At 02:48 AM 12/22/2003, Hamid A. Wasti wrote:
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
Actually, I know only two reasons, legitimately, not to move to DXP if you are currently a 99SE user.
(1) You don't have time for retraining right now *and*
(2) You can't spare the cash right now.


Any others?

(3) You want to retain all the functionality that you currently have in 99SE.

To literally retain "all" the functionality might be rather ... foolish. What if the new functionality is quick to learn, does a better job, etc.? So that we are dealing with specifics,


What functionality is missing in DXP? I know of one, instant Global Edits. Or is it missing?

(4) You want to stick to the requirement that some day you want to be as productive in DXP as you are currently in 99SE.

It is *highly* unlikely that long-term productivity in DXP will be lower, unless the user refuses to learn new ways. That's a user problem, not a program fault, though certainly a program could be designed to make such refusal less likely.


(5) You do not want to work with a company that will lie about anything and everything just to get a sale.

Ah, a moral issue! Absolutely, I don't want to work with such a company. However, individual salespeople sometimes do this, it is not a reason to reject a company unless the company shows that it tolerates it. Again, not one example of such a "lie" has been given, so far. What was the lie? It might be very useful to examine it.


"DXP is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it blows away the competition," is not a lie, it is, at worst, puffery, which has been recognized as different from lying in common law for centuries. Puffery may be reprehensible in some ways, but it is quite human and normal; after all, do you expect an Altium salesperson to tell you "You are going to be very frustrated with DXP and you will decide never to use Protel again"? That would have been the truth in this case; but I certainly don't think the salesperson knew it.

Lying is something much more insidious. It can be difficult to prove; but reckless disregard for the truth is more easily identified, and it is almost as serious as lying. Again, salespeople have been so trained by society that to expect them to be free of these faults is probably to expect too much; hence caveat emptor.

(6) You do not want to work with a company that puts in as little thought, or worse yet, as much flawed thinking, into their products.

One man's brilliant idea is another's flawed thinking. It has happened in the past that Protel dragged us kicking and screaming into a new way of doing things. I think that what is missing is not "thought" but *communication*.


I don't know how much productivity will be lost during the switch, since I haven't really made the switch yet (though I have DXP);

Try using DXP for doing a board and your attitude may change.

I've tried it for the various processes used in board design. First of all, DXP PCB is quite similar to 99SE, most of the familiar ways of manipulating primitives remain.


I *haven't* read the manual, perhaps that would be a good place to start!

It would be a good way to kill a day or two for those that prefer their days dead. I prefer my days alive, but I lost a couple anyway cussing at the manual. Reading the manual will not add features that are no longer there or make concepts that are inherently flawed any less flawed.

*What features?" Mr. Wasti has been long on bitter complaint and very, very short on specifics. That is less than useful. It remains useful in that Altium can know, if they are watching, that they are offending someone, but it would make it easier for *everyone* if there were specifics.


For one thing, why should I waste my time trying to learn DXP if it really is as unusable as Mr. Wasti claims? I'd like to see specifics so I can distinguish between someone who has merely gone overboard in his frustration from a sober conclusion.

DXP is not *radically* different from 99SE,

Spoken like someone who has not actually used DXP (that includes all Altium sales people, management and apparently the technical support staff as well).

No, I've used DXP, as I've said. But I have not used it enough to consider myself productive in it. There *is* a productivity barrier to be overcome. I have two responses to that: one is to do what I can to lower the barrier by documenting the issues, and the other is to suggest to Altium that it make the upgrade an easier decision. Maybe it is doing this with Protel 4. If it is, they might be able to jumpstart sales *now* by being less secretive.... I'd highly recommend *open* Beta, they would get *much* more useful information. Perhaps a core Beta team that is like the present one, and a public Beta that operates through a public mailing list. Maybe they will go to a public Beta if the present testing shows that the program is ready for it. If it *isn't* ready for public Beta, though, I'd question whether or not it is ready for the kind of publicity they have been giving it!


I'm quite sure that DXP is not radically different from 99SE. There may be some procedures that a power user is accustomed to using that are missing or altered, but most of the basic methods of interacting with the program in most situations remain the same. There are definitely some improvements to counterbalance the difficulties.

That Protel sales and technical staff are not users of the program, really, is not unique to Protel. It's a very common problem, and one which I'd like to help solve. Not by making them users, but by involving users. It is very clear that users *as a group* can give better technical support, most of the time, than any individual. And users could also be involved in sales, rather easily. It's called "commission." There are certain kinds of users -- Mr. Wasti is an example -- who could be very effective in selling the program. They'll do it for free, in fact; but it would be better, in my view, to recognise the service in some way, even if one by giving free or discounted upgrades. Service bureaus are in an ideal position to sell the software they use: they are in regular contact with potential customers. Protel had the opportunity to do this, but elected to move in a different direction; if they had merely left their existing policies intact, I think they'd have been better off.

..but it would be even better if the new program had a legacy mode that simulated the operation of 99SE;

Finally something that we can agree on.

Now, how can we encourage Altium to do this? By calling them "liars"?


Protel could also involve its user community in something even more significant; I've suggested it before. Now I see that Microsoft is doing it! Whenever a program crashes in Windows XP, I get a window asking permission to report it to Microsoft. If I consent, information is sent to them. The first time I did this, I got back *immediately* a message that the problem had been such and such a driver, and there was a new driver available at www.suchandsuch.

Protel could operate in a debug mode that would necessarily be a little slower, perhaps there would be degrees of this mode. One advantage would be crash recovery: if the program was recording every action, and backing up all files as changed, crash recovery could be as simple as replaying the actions up until it crashes again. In this case, one would have a reproducible bug, very valuable to programmers; and one would then run the replay not quite so far and save the file....

But 99SE, at least, does not crash often enough that I think much about crash recovery any more (Windows 2000, W98 users are likely to have greater concerns).




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