Coincidence is a strange thing. Last night I was playing around with some new TypePad Blog Themes and considering a major re-design. While that may happen it will take a while so I decided a quick “makeover” was needed. Although the design hasn’t changed I have reviewed the sidebars and cleared out some dated content.
Most of that was easy, Technorati code (remember them?), some dead links to blogs which have fallen off the web and generic search boxes I doubt anybody ever used. One item I looked at and wondered about was the AutoCAD Exchange panel (left).
It was launched with a flourish back in 2009, with blogger support via sidebar widgets, but I suspect never really became the community Autodesk had hoped for. Then today an email arrives announcing AutoCAD Exchange was moving to Facebook (per the screenshot below from AutoCAD Exchange):
That means AutoCAD Exchange is effectively dead for me as a work tool as Facebook not available on our corporate network. I suspect that is true for many and it makes the move rather hard to understand. While Facebook hosting is easier to manage for Autodesk I think it’s an awful move for the user.
Perhaps that view is tainted as my own presence on Facebook is reluctant, at best. I use it to connect with those who use it as their only social site rather than from any burning desire to be there. I mostly cross posts from Twitter Apps or TypePad as I hate the Facebook web UI and find their iPhone app slow, buggy and annoying.
So it’s goodbye AutoCAD on Exchange, I’ll see you on Twitter and YouTube but it is unlikely the Facebook page will see much action from me.
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.
My first reaction to “Autodesk Acquires Instructables” was ”Why would they buy an old Pixar movie?”. I then realised it wasn’t “Incredibles”, duh!, but still had no idea what an Instructables was.
Phillip Torrone’s post on Make, which I found via tenlinks.com, is a nice summary of the Instructables community, how it could fit with Autodesk products and speculation on why Autodesk have acquired it. It also has some useful examples of the perils of other corporate community acquisitions:
The big news this week was “Autodesk Acquires Instructables.” It’s taken me a few days of really thinking about this for my column. Autodesk is jumping in to the biggest DIY community online — it’s a huge risk, with a likely even bigger reward. I think Autodesk knows how to make a thriving business for professionals, but what about makers? That’s what this week’s Soapbox is about: Autodesk acquiring Instructables and what it means for makers….
This statement on the Instructables Blog gives the Autodesk & Instructables view:
“The Instructables community is incredible: you build, bake, and create amazing things, then share your projects and ideas with the world. I think it’s great when someone builds a project using instructions from our site, but it’s even more amazing when we inspire someone to start (or finish) that project they’ve always dreamed of. This has been my vision for Instructables: to have a positive impact on the world by giving passionate people great publishing tools to document their projects, and connect them to a community full of like-minded people”
“Instructables will be the community arm of the same team that makes 123D, SketchBook, Homestyler, and Pixlr, which will help provide creative tools, inspiration, and services for all types of creative people”
I don't know much about the Make community in NZ but it will be interesting to see how this develops or, perhaps more appropriately, what will they make of it?!
I don’t usually repost a full blog post but the one you see below is rather important to the future of this blog!
Six Apart (Typepad’s owner) are “joining forces” with “media” (advertising company) VideoEgg. Mergers can bring good or bad. I hope this means a better TypePad but the line “continue to provide support to TypePad subscribers, and evolve the TypePad platform” doesn’t exactly scream excitement. The talk of “monetizing” isn’t a factor for me as the ads that appeared here were just to cover hosting costs, with any surplus going to charity.
Although not without its frustrations I’ve found TypePad a good balance of “hands off, no hassle” hosting with sufficient tools & control to do what I want.
If, as they SAY, that is maintained and enhanced I’ll be a happy TypePad’er.
Six Apart and VideoEgg create SAY Media: a modern media company
Dear TypePad bloggers,
It's been almost a decade since we started Six Apart. With you, the bloggers and creators, we changed the way people expressed themselves online, empowering anyone to publish and build large and loyal audiences. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support and trust as you've shared your worlds and your passions on TypePad.
Today we announced our intention to join forces with VideoEgg to form a new, modern media company called SAY Media. This new company will continue Six Apart's mission to make creators like you more successful. It will continue to help you create powerful and engaging content, and grow and monetize your audience. And it will continue to leave you in control.
Nothing in TypePad changes today, and SAY Media will continue to provide support to TypePad subscribers, and evolve the TypePad platform. You can choose to take advantage of our strong relationships with marketers to monetize your blogs, or you can keep your blog ad-free.
This acquisition marks a new beginning, but SAY Media is also an evolution of how we've already been growing TypePad for the past few years; now we'll be able to do it on a much larger scale. We will be able to better serve you and the advertisers that may ultimately fuel your voice and finance your passion.
As we move forward, we will continue to have active roles in the new company. We hope you will join us, as you always have, in shaping our future.
NOTE 2010-10-02: This partial article was lurking unpublished in my drafts folder. I have posted it, backdated to when it was written, for reference now the AutoCAD WS application is live. If nothing else will show how the app & service have evolved
Butterfly is a preview of a cloud based AutoCAD DWG editor
Looks like a bit like AutoCAD, except…
Butterfly has a simplified ribbon UX. The home ribbon combines the basics of file open, save modify and display. The Draw, Edit and View ribbons elaborate on this. Share and Timeline are unique to Butterfly to allow collaboration and tracking of changes.
Importing & Managing Files:
The files you edit must be uploaded to the Butterfly servers. Importing & Uploading files to Butterfly is simple and supports a variety of formats, including drawing related AutoCAD support files (CTB/STB etc)
Once imported drawings are managed in the Drawings panel
A home panel shows an overview of recent files & activity
Editing, feels like AutoCAD:
Actions like adding, selecting creating content are very AutoCAD’like although Butterfly doesn’t have a command window. Direct entry is like the cursor entry in AutoCAD.
Butterfly supports AutoCAD blocks and displays AEC object proxy objects
Incorporate Web Content
Place your project in context with the map features in Butterfly. It’s not exactly AutoCAD Map (or AutoCAD Civil 3D!) but allows aerial photo or street view maps to be placed in the project edit space.
Share and Review, better than AutoCAD:
One benefit of being cloudy, server based, is collaboration. Butterfly supports an edit workflow and timeline history to track drawing reviews.
Even on a Mac:
I sent an invite to a colleague who uses those computers with an Apple. The current implementation of Butterfly uses Flash and will run fine on a Mac, if not it’s iPhone/iPad cousins. That may change as Autodesk investigate HTML5 and other alternatives as the technology serving Butterfly is not Flash dependent.
Be sure to register for a webcast with Autodesk CEO Carl Bass and Senior VP Amar Hanspal coming up this week. Last year I had the privilege of seeing a similar event live (a webcast without the web!) and the effort that goes into production was amazing. This year I’ll get to see the webcast from the other end of the wire (or is it fibre?).
We have invited some blog, discussion group, and social media participants to visit with the AutoCAD Teams next week in the Autodesk San Francisco office. The webcast is available for registration now. http://www.autodesk.com/webcast
“Anyone that follows the New Zealand domestic web space will have noticed a crescendo about international bandwidth…”
“Announced this morning is Pacific Fibre, an early stage international fibre venture founded by a group including Stephen Tindall, [Sam] Morgan and [Rod] Drury. Hell even the blogosphere gets a look-in with local boy Lance Wiggs having a role…”