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RE: Software maintenance

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I have to admit that I was pretty upset when I was notified that ADT2.0 was
no longer being supported and that if I did not upgrade to a later version
(I as not forced to upgrade to the most current) I would lose all rights and
have to buy a full version of ADT at a cost of $5,000 +/-. In retrospect, I
dug in at my client's expense (down time for the learning curve) and
upgraded to ADT2004. With the Subscription for the next 12-months, I spent
$2,500.00 to move from ADT2 to ADT2004 - a skip of some three or four
versions.

I use the software a lot and while I don't like being forced to do anything
(I had no idea how long ADT2 would have been usable if the next version of
Windows does not supply it) I came to the conclusion that for $600.00 a year
(the subscription rate), it is a worthwhile investment. It is easier for me
to put aside $50.00 a month for software than to try and come up with
$2,500.00 again in a few more releases.

Most important is that productivity gain once I learned the concepts behind
the new version of AutoCad Architectural Desktop. I can't say that it is
faster because I learned to break my drawing down into components called
constructs or elements. The purpose is to be able to piece these constructs
and elements together and expose them in different views and plot files. I
am still confused over the use of plot files to object information (color,
line type, etc.). I'm also not contributing to a generic library of details
as I add my notes and dimensions at the last stage of drawing (Sheet or Plot
files). 

I like the database structure - it is, essentially, an overlay process using
X-references, but it makes it easier to put together multiple views and plot
sheets once you separate out the basic constructs (joists, columns, pad
footings, continuous wall footings, headers, beams, etc. Furthermore, it is
easier when trying to construct a 3D drawing so that you can see the load
path much easier as you find problems easier in the design - this saves more
time later during construction.

So is it worth doing with other software? I think the answer is how valuable
that software is to you and whether or not you can re-create the software
using a spreadsheet or other form of design tool in order to save money. I
think it would take longer to replace Enercalc, Retain Pro and Risa 3D (My
tools) than it would to pay a subscription fee to keep on top of all new
releases. I don't know of any software (nor would I buy any) that would
charge a subscription fee and only deliver bug fixes. There is nothing to
gain here as the idea of a subscription fee is to keep the cash flow going
in order to allow the developer the ability to improve their product without
having to rely on marketing new sales. The bottom line is the total price I
have to pay for my tools, written and electronic codes and design guides,
Computer upgrades Etc. Etc. Etc.

Dennis


Dennis S. Wish, PE


California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant

dennis.wish(--nospam--at)verizon.net

http://www.structuralist.net

 


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net] 
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 2:51 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Software maintenance

Jason,

We are up to 2005 now, though few people are using the latest version.

The program is currently voluntary, as is the maintenance program for the
major analysis companies.  But voluntary is a selective word.

We were at a large AutoDesk marketing / users seminar and this is the way it
was explained to us:

Yes, subscription is voluntary.  However with the retirement of 2000i things
are changing.  Subscription will include program updates and new releases.
The support for past releases and ability to upgrade at a reduced rate is
going to be on a shorter time table.  If you wait a few more years and fall
outside the ever shortening curve, then you will pay full purchase price for
the newest version even if you are a previous registered user of an older
version.

How voluntary does that sound?  Either you subscribe and maintain current
software or look at losing your option and having to pay big bucks to get
back in the loop.  We opted for the controlled outlay of maintenance
subscription.

This is not much different from some of the major analysis software
companies.  Maintenance / upgrade agreements are voluntary, but if you fall
behind then you look at full price to become current again.  Not
particularly voluntary depending on your point of view.  We actually reduced
the number and variety of programs we will use in some areas and upgraded or
selected new programs in others to try and make a commitment to particular
vendors and control our update costs and procedures while maintaining a
comprehensive state of the art analysis suite.

Paul Feather PE, SE
pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net
www.SE-Solutions.net
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jason W. Kilgore" <jkilgore(--nospam--at)leok.com>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 11:45 AM
Subject: RE: Software maintenance


> As of now, I believe the Autodesk subscription program is voluntary.
>
> Also, they're planning on "retiring" version 2000i next January, so my
> version 2004 should be good for a few more years.  I'll keep checking
> though.
>
> ---
> Jason Kilgore
> Leigh & O'Kane, LLC
> Kansas City, Missouri
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Paul Feather [mailto:pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net]
> > Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 12:46 PM
> > To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> > Subject: Re: Software maintenance
> >
> > I agree with what you are saying regarding base programs like Word and
> > Excel, and I did not intend to include those programs in my comment.  We
> > also upgrade these programs intermittently, usually with an upgrade in
> > computer hardware.
> >
> > AutoCAD, however, has moved to a subscription based update program the
> > same
> > as the engineering software companies.  We now maintain a subscription
for
> > our Cad seats the same as our analysis programs.  Low cost update
> > opportunities will be rapidly diminishing, and if you miss a couple
> > versions
> > you may find yourself paying full purchase price yet again.
> >
> >
> >
> > Paul Feather PE, SE
> > pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net
> > www.SE-Solutions.net
>
>
>
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