Dissenting Opinion

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  • Updated 2 years ago
This is all just speculation, conjecture, wondering out loud and ya, some plain ole griping. While I'm a bit frustrated about my situation with SL I'm trying to keep an open mind. I never quite succeed.

I think FRS kind of lost their way. Maybe because they listened to too small a subset of their customers. Maybe because they didn't listen at all.

We have 2.0 with all its SmartLink beauty and a pop-out or two. 6300 owners apparently got an improvement to their receiver - or was that a bug fix? Hams can operate their rig remotely from their VW or a French cafe. Voila. I'll have an espresso with that dropped packet. Assuming they have a network at home that can support SL they are in a state of bliss. I can see people racing for the local Starbucks or Peet's with their iPads and laptops. Lots of people seem happy with what they have and that's great. So you don't feel too uncomfortable with the new version they give you the same, tired interface with plenty of the warts from 1.x. Tried moving the volume slider on the RX panel in the stack? That's getting pretty old. 

But now what does FRS have? Multiple versions that they promise to support. Ages to get bug fixes for one version and now there's two. I'm concerned. 

Instead of fragmenting and having to support multiple versions I wonder if it might have made more sense to develop v2 as a true next step in the SSDR evolution. Version 2 was the perfect opportunity for a GUI update and bug fixes. Skins, real pop-outs, logical controls (without silly redundancies), well thought out persistence and profiles, real, open API with incentives for third parties to join in and a whole lot more could have been done to make v2 the version for everyone. This is why so many see all the work on PowerSDR and wonder, why not SSDR?

Then, to make money because that is what this is all about, super duper tools like SL and spots and all sorts of cool things could have been implemented as modules in good time. There could have been a Flex store for downloads! Want SL? Download it any pay a fee or subscription. Want spots? Download it and pay. Third party alternatives might have been available. Now we are truly talking about just getting what we want and maybe even getting some good choices. 

How long do you think it is going to take for FRS to drop 1.x. I mean OK, maybe they might do bug fixes for a while (Lord knows they have plenty to work on) but features from 2.x flowing down to 1.x? Not long. They'll say they have to move on or 1.x doesn't have the infrastructure to support anything new or whatever. 1.x is dead. We know that, right?

Next comes all the marketing, engineering, and programming professionals telling me I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't. I'm OK with that too. I'm a consumer. I have a vote. It has to feel right to me for me to be satisfied - not to marketing, engineering, IT development or even you.

So here I sit with v2.0, no SmartLink, no espresso and no help (unfair, Tim and team tried their best). I have the exact same tired looking GUI with the radio stack popped out just because I need to feel like I got something for the money. You guys know me from my posts. If I like something I'm usually quiet about it and if I don't like something I get all verbal and obtuse and stuff. Well let me refer another post and say Paul nailed it in "I'm A Bit Disappointed in V2.0". My translation, same old pig with new underwear and a new trick or two. Same old clothes, same old smell.

Did I say I love my 6500? Always have. It ain't for sale. It is the best rig I ever owned. I just wish I didn't have to deal with SSDR.

73,
Kev K4VD

P.S. Did they really leave DAX off of SL because some people are on metered services? Really? That was the reason? No on/off switch? Just - you don't get DAX because some people are on metered services? Eh?

P.P.S the profile listed in the P/CW panel - is that the mic profile I think? It has an asterisk. How can I tell what changed between the current setup and the saved profile?
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Kevin N4TT, Elroy

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  • a bit screwed.

Posted 2 years ago

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Michael Starkey

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I took a long look at the ideas list as suggest in another thread about v2. The top-10 on the list indexed by me-too's are mainly GUI, general usability and ergonomics improvements. I look forward to some effort going in to implementing these features in the near future - some of the high scorers have been on that list 3-4 years. Can we expect to see manyof these getting implemented in v2 over the next few months?   I nice Christmas present from Flex maybe.
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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I would love to see the GUI enhancements being opened up to third parties, because in my world they just ain't that important. So let the community have at them. Make SmartSDR skinnable and pluggable. Let people have their DX spots in the cluster via third party plugins, or changeable colors so that the devs don't have to waste time on it and can instead devote time to multi client and improving receiver performance. 

I think that leaving off DAX was a mistake, but I gather that DAX over SmartLink will come in the future. For now I still use my VPN. I use SmartLink occasionally when I want to check the band without having to login. From what I understand the point of leaving out DAX was twofold - most people don't have the bandwidth to support DAX over WAN, and the latency would kill the possibility for digital modes like FT8/JT65. I think the former should be left up to the end user to decide and I think the latter should be improved upon, latency wise but users should still be able to use DAX for things like digital voice keyers. 

AS for 1.x, it is feature complete. After 1.11 it will be fixed on an as-needed basis. I don't think anyone reasonably expects the kind of attention being paid to 2.0 going to 1.0, or even a small fraction of it. What I see is the 1.11 maintenance release, and if anything serious is discovered down the line they'll fix it.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Ria,
RE: "I would love to see the GUI enhancements being opened up to third parties..."

FRS has previously said that would not happen, SSDR is proprietary and they don't plan to release it or make an API available. 

So bottom line is that any improvements to the GUI, either cosmetic or for new functional features will have to come from the FRS team.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Al, they can do this without making it open source. Also there is an API already available for radio functions.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ria,
Yes I know about the api to the server but they said they will not release the ssdr source or an api to ssdr.

So either you would have to build ssdr from scratch or wait for FRS to add features.

Regards Al / NN4ZZ
(Edited)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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Things can always change.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Ria,
Anything is possible --- It would be nice and make it easier for someone to take up the challenge of building an SSDR client for Windows if FRS provided the source.  

Recreating it from scratch would probably take a year or more...not many folks have the time to devote to that.  And there are likely some things that would have to be discovered along the way so it would help to avoid some of the pitfalls and bugs by having the source. 

But on several occasions FRS has said they were not going to do that.  (it is proprietary IP, etc).   One place that I remember was in the thread about adding skimmer and DX spots to the GUI.  It was suggested that a third party could add that feature if FRS would open up an API for SSDR for windows or provide the source code.

So unless FRS says they've had a change of heart, I don't see a reason to think we will see them release the source or create an api to the client.  

It would be risky for someone to start recreating the GUI now only to find out that many of the requested features start showing up from FRS in V2.x or 3.x before they could even get their version ready.  

Back to my previous comment....the bottom line is that any improvements to the GUI, either cosmetic or for new functional features will have to come from the FRS team.

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






  
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Dave - W6OVP

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The worst part seems to be the ever vigilant "fan boys" who just can't leave other peoples posts alone to let them stand or fall on their own insights and merits.
(Edited)
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G8ZPX

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agreed
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Joe N9VX

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Agree.
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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I think if someone posts something publicly on this forum as a complaint, criticism or praise should be "man" enough to handle any replies to it. To dismiss reply posts from what you call vigilant "fan boys" is like the democrats demonizing anyone who disagrees with them. If you can't handle the "fan boys" then don't post. If you can't handle being called a complainer, then don't post. Keep it civil.
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Rick - W5FCX

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We have seen it before... Engineering driven vs. market driven. Who is the Product Manager for the Product? Can we have an NDA roadmap briefing and provide constructive feedback? Lots of evidence of too much inside-thinking and not enough responding to customer feedback to go around...


How about sending us a survey to determine what we are satisfied with, to rank and prioritize development items? That's how it's done in more mature companies.


Perhaps we will get there someday. In the meantime, I'm Very Satified with my two Flex radios and won't trade or sell them (except perhaps to upgrade to the new models someday).


And I'm not a "fanboy" just because I like the Product . Just a reasonably happy customer who can get what I "need" done with the Product today.


There's a tremendous amount of feedback (and noise) here in this forum. My advice is for Flex to hire a PM, survey its customers and give us what we "want"... before a competitor who's reading this same form does.


Rick / W5FCX
(Edited)
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Mike - VE3CKO, Elmer

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Nope, don't agree, the decisions made by the team have been great thus far. Spend the resources on programmers instead to implement those new features decided on  with the goal to reduce development time to get the code to final testers sooner. Can't do much about the testing phase as they will need to continue to test the code in as many different setups before a release candidate is ready.
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G8ZPX

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Rick could there ever be a convincing business argument for anything but market driven products? 

Market driven = pleasing to customers = more recommendations = less churn = more sales = long term customer retention = brand loyalty for the next product line = happy CEO   therefore we all benefit from customer-focused development.

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Kevin N9JKP

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I have been surprised that they haven't done surveys (at least not since I have owned a Flex). Certainly this forum is one way, as well as conferences and hamfest. However market research will yield much more than what are the next features to be added.

No one can take away from the great engineering that has gone into the hardware and software.  With some marketing intelligence their products will benefit both existing and new customers.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I just came over from using PSDR for 10 years with all the updates in it to date. Yes it has more features than most people could ever use. But PSDR is cluttered and clunky. I am so happy to move over to SSDR.  For some, SSDR is all they know, some people have never owned a Flex 1500, 3000, or a 5000 and went right to the 6000's and do not realise how slick and nice SSDR realy is. It can have improvements, but but it is not such a mess as some say it it is, to me anyways.
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Clay N9IO

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Best comment I've heard all week!
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K4MT

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PSDR has configuration options that make it superior.  Dont like dumb down software and I enjoy being able to change settings to optimize my radio operation.  
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Kevin N4TT, Elroy

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Ya. You're right. I never used PSDR and probably shouldn't stand it up as an example without experience. However, the posts I see here about make me jealous for the flow of new features it seems to bring to its users and how the developer seems to listen to and respond to requests. I put development of PSDR in the same category as DXLabs, FLDIGI, JTAlert... a constant two-way flow of information and quick implementation of new features and bug fixes. In a word, responsive.

I put SSDR in a different category. As flattering as it may sound (it is not) I think they are right there with Google and Microsoft. Check their forums. Page after page after page of bugs that last for years while some new feature shows up from time to time. To me, that's OK for Google and Microsoft. Not OK for FRS. Not yet and hopefully not ever.