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Stepping Away From Starry Night Pro

I've been a strong advocate for Starry Night Pro. I bought the plus version. I've invested untold hours in learning and promoting it. But there are no fewer than five reasons I'm prompted to this decision:

  1. Weary that I can't alt-tab to Starry Night Pro window. None of my other software applications has this issue (refuse to play fairly with Windows). Amazed that Sim Curr would permit a "known" bug to languish so long.
  2. Weary that the "Observed" column is broken. Amazed that Sim Curr would permit a "known" bug to languish so long.
  3. Weary of the known bug in the "Observations" dialogue box that I reported months ago -- that maybe one out of ten times, the "Notes" field locks up and only permits the entry of a handful of characters. Amazed that Sim Curr would permit a "known" bug to languish so long.
  4. Weary of the instability of the "Connect to Telescope" connection. 3 times out of 4, if I connect to the telescope after the application has been open for a few minutes, the entire program crashes and gives me this dialogue box to send a report to Sim Curr. Some observation nights, I'm not lying: I've sent 4 or 5 crash reports ON THE SAME NIGHT. Amazed that Sim Curr would permit a "known" bug to languish so long - with so many reports and so little action.
  5. And now, weary of the little interaction we get from this support forum. It has truly become [only] a community support forum. My request at https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/4418436843159-Sometimes-when-I-start-a-new-observation-in-SNP8-it-seems-that-the-text-box-is-limited-to-only-one-line-or-less was posted [literally] nine months ago and STILL it appears no one has answered from Sim Curr. I've "bumped" the question several times. Amazed at the apparent lack of care for customers. I know Sim Curr has a small staff. I also know that this is not a free program. In fact, it's the most expensive planetarium software on the market - and maybe the most expensive astronomy software I own.

No more. I switched last night to Stellarium. At least there are occasional updates. It's far from perfect. Maybe it's not as pretty. But at least it doesn't seem to be languishing from lack of love.

Sad. I've worked so hard to help others see all the good in Starry Night Pro. No more. I know I'm just one user. But some have said that for every person who voices an opinion like this, there are one thousand others who feel the same, but just haven't spoken up. Sad. SNP was a great and innovative software application in its time. I'm weary of waiting for action.

Doug

 

13 comments

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    Anthony Lynn

    Sorry to hear it, Doug. Thanks again for helping me with my issue awhile back. 


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    Keiron Smith

    Doug, 

    Please see also my reply to this post:

    https://support.simulationcurriculum.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/4418436843159-Sometimes-when-I-start-a-new-observation-in-SNP8-it-seems-that-the-text-box-is-limited-to-only-one-line-or-less

    Starry Night needs an update, and I am very sorry that one can not be provided at this time.

    As you have noted, we are a small company, and the development team has been invested all year with SkySafari 7.

    In the upcoming weekly meeting I will raise again the prospect of updating SN8 in the near future.

    I can't make any promises.  But, I will ask if we can prioritize a SN8 update for the near future.

    Thank you for all your support - you are absolutely Starry Night's #1 ambassador.

    Sincerest apologies for letting you down.

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    Dlucas

    Hi Keiron. Thanks for responding, but, with deepest respect (and I mean that), please glance at the thread you referenced above and realize how long I waited before I finally pulled the plug. I started that thread (that you mentioned above) in January. Starry Night Pro just answered today? That's a nine-month response time and this is a paid product? I know I'm just one user. But honestly... it felt like I was one of your strongest advocates.

    Sadly, I've uninstalled Starry Night Pro Plus and I've moved on to Stellarium. It's not as pretty - but the stars are there... and I've yet to experience a single glitch... and I can alt-tab to it... and the telescope control is stable.

    I've also removed from YouTube and the web the 15 or so help and tutorial videos I made advocating for SNP8. So sorry.

    Doug

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    Keiron Smith

    I understand and can appreciate your frustration.

    Thank you for your support until now.

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    Dlucas

    Very kind of you to understand, Keiron. Thank you for listening.

    Doug

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    Dan OConnell

    I can't believe this - I just forked out $170 for this software. Shocked. Why are you still selling it?

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    Dlucas

    Dan, frankly, it's a good question. I begged with them for a full *year* on some of the above challenges -- and there wasn't a single software update the entire year, sadly. What's more, as I mentioned above, there were times I'd wait for *months* to hear back from a customer support rep. here in this forum.

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    Nicole Sharp

    [Alt]+[Tab] is working for Starry Night 8 Pro Plus with 64-bit Microsoft Windows 11 Education and Intel integrated graphics.  Not sure what Windows settings might prevent [Alt]+[Tab] from working, but maybe can try reinstalling Starry Night.

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    Dlucas

    Thanks for mentioning these, Jack. Let's hope that, someday, SimCurr will give SNP the attention it deserves. I truly believe they WANT to do it. But mustering the time, especially since it was programmed across such a long period of time by so many different employees (some of whom are no longer on board) in multiple settings - is just too challenging for today.

     

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    Jack Hunt

    Hi Doug,
    I find this particularly frustrating as a software engineer myself. In no company I have worked at would software in this state have made it past QA. That said, I do understand the pressures of having a kanban board full of technical debt and few engineers to tackle it. But a little more interaction and perhaps reassurance that these issues will be looked into would go a long way.

    This is very obviously a powerful piece of software, but I currently find it too frustrating to use, thus putting me off of investing the time to properly learn how to use it.

    Out of interest, were earlier versions this buggy, or is it only V8?

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    Jack Hunt

    It really does seem that the 25 year legacy is both a blessing and a curse.

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    Keiron Smith

    It is unfortunate that we can't at this time fix issues that are reported.  

    There is a lot to love about Starry Night.  It is very deep, very rich, very powerful.  In many ways, no other software can compare.

    But, if you find a bug that keeps reappearing in your workflow then, yes, the failure to update and fix the issue will be a PIA if a workaround can not be found.

    In its current state, the vast majority of users are very happy with what they can do and what they can learn from Starry Night.

    Starry Night has been in development since the very first Mac.  That is amazing!  

    In that time, a lot of other software has come and gone.  A lot of companies have come and gone.

    I think it is fair to say, Starry Night has reached its senior-age status.  

    Even with no more updates, after 25 years of development, surely Starry Night must still have value - kind of like some people do, as they get older, set in their ways, less inclined to change.

    I'm not saying there will be no more updates.  Developers will decide if and when any updates are coming.  And, developers did recently work for a week on Starry Night's fundamental code base, to ensure updates can be released, if and when any updates are coming.

    So, the program is not officially retired yet!  

    But, I can't say at this time if, when, any updates is forthcoming.

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