March, 2002

Record Attendance for SMUG Meeting at Alticor
by Jim Hole

march2002imageWell here it is, the latest SMUG meeting article. As Iím writing, Iím listening to the new Jimmy Buffett CD. So, if a bit of wanderlusts pervades this article you will know why. The meeting was held on the 14th, it is now the 26th, and I am just starting this today. Thank heaven for long relaxing vacations. Oh, no, not mine, ...Adam Bushís. As Adam sees the country, living a true yuppie life style, I get to be my true self...a procrastinator. Among my traits, procrastination is overpowered only by my absolutely feeble memory. This being said, I canít remember when he said he would be back. Without knowing his return date, Iím expecting an email any second now asking why the article is not in his inbox. This provides the familiar pressure/panic motivation that Iím used to working with. To be honest, it takes an awful strong motivation to make me do things that I am not good at (and writing is very high on that list). With this, as in many things in life, you get what you pay for.

Hosted by Alticor
Let's see..., where did we meet? Oh, yeah...the world headquarters of Alticor. Wow, what a beautiful reception facility! There was a cool self-guided tour area showcasing their capabilities and technologies and a large auditorium style meeting room with plenty of room for what proved to be our largest meeting yet. Roughly a hundred and thirty Pro/E users were on hand to talk shop and see what is coming in the world of Pro/ENGINEER.

What is "it"?
As members arrived, they were encouraged to take a look around and sign in. The first hundred group members signed in were awarded with a free PTC t-shirt. During sign in, I was speaking with a fellow furniture colleague. In a sarcastic moment I said, "I wonder what it will be next?" The "it" I was referring to was my future occupation: plumber, builder, llama farmer, a soft serve franchise owner, something stable that doesnít require computer use at all. Maybe a bartender, sailor, writer, poet, or world traveler, ...oops a little Jimmy Buffett seeping in there. During this conversation, a gentleman with more experience (and obviously a more positive outlook than mine) approached us. He mistook "it" to be design software, and offered that he had used a total of four CAD packages to date in his career. He, too, said he wondered what the next new "got to have it" software would be like.

After everyone was settled in their seats, we started the meeting with the opening video from last year's annual Pro/USER event in Reno, Nevada.

Wildfire is HOT!
Following the video was Bill Schlund from PTC. Bill presented Wildfire, the name chosen for the next release of Pro/E. I think maybe the next new "got to have it" software will be Pro/E. How can that be, you ask? - youíve got to see Wildfire! Wildfire not only looks completely new, but also has some fundamental function changes. One example is a protrusion can now be a cut or a protrusion by either removing or adding material with the same feature. A myriad of other changes are coming to Pro/E, changes which could not be conveyed in this text without many screenshots and animations. Iíll leave that to PTC. Yes, Bill Gates has finally found his way into that last program on our desktops that didnít bow to the Microsoft empire. Wildfire will have an "XP"ish look and feel. I think this revision, more than any other, warrants as much preparation as a user can manage. By the way, for readers who donít attend SMUG meetings, these meetings are a great way to gain exposure to these things.

BMX Presentation
Next up was Doug Bodmann from Pentagon Engineering. Doug presented an overview of Behavioral Modeling, including a case study of a disk brake cooling assembly. This case study really highlighted the depth to which you can take a design study with this module. It is my feeling that it is one of the more under utilized modules. Hopefully, demos like Dougís will get people curious about the ways they can employ this functionality.

Break Time After Doug's presentation, there was a thirty minute break for vendor booths, catching up, and cookie munching.

iTools Presentation
Following the break was Dan Smith & Dan Dunne from RAND. They presented a live demo of a group of utilities called iTools. More info about these offerings can be found at the RAND web site.

ABG's RP Center
Our final presentation was given by Rudy Kool of Access Business Group (a division of Alticor and the host of this meeting). Rudy presented his case study of ABGís Rapid Prototyping Center. In this segment, he touched on the history of prototyping and their uses of these technologies. Along with their uses, he highlighted the cost history and how these numbers helped them decide to build their own onsite state-of-the-art prototyping center. At the end of the meeting, Rudy graciously took forty attendees for a tour of this facility.

Awards & Door Prizes
We concluded the meeting with SMUG shirt awards for Steve Mork and Rudy Kool (of ABG) for hosting & presenting and 5 lucky winners took home these fabulous door prizes.

Marc Zuiderveen from X-Rite won the SpaceMouse - donated by 3Dconnexion

Mark Miles from Irwin Seating won the Palm m500 - donated by RAND

John Clark from Design One won the HP Digital Camera - donated by Pentagon

Wayne Spencer from Steelcase won the Amway Grand Plaza Getaway Package - donated by Configure One

Dave Grigg from Lamb Technicon won the Sony DVD Player - donated by Nasco Technologies

Final Words
Sure enough, I started writing this article around 10:00am and Adamís note arrived at 10:56am. My memory is useless, but my panic sensors are finely honed. I will conclude with these thoughts from track number 7 on the Buffett CD.

"Maybe itís all too simple for our brains to figure out. What if the Hokey-Pokey is all it really is about?"