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Re: PCA Mat software

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Marlou Rodriguez wrote:

We are considering purchasing the PCA Mat software.  Has anyone out there used this program?  What are the pros and cons.


Based on a brief review from the Demo, it seems easy to use, but I did not go into it.

The client I'm working with bought this earlier this year. I had used it way back when, around 1992 or so. At that time, they had already "bolted on" a Windows 3.0 interface, and it came with a "runtime" version of Windows 3.0 to allow it to run in "plain old DOS." It was okay then, pretty much like a typical DOS program with a little better graphics.

Now, in 2007, it looks a typical old DOS program with a little better graphics. In other words, from what I can tell they have not updated ANYTHING with regard to the program interface, only kept up with code changes. The program looks and feels like a complete throw-back.

It is NOT "user-friendly," and much about it isn't intuitive. It is difficult to get and use any of the numeric data in the familiar "cut and paste" manner because of the archaic coding used for the interface. In our case we had a large "mat foundation" that was actually supported by piles. It took awhile for us to figure out that it was still allowing soil interaction, and we had to figure out a 'workaround' to allow us to get numbers close to what we need.

It was not obvious what criteria were used for the reinforcement selection, but again, it wasn't obvious that it was correct, etc.

My recommendation would be to check out CSI's SAFE software. I don't have any recent experience with it, but the descriptions I've read are positive.

I have to say that I would NOT recommend PCA Mats.
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