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An old guy that remembers Mathcad DOS

RantEng
12-Amethyst

An old guy that remembers Mathcad DOS

At the end of April, I will be retiring after 40 years of Engineering.  I started using Mathcad with the DOS version in 1986.   Since then, it has been my go-to thinking tool.  I welcomed the Windows version in 1992.  I bit the bullet in 2013 with Prime 3 and committed to the transition from the old MathSoft versions.  It was not easy, but finally, I'm glad I did.

 

It is one of the first programs that I start with the computer each morning.  I use it to document my calculations.  As a licensed PE, it is essential to my approval of Engineering designs.  As a part-time Professor, I use it in my lectures to derive or demonstrate example calculations.  I will continue to use it in my retirement.

 

Now the real point of this post.  Out of curiosity, how many out there in this forum used the DOS version? When did you start using Mathcad and at what version?   What do you use it for? 

 

Wouldn't it be great if PTC offered a retirement license for all the licenses, we've paid for over the years?

 

10 REPLIES 10
DJNewman
17-Peridot
(To:RantEng)

This was before I was born, but for whatever reason people at PTC have saved this old MathSoft flyer. Maybe someone here will feel nostalgia for it?

I manage the Creo and PTC Mathcad YouTube channels for PTC, as well as all PTC Mathcad marketing in general.
FredLusk
12-Amethyst
(To:RantEng)

I am a civil engineer with 43 years of experience, but I'm not quite ready to retire.  I demo'ed then had my company* buy the last DOS version of Mathcad about six months before the first Windows version hit the streets.  I then migrated to the new Windows version.  At the time, I was also using TK Solver, but I gradually lost interest in it in favor of Mathcad.  I have personally owned Mathcad 6, 7, and 8, and I currently own Mathcad Prime 3.0.  I am now with a huge international company and I am using Mathcad Prime 5.0 at work.  Within the group I deal with, I am the only Mathcad user.  I pitch Mathcad to the younger engineers in my group and a few show some interest but haven't jumped on the band wagon.

 

* A small firm and I was one of the owners

DJNewman
17-Peridot
(To:FredLusk)

Regarding a few showing some interest (which means others haven't shown interest), what are the objections they're providing?

I manage the Creo and PTC Mathcad YouTube channels for PTC, as well as all PTC Mathcad marketing in general.
RantEng
12-Amethyst
(To:DJNewman)

Most engineers object because it isn't immediately as fast as using a pencil and paper.  They tend to be busy people and don't want to learn something new.  The value doesn't slap them in the face.  That's why I force it to happen with the Engineers that work for me.

 

My students area another thing.  They see me use it in the classroom on big screen.  I talked the University into making several licenses available to the students.  They seem to grab it quickly and the results show up in the homework assignments.  Many are grad students and work as Engineers.  They end up going to their company and ask for it.

 

I think that the University setting is an ideal place to get future users.  PTC should make a full student license available for little to no cost.  There is no real cost or profit loss to PTC to do this because the students can't afford to buy it.  But, they become addicted and will be demanding it from their employers in a few years.  In several years, they will impose it on their employees.  Your user base can be your best sales force.

 

Bob

FredLusk
12-Amethyst
(To:DJNewman)

As RantEng said, "Most engineers object because it isn't immediately as fast as using a pencil and paper.  They tend to be busy people and don't want to learn something new.  The value doesn't slap them in the face.  That's why I force it to happen with the Engineers that work for me."

 

However, I have no direct reports, so I can't force it to happen, I can only attempt to persuade.  My main roles now, at the end of my career, are QA/QC reviews, writing proposals, providing technical assistance to design teams, mentoring, supporting a long-time friend/co-worker in his role as project manager, and doing task-level engineering when I am the only one in my team who knows how to do something and there isn't time to train someone else.  I'm too expensive to do "real engineering" 🙂  all the time.  BTW, my boss is a geologist and wouldn't be any help getting our engineering team to embrace Mathcad.

ALL (not some--ALL) of the new engineers hired while I was still working had years of experience using MATLAB as students.  They had been exposed to that program as students, learned to use it, became proficient in it, and were pleased with its results.  The program featured very cheap student access and the professors were encouraged to promote it.  So when this new hire was given  a task they reached for the comfort of what they knew and were familiar with.  I encouraged Mathcad to reach out to the schools as well (even before PTC) but only a feeble effort was ever made.  I could demonstrate that Mathcad could replicate the results from MATLAB, and that the analysis was easier for "civilians" to understand, but it was a lost fight before I started.  Even the cost difference between a "seat" in MATLAB vs Mathcad was irrelevant because the cost of training the new hires in Mathcad had to be considered, and accountants only worry about the immediate costs.

RantEng
12-Amethyst
(To:FredLusk)

When I was director of Engineering, I told the young Engineers that they would use Mathcad to document their work.  Lots of grumbling to start. It only took one project, with all the associated changes and revisions, to make believers of them.

 

Bob Adams

JKT
11-Garnet
11-Garnet
(To:RantEng)

I'd love to retire as well, but that is not going to happen yet. I've used the program only 33 years. I did start with the DOS version when doing my master's thesis, though. That was 1990. Likely the last DOS version, but I don't recall the number. After that there I was out for a year and then returned to the company. During that time they transferred to Windows version and I'm still with the same company ... and only now trying to transfer to Prime. As slow as that is, it is infuriating.

 

Oh yes - my field is - and always has been - elevator strength calculations.

 

That retirement license would be nice. So far I've likely kept the license reserved for several years total time.

I started using Mathcad on a Macintosh computer sometime mid-1980's,  The transition to Windows happened when my company decreed that "everybody will use a dos/windows computer."

 

As for a retirement license, so far I've located two options:

  1.  PTC will sell you a retiree's license for the low-low price of $300 annually, or
  2. Prime Express is still free.  If you kept Prime 4 the banner across the page was a footnote on the bottom.  There are a lot of useful things that have been developed for Express (gridlines may be my favorite) and it can be a challenge to find alternatives to solve blocks! 


@Fred_Kohlhepp wrote:

it can be a challenge to find alternatives to solve blocks! 


I've never used them so much - its the programming I can't live without. It would be so nice to keep the 3D beam FEM solver I've made. 😁

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