AutoCAD 2017 – Putting things back to “normal”

The most frequently accessed posts on this blog are the AutoCAD 201x – Putting things back to “normal” series. They also attract a lot of comments:

Most Commented Posts

  • AutoCAD 2013 – An Autodesk Help writer responds – 164 comments
  • AutoCAD 2012 – Putting things back to “normal” – 158 comments
  • AutoCAD 2011 – Putting things back to “normal” – 135 comments
  • AutoCAD 2009 – Putting things back to “normal” – 121 comments
  • AutoCAD 2010 – Putting things back to “normal” – 106 comments
  • The … Full post

    Last chance to buy Autodesk software – should you take it?

    If, like me, you’ve been receiving increasingly eager Autodesk emails urging you to action, you’ll already be aware that Autodesk will end the sale of its last remaining perpetual license software lines on 31 July 2016. The End Time has already arrived for AutoCAD, so the only way you can now buy any form of AutoCAD perpetual license is as part of a Suite, and you must also commit to a maintenance plan. Of course, any Suite is substantially more expensive than AutoCAD, both in terms of initial cost and ongoing maintenance fees. However, if you only buy software and aren’t interested in renting it, this is your last chance to do so. (Or is it? There’s always the possibility that Autodesk will abandon its all-rental strategy in order to stave off its losses, in which case all bets are off).

    In sales, this is known as the … Full post

    Polls and comments

    As part of the site layout changes here, the polls were moved from the right sidebar to the left. The Polls Archive page remains unchanged. The new site layout is responsive, so if you’re using a narrow browser window (e.g. on a phone), the sidebars may be automatically suppressed. If so, you can still get at the current polls using this post.

    Feel free to use this post to comment on any aspect of these polls. From the main page (or search results) where the comments are not immediately visible, you can comment by clicking the number next to this speech bubble icon:

    AutoCAD’s ARRAYCLASSIC command is my fault

    Ever wondered why most keep-the-old-version commands in AutoCAD are called CLASSICxxx but the old version of the ARRAY command is called ARRAYCLASSIC? Why can’t Autodesk be consistent for once? Sorry, that’s actually my fault. Here’s a little history.

    • AutoCAD Version 1.4 (1983) introduced the ARRAY command with Rectangular and Circular options.
    • AutoCAD Version 2.5 (1986) added the Polar option and hid the Circular option (but it’s still there).
    • AutoCAD 2005 introduced a dialog box version of the ARRAY command. The command-line version remained available via the -ARRAY command (with a leading hyphen).
    • AutoCAD 2012 introduced many new array features, including associative, path and 3D arrays. However, the dialog box interface was removed and the old command-line interface was back. There were also a bunch of bugs and limitations with the new regime.
    • I created and published the shareware utility ClassicArray™ to restore a familiar dialog box interface to AutoCAD’s … Full post

    Microsoft demonstrates why automatic updates are a terrible idea. Listening, Autodesk?

    I like Windows 10. After some investigation and with some trepidation, I have upgraded two Windows 7 computers and one Windows 8 (ugh) computer to Windows 10. In use, I’m generally very happy with it. It boots fast, works well and most of the more ridiculous aspects of the Windows 8 “let’s assume your computer is a phone” interface are gone. The fact that I can scroll windows using my mouse wheel without first clicking on those windows to obtain focus is a real productivity plus. I would be happy to recommend Windows 10 to all Windows 8 users and most Windows 7 users, dependant on individual needs. I would, but I’m not. Microsoft is entirely responsible for that reluctance; read on.

    The one thing I really, really dislike about Windows is the way it pushes updates. With Windows 7 I was always selective about what updates I allowed through … Full post

    AutoCAD 2017 Feature – Share Design View

    An interesting new feature of AutoCAD 2017 is Share Design View, which is invoked using the leftmost button on the A360 Ribbon tab or the ONLINEDESIGNSHARE command. The idea behind this command is to create a web-published snapshot of your drawing that can be accessed by anyone with a browser (they’ll need a fairly recent one).

    This command works as advertised and provides another option to allow limited access to your design information without providing access to your DWG files. It creates a web page containing a view of your drawing and lets you have the URL (link) so you can access it. You can then share this URL with anyone you want to share the design with. They just follow the URL and can view the design using the Autodesk A360 Viewer (no download required).

    Heidi Hewett wrote a fuller description of how it works on the … Full post

    Disaster in progress – Autodesk’s all-rental plans are failing

    This post originally contained assertions about Autodesk’s financials that were based on flawed understanding, and has been removed. It’s not really possible to delete things from the Internet, so if you ever want to relive the joy of seeing me get things spectacularly wrong, feel free to use the Internet Archive to do so.

    Suites to be replaced by Autodesk industry collections

    I just got this email. Maybe you did too:

    Dear Christopher [sic],
     
    I have some important information to share with you.
     
    As we continue our transition to a fully subscription-based business, we remain committed to providing you greater value, more flexibility, and a simpler way to access the Autodesk software you need.
     
    On August 1, 2016, we will introduce Autodesk industry collections and end the sale of Autodesk Design & Creation Suites.
     
    Industry collections will provide you access to a wide selection of the essential Autodesk software for your profession. They will offer immediate access to new technology, cloud services, and several licensing options. In short, industry collections will give you the freedom to access the software products you want, when you want them. Learn more about the industry collections here.
     
    To make … Full post

    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.

    ApplicationManagerReplaced

    Note how there’s no obvious “stop nagging me and leave me alone” option. Autodesk Application Manager’s settings page does include an Alerts tab which allows you to turn off all desktop alerts, … Full post

    Autodesk Answer Day – 18 May 2016

    Autodesk is encouraging you to use the Autodesk Community (formerly know as forums, discussion groups, newsgroups, etc.) to get answers to your questions by setting up a special day where Autodesk people will attend and be responsive. I don’t know if this includes responding to people’s concerns over Autodesk ending the sale of perpetual licenses, but it’s worth a try anyway. The forum for discussing that particular issue is somewhat hidden. It doesn’t appear among the list of forums, so you would only know it existed if you happened to pick on the Installation and Licensing link and had a look at the header to see the Perpetual License Changes link. But now you know it’s there, you can go and ask your questions. Meaningful answers are not guaranteed.

    Here is the announcement. When is this event, exactly?

    Join us at our first … Full post

    Shout out to Robert McNeel & Associates

    Let’s start the rebirth of this blog on a positive note. I’d like to express my gratitude to Robert McNeel & Associates for what must surely be the most outstanding example of long-term customer service in the CAD industry.

    These days, McNeel is best known for the 3D modelling software Rhino. I have heard good things about this product, but have never used it. However, I am a long-term user of another McNeel product, DOSLib. This is an extensive set of functions that adds greatly to the functionality of AutoLISP. It all works very well and has saved me many hours of work that I would have spent reproducing that functionality. Of course, many LISP programmers could write functions to calculate a cube root, or read a text file, or display a date in whatever format you like, or copy files, or generate a GUID, … Full post

    Don’t be a technology lemming

    In response to Shaan’s variant on the old “if you question the value of any change you must be a Luddite” argument, I was going to write a lemming-based parody. I didn’t, mainly because I didn’t want to perpetuate the lemming mass-suicide misconception. Instead, I’ll answer the point more directly.

    Autodesk will acheive better success in convincing customers about Cloud computing and other concepts by actively and interactively engaging with them. Addressing their specific and legitimate concerns has a chance of success if the concepts have merit. Insultingly likening customers to allegedly stupid animals isn’t going to convince anyone.

    Besides, the point has little validity. Armadillos have 20 species, are currently dramatically increasing their territory in North America, and have been around rather longer than humans. Maybe we should wait until we’ve been around a few tens of millions of years longer before we get too cocky about how … Full post

    Let’s have your AutoCAD WS 1.6 reviews

    Autodesk has just released the latest iteration of its free online CAD app, AutoCAD WS. It’s available directly via your browser or as iOS, Mac or Android apps. This is the closest Autodesk has yet come to showing us what real CAD in the Cloud can do. Autodesk has now had three years’ work behind it since buying the company responsible for this technology. I’d like you to put aside any Cloud concerns you may have and give it a fair go. Please try it out and report back what you find in a mini-review. How well does it work? The customer stories are all from organisations using it as a viewer or for simple markup edits. Is that all it can do, or does it come close to deserving to have CAD in its name?

    What do I want you to try? It’s up to you, … Full post

    Carl Bass confirms Cloud-only future for Autodesk – or does he?

    As reported by Joe Francica (via WorldCAD Access), Carl Bass has confirmed, in a somewhat ambiguous way, that his Cloud-only vision rules at Autodesk.

    I do believe that everything is moving to the cloud.

    But…

    There are a lot of applications that will [still] be done on the desktop. Whether Autodesk does it or not, I can’t think of a single function that won’t necessarily be done in the cloud.

    Still a bit confused? Me too. It’s not clear where this leaves his underlings who have been rushing to contradict Carl’s earlier statements by unambiguously reassuring customers that Autodesk would continue to provide desktop software. Will they now come out with “clarifying” statements that fall into line with whatever it is Carl’s saying here? I doubt it, that would be just too embarrassing. I suspect we’ll see things go very quiet on this subject for a while.

    Now we … Full post

    MDT users and other Autodesk orphans, let’s have your good news stories!

    I was going to ignore this subject, but I’ve changed my mind because it allows me to post something positive about Autodesk. After all, I do try to post positive things; it’s hardly my fault that Autodesk has a habit of making it difficult.

    In upFront eZine #756, Autodesk’s Andrew Anagnost (or was it Clay Helm?) had the following to say, and must say I agree totally with the first sentence:

    The best evidence is how we have behaved historically. When we included Mechanical Desktop with Inventor, the media complained that we were killing Mechanical Desktop; you were probably one of them. But we didn’t; we came out with six, seven more releases of it, completely free.

    So, MDT users, you’re the poster child for how Autodesk looks after its customers. You’re also evidence for how wrong those nasty media naysayers … Full post

    Autodesk’s social media consultant spills the beans

    Ever wondered why Autodesk is putting so much emphasis on social media these days? Why AutoCAD needs Facebook and Twitter commands? It’s because Autodesk pays social media consultants lots of money to tell them about the importance of social media, and how to be social and media-ish. In this video, one of those consultants explains the process:

    Who is telling the truth in Autodesk’s Cloud PR trainwreck?

    Does Autodesk intend to move all its applications exclusively to the Cloud? That is, online only and no longer available on the desktop? Autodesk people who say yes:

    Carl Bass, CEO
    Phil Bernstein, Vice President, Building Industry Strategy and Relations
    Scott Sheppard, Autodesk Labs Software Development Manager (with private Cloud caveat)

    Autodesk people who say no:

    Kenneth Pimentel, Director, Visual Communications Solutions Andrew Anagnost, Senior Vice President of Industry Strategy and Marketing
    Clay Helm, Public Relations Manager for Manufacturing, Cross-Platform, Sustainability, and Consumers Various other underlings who make reassuring but non-specific noises about expanded choice, or who admit to inconvenient impracticalities

    There’s huge irony in the way Clay (or Andrew) attempts to paint the shafting of MDT customers as a we’ll-look-after-you example, but I think that’s a deliberate distraction tactic; other than this … Full post

    Why owning stuff is still important

    Let’s start with a few questions:

    • Do you own your home or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why?
    • Do you own your car or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why?
    • Do you own your TV or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why?
    • Do you own your computer or rent it? Given the choice, what would you prefer? Why?

    If you’re like me, you answered the same for most or all of those questions. I own all of the above and rent none of it. I prefer owning all of the above. Why? Three Cs:

    • Continuity. If I own my home, there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll be able to go on living in it as long as I like. There are exceptions (wars, natural disasters, etc.), but ownership is generally much safer than renting if it’s … Full post