FLX FILES

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FLX FILES

Postby Richard Sands » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:18 am

Will MSCAD2002 (or earlier) open flx files of later versions of MSCAD up to 2005 when they changed to dwg extension?
regards, Richard
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Postby ianw2 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:29 am

Hey, Richard! Happy New Year to you down under....

Interesting question...

Since the old FLX format used basically the same data base structure during the past decade, I would assume that the earlier version would open the newer bersion,

The problems you might encounter would be when the earlier version runs across something that was an addition in a later version. I don't know how the error trapping would function.

Of course, the age old quick answer would be...try it! Just make sure you try it on backed up files.

Cheers!

Ian
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Postby Glen Cameron » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:31 am

MicroSurvey CAD 2004 will open any previous version of FLX file BUT MicroSurvey CAD 2002 will not open the FLX file from MicroSurvey CAD 2004.

www.graebert.com has a new program that will open all FLX files and allow you to save them to DWG files. PowerCAD DWG Viewer 7 is a relatively cheap program that will do this for you. Then you always have a legal licensed program at your disposal to do the conversions of all FLX file to DWG files.
Technically, the older MicroSurvey CAD programs can't be used being the license was upgraded to the current version (we do give you a few months to do all of the conversions, then after that the older program is supposed to be uninstalled for licensing reasons).
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Postby ianw2 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:04 am

I stand corrected.

The Viewer lists on the Graebrt website at €99. At today's exchange rate, that's about $146 US.

Hmmmm.....
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flx conversion

Postby Richard Sands » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:17 pm

I appreciate the upgrade licence bit, but when the file structure changes so radically making old jobs unreadable in the latest version then I wonder if its an area where the owners should be allowed, and supported in that, to hold a version of the program that will allow them to open and convert the old file to a current extension. I appreciate the 3rd party conversion bit, but I doubt it would do the job exactly as it would be if converted from MSCAD 2004 flx to MSCAD ?? dwg.
One may well find things don't come through the conversion that should.
The reason for needing the conversion arose from a query from a lawyer yesterday regarding a 5 year old boundary dispute. The raw files still exist and I could recreate the job from such but its not the same as opening the job and printing out old plans as created back then.
(this is another area for Time Stamps to be useful from the unadulterated raw data files, the sort of thing i query in Field Genius output)
I've downloaded 2004 and installed so can get this file converted thankfully, but it will fall over in 30 days.
regards, Richard
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Postby Glen Cameron » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:04 pm

I understand what you are saying and we do allow a short period for customers to do the conversion from FLX to DWG using the old upgraded copy. There is a batch process that can be used to do complete folders at one time.

The conversion program I mentioned earlier is in fact written by and sold by the same company that we used to license the CAD engine from that created the old FLX files. So the conversion is not a 3rd party, but in fact the original company that we got the license from to compile their engine into Microsurvey CAD products over the years.

In the next 30 days, go through the batch conversion option and get all your FLX files converted to DWG files - then this issue goes away. :)
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Postby rwhatman » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:32 am

I can't believe what I just read.

MicroSurvey abandons FLX format, no longer support it. Then it wants
all the users to spend time converting that format.

Can't happen, we have thousands of drawing in FLX format.
We only use it to convert when needed. I don't even have it on my computer now, but on one the older computers its there to convert when needed.

We don't have older versions as there was of a way to convert.

We will not upgrade now as there is no backward compatablity.
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flx files

Postby Vincent Popish » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:02 am

Just thought I would put in 2 cents worth. Many of our drawings have been archived, may never need them again, or I could need one today. There is no way to know. It would take many hours (days) to go through and load them back on to a computer, convert them, and re-archive them. I believe it is rediculous to suggest all of Microsurveys clients do this. I would think a better solution is for Microsurvey to provide a free service at their Web site to convert any old files from flx to dwg. They are the ones to change the format, and I believe it should have been changed. But part of supporting your customers is making things convient not absurd.
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flx to dwg

Postby artb » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:38 am

I agree with the comments of rhwatman and vincent popish.

I will add that I think it is ludicrous to suggest that all users of MS need to convert literally 1000's of files to the new standard in order to have the few that need to be converted. I don't think that you have thought through just how much time could be involved in accomplishing such a task of the mass conversion. I have heard from some that have tried your mass conversion routines that they have had trouble trying to make them work. If this is true then it would make the task even more onerous.

I agree with Vincents suggestion that you should provide a free service on your website for users to perform the conversion when and as required.
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Postby rwhatman » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:48 am

Glen Cameron wrote:MicroSurvey CAD 2004 will open any previous version of FLX file BUT MicroSurvey CAD 2002 will not open the FLX file from MicroSurvey CAD 2004.

www.graebert.com has a new program that will open all FLX files and allow you to save them to DWG files. PowerCAD DWG Viewer 7 is a relatively cheap program that will do this for you. Then you always have a legal licensed program at your disposal to do the conversions of all FLX file to DWG files.
Technically, the older MicroSurvey CAD programs can't be used being the license was upgraded to the current version (we do give you a few months to do all of the conversions, then after that the older program is supposed to be uninstalled for licensing reasons).


I looked at this program. It converts DXF to DWG ok.

Here the problem the Database not coverted MSCAD.

The Database is more important then any drawing.

I get a Drawing from a surveyor who uses MSCAD and I know how
he did his survey, because I can look at the database.

In the many years we used MSCAD the database was so good that
when the field crew did not write on paper notes it did not matter.

They would say, you got a on cad why do I need to make hours of notes.

Now this will be lost, we will have a drawing (picture), but no legal field notes good enough to say how we surveyed.

We now find that we have to keep programs only because the new programs won't support old work.

We did buy 1 Licence early and got a free Upgrade. In a year from now
we should delete it if we don't buy other Licence.

We will likely stay with MsCAD2005 for some time now, as I am the only
using the program now. I know all the problems and it will do.

When we buy again I will recomend never buy a upgrade program.
We should have the right when to delete a program.
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Postby Glen Cameron » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:03 am

Richard - the database is perfectly fine and will not be lost at all.

When you convert the FLX to DWG via any program, the database is not touched. When you then open this DWG file in Microsurvey CAD 2008, the database is automatically opened and converted to the new format. This is assuming that you have kept the database file in the same folder with the same name as the original FLX and the new DWG.

Keep in mind, this has NOT changed and MicroSurvey CAD 2005 is the same. It uses the DWG and database file and converts it to the file format it required. You still had to convert any old FLX files to DWG. Nothing has changed other than we can no longer legally give out passwords for the older program (which is now 3.5 plus years old) for anyone who has upgraded to either 2005 or 2008.

That is why we are suggesting that people either convert all FLX files to DWG using the batch conversion in the older MicroSurvey CAD (which really will not take a long time even with over 1000 FLX files, when done over 30 days, one mass folder or two, at a time, over lunch), or purchase the newest CAD engine from the same manufacturers that we licensed from for 2004 and previous versions. This gives a legal license that you can use forever.
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FLX to DWG

Postby Vincent Popish » Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:14 am

Glen:
You didn't respond to the suggestion of you guys having a conversion utility on your website that would convert flx files to dwg files. You used to have the best support in the industry, bar none. But it appears to me that the attitude at Microsurvey is changing a little. I sure perferred the old.
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Postby Glen Cameron » Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:48 am

I can't comment on that as yet being that several key staff members that might be able to set this up, are out of the office. When they return, it will be discussed and see what options we can provide.
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Postby rwhatman » Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:21 am

Glen Cameron wrote:Richard - the database is perfectly fine and will not be lost at all.

When you convert the FLX to DWG via any program, the database is not touched. When you then open this DWG file in Microsurvey CAD 2008, the database is automatically opened and converted to the new format. This is assuming that you have kept the database file in the same folder with the same name as the original FLX and the new DWG.

Keep in mind, this has NOT changed and MicroSurvey CAD 2005 is the same. It uses the DWG and database file and converts it to the file format it required. You still had to convert any old FLX files to DWG. Nothing has changed other than we can no longer legally give out passwords for the older program (which is now 3.5 plus years old) for anyone who has upgraded to either 2005 or 2008.

That is why we are suggesting that people either convert all FLX files to DWG using the batch conversion in the older MicroSurvey CAD (which really will not take a long time even with over 1000 FLX files, when done over 30 days, one mass folder or two, at a time, over lunch), or purchase the newest CAD engine from the same manufacturers that we licensed from for 2004 and previous versions. This gives a legal license that you can use forever.


As always I was not very clear. I ment that if the Database file is not converted it will be lost.

Have you tried converting MScad2002 database right to MScad2008 database. I think you will have a problem. You first have to rename and use MSCAD2005 then use MSCAD2008.

Sure converting FLX file does not do anything to database.
I did not mean it would.

I was just commenting when we have to convert a drawing we have to convert database as well.

I had crashed the 2008 program in its early days, because of problem with old databases. It may be find now.

We are not starting to have a chain of programs to convert drawings.

For years I use AutoCAD14 to remove Proxies from AutoCAD drawings.
It was the only program that would do it. Now it is gone as the computer it
was on nolonger works.

If MicroSurvey does not support the past drawing, users will have to keep
using old program just to convert to new standards.

Thank you
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Postby Glen Cameron » Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:29 pm

The MSD database from all older versions of MicroSurvey CAD will be opened automatically in 2008 when you open the DWG, as long as it is in the same folder. 2008 and 2005 both do the same thing, converting the database to the current version of the database. you will not lose the database! You do not have to do any manual (or otherwise) conversions of the database, we do it automatically. You do not need 2005 at all - you can go directly from 2002 or 2004, with the FLX converted to DWG, and open it directly in 2008.

We do have a Service Patch #1 out for 2008 that we do suggest grabbing, to be current (follow alll of the instructions to install it and update the USB key to run it). There was a minor issue in the oriignal 2008 that has been fixed in SP#1.
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FLX CONVERSION

Postby Richard Sands » Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:25 pm

Is it unreasonable for MSCAD users who have progressed through the versions 3.? to 2008 to not to be able to retain a version of the last 'flx' Mscad? I take your point regarding the PowerCAD, but what happens when they move on and decide not to support flx extensions and we are left with another program that for us not up to the task? Also would they support us if we upgrade to a new computer and need a key or whatever to get running?
I'm not against a small charge to re-issue a licence for the new key, maybe thats a better option than on-line conversion? Id support that though - think its a good idea.
My 2 bobs worth, Richard

I downloaded and tried the viewer. It certainly works ok. I noticed the data base didn't pick up the points at first - clicked on a point number and it came up as text. I had to save a few times in 2008 before it got the message that it was in fact a point and not a CAD entity.
(I have found with 2008 that in certain instances it takes while for an entity to become an MSCAD entity as opposed to just a CAD entity)
It is a defenite option but would prefer the licence for MSCAD2004.
It does have some language barriers too, unless you can speak German. Some of the toolbars are in German. I downloaded from the English Language site - got an email in German.
Guten Tag, Richard Sands,
vielen Dank, dass Sie PowerCAD Pro 7 von www.graebert.com heruntergeladen haben.

The PowerCAD DWG Viewer 7 has benefits that it converts to a far greater range of AutoCAD versions.
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Postby Darcy Detlor » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:11 am

Hello,

Just to clarify and hopefully put everyone's mind at rest...

MicroSurvey will always convert files for any customer who has a drawing in an older (flx) version and does not have the ability to update it to a newer version. If we have to maintain a copy of the latest PowerCAD version to do this, we will do it. We may charge for this service, but anyone can avoid that charge by purchasing the PowerCAD viewer.
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Licensing.

Postby B. K. Lemons » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:52 pm

Let's say, for example, that a customer has previously bought the 2005 version of the software. He has bought a license to use the 2005 version of the software forever.

Then let's say that that same customer comes along and decides that he wants the newest version, 2008, and he pays full price for it. Although in a loose way of thinking about it he has upgraded his software because he has bought a newer version than that he already had, he hasn't really "upgraded" it in the technical sense of the word, because he didn't pay a discounted price for the newer version. As with version 2005, he has bought a license to use the 2008 version of the software forever.

Since the customer has paid full price for both versions, rather than paying the "upgrade" price to go from one to the other, he has the right to run both versions forever. It's just like having two individual customers, with one owning a license to one version, and with the other owning a license to the other version. There is no law, at least in the Free USA, against a citizen owning separate licenses to two different versions of software.

My understanding from what Glen wrote above is that if a customer "upgrades" the software, in the technical sense of the word, and pays the "upgrade" price for the latter version rather than full price, then he agrees to stop using the older version of the software.

What that says to me is that in the event I decide to buy 2008, I should pay full price for it rather than the "upgrade" price. Then I will have a separate licence for each version. Not that I need it, since it's only just me in the office. But a friend might come along someday needing me to process some 2005 files for him when version 2010 rolls around.

It might be better to pay the full price for the 2008 version and remain a "customer" rather than to get a little bit of discount by "upgrading" and become a "hostage."
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This is getting kind of abstract

Postby Darcy Detlor » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:37 pm

If your friend has some 2005 files that need to be processed, open them in 2008 and process them. There is no need to keep a 2005 version for this reason.

The only file that needs converting is an older flx file into a dwg version. This is a simple conversion of the drawing entities into a different file format. The surveying information in the MicroSurvey database files will move forward from versions back in the '90s automatically.
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Postby B. K. Lemons » Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:31 pm

Sorry, but you miss the point.

Try re-reading what I wrote above.
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Postby Darcy Detlor » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:22 pm

No, I understand exactly what you wrote.

It is unnecessary to purchase another full copy and keep the old one "in reserve" in case you need to open an old file.
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LICENSING

Postby Richard Sands » Thu Jan 17, 2008 11:41 pm

If i read what B K is saying but to put a different version of it - if i had Mscad2004 fully licenced and then comes say 2005 which I purchase as a fully paid new license not chosing an upgrade discounted price then thats in effect another customer with another licence. If when 2008 comes I then upgrade to 2008 from 2005 at the discounted price for upgrades then technically i've ditched 2005 in favour of 2008. If then I change to a new machine in the future I should be eligable for a key for 2004 which was fully paid for and in effect never traded in for a discounted price. 2008 should be OK as it runs on a dongle.
So I could then have both 2004 and 2008 on my new machine, both fully functional.
If thats so, then when a new version that renders the old version unreadable comes along I can see merit in having both and paying for a new (latest) version rather than upgrade.
regards, Richard
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Postby Glen Cameron » Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:26 am

Mr. Sands, the story you have outlined is correct in it's assumptions. In your example, you wuld still have legal license to the old 2004 being it had not been upgraded.

You idea of not upgrading 1 copy but upgrading the other, for a one man operation like yours, is really not a good idea. Even though you would have had a discount when purchasing the second full copy in the first place, you would be tieing this cash up in a program that you would likely never use - in most cases.

The only time that this would have been an option that could prevail is when we moved from 2004 to 2005, and only because of the FLX to DWG change due to the change in CAD Engines. If this change in CAD engines had not been done, then the idea of maintaining 2 copies would not be required at all.

The option of purchasing a copy of PowerCAD DWG Viewer 7.0 from the manufacturer of the CAD engine we used in 2004 and older, is actually more cost effective than maintaining a second copy of our program, just for this type of situation. Being PowerCAD would only be required for conversion of FLX to DWG, it would never need to be upgraded, as it will always do what is required.

Anyway, I do belive we have gone around this topic enough times for now.
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Postby B. K. Lemons » Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:34 am

When you think it through, you see that in the particular case of MS software products, it is better to spend the extra few hundred dollars, or whatever it is, and keep a full license of every version purchased.

In the case of MS software products, keeping a full license of prior versions is probably the best overall assurance and protection for one's business, the choice having the least risk, and the choice having the least hassle.

If just one little surprise pops up, just one little predicament that no one could have anticipated comes about, a business person can find himself frittering away a whole business day equal to the purchase price of a new license, perhaps even two or three business days, looking for answers, posting on this board, making phone calls, sending confidential files to MS, or buying the extra "rescue" software that's been suggested in this thread.

It's better to just keep a full license of the old version. It's kind of like having the "insurance" that has been suggested in other threads.

Here's an example:

Let's say that you "upgrade" from 2005 to 2008. You pay the discounted "upgrade" price for 2008. That means that your 2005 license has been upgraded to a 2008 license. As Glen wrote above, you no longer have the right to use 2005. Your only rights to use the software are in your 2008 license.

Then one day you wake up to learn that you've misplaced your 2008 license. Your USB key is missing. It somehow popped out of your laptop as you carried it into the courthouse. Or your toddler yanked it out while you weren't looking. Or the key went on a trip in the trunk of the car of your helper, who is on vacation, backpacking in the mountains and can't be found. You are out of luck.

However, if you keep your full license to 2005, then you can keep working until your 2008 license is returned.

Then a year later you hire a draftsman, or perhaps you want to train up your son to help you in the business. One of you can use 2005 while the other uses 2008.

For just a few hundred dollars, or whatever, it's worth it to have a full license to both versions.

That's a better choice than the alternatives in the case of MS software.

Other software packages have their own particulars, too. A person just has to decide what chances he wants to take and make his own decision in each case.
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Postby B. K. Lemons » Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:31 am

Richard, I didn't read your latest post before making my previous post. But I wanted to let you know that you wrote is correct. You are right on target.

It is better to spend the extra money to keep a full license for older versions.
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