[Loadstone] Perhaps a little OT, but My preliminary impression of WayfinderAccess.

Geoff Waaler gwaaler at mindspring.com
Wed Jun 6 10:27:17 BST 2007


Hello Raymond,

Please bare in mind that I was discussing WFA.  More over it was
clarified later in the paragraph you quoted that heading info provided
by WFA is *NOT* relative to one's direction of travel.

Best regards.
Geoff

On Wed, 6 Jun 2007 11:17:00 +0200, r.jansen wrote:

>Hi Geoff,
>
>You said:
>
>> The other negative is that all values are given in degrees relative to the
>compass, rather than one's own direction of travel.
>
>I think this is incorrect. If it says 0 or 360 degrees its in front of you
>and 180 degrees is behind.
>
>I will check this to be cirtain.
>
>Regards, Raymond
>
>-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>Van: loadstone-bounces at loadstone-gps.com
>[mailto:loadstone-bounces at loadstone-gps.com] Namens Geoff Waaler
>Verzonden: woensdag 6 juni 2007 10:41
>Aan: loadstone at loadstone-gps.com
>Onderwerp: [Loadstone] Perhaps a little OT,but My preliminary impression of
>WayfinderAccess.
>
>Greetings,
>
>I posted the following to another list, but decided to cross post it here.
>
>On Monday WayFinder corporation released WayFinder Access nearly three
>months after the date initially promised in their February product
>announcement.  The "official" description of WFA is available at
>http://www.wayfinder.com/products/wayfinder_access.en.php?link_id=submenu_st
>atic
> 
>Bare in mind that running Wayfinder requires a subscription to a cell phone
>carriers data plan.  There's no room on most phones to store maps, hence the
>need for access to the net while in use.  I confirmed Neil B of Talknav's
>pricing info and since WFA is available through his company for $125 less
>than the regular price until Friday I wanted to share my preliminary
>observations.
> 
>I can't restrain myself from starting out by commenting on the regular price
>which is $539.00.  I purchased Wayfinder's over the counter product called
>WayFinderNavigator for $99 and for my money do not see anything in their
>access product to account for five and a half times the cost.  Did I mention
>that Wayfinder offers upgrade pricing to all its other customers, with the
>exception of Access?  What a great way to reward their loyal customers who
>have limped along with so many inaccessible features for years.
> 
>Using the main stream product I can search for businesses either near by or
>in distant cities.  I can add them to my favorites and compute routes based
>on current GPS coordinates and receive voice guidance.  The routing often
>does not make sense but is over all helpful.  
> 
>I won't mention how as of Monday WayFinderAccess's installation process was
>inaccessible, but then again I just did, didn't I?  Hmmm, suppose I'm
>expecting a lot for $539 after a three month wait.  Actually to be fair,
>that was a gratuitous slam on my part;  I am given to understand that
>CodeFactory will release an update to their product by the end of the week
>which renders WayFinder's web pages accessible, and Nuance is expected to do
>likewise for Talks in the short term.  Fortunately I had a neighbor near by
>who was willing to disclose which options were highlighted on the phone, but
>this is often not the case.
> 
>WFA's look feel and interface is  very similar to Navigator, however five
>text based list views have been added as follows:
>Info: contains current position, heading and GPS status.
>and the next four are vicinity views presenting a list ordered by current
>proximity which includes: 
>all: a blend of the following three.
>crossing: lists intersections.
>favorite: orders distance to items previously added to favorites.
>POI: database of known points of interest.  Categories such as "Rent a car
>Facility", " restaurant" "ATM", etc may be configured so as not to appear.
> 
>This is absolutely a great feature.  More over I like the fact that one can
>now use other features which were inaccessible in the main stream product
>such as obtaining the phone number for located businesses, and perhaps its a
>bell and whistle thing, but getting weather conditions is kind of neat.  I
>wonder whether the free screen reader updates referenced above which are
>specifically for compatibility with WFA will improve accessibility  to
>features in WayFinder Navigator?
> 
>From the info tab I can add my own personal points.  I am unable to do that
>using the main stream product, and of course this capability is a valuable
>addition.
> 
>Granted this is the initial release and many features will be tweaked or
>added.  Not sure since WayFinder chose not to offer upgrade pricing
>initially how much potential improvements will cost WFA customers, but IMHO
>The present form of its implementation largely renders these list views to a
>state where they are of marginal utility.
> 
>When you go to one of these list views the proximity and distance are spoken
>(usually twice) before you hear the name of the point.  The double speaking
>is attributable to the fact that the list refreshes every couple seconds
>there by causing Talks or presumably MobileSpeak to reread the line, so I
>might hear something like the following while in the crossing view:
>"255 feet, 278 degree Ea ... 235 feet, 264 degree East Franklin Street South
>Boundary and North Boundary".  By the time it has read two different heading
>and distance values I've had to wait several seconds before hearing the
>information I always consider more important; after all what's the value of
>distance and direction when you don't yet know what is being referenced?
>Perhaps the updated versions of the phone based screen readers will abate
>the double reading in lists that are being updated.  I am using a Nokia 6682
>which does not have as fast a processor as some of the newer phones, and
>this too could be a factor.  Hopefully most won't have this duplication
>because its very annoying.
> 
>The other negative is that all values are given in degrees relative to the
>compass, rather than one's own direction of travel.  I've looked all through
>settings and believe I have not missed anything.  So I can walk toward an
>intersection and WFA reports its direction in degrees.  When I turn around
>and walk away I receive identical directional information, though of course
>the distance will begin to increase.
> 
>This won't be a problem for those who have an instant protractor in their
>heads, but even then this implementation is kind of dubious compared to
>directional feedback from other accessible GPS solutions.  Lets say I want
>to ascertain my distance from a POI that's in WFA's database.  After hearing
>the line twice and listening through all the degree and distance info I
>finally hear the name of the place.  I then have to recall its direction
>which is some number between zero and 360.  Lets pull a number out of the
>air like 227 degrees.  Okay, now I must keep that number in my brain and
>press left arrow four times to the info tab.  After saying "loading ..." I
>can then down arrow twice to obtain my heading.  lets pull another number
>out of our hats and say 310 degrees (on some streets this varies up to 90
>degrees and is literally all over the map -- curious how you can feel it
>while driving, but the curves are gradual hence I don't notice most of them
>while walking).  Anyway, did you recall where that desired POI was?  After
>all those key presses I kinda forgot myself, but okay, so we have 227
>degrees as our target, and a baring of 310, which I believe puts it on our
>left, unless the street curved again.  Am I getting closer or further?  Hmm,
>suppose I'd better press right arrow four times and locate that place again
>and hopefully I remembered its distance from before.  To be sure there are
>constraints involved with phone software, but to me this interface/output is
>not very efficient compared to other solutions.
> 
>Unless I learn within the next day or two that I missed a few things, my
>intention is to stick with what I have for now.  A free Symbian based GPS
>phone application called loadstone is available from
>http://www.loadstone-gps.com which does an excellent job with all the
>basics.  Loadstone's downside is that the POIS are exclusively of the "do it
>yourself" variety.  You can mark your own or download free data from the net
>(which is very limited).  To fill in when I want to locate near by
>businesses I'll continue using WayfinderNavigator.  I would have been more
>than willing to reward WayFinder for developing an accessible version
>however from what I've seen the initial pricing of four times that of their
>main stream product was outrageous enough IMHO, and now its been increased
>to almost 5.5 times that of Navigator?  I don't think so!!
> 
>Best regards.
>Geoff



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