[Loadstone] Reply to Shawn et al.

Shawn Kirkpatrick shawn at odyssey.cm.nu
Mon Sep 18 03:40:20 BST 2006

I'll try to address all your various points in one message.
First, let me see if I can clarify the various kinds of interfaces that 
loadstone, and all the other software on the phone uses since there are 
several of these and they work slightly differently. When you first start an 
application you end up in what symbian calls a view. This is the 
application's main window and it's the place where a programmer has the most 
freedom to decide how the interface is going to work. Usually a view will 
have the two soft keys available, usually key 1 is options and key 2 is 
exit. This isn't always the case but is quite common. When you hit key 1 for 
options you are placed in a menu. The menu interface is quite strictly 
defined and will work the same in all programs. When you are on a menu item 
your choices are key 1 to select it or key 2 to cancel the menu. If the item 
is a submenu then selecting it will take you to that menu. If the item isn't 
a submenu then selecting it will close the menu and execute the action of 
that item. That may be anything from toggling an on/off setting to opening 
up other windows etc. Since menus work this way it makes sence to show what 
will happen if the item in question is selected. In other interfaces, like 
the settings page for example, the current state of an item is shown. 
Selecting the item in that case will usually bring up a list of available 
choices for the item.
In the case of the use checkpoints option since it's a menu option it makes 
sence to display what's going to happen if the item is selected. Having this 
say "use checkpoints only on" or "use checkpoints only off" would be nice 
but this poses a problem. The length of a menu item can be a maximum of 22 
characters, a limit imposed by the symbian sdk not me. This means that it 
would  say "use checkpoints o" and that would'nt be helpful at all. The only 
option I can see for this is to maybe turn this into a checkbox item. If the 
sdk will do this and if talks will speak the state of the checkbox then 
maybe this would work. If I didn't have to display the word "on" or "off" 
then I could use that extra space for more clarity. No matter what's done 
there's always going to be something that can't be written as long as we'd 
like. For those cases that's what the documentation is for.

Now for some information about the loadstone development team.
At the moment the team consists of 4 people, myself, in charge of writing 
the actual program, Monty, in charge of running the web site and mailing 
list, Shane, in charge of the point share exchange, and the most recent 
addition to the team Rob, writing and cleaning up the documentation. We are 
all blind, with sight levels ranging from totally blind to just slightly 
above that. We are also all talks users. So Loadstone is written by blind 
people for blind people with talks specifically in mind. In fact, some 
feedback on how the display actually looks is probably needed. All team 
members are volunteers working on the project because it's something they're 
interested in.
Monty and I started this project around March 2004 mainly for our own uses. 
We wanted something cheaper, faster, and better than the available solutions 
at the time. If we've achieved any of those goals or not is up to each user. 
We decided to take the program public at the beginning of July this year 
since we thought it was at a level that would be of use to others. The 
mailing list was set up to allow for discussions about problems, 
suggestions, or just general comments. This has already lead to several 
improvements to Loadstone.
The program is also open source. This means that for example, people that 
think "it is stupid and confusing" can get off there asses and fix it if 
they can. This means that other programmers can contribute to the project or 
maybe even port it to other phones in the future. It also means that the 
program will remain free for all to use.


  On Sun, 17 Sep 2006, Aedan O'Meara wrote:

> Hi Shawn,
> I understand what you are trying to do but it is not working. I must say
> that after 2 years using this phone I have never seen any other product that
> states the alternative possible state instead of the current chosen one in
> this way.
> Furthermore, this view is not only mine. Two other friends using this
> product, one a fully sighted ham radio friend who is also a clergyman, and
> another blind friend in Dublin who has also got Wayfinder and the new
> Sensora gps system have both expressed disatifaction with your menu system.
> To quote the blind friend "it is stupid and confusing". These are not first
> timers!
> Also if your system is so good why are we having all these discussions.
> Since joining this list I see every day someone who is confused by your
> menus.
> Regards
> Aedan O'Meara.
> _______________________________________________
> Loadstone mailing list
> Loadstone at loadstone-gps.com
> http://www.loadstone-gps.com/mailman/listinfo/loadstone

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