies. The new product is called Building Blox and contains 5-10% (not 90%, as we erroneously reported) of what ACIS can do. Corrects Arlene Moskowitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>: "There's no blending, no sweeping, no spline-surface creation. And Building Blox has very limited modeling: only analytic primitives and simple Boolean operations." We apologize for the mix-up.
More details of the Autodesk buyout of SoftDesk emerged last week. According an inside source, PTC was the original SoftDesk suitor. SoftDesk apparently asked Autodesk to intervene. PTC followed-up with a higher offer, forcing Autodesk to up its bid by US$15 million. According to the source, PTC does not plan to continue pursuing SoftDesk.
With the end of Numera Software, we hear from a beta tester that the "future of this 2D 'daughter of Generic' looks bright under Corel." Generic CADD and Visual CADD founders "Carl and Matt have finalized minor bug fixes for Corel Visual CADD v2.0.3.x. Started beta testing for v2.0.4." Corel has a 30-day demo CD-ROM with both Corel CAD 3D and Corel Visual CADD full working programs. More info at http://www.corel.com
In an unrelated move, Autodesk stopped selling Generic CADD as of December, 1996.
3D/EYE: Now shipping are four volumes of TriGallery, a large selection of professional-quality drag-and-drop 3D objects for newsletters, presentations, and Web pages. Each volume contains 1,000 models, and is available directly from 3D/EYE for US$54.95. For more info, call +1 (800) 946-9533 or http://www.eye.com
Autodesk: Solidifying commitment to the GIS and digital mapping markets, Autodesk and Earth Resource Mapping, creators of the ER Mapper integrated mapping software, entered into a strategic partnership.
Bentley Systems: For 1996, Daratech names Bentley as the fastest growing AEC software provider and the second-fastest CAD/CAM/CAE supplier, after PTC.
Eagle Point Software: Its weaker December 31 second-quarter results reflected continuing softness in AutoCAD-related markets, as well as delays in customer software purchases. Said CEO Rod Blum: "We've noticed that portions of some of our markets have slowed their purchasing decisions as they assimilate the effects of the proposed merger between Autodesk and Softdesk."
Graphisoft: The Teamwork version of ArchiCAD, to be launched in Q2 1997, as an extension to the recently-released ArchiCAD 5.0, is a tool for collaborative work with some hierarchy. It promises to provides live connection with the project -- without networking mystery.
This is an older item for those wondering whatever happened to that law suit: Graphisoft and Diehl Graphsoft signed an out-of-court settlement on August 30, 1996, preventing Diehl Graphsoft from using the name, "Graphsoft," alone without identifying itself as Diehl Graphsoft, Inc. in any written manner.
Also, ArchiCAD outperformed MicroStation Triforma and AutoCAD AutoArchitect in the Boston CAD shoot-out of last November, finishing in the top 3 of 19 out of 20 categories. More info from email@example.com
Intergraph: Knowledge Revolution, who makes motion simulation software, has integrated its Working Model 3D application with Intergraph's Solid Edge mechanical assembly design and drafting software via OLE. Shipment is scheduled to begin February 15, 1997.
Penwell: PennWell Publishing has purchased "The CAD Rating Guide" from ZEM Press. The book is a 600-page reference book that contains in-depth vendor and product information on 140 CAD/CAM, FEM, GIS, and animation software packages. The 5th edition is expected to ship in May. More info from Brad Holtz <74777.3073@CompuServe.COM> or http://www.wbh.com
Fortune magazine did research and published details on the 25 most generous people in the USA. The three who gave away the most money are:
The top three motives for giving money away are: (1) religious upbringing; (2) a habit of giving; and (3) social conscience. However, the Fortune article notes that poorer people continue to give away a higher percentage of their income than richer people. One exception is James Mitchner, who has given away 90% of his net worth. Also, most of the giving of the rich is to high profile universities rather than social agencies.
In conjunction with Amazon.Com, you can purchase the following books on-line -- or simply find out more info -- by using the URL we provide:
"The NURBS Book (Monographs in Visual Communication), 2nd Ed." by Wayne Tiller and L. Piegl List price: US$54.95 (paperback); published by Springer Verlag
"CAD Layer Guidelines, 2nd Ed." by Michael K. Schley List price: US$30.00 (paperback); published by AIA
EC - "electronic commerce"
EM - "electronic marketplace"
EDI - "electronic data interchange"
OC-3 - "optical carrier 3", which transmits data at 155mbps (155,000,000 bits per second). -
- thanks to CIO magazine, Dec'97.
Dudley Jones <firstname.lastname@example.org> asks: "Is it possible to measure distances in a VRML model?"
A: There is no distance command, but VRML models can be scaled. The default is one unit equals one metre. Since you can measure time and set speeds in VRML, then it might be possible to measure distance indirectly.
Further to the Help File in upFront.eZine #43, Lee Harding of Autodesk tells us: "Note that an ARx-Based VRML export utility is available from CAD Studio: http://www.cadstudio.cz/ftp.htm. It will export AutoCAD solids and Mechanical Desktop parts and surfaces as VRML v1.0. It is apparently compatible with the Autodesk Internet Publishing Kit."
Microsoft's ad for Office 97 trumpets: "50% shared code." Sounds impressive until you realize that a conventional install of Office 97 Professional takes 225MB -- and that's not including the extras, such as 180MB of clip art.