Monday, September 22, 2008

Quick Update

Things are going slow and steady for the moment. Geopher Lite isn't getting the full attention of my limited spare development at the moment, so the next update will take a bit longer than what has been normal. The amazing lack of feedback with this release means one of two things to me. Either everyone has moved on to other programs or we've hit the "good enough" phase of Geopher Lite's development. I have a few things in the works, I will hopefully post some screenshots later in the week.

In the coming weeks I hope to have an announcement here also. I'll try to post at least once a week.

As always, questions and comments are welcome. I'd particularly like new feedback on the new version and how I would make it more usable. Thanks for using Geopher Lite!

24 comments:

SBC said...

Personally I am very interested in GeoCaching on the iPhone, but the GPS signal is absolutely useless, as I have mentioned before. This means that even if you provide a good product, we can't use it for much. Right now I am on the verge of selling my iPhone 3G for that exact reason.

Instead of filling your blog with the same old - same old, I think I'll just send you an email with my thoughts, as soon as I get the time. Then you can 'publish' all or parts of it, if you feel like opening a discussion on the subject.

Carsten said...

I know that you're using default components, but I find it very annoying that there is no "back" function in the website view.

Whenever I opened the details of a cache entry, I just want to get one page back in history to the search list again... maybe I'm too stupid, but I didn't found that. I think it would be worth to add this functionality.

Kevin said...

I disagree with the last comment. I find the gps is actually pretty good overall. As far as needs for geocaching, I have found quite a few caches using just this program. And, in regards to the lack of feedback, I think it IS a good sign. I was mainly waiting for the compass rotation feature, which seems to be working great. Maybe if the image could change slightly so that the direction letters (NE, SW etc.) always remained facing up would be a nice cosmetic change, but I was just wanting to let you work on the full version myself. ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS PROGRAM THOUGH! My Garmin has remained at home for the last two weeks!

emoser said...

Hi, I would like to see wich cache is my target (GCxxxxx and name) on the compass-screen.
Thanks for this very good programm.

Rauno Haapaniemi said...

I really like the new URL scheme support!
Now I can easily import cache description GPXs (or LOCs) from geocaching.com into MacCaching.app and export them out as vCards using a custom template. Add a bit of perl to fix coordinate format and hey presto, cache information accessible from iPhone Contacts!
Thanks again for a great program!
carsten: at the top the "More" button reveals additional functionality, including Stop and Back.

sbc said...

@kevin
What are your actual accuracy readouts? How many meters/ft do you move on average between GPS updates? I am talking about real, recognized issues with the iPhone GPS here, not some subjective thoughts. Try googling for it.

Let me repeat that this is NOT a problem with GeopherLite, which is a really handy program, but with the iPhone GPS. Steve Jobs promised us to fix it in 2.1 just one week before release, but apparently he forgot...

DadGuy, a huge mail on the issue is coming your way, because I want this to work as much as the next guy :)

Telp said...

@sbc

The GPS i find works fairly well, i have kept signal under a decent amount of cover, and have been able to home in on many a cache. It does take a little while for the GPS to track some movement (no specifics) but if you wait and let it catch up, it is usually right on. After awhile of thought, I finally bought this program and am really glad I did. It makes finding local caches so much easier, saves up 3 or 4 steps and around 5 minutes, plus its more exact! I have finally put in a purchase for a nice low end model GPS (garmin etrex venture HC) to take it where the iPhone left off, whcih for me, is really only battery life at this point in time. I will continue using this great product to find caches, and would like to thank dadguy for writing it.

-Telp

Kevin said...

Haven't actually watched the numbers closely enough to be able to measure accuracy that way. I would think though that an equally valid test though would be the finding of actual caches. Even with my Garmin gpsR I would, from day to day, get anywhere from 20 to 60 ft accuracy, even under the best circumstances. Using the gps device is only meant to get you to the general area, then you SHOULD have to hunt around some, that's part if the fun (for me any way). As far as actually finding the caches thhemselves, I've had 0 problems with my phone working in this capacity

sbc said...

@kevin
20ft = 6 meters

I am experiencing meters of (in)accuracy = 154ft! According to Apple forum, amongst others, that is not unusual, and that is the problem.

Anyway, I have written DadGuy with my experiences and it's up to him weather he wants this discussion here, or he'd rather it is taken somewhere else. I just find it worth mentioning here, so new users don't think it's this program that's the problem, because it clearly isn't. It's the firmware and the more the issue is mentioned, the more details Apple will get and the sooner we will have a fix :)

Anonymous said...

WOW....don't want to jump in a hornets nest here, but I started geocaching only when I got my #G and this program came out. We have been able to find most of the caches we have looked for. Micros are often harder. I agree that the 3G gps isn't what I was hoping for and thought it could be better. I do not have any other GPS to compare to, but it does loose its accuracy or connection when under too much cover. At that point we just start hunting and use clues to find the cache. Most of the time that works, but not always. I do believe the program has come a long way since version 1. I am pretty happy with this version, again, the only thing I would like to see is the map open in geopher so that every time I go back to geopher the cache I was looking at or log is gone? Dadguy any further progress on this? Thanks again. As a sidenote, I have not purchased any other program to date. I think your program does what I need to do for now. Some improvements would be welcome. Apps for $15 and up really need to be spectacular for me to consider buying, I guess just as an FYI if you come out with the non-lite version.

A Caregiver's Diary said...

I've been using Geopher Lite for a couple of weeks now. I love it. It's good $1.99 I've ever spent. Over the last couple of weeks, I've found 18 out of 20 caches that I've looked for. I started geocaching 5 years ago and stopped for 3 years because my GPSr crapped out on me. I'm back and really enjoying it thanks to this product. Keep up the good work and thanks for giving me a hobby back.

Mitch said...

my family isn't a huge geocaching family, but we've tried to find 2 caches since we got the 3g and haven't found either. I don't think that's this program's fault tho!

I too wish for a back button once drilling down to the details of a cache.

I guess what I'm really wishing for was an easier way to enter the coordinates of a cache - i know you've got issues with the folks at geocaching.com and would just like a simple button or something to click (lazy man!)

Thanks for the app tho - i hope we get lots more use out of it!

Anonymous said...

I think you've pretty much developed a "good enough" version for most of us. I'd like the pointer to run a bit smoother, and I really like the idea of being able to go back in the app and view the cache details. Otherwise everything works great. I couldn't ask for anything more for the price I paid. Considering the limitations you have to deal with from both Apple and geocaching.com, I think you've done a great job. I guess you could also add cut and paste and word processing to the app though...

DadGuy said...

Thanks everyone for the replies! I'm glad I'm not alone in here. =)
sbc, got the email, sent a reply. Thanks for your thoughts. I get 10-25 meter accuracy frequently, but I understand taht that isn't generally the case. Even with that kind of accuracy I have found a few caches fairly easily. it's true that the iPhone isn't the top of the line GPS though.

carsten, the latest version has a back button. Press the "more" button on the set target screen to cycle through a few different options.

kevin, thanks for the kind words, glad you like it! I tend to agree, no news is good news in software development, but when I go for days without an email or comment on the blog (after getting many a day on both) I start to wonder. =)

emoser, thanks for the suggestion I will put that on the list.

rauno, let us know how that works out for you, and I'm glad the linking is being used!

anonymous, thanks for letting me know your experience. I agree, that $15 is more than I would expect for this kind of an application, I'm not planning on that. I'll let you guys know when I've decided a price point. As for the saving of web pages, I haven't done much with that in the past few weeks, my focus has been elsewhere. It's on the list and I know firsthand that it's annoying -- I use Geopher Lite and that bugs me too. It will get fixed once I can figure out how to get there without writing a mountain of code to do so. =)

telp, I am hoping that battery life has improved some with the new firmware, I know that general use of the iPhone is better for me than it was, but it's still not great when using the GPS. I'm aware of this and would like to get this better, but I'm not going to sacrifice usability like I have in the past for battery life.

caregiver, thanks for the response, I'm glad you're liking it!

mitch, I make no promises here. I may eventually make the lat/long fields auto-enter a period (or have that be a preference or something, and no promises, this is way down the list!) but without groundspeak allowing it there's not a lot more that I can do there. I do have an alternate solution that I'm trying to get working, and I'll keep you posted on that.

anonymous(2), thanks -- I am hoping that what you are saying is the case. I have actually looked into openclip (copy/paste) but at the moment it is incompatible with apple's 2.1 firmware. Not to mention I am not sure that it works in a web view which is where we would need it.

Thanks everyone for the comments, keep them coming! (Even if they are repeats, squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that.) =)

DadGuy said...

One other thing, kevin mentioned the compass rose directions being rotated. I have that done already, one of our beta testers suggested that a few weeks ago and I hadn't taken the time to update the image until a few days ago. But that's coming.

Atticus said...

Dadguy,

Thanks for the great app! I have an old iPhone 2G and I regularly find caches with your program using Google Maps. Which leads me to my primary problem. There is a Google Maps link after the "Additional Hints" and before the "Logs" section on geocacher.com. When I use Safari, this link opens up the Google Maps application on my iPhone and I zoom in using Satellite View. This is how I find most of my caches.

When running Geopher, that link is disabled for some reason, leaving me to have to type in the Coordinates. I understand that Geocaching doesn't want you to auto-populate your program, but this is just a standard URL link, can't you leave it functional?

I now use SeekCache to do this, as I really want the Satellite view.

Vic said...

Overall Geopher has come a long way. I have found about 150 caches with Geopher since the 3G iPhone came out and have retired my Garmin unit. Geopher is sufficient to get the job done. The one feature I would love to see is to be able to see all the caches around me in the map screen. I realize this is not likely to happen any time soon but I keep hoping to have that eventually. I don't mean the Google map image we get from the link on Geocaching.com site but rather an actual satellite view with all the caches in the vicinity.
Thanks for all the hard work. I'm enjoying Geopher very much.
Also in terms of accuracy, the iPhone may not be the best however it has been good enough to get the caches and many times it has outperformed other GPS devices my friends have. The largest advantage are the satellite images the iPhone can provide. Thanks for the app!

DadGuy said...

atticus, this is a limitation with apple's SDK and the web view they have available for use. I've looked into this in the past and have not as yet been able to work around the issue. I'm aware that this is needed and wanted, it's on my list. If you're lucky apple fixed that with the 2.1 SDK and I can do something similar to the log link on the webpage. I'll let you all know when I find a solution for this.

DadGuy said...

vic, I have to say I am impressed! that's a lot of geocaches in the past few months! =) I understand the desire for this functionality and would like to provide it in the future, but no promises. First is what I was referring to with atticus.

I could easily make a button that loads your current coordinates in geocaching.com's map view. Would anyone find this useful? That may be a workable solution to this issue.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure how the arrow direction works...can the Iphone be used as a compass so the arrow points to the target ALL THE TIME, like if I move around it will adjust and point towards a cache ? or do I have to align the top of my phone towards north in order to check where I stand ?

thx
andré

King of theLair said...

Me and my wife just started geocaching when the 3G came out and have been using this program almost exclusively for searching and finding nearby caches. I'm just waiting for the full version for the managed lists. One thing that REALLY needs to be added to the lite version is a single waypoint so you can follow it back out of the woods. 600' into the woods without a pointer home is not wise.

Just a note as you work toward managed lists. I recently tried iGeocacher with 4000+ waypoints and the whole search feature bogged down terribly. Make sure that part is optimised as much as possible.

Also for the lists mode, field notes like the Garmin Colorado and macros in GSAK can do would be nice. Take quick notes, upload all at once and then quickly log all caches when you get home or have cell service again. Just started that with GSAK yesterday and love it.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

It would be great if you could keep the webpage cached so when you go to the maps and then back to geopherlite the geocaching page you were on is still there. It's quite time consuming/annoying to have to search again and navigate to where you left off. The ability to view all nearby caches on a map would be very helpful as well.

Vic said...

>I could easily make a button that loads your current coordinates in geocaching.com's map view. Would anyone find this useful?

I would. Absolutely.

Ponchu said...

I like the program but there is one thing I really miss and that is the possibility to save more then one geocach. It’s much easer to save at home and then pick up the closest when you’re out. It would also be nice to save like a way point where you are (the car maybe) and later look for that one. Maybe let the program access bookmarks if big brother Apple allow it.

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DadGuy has been working with apple computers since the mac classic. I love games and puzzles and like to solve problems. I'm having a blast developing for the iPhone and iPad.