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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: WadeH237]
      #5954058 - 07/03/13 11:44 PM

Jason Ware's association with Meade should be noted, but it is not sufficient reason to completely dismiss his work in evaluating the LX850.

At the same time, for beginning imagers all the indications are that the LX850 will get them very far down the road very quickly. The open question is whether it can ALSO compete with AP and the like. As I age and my vision gets worse I will make the switch to imaging. When I do I want as painless a transition as possible. I don't care if stars are perfectly round or if I can sell posters. If the mount can do that, so much the better. But far more important for me is the ability to turn out decent images without continually fussing with equipment integration issues.

The botched product rollouts are certainly a huge issue pertinent to Meade's survival, but I have to wonder if they aren't also clouding the perception of successful Meade products as well. Both by lowering the perception of quality and value and raising the bar to unreachable levels to overcome those failures.

Every manufacturing defect and missing feature is seen as a fundamental design flaw or inherent design quality failure because that is what everyone expects from Meade.

The botched rollout and long lead announcements also mean that competitors have time to copy the product concept and get it to market with improvements before Meade can get its act together. For that matter, Celestron could do a carbon copy of the LX850 now, it isn't like Meade has any money left to litigate it.


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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rcdk]
      #5954278 - 07/04/13 02:45 AM

Quote:

Jason Ware's association with Meade should be noted, but it is not sufficient reason to completely dismiss his work in evaluating the LX850.




I agree with this completely. I even called out Jason's work in my last post as the best data I'd seen on the LX850. I would be interested in hearing a full evaluation from him. I noted his association with Meade as my speculation as to why he's not done that. As with any speculation, I could be wrong.

Quote:

At the same time, for beginning imagers all the indications are that the LX850 will get them very far down the road very quickly.




This mount is competing on price with mounts that will satisfy an advanced imager for a lifetime. There is certainly value in getting a beginner going quickly, but if it can't accommodate their long term needs as well as the competition, then I would question the value proposition. I have long said that I think that the Starlock features make lots more sense on a smaller mount that is better priced for the beginning to intermediate imaging market.


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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman27]
      #5954343 - 07/04/13 04:58 AM

Quote:

Are we anywhere near on topic?




Yes, it's like when friends and family gather at the hospital for someone who is ill. Just remembering ol' Meade.

If Harley-Davidson can fix themselves, anyone can. Hard to believe they once made ramshackle death-traps.

But they better do something soon. I had to cancel an order of HD-60s because I can't be sure of having a warranty.

-drl


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Paul Schroeder
sage
*****

Reged: 06/05/03

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: deSitter]
      #5954438 - 07/04/13 08:22 AM

There was some interesting movement in the Meade stock price yesterday, see this link:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=MEAD&t=1d&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

It had been trading in a very narrow range:

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=MEAD&t=5d&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

It closed at $4.40, up 18% for the day. If you look at the link you'll see that around 11:00 the price spiked up to $4.98, very rapidly, and then edged down the rest of the day.

Interesting - I didn't see any story that speculated on the cause for this.

Paul

Edited by Paul Schroeder (07/04/13 08:26 AM)


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: deSitter]
      #5954506 - 07/04/13 09:26 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Are we anywhere near on topic?




Yes, it's like when friends and family gather at the hospital for someone who is ill. Just remembering ol' Meade.

If Harley-Davidson can fix themselves, anyone can. Hard to believe they once made ramshackle death-traps.

But they better do something soon. I had to cancel an order of HD-60s because I can't be sure of having a warranty.

-drl




I wouldn't have done that. The HD-60s are wonderful eyepieces.

I got the set with the case for Christmas (thank-you Santa!). You could buy them from a dealer - if there is a problem you can return them. But my experience with Meade eyepieces have been nothing short of great. I still use my sets from 1977, 1984, 1990 and 2012. No problems.


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BGeoghegan
super member


Reged: 03/22/10

Loc: Eastern CT
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Paul Schroeder]
      #5954524 - 07/04/13 09:42 AM

Very interesting Paul, thanks. Does anyone care to interpret the price jump for the non stock analysts here? A climbing share price under relatively high volume sounds like confidence in the company -- or could this be frothy speculation?

Bob G


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: deSitter]
      #5954578 - 07/04/13 10:37 AM

Quote:

If Harley-Davidson can fix themselves, anyone can. Hard to believe they once made ramshackle death-traps.






Moribund Harley Davidson (back when it was owned by AMF) survived in large measure because protective tariffs were imposed to raise the prices of the far more innovative and sporty Japanese bikes. Even so, those of us who didn't like our bikes to leak oil and shake themselves apart still bought metric.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5954651 - 07/04/13 11:48 AM

Andrew,

I had a Meade 4000 series 12.4 mm "Super Plossl" eyepiece which had an awful distortion in the center of the field- it was like it smoothly transitioned to the wrong curve in the middle, and could not be focused, there. The dealer I bought it from was local and gave me credit towards a 12.5mm Orion which turned out to be a superb little eyepiece.

[Deleted at Moderator request without explanation]

With the number of satellites I have gotten pictures of without trying to, it's obviously possible to get images of orbiting spacecraft with a back yard telescope.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Are we anywhere near on topic?




Yes, it's like when friends and family gather at the hospital for someone who is ill. Just remembering ol' Meade.

If Harley-Davidson can fix themselves, anyone can. Hard to believe they once made ramshackle death-traps.

But they better do something soon. I had to cancel an order of HD-60s because I can't be sure of having a warranty.

-drl




I wouldn't have done that. The HD-60s are wonderful eyepieces.

I got the set with the case for Christmas (thank-you Santa!). You could buy them from a dealer - if there is a problem you can return them. But my experience with Meade eyepieces have been nothing short of great. I still use my sets from 1977, 1984, 1990 and 2012. No problems.




Edited by Starhawk (07/05/13 11:08 AM)


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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5954700 - 07/04/13 12:40 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Are we anywhere near on topic?




Yes, it's like when friends and family gather at the hospital for someone who is ill. Just remembering ol' Meade.

If Harley-Davidson can fix themselves, anyone can. Hard to believe they once made ramshackle death-traps.

But they better do something soon. I had to cancel an order of HD-60s because I can't be sure of having a warranty.

-drl




I wouldn't have done that. The HD-60s are wonderful eyepieces.

I got the set with the case for Christmas (thank-you Santa!). You could buy them from a dealer - if there is a problem you can return them. But my experience with Meade eyepieces have been nothing short of great. I still use my sets from 1977, 1984, 1990 and 2012. No problems.




Once the current unpleasantness is resolved, I will be getting them all. Have been extremely satisfied with my 4000 Plossls and 5000 UWAs and two RG Orthos.

-drl


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groz
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/14/07

Loc: Campbell River, BC
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: BGeoghegan]
      #5954709 - 07/04/13 12:45 PM

Quote:

Very interesting Paul, thanks. Does anyone care to interpret the price jump for the non stock analysts here? A climbing share price under relatively high volume sounds like confidence in the company -- or could this be frothy speculation?





It's not high volume, total trading thru the day was something like 17K shares. The spike up was driven by transactions of just over a thousand shares. Look thru the volume of the day, only a single transaction of 1000, the rest dribs and drabs of a few hundred shares. That is not a significant move by any stretch. To be considered significant, it would have to be a move of that magnitude, emphasized by hundreds of thousand of shares changing hands. That would show that some real money is playing the game. As it was, total trading in the day accounts for only a few thousand dollars changing hands. Price moves not backed by volume, mean nothing in the market.

What is more likely, somebody put in an order to buy some shares 'at market', but there was little to none offered at the time, so, it essentially cleaned out the order book, and some unwitting buyer expecting to buy Meade shares for 3.85 or so, found the transaction priced at nearly 5 dollars because the order book had little to offer at the lower posted levels.

Meade is essentially a thinly traded penny stock, and for most folks, dealing in small lots, you will get eaten alive by the bid/ask spread and comissions. The only reason it looks like a dollar stock, is because they did a 20:1 share consolidation some time back, and gravity has not finished doing it's magic yet. But, it will, in the markets it always does. This is NOT a stock for amateurs to dabble with at this point.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: groz]
      #5954761 - 07/04/13 01:21 PM

Something I dearly love in astronomy is how it attracts people with completely different backgrounds, so very good answers are generally available.

-Rich


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BGeoghegan
super member


Reged: 03/22/10

Loc: Eastern CT
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: groz]
      #5954823 - 07/04/13 02:06 PM

Quote:



It's not high volume, total trading thru the day was something like 17K shares. The spike up was driven by transactions of just over a thousand shares. Look thru the volume of the day, only a single transaction of 1000, the rest dribs and drabs of a few hundred shares. That is not a significant move by any stretch. To be considered significant, it would have to be a move of that magnitude, emphasized by hundreds of thousand of shares changing hands. That would show that some real money is playing the game. As it was, total trading in the day accounts for only a few thousand dollars changing hands. Price moves not backed by volume, mean nothing in the market.

What is more likely, somebody put in an order to buy some shares 'at market', but there was little to none offered at the time, so, it essentially cleaned out the order book, and some unwitting buyer expecting to buy Meade shares for 3.85 or so, found the transaction priced at nearly 5 dollars because the order book had little to offer at the lower posted levels.

Meade is essentially a thinly traded penny stock, and for most folks, dealing in small lots, you will get eaten alive by the bid/ask spread and comissions. The only reason it looks like a dollar stock, is because they did a 20:1 share consolidation some time back, and gravity has not finished doing it's magic yet. But, it will, in the markets it always does. This is NOT a stock for amateurs to dabble with at this point.




Thanks Groz. That was a good mini-lesson in making sense of this. I missed the volume scale when at first. Taking 17,565 shares times an eyeballed $4.50 average makes about $79,000 in transactions yesterday.

BG


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5954910 - 07/04/13 03:22 PM

Quote:

I had a Meade 4000 series 12.4 mm "Super Plossl" eyepiece which had an awful distortion in the center of the field- it was like it smoothly transitioned to the wrong curve in the middle, and could not be focused, there. The dealer I bought it from was local and gave me credit towards a 12.5mm Orion which turned out to be a superb little eyepiece.




Funny , of all the Meade series 4000 Plossls made , the 12.4mm is one of my favorites . Actually , all of them are quite good and I have two full sets . The only ones I didn't like were the 40mm units which I sold . I just have no use for a 40mm Plossl of any brand . What's the sense ? The FOV is no wider than the 32mm .


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Happy Birthday Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5954970 - 07/04/13 04:07 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I had a Meade 4000 series 12.4 mm "Super Plossl" eyepiece which had an awful distortion in the center of the field- it was like it smoothly transitioned to the wrong curve in the middle, and could not be focused, there. The dealer I bought it from was local and gave me credit towards a 12.5mm Orion which turned out to be a superb little eyepiece.




Funny , of all the Meade series 4000 Plossls made , the 12.4mm is one of my favorites . Actually , all of them are quite good and I have two full sets . The only ones I didn't like were the 40mm units which I sold . I just have no use for a 40mm Plossl of any brand . What's the sense ? The FOV is no wider than the 32mm .



The only reasons I can think of where a 40mm might be more useful than a 32mm would be:
--when maintaining a larger exit pupil would be important for image brightness, such as use in a spotting scope at night or where a large faint extended object might be more visible at the larger exit pupil
--when maintaining a lower magnification might be more useful, say on a large star cluster where the higher magnification of a 32 makes it appear less like a cluster and more like random field stars.

Ironically, this same debate is often carried out when considering a 32mm Plossl or a 24mm widefield.

Uh, sorry for the segue. Back to our regularly-scheduled program.....

Edited by Starman1 (07/04/13 04:09 PM)


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5955099 - 07/04/13 06:23 PM

About 10 years ago Meade had a promotion where, if you bought a scope, you could get a set of Series 4000 Plossls for a low price. A friend bought two Meade scopes, so he sold me one of the eyepiece sets, sans the 40mm (not a particularly useful FL for me anyway). Most of them are fine eyepieces, which I've often used. But the 26mm was terrible. I discovered that Meade issued two versions of the Series 4000 eyepieces. They weren't identical. I found a Japanese-made 26mm to complete the set.

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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Calypte]
      #5955142 - 07/04/13 06:59 PM

The early 4000s were Japanese and I believe we're actually a five element design . Hence "Super Plossl" . The later ones were Chinese and more of a standard Plossl using four elements but they kept the Super Plossl name . Physically by looking at them it's hard to tell the difference without seeing the country of origin printed . I've heard the early ones weigh a little more which would make sense due to the extra element .
I've never done a side by side comparo between the early and late units and I have tha later Chinese units . Every one of mine have always produced excellent images . No noticeable quality difference in the images from one focal length to the next . No doubt that a defective unit gets through here and there and this could happen with any brand but I've never seen enough of a difference in image quality in any eyepiece I've ever compared to justify the large difference in price compared to the 4000 series Plossls . I did get a chance to compare side by side some Vixen Lanthanum wides to my Plossls one night at a star party and yes , there was a detectable superiority to the Vixen units and the wider field was nice but they were also five times the price . Bottom line and in an attempt to kinda keep things on topic a bit , Meade put out some very nice stuff at prices that poor guys like me could afford . I know I've had nights with views that others may not ever see with equipment costing much more . (Nice dark skies help) . But hopefully the ship can get back on course .


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BGeoghegan
super member


Reged: 03/22/10

Loc: Eastern CT
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: BGeoghegan]
      #5955275 - 07/04/13 09:18 PM

Quote:



Thanks Groz. That was a good mini-lesson in making sense of this. I missed the volume scale when at first. Taking 17,565 shares times an eyeballed $4.50 average makes about $79,000 in transactions yesterday.

BG




If you all can indulge my being so naive and prone to errors... I am not an investor but do want to know what can be gauged about Meade's future support of current model 'scopes like the Lightswitch. An astro-newby friend is expecting a refurb LS8 ACF that just shipped.

It looks like Meade has a little over 1 million shares. 20+ % are held by 3 insiders and 8% by North Star Investment Management Corp. The July 3 trades were ~1.5% of all Meade shares. The 2 take-over bids are both now well under yesterday’s stock prices. They’re both from groups with backgrounds in optics or instruments. My initial thinking that the “MIT” outside bid was a “buy-and-destroy” vulture seems less likely now that the principals’ background is out. But I could be wrong on all of this.

From http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MEAD

The top story under Headlines talks about the required BoD recommendation on the "MIT" outside offer competing with the more inside "JOC" offer:

“On or before July 8, 2013 (the tenth business day from commencement of the offer as required by the tender offer rules), Meade intends to file with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission a solicitation/recommendation statement on Schedule 14D-9 stating whether the Board recommends acceptance or rejection of the tender offer, expresses no opinion and remains neutral toward the tender offer, or is unable to take a position with respect to the tender offer, as well as setting forth the Board's reasons than as for its position with respect to the tender offer. Accordingly, Meade stockholders are urged to defer making any determination whether to accept or reject such tender offer until they have been advised of the Board's position with respect to the tender offer.”

More thoughts?


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piaras
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/26/09

Loc: Niagara Region
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: groz]
      #5955285 - 07/04/13 09:34 PM

Groz, you beat me to it. I have been following the stock daily for a while. No I am not buying in, I am not that dumb! Other than the other day when that big block moved, there has not been large trades. As you stated, this not a stock to get into unless you have money to really burn.

I am still curious on where that large block of stock came from and where it ended up.
Pierre


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5955534 - 07/05/13 02:21 AM

Quote:

Andrew,

I had a Meade 4000 series 12.4 mm "Super Plossl" eyepiece which had an awful distortion in the center of the field- it was like it smoothly transitioned to the wrong curve in the middle, and could not be focused, there. The dealer I bought it from was local and gave me credit towards a 12.5mm Orion which turned out to be a superb little eyepiece.

Please keep in mind you're the only person on here at the moment who can write these down as a business expense. The rest of us are just SOL with our own money if we make a buying mistake. And dealers aren't the warranty. If they do something for you after their supplier throws in the towel, they're carving it out of their own hide.

You've apparently been able to justify the gear for your business, and that's great. I'm guessing the vast numbers of posts from you associating the terms "LX850', "Satellite Work", and "Research" are intended to keep an astronomically inclined IRS agent from concluding someone is putting personal recreational expenses on the business. However, with the number of satellites I have gotten pictures of without trying to, it's obviously possible to get images of orbiting spacecraft with a back yard telescope

-Rich







Rich...

Well we all have our experiences with eyepieces. All I can say is every one of my eyepieces from Meade has also been superb. I love my Series 5000 HD-60 and UWA from Meade. The views are crisp, sharp and breath taking. For my outreach events, folks love looking through the big UWA. And I love the twist eye cups. I will say, when I got my first Meade "Research Grade" Orthoscopic ep as a kid I thought I hit the jackpot!

What I have found is I get a lot of bang for the buck from Meade. I believe that is what made them great. Yes, I did eye the Televue, and they are great, but I found my Meade ep when used side by side were just as adequate.

Regarding write downs. I am pretty certain I did not write down my ep in 1977 (I was 14 at the time, just an FYI). And I did not write down my HD-60s from Santa, though Santa Clause may write them down, but I don't know that works at the North Pole.

I do have a question - how the heck do you know what I write down and don't write down? Most of my work is with the government, and I can assure you (the tax payer), all government contracts are closely monitored and audited, and in the public domain. Paperwork consumes my life. That is part of the gig. And I can most assure you the work I do and I am paid for is NOT recreational, but I am very grateful to be paid to do what I love. You will hear more about EarthScan, the project I am working on, and others in the news in the coming months, and you are welcome to hear me speak at the AIAA Space 2013 Conference or the Small Satellite Conference this year if you want to get a tad more educated.

The backyard telescopes? Just be patient and learn. There should be an announcement this year.

Pictures of orbiting spacecraft are actually annoying for Astrophotography unless you are doing it intentionally. Lines streaking all over everything.

And yes, I can understand those with a fear of buying products when I company may die. Look at when Ford, GM, and Chrysler were going through their issues. Folks were very much at risk during that time. Certainly there is no risk from buying from Celestron, a huge Chinese conglomerate, right now. Now, you want to talk about risk and drama of buying, how about Scope City. Their web page is up and they still list the LX800. Talk about risk for the buyer....

Last item on dealers. Yes, I can see it being very painful to be a dealer - take returns and assume the risk of the return. Then again, that is the nature of the beast. My guess is, Meade dealers are a tad nervous right now.


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mclewis1
Thread Killer
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: New Brunswick, Canada
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5955760 - 07/05/13 09:37 AM

A less business/financial oriented overview of Meade's situation in the LA Times ...

Meade article link

You may have to answer a question of two to view the complete article.



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