Curious About SSDR Direction

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Kind of a soapbox here. Ignore me if your already tired of hearing my complaints. I won't mind. Really I won't.

It strikes me as odd how much further ahead things like PowerSDR (I understand the irony) and SSDR for iOS not to mention other SDR frontends are when compared with the look, feel and function of SSDR for Windows.

Out of curiosity I followed some links related to the Griffin PowerMate and found a whole host of tools for SMARTSDR FOR IOS. Tools like a logbook, dx cluster, band plan. Things that seem to have been on wishlist topics since SSDR for Windows first came out.

I am really frustrated with being fed minor features month after month and having to pay the price of ghost com ports and ghost sound cards and glitchy GUI not-so-good-working tools and then see things like this:


or this:

I'm not resentful. I'm envious of iOS SSDR advanced features and smooth GUI and apparently virtually bug-free implementation.

Are we seeing SSDR Version 2.x in the iOS product? Should we expect to see the 2.x product come in line with the current iOS product so customers, whether they own Apple or Windows computers can have a similar experience with their equipment?

I'm not a Apple fan and I'm not a Windows fan. In fact I'm an anti-fan fan. If you tell me your OS is better than another OS I'll tell you to grow up or, maybe I'll just ignore you. But, if you are going to offer a product across multiple platforms, please have some parity between those platforms. I bought in before there was an iOS product available through Flex. If I had known there was an option and I had reviewed the differences between the version for my selected OS and what's available on iOS I would have said this is just another Apple company with a half baked windows port and moved on to something else. I'm like that. There's some beautiful Apple software out there but I'm not in that world.

My point, if I can figure it out in all this rambling is, when are Windows users going to be treated to a good looking, well built, extensible, modern, feature rich, mostly-glitch-free GUI. How much have your Windows users contributed to the success and profits of FRS compared with iOS users? When do we get shown some love? If I could keep the panafall and throw away all the other goofy pieces of SSDR they'd be in the garbage disposal right now. But alas, I'm trapped.

I hope 2.0 doesn't disappoint. 

Have a nice weekend!

Kev K4VD
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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  • slight fever, clammy skin, little headache and very hungry

Posted 2 years ago

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WW1SS - Steve

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That has bugged me all along with Flex. I call it 1/2 baked software. It seems that SSDR got slowed down due to the roll out of Maestro. Now I think possibly that Maestro and SSDR features and updates will be put aside for the roll out of the new amp. We've been hearing about 2.0 for over a year now. Now deposits of $1000 for an amp that will be out in July. With their track record it will be July 2018.
(Edited)
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Michael Aust

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Software reaches a plateau and these Companies try to reinvent themselves with a New Widget, not unusual, in an effort to increase sales
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Hi Kevin, good points. The iOS and MacOS clients are testimony to the passion and skill of Marcus and Don (respectively), and the capabilities of the radio platform. Like you, I prefer the cleaner look and feel of these apps over SSDR.

SSDR is still the flagship, though, because it supports a greater set of the rig's features than the others. Some folks really like that. Early on, SSDR was a lot more spartan, for sure, and has grown. If I were an app designer, I might have opted for a cleaner interface, but I'm more a lover than a coder :-)

The FRS team are no doubt working on 2.0 with the benefit of lessons learned from the others, and user feedback. I'm with you in hoping for a cool new look and comfort features in 2.0.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Keep in mind, PSDR was 7 yeas in development around ten years ago,to get it to were it left off with Flex. And now it is still being developed by KE9NS loading it up with fun and rich features.

SSDR is to date the only SDR software with the capabilities it has, working with wide band app and processing. Working with SSDR is a huge undertaking and very complicated compared to the simpler PSDR.

In my opinion, as SSDR is right now, there is really not much to complain about, It is very unusual for me to see any glitches if ever, it just works. Mind you it is running on a dedicated machine. not connected to the internet. And SSDR is the only program on the computer other than Word.
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Michael Coslo

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Good points Bill, and if I could elaborate on a couple, I do not know how a Windows machine connected to the internet, getting updates, will ever be problem free. The updates cause problems, and have since XP days. Some better, some worse. When I do support these days, I have come to the point of just asking for a Teamviewer session, get in and get out, because it's just easier than explaining. Because the problems are hitting many people, not just SSDR.

My W7 machine is pretty stable now that it isn't getting Windows updates. That's the fallback 1. I also have DogPark, which is my failsafe - being on a different OS altogether.

I have a network of W10 machines I run elsewhere that isn't connected to the internet. Like your machine, it is pretty stable.

While that doesn't address "features desired" I find the W10 glitches the biggest problem, and realy don't know how that's going to be addressed - perhaps when W10 matures. Hope springs eternal.

Meanwhile - I ain't trading this puppy for anything.
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Michael:

The real number crunching piece of the FRS software is inside the radio, right? Unlike PSDR, SSDR really is mostly a GUI window into the radio. The radio is doing all the processing and just sending data to or receiving it from the GUI. I'm probably over-simplifying a bit but I think that's the general nature of client server architecture.

I think the radio and its processing is an unbelievable feat of programming skill. To this day I'm amazed at the simplicity of the block diagram compared to what I see in other radios. Grab a wide swath of RF, process it, ship it to the GUI for presentation. Do it with specs that lead the industry. No complaints from me! I have not heard anyone complain about noise floors, IMD, frequency stability (mostly), and other pure radio features. CWX and some ancillary features get some bad press but those pieces seem to have been slapped in place in an effort to reduce cabling and address certain interests. I'm not sure that's a pressing priority.

Then you get the results of all that wonderful processing and push it through SSDR. Now if I were around for version 1.0 of SSDR I'd probably have said it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. At 1.6, years later, it was all new to me and I was excited to be a part of it. But then experiencing the glitches and seeing that some of the things I found were reported in threads a year or three before started making me a little more critical.

I've said this before... there are lots of ham software out there that does wonderful things under the hood but present themselves with amateurish GUIs. SSDR, besides the cool blue look and sweet panadapter, falls into this same category in my mind.

There's a contest champion out there and probably a few other special interest champions designated by FRS. I'm not sure how useful these jobs have been to their SIGs but if they have been successful in getting features that contesters and others interests want then I think maybe it is time for a GUI champion. Maybe it is time for a professional GUI designer/implementer to join the team and put a front end on the Flex radio that is a joy to use. A GUI that can be configured for different workflows whether it is a contest, DX, EME, ragchewing, etc. Maybe Flex can even lead the industry into some sort of open GUI standards or web front end so other companies might find it fruitful to jump in. Imagine a GUI that can run my Flex and then, if I later add some other new non-flex radio it could run that radio too? I'm getting ahead of myself though.

I'm just asking that after pushing out all these SIG features FRS get back on what you and I see when we operate... SSDR's GUI. Hire, contract, outsource, opensource, do something to get a professional GUI designer into the team and produce a front end worthy of the Signature series. Let people customize and drag windows around and change themes. Provide them with a GUI that adapts to their workflow and doesn't have half-working volume controls stuck away in two or three parts of the GUI or one set of filters in the radio stack and another set of different filters in the flag. Some noise abatement controls under a DSP dropdown in a flag and others in the ANT popout. 2 or 4 or 8 panadapters that can be arranged by dragging and dropping them and not in some arbitrary pattern based on the containing window size.

Defend FRS all you must. I'm not attacking so the effort is kind of wasted. I suspect the ratio of the number of people that use the SSDR GUI to those that use USB band switching or Borg-like power cubes is pretty darn high. Take care of your special interest groups - but only after taking care of the base.

73,
Kev, K4VD
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I agree with this post 100%. SmartSDR feels "dated" and having to go thru sub menus to get to basic functionality makes no sense. I ve been using SmartSDR for 3 years and the GUI has not improved at all in that time. Furthermore, the lack of customization is painful.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi George,
To build on your comment about the passion and skill of Marcus and Don.   Sometimes what happens is the initial developer of an application moves on to other things.  And in some cases with a Win GUI app like SSDR there was just one programmer that did the coding.  They probably had help and feedback on the design but may have done most or all of the coding.  This can leave an application without a dedicated developer.  Others then work on the app for minor changes when needed.  Those programmers also may not be as comfortable making significant changes particularly for a complex application.    

On the flip side when there is a dedicated programmer (like Don and Marcus) for the application, you will usually see a continuous stream of enhancements.  There is definitely a long list of cool enhancements for SSDR to choose from.  So while I don't have any knowledge of whether the scenario above is the reason for the lack of GUI changes, it is one possibility.  

Regardless of the reason, the business leaders set the priorities and it looks like the focus is elsewhere for a better ROI.   (WAN, Maestro, Amp, etc).  Hopefully when some of these other things get done there will be an opportunity to get back to the GUI.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10



 
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Don Agro

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Let's not forget - Flex is the ONLY radio platform where you will find such a variety of client options!

73 de VE3VRW don agro
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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As far as SmartSDR for iOS, Marcus being the developer of the official iOS client, he does seem to have a special relationship with Flex, and as such they communicate with each other and Flex will support him in getting new features in the app. However, many of the new features were based on user input and feedback. From time to time I suggest new features to him, based on my operating practices and things that I find could be useful. Others do the same and he may or may not incorporate suggestions. Anyone can do it as a matter of fact, and if he finds it helpful he will tell you. If he finds it not really his vision of the app, he will also tell you. Marcus is very approachable and very helpful, but he is also very independent.

With that said, a lot of the features are mobile centric because of iOS being primarily a single task (sort of) operating system. So it makes more sense to integrate things like a logbook and DX cluster into the iOS app. This is why I suspect these features get fast tracked to the iOS app first, and since Marcus is more or less an independent developer, he can add these on his own schedule. Some of these may prove useful to the desktop PC environment and Maestro but I get the impression that Flex wants to concentrate on the stability of the product before throwing in more features. 
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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Your making good sense Ria and I do understand what you're saying and what Howard is saying in the post below. While I need to readjust my reasoning a bit I still stick by the original post. Due respect give to other opinions.

I've only had my radio since 1.6ish. Truthfully, I haven't seen much. At least not much I can use. They added USB bandswitching and haven't fixed the simple volume control GUI bug. That should have been a no-brainer, right? They almost fixed CWX/Winkey but still no sidetone remote? I can plug and unplug FTDI USB to serial cables all day long and they always seem to find the assigned com port but update SSDR and I end up with a machine that can't function until I delete ghosts and replace corrupt configurations all blamed on Windows. I have a FlexControl knob. If I unplug it and plug it back in it changes com ports. Why? Don't tell me about windows enumerating. The radio barely (or rarely) gets a DHCP address so, unless you have some lucky combination of networking equipment you end up having to plug the flex into the back of the computer directly and use self-assigned IPs.

Then I turn around and see Maestros, iOS apps, and amplifiers and the same old, rusty SSDR. I'm being unfair maybe.

I kind of laughed at the 1.9 betas. All 1.x seems to be a beta. I just hope 2.x brings some real change to the table. I'm worried it won't.

Kev
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Walt - KZ1F

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If I am not mistaken, Marcus is now employee #14.

Does the flexlib for IOS faithfully support the classes and methods of FlexLib for  Windows or, for that matter, XPSLib for Linux, Windows, Android, Mac, etc etc? No, wasn't intended to blow my own horn. It's just when you say SSDR for xxxx there is an expectation the same functionality exists. If it doesn't the name SSDR is, well, unethical. No disrespect intended to the developer of it. For those not familiar, XPSnnn is the renamed software I wrote that IS portable. I only changed to XPS as it became obvious to me that FlexLib for Linux, Windows, Android, Mac etc was never going to happen so I changed it to XPSLib, XPSSDR, XPSLog, XPSDigi.  But,
I guess that is airing my laundry..so sorry (not). I think this whole thing is bigly hysterical. :-)

Thank you Sal for point me at this!

Turns out the IC-7610 has an RJ-45. I wonder what it's for. I heard CI-V is going away, replaced by what? May is just around the corner.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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You are mistaken.  Marcus is not an employee of FlexRadio.
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Walt - KZ1F

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I happen to notice about->employees​ and you last one listed is Marcus foreign last name. I made the assumption Marcus meant Marcus.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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People listed in the Community as employees are not necessarily actual employees.  We only have two levels of badging in the community; elmers (champions) and employees. Marcus is in between, so we rounded up. 
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Kevin

Unfortunately you are conflating several things (Conflating seems to be the political word of the day)

PowerSDR is the Radio so features added to PowerSDR are features added to the radio

SmartSDR is a Client of the Radio .. so most features are added inside the Radio Firmware rather than the Client.

Most of Flex's work has been and continues to be on the INSIDE of the radio adding new features such as different filters delays and sharpness to the radio firmware.  I understand that there are 6 or 7 different processors inside the radio so firmware updates and interactions are complex and need significant work.   V2.0 WAN will likely be implemented INSIDE the radio firmware rather than in the Clients.

SmartSDR for Windows. iOS and Apple AND Maestro are client programs which have different complexities to add new "FEATURES"  Some operating systems such as iOS seem to make it rather easy to add features such as Spots in the Display and Band Maps (I actually had the fun of working with Marcus on the first iterations).  

Ultimately it's a bottom line decision.  Flex has limited programming resources. 

I personally want them to continue to focus on the INSIDE of the box....

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Walt - KZ1F

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Hey Howard, strictly speaking smartSDR is the radio and smartSDR for Windows is the GUI for Windows. This according to either Tim or Steve.
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N5LB - Lionel B

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I am curious also. But on the other hand I enjoy my 6300 and SSDR .16. I LOVE new software and upgrades, but I also recognize that any company has to make decisions based on best return on investment or eventually fail. I am anxious for new revs but they will happen when they happen and bugs happen, so what, they get fixed. Use Windows, hmmm?
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Jay / NO5J

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My 2 cents on the topic.

It's easy for many users to come up with many features they want. But not so easy for programmers to add them all. If many users were programmers and used the API, like the IOS client did, things might be different. Instead, It is what it is. And the work goes on, at the pace the active programmers can manage. We all feel the pain of waiting. Every delivered feature, delays the next undelivered feature. The priority needs to be, staying in business long enough to deliver them all. There will continue to be new features requested, and new features delivered. That's not the case with most traditional non-SDR rigs. In the meantime I'll use what I've got and patiently wait for the rest. Good things will come to those who can wait. It's not over till it's over. I watched and used PowerSDR as it matured to the point it's at. SmartSDR has a shot at going further. This may not be my last rig purchase, but it's likely the last rig I'll ever want to sell. The future still looks bright. I'm having fun, and to me that's all that counts.

  SDRgadgets

#FlexRadio IRC chat

  73, Jay - NO5J

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Mark WS7M

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I personally think that Howard is mostly right with one omission.  Flex has been putting time into firmware and also into the new products.  I have to guess that Maestro and Power Genius have taken a toll on their software resources as well.

I know in our company where we make high-tech cancer research instruments we just started an automation project and we were allowed to high one new engineer.  So we now must continue the work we are doing but also do the automation work in parallel. So things slow down a little.  I have to believet he same is true for Flex.

I also have to agree with Jay that for the most part the radio works, the software has good features and with the addition of some external work people could have DX spots and other stuff.  I think Flex has these things on their list but quite frankly raking in $7000 for new amps probably takes precedence over providing clickable DX spots.

I love having the API on the radio because it means I can write software to control it and even replace SmartSDR if I wish.  I started down that road then life got in the way.  I still have my multi-platform Flex client sitting in a directory.  The bits are gathering dust but I did fire it up the other day and it works.

Like most software it is at the 75% mark and it needs like another 10% to make it useful but that 10% is the hardest to get done.

I have communicated with some Flex haters, anon fan boys and they all swear by that radio.  For me it is as Ria said in another thread, it requires a fat client with lots of internal processing to make it work.  Or as said above... The software is the radio.  Here the software is a client of the radio and that opens many possibilities.

With the published API or knowledge of the ethernet packet stream there are so many things you could do.  It is all about time and what you want to achieve.

My remote experience with my flex has been less than good simply because the pans, waterfalls and audio just take up too much bandwidth.  So one night I wrote a simple client that passed in a very small pan size and set the waterfall rate to extremely slow.   With that I was able to get audio and control the radio over a slow link without difficulty.  So I think in 2.0 which claims to offer remote we will see an even thinner client.

So while I want more features, I think what we have is very cool.  I'm so addicted to looking at signals that I bought and almost immediately sold an ICOM 7300 because it was just not the same.

Mark - WS7M
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Michael Aust

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Mark,
 I also had a IC-7300 for 8 weeks, then sold it. The Flex6xxx blew it away !
73 Mike
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Tony Hateley

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Of course it did,the flex is 4 times the price of the 7300,you get what you pay for in this life
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Gary L. Robinson

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I agree with you Mark.  I would like a few features added - but what I have works extremely well.   I have very very few problems and the few I have had were easily fixed.  The SmartSDR API's are really nice to have also - to add GUI features via companion apps.  GUI features that possibly the other clients mentioned in this post may never have.  Granted, not everyone knows how to program OR wants to learn how OR wants to put the effort into.

The problem with GUI's is that everybody has their idea as to what is important and what is not.  What looks cool and what does not. With the SmartSDR API you can roll it your way - (though of course it won't be integrated INTO SmartSDR).  And personalize it just the way you want it.

I personally hope Flex never puts TOO many GUI features and makes it into a complicated mess like some general and ham software programs do as they "mature".  Especially things that can't be disabled or hidden.  

However, after saying all of the above.  If some other company comes out with a better SDR rig with better software and other compelling factors - then I would buy one and sell my 6300.  That is a personal thing also since everyone's idea of better is different.  If I were a betting man (which I am not) - I would bet that I will have my 6300 for a fairly long time ...

---Gary WB8ROL
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Jon - KF2E

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I gave up waiting for useability upgrades a long time ago. Flex has made it clear that things like band markers, spots in the waterfall and other GUI updates are eye candy and so far down the feature request list that they won't get done any time soon. I've had my 6500 for three years now and seems that priorities have gone from the 6300 to Maestro to the new amp. I realize now that getting around to user feature requests just isn't on the roadmap. So my point is you need to give up waiting and just enjoy the great radio with the feature set it has.

Jon...kf2e
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Howard, I imagine this is your take on FRS business strategy, and not necessarily FRS's. But let's say it is for discussion sake. Diversifying into ancillary products that rely on the main rig, the 6xxx while abandoning the radios differentiator, the Software and GUI, is a business mistake. No one that doesn't already own a 6xxx will purchase the Maestro or the amp. Many that already own the 6xxx will not buy the Maestro or the amp. Neither product will sell more radios. Furthermore, both of these products have clearly proven that Flex is way more expensive than other options that provide the same functionality. There are hundreds of thousands of hams out there that will never consider Flex and neither the Maestro or the Amp will convince then to try it.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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It has been said before, but I will say it in my own way...

When updating/adding new features to SSDR, FRS must first create new firmware (or virtual firmware) for the radio itself, which has MULTIPLE processors that all interact within.  

THEN they must integrate that firmware into the client part of SSDR.  

Then the firmware, client software, and the interaction between the two must be tested by the Alpha Team before unleashing it on the general public...sometimes even as beta releases.

Every change must then be incorporated into the API/FlexLib, etc. so that other programmers can interface with it.

All of the other software developers only need develop around the firmware that has already been written, tested, broken and repaired by the FRS programmers & Alpha Team, and incorporate their own creative items from the API / FlexLib.

It is not small task for the developers of SSDR-IOS, K6TY, Dogpark, FRStack, DDUtil, Pegasus, and all the rest to create their very fine client interfaces.  These are some very nice programs.  For example, I use SSDR-IOS almost every day, and it is a fine piece of work - creative, and visionary in many of its features.  But in reality, (and not to take ANYTHING away from the great work of these programmers) a great deal of the heavy lifting has already been done by the FRS programmers who had to develop the firmware side of SSDR and the API that makes these clients possible.

FRS has presently chosen to put the lion's share of their programming resources into the firmware side of SSDR, and the future development of things like V.2.0, which will be incorporated by ALL of the other client software developers.

One personal note... Some friends on the list recently helped me program a macro in DDUtil that solved a "gripe" I have had for years about switching receive antenna and preamp at the same time.  Badda-bing!  it took all of 10 minutes once I learned how to do it!  

Now if only someone could create a simple dock-able panel that incorporates customize-able buttons and controls that can access the API and/or FlexLib......
That would be heavenly!

Ken - NM9P
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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It has been said before, but I will say it in my own way...

When updating/adding new features to SSDR, FRS must first create new firmware (or virtual firmware) for the radio itself, which has MULTIPLE processors that all interact within.  

THEN they must integrate that firmware into the client part of SSDR.  

Then the firmware, client software, and the interaction between the two must be tested by the Alpha Team before unleashing it on the general public...sometimes even as beta releases.

Every change must then be incorporated into the API/FlexLib, etc. so that other programmers can interface with it.

All of the other software developers only need develop around the firmware that has already been written, tested, broken and repaired by the FRS programmers & Alpha Team, and incorporate their own creative items from the API / FlexLib.

It is not small task for the developers of SSDR-IOS, K6TY, Dogpark, FRStack, DDUtil, Pegasus, and all the rest to create their very fine client interfaces.  These are some very nice programs.  For example, I use SSDR-IOS almost every day, and it is a fine piece of work - creative, and visionary in many of its features.  But in reality, (and not to take ANYTHING away from the great work of these programmers) a great deal of the heavy lifting has already been done by the FRS programmers who had to develop the firmware side of SSDR and the API that makes these clients possible.

FRS has presently chosen to put the lion's share of their programming resources into the firmware side of SSDR, and the future development of things like V.2.0, which will be incorporated by ALL of the other client software developers.

One personal note... Some friends on the list recently helped me program a macro in DDUtil that solved a "gripe" I have had for years about switching receive antenna and preamp at the same time.  Badda-bing!  it took all of 10 minutes once I learned how to do it!  

Now if only someone could create a simple dock-able panel that incorporates customize-able buttons and controls that can access the API and/or FlexLib......
That would be heavenly!

Ken - NM9P
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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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>When updating/adding new features to SSDR,
>FRS must first create new firmware (or virtual firmware)
>for the radio itself, which has MULTIPLE processors that
>all interact within.  

With all due respect, this is not necessarily the case.

Let's take the lowest of the low hanging fruit:  Band edge markers.

There's no firmware that needs changed. This is a GUI-only change.  Somebody just needs to sit down and code the darn thing. In actuality, it's probably about three hours to code and another couple of hours to test: Define the format of an XML file with the band limits... read that in and validate it against an XSD stored as a resource... If valid, display the band limits on the pan when in range... Done.

There are several items at this level.  They are the items that I've advocated addressing.

I'm going to stop replying in this thread now (like anybody cares), because the points I care about have been sufficiently made.

[aside]
In truth, Flex is run in such an open and engaging way that everyone feels like they understand what's going on and like they should have a say in what they do next. Of course, we don't REALLY know what's going on. It's a lot like cheering for your favorite sports team: "They should have traded so-and-so, and signed this-other-guy. I can't believe they didn't do that!"  Well, of course, none of us are privileged to have the same information that the coaches and owners have. If we knew, our opinion might be instantly and entirely different.
[/aside]

Peter
K1PGV
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Walt - KZ1F

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Bill, I've been accused of sounding like a flex insider because I could read their c# code. You clearly and continually sound like you're present in the boardroom when decisions are made. Why do you not preface your declarations with "I certainly hope"?
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Michael Aust

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Being able to watch up to 8 WaterFalls on Different Bands is amazing stuff !
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James Whiteway

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Squelch already exists for FM mode. Making it work for other modes would not be all that tough. It just doesn't seem to be that much of a priority at FRS. It exists in PSDR and has for a long time. Some like it others, see no need for it. I sometimes use it in SSDR (using my own app) when waiting for a particular net to come up while still on another frequency. FRStack has it built in. But, like my little app, it's an add-on that adds the functionality that has to be started separately from SSDR. I wrote a short script to start it after SSDR and that  helps. But, it is functionality that since it already exists in SSDR, should be ALL MODE instead of single mode (FM in this case).
james
WD5GWY
 

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James Whiteway

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Squelch already exists for FM mode. Making it work for other modes would not be all that tough. It just doesn't seem to be that much of a priority at FRS. It exists in PSDR and has for a long time. Some like it others, see no need for it. I sometimes use it in SSDR (using my own app) when waiting for a particular net to come up while still on another frequency. FRStack has it built in. But, like my little app, it's an add-on that adds the functionality that has to be started separately from SSDR. I wrote a short script to start it after SSDR and that  helps. But, it is functionality that since it already exists in SSDR, should be ALL MODE instead of single mode (FM in this case).
james
WD5GWY
 

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James Whiteway

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Sorry, seems the website won't let me remove duplicate posts!
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I think the concern about SSB squelch is legitimate btw, and is somewhat of a high priority.
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Lee, Elmer

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I don't see why you would say it's impractical to use 8 data streams.  In the 6700 I can use 2 streams per channel with diversity antennas and 2 SCU's.  It's totally reasonable to use one channel to probe propagation on a band using something like JT65 reverse beacon network while operating a DX split on the same band, with diversity or maybe probe several bands sequentially.  Just because you haven't thought about what having 8 data streams means doesn't mean there isn't a use, or an operating edge that can't be gained with some ingenuity.  

I start to listen to EU pileups on low band DX peditions hours before I can hear the DX from for example the Indian ocean.  I often start listening in the daylight 5 hours before grayline  From that I can often determine the operator's pileup style,  where in the pileup he tends to listen, the state propagation by listening to where answering stations are calling from and now with something like JT65 reverse beacon I can test propagation from my station to the DX's part of the world.  I also open up a separate slice to get an overview of an entire pileup, and sometimes a couple of DX skimmers attached to it's own slice, because what one skimmer hears is not perfectly homologous to what the other skimmer hears, so I get more data to think about.  6-8 slices is just about right.

I think the point about server v client is extremely important.  Without SSDR in the 6xxx the iOS client is worthless.  Stu wrote a very feature rich iOS tablet client and apparently there isn't much of a market for his hard work.  So when you start talking "business models", hams are as cheap as they come and it's damn hard to hire an engineer on the fumes that spots in the panfall would generate.  It's probably pretty hard to hire an engineer on the margin a $7000 amp will generate given the size of the market.

73  W9OY
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AA0KM

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I am along for the ride and as I know software is never finished as more ideas come along more software is written. Just the way it is. Not like the analog world where things stay stagnant.

"""Never done before software""" on the horizon is what I hope for and hope it continues.

Patience is a virtue and some lose it along the way.

73 Jeff

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Peter K1PGV, Elmer

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I get what everyone who was posted so far is saying. Of course it's about priorities.

But I *do* think it's time to reward the user base with a series of releases that feature minor GUI features. Just take the top votes features, see which are "low hanging fruit", and add them. Band markers, for example. That's a JFDI type item. There are a lot of these. After doing a dozen or so of these added features, at least the user base will know they're being heard. And they'll feel the love.

ETA: Well, it seems you couldn't really do this just by selecting "Ideas" and seeing what the top votes getters are. I just tried it, and... not so helpful. But it's a place to start.

No, it won't shut everyone up. People who want WAN remote will still whine that they should get priority. You can't make everyone happy... but you CAN put aside the big items every once in a while and throw the uses a bone.


Peter

K1PGV
(Edited)
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Steven G1XOW

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Very well said Peter, and it should be viewed as a tactical move for FRS to keep the user base on side. Nobody likes to feel forgotten!
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Andrew Thall

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In a previous life, I was a programmer.  I had two signs over my desk:

The first said "Its exactly what I asked for -- but its not what I want!"

The second said:  "If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy all of civilization."

The second really goes to the heart of the issue.  With the incredible complexity of the hardware, getting the software to function correctly without throwing the occasional monkey wrench into the works is getting so very difficult -- and my praise goes to the programmers and alpha testers for ferreting out the bugs.
The more "eye candy" and side features we ask for, the greater the chance for bloat and bugs. 

I wish that Flex would  give some idea of when SSDR 2.0 will be released and what some of the new features will be. 

Andy, k2oo
Flex 6300 user (and lover)
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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Another one for the wall Andy, "the only way to get the final version of a program is ro shoot the programmer..." Coding is dangerous work! I'm anxiously waiting for a few more tweaks to Ssdr myself so I can get some desk space back and let me beloved 5k go.... Too many keys and keyboards and mice for my simple mind!
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Walt - KZ1F

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Priorities are important but only in the context of time constraints...It's been, what, over three years at this point.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Peter,
From above -- "Just take the top votes features, see which are "low hanging fruit", and add them....it seems you couldn't really do this just by selecting "Ideas" and seeing what the top votes getters are. I just tried it, and... not so helpful. But it's a place to start.  "

Correct that result is not very useful but here is a quick way to search the list of active ideas sorted by number of votes.  I think you will find this more helpful.

From the main screen use the search feature.  
First, don't type anything in the box and just click on the SEARCH ICON


This will come up, then Click on the ADVANCED SEARCH arrow



This screen will come up....



Uncheck everything except as above and select the SORTED by field as shown.
Then click the SEARCH button in the lower right. 



You should get the list of 1,000+ ideas that are still active sorted by number of votes.  

Does this look better?

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
Photo of Bill W2PKY

Bill W2PKY

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Seems like the community should have a page with the top XX ideas already sorted by # votes.
Thanks for the tutorial, however.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Bill,
You can set up your community page to always have the idea list sorted and ready to display  with just one click.   On the main page in the lower right is the "Share Your Expertise" section.   By default is shows the list of questions.  You can change it to show the IDEAS.   Note in the snapshot below the top 3 ideas are already shown since that is how I have mine set up.  Here are the steps.  


Click the "view all xxx conversations" -- see ARROW below.  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------





This screen will come up -- CLICK the REFINE button
------------------------------------------------------------------------




You will get this screen -- set up as shown




CLICK the  APPLY & SAVE button 
-----------------------------------------------



From now on your will see the list of sorted ideas on your community page.  The top 3 will show and you can see the full list with just one click.  This is how I have mine set up and it works fine.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Bill W2PKY

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Thanks Al, it works..
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Chuck Smith

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My 2 cents.....Native PA control connected to the radio was my number 1 want and I got that this year. My OM power amp works great via USB port on all slices. I'm a happy camper
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Mark - WS7M

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I do want to add one thing...

Compared to a knob radio, where you can never upgrade your UI, at least with a flex radio you can.

Already we have:

SmartSDR - Which will improve
Move to mac and run DogPark SDR
iOS SmartSDR

That is by my count three somewhat different UI to a single radio.  And I have another one in the works!  I also think Flex will update SmartSDR.  There is also another "thin" client and I heard that N4PY supports flex.

So perhaps the count is really five!

Try that with an Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu knob radio!
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Walt - KZ1F

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Mark, I thought you had a 990S? A knob is only an input device, not the logic it inputs to. #Maestro
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k3Tim

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UI and flat screen LCD are sssooooo last century. We need VR headset with ability to stack 8 (or more) slices in the complete 360 x 360 field of view. Imagine swinging your head around  / up and down and seeing various parts of the spectrum. This may be more exercise then hammies typically get but that would be an added bonus. One would have a virtual knob interface with customer labels. Who knows a physical knob panel could be part of the VR (making it AR) and the knobs feedback to the SSDR.  Instead of a panafall the spectrum could be rendered in 3D. The API interface would support most if not all of the above. 3rd party apps should play nice once the get on the VR/AR train.

Need to reboot my Imsai 8080, where did I put the paper tape?

_..--
k3Tim
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Lee, Elmer

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Screw that we need to jack directly into the visual aural and motor cortex

73  W9OY
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Asher - K0AU

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Lot of good points on this thread.  I got a 6700 in August 2013 (with software 1.0) and I have to admit I was pretty eager to upgrade software for the first 2 years.  Now I typically give releases a month or two to soak because none of the new features are very consequential for me.  I've long-since worked around remote operation / remote audio (with sidetone) issues, the WinKeyer issues and remote control for rotators, amps, etc.

What I haven't been able to solve is how to use both SCUs and multiple panadapters with any kind of reasonable workflow.  My loggers care a lot about slice A and slice B.  Even using the Antenna Genius switch (great accessory!) I haven't found a great workflow or presets to route antennas to different SCUs for monitoring multiple bands while easily switching focus to work what I hear and get it logged.  Instead I monitor spots on DXLab which seems to have a slightly twitchy "frenemy" relationship with SSDR.

My priorities?  Rethink the whole workflow.  I beleve that spectacular as the Direct Sample ADC front end + decimator are and as hard as all the DSP software is to write, they will end up as table stakes limited by noise floor and QRM .  Workflow and software integration will rule.  I am a DXer and medium-pistol contester.  I'm sure other people have different workflows they care about.  I'm generally delighted with the Flex product (275 DXCCs in 3 1/2 years) that I largely attribute to the situational awareness the pan gives me, but slightly peeved that not much has happened to make the 6700 more useful than a 6500.  8 pans will be really useful when I can easily steer them to antennas and activate slices my loggers can recognize.
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Walt - KZ1F

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But as someone, so famously said, "with the 6700 you occasionally need to take aspirin to work all eight pans simultaneously. I have a 6500 and I've never needed the 4th pan/slice it has. I did try 3 in a pile up but that ended up being more trouble than it was worth.
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I have 4 dedicated for skimmer feeding to my DX cluster software and two pans open with 1 slice open (each) for DXing on low bands at night. Then I have a rag chew pan/slice and one to monitor WSJT on whatever band is open. 

Reminds me of our DVR. 6 tuners for over the air. We used to have 6 for cable TV as well. We record the entire primetime block on the networks, plus a few cable nets and pick out new shows that seem interesting. All of that is now somewhat unnecessary with streaming but it was pretty cutting edge a few years ago. 
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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Perhaps, but TiVo does that know streaming from Adam.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Agreed, and as a TiVotee since 2002 I would say that they would have my support if they got something that worked properly with satellite again. 
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Walt - KZ1F

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I'd like TiVo to be central repository for all shows. I think the Bolt does sat. We still have a Roamio
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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That is it, very well put K0AU. The workflow for the weekend warrior. I have tried every possible combination of logger and there isn't anything decent out there that "works" with SmartSDR. We rely heavily on third party apps to try to accomplish basic functionality. And that is why I believe many of us want added day to day functionality in the GUI. If the dx cluster was in the panadapter I could see how having several opened with my 6700 would make sense. Today Slice A has to jump from band to band to follow clicks on 3rd party cluster apps which are normally in loggers. Not elegant, and not making any use of the potential of this radio. Logger creators will not jump into the bandwagon of multiple slices because an A B vfo configuration works with all other radios. It is up to FRS to swift the paradigm.

Kev said many things with which I agree... But there was one that was a perfect summary: "Flex needs to hire a GUI person"

That person will have to see the workflow Asher mentions and provide solutions, and there is tons of info available in this community.

Sitting in your comfort zone because innovating is hard will lead to stagnation and death.

I bought the Flex for the software and that alone will make me stay or leave for greener pastures.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Yes. Dockable Windows will be the way to go, eventually. It is precisely this point that seems to choke those who refuse to use any of the excellent third party add-ones that run In separate Windows because "Flex should be doing it in SSDR." At least as a work-around, many of them are excellent. For example, I just learned how to do macros in DDUtil to solve an antenna switching issue that had frustrated me for a long time. Bing! Done!
He is working on another solution that will end another gripe I have had for even longer.

The API is a wonderful thing!
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ken,
Dockable / re-sizable windows is an example of why some folks wonder about the timing of the improvements to the GUI.  Some notes on the dockable idea:

  • It is the number 1 most wanted enhnacement based on user votes
  • It's been on the idea list for 3 years
  • There is no status ( i.e. "under consideration" or "planned") listed like there is for some other ideas
So it's hard to say whether it will eventually be done or not.  FRS may decide it is too much effort for the ROI.   It hasn't been marked as "not planned"  but it would be nice to know one way or the other. 

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/enhancement_to_let_you_drag_a_panadapter_to_another... 

IMHO there are a lot of other GUI and SSDR enhancements that could be done with a lot less effort than dockable windows.   So even though it is number 1, it would nice to see some of the others done first.   The desire to not run multiple 3rd party programs is based on a number of things.  Reduced complexity and related issues is just one of them but a valid one.  Since there is now a new programmer assigned to the GUI, maybe we will start to see some of the other great ideas in the upcoming V2 and V3 releases.    

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Walt - KZ1F

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Al, we've had this conversation I know but doing separate windows is easier than not doing it. When people on on here talk dockable I suspect they mean pinnable. That makes it a level more difficult but not to the level you far it would be. All that's involved is managing the parent window, or owner, I've forgotten what the Windows nomenclature is. But it's the frame window inssdr or hwnd_desktop. Making the window draggable will notify the window of the I'd of a window it's dragged over, thereby allowing the chance be of owner/parent.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Walt,
If the windows are also sizeable there is the added effort to deal with the controls and input fields as you increase / decrease the size of a given panel. And a decision about which panels to include / allow to be pinned and resized. They might also need the ability to disable the feature for those that don't want it as well as have a method to return everything to the "default" screen setup when someone messes up their setup. And from an overall effort you have to consider updating all of the documentation.

So while I know it is doable, it may not be a simple effort. IMHO, It's always a lot easier when you start out with a dockable/ sizeable design if that is the desired end game.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Walt - KZ1F

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One thing I quickly learned, like by mid 70s, all software has a 'shelf life'. At some point it is more economical to rewrite than modify. And, as I've found, the shelf life is remarkably short, 3-6 yrs. Based on what I've seen with flexlib, I'd say it's time, IMHO.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Asher -


Maybe it would be better to ask Dave AA6YQ to add a module for DXLab to to do what you want. The API is there. It can be done. What we are seeing is that most log software views rig control as an afterthought rather than a core function. The world mostly works with serial port CAT and two VFOs with two radios. They haven't caught up with multi slice Ethernet enabled SDRs.


I really hesitate to say that flex should provide this functionality when it is really supposed to be up to application developers. Microsoft doesn't write all of the software to do everything you want to do with windows and include it in the OS. Instead it provides an operating system with an abstraction layer to allow third party developers to do just that.
(Edited)
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Varistor

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Doubt it that the Flex platform is very attractive to third party developed. For that matter, I am not convinced that the Flex platform is attractive to Flex.

Go to eHam product reviews section and sort by the number of reviews in descending order:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/14

Compare the number of Flex reviews against other modern rigs. Assuming the percentage of owners that write reviews is more or less the same across the board, you can quickly get some idea how large the Flex user base is.
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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As eHam is run on a non-advertiser unfriendly basis there is a anti-eHam bias to add to the rest of the sampling problems using number of reviews on a website as a population indicator.

Really don't think you can draw much from reviews accumulated over time.

A Third Party developer would have to make an ROI assessment on doing a custom for the Flex-API  

No idea what you mean about the platform not being attractive to FRS itself?  Lost me there.

Now there are some ways to extrapolate Flex-6000 population on a rough basis.

One item that I wonder would put a developer off is the jump forward coming up with SmartSDR V2 with WAN.  The SmartSDR ecostructure is already complex and about to get even more interesting.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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With free software there is ( usually) no profit motive. A lot of ham software is free software. I generally find that the free ones are better than many paid ones.
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WW1SS - Steve

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I would not mind paying for the software if it had the features I wanted like the Dogpark version for mac. First it was Signature series. . . . Them Maestro (which takes 3 months to get) . . . Now $7000 Amplifier with $1000 deposits (which will probably take a year to get). Flex is now focused on rolling that out.
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Walt - KZ1F

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You can get a good idea of the size of the userbase by looking at the users on here.
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Michael Aust

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Our DX Club Repeater on 2 meters announces DX Spots on FM, be nice  of have Squelch on FM
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James Whiteway

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Unless it's changed, FM mode in SSDR has a squelch.
james
WD5GWY
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Michael Aust

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Thanks 
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Norm - W7CK

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Yes, there is a squelch for FM but it really isn't very good.  I prefer using FRStack which has a squelch that works on ALL modes.  Strange that after 3 years FRS doesn't have one that actually works and covers more than just FM.  Its been a pet peve of mine for quite a while now - 3+ years....
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Ross - K9COX

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Flex is clearly driven by contesters, not the majority however it does sell radios. The Maestro. PowerGenius XL, et al.
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Dave Dave

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Just give me a all mode Squelch..... I feel like I'm driving a Cadillac without ac or power steering!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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A lot of this discussion feels like my Tesla. It lacks lighted vanity mirrors for my XYL to adjust her makeup and pockets in the door to store her stuff. My XYL is really perturbed that a $100K+ Does not have those things Heck her BMW and MB had those things years ago and Tesla has been making Model S since 2012.

Doesn't Tesla listen to their customers?

In spite of the complaints about lack of top of the line features, needless to say she always grabs my Tesla to drive because while lacking in those nice to have features, it still outperformsevery other car on the road and the extra features it does have like autodrive, self parking, automatic GPS connected suspension to raise itself on our steep driveway, etc are just so much better than every other car.

Being on the Flex ALPHA TEAM I know how much effort goes into adding the simplest new features and how much testing is needed to make sure they did not break something else.

I believe Flex is listening.

Because I have been in their position I also understand that they need to make payroll every week. They are not a giant company like say Icom and only have limited resources. They need to put their efforts where they will get the best bang for the buck. Contesting market was important because like race cars, ordinary people buy the winning brands. V2.0 WAN is a huge market and it was promised back when we first put deposits down years ago. Hopefully we will see it this year because it will sell a lot of radios

Other features like all mode squelch are nice to have features albeit I have never used HF squelch in almost 60 years as a ham and owned many rigs with it.

I will give you a completely different and much more practical way of predicting when a feature on the wish list will arrive than counting votes on this forum

1. List all the features you wish to have.
2. Beside each feature predict how many NEW SALES that feature will drive to a Flex
3. Sort the list by descending order from most sales to least

I will bet you that the things on the top will be delivered first.

I know that I were running Tesla or Flex that is what I would be doing.
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Jon - KF2E

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Kev,

I completely agree with all of your comments. You are at the level of frustration I was at when I started this thread...

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/maybe-we-need-a-delay-on-the-roadmap

and then this one...

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/ssdr-roadmapless-future-development

Gerald later responded with this reply...

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/i-think-you-deserve-an-apology

All of this lead me to adopting an appreciate what is good and let things happen when they happen attitude. I rarely even install the updates now days until they have been out a month or two. None of the features impact or help my operation. I do read the docs when they are released in case something good is there but usually it goes on the do later list.

Jon...kf2e
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Asher - K0AU

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Howard: it's good to see your comment that V2.0 WAN is conceptually pretty complicated.  The whining we saw about roadmap will be nothing compared to the whining when WAN is announced and people realize the first release does or does not fit their use case.  

I don't really care, except I'm holding off on buying more accessories like Maestro and PowerGenius because I don't know where Flex is heading.  I'm sure it's someplace good, but I like to know if we're going to Sydney or Stockholm before I buy a ticket.
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Ross - K9COX

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"just ordinary hams" now that there is funny
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

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If fed dropped the maestro price to, say $500, I'd buy one and be far less, um, vocal. But....
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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WAN is going to be complicated because the world decided that the kluge known as NAT was better than migrating to a better, bigger IP scheme known as IPv6. Now we have carrier grade NAT and I've already encountered one instance of it at a fixed (DSL) ISP. No soup... err VPN for you! They also block VPN Azure so that's out too.

BTW I added IPv6 support to our sites at work, and I have gotten so far no complaints, at least none that viewer services has told me about. If you're using a mobile phone on Verizon or some other carriers and access popular websites like Facebook or Google, chances are you're connecting over IPv6. :)

Ria, N2RJ
HE.net IPv6 Sage certified
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Peter

I must give you credit for this concept


There are clearly two different sorts of features which are conflating here.


First Category are the JFDI - Client Features such as

1. Alternate Colors on the Display

2 Band Markers

3. Band Spots on the Display

I am sure that there are many other just client features that could be accomplished without touching the internal firmware.   I also know that it is a "Simple Matter of Programming" which still takes time and resources to finish...albeit Markus was able to do the above 3 in record time in SmartSDR for iOS.  These are for the most part "eye candy" which may or may not drive new sales but will make existing customers happier.  I know I was thrilled to get band spots and especially alternative colors.

The Second Category is much more difficult to achieve as it requires changes to the Firmware which as I have seen is very complex, time consuming and very prone to breaking something else so it requires extensive testing.  Feature such as All Mode Squelch fall into this second category and I am sure one could list many more.  Some of these features such as V2.0 WAN will definitely drive new sales while some such as All Mode Squelch may not have that much effect on sales.

I can understand why the Second Category takes longer to implement and the fact that Flex must prioritize the Second Category features on a revenue generation vs cost basis.


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Kevin K4VD, Elroy

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Ria... can you give us more insight into this UI developer? How recently? Any general guidance provided? I think this is big news!

Kev K4VD
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Steven G1XOW

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I agree with Ria on this. Not as issue for me as I use a 43 inch 4k monitor already, migrated away from 3 x 29 inch ultra-wide monitors.

However, If the display class framework and libraries within the .net and visual studio subsystems have been selected correctly from the get-go then it should be pretty easy to allow undocked Windows to float across monitors. The panafall is already a windows frame, and it is already mobile, FRS are just need to let it to be undocked.

In fact the app probably has no idea how big the screen is, or how many monitors are connected because that is dealt with in Windows layers not the app directly. A good OSI layered app should not need to be bothered by such minutia. This sort of presentation layer functionality is not something that a modern apps need to do directly. The display driver and Windows display class modules do an awful lot of the donkey work for you. That is why apps can be developed so much quicker these days...you don't need to keep reinventing the same old wheels.

How things have changed. I still remember writing machine code in z80/8086 for CP/M systems that had to turn every pixel on and off directly as required, and draw lines, boxes etc using a direct hardware interface to the graphics processor. In my apps...back in the early 1980s there was not such thing as a display driver. Code talked to hardware directly as much as possible to keep the processing and memory overhead low.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Steve ,
We refactored an application a few years ago to convert to dockable / sizeable panels and the sticking point was how we handled all of the individual controls on each panel. It took a lot more time and effort than expected. Also there were issues when panels overlapped. All was doable but more time and effort than expected. Testing , documentation, and users getting used to the change all took time. Some users didn't like the change.

FRS could weigh in on their perspective for the SSDR application.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Steve

How things have changed!

I remember wiring patch panels to get the boot loader to read the (evil) paper tapes

Display drivers.. Heck there were no displays... you were lucky to have a teletype and not have to decode binary lights on the panel


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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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This weekend I was looking through some boxes of my high school and college papers and stuff trying to find the receipt for my 40 year old guitar that was just stolen when my church office was broken into. In the process I found a stack of FORTRAN punch cards from my Numerical Methods Class at Indiana Central University.

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