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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:44 am 
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I spoke to the guy on the phone today. He is adamant that the puzzle will be released though it is still a very long way off. I asked if he could at least provide some prototype photos but he said there aren't any prototypes yet. I get the impression that he was hoping to use pre-order money to manufacture the puzzle but only received 27 pre-orders.
I still believe he is genuine and once again showed knowledge of puzzles and the puzzle community. My only concern is the business model and whether he is actually able to do what he plans. He is certain he can but I believe it depends on how his other bigger business interests get on.
I am sorry if people ordered because of my post and now regret doing so.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:50 am 
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Thanks for the update, Tony. I've been skeptical from the beginning but optimistic enough to pre-order. It sounds like he needs a partner / investor to see the project through. Did you get the impression from him that he was looking for something like that? Pre-orders would only cover costs if he were reaching a big audience and our community isn't that. Kickstarter might be a good place for him but without a prototype I think their new rules wouldn't allow his project.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:30 am 
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I wrote last February
Konrad wrote:
I got the same email as Gus and Tony on February 9th.
I wanted to order and pay via Paypal.
The payment would go to "Just Florida Direct Ltd ".
Does this company name not look a bit suspicious?

Konrad
I got suspicious enough to step back from any preorder.
I hope for you, who have preordered it, that the puzzle will become real. The whole history doesn't look very promising, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:59 am 
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bmenrigh wrote:
It sounds like he needs a partner / investor to see the project through. Did you get the impression from him that he was looking for something like that?

I know he had a loan application turned down but I also know he is involved in other pretty big businesses. I personally don't like the whole borrowing thing for any business (or anything else for that matter). But I guess that's why I am neither rich nor bankrupted.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:35 pm 
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I did a pre-order many months ago, i was looking for the Mad-Triad and Handy (Pocket Version of Mad-Triad) and then i end up by pre-ordering an Astrolabacus too... I had received very fast my Mad-Triad and Handy.

Now after so much time (almost a year) to discover that there is no prototype is really a "SAD-TRIAD". Especially because we were informed that would be also the fancy "plated" versions...

Hope that he can refund people if that could not be more than a project on the paper.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:39 pm 
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szykman wrote:
Now after so much time (almost a year) to discover that there is no prototype is really a "SAD-TRIAD". Especially because we were informed that would be also the fancy "plated" versions...

He says he still plans to and went into details about other versions including having more rows.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:03 pm 
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I made a pre order a few months ago. Thanks for the update. As for deciding to order, that was my choice and I would not place blame upon you. From 1 of 27.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:05 pm 
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Geek1 wrote:
As for deciding to order, that was my choice and I would not place blame upon you.


Same here, I would have pre-ordered no matter what. Hopefully it gets made. I just wish he never offered a date until he was closer to completion.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:10 pm 
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darryl wrote:
Geek1 wrote:
As for deciding to order, that was my choice and I would not place blame upon you.


Same here, I would have pre-ordered no matter what. Hopefully it gets made. I just wish he never offered a date until he was closer to completion.

-d

Agreed. Transparency about the process is much better. I'm glad Tony is helping to provide some.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 2:13 am 
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In my opinion, it is time for someone to answer the question and let this subject header will I.

Astrolabacus not coming back. :(

It has been almost a year and a half after I had paid for it. Since then there have any proofs that the recipient of money has started implementation of the project. Not a single photo or video, just the promise that has been postponed several times.

Now, about a month ago, I demanded that he provide proof in the form of a photo or video of puzzles or get me my money. I repeated my request several times, but in return receive brief responses with transfer of answers, I waited and kept repeating the request to return the money, and at the end he even stopped responding to my emails.

Perhaps he really had the intention to make a puzzle, but it appeared the financial or other problems, because of which he could not do it. But it has been a long time turn out and he had to announce this and promise to return all the money, and he began changes dates, time stretch, and now no longer says the puzzle.

I believe that it is time to take every possible means to return their money. Wait and listen to an empty promise, in my opinion, useless.

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Last edited by Philipp13 on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:07 am 
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Guys, I've just had a very quick response from John after I informed him of the above post. He is still very positive about producing the Astrolabacus, and was prepared to go into quite a bit of detail about why the project has been delayed, and I have a tendency to believe what he says. So I have not yet lost all hope.

Regarding Philipp13's issues, he says he will reply to him personally, but I don't think this will assuage his fears.

I must admit, that even now, I accept that from the very beginning paying the money up front was a bit of a gamble, a gamble which I might still lose.

<edit>
John has given me permission to post an excerpt from his email to me:
John@Coolmasks wrote:
I'm in the middle of a legal case, that is finally coming to a close, trying to get money back from a company who owes me rather a lot (enough to finance the Astrolabacus project three to five times). It's been going on since Nov '08, & I won the first stage myself last Oct ('12), without a (expensive) lawyer. Winning the final stage is now not too far away.

This is holding up the project, & was estimated for completion in Feb'12 - hence the astrolabus production delay We are proceeding, etc, as soon as I get return of my funds. The case is very big, consuming. & stressful, & therefore a lot of other things in my life are now on hold or have slowed down (business, creative & academic, & some personal), until it's done. The file is large (1.3kg of the full case sheets were sent to the Financial Ombudsman in Feb '12) & complex, so I occasionally forget about other things, as you can appreciate. The Astrolabacus project will go be completed, but let me deal with this company, to enable such.

Of course, the scenario may occur that I don't win the final stage (very unlikely), & get return of that sum & damages. The contingency for this will mean that the puzzle project will proceed thankfully, but at a slower rate (using funds from my other businesses).
</edit>

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:32 pm 
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After an active correspondence John returned my money.

More claims to it I do not have.

Thank you, John.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:33 am 
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Message from John, at http://www.coolmasks.biz.

Firstly, please accept my apologies in both the production delay, & also in posting info or updates on this forum.

The Astrolabacus project is still proceeding, but before I go into details, I would like to say several things:

(1) Thank Tony Fisher, for his time & understanding, when we spoke again in November '12, while I was driving across Yorkshire (for a much needed 4 day holiday, surfing in the winter North Sea).
(2) Thank 'Gus' for his emails yesterday & today, & for his very supportive forum remarks, & for posting part of my email to him onto the forum, explaining some detail as to the project delay.
(3) Thank my full payment/deposit clients (all 29 of you), for your massive patience, & trust in me. I'd also like to assure you all not to worry.

Ok, as Gus pasted my email this morning, & here's more:

Setting up this interesting project is expensive, in terms of design, tooling & manufacture, & also a slow process of (minimum 4 months).
Due to the recession, I have chosen the worst time since the 1930's to expand my businesses, particularly into something obscure & of limited & slow sale volume potential. But, I like challenges, & I am not scared to venture into projects with limited appeal, that take several years to show profit (despite my bank manager's fears !). To finance this costly project takes money. Currently, in the UK, there are no loans, overdrafts, remortgages or credit card balance increases, so getting cash together takes time. In the North West, where I'm based (between Liverpool & Manchester), 20% of retail units (shops) are closed & boarded up, 20% are now charity or pound (£1, or as the American’s say, Thrift or Dollar Stores) shops, & the other 60% of retailers have very worried expressions on their faces.

Most of my assets are property (plus the mail order & travel agency stuff), which do generate monthly income, but are currently of no use to raise any significant business project finance, via a remortgage quickly. The banks will not lend against property here, as they are too frightened that property values will drop, & also the loan payer will default. Therefore, fully financing the project via my other businesses is slow.

Also, we have only had sales of 29 Astrolabacus clients. That, obviously, means that funds from those mere 29 clients hardy assists the financing of the project, & so I have to raise them slowly elsewhere.

I've also secured three UK government manufacturing project grants, that will work as credits against the project cost, which I'm pleased about. With the recession, I have been forced by our bank to operate on a zero overdraft (from one of £150K in '07, when we were in the property sales business), irrespective of how well we do, or how much potential a devised project has (such as the puzzles). In 2007, I could have raised the money for the puzzle manufacture in 5 minutes, with a quick phone call. Times are different now.

For example, in August'10, I set up the mask business again, via ebay & then the first web site http://www.coolmasks.biz , & sold an impressive £30K of stock in just the first three months. I immediately met with my bank manager to discuss expansion ideas (puzzles, puppets, masks - all with exclusives, that we own & control the patent/copyright, manufacturing process, production & supply), & he said, verbatim "We're not allowed to give overdrafts, John. What if nothing sells ?", which was shocking & useless.

So, it's taking time to get moving, while I loan/filter funds from my other businesses (property rental http://www.justflorida.com, & the masks http://www.coolmasks.biz).
Additionally, & this is the very good & positive news, I have two large & important legal cases against companies who owe me money, both of which I've been fighting alone, without a (fee draining) lawyer. One has been ongoing since Nov'08, & I expected to finalise it in Feb'12 - hence the initial dates for completion of the Astrolabacus (ie early ’12). The funds from each are sufficient to fully finance this project 3 to 5 times. In Oct '12, I won the first stage of one of the legal cases (hence the short holiday, that I was on my way to, as I spoke with Tony), after a stressful, time consuming, & emotionally draining year. This case has been with the UK's Financial Ombudsman since Feb'12, & the file I sent them was a whopping 1.3kg of paper (emails, faxes, letter, phone conversation notes, etc). It is still under investigation, with resolution & completion probably over the next few months, hopefully. I cannot talk about its details, but it will inevitably be in the national press, or television, when it’s finished.

Consequently, I am dependent upon this, for faster completion of the project. Otherwise, using funds from my other businesses is possible, but slow. I am very positive about winning the final stage of the case (& getting my money back, plus damages & compensation), but am extremely focussed on it, & therefore very tired. Currently, I am reviewing the file, compiling it in a format for my lawyer to work on, & take over from me. Because of its size, complexity & importance, it took me a month, last year for the Financial Ombudsman, & has taken me all of this month to update, & I’m still not finished. My bank manager (despite refusing me any overdraft or loans !) has encouraged me to proceed with the case, & believes that it will be an out of court settlement, & class action (meaning the investigation I've done, will bring other similar people in, against the company).

So, what’s next: me getting my money back from that company, so we can get the puzzles (all 5 colour versions: Standard, Sports Comm', Two-Colour, Chrome 100 Gold, & Chrome Silver) here, & dispatched to customers ! Then move onto phase two, being the structural variation on the Astrolabacus.

Thanks for your patience, & please email or call me, if you have any questions. Again, bear with me, if I don’t reply in detail, while the legal case is unfinished.

Incidentally, the paypal business name is Just Florida Ltd (because we used it, initially, to take paypal payments, for the Florida rental business), & now paypal won't change it to the new company name. So, I'm stuck with it.

Also, regarding the forum poster, Phillipp13: there has been correspondence between us, & the issue resolved.

John
http://www.coolmasks.biz
http://www.coolpuzzles.biz
http://www.justflorida.com
& soon http://www.coolpuppets.biz


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:13 am 
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I'd love to help but I only have $20.00 USD to spare and I know its not a lot to speed up the process but anything will help right? Here's how I look at things for the condition that he is in or unless I'm missing something. Please tell me if I am missing anything.

Its like this if some people chip a little amount or what ever then we mite have it faster or we could weight that much longer.

I guess what I'm trying to say is. How soon do you want these puzzles? I want these puzzles very soon because I love them.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:27 am 
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Darren, thanks for your comments, which are really appreciated. Don't worry, as I will fund & complete the project, it's just taking longer than I anticipated. Thanks. John www.coolmasks.biz.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:00 am 
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I remember contemplating pre-ordering one of these, but decided to wait until February when they were released to get one. I just popped onto TP to see what's been going on, saw this thread, and thought to myself "Oh cool! These should be out soon," only to realize that the release I was waiting for was February of last year.

Gee, I didn't realize I gone for that long!

Story aside, I'm sorry to hear about the trouble John has been having. I hope everything works out for him!

Ben

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:53 am 
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I can understand a lot of the comments from doubtful people, especially those who have paid John the pre-order money.

I think there is proof John is genuine:

1. Established Business Interests.
2. Involvement in Puzzle Industry and Sales.
3. Continued (even if sporadic) updates on TwistyPuzzle.
4. He paid 'Philipp13' his pre-order money back.
5. He has replied to me on G-Mail separately WHENEVER I have emailed him.

I think there are mistakes John is making too:

1. Repeatedly making promises the puzzle will be available in a few months based on funding he does not yet have.
2. Terse responses to enquirers for updates.

In short I don't think John or Coolmasks is trying to rip anyone off, and they are well intention-ed in trying to reproduce this puzzle. However I also feel that a more rigorous method of updating people to whats going on would have been fairer on them, after all John, you have our money.

OK, you run other business and your are a busy guy , this is a lot of work and hassle and more of a labor of love than a money spinner for you. As Darren showed you by his post we are a community and we can and will support you but if you want to maintain that support and gain everyone's future custom please keep us informed and don't make any other promises for delivery that cannot be met.

I for one have told John privately he has my support, I understand the issues and I'm not worried about my £50.00 pre-order cash. What I want and we all really want is a great re-issue so those of us without originals can also enjoy this gem of a puzzle!

Jumbo


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Updated info on coolpuzzles.biz:

coolpuzzles wrote:
Astrolabus puzzle - very rare, unsusual, & with a distinctive organically styled structure.

The three versions of the Astrolabacus are now due with us in late Summer 2013, being the Std (red, green, blue & yellow), a Sports Commemorative (gold, silver, bronze & white), a 2-colour simpler version (black, & white). & possibly a fourth, being the Chrome (gold body, with silver balls).

No pictures will be posted, until they arrive, from the manufacturer. There will be 2,000 units total (1,000 Std, 500 2-Colour, & 500 Sports Comm).

The Chrome costs four times as much as the others to manufacture, & the minimum order quantity is 500 units - we are working on this. The intention was for 100 units, as specials (competition prizes, and also customers who purchase the other three, in advance), so this needs a rethink, & a manufacture with lower quotes & product runs. The alternative is to price the Chrome at around £150, which is too much for customers to pay.

A Siamese version is planned for the next phase (subject to design constraints, & costs). Others variants, & some entirely new puzzles will be produced, in 2013/4.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 9:18 pm 
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I hope the siamese one eventually does get released. In the meantime though, I guess I'd be happy just to get the one I pre-ordered.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:51 pm 
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[BUMP] There is a website for the Astrolabacus puzzle here. Hopefully, John will be posting here soon with some more information.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:19 pm 
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I was actually wondering how this was going. And I'm not sure why, but in that link that you posted, Gus, there is footage of this puzzle, but it is kastellorizo's youtube channel and video. I don't know what anyone else makes of this observation, but if it is available for purchase, then I think progress has been mad.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:05 pm 
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Unfortunately it has been available for purchase(with kastellorizo's video) for a long time with just a change in availability from Feb/Apr to late Summer (whatever that is - Sept?) back to Feb/Apr of the following year without any real updates for quite a while.

I realise it is difficult to get a puzzle to market but I feel John has been very slack in keeping people who have paid £60 ($100 ) up-to-date on what is happening with the production of this puzzle.

Whether it's here or on his website or through email people who have paid this much money deserve to know as much as possible - after all if it is not going to be available in late Summer this year (as I suspect) he knew this a while ago and should have updated his website to reflect this as soon as he knew it rather than leaving it till the expected date of availability (now) to update the information as this just makes it seem more like a scam. - let me guess - next expected date is Feb/Apr 2014?


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:20 pm 
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Its been far too long. How many other companies out there make you pre-order and then wait for year (s) with no updates? He scammed us, end of story (me included). Why everyone here fails to see this is beyond me. Iv'e come to realize that this guy has definitely scammed us, regardless of who has "spoken" to him. If you disagree with me, ask him for a picture of his prototype and we will still be back to square one.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:22 am 
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I don't want to say for sure, but I'm more aimed at "Yes, we have been scammed" but while I myself did not pre-order one, I can see a great problem (which I saw from the time this was posted actually). "Can one person that claims to be making a huge investment, for a small market, with an item that is sought after, actually be successful?"

I do understand it takes time, but this is too much time. I still have optimism here, but not much left. I assume the pre-orders were through paypal, and it's been too long to have a claim filed from what I know, but I would really take action if the individual hasn't responded to any of us for this long.

I don't enjoy seeing this happen, but it does, and it saddens me.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:34 am 
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Yes, we (myself included) have been scammed. It's funny, I just considered this tonight when I ran into my duplicate Astrolabacus.

Even worse, I don't believe it was maliciousness, just incompetence, dishonesty, and the comfort of knowing we're all nice enough not to prosecute. I'm sure he didn't plan to spend all our money at once. It happened little by little, knowing it would be ok as soon as he got to making and selling them. Either it funneled into other projects or just into "who knows where". But it seems safe to say it's gone beyond the reasonable pause between payment and reception. Or between payment and an update.

I wish there was some way to protect a well-intended passionate community like this from people willing to take money and apologize later.

Or... I guess.... not apologize either.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:12 pm 
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Oh dear. I really hope this is not the case, as it is a puzzle which is really worth having.

In the business world, you can sign deals with well known companies, but when those
companies become bankrupt, that's it. No refunds. I wouldn't call it a scam, because
I believe the seller is an ok guy. But of course, this has to be shown (again) in reality,
as I am sure the seller is capable of refunding the people who believed in this project.

Or at least, some update with some concrete deadlines, and hopefully soon.

:?


Pantazis

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:04 am 
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I have been in contact with John and I have been assured that the Astrolabacus project is still live, and once problems which are not of John's making have been resolved, then the puzzle will be manufactured. Exact time-scales are impossible to predict at this time, but he asks that you be patient and your support will be rewarded.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:18 am 
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Yes I have also heard that Astrolabacus is coming back in late 2013 with new puzzle and new features. It is great that I will have the chance to play it once more.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:09 pm 
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Gus wrote:
I have been in contact with John and I have been assured that the Astrolabacus project is still live, and once problems which are not of John's making have been resolved, then the puzzle will be manufactured. Exact time-scales are impossible to predict at this time, but he asks that you be patient and your support will be rewarded.



Maybe we will get it in 2018 then... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:20 pm 
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Unfortunately in my opinion Philipp13 was right 6 months ago, this guy is nothing but a shyster.

Any time he is contacted it's "I'm not in my office now but I'll get back to you next week" then when you contact him to remind him he said he would contact you his reply is "it's not ready yet, but soon" - why does he need to be in his office to give this information?

It's all just a delaying tactic.

I've been asking for a refund since the 6th of October after receiving an "update" on the puzzles expected date - here is my experience:

john @coolpuzzles wrote:
Reply Oct 8th
Hello. Apologies for delay, as I’m busy on other issues.

We should have the Astrolabacus puzzles later this year, but I don’t have the precise date yet (I will have this date in the next month, & I’ll then let you, & other clients know).

It’s been very difficult, as the funds should have been in place in Feb’12, to fully fund the project. But, the company who owed me this didn’t pay on time. Consequently, the project was massively delayed.

Thanks.

John

Obviously he hasn't updated anybody yet.

By return reply on October 8th I asked again for a refund, one week later with no reply (Oct 15th) I again asked for a refund.
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
I'll email you about this later today. Thanks. John


The next day Oct 16th
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
I’ll update you on the Astrolabacus after the Halloween rush.

Thanks.

I reminded him I wasn't looking for an update just a refund which would take the same amount of time as the email he just sent. No response to that email. I was patient, thinking he was busy for Halloween with his coolmasks business. No response was forthcoming after Halloween so I emailed again on November 8th again asking for a refund.
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
I will arrange a refund within the next 14 days, maximum.

Please confirm your paypal email.

But, when the puzzles do (eventually) arrive (ie four months after I complete financing the project), no offer of a free Chrome puzzle will be given.

Thanks.


Note here he says when "the puzzles arrive four months after I complete financing the project" in other words he knew then puzzles are at the very minimum at least 4 months away yet his website still claims a late summer 2013 date.

I confirmed my paypal address on the same day ( for about the 3rd time in total) and that I realised I would no longer get the chrome version.

November 10th:
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
I'll get the refund done over the next few days. Thanks for your massive patience


More waiting later - 15 days - on November 23rd I again reminded him that I was waiting on a refund - an act that takes 5 minutes through paypal but I had just waited 14 days for to happen only for it not to!

He replied on the 25th of November
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
I haven’t forgotten about you. Will you still require the Astrolabacus, when they (eventually) become available ?


That's comforting, he hasn't forgotten me but still no nearer to actually refunding me now he wants to know if I will still want a puzzle - why does he need to know this now?
After replying that I would want want when they are available but that I wanted my refund now he replied with
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
Will do. Thanks. John

2 days later still no refund I again contacted him looking for a refund
He replied
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
As soon as funds come in (ie sales), I’ll process the refund.
Thanks.
John

So after the Halloween rush he doesn't have enough to refund one astrolabacus order? Will I have to wait till funds come in again next Halloween (a much more likely scenario than funds actually coming in from the astrrolabacus!)

I replied asking funds from where exactly with what sort of expected date.
There was no reply to that email.

2 days later on Nov 29th I lost my patience and accused him of stealing peoples money.

He replied
john @coolpuzzles wrote:
not at all. I am very busy on issues outside the mail order businesses, so cannot reply to bombardments of emails.

You can choose alternative items (puzzles or masks), to the value of 150% of your original purchase, with immediate dispatch.

Or, you can wait for the refund, & I’ll process it (paypal), as soon as funds are spare. Obviously, that depends on sales, & so over the next week or so, approximately.


So now almost 2 months after asking a refund I am to wait another week (or so) but obviously that depends on funds coming in ( one astrolabacus refund!!!)

I replied saying there wouldn't be a "bombardment" of emails if he would just issue the refund he promised which would take a lot less time that all the emails he has sent.

Anyway sorry for the long post and rant just want people to know that it is very unlikely in my opinion that we will ever see either a refund or a puzzle from this guy depite what other people may insist - he is a master of delaying tactics but very little else.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:40 pm 
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Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
WOW! I'm glad I didn't decide to buy one. Seriously, this guy is a shyster! He can't refund one astrolabacus price? Even I'm sort of angry at this dude.

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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:04 am 
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Location: Bay Area, CA
Zzupler wrote:
Unfortunately in my opinion Philipp13 was right 6 months ago, this guy is nothing but a shyster.
...
Thanks for the report Zzupler.

I'd like to take this moment to remind people of our policy regarding rule #5:
Rule #5 wrote:
5. Quoting Private Communications
Do not directly quote information you have received in a private communication without the permission of the other party. Paraphrase or summarize the information if you decide to share it at all. The other party may be expecting that buffer, and certainly deserves your respect in return for choosing to share that information with you in the first place.
The moderators and I have discussed this post and find that value to the community justifies an exception to this rule. Paraphrasing would not have a similar impact and I think we want people to be informed on this issue.

We have had relatively few examples of scams on this forum and, although we always hope for a good outcome, we have to be realistic and protect ourselves. Sharing information is one way to do this, and when a person has shown they are not being responsible with their side of a transaction it is best for everyone to know about it.

A few of the "scams" we have seen involve someone (e.g. a small builder) getting behind on their obligations and then dropping out of site without having fixed the mess they made. Which is to say we've not seen many outright scams, but often people with something real that gets out of control (and most builders are familiar with how that works) and they can't properly conduct themselves when it does.

It is unclear into which category this situation falls. If there is anything real behind this offer I would hope coolmasks can realize the damage he has done to his reputation and take fast action to repair it. Lack of communication, repeated delays and making some one wait for a refund is are sure ways to burn your credibility.

Dave

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LitwinPuzzles.com has info on my puzzles.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 4:43 am 
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There is a very simple formula for any business:

Customer Happiness = Outcome - Expectations

In this case: Outcome << Expectations

And so Customer Happiness = A very large negative number, which will result in a very bad reputation...

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If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done - Thomas Jefferson


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Hi - sorry Dave and mods - I realise now I should have pmed you before making a post like that, I was just very upset at the time at the delaying tactics used.

I should add that I have emailed him to decline his offer of puzzles or masks in lieu of a refund as I already have the puzzles he has and have no interest in masks.

I am waiting for a refund (once funds are spare, depending on sales, over the next week, or so, approximately) but there has been no contact since.

I will update if there is anything to add.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:28 pm 
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UPDATE:

I emailed John again today (over two weeks after my last contact with him) again asking for a refund and pointing out that there had been two sales of astrolabacus from his website in the intervening time-frame.

He replied with "yes, shortly" and then without further contact again a half hour later saying "this coming week". I thought "Great, here we go again!" but I am pleased to say that about five hours later I received an email from paypal informing me that I had received a payment from him. (as it wasn't a refund - too long had passed, I did get hit with paypal fees on it but i can live with this)

So I have received my refund, I just find it unfortunate that people seem to have to resort to posting their negative experiences here before he is willing to make it happen (yes, I do believe posting here helped me to get the refund but of course I have no proof)

I will still buy one of these puzzles if they ever get released but I have learned my lesson about pre-ordering puzzles that have a longer wait period than the window paypal allows for refunds - something I was worried about earlier in this thread but decided to ignore my own misgivings.

I wish John the best of luck in getting this puzzle produced and hope there are not too many more delays.


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 Post subject: Re: Astrolabacus coming back?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:03 am 
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Location: chicago, IL area U.S.A
Glad you got your refund. That actually gives me a little hope they may still come out.
I took a calculated risk and it may not pay off. We shall see. I don't plan on seeking a refund at this point. I guess I'd still rather have the puzzle sometime in the future than my money back.

But in the future, I will be more careful with preordering something from an unestablished entity.

-d


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