[Loadstone] Loadstone enhancements

Przemysław Rogalski Rogalski at o2.pl
Wed Oct 7 15:06:05 BST 2009

As the new version is near, I'd like to share some suggestions for improvements, based on constant usage of your marvelous program.
Unfortunately, I'm not a Symbian programmer; if it were, I would write a suitable patches;
But the only thing I can do now is to propose my ideas.
Could you please refer to them?
Best regards,

* Ls hangs when Clock Check enabled.

If you try to exit Loadstone soon after you had turned your GPS receiver off, Loadstone will hang.

In order to exit the program, you need to wait for the message "Connection lost".

* Cables for nautical.

Although cable is quite a small unit (1 cable = 0.1 nautical mile = 608 feet = 185.166 metres), it is required in nautical calculations. Nautical mile is divided into cables, not to yards.

What's more, yards are not used (and not really understandable) in most European countries.

Therefore I'd ask for replacing yards with cables for displaying nautical units.

* Accuracy value.

Some users prefer to have accuracy displayed as a plain HDOP than as a value in metres.

Choosing between those two ways of displaying accuracy would be a great option.

* Configurable accuracy unit.

Even if I set display units to nautical, could I have accuracy given in metres, and not in feets, please?

Loadstone becomes more international application, so metres would be more clear for most users.

* Select all (search results / area results).

Thanks to this option, you could quickly check all searched points with one click.

You could, for instance, get automatical info about nearest pubs, crossings, etc. while passing.

You could quickly create a list of checkpoints from several bus stops.

No need for checking point by point manually.

* Custom auto-announce interval.

As for now, you can use only predefined Auto-Announce interval.

Entering it manually (as other LS parameters) will let adjust that option to individual needs, eg. if one wanted to set Auto-Announce to 4, 5, 8, 15 etc. seconds.

* String not translated.

If in menu Functions/Find point, you type a value greater than 50 for the field "Results" 

you'll get a message "Maximum allowed value is 50", in English, regardles of interface language.

This string requires translation.

* Repeat last command (in a user-defined time interval).

This function seems to be very beneficial:

You can make Loadstone speak nearest point every X seconds by emulating Joystick, which partially solves the problemof automatic information about passed points.

You can automatically check what is in front of you, with no need of constant pressing Up Arrow.

You can navigate your boat hands-free, as you'll be getting systematical info about your direction

* Approaching/arriving a locked point.

If a locked point was treated as checkpoint, you could get automatical info while approaching/arriving it.

No more need to remember, that in order to be informed of a locked point, you must check it as well.

* Locked point - the Last point.

If the locked point affected the "Last point" menu", it would be easier to check or unlock a previously locked point as easily, as it is with checked point now.

* Remapping speed and heading.

It often happens, that you need info only about your speed or only about your heading.

Therefore I'd suggest assigning heading to 1 and speed to Shift+1, that is not used.

It seems better to have one piece of information under one key.

Moreover, with "Repeat last command", you could be informed either of speed or heading, and not necessary of both.

* Double coma = coma (",," = ",").

While searching, ".." is treated as "."

Could, analogicallly, ",," be interpreted as ","?

That would allow for searching string with "," at the end or beginning.

* Invisible menu item.

The function "Search using database" if "Use checkpoints only" is enabled has a shortcut Shift+* , but it doesn't appear in the menu Functions. Can you add this item, please?

* Search in... (loaded databases)

It may happen, that although you have loaded several databases and plan to work on them, you suddenly need to perform one quick search on a particular database(s) only (but not in all loaded databases).

Therefore I suggest adding one more field in menu Functions/Find point, under "Radius",

namely "Search in..." (with "All" by default).

Then a list of loaded databases appear and you can select/check the one(s) you need.

In that case, user is not forced to "unmount" all databases before search and "mount" them again after search.

* Log not recorded if no signal.

Recording NMEA log only when GPS signal was acquired would decrease the sise of a log file and improved the use of log playback.

Alternatively, you could choose from settings if log should be recorded all the time (good for testing receiver) or only if there is satellite signal (good for creating routes).

* Tripmeter: Add travell time.

You could check not only how far is from one place to another, but also how long does it take to get there.

* Sending Log.

For the time being, we can share our checkpoints files and text database files.

What about sharing NMEA files (adding "Send" to a "Log" menu"?

It will be especially useful when log playback and (hopefully) breadcrumb generator is implemented into Loadstone.

* Text language.

Using national diacritics (Unicode) shrinks SMS from 160 to 72 characters, as far as I know. As a result, you would have to pay much mor for your message, than you should.

That's why I set text language to English, fOr text messages.

However, for finding or entering points, in Loadstone, Polish characters are needed. To turn this functionality on, I must struggle through the menus of my phone to change text language into Polish.

Then, having entered a Polish name into Loadstone, I have to turn the text language back into English.

Could the functionality of changing text language be available under SoftKey1 in "Find point"/"Enter point"/"Update point" dialog box?

* Save database as...

I'd propose adding this kind of option to Database menu.

Imagine you have loaded multiple databases (or added some points to your current database) and want to save it as another database (under a different name).

Then, instead of importing text files into a database, you could just select "Save database as..." enter a new name, and perform the task much easier.

* Overwrite if file exists.

* X invalid entries skipped.

This kind of message could be added to import/export result dialog.

You make sure that all entries were imported successfully.

* Errors to a text file.

import/export errors could be saved to a separate text file.

Then you didn't have to watch out the whole process or use Reprocessor, which is not always possible.

* "Locked" if on search/area list.

If you move through the list of search/area results, and a particular point is locked, this information could be announced, as it is with checked points

* Modified checkpoints

There is a known problem with Talks, that doesn't automatically announce "Exit Loadstone?", if you press SoftKey2 from dialog "Checkpoints have been modified. Save?".

I suggest Loadstone didn't try to exit the program in this case, but returned to the LS main screen.

* Use as position.

That could be the first option under SoftKey1 of the Search results dialog.

It would bring us to Exploration mode and place focus at a selected item (similarly as the center of joystick does).

This is another example of a function which doesn't appear in the menu.

* GPS Connection timeout.

Time needed for the message "Connection lost"/"Connection error" is quite long, especially if GPS source is set to "Phone".

COuld it be configurable?

* Database/checkpoints: Save as default.

With this functionality, an user could define a set of databases or checkpoints which are to be loaded at program startup.

It would be especially useful if multiple databases are supported.

It also happens, that in different city/country/circumstances different databases are more important tthan the "Default" database.

No more need to use such tricks as renaming database or checkpoints "Default" using Y-Browser.

* Remember last database(s)/checkpoints loaded.

This information could be saved next to as tripmetre and last position.

* Moon add-ons.

The most expected information about the sun it is sunrise and sunset.

The most expected information about the moon it is full moon and new moon.

As implementation seems not so dcomplicated, I;d like to ask to add the following to the "Astronomic menu":

- Previous full moon

(recent date when moon phase was 100%)

- Next full moon

(nearest date when moon phase will be 100%)

- Previous new moon

(recent date when moon phase was 0%)

- Next new moon

(nearest date when moon phase will be 0%)

* .gpx log Support.

A typical format of routes is .gpx.

Could, apart from plain NMEA, also Playback, recording and saving .gpx format be implemented into Loadstone?

* Load checkpoints confirmation.

As for now, there is feedback for loading/adding/removing database.

Could you please add some confirmation messages also for checkpoints?

I mean, for instance: "Loading checkpoints", "Checkpoints loaded", "Checkpoints appended"?

* "OK" in "Find point" dialog.

I noticed that even if you don't type anything in "Find" field, the button "OK" is available under SofktKey1, but of course it doesn't perform any action.

Could "OK" activate after at least one character is entered in the search field?

* Show Area in Navigation Mode.

No more need for going to Exploration Mode in order to show area.

* Realtime route creation.

The function will let you follow a previously passed route or get back if you got lost.

You'd activate it as you're walking and it would generate the points.

It should be possible to load a route and then select the direction.

Then the direction comments would be generated as you proceeded along the route.

Could ordered checkpoints and breadcrumb generator be implemented in the next version of Loadstone?

PC Breadcrumb Generator and Track to Route Generator seems work quite fine now.

Anyway, I dream of a possibility of using those functions wherever I am.

* Point announcement - "Off", "Approach", "Arrival", "Both".

Thanks to this setting, analogical to "Comment announcement" in tab "General", you could decide if you want to be informed automatically about approaching to a checked point, arriving to a checked point, or both.

No more need to set approach distance and time to 0.

* Position: Save as default.

It would be nice to save "Last position" with any point from the database, just for more convenient exploration of distant areas.

* Exit on Search completed if joystick pressed.

If you press joystick (or SoftKey1) on "Search completed" in the search results dialog, nothing happens.

Maybe the program could exit the search results window in such case?

* Previous/Next results.

What about adding such options to the search results dialog box, as it is with Wayfinder Access?

* Send location to emergency.

An user could define an emergency number, where current GPS position and nearest localization from database could be sent.

* Pause, speed up, slow down, rewind log playback.

That's for future reference only... when log playback will become reality.

With these functions, the usefullness of log playback will be really worthnoting.

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