Posts by Stephen Holmes

Take to the polls: Cloudy up ahead

Published 09 November 2010

Posted by Stephen Holmes

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Blue sky thinking? How are you taking to the idea of cloud computing?

Having spent a weekend shivering out in the cold, staring at the grim spectacle of some low budget fireworks going off in the aid of Guy Fawkes Night, we’re trying to get some feeling back in your digits with our clickable poll.

But first we hand over our storybook of last week’s scary Halloween poll of ‘CAD in the future’ to our own crazed, crystal ball-staring madman, Martyn Day:

“It would seem that even though the push for direct modelling comes with a lot of hype, over 68% of respondents are actually interested in have direct modelling in their CAD solutions, this is good news for the developers.

“That said, the most emphatic grouping wanting direct modelling capabilities, almost 11%, is still only a niche of designers.

“There appears to be a fairly high degree of engineers dissatisfied with what’s currently available, with over 36% of engineers wanting the software to just bloody work properly.

“The lion’s share want the current ‘impossible’ combination of intelligent direct modelling and history-based parametric modelling, which has so far evaded the developers.

“PTC is making noises in this direction but we yet have to properly see it. My colleague, Al Dean, believes this ideal of mixed approaches is still a couple of years away.”

It was good to have all your feedback, especially in the comments section.

This week we want to know about The Cloud - that fanciful place that could ease your CAD lifestyle, or be a possible risk to your data:

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Take to the polls: Future CAD

Published 02 November 2010

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The Doc and Marty still couldn’t get over the PTC ‘CAD Jail’ routine

Following a busy week where the ‘future of CAD’ has been thrown at us all from several different directions, it’s taken a while to adjust to normality (and post this blog).

Last week we looked at trade shows, which on the face of things, are not the most attention grabbing of subjects.

We offered the poll findings to D3D’s digital editor Stephen Holmes for some analysis:

“Its not hard to see that with only forty-something votes that trade shows hardly set the heart on fire with emotion (the poll the week before was well over 100 more than that).

“However, it still goes to show that with 46% of those votes, people are turning up to get an invaluable firsthand look at technologies that might be new to them, or that plain tickle-their-fancy.

“From the recent trade shows we visited this is very true of rapid prototyping machines and scanners, while software vendors are becoming a rare breed at shows mostly because what they do can be easily covered on the internet.

“22% found that it was the ideal place to network with others in the industry; a place where a lot of useful people are in the same room for some face-to-face time, considered a luxury in today’s working environment. Yet, much to the chagrin of many of the stand holders, it would seem nobody is showing up with the preemptive thoughts to actually buy anything.

“On a more negative side, 17% of people feel that there’s nothing there for them so don’t bother going in the first place, while a combined 15% only turn up for a day away from their desks, and for the benefits of a free biro or two.

“With show organisers the world over promising visitor numbers in their thousands, and hundreds of stands at their events, it might be worth remembering (whichever side you’re on) the wise votes of this poll.”

This week we’re looking back to the future! Sadly no hoverboards, DeLoreans, or incestuous advances from your mother - but having been promised the future of CAD a the PTC Creo launch, we’d like to know what you want from the future of CAD?

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PTC Creo - the future of CAD for the next 20 years?

Published 28 October 2010

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Not a single ‘answer’, but a suite of them

It’s happened: PTC have pulled out all the stops to launch Creo – what it believes to be the future of CAD for the next 20 years.

A super suite of ‘Apps’ launching next summer is what PTC is hoping will answer the “four big problems” facing CAD users today, and it was undeniably rather impressive (apart from the amateur dramatics production of Chicago to begin with and some cagey ‘stage banter’ you’d usually find on QVC).

The Creo suite is set to run under the banner of the four solutions: AnyRole Apps; AnyMode Modelling; AnyData Adoption and AnyBOM Assembly.

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Take to the polls: Exhibitions

Published 25 October 2010

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Trade shows: Human interaction, carrier bags full of stuff, and free pens; what else is life for?

I’m pretty sure that after the weekend a lot of you are sat shivering in an icebox office right now, so what better way to warm up your digits than a little cardio-clicking with this week’s poll?

First though, here’s last weeks results as analyzed by Martyn Day, looking at the amount of CAD packages you use:

“Why have one CAD system when you can have five!!?

“The vast majority of our readers run 2 or more CAD systems in-house (76%). This is hardly surprising, given that in all our previous polls on this subject multiple CAD systems have always been the dominant strategy, whether this be a legacy system and a replacement one, different departments having an individual selection, or for compatibility with clients.

“The sweet spot is certainly in the 2-3 systems area (60%), while a fair percentage (11.02%) claim to use 5 or more. Despite the cost of running multiple systems, it seems that the benefit to these companies make the expenditure worthwhile, or a necessary evil.” 

Having spent a small part of last week pacing the halls at a trade show we thought it apt to find out why, in this multimedia age, people attend such events? This is not to say we can’t see the point of them - we like them as it’s a great way to meet readers, generally network with all different segments of the industry in one echoing hall, find out news and rumours, and come up with great ideas for future features - but why are you there, shuffling between stands and paying small fortunes for inadequate coffee?

As always, leave your comments, questions and any other reasons that we may have missed off in the comments section below.

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Take to the polls: CAD by numbers

Published 18 October 2010

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How many CAD programs are you running? (Elmo can’t work CAD - he’s as dumb as a bag of spanners)

Having stumbled into Monday once again we thought we’d liven proceedings a little with a little click-box polling - but first; the results from last week’s poll digested.

We shipped over the figures to our editor in chief Al Dean, who hastily analyzed the percentages in an airport somewhere in India to come up with the following conclusion:

“I was curious about this one because back when we ran MCAD magazine, we did a bit of research to find out how and why people were using rendering technology.

“One of the key indicators for me was how users were outputting their images - what was the selection criteria for the resolution.

“Back in 2007, the results indicated that 23% of users were outputting to screen resolution, with a further 24% outputting up to 2,000 pixels wide.

“That’s shifted in favour of higher resolution images, with the majority now outputting 3,000 pixels. Bear in mind that screen resolutions have changes dramatically since, with HD monitors becoming the norm for many.”

So there you have it - the more pixels the better in this modern world.

But this week we’re interested in just how many CAD programs you work with on a daily basis? Do you have a one-stop program that has all the bells and whistles you need, or a plethora of packages that you dip in and out of for whatever reasons?

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and questions on the comments section below.

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Your tech designs to save the world? Sony think so

Published 15 October 2010

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Sony, in collaboration with the WWF (no wrestling involved) and IDEO, has launched its Open Planet Ideas project: an online platform that challenges members of the public to imagine how current technologies could be repurposed to tackle environmental problems.

A collaborative project whereby the ideas put forward are there to be built upon and evolved by the community, everyone is invited to participate and contribute.

Getting involved can range from simply applauding other people’s concepts to taking them and refining the design further or even contributing a totally new concept.

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Take to the polls: Rendering

Published 11 October 2010

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The D3D Poll returns this week to look at your rendering needs, wants and desires (ok, maybe not desires).

We’re looking to see if size matters to you and your clients - a simple screen grab, or a monster 5,000 pixels plus?

Also, if you’re feeling perky this week, leave us a comment about what render tools you’re using, what’s lighting up your virtual worlds, or any questions you have about getting the best from your renders.

As for our last poll (admittedly a couple of weeks ago now) regarding your hardware bottlenecks, here’s what our workstation expert Greg Corke had to make of the percentages:

“Last week’s poll was all about workstation hardware and bottlenecks and identifying where your slowdowns are. Evidently we screwed up a bit by not giving an option for the ‘human bottleneck’ - better known by some as being distracted by phone calls, blogs, coffee, Facebook and, we were rather flattered to learn, DEVELOP3D.

“Back on the topic of computer hardware there was no runaway winner in our bottleneck face off. Yes, CPU came out top, but this was closely followed closely by a smorgasbord of graphics, memory, network and hard drive. This backs up what we regularly hear from readers that bottlenecks occur is all sorts of places – changing from application to application and dataset to dataset.

“Some admitted to having a bottleneck but not knowing where it was, and this is a more common problem than some may realize. For example you may suffer from poor frame rates when moving your 3D models about on screen, but because of the way some CAD software works your bottleneck may actually be down to an underpowered CPU, rather than a poorly specced graphics card.

“Interestingly there were a few comments about the memory limitations of 32-bit Windows where adding additional memory does nothing to ease the bottleneck. We’d be interested to learn what’s stopping the move to a 64-bit OS. Is it cost, lack of approval by IT, lack of support by 3D apps or simply no time to make the step?

“There were also complaints about the network and painfully slow PLM systems. Do you think IT departments do enough to keep centrally managed resources running at top speed. A little bit more thought or investment here could do wonders for productivty.

“Finally, as I write this now on my cutting edge workstation, I’m painfully aware that I actually miss bottlenecks. Back in the early nineties when I ran AutoCAD R12 on a 386 it took 15 mins to regen a 400k drawing. A cast-iron excuse for a cup of tea and a chinwag, if ever I heard one.”

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