Hmmm... my 2 cents. (that's about what it's worth...)

Bah...Protel has a following because it was the best bang for the buck and
it had a good user interface... That was P98 SP3 in my book.... most useful
package I ever bought.

It's just not there anymore... it's more costly, and they have all kinds of
file/project management road blocks and useless 'hoopla' built into the
software that just gets in the way. Who wants to 'jump through hoops' to get
their work done.. any volunteers? 

My advice to Altium, Improve our productivity through the use of smart
tools, not more complexity. The old task specific packages were easier to
use than anything that has come after them. We kept track of our files
without all this extra junk. If there are linkages needed to improve the
product, do it in the background, don't make the designer become a
programmer to overcome poor implementation on the part of the developers. 

I have used this product for a long time now, mostly because it has been the
tool that was available. If I have to change tools I will... I have in the
past many times. Currently I am using 2 PCB design tools here to support
older designs and newer ones that were developed on different tools. 

K.I.S.S. - keep it simple stupid! And fix MORE than you break. 

We don't need more structure to use the just gets in the way.
What we need is pin and gate swapping, we need a good autorouter, we need
impedance matching tools to help with matched line lengths... and calculate
better layer construction and the right materials to use... a wizard for
those things would go a long way towards making our jobs easier. Build in
IPC standards into the product... help us do our jobs more efficiently... we
might even get raises from getting our boards out more trouble free and

That's the key, make it easier to use and you have a winner. Mentor has
created a monster, its unbelievable what happens to a cad tool when
unchecked and unmanaged programmers get a hold of it... Pads is stuck with
its poor 'just stick the feature here' philosophy... tools and commands are
buried in such unrelated and topsy turvy menu structures and names that it
takes months of use before you can make a board... and yet we do. We can
figure it out... but why make it so difficult? My guess is it was probably
easier for the programmers not the end user. I bet the programmers just love
the product... but they don't use it.

If someone would just take all the stuff that works good in the program and
clean up the stuff that was broken or didn't work right they would have
something. Get rid of the programmers that want to make some sort of a file
management tool out of it... they are just making it worse and more
complicated. We don't NEED or WANT that.

You need to hire a PCB designer to run the development of the tool... that
will make sure that you end up with something a PCB designer would like. 
Hire a EE to run the development of the Schematic and chip development
tools... your success will be overwhelming.... vision is the key... so many
things fail for lack of clear vision. Understand your customer. Put yourself
in our shoes... then create the product.

 I have not yet seen the new product release for 2004... but I have seen
DXP... and 99SE, and 99, and 98, and 2.5 ... so when do we get what we want?

Bill Brooks 
PCB Design Engineer , C.I.D., C.I.I.
Tel: (760)597-1500 Ext 3772 Fax: (760)597-1510

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2004 3:06 PM
To: Protel EDA Forum
Subject: Re: [PEDA] 2004 DXP Looks Great,

John A. Ross [Design] wrote:

>....shows the actual level of
>respect Altium has for its users, and they know that they will get away
>with it, because of the amount of loyalists within the user community
>who will automatically defend them with tunnel vision.
Lots of companies have that attitude.  They get away with it because 
customers know that in order to switch companies, they will have to 
undergo a major learning curve.  Most people do not want to go through 
this learning curve, both because it is disruptive to their work and 
because it is a lot of hard frustrating work and us humans are by nature 
lazy.  Even a company as self absorbed and arrogant as Microsoft knows 
that and has provided hooks to go back to the "classic" themes in 
Windows XP.

Protel, when designing DXP decided to make a huge departure from the 
last version, 99SE.  Protel knew, or should have known, that for 
experienced users there would be a huge learning curve.  At the very 
least, that would cost them sales because people would be reluctant to 
switch because of the learning curve.  However, they would hope that 
people will switch because of the great features that the new software 
would be providing.  But when the new software fails to deliver, the 
users of the old software have two choices, neither of which is good for 
Protel.  They can stay with the old version for as long as they can and 
Protel will not see any money out of them.  Or if they resign to a 
learning curve, they can look around at the whole market place and 
decide on the best software.  Protel may or may not win in this search. 
 If anything, the odds are stacked against Protel because these 
customers already have the inside knowledge that the new Protel product 
does not work very well.  They are more likely to take a chance with a 
new company based on its sales presentation, rather than stick with 
Protel which they know to be not very good.

In the end, by not providing hooks to make the learning curve simpler 
for existing users and not delivering a product that improves on the 
existing product in the areas that the existing users use, Protel has 
shot itself in the foot.  That would not have been so bad, except for 
the fact that their foot was in their mouth and the head stuck up their 
rear ends when they shot.  As a result, they may have mortally wounded 
themselves.  I intend to give them a little more time, but I certainly 
do not intend to hang around for the funeral.


>IMO Altium are due DXP users a lot more than they are giving, whatever
>form that may be.
>Like Protel I do, very much, prepared to help make it better I am,
>prepared to help anyone else yes I am, willingly without obligation,
>like many others, prepared to be disrespected for my efforts no I am
>not, prepared to put a halo on Altiums head no I am not. 
>Without Prejudice of any kind

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