SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 469 - Lagoa

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Lagoa: Multi-Optics Cloud Rendering Engine

This podcast covers Lagoa, a cloud- based rendering engine that I first saw at SolidWorks World and was, hands-down, the most innovative, mind-blowing tech I have seen in years. Topics covered:

- Platform overview

- Features and options

- User Interface and Experience

- Collaborative environment

- Overall first impressions

This year at SolidWorks World, I made it a point to spend quality time in the partner pavilion, a place that seems to get the least of my time in previous years.  After 12 years of attending SolidWorks World, there has been a list of 3rd party products and services that have impressed me.  However, in today's engineering culture, the web is creeping into the equation and services tend to be more impressive than 3rd party local software.

Over the past 3-4 years, cloud services have made a move into the space, offering a number of collaborative layers to the traditional desktop environment.  Whether this was through task panes or other menus inside of SolidWorks, the services were still very tied to the desktop installation.

Lagoa is a cloud rendering software as a a service (SaaS) and not only offloads the rendering hardware and horsepower needed for high end processing, it offloads everything needed from your system.  Cameras, complex material and advanced lighting all at your control through a web browser tab!  Roll in some real-time collaboration, sharing and commenting and you have the ultimate rendering experience completely in the cloud.  Cool stuff!  ~Lou 

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SolidWorks:HEARD! - Episode 436 - Kenesto Community

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Kenesto Community:

This podcast covers the free Kenesto Community, a cloud service that brings business process workflow and social interactivity into one hosted community.  Kenesto came on the radar a couple years ago at SWW 2012 but was still under beta at the time.  Topics covered:

- What does Kenesto Community do?

- What are the costs of the business plans and what do they offer?

- The feature list and how it blends workflow with social.

- Use cases and highlights

- Overall impressions

I had heard about Kenesto in the early months before SolidWorks World 2012 in San Diego, CA and that Mike Payne, long time CAD pioneer, was taking the PLM and business process automation (BPA) to the cloud.  The early promises were to take the infrastructure load off of customers and centralize this automation in the cloud. 

I first saw the product at their booth in the SolidWorks World Partner Pavillion where I got a demo and a more concise description of their goals and product roadmap.  Since then the product fell off my radar since the launch was not quick and it appeared that the beta was going to take some time.  However, earlier this year there was a shift when Kenesto brought on Steve Bodnar from Autodesk to head up products and marketing.

This year (2013) they are now expanding upon their hosted workflow and integrating a social layer and "Freemium" model to get users familiar with the service.  Kenesto offers collaboration and discussion around tasks, documents, workflows, links, forms and a number of other aspects important to project/process management.

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 401 - Windows 8 RTMs...

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Windows 8 RTMs...:

This podcast covers the final feature set of WIndows 8 RTM (release to manufacturing), the upgrade process and a variety of findings in my year long testing of this next release of Windows.  Topics covered:

- A brief history of release builds

- Understanding the new verbiage of Windows 8

- Upgrade options from various legacy platforms

- Start button -> Start screen tips and workflow

- What the Microsoft Store may mean to CAD

- Unofficial SolidWorks product support (my findings thus far)

- Considerations prior to taking the plunge

It was nearly a year ago when Microsoft stood on stage at the BUILD conference and announced the first downloadable build of Windows 8 (Developer Preview) was available to the world.  For many, this was the first hands-on experience with their next major release of Windows.  I was one who downloaded it and did some preliminary testing to experience the new Start Screen (formally known as "Metro").  Since this release, there have been two other milestone releases, the Customer Preview and the Release Preview, each showing slight progression in feature completeness and stability.

For the past year I have been running Windows 8, in its various builds , and testing how well many of the applications that I use, including SolidWorks products, in order to be ready when this version hits the shelves in October.  On August 15th, the feature complete build (aka RTM) was made available to manufacturers as well as MSDN and TechNet subscribers, of which I am one.  Since the RTM bits are exactly what will ship in October, we finally have an understanding of what Windows 8 is with all its official shiny features.

Windows 8 has many traditional environments that will be extremely familiar to long time users of Windows but it does pack a decent list of major changes including the removal and redesign of the Start button, the Windows Store, online services integration and the RT version, coming in the Microsoft Surface in a couple of months.  Since we are all Windows users in the SolidWorks Community, it makes sense to hash out what to expect if Windows 8 is going to be in your future. ~Lou

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SolidWorks:Heard! - Episode 290 - SolidWorks 2011 First Impressions

SolidWorks 2011 First Impressions: This podcast is a discussion between Josh Mings of SolidSmack and myself discussing the overall first impressions of SolidWorks 2011 publicly since SolidWorks lifted the beta NDA. Topics covered:

- General overview on the type of release 2011 seems to be

- Defeature tool and common uses

- Assembly features and weld prep

- Global variables in a text file

- Performance and display enhancements

- System requirement changes and XP's soon to be exit

- Installation improvements and background downloading

The buzz around a new SolidWorks release has changed so much from 10 years ago now that the Internet is in play. The VAR rollout events used to be the place people went to see what was being launched but now you can go to http://solidworkslaunch.com and get the rundown, not to mention the 50 or so blogs that will also post updates and screenshots.

Now that DS SolidWorks has lifted the embargo on SolidWorks 2011 Beta, the flurry of posts and reviews has begun. Josh and I talk mainly on how SolidWorks 2011 seems to be staying the course of performance and tuning existing features. SolidWorks 2011's What's New PDF seems to be about 40 pages shy of last year's so it appears to be scaled back. I think as long as bugs get fixed and performance increases, adoption will be high.

Personally, I have a list of files and features that I try to perform that have had issues in previous betas from year's past and 2011 was the first in a long time that some basic functions didn't give me issue at first glance. I have also, unofficially, noticed that a list of long lasting bugs that I have reported were closed so maybe this is an indication that 2011 is digging into the SPR list and addressing as many as it can. ~Lou

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