Issue #541 : : January 8, 2008
In this issue:
Out of the Inbox and the other regular columns.
Write the editor. Make him smile!
Through Paypal, consider donating $25 in support of upFront.eZine. Or else...
We're trendy. We have a Weblog. WorldCAD Access.
Welcome back to a new year of CAD business news from upFront.eZine.
In case you have not heard, there are new regulation for flying with LiIon rechargeable batteries in the USA as of 1 January. In brief:
Some batteries are rated in AHr. In that case, multiply it by the voltage to arrive at WHr. For example, my MP3 player's spare battery is rated at 3.7V and 680mAHr (milli-amp hour). 3.7 x 680 = 2,516 mWHr / 1000 = 2.5WHr.
In the last few months, I've been fortunate to have been given confidential briefing by three mid-sized CAD software companies. They wanted me to see their plans, and in exchange get feedback from me.
What they are planning is to break out of their molds. Individually, they've spent the time thinking about what hasn't worked well in the past, and what they need to change. In some cases, the planned changes have progressed much more slowly than they expected; hopefully, in 2008, you'll begin to hear more about the new directions from these firms.
In many cases, these changes are not dramatic. Instead, the firms are re-positioning themselves to follow a track that allows them to avoid being a me-too company. In some cases, they are abandoning the unattainable grail of AutoCAD Clone.
In addition to the three companies who opened up their kimonos to me, there are several other companies who are also veering off to take a different path. As I viewed them at the beginning of 2008, I put together a list of identifying features to help us distinguish the old guard of CAD from the new:
The new guard does not take over the old guard quickly. It happens gradually; think in terms of Alibre's progress.
I just learned about the 46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meetings being held this week. One issue to be tackled at the event is the creation and retention of legacy data:
At this point I don't have any more info, but it sounds like a topic that many upFront.eZine readers have an interest in -- even though this event is specific to the aerospace industry.
NexGen announces HumanCAD v1.1 digital human modeling software. It determines whether humans fit products and workplaces before these are built. A Mac version is due by November. www.nexgenergo.com
Altima Software launches Everest Professional for finding AutoCAD data -- not just listing found drawing files, but also locating objects within drawings. Includes a built-in revision system, and a compare feature that also handles changes to external references. www.altimasoftware.com
Tecplot ships Tecplot Focus 2008 (US$1,500/yr)
all-purpose engineering plotting software -- but not the kind of
plotting we tend to think of. This software creates graphs of FFTs
[fast Fourier transforms], splines, statistical functions, and so
on. New is the Python scripting language.
Top Systems ships T-FLEX CAD 11 parametric 3D and 2D design software. New is the dynamic interface for handling workflows between design and manufacturing, finite element, and dynamic analysis. Free trial from www.tflex.com
General CADD Products announces General CADD Pro v6.1 with polylines, quick selects, Booleans, and boundary definitions. See the free video tutorials at www.generalcadd.com/videos.htm
TeamViewer reports that its "homonymous" software now has three million customers. www.teamviewer.com
Lattice Technology updates its entire line of XVL [eXtensible Virtual world description Language] software, and announces Lattice3D Outliner (US$1,995) for creating 2D technical illustrations from 3D data. www.lattice3d.com
Anark updates its Core Platform to handle VRML, X3D, and DWF formats. Anark converts CAD and other 3D graphics to high-end collaboration applications. www.anark.com
ZWCAD Software ships the beta of its new IntelliCAD-based ZWCAD 2008. Perhaps most significant is the new DRX programming interface (developed by the Open Design Alliance), as well as support for Visual Lisp, encrypted LISP. The company claims 60,000 users. www.zwcad.org
In related news, the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium ships IntelliCAD 7.0 alpha to its members. The rearchitected software features:
The software is due to ship by year's end. www.intellicad.org
In further related news, SYCODE launches IGES and STEP file import plug-ins for IntelliCAD (e195 each). www.sycode.com/news/17_dec_2007.htm
Quadrispace is close to shipping 2008-labled updates to its Document3D line with the Office 2007 UI, toolbox for illustrators, and more. www.quadrispace.com
SCON Group shows off the newest version of its mechanical CAD software, KOMPAS-3D V9. www.ascon.net
- - -
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:
Seminars & Conferences
Autodesk opens its new Customer Briefing Center on January 10, located just outside Portland OR USA.
BE Conference 2008 is May 28-30 in Baltimore, Maryland USA. [It's being called the "global" conference, so no parallel event in Europe this year.] http://www.be.org
People/Companies on the Move
TenLinks has purchased CADtalent.com, the CAD media company's largest acquisition ever. It joins CADdigest.com, CADdepot.com, FreeCAD.com, and Innovate3D.com.
Stratasys elects John McEleney to its board of directors. Mr. McEleney is the former ceo of SolidWorks.
Integware promotes Max Huff as its new vp of R&D. Mr Huff is the company's former solution architect.
International Data Group Technology Venture Investment invests $10 million in CAXA, a Chinese PLM business and partner of IronCAD. The company has 20,000 customers. http://www.caxa.com
Autodesk says Revit now has 225,000 -- up from 190,000 a year ago, according to AEC Weekly.
Letters to the Editor
Re: Merry Christmas
"This was an interesting pre-xmas e-rag. I enjoyed reading the candid and honest personal account of the guy who helps out the 'house-less'.
"I was formerly in religious work, and did a lot of work with the elderly and some in the inner-city rescue missions. Let me tell you, although there was some light emotion-related good news in his account, I got tweaked. It was nice hearing about how people are helping out in society, but it tweaks me to know that many of those down-and-out men are where they are due to the detrimental, long-range, cumulative effects, of the industrial-military complex and its fractional-reserves credit banking economic system.
"When I lived in the Middle East, I saw the homeless in a very different light than over here in the West. Over there, the people didn't have the luxuries of welfare that the West so wrongfully affords most. We donít have true poverty over here.
"The worst part is the role that the American people DON'T
play in this matter, which puts negligence and stupidity to a new
height (and probably luxury-laden fear). I don't expect you to understand
much of what Iím saying, as you are a Canadian socialist."
The editor replies: "Canadian, yes; socialist, no."
"Enjoy the time off from covering CAD news (although I'm
sure that's something you can really never 'take off' from)."
"The people who make use of your eXtreme Weather Ministry seem to be roughly the same ones who use the free meal facility at the church where I occasionally volunteer my time.
"But one factor you did not mention was mental illness --
in the patrons of the Ministry, not in you. I would say at least
2% of the patrons I see in the food line clearly have mental illness.
(It does not take clinical training to diagnose that condition in
someone who talks to people who aren't there.) Their illness is
at the root of their problems."
The editor replies: "I didn't want to mention mental illness, since I'm not qualified. Instead, I implied it by describing those who cannot deal with the complexity of maintaining an apartment. One statistic figures that 1/3 of the homeless fall in this category."
"I read your 'Merry Christmas' commentary. Excellent. That was probably the most thoughtful thing I've read all year.
"It made me stop and think about nothing else. With all
the usual stuff we all get distracted by, thinking they are important
things, this gently taps us on the shoulder and reminds us how fortunate
we really are."
"Your story of volunteering at the homeless shelter was really moving. What a great way to give something back to the world. There are lots of ways to support the community, but most of them do not provide the face-to-face contact that you are giving and receiving in your work at the shelter.
"Writing about your shelter volunteering will probably have
a leverage effect by inspiring your readers to do more in their
own communities. A fourth reason to add to your list of why you
" Kudos to you for volunteering at the homeless shelter."
Spin Doctor of the Moment
"Often, management cannot see the value in spending money
on something that, from their perspective, already runs smoothly
the way it is."
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