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 …

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 …

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.

What’s changed at blog nauseam and why

Last week, blog nauseam died. This post explains the background to that. You’re probably not that interested, so feel free to skip to the dot points that list the changes that have resulted. The problem was a faulty WordPress installation was using excessive resources. This caused severe performance issues and resulted in the server software stepping in to throttle the site to prevent more widespread problems. The trigger for the WordPress fault has not been determined and may never be. This is somewhat akin to an old AutoCAD drawing suddenly going bad for unknown reasons. The problem may date back …

blog nauseam has moved!

My apologies for the inconvenience, but please adjust your bookmarks! The home page URL for blog nauseam is now:

https://www.cadnauseam.com/blogs/

The old URL of http://www.blog.cadnauseam.com/ is now permanently inoperative, along with all URLs based on it. The cad nauseam URL of www.cadnauseam.com is unchanged.

The content from the old blog has been carried across and can be found at related URLs. For example, one of the most popular posts is AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal”. The URL for this was:

www.blog.cadnauseam.com/2016/07/19/autocad-2017-putting-things-back-to-normal

The new URL is now:

www.cadnauseam.com/2016/07/19/autocad-2017-putting-things-back-to-normal

So all you need to do to is remove “.blog” from the old URL and it will work. I will automate this process if possible but there are complications preventing that in the short term.

Also missing in the short term are polls and image galleries. I’m working on those. If you have any other problems with the site, please let me know by commenting on this post. If you have trouble commenting, please hit me up on Twitter.

I’ll explain some of the other changes around here in a later post.

blog nauseam maintenance issues

For as yet unknown reasons, this blog went down a couple of days ago. The basics are back but it’s not all there yet. There may be performance issues for a while. Please be patient while I work with some people to get things back how they should be. I would like to thank all of those people who informed me of this issue using various means. I appreciate it!

AutoCAD 2018 licensing crash – another reason to avoid subscription

Autodesk has released an update to fix the following AutoCAD 2018 problem:

Product users of version 2018 Autodesk single-user subscriptions may experience an intermittent crash. The crash occurs when it has been more than 24 hours since the last successful authorization check and there is intermittent or no internet connection, or the licensing authorization server is unavailable. The licensing authorization check occurs in the background and is completely unrelated to activities the user is performing at the time of the crash.
A fatal error message may be shown by the product. For example:

FATAL ERROR: Unhandled e06d7363h Exception at ee563c58h

 
Links:

Note that this crash only afflicts subscription (rental) single-user (standalone) customers. People with perpetual licenses don’t have to put up with the multiple additional points of failure caused by the subscription licensing system insisting on phoning home every 30 days. Yes, even if you pay for three years’ subscription up front, you’ll still need a working Internet connection every 30 days if you want to keep using the product.

At least, Autodesk has been saying it’s only once every 30 days (as if that wasn’t bad enough). The information provided with this hotfix tells a different story. What is the license server doing phoning home 24 hours after the last successful authorization check? Enquiring minds want to know.

No criticism of Autodesk is implied for providing this hotfix. As always, I commend Autodesk for fixing up problems as they arise. The basis of my criticism is the hotfix being necessary in the first place. It’s caused by Autodesk inflicting unnecessary complication on its customers for its own internal reasons. This one fails the “how does this benefit the customer?” test big-time.

The single-user subscription licensing mechanism has been a crock from day one, especially for CAD Managers of multiple users who have to deal with its onerous requirements. It’s an astonishingly poor design, very badly implemented. Even with this particular crash fixed, it’s still a crock.

Hot tip for Autodesk

Hey Autodesk high-ups, I’m sorry you’ve been having so much trouble persuading your customers to throw away their perpetual licenses and throw themselves on your perpetual mercy. It’s clearly difficult to persuade technical types to do dumb things like rent your software at enormous and ever-increasing prices. I feel for you. But there’s an answer. Find dumber customers. Lots of them. And fast, before the stock market notices that you’re no Adobe and we’re not buying it. Sorry, I mean not renting it. Look no further! Simply buy this company, discard the product when you’re bored with it (you’re very …

Simplifying CAD Management the Autodesk way

According to Autodesk, one of the benefits of subscription (rental) is simplified administration. To prove it, Autodesk has provided a simple guide for CAD Managers called The Software Administrator’s Guide to Autodesk Subscriptions – How to Set Up, Install, and Manage Your Software and Users. It’s 18.7 MB and 78 pages long. Don’t worry though, this simple guide helpfully includes a simple guide on how to read it. Among other things, this eBook provides handy hints on how subscription’s simplified administration regime for standalone licenses requires you to pre-emptively name all your users, set them all up with Autodesk accounts …

What’s in a name? AutoCAD 360 / mobile app confusion

Has Autodesk’s online DWG viewer/markup tool had yet another rename? It’s hard to tell. I suspect there’s a rename process going on that’s not yet complete. Here’s the list of names so far. I think. Visual Tau (when acquired by Autodesk) Project Butterfly (Autodesk Labs name) AutoCAD WS AutoCAD 360 AutoCAD mobile app The last two names appear to be interchangeable right now. What led me to this confusion is the very sub-optimal customer experience I had in attempting to try out AutoCAD 360. The best way to describe it is a wild goose chase. I started from a point …

Another one bites the dust – Autodesk sheds Seek

Following on from Autodesk’s announcement of the impending demise of 123D, the shedding of Cloudy applications and services continues. This time, it’s BIM content service Autodesk Seek. Here’s what Autodesk has to say about the reason for this change: Autodesk… does not consider the Autodesk Seek service to be strategic to our core business at this time.   The timeline went something like this: 16 January 2017 – Autodesk transferred the operations and customer support obligations related to the Autodesk Seek business to Swedish digital content company BIMobject. 18 January 2017 – Autodesk posts a notice to that effect on …

Video lulz with AutoCAD 360

Thanks to Hans Lammerts on Twitter for pointing out this amusingly cringeworthy AutoCAD 360 YouTube ad: The guy spilling his coffee and falling over reminds me of the people in those infomercials that can never get the simplest things right: OK, so the ad’s bad, but how’s the product? I had a look for myself at the browser version of AutoCAD 360, which is the current name for what has been Visual Tau, Project Butterfly and AutoCAD WS in previous iterations dating back before Autodesk’s acquisition of the Israeli technology in 2009. It’s a while since I tried it, so …

CAD on the Cloud – available anytime, anywhere except when it isn’t

One of the multiple reasons Autodesk has failed to win over the masses to its Cloudy CAD vision is fear of unreliability. Anything that relies on using somebody else’s computer over the Internet adds potential points of failure to those already there on a standalone desktop system. These additional vulnerabilities include: Your browser or thin client software fails Your modem, cabling or other Internet connectivity hardware fails Your Internet service provider has an outage Malware or DDOS attacks on your domain or service Governmental Internet service interference Internet connectivity infrastructure failure Malware or DDOS attacks on vendor domain or service …

Huge PDFs? AutoCAD 2017.1.1 could be to blame

Autodesk has yet again demonstrated why continuous automatic updating is no panacea for avoiding CAD update disruption. On the contrary… If you have noticed some of your PDFs exported from AutoCAD getting huge and unwieldy lately, AutoCAD 2017.1.1 could be to blame. Try uninstalling it using Programs and Features > View Installed Updates and see if the problem goes away. It may also be possible to work around this by going into PDF options and turning on Include Hyperlinks. Source: The Swamp. Here’s one possible* install history: You install AutoCAD 2017. This defaults to also installing Autodesk desktop app. If …

Autodesk’s big Cloud failure

Back in 2011, Autodesk, some other vendors and many industry pundits were utterly convinced of the inevitable and near-imminent victory of Cloud-based CAD over standalone software. I wasn’t. I wanted to get a feel for how isolated my viewpoint was, so I started a poll and let it run for a while. Here’s how that turned out:   As you can see, this blog’s readers were less than convinced about the inevitability of that Cloudy future. Not so Carl Bass, who had this to say in an April 2012 TechCrunch interview: I’d say two to three years from now, every …

Autodesk to pull the plug on 123D

The reason you should never rely on SaaS for anything important is that, well, you just can’t rely on it. If the software breaks, or the vendor goes under, or decides that line’s not profitable enough, or just loses interest, you’re screwed. More importantly, you’re screwed on a timeframe that’s out of your control, and probably much shorter than you would like. You can’t just go on using the software until you’re ready to move on, like you can with perpetual licenses. Thanks for the latest lesson, Autodesk, regarding 123D: Over the past few years, millions of people have unlocked …

Magical disappearing AutoCAD 2017.1 crash information

In preparing to write something about the AutoCAD 2017.1 non-subscription-only update, I came across something slightly strange. Google AutoCAD 2017.1 crashes and you will probably see something like this: What happens if you click that link? Nothing useful. You’re just taken to the landing page for the Autodesk Knowledge Network. The Google cached version of the link takes me to 404 land. Searching within the Autodesk Knowledge Network doesn’t produce relating to the crash in the original link, which seems to be language-pack related. The search wasn’t entirely fruitless, because I did discover that 2017.1 breaks linetype preview images for …