Australasia BricsCAD Conference 2019

I will be presenting alongside Heidi Hewett at the Australasia BricsCAD Conference 2019 (ABC2019), to be held at the Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre on 19 March 2019.

Presenters will be arriving from USA, Canada, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand. These include Ralph Grabowski, Michael Smith, Pieter Clarysse, Damian Harkin and Jason Bourhill.

If you’re using BricsCAD or contemplating moving to it, I believe the day of your time and the $100 ticket will be a sound investment. Among the subjects covered will be the business case for BricsCAD, parametric constraints, mechanical design, BIM, structural steel and site design. Heidi and I will be demonstrating some of the new features in V19. Third-party products will also be on display.

Last year there was no Autodesk University Australia and I don’t expect we’ll see one in 2019 either. So if you’re in Australasia and interested in attending a CAD or BIM conference this year, you should give this one serious consideration.

Disclosure: Sofoco will be covering my flight and accommodation expenses and providing a per diem payment.

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 customers fairly satisfied with resellers

I have closed the three satisfaction rating polls I started a couple of months ago and will be reporting the results individually.

Let’s start on a positive note. The poll indicates that in general, you’re reasonably happy with your Autodesk resellers. The mean rating is 6.04, the median is 7 and the mode is 8. Given the unpopular message they’ve had to pass on lately, I think this is a pretty positive result.

Feel free to comment here if you wish to discuss any aspect of this. Are you happy with your reseller?

Autodesk and reseller satisfaction polls

Today I was asked to complete an Autodesk Reseller Satisfaction survey, which I was happy to do. My reseller does a good job. There was also a question about satisfaction with Autodesk.

I’ve shamelessly stolen Autodesk’s question and used it in a poll here. Please only respond if you are or were an Autodesk customer.

Customers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Autodesk?

  • 0 - Very dissatisfied (39%, 69 Votes)
  • 1 (6%, 11 Votes)
  • 2 (12%, 22 Votes)
  • 3 (11%, 19 Votes)
  • 4 (5%, 9 Votes)
  • 5 (4%, 8 Votes)
  • 6 (6%, 11 Votes)
  • 7 (7%, 13 Votes)
  • 8 (3%, 6 Votes)
  • 9 (2%, 3 Votes)
  • 10 - Very satisfied (4%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 178

Loading ... Loading ...

I’ve added a similar poll about Autodesk resellers. Please only respond if you are or were a customer of Autodesk resellers.

Customers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with your Autodesk reseller?

  • 0 - Very dissatisfied (10%, 12 Votes)
  • 1 (2%, 3 Votes)
  • 2 (6%, 7 Votes)
  • 3 (5%, 6 Votes)
  • 4 (2%, 2 Votes)
  • 5 (17%, 21 Votes)
  • 6 (5%, 6 Votes)
  • 7 (13%, 17 Votes)
  • 8 (21%, 26 Votes)
  • 9 (8%, 10 Votes)
  • 10 - Very satisfied (13%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 126

Loading ... Loading ...

Here’s one just for Autodesk resellers. Please only respond if you are or were an Autodesk reseller.

Resellers - how would you rate your overall satisfaction with Autodesk?

  • 0 - Very dissatisfied (40%, 22 Votes)
  • 1 (11%, 6 Votes)
  • 2 (9%, 5 Votes)
  • 3 (15%, 8 Votes)
  • 4 (5%, 3 Votes)
  • 5 (4%, 2 Votes)
  • 6 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 7 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • 8 (9%, 5 Votes)
  • 9 (4%, 2 Votes)
  • 10 - Very satisfied (4%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 55

Loading ... Loading ...

Feel free to comment here if you wish to discuss the ratings you provided.

Maybe I should complete the set and do polls for Autodesk and its resellers to rate their customers?

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.

The next Autodesk CEO – polls

Here, have some fun by voting in these polls. Idea shamelessly stolen from Paul Munford on Twitter.

Who do you want to be the next Autodesk CEO?

  • Amar Hanspal (18%, 32 Votes)
  • Andrew Anagnost (12%, 21 Votes)
  • Jeff Kowalski (7%, 13 Votes)
  • Amy Bunzel (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Other Autodesk person (5%, 8 Votes)
  • Elon Musk (28%, 50 Votes)
  • Other outsider (27%, 48 Votes)

Total Voters: 176

Loading ... Loading ...

Who do you think will be the next Autodesk CEO?

  • Amar Hanspal (41%, 53 Votes)
  • Andrew Anagnost (8%, 11 Votes)
  • Jeff Kowalski (11%, 14 Votes)
  • Amy Bunzel (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Other Autodesk person (5%, 7 Votes)
  • Elon Musk (11%, 14 Votes)
  • Other outsider (22%, 29 Votes)

Total Voters: 130

Loading ... Loading ...

Selfie contest – we have a winner!

Congratulations to Ed Martin, who won the selfie contest with this entry:

1. This is Don Strimbu – a tricky angle on the picture, but his smile gives it away
2. He’s famous for the drawing of a nozzle – a fire hose nozzle to be precise – that he drew in 1984
3. Don used block scaling to simulate a 3D effect on the text, knurling, and fins
4. Autodesk used the drawing in its promotional material starting with an ad in the September 1984 issue of Scientific American
5. Don is now promoting products from Bricsys, notably their BricsCAD product
6. Wow, I really don’t know how long it took him, and it would be cheating to ask him … so I’ll guess. 18 hours?

Some clarifications:

1. Indeed it is Don. It was a privilege to meet him at the recent Bricsys International Conference in Munich, among other notables.

2. Correct, NOZZLE.DWG (we were all upper case 8.3 filenames at the time) which is quite possibly the most famous AutoCAD drawing of all time. It was the first complicated drawing ever done with AutoCAD, and was done in 1983 (not 1984), according to John Walker. See The Autodesk File for more information.

nozzle

3. Yes, it was block scaling. In addition to the 3D effect, the thing Don came up with that amazed John Walker was using negative scale factors to achieve the equivalent of the MIRROR command. That command didn’t exist at the time, along with object snap and a bunch of other things it would be difficult to imagine life without these days.

4. Yes, it was also on Autodesk’s Task Force Tips’ letterhead for a while…

5. Yes, Don and former Autodesk Senior Vice President Dr. Malcolm Davies (also at Munich) are important figures at Techevate, enthusiastic promoters of BricsCAD in the USA.

6. 18 hours is a bit off. How about 400 40?

I remember using NOZZLE.DWG as a benchmark for comparing AutoCAD hardware back in the 80s. Open the drawing, enter REGEN and see how long it takes to get a command prompt back again. As every single zoom or pan required a regeneration back then, regen time was very important. I remember an HP Vectra taking 17 seconds and an NEC APC III taking 19. An IBM PC without math co-processor took much longer; 2 minutes 39 rings a bell, but I’m not certain. These days, it’s so fast it’s hardly measurable.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing what Ed has to say in this blog’s first ever guest posting. Could be anything!

Selfie of the day – who is this man?

I have just returned from a very interesting trip half way around the world. In addition to learning some fascinating stuff about certain things (to be discussed later), I met some interesting people. One of these people can be seen in this photo, which I took with my phone at a party at a trendy location, just like all the cool kids do these days.
20161020_203442The person who answers all (or most) of these questions correctly (or close to correctly) in the next 72 hours (ish) gets a fun but worthless prize.

  1. Who is this man? (Not the one in the corner, that’s me).
  2. Name the drawing he’s most famous for.
  3. Name the technique he developed to help create this drawing. (It still works today, but now has a much simpler equivalent).
  4. Name the CAD company which used that drawing in its promotional material.
  5. Name the CAD company whose products this man is now promoting.
  6. (Tiebreaker question) Estimate the number of hours he says it took to produce that famous drawing.

I reserve the right to make up new rules as I go along without telling anyone. Hopefully nobody will care too much. I’ll be putting all comments on this blog into the moderation queue until the end of the contest so nobody can see anybody else’s answers, so don’t panic if your comment doesn’t appear.

The prize? The right to create a guest posting on this blog with a subject of your choice. As long as it’s probably legal and not too indecent, you can write what you like. Even if it’s “Steve is a poo poo head!”

I hope I don’t regret this. Good luck!

Edit: contest is now closed, see here for the winner.