SWW12 Attendee -> Press -> Presenter -> Employee

The first SolidWorks World that I attended was 2008 in San Diego, as an attendee.  My schedule was full of breakout and hands-on sessions, from which I learned a lot.  I also remember attending focus groups, the beautiful San Diego days, seeing lots of cool stuff at the Partner Pavilion, fun at special event in the Gaslamp District, the free iPod (still using from time to time), General Sessions, and meeting a lot of new friends.

For SolidWorks World 2009, something strange happened.  When you are a regular blogger of SolidWorks and CAD related topics, there’s a chance you’ll be invited to come to SolidWorks World as Press.  You don’t get “press credentials” or anything.  You simply get a badge that says “Press” and the right to go just about anywhere at any time in the conference.  This happened to me.

Being Press at the conference was somewhat surreal in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  The experience is completely different.  I never had time to attend more than a couple of breakout and hands-on sessions.  Instead, my time was spent at news conferences, interviewing important SolidWorks employees, quickly meeting special keynote speakers (Gene Kranz [smart guy], James Cameron [loved the campy Dark Angel show], Dr. Mike North [so sad his show got cancelled]), actually blogging, visiting historical locations, press events and other socializing.

At SolidWorks World 2011, I did double duty as a presenter.  Presenting a breakout session isn’t as hard as it might seem.  Being a great presenter isn’t the expectation that most people have of you.  Knowing your material is most important.  Being a presenter also gives you a new and unique experience at the conference, though arguably attending as Press is the most unique of all for people who are not employed by SolidWorks.

Well, this last year, something else strange happened.  I was hired as a SolidWorks employee and started my job in June.  Not only that, but my position has a significant number of responsibilities at SolidWorld World.  So, this year, I’ll be attending SolidWorks World 2012 as a working employee of SolidWorks.  Yet again, this will afford me the opportunity to see SolidWorks World from a completely different perspective.  To complete the circle, the conference is again in San Diego.

I’ve gone from presenting one breakout session to now presenting 3 sessions (1 breakout, 2 hands-on).  As if I wasn’t social before, I’ve got to be even more so now, talking to as many customers as possible, I’ll be running two focus groups, conducting product tests, and other behind the scenes tasks.

Unlike Mike Puckett, who has had a similar experience with changing rolls at SolidWorks World, I will not be presenting on the main stage during the General Session.  However, I will have a chance to see the response to my changes to SolidWorks by attendees during the What’s New for 2013 presentation.

If you are attending SolidWorks World 2012, try to find me.  My cell is 40…hmmm, yeah, just try to find me instead.  I’ll be looking for you to talk to! 🙂

SolidWorks 2010: Minor tweaks II

SolidWorks 2010 has made some minor tweaks to the control users have over balloons.

  1. In an assembly, when the user inserts a balloon, they can set it to follow the item numbering of a selected BOM under Balloon text (an added option for that field).
  2. The user can now add quantities to balloons.  These quantities are parametric so they update automatically as the quantity changes for the associated parts used within the assembly.  This was talked about in one of my SolidWorks World 2009 articles.
  3. One thing that has bugged me about SolidWorks for a long time is the fact that balloon size is determined by font size.  Finally, balloon size can now be set using an actual numeric value (such as .50″).  This can be a general setting in Tools>Options…>Document Properties>Annotation>Balloons.  Individual balloon sizes can also be directly customized via it Balloon PropertyManager.

Jon Hirschtick at SW Corp HQ

When Jon Hirschtick talks, his excitement is infectious.  Maybe reason for this is that he is excited about what he’s talking about.  At the recent visit to SolidWorks headquarters, several of us SolidWorks bloggers got to met with Jon again, but it never seems like enough time.

He talked about how he likes to keep up on what’s going on in the world.  He’s always looking for new technologies that may be worked into a new feature within the SolidWorks business model (my wording).

One particular area he talked about again was that 3D modelling isn’t owned by the 3D CAD industry.  It is owned by the Gaming industry.  The guys in the Gaming industry are the ones working with unique motion control within huge 3D worlds. This is a point he also made at SolidWorks World 2009.

He also is trying to keep updated on hardware technologies that may be used on the side of CAD but within the CAD context.   Again, he pointed to the Gaming industry and such devices as the Wii and Xbox.  Jon seemed fascinated by the fact that his son rather voice talk to him via the Xbox instead of the traditional land-line or cellphone because it is easier, its better quality and more reliable. He also mentioned that “kids” do not voice talk much on their cellphones.  They rather text.  Voice is reserved for emergencies. It is fascinating that the methods of communication used by older generations is much different than what is now being used now by the newer generations.  This process of change is likely to continue.

One prediction that he made is that cellphones will all soon be equipped with a projector that will allow human interfacing within the projected image.

3Dconnexion’s new SpacePilot PRO 3D Mouse

Before this month, I’ve never owned any 3Dconnexion 3D-mice in my life.  Heck, I wasn’t even exactly sure how to pronounce 3Dconnexion.  That “x” in the middle of the name throws me off.  Despite this, I’ve had some interest in their devices.  This has never taken me to the point of testing one on my own.  After all, I feel I’m pretty fast with my mouse-work and keyboard shortcuts.  So, when 3DConnexion asked to meet with me at SolidWorks World 2009, I was interested in seeing what they wanted to show me, yet skeptical about finding any game changers.

SpacePilot PROThey introduced me to the SpacePilot PRO 3D mouse.  (It may already be available on Amazon or other locations if someone is interested in looking for price comparisons.)  The SpacePilot PRO is the latest 3D mouse in a long line of professional 3D-mice which “have rewritten the rules on the way design engineers and professionals interact with 3D environments,” as noted by Dieter Neujahr in the official press release.  OK, so what am I doing quoting press release comments?

Now, anyone that reads my product reviews knows I’m no sell-out.  I don’t give shiny reviews to get free stuff.  I don’t run promotions.  For full disclosure, I must say that 3Dconnexion did give me a free SpacePilot PRO a few days ago.  This was given to me without any strings attached.  Technically, they didn’t even ask me to write any review or comment on the unit they give to me.  I made it clear back in February that if I did review the product based on the unit they were going to give me, it was going to be unbiased.  They seemed to insist upon that.  Even at that time, I had a few critical comments about the device (which I cannot remember now), to which they were receptive.

Does getting a free $499 device impact my opinion?  You betcha….JUST KIDDING!!  However, I do feel it is appropriate for me to write about my experiences, to give others a sense as to whether these devices are worth the cash.  Expect my usual sarcastic comments juxtaposed with well deserved praise, and demands for further improvement.

I’m not going to write one all encompassing review.  This is a highly capable device.  I doubt I can write completely about my experiences with this unit in one review without the article getting excessive in length.  I mean, just look how long this article is already, and I haven’t even started my review yet!  More information will come soon.

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.