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STAADPro, STAAD etc

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I am looking for insight on STAADPro and STAAD etc (usability, versatility,
reliability, tech support).  I have reviewed the archives and I am aware of
some of the flames there, but I need some more feedback to take to my boss.
I would appreciate it if current or recent users with substantial
experience with STAADPro or STAAD etc would give me reports on the software
(good or bad).  If the report is bad I would also appreciate suggestions
for alternative software.  The STAADPro is to be mainly for the analysis
and design of steel sign and signal structures from the fairly simple to
the very complex (say 900 members).  The STAAD etc is to be used for a wide
variety of problems, but retaining walls, baseplates, and footings should
predominate.

I would be especially interested in hearing from state DOT's.  I was also
wondering if anyone is aware of a recent software survey that shows how
many engineers are using what.  (I am also a little concernced about the
viability of the parent company.)

Reply on or off list as you feel appropriate.


Stan Johnson, PE (California)
PS.  I am using email software which is unfamiliar to me.  If it generates
barf on peoples screens, then would one of the regular contributors please
let me know.

PPS.  Long time no see   : )