Software in the cloud

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Cogsy

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I'm equally unclear about Microsoft 365.
[SNIP] Some people claim you can simply copy/paste files to another format/app even after expiry, but I'm not really sure about that. When they say Office applications, like Word and Excel, will eventually move into a read-only, reduced functionality mode and display... that almost smells like limited editing capability, which is kind of what file conversion involves. Could one 'back up' your MS files to another vendor while still having a subscription? Probably.
I have an Office365 subscription through my university. I believe what they are talking about in your link is cloud-only files (like collaborative documents, etc.). Personally, I almost never use collaborative or purely cloud-based documents at all, unless I absolutely have to (and even then it's usually through Google Drive). All my 'normal' work in all the Office applications is saved to local drives just like they always were and can be accessed without modification by OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc. So even if my subscription were to lapse without my knowledge I wouldn't lose a single file. I do need to be more proactive in backing my files up to the cloud though (just some server space at my uni really) as my current back-up regime keeps 2 copies on different physical devices that are located in the same building which is not a good idea for fire and physical theft protection.
 

fvwilkinson

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I have another outlook on all of this constant updating etc. Looking at the GREEN element which everyone is getting verbal about now days, this constant change and replace environment we are living in as against our past when things lasted forever is using earth resources i.e. the verbiage on carbon issues etc.

I still argue that running an old Morris 10 with its inefficient engine and rebuilding / repairing the parts for 300 000 miles or more vs modern vehicle with all the plastic and electronics which have no spares available in 5 or 6 years and gets replaced in 60 000 miles or 3 years could still be a better carbon emission / resource usage choice.
 

rodw

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Personally, I think the cloud rules. I love it. My most used device is a Chromebook and all my documents and spreadsheets are in the cloud with Google Gsuite which I have used for over 10 years, and I work every day from 3-4 devices. My accounting system is a licensed supported version of opensource and I've probably spent over $50k on a web site in the cloud somewhere that runs on an opensource application.. I have broken way from cloud based application service providers and our servers are on Amazon Web services. I never ever write a document or spreadsheet using a local application. They are in the gsuite cloud and we are always collaborating with consultants, remote workers and contractors. In fact, I have one copywriter who refuses to use Gsuite and I will never engage him again. its cost me hours of my time managing his mess so I can present it to other collaborators who have embraced the cloud.

My website is fully integrated with our accounting system, freight systems, email marketing systems.

The only local applications I use are for CAD and image processing. If I was serious about designing products for sale, I would be using cloud based OnShape and pay the $150 a month. Which is wayyy cheaper than Inventor or Solidworks.
 

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Of course we are moving completely away from the concept of being a 'hobby' forum , financed by what remains of our net disposable income and getting to- I think that the words are 'a witting or unwitting' advertising situation for products which may well be satisfactory but are being obtained at a discount which many of us are not able to avail ourselves of.
It suggests the famous or infamous situation of Ignatius Loyola in the Middle ages about catching would be adherents at a very impressionable age or situation.

Exits constantly repeating ' Myford, Myford' or even better 'GSK, GSK' or another International Firm where I am a shareholder. o_O

My views, of course

Norman:D
 

rodw

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Not really, the business started as a hobby and then took over my life. The sad part was the hobby was funding my machine shop in preparation for retirement but a redundancy spoiled the best laid plans. A paid subscription to Google gsuite will follow me into retirement and beyond. Its just that good! I don't really know when that will be any more now I've established a very serious business in my 60's....
 

goldstar31

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The greatest mistake I made was to retire completely at the age of 55. I should have retired much earlier. :)
So my pension checks and dividends have arrived for the last 35 years. What system the senders use I haven't the faintest idea- nor care one jot iota or tittle.
I bought a two penny packet of seeds at the age of 14 from a period of no education in a depressed mining area of wartime Britain where there was no education save the brainwashing endemic to a Communist( oh they were) County Council . I have no idea how I dodged it- possibly being being dyslexic or inattentive helped.
Again, I am so deaf and blind that I'm impervious or something.
All that I really know is being able to go to my bank without a care in the World;)
Apart from getting money out, I also get the odd hug and kiss from the lady members of the bank staff.
Lucky old me:D
 

Gordon

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While I think Photo Bucket really went about it the wrong way and I hope it bites them so hard they can't recover from it (holding users to ransom is never OK in my book), they are a company and need to make money to provide their services, just like all the rest. Obviously their ad revenue wasn't sufficient to continue with the completely free model (likely because the majority of their users simply embed content into forums like this one which prevents Photo Bucket from displaying ads on them). The thing is though - Photo Bucket is a cloud service which is exactly what every single one of their users wants (yourself included). It's hosting on a remote server so you don't have to host it yourself. I lost my Photo Bucket account the first time they hit us with a user fee but I didn't lose my images as I kept local backups. There's no way I would entrust my images completely to the cloud.

Ironically, if we'd all been paying a subscription fee (that we were happy with) in the first place, I don't believe Photo Bucket would've needed to ransom their users and the whole situation could've been avoided.

Back to the hammer metaphor, if you have made the switch to a subscription hammer (like Office365) then you are pretty well locked in to a subscription, but if you've still got a copy of Office 2007 or something, then you can keep using that. The same goes for other programs like CAD, CAM and photoediting. What we can't expect is to suddenly get the latest version of whatever it is we need at a subscription price and just keep using that forever without upgrading or continuing with the subscription. If some companies are willing to offer to lend you a free hammer (like Fusion currently is) then we have to be aware that they may want it back, or charge a fee for it in the future. Alternatively, we can hunt-up a vintage hammer to buy and keep banging away with that.

Again referencing Matlab, there is a free program available called Octave and it is so similar to Matlab that most general programs written on one will execute on the other. It's not quite as pretty or user-friendly as Matlab but I could live with that, except like I said earlier, every couple of years a library or function is released for Matlab that allows me to do something that I've needed to do but couldn't, or it makes something incredibly difficult to accomplish far easier. That's how I can justify the price as I'm directly paying for the development of the tools I need. Matlab just makes the best hammer...
It all comes down to your situation. At $1/year everyone signs up. At $200/year 50% sign up. At $2000/year only 1% sign up. Again it depends on what your use is. If I only have to get myself to work I can buy a Kia. If you move one ton parts you will buy a big truck. If my income is $20,000/year I cannot afford the big truck so I have to find a job which does not require moving one ton parts. If my cad is used for my hobby I am not willing to pay $500/year. If your job is designing parts for General Motors you may have no choice but to pay $500/year as long as your income justifies that expense.
 

Cogsy

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I have another outlook on all of this constant updating etc. Looking at the GREEN element which everyone is getting verbal about now days, this constant change and replace environment we are living in as against our past when things lasted forever is using earth resources i.e. the verbiage on carbon issues etc.

I still argue that running an old Morris 10 with its inefficient engine and rebuilding / repairing the parts for 300 000 miles or more vs modern vehicle with all the plastic and electronics which have no spares available in 5 or 6 years and gets replaced in 60 000 miles or 3 years could still be a better carbon emission / resource usage choice.
If the Morris 10 didn't need replacement parts all the time, then it might make some sense to keep it instead of upgrading (purely from an energy/emissions standpoint). However, my second car is a 2005 Ford Falcon sedan with nearly half a million km on the clock and is still on the original engine, transmission and diff without any sign of needing attention anytime soon, and it doesn't have a spot of rust. If you got 60,000 miles out of a Morris 10 without an engine rebuild you probably did well and I'd much prefer to be in my Falcon than your Morris if I'm unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash. I wonder how many original parts are still in use on a daily driven Morris 10 these days (I'm guessing virtually the entire car has been replaced several times by now, one part at a time).

It's another good argument for upgrading though - my Falcon likely uses less fuel, definitely has more power, better suspension, brakes and steering, is more comfortable and vastly more reliable than the Morris. On paper they do the same job but they're very different machines.
 

Cogsy

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It all comes down to your situation. At $1/year everyone signs up. At $200/year 50% sign up. At $2000/year only 1% sign up. Again it depends on what your use is. If I only have to get myself to work I can buy a Kia. If you move one ton parts you will buy a big truck. If my income is $20,000/year I cannot afford the big truck so I have to find a job which does not require moving one ton parts. If my cad is used for my hobby I am not willing to pay $500/year. If your job is designing parts for General Motors you may have no choice but to pay $500/year as long as your income justifies that expense.
I agree with you - your budget certainly dictates what you use. I can afford (just) Matlab so I use it but I cannot afford a license for COMSOL (starts at $4K USD), so I can only use it on the lab computers, even though it'd be way more useful on my laptop.

But I don't really get what you're asking for here. You can't justify spending big money on something like Solidworks (me either) but you don't want to use the free software because it might not be free forever? Mostly, developers of powerful software want to get rewarded for their efforts and they will try to get us to pay somehow. Fusion may well be paid only in the future but that could happen to any software (even the Linux based stuff).
 

goldstar31

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I suspect that I'm the only person here that has actually not only owned but passed their driving test on a 1935 Morris 8, The only thing that I would have liked to have had was the Cherished number plate which was CBB367. Of course Cogsy is right about the 'life of one', Mine cost the princely sum of £50 and with no heating, a 6 volt circuit and one windscreen wiper it was real modern piece of technology. It had one thing in its favour, it had a rear pull down blind to avoid being blinded by 6 volt lighting from the Knight of Darkness-- Joseph Lucas but one could chalk on the blind these immoral words---


Don't laugh, your daughter may be inside:mad:
 

awake

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I'd say Gordon has captured the clear conclusion from the discussion above: it depends. :) Or to say it another way, different solutions will work best for different people / different situations. If you are happy with what you are using, why change? If you are not happy with what you are using, for whatever reason (capabilities or concerns about future access), then the discussion above may offer some possibilities to explore.

Fusion may well be paid only in the future but that could happen to any software (even the Linux based stuff).
W-e-l-l ... note that FOSS (Linux based or other) is generally controlled by one or another of the GPL or similar licenses. Yeah, I know - there are some subtle but important differences between GPL, LGPL, and so on ... and beyond that, who ever reads the license before clicking "okay" to install the software anyway? :) But here's the point: FOSS software has not simply been released for no charge, nor has it been released with no license (leaving open the possibility that someone might claim it down the road and shut off access); it has been released with a very specific license controlling whether and/or how it can be commercialized, and even if it can be commercialized, stipulating that the original version MUST remain free and open-source. (IF the license allows it, someone might modify / build on the FOSS to produce a commercial product that is not free of charge ... but the underlying FOSS software will remain free and open source.)

So, a very different situation from something like Fusion360, which is not open source. IIRC, the license for F360 allows the use of the product free of charge for non-commercial users for a period of one year; it does not guarantee anything beyond that. Thus far, they have continued to allow one-year-at-a-time renewals, but they really can change that at any time - whereas that is not possible for FOSS. (Okay, anything is possible - but if someone attempted to claim exclusive ownership of a piece of FOSS and start charging for it, I suspect they would lose big in court!)

Let me hasten to say: I am not knocking Fusion360. On the contrary, much of what I have seen suggests that Fusion360 sets the gold standard for 3d CAD. Whether that is true - whether, for example, it is better or worse than Solidworks - there is no doubt that Fusion360 is more capable than the FreeCAD that I use. But for my purposes, FreeCAD is more than sufficient, and I prefer the FOSS philosophy, so for me, it is the right choice. For someone else, the free-use Fusion360 may very likely be the best choice. And for someone who makes his/her living this way, I would think that a paid subscription for Fusion360 or Solidworks or some such would be the right choice.
 

comstock-friend

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Not of interest to John the hobbyist but of great concern to John the engineer was that our product was nuclear safe guard equipment and the US Government required all documents under direct control, lock and key. We could not place their drawings in the cloud. Without direct machine to machine keyed encryption we could not send emails and had to send via snail mail in Russia doll fashion of envelope within envelope with dire warnings about handling in each subsequent envelope. And this was only Nuclear Sensitive, not Secret or Top Secret...

John (a so far happy Fusion 360 user)
 

Gordon

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John (a so far happy Fusion 360 user)[/QUOTE said:
Since this discussion started I have been playing around with Free Cad and I have found it extremely frustrating. There are hundreds of You Tube videos and it is almost impossible to determine which ones are relevant to your situation. Most are too fast and you have no idea what they did to accomplish that. Others are by folks with such a foreign accent that I cannot understand what they are saying. Others seem to have a completely different program, I assume because of updates. I get stuck on something and do a google search and whatever they did is just what I want but I cannot duplicate it. Almost ready to go back to my old 2D program.

Incidentally I think that my CAD program is using the right approach. Program is Visual CADD. I purchased the original V1 and I upgraded several times to current V8. All of the versions are still able to operate as originally released. Each upgrade added some features but if you did not need them you could just keep using the old version and something produced in one version is compatible with the other version. I used V5 for a long time until I really wanted to do something which I could do in V8 so I upgraded. I did not have pay to upgrade from 5 to 6 to 7 to 8. Upgrades are reasonably priced and not mandatory. I am sure that my frustration with the menu driven programs is because of my familiarity with the keyboard driven program. Also I seem to be able to do so many things with one command instead of several sequential commands.
 

awake

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Gordon, you are quite right - though part of your frustration appears to be endemic to all of the 3d CAD programs (tutorials that are out of date for the latest version), another part is that FreeCAD is very much an international project, so the tutorials are in a variety of languages - an advantage for those who speak those languages, of course!

If you haven't found the page below, this is a good place to start:

https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/User_hub
 

74Sprint

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Ok I'm not bragging ok, I'm not, I don't like it when people brag but.
I started my career as a heavy duty mechanic in 1979, after 3 years I said nuts to this and joined the military. There I did electronics, RADAR, Navigational Aids, and mainframe computers doing all my work in binary and component level repairs. When I left the military I got into PC's and networking them from Windows 3.11, Netware and up. I worked on my MSCE with Microsoft and then went to college to become a Computer/Analyst Programmer. So not only can I build you a custom microchip but I can make you a website or even a database engine along with the database. For 25 years I had been working as a Business/Analyst, helping companies to decide what hardware, software, and interfaces to use. I'm retired now, not by choice but, because of burnout and heart problems. So I want to get back to the things I love doing, racing cars, making things, and machining things.

I hate the cloud and absolutely hate subscription services.
The cloud:
Before the cloud we used to use off-site backup servers to store all the irreplaceable data just encase the business burnt to the ground taking the backup's with it, been there done that. Only a couple of us knew where the servers were located. But with all computers there is still the need to service them, I did this mostly by remote. But there was still times I had to go the the site to do maintenance. All this incurred costs for the owners of the business. When the cloud first came on-line it allowed business owners to store their data somewhere in the world safely for a monthly fee. And that's still what it's there for, the rest is on the net. Best part was there was no maintenance from the business end, and my revenue declined. So yah I hate the cloud.

Subscription services:
Ok let's remember; unless you paid someone or you actually wrote the program you DO NOT own it. What you buy is a licence to use it and only in a way that is dictated by owners of the software, licence agreement right. Oh by the way, a lot of times open source code is not really fully open, read the licence agreement. Subscription services is nothing new, I can remember having to use hard-locks that went on the serial or printer port but that was to prevent copying the software. Back in 1985 some venders would only allow so many transactions or entries and then it would stop and display a message to purchase additional capacity. You would have to transfer money or send a cheque and they would give you a code which allowed you to enter more transactions, complete PITA. It takes a lot of time and money to produce a commercially viable, not just an industrial product and when your paying someone or people to write that code you want to get your money back and make a profit. Nothing wrong with that I believe in it. A subscription service can be anything like a yearly update like my QCAD or the yearly payroll tax update like for Quickbooks or Sage. As a business analyst it was my job to find ways to maximize profit margins and ROI. Businesses are just like you, in that it would be nice to have a steady income flow and not seasonal like Turbo Tax for example every tax season. So how can one achieve this? Well everyone has high speed internet now right (not) so let's offer monthly online subscription services and that way we can have a steady income, better for planning and locking people into our product.

Marketing:
My wife is a CGA accountant and when she was doing her courses there was one question that stands out in my mind; You have a product you want to sell what is the selling price? They gave no cost to manufacture or anything else, so what is the selling price? Well it is whatever the market will bare. In other words, what is the market that we are going after? Who in that market are we going to target? Do we sell a lot of product at a small profit margin or do we sell less product at a higher price but, with higher profit margin. If we sell at a higher price then there is a better chance that our customers will be locked into staying with us. I have installed and setup software that costs $100 per licence to $2 million dollars a licence for a database server farm and another $250,000 dollars for PC computer licences.

Service:
I love this one. I'll tell you about 2 companies that disgust me, Btrieve and Quickbooks. Btrieve is a database engine that has been used by thousands of program developers and Quickbooks well they are pretty much well known. In the case of Btrieve I had access to their internal help and I was having a problem where for some unknown reason their database engine would crash usually at the worst time which, meant that the database had to be rebuilt taking at least an hour. When I searched their private online help, I found the problem but not the fix. Btrieve said and this is totally true "we are aware of this problem but, because it happens randomly we are not going to pursue it. Besides it is a good revenue generator for our partners". Right, I couldn't believe this, this totally sucks but, it did make me money. Quickbooks; I used to be a partner, installing it for businesses and accounting firms. I even had times where I had to tell their tech help how to do something. Once again I was able to use their private online help. There was a number of issues that I needed to fixed but, their help files showed that there were problems that they were aware of but, they had done nothing in some cases 8 years to correct it. In programming we used to joke around saying "get it out the door asap, if there are problems we'll call them features", "we'll patch it later". So whatever happen to doing it right the first time? Another truth when it comes to hardware & software is, "whoever get's it out the door first wins". I know for a fact that there are times when developers reach a cutoff date and the product goes out as is and we the end users have to discover the faults after paying good money.

On a final note, I own a registered copyright program. I wrote this program in 1998, 4 years after the internet was opened up and what it does is prevents illegally copying of my software or any licensee of the software by recording the serial numbers of the hardware installed on a computer. Once installed you have to register and activate the software online and get a activation code, sound familiar? If you try to install it on another computer it won't work. If I had the money I would enforce my copyright and if I could about 90% of the software in Canada if not the world would stop working. My copyright is registered 2 years before Microsoft and other companies used the computer serial numbers for licencing. Subscription services would allow me to change the price, licence agreement, and support provided anytime I want and if you don't pay up or agree I could instantly kill your program. Sure subscription services allows you to use the latest and greatest version but, at what cost. With the programs I licence, if I lose my internet connection I can still work, mind you online sales would hurt. Things like my QCAD allow me to upgrade when I'm ready, not when they want me to, and I can keep working. I pretty much no longer get free software but, I do get free hardware, a lot more than I use to. So now that I'm an end-user having to pay for software and keep a small business going I have to be more prudent with my money. I have a hard time finding just the right software. How do I decide? Well the most useless tool is the one that I own but, is broken or doesn't do the job it's suppose too. The most valuable tool is the one that I don't own but, need right now to get a job done.

Cheers
Ray
 

Richard Hed

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As for myself, I would never use the "cloud". Have you noticed that anything from the net is hackable? Even bit coins were stolen a few years back--something that was supposably non-hackable. I have intellectual work that I would expect to disappear some day by accident or design. As is, I put ALL my important work on at least three different backup media. And I'm just a little guy with nothing important except to myself. If you trust someone else, someone completely unknown to you, in a place where you haven't got a clue as to where it is stored, you are a fool. I have tried script writing software which would not allow me to put the script I was writing on my own computer--I tossed it immediately--will NOT let some program put MY stuff on some unknown server.
 

jhparkhill

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Just retired from a long career in IT development/management. Initial resistance to cloud was fostered by the "You're in good hands" mindset in my time it started with IBM. Jump forward several decades and it was "If you're not running Oracle, are you even an enterprise?", on and on. We left a co-lo and jumped into AWS, the only question is why did we wait that long. Instead of juggling budget, leasing obsolete hardware and always be up-charged for another TB of storage, or incremental server upgrades, it switched from consistently upgraded hardware, super flexible and cheap storage, automated scaling (on demand) and most importantly, automatic database recovery, nearly instant. And, significantly less cost. The world runs in the cloud now.
 

Richard Hed

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Just retired from a long career in IT development/management. Initial resistance to cloud was fostered by the "You're in good hands" mindset in my time it started with IBM. Jump forward several decades and it was "If you're not running Oracle, are you even an enterprise?", on and on. We left a co-lo and jumped into AWS, the only question is why did we wait that long. Instead of juggling budget, leasing obsolete hardware and always be up-charged for another TB of storage, or incremental server upgrades, it switched from consistently upgraded hardware, super flexible and cheap storage, automated scaling (on demand) and most importantly, automatic database recovery, nearly instant. And, significantly less cost. The world runs in the cloud now.
You are free to do so, I will never do it. I encourage others NOT to use it. There are too many examples of hacking banks, yahoo, google, the military, -- everything gets hackt so do you expect the "cloud" to not get hackt? That's absurd. It's only a matter of months or a few years till it happens. Then, of course, the owners of the cloud will apologize profusely, promising to get your data back and stop the hacks--too late. It won't happen with me. I refuse to use it. This is like the burger company we all know and hate--gives you good deals till one day you are addicted and then they grab you by the throat, you are over weight, cancered, heart attack coming, etc, but the burger guys just laugh.
 

74Sprint

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The cloud like everything else has it's place in the world. It is IMHO one of the safest places to store data. But and this is a Big But, do you trust the people on the other end/side ? There has been only 1 case that I'm aware of where an employee at a cloud server company was stealing data/info from customers.

I had a customer once that had his business broken into and they took everything and I mean everything, even books on the shelf. But they missed 1 backup tape. It was a week old but, I managed to get him up and running from that one backup tape. After that he wanted me to lock down his system, I advised against this but, he wanted to try it. The lock-down lasted only 2 days because, first you logged into computer (BIOS level), then logged into system, logged into the programs, and then you had to log into each and every file you opened. I even restricted access to only certain websites and had 3 firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-malware also. Backup tapes were changed daily and removed from the business. Imagine needing 4 different passwords just to open a Word document or a PDF file!

The biggest problem with hackers is the people at the workplace or home that don't practise safe computer usage. Next is IT managers or business owners that don't want to spend the time or money to safeguard a system. It takes time to setup user right/ privileges, closing open ports, setting up complicated wirewalls like oneway ones, doing updates and such. Not to many businesses even want to higher the people or enough people to do the work instead they rely on outside help which, complicates things. I'm sure jhparkhill can attest to what I'm saying. So how much trust do you have in others?

cheers
Ray
 
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