Posts by Martyn Day

Cambridge University announces 2009 photo competition winners

Published 10 August 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: nokia, photography, cambridge university

A little know fact but we have quite a few wannabe ‘Lichfield’ and ‘Bailey’ types on staff, constantly snapping away like idiots. While we might not win any prizes for our pictures, Cambridge University runs an annual competition for engineering students to capture great pictures of their projects. We think you will agree the pictures are all brilliant. The winning image depicted here is by Ben Sheppard and Robert Howshall. The device is called a ‘pebble’ and is a low-cost deep sea photographic vessel.

See all entries here

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Autodesk extends support for Mac

Published 03 August 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: solidworks, autodesk inventor, workstations, graphics cards, 3d connexion

With many rumours now linking Autodesk product development with Apple OSX ports, the company has created a web page to guide Mac users best-run Autodesk applications on their Intel-based Macintosh computers.

There are two levels of supported software: Mac compatible (native) and BootCamp-compatible. On first glance it’s pretty obvious that much of Autodesk’s OSX compatible software has come from acquisitions along the way; Alias Design, ImageModeler, Maya, Stitcher Unlimited and Mudbox to name but a few. However, Autodesk now offers support to users trying to run Inventor, AutoCAD, Max Design and the Revit suite running 32-bit Windows under BootCamp.

For those non-Mac users amongst our readers, Apple’s switch to Intel processors enables Macintoshes to run either Leopard OSX (a UNIX-based operating system) or Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 using an boot utility called BootCamp.

There are Windows emulation tools for the Mac, namely VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop, which enable Windows and OSX to run simultaneously. These are not supported directly by Autodesk although bloggers such as Autodesk’s Shaan Hurley has had some success in running AutoCAD software under emulation.

It’s a small but important statement by Autodesk. The company is now serious about Apple and looks set to develop more native CAD applications for this growing platform. Insiders at Autodesk have told me that AutoCAD for OSX is actively being considered, while Inventor for OSX would be a challenge but not impossible. The high percentage of Macs with students in Universities is being taken a lead indicator that there will be increased popularity of the platform in coming years, at the expense of Windows-based workstations.

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Autodesk expands its employment Assistance Programme

Published 10 June 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: autodesk, autodesk inventor, education, autodesk assistance program, training

In April Autodesk announced a programme for engineers and architects that had lost their jobs in the current financial crisis. In essence, people who were unfortunate to qualify were entitled to free software and on-line training for 13 months, together with a possibility of achieving a professional accreditation.

Autodesk has just announced that companies which hire people who have been through the Assistance Programme will be entitled to get a discount of 40% on new commercial licenses of AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit Architecture and AutoCAD Civil3D. Should an individual decide to go freelance the same discount applies to trade up to a full commercial license.

The company has expanded the software available on the programme to include AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical Alias Design and Alias Surface, together with 90 day licenses of 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya.

Access to the Auodesk University web site has also been added, which has over 1,000 online session videos and 400 presentations, together with all the e-learning tools that are available to Autodesk Subscribers.

Since its launch Autodesk has recruited 74 partners offering training, together with 4,700 registrations and over 5,700 product downloads.

Autodesk is also getting proactive by organising local events, inviting recruiting firms and engineers and architects seeking employment to its facilities for ‘meet and greet’ events. The image here is from an networking event the company put together at its San Francisco customer product gallery at One Market. Representatives from local firms actively recruiting, together with employment firms such as, Linkedin and Aerotek were present. Ideate and Ketiv co-hosted the evening. We understand more networking events will follow.

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Open Source PLM?

Published 26 April 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: autodesk, design competition, lg, crowdsourcing, crowdspring, lg competition. lucky goldstar

Still recovering from the jetlag of attending COFES (Congress on the Future of Engineering Software) in Arizona but having flashbacks of some of the meetings we had. One of the stand-out sessions was with Simon Floyd of Microsoft, who is in charge of PLM strategy at the global giant. Simon introduced us to a company called Aras, which had decided to sack its entire sales force and turn its PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software into Open Source.

After much head scratching it seemed that Aras based it’s ‘Open’ PLM layer on all of Microsoft’s enterprise products, so companies that had already acquired Microsoft Enterprise products would have all the necessary products (like SharePoint) to assemble a PLM system, with the addition of the ‘as-many-users-as-you-want, no license fee, no nothing, honest’ Aras Innovator PLM Solution Suite.

While we didn’t get a demo of the software, the issue for us seemed to be that Microsoft was backing a specific PLM vendor,when its partnered with Dassault Systemes, PTC, Siemens PLM Software and many others. Pushing an Open Source alternative will certainly put some noses out of place. Even more when they hear that the Microsoft sales teams have all had a demo of Aras Innovator as a demonstration of adding value to the Microsoft Enterprise package.

I’m probably the last person on the planet to find anything about PLM interesting but many of the big CAD vendors have big investments in getting customers to spend big in this area. Now they have to get over the hurdle of what the free, or almost free software can do.

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Autodesk Assistance Program announced for Engineers

Published 06 April 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with:

Hot on the heels of SolidWorks’ Engineering Stimulus Package, Autodesk has launched its Assistance Program for customers who find themselves displaced from work. To enable the ‘fallen’ to keep up their CAD skills, or learn new packages, the deal extends 13 month access to existing Student Edition software of AutoCAD and Inventor Professional, with online training and a path to certification.

Autodesk is also offering the access to Architects and Civil Engineers with Revit and Civil 3D.

The deal includes 24/7 access to online training provided by online vBooks. There will also be offers of reduced fee or free training from authorised training centres. With recently introduced certification and qualifications for its applications this training will assist candidates in achieving recognised industry qualifications.

Again the initial foray for this will be in North America and will be rolled out across all geographies in the coming months.

There is a strong and positive reaction coming from the software vendors to the current financial mess. While it has taken a little while to gain momentum, there is now free access to most of the most popular product development tools to unemployed or retired folks that may be forced back into seeking work.

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The 3D Cube

Published 10 March 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: visualisation, 3d display, display technology, tech-on japan

3D displays are starting to become a reality but Japanese researchers at the National Institute of Information have come up with something quite amazing. It’s a cube that has displays on all sides, plus at angular intervals.

Displaying a 3D model, the 6 screens display the corresponding view (in the case of the video, it’s the classic teapot). The screens are also touch-sensitive, like the iPhone, so the model can be manipulated in real time too. This version is low resolution, running at 36 x 30 at every 6.7 degrees of view. They are working on a high resolution version. Brilliant madness!

Originally posted at Tech-On in Japan

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AutoCAD 2010 unveiled

Published 05 February 2009

Posted by Martyn Day

Article tagged with: design, autodesk, autocad 2010, doublecad, augi

Autodesk has just finished its press launch of the next release of AutoCAD, AutoCAD 2010 (they say it as ’twenty ten’). While the program is still in beta, first customer shipment is expected around March. While AutoCAD may be considered old hat in the world of modelling, or the defacto standard 2D solution, it appears that Autodesk has decided to give AutoCAD a new direction adding powerful 2D constraints and intuitive free-form modelling.

While the modelling and the constraints are shocking additions, Autodesk has also beefed up the standard 2D command set, adding in the now familiar AUGI (Autodesk User Group International) top wish list features. The main new capability being the capability to import PDF for underlays.

The bad news is that with all these additions the file format changes with the introduction of a 2010 format. It’s possible to SaveAs to a number of previous AutoCAD release formats. This time round Autodesk has included the ability to SaveAs AutoCAD R12 DXF for compatibility with releases back to AutoCAD 98.

Returning to the Constraints and Free Form capabilities, it seems that Autodesk has chosen to stop limiting the capabilities of AutoCAD within its greater 3D product range, especially Inventor and Revit. Parametric constraints and modelling have long been hailed as one of the key differentials between draughting and virtual design. It seems that Autodesk has internally accepted that many AutoCAD customers will not easily or quickly move to their vertical products as the draw of AutoCAD is still very strong. By adding these powerful features to AutoCAD, the other vertical products which are built-ontop of AutoCAD also benefit, namely AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD for Architecture and AutoCAD Civils. I assume the hope is that by introducing the technology, more customers will get the benefits and undergo migrations from AutoCAD. Or, this could be a defensive move to raise the stakes of competing against AutoCAD.

To reinforce this, probably by no coincidence but IMSI simultaneously released DoubleCAD XT, its AutoCAD clone, which is free for the base version. The company is targeting AutoCAD LT, which isn’t free (approx $1,000). While AutoCAD 2010 has 2D constraints, AutoCAD LT 2010 does not, getting only 2D enhancemnets like PDF underlays. The point here being that DoubleCAD XT does have 2D constraints and is free. If nothing else, this is good guerilla marketing.

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