Tag Archives: Fusion360

Autodesk Subscription Screw U 2018 Begins

I am assuming that your arrival here to this blog means you have an interest in the direction Autodesk is taking with its software. I mean all of it from movie making to design and machining to planning civil projects. All of it and all users who stay with perpetual seats with the upcoming dramatic cost increases or decide to begin for whatever insane reason subscriptions with Autodesk.

What has been a position of mine for some time is that perpetual seats make a software developer accountable to users. It means quite simply that users have an expectation of improvements as the carrot to renew. If the software does not improve they can simply stop paying and operate for years. For users of Inventor Pro HSM any real worthy new additions to the CAM side have been lacking for about two years. The frequency of beta updates which gave users the benefit of seeing incremental improvements from many per year have dropped off to just one since last December 12th. Notably considering the dearth of CAM improvements a backplotter from Cimco is on the chopping block now. So add to the dwindling improvements and new features the removal of an important traditional one.

https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/hsm-beta-testing-english-deutsch/hsmworks-2018-r1-development-release/td-p/6998929

So this week 4-3-17 sees some comments started at the above link. I am going to post some of them here for a reason. Typical user comment longer than most.

Corporate talking head explanation that basically Autodesk wants to now charge for what used to be included. Remember Autodesk and their subscription future is purely a scheme to force customers silly enough to stay or go there to spend far more money for status quo at best and I figure it will turn out to be less than that. They are I believe going to subdivide out traditional features and expect to charge for those on top of raising costs much higher over program costs that have been the norm for years with them. This is a common thread at the below forum link where Maya and 3DS Max are discussed at length along with Autocad.

I want to compel you the reader to do more than a cursory analysis of this situation with Autodesk so I put these teasers in here in hopes you will spend significant time reading at length the material in its entirety in these forums. This is a common thread throughout another Autodesk forum. Mainly that traditionally included features that are needed are being eliminated so that they can be sold as add ons in the brave new subscription world. Remember that subscription removes your power over this and you take what they are willing to give and for far more. Sans significant new improvements of course. One of the powerful tools Autodesk will soon be using against holdouts and the rebellious is updating file extensions. You need the new Autodesk whatever to open the new DWG for instance. Just to improve your user experience and software reliability of course 😉

https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/moving-to-subscription/bd-p/2017

Gems like this are in there.

Softimage for Maya going away for subscribers.

Folks you really really need to spend significant time in this Moving To Subscription forum to get a feel for the future. Replete with lots of corporate psychobabble justifications and evasions and attempts to put lipstick on pigs. See what other customers are finding out and sad attempts of placation by Autodesk.

Next up is http://www.blog.cadnauseam.com/2017/04/07/autodesk-customers-are-still-revolting/

An independent blog that goes way past superficial in analysis of what is going on. I have mentioned BlogNauseum before but there is new info all the time. You need to catch up and stay current with information here.

Potential and actual Autodesk customers have a decision to make and it is unavoidable. You decide to revolt against this and seek an alternative right now while you can rationally plan your move you will be in charge. I figure perpetual seat holders have easily a year to work out their solution even if they let the software lapse. It will still be current enough. Subscription only people were crazy to ever begin to go down this path and they deserve whatever happens to them. Perpetual seat holders who think they can stay and survive under this new way better think twice. Costs will escalate for less product. You will be expected to pony up additional costs for “add ons” that used to be included. You will get fewer new features and bug fixes will take longer if they are indeed ever done. Significant new capabilities will be things you read about other software companies producing for their users. You will not be a part of that any more. Autodesk has stated their goal is to make your perpetual seat existence untenable and they are going to pull out all the stops to force you to leave that world and enter subscription Hell. You stay and you will pay pay pay.

I have to admit that it gripes me to no end to have sent in another years money in December only to find out whatever they do with Inventor Pro HSM won’t matter because it looks like I have to stay with 2017 if I wish to use backplotting. Autodesk has gone from class act to class ass in a half year in this writers eyes.

Last but not least and emblematic of the atrophy of timely fixes and real improvements is this. Brought to you by the New Autodesk Way. Keep in mind probing was supposed to be a working new feature with Inventor Pro HSM 2017 and HSMWorks to follow in short order. It is done in neither of them and there is no longer even a pretense of a finite timeline to completion. Just guesses none will stand behind.

Yes we put the Icon in there for 2017 and MAYBE by Q3 of 2018 it will mean something!

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.

People WAKE UP! The Cloud Will Kill Your Company.

I am watching all the hacking going on with Crooked Hillary’s evil empire and the Washington Swamp being exposed. One would think career criminals of her stature and decades of experience would be clever enough to hide the evidence or communicate in secure ways. But this got me to thinking of other things today. Before you go further though something completely entertaining. http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/11/02/bleachbit-mocks-hillary-clintons-cloth-or-something-server-gaffe/

Data that needs to be secure can only be kept secure when it does not go online. There is no doubt about this and anyone who is serious about it knows this to be true. Yes I know the human element can steal data as an inside job but that gets to be much harder to do and the perps run serious risks. Online is a shopping cart for bad guys and I would guess most never face any jail time or risk when doing so. There are a few things I want you to Google here. Try Googling “Chinese build stealth fighter with stolen info”. Now try “Dell made in China server boards have back doors”.  Now try “Huawei backdoor proof”.  Then go to “US military bans Lenovo”.

I know you have an inquiring mind or else you would not be here reading this post. So I want you to go and do some research for yourself to the best of your ability and tell me what you come up with regarding the jeopardy of online exposure to intellectual property. That silly stuff that just happens to make your livelihood  and your companies profits possible.

I want to be on record as stating that I see no way for a company that forces you to work online with a CAD or CAM program as being interested in your security. It is impossible for them to guarantee this and indeed they will not. Read the T&C for anything that forces you online from server farms to your favorite software. Tell me what you see. Do it with your own eyes and don’t accept the words of marketing or corporate officials who have a vested interest in you not knowing how bad it really is.

If you are silly enough to be spoon fed “online is secure” falsehoods and subject your future to it you deserve what you get. For those with a bit more sense it is high time to start looking into doing things in a secure way and make the companies you deal with either keep you off the cloud to work or guarantee your safety and cover any provable damages you may well incur because of what they made you do as a condition of software usage.

If they don’t isn’t it high time you give your money and future to a company that understands your future is more valuable to you than their’s is?

 

Autodesk And The Future

Last week at IMTS it was my privilege to attend the Customer Advisory Board for primarily Autodesk CAM products namely HSM all flavors and Fusion 360 the same. Delcam lives in a bit of a different world and hardly anything regarding them came up and I don’t recall an actual current Delcam user there.

I took three pages of notes on things I found relevant or interesting and still have not settled upon how to word what I saw and heard. The meeting gave me pause though and I find myself rethinking what the future holds and why for CAD and CAM. This will take three posts so bear with me and read them all. If you have not figured it out yet I am not a Twitter type individual and I believe many things can’t be covered in a few paragraphs unless you wish to do so superficially. I want to know and understand and I assume you do too.

There is a dividing set of paths regarding industrial software coming up and two directions people will take. The first which is where I reside and intend to stay is permanent seats for the sake of user control and security. About security. I heard the oft repeated tedious straw man argument that surely since we all do banking and purchasing online, that we trust our money online, the same must hold true with the intellectual property that resides in our designed products. I had to explain yet again why this is most emphatically NOT true. It goes like this.

Every month you receive a consise update on all your online financial activity and you can verify everything that has transpired. If there is fraud and you catch it within a reasonable time frame, and you are given tools to do so with monthly statements, you will be made whole. This week I had to fiddle around with my credit card company while purchasing some stainless steel funnels. Money was going to an unusual place and they wanted to know it was me before they approved the transaction. This happens more than I wish which tells me that financial transactions online are way to porous to threats and this irritation is one of the tools to combat fraud. But you can be made whole here for damages.

Your intellectual property goes away and there is no finite way of auditing what it was and when it was that I know of. Plus what is the value? The cost of R&D plus marketing plus tooling and raw goods and wages and all that stuff needed to bring a product to the end-user. What is the value of something where inspiration may only strike once in a lifetime? Add into that the potential which may not be possible to calculate until there is a history of sales to predict by. Trivial things like Hula Hoops or Pet Rocks sound really stupid until you realize that the person who did it became wealthy off of it. And that in this day and time the Chinese knockoffs can get your product to market quicker than perhaps the original designer could who had to jump through the legal and governmental imposed whatevers whereas the thief in China did not. China is not the only threat they are just by far the worst one.

So once a month or more your financial transactions are comprehensively scrutinized and if you have to go online with your intellectual property it is a crap shoot and the best you can do is best practices to stop hacking. Financial things are covered and not one company involved with online intellectual property from the server farm to the software author your ISP and the internet backbone will do the same for the life blood of your company. Read the EULA or T&C of any one of those outfits and see for yourself. I did and you won’t believe how little faith they have in the online security of the services or products they sell to you.

One of the “exciting” possible future things was the idea of Blue Tooth communication between PC’s, smart phones and CNC equipment. Yes you too can stand in front of your mill with your smart phone and edit your CAM program on the fly and update your workstation file and on and on. Made to appeal to the lazy side of people this wonder would allow instant communication and CAM plan updates blah blah blah. I do that quickly now with my workstation and USB Flash drive which is all of maybe eight feet port to port. We won’t however talk about the little blue tooth receiver planted in the weeds next to your shop that also receives all your lazy man’s time-saving of seconds or a few footsteps. The real-time savings of course accrue to the dude who got your CAD and CAM data and did not have to do anything other than record it. He will surely be excited. But yes I guess the cool factor was there for those who like this sort of stuff.

All that being said though I think that in many ways Fusion 360 and the people who use it are going to be a big influence on the future. Far more profoundly than I thought possible before I met actual users and why they were there and what they were doing with it. I still sit and think of this each day and wonder just how much of what I have taken for granted will reside on one fork of the path and just how much over time will migrate to a way of operation that is wide open to security problems as I see it. Which leads to the question of just how many small guys need that security? That need that security at the permanent seat or full-blown design and machining software price? That would not be able to start a business with really scarce capital unless software was cheap.

The numbers of people who are actually using Fusion360 after downloading and not an aggregate of downloads and not used + downloaded and then used like many report as the valid number is huge. No I am not allowed to state the number we were told but if that number is true it is staggering. I see no reason to doubt it either by the way.  I was impressed with the Autodesk staff present compared to the ones I have met elsewhere with other companies for the no BS blow smoke up your rear attitude they had.

Autodesk is I think the world leader in aiding startups to begin and prosper with relevant software. They generate huge armies of students that know the products and do not have to be trained nearly as much since they have the basics from school. Solid Works (not Dassault’s nightmare Catia however) does this second best but waaaay behind. Siemens UGS has no clue how far behind they are and I think of Solid Edge and how you can’t find anyone to hire 99% of the time already trained. Well maybe only 95% but who cares. Solid Edge is incredible design software compared to Inventor but you would never know it since you can hardly find users of it plus the only integrated CAM product for Solid Edge namely CAMWorks is not user friendly or reasonably priced. UGS and now Siemens are to blame for this. Autodesk lets you use full-blown seats of sadly now subscription only software for FREE if your company makes less than $100,000.00 per year.

The idea that I first had about the Autodesk Juggernaut steamrolling the competition a couple of years ago was most thoroughly reinforced last week.

At IMTS a few things I found of interest. CAMWorks was set up in a smallish sized booth with not much traffic I could see. Gee I wonder why? Mastercam had a TON of sales demo dudes and as far as I could see way to many of them twiddling thumbs. They were quite proud of finally adopting the ribbon bar and organizing their GUI better many years after most of their competition did. The new Mastercam has been well received though by local users I know so this is a good thing for them and their long suffering users. Esprit had a high volume demo stage but I don’t think there were high volume sales being generated. Vero was there and did not look to be a hopping joint. Autodesk had a number of sales guys, maybe to many I don’t know you tell me but they also had lots of constant traffic especially for HSM and Fusion 360. Delcam not so much and since the price of Delcam products can jump up to $80,000.00 at times I can see why not. CAM competitors to HSM and Fusion need to be very afraid for their future.

Haas from what I was told was busy from the beginning to the end. You had to force your way through their booth. I went there Friday afternoon on the last day of the event and was stunned at the traffic. There was no other machine tool builder there I could see with even a reasonable sized crowd to compare with what Haas had. Of course I am a Haas guy and a buy American first guy if possible and love American manufacturing success stories that profile how ingenuity can thrive even in the communist state of California. Hey Haas, get a move on and go to North Carolina where you will be appreciated for the jobs you create instead of being an “enemy of the environment” and “capitalistic swine oppressor of the working class”.  Or Tennessee perhaps near by my shop would also be nice 😉 We like jobs here and no state income tax and we Tennessee Deplorables keep the socialists confined to college campuses and liberal newspapers few will read.

Coming up in the next week or so two related topics. The future with Fusion 360 and why it matters and the culture I found associated with the Autodesk employees I met primarily on the CAM side of course.

 

Update 9-23-16

Speaking of security. So today Yahoo is caught and forced to admit that up to 500,000,000 users may have been compromised. No that number is not a typo. This started in 2014 and is just now public knowledge. Unlike financial monthly statements which provide auditing capabilities the intellectual property of all users at Yahoo was jeopardized  for up to two years and none the wiser except for the crooks and perhaps Yahoo since I assume they must have had some knowledge of bad things going on. If they did not that is even worse and this is a prime example of online peril if you are forced to go there.  Can you picture AWS in this situation with your data? They can and that is why their T&C absolves them of any liability where YOUR stuff is concerned. How I love the cloud, let me count the ways.