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Dayton 2016

13

Comments

  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    The No Knobs and switches reminds me a bit of what happened in the cellphone business. Back in the mid 2000s I had a Blackberry which allowed me to read emails on the go... that was awesome. I could "work" from the golf course! LOL
    In 2007 Apple launched the iPhone and I was hooked. It made a ton of sense, so I bought into it. But the transition was not painless. I lost days of battery life, copy/paste and I had to learn to type on a screen. Still today, almost 10 years later the battery life keeps being an issue unresolved by the major manufactures.

    You can draw a lot of parallels and conclusions, but I think one is clear to all... buttons are gone. So typing took a bit to get used to.... for sure... but do you remember what you had to do in a blackberry with its tiny screen to see and zoom into a picture? It was horrible... and how natural it is to pinch to zoom now?

    The old will not change... they will prefer to read the manual in paper instead of a tablet or turn a knob instead of moving a slider. The way forward in my opinion is, not to replace a physical button to zoom with a touch screen button, is to come up with the "pinch to zoom" gesture. I think Flex can be the company that does it for ham radio.  
  • W9OY
    W9OY Alpha Team Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    This is why the 7300 is the destructive part. Most of its controls are drop down menu screen presses on a cellphone screen. Flex's menu system isnt that different. 73 W9OY
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    Peter,

    It's pretty simple- you are in the business of making money and your #1 goal is profitability. Profitability comes with focus. You can either be 1) a very profitable #2 or 3 player (think Apple in the market for PCs) or 2) the lowest cost (cost, not selling price) player. Anything in between is a recipe for lousy margins and mediocre performance.

    So Flex has to make up their mind- go upscale or chase market size. If I were that senior manager at Flex, I'd go after the upscale market and buyers itching for leading edge innovation, and will stop chasing Icom with silly promotions.

    To take that step further, I'd aggressively pursue and nurture relationships with third party developers to build a thriving ecosystem. Using the Apple comparison, think the App Store. I don't know how good the Flex APIs, but I'd make sure it is rock solid, very well documented, and supported via dedicated staff that understand code development. Ditto for providing sample code, testing tools, development transceivers, etc.

    To be clear, this stuff is not a rocket science and I am not taking credit for these recommendations. What I am describing is "standard" business strategies every MBA student learns in their first year.

    Finally, buttons and knobs are NOT gone, it just depends on the use case. Think blind hams. Think contesters that DO NOT TOUCH a mouse during a contest (great ones only use the keyboard). Think mobile use.

  • Ernest - W4EG
    Ernest - W4EG Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    N2WQ - Peter,
    This is a fantastic approach. I hope someone is listening.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @Peter, precisely! @Lee, that was pretty much my point. Doing a bake-off between the 6300 and 7300 is, in political terms arguing / competing down. @Sal, RHR remotes Elecraft for free. Pans can be sent to a browser, just look at websdr. To my recollection, the html5 widget is called media. One makes a bytestream from the pixelated data and point the media control at it.
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    First of all, thanks N2WQ for adding constructive comments to the conversation in the forum I appreciate it. 

    I agree with you in the cater to the higher end - upscale market. And I also see in the API one of the gold mines of the Flex "ecosystem".

    But I don't think any radio manufacture builds things with the blind in mind. It is at best, an afterthought for many, like adding Voice Readouts on some radios.

    The Maestro is definitely a tool fit for a contester and your comment about the mouse reminds me of the hardcore UNIX guys that fly through text editing with VI. For the rest of us mere mortals... the mouse works nicely! :)
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @Walt, with a computer, I can do that with Flex without the Maestro. 
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @Rudy, correct, buttons and knobs are not gone. Think the bulk of the Flex user base ponying up $1100 +/- $100 to get them. Remoting was already solved across the Flex line. Now it could be FRS tapped into a distinct user base that will buy anything they choose to sell. Buttons and knobs are not a handicap, VPAT, it's ergonomics.
  • Peter K1PGV
    Peter K1PGV Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    @N2WQ Sure. What you're describing is the difference between a highly differentiated price premium strategy and a commodity strategy. And you're right... the space in between was described by my entrepreneurship professor as "the valley of the shadow of death"... and, you're right again, I did learn that in some of my first classes in business school. But the radio market is waaaay more complicated than you make it sound. Remember, there are a LOT of highly differentiated, price-premium, radios today with knobs and switches. These are the types of rigs an OM buys when he retires, saying to himself "I've always wanted one of these, and now that the kids have grown and I've got time to myself, I can finally treat myself." These folks are part of the knobs and switches crowd, and there are clearly enough of them to make building expensive radios worthwhile for multiple Japanese manufacturers. Contesters and the like are already taken care of with Maestro. And there's no way... none... that Flex can chase market share. @EA4GLI: Exactly like you, I ditched my "I don't have to charge it for two weeks" (literally) Blackberry that I could type on blazingly fast for an iPhone. Because, you know, I can Google from my iPhone, and catch an Uber, and play 4096, and... well, you get the idea. The only thing that I can differ with in your analysis is that the market segments (the users) for ham radio are FAR different to those for cell phones. Will the "average ham on HF" (whose age is ever increasing) be willing to adapt and join the "no knobs and switches revolution"? The older we get, the less adaptable we tend to be (in general). Hmmmm... Thinking about OTHER people's business is always a LOT more fun than thinking about your OWN business. Because, you know... you get to stop thinking about it after about 30 minutes and you don't have to live with the consequences of your decisions :-) Fun discussion... VY 73 all, Peter K1PGV
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @Sal, I didn't understand your last.
  • W9OY
    W9OY Alpha Team Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    N2WQ. What exactly do you understand Flex's business model to be? Seems to me your pretty misinformed
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    I don't know what Flex's business model is for two reasons: 1) they have never really stated what they want to do and what they product roadmap looks like and 2) times have changed and the business model is in need of re-evaluation. I believe I have stated it pretty clearly that I don't know the inner workings of Flex and my opinions are just that. An unbiased observer can make reasonable assumptions about Flex based on what they do and don't do. Then you look at the competitors, the buyers, industry and demographics trends and before you know it you can predict the future with a reasonable degree of confidence.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @Rudy, yep, precisely.
    I'd say, whether by design or accidently, Flex has captured a slice of the market that is very affluent and incredibly loyal. And that is really good but that market, likely, is not a growth one...in fact likely will shrink over time (age). There is a much larger segment left untouched. The 6600, I envision, would have no more physical controls on it than Maestro, perhaps far fewer and, perhaps, a 5x7 HD display, 2 slices with 6500 technical specs and be priced between the 6300 and 6500. The SSDR environment would remain. I predict that it would sell as fast as they were produced.
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @N2WQ, Please give me a few stock picks... I find predicting the future of the marketplace extremely difficult. :)

    @K1PGV You are probably right about the "older" hams. I personally find doing things differently on the flex radios very compelling. Seeing how you can use and manipulate a TNF is one of the greatest things in PowerSDR and SmartSDR.... I can't see doing that better with knobs and no panadapter. 

    @Walt, I was referring to the RHR that allows you to use the radio through a webpage... it is using a computer to operate the radio which is what you can do with SmartSDR now without the maestro. We try to cram so many conversation within one thread it is so difficult to follow at times. Give me a call one of these days and we can continue this verbally, I always have fun chatting with you. We can even do it on the Air, through ham radio! hi hi


  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @Sal, me too, I will. The 6600 I envision would show the panadapter and, should one want to put it on a 60" UHD, fire up ssdr for whatever and have at it. Sal, the RHR model is precisely what I was referring to, Maestro doesnt enable remote, it enables knobs and dials and dropping ones vfo count to two does not appear to have been so much as a speed bump.
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    I will go on a limb here and state an opinion that likely won't be very popular with the aforementioned loyal Flex base. IMHO, while Flex was an innovative company and market disrupt or, they have stopped being innovative. The Maestro, while popular, is the same old same old. When people talk about SDR, what is the first topic that comes to mind? The GUI- the panadapter, waterfall, etc. Yet this is the one area that has seen the least fundamental change, just minor refinements. I am sure that if a company were to put their mind- and market research- behind it, they would come up with features that are relevant and in demand. For example, think about N1EU's long time effort to have spots added to the panadapter. Going beyond the GUI but still on the topic of SmartSDR, think about the needs of the different market segments and ask yourself if you meet them. For example, I have been in the shacks of quite a few ESSB hams, the ones that use OM4000 as a driver for their amps. What I not
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    I will go on a limb here and state an opinion that likely won't be very popular with the aforementioned loyal Flex base.

    IMHO, while Flex was an innovative company and market disrupt or, they have stopped being innovative. The Maestro, while popular, is the same old same old.

    When people talk about SDR, what is the first topic that comes to mind? The GUI- the panadapter, waterfall, etc. Yet this is the one area that has seen the least fundamental change, just minor refinements.

    I am sure that if a company were to put their mind- and market research- behind it, they would come up with features that are relevant and in demand. For example, think about N1EU's long time effort to have spots added to the panadapter.

    Going beyond the GUI but still on the topic of SmartSDR, think about the needs of the different market segments and ask yourself if you meet them.

    For example, I have been in the shacks of quite a few ESSB hams, the ones that use OM4000 as a driver for their amps. What I noticed is the stacks of pro audio equipment. So how about adding the capability to SmartSDR to work with the numerous audio plugins, commercial or open source, and replace the need of all that pro audio gear? The ham population, along with the overall population in the US and Europe, rapidly ages. How is the software evolving to compensate for reduced vision, shaking hands, impaired hearing, etc.? Hopefully you get the idea. I see opportunities for innovation, but they are not in the hardware. What happens when all rigs have -140 dBm noise floor and 140 db dynamic range?
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    That is when it becomes all about the price, except for those few where 'price is no object' or, perhaps more the case, "the more expensive the better". But I think that is an ever shrinking market segment.
    The bulk of the ham radio market is not chasing bragging rights, IMHO.
  • Ken - NM9P
    Ken - NM9P Member ✭✭
    edited December 2016
    The large iPad was Howard's. The small one is mine! He was running Smartether.net for VPN. I was running the VPN driver on my ASUS router. Both worked really well....until my iPhone battery ran down and I lost my tethered connection to the Internet.
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    Salvador,

    The average individual investor fails to return even 2%, compared to the roughly 11% return for the market. My stock advise to you is simple- stay out of it and let the pros do it for you.

    Meanwhile you can play the raising dollar, which will continue doing so at least for the rest of the year. Oil will recover too as the oversupply is coming to an end.
  • W9OY
    W9OY Alpha Team Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Flex has 2 fully functional API's, one for control and one for waveforms so the ability to integrate some form of pro tools is already built into the radio.  You will note there was an agreement inked for a new amp.  The radio already has pre-distortion hooks built in, and the new amp has the hooks that complete the feedback loop.  So tell me what other radio has the API's and pre-distortion built into its ecosystem?  That's what you do when all radios have -140 dBm noise floors and 140 db dynamic range.   

    Something like spots on the panadapter IMHO has problems in implementation.  One of the reasons Flex went to a FPGA design was to get away from kludging things up with bright idea add-ons that destroy performance.  I don't want any of my FPGA's performance being siphoned off on eye candy.  You make an assumption that there is unlimited horsepower in the radio to do anything your little head can think up.  It's a bad assumption.  If you want spots then develop a overlay onto the panadapter and use your computer to process those spots onto the panadapter.  W2RF has been playing with this approach.  I repeat Flex has 2 fully functional API's, one for control and one for waveforms so the ability to integrate some bright idea is completely available.

    73  W9OY
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    The Anan has had pre-distortion built in for quite a while, both in software and hardware. It's amusing how politicians and fanboys resort to name calling and shallow insults when running out of intelligent things to say.
  • W9OY
    W9OY Alpha Team Member ✭✭
    edited May 2016
    Actually its only been built in for about a year. Before that you had to do surgery to the radio. I sold my Anan 100D precisely for this reason. There are 3 versions of the 100D floating around with different boards in them. Very bad form imho you never know what you are buying 73
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Hey, I am better than average! I have the 2% beat! LOL
    Oil and dollar. So how do you invest dollars into dollars....? I guess that is where the professionals come in....

    Talking about professionals..... we have a few who decided to run a company (FRS) and they seem to be doing a good job so far, but you feel you are in the same professional level that you can "advise" them as to how to run their company.
    I didn't know you were an expert in the subject.

    So when we talk investment I should let the professionals decide what to do with my money.... but when we talk radio FRS should listen to anyone on a forum (like you or me) with no credentials....

    Don't you think that is a double standard?

    This is just in the spirit of pointing out the irony of your 2 statements Rudy. I am not criticizing as much as pointing out how you think there are professionals in the area of investment that I should listen to instead of making my own decision and how that changes completely when we talk radio gear.

    Cluster Spots on the panadapter

    I was very much pro this a few months back. I have had the opportunity to use it on PowerSDR and I am a bit on the fence now. While the tags are really cool for commercial radio stations, the integration of the cluster in my display is not as cool. I guess it has to do with the lack of control and the "garbage in garbage out" of the cluster network nowadays. 

    And also, as I stated above, I do not think the Maestro is same old.... unless you think of it as just knobs. I think of it as a very elegant remote op solution. 
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    On screen spots. I suppose you could sniff every piece of data looking for something akin to a call sign, an anywhere in the world call sign, or you, and when I say you I mean SSDR for Windows, tag a dxcluster source and map those entries by band (panadapter) and age them just as it would age heard radios. In XPSSDR, in the waterfall and spectrum, there are layers that make up the displayed image. The actually recurring data is in a layer by itself so refreshes every 50ms only refreshes that layer, not the grids, not the informational messages (slice off screen). For each spot you have a call of the dx and a freq, The frequency resolves to an X coordinate on the screen, in the waterfall in the case of XPSSDR, Rotate the orientation of the call 90 degrees and offset it's center and write to the spot layer. Nothing happens in the radio as the radio does not do UI, the GUI does.

    Rudy, the only downside I see to that is would it even rise to sufficient interest for someone to spend $200 on that feature, would someone pay extra for it?. But, as with all software once it is written for the first unit, it is free for all others so, per unit, it would be incredibly inexpensive to implement but where on the list of enhancements would that fall?

    @Sal, prior to displaying it would be encumbant on the software to see if there is a signal on that frequency and if the call was even valid...user's qrz xml query.
  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Does anyone honestly feel confident they have a bead on someone else's credentials? For myself, I tend to research who someone is and get a gauge on their BS ranking. For Rudy, I'd listen to the guy. But, it is not up to me or you or Lee to decide whether he makes sense, it is up to the marketing department to create the interlocks between sales and dev and if the idea makes fiscal sense, it adds a point for one's relevance. That as opposed to hey, our chief cheerleader suggested this...let's do it and see if it bankrupts us.
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    LOL BS Ranking, ha ha ha, I like that.... hopefully I haven't climbed much on that ladder.


    I do hope Rudy doesn't take offense in my comment as it is great to have him providing somewhat constructive criticism.

    I was trying to make the same point as you Walt.
    Neither of us is in possession of all the correct answers and neither can we predict the future. Ultimately we are mainly "users" of these devices.

    If someone feels they could do a better job... they should. I think we can point out our preferences and try to clue in FRS as to some of our desires... but it is ultimately up to them. They will be the recipients of the success and failures.
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    It's more than just "users". It is a cliche, but a true one- the customer is always right, especially the paying customer.

    As I was driving to Manhattan this morning- stuck in traffic with plenty of time to think- I was wondering if there have been any recent market studies for the ham market. The contesting community does various polls fairly frequently, but I don't recall anything on transceivers. Granted, it is not that trivial, but someone has to do it.
  • Varistor
    Varistor Member
    edited May 2016
    Salvador,

    You can short the Euro or buy long T-bonds. Broadly, you can short US based companies that make most of their profits from export which is likely to suffer from the rising dollar.
  • EA4GLI
    EA4GLI Salvador Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    I actually did that a few months back. Bought a US Dollar SP500 index with Euros. We will see how it works out.

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