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General => Installation issues => Topic started by: bgp on June 29, 2008, 08:14:58 pm

Title: Fiire experience
Post by: bgp on June 29, 2008, 08:14:58 pm
In a number of posts on this forum, it is suggested that a way to avoid some of the hardware and setup issues with linuxmce is to buy the system ready-installed on Fiire (http://www.fiire.com)'s Engines and Stations. Some people had reported that the hardware compatibility of Fiire's kit was less than ideal, but many people seemed to think it was better than doing it yourself (I suspect based more on bitter experience of DIY and hope that there was a better alternative, than on any direct experience with Fiire).

I just wanted a functioning linuxmce system, and was prepared to pay the extra to have it pre-configured for me by Fiire rather than struggle with trying to get it going on my own hardware. So I bought a FiireEngine and two FiireStations (one 1" VESA-mount system, one set-top box) to see if it really made things easier.

My experience to date has been less than satisfactory. I have given them another 48 hours to get it working. I will report my experience and conclusions, including whether they finally got it working or how they behaved if they didn't get it working, to this forum later in the week. Based on my experience so far, I'd say you'd have to be mad to waste money (and, I suspect, more time than if I'd tried to put it together myself) on their kit, but perhaps they will rescue things at the last minute.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: agidi on June 29, 2008, 10:24:03 pm

Please do report your experience and opinions.   

Are this the newer FE and stations, with HDTV? 

They did not work out of the box?  One would expect the same thing.. if you save the hassle of assembly to get a turn key solutions. you don't want to spend time getting it to work.  Do they support it remotely over the net?
 
Very interested in your findings..   about to acquire a whole house system.
thanks
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: bgp on June 29, 2008, 11:09:55 pm
Agidi,

Not the new ones (i.e. Fiire 12TB, Invisible and Prestige now advertised on their website), but the previous range (Engine and Stations). Their specs claim the Stations do 720p and 1080i/p though, so this kit should be OK for HDTV. I have them attached to two HD-Ready 720p screens (one plasma, one LCD), which seems to be a major part of the problem.

No, they did not work out of the box. We (Fiire and me) have had a patchy time trying to get them working, thanks to BT's lines going down and taking my internet connection with it for several weeks. And, to be fair, they have tried, although it seems to need _a_lot_ of input from me. I am giving them one last chance to get things working, so I don't want to say definitely that they have failed yet, but it's looking pretty likely. I'll tell more if that proves to be the case. Frankly, if there is no happy ending, this is a pretty miserable story that ought to deter anyone from buying their kit.

If you are looking at whole house systems (which I am also looking for - this was a trial), I am thinking that my next stop will be Convergent Home Technologies' Dianemo system. It may also have problems, but (a) they are in my home country, and (b) they are supplying systems, not just boxes, so it would be their job to make it work.

Alternatively, I may just give up and get some WinMCE boxes. I hate Windows, but at least WinMCE works out of the box and doesn't have problems with DRM. There is a limit to the amount of pain it is worth taking to use linux instead of Windows, and I say that as someone who has been using linux for over a decade, and even have it on my work laptop. I am pretty committed to linux, and to Free Software and Media standards generally, but I've been trying to put this sort of thing together for almost as long as I've been using linux, and progress is so slow and patchy that you can barely see it happening. Any changes just seem to introduce new complications, not solve old problems.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on June 30, 2008, 06:12:31 am
I purchased a fiire station myself and have not installed it, but i had quite a delay in getting it and also there was no driver CD - i am curious to see how it works - but will need to finish irong out the issues with my non Fiire core system
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: ddamron on June 30, 2008, 08:33:28 am
I really wish you had read my thread on the fiire Station 1"..

I have all but given up on Fiire, I bought a Fiire Engine, a Fiire 1", and a Fiire 2.2".  The 1" would overheat at the default 1500Mhz, and I had to slow it down to 1400 to stop it from going thermal.

The 2.2" had a bad fan from the get go.

Also, considering the amount they actually talk to us, the community, it's a pretty safe bet they don't care.

I have been in communication with them for almost a year now, and STILL can't get anything from them.  I'm an active developer for this system, yet they don't seem to care.

My recommendation is, and has always been, STAY AWAY FROM FIIRE STATIONS, PERIOD.

Until someone does a review of their new gear, but that someone won't be me.

I also did an extensive thread on the Fiire Engine, complete with part numbers, and a breakdown of the so called invoice..

I hate to say it, but either we told you so, or you didn't do enough research.  There are all kinds of threads here with reasons to STAY AWAY from Fiire equipment.

Their Customer Service is pityfull at best, I'm still waiting for feedback from them.

See if you can return the Fiire Stations, you might be able to.

Good luck, I've been in your boat.

All the best,

Dan
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: bgp on June 30, 2008, 11:28:38 am
Dan, I did scan the forums, but what I saw didn't seem like a clear red flag. On the FiireEngine (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=3217.0), you say:

Quote
Overal, the system DOES work well..  however, you should be able to build the same comparible system for half the price.

One note, they HAVE put a lot of effort into the configuration, DOCUMENTATION, and setup ease.. that HAS to be paid for..

The main criticism is on the cost, but I was happy to bite that bullet for a system that "just works". I thought Jeff responded pretty well to the criticisms on the cost. But obviously, what it is worth depends on how well it works out of the box.

On the 1" box (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=3279.0), you say:

Quote
Been having minor lock up problems.. still working out the bugs..
works well though!

On the 2.2" box (http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=3280.0), the main issue highlighted is that you can't have MythTV and the UI2 interface. I was willing to live with that, doing the recording through the Engine (hence ordered the Engine with tuner card).

My problems are more fundamental than the ones you had. I can't get a working GUI at a reasonable resolution on either Station, even though they are both attached to 720p screens. I'd be happy if I got to the point where the lack of MythTV was the frustration.

I agree with you that the 1" box seems to run very hot. Particularly worrying, as Fiire have asked me to leave it on to give them a reasonable chance to get in on Remote Assistance and try to get it working. How did you slow down the 1" box?

To be fair to Fiire, their technical support and customer service have responded to emails (at least, until recently) and tried to help. But unfortunately without success, and I haven't had any response to my most recent communications.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: gazlang on June 30, 2008, 02:28:08 pm
Just had a look at the new fiire products, they look a bit misleading straight away. The prestige appears to have a blu-ray drive, but does not mention the inability of LMCE to play blu-ray straight off.

Aside from this, I bought a fiire chief remote from them 3 months ago and it's on the blink already. Sometimes it will not work at all (no lights no response to new batteries), so I leave it for a few hours and it may work the next time I pick it up. Must be a loose connection in there somewhere. Can't do anything about it with fiire as they only have a month warranty.

I haven't really had much use out of it - been busy configuring my LMCE setup - so it's been a waste of $140.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: totallymaxed on June 30, 2008, 09:37:21 pm
If you are looking at whole house systems (which I am also looking for - this was a trial), I am thinking that my next stop will be Convergent Home Technologies' Dianemo system. It may also have problems, but (a) they are in my home country, and (b) they are supplying systems, not just boxes, so it would be their job to make it work.

Hi Bgp,

We'd be happy to discuss how a Dianemo system could satisfy your requirements. We would be pleased to demonstrate a full range of working hardware to you. Please drop me a private message to arrange a demonstration of Dianemo at our Chelmsford demonstration suite.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Apneadiver on July 07, 2008, 08:25:47 pm
Justdeb,

Looking forward to your review of the Fiire (made by Polywell dot com) 12-TB core.  You are the first and, from what I can see, only person to note on the forums that they have purchased the new Fiire Engine.  Even a preliminary review would be great.  Hopefully, Fiire has improved, and your experience has been positive overall. 

Regards,

 - Jim
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Apneadiver on July 10, 2008, 12:08:24 am
I did a search on Polywell, the PC vendor behind Fiire, starting with ResellerRatings.com, which is where I start when I don't know a vendor.  Ratings were average at best.  Try searching a vendor like NewEgg.com to see what a great reputation looks like.  I also went to CNET.com and found more ratings, again average at best.

My thought is that you can get your own SATA controller that is supported by software RAID, perhaps something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16815121009 which is only supports 8 drives, but that's still 8 drives just with one card for $100.  Get a nice case (the new Fiire case is nice), and a few other parts and you can built your own system for considerably less.

regards,

 - Jim
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Kaempy on July 10, 2008, 04:34:07 am
Hello Everyone,

I wanted to introduce myself.  I am the new GM of Fiire.  My first day was Monday and I have been doing my best to work on the operations of the company and take care of your orders and needs. 

I am not sure where to start, so I will simply let you know what the plan is and do my best to get it executed as quickly as possible.

First, we are moving to a new system builder.  In the past we have used Polywell but are moving to a firm and facility in New York.  This is being done to more efficiently take care of our European customers as well as our US customers.  We are also working with an Australia firm to set up operations to help people in Australia, NZ, and SE Asia.  Lastly, we are looking for partners in Europe to reduce shipping costs for customers there.  I do not have definitive timing for these events, but they are coming.

Next, if you have an order for a Prestiige, 12TB, or Invisible there is going to be a small delay.  We should have the kinks in our operation worked out within the next two weeks. 

In terms of our products, we are aiming to keep our prices as low as possible.  Our costs per machine include the hardware and build costs (labor).  Our soft costs include administration and support.  So, while we will not be able to build a machine for what it costs on NewEgg, we will try to keep them low enough to keep everyone motivated.

Generally, I ask for your patience as this may take a few weeks to fix.  Also, if we ship product and you have suggestions for how to improve it, I would appreciate that as well.  While I will not be able to guarantee that all suggestions will be implemented, I realize that the members of this forum are far more technically proficient than I. 

I will not try to hide our problems from you and aprpeciate your honesty on this forum.  In the past we have been slow to respond to requests and inconsistent in our order processing.  My role here will be to improve our company and the service you see. 

Feel free to contact me directly via email - blake(at)fiire(dot)com

Warmest regards,
Blake

PS - I know we have not participated much in this forum but I will attempt to participate as much as possible.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: ddamron on July 10, 2008, 07:04:11 am
Kaempy, Welcome!

It's nice to se *someone* taking interest from fiire.

Please visit us often the more communication we have with each other, the better the project, and (hopefully) the better your sales!

Dan
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Kaempy on July 16, 2008, 11:28:49 pm
Hello everyone,

I am writing a new update to the Fiire status. 

First, while our production facility is coming along slower than expected.  With the release of the Inviisible and the Prestiige, we are working diligently to fulfill orders while creating a repeatable business and manufacturing process.  So, please be patient, we are working hard on this and should have it resolved soon.

New products:

We are getting ready to release a new product based on LinuxMCE.  I can't say anymore but it should be out by the end of this quarter.  I am working with the team to get a pre-order page set-up soon.

Help Wanted:

We are looking to partner with system builders (companies only please) in the following countries/regions:

Japan
Israel
Eastern Europe
Western Europe
Australia

We are looking to reduce support time and transportation costs to these regions.

I will keep posting as things move forward.  As always, please feel free to email me or post here to discuss any requests, issues, etc.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on July 18, 2008, 09:43:48 am
Hi Apneadiver,

Sorry for my delay in responding to this forum as i only returned from holidays last night and have not had access to my email. In relation to my Fiire setup and overall experience i have only purchased a Fiire station (2.2" unit). I have spent most of the day trying to get the unit up and running without success. I have searched long and hard trying to find out where the problem may be and was ready to send a lengthy email to anyone in fiire who would listen to me. I just happened after reading an unrelated post regarding unrecognised nics it appears the problem may not be with the fiire product but may in fact be the asus p5k mobo. I will change the nic and let you know how it goes.

I am glad that there is someone in fiire who appears to be interested in improving the product and will certainly be happy to offer my comments upon the completion of my setup of my fiire station. Whilst i am a newbie to this arena and linux - any comments good or bad will be a start of something good - i hope.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Apneadiver on July 23, 2008, 03:58:14 am
Justdeb,

I'm interested to hear your findings, when you have them.


***

Blake,

My background was strategy, product management and marketing for most of my career, but I've been in customer service management for Cablevision for the past 4 years.  With that in perspective, I can say that you have a great deal of challenges ahead of you, as Fiire has stumbled quite a bit.  In the same breath, there is also opportunity for a person with the right blend of skills and motivation to push the Fiire concept to achieve far more than it has.  If you do maintain a commitment to the community, I'd say you are in a much better position to recapture lost potential. 

From the research I did, Polywell was not, shall we say, best in class.  Who in NY will do your assemblies, and are they on Long Island or in NY City? 

If you live in the L.A. area, I lived all my life up to the past 4 years in California and last lived in Silverlake, if you know where that is. 

regards,

 - Jim
Bay Shore, NY
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: colinjones on July 23, 2008, 05:29:23 am
Blake

This all sounds very positive - I might say that regularly participating in the forums and getting their members on-side (like Andrew/TotallyMaxed from Dianemo/CHT does all the time) could be a rich source of sales/referrals for your organisation.

I can say that I "evangelise" about LMCE all the time - invariably to interested responses - yet the most common reason people end up not "getting around to it" is because they are not committed to the process of building their own system from scratch, especially without dedicated, professional support to back them.

If the forum members could confidently point to Fiire as a "solution provider" with support, in the same way as I have several times to CHT, this would benefit the forum in terms of penetration and yourselves in terms of sales. Currently, I would not feel confident at all doing this (from reading on the forums and going through the fiasco of trying to purchase a Fiire remote). But if you can turn it around and even add value like providing local build, purchase, support and distribution points outside NA so people living in the boondocks like me in Sydney can get better access, then the sky is the limit!
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on July 23, 2008, 12:08:50 pm
Just had a look at the new fiire products, they look a bit misleading straight away. The prestige appears to have a blu-ray drive, but does not mention the inability of LMCE to play blu-ray straight off.

Aside from this, I bought a fiire chief remote from them 3 months ago and it's on the blink already. Sometimes it will not work at all (no lights no response to new batteries), so I leave it for a few hours and it may work the next time I pick it up. Must be a loose connection in there somewhere. Can't do anything about it with fiire as they only have a month warranty.

I haven't really had much use out of it - been busy configuring my LMCE setup - so it's been a waste of $140.

 Gazlang,

 Not too defend Fiire as I have had no expierence with there product but I did have the exact same problem with my gyration the last time the batteries went dead. I am wondering if it actually lock up or the like when the batteries die, I left mine for 15 minutes with the new batteries installed and then reconnected at the dongle and it was fine again, but ideally there is nothing on Gyration's site or in the manual about this. Not too get off topic but wanted to let you know that there is another one with a problem or maybe part of the design who knows.

 rgds,

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on July 24, 2008, 03:22:35 am
Hi Jim,

I am still yet to get it to work. I have spent many hours on the net looking for a way to get past my current issue. I can basically get the unit to annouce itself to the router and it will fail at the point it starts the "diskless setup" comes up. In addition to this i have found that if you plug a mouse and keyboard into the unit it then goes further and attempts to install the diskless setup, but stalls/hangs at the point where it installs the usb device.

In relation to my dealings with Fiire - i am still waiting for someone to respond/followup on my email of 25/06/08. I have sent another email to them this morning and will see whether i get a responce.

I am also trying to speak to someone in Fiire who might have an answer to my troubles - but havn't spent alot of time chasing it at this stage due to work commitments.

Rgrds
Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Kaempy on July 25, 2008, 03:22:56 am
Hi Jim,

Thank you for the positive words of encouragement.  I agree, this will be a challenge.  I am excited about LinuxMCE and see a huge opportunity for the software in terms of whole home media and automation.

To answer your question, we have partnered with PC Design Lab in Rochester, New York.  Dave is the owner and he is committed to LinuxMCE as well as drastically improving customer service and product build quality.

Thank you all for your patience. 


Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Apneadiver on July 30, 2008, 07:21:44 pm
Justin,

Best of luck w/ Fiire.  Please do post your thoughts, after you've had time to devote to getting the hardware working to whatever level it can achieve.



Blake,

I thought your assembly partner might be closer to where I live.  Thanks though.

 - Jim
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 02, 2008, 08:44:40 am
Hi All,

Latest update on the fire situation . I still have not heard back from anyone that i emailed regarding my problems, missing disks or the incorrect frieght charges. I am also still trying to get the fiire station up and running. I have been playing with this one and another MD (generic pc) all night. I have managed to get it running to a point with the assistance of some people in the forum. I have decided to spend tonight solely on the fiire station and will hopefully get it sorted out. If not i might be sending some more emails to Fiire to see whether i can get them to assist me. I don't see that i should have to pay for support as it hasn't worked since i got it - but it may go down that track. Will post my findings in the near future.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 11, 2008, 06:47:31 pm
Ok. After trying to deal with Fiire over the past week I'm at my wit's end.

I knew something was up from the moment I first hit the Fiire homepage. No reputable business would let their website fall into such disrepair. From broken links, PHP errors, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, it was clear that this was not a reputable business. Alas, they were the only ones producing the famed LinuxMCE remote. I bought several of them over a week ago, and paid using Google Checkout.

Some sort of error occurred with the checkout process, yet my credit card was charged in full (total order just over $500). Not surprising given the number of PHP errors their website generates. A week after the purchase, the online Fiire store still reports "Google Processing" as a status. Clearly something has gone wrong.

I spent the last week pounding their phone lines, e-mail accounts and online chat applet. Their phone line is an automated attendant, which isn't setup properly. The tech support option just redirects you back to the main menu. If you hit the sales line it rings, but usually goes to voicemail anyway. Of the 20+ times I've called I had "Adrian" pickup once. See details below in the chat log. From his accent on the phone and poor English skills I would presume that Fiire outsources their support to India. Although he claimed to be in San Jose with the rest of the company. He also couldn't help me at all, and had to "e-mail his colleagues" to track my order.

After the aforementioned week of pounding their phone lines, e-mail accounts and online chat applet I finally got through to "Adrian" with the online chat. Here's a copy of our chat conversation. Some interesting points, he identifies Blake Tablak as a sales guy and not the GM he has made himself out to be in the posts in this thread. More dishonesty from Fiire, what a joke. A sales guy comes on here, pretends to be the head honcho, promises big change, and it turns out he's just the salesman trying to get more suckers to invest in a Fiire system.

Quote
   Matt: Question: I would like to know why my order has not shipped yet. Order number 104.
   adrian: How May I help You?
   Matt: Could you please look into the status of my order.
   adrian: what is your full name?
   Matt: ****** ********
   adrian: ok, I'll ask one of my colleagues to see if it's shipped or not
   Matt: thanks
   adrian: please, tell me your email
   Matt: *******@*******.***
   adrian: thx
   Matt: are you still there?
   adrian: yes
   Matt: have you determined if my package has shipped?
   adrian: i sent an email to my colleague beacuse he's right now in another location
   Matt: are you outsourced by fiire?
   adrian: nope, i am in san jose with the company
   Matt: the company is in los angeles
   adrian: it's registered there
   Matt: don't you guys have a tracking system for orders?
   adrian: there is one but it's optional
   Matt: so everything is done by hand?
   adrian: not quite, google checkpout has a tracking system but we don't use it
   Matt: don't you guys stock these remotes? shouldn't it have been shipped last week when I made the order?
   adrian: we have stocks of them of course
   adrian: but our sales man is handling them, i know few things about it, i am only the support guy here
   Matt: can you give me his phone number?
   adrian: yes, but from the bureau
   adrian: the personal number i can't give it to you
   Matt: ok what is his work number?
   adrian: 408.627.4806
   Matt: that is his cell?
   adrian: the office number
   Matt: what is his name?
   adrian: Blake Tablak
   Matt: I called it, but it was not the Fiire office. It was a voice recording.
   adrian: yes, I know
   Matt: you told me it was the office number
   adrian: his office
   adrian: e has his own office
   adrian: i treid 2 times to call him on his cell but nothing till now
   Matt: I thought blake was the GM of Fiire?
   adrian: GM=general manager?
   Matt: yes
   adrian: no, it's not him
   Matt: who is the GM?
   adrian: Jeff Laughlin
   Matt: I thought he was the owner
   adrian: oh no
   adrian: anyway, during this day he will tell me an answer
   Matt: please forward the info to my e-mail *****@*********.***
   adrian: no problem sir

There was literally a 5 minute delay between each response. That conversation lasted a very long time. The whole conversation reeked of outsourced phone support. Which seems pretty par for the course given the other crap that has been misleading and dishonest. Even giving them the benefit of the doubt in that regard, it seems this company is a mickey mouse little outfit. Apparently their sales guy doesn't even hold an office at the head quarters. Do they even have an office? Their website says they are based out of Los Angelas, but this guy says everyone is in San Jose. It all seems so shady to me that I see no valid reason to give them anymore of my business in the future. And if my order's not filled and shipped soon my comments are going straight to the securities and fraud division at Google checkout.

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 12, 2008, 02:18:03 am
Hi Demus,

Well this is interesting. I sent blake an email (blake@fiire.com) and he advisd that he would look into it. I have also sent jeff (jeff.l@fiire.com) a number of emails and was told that they would look into it. To date neither Jeff nor Blake have replied to my emails. I too was overchargd for freight - almost $200 and all i was advised that this is something they need to look into.

I did receive an email from support on how to get my fiire station up and running - i was told to download some files and copy them to a specific directory. I did that and followed their instructions to a t - Guess what it didn't work and i sent an email back to them advising so - lets see if i get a responce......


Justin

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 12, 2008, 04:48:29 am
Yea, so no e-mail back on my stuff today, like I was promised by Adrian. I filed a report with Google's fraud division. They attempted to call Fiire, but could only get the voicemail, surprise surprise. I directed the google rep to this thread (and other Fiire threads). They made an official (??) report, and Fiire has a few business days to respond. If its not handled satisfactorily they will lose their merchant account. Although the Google guy did point out that this does not mean they have to resolve my situation in particular.

I'm just gonna let it be for a few days and see what happens. If nothing comes of it by then I'll just wash my hands of it all and have Visa do a chargeback.

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 12, 2008, 11:41:26 am
hmm,

that is interesting. I might have to follow that avenue as well. Whether it will do any good time will tell. I think the old addage of Cavet Emptor - let the buyer beware ! - holds a lot of truth at this point in time. I will say this though - the fiire station is currently making a good bookstand - expensive but ..... possibly lesson learnt.

As at 1940 Australian EST no reply from Fiire... surprise surprise !!!

Regards

Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on August 12, 2008, 11:47:15 am
I am in exactly the same boat ??? I ordered mine on the 6th charge not shipped. My phone call went exactly the same way as yours and with no e-mail. Why would google have let me order this in the first place if they were looking into them, would it not have been wise to suspend there account!!!

 I just notice that the address on the Fiire page contact us is not the same as the address liste on Google Checkouts. I read on the company page that most of there tech support calls are to LMCE guru;s who work from home, so that would explain the needed " I have to contact my colleague" statement.  This is just not professional so it would seem.

 Dan or Thom, Who did you contact when you guys got your stuff from them?

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on August 12, 2008, 09:21:37 pm
Well I rec'd two e-mails today from Fiire one from adrian saying my unit would be shipped out today and one from tech support apologizing as explaining that they are setting up a new warehouse or the like and that there has not been much training for those folks so the switch is taking a little longer to get orders processed from google to fiire and then to the I guess the drop shipper.

 Well at least I got a reply which gives me a little confidence.
 
 rgds,

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 13, 2008, 01:05:28 am
I too received e-mails back finally, along with a tracking number. Although the tracking number indicates that the item has not been dropped off yet. At least there is consolation that my e-mails were not going to some black hole. I reserve my comments until I have the package in my hands.


Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 13, 2008, 09:07:53 am
Hi Guys,

It looks like you are getting somewhere in terms of getting your products that u ordered. Can i suggest that you check your freight charges if you choose to use their method of freight. When u get your bill pay particular attention to the weight of the item that you were charged for and what the actual declared weight was when u rec'd the goods. For example i was charged for the equivalent of 20lb and the declared weight when shipped was only 9. This amounted to almost $200 to me as i was shipping it to australia. Secondly please check to make sure you get driver discs and the necessary documentation as this was something i found out after trying to get the fiire station up and running.

FYI the email i rec'd from support was from Adrian as well. He has not replied still to my last email that was sent. In some respects i can't blame him as he is probably the only 'support' person they might have and might be a little busy. ha ha ha.

FYI -> I placed my order and was charged for it and it was alomost 16 working days before it was shipped.

Regards

Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 13, 2008, 11:30:32 am
Like I said before, they haven't actually shipped anything yet. I've already bought into their empty promises once before. So far it is not looking good for them. This could just be more lip service.

My e-mail reads:
Quote
Hello,

My colleague confirmed that your order will be shipped today. Sorry again for the delay.

Best Regards,
Adrian

The google checkout applet sent me the tracking number. USPS reports "The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on August 12, 2008 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date."

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on August 13, 2008, 12:09:28 pm
Yes! all the same in my camp.

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 14, 2008, 01:33:59 am
LOL. Still not shipped by the end of business today. How do these guys stay in business?
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Zaerc on August 14, 2008, 12:31:49 pm
LOL. Still not shipped by the end of business today. How do these guys stay in business?
Well, apparently some people keep sending them money. :P
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 15, 2008, 02:26:31 am
LOL. Still not shipped by the end of business today. How do these guys stay in business?
Well, apparently some people keep sending them money. :P

LOL. Touche. Still nothing as of today.

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on August 15, 2008, 03:00:05 pm
Demus,

 Mine left the US as of last night at 12:25AM. So I guess it is enroute to Canada. It looks like it was scanned into the system at 10am yesterday morning.

 If I was completely new to LMCE and came into it via Fiire, I would certainly be looking at other options. This is a very bad rap for LMCE in my eyes, A new user is going to be quickly turned off from the opening experience if they were not aware that Fiire is not related to the community directly. Just my .00002 cents.

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: tschak909 on August 15, 2008, 03:17:53 pm
oh, trust me. I don't recommend Fiire to anyone who asks. I saw one of our own developers get completely burned on their first generation hardware.

This system is incredibly complex, and anyone who sells it, needs not only to get a license, but also to become intimately involved with the system at a code level, as well as maintaining solid and consistent customer service with their customers. This is an immense challenge, only capable by those who truly believe in satisfying all of the above requirements (and you will sacrifice something of yourself to do it, trust me.)

This is a message to the people at Fiire: Shape up, or we are going to make you irrelevant.

-Thom
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: jondecker76 on August 15, 2008, 03:22:39 pm
Not long ago I added a buyer beware comment in the wiki where the Fiire products were listed, along with a list of links to forum articles detailing why.

They really are giving LMCE a bad rep
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 15, 2008, 04:34:41 pm
Dave,

As of this morning my package has finally shipped. So at least there is that good news.

With regards to your comments I have to agree completely. Fiire is part of this community, whether we like it or not. They have developed aspects of Linux MCE, and are featured in the popular 0704 video. A few weeks ago I had never heard of Linux MCE. Being an avid Linux supporter and developer (Linux kernel contributor of over 10 years) I have an innate trust for all free open source projects. Between various Wiki entries and the Linux 0704 video (which originally turned me on to Linux MCE) I had come to believe that Fiire was an active and positive part of the community.

Part of the fault was undoubtedly my own, as Zaerc pointed out, "some people keep sending them money." A quick search of the forums before my purchase and I would have never dealt with them. So that's my bad.

However that does not shift any blame away from Fiire. An online store at the very least must respond to e-mails in a timely fashion and provide proper order tracking. You must ship product in a timely fashion. You must support the products you sell. Fiire fails miserably at all these tasks.

Lets not forget the Fiire representative in this very thread who was claiming to be the GM. As I uncovered in my dealings with Fiire he was in fact only a salesman. This dishonesty is a clear example of the business practices Fiire employs. And what's worse is that they are operating under the guise of support from the LinuxMCE community. Unfortunately this means the bad service Fiire provides reflects as a black mark on the whole Linux MCE project.

As a community we clearly need to make it more obvious to new comers that they should expect better support from a Hong Kong knockoff outfit. Jon has already taken the initiative on this front, and I will continue it by extending the warnings to the video wiki and anywhere else Fiire is mentioned.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: tschak909 on August 16, 2008, 05:19:42 am
Blake is just a salesman?

-Thom

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 16, 2008, 09:59:19 am
Blake is just a salesman?

-Thom



According to my chats with Adrian. The full log is on page 2, the details about blake about 2/3'ds the way down the log.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on August 16, 2008, 01:33:10 pm
oh, trust me. I don't recommend Fiire to anyone who asks. I saw one of our own developers get completely burned on their first generation hardware.

This system is incredibly complex, and anyone who sells it, needs not only to get a license, but also to become intimately involved with the system at a code level, as well as maintaining solid and consistent customer service with their customers. This is an immense challenge, only capable by those who truly believe in satisfying all of the above requirements (and you will sacrifice something of yourself to do it, trust me.)

This is a message to the people at Fiire: Shape up, or we are going to make you irrelevant.

-Thom


 Thom,

 Do they infact HAVE a pluto liscence? Maybe a LMCE front page tag like ""Fiire BAD"" would be good.  Do they actually contribute to the cause or Just profit from the info we supply here free to help them as well. I know we cannot control who are reading the forums, and I for one would certainly not want to leave a customer of their's out in the cold for help if those users needed us here in the community.

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: totallymaxed on August 16, 2008, 03:16:29 pm
oh, trust me. I don't recommend Fiire to anyone who asks. I saw one of our own developers get completely burned on their first generation hardware.

This system is incredibly complex, and anyone who sells it, needs not only to get a license, but also to become intimately involved with the system at a code level, as well as maintaining solid and consistent customer service with their customers. This is an immense challenge, only capable by those who truly believe in satisfying all of the above requirements (and you will sacrifice something of yourself to do it, trust me.)

This is a message to the people at Fiire: Shape up, or we are going to make you irrelevant.

-Thom


 Thom,

 Do they infact HAVE a pluto liscence? Maybe a LMCE front page tag like ""Fiire BAD"" would be good.  Do they actually contribute to the cause or Just profit from the info we supply here free to help them as well. I know we cannot control who are reading the forums, and I for one would certainly not want to leave a customer of their's out in the cold for help if those users needed us here in the community.

 Dave

My understanding is that Fiire definitely have a commercial agreement with Pluto so that is not in any doubt. As far as I am aware they have very little or no presence here in the forum currently and in fact never have in the past either. I am also not aware of any other contribution they make to the community as I am almost 100% certain they make no code contributions at all.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on August 16, 2008, 04:00:13 pm
oh, trust me. I don't recommend Fiire to anyone who asks. I saw one of our own developers get completely burned on their first generation hardware.

This system is incredibly complex, and anyone who sells it, needs not only to get a license, but also to become intimately involved with the system at a code level, as well as maintaining solid and consistent customer service with their customers. This is an immense challenge, only capable by those who truly believe in satisfying all of the above requirements (and you will sacrifice something of yourself to do it, trust me.)

This is a message to the people at Fiire: Shape up, or we are going to make you irrelevant.

-Thom


 Thom,

 Do they infact HAVE a pluto liscence? Maybe a LMCE front page tag like ""Fiire BAD"" would be good.  Do they actually contribute to the cause or Just profit from the info we supply here free to help them as well. I know we cannot control who are reading the forums, and I for one would certainly not want to leave a customer of their's out in the cold for help if those users needed us here in the community.

 Dave

My understanding is that Fiire definitely have a commercial agreement with Pluto so that is not in any doubt. As far as I am aware they have very little or no presence here in the forum currently and in fact never have in the past either. I am also not aware of any other contribution they make to the community as I am almost 100% certain they make no code contributions at all.

All the best

Andrew

 NICE!!! >:( So they sell their crap to unsuspecting clients, do not offer tech support by the sounds of it and then we support their clients through the forum and the wiki. - Great Business Model.

 NOTE: This is directed at Fiire ofcourse and not to whom have purchased equipment from them. WOW! talk about buyer beware.

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: colinjones on August 17, 2008, 03:24:27 am
Andrew - Fiire were talking about expanding outside N.A. (EMEA, AP, AU/NZ) - seems highly unlikely at this point given they can't even service their N.A. customers, but the leaves the rest of the world outside the UK without any hope of a packaged provider...

Is there ANY chance that CHT might think about expanding at some point in the future? I realise that your business model is heavily dependant on the value-add that you provide complete/configured/integrated systems, and are not just a box dropper, which makes it difficult for you. But would you consider at least providing systems without this service, outside the UK? (I think you mentioned Germany recently, I was thinking furter afield tho!)
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 17, 2008, 06:52:44 am
Hi all,

I am one of those people who didn't do their homework in relation to posts from other people. As a result of the 'lack' of service and support from FIIRE i was almost ready to walk away from this whole environment, but thanks to the efforts and support of poeple in this forum my thoughts have certainly been turned around. Whilst i am not a guru in relation to this product(LMCE) i am certainly happy to recommend it to anyone based on my experiences. I will certainly be pushing the point of not using or purchasing fiire equipment.

I too would be interested to know whether CHT would be interested in expanding into Australia as i certainly believe there is a market for LMCE and believe a good integrator would do exceptionally well.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: totallymaxed on August 17, 2008, 11:48:13 am
Andrew - Fiire were talking about expanding outside N.A. (EMEA, AP, AU/NZ) - seems highly unlikely at this point given they can't even service their N.A. customers, but the leaves the rest of the world outside the UK without any hope of a packaged provider...

Is there ANY chance that CHT might think about expanding at some point in the future? I realise that your business model is heavily dependant on the value-add that you provide complete/configured/integrated systems, and are not just a box dropper, which makes it difficult for you. But would you consider at least providing systems without this service, outside the UK? (I think you mentioned Germany recently, I was thinking furter afield tho!)

Hi Colin,

Yes we are expanding in a number of ways currently. CenterSonic is our brand for the German market... the site is up now here;

http://www.centersonic.com (http://www.centersonic.com)

And we are launching for the German market in October at http://www1.messe-berlin.de/vip8_1/website/MesseBerlin/htdocs/www.ehome-berlin.de/index_e.html (http://www1.messe-berlin.de/vip8_1/website/MesseBerlin/htdocs/www.ehome-berlin.de/index_e.html)

We are also in discussions to take Dianemo into a number of other markets too and we'd be happy to receive approaches from anyone with an interest in setting up either country based distribution, to serve dealer/installers in their local market, or those that are interested in setting up individual businesses as dealer/installers. We have discussions on both of those models underway currently.

It has always been our intention to have these 'local' Dianemo dealer/installers serve the market that is here in the Forum ie the person who wants to do most of the installation themselves but wants to purchase a supported, reliable product with a basic installation included. So instead of shipping product from the UK to wherever the customer is located we would have the local dealer/installer handle that. We think that would work well for all concerned - the dealer gets some incremental business and the customers get a local company and proper aftersales support.

All the best

Andrew
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: grepico on August 19, 2008, 11:00:38 pm
This is an interesting thread to me.  I've ordered 2 servers (one the 7.04 model and one the 7.10 version), a total of 13 MD's (3 of the old ones and 10 of the new prestige boxes) and 3 remotes with 13 dongles.

I was charged correctly, they shipped within the 2-4 weeks they had promised and to date everything is running perfectly.

It is noteworthy that with both of these systems are limited to DVD/CD storage and playback.  No lighting, alarm, video surveillance and the like, strictly store and play DVD's and CD's.

The older equipment is sitting in our home theater showroom connected to a D-Box motion couch and an overhead projector, with 2 MD's connected to LCD TV's in another room.  We've had no problems with the system and it's a big hit with home media people.  We'll be showing that system at our second Home and Garden Show this October. 

With the commercial installation the customer gets promo video's on CD that he rips to the server then plays on 6 TV's throughout his building and he is extremely happy with the system's performance.

As far as tech support:  I only had occasion to contact them twice and in both cases the people I spoke to through their online chat were helpful and solved my issues.

I did have a number of problems when I first started learning the system, but that was clearly my ignorance of Linux, nothing related to the Fiire equipment.  Mostly, it was me "tinkering" with the system to better understand it's capabilities and limitations.

Also, I did have many problems when I tried to install 7.10 on the older equipment, but installing 7.04 from the DVD provided by Fiire was smooth and trouble free.  It seems that the older MD's are NOT compatible with 7.10.

I'm not sure if the reason I've had no trouble is that I'm not doing much with the systems in terms of LMCE's advertised capabilities but sticking to the "out of box" installation with no customizations has been flawless for me so far.  I, myself am not a coder and have no interest in becoming one.  I was looking for a cheaper media server solution to Kaleidescape and I've found it with LMCE.  Fiire, to this point has been a reliable source for hardware and software that keeps our installation/configuration labor down and I'm careful not to advertise/promise features of LMCE that aren't 100% reliable.

With my personal system at home (custom server with 2 Fiire MD's and the Fiire remote), I tinker around and experiment all the time and the system spends more time down than up, but again, that's due to my monkeying around, no reflection on LMCE or Fiire at all.

We plan on upgrading our demo system to the new equipment before our upcoming show and I intend to implement Z-Wave lighting.  I'll post again with my experience.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 28, 2008, 05:13:55 am
My "shipment" arrived today. All they sent was the remotes, all of the other items are missing. What a joke.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: agidi on August 28, 2008, 06:04:20 am
 >:(

my condolences Demus

I think I'm going to have to assemble my system.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Monkgs on August 28, 2008, 07:36:57 am
I really don't think anyone else should ever be fooled into buying from these idiots again. I have updated virtually all text occurrences of Fiire in the wiki to include a buyer beware comment. I have also created a new Fiire wiki page about the company.

http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Fiire (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Fiire)

Feel free to update any mistakes and add your own negative experiences to the "Issues" section.

Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 28, 2008, 08:04:43 am
Demus,

I have added my comments and so forth to the site.

Unfortunately this information was not available when i purchased my fiire station and will hopefully advise other users not to purchase any of their products.


Regards

Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on August 28, 2008, 08:12:19 am
Hi Demus,

I decided to remove my comments and concur with your comments. I think your comments cover off all of the issues.

PS - No one from FIIRE has contacted me yet regarding my overcharging - nor have they responded to my issues regarding driver support.

Regards

Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: hari on September 04, 2008, 06:35:50 pm
My "shipment" arrived today. All they sent was the remotes, all of the other items are missing. What a joke.

sorry to hear that Demus. I've informed Aaron Balbergen from pluto about the ongoing problems with fiire. Maybe that helps. I really wonder why fiire behaves like a "black hole"...

best regards,
Hari
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: Zaerc on September 04, 2008, 07:52:26 pm
Same reason as with Pluto:
(http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/4755/apathypi2.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: rodercot on September 04, 2008, 08:57:25 pm
PRICELESS -  ;D ;D ;D I think that could be the poster for a lot more companies as well...

 Dave
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on September 04, 2008, 11:39:49 pm
Hi All,

Well i sent another email to Fiiire (jeff,jane & Blake) and as of yet no one has bothered to respond to my questions. I have also advised them that i have been seeking legal advice regarding the fraudulent overcharging of freight and the deceptive/misleading way they have acted in my case and in other similar cases. It will be interesting to see whether this prompts someone in their organisation to actually get their arses into gear and do something about the complaints/issues that have been raised by myself and others in this forum and via various commmunications.

It is a sad state of affairs when a consumer has to resort to this to get a resolution one way or another but like many others i have worked hard to get my money like so many others here and don't like getting ripped off.

Rgds

Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: fiirevictim on September 09, 2008, 03:33:26 am
I placed an order with these jokers back in early July and still haven't received my entire order. What I did receive was either severely damaged or non-functional. DO NOT buy anything from Fiire as they are perhaps the biggest joke of a company I have ever encountered.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: aaron.b on September 19, 2008, 01:38:01 am
I'm with Pluto.  Hari pointed out all the negative comments recently about Fiire.  Since Fiire is the main reseller of LinuxMCE hardware, and Fiire pays for the LinuxMCE servers, bandwidth, etc., and had full time developers working on LinuxMCE, and was the first online shop to take a gamble on LinuxMCE, it was obviously a real concern.  First, it should be noted that Fiire is a Google checkout merchant (ID: 640928394967237), and according to Google, Fiire receives an average rating of 4 stars out of 5, which is well above average.  So not all customers are disgruntled.

As far as I could tell Demus was the main person who was really upset and posted derogatory comments in the wiki.  So I sent Demus an email asking him to explain what made him so mad and what he wanted Fiire to do about it.  But I could never get Demus to reply to me.  While there's no excuse for bad customer support, it's definitely in the best interests of the LinuxMCE community if the merchants that stick their neck out and sell LinuxMCE hardware succeed so that more merchants come on board.  So while it's good to point out the problems, and inform consumers, I think the goal should be to fix the problem rather than put them out of business.  If Fiire goes out of business that only means less support for LinuxMCE and it'll be harder to get new merchants to offer LinuxMCE solutions, and thus harder to fund LinuxMCE.

The truth is that Fiire has had a lot of problems the past few months.  Basically, the Via drivers which we licensed from Via (I organized that deal) didn't work with MythTV, and were closed source and binary-only and locked in to a particular kernel.  Via promised over and over and over again to fix them, but never did.

In the end, this presented a really difficult situation for Fiire because Fiire not only had to buy back many, many Fiire stations, which used up their cash, they also had to stop selling the hardware, which cut out their revenue, and they needed to invest money in developing new, custom hardware based on the nVidia graphics chip, rather than Via, after they already invested a lot of money on the Via platform.  The reason for the custom solution was that there was no existing off-the-shelf solution that used an nVidia graphics chip and was thin enough to go behind the TV, which was the main thing Fiire was offering; we all searched and searched trying to find an existing solution so they wouldn't need to build custom hardware.  There were some off-the-shelf solutions based on Intel chips, like the ones from Aopen, but we were never able to get any video drivers except nVidia's to do alpha blending over video.  And it cost a lot and took a lot of work to get the new hardware off the ground.

So when they've got cash out to buy back the old Fiire stations, cash out to pay to develop the new hardware, and no cash in because they stopped selling the Via-based stuff....  Well you get the picture.  They had to choose between keeping the customer support call center (yes, it was an outsourced overseas call center), or keeping the couple engineers they had who were working on the next gen hardware....   And then when they really need to get the new hardware on the market *fast*, and it all boils down to a couple high paid engineers working really long hours, they can't pull the engineers off to answer the phones.  So that explains why there was a period of time when nobody could get through.

Anyway Fiire recently came out with the new products.  Product fulfillment is also now handled by PC Design Lab instead of Polywell.  And, from what I understand, all orders for the new products are in fact now being shipped within 1 week of receipt.  I reviewed the invoices and the shipping notices, and it is true that the new products are shipping out on time, they seem work well, and the fulfillment/shipping is back to normal.

Fiire hasn't been able to startup the call center again, so it still can be hard to reach them for customer support.  However, the shipping/fulfillment side appears to be fine now, and I haven't heard of any new complaints since they switched fulfillment houses to PC Design Lab; I've only heard good things about PC Design Lab.  And at least as far as shipping/order/payment issues, PC Design Lab seems to be really responsive.  Also, I'm not sure the overseas call center was all that necessary in the first place.

I'm sure it will take Fiire a while to fully recover from the Via debacle.  And it hit Pluto really hard too because we organized the whole deal and had other customers besides Fiire that were going to license the software and sell LinuxMCE solutions, but all those deals fell apart all because we couldn't get stable video drivers.

The problem isn't apathy.  Nobody's getting rich here.  We're just a bunch of computer geeks working 14 hour days to make ends meet and trying to get this stuff off the ground.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: tschak909 on September 19, 2008, 05:07:14 am
Thanks, Aaron for the response.

The only real critique for any of this was that none of this was explained sooner.

People tend to assume the worst, when nothing is said.

-Thom
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on September 19, 2008, 12:46:31 pm
Hi Aaron,

I understand/sympathise with the prediciment that fiire are in however it does not explain why no one in their organisation that i have dealt with (Jeff,Blake,Jane,Adrian) has even bothered to respond to my emails (and posts in this forum) to the point that i got the shits and have started paying my legal guys $300 and hour to consider legal options/challenge on their deceptive conductive and fraudulent activity. Whilst this is not the direction in which i want to head - based on my findings to date and the way in which the company has represented itself todate i have a very little opptions and appear to have a very strong case.

 I can only hope fiire take heed to my emails and posts /emails/comments from others and also look at the bigger picture - which is a solution that allows users(novice, intermediate, experienced) a means to purchase an off the shelf solution which provides them the level of satisfaction that they are seeking, whether it be a basic soltution or a true full home solution at a realistic price. On a positive note there are a number of providers which have ilustrated/provided a solution that not only work but also provides the end user an experience that they are more than happy with.

If fiire are happy to accept back my via based fiire station along with others and pay all costs( ie freight, hardware costs) then that makes a different - that indicates to me that they are a reputable company and are worth their grain of salt. What still concerns me at this point in time that no one from Fiire(Jeff,Blake,Jane, etc) is/has  bothered to explain this current situation that adiran has currently posted. I am more than pissed off to say the least and whilst i am new to this forum - i think it is very poor of a company to represent themselves as an entity which can make the experience of a new user 'simplied' by using their product(which is obviously not the case from the feedback from demus, msyself and others).

Again i restate my case, there are a number of people (whom have helped myself and others) who have worked tirelesly to get this project to where it is now and like many members including myself are very greateful for their comments, knowledge and assistance in making the 'users' experience as painless as possible. It seems that there are situations (Fiiire) that occur that sour the experience of users(including msyself) which ultimately undo the work of those whom have a passion and a vision to bring a unique solution which is free and has so much potential to the market place.

I could go on about this but i am sure there are other whom feel as strongly as i do in the way that we have been mistreated. I would dearly liketo hear your experiences good/bad in dealing with fiire.

Regards

Justin


Regards

Justin

 

I only hope you have some influence with fiire themselves as i am looking for a resolution to my 'fraudulent' transaction and hope that they can resolve it by either refunding my money, providing me and other users with and anlternative solution or assist me with a way forward wit the current solution that i have purchased. If they cannot or will not provide asistance in a resolution then i am and will pursue my options further and will find a way to recoup my costs from this company and will certainly assist others in pursuing their resolutions againt a company who will not honour its commitments.

That being said - please do not get me wrong - i am totally out to roll Fiire - i have simply got the shits with a company who claims that they can provide solutions based on linuxmce - which is obviously false and misleading to many user including myself. In addition to this many users have purchased their product in good faith and have either not recivied what was promised or have been provided a product which simply falls well short of the product (ie user manual, drivers, remote, hardware, etc) they ordered.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: bulek on September 19, 2008, 02:16:41 pm
Thanks, Aaron for the response.

The only real critique for any of this was that none of this was explained sooner.

People tend to assume the worst, when nothing is said.

-Thom

I fully agree... It takes few minutes to write such email and inform commmunity what is going on vs. such threads.... I guess we will in majority understand that...

Thanks for response,

regards,

Bulek.
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: aaron.b on September 20, 2008, 12:57:11 am
Justin,

I know for certain that there was no intent to defraud.  We signed contracts with Via to license their drivers, and so Fiire committed and bought a bunch of Via hardware under an OEM agreement.  Everybody was under the expectation that Via's drivers would work as stated in the contract.  Personally, the people I hold most responsible are Via because everybody moved forward based on their promises that their drivers would work well.  But that's beside the point, and doesn't ease your frustration....

One thing you could do is check your credit card statement.  As far as I know, all U.S. customers were actually charged by Polywell, not Fiire.  I know there were many refunds issued; that's what caused this mess in the first place.  Most people who bought the Via-based md's were content to use Xine for media playback and only used MythTV to record from the linuxmce core.  This is what was shown in the LinuxMCE demo video, and that's the reason why you never see MythTV running on the Via boxes.  I've been told the people at Fiire's call center were told to advise customers that Via's drivers don't work with MythTV, and that there was some reference to this on the web.  Of course I don't know if that actually happened since it was, after all, an outsourced, overseas call center.  AFAIK, Polywell and Fiire did issue lots of refunds to everybody who complained about it not running on MythTV.  I was also assured that despite all the returns, everybody who ordered a Via system got a brand new one and that they never tried to pass off a previously returned unit as "new", but instead sold them at a used PC auction (apparently for a fraction of what they paid for them, which is why they lost so much money)...  I do believe that nearly everybody who complained sent back their Via-based station got their refund and there were only a few at the very end that slipped through the cracks.  I know they bought back lots (like hundreds) of Via stations and I've only seen complaints from a couple people who bought right at the time that Fiire stopped selling Via systems from Polywell.  I'm sure there's no genuine attempt from anyone at Fiire to defraud.  The Via boxes that came back were, afaik, all returned to Polywell.

RE: Jeff,Blake,Jane,Adrian not responding....  I know Blake was a U.S. guy and he stayed on after the Via mess and Fiire's financial problems and worked a few months without a salary, but eventually had to leave to support his family.  I assume Jane and Adrian were part of the overseas call center which isn't there anymore.  Jeff, the owner, has been having some health problems so I've had a hard time getting through to him either.  Like I said, the Via driver debacle really hurt them a lot.

Going forward, starting with the new gen of stuff, all the fulfillment and orders are now handled by PC Design Lab.  AFAIK, essentially all the operations are now handled by PC Design Lab, and I've heard only positive things about the service PC Design Lab is giving current customers (CAVEAT: PC Design Lab aren't Linux experts, so the service is limited to order fulfillment type stuff, not LinuxMCE trouble shooting).  Justin, what I wasn't clear on from your post is...  Did you actually return your Via-based Fiire Station and not get your refund?  Or do you still have it, and you didn't get an RMA?  Also, who did you pay?  Fiire or Polywell?
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on September 23, 2008, 03:31:51 am
Hi Aaron,

In relation to your email - that makes me alot more understanding of the current situation. In summary my situation is as follows.

1. I purchased the product via polywell.
2. I believe i paid funds to polywell.
3. I had issues from the time i rec'd it - ie overcharge of $200USD for freight, no drivers, etc.
4. After contacting several people - they all just gave up (ie not respond)
5. No one has contacted me in relation to a refund or anything of that nature. I have been waiting for someone to actually contact me via email or phone regarding getting an rma etc so that i can send the unit back. I still have the unit and want to return it and either get a credit for the full amount (including the freight) or pay the difference of a new unit if need be to have a unit that functions with linuxmce and mythtv.

I am here in Australia and feel that it should not be used as an excuse.

I can see what they are trying to achieve and understand that they may have been 'mislead' to some extent by via.

If you know of someone there that i can talk to or communicate within polywell or fiire i would be more than happy to speak with them and try resolve this issue.

Regards

Justin
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: aaron.b on September 23, 2008, 03:43:52 am
Justin,

Just a crazy thought, but something you might want to consider.  The Fiire Station 1" is the exact same thing as the VMPC VM7700.  But the VM7700 costs around $1,200.  Via gave Fiire a very special price because Via wanted to go into the Linux market and Fiire committed to buy a bunch of them.  Fiire said $1,200 was too much for the Linux hobbiest community, so Fiire made a special deal and was selling them well below the wholesale price of a VM7700.  You bought it for something like $900, right?  If you're not in the U.S., it will probably cost you about $200-300 to ship it back.  Which means that if you get your $900 refund, you'll only net $600-700.  I don't know if the VM7700's are still selling for $1,200, or if there's much of a market for them, but if there is, my guess is you could sell it on eBay or something similar as a "VM7700", not a Fiire Station (cause there's no difference), and get more than the $600-700 you'd net by getting it returned.  Just an idea.

I'll also send you an email so we can discuss off-line.

Aaron
Title: Re: Fiire experience
Post by: justdeb on September 23, 2008, 06:40:14 am
HI Aaron,

I like your idea and will certainly look at it as an option to recoup some of my costs - even if i get half of my money back it will get the wife off my back !!!!

Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions - now that i have a better understanding of what has happened behind the scenes - i am tending to think the ebay option might be best for all concerned.

Rgds

Justin