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post #1 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I just phoned up Crestron to ask them if I could get access to their ftp site to download their software. They said absolutely no - that their software is only available to authorized dealers and programmers. I asked her why someone would know that when they bought their equipment it was essentially useless unless you were willing to pay and forever continue to pay certified programmers to make changes, and she ignored my comment and just repeated, "it's our software, we can do whatever we want with it". I asked her how should would feel if she bought a car and then discovered that you had to have it serviced at the dealer where you bought it, no other options possible. She ignored my comment and basically hung up on me. Pretty rude, really.

I'm wondering if what Creston is doing is even legal? I can't think of any other company that has products where they do not make available all the items required to use the product. Creston is selling something that absolutely requires software to make it useful, and they do not offer (either free or for a price) access to that software to the owner of the product. I doubt this is clear to most people who buy Crestron systems. I would think you could make some sort of defective product argument, here.

In other industries, I'm pretty sure this sort of practice has been determined to be illegal. For example, with automobiles, the car makers are required to make all manuals and even service equipment available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is required because of course car makers would otherwise create cars that only their dealers could service. As cars have become more complex, in fact, some car makers did try to limit access to the specialized equipment required to properly service them, to channel more business to their authorized dealers, but if I recall correctly this practice was determined to be illegal.
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post #2 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 01:13 PM
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I'm not sure about the legality of your encounter, but I am sure that this will irritate possible customers. I would let her supervisor know about her rudeness. Even if she is correct, she certainly should not treat a potential customer that way

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post #3 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 01:28 PM
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I don't think it's illegal. A lot of specialized equipment comes with proprietary software. As long as the equipment is only distributed through factory authorized dealers, then programmers must be factory authorized. Sometimes the dealers have to buy specialized tools from the factory just to diagnose and service the equipment. They aren't always happy about this either. What I hate even more is when equipment manufacturers diliberately remove the part numbers or specs from internal components so you can only order replacement parts through them rather than thir suppliers. If this upsets you, the simplest solution is simply not to use their equipment.
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post #4 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 03:59 PM
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Her response is absolutely polite compared to some of the responses I got from the lighting control companies a few years ago. It was made clear that an individual such as myself could not possibly have the technical skills to install such equipment and a sub 5000sf home could not possibly have a need for lighting control!

Go check out CQC. It's a pretty capable system now, and it gets better month by month. If you already have some Crestron gear, Yahoo used to have some groups that were helpful.

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post #5 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 04:29 PM
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Most people who buy Crestron systems won't need the software. They'll pay the programmer to make changes. Then again, they aren't buying 'Crestron systems.' They're buying custom designed and installed systems the utilize Crestron parts and software.

I think you need to go to the person who sold you the Crestron equipment and demand that they supply the software, or return the equipment. Crestron has never been designed for the DIY'er in mind, and likely they will never put out an equipment line to accomodate that market.

Again, we're discussing Crestron as if it's just a bunch of parts. A substantial portion of any Crestron system is the design of the components and the programming. Company A, with a similar Crestron and source component parts list, will implement a much different finished system than Company B with the same exact parts.

I don't know how you've come to the conclusion the Crestron is hostile, after one phonecall to one person in a company of many hundreds of people. I think you just have a bone to pick with them because you don't want to pay the money to a CI. I'm sorry you feel that way. I think you're a little hostile because you can't have what you want.

Good luck in your search for software and shopping Ebay.
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post #6 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 06:16 PM
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Not to mention that the programmers have taking weeks of classes to learn how to program these very complex systems. And even after the classes they are just begginers that need assistance. Crestron relies on skilled programmers for the succesfull programming of their equipment. They dont want the DIY calling them for assistance when a skilled installer/programmer could have easily got the job done.

I know if you want to pay the money to go to classes for AMX, (I think it is 2 weeks) they will give you the software to program the AMX systems. I am not sure if Crestron does this, but I would guess they do.

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post #7 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 06:38 PM
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I have less problem with this than the fact that so many companies will not even sell parts, much less service manuals and schematics, to fix their products when out of warranty. At least with Crestron, the dealers know this to be the case and usually have the integrity to not someone with the expectation that they would DIY. I still think that they should make it available, but it is a very specialized product for a very specialized market that takes a lot of training and time to become prepared to even sell, much less install and program.

OTOH, Joe Customer buying a PDP from Sam's should reasonably expect to be able to get it fixed a year down the road without having to ship it back to the vendor or trash it.

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post #8 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmcjo
Not to mention that the programmers have taking weeks of classes to learn how to program these very complex systems. And even after the classes they are just begginers that need assistance. Crestron relies on skilled programmers for the succesfull programming of their equipment. They dont want the DIY calling them for assistance when a skilled installer/programmer could have easily got the job done.

I know if you want to pay the money to go to classes for AMX, (I think it is 2 weeks) they will give you the software to program the AMX systems. I am not sure if Crestron does this, but I would guess they do.
No, Crestron does not do this. In any case, I do not understand what the issue is. I am not asking Crestron to provide free support, I am just asking them to make available the software necessary to use their product if someone requests it. The logic that you give could be applied to any reasonably complex technological product. Take a Cisco router, or a Windows PC. These are not simple to use devices. Microsoft and Cisco do not provide free hand-holding for anyone who calls them. You have to pay them for this kind of support. Crestron should do the same.
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post #9 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:03 PM
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Crestron is not a DIY product for 99.999% off the population. If someone bought the product without asking questions about support then too me that sounds like a mistake. If the party who sold the product told the buyer otherwise then take the issue up with the seller.

Sorry. Do your research. I don't want to be on hold for hours for tech support because someone didn't understand what they are buying. We all make mistakes in life. Move on.

You could talk to your local dealer about the software.
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post #10 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:10 PM
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Oh! I'm trying to find on Crestrons Web site where it says DIY are welcome to our software. Took me all of about 45 seconds to find the paragraph below.


OTHER LIMITATIONS

You must be an Authorized Dealer of Crestron products, Crestron Authorized Independent Programmer, Authorized Consultant, A+ University Partner, or GSS Government Partner to install or use the Software.


http://www.crestron.com/software_lic...Easp&returnqs=
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post #11 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:15 PM
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I buy and sell stocks. If I buy an IBM stock, am I allowed to go to the headquarters and knockdown my portion of the IBM building to take home? No. But I own a part of the company. I guess I should find a lawyer as well. Sounds pretty silly.
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post #12 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
Oh! I'm trying to find on Crestrons Web site where it says DIY are welcome to our software. Took me all of about 45 seconds to find the paragraph below.


OTHER LIMITATIONS

You must be an Authorized Dealer of Crestron products, Crestron Authorized Independent Programmer, Authorized Consultant, A+ University Partner, or GSS Government Partner to install or use the Software.


http://www.crestron.com/software_lic...Easp&returnqs=
Sure it is easy to find if you are looking for it. But why would someone buying the product assume that to be the case?
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post #13 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siegeld
Sure it is easy to find if you are looking for it. But why would someone buying the product assume that to be the case?

Why would you assume it is the case?

Crestron actually had the software in the open but too many people were having issues with either a poor dealer or taking too many calls from angry people who were DIY or clients that had a poor programming install. Crestron is trying to weed out the bad and keep their rep up.

I believe that is all the issue is.
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post #14 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
Why would you assume it is the case?

Crestron actually had the software in the open but too many people were having issues with either a poor dealer or taking too many calls from angry people who were DIY or clients that had a poor programming install. Crestron is trying to weed out the bad and keep their rep up.

I believe that is all the issue is.
I see. I can see some logic in that, but it is too bad they could not come up with a better solution. Many companies actually have a similar issue. Have you ever configured a Cisco router? They are amazingly complex, probably more complex than a Creston, and people without training can and often do screw things up. Still, Cisco lets anyone buy and install them. People who really care, of course, hire Cisco trained specialists to help them get the job done properly, or pay to take Cisco training courses. I really don't think Cisco's reputation has suffered.
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post #15 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:37 PM
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Maybe that is why CISCOs stock growth has been flat for the past 5 years. Crsetron is a private compnay and has grown like 40% every year for the past 6 years as far as I can tell.

Dave
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post #16 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
Maybe that is why CISCOs stock growth has been flat for the past 5 years. Crsetron is a private compnay and has grown like 40% every year for the past 6 years as far as I can tell.

Dave
Are you aware that the market cap of Cisco is $127 billion dollars? Yes, it's stock price has been flat for 5 years, but it is still something like one of the top 20 companies in market cap size in America today. Top 20.
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post #17 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:51 PM
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I think lots of these reactions are a bit knee jerk...on both sides. Crestron actually did have their software publicly downloadable for years and I was disappointed when they discontinued that. I've never had any problem with the DIY that want to give it a shot...99.9% of the population will open the software and after attempting to grasp it their brain will explode anyhow :D. I am told the reason Crestron changed the policy was that they had too many people picking up used equipment and such off of Ebay (or otherwise) and then attempting to program it themselves unsuccessfully as well as trying to get free support. Also lots of unqualified uncertified people posing as "programmers". It was part of Crestron's effort along with CAIP to increase the quality of programmers and reduce the number of improperly set up systems. Of course it may have also partially been to make dealers happy.

siegeld, did you purchase Crestron equipment? If so, I assume it was used?

IF you were treated rudely there is no excuse for that but I must tell you I have never encountered any company as polite and proactive as a whole as the folks at Crestron. As for their policy they have every legal right to set it....whether it is "the best" policy is another matter. I have mixed feelings as I see both sides of the issue. The easier the software is to obtain the more people you end up thinking they can program it themselves and the FACT is most will fail and then Crestron ends up with unhappy screaming customers. Heck, the truth of the matter is that even many of the Crestron dealers out there with programmers certified to one level or another aren't as good as they should be. Most who have passed advanced training are pretty good I think. At last count I think there are only 200 or so in the entire US that are certified advanced...or something along those lines. Don't quote me on that. It's the number one of the trainers gave me.
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post #18 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
I think lots of these reactions are a bit knee jerk...on both sides. Crestron actually did have their software publicly downloadable for years and I was disappointed when they discontinued that. I've never had any problem with the DIY that want to give it a shot...99.9% of the population will open the software and their brain will explode anyhow :D. I am told the reason Crestron changed the policy was that they had too many people picking up used equipment and such off of Ebay (or otherwise) and then attempting to program it themselves unsuccessfully as well as trying to get free support. Also lots of unqualified uncertified people posing as "programmers". It was part of Crestron's effort along with CAIP to increase the quality of programmers and reduce the number of improperly set up systems. Of course it may have also partially been to make dealers happy.

siegeld, did you purchase Crestron equipment? If so, I assume it was used?

IF you were treated rudely there is no excuse for that but I must tell you I have never encountered any company as polite and proactive as a whole as the folks at Crestron. As for their policy they have every legal right to set it....whether it is "the best" policy is another matter. I have mixed feelings as I see both sides of the issue.


siegeld
Actually, it is not even my Creston equipment. Someone I know bought a home that has some Crestron stuff in it. I'm a very experienced software engineer and was asked if I could help this person with the system, totally for fun - as a hacking project. I thought it would be interesting, and also that I would learn something while I was at it.

I would guess that a major reason for this change was, as you suggest, to keep the dealers happy and to shut down the used equipment market.
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post #19 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
Maybe that is why CISCOs stock growth has been flat for the past 5 years. Crsetron is a private compnay and has grown like 40% every year for the past 6 years as far as I can tell.
Dave my friend, I hope that wasn't a serious response.
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post #20 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 09:02 PM
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Na! Having a great day! CISCO is not a bad company what so ever(mostly good techs). The stock just isn't going anywhere! :D
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post #21 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 09:05 PM
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siegeld

I would contact the company who programmed the original system to see if they will work with you. Be very very nice and accept any responsibility they may toss your way........
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post #22 of 115 Old 04-21-2006, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siegeld
Actually, it is not even my Creston equipment. Someone I know bought a home that has some Crestron stuff in it. I'm a very experienced software engineer and was asked if I could help this person with the system, totally for fun - as a hacking project. I thought it would be interesting, and also that I would learn something while I was at it.

I would guess that a major reason for this change was, as you suggest, to keep the dealers happy and to shut down the used equipment market.
Even if you got the software you wouldnt be able to open the programming from the processor. You would need the original program as the processor stores a compiled file. so you would actually need the software and file before you could do anything

Contact the installing company and see what they are willing to do for you.

We have worked with a client a few years back and actually gave them the software(when it was available to everyone) as they were software engineers with Oracle, they called our lead programmer 6-7 times a day trying to figure it out, full of questions and confused....we had to ask them to not call anymore and just have us program it for them or we would just start charging them our normal programming rates for phone time....they decided to just have us do it.
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post #23 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 04:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
I think lots of these reactions are a bit knee jerk...on both sides. Crestron actually did have their software publicly downloadable for years and I was disappointed when they discontinued that. I've never had any problem with the DIY that want to give it a shot...99.9% of the population will open the software and after attempting to grasp it their brain will explode anyhow :D. I am told the reason Crestron changed the policy was that they had too many people picking up used equipment and such off of Ebay (or otherwise) and then attempting to program it themselves unsuccessfully as well as trying to get free support. Also lots of unqualified uncertified people posing as "programmers". It was part of Crestron's effort along with CAIP to increase the quality of programmers and reduce the number of improperly set up systems. Of course it may have also partially been to make dealers happy.

siegeld, did you purchase Crestron equipment? If so, I assume it was used?

IF you were treated rudely there is no excuse for that but I must tell you I have never encountered any company as polite and proactive as a whole as the folks at Crestron. As for their policy they have every legal right to set it....whether it is "the best" policy is another matter. I have mixed feelings as I see both sides of the issue. The easier the software is to obtain the more people you end up thinking they can program it themselves and the FACT is most will fail and then Crestron ends up with unhappy screaming customers. Heck, the truth of the matter is that even many of the Crestron dealers out there with programmers certified to one level or another aren't as good as they should be. Most who have passed advanced training are pretty good I think. At last count I think there are only 200 or so in the entire US that are certified advanced...or something along those lines. Don't quote me on that. It's the number one of the trainers gave me.

Good post. Balanced perspective. I agree that I prefer open access to documentation and tech support materials, but I can see Crestron's view.

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post #24 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson

You must be an Crestron Authorized Independent Programmer, Authorized Consultant, to install or use the Software.
This is the part I would look into if I wanted to just have access to the software. How does one become an Authorized Independent Programmer? I would guess through some training classes that you would have to pay for.

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post #25 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cmcjo
This is the part I would look into if I wanted to just have access to the software. How does one become an Authorized Independent Programmer? I would guess through some training classes that you would have to pay for.
In the past Crestron has evaluated personal requests by a case by case basis. Having an friendly relationship with a local dealer helps ones case.
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post #26 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 08:43 AM
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I don't really see the debate here as being whether or not Crestron should or shouldn't provide their software to non-dealers. IMHO, they can run the company how they see fit. The real issue is the customer service they extended to the end user. IF it was an honest question as it appears to be, and the OP didn't know their policy, Crestron should've had a much better attitude.

Sure you can argue that it was just one person at a company of hundreds, or that maybe she was just having a bad day, but I'm sorry, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this. The customer is ALWAYS right. The real issue here should be how much NEGATIVE EXPOSURE CRESTRON should receive over this.

Am I over-doing it on the CAP LOCK AGAIN? Seriously though, if it were my company, that employee would receive a written or simply be terminated, depending on the employee's tenure and track record. Stories like this make me think twice about Crestron and they should know about it!

Are there even any Crestron representatives on this website other than dealers? Actual employees?

End of rant. :D

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post #27 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 09:05 AM
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After rereading the original post I wonder how much I would take. I mean do you really believe the original post is an ture word for word transcript. If that original post is pushy and slams Crestron to a Crestron employee do I think there is more to that conversation we are not reading.


I'm not reading that 'I nicely asked about the software and their rules' and they hung up on me.......
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post #28 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by David Richardson
AI Limited

After rereading the original post I wonder how much I would take. I mean do you really believe the original post is an ture word for word transcript. If that original post is pushy and slams Crestron to a Crestron employee do I think there is more to that conversation we are not reading.


I'm not reading that 'I nicely asked about the software and their rules' and they hung up on me.......
David,

For the record, I actually was very, very nice. I explained the situation, and she quickly told me it was out of the question to get the software. I then politely - and this is really the case, I was very polite, told her I felt this was not fair, and that all I wanted to do was to use equipment that I already had. She said there was nothing to do, and then she said something like 'look, I don't set the policies here, and in any case, I think the policies are fine. I've worked at Crestron for four years and the company is doing really well, so why should we make acceptions for you.' I then asked her if she could give me the name of someone who could possibly make an exception, and she said that was pointless, no one would make an exception. Eventually she told me to send them email. This really was what happened. I was not agressive, but I was persistant. After all, I would like the software and I saw no reason to not probe at her a bit.

Frankly, I wonder why you are being so agressive with me and assuming the worst? I really don't think my request is unreasonable. Just as a sanity check, by the way, I contacted AMX to see if they would make their software available to me, and the person who took the call quickly said yes. No problems at all. Moments later I was in their download section of their web site. Really, if Creston was more accomodating I would easily generate substantial business for them and more business for the dealers/independent installation folks. I'm actually in the process of building a vacation home which I was planning on getting someone to design and install a full Crestron system, but before I did that I wanted to make sure Crestron would allow me to tinker with the system in the future if I wanted to.

David
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post #29 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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By the way - I would not report her or this incident to the company in the hope of getting her in any kind of trouble. Maybe she was just having a bad day. I agree that customers or potential customers should not be treated the way I was treated, but I'll assume that maybe she was just a bit off when I spoke with her. Who knows? The point is, though, that it must be the case that Crestron has a policy to not accommodate, and she just, in a clumsy way, was telling me this. AMX, as I said in my previous post, clearly has a policy to be more flexible.
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post #30 of 115 Old 04-22-2006, 09:49 AM
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I'm not speaking for Crestron, but I know the company very well. I've 'lived' Crestron for the past 6 years. I'm a nut case! So I see the debate without both sides to every story. Looking at your fist post again you are pretty mad from what I can tell. I would be as well if I didn't achieve what I wanted. We are all human (more or less!) and react differently to each other. Do I believe a phone rep was wrong to hang up on you. Yes. Can I understand it. Yes.
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