Monday, February 9, 2009

Behind the Scenes at the AutoCAD 2010 Webcast Launch

Autodesk has finally announced their release of AutoCAD 2010. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Alpha and Beta teams testing it. I also created some new dynamic blocks, templates, and example files for AutoCAD 2010. Some of these will come with AutoCAD 2010, while the rest (the example files) will eventually be available to download from Autodesk’s website.

I spent Thursday, February 5th at Autodesk’s office in San Francisco to be present at the live webcast! What a treat. I was able to meet several people from Autodesk as well as several of my fellow bloggers. It was very nice to finally meet these wonderful people, even though I have known many of them for a long time. I even got to work with several of the A’deskers while I was on the example files project. Autodesk understands the value of bloggers, their perspective, and passion. I know because they told us. They said we were special, just like my mom always said!

Now that I am allowed to talk about AutoCAD 2010, I plan to! There are so many new features, enhancements, and improvements that I don’t know where to start. I feel that AutoCAD 2010 is one of the best releases yet. I will get into it soon. Autodesk also sat down with us to discuss many topics, what we liked, didn’t like, what needed more work, what was just right. They also gave us some insight into their philosophy in implementing AutoCAD, how they perceive its roll especially when compared to the many verticals that Autodesk produces.

Over the next few days I plan on discussing all of these topics. I would have posted sooner but I didn’t bring my laptop into the event so that I could blog right from there. Well, I wasn’t the only “dork” amongst the bloggers, there were about one or two others that didn’t bring their computer either. But wow, what a great time we had. We were just a bunch of enthusiastic CAD users and bloggers from so many different industries and countries hanging out at Autodesk. What a total geek fest!! But we are the cool geeks if I say so myself.

Some of the bloggers that were there are: Robin Capper, RK McSwain, Todd Shackelford (the original Lazy Drafter), David Cohn, Donnie Gladfelter, Melanie Perry, Ellen Finkelstein, Mark Douglas, and Steve Johnson. There were ten of us, not to mention some Autodesk bloggers that were there, Shaan Hurley, Lynn Allen, and Heidi Hewett.

Besides the bloggers, we also met with Eric Stover the AutoCAD Product Line Manager. We also met with Kathy O’connell, Guilermo Melantoni, and Diane Li. These three individuals are the AutoCAD Product Managers and were very eager to hear our opinions both good and bad. They loved to hear the good things we had to say of course but were honestly more concerned with what we didn’t fully like. Imagine that, Autodesk wanting to make their product better!! I posted a few days ago asking if you thought Autodesk did a good job of listening to its users. Well, from my experience they are trying. They have over 9 million users and it is difficult to hear all of those voices. That is one reason they have turned to the bloggers. They know that each of us work with AutoCAD and its verticals every day. They know that we hear from our readers what issues you are having, so they are embracing this new “media” in an attempt to better their product. Good idea.

I almost forgot, we also spoke with several of the programmers that actually wrote the code for AutoCAD 2010! Cool!! I totally geeked out. Some of the programmers we spoke with were Yan Schover, Mellissa Dawe, Shekahar Kledekar, Mat Stein (the Ribbon guy), and Jon Page. On top of that we also spoke and interviewed Abhijit Oak, Ravi K., and John Schmier. These gentlemen are on the product engineering team. We also met with John Schmier. John is the Sr. Engineer & Evangelist for Autodesk Labs. We had a tremendous amount of fun seeing and playing with all sorts of gizmos that Autodesk Labs is producing and studying.

I am going to blog about the meetings we had, the topics we covered and what it all means for AutoCAD users. I will also start going over the many new features in AutoCAD 2010. I can’t wait; I have so much to share.

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