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Readers Choice - 2007: Top Products

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#1 Tom T

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 03:01 PM

Readers Choice - 2007: Top Products

#2 hairofdog

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 05:50 PM

Great read, thanks Tom.

Only humorous comment i have is, shouldn't the Astro-Physics product be listed in a category such as "Hot Product for 2007 that Average Joe wouldn't be able to own until 2010 'cause the wait list is so long" ?

:>

Thanks

S

#3 Tom T

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 05:54 PM

:lol:

#4 rolandlinda3

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 02:21 PM

Thanks for the work doing this. I find the list fascinating because of two indicated changes:

1. Observatories have historically been unreachable high-dollar items for a typical middle income budget, and they are sometimes coupled with complexity and technnical issues. They are wonderful, nonetheless. The POD changes the equation for the budget limited astronomer. The price, including installation issues, is about the same price as two expensive eyepieces. And (more importantly) it works easily. No wonder that orders are growing so rapidly. The industry will take notice.

2. The more publically recognized entrance of astro video (as seen from the Readers Choices) is, of course, heavily influenced by the MallinCAM Color Hyper camera. It's use, as illustrated by numerous threads and a few articles, has marked on of the few "live" viewing solution for observers in light polluted or weather affected locations, where pure visual observing is over-challenged by the horrendous creep of bad sky conditions. The nice thing about this relatively new product is that it (like the sky shed pod) is about the price of two expensive eyepieces.

When I back up from the results and see the functional changes these two items bring that have not been widely recognized before, they suggest a desire by cost concious and pragmatic users to press into the skies regardless of sky conditions and using things that will help the optical systems they already own. They want results in reasonable but achievable terms. In that light, the popular 102 refractor category fits...about the same price range (two expensive eyepieces) for decent performance....and you can easily fit these 4 inch refractors in a sky shed pod and use them with an astro-video camera if you like.

Not a bad year.

Roland

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 03:35 PM

Astronomical Sketching: A Step-by-Step Introduction

Not much chance of buying the others, well except for the 102mm F/7's, but this like a nice Valentines present.

Jon

#6 rolandlinda3

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:24 PM

Great choice, Jon. We got a signed copy from Erika and have enjoyed it. I certainly did not mean to minimize it; we sketch quite a bit and know the value of a very nice guide like this. Roland

#7 hairofdog

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 03:05 PM

Revision: Make that 2017, or later. I just exchanged emails with the very polite A-P folks and the wait list for telescopes there is not getting any shorter....

S

Only humorous comment i have is, shouldn't the Astro-Physics product be listed in a category such as "Hot Product for 2007 that Average Joe wouldn't be able to own until 2010 'cause the wait list is so long" ?

:>

Thanks

S



#8 pollux

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:50 PM

I am not all that surprised to see Ethos wins ;)

#9 Canadian

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 12:13 AM

I see the poll been taken away?
What were the final numbers?

#10 Tom T

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 07:56 AM

Hi Garry,

Unfortunately, it's come to our attention that there may have been some irregularity with this years polling process. While the exact standings were somewhat suspect, we have confidence that some fantastic and deserving products were chosen.

Given this however, it's not fair to anyone to assign rankings based on this information. Thus the choice was made to do it as a generic top 10 products without specific numbers being assigned. (The exception being the Ethos, but we felt that clearly rated #1)

We're looking at changing the process for next year to ensure a more accurate vote that better represents the choices of our membership.

Thanks

Tom T.

#11 spaceydee

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 12:13 AM

Folks lets keep this thread on topic.

Thanks,

Dee
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#12 Canadian

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 02:56 AM

Folks lets keep this thread on topic.

Thanks,

Dee
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This is the thread to discuss the subject article.
The article was based on the results of the poll, by way of writing about the top 10 products in the poll.

So how is talking about the poll not on topic, when the topic is based on the poll?

I have just heard about the so-called irregularities.
I don't know what they all might be, but I'm pretty sure I know the concern about one.
I never really gave it much serious thought.

But I did miss the closing, and was curious on what the final numbers were, and now find out that some think the end results don't mean anything, but they shouldn't be made public again? From what I remember of the numbers, they didn't really make sense anyway. Considering that each voter could pick 10, it seemed that a lot didn't, they might have only picked one, or three or five. 2800 votes. Maybe 300 people taking part out of a supposed membership 20,000 strong? I think that the major irregularity is that hardly any members participated in the first place.

Polls are popularity ratings at best, fun to participate in, interesting to see the results of, then usually forgotten. The article gives way to pointing out some of the most poplular products of the year, without having the author decide on who to choose, but being able to put their own spin on the product descriptions, which Tom has done quite well again this year.

I don't agree with not letting the rankings fall as they did, because if there is room to warrant any accusations on one, then there is room for all.

The poll was done to create a base for an article for someone to author an interesting read.
Barring the intersesting developments along the way, isn't that what happened, isn't that what it was all about in the first place?

But I would still like to know the final tally.

#13 Tom T

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 08:28 AM

Hi Garry,

Evidently there is some misunderstanding. Dee's admonition to keep this on topic does not apply to your post. There were three other posts which she removed. I'm betting it applies to them.

As per final figures:

Ah, I wish that everyone had your attitude towards polls, as it's one I share. This has always been something that we did just for fun but apparently not all manufacturers think so. Without going into too many details, some specific accusations have been leveled against one particular vendor/manufacturer. Apparently the intention was manipulation of the poll for advertising purposes.

If true this is unfortunate on a number of levels, but the real pity is that this is a very interesting product in it's own right. We debated if we should leave it off entirely or not, but eventually decided to leave it simply because we felt that meddling aside (assuming there was actually some meddling done), it was capable of standing on it's own merits.

After some extensive consultations amongst the mods and admins, we felt the best way to deal with it was to do away with the ranking and simply announce the products that the reader base had chosen.

Assuming we continue to run the Top Products in the future, we'll have to find a way of ensuring things like this can't happen.

That's all I really care to say on this publicly, I'm sure you understand. If you'd like to discuss this further, please feel free to PM me.

Tom T.

#14 bobmcg

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:04 AM

I enjoy polls like this as much as anyone but I know that they are virtually meaningless statistically. Any poll where the sample of people responding is self-selected is vulnerable to "selection bias". Basically such polls only tell us what the people responding thought, not what the larger population being sampled thought. Often such polls are vulnerable to repeat votes as might have been the case here judging from what Tom wrote. Anyhow they are usually a lot of fun especially if we don't take them too seriously.






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