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Old Feb 19, 2004, 10:55 AM   #41
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Wow. I am very surprised by the tone of Bob's message. I don't know about him hitting a nerve with Alex, but it definitely appears that Bob had a nerve severely hit.

Alex really doesn't need to be defended by me, but since Bob added quotes from others as well as implied support from others (thus "ganging up" on Alex), I feel I have to chime in here with some support for Alex.

Alex is the creator of the FZ1 FAQ, which is why he is asking so many official, technical, and even persistent questions. I feel he should be commended for this, since Panasonic has not and will not release anything anywhere close to being as beneficial to FZ1 owners as the FZ1 FAQ currently is and will continue to be. Bob and Panasonic-in-general should appreciate their customers, and especially enthusiastic and obviously dedicated ones like Alex. When Panasonics customers bump their head on what is usually the quick dead-end called Panasonic Customer Support, they will most likely find their answers in the FAQ. I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial Alex is to FZ1 owners.

I took Alex's reply as showing Bob how some readers may perceive his responses and general participation in this forum. I did not take it that Alex was criticizing Bob or questioning his background/position with Panasonic. And trust me, many readers here and on other forums DO perceive Bob's participation the way Alex stated. Just about any time I have re-posted Bob statements elsewhere in response to questions, I more often than not receive responses such as, "You have to take what Panasonic Bob says with a grain of salt. He is afterall a Panasonic employee, and he's going to only say or release whatever is in the best interest of Panasonic and his own career, regardless of whether or not that is the way things actually are." I have also received many responses that clearly doubt the extent of Bob's knowledge being that much more than the consumer when it comes to the oversized and generally overextended company known as Panasonic. Even Bob admits Panasonic can be convoluted and complicated at times, which causes him to not know the answer to even some basic questions, especially in regard to marketing. Again, this isn't me saying that Bob doesn't know what he's talking about, this is saying that quite a few people perceive Bob and Panasonic to be this way. In other words, you shot the messenger.

Personally, I appreciate Bob's participation here, but I also appreciate Alex's. I will not state which I appreciate more, because I shouldn't have to choose. There is room for both of them here, and one shouldn't be telling the other to leave. Bob is just another member of this forum, which is not an official Panasonic forum. I always find it very interesting when any member of a forum tells another member to basically go somewhere else or otherwise implies they should leave the forum because of some message thread or another. Bob doesn't speak for everyone here, and definitely doesn't speak for Steve who owns these forums. He also doesn't speak for me. I sincerely hope that Alex is not upset over this thread, especially this last message from Bob, which was too publically harsh in my opinion, and that Alex will continue to visit us here and continue his excellent work on the FZ1 FAQ.

In summary, I feel that Bob's reply would've been better left as a IM seen only by Alex.

Hang in there, Alex!
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 11:58 AM   #42
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> I was amazed that youíd have the chutzpah to make such statements.

If your PM (when I get it) shows me wrong, I will retract and apologize.

> At very least, they are irresponsible statements

#1 talks about perceptions. Other posts suggested the same.
#2 Refers to the fact that you first said (on Phil's) that the FZ1 couldn't be firmware upgraded to an FZ2 as there are HW differences, then showed surprise (here) when the upgrade was released in Japan. As I don't doubt your integrity, my conclusion was that you either weren't aware of the facts or was misled about them.
#3 was probably misphrased (I am not a native English speaker so I often "compose" what I want to say in another language then translate it into English). Instead of explaining, I will just retract this statement as incorrect and apologize to you and to the community for making it.

> that demonstrate you donít have a clue to the complexity of how a consumer electronic company operates.

Probably accurate. However, I know people who have no idea how a car operates but still expect it to take them from point A to point B within a given set of parameters.

> I responded to you in a PM but so far you havenít replied. Did I hit a nerve?

I never got your PM. As of the time of this posting, I have 4 messages, neither one from you. Please re-send it.

> My credentials are not what are being debated,

Never doubted or questioned them. Saw a reference to a person with your name that worked as a tech support manager for Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems and wondered if that was you and if so, whether you still hold the same title.

> but as the Sr. Product Engineer for our Digital Still Cameras, DVD Recorders and IP Products

Thank you for telling us.

> I believe my accrued expertise spanning 24 years with the company gives me a slight edge on people like you who mount a virtual pulpit and do a marvelous job quoting others and cross posting to other web sites.

Is it immoral to participate in two forums dedicated to the same topic and post a pointer to an interested thread?

> I have no idea what your professional career may be,

I do not post here in my professional capacity but, since you asked, I am a software developer with experience in various industries.

> but what you donít say speaks much louder than what you do say.

What do you expect me to say?

> Itís obvious you enjoy serving as the groupís motivator; constantly requesting information that Iíve diplomatically tried to explain cannot be discussed in these forums. Certain aspects of the productís design are deemed proprietary.

As this is not an official Panasonic forum, I believe that it is OK to share information on it. If you cannot provide this information, maybe somebody else could derive it through experimentation.

Not every question that I ask is directed specifically at you. Obviously I value your answers (when you can give them) more than John Doe's opinion but I take what I can get.

I thought it would be a good idea to compile a FAQ for the FZ1 (mostly because I couldn't find one when I was searching for information). I try to have relevant and correct information in it and in order to do so, I ask questions.

I also sometimes question what looks to me as bad moves.

> Donít you realize that the competition is reading this?

They are in a sorry state if they have to rely on this forum for their industrial intelligence.

> And yes, Panasonic may not yet have the stature of Canon or Olympus at this time, but in just two short model years we have gone from perhaps the bottom of the list to an aggressive manufacturer of digital still cameras who has definitely captured the attention of our competitors and the DSC market.

Kudos to you! However any company makes mistakes (or what is considered as mistakes by customers) and people tend to complain about those.

If you noticed, I did not start this thread nor complained the loudest. I pointed out that the way Panasonic handled the upgrade is perceived by some customers as a mistake and generates bad PR for the company.

> ... Ignore him and heíll hopefully go awayÖ.Ē

I am not going away. I will however try to avoid participating in threads such as this as evidently my posts rub people the wrong way.

> It would be very unfair to the others if I were to say ďto heck with all this commotionĒ I enjoy being here and I believe that everyone is gaining something from it.

As do I. However, not commenting on issues that you are prevented from giving information on is hardly "unfair".

On the other hand, saying that installing the upgrade is "not recommended" and leaving it as that without any further comment probably is.

I was not the only one asking these questions and commenting on these topics.

I will try to avoid controversial issues in the future but I believe that the fact that you participate on this public forum should not prevent others from asking questions or voicing opinions you disagree with.

Best wishes,
Alex.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 12:07 PM   #43
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On the other hand, saying that installing the upgrade is "not recommended" and leaving it as that without any further comment probably is.

I was not the only one asking these questions and commenting on these topics.

I will try to avoid controversial issues in the future but I believe that the fact that you participate on this public forum should not prevent others from asking questions or voicing opinions you disagree with.

Best wishes,
Alex.


Alex,
Installing firmware that is being SOLD, and obtaining it at no charge from unofficial sources becomes a LEGAL issue. You write software, need I say the implications. I'm trying to avoid problems for people. Look, let's put this behind us and move on. I heal very quickly and I don't hold a grudge very long. I sent Chris a PM so he can explain.
OK??
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 12:13 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EffZeeOne
Hang in there, Alex!
I am not offended in the least by the criticism. I see it as an attempt to tell me that I am doing something wrong. So it is actually a good thing. If some of the words are harsh, well, I choose to concentrate on the message and not on the presentation.

It is not my intention to annoy people or to upset Bob. If my posts cause this effect (due to cultural differences or otherwise) I have to reevaluate my actions.

There's an old Russian saying "if three people tell you that you're drunk, go sleep it off". So, although I do not feel drunk, I will follow the folk wisdom and go sleep it off.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 12:28 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
Installing firmware that is being SOLD, and obtaining it at no charge from unofficial sources becomes a LEGAL issue.
Thank you for clarifying that your comment concerned upgrades obtained from unofficial sources. I will assume that there is nothing wrong with installing the upgrade if it was obtained through an official distribution channel and will update the FAQ accordingly.

As always, please correct me if I am wrong.

Best wishes,
Alex.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 7:31 PM   #46
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To underscore the point about keeping discussion groups happy, I'd like to point out that I just bought an FZ1 this week ($288 at onecall.com!) based solely on Steve's thorough review and discussion groups. (Thanks, guys!) Without this web site and discussion groups I would never have thought of buying a Panasonic (they make cameras?).

I'd expect good customer relations to be extremely important to Panasonic as it attempts to build brand cachet and loyalty. But by holding back and/or charging for firmware upgrades, I think Panasonic shows disrespect for its customers. It says to them, "You're stuck with the equipment. We got ya."

There was the same problem with Windows Media Center (XP that acts like Tivo) owners - you can read about it on that forum archive. MS upgraded the Tivo-like software but left it up to the vendors - HP, Toshiba, etc - whether to pass it on to the customers at all and if so, what to charge for it. This enraged everyone. And it was a similar group of early adopters who were very involved in discussion forums.

Printer manufacturers tried charging for new device drivers for a while (a long time ago). You notice that practice stopped.

It's a phenomenal camera - two different people have breathlessly said "I can't BELIEVE how clear the pictures are!" I'd hate to see good technology go down because of stupid short-sighted greedy marketing decisions, but hey, it's not my company.

I will say I am impressed that Panasonic goes to the trouble of maintaining a presence amid the discussions, and I think Bob does a great job.
Thanks
- Ty
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 9:44 PM   #47
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A decision to charge for the firmware update was a marketing decision made for the Japanese market. My opinion on such issues is irrelevant. In this case however it did add a feature and was not offered to correct an operational problem.

Iím quite surprised that no one mentioned a similar update offered for the Dimage 7. Itís also offered at a charge to the customer. Info can be found on this at http://www.dpreview.com/news/0206/02...ge7upgrade.asp

One does have to remember that firmware, like software, is copyrighted material. If itís installed and used after obtaining it from sources other than how the manufacturer intended it to be distributed, it definitely introduces some legal issues. Since Iím not a lawyer, I wonít attempt to get into the possibilities. I think it would be safe to say that the negatives outweigh the positives. And once itís installed, the end user wonít be able to uninstall it.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 10:09 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panasonic
In this case however it did add a feature and was not offered to correct an operational problem.
Yeah, it added another level of compression for better picture quality (sorry, I just couldn't resist :P )
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Old Feb 20, 2004, 8:53 AM   #49
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No sir it does not.
I have an FZ1, and upadted FZ1, and an FZ2 here. All three only offer TWO (2) compression levels.

When comparing side by side photos taken at the highest resolution, at the lowest compression, there is barely 35K difference. While that might be "larger", 35K is hardly an improvement that would make any visible difference.
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Old Feb 20, 2004, 9:44 AM   #50
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Bob - Again thanks for participating. Don't want contention any more than you do.

You're telling me to believe what you say vs what I have seen in perusing file sizes on PBASE and other photo hosting sites.

FZ1 file sizes seemed to average around 765KB.

FZ2 and ugraded FZ1 were averaging 975-1000KB.

Panasonic Japan site selling the upgrade had a table showing that after applying the upgrade a 128mb SD would be reduced from 150 pics to 125 pictures. Many others or Dpreview saw the same table.
125 pics on a 128 SD card would indicate a 975 kb file size.

That being said - I looked at a 600% blowup from a FZ1 and upgraded FZ1 and could not see any difference at all.
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