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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Hilmi
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: frolinmod]
      #5950789 - 07/02/13 05:53 AM

"so long and thanks for all the fish", er I meant for all the scopes

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5950807 - 07/02/13 06:27 AM

Quote:

My LX80 broke..." with a 100+ responses. Yeah, deadly...




It is deadly to put out a product that is not ready for the big time. As you probably remember, the last time Meade introduced a truly new equatorial mount, the LXD-55, the early run had serious problems, bad castings was one problem. They solved those problems and changed the name to the LXD-75.

They seem to on that same track once again.

It's not good for business. The topic of this thread is why is Meade in the trouble it's in. Whether or not one likes specific examples of Meade's equipment, the bigger picture is why is Meade where it is? Obviously it is not because there are people on Cloudy Nights and Astromart discussing their problems with Meade equipment.

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (07/02/13 10:10 AM)


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5950984 - 07/02/13 09:38 AM

Quote:



Question - when Celestron was suffering, did folks give up the ghost on them for a stretch? What was their recovery time?




Celestron's struggle was neither as long nor as visible as poor Meade's. They were doing quite well up until Tasco, their parent at the time, went bankrupt. Then it was a fairly short time till they became employee owned. When that didn't work out, Synta did the deal fairly quickly. The thing was, Celestron was not a public company, so there was little for us to see. MOST importantly, their quality was not obviously affected by any of the drama.


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5950985 - 07/02/13 09:41 AM

Quote:


Isn't pea-turkey one of those Southern things like Okra, grits, and...?






If you have to ask...you will never know.

Yes, for good or bad, we really are like a different country down here.


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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jgraham]
      #5950991 - 07/02/13 09:43 AM

Quote:

Ookkaaayyyyy, odd and irrelevant associations have hit a new high/low.




"Irrelevant" is in the eye of the perceiver, young Padawan.


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5950996 - 07/02/13 09:46 AM

Quote:


It is deadly to put out a product that is not ready for the big time.




Exactly. The problem is not CN, which, hard as it may be to believe, is only known to a small fraction of Meade's customers, but a predilection by Meade over the last six or seven years, especially, to use their customers as dadgum beta testers,


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Mike in Tampa
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Reged: 05/19/13

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5951009 - 07/02/13 09:57 AM

from the good ole urban dictionary...

pea turkey

"Pea turkey" is a southernism meaning nothing, nada, zip, zilch - often used with "not," making a double negative.

She's so stuck up, she walked right past me and didn't say pea turkey!!!


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rmollise
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5951013 - 07/02/13 10:00 AM

Quote:



"Pea turkey" is a southernism meaning nothing, nada, zip, zilch - often used with "not," making a double negative.




Ah, but the meaning is not the question...that is easy to decipher from context. The question is origin...


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5951019 - 07/02/13 10:09 AM

Quote:

Quote:

My LX80 broke..." with a 100+ responses. Yeah, deadly...




It is deadly to put out a product that is not ready for the big time. As you probably remember, the last time Meade introduced a truly new equatorial mount, the LXD-55, the early run had serious problems, bad castings was one problem. They solved those problems and changed the name to the LXD-75.

They seem to on that same track once again.

It's not good for business. The topic of this thread is why is Meade in the trouble it's in. Whether or not one is likes specific examples of Meade's equipment, the bigger picture is why is Meade where it is? Obviously it is not because there are people on Cloudy Nights and Astromart discussing their problems with Meade equipment.

Jon







Jon - I dispute your claim. The internet is a mechanism for passing the word VERY quickly, and it can indeed influence sales. Simple example - I get all my news online. I rarely use the quaint concept of newspapers. I probably read astro blogs more often than the main rags. And I do read folks comments on products to gauge trends and experiences with the products. CN is NOT the end all, but it is a medium on the internet to pass information. Don't all of you do google research, or use Angie's list, or yelp, or Amazon, or review BBs looking for info on a product? Yes, sometimes folks tend to comment only negative things, but still it is good to read and do research.

Though with the LX850 I will admit I went almost on total faith with this product even knowing the financial situation of Meade. I did follow and read on the LX800, and backed out of purchasing as the first reviews came in. In my case CN did influence my decision to purchase. I figured with the LX850 Meade did apply lessons learned - and they did. Like I have said this is the telescope/mount they should have released.

Right now I have been reviewing throughout the internet, including CN, the iOptron ZEQ25GT and the SkyTracker. Both seem good, and it seems customer comments on the internet influenced SWIFT changes to the SkyTracker.

Everyone is missing my point on the LX80. Yes, it is Meade's fault for releasing a mount that has issues. But let us be honest, if this happened in 2000 or 1990 the word would have sloooooowly gotten out. Today? News gets out like wild fire due to the internet. Meade's management should have thought out the release of their product VERY carefully. They knew they had a potentially hot item. A few complaints are always normal on any product. Yes, even the great Apple has complaints. However when the negative reviews/complaints outnumber the good ones, you have a problem - and the internet magnifies the complaints and gets the word out swiftly. If you do not believe this, you totally live in a vacuum.

There will always be first adopters - and we all want to read the reviews of the first adopters!


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Steve OK
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/22/07

Loc: OKC, OK
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) *DELETED* [Re: rmollise]
      #5951020 - 07/02/13 10:09 AM

Post deleted by Steve OK

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5951093 - 07/02/13 10:44 AM

I agree, and would like to amplify an important point, here. Blaming the messenger is bad business. Lots of companies try to do it, and they'd be better served to fix the problems than get caught trying to enforce a coverup.

Spacetravelerx, I tend to think you must be a nice guy, you seem to be ignoring something a lot of people are trying to say. Telling people all is OK with Meade so buy, buy, buy! right now would be pushing koolaid instead of the available data. I don't know how CN participants could push that view and maintain integrety. If we had been pushing that sort of thought for Burgess optical equipment, we would have zero credibility (and deservedly so).

Meade isn't in a situation where everything is OK and a bogus bad message got out thanks to a few bad eggs getting together and putting out false stories which just need to be fixed for life to get back to normal. The company's own reports show, if anything, CN has undersold the real situation up to now.

The last product launch was catastrophic, and there's hardware still in the offing folks really do deserve to be warned about. The company is in serious financial trouble; trouble which may be too deep for a successful rescue as a simple buy out by one firm may take more time than is available. If the company is forced into bankruptcy and the assets are sold, then anyone owning one of these products can forget about a warranty repair.

What would we be serving to tell everyone to run out and buy an LX 80 with bad castings, machinging errors, and performance unable to meet spec, right now? It certainly wouldn't help Meade to have a bunch more people phoning in to complain about mounts they already know are having problems, but don't have the cash to fix, so the best they could do is arrange for a refund. It certainly wouldn't help to have dealers buy up a lot of stock they're not going to be able to support.

In comparison, Celestron is just running normally. Nothing especially amazing going on. They have a simple star alignment device coming out. They have a simple star tracker out. And when everything is hooked up, mounts look like a mock-up of the Predator alien with the number of wires they have hanging off them. So, in the near term, this looks really safe.

But for the long term, people my age and younger are asking, "What's the deal with COM on all this stuff?" It is seriously 1970s retro to have to go into the OS and define ports on a USB adapter you had to get working somehow and then get it to talk to the mount, somehow. For people under 30, they've never seen it before, unless it was some unused equipment on the side of the computer science lab which was waiting to get scrapped.

In comparison, even USB plug and play is getting to the end of its service life- everything now is auto-configuring wireless- and it has been that way for over 10 years, so it isn't like this is "New" or "Untested." So, compared to this, no astronomy prime is really getting to the state of the art, save maybe Southern Stars with Sky Safari. One doesn't have to be a great visionary to see where the technology needs to go.

And I, for one, would welcome PC-free astronomy where everything went out to the field and when it was set up, I didn't have a second round of stringing wires, everywhere, which I then have to unstring and pack up in the morning, so any photo trip really is a major ordeal. And that's just the minimum state of the art, today. Tomorrow is bringing better things, and having skipped the entire plug and play generation of equipment, current astronomy equipment is at risk becoming unusably antiquated.

In that case, Meade will just be the first of a littany of companies which didn't adapt to changing times and whose products were increasingly incomprehensible to the prospective customer base.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:


It is deadly to put out a product that is not ready for the big time.




Exactly. The problem is not CN, which, hard as it may be to believe, is only known to a small fraction of Meade's customers, but a predilection by Meade over the last six or seven years, especially, to use their customers as dadgum beta testers,




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csrlice12
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Steve OK]
      #5951100 - 07/02/13 10:47 AM

Did anybody else notice the takeover from MTI is from a Chinese educated businessman/accountant/MBA etc...ALL from China.....so lets guess how he views economic systems and the government's role in business.....The Meade brand might come back; but it won't be the same Meade.....and since it's being run by businessmen, we can probably forget any real considerations of the end user of the products.....

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Jon Isaacs
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5951149 - 07/02/13 11:19 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

My LX80 broke..." with a 100+ responses. Yeah, deadly...




It is deadly to put out a product that is not ready for the big time. As you probably remember, the last time Meade introduced a truly new equatorial mount, the LXD-55, the early run had serious problems, bad castings was one problem. They solved those problems and changed the name to the LXD-75.

They seem to on that same track once again.

It's not good for business. The topic of this thread is why is Meade in the trouble it's in. Whether or not one is likes specific examples of Meade's equipment, the bigger picture is why is Meade where it is? Obviously it is not because there are people on Cloudy Nights and Astromart discussing their problems with Meade equipment.

Jon







Jon - I dispute your claim. The internet is a mechanism for passing the word VERY quickly, and it can indeed influence sales. Simple example - I get all my news online. I rarely use the quaint concept of newspapers. I probably read astro blogs more often than the main rags. And I do read folks comments on products to gauge trends and experiences with the products. CN is NOT the end all, but it is a medium on the internet to pass information. Don't all of you do google research, or use Angie's list, or yelp, or Amazon, or review BBs looking for info on a product? Yes, sometimes folks tend to comment only negative things, but still it is good to read and do research.

Though with the LX850 I will admit I went almost on total faith with this product even knowing the financial situation of Meade. I did follow and read on the LX800, and backed out of purchasing as the first reviews came in. In my case CN did influence my decision to purchase. I figured with the LX850 Meade did apply lessons learned - and they did. Like I have said this is the telescope/mount they should have released.

....

Everyone is missing my point on the LX80. Yes, it is Meade's fault for releasing a mount that has issues. But let us be honest, if this happened in 2000 or 1990 the word would have sloooooowly gotten out. Today? News gets out like wild fire due to the internet. Meade's management should have thought out the release of their product VERY carefully. They knew they had a potentially hot item. A few complaints are always normal on any product. Yes, even the great Apple has complaints. However when the negative reviews/complaints outnumber the good ones, you have a problem - and the internet magnifies the complaints and gets the word out swiftly. If you do not believe this, you totally live in a vacuum.

There will always be first adopters - and we all want to read the reviews of the first adopters!




Humm...

It does not seem like you are disputing too much of anything I wrote. You agree that Meade messed up when they released the LX-800 and that they hopefully corrected it with the LX-850. It seems to be same story with the LX-80.

The fact that websites like Cloudy Nights and Astromart make it possible for today's amateur to be informed but Meade's problems are not the result of Cloudy Nights and Astromart, they are the result of a culture that announces products long before they are appear and that when the do appear, they are often problematic. This is part of what got them into trouble.

As far as what would have happened in the year 2000:

I have no idea how involved you were with amateur astronomy, I suspect may be not so much. In the year 2000 I was very much involved and very much involved with internet based astronomy. At the time, the Cloudy Nights and Astromart forums were tiny or non-existent. There was the USENET Newgroup Science.Astro.Amateur. No moderation and a lot of knowledgeable members, many whom were and are major players in our hobby. Roland Christen, the late Thomas Back, Valery Deryuzhin, Uncle Rod, Herb York, Tom Trusock and many others... It was no-holds barred heavyweight boxing. Hype and good manners did not fly... you get in the ring with Valery or Roland, you better know your stuff. Guys like me, guys like Tom T. we learned a lot.

In the year 2002 Meade released the LX-55 mount, and the short story is that the LX-80 and LX-800 mounts are essentially carbon copy repeats of the LXD-55 introduction. Like them, there was announcement followed by a long wait followed by a problematic and flawed product. Word spread quickly via the various forums. But the mounts themselves were the problem and eventually Meade fixed them and named the updated mount, they one they should have released, the LXD-75.

It wasn't too much later that Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT. It worked out of the box with few if any teething troubles and had some features, notably the 2 inch Stainless Steel tripod, that made it the better choice than the LXD-75.

One goal of this thread is to understand what went wrong at Meade so that it is in it's current position. Part of the reason is that Meade never seemed to learn that lesson they could have learned in 2002.

Jon Isaacs


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: csrlice12]
      #5951162 - 07/02/13 11:24 AM

I don't think it really matters from where they buyers are, but it will matter as to what they are planning with the acquisition. MIT Cap is planning on incorporating the Meade assets into their business, and so is JOC/ES (according to both companies' filings). How that is accomplished may or may not be different and the associated questions regarding product direction are still unknown.

My experience with many multinational companies has been good. Usually when it has not been good, the reasons have had little to do with what country they are from and more with how they do business (which is equally true with companies domesticated here in the USA).

I think that if anyone believes that Meade or any of their product lines are going to come out of this looking even close to the same, I would suggest that is highly unlikely. A lot of the reasons for this have some to do with the product marketing, but also with their production methods and sources. In retrospect, though, it seems silly to imagine that after constantly losing tens of millions of dollars over a decade, anything will remain the same. I wish only well to whatever entity, wherever they may be, that takes over Meade's business. It will be a working challenge in any case.


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5951225 - 07/02/13 12:01 PM

Jon,

Though I have been involved in amateur astronomy since 1967, I have never been involved in the club community, bbs, etc until VERY recently. My involvement has either been setting up my own local little clubs in school, guest teaching at high schools, using the telescope in scouts, or simply setting up a telescope and a crowd forms around me. I have been involved in too many activities to also add an astronomy club (sail boat racing, mountain climbing, scouts, flight training, travel, travel, travel, sleep, travel, sleep...). Trust me, I am finding CN a "virtual astronomy club" and already time consuming.

But you do hit on something Meade and many vendors do in and out of astronomy, which is VERY DANGEROUS - announce a product months or years in advance. Meade and Celestron both do this. Microsoft btw is a huge culprit of this, big time.

Essentially the idea is you announce a product that is the hottest thing ever with all these features (seems to cover everyone's wish list). The goal is to build excitement and demand - and to prevent folks from buying the competitor's product. People "pre-order" this great great product. It tells the vendor/manufacturer/developer how many widgets they can realistically expect to build/sell etc. It also insures the vendor is not forgotten out of the current technology discussion, and steals attention from their competition. BTW, if you have an impecable reputation you would not need to resort to this. Microsoft does all these "we will come out with this release/tool/etc soon" announcements. Recall the Wonders of Windows Phone 7 when the iPhone was announced? Yeah...

Meade is HIGHLY guilty of this. If I recall the LX200 was announced, but not ready for a bit. However it fully drew attention to Meade. Trust me, at 28 I drooled and saved every penny (and borrowed too) for my 10" LX200.

I simply loved reading their ads in Astronomy and S&T.

I remember the LX800 announcements and ads. Very drool worthy. I am certain others were drooling. The waiting was painful. And I am certain it did impact the sales of their competitors products.

I also recall seeing in the forums many discussions "when will this LX800" come out.

Now, this is great - if it works perfectly out the gate. The LX200 actually did work perfectly out the gate. I have one of the very first ones, and to this day it still works perfectly. Meade has sold MANY LX200, and built up quite a reputation followed by the equally highly successful ETX series and PST. Hence why they went public and initial share holders made a FORTUNE.

The LX800 did not work out the gate after a long wait.

The LX80 did not.

Others did not.

Near as I can tell in my crude history of astronomy manufacturers, Meade's began to pay the piper in the 2000s.

I know there are Apple haters out there, but Apple has been VERY wise on their product announcements and releases. They say VERY little until it is very close to release or is released. Yes, there are rumor and gossip sites, but that is not the same as Apple making public pronouncements.

Early pre-announcements and then crashing and burning creates great ill will. The internet gets the word out fast...

And I do feel CN DOES have a collection of active and vocal folks in this hobby. It may not have ALL astronomers, but I think CN does have a vocal and networked bunch. And we pass the word on to the folks we interact with at large.


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Escher
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: bicparker]
      #5951231 - 07/02/13 12:04 PM

I'll admit - a lot of this business talk is well over my head, being a lowly engineer and all...

I just *wish* that someone with a lot of disposeable income, i.e. independantly wealthy - who is also an amateur astronomer - could swoop in and buy Meade for a song.

Make it a side project without the expectation of being profitable for a time - fire the managers and put in place top notch engineers - and build it again from the ground up. I can't imagine they are going to cost too much... It reminds me of when SGI was for sale while back, they were sold for peanuts ($43 million I just re-read)..

I wish someone like Richard Branson, or Gates would step in and buy them with their "play" money.. Ohh to dream.


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Escher]
      #5951256 - 07/02/13 12:14 PM

Money is never for play (even when grantor says it is).

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Aquatone
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: Moraga, CA (Bay Area)
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Escher]
      #5951293 - 07/02/13 12:43 PM

Quote:


I just *wish* that someone with a lot of disposeable income, i.e. independantly wealthy - who is also an amateur astronomer - could swoop in and buy Meade for a song. Make it a side project without the expectation of being profitable for a time - fire the managers and put in place top notch engineers - and build it again from the ground up. I can't imagine they are going to cost too much... It reminds me of when SGI was for sale while back, they were sold for peanuts ($43 million I just re-read)..




It is not the cost of buying Meade, it is the cost of operating it that could turn into a black hole. What you are describing is a totally new company with just the Meade brand. One might argue that you could create a new brand without any of the negative connotations. (Like Planewave has created a new quality brand from its Celestron derived roots)

Chris (Ex SGI employee)


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Escher
Pooh-Bah
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Aquatone]
      #5951315 - 07/02/13 12:59 PM

Awww shucks... I'm just mad that by the time I'd be able to save up the money for an LX850, there wont be one to buy...

Meade's were my first scopes back in the day so it just makes me sad to see them go... But its understandable given the information I've read here..


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Escher]
      #5951352 - 07/02/13 01:27 PM

Quote:

Awww shucks... I'm just mad that by the time I'd be able to save up the money for an LX850, there wont be one to buy...






Maybe, maybe not. The last page of this story has yet to be written.


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