Autodesk remotely killswitches AutoCAD licenses – again

Following the AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster, where subscription users found their AutoCAD 2018s were broken by an Autodesk licensing system meltdown, Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost issued an apology. He also assured customers on Twitter that it wouldn’t happen again: While I welcomed that, I did have this to say at the time: I don’t think such a guarantee is realistic, given that the nature of subscription software is to only work when it knows you’ve paid up. At least it demonstrates that the desire is there right at the top to try to prevent such debacles from occurring in future. …

The game has changed – Robert Green migrates to BricsCAD

Is anybody left who still thinks BricsCAD isn’t a serious replacement for AutoCAD? If that’s you, perhaps the latest news might make you take it seriously. No, not the Heidi Hewett news. Even more recent news than that! Robert Green, CAD Management guru, Cadalyst writer and consultant (not to mention a rather good guitarist) has been announced as the first Bricsys Certified Migration Consultant. Read all about what Robert has to say on this Bricsys blog post. Anybody who has been reading this blog for the last few years will be surprised by none of what Robert has to say …

Autodesk removes ability to control products and updates by device

If you’re a CAD Manager controlling Autodesk software through Autodesk Account, make sure you don’t ignore this little notice near the top: Full details can be found on the page Device Management Discontinued in Autodesk Account, but in short another level of control and flexibility will be removed from you in a month or so. I hope you’re sincerely grateful for Autodesk improving and simplifying the user management experience. This only applies if you allow Autodesk desktop app to be installed, which I’ve always advised against. Of course, if you’re in a secure proxy environment there’s a good chance that …

Autodesk forums return – what do you think?

Congratulations to the tech team behind the Autodesk forum software for getting the redesigned forums back up well ahead of schedule! The new forums look very different. My first impression is that it is a standard-issue Autodesk “progression” – it looks prettier but doesn’t work nearly as well. Huge swathes of screen space are wasted for graphic impact (no, I don’t mean the long-dead Autodesk attempt at PowerPoint). Big fonts, huge header, even bigger footer, lots of pretty white space. Yet what is there contains less useful information. On a 1920 x 1200 monitor, I can only see four threads …

What to do while the forums are down, dear Autodesk?

In common with most online services, the Autodesk forums are down for maintenance from time to time. That will be happening this weekend: Announcement: The forums will be unavailable starting 1 p.m. on Friday, April 6 (Pacific time) while we implement the forum redesign. We will be back online at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 9, or sooner. I really wish Autodesk would act like a company with an international focus and use universally understood time standards for its announcements. Allow me to translate for those people outside North America for whom “Pacific time” means nothing. Pacific Time (UTC-7) UTC Off line: …

The great Autodesk Collections rip-off has ended

I reported in January that, “The way Autodesk Collection licensing works, you can’t use more than two of the products in a Collection at once.” Thanks to a policy reversal from Autodesk, this is no longer true. Felice on the Autodesk forums shared the good news: Hi all, I have an update to share on this topic… we are removing the Industry Collection concurrent usage policy limitation. Here are some more details/background: Overview: Currently, the Industry Collection concurrent usage policy limits the number of collection products that can be used at the same time to two. The terms and conditions related …

Andrew Anagnost apology for AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost has sent an email to customers affected by the AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster that acted as a remote kill-switch for users of earlier releases of subscription software. The email’s subject is We Missed the Mark: Readers of this blog will be aware that Andrew and I have fundamental disagreements on where he has taken the company, but credit where credit is due. An apology was appropriate in this case, and Andrew stepped up and made one. He has also stated on Twitter that it won’t happen again. I don’t think such a guarantee is realistic, given …

AutoCAD 2019 rollout disaster

If you’re an AutoCAD user, you may have been intrigued by the news about the new way Autodesk is bundling up AutoCAD 2019 with various verticals (perpetual license owners need not apply). This is Autodesk’s latest attempt to promote its subscription model and raise prices again. 7% this time, but much more to come. But never mind that, the main point is that you’re getting a whole lot of stuff, and who could say that’s not a good thing? So it’s most unfortunate for Autodesk that the AutoCAD 2019 rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. My own experiences in trying …

How to get your Wacom Graphire 4 tablet working in Windows 10

I’ve been setting up a new PC at home and one of the things I struggled with was getting my Wacom Graphire 4 tablet working. This isn’t a CAD tablet (remember those?); instead, I use its pressure-sensitive stylus for image creation and editing. Press harder and you get more ink. Turn the pen over and you automatically erase instead of drawing. Press the eraser harder and you get more erasing. I use PaintShop Pro for my image work, by the way, not Photoshop. You can still buy and optionally upgrade PaintShop Pro perpetual licenses, which is how it should be. …

Autodesk contemplates Bentley-style licensing

Some of you may have received an invitation from Autodesk to provide survey feedback. This hints at a possible move towards time based licensing (e.g. hourly), and asks what kind of tools you will need to handle that. Sometimes these questions lead to nothing, other times they are a precursor to inevitable change (desirable or not). If it’s the latter, I can only surmise that Autodesk is concerned that its customers haven’t been thoroughly peed off by anything new in a while and is investigating novel and interesting ways to annoy them. Ask a Bentley customer what annoys them most …

Bricsys shows Autodesk how to do mid-term updates – again!

BricsCAD V18.2 for Windows is out. The new stuff in this mid-term update is again showing up Autodesk’s lack of progress with its once-flagship product, AutoCAD. I’m sure Autodesk would love customers to accept that there’s only so much anyone can do with a DWG-based CAD product once it reaches a certain level of maturity. Customers should get used to nothing of significance being added year after year. Diminishing returns, and all that. Pay to continue using the product, but don’t expect it to get better. What a shame for Autodesk, then, that Bricsys exists. By consistently providing a raft …

How to sign your LISP files

This post follows on from Why digitally sign your LISP files? and How to obtain a digital signature to sign your LISP files. In the first post, I explained why you might want to digitally sign your LISP files. In the second, I explained how to obtain and install a digital signature. This third and final post in the series assumes you have done all that and now want to sign your files. There are two methods available to you, using a dialog box or command-line interface. Signing LISP using the AcSignApply.exe dialog box Autodesk has provided a utility called …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …