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SkyTools - will the ST4 visual ever be out?

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#1 Jeff Lee

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:17 AM

So does anyone wonder when ST4 for visual folks will be out? The implied in final testing statement and will be out soon was a key reason I bought 3. I guess if by year end V4 is not out I'll ask for an upgrade to Imaging 4.



#2 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 12:16 PM

I think the author's most recent statement on the topic is from March, https://skyhound.com...id=1770#pid1770.  Other than that, I've no idea. 



#3 obrazell

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 03:11 PM

Well given he spends all his time supporting you on the forums it will probably be a long time away.


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#4 Steve Cox

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 03:39 PM

I'm awaiting the release of ST4V also, as patiently as I can.  But, ST3 Pro does everything I need for visual observing, and since I don't use a touch screen Windows system at the scope, I could happily continue living with ST3 in case the Visual doesn't materialize anytime soon.



#5 pscharff

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:51 PM

A few weeks ago I wanted to buy a planning tool. But it should not an „outdated“ software. So I had to decide between „waiting for ST4 Visual“ or to choose another tool.

After waiting for many months and years I think "ST4 Visual" will never come, or at least it will not come on the next months. So I decided to wait not any longer and I've bought another tool.

 

Patric



#6 Jeff Lee

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:17 AM

I would think that the liability of NOT providing a version 4 would be legally significant as it is part of the purchase and as the statement on the website indicates an soon release date it is a binding offer. At this time I would accept the imaging version but with EAA the visual is a much more useful product for me as all my processing is done either in SharpCap or for a very few files DSS. Not trying to start a war here just pointing out that there should be an end date for such a "promise" purchase and not communicating except for the March post is leaving the customers to guess, which is never good and leads to posts like this one. I emailed the author about which quarter it would be available in and got no response.



#7 Oscar56

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:16 PM

I am running Windows 10 on an iMac.  SkyTools 3 is one of only 3 pieces of Windows software that I use.  I would dearly love to get rid of Windows and keep looking for a Mac based observation planner and logger but I have not found anything that works as well SkyTools 3 for my needs.

 

But every few weeks I check to see if the visual version of SkyTools 4 is available.



#8 brentknight

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:30 PM

It is very frustrating. If you check the imaging forums on his site, they are updated all the time. I'll stick with 3, but I do wish he would release and support 4 visual - at some point.
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#9 obrazell

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 05:16 PM

The website has said soon for the last two years and so I don't think you can take anything from that. It is certainly frustrating for those of us using high res screens or other devices that ST3 struggles with. It is also true that ST4I is not much use to the visual observer. However I suspect that Greg is suffering from the fact that each ST4I user wants different things from the product and EAA observers something else. I think his support workload is probably also far more than he could have imagined, although anybody watching imagers would have expected that.I would like to hope that we would see ST4V this year but I expect it will be well into next year.


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#10 semiosteve

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 04:05 PM

Well I have more or less given up on waiting for ST4 for visual. So, as much  I hate to admit it, I am using Sky Safari more and more.

 

It turns out that the smartphone UI that Sky Safari leverges makes it easier to star hop as you can "move around" from one FOV to the next in real time. It is easier to go from a known star or object to a nearby target this way.

 

I still love ST3, but feel its perhaps become abandonware.



#11 Steve Cox

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 09:19 PM

Greg just posted this on the SkyTools forum page for ST4, which takes you to an updated ST4 Visual page with a YouTube video of the Beta.

 https://skyhound.com...ead.php?tid=590


Edited by Steve Cox, 19 August 2019 - 09:20 PM.

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#12 obrazell

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 03:07 AM

Yes but then he says he still has no release date for it.



#13 Oscar56

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:42 AM

I like the changes that Geg has made in the planning screen.  They are subtle but much more intuitive than ST3.  Now I am waiting to see what changes if any he has made in the observing logs.



#14 semiosteve

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 10:10 PM

Yes but then he says he still has no release date for it.

And st3 still presents eyepiece views more realistically than skysafari...so there's that


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#15 Kyphoron

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 08:22 AM

I have been using ST-3 for years now for visual observing and its been everything that I have ever needed in a planning tool. I understand everyone's frustration in having to wait for ST-4 visual to come out but if at the time ST-3 is working fine I will be patient waiting for ST-4 visual release. I also think we forget that this is not Greg's prime income and that he works on it on his time not to mention he also observes and attends star parties. 

 

To be honest I like the program so much and ST-3 is still working great for me that I am more than willing to wait for ST-4. I am sure when its finally released we will all see it was well worth the wait.


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#16 brentknight

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 10:32 AM

I have been using ST-3 for years now for visual observing and its been everything that I have ever needed in a planning tool. I understand everyone's frustration in having to wait for ST-4 visual to come out but if at the time ST-3 is working fine I will be patient waiting for ST-4 visual release. I also think we forget that this is not Greg's prime income and that he works on it on his time not to mention he also observes and attends star parties. 

 

To be honest I like the program so much and ST-3 is still working great for me that I am more than willing to wait for ST-4. I am sure when its finally released we will all see it was well worth the wait.

I get what you are saying and agree with it.  My frustration comes from the knowledge that most of the time spent developing ST-4 is spent on Imaging.  It just feels like Visual is so down on the priority list that it may never get done...


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#17 Tempus

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 12:11 PM

I get what you are saying and agree with it.  My frustration comes from the knowledge that most of the time spent developing ST-4 is spent on Imaging.  It just feels like Visual is so down on the priority list that it may never get done...

Hate to break it to you but imagers are the target in today's amateur astronomy market,  that's where the money is. When you write software to pay the mortgage, you are wise to target the open wallets first. I've spoken with Gregg and ST-4 Visual will get finished - eventually. 



#18 Steve Cox

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 04:33 PM

Hate to break it to you but imagers are the target in today's amateur astronomy market,  that's where the money is. When you write software to pay the mortgage, you are wise to target the open wallets first. I've spoken with Gregg and ST-4 Visual will get finished - eventually. 

Still, while I understand and agree with what you're saying, the feeling that I, and other visual observers I'm sure have, is this: if ST4 Visual is practically done for as long as Greg has stated, why not release it then go on to roll-out and support Imaging?  In my mind, Visual would've been rolled out first since it will naturally need the least support and troubleshooting, then release Imaging so most time can be concentrated on it.

 

All this said, please don't misinterpret that I'm complaining or badmouthing Greg, as I am very content to continue using ST3 Pro until ST4 Visual is released as nothing else even touches ST3's capabilities for me, and I've tried almost all.  And I do understand this is only a side-job and income for Greg, so he does have other commitments.


Edited by Steve Cox, 30 August 2019 - 05:17 PM.

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#19 Jeff Lee

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 05:39 PM

Since I only do EAA, I am finding SKT3 about all I need but would welcome a better charting implementation. It looks closer and I do like the streamlined interface. Looking forward to see how the main interface and the charts look under red plexi glass. He also indicates in his last post that he is going to release a beta that is almost a final.


Edited by Jeff Lee, 30 August 2019 - 05:49 PM.

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#20 semiosteve

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 02:47 PM

Since I only do EAA, I am finding SKT3 about all I need but would welcome a better charting implementation. It looks closer and I do like the streamlined interface. Looking forward to see how the main interface and the charts look under red plexi glass. He also indicates in his last post that he is going to release a beta that is almost a final.

Well I am now bouncing between using Sky Safari on a brilliant resurrected Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with drop dead black amoled, and Sky Tools 3 on a resurrected Thiinkpad 10 tablet with red film. 

 

Somehow ST3 eyepiece views are much easier to match to real ep views. Stars are just closer to what you see, so its easier to be certain you are seeing what you are looking for. So while I have newfound appreciation for Sky Safari, I will glady update to ST4 if it materializes.


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#21 Steve Cox

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 02:52 PM

Yes, I've always had trouble with associating what SkySafari is showing with my actual eyepiece views.  Good as SkySafari is, it only provides an eyepiece overlay ring, but doesn't calculate the view based on your scope/eyepiece combo, nor does it orient it correctly as SkyTools does.  SkyTools is the only software I've found to give almost (not always but nearly) dead-on accurate eyepiece views, which really helps when hunting down dim galaxies right at the limit of my scope capabilities.


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#22 brentknight

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 03:35 PM

That would be a truly awesome upgrade for SS7.  If the view would match the orientation of your telescope/eyepiece/time of night and estimate the limiting magnitude of stars based on input sky conditions.  Of course, being able to run ST on a tablet would be nice too...



#23 Steve Cox

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Posted 01 September 2019 - 06:08 PM

That would be a truly awesome upgrade for SS7.  If the view would match the orientation of your telescope/eyepiece/time of night and estimate the limiting magnitude of stars based on input sky conditions.  Of course, being able to run ST on a tablet would be nice too...

Running ST on a tablet is why I've been contemplating trading my two computers and Galaxy Tab S3 for this 15" HP Spectre 2-in-1.



#24 AJ

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 08:44 AM

I've used SkyTools 3 Standard since the spring of 2010.  After adding RealTime I used it with a Netbook at the scope for years. Nowadays I just use it on my desktop as a planning tool and output observing lists to my phone, for use in SkySafari 6 plus.  I don't use SkySafari on my tablet for the same reason I stopped using ST3 on a netbook.  Just one less piece of equipment to take (or, forget) as I pack the car (I always have my phone in my pocket).

 

Even with the 5 inch screen SS6 works quite adequately for field use, at least for visual observing which I do exclusively.  Granted, the eyepiece views are only marginally usable, but I can usually locate faint DSOs using the shown star patterns.  And the phone wirelessly controls my go-to scope nicely.

 

The sheer convenience of using my phone, rather than a tablet or laptop, overrides any superiority of ST3 over SS6, at least for me.

 

All that being said, I will upgrade to ST4 Visual when it is released.  Best desktop software around!



#25 Kyphoron

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 08:55 PM

I've used SkyTools 3 Standard since the spring of 2010.  After adding RealTime I used it with a Netbook at the scope for years. Nowadays I just use it on my desktop as a planning tool and output observing lists to my phone, for use in SkySafari 6 plus.  I don't use SkySafari on my tablet for the same reason I stopped using ST3 on a netbook.  Just one less piece of equipment to take (or, forget) as I pack the car (I always have my phone in my pocket).

 

Even with the 5 inch screen SS6 works quite adequately for field use, at least for visual observing which I do exclusively.  Granted, the eyepiece views are only marginally usable, but I can usually locate faint DSOs using the shown star patterns.  And the phone wirelessly controls my go-to scope nicely.

 

The sheer convenience of using my phone, rather than a tablet or laptop, overrides any superiority of ST3 over SS6, at least for me.

 

All that being said, I will upgrade to ST4 Visual when it is released.  Best desktop software around!

 

A phone screen for me is just to small, especially when visual observing. I find myself constantly enlarging and decreasing the screen to match my views in the eyepiece and finder scope. For me SS6 is more a planetarium program where as ST3 is a planning and visual program all the way. On one screen you have all the information you need on the object, your equipment, if it is going to be visible with no switching from screen to screen. I still feel to this day that ST has perhaps the largest database of objects. I look up and object off of my nexus unit and its there in ST.

 

Most might be saying why am I using ST if I have a nexus. Well for the reason above. The nexus can take me to the object but it cannot to date tell me if in my current sky conditions if I will be able to see the object or not. ST can do that for me which eliminates time being wasted on an object that will not be visible on that current night. Also this is a feature that SS6 doesn't have. Based upon the short video from Greg ST4 will be an even greater improvement than ST3 to its capabilities and I personally am glad he is not rushing it out just to satisfy impatient people. 

 

While I do have astro programs on my phone I just don't find a phone practical especially if you are a visual observer. I have a dedicated tablet that is ONLY used for astronomy and nothing else and since it is an astronomy only tablet it is always with my gear being charged right along with my batteries so I will never forget it. 




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