Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Autodesk Regrets To Inform You That You Have 15 Minutes To Clean Out Your Desk.

Sunny Day, Sweepin' The Clouds Away...

I woke up this morning to an entertaining article in the San Francsico Chronicle about a certain company called 'Autodesk' that is currently in the process of laying off 1,150 employees (13% of its workforce) as they 'restructure'.  This follows a layoff of 925 people in February of 2016.

So, why has Autodesk been shedding people like a Revitard sheds their last few functioning brain cells?   If you listen to Chief Executive 'Andrew Anagnost (who pulls down $5 million a year), he claims "We're taking this restructuring action from a position of strength," and contends that "the move was intended to change the focus of investments during a 'growth phase' of the transition to cloud delivery".

That last part sounds exactly like to was pulled from the bullshit generator.  The reality is, Autodesk has been slowly falling behind the curve for some time now.  Anything its brutally overpriced software can do, there are alternative software packages and third-party apps that can do the same (or better) for a fraction of the cost (or no cost at all).

They've still got a few industries by the balls - mostly thanks to hard work on their part (and the part of their 'true believers') of getting Revit - or at least BIM (and Revit = BIM dontchaknow?) required as part of the deliverables for some kinds of projects.

Autodesk's doubling down on 'The Cloud' has led me to be convinced that the majority of its people are complicit in an ongoing plot that I have dubbed 'Cloud Woo' (as a nod to the pejorative term 'Quantum Woo' coined to describe the act of justifying irrational beliefs or weak arguments by an obfuscatory reference to quantum physics - which they almost certainly don't understand).

Anyone with a functioning brain has known that 'The Cloud' more or less became a meaningless buzzword years ago - another article (from way back in 2011) does an excellent job of explaining what basically happened when everyone started tossing the term around carelessly to describe everything and anything (whether or not it was actually related to 'cloud computing' or any of the other concepts related to it).

While things like 'distributed computing' are still a very real thing (and storing things on remote servers has long been a thing - even prior to someone coming up with this term) - practitioners of 'Cloud Woo' have imbued it with magical powers wherein anything they slap the term 'Cloud' onto suddenly becomes more powerful and desirable.

I've railed about it before, but the concept of  a piece of software (and/or files) that I depend on being beholden to remotely operated and maintained equipment leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth.  Every online/browser based app I've ever used was a clusterfuck, and would often eat itself due to poor coding.

I'm already sick to goddamned fuck of having 'Steam' be the gatekeeper of my games - especially as it seems to want to install updates every single goddamned time I open it.  If it goes tits up, I'm sitting there waiting for it to come back from space before I can run games that are installed ON MY MOTHERFUCKING HARD DRIVE.

I mean it's bad enough if the server with my CAD (or in the past - Revit) license is being slow - now imagine the whole the whole shooting match is floating around out there in fucking space, just waiting for you to have an important deadline to bend you over and fuck you directly in the ass (and that's before you get to hackers, etc.).

Nothing is 100% fail safe, but I can make backups, and have the option of using different hardware if necessary - the idea of building in more fail PRONE shit into the process is thoroughly idiotic.  Autodesk's profit margins still seem to be maintaining, but here's hoping that these layoffs and 'restructuring' are actually the canary in the coal mine signalling major fucking problems.

 Because at least where it comes to Revit, they've got some major fucking problems.

Fuck Autodesk, Fuck Revit, Fuck Andrew Anagnost, and if you don't like it - FUCK YOU.


Next Time: Cloud City


  1. Here’s a story for you. This just happened over the course of the last week.

    There we were – just hours before 100% Construction Documents were due on a large high-rise project. The MEP model, which was in version 2016, had about eight or ten people in it: mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and low-voltage designers and engineers. All of us were scrambling to meet the deadline. During moments like these, everyone’s patience was thoroughly tested. Saving and synchronizing with central – regardless of when you did it last – took five, ten, sometimes twenty minutes. Need to reload the keynotes file? Might as well grab a cup of coffee or hit the restroom. If you were lucky, they would reload successfully. That day, I would estimate that *each* person wasted nearly an hour simply waiting for Revit to do its thing.

    Several days prior to the deadline, and with only four or five of us in the model, the saving and synchronizing process suddenly became an endless loop, requiring one of us to open a local copy and designate it as the central model. Some people lost their work as a result.

    What I’m getting at is that this kind of shit is happening with respect to a 500MB file between a dozen or so people (At the most) on a local area network running at gigabit speed. How can Autodesk have such lofty ambitions when they can’t even get this right?

    Fuck Autodesk, and fuck “the cloud.”

  2. I watched that exact scenario play out on multiple occasions with my previous firm (with who knows how many people in either a handful of linked models - or in one architectural/structural/MEP model). In the weeks, days, and even hours leading up to a project deadline, shit would go sideways - leaving everyone frantically searching for the last known good Revit file someone had saved to local, make it the central, and then tell everyone they needed to link to it - and that some (if not all) of your work has been wiped out).

    Revit is like hanging a 500# picture frame on a couple of push pins.

  3. And it happened again! Different project this time. A day or two before the deadline, the Worksharing Monitor revealed that there were - I shit you not - about 20 people in the model simultaneously. The constant interruptions and delays were so frequent that it would have likely been *more* productive to have *fewer* people working on the project.

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