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Mathcad Prime 4.0 still not so prime

rlutz-2
1-Newbie

Mathcad Prime 4.0 still not so prime

So I am going to air my frustrations -

When is PTC going to give two sihts about Mathcad? 

They just came out with 4.0 and it sucks as bad as it has since 1.0 - why don't they just listen to the people and fix it? 

Yes they improved Prime but converting from 15 is still horrible.  It dam near doubles in size and, oh yea, still can't convert it's own graphs.

Hey PTC -this is bullsiht!  It will be nearly impossible to get my company to pay another dime until you get this right.

Am I alone in this? 

16 REPLIES 16
LucMeekes
23-Emerald III
(To:rlutz-2)

Certainly not,

see e.g.: Prime 4.0 features worth upgrade?, and Update with not Much Prime 4.0 to mention a few very recent ones.

Luc

LucMeekes
23-Emerald III
(To:rlutz-2)

I guess with " it ***** " you mean: it extracts substance using underpressure...?

DJF
16-Pearl
16-Pearl
(To:rlutz-2)

I think everyone agrees with you.  What puzzles me is business decisions PTC is making.  Mathcad has a well recognized name, passionate followers and fills a niche that millions of engineers would find advantageous.  If they got it right (again) they could easily milk the program for a decade before a serious update is needed.  (See Excel.  That is a cash cow that requires little input.)  I understand that 15 was looking dated and I have nothing against the intent of Prime.  But the hard part was already done (getting a computer to do math); what's so hard about updating that to a new system?  And instead of fixing what the users really need, they put resources on implementing OLE.   Nice but in no way is that a priority.

 

In order to help PTC out, here is a plan. 

a.) Fix the small bugs in Prime.  Just the way the screen shifts around and selecting boxes get messed up.  There is no point in adding more advanced features if it can't do the very basic function of having a robust GUI.  I can't sell a program to others for engineering calculations if the mouse doesn't work right.  I can't imagine this would take more than a month. 

b.) Make it the engineering calculation tool it needs to be.  Without that set, there is no point in working on integration with other PTC products or adding OLE.  That means fixing the more serious bugs and adding universally needed features like improved plots. 

c.)  Once your tool is stable and solid, continue to add functional features.  Examples would be more advanced plot types (beyond what 15 has) and better conversion of legacy files.   

d.) Distribute mathcad freely to all engineering universities.  Build your base of users there.

e.) profit

Raiko
16-Pearl
(To:DJF)

Your plan is so obvious that one can't help to wonder which nefarious schemes PTC is up to in its dungeons.

My take on this is that PTC has a vision of a monolithic system fit for all purposes. In order to achieve this promised features are skipped and goal posts moved; minitrue for software's 1984 so to say.

raiko

mfrench
12-Amethyst
(To:DJF)

I'm a professor at a large ag and engineering university in the Midwest.  I've been trying for quite a while to get PTC to distribute Prime to my students, but they absolutely won't.  Autodesk set the standard by making most of their products free for students.  Guess what all my students started using?  I've since heard that Creo is now free for students; if so, then PTC has already made the institutional decision to give some of the their software to students.

When I was still trying to have this discussion with PTC (I finally gave up), they always mentioned that Prime is free for 30 days.  That's great except a semester is 120 days long and college lasts more than one semester.  Combine that with the fact that no student could possibly afford to buy all the software they need and I just don't see how Prime is ever going to be anything but a niche product at most universities.  Their market penetration here seems to be essentially zero.  PTC should be almost air dropping it on the students, like Autodesk, Mathworks, etc.  They won't though.

As it is now, I use MATLAB in all my classes.  I sometimes mention MCAD/Prime, but have to tell the students the marketing is such that they will probably never meet another user of the program and it may not survive in the market - may not be a good idea to get too invested in it.  MATLAB is harder to use, but is universal, so we use it.  MATLAB is a marketable skill when they are looking for a job and Prime isn't.

It hate having to write this as I started using MCAD V1.1 or V2.  I can't remember now, but I know I needed to upgrade my computer to 384k memory to run it.  I'm probably one of those die hard users who doesn't want to give it up.  However, I've given up trying to teach it to the next generation.  It's too bad.  I have no idea where the next generation of Prime users is going to come from.  I assume PTC has a plan for that, but I don't know what it is.

Good points all!

I believe that at some future time PTC plans to bundle Mathcad with CREO;  perhaps that's one way to get it to you students.

As far as the next generation:   A "seat" of Mathcad is much cheaper than a "seat" of MATLAB.  At the large aerospace company I work for, all of the new hires show up expecting to use MATLAB and are met by budget conscious IT managers encouraging cheaper alternatives.  So I have an ally in my crusade to teach these "kids" the virtues of unit-balance equations.

Thanks for the insight, Fred,

You are right in that MATLAB is not cheap.  It's not even cheap for us, but it is so widely available to the students through our site licensing agreement that all our students have ready access.  The folks at Mathworks want it to be ubiquitous here and it pretty much is.  We are generating herds of MATLAB users who certainly expect to use it after graduation.

My knowledge about how companies use it is definitely anecdotal, but I do know that potential employers routinely ask for MATLAB as a job skill.  I've never seen a company ask for Mathcad experience.  Not that is doesn't happen, only that I have never seen it.

In my opinion, if PTC wants to fight this kind of momentum, they need to make Prime free to students and make sure students see it everywhere.  Remember the days of AOL CDs being everywhere?  It might need to be like that.  While you might well be right about eventually being able to get Prime as a module within a free copy of Creo, I have a hard time imagining that as a compelling way to attract new prime users.  My students are drowning in free software and I doubt they will exert themselves to jump through hoops for PTC.

I've been trying since Mathcad was MathSoft to convince them to give it to students and professors for free.  (Paying someone to require their software is illegal, isn't it?)

PTC (I believe) is surprised and dismayed by all the "stand-alone" users; they can't understand why there is  such an outcry to make Prime more than a fancy embedded calculator.  We are gradually using the old, strong talent that were regulars in the Collaboratory (one I know gave up in disgust, another was banned for strong language and opinions,) others I'm sure are frustrated/disappointed.

Mark, we'll add your name to that list!

Have you looked into SMath?  It's a web-based, freeware, look-alike.

I originally had high hopes for SMath, but it looked like it wasn't completely developed and that not much was happening with it.  Admitted it has been a while since I've checked.  Maybe it's time to revisit.

As for PTCs view of Prime, it's hard to know what they think.  The last time I talked with anyone there about Prime, they assured me that it would be available as a standalone, but that's not how they are acting.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.  I'll probably stay with V15 until Prime 5.0 comes out - whenever that will be.

Does anyone now how PTC is doing financially?  I suspect that they are making enough money on their other products that they can treat Prime however they want.  They don't seem to think that standalone Prime users are a large enough group to worry about.

Raiko
16-Pearl
(To:mfrench)

Hello Mark,

your comment shows that my previous reference from 1984 is correct. PTC states something and acts something different; double-think in Orwell's parlance.

i gave up on MC Prime and will stick as longs as possible to MC15.

Financially I believe that PTC is doing fine. My company (not a small one) uses three different PTC products and pays handsomely.

Maybe their strategy is to tie customers by a single monolithic system to PTC so that one can't abandon one software without jeopardizing the rest. As Microsoft did when they claimed that the Internet Explorer is such an in integral part of their OS that one might wreck the entire system when taking IE out of it.

Raiko

mfrench
12-Amethyst
(To:Raiko)

Hi Raiko,

You may well be right.  The thing I don't understand is why no other company has tried to match the Mathcad user interface.  The interface is what makes Mathcad - without it, there is no reason to use it rather than some more popular software.  Some competition on usability and the interface might change PTC's approach to Prime development, but I don't now where that would come from.


Mark

Raiko
16-Pearl
(To:mfrench)

Hi Mark,

PTC certainly owns the patent on Mathcad's user interface and others shy away from the injunctions this entails.

Raiko

Hi Mark,

I wonder if you are the big-little guy that owns a lot of youtube videos on Mathcad and engineering. I have enjoyed watching all of them and I have them bookmarked for revision whenever I need to consult something in Mathcad-engineering related problems.

Awesome!

regards.

Rey.

mfrench
12-Amethyst
(To:jsuarez)

Well, I might be.  I have a YouTube channel called Brain Waves where I post videos for my students.  If you've watched them and found some of the useful, that's great.  Thanks 🙂

JamesCahill
5-Regular Member
(To:rlutz-2)

It's hard to believe that anyone would pay for this upgrade. It's astounding how little was improvement was made in two years. The lack of discussion about 4.0 in this forum suggests that users have reacted with a big yawn.

Yes, yawn... and transfering long used standard-worksheets to other systems.

We will reduce the number of licences heavily.

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