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Re: Question regarding best analysis/design software

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>You will not find a software package that will do all the things in your 
>wish list.  
That's a very good general statement. Forget user-friendly. The best you 
can hope for is gross indifference--like my car. When it does what I 
want, it's not being a pal, and when it leaves me stuck in the middle of 
a crisis it's nothing personal. Intuitive doesn't apply to software 
either. When something _seems_ intuitive, it usually means that I've been 
bitten in butt enough times so I think about where I'm sitting without 
being reminded. And after I've battled my way up a difficult learning 
curve, found all the pitfalls, made plenty of mistakes and spent hours 
raving at the turgid docs and the stupid way that features have been 
implemented, they're all easy to use. All analysis software has the best 
support and the whizziest features--if you don't think so, just ask the 
sales rep.

I've gotten pretty handy with two general purpose finite element packages 
and used a few others, and I think the only way to get good is to work 
lots of problems and don't assume that the first way you did something is 
the best way. Ask yourself why an answer comes out one way instead of 
another. Cross-check everything. Look for bugs and figure out your own 
work-arounds. Don't expect your hot-line support to do your engineering 
for you or to have an answer to everything. After you've done the 
homework you'll find you have the very best analysis software you could 
hope for.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)