- Schematic    -  Aside from the library problems I quite like this
program, it gets the job done & is reasonably intuitive to use.

- PCB               - Beats mylar, it gets the job done & the invoices paid.
The later improvements in 99SE such as rooms & classes etc are great ( if a
little inconsistent ).


 - Powerprint   - Gets better by the revision.

 - CAM Manager  & Camtastic - This has been the most valuable of the Protel
stocking stuffers, especially for paneling up jobs before sending to the
factory.

 - Simulator - Occasionally but hampered by lack of doco's for anything
serious.

 - Autorouter - Rarely as most jobs are mixed signal. Besides, it either
works as a reliable tool or it doesn't. With all the gotchas it tends to
fall into the 'doesn't' camp. Considering the money spent on this since we
bought in at the Neuroroute stage, internally this is almost as highly
thought of as 3D viewer.

 > - 3D Viewer - This must have pissed off far more people than it
impressed. The general feeling was that of deceipt.

> - PLD - With the trend towards giving away PLD/FPGA tools tightly targeted
at the specific chipset, why bother. Although it was this area that gave us
the deep respect for Schematic as a really 'nice' front end schematic
capture program when compared with the editor in Synario. Obviously this has
caught Atmels eye with the protel front end on their CPLD package.

> - Arrange Components - Align footprints occasionally

> - Autoplacer -  This is at least an order of magnitude more braindead than
the autorouter. At least it is consistent as it has kept us amused since the
first windows release.

> - PCB Miter

> - Signal Integrity - Documentation?

> - Database Link

It is interesting looking at the responses to date regarding the product and
the ATS system.  The future plan would seem to suit the 'one gun' specialist
PCB drafting contractor. It would be interesting to see what sort of a
percentage of the total market is occupied by these ( lucky ;-) guys and
what percentage is occupied by the 10 hats in a day
Designer/draftsman/programmers for whom the package is but one of a sizeable
arsenal of tools which must be purchased, learnt ,supported, & oops almost
forgot - remembered.
Runs for the door to avoid the flames...


So is anything likely to change once we part with bulk bucks each & every
year. Will the consistent level of service displayed over the last 13-14
years dramatically alter.

I greatly doubt it but am always open to pleasant surprises ;-)

At least there is always one empowering feature with being the Customer, you
can always keep the dollars in your own pocket.

Cheers & avagoodweekend

Don

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