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 …

Why One AutoCAD is smart strategy

OK, so Autodesk may have blown the AutoCAD 2019 rollout, triggering an apology from CEO Andrew Anagnost. OK, AutoCAD 2019 may have the smallest set of significant advances in the history of AutoCAD releases. If you’re wondering, I give it 1/10. The “there can be only one” hype could easily refer to meaningful improvements to the product per year. This year’s improvement is… drawing compare! Still, AutoCAD 2019 is a significant release for reasons beyond the content of the core product. An examination of the One AutoCAD strategy reveals a collective corporate mind that’s smarter than it’s being given credit …

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) awareness

This post has nothing to do with the usual subjects covered by this blog. It’s more personal than that. My niece Carrie and her two daughters have suffered, and continue to suffer, from a rare, painful and debilitating condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). That suffering could have been reduced if there had been more knowledge of the condition among the medical profession. I’m somewhat cynical about “awareness campaigns”, but this is different. This awareness can have a major beneficial impact on real people, if the awareness is among the people who can make a difference: medical professionals. I’m asking …

Guest post (BlackBox) – Why every click counts

With a bit of tongue in cheek, “This is not only my first guest post on [blog nauseam], it’s also my first guest post on any blog.” Thanks, Steve! I get to write about one of my favorite AutoCAD features, and share a short personal story. Yesterday I read Frank Mayfield’s article on time-sensitive Right Click, which made me recall an opportunity to help a new user on a design task the other day. I led them through an approach to mitigate a design issue, noticed they weren’t using time-sensitive Right Click, and asked them why? User: Why not? Me: Fair …

Are your drawings SHOUTING?

This post was inspired by a question raised by Jamie Myers in the CAD Managers Unite! Facebook group. Long ago, before CAD was in common use, I was taught technical drawing at school. One of the things I was taught was to follow drafting standards, BS308 at the time. Later, I was expected to follow AS1100. One of the things I was taught was to always use capital letters in text on drawings, using the approved ISO font. Without a machine, without a template. This stuck to me to such an extent that even today I use all caps when …

ADSK bubble trouble

Autodesk has now recorded ten successive quarters of losses totaling $1.289 billion. Autodesk’s share price had been rapidly rising during the previous nine lossy quarters. If last quarter’s $119.8 million loss was business as usual, why did the ADSK share price plummet? At the time of writing, it’s $23.65 down on its pre-Q3-results high. Alongside the usual we’re-doing-great stuff in the Q3 announcement, Autodesk announced big layoffs, with another 13% of the workforce to go. Merry Christmas, employees. This follows on from another 10% who were axed last year. Don’t think I’m gloating about this. I’m not; these are real …

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 …

I continue to snigger at your pronouncements of technological inevitability

Back in January, I declared my amusement at people proclaiming impending technology trend takeovers as inevitable and irresistible. Among other things, I had this to say (it’s a familiar phrase in Britain): What a load of bollocks.   Today I was provided with another example (thanks Ralph): What falling e-book sales tell us about technology in 2017 I encourage you to read that post, which seems to me to be right on the money. E-books, yesterday’s Next Big Thing, are now in sharp decline. The inevitable technology takeover turned out to be not quite so inevitable after all. Who could …

Dissecting Dieter’s perpetual points

I like Dieter Schlaepfer, we’ve been arguing for years. Dieter and I have never met in person, but online we go back to the CIS:ACAD CompuServe days of the early 1990s. Dieter’s a good guy who has done a splendid job with AutoCAD documentation content for decades. He is genuinely interested in improving the product and customer experience, and has done a great deal to do so over the years. Dieter’s responsible for the most-commented post on this blog, AutoCAD 2013 – An Autodesk Help writer responds with 164 comments and was a heavy contributor to the 95 comments on …

Why owning stuff is still important (repost)

This post was originally published on 19 November 2012. What’s happened since then is that Autodesk has indeed ended the sale of perpetual licenses and gone all-rental even though customers remain reluctant. Autodesk’s cloud push, however, is struggling. Many Autodesk cloud products are dying or dead. Others (mostly free) carry on but many have failed to live up to expectations.  Some paid cloud products (e.g. Fusion 360) are starting to generate some return on Autodesk’s huge investment. However, it’s all years behind schedule. We were supposed to be cloudy CAD users several years ago. It hasn’t happened. How much of …

AutoCAD 2018 – why did the DWG format change?

In my review of AutoCAD 2018, I had this to say about AutoCAD 2018’s changed DWG format: Why does AutoCAD 2018 need a new DWG format? It probably doesn’t. The 2013 DWG format is capable of holding pretty much anything you want… Although Autodesk cites performance reasons with certain drawings, I strongly suspect the new DWG format was introduced purely to make life difficult for competitors, and to encourage wavering customers to stay with Autodesk for fear of losing compatibility. In other words, it seems likely this is an anti-competitive change rather than a technical one. In a recent blog …

Bullshit Returns – Autodesk maintenance price hike part 2

In this post I continue skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. See here for part 1. Access to new industry collections – Available only through subscription, you’ll realize significant savings when you need two or more Autodesk software products. Bullshit. Industry collections are just rental-only engorged suites. Suites are those things with many more than two products; things that Autodesk has been pushing hard for years, before dropping them from the price list. If you already have a suite that contains the products you need (remember, Autodesk’s statements are aimed at existing perpetual license holders), switching …

Bullshit Returns – Autodesk maintenance price hike part 1

Just when you think it’s safe to walk across the cattle enclosure in your best shoes, Autodesk drops another steaming pile of spin for its customers to step into. Here, I’m skewering the welcome post to Autodesk’s Moving to Subscription forum. However, I believe I should really acknowledge the unnamed author of the Important Updates on Maintenance Plans FAQ, which the welcome post has merely paraphrased for simplicity. There’s so much bullshit in there that I’m going to split my exploration of it into two posts. Let’s put on some rubber gloves and start delving around in the muck, shall …

The Cloud Broke – a poem

The cloud broke
And teardrops fell
On the desks
Of those who fell
For the lure
Of a cloudy hell.


The landlord laughs
To see such fun
Collects his rent
From web he spun
He still gets paid
When things don’t run.


I said t’would be
It’s come to pass
Surprised? Not me
With or without Bass
Autodesk’s cloud
Can kiss this SaaS.

Why Autodesk’s rental won’t make big money from pirates

One argument I’ve seen in support of the all-rental software model is that it will rake in lots of cash from those users who aren’t currently customers, i.e. pirates. Here’s an example (Carl Bass, November 2016): We believe some of these people were previously pirating the software and now have a much more affordable option with product subscriptions. This is consistent with the fact that emerging countries are some of the fastest growing areas for product subscriptions. In other cases, these new users have been using an alternative design tool and could now afford software from Autodesk. Putting aside the …

33 years of AutoCAD upgrades rated – part 5 – summary

In this final post of the series, I’ll examine the patterns that have emerged from the upgrade history I rated in parts 1 to 4. Bear in mind I’m only assessing the DOS (up to R13) and Windows (from R12 on) versions of the full version of AutoCAD. Of course, this only represents my opinion of those releases and is bound to be biased by the uses I and my users have for the software. Your experiences and opinions will almost certainly vary. What can I say? My assessment is based on a third of a century of experience, and …

I snigger at your pronouncements of technological inevitability

It always amuses me when people proclaim a rising technology as not just promising, but the way of the future that will inevitably take over. Anybody can see that’s the way things are heading, they say. No use fighting it. Don’t question the certainty of the forthcoming tech revolution, you Luddite! It’s a sea change, resistance is futile, get on board now or be swept away on the flood waters of progress. What a load of bollocks. What really surprises me is when people who are old enough to know better join in with this sort of thing. Those of …

Return of the bullshit – baked beans edition

In an October 2015 post I’ve only just noticed, snappily titled No More Software Like a Can of Baked Beans: Why Software Subscription Serves It Up Fresh, Autodesk VP (edit – now CEO) Andrew Anagnost bravely attempts to sell Autodesk’s move to all-rental software. This is a rather belated response, but fortunately there is no statute of limitations on skewering spin so let’s get started. How does he go? On a positive note, top marks for creative writing! The general theme is a strained and somewhat Californian analogy in which perpetual licenses are like canned goods (bad), and rental is …

Guest Post (Ed Martin) – The Times They Are a-Changin’

I’d like to thank Steve for the opportunity to write this guest post. My post doesn’t necessarily represent Steve, nor does it represent any company. It’s strictly a personal point of view. The purpose of this post is to prompt discussion and debate, and get your opinion. Recent discussion on this blog has focused on Autodesk and its many changes over the past few years (upgrade pricing, policy changes, term-only aka rental licenses, move to the cloud, etc.), and there’s been a lot of skepticism. If we stand back and look at the landscape, though, Autodesk is not alone. True, …

How do I know most Autodesk customers don’t want rental?

In a recent comment, I was asked how I know Autodesk’s move to all-rental is the opposite of what customers want. Have I conducted research? This is an excellent question and deserves a proper answer. So how do  I know this? Why am I so convinced? There are several independent sources of evidence, one bit of critical thinking and one undeniable proof. They all point in the same direction. First, a bit of evidence. There are many public places on the Internet where this issue has been discussed, including Autodesk’s own discussion groups. The viewpoints expressed everywhere are overwhelmingly against …