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> From: "SEConsultant" <seconsultant(--nospam--at)earthlink.net>

> I have not seen MultiFrame 4D mentioned in this thread. I have been
> evaluating the software for several months so as to report on it in an
> upcoming issue of Online. My initial opinions are that it is a tremendous
> software and exceptionally user friendly. The downside is that it uses a
> hardware lock which must be moved between my office machine and laptop
> depending on where I desire to work.

I have been using (Mac version) Multiframe 3-D (no dynamic analysis) for
about 18 months. It is the nicest generic interface I have found. I
would really love to get rid of the dongle, too, since I frequently work
on a portable as I travel. However, i do agree with copyright
protection.

The data can be copied directly to/from a spreadsheet and analysis can
be copied or exported in spreadsheet format. Variables can be calculated
on the fly and entries can be made using values or BASIC style
mathematical instructions in entry fields.

Loading is graphically represented to reduce the confusion of
local/global directions. Discrete members and nodes can be selected and
the clipping and masking capabilities extend the clarity of
visualization and selection. Quick choice views from any surface or 3-D
with rotation control and full section rendering is great.

Steel analysis is provided within a separate module and works with
several major world standards.

A section design utility permits complex shapes (concrete, etc.) to be
defined and imported. Standard sections are provided and you can define
new sections as either custom (available to all models) or specific
(available to the current model, only).

They have just announced that the latest version is capable of handling
offset connection points rather than theoretical centerline connections.

I have found the ability to output graphical results, including stress
gradients, to Quicktime movie format to be useful in explaining complex
behaviour to customers. Of course, as small digital files, the movies
can be sent to wherever the customer is ... 

Their newsletter has been a source of good ideas for analytical
techniques. That reminds me, I will have to remember to pay their modest
annual maintenance fee.

Am I gushing? It's hard to remember the minor annoyances offhand. I have
no connection to either Formation Design Systems or their North America
representative, Daystar.

-- 
Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Civil/Structural/Project
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
<mailto:ad026(--nospam--at)hwcn.org> <http://www.hwcn.org/~ad026/civil.html>