Flex user input for SmartSDR functionality

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  • Updated 5 years ago
We have a fundamental problem....we all have different operating styles/habits and as you might expect, many of us most probably would have a different priority regarding FRS’s implementation of functionality yet to-be implemented or defined.  Many may disagree, but I think a survey for customer input (registered Flex owners) regarding feature/functionality priorities would really help.  As customers, we are "all over the board" regarding which feature/functionality item is next or more important.  I think FRS has a commitment to its customer base to deliver those features that have been acknowledged and placed on the road map.  Having said that, there are many other good ideas that need to be discussed and prioritized.  However, we must appreciate FRS’s company direction, schedules and resource allocation.

I suspect anyone can join our Community, without being a licensed amateur radio operator.......but I have a fundamental problem with non-Flex owners or non-hams voting on or suggesting new feature/functionality items via this venue.  I think this type of input serves only to skew the process of legitimate owners helping FRS with prioritization of these items.  I'm not suggesting a "closed" Community, but the utilization of a survey (I think this has been mentioned recently several times) that is sent to registered Flex owners.  Essentially FRS sends the Flex owner an email with a link to the survey.  This process will ensure that only Flex radio owners provide input regarding yet-to-be delivered features/functionality.

Mike
K5UX


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Mike K5UX

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Posted 5 years ago

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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There is a PhD thesis each in the differences between push/pull, post-purchase/pre-purchase, randomized/self-selected, identified/anonymous, and other survey bias issues.


FRS has done a very good job of navigating the field on features - including the balancing of the logistics and cost issues which many survey techniques never consider.


Suggest if there is a specific feature you personally would like to see to make that feature know to FRS.  Apparently there are less "deal killers" than "deal makers" in the roadmap as it stands.


In certain specific instances there may enough interest in a feature that it becomes worthwhile to do something like what Stu K6TU did in developing his iPad Remote package.


As a perspective we should keep in mind, after we've bought the "Radio Server" we are a software customer and need to reflect that our requests will need to be funded by the eventual renewal fees. 


73

Steve

K9ZW

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Charles - K5UA

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This sounds like a reasonable proposal Mike.  As purchasers of a 6000 series Flex radio, we have already demonstrated our commitment to FRS.  I would like the opportunity to communicate my priority level on the features that are already in the engineering pipeline.  I don't consider this to be "design by committee",  since we would be prioritizing features that have already been deemed desirable by the Flex management and engineering teams. This survey would be for those with a vested interest in the product (the installed base of 6000 series radio users).  Is it likely that anyone who has not purchased a 6000 series radio will pony up the $200 yearly fee for software enhancements when that time comes?  If they do not, will their votes for enhancements carry the same weight as the installed base?  I hope not.
(Edited)
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Ernest - W4EG

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Charles...

You nailed this one.

 I feel that when we start paying; then those paying should be the ones that can suggest what they like to see in future release.


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Charles - K5UA

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This sounds like a reasonable proposal Mike.  As purchasers of a 6000 series Flex radio, we have already demonstrated our commitment to FRS.  I would like the opportunity to communicate my priority level on the features that are already in the engineering pipeline.  I don't consider this to be "design by committee",  since we would be prioritizing features that have already been deemed desirable by the Flex management and engineering teams. This survey would be for those with a vested interest in the product (the installed base of 6000 series radio users).  Is it likely that anyone who has not purchased a 6000 series radio will pony up the $200 yearly fee for software enhancements when that time comes.  If they do not, will their votes for enhancements carry the same weight as the installed base?  I hope not.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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At least for the short term the best way to communicate your interest is by voting (clicking LIKE).  The ideas list includes the enhancements in the pipeline, those under consideration, the ones that have not been considered, and the ones that are completed.  

If you want to go through the ideas it will take some time, there are 352 of them in the list currently.  And the reporting tools don't allow you to ignore the ones that have already been completed (although that status is shown as you page through them).




The vast majority of the ideas (95% or more)  in the list have 15 or fewer votes.  Given the number of members in the community this seems like a very low level of interest.  With about 800 members, an idea with 20 votes is supported by less than 3% of the community.  I suspect the low numbers are  partly because the voting process is not clear and the process to review the ideas is cumbersome.   For example, the only "like" that adds to the support count is the one at the top of the idea.  Adding a comment to the idea or clicking "like" on a comment in the idea does not add to the support count. . 




I think it is unlikely that FRS will dedicate someone full time to conduct surveys.  My impression is they would prefer to use the community tools for feedback and dedicate their resources to support and development.  Even if they decide to take on a surveying effort, it could take months before anything meaningful is available.  

In the mean time, if members that have the time (several hours or more) can review the ideas and cast their votes, it should provide a more representative priority picture. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com  




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Reg

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This is a thoughtful dialog.  Although a survey for 6000 owners would be of considerable value, it is clear that the team at FLEX have a lot of work streams underway.  An important underlying issue that has been raised is visibility into the views of actual 6000 owners.

On Newegg.com reviews are tagged as "Verified Owner" if Newegg has a linked record of the reviewer purchasing the item being reviewed.  On Amazon.com the tag is "Verified Purchaser."  If FLEX 6000 owners are tagged in a data field in their Community record as an owner then for surveys the views of 6000 owners could be appropriately tagged.  Both pools of data would be of use to FRS.  Owners have a view based on actually using the radio.  Community members who have not yet purchased a 6000 would be represented in terms of what they think they would like and this data may reflect their bias in making a buying decision.  Both sets of data are of potential value to FRS.

This approach minimizes ongoing workload for the FRS team and would give all of us visibility into the views of owners and non-owners, alike.  The obvious question is whether the Community software will support this approach.

Reg "Flex 6700 Owner"

(Edited)
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Mike K5UX

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Reg, I like your approach to the problem and it's certainly less resource intensive than the survey.  The point with my original post was that we as owners don't really have a good idea of what is coming down the pipeline.  I know Steve recently updated the road map, but it looks pretty thin and I don't see anything about some of the core essentials (NR, NB, APF, etc) on their map and these particular items still need improving.   I also want to make sure FRS considers input from Flex owners, rather than "tire-kickers" (I suspect there are several within our Community).  It's pretty confusing if you go through the Community and attempt to get an idea of what the users want.  I think someone (Al, NN4ZZ?) proposed that FRS publish a bug list and Steve indicated he couldn't devote a person to that task.  I, like many of the Flex owners that had prior experience with PowerSDR would like to see at least that functionality (where possible) in SmartSDR.

Mike
K5UX
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Lee, Elmer

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1. There is no $200 yearly subscription. 2. There is no $200 yearly subscription. 3. There is no yearly $200 subscription. Maybe we should call the aflcio and organize the flex users union!! Then we could strike for better list management!! Oh wait we are users not employees. Of course if you really want a say then perhaps flex will institute a yearly $5000 fee you could pay to move your idea to the top of some list. You people remind me of typical home owner association bullies. Old farts who have nothing better to do but stick your nose in someone elses business. In the mean time flex continues to work on upgrades and deliver on promises.

73. W9OY
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Ken - NM9P, Elmer

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So far, I think the fine folks at Flex have done an excellent job of balancing technical / production reality with feedback and suggestions from users on this Community. While I like the idea of a "verified owner" tag, I am certain that Flex management already has a pretty good idea of who is and is not an actual owner, especially if we use our callsigns in our profiles.


(Remember all the kvetching before the first release? Some of the loudest voices had not actuallly ordered a rig, and Flex knew it. They could also tell that there were others who were very interested, but had not ordered YET! )


I think these folks are smart enough to tell the players apart.

In the world of public opinion, a 1% return is a good response to a survey. And 10% is often spectacular. Also, negative responses are often much more highly represented than positive ones because people with axes to grind are much more motivated to express themselves. (As a church pastor, I live with this every day!) Wise business leaders take all of this into account.


So far I give the folks at Flex high marks. And in cases where our feedback has been misunderstood or misinterpreted, the are constantly listening to the forum in order to get it right. Thanks.
(Edited)
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Dale KB5VE

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I feel with the purchase of a product you have bought the right to make desires know, this is a free country, at least for now it. Flex has always welcomed this. I get concerned when many post become personal attacks. The one thing that I feel should be on flex's mind is the add that was presented when we bought our radios. That ad should be on the wall in every production meeting. Until everything on that ad is done this radio will still be a prerelease version and open to criticism . You might not agree and that is your right. Since someone brought up homeowners associations I will use a automobile as example.


If you bought a Corvette that was a "game changer" in the automobile would ". And that car did not have power steering , reverse gear, a old analog dash and only one door, but since you agreed to be the first to buy it and being part of the experience they promised to get these items to you in 12 months and then your warranty would start, would you feel ok if you did not get the items that were knowingly subpar but were promised to be added in a reasonable time. Would you have the right to ask when will this be done? Also since you gave up backing out of parking places, having your girlfriend slide across the shifter, having to use two hands to turn the car and put up with a dash that many of the cheaper cars surpassed, would the builder not be willing to take suggestions from that type of customer and appreciate the fact he or she bought the car and knew it was not up to running in the lemans race?


At some point the people who feed the bank to allow more radios to be built should be listened to. Not trying to step on toes but being a very early purchaser and staying loyal I feel I have that right. Weither , someone listens or not that is their choice and believe me it will affect the future of this product.


Remember the quote. " we have met the enemy and he is us!"
(Edited)
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Dale KB5VE

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Glad to hear that the comment you made really had me worried. Keep it up things will change .
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Jon - KF2E

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Oh please, this is getting silly. Flex does listen to us! If you just look at this community and see all of the participation by the people at Flex you would realize they listen. I for one don't need to have them emailing surveys or using survey monkey. I'm just happy to see them actively participating with us in this community. Do you see any of the big three participating in a forum with their users? Managing the development of a product like this is a complex process. You can't just conduct a survey every six months and change course because the winds are blowing a different direction. Flex is doing an outstanding job and I for one trust their vision for the development.

Jon...kf2e

PS...Steve, could you please work on the NB.
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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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I think Flex is miles ahead of Icom / Yaesu / Kenwood in listening and responding to customers.
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Mike K5UX

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Wow, many interesting comments regarding my original post and some of the subsequent posts by others.  I also agree with all that FRS has done a very good job of developing an outstanding product that is by far, ahead of all the other SDR manufactures.  Gerald and his crew at FRS have gone way beyond what I think the other manufacturers would have done regarding a product release that was so successful, their supply was easily overrun by demand.  As many of you know, FRS apparently pulled some strings (with their suppliers and perhaps working some overtime and weekends) that resulted in some of the 6300's being delivered earlier instead of August.  Job well done FRS!!

Having said all that, I originally suggested a survey to solicit legitimate owner input regarding future priorities and functionality.  However, after reading Reg's post about using an "owners flag" in the community member profile, I feel this is much better approach, requires less FRS resources and could provide FRS with input from owners and also potential owners.  I don't think there are many (if any at all) Flex 6000 owners that feel FRS will not deliver as promised......but many of us disagree on which items are more important than others, and of course....the time frame.

Mike
K5UX