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Good value for maintenance?

    
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cutter

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Message 1 of 25

 Good value for maintenance?
15-11-2008 03:54 . am   |   View his/her posts only
As I ponder the question of $2,000.00 due again for another year by the end of November, and as companies are dropping like flies around me, the question of value for money spent comes up once again. Here is my 2 cents. Some of the improvements are geared towards new users. Yes this new show and tell thing is pretty slick looking for new users but a number of us have spent our learning time here and I for one see no cash value in this for me. And I am sure that a good chunk of my yearly fee goes towards developing this eye candy to entice new users. VX is pretty close mouthed with what is forthcoming and I hear things like I will really like it, but how do I know that if I have no information to work on. This is a serious issue for me, enough so that I spent $$$$$$ on other software this year to take care of problems that VX was not addressing with my money in a timely fashion and to benefit from new modeling technology from others. They allowed us to see what they were doing many months before the actual release and it was material in helping me make an educated decision. The line thing is cute Mike but you ought to see what I can do with your competitors stuff on files from any source in the PART level. It has been 4 years to finally get to the point where the post for my Haas VF3 works out of the box and dwg/dxf files are pretty reliable. Now I said that to say this. I feel that the money I send in as an existing customer should be applied first and foremost to the correction of current known problems. New things are secondary to me and what I most want for my money is robust and reliable predictable bullet proof software so my day is profitable and headache free. VX is small enough that I can't expect to hire anyone who knows this stuff if I need help so the value that automatically comes from yearly fees with Inventor, SE, and SW in the form of established labor/ subcontractor resources is not there in VX. Would I spend $1,000.00 on another year, yes in a heart beat. $2,000.00 in a really good year at this point in time would make me think pretty hard before I did it and so you know in this lousy economic environment where $2,000.00 stands with me. It is easy to get new customers in some ways as it is all new to them and there is real value there. It is harder to keep old customers when they see no improvements sufficient to warrant this amount of cash. Perhaps a two tier yearly fee structure for new users and another for old users would help retain user base and is my suggestion here as at this time there is value to me in VX, but not $2,000.00 worth. And something is a whole lot better than nothing for VX's bottom line I should think. Any other users ponder this issue too?

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Paul

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Message 2 of 25

16-11-2008 01:59 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
For me....

I think a customer should get a maintenance $credit for every PCR is raised in his account.
e.g. I find a problem. It costs me considerable time to figure if it's just me, my modelling, or an actual bug. Then in order to prove it's real I need to produce a reproduceable example or extract the offending files from a current project and send it all in. This is all down time (sometime huge amounts) and all negative revenue.

Then at the maintenance payment time, those who have contributed the greatest effort are rewarded in a tangible way and feel some appreciation exists. It would especially reward users who are experienced and really using the software.

IMO it would be a still be token recompense compared to the real costs incurred.

Cheers

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Robert

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Message 3 of 25

17-11-2008 10:26 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Version 14 presents a host of new technology including the exciting breakthrough in communication& Show-n-Tell" (Virtual 3D Book technology). Heres what Desktop Engineering had to say, People are awed by Show-n-Tell's authoring tools for design review, markup, assembly instructions, process and setup sheets."

1. Show-n-Tell"
Design Review
Models & drawings can be marked up with annotation and dimensioning tools, then the author can take quick snapshots with Show-n-Tell" to send back to his customer or over to an engineer for inspection and correction.
Assembly Instructions
Assembly sequence can be captured simply by using Show-n-Tell to take snapshots of the layers of the components for each step in the assembly. The author can also employ the annotation tools to give special assembly instructions
Design Intent / Knowledge Capture
VX Show-n-Tell" provides a medium to communicate "tricks of the trade" experience, not just "how" something is done but also "why" it's done a particular way. Drawing notes, comments, formulas, and intent can be captured with the 3D Model, assembly and drawings using Show-n-Tell" authoring tools.

Sketching
5. Sketch with DCM
D-Cubed" Constraint Manager
Ease of use
Improves sketch reliability
6. Sketch Drag
Ease of use
2D linkages
Allows user to play what if scenarios
7. New Sketch Functions
Tangent constraints arcs/lines to splines
Real time curvature plot
It is now possible to make fillets on 2D/3D curves inside one curve, to remove sharp corners in a spline
8. Offset Drag
Speeds up design
Reduces design effort
Improved productivity
Translator
9. DWG and DXF
All modern AutoCAD standards
DWG is now up to ten times faster
More accurate and complete translation (support for long file and part names)
10. All-new Parasolid"
Import and export of parts and assemblies
Auto-sew option on import  forces a sew
More accurate and complete translations (support for long file and part names)

Layout and dimensioning
11. Redefine Section and Details View
Allows tweaking of previously created views
Speeds 2D drawing creation
12. BoM, Hole and Electrode Tables
Label control (CW, CCW, Closest)
Exclude labels from one side
Allows post-creation editing
Modifications to balloon locations and table attributes are retained after table regens
13. Balloon Dimensions
Border stretches to match text length
14. Layout part views using calculated center
Easier layout of assembly parts when working from an assembly datum
Surfacing
15. Creaseless Dome
Much smoother
Superior corner blending
Increased aesthetics
16. Morph
Concave and cornered shapes
Morphed shapes can be easily shelled and filleted
Maintains tangency between faces
17. Real time Rendering
Set a texture to a shape
All features inherit the texture
Speeds design productivity

18. Fillet Improvements
Improved corner tangency and smoothness
New cases: Inner/outer, better eliptical smoothness
Solid Modeling
19. Pattern Enhancements
The easy-to-handle, shaded echo allows picking of features for elimination
Better visualization makes life easier
Pattern-on-face speeds design decisions
20. Mass properties
Faster and more accurate
21. New Simplify Engine
Resolves ambiguity
Enhanced user experience

22. Draft Improvements
Self-intersections automatically removed
Speeds design of molded parts
GUI and Display
23. Bubble Text  Annotation
Useful for documentation
Great for Show-n-Tell"
24. Axis and arrows displays
Improved user experience
25. Improved Print and Plot
Microsoft standard interface
Separate form for print and plot
Updated preview ability
26. Easy dynamic viewing
MMB and LMB for dynamic rotate
MMB and RMB for dynamic pan
27. Consolidation of Inquire
Simple to use Inquire Tool bar
Groups commonly used commands
28. Easy-to-use light control
Spherical placement automatically

Assembly
29. AVI Support
Animations output to AVI
30. Mechanical Library
Trace Parts
Cad Register
CAM
31. GUI Enhancements
Improve Handiness
32. Feature Machining
2-axis feature machining
33. Spreadsheet interface
Ease of use
Speeds programming decisions
34. New Tool Types
Lollipop, Corner-round, T-slot and Wheel

35. Solid Verification
Up to 10 times faster
36. 5-axis Enhancements
Swarf cut supports lollipops and wheel cutters
5-axis side-cut also
37. 2-axis Enhancements
Vacuum forming

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cutter

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Message 4 of 25

18-11-2008 04:25 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Bob and hope all is well with you. This is a bit of a different list than is on the web site for sure. Does the file size limit to 32 spaces go away with 14, a big headache for me? Will the upgrade to nurbs from stl for quick mill happen in 14. This would really help on the huge file sizes I have sometimes compared to what other programs put out. How this helps is that if I can do the same thing with less data at my mill controller I can cut faster in arcs without bogging my mill down as it starves for data, a current problem. There is a list of gui improvements for cam I will be interested to see but still going to wait for a demo version of 14 to come my way before I choose to reup. Thanks for the reply, Dave

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Robert

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Message 5 of 25

18-11-2008 08:57 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Dave,

Good news and bad news

Good news: The file size limit to 32 spaces goes away with 14 for VX, Parasolids and DWG/DXF imports,
Bad news: I don't know of any upgrade to NURBS from stl for quick mill so I'm sure that won't happen in 14

On the brighter side, memory is getting cheaper all the time. Soon we'll have holographic memory and then I'm uploading myself before I kick the bucket.

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Dan

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Message 6 of 25

18-11-2008 09:07 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Cutter,

QM, in this moment, implements a discrete way of milling based on STL representations. Many algorithms, in special related with robustness and ability to mill large parts, relay heavily on this property of the input data.

At least in the large part size you can rest assured that you'll be able to mill large parts with QM. We even have customers that milled in one go parts that ore over 5000x5000mm^2 in one go or in two-three sessions parts that are 5000x20000mm^2 (entire walls) with a lot of details. In this moment we are one of the software that allows to mill the biggest parts in market and we work hard to keep and improve our leadership.

Regarding the "upgrade" from NURB to STL I will suggest that actually that's a downgrade. The first way of milling sculptural surface was based on polynomial (analytical reps NURBS included) and the upgrade came over 10 years later to mill from STL (or discrete). The same upgrade happened in any signal processing including sound, video etc.

Many of the premiere features that QM has are directly possible only because it mills from STL representation and not from the direct NURBS. It is true that in 1960-1980 the only possible way was to mill simple analytical surfaces based on normals but we evolved a lot from that period and we have discrete class toolpath generators now that can do a lot more work for manufacturing engineer. In NURBS case when they tried to solve robust collisions in multi-surface cases or rollovers they had to write hybrid algorithms (using STL reps) to enable that and anyway all NURB based systems aren't abble to mill 10000+ trimmed surfaces parts with easy like a discrete CAM class (QM like) will do.

regards,

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John

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Message 7 of 25

18-11-2008 10:17 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Billator,
I agree that QM can be very robust. However in the early days the milling of simple analytical surfaces you mentioned required the perfect model. Of course this is not a requirement of QM. However, in many cases that type of machining is much more efficient than QM. The tool paths are limited to only those surfaces the user wants to machine and dispersed in proportion to the ISO's, allowing for a very smooth surface finish. While VX has made some progress in this area, it is still behind many other available CAM systems. The other systems no longer require perfect tangency, perfect fillets, limiting contours or surface normal orientation. In reality they are just a forgiving as QM for bad models.

In this reguard I agree with cutter's original concern about where value is added. I have read many forum entries about 2D machinig of part edges with either a chamfer or radius. This Old 1960-1980 technology, when updated to what is available in other CAM systems is the perfect solution to these areas. Growing this area of machining in VX would give your users more weapons to attack their CAM problems, and also improve efficiency.

John

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Dan

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Message 8 of 25

18-11-2008 12:33 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
John you are right. Milling analytical can add extra benefits beyond the theoretical mathematical problem of milling under tolerance using discrete CAM systems. In this moment in VX we tried to keep our promise to mill as efficient as possible under a tolerance a given part. That efficiency implies to have a tessellation as coarse as possible under a given tolerance that can create big triangles on shallow curved surfaces that makes the light reflect discrete (it jumps) showcasing the tessellation. We did some experiments and we try to improve on them to dramatic reduce this problem in future but now we are in the middle with these experiments so isn't clear what and when this enhancement would come from the discrete side of the product (or QM) that I'm representing in this discussion. So this isn't a QM enhancement is a tessellation one. My feeling is like extrapolating the pattern used in other discrete processing product of creating extra samples (facets) will solve cheap, a lot of faceting artifacts. This strategy can be seen today in many other products that process discrete data (photoshop, sound processing and compressing) w/o coding explicit new complex and untested algorithms in them. I don't have any clue what the analytical CAM part of our product have in plan to do for this maybe bob4fun is more knowledgeful and can extra elaborate.
Maybe I get subjective here but I will encourage to enhance QM class of algorithms and tessellation then to enhance NURBS based one that will never arrive to QM set of features easy and in many cases our customers enjoys freedom offered by discrete milling and will like there to be solved this problem to enjoy all this benefits.

dan

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Paul

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Registered: 2011-9-17

Message 9 of 25

18-11-2008 02:55 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Talk about an off topic thread!!!!!!!!
Kevin, you caused this!
Cheers

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cutter

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Message 10 of 25

19-11-2008 05:19 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Tpm, yes now you have hit the nail on the head and explained to me something I did not know. It IS arcs I wish to deal with and not lots of little lines as the controller on my 94 Haas can get bogged down. [ shame on you Kevin!] One of my parts is a big pieve of teflon that has an 31" diameter arc on one side for 11.5" oal in "x". Now I can really cut this stuff fast if I could do it in arcs. As it is right now I can cut about 90imp before I starve for data. I am certain I could easily double this imp with arcs. It is a big problem for me and I will certainly have a look at the program you suggested. Very pleased to see the file size chage Bob as some of the descriptions had become so cryptic that it was a problem. By the time you start adding in dates to differentiate files you were limited too much in what the description could be.Thanks, Dave.

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cutter

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Message 11 of 25

19-11-2008 07:36 . am   |   View his/her posts only
TPM, what I have been told by haas re this pc board in my mill is that it was in use until 99 and indeed my software version is the 99 year one. After that point they made a change and highspeed lookahead was an item added. I don't believe this option is available on my board but I will check again. If Metacut will allow me to reduce data needed to cut the same part that is what I need anyway and hopefully by looking on their website this morning they state this is the case. I will be in touch with them as time permits to find out Thanks, Dave

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Steve

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Message 12 of 25

19-11-2008 07:47 . am   |   View his/her posts only
With the cost of the Haas high-speed option, on that vintage of control(He'd have to replace the Mocon board as well), he could probably have the control upgraded to something MUCH better. Like the Creative Evolution. super fast control, super nice people to deal with.

They turned a mid 80s Toshiba VMC8 from a herky jerky 30-40IPM machine into a accurate cutting 150+IPM machine. Along with about a dozen machines at my previous employer.

www.creat.com

I like the Hass "80 block lookahead". I was running a Rambaudi almost 20 years ago that had an 80 block lookahead(Fidia CNC11/23s)

Another problem with the older Haas controls(Pre 1998), is the DNC speed is limited to a max of 57,600.


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cutter

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Message 13 of 25

19-11-2008 08:01 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Bob, just some additional info on my choice and why. VX it appears is primarily a mold and die package and it seems that this small part of the overall market is where they elect to stay. I have found myself pursuing business wherever I can and it has always been outside of mold and die. My customers have increasingly expected me to do design for mcad situations in sheet metal, piping and machinery design for food service, none of which VX addresses well especially sheet metal. The real value of VX was and is to be able to design and machine in the same package but since I find myself increasingly designing in "brand X' this advantage is speedily going away. See the following file. VX had the nuts and bolts but I had to go online to get the springs and assemble 3 of them and then extrude cut to get the correct length. In "brand x" I go to the included libray on my hard drive and get the spring, assign length from the choices available and there it is. And of course I can extrude cut if I need a differing length. This is CRITICAL for me to do without access to the internet as there are times my customer wants a designed item before I leave and the meager VX parts library left me hanging to many times. The sheetmetal chute that goes below this device is designed in "brand x" and not shown here. I can create a solid, shell it and then "rip it" and have a complete sheet metal layout in no time at all. VX is so cumbersome in this very important [to me] area. Obviously as I learn more and more design work will migrate out of VX. But this is why $1,000.00 yes, $2,000.00 no.

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Dan

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Message 14 of 25

19-11-2008 10:54 . am   |   View his/her posts only
>> Just to be clear, the method for tool path calculation is separate and distinct from the output format.
Both NURBS and STL based machining will still produce large point-to-point tool path output in the NC code.

If the NC code is a polyline doesn't matter what sort of toolpath generation you use NURB or STL. More then this is the facets of the triangles are small (comparable with tolerance) both methodologies after remove collinear under tolerance will virtualy generate exactly the same toolpath.


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cutter

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Message 15 of 25

20-11-2008 04:16 . am   |   View his/her posts only
TPM, Could you be specific about your experience with Metacut, what you used it on and how it improved your cutting? Looking for your personal experience with it. Thanks

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cutter

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Message 16 of 25

21-11-2008 04:50 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi everyone, as the end of November approaches so does the end of current maintenance for me. It has been both very frustrating and rewarding to have been associated with VX and with fellow users and it is with sadness I write this post. VX was the first 3d modeler I had used and getting my mind around it was tough. But what I learned here carries over into every other software so thankfully this happens only once. Walking away from a familiar program is not something done lightly as you know you are in for a fair portion of the learning/newbie stuff again but indeed it is time for me to do so. Bob, enjoyed meeting with you and corresponding too. Mike and Ray have been of great help and thanks to those of you who have had constructive input/responses on the forums. Hopefully earnings will pick up and I could be back one day but the way everything looks right now I just cant afford the freight here and have to choose one or the other flavor of cad abuse. You guys reconsider the cost of maintenance please DO let me know. Regards, Dave Ault
PS. What the heck, send me a demo of 14, you never know maybe I will hit the jackpot some day soon:-}

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Robert

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Message 17 of 25

24-11-2008 10:24 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hey Dave,

We'll release Version 14 in March 2009 and I will ensure that you get a password.

Please keep us on your list. I've always appreciated your honesty and feedback.

bobf

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warren

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Registered: 2004-10-28

Message 18 of 25

14-12-2008 01:58 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
In response to the maintenance subscription being a good deal... For toolpaths, yes. For designing, no. My upgrades this past month have paid for themselves with better toolpath logic and toolpath time. I don't design much in VX because, in all honesty, the design interface and history manager stinks. It's not the least bit intuitive and the lack of pick and drag is so far behind the times it is innexcusable. I am good at driving the design package and make some really trick products, but it's just not fun or easy.

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ChrisWard2k2

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Message 19 of 25

14-12-2008 10:39 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Hi cncsurf

We are making VX easier to understand by adding live, context sensitive informative in the top left corner of the graphics window and producing a series of "Show n Tell" files to help Users get the best out of VX and drive it in the most efficient way. v14 has pick and drag in the totally re-vamped Sketcher and it really is a joy to use.

If you need to make a lot of modifications along the way to a perfected design, the History Manager should be your best friend. I know many people who have struggled with History-Based CAD (which includes most VX rivals) having migrated from No-History applications. Some customers swear by it, others swear at it. I think you might be in the latter category..... If you could spare five minutes to send me an email, listing what it is that you really dislike about the VX History Manager, I can turn that into enhancement requests for our Development team. v14 has customer enhancements in every nook and cranny.

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Robert

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Message 20 of 25

15-12-2008 09:04 . am   |   View his/her posts only
Hi Warren,

Could you point me to a History Manager that is intuitive and allows "drag 'n drop"?

thanks,

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warren

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Message 21 of 25

15-12-2008 01:49 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
I wasn't quite clear. Dragging and dropping geometry, like "handles" in autocad. As for history management drag and drop there are some that allow dragging and dropping of geometry (reordering part creation also) such as Solidworks Inv. and UG. Maybe VX does that but I haven't tried much since I usually only use other people's geometry for my molds and CNC programming. .

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Julian

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Message 22 of 25

14-04-2010 11:35 . am   |   View his/her posts only
I have just stumbled on your post, Oh how I agree with you, I am in the UK and have been through the same thought processes, in the end I decided to opt out of the yearly hit, I find it hard to see how they can justify the cost in the present climate which is the same one year on.

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Robert

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Message 23 of 25

14-04-2010 11:43 . am   |   View his/her posts only

How much could you justify?

Give us a hint so that we can adjust to meet market demand.

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OldForumPost

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Message 24 of 25

14-04-2010 03:37 . pm   |   View his/her posts only


Here are some recent improvements on the design side of VX worth mentioning. You might even find it worth upgrading...


1) The sketcher has improved greatly.
- It behaves much more predictibly and is easier to use.
- It is one of my favorite improvements
2) Improvements and greater compatibility with our STEP and Parasolid Translators (These are completely new in V14)
3) DXF/DWG have also been continuously tweaked and improved throughout V13 and into V14
4) The simplify command for removing holes and features handles more cases
- Steve Mackay told me he loves this tool
5) Detail drafting has had a bunch of enhancements.
- Improvements to Section Views
- BoM, Hole and Electrode Tables are easier to edit and create

There is a lot more on vx.com








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cutter

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Message 25 of 25

14-04-2010 10:04 . pm   |   View his/her posts only
Scotty,

In an ideal world people that write software would get it right and they would only sell to us once in a while when significant improvements and not bug fixes happened.
In reality it does not work that way and then you also have to consider support and if you need it or not to. I am involved in a project right now that has me doing things I have never done before and without support I would be lost. Or at the very least back to MANY hours of try this try that and probably never find the magic secret. I did not consider VX worth $2,000.00 a year when this post was started. I still don't and dropped from End to End to Machinist to save $$$. Everyone has to work out their own deal with VX or VARs for what you will pay and amnesty. I can tell you this much, with the solid improvements in V14 over anything I have used since V9, the amnesty and support I have recieved this week for instance make me very happy I am here. Can I see a day where I have everything I need to comfortably run my business without renewing anything anywhere? Yes but not right now.

Every cad company out there is wheeling and dealing now and I am quite certain you can find a happy medium with VX.
See also
X