If you are interested in learning about laser scanning, photogrammetry or other reality data with Autodesk ReCap (part of Autodesk 360 & Building Design Suites):
There is a free webinar series being hosted by the Autodesk Reality Solutions team. If you want to know more about how to incorporate laser scanning, photogrammetry or other reality data into your workflow, this might be a great resource for you. These are available to everyone, no matter what country you are in*.
The first scheduled webinar on May 13th will focus on 3D laser scanners and ReCap entitled "The basics of terrestrial 3D laser scanning with ReCap". Please use this link to sign up:
I visited the Autodesk Fusion 360 site today—documenting some changes to Autodesk Building Design Suite—and thought they were winding me up.
Fusion 360 is part of the Autodesk 360 family and the page (below) features “3D CAD like never before” with Gus Petrika’s lovely ‘The Hook’ wearable phone. The design is awesome and features (it appears) Windows Phone tiles (right).
Thing is, guess how many Autodesk Windows Phone applications there are? Not lots, not a few, none at all!
That’s not Gus’ fault, he just chose the best mobile OS for his lovely device. Pity Autodesk don’t do the same!
“Every time I’ve tried Evernote it has been a disappointment. OneNote is far more flexible and feature-rich. Of course, both Evernote and OneNote have multiple different app versions that vary in features and quality across each operating system and platform…”
This video has an interesting comparison:
OneNote, makes your tablet a real digital notepad.
The more I use OneNote the more impressive I find it. I find it puzzling that Microsoft seem to underplay OneNote, especially in the Tablet space, as it is nice application. They make a big deal about ‘Office’ on Windows Tablets & Phone than OneNote. Combined with the ink input (with its background text recognition) in Windows you get a free form editor which can combine typed, sketched, web and image info in a single, searchable resource.
I didn’t realise the Insert>Record meeting (with sync'd notes) capability was in there until recently.
Hit record and OneNote embeds a media file. Take notes and it remembers the time the note was added.
To review just click on the text and OneNote plays that portion of the embedded audio/video. Surely a boon to anyone conducting interviews where an audio reference, say to check that quote you scribbled, is valuable.
OneNote or MindManager?
Although I love the ink capability in MindManager and the way it imposes a structure to your notes.
I’m not a list person, although my grocery list is in OneNote!, and find the tree structure of mind maps far more natural.
However the lack of a Windows Phone MindManager application (although FTSMind is pretty good) means I’ve been using OneNote more frequently and really like it.
Autodesk have unveiled a new look Autodesk.com and announced their 2014 product updates. The new look Autodesk, hinted at earlier this month, comes with updates to existing products, new applications, revised industry specific Design Suites and Autodesk 360 Cloud Services.
Recently MindManager, the premium mind mapping application from Mindjet, has seen some radical changes. It’s not the typical application centred change — like new feature set, controversial new interface or file format — but rather a transformation in how the application and services are offered to the user. Even if you’re not a MindManager user this post may be of interest as it highlights the user impact of a software developer reacting to technology and workspace change.
Goodbye MindManager, hello Mindjet!
Like all desktop software companies Mindjet are facing up to the evolution of mobile and cloud. How you migrate your existing desktop customer base to ‘the cloud’ seems to be the number one challenge for many companies. Over the previous few years Mindjet have made acquisitions in the cloud and social ‘space’, launched their own collaboration portal and created mobile versions of their premium desktop application MindManager. They embraced the change by offering a portfolio of solutions to choose from.
They recently revealed a new business model based on cloud/mobile/desktop packages with subscription only options. I’m a MindManager fanatic but the new Mindjet has me wondering about the future of the application, the company and its regard for current users.
My MindManager, a retrospective
I first purchased & downloaded MindManager X5 from the Mindjet website way back in 2004. Over the years I have upgraded* it to (as I wrote this) MindManager 2012 with a “Mindjet Software Assurance and Support agreement (MSA)” to cover annual updates. My purchases were done via the Mindjet website, my last update to 2012 supplied direct from Mindjet as part of MSA.
* Some incremental updates were received as reward for beta participation as detailed on the disclosure page
Stumbling into the future of Mindjet
What follows is how I learnt of “the new Mindjet”. Given a main component of their business focuses on communication of ideas I think they, thanks in part to a trigger happy partner, got this process spectacularly wrong.
Early September: The first misfire…
It started on 4 September 2012 with a rather abrupt email from an Australian based Mindjet partner. I had never, knowingly, dealt with them and the content was so bizarre I actually wondered if it was some sort of phishing attempt targeting MindManager users.
“At the end of September 2012, Mindjet MindManager will be changing. It will effect how the 2 million plus users access Mindjet products and services. Are you ready for the change?
There are multiple offers on the go. If you plan to buy any new licenses or upgrades in the next 12 months we recommend getting in now while all these discounts apply. You only have a few weeks to act, so be quick because the deadline is fast approaching!”
As a MindManager user, owner, this was rather a surprise.
Would Mindjet.com clarify things?
Surfing over to http://www.mindjet.com was no help. When I visited, and even several days later (as seen in the screenshot below), it appeared to be to be business as usual. The application was being sold as a desktop application, with optional support assistance/subscription, and no sign of the radical changes coming in a few weeks.
A second email makes it clear, if not particularly palatable.
On 5 September 2012 an email arrived from a NZ Mindjet Partner I know but again hadn’t dealt with for my direct web Mindjet purchases. They addressed the confusion created by the previous correspondence and detailed the changes planned by Mindjet. This included the new product offer, business model and five upgrade/promotional offers depending on your current status.
Bizarrely there was still nothing (I could find at least) on the Mindjet web site. The screenshot below is actually Mindjet.com captured several days later on 09-09-2012 21:34 NZ time as I wrote this part of the post…
And, finally, an email from Mindjet
Finally on 6 September an email (right) arrived direct from Mindjet. MindManager owners without MSA had only a couple of weeks to consider an upgrade offer ~$190 before the price jumped up ~35%. From late September to December there is another offer with all upgrades withdrawn after that.
If you were on MSA the new Mindjet 11 application is part of that with a “special upgrade offer” to get the additional services for a year.
Personally I had no need to panic, MSA assured my upgrade but not the services, but if not on that would have been rather annoyed by the “deals” and timelines presented.
Out with MindManager, in with Mindjet!
Although the desktop application lives on ‘MindManager’, the name, is history. Seems a bit odd to walk away from a name with so much heritage as a mind map pioneer. However if Google Trends is any guide Mindjet seems to be matching awareness, if only due to MindManager’s decline!
There is also a new Mindjet logo and black/grey/red corporate brand. The new product range will simply be known as “Mindjet” + application/service: Mindjet Desktop, Mindjet Web, Mindjet Mobile etc.
They will only be available as a subscription bundle which is a rather radical change from the previous application + service plan model. The full Mindjet bundle includes the formerly separate web services for map sharing/edit/collaboration (Connect Vision) and task management (Connect Action). There is a lesser web only based package but it would not be of interest to a serious MindManager user.
My current MindManager investment
MindManager was never “cheap”, but for me it was always good value. It cost about half what a I paid for Microsoft Office Pro. At (2012 prices) us$400 you could have MindManager desktop for life with about us$80/year upgrade assurance keeping it current.
If I had paid for all upgrades from X5 to today (a couple of upgrades were gifted in return for beta activity) I would have spent about nz$1500 over nine years to maintain current copy of MindManager.
Given MindManager is my primary document generator and also replaces Microsoft Project for my Gantt needs I think nz$166/year was good value.
Mindjet: more than MindManager but at a price
The Mindjet ‘packages’ are subscription only. You get everything desktop and web for us$30/month or a web only version for us$15/month.
Mindjet justify the premium version by including services which once were separate. You get the full desktop app and cloud based storage, task/project/activity management and the mobile applications.
Mindjet Web looks very limited in comparison with the MindManager strengths of Office integration, multiple view modes (outline/gantt/presentation) missing entirely. Click the capture (right) for details.
This is fine but it appears most, if not all, the additional features are aimed at what I will term social mappers. Teams who collaborate on a map, locally or in the cloud.
I’m mostly a lonely mapper using MindManager as an authoring tool and generally only share office format exports (no other MindManager users at work).
Apart from the convenience web storage for mobile use, and I found that’s limited by roaming data costs when travelling, there is no value in the additional social services for my workflow. It will cost us$360, more than four times the current MSA annual cost, for access to the Mindjet capability I enjoyed with MindManager to date.
Mindjet’s worth? Good value becomes expensive.
If you consider the Mindjet package useful is it good value? Perhaps using Microsoft Office as a yardstick is still a viable. I was happy to pay about half Office desktop cost to get MindManager Desktop. If you compare the MindManager Web offer with Office Web the cost/benefit ratio tips the other way.
At us$30/user/month Mindjet is 1/3 more than a Microsoft Office 365 Plan. I think the fairest comparison is 365 Plan P with the addition of a desktop Office Pro subscription at us$21/month. Remember that offers the full Office suite (5+ applications) and a bunch of on-line services vs. Mindjet’s one platform and service offer.
I’m not opposed to subscription software but you have to justify the cost/benefit of the services you are paying for. If that means paying a significant sum for functions/services you don’t actually need or ever use that’s pretty hard to do.
Where from here?
I’ve got Mindjet 11 desktop and won’t be taking up the subscription ‘offer’ this year. For now I can say that unless Mindjet consider adding more flexible packages with more reasonable pricing options I suspect Mindjet 11 will be the last version I buy. As someone who has used it for nearly a decade and loves it that makes me pretty sad.
There’s a handy App to manage your installed Autodesk Exchange Apps! You can check app status, install updates, access help, uninstall and rate them from one dialog. Get Autodesk Exchange App Manager free from the Autodesk Exchange website.
UPDATE 2012-06-3: Must add, this is currently for AutoCAD 2013 (inc Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, MEP, Civil 3D verticals)
View, update, uninstall and get help on Autodesk Exchange Apps downloaded from the Autodesk Exchange Apps website. The Autodesk Exchange App Manager displays Apps installed for your product and provides access to the Autodesk Exchange Apps website where you can download Apps for your Autodesk product. A blue box with white download arrow in the icon view indicates the availability of an update.
The “day before Day One” kicked off with a media session packed with information. I’ll post in more detail when time allows but an overview will give some impression of the material covered:
Chris Bradshaw (SVP and Chief Marketing Officer) covered Autodesk’s approach to traditional markets and the emergence of cloud and consumer markets. From small beginnings in the days of mainframe, minicomputers design technology has grown enormously as PCs brought computing power to the desktop. Cloud computing, storage will accelerate that to the point where computing & mobile devices could outnumber their human masters. If that sounds extreme consider how many you own now?!
Steve Blum (SVP Worldwide Sales & Services) outlined the Autodesk customer base and how it is changing. Formerly mostly business and professional (from 1-5000+ employee companies) recent years have seen the growth of a consumer market. It is now the largest in terms of installed users, if not revenue. "Business as usual" is changing as mobile & the cloud drive organisations to change their customer interactions and, maybe, even their own business model. Emerging Countries (in particular BRIC) are evolving rapidly from just Manufacturing to Design and are investing heavily in infrastructure. This impacts within their economy, but also is a focus for ‘first world’ economy firms targeting growth.
Amar Hanspal (SVP Platform Solutions and Emerging Business) talked about Democratising Design and coined a new, to me at least, acronym. He described how CAD — Computer Aided Design — has evolved into CCAD: Computer + Cloud Aided Design. The cloud is enabling design data to follow designers from desktop to mobile, connecting designers and clients, sharing design data & intent for little cost. Infinite Computing is making live render & simulation a realistic option, not a dream. The future is now as Autodesk Cloud Applications (including iOS & Android apps) already get 1,000,000+ visitors per day.
Brian Mathews (VP Autodesk Labs), as usual, presented a vast array of potential technologies which will change the design, manufacturing and commercial landscape. His presentation “Confluence of disruption” used a music Rip, mix, burn analogy but applied it to atoms and manufactured goods. It will get a post of its own but ranged from Nano to Global scale design, reality capture and 3D printing from DNA to building scale!
Carl Bass (President & CEO) stopped by for a Q&A, discussions ranging from Cloud implications to business issues and more.
I then went on to the AEC Q&A (a manufacturing one ran at the same time) and finished the day at the Media/Blogger mixer. It was great to catch up with fellow bloggers from around the world, and a few US based ones too, before heading back to write this.
It stops now because I have to be up for the 8:00am main stage. I hear the mega-screen (which is 100’something feet wide) even makes PowerPoint look awesome!
I’ve used Yahoo! mail since 2007, simply because that’s when my ISP changed their mail hosting from MSN to Yahoo!
I also have Gmail and Windows Live mail accounts but my primary account is Yahoo! hosted. Until recently their webmail UI was pretty awful but I only used when travelling so didn’t really mind.
That changed when they unveiled a new interface which makes Gmail feel old and clunky. That’s backed by a pretty impressive spam filter as seen below. If nothing else it’s a nice way of presenting geographic and numeric data.
“We think the technology we’re using to keep your mailboxes safe is quite awesome and we wanted to show you how we do it, so today we’re going live with the Yahoo! Mail Visualization Project – a view of what no one has seen before using live data…how we use cloud computing and Apache Hadoop technology to filter spam and re-route email for the 300 million mail users we have across the globe.
We won’t bore you with the techy details in writing because it’s much more compelling to see…”
It wasn’t that I waited for the Apple event, but the announcement of the iPhone 4GS (rather than some other sort of device) was part of the decision. I had been thinking about a mobile blogging solution. While you can do a lot with an iPhone, more with an iPad, my blog creation is pretty much all Windows’centric.
I write about Windows apps so grabbing screenshots etc is best done there. I use Live Writer to compose posts locally (rather than TypePad’s web editor), use RSS Bandit Reader (which can sync with Google Reader but I prefer a local app) to follow blogs and rely on ActiveWords to save lots of keystrokes while writing. That’s why an iPad didn’t really cut it for me but I like their long battery life and portability.
Why a Netbook?
The answer came in the form of a little Samsung NC110 Netbook.
So far the performance of its Dual Core Atom chip seems ok.
Cold start-up is about a minute, restore from sleep 10-20 seconds.
2GB of ram means multitasking with RSS Bandit, Tweetdeck, Live Writer and ActiveWords running is ok. It will open any DWF (unlike iOS even with cloud viewers) and, at a pinch, even run DWG TrueView!
Real world battery life seems to be 6-10 hours depending on use.
220GB hard drive means no worries about storage, even backup up full resolution photos while travelling.
I considered an Ultrabook but they are still too expensive and fragile to be thought of as a “use or loose” portable device. It’s going to travel, be it conferences to bike trips, and the thought of stuffing a precious Ultrabook into a backpack horrifies me. I could trash three or four netbooks for the price of one Ultrabook.
Live Meshed with my desktop.
I’ve been using Microsoft Live Mesh, before that the Mesh Preview, to compose this blog since 2008. By syncing content it allows the perfection of composing locally, from any Windows device, with the cloud syncing content. Love that I can run heavy CAD/BIM apps on the desktop, grab screenshots there and begin a draft to finish later.
But none of that is the reason I’ll remember buying this machine. On the way back to work I heard the news; the day Steve Jobs died.