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.

The 3D RV, Collecting Stories of Design and Innovation Across the U.S.

A blue RV painted with and gadgets and branded with high-tech logos is making its way across the U.S., from California to the New York Islands. The vehicle is commandeered by TJ McCue, a writer and 3D enthusiast. The road trip’s goal is to “[celebrate] the creative process, while illuminating the impact of design through firsthand customer stories, consumer creativity and student innovations,” as TJ puts it in his blog.

The 3DRV, as the journey is called, will cover more than 100 stops in eight months. The road trip is made possible by Autodesk, NVIDIA, HP, and Stratasys, among others. So far, TJ has met with people developing a 3D printer that’ll work in space, an underwater camera that could survive shark bites, and footwear that could double as a cellphone charger. As of today, the RV has covered 6,209 miles, made 54 stops, and TJ has gulped down his 269th cup of coffee. Continue reading

Chromebook as the Front-End Client Device for Virtual Machines

Normally, you would think long and hard before you attempt to run a Windows-based CAD program on a Google Chromebook. Though affordably priced (starting $199), the lightweight notebook has very limited local storage capacity and runs in Google Chrome OS. That presents challenges for those trying to install and run Windows-based design and engineering software titles that demand graphics acceleration, generous hard-disk space, and ample memory. But what if you use Chromebook only as the front-end client device to access a virtual workstation hosted elsewhere?

That’s the setup NVIDIA, VMWare, and Google are advocating at VMWorld (San Francisco, August 24-26), a virtualization conference. In a press announcement today, the three jointly announced, “a collaborative effort to deliver high-performance virtual desktops and workstation-class graphics to Google Chromebooks.” Billed as a technology preview, the virtualization solution lets you use the latest Chromebooks powered by NVIDIA Tegra K1 mobile processors to remotely run Windows programs using VMWare’s virtualization software. Continue reading

NaviSite Launches Desktop-as-a-Service Offerings

A week after OTOY announced  the launch of its app-streaming platform X.IO, NaviSite, a cloud service and product vendor, is launching Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) products, powered by NVIDIA GRID. NaviSite believes the product beings “desktop virtualization for even the most intensive graphics workloads to a broader audience of end-users using engineering, design, and multimedia applications.”

Though underlying technologies, acronyms, and definitions may be different, app streaming and DaaS are driven by the recognition that consumers are open to the idea of using remotely accessible workstations, billable for usage or time. With NVIDIA Grid, NaviSite’s DaaS offers remote desktops with GPU acceleration, a characteristic that’ll be important to CAD and design software users who rely on photorealistic visuals to evaluate product aesthetics.  Since most of the computing is done on the hosted hardware, users may interact with the remote machine from a lightweight tablet or PC, usually priced far less than a professional workstation. Continue reading

A Quick View of CadSoftTools’ ABViewer

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