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Announcement re the Future of MachStdMill
« on: November 22, 2010, 05:52:05 PM »


The Future of MachStdMill with Mach3 v3


Our story opens with a scene from a long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away...

During Q4 2009, I set out to prototype a revised Mach3 User Interface (UI). I (actually Calypso Ventures Inc.) started working with Brian (ArtSoft USA); the initial project idea was that we’d target this revised UI at the next major release of Mach3 (v4).  Thus started MachStdMill (MSM) development…

After analysis, an optimized work flow was designed that targeted personal CNC machinists; that in turn framed the functional grouping of the basic MSM screen pages. This accomplished the initial goal to create a simple screen set prototype for Mach3 v4 and that “proof of concept” screen set was the basis for the MSM alpha test program.

If you have the engineering gene, you’ll understand what happened next… ;-)
Given that I’d created a new screen set frame work, additional functionality was included into the project (“as long as I’m here…”).

A significant CVI decision was to add support for probing as a integrated feature. The  probing engine in turn enabled additional features (e.g. TLO measurements during Tool changes and Master Tool Mode). Additional features that had been on the wish list also got added as time was available (eventually this included an entirely new user manual to go with the software).  I also gave the user interface a visual update (to address the visual aspects of the 1024 screen set). The visual scheme went thru at least two major iterations, resulting in today’s MachStdMill look & feel.

MachStdMill was first shown publicly at the CNC workshop in June, 2010. The software received a warm reception and the most common question was “when will it be available?”.  The announcement was made that MachStdMill would be starting a general Beta test following the workshop. 

Beta testing has gone quite well.  Initially there was the usual increase in bug reports that happen when software is made available to a large user base. As bugs were fixed, the bug  reports on the MSM beta forum slowed to a trickle; there came a time when there were no open MSM bug reports. 

By late Q3 2010, the MachStdMill implementation for Mach3 V3 had developed into a popular, stable, user interface which also provided significant enhanced functionality.  It was now time to make another decision: Release a production version of MachStdMill on V3, or withdraw the package until Mach3 V4 (the original Mach target) is available?

The release of MachStdMill as a Mach3 v3 offering carries some support implications.  Another consideration was that CVI also has additional functionality enhancements underway for MSM. 

During discussions, we reached the conclusion that MachStdMill’s enhanced functionality level exceeds what ArtSoft wants to commit to supporting with Mach3 v3; Brian also decided that if they were to bundle MSM with Mach3 V3, they would raise the price of Mach v3, yet he preferred not to change Mach3 v3’s pricing at this time.

Accordingly, we have mutually agreed that MSM will not be bundled from Mach3 v3, and CVI has made a decision wrt to the future of MachStdMill on Mach3 V3.

Calypso Ventures, Inc. is pleased to announce that it will be offering MachStdMill as an enhancement product for Mach3 v3.

Implementing this decision requires that CVI engage in a bit of work to set up the required software product mechanisms...
 
Transition plans:
The beta availability of MachStdMill will continue for a while longer while CVI gets things organized for MachStdMill to be a formal CVI product offering.

For example, we are working to have the released version of MachStdMill include online 24/7 license activation.  This requires some retooling of the Calypso Ventures web site as well as adding additional backend transaction support capabilities.


Beta 14 announcement:
A new Beta version of MachStdMill (beta 14) is now available. MachStdMill beta 14 is now available directly from the Calypso Ventures website:

User forums:
To support the release of MSM for Mach3 v3, CVI has also set up a new MSM user community forum. 

The new user community forum for MachStdMill can be found at:


Please drop over to the new MSM user community forum and say hello. The first round of virtual  beers is on the house!  ;-)

While I will continue to be on the usual forums (the Yahoo list, machsupport forums, and CNCZone) where I will try to answer any MSM questions that may be posted, the best place to ask an MSM related question will be the CVI MSM web forum.   

The MSM forum on MachSupport.com will remain for an undetermined time to facilitate a smooth transition (at minimum until the MSM beta period ends).   You can think of CVI as level one support for MSM users, if something turns out to really be a Mach internal issue, I’ll work with Brian in the background; We’re trying not to have end user support questions re MSM go to ArtSoft USA.

My thanks to the many MSM alpha and beta test users who have helped get us to this point. I look forward to your continued inputs which help shape CVI’s plans for continued development of MSM.

Dave
_________________

David Bagby
President
Calypso Ventures, Inc.

Author of the MachStdMill Extensions for Mach3
www.CalypsoVentures.com