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Thread: Slooh.com

  1. #1
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    Slooh.com

    I just stumbled across this.

    http://www.slooh.com/

    Has anyone here tried this? Is it worth registering for?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Well, for starters, their observatory is located in the Canary Islands, which is going to make using their service quite problematic for folks in radically different time zones.

    http://www.slooh.com/faq.html
    The time zone shift from the Canary Islands is 5 hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States, and 8 hours ahead of the West Coast, so when the sun sets in the Canary Islands, it is still the afternoon in the United States. Thus, the site will be LIVE for viewing from around 3pm to 1am on the East Coast and 12pm to 10pm on the West Coast.
    Then, if I'm understanding this correctly, what you get for your $49 a year fee is as much time as you want looking at whatever the telescope happens to be looking at, but if you want to specify some celestial object that you personally want to look at, you have to pay extra.

    Third, you have to be sitting at your computer, and you can only see what fits on the monitor. It seems like that fifty bucks is going towards nothing more than the same end result you'd get from a webcam. With the downside that you'd have to basically make an appointment with yourself to remember to sit down at the computer and stargaze when the Canary Islands "webcam" was online, the way if you want to see "Planet X" in the Ibiza webcam, you have to be there at the right time.

    Fourth, you only get to look at one object at a time, per session. I always thought part of the fun of stargazing is being outside and being able to see EVERYTHING. For example, their Sneak Peek is showing what it will look like. Right at the moment, it's showing the Whirlpool Galaxy. And it's lovely, except that's all there is to look at--the Whirlpool Galaxy. It puts me in mind of APOD, quite frankly. Which is free.

    All in all, it sounds like the kind of website that I'd put in my "Amusements" folder and look at from time to time, if it was free, the way it's interesting to drop in at any other webcam. But I wouldn't pay fifty bucks for it.

  3. #3
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    SLOOH

    Slooh's mission is to broaden the public 's interest in astronomy. The location of our equipment in the Canary Islands gives families an introduction to astronomy, without requiring them to stay up into the wee hours of the night. Our goal is to reach out to the 100,000 annual sub ~$300 telescope purchasers with an experience that is cheaper, easier and better. We would hope their experience with SLOOH would stimulate them to become more engaged in all aspects of space exploration, including more support of NASA. (see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...telescope.html) That said, we think our images and the equipment we let users control will be of interest to serious hobbyists.

    Regarding having only one scope view at a time, with your support we will add more and better equipment at high altitude locations all over the world, giving members multiple views, 24 hours a day.

    Michael Paolucci
    president
    SLOOH

  4. #4
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    Re: SLOOH

    Quote Originally Posted by slooh
    Slooh's mission is to broaden the public 's interest in astronomy. The location of our equipment in the Canary Islands gives families an introduction to astronomy, without requiring them to stay up into the wee hours of the night. Our goal is to reach out to the 100,000 annual sub ~$300 telescope purchasers with an experience that is cheaper, easier and better. We would hope their experience with SLOOH would stimulate them to become more engaged in all aspects of space exploration, including more support of NASA. (see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...telescope.html) That said, we think our images and the equipment we let users control will be of interest to serious hobbyists.

    Regarding having only one scope view at a time, with your support we will add more and better equipment at high altitude locations all over the world, giving members multiple views, 24 hours a day.

    Michael Paolucci
    president
    SLOOH
    1. If I want to introduce my family to astronomy, I don't need to keep them up until the wee hours--I can take them out in the backyard at nightfall, which is about 5 p.m. here right now, and point. "Orion." "Mars."

    2. Even with a sub-$300 telescope, I would have the option, right there in my backyard, of looking at whatever celestial objects I chose to look at. I wouldn't have to wait for the "mission" to change. And multiple objects, too. And all night long, if I wanted to. I wouldn't have to file a request ahead of time to look at *this* and *this* and *this*...

    3. That $49 membership fee may be cheaper upfront, but what are you getting for your money? After spending fifty bucks a year for six years on your website, I'd have spent $300, and have nothing to show for it besides X number of hours spent sitting at my computer staring at the monitor and (possibly) some "snapshots" of a limited number of celestial objects. (Which I can get for free from APOD.) And I would have learned nothing beyond possibly some voiceover-narration-provided factoids about astronomy.

    Whereas if I spent that same $300 on a telescope, at the end of six years I'd have spent X numbers of hours looking at the actual sky, I'd have seen a virtually unlimited number of the celestial objects that are there to be seen, and I'd have learned some important telescope skills, such as "What is an azimuth?". And I'd be ready to move up to a serious telescope. With maybe a digital camera, even.

    4. Kudos to you for thinking you see a market niche, anyway. That's what "capitalism" is all about.

  5. #5
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    I would argue you can't see very much with that sub $300 telescope. It may point at 5000 objects, but you can only see 1--the moon. Most of those telescopes get used once or twice, and then they become sculpture in the corner of the room.

    You are obviously an avid astromer, so not sure my arguement applies to you. But there are millions of parents whose children are curious about space, and yet the parent may not know much about it, so they buy a cheap telescope expecting to see the same things Hubble does, and I think they end up greatly disappointed, and turned off to astronomy.

  6. #6
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    Welcome to the board slooh. Hope your interest in this site isn't just confined to your "capitalistic" endeavor. If you're interested in anything astronomy-related you'll find many interesting topics here and your input would be quite welcome. However, regarding slooh.com, I have to agree wholeheartedly with what Jigsaw pointed out .. nothing beats the real thing and the fee would deter me from bookmarking your site for casual use. BTW, I disagree with your sub $300 telescope analogy .. even the use of binoculars can be awe-inspiring if you know where to point 'em.

  7. #7
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    Thanks...nice to learn of this place--why is it called bad astronomy?

  8. #8
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    Dr Plait created the Bad Astronomy site to address common fallacies and promote further understanding of astronomy. (Check out the main site by clicking on the words 'Bad Astronomy')

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archer17
    ...even the use of binoculars can be awe-inspiring if you know where to point 'em.
    I love my binoculars!! Wider field of view, and the sight of all those (dimmer than the eye can see) stars are certainly awe-inspiring, no matter what direction you're looking.
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  10. #10
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    I went to the site. I looked at the "sneak peek" (nice image of M 51). I read the "about". I read the "FAQ". Nowhere did I find specifics of the scopes used. Just "catadioptric" and "refractor". And a very vague "44 times more powerful than a typical backyard telescope". :roll:

  11. #11
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    equipment in use is profiled in the Baltimore Sun article, linked from here....

    http://www.slooh.com/press.html

  12. #12
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    OK, I followed that link. Still no specifics. No diameter, no f/ratio, nothing. Come on. What scopes, what CCD's, etc. How do you define "44 times more powerful than a typical backyard telescope" and what is a typical backyard scope?

  13. #13
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    ok, here is a little more info., but only because I am a lowly newbie; c-14's; tele vue 85, sbig10's ; f/11 to f/4, depending on use, whether planets or deep space, and whether 1 degree or 5 degree on the wide field

  14. #14
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    Thank you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by slooh
    ok, here is a little more info., but only because I am a lowly newbie; c-14's; tele vue 85, sbig10's ; f/11 to f/4, depending on use, whether planets or deep space, and whether 1 degree or 5 degree on the wide field
    Um..so, you're saying that you wouldn't have given out that information if you hadn't been a Lowly Newbie and thereby felt somehow obligated? Why not? Is it a secret? All serious observatories are happy--nay, ecstatic--to have people ask them about their telescopes. They'll talk your ear off. And in many cases the information is online, too, you don't have to ask, other than, "Where's the FAQ?"

    I'd think that as a businessman you'd be delighted to have us ask questions about your product.

    And come to think of it, why aren't the technical specs for your telescope listed on your website somewhere (like, in the FAQ)?

    And--no offense--but I have a nasty suspicious mind--You expect us to just give you our credit card number?

    https://www.slooh.com/billing.jsp

    I mean, all I have to do is put in an e-mail addy, and you expect me to give you my credit card number? No PayPal account, nothing about security? You just want me to give you my credit card number?

    [picks self up off the floor in astonishment]

    No offense, but I can't help thinking this--are you a scam? People do set up fake websites, you know. Have you got any references? Ever done any other business on the Web?

  16. #16
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    Gidget,

    You must have been treated unfairly in the past, perhaps by a girl as an impressionable youth, to have such a negative outlook. However, it is our goal to satisfy even the most intemperate critics, and as such, I will take your credit card processing suggestions under advisement. The truth is, we have spent most of our limited resource on the core product, not on credit card processing strategies.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slooh
    Gidget,

    You must have been treated unfairly in the past, perhaps by a girl as an impressionable youth, to have such a negative outlook. However, it is our goal to satisfy even the most intemperate critics, and as such, I will take your credit card processing suggestions under advisement. The truth is, we have spent most of our limited resource on the core product, not on credit card processing strategies.
    First of all, my name isn't "Gidget", it's "Jigsaw".

    Second, a normal businessman would make sure he had his credit card processing strategies in place BEFORE he went into business in the first place. Because otherwise, he can't be sure that people won't be scamming him. And, it's not that big a deal to get Internet credit card processing strategies in place--I know two people who manage their own message boards on which they sell coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc., for which you can pay by credit card, and they managed to set it up without a hassle. It's not rocket science.

    Third, you should really spend more time lurking on message boards before you start making judgements about people who are total strangers to you. I'm a 48-year-old married mother of three, FYI. And the only girl who treated me badly as an impressionable youth was the girl who stole a gold chain from me when we were both freshmen in college.

    And--I've got 40 years of Alert Consumerism behind me. You're setting off all kinds of alarm bells here, Slooh. Which explains my "negative outlook".

    So, now that my Alert Consumer Alarms have been set off, and I am reading your website with a more critical eye, I notice that your web page is phrased so as to make it sound as though you are affiliated with the IAC--but you're not. What it actually says is only that you're set up on Mount Teide, same as them.

    http://www.slooh.com/partners.html
    Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands

    Formed in 1979, the IAC is a consortium of European governments, led by Spain. The IAC oversees world-class astronomical observatories belonging to over 60 academic and government institutions of 19 countries, including one of the largest telescopes in the world: the 10 meter GTC due to start operation in 2004.
    SLOOH's observatory on the Canary Island of Tenerife is located at IAC's Mount Teide site, which has clear weather, steady dark skies, and an altitude of 7900 feet. The sun sets five hours earlier at the Canary Islands than it does at the East coast of North America, enabling SLOOH to provide nighttime observations during America's afternoon.

    Hyde Memorial Observatory

    Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Hyde Memorial Observatory is the only observatory anywhere that is built, furnished and operated entirely by donations, devoted exclusively to public viewing, completely free of admission charge, staffed only by volunteers.
    Also, your page is headed "Partners", but I see nothing about slooh.com being their "partner" on the IAC's website.

    http://www.iac.es/gabinete/index1.htm

    Nor do I see any mention of slooh.com on the Hyde Observatory's web page, your other "partner".

    http://www.hydeobservatory.info/about.html

    You don't explain why the Hyde Observatory is your "partner". What's the connection between a very small amateur observatory in Nebraska and a telescope in the Canary Islands?

    (And, I might add, the basic information about their telescopes is right there on the page. I didn't even have to ask, "Where's the FAQ?")








    So, bottom line is, I have to say, I'm sorry but slooh.com is starting to look like a scam.

    I will of course apologize fulsomely if you can come up with some references and prove that you're not. All you have to do is get someone to vouch for you to Phil Plait.

  18. #18
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    I appreciate your interest in SLOOH. In fact, we do process our credit cards securely through Verisign, and we are partnered with the Institute of Astrophysics in the Canary Islands, and the Hyde in Nebraska, who plan to use SLOOH for their live audience when it is cloudy at their observatory. We currently have a launch promotion you may want to take advantage of--if you become a member, you can make SLOOH available to a school for free.

    http://www.slooh.com/promos/tfsm01.jsp


    And, as always, SLOOH is free for a 7 day trial.

  19. #19
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    slooh, what kind of response was that?!? Sounded "canned" (automated).. Turn the answering-machine off and explain yourself.

    Jigsaw's questions were legitimate and your previous (non-automated) response was condescending to say the least. The credit card issue Jigsaw brings up would've been addressed by me if I intended to pursue what you offer and your response has set off alarm-bells here as well (especially after that 'canned' thing you replied with). Referring to Jigsaw as "Gidget" was jive. You're not going to make too many friends here if you show disrespect for Jigsaw or anyone else. You are the one that has something to prove here. Jigsaw represents herself well and has my respect .. you have a long way to go after what I've just read.

  20. #20
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    Of course no amount of explaining online will prove anything, but SLOOH is for real, and worth a closer look. over and out.

  21. #21
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    Roger that! :wink:

  22. #22
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    So wait, do you, slooh, run the Slooh observatory and/or website? If so, why can't you answer simple questions about the telescope(s)?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by slooh
    I appreciate your interest in SLOOH. In fact, we do process our credit cards securely through Verisign, and we are partnered with the Institute of Astrophysics in the Canary Islands, and the Hyde in Nebraska, who plan to use SLOOH for their live audience when it is cloudy at their observatory. We currently have a launch promotion you may want to take advantage of--if you become a member, you can make SLOOH available to a school for free.

    http://www.slooh.com/promos/tfsm01.jsp


    And, as always, SLOOH is free for a 7 day trial.
    I don't see this mentioned anywhere on their website.

    Since they are open every Saturday night from 7 to 10 p.m., I will call them tomorrow night and ask them about their "partnership" with slooh.com.

    I also note that their website says:
    Programs last about 20 minutes with 20 minute pauses in between so patrons can look through the telescopes between programs. Usually two programs are shown alternating throughout the evening. One programs is always a slide show about the current season's constellations.
    If they can run whole slide shows for people in a projection room, why would they need slooh.com's single-monitor input of one randomly-chosen celestial object?

    What I'm assuming is that someone joined slooh.com and opted for your free "schools" promotion, naming the Hyde Observatory.

    http://www.slooh.com/promos/tfsm01.jsp
    Slooh, the first online service to offer live viewing of outer space, will give away 1000 Slooh annual memberships to K-12 schools across the United States. The first 1000 individuals who sign up for a free trial of Slooh can choose a K-12 school of their choice to receive an annual membership of the service.
    However, this doesn't make them a "partner". And I'd wonder whether they know you're prominently listing them as one on your website.

    Also, you've got the following quote at the bottom of your web page:
    A great introduction to astronomy, with breathtaking live imagery even experts will appreciate. -- Bob Berman, Astronomy Magazine
    I'd like to know what issue of Astronomy magazine that was, please.

  24. #24
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    Just to add my bit here, Slooh, the comment about Jigsaw, while not really an attack, was odd. I frown on personal attacks here. People here have been rigorously skeptical about SLOOH the product, but not about you the person.

    I will admit I understand the skepticism. I exchanged several emails with the SLOOH advertising person some months ago, and my questions were never satisfactorily answered. I could not even find out why the name of the service is called SLOOH (in English, at least, moving a telescope is called "slewing"). The service provided was never really clear to me, either.

  25. #25
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    And if you're using Verisign, why not just say, "We're using Verisign"? Why dance all around the issue of credit-card processing, with that not-very-believable "We've spent all our money on our telescopes and so we can't afford to pay a credit-card processing service" business?

    Verisign only charges $949 for basic business service.

    http://www.verisign.com/products/pay...ite/index.html

    So, earlier today, you didn't even have $949 for that, having apparently elected not to concern yourself with "credit-card processing strategies"--but now this evening you suddenly discovered that you did, after all?

  26. #26
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    All I can say is WOW!

    :roll: :^o [-X #-o 8-[ =D> [-( 8)

  27. #27
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    Bad Astronomer,

    I am a guest, and if I have broken protocol, then I apologize. I will gladly accept any criticism of SLOOH, the concept, ie, Gigsaw's initial comments were reasonable, and I responded in kind. And I would be most pleased to respond to any criticisms of SLOOH, the product, should any of you like to give it a try. However, I do take flippant comments that suggest SLOOH is a credit card scam personally, and as such, responded in kind.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by slooh
    Bad Astronomer,

    I am a guest, and if I have broken protocol, then I apologize. I will gladly accept any criticism of SLOOH, the concept, ie, Gigsaw's initial comments were reasonable, and I responded in kind. And I would be most pleased to respond to any criticisms of SLOOH, the product, should any of you like to give it a try. However, I do take flippant comments that suggest SLOOH is a credit card scam personally, and as such, responded in kind.
    Your apparent failure to grasp even the most fundamental principles of customer relations is not a good sign.

    Regardless what questions a customer might ask, or complain about, a business should never make disparaging comments about any customer, as you did when you said, "You must have been treated unfairly in the past, perhaps by a girl as an impressionable youth, to have such a negative outlook."

    Your comment may not have been a violation of the forum rules, but it was way out of line from a public relations standpoint. If this is the kind of treatment customers can expect in response to their concerns, I don't blame them for being less than enthusiastic about your service.

    You have a wonderful opportunity on this forum to generate good will towards your company. Or not. Your choice, obviously.

  29. #29
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    The customer is always right. But you have to be a customer first.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by slooh
    The customer is always right. But you have to be a customer first.
    So you think that insulting a potential customer is a good way to get more customers?

    Do you think that anyone who witnessed your insult to "Gidget" will not be wondering if you intend to treat them the same way?

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