My take on V3

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When examing vertical alignment and value, Flex charging for V3 makes perfect sense.  First, most companies rely on vertical alignment to properly determine costs.  Each department is charged for the determined cost to supply needed functionality.  In a service company, customer service, routers or call takers, part purchasers, etc. are all factored into the cost to supply service and each has its assigned budget.  So when Flex fixes cost for each product, the total cost of producing the product plus profit must be figured into the equation.  If Flex figured in software upgrades for the life of the product which in most cases is 10 years then, the projected costs of software group would have to figure into the base cost for a 10 year period.  Because Flex charges for software upgrades, not updates, they are able to fix their cost at substantial savings.  This intern establishes a great value for all of its customers at the time of purchase.  My only issue with Flex is that they are only adding functionality to the contest or network individuals and not the overall core of amateur operators.   I can only assume that they have predetermined their core as such.  One individual mentioned Sony as a comparison, which I strongly feel is misleading.  As a past owner of a Services and Sales company,  Sony only gave software updates and charged for software.  Also, Sony like Apple charges are based on the market and not value to customers.  Conclusion,  Flex is giving great value to its customers base, however, I would request that future updates consider the average operator rather the contest or network operator.
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Joseph Rodick

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Posted 5 days ago

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Danny K5CG

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Well said Joseph.
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DJ1YG

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it could not have been expressed better
Dieter, DJ1YG
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STEVE BRAUNIG

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Thank you for taking the time to cogently analyze Flex's upgrade strategy. I also agree that this upgrade represents incredible value and has continued to advance the networking of amateur radio technology.

Best 73,

Steve, VE7FSB
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Pat N6PAT

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It has value only if you want the enhancements. It has no value if you don't want them.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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Joseph, interesting post.
One thing that is not talked about much are the reasons Flex has for deciding their upgrades.
If we look at all the upgrades in the past we see that all of them sets FLex apart from competition. And they have done that in spades in V3. It Seems to me that is a big reason for what they did in V2 and now in V3.

Also, most of the commenters are suggesting that the contester crowd is very small compared to the over all customer base.
I wounder what the stats are in the Flex customer base. What %
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Again, good feedback to the Flex team and I am sure they appreciate it. 

The one intrinsic value that also comes with V3 in addition to multiflex is continued bug fixing. I know that many feel that if a bug was introduced prior to v3 that you should not pay for it to be resolved. While, on the scale of fairness, I see the point but on the scale of commercial software development, no other company can afford this model nor supports it.

I also understand the concept that 'I am not a contester so I don't need those features nor do I care about Flex focusing on that market'. I am a low-activity contester but mainly do it at NR4M which is a total K3 environment. I have historically pushed for Flex to enter this market, not because its where all the revenue lives, but for the same reason that Elecraft priortizes it: if you make a great radio for the demands of contest stations, it provides a rock-solid radio for 'the rest of us'. It works out performance issues, intricate bugs, etc. So I am pleased they are finally focusing on this market. I do not believe (and truly hope) they do not do so at the exclusion of their bread and butter customer. I can say that I do not think the majority of the alpha team is contest-oriented but have no hard numbers to prove it. 

Again, thanks for the logical, eloquent feedback and lets see how Flex responds!
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Burt Fisher

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Thus according to your theory a company ought to have more bugs to profit more in selling the fixes?
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Burt thats not what I mean at all. No company will survive creating more bugs just to sell maintenance releases and Flex definitely does not do this.
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Dave AA6YQ

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My understanding from Eric KE5DTO is that there will be a V2 release bearing defect repairs.

Competent software organizations ensure that releases are upward-compatible. This makes it easier to persuade users to upgrade even when a new release contains new functionality only of interest to a subset of the user community.
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WA2SQQ

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V3 is definitely an update that clearly is aimed at multiop contesters. I suspect they do not represent the majority of Flex customers. It would have been much better if updates that would appeal to the general population comprise updates. Special interest updates could have, should have ,been released as optional modules that could compliment general updates. If v3 has some future updates that would appeal to the general flex population, I’d upgrade in a heartbeat. Right now, nothing about v3 motivates me to update. I’ve spoken to at least 3 other Flex users who feel the same way.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I never tried that,,but their are some really cool ones.
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mikeatthebeach .

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V3 is not your Grandpa’s Radio

So with that said V3 is an emerging technology

At First I thought to stay on V2.xx but after
Learning how to drive the V3.xx Car without
A manual I Appreciate how it works
( Sort of Reverse Engineering Logic I have
Being a Technical Type Person here for
Years )

Think there can be a lot of confusion is that if one does not
Pay Attention to where the DAX and CAT settings
Per Slice and using say two separate Computers
Running say SSDR or IOS devices the nibble Ham
Brain can be quite challenged or frustrated

Anyway Hat’s off to FRS for trying something new !

Anyway, as time goes on, some evolution in Logic, Ergonomics and Thought will Come out of this for
The users

Take Care

73 Mike
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Ted VE3TRQ

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I do zero contesting, but I bought v3 - and not because I want to support Flex, but because they provided something I want.

I have an”M” model, and almost always leave the front panel connected with a couple of slices so that I can use the Flex for digital modes WITHOUT running a GUI on the computer with the digital programs - I just run DAX/CAT or xDax/xCat along with FlDigi or WSJT-X. I can control anything I want on the radio with CAT/xCat.

What v3 allows me to do is run SSB from an iPad or a MacBook, remote or local, at the same time as the “M” front end is holding a slice or two for digital programs. I use either SSDR iOS or dogParkSDR (or for that matter SSDR on a Win10 laptop I have) for operating phone.. Whatever computer I have running WSPR, FT8, JS8Call, or FSQ programs keeps on running those applications,updating me with propagation conditions and who is active. Needs an auto-tuner or multi-band antenna (in my case I have a 6600M, so two antennas, plus I have a multi-band receive antenna).

The only thing I need to verify is that v3 manages antenna selection and power correctly with multiple sessions active. I’m only sharing my radio with myself :-)

Ted VE3TRQ
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mikeatthebeach .

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Ted
Paying attention to the DAX/xDAX and CAT/xCAT
Assignments per which Slice/xSlice selections
Is important

Using V3 the same way as you with my 6600M
With FT8 on a Laptop all the time with SSDR
And the 6600M front panel on SSB

Enjoy V3

73 Mike
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Burt Fisher

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Bill what features do I want? How about features that worked in 2.39? Features in other radios such as Elecraft KX3 like copying CW and sending and receiving digital modes, in the Icom 7300 setting viewable band segments, and warming up faster than a few minutes? 
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HCampbell WB4IVF

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If V3 included the “mirror” function that would let me use SSDR or Maestro on the same slice/signal, as several alpha team members have posted was a probability/possibility in a future 3.x releases, I’d sure upgrade.  To me would be a great feature for many “average” users like me. 

In their advertising Flex states that V3 is like having your cake and eating it too.  In my opinion that will happen only if/when you can use SSDR and M/Maestro on the same slice/signal.  Here’s hoping that it will be the next step, even a partial one ..........

Howard
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I've got all my radios updated, and running well.

https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2019/04/14/k9zw-upgrades-to-flexradio-systems-smartsdr-version-3-0-with-multiflex/

Having fun which I describe in detail.

I think that is what this is all about?!

73

Steve
K9ZW

http://k9zw.wordpress.com


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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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loved your blog... especially your analysis of the usual group of naysayers
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Mark - WS7M

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I cannot believe  your blog goes back to 2007.  That was like the ham dark ages (grin).   Nice job on the blog.  Seriously!
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Thank you! The blog started because my children thought I was a Luddite who couldn’t blog. It also meets my goal of helping others by sharing, and provides both note keeping & peer review for solutions.

If you search the blog on “dream” you can find the multi-part series I wrote predicting where I though “Deep Impact” (what became the Flex-6000 series) could offer. We are a good ways down that vision and I’ve enjoyed seeing things implemented that were just pipe dreams.

Appreciate your kind words!

73

Steve
K9ZW

http://K9ZW.wordpress.com
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k3Tim

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Amen to that - nice read on the blog Steve..  Hotter than my homemade hot sauce!
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Dave AA6YQ

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This is what K9ZW posted in his blog:

"There are real issues and some of the third-party software developers didn’t get themselves ready on time. One prima donna presumed that his outrage was important enough that the world should just put v3.0 on hold because he wasn’t ready. He seem to doubledown on his on-line ire when it was shown his third-party product would work for most users, and it was pretty obvious he was spending more online time being an internet pissant than it looked likely to take to fix his minor glitches. Some folks have said he may have disabled the workaround at some point as well. No matter here as I’m looking to reduce single-point-of-failures in my operations, and an overly volatile developer is a classic case of a “single-point-of-failure” in my book.   Something tolerated if there truly is no option, station workarounds planned if I must use their software/hardware, and other contingency plans put into place immediately."

In 2014, I purchased a 6500 so I could enable DXLab users to enjoy the benefits of the promised SmartSDR Ethernet API. When the API appeared without documentation, I populated the Flex API Wiki with the information I received from Flex so that other 3rd party developers wouldn't have to re-invent the wheel.

I don't recall signing a contract with Flex in which I committed to support each of their future releases "on time".

Neither I nor anyone else proposed putting SmartSDR v3 on hold. That's a complete fabrication. 

Yes, several ops posted here that DXLab did work with SmartSDR v3. They were wrong. One of them didn't test the component of DXLab that interacts with the transceiver. The other conducted only limited testing, missing the fact that Commander can't switch the radio between RX and TX, or mute a slice.

I disabled the workaround? What workaround? SmartSDR v3 is not upward compatible with v2 -- an egregious technical error. The transceiver control application must be extended to determine with which version of SmartSDR it is interacting, send commands appropriate to that version, and listen for responses appropriate to that version. There is no workaround.

The reason 3rd party developers must do this extra work? Having failed to anticipate the needs of multFlex when initially developing the SmartSDR API, Flex developers chose a non-upward-compatible approach to v3 because their code would be more straightforward.

As someone who has spent much of his professional career working to improve the quality of software engineering, I find this highly disappointing, but there's no financial impact to me: DXLab is entirely free. Third party developers with paying customers, on the other hand, are more than just disappointed; they must put revenue-increasing development tasks on hold while they extend their apps to support v3. Who benefits? New third party developers who didn't invest in v2 and went right to v3. Maybe they'll wish they waited until v4...

As bad as Flex's non-upward-compatible gaffe may be, some of the reactions in this forum are worse. The devolution to "Cheerleaders vs. Naysayers" is destructive. K9ZW's post and the the posts of those who cheer him on are toxic. 

For the past 18 years, I've maintained an online forum for DXLab users that has grown to more than 5000 participants. Every post is friendly and constructive, even when I screw up, or when there's a strong difference of opinion over corrective action or priorities. Allowing this forum to degrade will cause more long-term damage to the Flex brand than any one technical error. It's grasping defeat from the jaws of victory. My strong advice: fix it!
(Edited)