Flex why can't we have a trial period for new releases?

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  • Updated 3 months ago
I would like to ask Flex employees why FRS doesn't provide a free trial period for each new version of SSDR?  This would allow ops to determine if the release meets their needs BEFORE paying $199.

Currently, paying without an opportunity to try is resulting in a lot of upset ops that end up reverting to the previous release and feeling they wasted their money.

If the release is a good one then there should be no concerns that a trial period would convince ops to not upgrade.

Can an FRS employee please respond to my question?
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Pat N6PAT

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Posted 3 months ago

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Steve

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Pat
That really is a GREAT idea.  I have been reading as much as I can about V3 and reading all of the feed back.  Honestly without a comprehensive document it is not possible to determine if it is for me or not.  So far I have learned there is no way to monitor another operator who may be using my radio with me during a QSO.  I have also learned that any profile changes I make will be saved on the fly???  I do not like that feature at all for a lot of reasons.  Can someone define some positives for me??  I am NOT trying to be a smart ass I would like to see a list of what does and does not work or how features are being used??  I DO NOT want to be part of any arguments or volatile discussions.  
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Pat N6PAT

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I've suggested this before but nothing came of it. Maybe if enough people ask for this it will happen
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K3DCW

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As far as positives go, Steve, the MultiFlex is pretty cool indeed, and I can see why it is worthy of a full point upgrade from v2 to v3. I can see a lot of positives of that feature, from sharing the rig during a contest to the individual operator who may want to use Maestro/iOS app at the same time as SmartSDR. I think it is a neat capability that separates the Flex from other rigs.


That being said, I did downgrade back to v2 because the modification to the way profiles are now being handled: simply doesn't work for me and I can't see the logic in the new system even after trying it for a bit. However, that's just my preference.
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Pat N6PAT

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If a trial period was available you would have found that out without having to pay $199
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K3DCW

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Actually, I didn't have to pay. My 6700 was new enough that it was a free upgrade.

But even it it weren't, I would've paid as I believe in supporting the company even if not everything is to my liking because eventually things will come around and the upgrade will be worth it.
(Edited)
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Pat N6PAT

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If you had it longer you would have had to pay just to find out it wasn't for you. I bought my 6700 2 years ago so I would have to pay up front before I even get to try it out
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K3DCW

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Yes, but as I said, I would've paid anyway, even if it weren't entirely for me, simply to support future development efforts which usually works out to be well worth it.

I don't disagree that a trial version would be useful, but I also don't begrudge Flex the lack thereof.
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Eric - KE5DTO, Official Rep

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Official Response
Pat,

The short answer is that this is not how we have chosen to do things.  We appreciate your feedback and thoughts on the matter and will take them into consideration.
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Pat N6PAT

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Well, the current model that you have chosen requires ops to pay $199 for a release that may or may not be what they want. Then they have no recourse and are out $199. That causes ruffled feathers as you can see from the forum posts.

It makes it seem like you just want the money even if the ops are not happy with the release.
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James Whiteway

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I would think reading the Release Notes that FRS posts with a new upgrade announcement, before purchasing the version upgrade, would be sufficient enough information for someone to decide to purchase the upgrade or not.
In my case, the only attraction was/is multi client(aka MultiFlex). But, at this time I am more interested in improving basic features that don't work as well as they should.
Therefore, my decision to wait till v2.50 is released to see if the basic issues are improved or best of all, resolved.
I read the release notes Tim posted and no where does it mention things like ANF, All Mode Squelch, and several other issues that need attention.
So, I didn't buy the upgrade.
FRS was upfront about what the new version contains. And they also stated that v2.50 would be released later this year. If it fixes issues I and others have posted about, then I will buy v3.
I know many are frustrated about not getting v2.50 before v3, but, it's not the end of the world.
I just wish people would act more civilly to each other here.
Just my .02
James
WD5GWY
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Cal Spreitzer

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James,   the release notes made no mention of DDUtil and other 3rd party apps no longer working!   Had it been listed under "Know Issues"  I would have not forked out $199 for it.  I find it odd Flex didn't mention this??   I think a limited trial period is a great idea! 

Cal/N3CAL
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Bob- W5TX

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Cal, I do not know how much if any preview etc 3rd party app developers get but from a business standpoint, that is not Flex’s problem. The app developers have chosen to ride the train and must be prepared to make changes when basic underlying software changes. Sure, it causes a scramble to accommodate the changes. Apple has a developers “group” which has a fee to be able to get enough early info. Perhaps Flex should consider such a plan but as of yet have not chosen to do so for whatever reasons. If you choose to write a Windows app, you are at the mercy of Microsoft. Witness the DAX issues inflicted by Win10 upgrades in the past year or so. I feel for those who write free apps for Flex stuff but less so for those who charge. Bob
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Greg SP7QJF

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In Europe, there is such a difference that when you buy remotely, you can return the goods within 14 days
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Software is usually excluded from returning.
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Pat N6PAT

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Most software has a free trial period hence no need to "return" anything - just don't buy it after the trial period if you don't want it.
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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Pat.  Serious questions for discussion:  It is an intriguing idea.  But....How would you time-limit and enforce the trial period?  How long would you propose the trial should last?  How difficult do you suppose it would be to encode all of that into the current licensing system that tracks rig serial number, current license upgrade level, date of license, etc.?  How much would this take away from other programming efforts to deliver much needed/desired fixes and enhancements? 

I do know that some people can get a good idea of new features by reading and/or watching a tutorial video on YouTube.  Others cannot because they need hands-on experience in order to learn.  Some sort of trial might be helpful.  But perhaps "borrowing" someone else's rig via Multi-Flex could do the same thing.

This may all may be simply academic, because the company may not be interested in the idea, even after considering it.  But I am genuinely curious as to what people think.

It would need to be regulated closely.  We all know how some people like to use "trial periods" forever by constantly deleting and reloading software for another "trial period."

What do you think?

Ken - NM9P
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Pat N6PAT

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The radio is already coded to require a valid license. Incorporating a trial period might be as simple as adding an expiration date to the license on the FRS database.

Then if the op buys the release then the expiration date could be set to all 9's or some other value that the radio would accept.as valid

Many software trial periods last 30 days. I think that would give a ham enough time to decide if the upgrade is right for them.

Currently, if an op decides that an upgrade is not right for them then they have wasted $199

Remember, the whole point of SDR's is to be flexible and easily modified.

One other point is if you have a trial period bugs can be identified and the ops can revert back to the prior version and wait for the bugs to be fixed without having already paid money. You probably know how frustrating it is to pay for something that does not work.

A trial period would go a long way in avoiding the types of posts we're seeing these past few days.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@Pat

Flex Employee ERIC has already poltiely stated that it likely is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN

Ken has stated some of the many issues with investing resources to program in a Trial Period. I could probably add a few more issues but not worth my time.

My Take:
1. Lots of time and programming resources to invest
2.  Very little return on Investment for Flex
3 .it's only $200 or about the cost of a few cases of beer..

.

Time to Close This Thread.
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Pat N6PAT

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First off, Ive been developing software for 35 years. I know how easy it can be done.

Second, who are you to decide that a thread that I started should be shut down?
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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No harm in brainstorming and discussion, as long as it stays on topic and stays friendly. I enjoy a good debate/discussion. Even if it may not lead to a change of policy.
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Dave AA6YQ

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1. An off-the-shelf license manager provides the desired functionality. 

2. No, Howard, Eric KE5DTO did not say "it likely is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN". Eric said "The short answer is that this is not how we have chosen to do things.  We appreciate your feedback and thoughts on the matter and will take them into consideration."
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Pat N6PAT

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I'm not going to argue with Howard or his buddies. They just want to start a flame war and I'll have no part of it.

This is why we need an ignore button
(Edited)
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Dave AA6YQ

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No, this is why Flex needs to enforce its stated policy governing posts here.

"Time to close this thread" does not qualify as respectful.
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Burt Fisher

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Howard, THE Alpha team member, who has not been critical of Flex here and has had his say  thus said, "Time to Close This Thread."  
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Pat N6PAT

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If you read some of the recent posts you'll see many ops that paid for V3 only to revert back to 2.4.9 because of one reason or another. At $199  per upgrade that probably translates into a LOT of money that people paid for something they will not use.

Now those ops are upset and expressing their feelings in the forum. A trial period would have avoided this.
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Pat N6PAT

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I'm curious as to how many ops purchased V3 only to revert back to a prior version for one reason or another. From the number of posts it looks like it could be a lot.
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KC2QMA_John

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 My guess is not only did many of the folks who bought 3.0 go back to an older version, many others just wont upgrade at all until SmartSDR is much more complete.


So was this a good software roll out in my opinion NO.

Is this good for public relations NO.

Did this upset the people that spent $199 to find they can not use it YES.

Do these issues keep people from paying $199 to upgrade their software for some YES

Does this make potential customers think twice about buying a new FlexRadio YES.


We are all just humans and not perfect I can only hope this 3.0 episode is a learning experience for FRS and future software versions are more in line with market demand.


These are some things to remember and what makes FlexRadio an amazing platform.

-PowerSDR was/is an incredible achievement in radio tech and opened up the amateur radio world to SDR and what its possibility could be.

-SmartSDR is even more amazing by adding:

Client/Server concept to ham radio.

WAN to connect to your radio over the internet with relative ease.

CAT & DAX to simplify communications with 3rd party software.

And now Multi-Client.


As it is now I will stick with v2.49 and look forward to a version that compels me to upgrade.

I am very happy with my 6600M and Maestro and both give me the most fun I have ever had with an amateur radio and after all that's what it’s all about.


Having said all this, I wish FRS great success and try to look at this as a Bump In The Road and hope they try harder in the future to meet customer demand.


(Edited)
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Steve

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Pat,
You make a good point.  In an effort to stop all of this childish bickering it would be great to see how many reverted back and specifically why.  NOT to bash the product but to inform others of possible reasons to upgrade or not.  Also this list could contain those who stayed with V3 and how exactly they are using new features.  This list (without emotion) would point out to users and Flex how this new release is truly being received.  Those of you whom are looking for things to argue about lets stick to the facts because the facts speak for themselves.  I personally am getting sick of reading useless bickering.
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Ted VE3TRQ

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I upgraded to v3 because I wanted the ability to leave the “M” front panel connected while using the radio from other computers, Windows, Mac and iPad. I would have stayed with v3 except for the fact I cannot run the Mac with it until xDax / xCat / dogParkSDR / MacLoggerDX are modified/upgraded to work with v3. As soon as they are, I will go back to v3.

In the mean time, the ability to (relatively) easily go back and forth means I don’t need to sweat it :-) I’ll just stay on 2.4.9 until everything is ready to move to v3.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Some here are thinking they represent the general Flex popolation but they don't. People commenting on the community is just a tiny % of the flex customer base.
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KC2QMA_John

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"Some here are thinking they represent the general Flex popolation but they don't."
Are you one of them Bill? 

"People commenting on the community is just a tiny % of the flex customer base."

Do you have any statistical data to back that up?

 You appear to comment on almost every single thread on this forum from a position of authority and some times act as if you are a representative of FlexRadio Systems. The funny thing is you have been told this by many users of this board so this is not just my opinion.

I will say in your defense you have every right to say what you want here as much as I do and I also reserve the right to not to react to your posts and that's exactly what I will go back to doing.

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Bill -VA3WTB

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Oh come on John, count them, do you really think most the Flex customers comment here, count them,,out of thousands of owners?. And do you have data to show otherwise?

Almost every time I comment with information, I mention that my comments are from statements from Flex. otherwise they are my own opinions.
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HCampbell WB4IVF

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The op asked a Flex employee to respond to his question.  A Flex employee responded to the question. 

Thankfully the full moon will begin to wane in a few days.  (-:

Howard

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