Maybe we need a delay on the roadmap

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I would like to suggest that it might be time to take a break on the roadmap and focus a release on completing/fixing what we already have. LAN/WAN operation is going to be a big development project that will take at least 6 months. We have a lot of things that are not working well or are not fully implemented. If these items have to wait until after LAN/WAN, it is going to be a long year.

We are already several weeks behind from 1.3, let's use the next couple months to finish some existing features and add a few minor ones. Then pickup with remote operation.

Here are some examples that I hate to wait until after remote operation to see.

  • Useable NB, NR, ANF(my pet peeve)
  • Fully functional tuner
  • Band maps on the pan adapter
  • Color palettes
  • Improved S-meter
  • Spots on the waterfall
I'm sure others will be able to suggest others.

Jon...kf2e
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Jon - KF2E

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Posted 5 years ago

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Bill -VA3WTB

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Because SSDR is new from the ground up, Flex is making a software based on the suggestions of owners. The other thing is features can not be randomly added, some features need to be before others and some need to be after as some are related or linked in some way.
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L.Kubis

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To date most of the product development emphasis has been on local operation of the radio. This is understandable as it is the foundation for the other operational modes.

This local functionality is for the most part available now, perhaps not to everyone's expectations, it is there nevertheless. It will also continue to improve as has occurred in previous revisions.

The new architecture of the radio was to be a "game changer" with the ability to provide native WAN networking capability. This was highly promoted at the time of introduction of the radio and is the reason why I and many others purchased the new 6000 series.

Without WAN my radio is essentially useless as I live in an antenna prohibited area, which is why I need to operate remotely like many other antenna restricted operators.

Isn't it reasonable to expect at least some of this WAN operational capability after all this time??

Why should the introduction of WAN have to wait for the perfect radio??

Cheers1

Lloyd

VE3ERQ



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DrTeeth

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Maybe more pressure would have been put on FlexRadio to implement this feature if everybody who *needed* WAN to work like yourself would have waited until purchasing and would have told FR that fact?

Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
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Bill -VA3WTB

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There must be reasons beyond what most of us know about, I suspect there were other things that had to be implemented before WAN. It's like building a car. In order to attach a steering wheel you need a steering collum first.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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1. Why wait and miss outon all the fun we have trying out all the new things?

2. Also. WAN was clearly delineated on the Roadmap so we knew it was going to be V2 of the software

3. I have done enough software development to understand the complexities of WAN so like Bill said I understand that they had go get a lot of parts working first

4. I had fun creating Kluges so I can appreciate the a native App.

5. Finally If everyone waited as u suggested Flex would not have the resources to develop anything.

Heading off to catch a plane to London in few hours.
(Edited)
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Jon - KF2E

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I think this thread has served it's purpose and while I don't want to fan the debate further, I want to make a final thought.

There needs to be a mechanism in place so that when newly implemented features don't work as they should, they can be fixed. I doubt the folks anxious for the WAN operation would want to wait a year to have it's issues fixed. Issues occur with new features, it's understandable. I just hope there can be a process to fix them in a timely manner.

Thanks for all the participation in this thread and, yes, I too believe Flex is doing an outstanding job. I just wanted to start a discussion about the process for dealing with issues that seem to linger.

Jon...kf2e
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DrTeeth

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Good point well made sir.

Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
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Carl/K5HK

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Not wanting delay...full speed ahead and fix bugs, etc. as you release new roadmap progress.

73, Carl / K5HK
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DrTeeth

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I would wager that there is a complete list of capabilities to be put into the software, somewhere. How else could they design an SDR? It could not be done the other way around. I recon the roadplan is in place for many paid version main number upgrades into the future. Features could not be put in place too soon as that would undermine the revenue generating stram of the software.

Me a sceptic? Neh, hi hi.

73 de Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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FRS has been VERY open that they are Software Company first that additionally makes an Amateur Radio SERVER platform. 

To be a software company you have to provide enough value-added at sellable major revision points to pay forward the development of the next series of subpoint-revisions and prepare the next major revision.

If their software model fits - either as a static feature rich product within the revisions you buy when buying your Radio Server, or as an alternative if it is within your hobby commitment for periodic reinvestment to do buy-as-you-go ad hoc upgrades - the radio is a great fit for your shack.

If FRS software model doesn't work for you, either by economics or temperament, then I'd suggest considering not doing a SDR right now. 

I bought my backup SmartSDR radio from a fine gentleman and ham, who very quickly realized he wanted something different than FRS presently offered and his temperament leaned towards a different product class.  Nothing wrong with that at all - in fact kudos to him to giving a SmartSDR a try!  "Horses for Courses" I think is what they say in your neck of the woods Guy.

With the 6x00 series doing a fair bit of borrowing from older commercial FRS products they have a very clear idea where the product is going and what it someday will do.  The Roadmap outlines an awesome forward path with a lot to offer any ham.  If something not on the Roadmap or in the present features set is a must-have for a person's shack, then it is a deal killer and so be it.  I don't think they would be any better served elsewhere - look at how long it has taken Icom to put the IC-7800's remote capabilities into the end user's hands - and only in a limited fashion after an additional investment is made for hardware & software.  The other high performance option vendors each have their own area where they are playing catch-up or have made little use of what hardware they did design & sell - example the DMU & similar units several offered as add-ons mostly do not much more than do a larger screen and offer a place to save to a SD-Card in instances where the main rig lacked it.

Others use risky closed-options-for-alternatives processors that might not be repairable within a rather short timeframe. 

Think deeply and hard on what you are buying into, that way you will have fun with a SmartSDR radio rather than never happy because some feature or another is not the way you like it.

But asking FRS to abandon their commitments to satisfy early a few - or maybe only one - while putting the rest on hold is really unfair to those who bought in after studying the Roadmap in contrast with their personal needs to work out a personal shack plan.

73

Steve

K9ZW

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DrTeeth

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I am looking forward to being part of the FR community officially, as soon as I fire up the 6300 on 30th August. I would just like more emphasis to me placed on fixing inadequate features (low power on data modes introduced in v1.3 and ATU performance for example) rather than leaving them to fester in the rush to provide more features. The balance definitely needs tweaking. I'm surprised the FrexRadio does not have a double-peak filter for RTTY use.

How I will get through this next week of work I do not know, hi hi.

Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
(Edited)
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Official Response

A little humor - Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one.

I have followed this discussion with interest over the last couple of days.  Our whole team’s desire is to be as responsive as possible to our customers.  Like all businesses we must constantly balance competing priorities and opinions to achieve the best outcome for all our stakeholders.  

There are four basic categories of requests that I identified in your posts to this topic:

  1. Existing features that legitimately need performance enhancement.  We hear you and have already taken steps to address a number of these issues.

  2. Existing features that work as designed but some of you may want them to work differently.  We take that into account as we consider potential design enhancements.

  3. New feature requests.  As time and resources permit, we consider new feature requests as appropriate.  A recent example is the addition of Automatic Peaking Filter (APF) for CW.

  4. And the ~75% majority request - Stick to the Roadmap.

We continuously monitor the FlexRadio Community along with feedback from our Alpha/Beta team.  When defects or legitimate feature requests are identified, they are entered into our internal software planning system.  These are typically reviewed and dispositioned by the entire engineering team at least once per week.  There are three possible outcomes - now, later, or never.  We realize that there are those who would like for us to post those outcomes publicly.  Unfortunately, this is neither practical from a business standpoint nor wise from a competitive standpoint.  

FlexRadio is the first and only Ham Radio transceiver manufacturer to publish a public software roadmap.  We offer this as a service to you our customers.  The SmartSDR roadmap is our means of communicating the broad direction of our FLEX-6000 Series enhancement plan.  It does not communicate everything we are currently working on or all of our future plans.  

Here are a few things you should know about the SmartSDR Roadmap:

  1. We are committed to LAN and FM in SmartSDR v1.4 as planned.

  2. LAN functionality is a prerequisite to WAN.

  3. We have a strategic commitment to deliver WAN in 2015.

  4. We reserve the right to adjust the Roadmap content and/or schedule if we deem it prudent.  For example, we recently delayed v1.3 eighteen days to allow more test time for major new features.

  5. Near term Roadmap plans may be considered fairly firm.  The further out in time on the Roadmap, the more fluid the plan as it allows us to adjust for changing market requirements.

Software planning is not a perfect science.  Some projects turn out easier than we thought and some things turn out much, much harder.  Planning has to hedge for that uncertainty as well human resource variables.

I want everyone to know that we always welcome appreciate constructive feedback.  We constantly strive to improve our processes and our service to you.  We aren’t perfect but we sure do care.

73,

Gerald
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DrTeeth

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Gerald,

Any news on the reduced power outputs from RTTY and PSK31 noticed in the 1.3 build of SmartSDR?

I would like to see a custom designed narrow double-peaked filter for RTTY

Getting my 6300 next wee and looking forward to it.

73 de Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
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Bill -VA3WTB

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To me it is so wonderful that Flex communicates with it's customers they way Garald just did, I know of no other amature radio company that does as good a job. Flex does read everything on this site and are listening....
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DrTeeth

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A few weeks ago, when my ham plans were in flux, a couple of rigs were short-listed. The FTDX3000 and the 6300. I did my research and the FlexRadio won hands down.

I may have given the impression otherwise but I like the way FR engages with its customers and does listen. I think that part of the 'problem' maybe with non-programmers like myself thinking that something is a simple tweak but is not so at all.  Rather than just a sparce raod map, maybe some more info can be put out to customers on the SW development side or even a more detailed map - it would minimise the 'when is $%£" being fixed?' type of post.

That this forum is friendly and helpful to all is a further reason to buy FlexRadio. Just imagine trying to get this level of support from one of the 'bigger' names, ROTFLMAO.

3 more days to 'key down', but who's counting

Guy G4DWV/4X1LT
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Steve N4LQ

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Yes, anything to minimize post would be helpful. 
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Guy,

We are telling you about the "big rocks" that we are committed to in the Roadmap.  There are hundreds of little rocks that we juggle and work on all the time.  It would not be productive for us to try to publish all of those things for a multitude of reasons. Remember that our competitors don't publish anything about their plans much less their bugs.

You are correct that something you and even I think may be a simple tweak may not be simple at all.  That simple little tweak could ripple through hundreds or even thousands of lines of code.  It takes front end design work not just coding to do it right.

There is a joke in the software world that you may or may not have heard.  It goes, "It's just a simple matter of programming."  This is also called "SMOP" for short.  Any time you say that to a software team they just laugh in your face.  ;>)

73,
Gerald
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Gerald,
IMHO one of the reasons people are asking for more milestones (or rocks) is that currently there are only 3 in sight from where we are today.  (1.4 is LAN remote and FM.  2.0 is WAN remote).  

When we were back on V1.0 the road map for the remainder of V1 laid out about 20 milestones.  We had a lot to look forward to and could see a lot of what was coming. 

I think if you could flesh out the 2.x road map with 15-20 milestones sooner rather than later, we'll have a better view of the future and you will get fewer requests for information.  

Another good IT one liner -- "No testing needed, its only a one line change."

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Al,

Do not underestimate the level of effort required for the milestones listed.

Stu K6TU
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Stu,
Good point, maybe WAN Remote is the only milestone for the entire 2.x release.   

But if there are a few others, that would be good to know.  (either way). 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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All things in good time...  FRS is the only company that has the courage and conviction to publish a roadmap.  I'm sure it will get updated.

Stu
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Jon - KF2E

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Stu,

You have said exactly what I am worried about. The current roadmap only has two items, FM and LAN/WAN. I agree that the LAN/WAN piece is a HUGE job. My original reason for starting this thread was to suggest that these items, while wildly important to some, are not wildly important to most. I hate to see development grind to a halt while these items dominate.

Jon...kf2e
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Guys, if you read the release notes you see them discuss the new things added, but they also tell what things they were fixing, there sometimes are hundreds of them. I'm sure in the next release it will be the same way, stay tuned...
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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"Not wildly important to most".

I beg to strongly disagree.

Needless to say, at numerous Hamfests and especially Dayton Native LAN/WAN was the most requested feature. By both owners and potential buyers

Frankly WAN/LAN is the "Killer App" that will separate Flex from the pack and likely will generate a heck of a lot of sales.
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Think of a software release as a bucket.  In a perfect world, the things you see on the Roadmap are like big rocks that fill around half of that bucket plus or minus a few rocks.  The rest of the bucket is for fixing things, adding things, employee personal time off, underestimation of work, emergencies, sick kids or spouse, and just stuff that goes into running a business.  

Right now our team is committed to getting v1.4 out the door so they are heads down.  If I stopped them to plan a public Roadmap update, they have to stop and do all the planning work  something has to slip.  I am not willing to do that at this moment.  We will in due time but not right now.
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Takeshi Yamada

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FRS kindly promised to provide upgrade up to 1.4 at free.  However, I understand that for further upgrade customer has an opportunity to decide upgrade or not considering new functionality having value to pay for.  It is not reasonable to expect FRS provides upgrades at free forever.

Hence, I understand that the v1.4 provides basic functionality competitors reference to and I expect that FRS provides the best basic functionality others cannot compete easily at v1.4. 

FRS may better provide basic pricing scheme for upgrades after v1.4 sometime before releasing 1.4.  

After v1.4, they are new products at prices and customers can decide buy or not unless otherwise it is the bug fix of the defects.

73 de JI1BNU, JA2IYJ/1
Ken Yamada
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Mike KD2CJJ

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After reading all.. I'm agreeing with many..

My Priorities would be for the next release:

1.  LAN --- I agree this is a priority and a stepping stone to WAN
2.  NB / NR -- A novel approach to noise blanketing and noise reduction.  Its evident the current features are lower performing than even the most basic modern transceivers
3.  Fixing and Polishing to current functions
 
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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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For the love of God....The horse is dead!   The time for further recommendations as to what should/will be released in 1.4 or 2.0 ended back in April at Dayton.  The strategic plan has been set. Flex Radio Systems must now have time to execute this plan. 

I have asked for new features myself.  However, I did not, nor would I ever demand when or how my suggestion would be built.  I don't expect FRS to drop everything to make my suggestion happen.  When and if it becomes a realized enhancement, I will be very appreciative.  I bought a radio from FRS, not controlling shares of company stock.

No other major Amateur Radio manufacturer has been so forthcoming as to their plans or allowed its user community help drive strategic direction to the extent FRS has.  A time must come where we stop throwing mud on the wall and allow FRS to go to work and actually build things.  That time is now. 

Yaesu, ICom, and Kenwood take 5+ years to make products with a non-changeable feature set.  There is precious little real innovation coming out of the big 3.  The products they are bringing to market in 2014 are all based on technology from the 1990's.  I dare one of you to go ask Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood to add a new button or knob to one of your existing radios....all at no charge.  I can just imagine the laughter.

FRS is building a Radio Server.  A device which has never existed before.  We are the fortunate few who are getting to utilize real, cutting edge technology right now!  Some of the silicon being used is less than 2 years old. There are no canned algorithms, manuals, cookbooks, or guides which FRS can reference in building SmartSDR.  Development such as this takes innovative thinking, time, and many hours of hard work.  It also requires OUR patience.

Please....Let Gerald and his team focus on the tasks before them!  They have not disappointed so far.  I don't see that trend changing!

To Gerald and the FRS team, thanks for your hard work. I love my 6300.  Even if there were no new updates forthcoming, my 6300, as it sits right now, is by far the best transceiver I've ever had the pleasure of operating.  I do not regret a single penny spent on the purchase price for this rig.  I look forward to, with great anticipation, your native LAN and WAN feature set.  It will make possible so many new and exciting opportunities for serving my community and exploring my Ham Radio hobby.

Jay - N0FB
(Edited)
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Gerald - K5SDR, Employee

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Hey, Jay.  Thanks for "grokking" it.  It has been fun to participate in this thread.  Thanks to everyone for your comments.  73 de K5SDR dit dit dit da dit da
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Steve N4LQ

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We did it! Finally got Jay to crack....Man that wasn't easy!
But I do agree.
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Ken - NM9P

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LOL!  Thanks, Steve.  That's the funniest thing I have read on here for a long time!
I'm going to go back and play with my radio now....
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Jon - KF2E

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Since I started this thread maybe it's okay for me to request it be closed. I'm spending waaay to
much time scrolling through it to see the responses. We have heard from many users and from Flex as well. I don't think there is much more constructive to be gleaned from this.

BTW...Does this hold the record as the longest thread?

I really appreciate the candid discussion.

73,

Jon...kf2e

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