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The skyX Pro

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#101 Jaxdialation

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:45 AM

Really? They will give a refund?

I would appreciate a link on how to do that.

Mea Culpa - I upgraded for no particular reason, and pretty much got my non-existent needs addressed.

Late edit....I found their 30 day refund policy.

#102 Paula E

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:03 PM

I think they are going for longer than 30 days at this point. There have been enough issues with tsx that a person could've purchased the software 2 months ago and still not be at the same functionality you had with ts6. SB is being fair and honest about this while trying to address the issues.

#103 SanDiegoPaul

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:16 PM

I already asked for a refund. The Sky 6 was sooo good and in my opine they ruined the interface. Simple things like Syncing on a star require digging through menues to get to.

I'm going to relinquish my license number and have already returned to using The Sky 6 Pro.

#104 Paula E

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:33 PM

Simple things like Syncing on a star require digging through menues to get to.


Arguably this should be on the telescope panel - but the thing is, if you have a Paramount, the sync button is actually kind of dangerous. You only want to perform a star sync on the paramount once, particularly if you've created a TPOINT pointing mapping model. Doing a sync on an existing model ruins the model. So "hiding" this option is safer for paramount users, but much less convenient for Meade/Celestron users. (i.e. nearly everybody.)

It turns out you can add a button to the toolbar to sync to stars. I meant to mention this to you over on the other forums.

#105 Paula E

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 01:51 PM

Since we're on the subject of UI with TSX Pro, I guess I could mention what I think about it.

Overall I like the UI of TSX Pro. The ability to use and configure tabs eliminates the heavy use of menus I disliked in TS6. (Ironically enough.)

That said there are several things about the UI that could be improved:
1. I didn't find the default UI to be especially well set up for use at the telescope. It's fine on my workstation monitor - but I have a 30" panel so I just enabled all the tabs and toolbars and call it a day. On a smaller monitor, especially when you are working in the dark, they could've made a UI configuration that was much more 'scope task oriented. You can create your own - I've done this and love it - but it would be nice to not have to.
2. The red screen mode is absolutely useless:
a. It actually makes a lot of the text smaller on the screen. So when you are looking at it with dark adapted vision, it's HARDER to read the screen. This is just dumb. (The tab labels are largely unreadable in red screen mode - especially behind a red filter, at least to my eyes.)
b. It fails to make everything red. You can work around this with chart settings, but you have to do that.
c. It's not designed to be used behind a red screen filter, and there's no built-in mode for this in TSXPro.

The customizable tabs are great, in my opinion. Once you have them setup for what you commonly do, and turn off the stuff you don't care about, they are VERY useful. Between that and customizing the toolbars, I rarely dig through the menus. Having some included configurations ship with the program that were tuned for several different types of users would've been a good (and I think fairly simple to do) idea.

I can identify with you though Paul, when I first started using TSXPro, I did everything through the menus, and that was annoying. Currently the only annoying thing I have to dig through menus for is there is no "disconnect" button for the camera tab. You have to go through a couple of dialogs for that, and that is tedious.

#106 jsmiller58

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 06:49 PM

Actually, the TSX UI was one the things that I really liked about TSX when I first saw it a few years ago at AIC, that and the much higher performance (TS6 is undeniably slow). In my opinion the UI of TS6 is inferior to Starry Night 6 Pro which I had been using before adopting TS6. Although I did not like its UI, TS6 took over due to the integration of TPoint. When I adopted ST3 the UI of TS6 became irrelevant as TS6 essentially became the integration platform for all of the apps I really cared about communicated, thought I do use the UI as a way of looking in the vicinity of the current target to see if there is anything else interesting nearby...

By the way, do you know if TSX now supports ASCOM?

Given that the latest patch is due any day, I think I will wait to actually purchase till then, that way I am installing the most recent major update of the application and not fighting any issues that are about to be fixed :-).

James

#107 jsmiller58

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 06:54 PM

"Mea Culpa - I upgraded for no particular reason, and pretty much got my non-existent needs addressed."

:grin: You have more or less just described the engine of American consumerism...

I have been very eager to buy TSX Pro, and very put off by all of the reports of bugs, but, when it comes down to it, I really can't say WHY I want to upgrade given that everything that I have right now works well together! It's just that little voice in the back of my mind saying - it's new and improved so you just have to have it! I call it Shiny Pebble Syndrome... You like the shiny pebble in your hand until you see a new one...!

James

#108 Jaxdialation

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Posted 21 August 2010 - 09:00 PM

You Sir, are right on the money.

If I have one weakness, it is software. I have to say, the quality of software we have in our little niche of the world is very high.

Scott's comments about how they are handling it, built a fair amount of goodwill for me.

#109 WirelessDude

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 02:42 AM

Good for SB for being very fair to those frustrated with TSX and the buggy features! I can understand those users wanting their money back since this is now software that requires annual dues...

I'll stick around for the next, soon-to-be-released software build and give it another chance! :)

Clear skies!

#110 WirelessDude

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 02:42 AM

Good for SB for being very fair to those frustrated with TSX and the buggy features! I can understand those users wanting their money back since this is now software that requires annual dues...

I'll stick around for the next, soon-to-be-released software build and give it another chance! :)

Clear skies!

#111 WirelessDude

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 02:42 AM

Good for SB for being very fair to those frustrated with TSX and the buggy features! I can understand those users wanting their money back since this is now software that requires annual dues...

I'll stick around for the next, soon-to-be-released software build and give it another chance! :)

Clear skies!

#112 Jaxdialation

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 09:47 AM

You can say that again :)

Yup, I will be flexible if Software Bisque is.

#113 Paula E

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 11:31 AM

The maintenance fee certainly seems to be a sore point for many. I can understand this if someone bought the program on day 1 and it hasn't worked for them yet. This isn't the only astro software I have that requires an annual fee.

Longer term I think an issue for them is likely to be publishing driver interfaces and then having Astro HW makers write drivers for them. Will they succeed at this? I hope so but I don't know.

#114 drollere

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 01:25 PM

wow ... well, this topic convinced me to go with SkyTools instead.

nobody stepped up with a "wow!" or "yippee!", and there are way too many mentions of bugs, hardware, customer service, maintenance fees, pay to play beta testers, asking money back, and so on ...

thanks to all who took the plunge, and posted their thoughts.

#115 Paula E

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 04:08 PM

wow ... well, this topic convinced me to go with SkyTools instead.


I'm sorry you took that away from what I said - I definitely believe TSX Pro is a "Wow". It's a great program, and it's FAST. ST3 is also a great program and a solid choice (I have it too), but it's slow. It is not bug free either. ST3 also doesn't do a fraction of what TSX Pro does. However, what it does do - planning - I think it does in a superior manner to TSXPro. (I think TSXPro is better than TS6 in terms of planning - but ST3 is better still.)

I don't really see them as mutually exclusive choices though.

#116 Jaxdialation

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 08:11 PM

I agree, ST3 is excellent for observational planning. It isn't my tool of choice for imaging planning at all.

#117 AstroArlo

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 08:25 PM

If you have a sophisticated observatory, a significant amount of time is spent getting everything to work together reliably. In my experience, updates can be a dicey proposition...on too many occassions an update would suddenly cause other problems, and a clear night or two to be wasted tracking down the problem. Old problems which were resolved seem to crop up on way too many upgrades.

So, I'm often reluctant to install updates, let alone a major new upgrade.

As far as the maintenance fee goes, I'm against them. Mainly because I believe vendors use them primarily to fund new development, rather than fixing bugs and making the software really, really, reliable. I too used to be responsible for millions of dollars of software, and my experience was half of the vendors used the maintenance for developing new software, and half used it to provide support and very reliable software.

I'd consider paying $200/year for maintenance which resulted in really solid software, but not to fund a new product for a vendor. It seems Software Bisque now wants both...maintenance, and a whole new purchase (i.e. - "upgrade") every few years.

I want to spend my nights imaging, not debugging yet another upgrade of software.

Thanks to those who posted - saved me a bit of money!

#118 Paula E

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 01:16 AM

I need to test it out with DDWCP, but the next build of TSX Pro returns the telescope position logging capability.

Also, on the ST3 performance issue - there are two other things I need to look at before I conclude this is a TSX Pro issue:
1. I have probably been running this with Aero disabled. I've identified at least one probable bug in our (nvidia) drivers with TSXPro (and lots of other stuff) with Aero disabled.
2. Running UltraVNC may be a factor here - I noticed the performance was horrible this weekend with ST3 / TSX until I'd rebooted. I'd been running UltraVNC earlier - so this may be a factor. After the reboot, the perormance of ST3 / TSX was reasonable and usable. Before the reboot, it was really totally unusable.

Given that I don't hit the performance problem often, and that I can work around it, and that it involves a case that I believe to be broken in our driver, I'm going to have to give TSX a pass on this one, at least for now.

#119 Paula E

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 10:30 PM

Well, the rendering issue I've observed with TSX happens with both amd and nVidia hardware, and with other OpenGL apps. It is a bug in win 7, apparently. :(

#120 Paula E

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 04:24 AM

@jsmiller58 - I did some tests with the (soon to be released) build and it now can create a telescope position log. It works great with DDWCP - I tested it for a while this weekend and had no issues.

#121 jsmiller58

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:52 PM

Thanks for letting me know, Scott!

James

#122 Paula E

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:13 PM

Software bisque as put up a pre-release of build 10.1.9 of TSX Pro. I haven't tried this build yet, but it should fix just a ton of issues for folks.

#123 Paula E

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 12:38 AM

I forgot to post this, but earlier this week, software bisque posted an official update to TSXPro to 10.1.9. This version fixes just a ton of issues. I haven't needed to load TS6 in quite a while now in my observatory.

#124 SanDiegoPaul

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 05:20 PM

What has changed in .9, Scott?

#125 Paula E

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:20 PM

Hi Paul! Lots of stuff changed:

  • Version 10.1.9 (Build 4160) Released September 20, 2010
  • Added an application setting to grow the Observing List up to 20,000 objects.
  • Changed the Tools > Object Paths dialog considerably, including changing the Animate checkbox to Interactive and addressing numerous bugs.
  • The mount simulator can now simulate park and unpark.
  • Added the Object Paths command to the Tools menu.
  • Fixed a bug where using the Equal To comparator in SDB queries failed due to whitespace.
  • Fixed position of Object Path labels.
  • Moon no longer disappears when its center is off the Sky Chart.
  • Fixed a bug where some Tycho stars were not being labeled with Extended Labeling.
  • Improved the orthographic plotting of horizons.
  • Fixed a bug where the Edit Chart Elements dialog was snapping back to the last position (restored) when the dialog was used.
  • Sped up the interaction when Magnitude sliders are used in Edit Chart Elements.
  • Fixed a bug where FlipHourAngleMinutes was showing as 0 instead of the actual value that was in ImagingSystem.ini.
  • Fixed a bug where the Navigate dialog showed the incorrect equatorial coordinates and constellation when moving the mouse.
  • Connecting to an SBIG-402 no longer results in a “No Device Selected” error.
  • Text (the edition feature comparison list) was incorrectly being copied to the Clipboard when TheSkyX was launched.
  • Fixed bug that caused some lunar eclipses to be missed.
  • Fixed a clipping bug for the orthographic horizon.
  • Fixed a trail plotting bug for satellites in Orthographic Projection.
  • Fixed a bug where Raven.SlewDomeToTelescope would return ERR_NOT_IMPL.
  • Changed Horizon Photos Dialog so the supplied horizon photos and the custom horizon photos (in Application Support folder) are separated in a tree list.
  • The Horizon Photos list in the Horizon & Atmosphere dialog is automatically updated when horizon photos are added to the Horizon Application Support folder.
  • Bug Fix – legacycominterfaces.txt didn't include TheSkyXAdaptor.dll (relied only upon installation registration).
  • Improved plotting of custom horizon in Gnomonic Projection.
  • ProTrack tab is now available on the TPoint Add On window.
  • BC years can now be entered by pressing the “–” key when the year (YYYY) portion of the date/time is highlighted.
  • The telescope Mask FOVI transparency can now be changed on the Edit FOVI dialog.
  • Parking the Paramount now works.
  • TheSkyX.RASCOMTele’s park now disconnects the telescope like TheSky6 does.
  • You can now double click on the Status Bar and the Preferences dialog will be displayed with the Status Bar options.
  • New Feature – Mount simulator's az/alt position is persistent.
  • RASCOMTele's connect also unparks (if parked) so it behaves like TheSky6.
  • LX200 unpark now sets location/date/time/time.
  • Aborting a telescope slew with the dome coupled, didn't abort the dome slew too.
  • RASCOMTele's lastSlewError wasn't always correct.
  • Changes to the Mosaic are now updated immediately, allowing interactive sizing, etc.
  • Added a button to save a .hrz file that is linked with a horizon photo file so that the photo file can be loaded in the proper orientation.
  • LX200 unpark puts in polar mode right before syncing to ra/dec of parked position.
  • Can now search for stars using their DM designation such as B+19 2777 for Arcturus.
  • Added an option to the Advanced tab of the Database Manager creates the optimized TheSkyX plot file from the native UCAC3 text files.
  • The angular separation that is shown on the Find dialog now recomputes continuously so that the correct value is shown when two moving objects are selected.
  • Changed the graphic on the Create Pointing Targets so that it is clear which “node” is which.
  • Large database asteroid on Sky Chart queries are no longer clipped to 18 magnitude.
  • Fixed a bug in the Small Screen Toolbar where keyboard input was being ignored.
  • Fixed a bug where the Telescope toolbar was not showing up in the list of Toolbars for customization.
  • Camera simulator default width and height are now both 800.
  • Changing the camera’s Reduction option applies to automated pointing runs without having to take a photo from the Camera tab.
  • Fixed bug where moon's shadow could not be turned off.
  • Fixed OpenGL flickering problem that occurs on some graphics cards/driver combinations.
  • Optionally have AutoDark subtraction use all available processor cores.
  • Optionally allow mount drivers’ establish link to be called from the user interface thread, rather than a background thread. See LinkFromUIThreadInterface documentation.
  • Added the Slew Prior command. This command appears in the Tools Menu on the telescope tab and can be added to a toolbar.
  • FOVI grips now disappear when the FOVI disappears due to changes in the FOV.
  • Fixed bug where right-clicking on stellar extended labeling was not working.
  • Added Connect and Disconnect buttons to the camera dialog.
  • Added two FOVI options to the Image Link dialog. The first for adding a FOVI that matches the computed scale and position angle of the image link. The second option allows automatically rotating all active FOVIs to the computed position angle each time a on image link is performed.
  • New Feature-Dome setup has a configurable update interval.
  • Fixed a bug where large database asteroid queries of the asteroids visible on the Sky Chart was clipping to 18 magnitude.
  • Fixed a bug in the Small Screen Toolbar where keyboard input was being ignored.
  • Fixed a bug where the Telescope toolbar was not showing up in the list of Toolbars for customization.
  • Fixed two bugs related to time skips from twilight to twilight. After midnight twilight cases are now handled correctly, and the DST also now handled correctly.
  • Added an app setting that allows stopping all rendering/updating when TheSkyX is minimized (Windows only) for both OpenGL and Non-GL plotting.
  • The Sleep button now correctly shows the state of the sleep for all states.
  • Fixed bug where constellation label state was not updated properly.
  • Automatically save panoramic horizon settings for each photo.
  • Automatically import TheSky6's .horizon file to restore panoramic horizon photo position.
  • The Create Tours dialog now has file saving and opening that places the tours (which are just .skyx settings files) in the Tours folder.
  • Automated pointing run files are saved into the correct support files folder.
  • Added better handling of graphics when the frame rate is set below 20 FPS, or a slow computer is in use.
  • Made changes to ImageLink so that NOMAD is ignored unless a very small FOV is used.
  • Downloaded Satellites, Comets, Asteroids files go to <Application Support> folders instead of the <AppData> folder. The consequence is that users will now backup these files, but going to shows etc where there is no Internet connection, going to file open should display the last downloaded file so users can select it.
  • Fixed a bug where the NOMAD catalog was not used properly for ImageLink.
  • Added the "Log current telescope position to" option for backward compatibility with TheSky6.
  • Treat the Gemini as a GEM for TPoint pointing calibration convention.
  • TheSkyX’s Dome Add On now has a DomeAPI driver selection. This means DomeAPI drivers written for AutomaDome for Windows now work with TheSkyX directly, independent of AutomaDome. This makes AutomaDome for Windows a legacy application.
  • ImageLink is now accessible from scripting languages.
  • Bug Fix – ImageLink “Close FITS” now clears the dialog title, dialog image and chart image.
  • List Bisque TCS and Bisque TCS Professional in list of supported mounts.
  • Bug fix – Find Flares now works even when all satellites from web (4000+) are loaded.
  • Fixed bug where turning off an SDB with the items tab displayed caused a crash.
  • Use mono-spaced font in Telescope Communications Window and made telescope log output more human readable.
  • Correctly save and restore the positions of many dialogs.
  • New Feature – Automated pointing run now highlights the active target while running.
  • Adjusted position of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.
  • Added a button to get the image scale from a successful Image Link to the Known scale.
  • Added a GEM check box for NexStar telescopes so that TPoint pointing calibration works properly for Celestron GEMs.
  • Fixed Hercules in H.A. Rey Constellation lines.
  • Automated pointing run bug fix when Auto Darks on.
  • Changing the camera's Reduction option applies to automated pointing runs without having to Take a photo from the camera tab.
  • Bug Fix – No longer encounter a “Command in Progress” message when running @Focus2 from CCDSoft (focuser go to’s were being performed asynchronously from the RASCOMTele interface when they should have been synchronously).
  • Tools > Open FITS command and Image Link's Open FITS command now use the same folder.
  • Horizon Photos can now be 8-bit and lower photo formats (with no transparency or “alpha channel”).
  • Crash on connect to DomeAPI.
  • Bug Fix – TeleAPI wrapper now uses “int” for parameters originally declared as BOOL.
  • The LX200 driver no longer requires a response from the ACK command (Autostar III LS do not respond to this command).
  • Camera’s Take Photo uses the TheSkyX’s “current target” for coordinates if there is no telescope connection.
  • Fixed a bug where various magnitude filters were being reset to star values on startup.
  • Camera simulator has light and dark frame values.
  • Bug Fix – Reduction set to AutoDark when using "CCDSoft's Camera" now works.
  • Added AppSettings to edit the “fast” and “slow” focuser sizes of the RASCOMTele interface (used by CCDSoft's @Focus).
  • Changed the transition field of view when larger planets switch from the small symbol to an extended ellipse so that the planet is visible at all fields of view.
  • Bug Fix – The Image Scale Helper Take Photo And Image Link It button wouldn't work after aborting a pointing run with the error “Process Aborted”.
  • Bug Fix – TheSkyX can now set the LX200 classic’s date (was reporting a command failed message).
  • Prevent pointing calibration samples from being added to the model when the telescope is slewing.

I reported a number of these, fwiw.


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