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Readers Choice: Gear of the Year 2010

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#1 Tom T

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:43 PM

Link

#2 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:53 PM

Great list, congratulations to all involved.

I actually am the proud owner of Sky Safari so for once I am all modern and up to date...

Jon

#3 David Knisely

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 02:56 PM

Nice to see a fairly simple piece of "wearable" hardware (the DarkSkies Hooded observing vest) got into the top ten. It is good to see this effective piece of observing "clothing" get the recognition it deserves (now if I could only get out and observe instead of being stuck inside being sick). Clear skies to you.

#4 Mike Hosea

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 04:18 PM

Nice to see a fairly simple piece of "wearable" hardware (the DarkSkies Hooded observing vest) got into the top ten.


Thanks for calling my attention to that. I use a short tube of black material for this, but this is a better solution and has pockets, too, so I just ordered one. Of all the purchases I've made in the last few years, I think it required the least deliberation--obviously useful, obviously a good solution.

#5 CatseyeMan

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 02:09 PM

What an honor it is to have the "XLK" autocollimator voted into the top 10. Let me hasten to give all the due Kudos to Jason D for his passion and perserverance to unravel the last bit of mystery surrounding the origin and generation of the 3 "ghost" reflections and subsequently discovering the usefulness and advantages of the offset pupil to achieve more axial error resolution. His exquisite diagrams and detailed analyses discussions on the CN venue are truely amazing. I consider this a joint award with him - Thank You Jason! :waytogo:

Tom hit the nail on the head with his assessment of this example as being one of the many CN values in enabling direct equipment critique and new idea feedback from the users to the manufacturer to further enhance the technology of amateur astronomy.

#6 DLB242

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:23 PM

Hey Tom, when you get a chance do you think you could add links to the vendors web sites?

#7 David Knisely

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:50 AM

Nice to see a fairly simple piece of "wearable" hardware (the DarkSkies Hooded observing vest) got into the top ten.


Thanks for calling my attention to that. I use a short tube of black material for this, but this is a better solution and has pockets, too, so I just ordered one. Of all the purchases I've made in the last few years, I think it required the least deliberation--obviously useful, obviously a good solution.


Yes, I use it fairly regularly at my home where local lighting is a problem. However, it has also been useful at the dark sky site of the Nebraska Star Party. Here is a shot of a bunch of us "modeling" the vest:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 4398425-Hoodies1small.jpg


#8 David Knisely

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 01:48 AM

And here is what they are like with the hoods up:

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  • 4398497-Hoodies4smallFunny.JPG


#9 Mike Hosea

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 01:56 AM

I saw the second picture on the web site but didn't recognize you in it. :lol:

#10 cheapersleeper

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 11:50 AM

Is it helpful to the hobby to compile a list that suggests one needs a credit card with a 15k limit to enjoy the hobby?

#11 Larry Geary

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:07 PM

Is it helpful to the hobby to compile a list that suggests one needs a credit card with a 15k limit to enjoy the hobby?


This is a list of "Top Products for 2010", not a list of "Products Essential to Enjoying Astronomy". There are many ways to enjoy the hobby, some expensive, some not.

#12 Mike Hosea

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 03:15 PM

That's like objecting to the Grammies by asking whether it's helpful to have an awards show that suggests that you need to buy all the nominated songs and albums in order to enjoy music.

#13 Not Here Anymore

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:18 AM

At least they seem to have gotten away from presenting this as if is was a real survey listing the top 10 products. Although we still get the TV at the top with the only big colored picture in the group. Quite frankly, reading the posts here, it did not seem that many people were buying the 3.7mm SX.

#14 Jim Rosenstock

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:46 AM

Is it helpful to the hobby to compile a list that suggests one needs a credit card with a 15k limit to enjoy the hobby?


Oh, please.

This site is sponsored by a major astronomy retailer. Would you expect them to discourage consumerism?

Actually, Astronomics keeps a reasonable balance, IMO. Certainly, there's plenty of space here for hardcore gearheads' fantasies, but also for low-key, tight budget, "roll your own" astronomers.

Becoming major gear consumer is a personal choice, not a requirement.

Jim

#15 Tom T

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:01 PM

At least they seem to have gotten away from presenting this as if is was a real survey listing the top 10 products. Although we still get the TV at the top with the only big colored picture in the group. Quite frankly, reading the posts here, it did not seem that many people were buying the 3.7mm SX.


TV was listed first because it had *4* products that were all in the top. 3.7mm Ethos SX, Paracorr Type 2, 21 mm Ethos and (with Starlight) the FeatherTouch Sips. And they are the only picture because they were the only picture I had on hand that I wasn't worried about copyright violations as I took that one. (Which was another reason they were listed first - right under the only photo I had.)

As per "real survey" - not exactly sure what you meant by that. The forum members (people like you) nominated the products, and then voted on the products. It was all up to the users (you and people like you), and both the nominations and voting were open for months (so you could vote and nominate). Frankly, I think it's a pretty neat way to do things, but if you have serious suggestions for improvement, I'm open to reading them...

#16 Tom T

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:06 PM

Is it helpful to the hobby to compile a list that suggests one needs a credit card with a 15k limit to enjoy the hobby?


Oh, please.

This site is sponsored by a major astronomy retailer. Would you expect them to discourage consumerism?

Actually, Astronomics keeps a reasonable balance, IMO. Certainly, there's plenty of space here for hardcore gearheads' fantasies, but also for low-key, tight budget, "roll your own" astronomers.

Becoming major gear consumer is a personal choice, not a requirement.

Jim


To the OP - (Not you Jim)

So next time, nominate less expensive products. Every year we get these posts where people just don't seem to realize that it's the *readers* that nominate and the *readers* that vote. Not me. Not the mods. Not Astronomics. You. Your fellow forum members. That's why it says "READERS CHOICE" on the front. If you don't like what's nominated, or voted for, change it.

#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:15 PM

As per "real survey" - not exactly sure what you meant by that. The forum members nominated the products, and then voted on the products. It was all up to the users, and both the nominations and voting were open for months. If you have serious suggestions for improvement, I'm open to reading them...



Tom:

It's only a "real survey" if everyone who voted for the winning product gets one for free... :)

Jon

#18 Tom T

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 01:19 PM

Well, that - I don't think we can swing. :lol:

#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:05 PM

Well, that - I don't think we can swing. :lol:


Maybe we should have voted in the Astronomics discount for Cloudy Nights members... you could swing that one. :jump:

Jon

#20 cheapersleeper

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:51 PM

Is it helpful to the hobby to compile a list that suggests one needs a credit card with a 15k limit to enjoy the hobby?


Oh, please.

This site is sponsored by a major astronomy retailer. Would you expect them to discourage consumerism?

Actually, Astronomics keeps a reasonable balance, IMO. Certainly, there's plenty of space here for hardcore gearheads' fantasies, but also for low-key, tight budget, "roll your own" astronomers.

Becoming major gear consumer is a personal choice, not a requirement.

Jim


To the OP - (Not you Jim)

So next time, nominate less expensive products. Every year we get these posts where people just don't seem to realize that it's the *readers* that nominate and the *readers* that vote. Not me. Not the mods. Not Astronomics. You. Your fellow forum members. That's why it says "READERS CHOICE" on the front. If you don't like what's nominated, or voted for, change it.


OK, people, it's interesting to see how a single comment, couched in terms that make it fairly benign can cause so many people to reflexively scoff.

The demographics of the long time, contributing, frequent posters is very skewed away from the median with regard to income and/or discretionary income. I did not say that was bad but I did comment that the picture portrayed here might be off putting for some.

Instead of being defensive, why not tweak the rules? How hard would it be to include categories for "Best Product for Beginners" and "Best Value?" The specious arguments above are just that: specious. Astronomics would be just as happy to sell a large number of Astrotech dobs and Astrotech high grad Plossls as they are to sell what will always be a small number of Ethos and Taks. A look at their offerings would indicate that Astronomics is seeing a lot of possibilities in the "Value" market or they would not be selling all those reasonably priced imaging OTAs and the Astrotech eyepieces.

#21 Mike Hosea

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 01:31 AM

(bulk of comments removed because the matter is resolved, and we don't need to log it for posterity)

I don't see why everything needs to be about beginners, nor do I think there is cause to modify the rules to make the list more about "value" items. Was I annoyed to see the 3.7mm Ethos SX at the top of the list? Sure. I have little interest in this eyepiece because the focal length is too short for my purposes. Seems like the same would be true for most observers. But some apparently like it a lot, so why should I invent ways of marginalizing their opinions? Maybe we could use a Top 10 list of items under $100 or something, but I think that should be a separate thing.


#22 David Knisely

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 03:04 AM

cheepsleeper wrote:

The demographics of the long time, contributing, frequent posters is very skewed away from the median with regard to income and/or discretionary income. I did not say that was bad but I did comment that the picture portrayed here might be off putting for some.


Might be, but considering four of the items come in at less than $500 (and three less than $130 with one only about $15), it would seem that the "lower end" of pricing appears to be at least somewhat represented here. Indeed, the most expensive of these lower priced four is a complete sub-angstrom solar H-alpha telescope, something that little more than a decade ago would have been unthinkable for a cost of less than a couple of thousand dollars. Again, if people have run into a real nice item that hasn't cost much, then they really need to nominate it. For a single person who has an income a little under the median income, I wasn't all that "put off" by the choices made by those nominating items for the Gear of the Year article. I know what I can afford and what my priorities are, so I make my choices appropriately. Clear skies to you.

#23 cheapersleeper

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 06:19 AM

Thanks to all for the clarification. I appreciate your input and understand how my comment might be taken the way some have taken it. It was not intended to be inflammatory.

I guess this obligates me to research, poll and write an article if I think we need to see a Value list...if someone will check my grammar and spelling.

Regards,
Brad

#24 Not Here Anymore

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 07:20 AM

I think your grammar is fine. But I do think you need to to use bigger words. Also, you should study the history of surveys so you can fully flush out what surveys are for and how they have been used in the past, both good and bad. You may want to see if there is any completely esoteric (sorry) information regarding surveys of amateur astronomical equipment. You can then discuss the validity of those surveys and the impact of their content on the astronomical community's buying habits. Preferably this will reach back to pre-history to discuss how early surveys may have influenced the socio-economic trends of that period so you could then extrapolate the various manifestations of those impacts today.

Of course you must be ready to defend any hypothesis with very big words and multi-tiered logic so even if you are wrong, you can sound really smart and intimidating to anyone who may have a different opinion.

I hope this helps ;)

#25 Tom T

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 12:05 PM

Why does the above post bring to mind a light bulb joke? :lol:


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