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 …

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 …

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.

Autodesk products are falling like parrots

Autodesk is killing off products at such a rate I can’t keep up with it all. The latest ones to fall off the perch and join the choir invisible are Structural Detailing and Advance Concrete. I think. As I said, I can’t keep up. Despite the recent departures, Autodesk still has way too many products and it’s inevitable that the cull of Carl’s acquisitions and creations will continue. It’s just too bad if you’re one of the people using a product that Autodesk feels isn’t profitable and/or exciting enough, you’ll just have to learn to live without it. Although 2017 …

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 …

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.

Disaster in progress – Getting it wrong

No, not Autodesk getting it wrong, me  getting it wrong. In recent posts, I supported my arguments against Autodesk’s move to all-rental software with faulty evidence. As pointed out to me by several commenters, I completely failed to take deferred revenue into account. I would like to sincerely thank those who pointed out my error.* Although I included a disclaimer about not being a financial analyst, I should have gone further and simply not ventured into areas I am ill-qualified to cover. I got it wrong. I therefore offer unreserved apologies to Autodesk and my readers. What now? I have …

Battle of the Bullshit part 2 – Autodesk’s sophistry

In my last post, I gave Bentley a well-deserved slap for, er, saying things that perhaps weren’t entirely factual. Now it’s Autodesk’s turn. What’s this about? Carl White, Senior Director of Business Models at Autodesk, wrote a blog post Not so fast Bentley: Separating fact from fiction responding to statements made by Bentley in its press release Bentley Announces Autodesk License Upgrade Program. Some of Carl’s observations on Bentley’s claims were perfectly valid, but unfortunately he went beyond that and wrote a few more things – “facts” – where he’s on shakier ground. Let’s examine Carl’s interpretation of reality, shall we? …

Battle of the Bullshit part 1 – Bentley’s terminological inexactitudes

I note with interest the blog post Not so fast Bentley: Separating fact from fiction by Carl White, Senior Director of Business Models at Autodesk. In this, he responds to statements made by Bentley in its press release Bentley Announces Autodesk License Upgrade Program, stating: Earlier this week, Bentley announced an “upgrade program” for Autodesk customers. We found the offer to be disingenuous and mischaracterizes what Autodesk offers our customers. OK, let’s have a look at what Carl is complaining about. Here’s one Bentley statement that could be considered questionable: For consideration by owners of Autodesk perpetual licenses facing Autodesk’s imminent deadline for …

AutoCAD 2017 Service Pack 1 is out but you probably don’t want to install it

As reported by Jimmy Bergmark, AutoCAD 2017 SP1 will break add-ins that use Autodesk’s built-in autoloader mechanism. It looks like it’s a problem caused by third party applications, but it’s not. It’s entirely Autodesk’s fault. The only fix at this stage is to uninstall SP1. It’s astonishing that Autodesk would release a service pack like this, introducing a nasty bug that will break customers’ existing functionality. This reminds me of the comedy of errors that was AutoCAD Release 13 with its multitude of updates, many of which introduced new bugs as well as fixing others. AutoCAD 2017c4a, anyone? If you needed …

Autodesk desktop app. Worst. Name. Ever. Is the product better than the name?

Autodesk wants your software to be automatically updated so you’re always running the latest version. Let’s pretend for a moment that this is a good idea and have a look at how Autodesk now attempts to do this. For the previous couple of releases (2015/2016), this has been done using Autodesk Application Manager. For 2017, this has been replaced by Autodesk desktop app. Even if you haven’t installed any 2017 products, you may have already seen this kind of thing pop up. Repeatedly. Note how there’s no obvious “stop nagging me and leave me alone” option. Autodesk Application Manager’s settings …

AutoCAD 2012 – Massive download bloat

Note: this post is not an April fool’s joke. It may be ridiculous and hard to believe, but unfortunately it’s all true. After I managed to overcome Autodesk’s obstructive download manger and download AutoCAD 2012, it became available on the Subscription site (when that site wasn’t running unusably slowly). Or it became kind-of available. Here’s what is actually available: AutoCAD 2012 Multilingual 32 bit Download File Size: 2,080,558,319 bytes (1,984.2 MB) AutoCAD 2012 English Korean Traditional-Chinese Simplified-Chinese Win 64bit Download File Size: 2,240,915,999 bytes (2,137.1 MB) These file sizes are roughly double those of the AutoCAD 2012 English files I’ve already …

More Autodesk deception over LT productivity study

Following on from the AutoCAD 2011 productivity study I critiqued earlier, there is now an LT version. Do the same credibility problems apply to this study too? Yes, and then some. In addition to the drawings and operations being deliberately hand-picked to demonstrate new features, no direct comparison is performed at all between the two releases on the same platforms. Every single quoted “productivity improvement” figure includes, free of charge, three years of hardware and operating system progress and a more upmarket graphics card. If you read business “news” sources that just reprint press releases, such as this Yahoo! Finance one …

Magic vanishing images

In a thread in the Feedback & Questions about the Discussion Groups section of the Autodesk discussion groups, somebody called ACADuser contributed what I thought was a highly amusing bar graph as a test image. Inspired by this, I contributed a couple of test images of my own. A few hours later, the whole thread magically disappeared! It seems a shame that I went to the effort of making those images, and all for nothing. The handful of people who would have seen them on the discussion groups have now missed out on the experience. So I’ve decided to make …

Autodesk discussion group changes – user reaction

I will be airing my own views on the Autodesk discussion group changes in a future post. In the meantime, I have collected some reactions from other users. For the record, there has been only a little censorship in this area. Here are some of the comments that made it through unhindered: I’ve given it a fair shake and it’s just as bad as I imagined Goodbye, people. It was nice while it lasted it sucks it doesn’t look like you have any intention to meet the expectations of these people not [as] much traffic as there was before the change.  I hope things …

AutoCAD 2011 online Help changes – a curate’s egg

As announced by Shaan Hurley, Autodesk has made some changes to the AutoCAD 2011 online Help system. Please check it out and see what you think. After a short time with it, here are my experiences using IE6 (yes, I know). As this is a dynamic system and dependent on browser characteristics, Internet connectivity and any changes Autodesk may make between me writing this and you reading it, your mileage will vary. There are some cosmetic changes,  including a fixup of the Autodesk logo in IE6 that was done a couple of weeks ago. Sadly, my pink Comic Sans logo has …

AutoCAD 2011 Help system is not popular

My poll on this subject is still running (see right), but so far about 2/3 of respondents rate AutoCAD 2011’s new browser-based Help system as 0, 1 or 2 stars out of 5 (total fail, very poor or poor). Frankly, I’m surprised it’s doing as well as that. Have a look at this discussion group thread to get an idea of the sort of reaction I was expecting it to receive. (Kudos to Autodesk’s moderators for allowing the discussion to continue with relatively little obvious censorship, at least so far). There are many good new things in AutoCAD 2011, but …

Autodesk Knowledge Base – who thought this was a good idea?

This evening, I needed to know exactly which operating systems were supported by all AutoCAD releases from 2004 to 2011 inclusive. I have a pretty good idea, but I needed to confirm that my mental picture is completely correct. So I hopped over to the Autodesk Knowledge Base and entered “system requirements” in the search engine. Only one of the first 50 results was relevant, and that was for AutoCAD 2011. So I clicked on that. Did I get an easily digestible list of system requirements, including a list of exactly which operating systems were supported by AutoCAD 2011? No, …

Ralph Lauren – genuinely dumb or trying to be clever?

One of the blogs I read regularly is Photoshop Disasters, which recently posted a picture of a Ralph Lauren ad. In common with many fashion photos, this showed a skinny model that appeared to have been further skinnified on somebody’s computer to the point that the poor waif was ridiculously deformed. Like this: Nothing out of the ordinary there, then. Under normal circumstances it would have received a few dozen comments and scrolled off the front page in a week or so, because there is no shortage of bad image manipulation out there for the blog to snigger at. The …