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#1 Skinny Puppy

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 03:57 PM

It appears that I'm the first to post here.

I really don't have any questions, rather just observations.

I just recently bought Tim's FS 2004 GPS tutorial. To clarify at this point, prior to the purchase I'd never used a GPS in FS. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. I'm sure it's covered in the MS Learning Centre, but I wanted a quick and easy introduction into using such a complicated gauge.

So here are a few observations... point by point.

1) VOICE. To me this is the most important factor in any product that attempts to teach via a computer. If the author's voice is anything less than perfectly clear and distinct, then the product has lost its usefulness. Tim's voice is very clear, very understandable and easy to listen to. He speaks slowly, distinctly and there's no problems whatsoever following along with his tutorial.

2) CHAPTERS. The video presentations runs well over 2 hours. If this were just one large file then it would require considerable work finding the point where you left off. Tim has broken the tutorial down into 45 chapters and 2 addition chapters showing where to find the GPS in FS. That serves two purposes.
A) Makes it easy to return to wherever you previously left off or to even jump around to any part of the tutorial you wish to.
B) It allows you to replay the same chapter over and over if it happens to be an area that you don't understand well or need to have the subject matter repeated.

3) EASE OF WATCHING. Tim has made this a no-brainer. He not only uses a mouse pointer to show you what he's referring to, he also highlights it with a lightly coloured yellow circle. This makes it extremely easy to see exactly what he's talking about or making references to. The video is very easy to watch and there's no fear of getting lost and trying to figure out what he's doing or why he’s doing it.

4) FOR NEWBIES. Basically, if you knew absolutely nothing about a GPS, you'd have no problems. Tim assumes no prior knowledge on the buyers part. But the video is far from simplistic, while Tim assumes that you have no prior experience, he also ensures that he doesn't make this into just an intro to the GPS and then you'd still be left wondering what to do with that instrument. He covers all of the aspects of the GPS and once the video is complete, you've now got enough knowledge to use it (intelligently) in FS.

5) MANNERISMS. Tim has a very friendly mannerism as a teacher and that makes learning much easier. He speaks 'to' you, not 'at' you.

6) PRICE vs. RESULT. The price of the video course is very reasonable to say the least. The result is what counts of course; and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to recommend this product to anyone that wishes to learn how to use a GSP is an easy and friendly way. To my mind, video/audio learning is the most effective way to learn; in the least amount of time, with the least amount of effort.

So to sum up, it's an excellent course, very well delivered in a very friendly manner. I highly recommend it to anyone that is in the same 'newbie' position as I am (was :wink: ), or even to someone that did know the 'in's and out's' of the GSP, but now needs a refresher course.

Kind regards...

Skinny Puppy :P
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#2 Mandy

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 08:09 PM

Skinny Puppy,

Thank you for the comments. Not many folks respond for or against, so all one can hope for is a minimum of complaints.

I've been slow to do more of these Entry Level films. But, it seems there is still an audience for them. Makes one ponder the possibilities.

Tim
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#3 Skinny Puppy

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 12:57 AM

Skinny Puppy,

Thank you for the comments. Not many folks respond for or against, so all one can hope for is a minimum of complaints.

I've been slow to do more of these Entry Level films. But, it seems there is still an audience for them. Makes one ponder the possibilities.

Tim


Hi Tim,

Thanks for the reply.

I've also been looking at your Radio Stack tutorial. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to purchase that very soon.

I was just online and used the GPS for the very first time! Prior to your tutorial, I never bothered even putting it up on the screen. I was flying the Gmax Agusta a109a (very poorly I might add :wink: ) and switched on the GPS and tried out some of its functions. I've got a long way to go yet to where I'll really feel comfortable with it, but it's no longer a 'daunting' instrument to use anymore.

Thanks again for your excellent video(s). I really can't think of an easier way to learn how to navigate than using your tutorials!

Best regards...


Skinny Puppy :P
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#4 hendis

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 11:54 AM

Triggered by Skinny Puppy's recommendation, I went and bougt the course yesterday. After having watched it once, I have to admit that I'm slightly disappointed.

While I agree with most of what Skinny Puppy wrote, I have reservations as to the general quality of the demonstrations.

It quicly becomes evident that the instructor improvises a lot and that he has not had a great amount of time to familiarize himself with the GPS 500. The consequence is that he is not always sure exactly what will happen next, neither in terms of what the programme will do if he does this and that, nor in terms of where his current demonstration is leading.

To make matters worse, it appears that no editing whatsoever took place afterwards.

As an internal instruction video for e.g. a virtual airline organization it would be a very good effort, but it does not meet my expectations to a commercial product, I'm sorry to say.
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#5 Francois Dumas

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 01:00 PM

Months of nothing.... and then all of a sudden two !! :D

And we value ALL feedback, it will only help us improve.

So thank you both for your input, we'll certainly take it into account for possible future products.

Kind regards,
Francois
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#6 hendis

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 02:01 PM

Francois,

Thank you for taking my criticism for what it was. Reading my post again, I can see that I may have come through as a cranky old man, but I really just wanted to point out some idea for improvements.

What I failed to mention was that the video did in fact provide me with a much better understanding of the GPS's functionality and potential, so all was not wasted :-)
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#7 Skinny Puppy

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 07:24 AM

I can't believe it's been almost a year since my last post here.

It's late here... so for now I'll be brief.

I'm a student and have little or no time to learn FS stuff. I'm aware there are tutorials by the ton on the Net with regards to almost any facet of FS. So sure, I could download 10s of instructional pages on how to use a radio stack. But I didn't. I have neither the time nor the patience to read online tutorials. Plus I hate them; in fact I hate them with a vengeance. I don't like to read from a computer screen and prefer to read a hard copy.

I also don't want to drain ink tanks printing out tutorials. So my first choice is a book, my second, an instructional video. I don't mind videos since they're easy to assimilate and can be viewed over and over again.

I bought Tim's GPS video (review above) and was more than pleased with it.

So fast forward almost a year. My abilities with FS are dismal to say the least, but I'd really like to get into more serious flying, hence my purchase of Tim's 'Radio stack' tutorial not 10 minutes ago.

I like Tim's style. It's very casual, and yes, he even makes the odd boo-boo. That's great in my view because I listen to 100s of lectures that cover quantum mechanics, relativity, cosmology and physics. Many of then can be very 'dry' and lose you within minutes.

Tim is a guy telling other guys what they need to know without any pretentiousness, the tutorials are 'butter smooth' to listen to and very well explained. Had I not been satisfied with my first purchase from Tim, I wouldn't be here now.

Because of the hour here, I've only had time to listen to Tim's Radio Stack intro. I'll have time during the course of the next few days and will post my views on it at that time. So far though, it looks like it's going to 'fit the bill' for what I need to know to be able to properly use the radio stack that has pretty well sat neglected while I'm flying.

I'll get back in a few days with some fair and honest evaluations of his work.

Puppy
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#8 Francois Dumas

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:44 AM

Thanks Pup.

Francois
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#9 Skinny Puppy

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:22 PM

I'm back and had a chance to give Tim's video a good workout.

It's odd, there seems to be very little feedback on these video tutorials. To my mind at least, I can't think of an easier way to learn, short of having an instructor sitting next to you at your computer desk.

Since no one else has chimed-in, I'll take it upon myself to give my views and impressions.

As written above, I really liked Tim's GPS video. It basically took me from knowing nothing, to feeling comfortable with using a GPS. Now that sufficient time has passed, it's old hat to me. I've used it extensively online and what was once a daunting and scary instrument, is now one that I use with ease. I'm certainly not a pro, but I can now navigate comfortably using the GPS and Tim's GPS video got me over the hurdle of trying to learn such a complicated instrument, and basically starting from scratch, since I had no prior knowledge of its use and functions.

Now to Tim's Radio Stack tutorial. There are some very good points I'd like to mention as well as some fair and honest criticisms.

First of all, the use and function of the radio stack is now much clearer in my mind. It really can be a bit of a daunting instrument to look at and to try to comprehend its relevance within FS9. Basically, there are just too many buttons, dials and read-outs for a newbie to know where to even begin.

The tutorial takes you from the top of the radio stack (RS) and explains the features and use of each of its component parts. In fact, after the 1st viewing of the RST (radio stack tutorial) I actually went into FS, and for the first time ever, actually did an autopilot landing of the default Cessna 172. I know I should have disengaged the autopilot prior to landing, but I really wanted to see what an autopilot landing was like. I did a video replay (a number of times :P ) and watched myself (actually the autopilot) land the plane. Prior to watching Tim's video, I didn't have so much as a clue how to do that. I wouldn't have even known where to begin.

Others areas of the RS also became understandable. The 'squawk' code that ATC was continually giving to me, I was just ignoring them, I had no idea why they were telling me that or what I was supposed to do with that code once they gave it to me.

Even having a Com 1 and Com 2, or Nav1 and Nav2, that was confusing. I'd assumed (incorrectly) that they were two completely different systems.

Actually the list goes on and on. Much of the mystery of the RS has now been cleared-up thanks to Tim's RST.

There are however, a few areas that I think need to be addressed.

The RST could probably do with a bit of polishing to iron-out some of the long pauses between one idea that's being presented and the transition into the next.

There is a bit of awkwardness when Tim is using many of the buttons and dials, this could well be Tim's personal way of doing things and that's certainly okay. I listen to and watch 100s of physics lectures and have first-hand knowledge of how different people (professors) feel that a subject should be presented. Some are very stoic, while others are very ad-hoc in their presentations. Tim's RST falls into the latter. Personally, I prefer the ad-hoc method, but that won't be to everyone's taste.

The sound quality in part 09 is flawed. It's actually quite hard to hear Tim because of the background noise and jumps in the audio part of the recording. I replayed that section over and over and was able to comprehend what Tim was saying. Not sure, perhaps my download was corrupted. I didn't save the link, so I wouldn't know where to go to download it again.

The RS goes in and out of focus during part 06. That's not a critical flaw, but it detracts you from learning since your attention is taken away from the presentation.

During clip 13 Tim mentions that the autopilot VS setting is 3000 f/m, while in fact it's 300 f/m. Not deadly, but for a newbie, it could cause some confusion.

During clips 02 and 06, Tim has his 'ScreenKeys' superimposed over the RS. I was already aware of that program so I knew what it was. A newbie might inadvertently assume that that was *part* of a normal RS.

The RST certainly has value in that it will take a complete newbie (me :wink: ) and open-up the potential of using the RS for the 1st time. I would have liked to see the RST run longer to cover even more areas than it presently does. The tie-in with the other instruments that rely on the RS, while briefly covered, isn't quite enough to give you a working grasp of what to do and how to do it.

I think if the RST was expanded from its current length to perhaps the size of the GPS tutorial, Tim would have been able to take you from a complete newbie position and would have you up and flying with the RS once you'd completed the course.

So am I disappointed with the RST? No. Would I like to see it expanded and polished? Yes. :wink:

I personally think there's great potential with video learning courses and I'd like to see even more titles added. The prices for Tim's video tutorials are very reasonable and won't drain anyone's credit card.

So the big question is; will I continue to buy Tim's video tutorials?

That's a no-brainer... yes, I certainly will. They've helped me to learn more about FS without having to spend a lot of time doing my own research on these subjects.

What I'd really like to see in a tutorial is an explanation of many of the gauges in the cockpit. I'm still fumbling around trying to figure out what many of them are for.

I hope my feedback has been helpful (for Tim and Francois) with regards to any future tutorials that you may have planned.

Oh, one final point. One thing that would be really helpful would be to have mini-Coles notes attached to the main (entry) page of the tutorial. I found that as I was watching the tutorial, I would pause it quite often to write-down some of the things that Tim was pointing out. For example, Tim mentioned that the ADF can be used to listen to music, I had no idea it would do that. Or, that a DME reads VOR. If many of those key points were appended to the entry page, it would give a written record as well as a visual record of many of the important points regarding the RS.

Puppy
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#10 Francois Dumas

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:47 PM

Thanks Pup. I'll draw Tim's attention to this. Very useful :)

Kind regards,
Francois
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