Tag Archives: Cloud based CAD CAM

So Another Year Begins, CAD CAM Innovation In Decline

Sitting here and thinking today about the world of manufacturing software and coming to some sad conclusions. It is not limited to this sector exclusively either as basic things like Email and Microsoft Win 10 OS problems are growing. I think there is a cycle of innovation and periodically it waxes and wanes. Today we are in wane mode. Thinking of Microsoft trying to create the equivalent to the Apple walled garden where in time they can force users to do what they want as their main new innovation. Their goal I believe is to force all who go there to rent all software each and every month rather than buy an OS and use it for years as is done now. Their innovations will head in this direction and so you see chaotic Win10 stuff and all the IT people whom I trust say don’t leave Win7 if you don’t have to. These companies really resent you buying something once and using it for years and it is at the top of their to do list to end this.

There are problems that accompany this effort for users. I can’t surf the web anymore with either Firefox or IE 11 without recurring problems that never existed so frequently before. Sometimes Firefox works better and then sometimes IE works better. Sometimes site functions work right and other times it is 404 city. Check in later and it works. Software is becoming to complex and companies to cheap to hire sufficient talent to correct the problems so they grow. If indeed it is possible to correct and that assumes the current model is correct. What I believe is that it is like the Joint Strike fighter from L0ckheed that does not work right and will probably never work right until a firm decision is made to limit what this wonder craft is actually supposed to do.

To many chiefs and an incompetent in charge at Lockheed a bit to worried over social justice corporate policies and affirmative action over ability and making promises to government officials they can’t keep. And get rid of the “expensive” old dudes who know what they are doing so they can be replaced with young ones who don’t. But hey, it keeps the bucks rolling in and for the lobbyist expenses to keep the crony stuff happening it is wildly profitable. Short term that is.

But like the software programs where promises are made and insufficient staff and to many promises made to fulfill them by things grind slowly into various states of disarray and poor functioning. The customer gets it in the end of course.

What is really new in the last four or five years in CAD CAM? I mean revolutionary in its new found efficiencies and productivity for the end-user? The last thing I really got excited about was Synchronous Tech with Solid Edge but there to it is now refinements and not leaps forward as it once was. I really like using HSM and since I am not a four axis plus nor a turning center shop its shortfalls do not concern me at all. It is the best high-speed machining algorithm out there but once again how many years ago was the break through and nothing nearly as profound since.

As an aside here about HSM. I have met some of the developers behind this program. They are brilliant. I can only conclude in observations and dot connecting that the long time shortfalls in this program are because Autodesk has as it’s most important CAM goal the creation of a Fusion 360 robust enough to eventually force the vast majority of all who want to use Autodesk CAM products there. So that is where the time and money apparently is going. Autodesk has the money and ability to solve HSM problems quickly if they wished to and the existence of  problems going back four and five years indicates decisions being made regarding priorities. This is my opinion and not something I have been told is their direction.

Today’s corporate version of new and improved is just that. Corporate BS meant to use buzz words and glossy promos to people who either don’t understand the ramifications or even worse don’t seem to care. Like millennials who want to own nothing and have no ownership responsibilities and cant grok the future they are making for themselves as permanent chattel. Of course this refers to this cloud garbage whose sole intent is to increase profit for the authors. Fusion360 is what really started me thinking about this only “new innovative” technology out there according to the shills. I was very interested until I found out you HAD to save and edit parts with a mandatory online link to a remote server and with subscription only software to boot.

Now the price of admittance is dirt cheap. Just like the unlimited data cell phone plans were until they got enough people in and then expenses jump. One of the future ways I believe Fusion is going to gouge you is already in the works. You can get rendering done on Autodesk’s cloud with cloud credits you purchase. I have no idea what you get for this and don’t intend to ever ask since I am not going there. But in the near future you will see data caps for online storage amounts and it will I believe include data transferred to edit and update files online and then data caps on the amount that is archived online. This level will over time drop until they find the sweet spot where they start losing customers and then they will back up a bit from there.

Nothing is free and by then for all who go there leaving your captivity will be hard.

So the only “new” thing for the last few years is a big fat negative for forward-looking users. Onshape and Fusion 360 and any other program that demands online to work is tailor-made for suckers who do not care to research the past where mainframe compute problems gave rise to the freedom of power at your fingertips with desktops and precise control over expenses and outgo.

As far as I can tell the only technology push this coming year will be to figure out ways to make your existing customers captive. Cheap to start and then when you can never leave the price to play will magically grow onerous. Funny how that works isn’t it?

Further Thoughts On Fusion360, Nothing Online Is Safe

While I have spent some time observing users of Fusion360 there has been no hands on time on my part. So everything has been academic to a large degree and a reflection of observations of people using it and what they have done with it. Certainly still think it is cool insofar as how it is putting tools of Maker mentality into hands that otherwise may never have gone there.

However let us ponder a quote from the latest “Windows Secrets” newsletter from 12-1-16.

“But a recent ransomware event in San Francisco is a reminder that we must stay ever vigilant to threats targeting our digital devices.

A bit of turnaround: An attacker gets hacked

Recently, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency was a victim of ransomware, and, for short time, it was unable to run any of its toll booths. Over a weekend, all rides were free — a boon for riders, but a could-have-been expensive lesson for Muni. (The agency was able to restore its computers from backups.)

In a rare and interesting twist to this story, a security researcher appears to have hacked the inbox of the attacker, as detailed in a recent KrebsonSecurity post. As noted in this excellent read, the attacker had successfully targeted manufacturing and construction firms, who had to cough up Bitcoins to get their data back.”

http://thehackernews.com/2016/11/hack-google-account.html will take you to an interesting site where you can read of the joys of Android devices and security.

Why does a company decide to become Hell bent upon their own desires and determine that their customers needs and security are so far removed from the companies goals that customers are basically irrelevant? Except for their cash flow of course which apparently is meant to sustain Mr Big Company. But what of the customer? What about what he needs? Well how about a big fat screw you is the answer.

I was interested in Fusion360 until I had a conversation this week. It was my impression that Fusion could work offline for up to two weeks and at that time all you needed to do was check in to verify your license.  I should have known more was involved when I saw an existing Fusion360 user muttering about a lost file and hoping that the Autodesk guys could find it for him. The whole thing was a mystery to me and I asked him why he did not archive all his data locally. No good answer until this week. To be honest I had not pursued the nitty-gritty on Fusion until I was ready to have a look.

What I was told yesterday was that files had to be saved to the Autodesk server, call it the cloud by another name, and so did any editing have to be saved. You could export in a neutral format your data to be archived locally but, if you relied upon Fusion for your CAD and I assume CAM too any changes had to be saved online.

I remember hearing at IMTS Autodesk meeting where the beauty of a connected world was the righteous goal of any forward-looking user. How Bluetooth and your cell phone would connect you seamlessly and you could work anywhere.

So read the above Windows article excerpt and please note the two words “Manufacturing Data”. I am quite certain if this concerns you can Google the topic for more info. Speaking of Google by the way is not the Hacker News article most delicious?

Here let me help you.

With this information in hands, the attackers are able to hijack your Google account and access your sensitive information from Google apps including Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Play, Google Drive, and G Suite.”

So you use what you say?  Because you enjoy the untrammeled freedom of cloud based subscription never stop paying for playing power via your cell phone where you save all that silly login and credential stuff you have now become a shopping cart for bad guys.

Oh, and the cloud is secure right?

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/01/ransomware-a-threat-to-cloud-services-too/

I have such a hard time believing that Autodesk has deliberately chosen to go down this road of outright deception. They have to know of these problems but still insist it is the way of the future. While peril grows daily and in ways they can never keep you safe from. All online data transfers and what you have on your devices that go there are at the very least subject to ransomware and in all likely hood loss of IP in ways you can’t stop or trace for damage remediation.

At this time it is with regret that due to the completely porous online environment Autodesk makes mandatory as a condition of usage for Fusion that I recommend that no one who earns a living with what they create in CAD or CAM use Fusion. Or Onshape  or any other cloud base intellectual property creating machining tools. They can’t secure you and they will not secure you. They will not reimburse you for ransomware or IP loss. You will not be compensated for lost files. You will however reliably be billed for the privilege of using the software and I bet the claim that hackers stole your billing statement will not stop them from expecting to be paid.

Funny how that one way street works isn’t it. All the risk is on you who can least afford it so those who did not have to go down this path can benefit from it.

Wrote a letter to another well know blogger recently talking about how I am losing my desire to write about CAD CAM. It used to be interesting and cool new things of worth were coming out to talk about. Today it seems to be more and more of give customers the very least we can to keep them on the maintenance hook. Or indeed con them into subscription models where quality of releases becomes irrelevant and you can keep charging them fees that will no doubt go up for quality and improvement rates which are going down. And heaven forbid that you actually FINISH a new feature before releasing it to the public.

I would have renewed with Solid Edge in a heart beat if the pace of improvements I was used to had continued. I intend to continue maintenance with Autodesk Inventor Pro HSM primarily because I hope HSM really improves beyond the top-notch 3axis milling program it is today to top-notch everything milling and turning. I am slowly losing hope here and thinking more and more the emphasis at Autodesk is to Fusion360 and cloud based crap. There will be a day I will step off if things do not improve. It is my money after all and I am the final arbitor to determine what is appropriate value, not Autodesk. If it gets bad enough my money will leave. (Bet their losing sleep over that one eh 😉 )

Claims of improvements always abound with PR releases and when you talk to company individuals but somehow we here at the shop level are left wondering where the beef is. Clue to software companies. Your three or four years is a reasonable time for improvements mind-set stinks to shops that have their bottom line impacted each day.  The idea that many customers must also now add complete online jeopardy and then be subject to pay to play is to me repugnant.