Have you been to http://www.novedge.com/pulse/items these last two days? I did not realize until I returned from a job in Orlando over the weekend that this yearly event was going on once again. With an attendance at over 6,000 even if many were VAR’s or SW employee types it is still an impressive number. One that Siemens and SE can only dream about if they even care. I perused some of the official SW blogs and noticed entirely too much cloud collaboration and crowd whatever paradigms but I also noticed something even more striking in my mind. We know what to expect from a company tooting its own horn but what has happened to the independent voices that used to spend their time writing about a topic they were passionate about? The bloggers today for instance were all paid employees of Dassault, VAR’s or of ezines whose income is derived from CADCAM centric activity. Not one independent that I could recognize.
I believe that user fatigue has set in. Way to many of us don’t like the direction our CAD companies have chosen to go or not go. In any case they are doing things we do not like and so after years of accumulating disappointments most of us have simply dropped off the map. Why write about companies who are tone-deaf and so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they forget we have ours too and the two do not juxtapose as well as they used to. When new features mean the cloud and crowd sourcing so the wages achieved for CAD users means a race to the bottom for wages are we all supposed to be happy? I bet this is the number one concern with long time users who used to also be passionate advocates for programs like SW. So we see companies yanking the rug out from underneath us and then additionally putting intellectual property in jeopardy to as the cloud still is sadly not secure and will never be. But somehow there is never any indemnification offered to protect us when we get sued for loss of out customers intellectual property because of the requirements to work online foisted upon us by companies that do not care about what we think. So we go away. Who wants to talk about Turkeys unless it is Thanksgiving?
There was one post though that really caught my eye. http://blogs.solidworks.com/solidworksblog/2015/02/the-cam-ecosystem-at-solidworks-world-2015.html As a Solid Edge user who has been soundly abused by the first true CAM integration for SE I could only look on in envy at the list of SW Gold CAM Partners. SW benefits from the tremendous forward looking visionaries that began it and created the community of integrated aps that has been so successful. Autodesk is another where this has benefited them in great ways. Then there is Solid Edge and their efforts too as haphazard as they have been. I looked at the CAM list for SW and #2 was CAMWorks. I can only say that you SW guys are darned lucky that much of the work for CAMWorks was done before Geometric bought them out. Judging by the repeat problems that stem from licensing and the Tech Data Base that have been there from day one (based on research into past forum postings by users in existence from the first day of CW on) you benefit from prior works by others. Here in SE never-never CAMWorks for Solid Edge land we have a program that after a year and a half is still so fraught with problems that it defies belief but for those who have to deal with it know. Geometric did not have others to do the heavy hitting here for them with prior works and boy does it show.
Part of what has made SW and Autodesk successful, and this is conjecture on my part as I have yet to speak to anyone who is in a real position to know for sure, is the maintaining of certain standards to be the equivalent of a “Gold Partner”. Solid Edge does not have in place any authority over this with teeth and the current CW4SE debacle is proof of this. People, I cant say this enough. If you are in the market for CAM integrated with SE you only have one choice and it is not at this time a viable one. You are far better off going with a good external CAM program that is not integrated than doing to yourself what I did. Do not walk but run when the CW4SE sales guy comes to your door knocking.
Of the three, Dassault, Siemens and Autodesk the only one who is doing anything of interest to this independent blogger is Autodesk. What is being done there is the establishment of a manufacturing ecosphere that is not only including best in class CAM products they went a step further and BOUGHT them instead of partnering with them. I believe in what is going on there enough to have spent my own money to be a part of it. Sad to say though I am in two worlds as SE is far superior (light years) to Inventor at this time and HSM beats the pants off CW4SE and even works right where getting much of anything done with CW4SE can be an epic journey of time and frustration. Bouncing files back and forth is no fun but beats the masochism of CW4SE.
So we limp forward into another year with dwindling independent blogger interest and is it any wonder? Users tell these guys what they want and then get ignored and so the interest wanes. Philosophical directions by the leadership in SW and in SE the bad integration issues with CW4SE casting a pall on CW4SE and indeed on any other integration partner for SE and then Autodesk buying up great CAM only to saddle it with Inventor. Don’t really have a goal in mind for this post as much as just reflecting on how many flies are in the ointment and wondering why no one seems to get it right. I hope for Autodesk to get things right but today with Inventor was a sad one and I wonder with SE and Inventor how one part can be so good and the other not and why? It would be nice if SE would kick Geometric in the rear end hard enough to make them fix CW4SE and then keep them on the straight and narrow in the future. Geometric will slack off the second the scrutiny goes away I fear so attention can’t wane. It would be nice for SW to drop the crowd sourced internet managed stuff and get back to CAD as its users use it and not undermine their wages and security. It would be nice if Autodesk would fix Inventor so that so many uneeded steps were not in there along with outright missing things. I am coming to the conclusion that with Inventor they expect you to work only with native files and not on imports and when you machine parts for others imports are what you get.
Is anybody really listening to the growing silence and of any of you software companies does anyone really care? Would you please start fixing what is there and skip the window dressing new doo-dahs for a while?