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RE: Paper Space - was: Engineering Education Reply to Bill P. from Gerard

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About the my comments about was not really aimed at their
software, but rather their pricing scheme.  Microsoft was one of most
"visible" (if not out right first) to start with the whole "if you don't
upgrade before XX/XX/XX, it will cost $XXX more to do the upgrade".  This
occured when Office XP came out.  There were a lot of businesses that were
not upgrading to Office XP from Office 2000 as there was not too many new,
useful features.  Microsoft basically put the "screws" to them by telling
businesses that upgrade costs would significantly increase after a certain
period of time if they did not upgrade.  In addition, Microsoft pushed to
"make" businesses go to a subscription based fee rather than one time
upgrade prices when the new version came out.  The point was the MANY
software companies have shift to these types of models.

As to my dad's issue with the backup software, I am aware of compatibility
mode in XP.  That is not a solution.  Version 5 of Retrospect was just not
able to deal with the different file functionality of Windoze XP so it
required the upgrade to 6.0.  I did not have too much of a problem with
that.  The forced upgrade to 6.5, though I have issues with.  First, let
me be clear...version 6.0 works FINE with in XP.  I use it on my PeeCee
with my Sony DVD burner and Yamaha CD burner.  I can use it fine with my
SCSI tape drive when hooked to my dad's old computer (haven't tried it
with his new computer as I first must move the SCSI card to it, plus his
new computer has a DVD burner which would be faster).  It, however, does
not work with my dad's DVD burner that came with his new computer.  It
supposedly would work with version 6.5...all for a $50 upgrade price.
Well, tonight I (actually my dad) shelled out the $50 to upgrade to
version 6.5...and I could not get it to work with my dad's DVD burner,
even though it is supposedly "quafified" for working with 6.5.  I will be
calling support on Monday, and if they are no help, then getting a refund
for the upgrade so that my dad can start using a competitor's product.

Like you, I will be sitting down to watch Fellowship of the Ring and the
Two Towers shortly before seeing the Return of the King.  For me, it will
be the extended editions of each on DVD, so it will be about 8 hours of
movie.  As to the Hobbit, it just means that we have something else to
potentially look forward to from Peter Jackson.


Ypsilanti, MI

On Sat, 6 Dec 2003, Dennis Wish wrote:

> Scott,
> When I wrote this I was thinking back to AutoCad 2002 which I did not
> like. I did not like being tied to an Internet base Cad program and
> losing the privacy that I have when drafting in a system based program.
> It seemed that I lost everything I liked with the Softdesk add-on that
> became the Architectural Desktop (albeit hidden on the disk without
> instructions to install it). I have no idea what is involved or included
> in 2004 but I don't think it meets my needs as I don't draw three
> dimensionally and can now pick and choose any detail or setting that is
> on another drawing and drag it into Architectural Desktop 2.
> I took a look back at Windows XP and what I found was that you can
> install any program using compatibility mode because Microsoft did
> consider backward compatibility. Simply right click on the setup file
> and choose Properties. There is a tab that is titled Compatibility and
> it allows you to set the file for compatibility back to Windows 95. I
> would assume that they will not drop this feature - even DOS based
> programs will work within their own window if you know how to us XP. I
> did not like 98 or 98SE and this changed when I upgraded to XP which is
> much more stable and allows for better use of memory - and this helps in
> AutoCad to keep sessions open with more pages and other programs that
> can work concurrently (not necessarily multi-tasking, but concurrently
> running multiple programs at the same time).
> Your dad may have been able to use his backup program if he installed it
> using the compatibility mode mentioned above. The problem is that it is
> not easy to find out about all of the features that are hidden in the
> software - the users forums are a great help on this. I remember when
> AutoDesk wanted to cancel their user's forum and their MVP users decided
> to keep it alive so as to support all of the users who complained about
> the possible loss of support. It only takes some dedicated people to
> keep a good idea alive and to prevent orphaned software. The same was
> found with the Excel spreadsheet forums that were in jeopardy of being
> lost. If someone wants to volunteer time and web space to helping
> others, those that need it will end up flocking to the place. I happen
> to be hooked on programmable remote controls for my home theater and
> other TV's, DVD and VCR's throughout the house. I found for less than
> $30.00 I could find a remote (the One for All Remotes) that will allow
> you to hook up a cable to your computer and change the configuration of
> the remote buttons to service all of the features of every media device
> in your home including X10 home automation. A small group of Hackers
> started the JP1 forum on Yahoo and now moved it to a site called Remote
> Central ( that provides free software and
> maintains a library of advanced codes for most electronic devices that
> are controlled by their own remotes. The One for All, Universal Remotes
> such as those sold by Radio Shack and others are all programmable and
> these guys are doing it for the challenge and to provide support to a
> small group of addicts like me. My point is that software need not be
> orphaned and there are always those zealots like me to keep the support
> alive. Your dad's headaches would have been solved if he knew where to
> obtain the answers.
> In short - this isn't a Microsoft issue, it is an AutoDesk issue related
> to upgrade now or pay the price. However, this does not mean that the
> software becomes orphaned as the AutoCad user groups and discussion
> forums will most likely keep each version alive for a long time to come.
> True, few people would be using Version 2.5 (the first AutoCad version I
> started with) but this doesn't mean that if you had a question on using
> the software an answer could not be found.
> I have been disappointed with other software that continues to try and
> renew member information to keep using the software. Keymark requires
> the user to renew (no cost) their license every 63 days - and I stopped
> using Keymark products. I received a notice that a software developer
> has just completed their Internet based software access - you do the
> calculations online and have no software to load - only a serial number
> or license to use the software. Boy this scares the hell out of me. What
> if I let the license lapse and need to change something that is two
> years old? Do I have to pay to make the change or am I protected? Is it
> a money issue or does the developer believes it is the best way to go
> because they can constantly upgrade the software without sending out
> patches? If this is the case, when will you know you have an inaccurate
> analysis - before or after it is submitted and how much work will you
> need to do to correct the error? If a program changes daily, is the
> printout compatible with what's been done before?
> All of these questions lead us to how we will address our software needs
> in the future. When I purchased AutoCad Architectural Desktop 2 it was
> somewhere around #3,000.00 retail and cost me $1,500.00 for an upgrade
> from a prior version, now the retail price is up to $5,200.00 and is it
> worth it - not to me as I don't use most of the features, but I rely on
> AEC (the old Softdesk add-on) that is no longer part of the newer
> package. Also, I don't want to change over to a new proprietary DWG
> format when I can simply give my current DWG format to almost anyone
> using software and have some or most compatibility. AutoDesk is making
> us pay the penalty for protecting their proprietary format that would be
> best if it were compatible with other CAD software. Their response has
> been that DXF is available but we all know that we lose something in the
> translation with DXF.
> This reminds me of the evolution from Toyota's Corolla when it was the
> lowest priced car in the line. Each year new features were added and
> soon a lower priced car replaced the Corolla until it became more of a
> luxury filled midsize car. This is when I decided to keep my cars and
> get rid of that new car addiction. It never felt better than to have two
> cars that I own nothing on and have years of service left. I just wish
> software would follow the same course and provide me with protections
> rather than sales gimmicks and fear factors.
> Enough for a Saturday night - Gandalf was at the opening of the last
> Lord of the Rings movie fund raiser in Palm Springs last night. $50.00 a
> ticket but I did not go. Still, I was pleased to find out how visitor
> friendly Gandalf was to those who showed up just to meet Ian
> McClellan(?). Seems that he is a real person who appreciates his
> audience and enjoyed the experience. I have a great deal of respect for
> actors who don't think they are above their audience. I have often
> thought that the real hero's of film have been the directors and authors
> of the stories they bring to the screen. Actor's are normally secondary
> until you find one who is gracious about personal appearances.
> I'm waiting for December 17th - on the 16th I'll sit through both prior
> DVD so as to try and maintain the continuity. I loved the books and this
> movie, albeit lacking some good parts from the book, is a very good
> rendition of the Trilogy. I just wish it would have started with the
> Hobbit.
> Regards,
> Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Maxwell [mailto:smaxwell(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Friday, December 05, 2003 7:16 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: Paper Space - was: Engineering Education Reply to Bill P.
> from Gerard
> Dennis,
> See comments inserted below:
> On Fri, 5 Dec 2003, Dennis Wish wrote:
> > One final bitch - AutoDesk will no longer support Autocad 2000 AEC
> after
> > mid-December or January. I have been getting ads from my Autocad
> dealer
> > that if I upgrade to AEC 2004 it will cost me $1,800.00 +/- but if I
> > wait until after January (or whatever the date it) I will have to buy
> a
> > new station for $5,200.00 (+/-). This is a rip off and a royal insult.
> > However, the question is how long Windows platform upgrades will
> support
> > the older version of AutoCad. I don't want to upgrade. I tried 2002
> and
> > hated it. I would move to another program, but I like the 2000 AEC
> > package - I'm comfortable with it and can produce drawings the way I
> > like them. I don't want to be forced into spending money on the threat
> > that the operating system in the future may not support the older
> > version. Most of you who have installed 2000 AEC on an XP machine
> > understand. You can do it, but you need to identify the installation
> > program in XP's Compatibility Mode. If this will work for the next ten
> > years, then I will refuse to change. If not then I'll start looking at
> a
> > less expensive CAD system to move to. There should be no time limit on
> > upgrades - this is extortion in my book.
> What you don't like that wonderful Micro$oft tactic?  The whole "you
> better upgrade now cause we are going to raise the price if you don't"
> is
> something that we have Micro$oft to thank for (at least they have been
> the
> most vocal or most press covered entity doing it).  It is something that
> has arisen because they realize that some of their products really don't
> have enough commonly used features to justify people upgrading.  So
> people
> don't want to upgrade, so Micro$oft and others are trying to come up
> with
> other ways to keep the revenue stream flowing.
> >
> > Sorry, but every time a company refuses to support their product after
> a
> > number of years, we are forced to buy something more than we need.
> > Fortunately, I have the disks and don't need to register online to
> keep
> > using the product. Watch out for those products that take this choice
> > away from you.
> >
> > Dennis
> >
> On fundamental level, I agree with you.  Many times I find no real need
> to
> upgrade the OS or key programs cause I will not likely use the "new"
> features.  A prime example of this is Retrospect (a backup program).  I
> use it to back up my dad's computer.  He is currently at version 6.0.
> At
> one point he was at version 5.0, which was working more than fine.  Had
> all the features that a single user with a single computer needed.  But
> then, he upgrade to Windoze XP.  Retrospect would not longer work.  He
> needed to upgrade to version 6.0 to get it to work with Windoze XP.
> Never
> mind the fact that he did not really need ANY of the new features in
> version 6 (all of which were really aimed at large computer setups that
> automated backing up across a network).  Now, he is at 6.0 but got a new
> computer that has a new DVD burner in it to use for backup rather than
> my
> SCSI Tarvan tape drive.  But, they no longer "support" version 6, but
> rather are at 6.5.  So they only provide driver updates for newer backup
> devices for version 6.5.  So, in order for him to backup to his DVD
> burner, he will have to upgrade to version 6.5 even though he needs NONE
> of the new features.
> OTOH, I can see the practical side of the issue from the software
> companies point of view.  First, they don't want to be supporting
> multiple
> versions of the software.  It sucks up resources and money.  After all,
> I
> am sure that you don't like the idea of having to "support" the design
> of
> structural systems per the 1994 UBC, the 1997 UBC, the 2000 IBC, the
> 2003
> IBC, the 1996 BOCA code, the 1993 BOCA code, the 1990 BOCA code, etc.
> That would mean more codes that you have to be "current" with.  Now, add
> to that the fact the some (but not all) users want/need and will use
> some
> of the new features.  Take M$ Office 2003.  The biggest "new" features
> in
> the collaboration/XML stuff.  Most don't give a rat's tushie about it,
> but
> there are those who will use it a lot.
> And that leads to the bottom line.   Money.  Money.  Money.  It takes
> money for companies to support their product, but how do most of these
> companies get their selling new licenses or upgrades.  This
> puts me in a little of a bind.  As I said, I agree with you on this
> issue
> from a fundamental/theoretical point of view.  But, then I also believe
> that if I pay a "significant" amount of money that entitles me to free
> support from the company.  But, if EVERYONE does that but does not buy
> some point the company does not have enough money to
> continue to provide free support to me on my older version of the
> software.  Thus, the reason companies have started charging for
> case-by-case support or yearly maintance/support fees (both of which I
> am
> not too fond of).  Some companies do this well.  I have no problem with
> paying a yearly maintance fee to RISA or the makers of TEDDS.  They
> support their products well.  I have issues with the way that Micro$oft
> and even Apple deal with support issues, even when you pay.  I don't
> mind
> the pay per incident concept too much, but many companies even charge
> you
> if it turns out to be a BUG with their program.  This is where I
> DEFINITELY have a problem...too many software companies take the
> attitude
> that once the software is out our door, it is no longer our problem.  If
> there is a bug, that means that you have to pay to upgrade.  Uh, no.  I
> paid decent money for a working product, which means I expect to get a
> working product that supplies the features advertised.
> Regards,
> Scott
> Ypsilanti, MI
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