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Favorite Companies of 2004

December 30, 2004

Filed under: review — Terry Wohlers @ 10:24

Over the years, I have developed a strong appreciation for products and services of high quality. Some companies deliver, but many do not. The following companies, listed alphabetically, are those that met or exceeded my expectations over the past 12 months:

1) Communication Technologies … for maintaining and growing Time-Compression Technologies magazine through some very difficult times. As a columnist, I’m admittedly biased. I appreciate the company’s willingness to give me space to voice my views and opinions through the year. 

2) Hewlett-Packard … for offering the OfficeJet 6110 all-in-one printer/copier/scanner/fax machine. The hardware and software have worked exceptionally well, unlike the first generation all-in-one unit that we purchased. It was a dud. Also, kudos to HP for its LaserJet 4M printer. It has been a reliable workhorse for 11 years of steady use and the print quality has not degraded a bit.

3) Panasonic … for delivering what I believe is the best laptop computer ever produced for the road warrior. The Toughbook CF-W2 offers 4-6 hours of battery power, a built-in DVD/CD-RW drive, and 802.11b/g wireless, all in a 1.27 kg (2.8 lb) package with a strong titanium shell.

4) Qwest … for great people at their call center. They are competent, personable, and helpful. Also, the Qwest DSL service that we use has been rock solid and its speed has been upgraded at almost no additional cost. 

5) United Airlines … for getting me and others to so many places safely and usually on schedule. They’ve also experienced a difficult year, yet most UA employees have remained upbeat and helpful.

6) WestHost … for offering reliable and inexpensive web hosting services.

7) What’s Cooking (now called Meals Made Easy) … for helping to improve things at dinner time. Meals Made Easy is a local company that prepares and packages gourmet meals at reasonable prices. Prior to 2004, we would dine out 3-4 times per week, mainly due to our very hectic schedules. While this may sound good to some, it comes at a price, both in time and money.

So there you have it. Seven companies that stood out and made life a bit easier this year. Check back at this time next year to see which companies make the list for 2005.

Joe Greco will be Missed

December 14, 2004

Filed under: life — Terry Wohlers @ 13:52

I was stunned by yesterday’s news. Joe Greco had died. Words can’t describe how sad I am for Joe’s family and friends, as well as for the entire CAD industry.

If you’ve read magazine articles on CAD in recent years, you know the name. Joe had published hundreds of articles on the subject, including many challenging and in-depth articles that most people would not touch. Month after month, he would tackle some of the most difficult software product reviews. I was always amazed at the number of articles he would deliver, while maintaining a high level of standard. For the past four years, Joe worked closely with me to determine CAD solid modeling growth trends for publication in our annual study, the Wohlers Report.

Joe and I go back a long way. If my memory serves me correctly, we first met at an NCGA (National Computer Graphics Association) event 18 years ago. About a year or so later, Joe co-founded the CAD/CAM Journal, a magazine dedicated to CAD on the Macintosh. Over the years, Joe became very active in CAD industry organizations and events, and served as a respected independent consultant.

Joe visited Fort Collins as recently as November 6. As usual, Joe and I shared many thoughts and ideas with one another and reminisced about the past and looked into the future. Joe was someone who I could trust; he had my respect. Most recently, Joe had a passion for promoting The CAD Society, a member organization that was founded in 1987 as a part of NCGA. When Joe passed away, he was the current president of the society and was rolling out exciting new plans for expanding membership and programs. I hope that others will share his passion and vision for the society and carry it into the future. 

Joe suffered cardiac arrest on December 2 while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife, Heather, and Heather’s parents. He died on December 7 at the age of 41. A scholarship fund is being established in Joe’s name at: The CAD Society, 8220 Stone Trail Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817-4556. Joe will be missed by many.