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” …

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 …

CAD-related Twitter exchange of the year

In a Twitter post (now deleted), the AutoCAD twitter account asks us to submit our feature ideas for AutoCAD, and links to the Autodesk Ideas Page: Just one problem. As R.K. McSwain points out in his reply, the Ideas Page has no section for AutoCAD. There should be one, and should have been one for years, but there isn’t. That tells you all you need to know about how the level of concern Autodesk has about AutoCAD’s future development. Here’s the exchange in all its glory: Oops.

First 2018.1-broke-my-AutoCAD reports coming in

Thanks to R.K. McSwain for pointing out that at least one user has reported unexpected shutdowns from AutoCAD (Architecture, probably) following installation of the 2018.1 Update. The problem went away following uninstallation of the update. Caveat updator. Anybody else have any issues or are you all waiting for the early adopters to find out for you? Edit: it turns out the crash occurs when opening 2013 DXF files. Edit 2: a hotfix has been posted here.

AutoCAD 2018.1 released, but only for some

Autodesk has released the AutoCAD (and LT) 2018.1 Update, not to be confused with the earlier ill-fated 2018.0.1 Update. It’s only available for currently-paying subscription and maintenance customers. The “non critical” bug fixes in this Update (by Autodesk’s definition) are being withheld from Autodesk’s other customers. Those of you who have allowed your maintenance to expire due to Autodesk’s development inaction and unjustified price increases can consider yourselves duly punished for failing to fall into line. If you have the execrable Autodesk desktop app installed (not recommended) and it works as expected, this update will present itself to you. Otherwise, …

What’s changed at blog nauseam and why

Last week, blog nauseam died. This post explains the background to that. You’re probably not that interested, so feel free to skip to the dot points that list the changes that have resulted. The problem was a faulty WordPress installation was using excessive resources. This caused severe performance issues and resulted in the server software stepping in to throttle the site to prevent more widespread problems. The trigger for the WordPress fault has not been determined and may never be. This is somewhat akin to an old AutoCAD drawing suddenly going bad for unknown reasons. The problem may date back …

Automated .NET 4.7 update kills AutoCAD pre 2017

Thanks to Robert Green for pointing this out: Microsoft is installing .NET 4.7 as part of their auto updates and it is causing many legacy Autodesk applications to crash on any ribbon interaction. Touch the ribbon, away goes your software. If you can keep from installing the 4.7 framework do so. If the damage is already done then uninstall .NET 4.7 and install .NET 4.6.2 using this download link. Note that the uninstall of the offending version must be done first! AutoCAD 2013 to 2016 and Inventor are affected, and possibly other products. BricsCAD users are unaffected. It is also …

Bentley marketers love Autodesk

Bentley Systems marketers are currently taking advantage of Autodesk customers’ distaste for the Big A’s rent-or-GTFO business model. For any Autodesk competitor, this is a fairly smart move. Autodesk has offered a free kick to its competitors and is betting on them all kicking the ball wide of the net. How accurate is Bentley’s shooting? In this case, AutoCAD customers are being encouraged to take up MicroStation. Via the Cadalyst Direct opt-in advertising list, I received an email entitled AutoCAD Users, you need options. We listened: Talk about feeling trapped (which has many Autodesk customers angry), options and flexibility (which …

AutoCAD 2018 licensing crash – another reason to avoid subscription

Autodesk has released an update to fix the following AutoCAD 2018 problem:

Product users of version 2018 Autodesk single-user subscriptions may experience an intermittent crash. The crash occurs when it has been more than 24 hours since the last successful authorization check and there is intermittent or no internet connection, or the licensing authorization server is unavailable. The licensing authorization check occurs in the background and is completely unrelated to activities the user is performing at the time of the crash.
A fatal error message may be shown by the product. For example:

FATAL ERROR: Unhandled e06d7363h Exception at ee563c58h

 
Links:

Note that this crash only afflicts subscription (rental) single-user (standalone) customers. People with perpetual licenses don’t have to put up with the multiple additional points of failure caused by the subscription licensing system insisting on phoning home every 30 days. Yes, even if you pay for three years’ subscription up front, you’ll still need a working Internet connection every 30 days if you want to keep using the product.

At least, Autodesk has been saying it’s only once every 30 days (as if that wasn’t bad enough). The information provided with this hotfix tells a different story. What is the license server doing phoning home 24 hours after the last successful authorization check? Enquiring minds want to know.

No criticism of Autodesk is implied for providing this hotfix. As always, I commend Autodesk for fixing up problems as they arise. The basis of my criticism is the hotfix being necessary in the first place. It’s caused by Autodesk inflicting unnecessary complication on its customers for its own internal reasons. This one fails the “how does this benefit the customer?” test big-time.

The single-user subscription licensing mechanism has been a crock from day one, especially for CAD Managers of multiple users who have to deal with its onerous requirements. It’s an astonishingly poor design, very badly implemented. Even with this particular crash fixed, it’s still a crock.

BricsCAD documentation – a tale of three systems – part 3

In this third post in what was supposed to be a two-part series, I have more to say about the BricsCAD documentation system. See here for part 1 and here for part 2. Developer Help – Addendum In this comment from Bricsys API person Torsten Moses, he informed me about the availability of the Lisp Developer Support Package (LDSP) in the Bricsys Application Catalog. As always, when presented with new evidence I am prepared to re-examine my position on anything. Therefore, I will now further discuss the BricsCAD developer documentation. The first thing to mention is that the existence of …

Autodesk acquires Angry Birds developer Rovio (repost)

This post, originally published on 1 April 2012, brings back fond memories. That’s mainly because of this tweet from Carl Bass: Autodesk announced today that it had welcomed Rovio Entertainment into the Autodesk fold. Following a US$2.6 billion acquisition, the publisher of mega hit video game Angry Birds is now Autodesk’s Mobile Entertainment division based in Espoo, Finland. “This is a tremendously exciting development for Autodesk going forward,” said Autodesk CEO Carl Bass. “Rovio is the world leader in mobile entertainment software,” he added, “so for Autodesk to have access to that market and that technology opens up a whole new …

BricsCAD documentation – a tale of three systems – part 2

In this pair of posts, I describe the BricsCAD documentation system. Click here for part 1, where I describe the general Help system and the descriptions in the Settings command. In this part, I discuss developer documentation and draw my conclusions. Developer Help If we count the Settings descriptions as a system, there’s a third documentation system for BricsCAD. The Developer Reference isn’t offline and included in an install like the main Help. Instead, it’s online, just like Autodesk’s default. Unlike Autodesk’s system, it works pretty well. Being online means the performance suffers, of course, but it’s generally not too …

BricsCAD documentation – a tale of three systems – part 1

Because of the great similarity between BricsCAD and AutoCAD in terms of commands, variables and most aspects of usage, you would expect the BricsCAD documentation to be about the same too. But it isn’t. Much of the content covers the same areas and due to BricsCAD’s command-line compatibility, there must be a lot in common. But the Help system is very different from Autodesk’s. How so? In this pair of posts, I describe the BricsCAD documentation system. I assume you’re familiar with the AutoCAD one. In this first part, I describe the general Help system and the descriptions in the …

AutoCAD 2018.0.2 arrives

AutoCAD 2018.0.1 is dead, long live 2018.0.2! Here’s the readme. Here’s the 64-bit direct link. Here’s the 32-bit direct link. This supposedly fixes stuff that 2018.0.1 broke, such as the signed VLX thing. Will this one break other stuff? I guess we’ll find out.

Bloatware – a tale of two installations

In a previous post, I showed that AutoCAD is bloatware by comparing the size of its downloads to that of BricsCAD. Obviously, an application that’s ten times the size it should be is going to cost you a lot of unnecessary bandwidth, download time and drive space. But maybe you don’t care about that. What practical difference does it make? Well, for one thing, the blimping-out of Autodesk’s former flagship product has a big effect on installation time. Vast and ever-increasing amounts of time are wasted by users of Autodesk products, just waiting for the things to finish installing. But …

AutoCAD 2018.0.1 mystery deepens with silent withdrawal

As I mentioned earlier, the release of AutoCAD 2018 was followed almost instantaneously by the first update, 2018.0.1. At the time of writing, there was no official information about this update. Some information was later made available, but questions remained. Now the update has been silently withdrawn. Go to Autodesk Account > Management > AutoCAD > Downloads > Updates & Add-ons and you will no longer see this: The infamous Autodesk desktop app also shows no sign of this update. So why has it been withdrawn? Autodesk isn’t saying, but thanks to Jimmy Bergmark, we know that installing the 2018.0.1 …

Bloatware – a tale of two CAD applications

You may have seen me mention in passing that AutoCAD is bloatware. That’s not just the general grumpy-old-user moan you see from long-term users like me, who can remember when AutoCAD used to fit on one floppy disk. Yes, programs get bigger over time as new functionality is added and old functionality needs to be retained. Hardware gets bigger, better, faster over time to compensate for that. I get that. Understood. The AutoCAD bloatware problem is much more than that. AutoCAD is literally ten times the size it needs to be, to provide the functionality it does. How do I know? …

Bricsys shows Autodesk how to do mid-term updates

BricsCAD V17.2 is out. Although there’s nowhere near as much new and useful in this mid-term update as in the full upgrade from V16 to V17, there’s more here than in Autodesk’s last mid-term update, AutoCAD 17.1. There’s even arguably more than in the uninspired AutoCAD 2018 upgrade, including those 17.1 features. But that’s not the main reason I say Bricsys is schooling Autodesk in how to do mid-term updates. While Autodesk is restricting such updates (including the bug fixes and security updates included in those updates) to subscription and maintenance customers, Bricsys is doing no such thing. BricsCAD V17 …

New Autodesk subscription offer to perpetual license holders

Don’t get too excited. Autodesk’s recent attempt to price-force perpetual license maintenance customers onto subscription (rental) remains in place, unchanged and just as unappealing as before. If you’re one of those customers, there’s nothing new here of interest to you. This new offer, at 30% off the normal but extremely high subscription price, is at first sight even less appealing than the approximately 60% saving that the above offer provides. But it’s aimed at different customers, and there’s the remote possibility that such customers might find it worthwhile. The new offer is called FY18 Q1 Autodesk – Global Field Promotion …