Friday, September 02, 2011

Solid Edge ST4 “Student Edition”… FREE!

A few days ago Siemens PLM introduced a student edition of Solid Edge ST4 for free (

The student edition is the full commercial version with only 2 restrictions:

  • Any file saved in the student edition cannot be opened in the commercial editions.
  • All drawings will have a printing watermark across them stating that it is in a student edition.

After you install it, there are quite a few learning aides that can be found under the Help menu and there is also a student forum available as well (instructions when you sign up for a copy).

Happy Edgeing!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Solid Edge ST4 Launch Event (aka “The Solid Edge Summit”)

Six years ago, the last Solid Edge Summit was held in Cincinnati Ohio.  It was a wildly successful event.  The following year, someone made the decision to roll Solid Edge into the PLM World event and dissolve the Summit.  Needless to say it was a very bad decision as the attendance dwindled over the next 5 years to essentially a handful of  individuals which most likely happened due to a variety of reasons such as the poorly handled transition, higher cost for less value, a weakening economy, and a loss of the Solid Edge identity and community at an event that appeared to cater to NX/Teamcenter.

This year, the Solid Edge Summit was back!  Disguised as a Solid Edge ST4 Launch Event, it was essentially a 2 day user conference (June 15-16) held in Huntsville, Alabama which happens to be home of the Solid Edge Development office.  Needless to say, we as users have gotten to meet many of the development, certification, support, planning, marketing and the management team.  The agenda included a half day comprised of a business update, keynote presentation, and ST4 Introduction, followed by a day and a half of a 3 track agenda of presentations, hands on training and round table discussions.  The night before the event there was a welcome reception, and at the end of the first day, we all let our hair down at a social event held in a local arcade/bowling alley/bar & grill.

Besides the obvious training opportunity, one of the biggest advantages of going to these types of events is the building of “community”. At the Solid Edge ST4 Launch Event, that community was building fast.  Everywhere you looked, you would see Solid Edge folks.  Sit down at breakfast or lunch, and you were sitting with Solid Edge folks. At the social events, you were talking with Solid Edge folks.  A lot of folks knew each other from the newsgroup or phone calls/e-mails, but there is something about meeting folks face to face that cannot be duplicated any other way.

Everybody was very positive about this event and I’m certain they are already looking forward to next years event as much as I am.  For those who were not able to attend this event, I sure hope you can make the next one.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Of Clouds and the PS3

No doubt you’ve heard of the cloud.  It’s this nebulous new “old” thing that excites people both positively and negatively.  In the realm of CAD, it has been the subject of much controversy.  A few folks have mentioned that if CAD looked to the advances in gaming over the past few years, a cloud based CAD system could work really well. Others point out you are increasing your failure risk as you are involving a whole host of new dependencies to make it work. Technical feasibility is one thing, practicality is totally another.

I’d like to point out a recent example based on gaming and the cloud that really exemplifies the risk of this potential new frontier in CAD… The PlayStation Network!  The PlayStation Network (PSN) is a cloud ran by Sony that allows PlayStation gaming consoles to connect to online gaming, stores, and other services.  On April 20th, Sony pulled the plug on the PSN due to a security breach by some hackers.  The hackers also made off with tons of personal account information.  Sony has not restored service as of May 14th as I’m writing this.  What’s better yet, evidence suggests that the hackers rented time on Amazon’s cloud servers to perform the breach.  I’m pretty patient on such things, after all I’m not paying for access to the PSN, but I do pay for Netflix on-line video streaming through my PS3 that is no longer working and I also have a couple hundred dollars in games of which are useless with out the PSN.

I guess the moral of this story is this:  While CAD on the cloud may be technically feasible and can provide some tangible benefits, is it practical for you to go without your CAD system for a month or better when they system is down due to a breach or other unforeseen issue?  Is the gaming industry a shining example?

My answer, and I’m guessing yours as well is: “HELL NO!”.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Solid Edge ST4 Global Launch Event

For those who may not have heard, Siemens PLM is hosting an Solid Edge specific user conference June 15th-16th in Huntsville, Alabama. (

The event will not only show what’s new with ST4 and how to use it, but will also feature productivity sessions to help you get more done faster with current functionality.  The other key aspect of this event is it is in the Solid Edge Development office’s backyard (not literally, it’s in a local hotels convention center), so you won’t be learning from an Application Engineer who took a training class and is trying to pass on information second hand.  You will be learning directly from the Product Managers who wrote the specs for the software… from the horses mouth so to speak :)  The agenda shows the typical morning keynote and large group welcome and introduction items the first half of day one, but the second half of day one and all of day two are comprised of three tracks of items with one of them being “hands on” sessions, so there will definitely be something for everyone throughout.

Aside from the structured agenda, the evening before the conference and the evening of the first day, there will be plenty of time to meet fellow users and Siemens staff and discuss whatever you like.  You will also have time at breakfast & lunch to do the same, but we all know how breakfast is for most of us who are dependent on caffeine :)

I Hope to see you all there!  Conference cost is $250 through April 22nd, and $350 thereafter.