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The skyX Pro

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#1 SanDiegoPaul

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 11:41 AM

Who's using the Pro version of The Sky X?
Is it a reasonable upgrade from The Sky 6 Pro? I've been watching and it's finally available...but they want 250.00 to upgrade from the older version.

Why would I upgrade? What features would make one want to do so?

#2 Matthew Ota

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 02:54 PM

I plan to get the upgrade in about a month when I can afford it. I will do a review here after evaluating it.

#3 Jaxdialation

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 08:46 PM

I went ahead and upgraded. But I've only got a few minutes in with X. The user interface is different, that's for sure. I haven't run 6 and X side by side, but I'd say the graphics rendering is much more snappy in X.

My needs are pretty basic. 6 did the job, but the swan song of something new appealed to me.

#4 Paula E

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:15 PM

I'm downloading it currently. Work is killing me, and the weather hasn't been too helpful for astronomy either, but I'll try to spend some time on this and post stuff about it as soon as I can. I ordered the whole package today, although it will take me a few days to get the supplemental data.

#5 MySchizoBuddy

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:17 PM

you also have to pay the annual subscription charge

#6 jsmiller58

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 06:16 PM

So... For those who have experienced TheSkyX Pro, and have used TheSky6 Pro, what would you describe as the main reasons to take the plunge? As I rely on TPoint as well, if you have TheSkyX Pro/TPoint it would be great to hear your thoughts on that combination compared to TheSky6 Pro/TPoint...

#7 Paula E

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 02:03 AM

Well, I'll have more to report later - I have many, many things to test out, and I'm expecting at least some excitement with software compatibility. But I will say this - TheSkyX Pro is MUCH better performing software than TheSky6.

I'm currently running them both on my desktop, which is a core i7 with 12 GB of RAM and Win7 x64. TheSky6 Pro is slide-show like on this computer. TheSkyX is fluid, and in fact animates the motion of the sky - when you are zoomed in to an object, it will move out of the FOV, just like it would if you weren't tracking it. You can stop this, of course. For the most part it's maintaining at least 30 fps and often it's higher than that.

The openGL acceleration offered helps a good deal with performance. I'm using an older GPU on this system - an 8800 GTS.

I'll try it out on my observatory PC soon. (I'm running it there currently, but haven't gone out to actually see it in person. But TheSkyX runs fine over remote desktop and ultra VNC, although neither supports openGL, so it's not as peppy remotely as it is locally. (But then you wouldn't really expect that either.)

#8 Thomas Pfleger

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 05:38 AM

I'm currently running them both on my desktop, which is a core i7 with 12 GB of RAM and Win7 x64.

My configuration is a bit more basic than Scott's (4GB, i3, Win7 64) but the fluency of the graphics display is just amazing. The 3D features for viewing eclipses and satellites are outstanding. While the display control/settings panels just need their space, it's funny to shift them onto a second monitor and enjoy the star chart with a lot of screen real estate. Just played a bit with TheSkyX Pro. The more I peek around, the more interesting and useful features I find. An awesome product!

Tom

#9 jsmiller58

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 10:05 AM

Hi Scott! Have you tried connecting SkyTools 3 to your mount through TheSkyX Pro? Did you also get the TPoint add on, and if so, how does it compare to the older version?

James

#10 Paula E

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:13 PM

Hi Scott! Have you tried connecting SkyTools 3 to your mount through TheSkyX Pro?


No, although I'll try that soon. I know that the ASCOM "TheSkyControlledTelescope" driver will require an update. I have a beta version of this from Bob Denny that I've promised to test out for him. (I actually promised to modify the driver for him, but I failed to get that done before he did it anyway. I fail, but work is murder lately.)

Did you also get the TPoint add on, and if so, how does it compare to the older version?


I got the Universal subscription, so I got it all. I haven't tested it all live yet, but I'll definitely post when I do. Hopefully this weekend - aside from work, the weather for the past week has been horrible. (It's tornado season.) I'm also hoping that the dome driver for Automadome is compatible with the dome control in TheSkyXPro. I want to try that out too.

#11 JAT Observatory

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:56 PM

Scott,
I'm watching to see how it all goes for you.

My big fear right now is I would have to up a bunch of the scripts I use.

#12 jsmiller58

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:56 PM

Good luck, and thanks for being the pioneer on this one! :bow: I will eagerly be looking for your take on the interoperability of ST3 and TheSkyX, and how the new TPoint compared to the previous version... While I am itching to make the purchase, I want to wait till I get the all-clear on these issues! :jump:

Automadome? I am still using DDW... Do you recommend switching? :question:

James

#13 Paula E

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 01:05 PM

Well I've hit a small snag in my testing - my obs. PC appears to be totally dead right now, rather than just intermittently failing. I should have all the stuff to fix it, but it appears I'm going to have to do that first. I haven't gone out to see what exactly is going wrong because it's just been so rainy, but I can cycle the power / power switch / reset with a CPS switch, and it won't reboot.

#14 jsmiller58

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 01:26 PM

Sorry to hear that you are having problems!! :tonofbricks:

But, I guess, the silver lining is that you are having PC issues while it is raining rather than during mag 7 skies...! :crazy:

Whenever you have things up and running, let me know... I am really intrigued by the idea of the Universal Subscription Upgrade, but first I want to make sure that does not essentially mean that everything is universally broken... :lol:

James

#15 Paula E

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 01:42 PM

Sorry to hear that you are having problems!! :tonofbricks:


Thanks! The eufodome's PC has been living on borrowed time for about a year, and has been pretty flakey. The trouble is it has never been QUITE flakey enough to just replace it - it would fail about once every week or two. I'd bring it in to diagnose it - and it would hit a patch where it would just run flawlessly.

Anyway, I've known this day would come, and I already bought parts to repair the thing a couple of weeks ago, because the failures were becoming more frequent. But it appears we've gone from intermittent failure to total failure.

Whenever you have things up and running, let me know... I am really intrigued by the idea of the Universal Subscription Upgrade, but first I want to make sure that does not essentially mean that everything is universally broken... :lol:


A wise decision. FWIW, I think I'll only regret my purchase if I find out Tom Bisque has switched over to ATI graphics cards for his personal systems... ;)

#16 psonice

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 03:42 AM

A wise decision. FWIW, I think I'll only regret my purchase if I find out Tom Bisque has switched over to ATI graphics cards for his personal systems... ;)


Why's that? As a rule, developers working on systems with an ATI card produce more compatible software, because they don't have to work with nvidia's abominable "oh, an error? I'll just ignore that" glsl compiler. From my experience, a coder working solely with nvidia cards has about a 50% chance of writing code that won't run on anything other than nvidia ;)

#17 Chris.Baron

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 12:00 PM

A wise decision. FWIW, I think I'll only regret my purchase if I find out Tom Bisque has switched over to ATI graphics cards for his personal systems... ;)


Why's that? As a rule, developers working on systems with an ATI card produce more compatible software, because they don't have to work with nvidia's abominable "oh, an error? I'll just ignore that" glsl compiler. From my experience, a coder working solely with nvidia cards has about a 50% chance of writing code that won't run on anything other than nvidia ;)


Of course if he's switched to ATI cards, you can kiss that closely following Win/Mac Linux release goodbye ;)

#18 Paula E

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 01:16 PM

Why's that? As a rule, developers working on systems with an ATI card produce more compatible software, because they don't have to work with nvidia's abominable "oh, an error? I'll just ignore that" glsl compiler. From my experience, a coder working solely with nvidia cards has about a 50% chance of writing code that won't run on anything other than nvidia ;)


Right, well I'm an engineer working at nvidia, so if you find issues like that feel free to report them to me. I also disagree with your conclusions with regards to our software development practices as compared with those of ATI.

#19 jsmiller58

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 03:08 PM

Alright, alright, everyone take a step back and no one gets hurt... :ooo:

So what do you think, Scott, are you going to get the chance to rebuild the PC and give TheSkyX Pro, TPoint, and Skytools a workout this weekend? :jump:

James

#20 Paula E

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 03:58 PM

So what do you think, Scott, are you going to get the chance to rebuild the PC and give TheSkyX Pro, TPoint, and Skytools a workout this weekend? :jump:


Hopefully. I've got the hardware for the new PC assembled. I have to do the OS and app installs. Been running memtest x86 on it for the past 13.5 hours and have no errors. I'm hoping I can get most of the Software installed tonight.

I added a new serial card to the PC, so I'll have to sort that out. (The old serial card from Mira had a port failure, so out it goes too.)

One thing I think I did better this time is that this PC has no LEDs.

BTW, for anyone who buys TheSkyX + TPOINT and then gets confused because they don't see a TPOINT download for TheSkyX - it's integrated into TheSkyX. You buy the license for tpoint and enter it. You only have to actually download 1 thing - TheSkyX. The dome controller and camera controller are the same way.

#21 jsmiller58

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 11:42 PM

Well, that is cool! I will also want to learn more about how the dome controller works out and if you would recommend that over the DDW software...

Here in Northern California we are having the Spring-that-wasn't... Clouds and rain or showers as far back as I can remember, and I don't see a near term end... Oh well, I don't want to complain as whenever we have a normal Spring it leads to the inevitable forest fires of the Summer...

James

#22 Paula E

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 12:05 PM

Nothing to report yet - I had a setback this weekend in that the SSD I installed in my new obs. PC failed. (Patriot PS100 - ended up showing 0 heads/ 0 cylinders / 0 memory - useless.) I returned it and got Corsairs instead. However, that killed all day Saturday (I had to drive back to Dallas to get the replacement). Anyway I have all the PC HW back together now, but I have a LOT of software to install and quite a bit of configuration to do.

#23 jsmiller58

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 03:17 PM

No problem - let me know how everything works when all put back together! Oh, yeah, and GOOD LUCK!!

#24 Peter Argenziano

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 06:59 PM

Who's using the Pro version of The Sky X?
Is it a reasonable upgrade from The Sky 6 Pro? I've been watching and it's finally available...but they want 250.00 to upgrade from the older version.

Why would I upgrade? What features would make one want to do so?


I had my first exposure to TheSky X Pro this past Saturday. It was my turn to run the observatory for the weekend public session and just earlier in the week we upgraded from TheSky 6 Pro.

The observatory is a 5-meter Observa-Dome equipped with a 16" Meade LX200R on a Paramount ME.

On two occasions over the course of the evening the telescope refused to slew to any object in the solar system (Moon, Venus, Saturn). It would carry out the command to any other object, just not those nearest to us. I never figured out why... it would just start behaving properly at some point. I chalked it up to new software glitches. We'll see if this problem recurrs - it didn't happen the previous evening.

I think the interface in X is much nicer than 6.
I also like the ability to drag the sky around in X rather than using the arrows.
The lunar functionality is nice. If we have a Moon on the weekends we usually look at it at some point and being able to display that on the monitor is useful for the folks queued up to look.

I just printed out the user guide today, so I'll have a better grasp on how much different it is than 6 in the near future.

#25 rmollise

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 07:54 PM

[
I think the interface in X is much nicer than 6.
I also like the ability to drag the sky around in X rather than using the arrows.


Uhhh....you can do that in 6 as well: Shift, right-click and drag. ;)


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