And the June SW Legion Contest winner is… (Part 2)

There are two winners for the June SW Legion Contest.  The official winner (Sandeep Pawar) and the unofficial winner (per the unstated and unofficial though originally intended rules) is Arash Erfanian.   Three individuals produced verifiable scalene ellipsoids with only three elements.  One individual used two sketches and one feature (3 elements total).  Two other individuals used one sketch and two features (also 3 elements total).  These made cleaver use of the scale feature.  After a suprizingly quick game of email roshambo, Arash came out on top, earning himself a CSWSP-FEA test.  Congrats to Arash.  He knows his scalene ellipsoids, and he knows how to play a mean game of roshambo.

As mentioned before, I received 11 submissions.  One submission was of a model that only had one 3D sketch and one feature (2 elements).  However, I was not able to confirm its scaleneness.  The solution was cleaver though; leave it to Matt Lombard to come up with such a simple approximation.  One of the other submissions was a surface model (not solid).  Unfortunately, it had more elements than the solid model submissions.

I don’t have access to the submissions at this moment.  When I do, I will go into further details about how everyone accomplished the goal.  I am not amazed by the variety of submissions.   I was surprizes at some of the methods employed.

SWW09: A Swan, a Dolphin and 3 Matts (fluff article)

Swan and DolphinFirst the Dolphin

The Swan and Dolphin Disney resort is a beautiful place. It is actually two hotels that are kinda sorta treated as one resort. They do have separate front desks and you cannot check-in one and check-out in the other, as the SW Geek found out when we arrived (he went to the Swan when his room was in the Dolphin). The walk between the two hotels isn’t too bad.

The Dolphin appears to be larger. It has a large ground floor lobby (which is confusingly called floor 3) with a lot of lounge areas. There’s a bar off to one side that was frequented by SolidWorks World attendees on a nightly basis, and daily too.  Unfortunately, the bar area wasn’t quite large enough to accommodate all the people looking to loosen up after a busy day.

The Swan

The Swan has a good bar. From what I understand, many upstanding citizens where debauched one evening by its karaoke night on Wednesday.

3 Matts

The 3 Matts

So, I’ve added the photo to the left here.   This is for clarity so that everyone may know which Matt is which. I hope this photo clears everything up.

I’m kinda used to be the only Matt wherever I go. Its like, I’ve got a common name that usually allows me a certain degree of uniqueness. Well, not so in the SolidWorks online community.

Just for the record, I didn’t copy anyone with my name.  I’ve had it from birth.  Really.  You can ask my parents if you don’t believe me.   I’m not so sure about the other Matts though. They will have to give you their own references regarding the issuance of their name.   (Just kidding guys)

To tell us apart, note that Matt Lombard had his bags with him the whole time.  He was hocking his books from those bags throughout the convention in a true entrepreneurial fashion.  Also note that Matt West can be identified by his jacket and glasses.   As for me, is it odd that I really don’t recognize myself in that photo?  I don’t know who that blond guy is…oh, that’s me.  Dang, pictures really do add 10 pounds.

SolidWorks World Presentation Ownership Poll (Link)

Matt Lombard has a POLL about access to the presentations at SolidWorks World 2008.  Right now, all the presentation materials are behind a login.  Theoretically only attendees of SWW8 have access to it.  Do you agree with this?  Once the poll is closed, I’ll state my opinion here.

SolidWorks Real Reward (Smart Button)

SolidWorks USB Web Key Smart ButtonSolidWorks has a new Real Reward program.  This new marketing scheme is being kicked off by mailing out these USB Web Key smart buttons.  All you need to do is plug this device into your USB port and press the button.  It kinda reminds me of the easy button from the commercials of one of those office supply stores.  Of course, those easy buttons pretty much solve whatever problem with which you happen to find your self.  This smart button does one thing.  It takes you to the SolidWorks Real Reward program website.  Oh, and it has an LED that glows at you all day (assuming you leave it attached to your computer).  No matter how many times I press it, it always takes me back to the Real Reward program website.

Yup, it did it again.

The Real Reward program allows you to give the SolidWorks Marketing Department all of your friends and family email addresses so that they may email them with an offer for a 30-day free trial of SolidWorks, along with online support and training.  Matt Lombard’s recent post about the Walmart dollar bin comes to mind for some reason.

Once I plugged it in, I pushed it.  It went to the Real Reward program website.  Oh, dang, I just pushed it by accident and it opened up my web browser and did it again.  The documentation that was included with the smart button suggested that the button was programmed with two websites, but unfortunately, both actions with the button goes to the Real Reward program website.  It would’ve been cool if the second setting went to the main SolidWorks website or something so that I have an excuse to keep it plugged in for more than 5 minutes.  Marketing, huh?  Oh well.

Anyway, I then started looking for ways to reprogram this dang thing to make it actually useful.  No such luck so far.  I’ll report if I find a method.  In the meantime, it will light up my desk with its tiny LED reminding me to sell my friends and family’s email addresses for free to SolidWorks so they can promote a $6000 program to them.  I’m sure my Aunt Cathy (a nurse by trade) will appreciate the offer and snap up a copy as soon as she tries it out.

Oh, I didn’t mention the best part.  See, you don’t really sell the email addresses for free.  I was exaggerating.  Here’s the deal, if the people you refer actually buy SolidWorks, you start collecting prizes!   Seriously, check it out.  There’s some pretty cool stuff.  Maybe we can all send in each other’s email addresses so everyone gets credit for everyone else’s purchases so we can all get the free computer!  Oops, did I already find the MLM loop hole in this Marketing scheme?

Update (12/18/2009)

This program was cancelled by SolidWorks Corp as of December 2009.  I am not able to fulfill any further submission requests for the trial version of SolidWorks.  It is my understanding that SolidWorks still has other programs available.  Please contact a local VAR for details.  To find a local VAR or for information about current offers, please see the SolidWorks.com website.

[30-trial, 30-day trial, 30 day trial, thirty-day trial, 30-trial program, 30 day trial program, 30-day trial program]

SolidWorks World 2008 Day 1 (Jan 21) A Commanding Presence

One of the stars that kept popping up all over the place at SWW8 was the famous/infamous Matt Lombard.  As mentioned, I attended his Hybrid Modeling breakout session.  Before showing up, I didn’t know what to expect.  First of all, his breakout session was in one of the large rooms, that could seat possibly  500 people.  I don’t really know.  I know it was pretty full in comparison to other sessions this year.  I’m not going to go into too much detail about the session’s agenda since I covered that already.  Instead, there are other items of note. 

In a moment of surreal quality, right in the middle of an audience member asking him a question, Matt recognizes him and declares something along the line, “I’ve been looking all over for you! I have it right here.”  He then proceeds to find a copy of his SolidWorks book and brings it down to his faithful attendee.  At the same time, I see a hand reach out from the front row or so grasping some amount of dollar bills.  Matt makes the exchange, declaring some self-derogatory statement and continues the presentation. 

This photo here is of Matt lording over the model he is about to render subservient to his will.

Lord Lombard commanding his model

Two other moments came up where he recognized others in the audience (if I remember right, SolidWorks perennials of some sort)  and declared his complete amazement that they where there listening to little ol’ him.  Just because you write a highly regarded book about SolidWorks doesn’t preclude you from being in awe of others.

The session was informative and entertaining in the shear unexpected natural phenomenon known as Matt Lombard. 

SolidWorks World 2008 Day 1 (Jan 21) Breakouts and Such

Though the breakfasts at SWW8 left a lot to be desired, I have to say the food serviced at the lunches was enjoyable.  One of the things that SWW8 organizers tried to do was set up tables for lunch with particular themes, called Birds of a Feather.  Basically, each day, the cafeteria was laid out with tables in particular areas being labelled with particular interests.  One day the tables were labelled based on SolidWorks software related interests.  Another day, the cafeteria was divided into industry genre.  The last day was divided into regions of the U.S. and the World.  Honestly, it didn’t make a dang bit of difference to me.  Two out of the three days, I sat pretty randomly anyway.  The one day I did sit where I was supposed didn’t turn out all that interesting to me (no offense to the people at the table with me).

 On my first day of SWW8, my breakout sessions where actually not directly SolidWorks related.  The first breakout session I attended covered Advanced Project Management Concepts.  I choose this session originally because other available sessions at the same slot were either topics I already know well enough, or were not related to me at all.  I didn’t expect much from this particular session.  I was surprised.  I’m glad I was in attendance.  The session was kinda an eye opener covering topics in project management including criticisms of and improvement upon the critical path method, the root causes for scheduling issues, bad behavior that I have always thought was good behavior (multi-tasking), Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available for its completion), 3 Minute Egg Rule (sarcastically: it’s not quality if its finish before time is up), and the CYA factor.  The session then addressed the true nature of projects and discussed methods to use in order to plan projects more effectively.  Out of all my breakout sessions, this is the one where I took the most notes (and that wasn’t because it was the first one I attended).

I then attended the breakout session labelled Clarifying Software Tools and Regulatory Compliance.  I work in a heavily regulated industry, and have been grappling with the question of how to treat SolidWorks within that environment.  Is SolidWorks and related applications subject to validation requirements.  The answer I found here was no!  SolidWorks and its related applications are authoring tools.  Drawings can be document of record in the Device History File, but they can be so in the form of formats like PDF or TIFF.  My company already treats the PDFs of drawings as the controlled document, so this fits well within our processes without the risk of having cumbersome activities limit the use of SolidWorks in some artificial way.

Hybrid Modeling Solids and Surfaces was the next breakout session I attended on Monday.  This session was conducted by Matt Lombard.  This session revolved around the idea of using good practices to create models that employed both surfacing and solid modelling.  He discussed the sequential method where one starts out creating a part as surface model and then becomes a solid model.  This is accomplished by grouping all of the surface features at the start of the Feature Manager, and grouping the solid features at the bottom.  This method produces a well organized tree, but may be difficult to maintain if certain features which blur the boundaries of surface and solid modelling are used.  The alternative is simultaneous hybrid modelling, that has a combined use of solids and surfaces throughout the Feature Manager tree.  He also went into details about many of the surface and solid modelling tools.  Seeing many of the SolidWorks tools demonstrated was enough to make this time well spent.  I briefly met Matt at the end.  We previously have had some correspondences regarding a particular topic du jour: HM, CF, RC1, RC2, & RC3.

I went to my final session of the day on a whim.  I had intended on going to a session that covered the topic of PDMWorks and API or something.  However, it was across the building, and this session was just down the hall.  Welcome to the 9th Annual SolidWorks User Group Network Summit Meeting.  The attendees of these meeting turns out to be a who’s who in the SolidWorks universe.  Many of us Blog Squad members where there, but the focus of the group was the SWUGN and its leadership.  I was first introduced to this level of activity by a personal invite from Richard Doyle to attend a SWUGN Regional Technical Summit in 2007.  Before that, I had been to a couple of SWUG meetings over the years and that’s about it.  The one thing that strikes me as quirky and yet endearing is Richard Doyle’s pronunciation of the letters S-W-U-G-N and how they just roll off his tongue.  It’s not swu-jen, or swoo-jen, or swu-gun, or even swug-in.  He pronounces the g as in begin, not as a j like in giant.  He easily utters swu-gin in a way that may take other English speakers years to master.  

 The session was very informative as to the progress and goals for the SWUGN in 2007 and throughout 2008.  As the day come to a close, I headed off to recoop in preparation for the long day to come.