CAD Goblins Arrive Before Halloween

Reading Ralph Grabowski’s article this morning about Autodesk and the cloud. Also reading about how Microsoft wants to force everyone to the cloud in some form or fashion to use Office 2013.   .

I have to conclude that the idea of having a superior product to sell to willing buyers is not enough anymore for some companies. They look to be trending towards models that will force a constant revenue stream from customers that prefer to lock in their costs with a permanent seat of software. How many people do you know who are currently using software years old in their business and doing quite well with it. I have to admit that within two years I may well be in a position that the software I have at that time will last me for the rest of my career. I manufacture primarily from my own parts and as long as my CAD can communicate with my CAM and my CNC equipment I don’t HAVE to get anything else from these software companies. I was using an 11-93 Haas VF3 and in part Surfcam from 2006 and VX from 2009 and doing good enough for quite some time. Now with current stuff in my shop I can go for many years without changes or costs to keep current and do just fine. There are lots of companies that can make the same claims and indeed use software from the past to make a lot of money. The true beauty of permanent seats. This includes major corporations like Boeing too where they still have a large CAT4 presence so it is not just the small players.

Don’t you know how much companies like Dassault and Autodesk (yes and Microsoft evidently) hate the idea you can earn money legally with their stuff and not have to pay them each time you do so?

So back to Ralph’s article today and I have some comments about  what Autodesk proposes. It is all about follow the money and how to force customers into never-ending cash cows. It has nothing to do with those mythical cloud efficiencies so oft talked about but never clearly and concisely demonstrated. It is about the iPhone model where you start out with unlimited downloads and in quick order after a level of market penetration is achieved it goes away to be replaced with data caps and charges. In other words after a short period of time your costs will go up. In the case of files your autonomy will most likely go away and indeed perhaps even the right to use your own intellectual property if you can no longer open and edit files because you decide to quit the pay to play extortion racket.  Assuming you have read Ralph’s article and are up to speed let us proceed. You do need to read it for the first paragraph below to make sense..

What would be of interest is the complexity of the jobs allowed for the count or are all jobs created equal for the purpose of counting? My bet would be for a data cap somewhere and that brings me to this point. For around $10,000 you get a Dell mini supercomputer with astounding capabilities for FEA and rendering which seem to be the current sweet spots for multicore usage and which utilizes the Cuda tech for the GPU. The first out of the box is always clunkier and more expensive than what follows so I think it is reasonable for there to be greater capabilities at a lower cost within a year.

Now this will sit in your facility and have no internet related problems with throughput or security (yes that dirty little cloud cuss word) and for the price of one years usage be available for three years. I am basing that upon how long my replacement cycles seem to be. NO data caps from your ISP or from benign corporations like Autodesk who no doubt would never ding you extra for high data uses compared to the norm.

Ah yes, the cloud. That wonderful vehicle for corporations to get you and hold you and charge you. Except that other corporations are building the casket for this cloud model with super computing power cheap enough to sit on most desks in the CAD world and do I bet 95% of what will be needed in a timely fashion. I dare say that the majority of companies that have large complex analysis or renderings also have the wherewithal to buy the more expensive models to sit in their facilities and not go on the cloud and save money and time to.

Don’t you just love the deliberate ambiguities from cloud vendors about exact details and the TOTAL lack of any real ROI true life studies where they take a desktop or server and directly compare it to a cloud doodad with same files usage? And I mean all costs as these cloud guys never cover the ancillary costs associated with their services from tech and IT support to the cost of data over the ISP’s and any special gear needed to make this work on the customer’s end.

I vacillate between Frankencad or Draculacad and have a hard time some days deciding which is most appropriate. Today I think I will opt for the bloodsucker.

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