u p F r o n t . e Z i n e
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Issue #627 | December 14, 2009 | English Edition
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In This Issue
1. From the Editor
2. Kaon Twirls 1.2 Million Polygons in Web Browsers
- Only incidently CAD
3. Out of the Inbox, and our other regular columns
From the Editor
It's time for upFront.eZine's annual Christmas break, and so the next issue will appear in early January. As a Christmas present, I leave you with quotes from a pair of articles I read last week:
"The engineering-automation industry is seizing up from old age. It’s dominated by billion-plus-dollar companies that care little about customers, little about innovation, little about employees, and lots about shareholder value (and concomitant executive bonuses -- but let’s not even go there).
"...all you CAD/CAM/CAE/PLM developers, what have you done for us lately? Given us release n+1 and a bunch of lies about how the additional features make it impossible for us to stick with release n? (Or, heaven forbid, release n-1.)
"How long since there’s been true CAD innovation? "
- Joel Orr
"I had this vision of the future -- a ruined empire, run by number crunchers, squalid and stupid and puffed up with phoney patriotism, settling for a long slow decline."
- Fake Steve Jobs
[Caution: much crude language.]
Moving to 3D is easier than you think
As you consider the move to 3D, take a look at how easy the switch is.
In a few short minutes you'll learn the secrets of synchronous technology through short demonstrations, customer testimonials, and commentary from Dan Staples, Director of Solid Edge Development. Find out more here!
Or call 800-807-2200
Kaon Twirls 1.2 Million Polygons in Web Browsers
After reading the article on cloud computing in last week's upFront.eZine, Kaon alpha geek Joshua Smith showed me his company's version. It uses a server farm to render 3D graphics to your Web browser.
The example he showed me was for Andrew, a company that manufactures cell phone towers and components. First, the Java software tested my connection, and then rated its 1.6MB/sec speed as "Fair." (Java means you don't need to install a plug-in; the drawback is that the company has to create a unique version for the iPhone's Java-shunning Safari Web browser.)
I entered the Andrew catalog site, and choose a microwave antenna to view. The image is made up of 1.2 million polygons, just about the largest model that could be handled by my Internet connection's leisurely speed. I noticed just a slight lag while panning, but no lag when zooming and rotating.
Mr Smith explained the technology behind the image. Using a cloud approach, servers in data centers do the high-end rendering in real-time, and then transmit the graphical image to the Web browser using differential compression. (Only the difference between the previous and current view is sent.) As I pan and rotate the view, the image is continuously re-rendered back on the server. A lower quality image is displayed during movement, and then in high quality when still.
The high quality rendering is complete with materials, shadows, and reflections -- as illustrated by the image below.
Figure 1: 3D model displayed in Web browser, rendered realistically in the cloud.
(Click for full-size image.)
The figure also shows me using the measurement tool. Browser-based measuring was patented by Kaon in the late 1990s, which is why you don't see it in other browser-based viewers.
Only Incidentally CAD
At one time Koan chased the CAD market, but is now only in it incidentally. Instead, it has found its niche generating sales and marketing presentations for manufacturers who make large stuff -- things too large to haul to trade shows and to the offices of customers. Andrew now shows customers its products through Kaon's large v-OSK touch screen monitors and its custom built viewing software.
Naturally, the source of these models is 3D CAD, but reading in data from them is now Kaon's only involvement with CAD. "If you go after CAD, it is the only thing you have to do; you can only focus on CAD," explained Mr Smith.
Out of the Inbox
Geometric Limited releases NestLib 2009 R3 with improved material utilization for sheet metal punching. http://nestlib.geometricglobal.com
Avenza Systems' MAPublisher 8.2 for Adobe Illustrator creates geospatial Adobe Acrobat PDF map documents directly from Adobe Illustrator. http://www.avenza.com
Right Hemisphere adds Lightmap's HDR [high dynamic range] Light Studio plug-in ($299 and up) to its Deep Exploration authoring software. http://www.hdrlightstudio.com
Excitech makes available a Coordinate Scheduling tool for Revit 2010 at no cost from http://www.excitech.com/toolkit
Aras makes its Aras Innovator PLM software work with Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 and 7. http://www.aras.com
Eagle Point plans to ship Surveyors' Toolbox for AutoCAD Civil 3D in February. The software offers simplified COGO routines for $595. http://www.eaglepoint.com/solutions/workflow/office/civil3d/surveyorstoolbox.asp
LM updates LMS Virtual.Lab Acoustics with ray tracing for high frequency acoustics and time-domain BEM. http://www.lmsintl.com
DS SolidWorks offers free upgrades: buy any version of SolidWorks by 29 Dec, and get the Premium package. The catch: you'll be paying a higher annual subscription fee. http://mkt.solidworks.com
Dassault Systemes announces Isight 4.0 simulation process automation and design optimization software from its SIMULIA division. http://www.3ds.com
And Alibre continues shifting its pricing of Alibre Design 12 Standard, this month at $197 (until 31 Dec). Next month? http://www.alibre.com
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These were some of the news items posted during the last week at the WorldCAD Access blog <worldcadaccess.typepad.com>:
- Dassault Can't Import Catia into SolidWorks; Sycode Can
- Touch screen monitors to be obsolete soonish
- Video of AutoCAD in 1987
- Touchpad for Touch-less Monitors
- SEC Probes Ansys Acquisition
- Dassault: We Design Cars Like Nobody Else
- Alias Running Inside AutoCAD
- Are CAD Vendors Thinking "HTML 5" Yet?
- PTC's CoCreate Webinar
- Autodesk's Sketch Mobile Among Top Apple Store Apps
- Use the Power of the Cloud for Good AND Evil
And at the Gizmos Grabowski weblog <worldcadaccess.typepad.com/gizmos>:
- PDFs Too Complex for Mainstream Reporters
- Now that I Own an iTouch, I Want Android To Succeed
3Dconnexion's 3D mice now support PTC's Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 5.0. In addition, the company has cut the price of its SpacePilot Pro by $100, now $399. http://www.3dconnexion.com
Research firm IDC reports that HP was #1 in desktop workstation category with a 44.1% market share for Q2. http://www.hp.com
People/Companies on the Move
Geomagic opens an office in Munich, Germany to serve Europe, Middle East and Africa. firstname.lastname@example.org
Doctor Walt’s KEYCREATOR 9 Sizzling Solids
by Walt Silva
Published by Conceptual Product Development
Paper; 326 color pages; $81.95.
Tailoring AutoCAD CUI 2010
by Ralph Grabowski
Published by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.
PDF; color $25.20
"How Patrick Byrne Stalked Critics and the Media on Facebook"
by Gary Weiss
"World-brand-building mistakes France’s entrepreneurs make"
by Robert Scoble
"Support for double precision has been available since August 2008 with the NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing architecture, and our latest generation of GPUs with the CUDA toolkit 2.0. Since double precision support on the GPU with CUDA came after single precision, many FEA/CAE applications have lagged in adopting the use of the GPU. But Moldflow is a great example of adopting CUDA with the use of double precision. After a few short weeks of development, the elapsed time for Moldflow simulations running on NVIDIA GPUs was cut in half. This performance boost will be even further enhanced with the introduction of our next generation of Quadro solutions based on the Fermi architecture."
- Mark Priscaro, sr public relations manager
Letters to the Editor
Re: Autodesk University 2009
Mark my words about cloud computing: ANYthing that's centralized is bad. I won't waste time explaining the obvious reasons why. Cloud computing is a bad move, that will cost an untold amount of $ and manpower, along with privacy rights violations to impliment and maintain. Why not get the software developers to write lean software instead of the typical globs and globs of resource-sucking garbage?
- Chris Huminski
Man, quite an article, quite a futuristic nightmare?
- Herbert Grabowski
I believe you were only partially wrong about AutoCAD for Mac. Stay tuned.
- Name withheld
The eidtor replies: Oh, I am sure. It is just that I was sure Autodesk would provide a hint at AU.
Slipping on his pedant's hat: to be precise, a 'factoid' is an item which seems, at first blush, to be correct, but is actually just the opposite. It isn't a fact.
- Rick Sierk
The editor replies: Oops. Here is what ninja words sez: "An inaccurate statement or statistic believed to be true because of broad repetition, especially if cited in the media. Usage Problem. A small insignificant fact, but still interesting. (Note: Refer above to the meaning of the suffix. It's ironic that the very definition of factoid has itself come to be a factoid.)"
Mr Sierk responds: 'Factoid' is kind of like 'penultimate' in its misusage, i.e., many people think that penultimate is somehow more ultimate than ultimate. Go figure.
Hope you had a good time at Autodesk U. I tried the Virtual attendance, but the bandwidth was too narrow somewhere and the streaming videos kept freezing, breaking up, buffering, etc. Finally gave up and elected to download the sessions.
The editor replies: I am familiar with penultimate; also misused is 'ultimate,' as in Microsoft naming its (now abandoned) tv system, "Ultimate TV." Well, perhaps in their case, it was the ultimate tv for them.
Re: AU Keynote Speach by Amory Lovins
I came back to the office and looked at the piping design being done, and talk about a waste of pipe. We have problems with these huge structures going onto the frozen ice pads and tundra on the Alaska North Slope. The braces end up sinking and sinking, and constantly having to re-adjust everything. We could lighten these structures considerably if it was approached right.
I remember a special case years ago where they used Schedule 5 Stainless Steel pipe with carbon steel flanges. You would have an 8" piece of pipe 15' long, and two guys would just walk over and pick it up and throw it on their shoulders and carry it over to install it. Had they used cheaper carbon steel schedule 40 pipe, they would have needed some kind of hoisting equipment and it would have taken far longer to do.
I also liked [his point that] you should pipe out of a two pump manifold. Instead of the two 90s and a tee, you just go straight up with one and 45 in the other. Much more efficient for sure.
I would like to talk to them about this here, but they wouldn't listen to me as I don't have a degree or anything that says I am smart. DUH?
- Name withheld
Good analysis of AU.
- H. Edward Goldberg
This phrase has always puzzled me: "...costs were reduced by 10x when they hosted some..." Actually, the part about reduced by 10x, or ten times. Do you reduce it by one 10 times, or by ten 10 times? How much is it actually reduced? Did you mean to say reduced to 10%? It's just a pet peeve of mine.
- Charles A. Graham
The editor replies: Yes.
Thanks for the info over the years.
- Kate Mills
Spin Doctor of the Moment
As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs.
- Anonymous spokesman, Gillette division of Procter & Gamble
"Dude, if you ever use the word 'incentivize' around me again I swear I will get in my Gulfstream and fly to wherever you are and I will smash you in the face with a rock."
- Fake Steve Jobs
[Caution: much crude language.]
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Entire contents copyright ©2009 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 "On your desktop every Tuesday morning" 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.