back to the original posting,
One of the best things I remember hearing was of a CAD instructor who imbedded in his classroom machines' template files a bit of code that wrote into the xdata for each object to capture the current machine user's login. then he could compare the student's submittal to the xdata and quickly determine if the submitted .dwg was original work or someone elses. the proposed 3rd party solutions likely work in a similar manner - you could quickly determine if any objects in the drawing were either edited post-submittal date and who did it.... haven't read the full thread - seemed to go off-topic....
that's helpful for a classroom setting, buut in the business world, no need (and eminently possible to work aroudn -- security by obscurity is no security)
If the goal is to know that what you sent out is what they have, there are a couple of straight forward ways to do that. (A) onkly deliver files on CD-R - so they cannot be edited, and label the CD woth your logo. Then sign the label in wet ink. Burn a copy and file it. If what they are working on does not match what you sent out, you know that they changed something after delivery, and can demonstrate that fact.
or, use a digital signature on the file, and email it.deliver via CD -- any changes to the file invalidate the digital signature, and again you know that it was changed after delivery, and can prove it.
or, run a checksum before you send it out, and send that along with the dwg. any changes to the file, and the checksum no longer matches. FDOT uses this method for the digital submittals.
as far as _any_ other application creating a file that can be distributed read-only or revoked after it's been sent elsewhere, I recall being able to do that with an add-on to Acrobat, that relied on a remote server to authenticate a user and assign them permissions. Who-ever recieved the encrypted pdf file had to be able to connect to, and authenticate on, that remote server before acrobat reader would let them access the file. Not something that I have seen in any other application, and nothing I would ever want to see a dwg encumbered with by default.
Our goal really is to make sure the customer builds to OUR final design and not make changes in the drawings that we aren't aware of.
I don't think that's possible. The best you can do is make sure that the drawing you submit as final is identifiable. In the Civil industry we still do that with issued hard copy. The client can have all the CAD files they want. But if they build anything that doesn't match the specs in the hard copy, it's their responsibility. At least any change has to be passed and recorded by the on site inspector.
At the last place I worked we would send password protected zip files. Of course the client could extract the drawing and edit it. But if the drawing they had a problem with didn't match the one that was in the original zip file. Oh well!
I haven't seen any fool proof method. I've even seen signed and sealed plans altered and the seal falsified.
Apologies for continuing an off-topic conversation, but there still seems to be a lot of misconception about what the Autodesk Cloud is all about and how people are going to use it.
The Cloud is not primarily a place for file stashing and remote access, although that is a potential use and a lot of users may utilize it that way. What it is however is a computing engine more powerful than what is likely on your desktop. The real utility of the Cloud will come into play for users who need to render large models, perform complex numerical computations, or perform other simulations that would eat up too much processor time on a local machine. By submitting a model to the Cloud for these types of tasks users will have the ability to get results faster. They may even eventually have access to programs not available to them locally.
As time goes on I think it's safe to assume that more and more Cloud possibilities will become available as user demands increase. But it's also safe to say that it's going to go way beyond anyone's current expectations and far exceed what we can do "at home" or "in the office".
That sounds great. However after reviewing the lnfo in the link provided earlier in the thread. It looks like only a few customers will have access to anything above the level of Storage Sharing and Viewing. We are in the Civil industry and use Civil 3D. None of the products that qualify for the Cloud based processing are Civil 3D based.
And yet another misconception about what the cloud is for.... Please note that EVERY ONE of the alleged benefits of the cloud could be more securely achieved using grid computing on the local area network, with absolutely zero need to unsecurely transmit confidential data to an unspecified location/host somewhere in the mass of interconnected computers called the internet. Quite possibly to a country whose laws regarding data/privacy/confidentiality etc. are wholly unacceptable.
So-called Cloud computing is nothing more (or less) than a strategy on the part of vendors to maximize revenue. End user or customer benefits are hype, while the risks to confidential data is very real. And will continue to be real until/unless service providers take full financial responsibility for any loss of service, data loss, confidentiality compromises, hacking attacks, etc etc etc.
Autodesk in particular has several major strikes against them -- lack of trust for one. After all, netiher customers or quality have not come first since CB took over as CEO. Their recent history is littered with abandoned projects, and no path forward for customers who bought into one of those procducts. Performance is another -Online Help is a first step in the cloud strategy, and by most customer reports is near useless, Charitably it could be described as a mitigated fiasco.
There is a place for cloud services -- but CAD, rendering, modeling, and design are not that place, and the number of organizations that can actually benefit from cloud services (as opposed to viable alternatives) is rather small.
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