In the cloud at SolidWorks World 2010

Flew in yesterday from a snowy and cold Cleveland, Ohio to a warm and palm-laden Anaheim, Calif., for SolidWorks World 2010. Every year, the company features products on the show floor that were designed in the software. One that looks really cool is a tiny two-seater airplane. I am going to check it out more closely later (maybe try to wrangle a test flight!). Also interesting: a huge industrial fan about four or five-feet in diamenter intended to cool large areas. Right now, I'm waiting for the first keynote speech. One speaker is James Cameron, recently well known for the film Avatar. Another is James McLurkin, recently recognized by Time magazine as one of the five leading robotic engineers.

Stay tuned...more to come!


"Cloud computing" was a big theme of the first keynote speech. SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray says later this year, the company will start selling its until now top-secret cloud-based applications. The advantages? There is no need to open or store files in the old way -- the clould is the one source file. This gives a seamless collaboration environment. Ray gave "sneak preview" of some of clould technologies in the works that reportedly will make the job of everyday design engineers easier:

  • Users will never again have to download service packs and upgrades -- they will be implemented already on the cloud.

    Cloud-based apps can run anywhere -- on Macs, PCs, touch computers, users can access 3D data on their iPhones.

    Opening a 3D application will be like entering a 3D online game such as World of Warcraft -- as mentioned; engineers will no longer need to open a file -- the software will just present the 3D right away.

    The clound will let users seach for reusable part models by weight, cost, vendor, or whatever. Instead of, say, creating a sketch of a triangle from scratch as the basis of a model, users can also search for shapes by "profiles" and associated purpose-built tools will let them edit as needed. In other words, users can use templates to bang out stuff instead of having to recreate it over and over.

    With cloud-based data-storage, users will never have to worry about remembering to Save their files often in case the computer crashes -- your data is never lost because it is on the cloud.

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