Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

A Quick View of CadSoftTools’ ABViwer

Even though CadSoftTools calls its software ABViewer, the program is more than a file viewer. Now in its 10th release, ABViewer has a robust authoring environment (the Editor tab) with drawing tools to create detailed drawings from scratch. The crosshair mouse pointer, command line, polyline tools, layering system, and line and text property controls offer a setup that feels familiar to those accustomed to AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT.

In the viewing mode (the Viewer tab), the program supports neutral formats, including STL, IGES, DWG, DXF, and PDF. With detailed DWG files and neutral 3D files, the program’s performance is quite good. The structure window (positioned on the right corner of the viewport by default) gives you a way to turn off or on certain elements and view your assembly components in isolation or together. Measurement tools allow you to select a face and get information on the region, or take your own measure between points with a virtual ruler. Different viewing options let you view the 3D model in shaded mode, wireframe mode, with smooth shading, or with hidden lines. Continue reading

Streaming Apps and Virtual Machines from SIGGRAPH 2014

 

OTOY, the Los Angeles-based company with technologies to stream games and render graphics in the cloud, has just launched an application-streaming platform, dubbed X.IO.

The announcement came from the show floor of SIGGRAPH 2014 (Aug 10-14, Vancouver, Canada), the annual conference for graphics industry veterans and pioneers. OTOY describes X.IO as “a new application virtualization service that instantaneously ports Windows desktop applications to the cloud without needing to modify any code, enabling users to access them on any Internet-connected device, regardless of form factor or platform … [It] was built from the ground up to handle the demanding nature of graphics-intensive applications, including image editing, CAD, and 3D modelling and rendering applications …”

For CAD vendors with design programs originally written for Windows-based desktops, X.IO offers a shortcut to the cloud. In a demo video, OTOY promises the vendors’ software titles could become cloud-hosted streaming applications “with no drop in performance, no major redevelopment.” The platform gives users the option to integrate their existing cloud-hosted storage (such as Dropbox or Google Drive). Continue reading

Teradici and Dell Launch Software-Based Workstation Virtualization at SIGGRAPH 2014

Even if your Dell Precision workstation is physically miles away, you can reach for it and commandeer it remotely from the nearest windows tablet or PC. Today at SIGGRAPH (August 10-14, Vancouver), Teradici and Dell announced a partnership that would facilitate remote workstation usage.

Typically Teradici’s PC over IP (PCoIP) solutions require hardware — a remote card — that connects the host device and the client device. The approach lets you use a lightweight device (a Teradici client box or a lightweight tablet) to access and drive a more powerful machine hosted on a server or located offsite. The latest solution, however, is made possibly solely with software. You install the Teradici Workstation Access software on your Dell Precision workstation and the lightweight client device to connect the two. Continue reading

Consultant Proposes Social-Mobile-Cloud Report Card for Software

Randall Newton, long-time industry watcher to the design software business, singled out cloud, analytics, mobile, and social as the four technology pillars driving the next IT revolution. Accordingly, he came up with CAMScore, an assessment method his firm Consilia Vektor would use to rate software products based on those four categories. Analytics have been part of product data management (PDM) and product lifecycle management (PLM) software for quite some time, but the more recent explosion of data — the Big Data phenomenon — is stirring renewed interest in such tools. And the other three — social, mobile, and cloud — are characteristics spawned by emerging consumer trends that didn’t exist before. So how would Consilia Vektor reconcile the decade-old products from the design industry with CAMScore? Continue reading

Sensing the World in 3D

The growing popularity of 3D printing among the hobbyists as well as professional designers suggests a comparable rise in the use of reality-capture devices — hardware that lets you scan and capture the shape and geometry of physical objects. With 3D printers, Microsoft is betting the consumer models will pave the way for costlier, bigger professional models. (For more, read “Microsoft Adding Plut-and-Play 3D Printing to Windows OS,” May 7, 2014.) There’s good reason to make a similar assumption about 3D scanners as well.

Priced $399, the Cubify Sense seems ready to capture not just geometry but also the attention of early adopters and curious tech users. Measuring roughly 7 x 5 x 1 inches, the 3D scanner is smaller and lighter than a typical hardcover book. The device has no independent power source. It operates through a USB connection to a tablet or computer. The computer is also required for downloading the Sense software to activate and drive the device. Since whatever you want to scan may not be located close to your desktop, a laptop or a mobile tablet you can carry around is the best option for operating the scanner. Continue reading