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[TenTec] The Age of Consumer Beta Testing

To: tentec@contesting.com
Subject: [TenTec] The Age of Consumer Beta Testing
From: PaulKB8N@aol.com
Reply-to: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 14:25:16 EDT
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
I've watched with interest how this community has bashed Ten-Tec's efforts  
to raise the performance bar with their new radios.  All I can say is take  a 
look around you.
Microsoft releases major operating systems with security flaws so serious  
that they invite hackers to come in.  The Mini-Cooper automobile has such  
serious bugs in it's processor that it doesn't properly shift between  gears.  
new Sony Viao notebook computer would crash inexplicably (and  continues to do 
so) and no one could tell me why.
Folks, this is life as we know it.  Few, if any, products with complex  
software instruction sets arrive in the customer's hands bug-free.  We are  in 
age of consumer beta testing, like it or not.
Compared to the volume of laptops, automobiles, and software  releases, a 
radio like the Orion is almost a "one-off" item.  With a  sample size of just a 
few thousand, of which their use is segmented in niche  activities (such as CW 
only, phone only, contesting, DXing, etc), it may be  impossible to find a 
common cause for a particular bug.  In effect,  some of the patches simply 
the individual symptom, not the collective  root cause!
The concerns expressed are certainly legitimate, there are serious issues  
with both radios.  It is particularly disturbing that the code expertise  lies 
in the hands of a very few individuals.  Yet, we have to face the  reality that 
these radios, with all their flaws, still have capabilities beyond  anything 
we've imagined before, and at a cost of less than an 1960 Collins S  Line in 
today's dollars.
This can be a constructive and proactive forum, and recognizing the nature  
of software-based products, I hope we are part of the solution, not the  
Paul, K5AF
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