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OPEN LETTER TO ACTIVESKY USERS

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I know several of us have been discouraged and disappointed with what's been happening with respect to getting our downloads.Damian has opened up his heart to reveal HIS frustration and concern about the matter also. He has also given us a glimpse into his efforts to secure a more reliable method to obtain the necessary weather data and get it to us.I would like to ask if anyone would be open to the idea of donating $10-20.00 (US) in this effort.Yes, I know we already paid for the product (which has had its ups and downs), but I am very impressed with the committment that Damian still has towards correcting the situation. I'm sure that he has not made a profit on his endeavor, and he has also released information of how much money has already been spent to remedy the situation.I am in no means a "bleeding heart" (read some of my past posts), nor do I feel we "owe" him anything....BUT....how many times do your REALLY see a provider care that his customers are satisfied?Count me in. I have spend hundreds/thousands of dollars on products and services; and I could not get any satisfaction from the "customer service" department. Here, I think we at least have a chance. He hasn't run out on us yet, and I don't think he plans on it in the future. I've known many who throw in the towel at the first signs of trouble, or who ignore the customer's concerns. Many of those have been present in the flight simulator industry.I do not own "stock" in this company, I have not been paid to ask this, and I don't know Damian or any of his crew. I simply see a man sincerely trying, and in need of a little help. WE will be the ultimate benefactors of that help.I have only seen VERY few vindictive posts here. The VAST majority of posts have consisted of constructive feedback.Thanks to every one of you (Damian included) in trying to work through the rough spots. It's one forum I love to come back to.Glenn D. Willmot

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I am not a salesman, but I would prefer somekind of proposal from Damiand and crew. It seems logical Damian is looking into the financial and technical aspects of the private server issue: 'what do we need, what will it cost'. I don't mind paying $10-$20 but I do would like to know exactly what I'm paying for. One time fee, yearly fee, 'version' fee? Availability/coverage guarantee?I too like wxRE very much and have been a user since the very first release. I really appreciate all the time and efforts Damian and team are investing in this product. I'm convinced wxRE will be the hi-end weather addon for FS when reliable servers are a fact.Kind regardsHakkie

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Guest

I agree with you entirely.This was intended to be sort of a "poll" of those who would be willing to participate should a "plan" become available in the near future.I asked Damian to let us know if/when a workable solution was found.Glenn D. Willmot

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Guest cast1010

As a former business owner and administrator, I know for experience that sometimes in order to win, you have to lose something first.My proposition is this. Taking in account that FS-COF is around the corner and it will have a new weather generator engine similar to ActiveSky wxRE, I will suggest that ActiveSky wxRE as it is now will be released as FREEWARE, something like an ActiveSky demo, just in anticipation to the new ActiveSky v2.0 (full FS-COF compatibility and more/better options than the default FS-COF weather generator).I know that some of you are saying, "I paid for this product and now is free???", well, as you can see in this thread and in some other posts, some ActiveSky's users are willing to help Damian and his crew to sort out the servers problems and make ActiveSky a "more reliable" program. I think this suggestion will be our little "sacrifice" to help Damian and ActiveSky future.Our reward (to ActiveSky wxRE v1.X clients) might be some kind of discount in ActiveSky 2.0 and of course, a reliable weather program with a great future ahead. How can we guaranteed that? well, simple marketing:Activesky wxRE demo ----> more usersMore demo users ----------> potential ActiveSky 2.0 users/clientsMore potential clients -----> more "real" ActiveSky 2.0 users/clientsMore "real" users -----------> bigger revenuesBigger revenues ------------> obviousThis might sound like a wild or desperate idea, but I would call it an "aggressive campaign". In these days, when Damian is competing with not only FSMeteo but with FS-COF itself, it makes sense for me that you have to give something now to gain something later.Damian can clarify (in the fictitious ActiveSky wxRE demo that I'm talking about) that the demo will not use the servers that v2.0 will use (if this is the truth of course). This will give Damian more time to find a better/more reliable source for v2.0. The main idea of this is to eliminate that "ActiveSky wxRE is not a reliable program

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My points of view ONLY.1. We do have a working, free demo called Active Sky 2002. No, it doesn't have all the bells and bongs, but it gives a user a good idea. That's the way I got involved in Active Sky. We continue to support that software here and through e-mail requests.2. At this point NOBODY knows for sure what the weather generation portion for COF will be like. Based on the suggestions for 2.0, ASwxRE may be more than MS will ever be able to offer. Only time will tell.3. Releasing AS as freeware will not solve the server problem, but may expose more users to it, in a negative way, thus supporting the "rumor".4. I just went through the FlightMax situation myself. I was a long time user so I felt I had already gotten my monies worth from the program. But if I was a new user I would have been pretty POed that the software I just bought a week ago was now freeware.5. If V1 is released as freeware I think it also sends the message that "If I wait long enough V2 will be released as freeware so why buy it?"JimActiveSky Support

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Guest cast1010

>>5. If V1 is released as freeware I think it also sends the message >>that "If I wait long enough V2 will be released as freeware so why >>buy it?"You also have a point there Jim.Carlos.

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Glenn and All,Thank you so much for your understanding and support. While I do not think donations will be neccessary, I appreciate the gesture!Concerning a completely freeware version.... That is not in the plans, but a limited trial version is which will allow folks who haven't tried it yet to see wxRE in action. This should help boost sales a little to support continued development of the private server system and launch of 2.0.Later on I may attempt to bring a private server option to 1.x. FWIW, 1.x is planned (but not guaranteed - depends on FSUIPC) to be compatible with FS2004 with an update if neccessary.Competing with FS2004... Here are my thoughts on that.. FS2004 as any new version of FS has incorporated enhancements based on the feedback they receive and the marketing strategy in place. Add-ons are developed the same way but they go to market quicker.. there is a demand for something new and the add-on developer is able to more rapidly develop based on those demands (due to the limited specialty focus). Add-on releases. Then the next version of FS comes along and they incorporate many of the new features that many add-ons have. Then the process starts all over again.. demands will rise for additional features and add-ons will first fill the need. FS2004 will have a few features that 1.x already has... like automatic redownload for example. Yet, this is fixed at 15 minutes and not adjustable. FS2004 still doesn't have intelligent METAR processing for the entire world, TAF processing with true dynamic weather, turbulence simulation, wake turbulence, intelligent cloud transitions with conflict avoidance, cloud layer transition smoothing, voice flightwatch, weather planning, custom metar retrieval, destination weather lock, etc, etc, etc...FS2004's focus is not ultimate weather realism while wxRE's is. We are not in competition. They have fulfilled a few needs of users including better cloud draw engine with 3d cloud models and imposters for better performance, better horizon, lighting and shading, precipitation effects, etc.. all of this wxRE will take advantage of!Of course the question remains if FSUIPC will be developed for FS2004 or not. If not, the majority of add-ons will cease to work. New add-ons must be made that uses a new FS communications engine.Anyways, FS2004 won't make wxRE 1.x obsolete if FSUIPC is made available. wxRE 2.x will be even better... not much conflict here!Of course until FS2004 releases many people may be convinced that there is no need for a weather add-on. I predict shortly after FS2004's release wxRE 1.x sales will be revived :)Concerning data access instability in 1.x, please give your opinions... of course this does not pertain to the problematic RC5 or 6 1.8 versions. I think off the top of my head we have had about 85% up-time. Do you all agree? Is 85% acceptable?-Damian[table border=0" cellspacing="30" cellpadding="0][tr][td align = "left"]Damian ClarkHiFi Simulation SoftwareDeveloper of ActiveSkyThe next-generation weather environment simulation for FS2002!http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky[/td][td]http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/images/wxrebeta.jpg][/td][/tr][/table://http://hifi.avsim.net/activesky/ima...[/tr][/table

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85%? well, I'd say it depends on your point of view and frequency of flying. I myself try to fly about 3 - 4 times a week. So far I've had little trouble at all with WxRE and I'm on the latest RC. So for me, 85% wouldn't be a problem. Now someone who needs to get a llife and flies many hours per week - 85% might be problematic.As I said in another thread, there will always be purists who will #### that the metar said wind was 35 kts and WxRE said it was 34.5.I think you have a good product. It works most of the time, which is all that can really be said, including FS2K2 and from what I hear - FS2004.Just MHO,Vic

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Damian, thanks once again for your clear response and patience with us, your demanding customers ;-)It sure sounds like you have beta FS2004 running at your PC? You seem to know a lot about the weather features. Great thing!An average of 85% is OK for me. I went back to v1.8 RC4, but still have frequent errors aspecialy downloading the additional winds data. It seems worst when wxRE is run the first time. I think this is ISP related, as the next load performs almost 100% fine. Same goes for the succeeding interval updates, they complete OK about 8 out of 10 times. It looks the route, or the load on this route, to the GOV servers changes a lot between my ISP (www.chello.nl in Netherlands) and the USA servers. Nothing wxRE can do anything about. This I guess is a configuration issue for both my ISP and the ISP (or gov. department). At this moment the transition times seem OK to me. See below tracert, I removed my IP info ;-). When I again have download problems I will perform another trace and see if there are any significant differences. If not, then the problem must be the capacity of the GOV system itself. I would be interesting to compare some international tracert results. Anyone can do this by opening a command/DOS window and type tracert raob.fsl.noaa.govKind regards,HakkieTracing route to raob.fsl.noaa.gov [137.75.100.47]over a maximum of 30 hops: 1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn 2 26 ms 29 ms 29 ms aaaaaaaaaaa.chello.nl [nnn.nnn.nnn.nnn] 3 29 ms 30 ms 29 ms atm11-0.ah00rt04.brain.upc.nl [212.142.26.162] 4 28 ms 29 ms 29 ms Gig6-0.ls00rt04.brain.upc.nl [212.142.19.33] 5 31 ms 31 ms 28 ms srp0-0.am00rt01.brain.upc.nl [212.142.32.1] 6 33 ms 28 ms 30 ms srp0-0.am00rt06.brain.upc.nl [212.142.32.44] 7 30 ms 30 ms 30 ms nl-ams01a-rd1-pos-3-0.aorta.net [213.46.161.53] 8 31 ms 29 ms 29 ms nl-ams04a-ri1-ge-3-0.aorta.net [213.46.161.189] 9 107 ms 107 ms 107 ms us-nyc01a-rd1-pos-0-0.aorta.net [213.46.160.194] 10 107 ms 107 ms 101 ms gige3-1.ipcolo2.NewYork1.Level3.net [64.158.176.137] 11 103 ms 107 ms 108 ms unknown.Level3.net [64.159.17.34] 12 157 ms 161 ms 161 ms so-3-0-0.mp1.Denver1.Level3.net [64.159.1.113] 13 162 ms 161 ms 159 ms gigabitethernet10-0.hsipaccess1.Denver1.Level3.net [64.159.3.118] 14 157 ms 162 ms 161 ms unknown.Level3.net [209.245.20.26] 15 164 ms 161 ms 161 ms doc-rtr-lo.boulder.noaa.gov [128.116.254.230] 16 159 ms 161 ms 161 ms 140.172.3.3 17 162 ms 161 ms 161 ms raob.fsl.noaa.gov [137.75.100.47]Trace complete.

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Guest

> Do you all agree? Is 85% acceptable?OK with me. My experience with ActiveSky is that it is reasonably reliable. As such, I am not interested in paying for a subscription to a more reliable server.Regards,Peter

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DamianI think 85% is fair. You'll have no complaints from me.Gavin

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Guest pilot_guru

What users of wxRE have to remember is, that this is work in progress, a product that is continually being updated in order to provide the best possible working version, from the resources and information available to the developer at the time.I have been an ActiveSky user right from the first released version (freeware) to the current version, wxRe ActiveSky. I have been fortunate to have been included in the beta team for the development of wxRE and have experienced the highs and lows, as has most of the users of the program.A lot of the problems I have seen with winds aloft, inaccurate forecasts etc, comes directly from the information that wxRE gathers (reads from)the NOAA servers, information that is gathered from the different reporting stations worldwide. wxRE weather will only ever be as good as the information that it uses to re-create the local weather. Also the proximity of the reporting station to your departure airport plays a big part too. A good example is my home town airport from where I launch most of my flights. The local wx forecasts indicates clear sky, 28*c but when I load up FS and the weather, I have 8/8 cloud and rain. Why?????. My weather is gathered from the closest reporting station, some 240nm south of my airport location. It can be raining there and sunny, warm and fine where I am.A lot of problems are also caused by other factors, such as the users computer set up/internet connection/settings in FS2002/FSUIPC etc. And of course, then we have the old age 'but the other weather program I use doesn't do that!' syndrome. Comparing one product against the other, even though they are totally different, is in-accurate.I rarely have problems now, but if I do, Damien and his crew are right onto it, almost instantly! I don't have a problem with 85%, especially considering that I only paid $15US for the program. Now, if I had paid $1,500US, then I would have a problem.There will always be those who are 'happy' with the program in its current state of development, and those who won't be, no matter how good it is.My thoughts, my words, no-one elses.David

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