After an uneventful flight on my current favorite airline, Virgin America, I arrived in Anaheim to the welcoming committee that was Alex Ruiz. He’d run into Mr. Christy Jordan (nee Ricky Jordan) and Rich Hall, so the twosome became a foursome and off we went to the hotel. (Tangent here – more swag just came my way courtesy of Al Dean and Develop3D. I love swag) After a quick shower, it was time for an informal tweet-up in the lobby of the Hilton. After a bit of discussion, a group of us were off to Chubby’s for dinner. You can see said group over at Deelip’s blog.

As seems to be the norm, a large contingent of SolidWorks World attendees, employees, bloggers, VARs were congregated around the bar. With this being my fifth SWW, it was a time to reacquaint myself with friends from years past. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when I was approached by three gentlemen. They wanted to know if I was Jeff Mirisola. Though the temptation to say ‘no’ was there, I admitted that I was. Turns out, they were from AMV and wanted to thank me for my review of SteelWorks. Phew! You’re welcome, guys, it’s a great product!

The night ended quietly, unlike last year. I’m quite happy that I don’t feel compelled to apologize to anyone I may have spoken to. Today is a mellow day. Tonight, well, that may be a different story.

January 31, 2010 · Posted in SolidWorks Community  
    

In just over 24 hours I’ll be boarding a Virgin American plane (my current favorite airline) for Anaheim, and I can’t wait. Ever since my first SolidWorks World, way back in 2005, I’ve been hooked. Each and every one I’ve been to has been remarkable in one way or another. Aside from the fact that I’ll be presenting for the first time, this year won’t be any different I’m sure.

While I’m planning on going to some sessions while there, inevitably I’ll end up altering my schedule. There’s always something, or someone, to see. It truly is one of the most hectic weeks during the year, but worth every single energy sucking moment. The rush of seeing thousands of users pouring into the general assembly, the wide-eyed stares of first timers, the camaraderie of friends who see each other only at SolidWorks World. I don’t think I can do it justice with my feeble writing.

There is going to be a ton of info coming out of SolidWorks World next week. Blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts…it’s going to be insane. I wonder who will put out the most info? Personally, my money is on Mr. Mings. If you go to the SolidWorks Blog, there’s a list of places for you to be able to keep up with all the goings on. If you are going, and you see me, please introduce yourself. It’s always nice to meet the people who take the time to read my drivel.

January 29, 2010 · Posted in Personal, SolidWorks Community  
    

Every so often the “is getting my CSWP worth it?” question crops up in one forum or another. Granted, should a potential employer gloss over the fact that a candidate has earned their CSWP, or not understand what the CSWP certification means, the whole question becomes moot, but let’s make a couple of assumptions so that I can continue with this post, ok? Good. The assumptions are that the employer knows, or finds out, what the CSWP is and the employer puts some stock into the CSWP. Yes, I realize that my conclusions will end up being lopsided, but if a potential employer doesn’t know anything about the certification or, worse yet, doesn’t put any stock in it, then there’s no point in going any further with this post. Right? (Then again, the CSWP only costs you time for the most part. At least that’s the case now. Back when I took it, it cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 and 8 hours of your time. That’s when the whole “is it worth it” question really had merit. At the most, you may end up having to pay $99 if you flunk it the first time around. Chump change, but I digress. )

The more I think about it, the more I question whether there’s actually an answer. I know that for me, having the CSWP has opened doors, especially where I don’t have a degree. I realize that all it says is “this guy is a CAD jockey”, but when it’s coupled with my other experience it helps me to rise up.

Rodney Hall, the celeb du jour of last year’s SolidWorks World, had this to say about the CSWP:

“I now work for a very large company as their CAD Administrator and manage over 100 seats of SolidWorks and would almost certainly not have been offered the position without CSWP Certification. My management now only prefers to consider CSWP as first choice when booking interviews with job candidates. I also teach SolidWorks at a local community college and being a CSWP again iced the cake when they considered me for the position.

I would recommend certification to anyone who is serious about keeping or advancing any career that involves using SolidWorks to bring home the groceries.”

Ok, so Rodney is only one person. Add me to the mix, and you get two people who wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing without the certification. I’m willing to bet that there’s more of us, too.

That all being said, I don’t think it’s possible to make a definitive statement one way or the other. It’s strictly related to people’s perception of it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you ask me or Rodney, we’d say it’s very worth it.

What say you?

January 28, 2010 · Posted in Rant, SolidWorks Community  
    

That’s right, SolidWorks World 2010 is right around the corner. Like so many other SolidWorks addicts, I can’t wait! Thousands of SolidWorks users from around the world all converging upon hapless Anaheim for an orgy of learning, networking and, yes, partying.

This year marks a milestone for me, too. It will be my first time presenting at SolidWorks World outside of Stump the Chumps I 2 years ago. I was nervous enough about it, then I was informed that my session, SolidWorks Crashes & Slowdowns: It’s not always the software’s fault (read: it’s your fault), was going to be streaming L-I-V-E live! Great, now not only can I make a fool of myself in front of a room 1/4 full of people, but potentially hundreds of people online. Great. Just great. I wonder if it’s frowned upon to have a cooler under the podium. You can find out more about all four available webcasts on the SolidWorks World website. I’m willing to bet that the other three are completely worth it.

Thankfully, after that stress inducing session I get a bit of a break before getting together with the rest of the chumps for Stump the Chumps II. (We really should have come up with some sort of cool sequel title. Well, maybe next year.) This years panel may be a bit more subdued than its predecessor, though Mr. Mings is a bit of a wild card. If that doesn’t help to relax me, there’s the big bash that night.

It’s going to be an incredible week. I just wish you could all be there with me.

January 25, 2010 · Posted in Personal, SolidWorks Community  
    

I feel a rant coming on, but I’m going to try to control it as best I can…

I read a forum post earlier where a person was upset that their hardware wasn’t supported by the newest version of SolidWorks. Said hardware is about 10 years old and no longer made. They felt that SolidWorks had kicked “a whole bunch of users and their computers to the curb”. First, I’m compelled to question the validity of that statement. A whole bunch of users? Really? It was my understanding that the average engineering computer was upgraded about every 3 years (+/- 1 year). Is this wrong? Even if I’m off by two years, doesn’t it stand to reason that the vast majority of engineering computers have hardware that is less than 8 years old?

None of that is the point I was trying to make, though. My point is this, does it not seem asinine to expected software to not progress at a rate that almost equals that of hardware? Why would any software manufacturer decide it’s better to hinder their software’s potential performance so they can continue to support out-of-date hardware? This makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I can’t think of a single software company that doesn’t want to be cutting edge. To do this, they need to take advantage of all that a computer’s hardware offers, old hardware be damned.

How about we go a little further? If your company is still using 10 year old systems for their engineering needs, what does that say about the company, and their want to stay current and competitive? Prior to coming back to work here, I had a couple of interviews. At both of them, one of the questions I asked was about their PCs. My mentality was that if their systems were up to snuff, then they, the company, wanted to be competitive and were willing to make the necessary investments to do so. If I’d have been told that they were PIII with 1Gb RAM, I’d have just said thanks but no thanks.

Outside of easy file sharing, no one forces you to move up to the newest version of SolidWorks, it’s your choice. In making that choice, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your system is still within spec. Don’t go blaming SolidWorks, or any other software manufacturer, if you’re behind the times. That, too, was your choice.

</rant>

January 12, 2010 · Posted in Rant, SolidWorks Community