22, 1998 Design News
Letters to the Editor
Readers state their views
A 'window' on the world of CAD
Regarding the 3/23/98 issue of Design News,
I noticed the letter titled, "A UNIX clone."
I am currently a CAD user, (AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop
& Release 14), for 10 hours a day at the office,
and a student toward becoming Microsoft Certified in
NT Server 4.0 during the evenings.
First of all, Autodesk's AutoCAD seems to be the platform
for which others try to achieve or surpass. I know every
CAD user is entitled to his/her opinion on this, and
I'm not looking to start a debate. I'm just going with
what I know.
I'm fluent in several CAD packages, and AutoCAD seems
to be the software of choice in places where I have
worked?The letter writer more than likely considers
UNIX/Linux as being the more robust of the operating
systems. However, UNIX/Linux is not as "user- friendly"
an environment as NT/95 is. Also, NT/95 has a major
multimillion dollar company standing behind it.
As the writer did mention, a "flaw" of Linux
is "Freeware." It is not technically supported
by a 24 hour help line, or community-located resellers
with certification from the authors. Since it's "freeware,"
one can only wonder how many different versions of Linux
are out there.
Not too many companies I know are going to rush out
and install a different operating system on their networks/workstations
just because it's free. Most companies prefer to do
business with other companies?So, it would appear
that the future of operating systems is NT, and those
companies who use NT as their platform of choice are
just forward looking companies.
Regarding perpetual motion devices, I had the privilege
of observing the one in aeronautical engineer Burt Rutan's
living room. Since then I have been developing a wheel
device that will rotate about its axis.
I am curious to know if there is a list of qualifying
criteria that establishes a perpetual motion device
or free/zero point energy device as viable and recognizable
Heads up on auto displays
I have seen several articles, in Design News
and other magazines, about the increasing role of electronics
in automobile manufacturing. What triggered this letter
is the article about "heads-up" displays for
automobiles (Design News, 4/6/98, p. 44).
I am a race fan, and this new display idea was introduced
to the C.A.R.T. race teams. The drivers rejected the
technology based on the fact that the display was a
distraction, and an obstacle to their viewing area.
Of course, the display was in their helmet visor, so
maybe the closeness of the display was a factor.
We will have to wait to see if the general public will
have the same reaction to the "heads-up" display
idea. Lord knows drivers don't need any more distractions
on the road.
Metric made easier
I was amused (and a little disappointed) by a letter
to the editor (Design News, 4/20/98 issue) with
the headline "'NO' to metric conversion."
In his letter, the writer complains about what a bother
it is to convert 244 cm (at 2.54 cm/inch) to inches,
then to feet, to arrive at about 8 ft, a dimension with
which he seems to be more comfortable. He then goes
on a rant-and-rave about how arbitrary the metric system
is, and so on and on.
He is correct in the sense that it certainly is a bother
to make such conversions in order to be able to get
a feel for a dimension like "244 cm." It is
such a bother, in fact, that I would simply refuse to
do it. A more productive course would be for him to
invest in a meter stick, and spend a few minutes looking
at it to see how big it is, and how many centimeters
it comprises, instead of wasting an inordinate amount
of time on blood-pressure-raising unit conversions.
I'll admit that it's probably more fun to resist having
"crammed down our throats" the system of measurement
used by the rest of the world, than it is simply to
relax and learn that system. If, as he says, he really
"spent (his) whole life learning what a mile is
and what 100 yards is," then he may be doomed,
which would be a pity. I suspect that he's really more
able than that ?
I would be interested to know if the writer opposes
the use of all SI units, including the electrical ones
(amperes, ohms, volts, etc.), or just the ones with
which he is not familiar.
Steven M. Schweda
Mounds View, MN
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