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Experience with the Flightsim Store

Sunday, August 31st, 2014 2 comments

Selling VictoriaPlus V8 PNW is my my first experience in working with the FlightSim Store.  Here’s a summary:

  • my installer requirements were met without question and fuss
  • they created the installer/wrapper at no charge
  • they had no problem taking on the no-profit function of upgrading current users for free
  • response was very prompt to requests and modifications
  • all communication was courteous and respectful
  • the margin they take is very reasonable
  • their vendor on-line interface is excellent
  • their ability to sell is great, exceeding expectations
  • their customer service is excellent, as far as I know all issues have been attended to promptly and professionally
  • their payments come through with an astonishing speed

In summary, Adrian and his team are an awesome group to work with, and I highly recommend them to any developers.  I like working with people with a “can do” attitude.  More info here.

HDTV: Shaw vs. Telus

Friday, July 27th, 2012 3 comments

I’ve been using Shaw for internet and cable TV for years.  And I’ve been leery of the quality of the Telus Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), especially when the last bit of the feed into my condo is over twisted pair wires originally intended for voice-only telephone.  But I noted the picture quality at my son’s (detached) house was quite good with Telus.  Further the Telus internet upload rate was claimed to be double that of Shaw’s for the same price.

But my main incentive to explore Telus was my desire to see all the games of the Montreal Canadiens, which would require the French sports network, RDS, which Shaw only offers in Standard Definition (SD).  Telus offers the HD feed.

So to make a long story a little shorter, I switched to Telus, despite the dire warnings from Shaw that I wouldn’t get the internet speeds promised, I found that I did get the promised 1Mb/s upload, and 14.5Mb/s download consistently.  And I found the following:

  • Music channel audio quality (which I use a lot) is much better with Telus, although they do not show the title of the current song playing like Shaw.
  • The Telus user interface is more responsive and much easier to use, for example I can filter the program guide to only the channels I am subscribed to, or further to just my favourite channels
  • Telus can record 3 HD programs simultaneously as opposed to 2 for Shaw.  (Telus does not promise you can get 3 HD, but the software tests the line quality and if it’s good enough, allows this.  Otherwise it degrades the capability to SD signals, only promising one or two HD recordings, the balancing being SD).
  • The Telus HD PVR hard drive was much quieter.
  • It was cool (but useless) to have the caller ID display on my TV screen when the phone rang.
  • The Telus PVR doesn’t auto-prompt to extend time on live recordings like Shaw, but does allow a max of 3 hours extra as opposed to 2.
  • The Telus PVR storage is vastly larger: 200 HD hours vs. 20 on my four-year-old Shaw PVR.  Not an issue for me as I don’t watch much TV.
  • Telus offered a free Samsung Galaxy Tablet on a 3-year contract.
  • …and finally the picture quality: Telus was much more pixelated and blurry than Shaw on movement in HD scenes (terrible for sports) and the SD quality was appallingly bad, even on static images.

So the Telus technician came back and worked hard on improving the quality, to no avail.

So it’s back to Shaw for TV, but I’ll stick with Telus internet.  And hope that Shaw offers RDS HD before the hockey season starts.  Bad news is that the quote I got for the package I wanted from Shaw was incorrect, it’s actually $3/month more.  Good news is that Shaw is giving me a six-month discount for switching back.

EDIT: So I just had Optik TV disconnected, and I have to say that the Telus customer experience was much better than that with Shaw:

  • Telus gave discounts, both on my initial order (took $5/month off on the long-term bundled rate) and even after I cancelled the TV they kept the discount for my remaining Internet service, which I had ordered at the same time and kept. They considered that I had my home phone with them for years as well, and had met my end of the bargain in trying to use all three services, so I got the full bundled pricing. They also let me keep the Samsung tablet.
  • Shaw stuck to listed prices and had no wiggle room. One Shaw rep misquoted me and the next rep did not honour that pricing and so I’m paying more for the TV.
  • Telus reps were friendlier, more understanding.
  • The Telus tech worked his butt off to try and make it work, including giving me his mobile number, and talking to me on his day off

So I’d definitely recommend Telus over Shaw from this point of view. Dang twisted pair!

MS Flight development axed

Thursday, July 26th, 2012 Leave a comment

Many articles today describing the demise of MS Flight development and the Kinect kids game, Project Columbia.  Here’s Engadget’s spin.  Apparently impacts Vancouver staff, although the Flight team was in Redmond.

Categories: Business, Flightsim, Vancouver

Hyack floatplane terminal in Victoria sold

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 Leave a comment

Hard to say what this announcement means for the embattled Vancouver terminal, but it looks like a possible competitive service to Harbour Air on the Vancouver-Victoria floatplane route.

The surprising math of cities and corporations

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011 Leave a comment
Categories: Business, Learning, Technical

Cables anyone?

Thursday, July 9th, 2009 Leave a comment

I don’t have an issue with retailers making profit where they can, especially with the current economic state.  But I also like to save money.  If you have audio/video/computer cable needs in Canada I highly recommend CableSalesCanada.  From my experience in offshore manufacturing I know that cables often cost less than $1 to make, and ever since the introduction of “monster cables,” sellers figured out that consumers will pay huge markups on cables, with no commensurate increase in quality.

A good quality HDMI 1.3b 1m cable sells for $9.50 at CableSalesCanada, plus shipping and tax.  The equivalent starts at $30 at FutureShop and you can pay absolutely silly prices for HDMI monster cables claiming superior video and audio.  I would challenge any viewer/listener to tell the difference.  HDMI is a digital signal, and as long as the integrity of the signal is maintained, the cable will make no difference.

Not that all substitute cables are good, some of the cheaper cables Sears sells have poor connectors that easily fatigue and fail.

For $110 including tax and shipping, I bought 15m (DVI to HDMI), 3m and 2m (HDMI) cables and got a lovely pen and mousepad (ok that’s not much of an incentive, I know!).  Arrived in just a few days.

Other countries I’m sure have equivalent suppliers, I can’t recommend from personal experience.

Hope for a Phoenix

Friday, January 23rd, 2009 1 comment

With the ACES team mostly or completely axed in the MS contraction, MS states that the FS product will continue, along with virtually every other product which has experienced losses from their teams.

At this point, like most of the flight simulation community, my thoughts are with the folks who have lost their jobs and their families.  May their transition be quick and rewarding to new, exciting positions.

Meantime, it’ll be interesting to see how the product line will be continued … it’s fanbase is so large I imagine something will resurrect in time, with MS or someone else.

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