The BLADE video watchlist

I did my third and final (for now) BricsCAD Unplugged webcast about BLADE last Wednesday. Here’s the video:

Before I dig into DCL, I start with a brief description of an absolutely brilliant feature that was added to BLADE in V19. If you code in LISP, you’ll love this feature.

Then I move on to some ancient history. Did you know that we can thank the far-sightedness of some slightly renegade Autodesk OS/2 developers in the early 1990s for the dialog boxes we use today? Did you know that you could program dialog boxes for AutoCAD for Mac in 1993 but you can’t today? Can you spot the items of interest in the background?

The rest of the video is dedicated to describing DCL programming and debugging, and I explain how BLADE is the best tool for that job using examples.

If you want to watch all three of the BLADE videos in a row (that’s 1 hour 49 minutes of viewing), Matt Olding has created a YouTube playlist for this series.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Bricsys people in putting this series together. Torsten Moses has informed me about yet another bunch of enhancements that are coming very soon to BLADE, so maybe you haven’t heard the last from me on this subject on BricsCAD Unplugged.

More BLADE videos

As mentioned previously, In December I made a guest appearance on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast series to discuss the LISP development environment, BLADE (YouTube link).

I made another appearance last week describing debugging using BLADE (YouTube link):

If you’re dealing with LISP code for AutoCAD and/or BricsCAD, you really should be doing it in BLADE. It’s the best development environment for AutoLISP/Visual LISP that you’re ever going to get.

I have another appearance scheduled for later today (13 February) in which among other LISPy things, I will be discussing using BLADE for DCL programming. Again, even if you’re AutoCAD-only, I believe this is worth a watch. BLADE is better for DCL programming, too.

Even if you’re AutoCAD-only and not a programmer, you might find my brief ancient history lesson of interest. Did you know that BricsCAD for Mac users can thank a far-sighted early 90s Autodesk OS/2 team for the dialog boxes they use today?

The BricsCAD Unplugged webcast broadcasts run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. Today’s session will start at about UTC 14:15 (2:15 PM) on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 (click here for your local time)

Video – who is that masked man?

Last night I made another guest appearance on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast series. This time I was discussing the LISP development environment, BLADE. Here’s the video:

Bonus points will be awarded for identifying three items of interest in the background. No, not counting my dog Sunday asleep at lower left.

Despite going way over time, there was still nowhere near enough opportunity to describe the full LISPy awesomeness that BLADE represents. I am therefore scheduled to return for another two or three episodes beginning in February. In those, I’ll be doing more of a step-by-step demonstration rather than the overview and V19 new feature description I did in this episode. If you have any particular requests for what you want covered, please comment on this post.

I also showed how the tools in BLADE (e.g. the (inspector) function) are still worth having for any DWG-based CAD Manager or power user, even if you’re not a full-on LISP programmer. If you have to work out what’s going on with dodgy DWG files, you’ll want to have (inspector) in your set of tools.

The BricsCAD Unplugged webcast broadcasts run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. This was the last episode for 2018 because of Christmas and New Year.

Wielding BLADE on BricsCAD Unplugged

In September I was the special guest on the BricsCAD Unplugged episode BricsCAD Unplugged – Steve Johnson 5 surprises moving to BricsCAD. Next Wednesday I will return, this time to wield BLADE, the best thing to happen to CAD LISP in nearly 20 years. I’ll be introducing it and demonstrating a few things, including the new features that came with V19. These live broadcasts are run on the Bricsys Facebook page and are then quickly transferred to YouTube. This broadcast will start at UTC 15:00 (3 PM) on Wednesday, 19 December 2018. Here’s that time in a few handy time zones: …

BricsCAD V19 promo pricing ends 15 December

I’ve previously explained the changes to BricsCAD pricing that came in with V19, and showed how the prices for new purchases would rise when the promotional period ends. Upgrading now requires All-In. Problem? One change I failed to point out, but which was mentioned by a commenter, was that for customers not already on the All-In Maintenance program, they needed to sign up for one year’s All-In in addition to paying the upgrade fee. This meant the upgrade fee was significantly greater than in previous years because customers were effectively paying for two upgrades (e.g. V18 to V19 as an …

DOSLib goes open source

What’s DOSLib? DOSLib is a free library of LISP functions that adds a lot of functionality to AutoLISP/Visual LISP/BricsCAD LISP. It makes a lot of programming tasks a lot easier, because instead of writing a bunch of code to do tricky stuff, you can just load the library and call a ready-made (dos_xxx) function. There are hundreds of functions that cover the following areas (taken from the McNeel Wiki): Drives – Check for drives, change between drives, and check available disk space. Paths – Manipulate path specifications. Folders – Create, rename, remove, select, and change folders. Return special operating system folders. Files – Copy, …

BricsCAD V19 – pricing changes explained

The BricsCAD V19 release has not only given us a new software release (an excellent one – and I’ll be writing about that later), it’s also given us a new Bricsys website and a new pricing structure. In some cases prices are actually slightly lower, but in the vast majority of cases the movement is up. The price movement varies by product, market and currency, and depends largely on whether you choose to opt for All-in Maintenance. The aim of this post is to clarify exactly what has happened to Bricsys prices. One significant change across the board is the …

Video – Steve on BricsCAD Unplugged

Following on from Lynn Allen and Robert Green’s guest appearances on the BricsCAD Unplugged webcast a couple of weeks ago, this time it was my turn. Last night (my time) I was the special guest on the episode BricsCAD Unplugged – Steve Johnson 5 surprises moving to BricsCAD. I’m introduced at 2:12 and appear at 3:30. Here’s the full video: In this week’s episode, you’ll witness: Me discussing the five biggest things that pleasantly surprised me about BricsCAD. (I have more than five, but time was limited). Don Strimbu bribing me with drinks containers. An actual printed copy of Cadalyst …

Explaining the four tiers of AutoCAD license

Yesterday’s tiers Once upon a time, long long ago, you could buy AutoCAD with or without sets of features  called Advanced Drafting Extensions (ADE) containing optional extras such as dimensioning. At one stage you could buy four tiers of AutoCAD license at different prices: AutoCAD AutoCAD + ADE1 AutoCAD + ADE2 (incorporating ADE1) AutoCAD + ADE3 (incorporating ADE1 and ADE2) (Interestingly, the above situation is similar to the current arrangement with BricsCAD, where BricsCAD Classic, Pro and Platinum are available with incrementing prices and feature sets, with BricsCAD BIM and Sheet Metal available on top of Platinum). As almost everybody bought …

Autodesk subscription price rise certainty

In my previous posts exploring the costs associated with various CAD software licensing scenarios, there was always a need for assumptions because Autodesk had failed to provide any pricing information beyond a point a year or so from now. As a result, expecting the worst appeared to be the safest strategy. To Autodesk’s credit, this situation is now partially addressed. From this Autodesk web page: We’re extending our price commitment through 2028 for customers who continue to renew after they switch. The special Move to Subscription renewal suggested retail price will increase by no more than 5% in 2021, 2023, …

What’s new in AutoCAD 2019 for maintenance customers?

So you’re a long-term customer who has used AutoCAD since it ran on an abacus. You paid for upgrades when you could and switched to maintenance (then called Subscription) when that became the only cost-effective option for keeping current. You’re not about to fall for the subscription (rental) trick; they can prise your perpetual license from your cold, dead fingers. It’s no secret that the value for your maintenance dollar has been poor for years. Autodesk is jacking up maintenance prices in leaps and bounds; is the maintenance being performed at a rate that matches the amount being charged? In …

An email exchange with a friend about AutoCAD

Here’s an email exchange I just had with a friend. He’s a local person who I don’t normally discuss CAD with. He works for an architect. He has given me permission to use this discussion here. Hi Steve, We are looking to update from 2007 and 2010 versions in the office to more recent versions of Autodesk’s AutoCAD. We don’t need full version but if that’s what is available ok then. Lite version is ok as we use for 2D architectural only. We use other packages when 3D work required. We also have call to open consultants drawings which may …

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. …

CAD Panacea tip – startup files in BricsCAD

One of the things that might initially baffle a CAD Manager or power user when investigating switching from AutoCAD to BricsCAD is how to set up the startup routines. Head over to CAD Panacea for R.K. McSwain’s concise, handy description of how to do it. Due to BricsCAD’s high level of compatibility, you can maintain a common folder or set of folders containing LISP and other custom files for both applications. That way, you don’t need to do double maintenance during the transition period. I’ve done this successfully in a highly complex custom environment. Some code and other adjustments were …

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 …

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%. …

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 …

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, …