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Everything posted by DSE

  1. Once burned, twice shy. Seriously, I think Royal is now just not responding to the (I believe are snail-mail) letters from my bank. I use a debit card like a credit card, but this is the first time I've run into this situation, ever. Not responding isn't really the same as refusing the refund, so I should probably be more fair about that. They allow 14 days for a response, then it goes into another category which is where it sits now.
  2. 200 jumps is the *minimum* recommendation. The tandem manufacturers recommend between 300 and 500 jumps. A couple of tandem instructors at our DZ won't jump with you without at least 400 and them having seen you working them from a distance at first.
  3. Dude, seriously, reality check - if after a few emails you get no answer it's time for a chargeback. And being on both sides of the table, I can tell you that if you don't ship the product, a consumer chargeback will be honored. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. So quit wasting your energy where it makes no difference and call your credit card issuing bank and dispute the charges. I swear it takes all of 3 minutes to do. good luck If it's a debit card, it's not so easy. If the vendor disputes it, it's not so easy. If it's gone past 30 days, it's not so easy. If you can get the 300.00 back for me in 24 hours, I'll give you 20% of it.
  4. FFlyer, I believe Max *is* Royal Lens. I feel bad for the person, but am very unhappy about the business. In my case, I used a debit card and after putting in a request for refund through the bank, it was denied by Royal Lens. In other words, they've had a chance to make it right, but choose to keep the money. If he is out of business, I believe he owes it to everyone to put a notice on his website and discontinue accepting money. The suggestion of not shipping/selling because "...he's really distraught over not winning the USPA election..." is bullsh**. I ordered my lenses with overnight delivery in early December. The USPA elections weren't over yet. Not trying to beat on the guy, life sucks sometimes.
  5. When we were filming a piece for TLC, I was shooting the interior/climb, and exits. Out of habit, I started to jump but seatbelt restrained me. I was wearing a rig, but nothing else such as alti, helmet, etc. I was pretty shaken up over how muscle memory nearly put me out the door, mostly because I wasn't thinking about the situation, I was thinking about the shot.
  6. So what defines good? When I fly on a commercial airline, how much of a "good vibe" the PIC gives me is completely secondary to their skillset. Is "good" being a nice people person who throws the drouge to get stable? Is "bad" a technically perfect TM who focuses on the task at hand? I know what I would choose as a DZO, and I know what a whuffo would choose. They're not the same TM. These are opposite extremes, of course, and most TM's lie somewhere in the middle. "Making friends" with 12 new people a day and convincing them that everything will be ok, even when you don't know it, and banking your life on it is hard work. t Tonto, I think maybe the answer to this _particular_ question lies in human nature. Some people are just plain assholes. Some people are generally happy and fun to be around. Both kinds of people can be tandem masters that are skillful and safe. Both can leave exceptionally lasting impressions on the student. I personally don't think that the TM's responsibility is to make the student feel safe or unsafe, but rather embue a level of confidence in the student by their own actions, not so much words. But I'm not a TM, so what the hell do I know? However, how many commercial jet pilots have had you sitting in their lap during the flight?
  7. I don't believe I suggested mainstream, and if that's the impression, my apologies. However, the more people that experience a tandem jump, the more people exposed to the sport. The more exposures, the greater the pool from which AFF may grow from, which puts more jumpers into the pool. The issue of retention has been addressed many times, which is why I didn't say much about it. However, I do believe that the first tandem is the most critical jump in growing the sport for new jumpers. Is it for everyone? No. But the larger the pool, the more opportunity to grow the sport and stabilize. People are always gonna come and go; it's not a lifestyle for everyone, and these days (IMO) the biggest retention challenge doesn't come from cost (again, my 2cents), but rather complacency, marriage, babies, internet, couch potato. Complacency on the part of the jumper, on the part of the DZO, and the lure of other whims..., and that's happening in all sports industries. This was a huge part of the Outdoor Recreation Show in SLC, Utah this past August; "how to retain people in the pursuit of outdoor sports." Face it; we're a society of ADD people. Flip the channel, change the sport, whatever.
  8. I feel that tandems are an integral component of the sport today, because as said by many, it's exposure. These days, we see a lot of "thrillseeker" vacations and packages out there, just look at the back pages of any Outside magazine. In the past, kayaking, rock climbing, and other sports considered to be extreme have been slow in gaining new members. It used to seem to be relegated to the young and very physically fit. Now, we're seeing the folks that once saw these sports as being for the "younger crowd" realizing that they too, can participate in these activities. Marketing companies from NYC to Hawaii are selling "Adventure packages" or "The Ultimate Man-cation." This all leads to more exposure to skydiving and other extremes. The problem is the "other extremes." There are now more accessible means of participating in extreme sports than ever before, so the adrenaline pie gets smaller. The USPA, in my opinion, needs to market more heavily to the 18-25 crowd, and to the 30-55 demographic if they want to keep their share of the adrenaline market pie. When is the last time we saw a skydiving ad in RollingStone, Outside, Mens Fitness, Mens Health, National Geographic Adventure, etc? As much as we hate Skyride, they're doing what the USPA should be doing in terms of advertising. Should the USPA be providing co-op dollars for the dropzones to advertise in regional publications? Getting more news coverage to bring more jumpers to the DZ is important, yeah? Getting good/smart coverage in the various television and film projects is good. Having those avenues show "normal" people in the sport is even better. Getting Vin Diesel, Patrick Swayze, or even Scott Smith's recent Stunt Junkie's segment on TV is great and catches eyeballs, but having "Average Joe" is better, in my opinion. As an example, we took out a gentleman who trained as a paratrooper in WWII, but DDay came before he got the opportunity to jump during WWII. So, as a very elderly man, his grandsons bought him a tandem so he could fulfill a 60 year wish. The news media, including CNN, picked up the story. We had quite a few folks come out as a result of seeing the elderly man jump. The mind set of "If he can do it, so can I" works quite well. We put out a record number of students in 06, and I believe a lot of it was related to the constant coverage of various skydiving events at our DZ, featuring "Average Joe." Upshot, I believe tandems are great for getting eyeballs and experiences. The one other thing I'll mention is that the Tandem Master is so critical in all this; if they've got a great attitude and make it fun for the student/passenger, it sure helps invite that student/passenger to continue with it because they had a great time. If they regard the student as nothing more than meat to be hauled, then the student likely won't want to return. I'm really glad I had a great TM when I first jumped, he made it fun for both of us, I think. Some DZO's don't seem to recognize that the TM is more than half of the adventure, based on what I read here.
  9. The crack that wasn't. With HDMI, and the ability to shift keys, it may not be a while, but even if it were, I don't believe it will make a difference overall. Cracks keep the marginally honest and honest people out, and pirates are gonna be cracking no matter what. Cracks existed for DVDs pretty well the day they came out, and it was even thought to be legal for 4 years, but that barely affected the sales of DVDs in the world. Then it was determined that all the crack/'backup" software was illegal, but the industry barely saw a blip in sales. One common mistake is that folks think that BD is Sony. Sony owns most of the rights to the format, but it's a shared consortium and dev group. Toshiba on the other hand...it's almost all Toshiba. They own the authoring license, except what they share with Microsoft... Sony shares the wealth of thievery equally between their partners.
  10. FWIW, I emailed Neil, and heard back from him within a couple hours. Called by phone to follow up on price quote as well.
  11. there are photographers and then there are people running around with point n' shoots, even if they're expensive point n' shoots. Owning the gear doesn't mean one owns the talent. I don't see your statement as "elitist" at all. It's true. To be a camera flier, you have to be able to see the shot before your body is there and then get your body to what your eye sees. Someday I'll be the cameraman in the air that I am on the ground, maybe in another few thousand jumps..I can see the shot, it's the getting there fast and smoothly that is the challenge.
  12. Some credit card companies won't allow you to cancel after 30 days; how convenient for Royal. I asked for cancellation; Royal disputed the charge. So in addition to being out the $$, I now get the privilege of hassling with my bank, etc. Not so simple
  13. good find! Wasn't aware of the downscale. Even better to know it is a firmware upgrade that can be downloaded.
  14. I occasionally have an XTi strapped to the front.
  15. The output on any BD player should be identical, and you should be seeing resolution identical to discovery channel. I'd be checking your television settings. It could also be that the scaler in your display isn't all that great. Your image from BD should be equal to, or better than Discovery Channel. The SR DVD is 1080p. It could be that the P converter in your display isn't up to snuff. Discovery broadcasts 1080i. With an FTP helmet, you get a topmount cam and a front mount stills
  16. That's wild! I have both BD and SD versions of Superman returns, and I can see a whopping difference. Put in a regular DVD and see if it looks as sharp as SR? Something sounds weird. Don't expect to see a side-mountable HD cam for a long, long time. All the new cams are announced for now, and it'll be April 08 before you'll see much new. Expect a new cam from Sony at NAB 07, but it won't be side/PC-type mountable. The factory that made those cams is closed, and the other factories are re-tooled for the HC series, from what I've been told. Pansonic has announced theirs, JVC have announced theirs, and Canon is shipping/announced all of theirs for the next year. So, either figure out how to inconveniently side mount HD with a box or other method, or go top mount, or stay SD. Those are about the only choices right now.
  17. Icon, you think it's bad now... Toshiba announces a triple layer disc that we all thought was gonna be announced last fall. But today they announce it....but it's incompatible with current HD DVD players, so users will need to buy a different HD DVD player. Can you imagine how tweaked current owners of players are? Conversely, BD is expected to announce by NAB, a 250GB format via Samsung, that is compatible with existing BD players.
  18. FWIW, I was video slot on an AFF jump (my daughter's) and she insisted once she landed that her instructors were "gone." Truth be told, and video showed, the instructor was simply out of her view, right behind her BOC, ready to dump if needed. But it was a huge confidence boost for the student to believe that she was alone. could this be the case here? The instructor(s) may have been beyond periphery?
  19. DSE

    Flat Vrs PRO

    Oh, how I wish this were so for my Silhouette. I could have bought the next size down container and kept it for the next canopy progression. No one, using any packing method, could get any difference. Both in high altitude/cold, and Hawaii/warm.
  20. You need an MJPEG decoder/codec installed on your machine for Vegas to read it. There are several freebies out there, http://www.free-codecs.com/download/Motion_JPEG_Codec.htm has one. That'll do the trick
  21. yes, Warner announced the technology. Question is whether they'll be able to deliver. For example, LG last week, announced their new dual format player, and immediately had to retract the announcement, as they are being sued by the DVD consortium. Because HD DVD uses Java/iHD and LG didn't license this technology from Microsoft, they've already been served papers from Microsoft and the DVD consortium. I won't be surprised if Warner finds themselves in a similar boat. Both HD DVD and Blu-ray are blue laser formats. The differences are the way the data is stored and the pitch of the laser. It really isn't that hard to technically make it all work. The problem isn't technical. It's legal. Licenses here, licenses there, everywhere a license by somebody making their dime on the formats. It's business, it's all good, but the consumer gets screwed in the meantime. Also bear in mind that most of us are on the cusp of technology. Mom and Pop Jones don't really know much about the differences. Yet.
  22. You'll find this attitude prevalent somewhere, with middle-experienced people in any sport. It's certainly not exclusive to skydiving. We shoot various extreme and high-risk events for broadcast, and we've found that the extremely competent, very experienced guys generally don't have this attitude, but in many cases, they once did. Kenny "The Cowboy" Bartram is an example. Smart ass, "I'm the best" attitude. Until he came to the DZ to learn to jump. Humble as pie then... it seems to have tempered his attitude around motorcycles now too. He's very cool, helpful to others, etc. Perhaps it's that some of the middle experienced jumpers are afraid you're gonna quickly get as good as they are due to them helping you with shortcuts to how they fly. Or maybe they're just resentful of having to share themselves with others. Either way, all but the most confidence-challenged folks seem to grow out of it. Me, I'm still a sub 500 jump newbie, but I love jumping with others that are just off student status. Not only is it fun to see the looks on their faces when they beat a challenge, but I usually learn something new on every skydive.
  23. Isn't that just the sexiest thing you ever saw in a video presentation? Sony have sent me another 4K for a demo I'm doing at Sundance Film Fest next week, and I keep trying to find ways that the projector can "fall off the truck." I've got a 14' projection system at home that is only WXGA. I do have it wired via network to my main CPU, so I can stream vids from there; watching skydiving clips makes friends a little queasy because it's just like "being there."
  24. For the debut of the new Sony HVR V1U, which only Norman Kent and I had jumped with (at the time), we had a Sony 4K projector and a 66' screen. It was just like being there. Progressive scan, 24p smooth, sexy as hell. Wait'll you see the NAB booth if you're into that world. Skydiving and HD...
  25. I'll be there. Looking forward to the sessions.