by Roopinder Tara, Tenlinks.com
One might think Autodesk would be content in hosting what is by far the biggest CAD gathering in the world, but it's not. It is inflating the numbers: in addition to the 8,000+ that are expected to be here, Autodesk is also counting those that are attending "virtually," as if that matters. So the number being bandied about is in the hundreds of thousands.
IMHO, there is no substitute for being here. If I was attending "virtually," I would also be doing my regular job, answering emails, shopping on Amazon.com, or a half dozen other bad habits I have picked up on my way to ADHD -- none of which would have put in in good standing as a student or careful attentive listener.
There's 95 of us from the media, a category that increasingly includes bloggers, international press, some of whom represent titles that have little to do with CAD. We have been corralled into a large room a and are being treated to one presentation after another by Autodesk VPs. Carl Bass, CEO, will be the the dessert.
Part 2: 10 Billion Mobile Computers
Autodesk wasted no time in declaring its desire for the consumer market. Only a few minutes into the media presentation, VP Chris Bradshaw, who is prone to reminding us of the computing power of his iPhone eclipses the computers of my youth, went on to say the half of us in the room who are now on iPads were representative of the world at large. He sees the rush to mobile computing not abating until there are 10 billion of these devices. Never mind there are only(!) 7 billion people on the earth. That just means that we'll all have more than one. As proof, he asks the assembled media how many of us had more than one mobile computer, meaning a laptop, tablet PC (like iPad) or smart phone? Most of us were guilty as charged.
And on these mobile devices will be many DIYers, hobbyists, artists... in other words, non-professionals. Non-designers. Non-architects. Non-engineers.
Part 3: And Now a Word From Our Conscience
The mad rush to put professional tools in the hands of non-professionals was given a face and a voice Monday afternoon when Autodesk CEO Carl Bass excitedly told of an inventor who flew his "aerocopter" to a height of 3,000 ft. "I don't even know if this guy was an engineer," says Carl, who was on the panel of judges for the contest in which this device was featured.
Clearly, Autodesk wants to empower individuals with software. It is making software available to all who want it, a lot of it is free or cheap, a lot of it runs on cheap tablet PCs. It's a way to reach way to reach people who may never have been Autodesk customers before. I get that.
But it make engineers like me cringe. If you are a Professional Engineer, you have even sworn to protect the public. But how do you protect the public when you are not even in the design process? When the inventor has the tools to design an aero copter and the tools to build it, how do you protect the public from itself?
Carl admires the inventor who risks his own life to commandeer this aerocopter. Should such endeavors be regulated? Carl does not think so. He's a Libertarian. I am reminded of the Darwin Awards, in which someone rigged his lawnchair to dozens of balloons and tried to lower himself down to earth by shooting the balloons with a BB gun.
What a dope! It's funny. Unless the dope falls on your head.
[Reprinted by permission from CAD Insider.]