Vintage CAD4U

There are many ‘older’ versions of CAD4U currently out there doing a sterling service for their owners. Unlike AutoCAD®, we have never forced users to upgrade when buying new hardware with the latest Windows® operating systems.  For example, users of AutoCAD 2000 are prevented from installing their software under Windows Vista® or Windows 7®. This example equates to CAD4U V4 users being forced to upgrade as soon as they wanted to move to a Vista platform.  Additionally Autodesk inc. washes their hands on supporting older versions even faster, viz.

“Autodesk does not support 2009 and older versions of AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT on Windows 7”
Autocad 2011 & Windows 7 White Paper – Autodesk inc.

Anyway, why am I banging on about AutoCAD? It’s quite simple.  As I am told that it is the ‘industry standard‘ then is is fair to equate our offering to that of Autodesk inc.

Not supporting out-of-date versions is quite understandable as no software developer is going to track back to provide patches for old releases … it just isn’t commercially viable or reasonable to expect them to do this. I remember once, when I was working for Robocom on RoboCAD support in the 1980’s,  an irate punter equated us updating his old software to getting his Ford Grenada serviced at the local dealership  … I had to point out that it was more akin to his local council introducing a width restriction in his road and expecting Ford to rebuild his Grenada somewhat smaller to cope with the new road layout!

A major problem for vintage CAD4U users is the parallel port Hardlock (or Dongle).  Developed before the now ubiquitous USB port, the parallel port (and before that the serial port) was the only way to talk to the hardlock and thus provide software piracy protection.  Unfortunately PC manufacturers no longer are interested in supplying machines with a parallel port.  One solution for desktop PC purchasers is to add a PCI parallel port, although to my cost, I did find that even this doesn’t always work … but that, as they say, is another story entirely! USB hardlocks have been available for some ten years now, and so a solution is to exchange the old parallel hardlock for a USB version.  There is though, a significant cost associated with doing this, and if the truth be known, the CAD4U developer isn’t particularly keen either, as the user sees no benefit but expects on-going support for their old software.  The other day I had a CAD4U user ‘effing and blinding’ because I was reluctant to supply him an exchange USB hardlock as I knew full well that the developer certainly wasn’t keen to ship any more. Additionally he would have been better served by upgrading his CAD4U V6 to the current V11, not only benefiting from the improved features of V11 but also he could have had access to full CAD4U on both his desktop and laptop PC’s, rather than CAD4U on one and CAD4U-XS on the other.

To be frank, I’m getting too long in the tooth to even bother arguing the toss, so from now on my recommendation will always be … retire that vintage CAD4U with an upgrade to V11 … be warned!