SWW8 Pre-Day (Jan 20, 2008)

Flying in on the afternoon of Saturday, I was greeted by beautiful San Diego weather.  It was the sort of picture perfect day that one tends to take for granted in San Diego.  Sunday was just a beautiful, but I didn’t know that from personal experience.  See, I was at the first day of SolidWorks World 2008, buried deep in the heart of the San Diego Convention Center.  In the morning, I attended two Focus Group sessions, the Design Checker Focus Group and the Surface Model Functionality Focus Group.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Who cares about Design Checker, and in fact, who even uses it?”  Well, this is likely part of the reason SolidWorks held a focus group on the topic.  Participation was a little light.  When invited to the focus groups, participants were told that the group size would be limited to 12 people.  The group for Design Checker hit 9 people, and that was including the two SolidWorks employees there were putting it on.  Points discovered in the meeting basically revolved around the fact that Design Checker is not nearly as flexible as people need.  For example, there’s no way to create custom checks for type of items not included within the software.

The Surface Model Functionality Focus Group was brimming at the edges with over 15 attendees.  Most of the comments during his session revolved around increased functionality and ease of use for the various surfacing features.  SolidWorks staff was on hand to both take the suggestions and immediately respond when someone mentioned a bug-like issue.

After that, I attempted to take the CWSP test.  I got hung up on an apparent error in the test that turned out to be an acceptable part of the test.  I will need to leave some feedback about the issue since it has the distinct appearance of being unintentional.  If it is intentional, it’s an issue that should be evaluated at least, since it is distracting to say the least.  It is frustrating to see a flaw in the model only to find out I got the problem correct (after wasting half my time trying to resolve the issue).

After that, I attended the Attendees Reception in the main Exhibitors hall.  I found a few familiar faces among the vendors’ booths and fellow attendees.  I didn’t walk out of the Reception with nearly as much swag as I would’ve expected.  That is prolly for the best since I forgot my backpack.  Oh yeah, let me tell you about this backpack.  This is the best swag I’ve ever received.  It’s like a million pockets.  However, there is one area where SWW8 was woefully lacking.  They didn’t provide pens!  I can honestly say I have never been to a technical event where pens where not provided, either as swag or just as courtesy.  But despite this frustrating point, the overall experience was great.

SWW2008 – Pre-marathon

So I have been in San Diego since Friday Jan 18 @ 10 PM.   Flight out of Hubert H Humphery terminal in Minnesota (Tundra land) was delayed 3 times.   Apparently the planes were afraid of the 30 below wind chill.   The bump to 1st class payed for it though.   Free beer – Good.

Anyhow, back to my story – been here since Friday and I am already wearing a knee brace.   I chose the Hampton Inn about 1 mile North of the convention center and have probably put on 15 miles since I arrived.

Met with many people so far, Richard Doyle (unfortunately I missed his blogger event last night) the great folks from COSMOS (Had dinner with them last night (Thanks guys!   Even my wife had fun) and some of my regular chums in passing.

Did some alpha testing in which I had to sign the NDA with my wife as collateral so I cannot mention that any further.

Today I set out for round table discussions.   These are always fun to me.   I love listening to what others are looking for because often it is something that I want.   At the same time I find out new and creative ways people are using SolidWorks.   My favorite still is the Mayo Clinic   Precision Blown Glass Colons used to test CT and MRI machines.   This year I am hoping to also note these for my students to ensure they are more prepared for industry.   Any of you who think you have great ideas for Engineering Drafting Design and CAD technolgy curriculum please find me.   I am anxious to get your ideas and implement what I can.   Today I am wearing a white Hawian shirt, blue jeans and a knee brace on my right knee.

Take care all!   Off to work I go.

Ahhhhhhhhhh!

[moved from comments to its own posting]

Ahhhhhhhhhh!

That is the sound of actually completing my preperation for 2 break out sessions for SolidWorks World 2008. I hope that all attendees will not only learn but will have a lot of fun.

Also, feel free to let me know if I am cracked.

Anyhow, my presentations are :
1. Teaching GD&T using the power of SolidWorks.
The goal is for instructors and corporate trainers to use SolidWorks and all of its glory to help clarify what GD&T is and how it is applied. Eventually I will be submitting course wear to SolidWorks EDU for all instructors to use and this will be included.
2. Making life simpiler with Design tables (Formerly Design Tables Paris Hilton could do).
This is a unique presentation where we will look into “Company X” (I used to work there) and see how design tables could simplify their lives in their product design. Another added bonus for this presentation is one of “Company X’s” lead designers helped me out with this and will be helping me out.

All in all – SWW2008 looks to be like a fantastic event. I hope that I get a chance to finally meet some of the BLOG community over a beer or 2 or.

Until then – Have a great week.

SWW8 Free Admission to Exhibit Hall

Well, thank you to SolidMentor for breaking the news from the SWW8 registration site about the free Exhibit Hall Only passes.  I didn’t know whether or not I could say anything about the free passes in my previous post.  That doesn’t matter now since it was officially announced here: http://www.solidworks.com/pages/swworld08/Tacton.html

SWW8 Preparation

I’m ready for my first trip to SolidWorks World 2008 (SWW8).   Yes, I’m mildly excited.   I got my coach flight picked, my hotel (not very many steps up from being a motel) reserved, got my economy class car rental reserved, and more importantly, I have all of my breakout and hands-on sessions “purchased “.   I was actually lucky to select one hands-on session, for reasons I shall not go into here.   [Insert maniacal laugh here].
I went back to the SWW8 registration site a couple of days after the announcement that the Session Preference Page was live.   After only a couple of days, I found every hands-on session fully booked with wait lists filled to the gills; except for one.   It doesn’t appear that the topic of how to link SolidWorks to ECAD systems with the IDF file format is very popular.   If someone is interested in Circuitworks, this seems like a good opportunity to get exposure on how to use it with SolidWorks.
I just went back to the Session Preference Page again today to find that apparently new hands-on session was added to Monday for those of us interested in SolidWorks API.   It’s meant as an introduction to API, so if anyone is interested in getting first time exposure, that session may be the ticket.
Two of the sessions to look forward to are Matt Lombard’s “Hybrid Modeling Techniques“, and Chris MacCormack’s “Using the Power of 3D to Teach GD&T“.   These are breakout sessions.
I found out the hard way that once you have a session booked for a particular time slot, you are pretty much locked into it.   I didn’t want to change my sessions, so this was fine with me.   I found out because I first thought my sessions had to be reselected when adding new sessions.   (The Session Preference Page isn’t all that clear about how it works when it comes to modifying one’s schedule.   It just gives you errors messages when you do something it doesn’t like.)   I guess if someone wanted to make a change, they’d have to contact the group that is organizing SWW8.
In addition to the Monday – Weds sessions, I’m also participating in at least two focus groups on Sunday, starting first thing in the morning.     That means I have to fly in on Saturday, instead of early Sunday.
Also, for those people who may be interested in just seeing the exhibit hall (maybe for just one day), I highly recommend contacting their VAR for possible deals before attempting to purchase the Exhibit Hall Only Pass from the SWW8 site.  This is especially true if you are attending with a full pass, but wish to bring along a co-worker who isn’t interested in the sessions but still wants to see the exhibit hall.
See you there! chrismaccormack

Welcome to the SolidWorks Legion

Welcome to the launch of the SolidWorks Legion blog.  Chris Saller, Chris MacCormack and Matt Lorono (I), have started this joint blog to cover all topics related to SolidWorks, from the very specific to the remotely connected.   Help on troublesome topics will be provided.  Opinions will be expressed.  Examples will be provided.  This blog will likely eventually touch on topics ranging from how to create shortcuts to examples in API, from information about users groups to product reviews for add-in products, and much more.   Postings by each person are identified at the beginning of the entry.  There are categories by which postings can be sorted and viewed.  Tags can be used for this too.  We hope this site will prove useful to all that visit.