SmartSDR Mouse Wheel Tuning

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I apologize if this has been asked before but I cannot find the answer anywhere. 

Before I purchased my 6300, I had a 3000 using PowerSDR. One feature I really loved was the ability to hover the mouse cursor over any number on the frequency display and tune using the mouse wheel. This allowed the user to easily step by 1Hz, 10, 100, 1k, etc. It made tuning a breeze. 

This high level of application polish has been neglected in SmartSDR. You can only tune by whatever step value you have set. 

One of the things that set Flex apart was attention to little operating details that made the PowerSDR developers stand out. SmartSDR has lost many of the "smarts" that PowerSDR had and while it is a nicely done program, many thoughtful details are gone. Indeed, many mouse hover and wheel "opportunities" are simply ignored.

Are there any plans to bring this back in SmartSDR?

Please do not abandon your efforts towards those user friendly little features that turn a good application into a great one.
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Brian - K6BPM

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Posted 3 years ago

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Brian - K6BPM

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I am glad to see I am not the only one who feels like this :) I do understand the concept of the bottom line and I know Flex is firmly committed to the Maestro at this time.

I have been a commercial Windows software developer for over 25 years and I wouldn't know where to begin to start counting the number of companies I have seen fool themselves into believing that the UI user experience is second priority. Flex is indeed a top-drawer hardware company, but they also have the responsibility to an equally dedicated and responsive software company. We all buy the hardware, but we spend all our operating time with the software.

With the introduction of the 6000 series and SmartSDR, Flex "pretty-fied" the UI. Fancy looking UI's generate better screen-shots for ads and reviews. Older Flex users salivated at having a much nicer looking interface. PowerSDR obviously didn't have the same pizazz as SmartSDR. 

But I wonder how many others were as disappointed as I was that much of the "heart and soul" of the original design was missing? Or, how many more mouse clicks and keyboard presses it takes to do some things now?

We have a cardinal rule in software design. "Less clicks is better". Flex missed a lot of opportunities to utilize the mouse capabilities like missing or incomplete tool-tips, hover detection and wheel operation over slider and spin-box controls, and of course, frequency tuning. Other things like band segment markers were apparently dropped for a reason that escapes me. That one little detail generated more "gee-whiz's" from my friends I demoed my 3000 to than any other thing.

True, none of these user friendly and ease of use functions make for better screen-shots for marketing material and it is understandable that Flex would mistake these for superfluous "eye candy". 

But in my opinion, they should re-evaluate their short list. What Flex thinks is "eye candy" is what turns "Flex users" into "Flex evangelists".

None of these things are hard to do, that's what I do every day. What worries me is that it sends a message to us Flex users that the commitment to excellence that drew us to Flex in the first place has now changed. 

One final thought that anyone with experience in the software industry would agree with... When you let the marketing department define the software development schedule, no one wins in the end. Listen to the users. They are your best salesmen. 
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Dave - W6OVP

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Very well said, and right on target.

"...the UI user experience..." is in the same department as "out of box experience" and neither seems to get much attention. (Like the Maestro mike connector snafu.) These little things can create either ongoing happiness or ongoing irritation and are cumulative and extremely important.

...generated more "gee-whiz's" from my friends I demoed my 3000. It was open source GUIs that made my socks zip up and down and return to Ham Radio from a 20 yr hiatus (and spend money at FLEX.) When I demo SDR it is not SmartSDR because it has the clunkiness and erratic charm one might expect from Microsoft. The others are as from Apple, and first time viewers love and understand and relate to that.

What Flex thinks is "eye candy" is what turns "Flex users" into "Flex evangelists". Yep.

"Building a better mousetrap..." cannot be a singular priority while buyers are beating a path to the Shopping Channel which has better 'eye candy'. <ggg>. The world is loaded with unsold but not quite finished "better mousetraps".

I have hopes Maestro with it's new approaches will be better in touch with users. The new ICOM IC-7300 shows the big train from Asia is just around the corner and is loaded with user friendly features. Dayton should be interesting.

(BetaMax really was better than VHS. But they didn't listen to the end users.)

(Edited)
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Lee Maisel

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ONE HUNDRED PERCENT AGREEMENT!!!    Focus on the UI Flex!!!  The radios are great!  But you MUST focus on the UI, otherwise it won't matter how good the radio hardware is.

Hire more programmers if you must!  These radios are not cheap.  You can do it.
(Edited)
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WW1SS - Steve

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So their next big thing will be full remote capabilities from what  heard. I really don't care about that. As I said in the past . . . Get the entire user interface 100% with working noise blankers and the supposed "eye candy" complete then add features. Seems like they are more interested in a lot of half baked products over the complete version. Noise mitigation is a wait, bluetooth on maestro is a wait, what else???
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W1RE

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Steven,

That's is your opinion and you're welcome to it.

I want Maestro Bluetooth support and I want remote WAN support!

Incremental UI improvements aren't top priorities to me.


 - Bob, W1RE

(Edited)
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DrTeeth

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Bob, there are some slight differences in the two situations that you mentioned; new features that it would be nice to have and a pig's ear of a GUI that could have been done MUCH better in the first place. The former are being concentrated on as they will bring in the dosh whereby those who want the GUI fixed/enhanced/done properly are insulted by calling what they want "eye candy" and being told it is not a major issue for Flex. The final insult will be the GUI fixes being in v2 and having to pay to get them, just because somebody could not do a better job in the first place.
(Edited)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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This thread is really tiring...

Like Lee I spend hours of unpaid time alpha testing products to make sure you get the best possible worry free products.

Unlike most of you, I have run companies that delivered hardware and software so I know how much it costs to develop bug free software that actually works as the customers expect.

Yes.... the recurring revenue model is the holy grail of Hardware/Software businesses... NOT because it gives us a higher valuation albeit it does, Not because of some secret cabal to increase profits ,,, But rather because we needed the cash flow to pay salaries and overheads of expensive programmers to deliver those allegedly simple fixes that you seem to demand....last time I looked, programmers needed food to eat.. and food is not free unless you are on the dole...   I do not believe that all you programmers who have responded to this thread would show up to work if you were not paid for your time and effort...

Having paid for the costs of developing those little eye candy niceties in my products similar to a Mouse Wheel to change a single digit on a VFO or move a slider.. BTW.. the MOUSE WHEEL TUNING WORKS FINE...

even tiny changes to a GUI can break major things... so they have to be tested...

Just ask any Alpha testers how many versions of things we have to try when the tiniest of changes happen...Flex is fortunate to have a lot of volunteer alpha testers as the cost of 50+ people testing something like Maestro Software @ a minimum of ($100,000 salary $50,000 overhead = $150,000 per year would add at least $7.5MM to $10MM to the cost of Maestro Development. 

People who are whining about having to pay $200 for improvements have no real idea how much it costs to do even the smallest things...

Heck.. I was the first one to wish for Spots on the Display, better color palettes for visually challenged users, Digital Numbers rather than Analog bars for SWR and Power.

BUT none of these are Deal Killers as some of you allege.. and MORE IMPORTANT the presence or absence of these "Eye Candy" will have little impact on revenue needed to pay the cost of developing them.

If you have read the recently released Maestro Manual.. many of the Eye Candy GUI Feature Requests are being handled in a much more user friendly manner by Maestro....  At some point assuming there is a revenue stream to pay for them, some may migrate back into SSDR.

BTW.. almost 10 years of development went into PowerSDR before a lot of eye candy such as Skins stated to appear...

Bottom Line;  No one is going to sell their Flex for lack of Eye Candy and few if any will make a decision not to buy a Flex because it lacks minor eye candy found in PowerSDR. 

So please stop with this very tiresome whining...

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Jon - KF2E

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Bottom Line;  No one is going to sell their Flex for lack of Eye Candy and few if any will make a decision not to buy a Flex because it lacks minor eye candy found in PowerSDR. 

Howard,

I would have agreed with this six months ago. When you are the pioneer of a technology, people flock to you and are eager to overlook any minor issues. Make no mistake, most of these things being discussed are minor issues. Unfortunately, like a burr under a saddle with time it starts to irritate. But, if you are the best game in town it still probably doesn't matter. The change comes when you start to have competition. That still hasn't happened to Flex but it likely won't stay that way.

Icom's first entry into the SDR market, the IC-7300 seems to be a worthy little radio. It's not in the performance league of Flex but it is almost half the price of a 6300 with tuner. Look on Eham at the reviews. After just one month it has 66 reviews and a rating of 4.9. The only Flex radio to accumulate that many reviews is the 5000 which has 102 reviews and an admirable rating of 4.8 in nine years. Oh, about eye candy, if you take the time to read some of the reviews of the 7300 you will see that most users are raving about is it's ease of use and ergonomics.

My point is, your assumption that not having eye candy won't effect sales is wrong. It is exactly what will be used by a regular hams who don't have a clue what 2db of phase noise means. 

Maybe Flex is happy being a niche provider of high end radios. If so they can continue on their course. If they want to provide mainstream ham radios, they need to address the items that are important to most hams.

Jon...kf2e
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G8ZPX

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Howard,

Whilst your heart may be in the right place, you won't get far by treating the user base with such contempt and trying to suppress their freedom of expression.

Many people who buy Flex are themselves exceedingly skilled hardware/software developers. Some have delivered multi-£m projects to NATO and global FMCG businesses, so actually they do know what it's like to get high-end system right first-time to discerning user-base.

Some of the stuff missing is certainly not eye candy, but important features that have been missed / postponed without a timeline. These things lead to irritation and frustration which will get vocalized, on here and on the bands. A disgruntled user-base is not a good place for such a small firm as FRS. They must listen to their customers more, as our loyalty is not endless nor blind to other market developments.

Actually, I think people will happily pay for V2 provided that it isn't just another staging post along the way to a still unfinished product. We need to get a comprehensive feature list out in the open so that we can all see what V2 will actually deliver on. Only then can we gauge its worth (time and money) in real terms versus our assumed loyalty.

BTW: PSDR was developed by a small team of part-time developers over many years. If as you say, FRS now has the benefit of millions of dollars worth of dedicated developers and testers on SSDR then why is it taking so long to add the polish?  Yet at the same time Darrin KE9NS makes massive leaps on PSDR all by himself.
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WW1SS - Steve

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I think . . . Flex needs to hire Darrin
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DrTeeth

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Howard, the only way to stop this whining is to try explain why Flex did not get it better the first time around whilst making frankly stupid choices. Were the alpha testers tasked with giving GUI feedback too? Flex has boxed themselves into a corner as (apparently) fixing a GUI is more difficult than getting it right the first time.

Now for some examples. Let's take our favourite of the power/SWR meters first. Somebody must have sat down and thought, unbelievably, that the current colour scheme was a good idea and that the red fade at the lower levels was also desirable. To make the situation even more surreal, somebody more senior must have signed off on it. That is very worrying is that is the standard of GUI design we have got to look forward to from Flex.

Then, somebody much have made a conscious decision a) not to program some of the PSDR GUI features into SSDR and b) decided to depart from standard windows convention regarding the mouseover/wheel interaction.

It does not help when Flex just calls these silly choices 'eye candy' and says that they are not a priority. That is most certainly NOT the way to stop the whining.

@ Steven. Actually, unbelievably, Flex is actually helping Darrin a lot...whilst insulting us for wanting the same.
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Gents FRS has said over and over that PowerSDR is yesterday.  The hardware has support limitations and the software model was economically flawed, as well as the software/hardware design (thick-pipe model) simply not where FRS said they are going.

While it is legitimate to point to features from PowerSDR, as well as from any other software or vision of software, as desirable features to be added to SmartSDR, it is futile to pine for a dead product line to be resurrected.

It is way out of line to prescribe/interpolate/just-make-the-shit-up about the background reasoning behind FRS decisions.  Are in all honesty if those decisions don't suit you then it is other options you should be looking at.

To call out the most communicative CEO in our hobby's industry for his honesty that the new product launch is the present and current #1 is out of line.  Way out of line! 

To further moan that you would do something different as if you could shame him into not having your pet peeve as his main focus is asinine beyond belief.

As a customer you have the right to buy, not buy, be somewhere on the product satisfaction scale, provided invited feedback, but other than not buying or selling off your hardware you did buy you have no stake in the business, and your stakeholder's prerogative doesn't include calling the shots.

Some of you run your own businesses, and I would imagine run them very well.  Most likely your success is because you have a vision and carry through with what your business promises. 

Note it what your business itself promises - not what some armchair quarterback kibitzing from the sidelines based on their one-off singular purchase decided your firm should do instead of what the firm promised - that is the goal you meet to gain success.

The hover-over addition was worth advocating. 

That any given individual isn't happy with aspects of the present GUI is worth sharing.

Expecting FRS to pour resources into your pet idea or hire this or that person is not on.

Pretending that you run FRS and even worse play-fitting your pet theories behind their decisions is really abusive bad news. 

If you don't know FOR A FACT the rational behind a decision you shouldn't speculate.

Gerald K5SDR deserves better.   

73

Steve K9ZW



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James Whiteway

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Some may have been told like I was, before I purchased the 6300, (and later traded up to a 6500, which I greatly enjoy using) that SmartSDR would have all the features that PowerSDR had before I would have to pay for the next full version upgrade(v2.0) .
That hasn't happened as of yet. Will it make me sell ou? In a word, no. I like the 6500 too much to do that. And I"m certain I'll like it more when my Maestro arrives. As for the missing features/eye candy, I can roll my own if I want it bad enough.(and have) But, not everyone can do that. So, they are stuck until FRS can find the time and resources to add those missing features they/we would like to have.
So, both sides of this argument (which it's turning into)
should back off a bit and let FRS do what they need to do to keep their income comming in. FRS is a small company with a lot of vision. It takes time to accomplish what they are doing. I trust them to do the right thing.
James
WD5GWY
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Winston VK7WH

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"FRS is a small company with a lot of vision. It takes time to accomplish what they are doing. I trust them to do the right thing."

Pretty well sums it up for me
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Ken ve7kwa

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Good Grief... I applaud people for their  concerns and opinions, but am I the only one that is sick of the griping... innuendos... and what looks and sounds like Troll Bait ? I used to really enjoy this list ! Yes I know I can leave if I don't like it...  I'm very close to doing exactly that... I suspect others are as well. It seems it's the same guys that just can't leave an issue alone, constantly steering any thread they join back to their pet gripe...  Such is life when you choose to consult &  include your customer base as Flex does. You guys at Flex must have thick skins !  (flame suit on)
(Edited)
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DrTeeth

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If Gerald would have made a completely different post to his frankly insulting 'eye candy' one, he would have got personal kudos, silenced the whiners for good (me included) and would have made a post that would attract customers. He did so much more harm than good.

Nobody is going to leave this forum as it will blow over like everything else.
(Edited)
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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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Bravo Zulu!  (That's USN vice USA,, for the uninitiated.)
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Ken ve7kwa

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I like it...  I'm going to make good use of that form !!   B^)

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