How to obtain a digital signature to sign your LISP files

In an earlier post, I explained why you might want to digitally sign your LISP files. If you decide to go ahead with that, then this post explains how you can obtain and install the digital signature you will need to sign your files. This is the most difficult part of the process and it involves spending money. Getting a digital signature Although you can make your own digital signature (there’s an Autodesk Knowledgebase article describing the process), there’s little point in doing this. You can sign your files, sure, but that signature won’t be seen as trusted by software …

Autodesk subscription offer – the first cracks appear in the all-rental wall

Thanks to a comment by Fabien, I recently learned of a new offer from Autodesk to convert perpetual licenses to subscription (rental). It turns out that this is a global offer from 7 February to 20 April 2018. Such offers come and go from time to time and most are not particularly interesting. This one is. Not because you’ll want to take it up (you probably won’t), but because of what it represents. Here’s how it appears on Autodesk’s site: What’s really interesting about this offer is this sentence: If you are not satisfied, you can switch back to your …

Gallery – Gent visit 2017 – People

Here are some pictures of some people I met in Gent (Ghent) during my visit attending the Bricsys Insights press event in April 2017. I published this at the time but had to remove it due to technical difficulties I was having with WordPress galleries. This post is partially a live test for an alternative method of displaying galleries on this blog.

Click on an image to enter the Carousel full-screen gallery viewer. If you have any difficulties, please let me know the problem and the device you’re using. Thanks!

Why digitally sign your LISP files?

After I mentioned in an earlier post that I had digitally signed the sample LISP file I had provided, this generated some interest. In this post, I’ll explain why you might want to sign your LISP files. In a later post, I’ll explain how to do it. These days it is standard practice for developers to digitally sign their code. Operating systems and applications are displaying increasingly scary warnings when coming across unsigned code. Here is an example of the sort of message you get when you load an unsigned LISP file into AutoCAD from a location that has not …

Setting your application or document window size using LISP

I intend to produce a few videos containing tips, tutorials, product comparisons and the like. I’ve set up a cad nauseam YouTube channel, but don’t bother visiting it yet because it’s empty. One of the things I need to do for these videos make sure I’m capturing the screen at an appropriate resolution. I knocked up a bit of Visual LISP to take care of this task quickly and accurately, and you might as well have it. It’s a simple routine that allows you to accurately size either the main AutoCAD application window or the current document window (drawing area) …

Autodesk kills ArtCAM, proves subscription is terrible for customers

This story goes back over 50 years. A British company called Delcam was founded in 1965 and developed many products. These included ArtCAM, an application for producing 3D parts using 2D artwork as a base. It won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2003. In 2014, Autodesk acquired Delcam for approximately USD$286 Million and ArtCAM (among others) became an Autodesk product. As with all Autodesk products, sales of perpetual licenses ceased a couple of years ago. Owners of perpetual licenses were encouraged to ditch them and switch to subscription instead. Financially encouraged, with “discounts” and promises of price rises for …

Autodesk has lost some of its best people

If you follow certain people on social media this may not be news to you, but Autodesk has just suffered a shocking loss. People at SOLIDWORKS World were amazed to see Lynn Allen, probably the most famous person in CAD, and for decades the face of Autodesk, in attendance. Image credit: Craig Black via Facebook No, she wasn’t spying on the competition; she’s praised aspects of what Dassault is doing and has described the event as “pretty amazing”. In her own words, she’s now a free agent. Lynn, a highly professional and entertaining presenter, was undoubtedly Autodesk’s biggest drawcard. No …

Why Bricsys makes the best AutoCAD for Mac

Bricsys has just released BricsCAD V18 for Mac. Here’s the download link and here are the release notes. BricsCAD V18 is an excellent DWG 2018-based CAD application, and the Mac version lacks little in comparison to the Windows version. It’s so much more capable than the perpetually half-baked AutoCAD for Mac that I struggle to comprehend why anybody with the choice would even contemplate the notably inferior and seriously overpriced Autodesk offering. That’s not just opinion, it can be supported objectively. Price first. US prices are shown here for a single standalone license over five years, inclusive of the cost …

The great Autodesk Collections rip-off

Autodesk not only wants to move its customers from perpetual licenses to subscription (rental), it wants to move them from individual products to Industry Collections. Why? Because the rental cost of Collections is higher and more money can be extracted from each customer. There’s nothing conspiracy-theorist about the above statement, it has been explicitly laid out by now-CEO Andrew Anagnost at an Investor Day, and the cunning plan has been placed on the public record. Have a good read of that document, it’s very revealing. AutoCAD LT users are going to be “encouraged” into full AutoCAD, AutoCAD users are are …

BricsCAD Shape – can a free DWG product be a BIM game-changer?

At the Bricsys 2017 Conference in Paris, one of the biggest surprises was the announcement of BricsCAD Shape. This product was demonstrated live, very impressively, in pre-release form. As I live-tweeted at the time, the demo jock was able to create a pretty decent architectural model in minutes, from scratch, very easily. That product has now been released. What is BricsCAD Shape? Shape is a 3D direct modeling application. At the core, it’s a simplified BricsCAD BIM. That means it’s small, fast, stable and it uses 2018 DWG as its native format. These are all good things. It’s obviously aimed …

ADSK bubble trouble

Autodesk has now recorded ten successive quarters of losses totaling $1.289 billion. Autodesk’s share price had been rapidly rising during the previous nine lossy quarters. If last quarter’s $119.8 million loss was business as usual, why did the ADSK share price plummet? At the time of writing, it’s $23.65 down on its pre-Q3-results high. Alongside the usual we’re-doing-great stuff in the Q3 announcement, Autodesk announced big layoffs, with another 13% of the workforce to go. Merry Christmas, employees. This follows on from another 10% who were axed last year. Don’t think I’m gloating about this. I’m not; these are real …

Autodesk founder outraged by Amazon snatch of cloudy purchases

Autodesk co-founder John Walker (it’s not his fault, he relinquished control of the company many years ago) recently posted this on Twitter: In a move reminiscent of the infamous removal of Orwell’s 1984 from Kindle devices (which Amazon promised a court it would never repeat), John’s Audible.com (owned by Amazon) audio books, purchased in 2009-2010, simply went away. John’s reaction was to post a video of harmless inanimate objects being blown away by a powerful firearm, so I think it’s safe to say he was not overly pleased about this turn of events. Can’t say I blame him. This is …

AutoCAD 2018 for Mac – welcome to twenty years ago

In the past, I’ve described how AutoCAD for Mac was released half-baked (as I predicted) and has remained half-baked ever since. But wait! Autodesk has proudly announced AutoCAD 2018 for Mac. Skimming through that blog post, I must admit my jaw dropped when I saw some of the new features. This one, for example: This “new feature” was first provided to AutoCAD users in the 20th century. It was an Express Tool in AutoCAD 2000 (released 1999) and was absorbed into mainstream AutoCAD a few years later. The alias editor goes back even further, to the Release 14 Bonus Tools …

Tip: what to do when your text becomes empty rectangles

Dear person who used the search terms “writing has become empty rectangle in cad” and “autocad text has become an empty rectangle” on this blog, I suspect you probably have a drawing where QTEXT has been turned on. To fix this, enter QTEXT at the command prompt, set it to OFF, and if the problem doesn’t go away by itself then issue the REGENALL command. Pedantic note: the command name is QTEXT, but this controls a system variable called QTEXTMODE. QTEXT OFF is equivalent to both SETVAR QTEXTMODE 0 and just QTEXTMODE 0. In LISP it would be (setvar “QTEXTMODE” …

Cloudy and/or subscription CAD still adds vulnerabilities

Remember when I skewered the myth of CAD on the Cloud being available anytime, anywhere? Back then, I pointed out that Autodesk’s infinitely powerful cloud services had managed a grand total of 2 problem-free fortnights out of the preceding 25. But maybe Autodesk just had a bad year or something. How are things in 2017? Thanks to Autodesk’s health check site with its History option, I can see that so far this year, the grand total of 14-day pages that show no problems is… Zero. That’s right, there have been no clean 100%-uptime fortnights at all this year. None. Most …

The cull continues – yet more Autodesk products are bumped off

While you’re enjoying yourselves at Autodesk University (not that there’s anything wrong with that), spare a thought for a few products that didn’t make it through the year. Their unfortunate ends are unlikely to be announced at AU with flashy videos and gung-ho words, but should still not go unnoticed. More than just a few products, actually. Autodesk killing off its wares is not new, but 2017 is surely the year where the scythe has been wielded with most gusto. I’ve updated the Autodesk Graveyard again to include a few more ex-products. Thanks to JM and others who have pointed …

Logitech demonstrates the power of the cloud and cops a bloody nose

I’ve been a pretty satisfied customer of Logitech products for some years. The mice, keyboards, webcams and 3D controllers (branded as 3DConnexion) I’ve used have generally been well designed, well built and long-term software support has usually been very good (with an exception or two). So it’s with some regret that I have to report them as an example of what not to do in customer service. Logitech recently sent this email to customers of its Harmony Link universal remote control: This is an important update regarding your Harmony Link. On March 16, 2018,   Logitech will discontinue service and …

Tip – making your 3D controller work sensibly in BricsCAD

This tip applies to BricsCAD V14 to V18 inclusive, and possibly other versions too. BricsCAD automatically works with a 3D “mouse” (e.g. 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator controller), and due to the generally excellent performance of BricsCAD in 3D, it works very smoothly and is a real productivity boon for 3D work. If you don’t already have one and you work in 3D, it’s well worth spending a fraction of the money you saved by switching to BricsCAD to get hold of one. Unfortunately, the way BricsCAD reacts to use of this device fails to lock the horizon by default. This means it …

BricsCAD V18 – showing Autodesk how to do DWG CAD

For years now, Autodesk has done very little worthwhile with AutoCAD. There have been a few small but welcome improvements, but it’s really just tinkering at the edges. The product as a whole continues to stagnate and yet blimp out. It’s getting bigger and slower with each new release. The downloads get bigger. The install times get longer. The startup times drag out. The responsiveness suffers. And for what? Pretty much the same old thing, every time. Sometimes you don’t even get a new desktop icon. Don’t get me started on value for money. It’s as if Autodesk considers DWG-based …

Bricsys 2017 Conference

I have recently returned from the Bricsys 2017 Conference, held this year at the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. There were many impressive things demonstrated at this conference and I will be posting about them in due course. In the meantime, here is a short video from Bricsys:

You may wish to check out my Twitter feed to see what I live tweeted at the time, along with the #bricsys2017 tag to see what myself and other CAD press and bloggers thought of it.

Press and bloggers at Bricsys 2017

Disclosure: Bricsys covered my travel expenses for this conference.