At 12:57 PM 1/23/2002 -0600, Joel Hammer wrote:
>So now my computer is designed and built by Protel. I have been forced to
>change one of my input devices. (from a wheeled mouse to a standard mouse)
>And was forced to remove my blessed macro keyboard from my system. Both of
>which affect my work style and for a time my proficiency in Protel as well
>as, and most troubling, in other CAD packages. Why on earth is my entire
>system and style of work dominated by a software package that was written
>AFTER 99% of the other software I am using.

First of all, the software under discussion costs perhaps six times or more 
what the computer costs. It also places some severe demands on the system. 
Many packages run fine on Windows 98. Protel runs, but with problems, 
severe enough that we highly recommend Windows NT or, better, W2000 for 
running Protel. In this case the problem is pretty clearly a Windows 
limitation. Sure, Protel could, perhaps, have written the software 
differently. But they didn't.

If they did *everything* that we have said they should have done, the 
software might well be twice as expensive. Each one of these considerations 
costs money, and, ultimately, the buck starts here....

Protel remains the best package in its price class. That is far from saying 
that it is perfect.

By the way, I just put together a new system, I described it late last 
year. I installed W2000 and then Protel and have had zero problems. I have 
a generic wheeled mouse, it works fine. Yes, I bought a Matrox G450 video 
card, knowing that the cheaper ATI cards -- and maybe even more expensive 
ATI cards, might well have problems. That's the only concession I made to 
Protel. And I love that video card, and not just because Protel runs fine 
with it. For starters, painless dual monitor support, i.e., it has two VGA 

>What is going on here??? This is not some freeware beta package that you
>just download. We paid for this! It cost money to get the software. It cost
>money to learn the software. It cost money to get my computer to make the
>software work. And on and on! So much for the price being a valid factor in
>the decision making process next time.

Of course, you might have had problems with the other software too. Price 
is a factor. Since you can buy a whole system to run Protel for about $1K, 
and Protel is now running $8K, hardware requirements should not really be 
that big an issue.

What *should* be done is to certify some standard systems.

But I want to emphasize something. Many users install Protel and have no 
problems at all. It sounds like Mr. Hammer had some particularly bad luck. 
He did not tell use what operating system he was using. Protel recommends 
NT or W2000....

And the ATI video card problem is particularly vexing because ATI cards are 
very common.

>How can the "lurkers" sit by and read this forum and think for a moment that
>these are things we wanted or thought we were getting when we purchased
>their companies product? I do understand that they have a job to do. And I
>recognize that they did not write the software. But they are the "face" of
>the company to all of us here. The only contact many of us ever have with
>anyone from Protel. Aside from the newsletters that arrive telling us that
>there will now be another opportunity for us to give them more money for
>something that doesn't work like expected even after I've made all the
>adjustments the product demanded. This just seems like a very sketchy
>practice to employ on an iffy product.

Perhaps I'm reading this incorrectly. It seems to me that Mr. Hammer thinks 
that this Forum is "Protel." This is a user forum, sponsored by a user 
company (Techserv), and Protel itself very rarely posts anything here.

>Now I am not running out and replacing my design software. At least not yet.
>But let's be real. Buggy is bad place to start from when doing design. And I
>have found that is the best I can hope for with Protel. If all goes good...
>I won't encounter an "issue" that is not common knowledge. And won't have to
>stop working to figure out what Protel is doing. Or god forbid, why? I've
>never had the amount of problems with any of my other CAD packages that I've
>had with Protel. (not to mention the ones I've read about here and not had
>to deal with myself.)

PCB CAD is a smaller field than CAD in general. And a package like Protel 
99SE is one very complex piece of software. I may not like it, we may not 
like it, but one consequence of this is that it will have more bugs than a 
simpler piece of software that sells many more copies.

>Is this normal? Is this what we had hoped for when we made the leap from
>whatever design package to Protel? I'd have to say not! If i had it to do
>over again...

If I had to do it all over again, I'd have bought two copies of Protel when 
they were cheaper. I'd have made myself a couple of thousand dollars extra....

Bottom line, the software *with its bugs* is more productive than anything 
else in the field. You can get better CAD software, i.e., software that can 
do things that Protel cannot do or does not do well, but you will pay a 
*lot* more. Cadence Allegro comes to mind. And you will *still* be 
complaining about problems.

>I would certainly look a little harder at some of the other
>packages. There has to be a stable package somewhere in the world that will
>work properly and still allow the user to use a piece of cutting edge
>technology like a wheel mouse. (in case you couldn't tell, the mouse thing
>really bothers me!)

My optical mouse, with a wheel, was free from Computer Gate because I 
bought more than, what, $250 worth of stuff from them in putting my system 
together. I think they sell it for a few bucks. Protel PCB ignores the 
wheel, but it works, for example, with Eudora, which I am using right now. 
I've got Protel open to a PCB on the other monitor. I just opened a text 
file in Protel and the wheel scrolled it just fine.

Finding out exactly what is wrong here could be a pain. Presumably Mr. 
Hammer has uninstalled the wheel mouse he had. If it were me, I'd verify 
that it still did not work upon reinstallation, then I'd uninstall it again 
and buy another optical mouse with wheel for less than $20. I think I got a 
Logitech at Best Buy, but it's still sitting in the box, when I was putting 
my computer together I couldn't find it, so I installed the free one from 
Computer Gate. It has no manufacturer name on it, but it is identical in 
form to the AGILER iTek RF USB Wireless Mouse Part#:JMSA67UX on, except it is a PS/2 mouse. It's called "Optical Mouse 
6624LX," and it also has a number AGM6620LX on it.

Remember, I'm running W2000; if you are using W98, your mileage may vary....

The problem is *not* that wheel mice don't work with Protel!

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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