SolidWorks communicate to the internet all the time. Most users may not even realize just how often this happens. There is a Community heading under the SolidWorks Resources tab in the task pane. This area has links to the Customer Portal, User Groups, SolidWorks forum. It also has an RSS feed labelled Technical Alerts & News. I’m not sure how often this feed is refreshed by SolidWorks. There is an option to turn it off if it happens to be unwanted or generating errors (due to the lack of Internet access).
In Tools pulldown>Options>System Options>General there is a toggle setting labelled Show latest news feed in task pane. Simply uncheck its box to turn off SolidWorks’ RSS feed reader.
Another similar option that some may wish to turn off is just underneath the RSS reader toggle, labelled Enable performance feedback. This feature is needed once in awhile to help SolidWorks Corp understand why SolidWorks crashes. However, I think most users would rather just have this turned off.
Unless a computer has serious limitations, neither of these settings should cause performance or stability issues if turned on.
(Thanks to Charles Culp for bring identifying these settings in a recent SolidWorks Forum discussion.)
SolidWorks Corps claims to have “over one thousand touch points for feedback” that allow them to find areas that need improvement with their applications. Without getting into detail about the effectiveness of their use of these touch points, I’m simply pointing out where they do look. First, note that the Product Definition Group oversees much of this activity and is staffed worldwide.
They conduct direct customer visits. My company was lined up for such a visit a couple years ago, but due to scheduling, I had to cancel on the SolidWorks representative at the last-minute.
They are conducting an increasing number of user surveys (check the SolidWorks Forum and sometimes your email too).
There are field people who work through the VARs.
Technical support provides invaluable information.
They gain information from meeting with User Groups.
SolidWorks World provides significant information, such as the top 10 enhancement requests list, voted upon by attendees.
They also peruse the SolidWorks and CAD forums. It’s my understanding that they also hang out at other popular independent CAD forums.
Where is the most effective place to request a change or notify SolidWorks Corp about issues with their software? Well, I think that depends. Submitting ERs might be the most effective method, actually.
Thoroughly discussing problems and difficulties in the SolidWorks Forum may also afford more attention. Bugging VARs about software bugs is fairly effective in my experience (some have had opposite experiences). Of all the bugs I’ve reported via my VAR, none remain.
Another way to give feedback is to comment on the various SolidWorks related blogs. Get your favorate blogger to talk about the issue indepth. Depending on the topic, bloggers do seem to have a little more pull than the average bear. Unfortunately, I know only one bear that uses SolidWorks (and when her system crashes, it is usually a result of her bashing it about about cabin).