Fix released for Autodesk subscription licensing error (yes, another one)

Providing yet another entry in the it’ll never happen again file, Autodesk has issued a fix for an AutoCAD 2018 subscription licensing crash. Thankfully, it’s not compulsory to use the execrable Autodesk desktop app or malware-like Akamai download manager to obtain this fix. There are direct links for the 32-bit and 64-bit fixes. Lessons we learned from this: AutoCAD doesn’t just phone home once every 30 days to maintain even a long-term a subscription license, it phones home 24 hours later too. And probably every 24 hours after that. Desktop software that relies on the internet to continue working is …

Autodesk is hiring again

We’ve been here before, so this shouldn’t shock anyone. Autodesk is red hot to employ lots of shiny new people to replace at least some of the old ones that were discarded a while back.

As a free service to Autodesk, I offer this work-for-us video for your enjoyment:

An example of the sort of attitude required from employees who want to stay around can be found at 0:37. Nice!

Has Autodesk broken your old licenses?

I’m seeing multiple recent complaints from people stating that their older but perfectly legal perpetual license AutoCADs are being broken. They’re also reporting that Autodesk is being less than helpful about fixing the problem in any reasonable kind of timeframe. Whether this is a deliberate act or yet another “this won’t happen again” screw-up is difficult to determine, but either way it’s pretty obnoxious. People paid a lot of money for this software and they deserve to have it working. If you have an old release lying around for whatever reason, maybe you’d better check to make sure it’s not …

Importing SketchUp files into AutoCAD

Do you have a SketchUp (SKP) file you need to import into a DWG? Need to know how to do it? Tried it but it didn’t work? This tip is for you. If you’re using AutoCAD 2016 to 2019 for Windows, you can download and install the SketchUp Import plug-in from the Autodesk App Store. If that goes according to plan, this will add the command IMPORTSKP to AutoCAD. You may need to restart your AutoCAD first. It’s straightforward enough; select a file to import and it becomes a block in your drawing. Reading the reviews for this add-on, it’s …

Having trouble authorising Autodesk products?

You’re not alone. At the time of writing, the Autodesk license service at auth.autodesk.com is down, so if you need a response from that service before your software will work you’re likely to be severely out of luck. That’s more likely to be inconvenient if you’re on subscription rather than a perpetual license, because Autodesk subscription software phones home every month. Yes, even if you have a 3-year license.

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. …

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. …

That awkward moment when I just failed to create BIM

I recently updated my resume, and I thought it might be relevant to include an episode from my early career. This post is an expansion on what I had to say about that episode. I was managing a tiny CAD training and development company, Educad. Much of my time there was spent developing software called NIDIS (originally called NEEDS), a project that was started in 1987 or 1988 with Nixdorf Computer as the client. It was intended to take over the market among first the home building companies of Western Australia, then Australia, then the World! What’s special about NIDIS …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Too soon? Autodesk cancels 30% subscription price increase

Autodesk had announced plans to increase some subscription prices by 30% on 7 November 2017. Resellers have already passed that information on to customers. Here’s the detail of what was going to happen: Three Important Changes to Subscriptions with Multi-User Access Autodesk is increasing prices on subscriptions with multi-user access to reflect the value and flexibility that sharing licenses provides our customers. As part of this change, we will stop selling new subscriptions with multi-user access for select products. Beginning November 7, 2017: Prices for new and renewing subscriptions with multi-user access for most individual products are increasing by ~17-19%. …

When spambots get it wrong

I’ve posted before about the amusement that can be had at the expense of the clueless spammers who set up their bots with poorly written strings. Thanks to the various anti-spam tools now protecting this blog, there are few comments appearing in my spam folder. There was one today though, and the cluelessness reached new heights. The dolt writing the spambot was too dumb to set it up correctly to spew out a series of inane generic comments from a list, but instead put the whole lot of the comment strings in a single self-contradictory comment! Here it is in …

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.

Autodesk resellers also appear dissatisfied with Autodesk

I have closed the three satisfaction rating polls I started a couple of months ago and have reported the results individually. This is the final post on this set of polls. The usual caveats about online polls apply. Please note that for most of the poll respondents, I have no way of knowing if they really are/were resellers. Whoever they are, it would appear that the sentiment is global; over ten countries are represented in the voting logs. Although this poll appears to indicate that Autodesk is even less popular with its resellers than it is with its customers, the …