May 04, 2009
Oracle Buys Sun
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In the previous issue of MCADCafe Weekly, we discussed the software and training programs offered by SolidWorks and Autodesk for displaced technical workers. These two companies are not alone with their generous offers, and they were not the first. In the technical software arena, I believe Altair Engineering was the first, offering free software and training last year or maybe even in 2007.
In any event, we received the following email from CD-adapco reminding us of our unintentional omission:
“Nice that you have written about the assistance to displaced workers by MCAD vendors, but actually, if you check the dates of the corresponding press releases from CD-adapco (Feb. 26), Autodesk (April 6), and Solidworks (April 6), you'll see that we invented the idea and the others (in the "patent" sense, at least) copied it from us. We had actual unemployed/laid-off engineers taking advantage of our program before they even announced theirs. I hope you are able to give us some credit for this in a future MCADCafe Weekly.”
Thanks and best regards,
Dr. Dennis A. Nagy
Vice President, Business Development
Director, Energy Industries
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
3Dconnexion announced the new SpacePilot PRO. The company’s flagship 3D mouse is designed for advanced control of 3D models, easier access to the power of professional 3D applications, fewer interruptions in the design workflow, and superior comfort. The SpacePilot PRO’s features include:
• LCD Workflow Assistant -- The color LCD lists function-key assignments and provides at-a-glance access to Microsoft Outlook e-mail, calendar and task lists, allowing professionals to access important information for a fully integrated design experience with fewer distractions.
• Advanced MCAD Navigation -- Five new dual-function QuickView Navigation keys improve error detection, design review, and design presentation by providing one-touch access to the following views: top and bottom, right and left, front and back, two isometric views, and 90-degree view rotation of any view either clockwise or counter-clockwise – for a total of 32 views.
• Intelligent Function Keys -- Five new fully customizable, dual-function keys offer immediate, one-touch access to 10 frequently used commands within any supported 3D application. The SpacePilot PRO automatically detects the active application and assigns appropriate function keys – whether default or customized. The color LCD denotes the function key assignments and application mode so engineers can easily identify commands and design states.
• Superior Comfort -- The SpacePilot PRO has a new sculpted, soft-coated wrist rest that positions the hand in relation to the controller cap to support a balanced workflow. The micro-precision six-degrees-of-freedom sensor allows for fingertip control with minimal effort from the arm, wrist and hand, while frequently used commands are conveniently positioned at your fingertips. The symmetrical layout of the function keys makes the device usable with either hand.
The team of 21st century builders, engineers and historians tasked with recreating Leonardo daVinci's inventions for the new Discovery Channel series DOING DAVINCI are using Autodesk Inventor to virtually test the renowned inventor's designs. Inventor software is the foundation of the Autodesk Digital Prototyping solution. To view video footage featuring Inventor software in action on the show, visit
DOING DAVINCI. The program team consists of four experts that work each week to create the never-before constructed inventions.
The team also works closely with Dr. Jonathan Pevsner, a published expert on Leonardo daVinci. He advises the team throughout the build process, providing them with insight into history and daVinci's intent. On the April 13 premiere episode, the team takes a shot at constructing one of daVinci's most futuristic designs--the armored tank, a design that could rival even modern-day inventions. Additional designs featured in the series include a machine gun, a self-propelled cart and a catapult. For more information about the program, visit
Seven Raytheon Company-sponsored teams totaling nearly 150 high school students competed in the
already competed at regional levels around the world. In preparation for the championship, almost 70 Raytheon employees have dedicated approximately 14,000 hours to mentor students from more than 40 high schools across the country during the last year. The Raytheon volunteers have met with their teams each week and have guided them in the development of their robots, each consisting of a standard kit of 604 components and other purchased parts based on a common set of rules provided by FIRST. Raytheon's support of FIRST is a component of its
MathMovesU program, an initiative designed to engage middle school students in math and science and help create the next generation of innovators for the U.S. Since the program was launched in 2005, MathMovesU has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships and has touched the lives of more than 700,000 students, teachers and parents nationwide. To learn more about the program, visit
For the first time, Autodesk making AutoCAD software available for free to members of its global Student Engineering and Design Community, an online resource that offers numerous benefits to students and educators, including free design software, self-paced training, innovative curricula, global social networking, job listings, and more. AutoCAD 2010, includes new capabilities introducing free-form design tools, parametric drawing, and enhanced PDF and 3D printing capabilities. The addition of AutoCAD 2010 to the Student Community allows students to take full advantage of these new design tools, while adding to the portfolio of products they can use to develop skills in key industry
concepts such as Digital Prototyping, building information modeling (BIM), and sustainable design. With the addition of AutoCAD 2010, the Student Community now offers more than two dozen free software products. Since its launch in 2006, the Community has expanded to more than 570,000 members representing more than 19,000 schools in 139 countries.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced that a new Java Technology port will be a part of the robotics platform for the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) season. The addition of Java to LabView and C++ as programming language options in the FRC tool kit, also known as the Kit of Parts, was announced during the 2009 FIRST Championship at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. In the 2010 FIRST Robotics Competition, contestants will be able to use Java Technology to program the CompactRIO controller manufactured by
National Instruments. The port of Java to the CompactRIO controller is the culmination of several years of work by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and researchers from the Sun SPOT project at Sun Microsystems Laboratories. During the 2009 season, 1,680 FRC teams totaling 42,000 students competed at 41 events in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. All participants are eligible to apply for close to $10 million in scholarships at over 130 colleges and universities.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.
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