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 …

Autodesk customers distinctly dissatisfied with Autodesk

I have closed the three satisfaction rating polls I started a couple of months ago and will be reporting the results individually. The usual caveats about online polls apply.

This poll indicates that Autodesk customer satisfaction levels are perhaps not quite as elevated as they could be. The mean rating is 2.75, the median is 2 and the mode is 0. Yes, zero. Very dissatisfied customers outnumber very satisfied ones by nearly ten to one. That’s pretty emphatic.

If Autodesk had left its policies alone and tried to run a huge PR campaign to deliberately make itself as unpopular with its customers as possible, I doubt that it could have achieved anything like this poor a result. Congratulations, I guess.

Although this is an appalling result for Autodesk, it should come as no surprise to anyone. This reflects the sentiment I see pretty much everywhere, in a wide variety of online forums and when talking to all sorts of people in person.

Lesson for the day: there’s no point in spending a billion dollars a year on marketing if you’re going to do things that make you about as popular as a fart in an elevator.

Repost: Autodesk Subscription – it could be worse

This is a repost of Autodesk Subscription – it could be worse from 18 April 2010. I’m posting this to show that I’m not just having a go at Autodesk’s policies because they’re from Autodesk. I’m having a go at those policies because they are reprehensible. Whoever it is that’s being anti-customer, spinning bullshit, or otherwise misbehaving, they can expect to receive a brutally honest critique here. It’s interesting that in this old post I pointed out that this policy was bad business. (Not quite the expression I used, but the sentiment was there). My agreement with Buzz Kross on …

Battle of the Bullshit part 5 – Bentley back in the bad books

Having earlier earned my praise for raising its game in its PR battle with Autodesk, Bentley has unfortunately reverted to BS mode with its latest effort. In its message “Upgrade your Autodesk Licenses – Top 5 Reasons Why You Have a Choice“, Bentley’s marketers have chosen to step beyond the facts. Bad idea. Most of that page is just straightforward promotion of Bentley’s self-perceived strong points. No problem with that. But the first full paragraph? Hmm. Here’s the first example: Preserve the value of your Autodesk licenses that otherwise would be lost as a result of Autodesk’s decision to no …

Autodesk confirms its own unconscionable conduct

It took several attempts over a period of months and was like pulling teeth, but Autodesk has now confirmed that it is deliberately withholding bug fixes from some of its customers. Autodesk has taken customers’ money and in return has provided defective software (OK, that happens). It has fixed some of those defects (that happens too, sometimes). But it’s limiting distribution of those fixes to those prepared to pay Autodesk further (that has never happened before). Just let that sink in. Autodesk broke stuff you paid for, could easily fix it, but won’t do so unless you pay more. If …

Yet more Autodesk software falls off the perch

Just when I thought I was having a nice vacation from tending the Autodesk Graveyard (see also Autodesk products are falling like parrots), another bunch of former best-thing-ever products have bitten the dust. This time, it’s Autodesk’s Gameware middleware products that have been read the Last Rites. Scaleform, Beast, HumanIK and Navigation can no longer be purchased or maintained. If you used these products, support will cease as soon as your existing maintenance agreement expires. More details on cgchannel.com. That leaves Stingray as the only surviving middleware product (for now). That’s probably only still alive because Autodesk wants the halo …