Autodesk to more than triple upgrade prices

As reported at Revit3D.com, next March will see a major change to the way Autodesk prices its upgrades. All upgrades will cost 50% of the full retail price rather than the much smaller percentage that is currently charged. If you upgrade yearly, that means the cost of doing so will be about 3.35 times greater than it is now. Clearly, Autodesk doesn’t want you doing that, and would much prefer you to be tied into the Subscription program, and is introducing some subtle encouragement to nudge you in the right direction. Here is the rationale according to an Autodesk spokesperson: I can confirm that after March 16, 2010, a streamlined upgrade pricing model will go into effect–all upgrades, cross-grades, and retroactive Subscription fees up to three releases back will be priced at 50 percent of a full license. We are doing this to better match the needs and buying behaviors of our customers. A significant number of our customers have already moved to Autodesk Subscription. Only a small percentage of customers who do not have Autodesk Subscription purchase upgrades every year. Most of those customers upgrade every three years. We believe that simple, straightforward pricing will help make it easier to do business with us. We also believe the new policy will make it more convenient and cost-effective for customers to keep their Autodesk software up-to-date. So now you know, it’s being done for your own good. Happy?

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Some thoughts on AutoCAD Exchange

I’ve added a link to Autodesk’s new AutoCAD community site, AutoCAD Exchange. As with most things Autodesk, there are pros and cons. Here are my first impressions. I think it looks good in a Vista-black kind of way. I know some of you don’t like the black look in software, but I do. The layout looks a bit cluttered and confused at first, but I’m sure visitors will quickly get used to where to find things. The site appears to be designed around 1024-wide resolution. If you have more than this, as most CAD users do, then there are wide areas of wasted space either side of the good stuff. The front page is basically a teaser. To get to the useful content or do pretty much anything, you need to register or sign in. I don’t particularly like this, and it gives the impression (false or not) that Autodesk wants to own and control you, even if you’re just viewing a site. The registration process is the same as for other Autodesk sites such as the discussion groups, so if you have an Autodesk identity, you’re already registered. As it is a “community” site, on first sign-in you are invited to fill in more details, provide an avatar and so on. Some people might not like this, but it’s optional and Autodesk knows where I live so it makes no difference to me. I know where Autodesk lives, too. It has yet to be seen if Autodesk manages to develop a real community on this site, and if so, how open that community is allowed to be. Autodesk is encouraging bloggers to add an Autodesk Exchange widget to their blogs. I won’t be adding one in a permanent position because this is my blog and not Autodesk’s. I kind…

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Bug watch – identify this insect

No, not the Bug Watch, just a bug you can watch. Does anybody know what this insect is? It is the second one of these we’ve found in our home in Western Australia. It’s very active and it smells horrible. YouTube Link For those of you who can’t access YouTube, here are some photos of the bug: A higher resolution version of the above picture is available here. This is the bug about to be given its freedom: On release, it buried itself in our lawn: In 25 years in Australia, I had never seen one of these until recently. Any ideas?

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Death to robo-responses!

The responses to Carol Bartz’s blog post are an interesting read, and not just because of the astonishing amount of attention being paid to her language. One person pointed out how irritating it was to be “helped” by Yahoo’s dumb automated “support” system: I have never – repeat, NEVER – had a human response to ANY email or form-submitted help request that I’ve sent to Yahoo! NEVER! All my experience of communicating with Yahoo! customer ’support’ is characterised by exchanges such as: Me: Hi, I need help with Messenger on the Mac Y!: Thankyou for contacting customer support. Here are some tips for getting Messenger to work on Windows. Me: Uh, thanks, but I’m on a Mac. Can you help me with Messenger on the Mac please? Y!: Thankyou for contacting customer support. Please follow these steps for uninstalling Messenger and re-installing it on Windows. Me: Um.. haha… good one. No. Really. Can you help me with Messenger on the Mac please? Y!: Thankyou for contacting customer support. Here are some tips for getting Messenger to work on Windows. And so on… I’d like to think the people who actually work in customer support are just as amazing as you say they are, but I’ve never had contact with one so I have no way of really knowing. Not long after reading that, I had a similar experience myself. I had ordered something worth several hundred dollars from the UK, and it was sent via Parcelforce. I used the on-line tracking system to check its progress, and late on 28 February I was surprised to see the following line had been added: 28-02-2009 17:00 Delivery Agent – AUSTRALIA Parcel delivered I was surprised because no such delivery took place. I had been at home at the stated time and there…

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Gaahl’s Tr00 Life Adventures Week 10, and Peter Beste

Time for my own bad Photoshop. Truly, truly awful work here. This is the tenth and last (so far) edition of Gaahl’s Tr00 Life Adventures. Click the thumbnail to see the full size image. This one contains a few in-jokes (e.g. “many Norwegian countries”) from the Mike Portnoy forum community that was the original audience, so much of the original amusement will be lost. I am posting this one mainly to complete the set. The original Gaahl photograph is by Houston documentary photographer Peter Beste, who has this to say on his site: In the last two decades a bizarre and violent musical subculture called black metal has emerged in Norway. It’s roots stem from a heady blend of horror films, extreme heavy metal music, Satanism, pagan mythology, and adolescent angst. In the early-mid 1990’s, members of this extremist underground committed murder, burned down medieval wooden churches, and desecrated graveyards. What started as a juvenile frenzy came to symbolize the start of a war against Christianity, a return to the worship of the ancient Norse gods, and the complete rejection of mainstream society. I have spent the last 7 years photographing in this insulated and secretive community. I am pleased to report that Peter has no objection to his original photograph being (ab)used in this way. If you’re intrigued or amused by these black metal guys, check out his site for more images. There is even a book called True Norwegian Black Metal, available (of course) in a limited edition of 666 copies. Peter has taken photographs of other subjects, including similarly confronting ones of Houston rap culture (some include nudity), with a book due to follow on that subject later this year.

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