Author Topic: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions  (Read 61817 times)

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Offline pa3weg

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #75 on: June 17, 2015, 10:21:37 am »
I'm sure somebody will figure out how to hack the software to enable it to run offline etc. Just give it some time.

But that's hardly a solution. If the product needs 3rd party hacks to make it work, its just no good!
Why would you need to pirate FREE software...come on Altium!
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #76 on: June 17, 2015, 10:57:22 am »
Altium's biggest potential problem here is that the were too generous. I know it's hard to say there is such a thing, but when you are trying to balance product take-up with protection of existing products, it is possible to give too much away.
They decided to give practically everything away, and in doing so have no real option left but to make it internet/cloud only etc. So that can hurt their take-up of the product.

If they had just followed my original advice and give away a decent free version with some high end restrictions, and charge a reasonable amount like a few hundreds bucks for local saving, they would have:
- a killer product
- get another revenue stream
- product their higher end product.

it's not too late, it's only in beta.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #77 on: June 17, 2015, 12:22:42 pm »
Thanks Dave. Good review.

I heard the nanoboard acted like a dongle. I have never tried it. Buy the Nanoboard 3000 for $500 or so, you unlock Altium to do all your own designs, APPARENTLY. I guess that backdoor has been closed by now, because their method of downloading has changed.

I use the full Altium Designer and if they cleaned this Circuit Maker menu up cleaned this up a bit to be more like Atium Designer, it would be nice for those of us who are used to it. And the hotkeys are a must, otherwise you'd go nuts on a big design!.

Who cares about the Altium standard libraries? They are crap (especially the PTH devices), but are sometimes useful as templates to create smarter footprints.

The worry is the lack of ability to export/import and non standard file formats. If they abandon the software, you are up the creek without a paddle.

Altium is getting back to basics. The add-ons crap is off the radar. Good move by Altium.

Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

 

Offline mmetzkes

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #78 on: June 17, 2015, 12:25:31 pm »
Hi Dave,
you can hide the ribbon-band with the  little arrow as shown in the attached image.

Greetings
Michael
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #79 on: June 17, 2015, 12:25:59 pm »
Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

It looked like a direct import of the 'official' Arduino files. So I think 'two-bit slap dash merchant' is a bit redundant.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #80 on: June 17, 2015, 12:44:12 pm »
Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

I think the importer was at fault.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #81 on: June 17, 2015, 12:45:37 pm »
Hi Dave,
you can hide the ribbon-band with the  little arrow as shown in the attached image.

Sure you can hide it (and hence can't use it), but the point was it took up too much space when showing. They could have made it a lot thinner.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #82 on: June 17, 2015, 12:47:26 pm »
Whoever did that Arduino board either had not finished or is a two-bit slap dash merchant. Having component designators half obliterated by vias or completley oblitered by the component is idiotic.

I think the importer was at fault.

Overlapping drill hits, silkscreen over vias, silkscreen under components? No, the files provided by Arduino really look like that. Although I don't think most of the silk under components is meant to get printed, it's on a different layer.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 12:50:28 pm by Monkeh »
 

Offline madires

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #83 on: June 17, 2015, 01:04:44 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?
 

Offline amyk

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #84 on: June 17, 2015, 01:12:59 pm »
Anyone want to put some bets on how long it takes for an alternate unofficial circuit maker "server" to come out?  Something that you can run locally...
I doubt the pirates are going to use anything other than the full version of Altium.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #85 on: June 17, 2015, 01:32:34 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?

I can't. The "End-User License Agreement" link on the website links to the main Altium EULA, which makes no such claim.
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Offline DJohn

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #86 on: June 17, 2015, 02:00:09 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?

I can't. The "End-User License Agreement" link on the website links to the main Altium EULA, which makes no such claim.

8.11 in http://www.altium.com/resources/PDFs/altium_license_agreement_en.pdf appears to be the relevant bit.  It's the general Altium agreement, but that bit looks like it's written specifically for CM.  And it says nothing like what Modrobert is claiming.

While you use their service, you give them permission to copy and distribute your public designs.  That's fair enough - they can't do any of the community stuff without it.  They can also modify and adapt them, which probably isn't as alarming as it sounds.  I'd guess it's just to cover things like creating thumbnails for project search results (they tend to write these things a lot more generally than they intend to ever use).  It's fairly standard language for this kind of service.

You still own all of your designs, and you don't give them any rights over your private designs.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #87 on: June 17, 2015, 02:44:50 pm »
Let me ask a dumb question. Which serious open source project uses a proprietary tool as their main development environment? You could even maybe get away with that for a tool like this, but this tool is worse than propriertary thanks to their dippy cloud requirement. This is a fail on so many levels that Altium should just kill it now before they look stupid, and it's a shame because they have the resources and experience to really make a worthwhile contribution.
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #88 on: June 17, 2015, 03:19:05 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.
3) Sharing your designs with the community will make you a better designer, now you get peer reviews for free. And the best design become most popular.  You can also learn a lot from other people in the community.
4) A perfect training tool for beginners and wannabee professional designers.  You get to know Altium and what I have seen it is much more intuitive than other programs.  If you are really getting serious and want to make $$$ with your design, you will get a full version of Altium Designer either paid for or pirated.
5) Knowing Altium is a good thing to have on your resume, if you want to go professional.  I can see companies using the forum to find potential employees.

I agree that the version that allows local saves should be priced more reasonable in the $ 500 to $ 1000 range and think this product will fail if the price isn't brought down.

I would love Dave to make some followup video's on how to design a very basic board from start to end in this version of Altium.


« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:25:16 pm by Rutger »
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #89 on: June 17, 2015, 03:46:57 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.

I agree that the version that allows local saves should be priced more reasonable in the $ 500 to $ 1000 range and think this product will fail if the price isn't brought down.

Good, valid points. 

My concern on the tethered access isn't *my* network connection - it's the other side.  We've all experienced server/switch side outages of banks, credit card companies and ISPs.  Heck even Gmail has had service outages.  Granted, our own PCs are usually the weak link, but if you're running on deadline and the cloud is down for hours or days, that's a stress that no one needs.  And with the product generating ZERO revenue, I guarantee that Altium's server side is not going to be as robust and redundant as it would if it had money attached.

If I could get local saves for the price you're thinking, I would have a seat of Altium today.  For better or worse, it *is* one of the industry standards and is a good bet for platform longevity. 

It's this whole notion of "free" being cheaper that is screwing up everything.  Free is rarely, if ever, the lowest cost solution.  It almost always guarantees extensive duplication of previous efforts after the provider of "free" goes away. 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:51:17 pm by LabSpokane »
 

Offline roli

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #90 on: June 17, 2015, 04:10:36 pm »
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.
I would actually change this - make version control and cloud saving the paid option and have the basic version be "local only". It would be far more sensible since versioning and sharing aren't all that useful for hobbyists.

Besides - the same thing can be achieved with any tool that uses textual based files (XML for instance - like eagle) and git. With that you can use either github if you want it easy or local git server if you want privacy and stuff like that. There is also another benefit to using git - you can version your whole project. Documentation, source code, ... All in one.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:14:56 pm by roli »
 

Offline Poe

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #91 on: June 17, 2015, 04:22:03 pm »
From what I understand that is an insanely cheap price. I though AD was in the order of $7-8K  :-//

Colleagues working for larger companies report paying ~$7k for AD14, and nearly $8k for AD15 ...per seat.  Basically retail.  A colleague of mine who works for himself reports paying ~$4950 for AD14.  He just took the first quote.  We received about five formal quotes over the last six years.  Price ranged from $7k to this new ~$4k price. 

CS price is non-negotiable (tried) and stupidly close to AD's price right now.  I expect AD's price to increase rather than CS decrease given the capability of CM.  ..or maybe they're trying to improve their interface and change their pay model similar to that of Photoshop?

I understand issues with the only-online thing for companies and maybe people with bad internet connections....

But why would anyone (using free software intended for OSHW, hobbyists and students) care if they had to put their finished stuff in the public domain?  Do these people simply want AD for free or is there some reasonable honest thoughts behind it? 

Does CM incorporate some kind of mechanism (IP check) to prevent a user from creating multiple accounts for more than two sandboxed projects?  I can see weekend startups using this tactic since most only have about six products anyways.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:25:02 pm by Poe »
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #92 on: June 17, 2015, 04:38:43 pm »
But why would anyone (using free software intended for OSHW, hobbyists and students) care if they had to put their finished stuff in the public domain?  Do these people simply want AD for free or is there some reasonable honest thoughts behind it? 

Because:

1) it's crazy to spend any time working on something when you know that if the network goes down for any reason, or heaven forbid you might even have to reboot your computer to get it working again, you will be unable to save your work and that gets lost.

2) if there's a network hiccup anywhere, you will not be able to work at all

3) if Altium decides to pull the plug, change their terms, or whatever, you loose everything permanently

This is practically the opposite of the concept of "open source" and "free" (in the sense of unencumbered).  I could be wrong, but I have a hard time seeing the open source community embracing this product.

Remember what happened with BitKeeper and Linux?  How much crap did they get for that, and in the end BitKeeper axed support for the free version, leaving users high and dry.  Well, at least they could suck everything out and migrate to something else.  What do you do with Altium's software?  Oh well, you're screwed I guess.

This isn't serious software, and even hobbyists deserve to have serious software even if you have to live with KiCAD.

Anyhow, there's really nothing to complain about because no one has to use it, and it IS free, but I have to wonder just what kind of market research Altium's done that makes this seem like a good idea.  I'm sure they must have a team that's investigated this and they must be right, but I'm really having a very hard time seeing how you overcome these hurdles.  Being free just doesn't seem like enough.


« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 04:50:14 pm by John Coloccia »
 

Offline donkey77

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #93 on: June 17, 2015, 04:50:32 pm »
Not being an expert on Altium as a company, or anything else for that matter, if they do choose to ditch DM as it is a loss leader, surely they would offer an update or separate tool to download/backup your projects to a generic, or even AD file format before shutting it down?!
 

Offline BloodyCactus

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #94 on: June 17, 2015, 05:22:05 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.

It is for me, I have DSL, and if there is a storm within 20 miles, my internet goes down. I live in the mountains. I get 1.5mbit DSL


2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.

unless your internet goes down and you cant access those files, like you can local files and work on projects during a rain storm.

3) Sharing your designs with the community will make you a better designer, now you get peer reviews for free.

huh? I work on my own stuff, why would I care about browsing through 10000000 useless projects of other people with random crazy names (for enforcing the unique name thing). who is going to give you free peer review?

I think your dreaming if you suddenly think putting a design out there will net you 100 comments on improving/fixing/changing your design.

And the best design become most popular.  You can also learn a lot from other people in the community.

best designs becomes popular what? is it a competition? your design is competiting against someone else to be the best something? what? are we gonna start seeing "#1 best usb rs232 conversion" "#1 best pcb than directly breaks out AVR pins to a through hole header thats not called an arduino" ?


personally, I'd rather local files and compete with DipTrace/Eagle. Sell me an 800 dollar version of Circuit Studio with no limits. DipTrace sell you 4 layers/1000 pins for 350$ or 6 layers, 2000 pins for $600.

for non enterprise tool market, wants more than circuit maker provides but less cost than circuit studio.

if they sold CS for 800$ people would throw money at them.



-- Aussie living in the USA --
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #95 on: June 17, 2015, 05:22:26 pm »
A lot of assumptions in this thread.

Oh well, I'm a happy user and I don't mind the small limitations they currently have, after all it's still in Beta.

They do have the flexibility to add new features at will, and that includes the simulation and whatever other plug-ins they decide to release.

Say you get a decent user base of say 100K people (and that is a low ball estimate) using CM and there are many ways to monetize it.
They probably get a cut from ciiva, or they will in the future. Or a simple $20 plug in might make them a couple of millions in no time.

So far there are 550 committed projects, and the rating system is not terrible, and no, you can't delete comments as far as I know.

Anyways I like it and they support ODB++ and gerbers and you can backup your stuff anyways with the Project Generate Documents it spews a zip file with everything on it so you don't need to dig for the files in that obscure folder where they are kept.

Anyways I'm going to keep on using it because it is the best tool with the best features that I can afford legally.

 

Offline rolycat

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #96 on: June 17, 2015, 06:15:38 pm »
why would I care about browsing through 10000000 useless projects of other people with random crazy names (for enforcing the unique name thing).

From the announcement for beta 2:
  • Project names are only required to be unique on the user level now.
:-+

However, so far there does seem to be a lot of noise and relatively little signal. Lots of released projects consisting of blank schematics, or one or two resistors.

The star rating system which should presumably help to filter this also seems fairly useless at the moment - some apparently substantial projects have no stars, while others containing nothing but a few IC outlines have five.
 

Offline modrobert

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #97 on: June 17, 2015, 06:51:37 pm »
Check the user agreement for Circuit Maker, read the fine print. Altium owns the rights to your designs legally, regardless if private (sandbox) or public, that is the big catch.  The cloud services are basically used as a legal framework, to own everything you create.

And that would explain the bussines case. Give the editor away for free and own everything created with it. Can someone confirm this?

I can't. The "End-User License Agreement" link on the website links to the main Altium EULA, which makes no such claim.
I couldn't find it either. OP can you provide a link please?

I was reading this...

Quote
While Altium remains committed to listening to its users about improving products or services, you understand that any ideas, inventions or materials (collectively, “Materials”) that you submit to Altium using the Website shall become the exclusive property of Altium and by submitting the same you relinquish all rights in the Materials upon their submission and waive any right to hold Altium liable for its use of or failure to use such Materials in any way.

http://www.circuitmaker.com/terms-of-use.php

...and I realize now that was probably only for the website, not the circuit maker tool? Think I jumped the gun there, sorry about that.

I read section "8. HOSTED SERVICES" in the following document (assuming that is the relevant one):

http://www.altium.com/resources/PDFs/altium_license_agreement_en.pdf

Although it is not as bad as the website agreement (quoted), it looks open for change, it has that dynamic feeling which reminds me of other services where they change the user agreement daily, and you automatically approve by logging into the system each time.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 07:01:40 pm by modrobert »
 

Offline Isaac000

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #98 on: June 17, 2015, 07:14:18 pm »
I got the product to work at my office and I think this product will be a success for the following reasons;

1) The internet requirement isn't a big thing.  Who doesn't have internet noway days, really how much work can you do when traveling. You need the internet to do part and pricing research etc.
Well, I guess we all work differently. I prefer to do my background work first, then download all datasheets and then I'm ready to do actual schematic & PCB work once I've got everything else in order. So yes, I do happen to be able to get quite a bit of work done while I'm somewhere which doesn't necessarily have an internet connection
Quote
2) Saving in the cloud..  I actually like this, you can start a project at home at an desktop and continue at work or at your laptop in the garden. No more saving to google drive etc.  No more version issue, you always work on the latest version.
Nope, this sucks. If my not-so-important e-mail is lost for a while because the network is down, I don't care so much, especially since all my old e-mails are generally downloaded. Knowing that the one and only copy of my work is stashed away in "the cloud" under somebody else's mercy, hmm... not so good if that's really important work.
Quote
3) Sharing your designs with the community will make you a better designer, now you get peer reviews for free. And the best design become most popular.  You can also learn a lot from other people in the community.
Really? Cause a really experienced designer is going to browse through all these random projects and take the time to give proper critique & pointers? Or more likely I'm not such a motivated designer, but I need some working circuit and I search for one and copy the thing.
Quote
4) A perfect training tool for beginners and wannabee professional designers.  You get to know Altium and what I have seen it is much more intuitive than other programs.  If you are really getting serious and want to make $$$ with your design, you will get a full version of Altium Designer either paid for or pirated.
Aaah yes, but that's the problem, it's not obvious that it is related to Altium unless you're already in the business. And if I'm starting from "scratch", CircuitMaker is not making me want to move up to the paid editions. More likely I am wondering, "Surely there must be better!"
Quote
5) Knowing Altium is a good thing to have on your resume, if you want to go professional.  I can see companies using the forum to find potential employees.
And are these the type of companies a good engineer wants to work for? All things being equal, sure, knowing Altium is good. But in general, get a good engineer and he'll figure out to use whatever tool is available at your company to do the job at hand. Companies that want X years of experience using Software Y and designing Circuits of type Z are generally cheap bums with managers who don't really know how to manage talented employees and just want to squeeze every last bit of monetary gain they can.
 

Offline Kibi

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Re: EEVblog #754 - Altium Circuit Maker First Impressions
« Reply #99 on: June 17, 2015, 08:56:04 pm »
It's often fascinated me how these companies think that everybody has a permanent internet connection. They really need to get out a bit more and they would soon discover that the internet is not always available wherever a person may reasonable carry a laptop for instance.
The cloud thing is also a bit of a failure. What makes them think that they'll be able to maintain said cloud for the rest of eternity.

The mind boggles.
 


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