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RR&Co and Itrain - RR & Co - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 03:43 pm
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John Dew
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Briperran wrote: John Dew wrote:
John in Itrain it uses a facility called actions which works in a very similar way your flagman does for activating many different things you can assign to the action in any position. Version 5 was released at the beginning of the year and with each release it has had more added features and improvements and is becoming a very popular package now probably mainly because of its capabilities it can do now and of course the price is a lot less than railroad & co. I still think Railroad &co looks better graphically her friewald  has made it look very good onscreen i dont know if he is still developing or not thou as i did note on RMweb thread he hates the english now and put the price up for english users. With Itrain the developer in constantly still adding to it he doesn't P about fixing any bugs
and adds improvements   we have had 3 patch improvements already this year with version 5.


Brian


Hi Brian /Peter

Here is my understanding of the background to the RMWEB discussion

Firstly you should know that Herr Freiwald is best described as an "interesting" character. He certainly doesnt suffer fools gladly, in fact on occasion doesnt suffer those who disagree with his opinion on a given topic. :roll:

I dont know whether this is true but I am told that for a time he declined to sell his products to those US states who voted for Trump! :shock:

However "hates the English" is a bit strong. He is certainly opposed to Brexit ( not alone in this!) both in principle (I suspect) and the impact on his business. He believes selling his software to the UK post Brexit will involve uncertainty and a different tax regime. Not wishing to get involved in this he has appointed an agent to handle UK sales. Rather than have his profits diminished by the agency cost he has increased his prices for UK customers.

Not surprisingly a few people got excited about this.....not sure how many were already owners or genuine prospective customers. I chose not to get involved.

For my part I have always found him to be both courteous and helpful.

In terms of ongoing development, Version 9 was issued in 2017 and was a very comprehensive upgrade.....since then there have been about 11 updates...current version is V9.0 B2. We have to buy the version upgrades which typically come every 3-4 years....updates are free.

I was about to close with "now back to running some trains"  but thats not true......its back to shifting the 3 yards of topsoil delivered yesterday otherwise no tomatoes this summer! :lol:

Best wishes

John




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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 03:59 pm
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Petermac
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3 yards of topsoil to shift - in a wheelbarrow ?  Wow - see you next week John, when your back has recovered ................

I ought to say I haven't read the whole of the RMweb thread about this so there may be explanations towards the end ...............

Regarding Herr Freiwald, whilst I'm not an RR & Co user, I had heard on the grapevine than he was, as you put it John, an "interesting" person.

When Brian posted that he had increased the price to the English - I looked at the date (8th May) and thought surely, he can't still be sulking ................ :lol: :lol:

I suspect you're not far off the mark John in saying that, after Brexit, it may not be as easy for him to trade with UK, not, in fact, "the English" but UK only !!  "The English" are everywhere ....................

Of course nobody knows what the situation will be but it is likely that there will be some kind of duty payable on "imports" and that might explain a price hike.  Similarly, if he is selling in UK via a third party, then naturally they'll want a slice of the cake too.

The main protagonist in the thread on RMweb is a chap called "RFS".  That username rings a bell somewhere - anyone know if he's an ex YMR member ?

Incidentally, in defence of Herr Freiwald, we have noticed that several UK companies will no longer send goods to France and/or, and this is extremely annoying, won't accept card payments when a UK bank card holder has an "overseas" address.  This isn't us wanting to pay in Euros, it's our sterling bank cards !!!  Some of the aforementioned companies have only ceased sending to France since the Brexit vote went the wrong way.  Many of course, still do trade with us but we've been surprised that others won't.

 



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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 04:57 pm
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RFS
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I'm the RFS you mention and it's a thread I started, but since then it's had a life of its own and I've just watched!
Herr Freiwald started by refusing to sell to the UK due to the Brexit vote, only relenting a few weeks later. But he changed the pricing to sell through an agency, ie the same method he uses for Switzerland. The price to the UK was now similar to all other non-EU countries but he did this well before we had left the EU which is illegal. 

Today the price for Germany is €499 but for the rest of the EU it's €509 which again is illegal. But for the UK (and all other overseas countries) it's $799 which equates today to to €735 approximately which is a big mark-up. Before we left the EU on 30th January the price for the UK was the same as Switzerland - €574. Seems he doesn't want our business ....




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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 05:31 pm
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Thats a terrible shame he has done that Robert as railroad &co is a great piece of software anyone outside Germany or the EU will be totally put off buying it because of the price hike for the same product.

Lets hope he relents and returns it to equal cost to all.


Peter if you decide to buy it change your name from Peter Mcivor to Piere McEiffel or something otherwise he may charge you the inflated price :mutley :mutley

Brian



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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 08:32 pm
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Correction to my earlier post: it's only the UK and US for whom the price is $799: for everyone else outside the EU, including non-EU countries such as Norway, it's only $649. So he's definitely penalizing us for leaving the EU, and the US for Donald Trump.



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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 08:56 pm
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Petermac
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Briperran wrote: Thats a terrible shame he has done that Robert as railroad &co is a great piece of software anyone outside Germany or the EU will be totally put off buying it because of the price hike for the same product.

Lets hope he relents and returns it to equal cost to all.


Peter if you decide to buy it change your name from Peter Mcivor to Piere McEiffel or something otherwise he may charge you the inflated price :mutley :mutley

Brian

I don't need to worry Brian - I live in France so am a favoured country ............................ :cheers :cheers :cheers :cheers

In any case, if I forget about my English mother, I'm Scottish so maybe I could do a deal with a few haggis and a decent bottle of sigle malt ............ :hmm



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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 09:13 pm
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John Dew
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RFS wrote: Correction to my earlier post: it's only the UK and US for whom the price is $799: for everyone else outside the EU, including non-EU countries such as Norway, it's only $649. So he's definitely penalizing us for leaving the EU, and the US for Donald Trump.



That is bizarre......in Canada it is $649.....he must approve of Trudeau......it very very rare to be able to buy anything in Canada for less than the US price



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 Posted: Sat May 9th, 2020 09:22 pm
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Petermac
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RFS wrote: I'm the RFS you mention and it's a thread I started, but since then it's had a life of its own and I've just watched!
Herr Freiwald started by refusing to sell to the UK due to the Brexit vote, only relenting a few weeks later. But he changed the pricing to sell through an agency, ie the same method he uses for Switzerland. The price to the UK was now similar to all other non-EU countries but he did this well before we had left the EU which is illegal. 

Today the price for Germany is €499 but for the rest of the EU it's €509 which again is illegal. But for the UK (and all other overseas countries) it's $799 which equates today to to €735 approximately which is a big mark-up. Before we left the EU on 30th January the price for the UK was the same as Switzerland - €574. Seems he doesn't want our business ....



I thought RFS rang a bell somewhere Robert, sorry I didn't twig - I ought to have checked our members list .......... :oops:

As John said, he has the reputation of being a "strange one" but I'm sure there must be reasons outside Brexit and Trump for the price differential.

Regarding things being illegal under EU laws, I suspect you'd be hard pressed to find a country that isn't breaking the laws somewhere.  Both France and Spain for example, have illegal Police forces - our "Gendamerie" and Spain's "Garde Civil".  Both are "military police" and therefore illegal when used for civilian law enforcement.  France, until around 10 years ago, required all non-French residents to hold a "Carte de Sejour" - a permit to live in France - again, under the Treaty of Rome, an illegal requirement for European citizens  - all of whom have the right to live and work in any member state they choose.  That right will of course, cease for British nationals after the transition period.

Given these "serious" governmental breaches of European Law, I'm not sure many people would deny Herr Freiwald the right to sell his product at whatever price he chose - within or outside of Europe.  After December of this year, he will be free to please himself in any case.  He's just preparing in advance.  If it stops people buying his product, then that again is his choice.

As I said in my earlier post, UK can be extremely difficult when it comes to trading with France. UK organisations that also have a French branch, charge much higher prices for the same product than they do in UK and insist we buy from their French branch.  A classic example is Amazon.  Compare prices for the same article on amazon.uk, amazon.de, amazon.es and amazon.fr - you'd be amazed - same product, all EU countries ..............!!!



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 Posted: Sun May 10th, 2020 05:06 am
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Interesting thread.   Like John I am on Version 9 of TC having upgraded over time from Version 5.

Looking at the current software I struggle to think of how it could be materially improved and I will certainly consider carefully paying for further upgrades unless I am forced to if it ever becomes incompatible with the operating system on my PC.

I haven't looked at iTrain for many years but that could become a serious contender over time if Herr Freiwald keeps pushing his prices up. 

I suspect that , many software vendors, he may change his pricing model at some point in the not too distant future and move to an annual  subscription model rather than the buy outright or upgrade.



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 Posted: Sun May 10th, 2020 06:50 am
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I have actually noticed over the last 6 months a great deal more user traffic on the Itrain forum so i think a number of people are now not as new users prepared to pay Mr friewalds inflated prices. If you already own the software then its only upgrade costs as long as he keeps them reasonable hopefully.
As i said i Johns Granby thread Railroad &co is still the best one but the gap is closing very fast with functionality i dont believe there is much you can do in Railroad &co  that you cant do with Itrain but as i said Railroad &co to me looks better graphically.

As a cost comparison here is the buy from new list for Itrain  for many the standard version would be enough i use the Plus version myself i dont buy the pro version as i dont require multiple computers to run with it on at the same time and not that bothered about having it on a mobile phone app.

Here is the rough synopsis buying list obviously doesn't list all features that are in the package.




As you can see as a new user the cost is significantly different and the upgrade to new versions is very reasonable for example my cost for moving from Version 4 plus to version 5 plus was 59 euros which i felt was very reasonable.


Brian



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 Posted: Tue May 12th, 2020 11:23 pm
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Colin W
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Just stumbled on this and while not a RR&Co user I couldn't resist adding my bit.


When we moved to Oz 45 years ago we were told "bring everything you can, they'll all cost twice the price here!". People even used to ship cars back and pay for conversions to meet local specs. Canberra was teeming with Volvos brought back by academics returning from their post Docs and sabbaticals. I'm not joking.
Even these days the very large majority of items of my modelling purchases are far cheaper to import. This in part reflects the totally different competitive positions in the two countries, in part the high cost of carrying stock on hand in a market with much lower demand and finally higher costs of labour etc. (forgive the ramble, not applicable to case in hand)

Over time prices for many common items have moved more in line with overseas as global trade has grown and is helped by lower taxes here.

The reasonable position would appear to be for the wholesaler, if that is what Hr F is outside the core EU area, to charge the same ex tax price to all his distributors but then local factors reflecting cost to get product to market in each country will determine local pricing. Sadly "reasonableness" is not a key job requirement for being in business, anything but!

I bet you my annual Office 365 license costs me more than in a lot of other countries for just these reasons.


Are RR&Co prices as shown on his site inclusive or ex VAT for the UK?





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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2020 02:50 am
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No idea if the UK RR & Co price includes VAT or not Colin.  In fact, as far as I'm aware, VAT rates have been standardised throughout the EU and currently, UK is still a member ................

I suspect that is one of the discussions on the Brexit table - will UK be classed as an export market by mainland Europe, and visa versa, in which case, there should be no VAT charged at source - as with yourself buying from UK.

Don't get me started on this new idea of "renting" your software - and "unlimited ink" for printers !!!  You really have to need MS Office to justify their licence fees and this laptop won't allow me to use my old version !  Needless to say, I no longer use Office on this machine.

Having said all that, I have no problem with manufacturers/suppliers charging what they want to,  where they want to  for their products.  Market forces will ultimately dictate the true price of what they're selling.  Without wishing to get political, there are to me, "essential services" where the final prices should be controlled but for most products, let the buyer fix the price.



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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2020 05:11 am
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.This is off topic a bit but if you dont want to pay for microsoft office 365 as you are just a home user or you can use it commercially use Open office its much the same thing does the same job and is totally free as it is open source software.I have used it for donkeys years .

Open office software


Brian



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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2020 06:43 am
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Colin W
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Briperran wrote: This is off topic a bit but if you dont want to pay for microsoft office 365 as you are just a home user or you can use it commercially use Open office its much the same thing does the same job and is totally free as it is open source software.I have used it for donkeys years .

Open office softwareBrianOT only slightly, it is software after all. :twisted:

You get comfortable with what you know and as I've been consulting until recently and all my various models are in Excel in a PC environment, that's my scene. Besides I get 5 licenses to share around with my extended family, for which I earn some invisible "Brownie Points" and free 1hr pm of O/S calls to chase up all those problem UK model suppliers I have, plan those holidays I wasn't able to take and then pursue my refunds!

Detour over.





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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2020 08:25 am
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Petermac
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I too like MS Office and have used it for years, both in a work and home environment however, I'm becoming a bit of a grumpy old git (Liz would query "am becoming" and substitute with "have become") and now hate MS telling me what I can and can't do with a product I've paid for - their Windows OS.

When they decided to rent Office, a quick calculation told me I'd have paid an absolute fortune for it over the years - far in excess of it's value to me, so I now use Libre Office (originally suggested to me by Sol of this parish).  It's near enough to MS Office for me to get on well with it.

I do occasionally have a conflict because I have been unable to completely ditch Office from this laptop so, from time to time, it tries to open it rather than the Libre Office version .....................



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Petermac wrote: I too like MS Office and have used it for years, both in a work and home environment however, I'm becoming a bit of a grumpy old git (Liz would query "am becoming" and substitute with "have become") and now hate MS telling me what I can and can't do with a product I've paid for - their Windows OS.

When they decided to rent Office, a quick calculation told me I'd have paid an absolute fortune for it over the years - far in excess of it's value to me, so I now use Libre Office (originally suggested to me by Sol of this parish).  It's near enough to MS Office for me to get on well with it.

I do occasionally have a conflict because I have been unable to completely ditch Office from this laptop so, from time to time, it tries to open it rather than the Libre Office version .....................


Same here ,I have used Libre Office for years.....some friends and family still use Office....they can open my documents and spreadsheets and vice versa



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 Posted: Wed May 13th, 2020 04:53 pm
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Hi all

As a dinosaur, I view things like computer controlled trains and digital sound from a distance.

When they were first launched, DCC systems seemed to be quite expensive and in the world of digital chips, this doesn't seem to have changed much.  What has happened is that the chips do more.  They now give you sound - loads of different sounds, whether you want them or not.  I am not sure that I want shovelling sounds and guard's whistles when the same chip might struggle to properly simulate the sound of the engine slowing to a stop.  Many a YouTuber posts videos of his sound chipped locos slowing to a stop at a platform whilst simply chuffing at a slower rate!!

The computer controlled trains market appears to exhibit some of the same trends.  The more mature that the software gets, the more it will do and the more the users demand of it.  This is certainly true of software like AnyRail which I use a lot.  Version 6 is much more sophisticated than the product I first bought 10 years ago.
The bottom line is that we pays our money and we takes our choices.

I have stayed out of digital for cost reasons.  I can afford to convert my fleet to digital sound but the amount of money required to do so is above what I am prepared to pay for the benefits I perceive it to bring.  Perhaps paying for RR&Co and getting to see the layout run itself is "value for money".  That is the true decision.

Finally, I agree with the idea of free markets.  If the French are preapred to pay more for something than the Americans, the price will be higher - its a supply and demand thing.  Herr Friewald seems to be cranking that handle.

Barry

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