Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Announcements and News >> Discussion of CN Articles, Reviews, and Reports

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)
gdd
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: N Seattle suburb, WA
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6090176 - 09/19/13 03:35 PM

Hi Greg,

I assume in the screen example above you can use the control key to select non-consecutive items from the lists.

Gale


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6090180 - 09/19/13 03:40 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

From the review: "These two charts look significantly different because SkyCharts doesn’t actually give an eyepiece chart, but rather just shows the object itself at close to the size of the chart..."

I have attached a screen capture showing a proper SkyTools finder chart. The eyepiece view is on the right. Note the circle that displays the field of view for the eyepiece selected (at the top). This is the default setting. The reviewer had to manually zoom the view close such that the eyepiece FOV was outside of the window. The arrow points to the west (the direction of drift) and the user can grab it and rotate the view if necessary. Note also that the view is displayed with the proper orientation for a telescope. Again, this is the default setting; the reviewer would have had to have inexplicitly changed it, perhaps in an attempt to match the view of the other software. These charts work great for finding objects, which is their purpose. A telescope with a magnifying finder would have three views; you go from the naked eye, to the finder, and if necessary, to the eyepiece view to locate a difficult target. Unlike other software the sky brightness is modeled as well as the extinction near the horizon. For example, if the moon were up, the field would be washed-out and fewer stars/objects would appear.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: gdd]
      #6090185 - 09/19/13 03:44 PM

Quote:

Hi Greg,

I assume in the screen example above you can use the control key to select non-consecutive items from the lists.

Gale




I Gale. That's not necessary. A simple left-click will suffice to select each object class. The reviewer wrote about another tool called the Nightly Observing List Generator. Even though the Database Power Search is right next to it on the tool bar, the reviewer apparently was unaware of it.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6090200 - 09/19/13 03:51 PM Attachment (15 downloads)

From the review: "(SkyTools has) no way to export observing lists to other formats than text."

The attached screen capture speaks for itself.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6090204 - 09/19/13 03:56 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

From the review: "(SkyTools has) less flexibility in data to show in observing list columns."

The attached screen capture shows the columns available for the Planner. You can sort by any column, resize them the way you want, and drag them to be displayed in any order.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6090224 - 09/19/13 04:08 PM Attachment (18 downloads)

From the review: "(SkyTools has) less information about objects."

I have attached a screen capture of the Object Information dialog, which is available for any object in the database via a double-click on the object in the observing list (and elsewhere). Note the many tabs at the bottom. Apparent Data includes alt/az, airmass, apparent coordinates, extincted magnitude, etc. Visual Difficulty tells you how easily the object is seen in each of your telescope/binoculars. The NightBar tab is a graphic that displays the visibility of the object on any night. The YearBar tab displays the visibility of the object during the year. The Chart Numbers tab lists the page numbers for the object on various printed charts. There are additional data tabs for other types of objects. You can attach your own notes, images, and web links to any object, and export these in an observing list to be shared with other users. Finally, the Synopsis tab tells you about the current and projected visibility of the object. This is automatically generated. Note that it even suggests that ISON may not survive perihelion. This is based on the Bortle limit. This sort of attention to detail somehow got lost in this review.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6091211 - 09/20/13 08:11 AM

It was suggested / recommended that us 'angry pitch fork welding folks' should reason with the author. Try as I may I cannot locate this person on the site with any certainty. Is this person even a member here? I cannot locate anyone by that name in the user list. As I asked in my first post - who is it? Is that name a pen name?

I am someone who would like to reach the person with reasoned corrections, as I am sure would Greg.

Asking the only way I know, here, in print for someone who can to answer. I don't think that angry pitch fork welding. It was my first question and remains unanswered.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Natty Bumppo
member


Reged: 08/30/13

Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #6091387 - 09/20/13 09:49 AM

Really? "Angry pitch fork wielders"? Really that's the moderators' opinion? Sounds a bit like being called a "bitter clinger". Guess I'll wield my fork by doing as Greg, NEVER buying from Astronomics.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Kyphoron
member
*****

Reged: 04/05/05

Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: Natty Bumppo]
      #6091512 - 09/20/13 10:55 AM

I don't expect moderators to know everything about this hobby or the products that this hobby creates. But I think when glaring errors are pointed out and a large number of forum members start to speak out about errors that they need to step in and either have those errors corrected or retract the article completely. I think its unfair that Greg should suffer because of one misrepresented article that has the facts all wrong. I tend to wonder if an article was written about how inaccurate articles are posted on this site and not opinions if it would ever get posted.

If the author had based his article on a fair comparison followed by the authors opinion I don't think even Greg would have had a problem with it. but when it clearly seems the author is not knowledgeable about one of his comparisons it clearly looks like playing favorites. Something I would have thought would have been discouraged.

That article is not a review, it is a butchering of a very fine program. Perhaps the best astro program out there. It really does it all and because of that there is a learning curve but it is an easy curve to learn.

I know in the past I have written authors to express a good review or even to ask a question about something they may have said. But if the author is not listed and has made no rebuttal on the forum if this wasn't just an advertisement for Astroplanner. My question is shouldn't someone be checking to see if the person is legit before posting their review?

Where is my pitch fork if that's what the moderators think is happening.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: Natty Bumppo]
      #6092026 - 09/20/13 03:47 PM

Quote:

Really? "Angry pitch fork wielders"? Really that's the moderators' opinion? Sounds a bit like being called a "bitter clinger". Guess I'll wield my fork by doing as Greg, NEVER buying from Astronomics.




Well that sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I am thankful that Astronomics provides the resources to run Cloudynights.

I'll keep supporting Astronomics and Skytools.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Natty Bumppo
member


Reged: 08/30/13

Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: C_Moon]
      #6092456 - 09/20/13 08:37 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Really? "Angry pitch fork wielders"? Really that's the moderators' opinion? Sounds a bit like being called a "bitter clinger". Guess I'll wield my fork by doing as Greg, NEVER buying from Astronomics.




Well that sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I am thankful that Astronomics provides the resources to run Cloudynights.

I'll keep supporting Astronomics and Skytools.




LOL! Not necessarily. Even if I figure in the member discount, after shipping (I live about 2 hrs from Astronomics) cost is still the same and often more than from OPT, or others who frequently offer free shipping. And some of those other stores have membership discounts themselves. So this in no way hurts me, but can be a reminder to Astronomics that they're not the only game in town.

edit - remaining paragraphs removed due to Greg's reply below.

Edited by Natty Bumppo (09/20/13 10:25 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: Natty Bumppo]
      #6092520 - 09/20/13 09:28 PM

I have been contacted by a moderator and they are going to add something to the effect that the article may have errors in it along with a link to this thread. This will satisfy me. Thanks everyone for your support!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
7331Peg
Sirius Observer
*****

Reged: 09/01/08

Loc: North coast of Oregon
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6092738 - 09/21/13 12:57 AM

Glad to see that! I think that's a reasonable resolution of the issue.


John


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
AstronomicsAdministrator
Vendor if you must, AKA The Mighty Kong.
*****

Reged: 06/07/04

Loc: Right Here
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: 7331Peg]
      #6092966 - 09/21/13 08:30 AM

People have been cranky at us for this review so here is my two cents.

1. The TOS was in place long before we ever bought CN. While it has changed a little over time, it has has been less then 5% and those changes were brought on by moderators and not us.

2. We literally had zero to do with the review. I don't understand the thought process behind wanting to punish someone that A. Didn't write it, B. Didn't pay to have it written, and C. Doesn't benefit from the review, good or bad, in any way shape or form. So if the same person that wrote this review posted it in other areas like a private blog, or astromart, or astronomers lounge, or astronomy.com would you all threaten/promise to not purchase from the company that simply provides the space for everyone to use free of charge?

3. For Natty Bumpo, we do have free shipping on just about everything so we generally end up being a better value then most astronomy stores. Tack on the c.n. Discount and the fact we spend 6 figures keeping CN up and running every year I believe we currently offer the best overall value in astronomy today.

Personally I can't tell you why the person wrote what they wrote, but they seem to feel it to be the truth. I can't tell them that their opinion is wrong, but we can post the disclaimer and I can suggest that some of the people here that wrote very nice explanations to the potential flaws in the review should write their own review to be posted that addresses what you all believe to be wrong. This would not replace the review but it would post and show what you all have found to be the best parts of the software and how it works.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: Astronomics]
      #6093135 - 09/21/13 10:29 AM

Michael,

If a newspaper or another publication posts incorrect information - no matter who penned it (unless perhaps an op-ed with appropriate disclaimer) - if they PUBLISHED it as factual - they print a retraction.

Not like there is no precedent here. Of course the people at top can't know everything so they leave it to those that write for them to get it right. If clearly wrong they do something about it. That is called taking responsibility for what is on their banner.

You didn't write it but you have absolutely every responsibility for putting it up - period.

In all fairness to the other sites out there we are not talking about generalities or other sites, it is specific this particular piece of work on this particular site.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
AstronomicsAdministrator
Vendor if you must, AKA The Mighty Kong.
*****

Reged: 06/07/04

Loc: Right Here
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #6093193 - 09/21/13 11:03 AM

I understand about a newspaper who is "paying" a person to write an article for them. This however is done for free by a user that has been unsolicited by us. If we had paid someone to write an article and it was proven to be mistake filled then obviously we would retract it, however the best we can do is post a disclaimer about it as we didn't pay for it, didn't ask for it, and I didn't put it up. I believe our unpaid volunteer workers did everything they were supposed to do. They took a user experience that was not bashing a product or saying it didn't do something it wasn't supposed to do, for example getting mad when a screwdriver didn't do a good job acting as a hammer, but from what I can understand didn't do everything they thought it should. There have been multiple new users pointing out the potential errors in the review. Again, my best solution is write a review that points out these issues.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
C_Moon
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/23/09

Loc: Beneath the arms of Cassiopeia
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: Astronomics]
      #6093280 - 09/21/13 11:56 AM

Quote:

I understand about a newspaper who is "paying" a person to write an article for them. This however is done for free by a user that has been unsolicited by us. If we had paid someone to write an article and it was proven to be mistake filled then obviously we would retract it, however the best we can do is post a disclaimer about it as we didn't pay for it, didn't ask for it, and I didn't put it up. I believe our unpaid volunteer workers did everything they were supposed to do. They took a user experience that was not bashing a product or saying it didn't do something it wasn't supposed to do, for example getting mad when a screwdriver didn't do a good job acting as a hammer, but from what I can understand didn't do everything they thought it should. There have been multiple new users pointing out the potential errors in the review. Again, my best solution is write a review that points out these issues.




And I might add that people pay a newspaper to get it right, no one is paying anything for Cloudynights. But then again, that's the way it is, especially with the internet, people want everything for free.

In any event, I think everyone is giving way too much power to one review. The reason I bought Skytools was because of many, many comments on the forums by people using it. I certainly would not have let one review affect my decision to purchase it.

I regularly post about unique things that Skytools can do. Just this week I pointed out to someone that it is an excellent tool for getting up-to-date separations and position angles of fast moving binaries as well as being a great resource for predicting minima of eclipsing binaries (or any variable star, for that matter).

In the end, Astronomics has gone above and beyond what is called for in this situation and I thank them.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
theskyhound
Vendor (Skyhound)
*****

Reged: 03/10/06

Loc: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: Astronomics]
      #6093317 - 09/21/13 12:17 PM

Quote:

I understand about a newspaper who is "paying" a person to write an article for them. This however is done for free by a user that has been unsolicited by us. If we had paid someone to write an article and it was proven to be mistake filled then obviously we would retract it, however the best we can do is post a disclaimer about it as we didn't pay for it, didn't ask for it, and I didn't put it up. I believe our unpaid volunteer workers did everything they were supposed to do. They took a user experience that was not bashing a product or saying it didn't do something it wasn't supposed to do, for example getting mad when a screwdriver didn't do a good job acting as a hammer, but from what I can understand didn't do everything they thought it should. There have been multiple new users pointing out the potential errors in the review. Again, my best solution is write a review that points out these issues.




Michael,

It doesn't matter if you paid them or not. If factually misleading information was posted that hurts someone's business then you are both morally and legally liable to offer a remedy. Your comments indicate that you don't see just how blatantly false many of the claims in this review are. If it were merely a matter of opinion, I would never have bothered posting a response. But when the writer claims my program does not do several things that it in fact excels at, that costs me customers, and it poorly serves the community. Since I can easily prove the assertions to be wrong, you must offer a remedy. Otherwise, by not offering a remedy you leave yourself wide open to a lawsuit. I am not a large corporation with lawyers on retainer, and likely wouldn't not be able to sue. But should this sort of thing occur with Meade or Celestron, you should understand how precarious your legal situation is.

It boils down to this: you are not responsible for the original content, and certainly not responsible for the opinions expressed. But if factual errors are published that do harm to the reputation of another party, once those errors are pointed out, you are responsible for remedying them.

You have now provided a remedy, although I must say I am rather unhappy with the wording. It makes it sound like I came along and whined about the review, which is somewhat unkind. Many people other than myself reported the errors and your policy was to simply let it be. I was forced to take some sort of action in order to protect my business. I work very hard to develop a superior product. In order to make it appear that the two products reviewed were even close to being at the same level, the reviewer had to ignore many of the features in my product that are not available in the other, and then make outright false claims about the available features in SkyTools. As I have shown in my recent postings here, every item listed under "weaknesses" for SkyTools is an outright falsehood!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
davidpitre
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/05

Loc: Central Texas
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: theskyhound]
      #6093467 - 09/21/13 01:41 PM

Quote:


It doesn't matter if you paid them or not. If factually misleading information was posted that hurts someone's business then you are both morally and legally liable to offer a remedy.



I think you are wrong. Every week some organization posts full page adds in the New York Times claiming this or that.
The paper has simply provided a space and a forum for the expression. (Yes. In the case I mentioned the expression was paid for, but it makes no difference). Cloudy Nights is simply providing a forum for opinions. It makes no claim that the opinions are correct or representative of Astronomics. Similar to the regular forums, opinions of equipment are often stated and then shown to be untrue. There is no obligation for Astronomics to go picking through statements editing them for truth. This is not unique to Cloudy Nights, the web is full of forums and review sites that state information and opinions that the host distances itself from. If you check into it even a little bit, you will find Astronomics has no legal obligation to intervene here.
That said, I'd agree that the review was very very bad, actually negligent.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
AstronomicsAdministrator
Vendor if you must, AKA The Mighty Kong.
*****

Reged: 06/07/04

Loc: Right Here
Re: Comparative review - observatory planning software new [Re: davidpitre]
      #6093519 - 09/21/13 02:15 PM

Greg,

Here is my stance again, for the final time, as more bandwidth is being used on back and forth repeat explanations then the original content took up.

The opinions expressed in the “review” is that solely of the author and not the opinions of Cloudy Nights, LLC, their volunteer staff, or anyone associated with Cloudy Nights directly or indirectly.

Some of those opinions are as follows: “Both of these programs are sophisticated, highly-capable observation planning programs, designed to help an observer plan observation sessions. The prospective user can hardly go wrong with either one. The choice between them comes down to personal preferences and individual needs. SkyTools is pretty much self-contained, with integrated data bases and a very capable charting capability. It also is easier to learn, is directed toward amateurs who need help planning for an efficient night’s observation session, and its Pro edition has advanced imaging session planning options (not tested),” and “SkyTools 3 is a more expensive but more user-friendly program, which can be learned fairly quickly . . . If you just want something for quick planning of a night’s observing session, and you don’t mind spending the extra money, SkyTools may be the best choice . . . In any case, the prospective user of these packages should download the trial versions and take them for a spin.“

That sounds like a fairly even-handed opinion, concluding that readers should try both programs and decide for themselves. The reviewer did not say don’t buy a specific product. According to some of the comments that almost immediately appeared after the review was posted, he appears to have missed or been confused about some of its capabilities. However, this has repeatedly been pointed out by the manufacturer and several users who have shown how the author was apparently confused.

I have suggested now three times to have one of the people who wrote some very nice rebuttal information on these issues to write a review of their own, which Cloudy Nights will be happy to publish. I can only assume that an intelligent person would be able to read both reviews and make an informed judgment as to which review was more informative. Or better yet, would follow the original review author’s advice and try both programs and make their own personal choice, based on their own personal needs.

I feel that Cloudy Nights has done their best for over a decade to provide a free and fair environment for people to express their opinions. This is a forum for opinions, not a peer-reviewed scientific journal (and even peer-reviewed journals are sometimes wrong). As a free forum, people are also allowed the chance to rebut and provide their own counter opinions. This forum is only as good as the people who use it. People are entitled to be incorrect in their opinions and other are entitled to correct those possible errors. We have provided you and your users multiple opportunities in this thread to correct what you have perceived as errors.

We have nothing to gain from this review, as we sell neither program, only apparently the ability to lose customers when we literally did nothing but provide a free forum for all members to express their opinions. For over a decade we have had no problem in staying hands off in virtually all affairs of Cloudy Nights, outside of paying the bills. We have watched the body collective grow and grow because we have been hands off and have not pushed our own agenda or products. We have watched posters extol the virtues of other dealers of their choice – in our house – never once editing a comment or jumping in to say buy from us because we are better for a multitude of reasons.

As stated at the beginning of my long winded response, this is truly my final say in this matter. I believe it was handled correctly and the parties that felt they were wronged have had adequate space to voice the opinions, corrections, and concerns. I also feel in placing a footnote, which is a first for Cloudy Nights, as well as suggesting to write another review has gone above and beyond what just about anyone else would do in this situation. This is my opinion and I am going to stand pat.

Thank you all for being passionate enough about astronomy and Cloudy Nights to care enough to express your opinions with such vigor and resolve.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | (show all)


Extra information
0 registered and 4 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  droid 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 4817

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics