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Old 01-03-2008, 11:41 AM   #136
TomW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketbunny
I picked up a SPOT in mid-December. I'm happy so far, but like many others would love to have a guest login option for close friends and family.

However, as a solo female traveler, I can't imagine ever wanting my realtime location information to be on a publicly viewable (ie non-login required) website. I'm a rabid trip reporter who always carries a laptop on multi-day trips, but I don't like people to know where I've stayed a night until I'm about to leave.

I do understand that lots of people are fine with being tracked without a login required, but there will also be people like me that don't want that. There will need to be at least 3 layers of authentication levels for viewing tracking info.
I don't think the intent is to make your tracks public. Presumably, you'll get to select who will view your track data just like now, only the improved interface for your designees won't include your billing and administrative data.

Cheers.
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:28 PM   #137
apratt
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I have a web page where I wrote up my experience and thoughts so far.

Regarding "public tracking" vs. "guest access": sometimes I *want* "public tracking." Not often, and I sure want it to be under my control, but sometimes that's what I want. I also want guest access to a "recent points" map without all the mouse clicking that's currently required.

I wrote to the company about public tracking, guest access, and fewer clicks, and they said they're working on it, might have a new web interface soon.

I also wouldn't mind being able to harvest my tracking data as a web service so I can build my own maps. Right now there are too many clicks and cookies for me to script an HTML scraper, but somebody more expert than I should be able to do it.

Regarding whether the unit floats: yes, it does float, but the antenna doesn't face the sky while floating. So if it goes "splash" it will not sink, but it will cease to be useful as a locator beacon.

Regarding use SOE (South of the Equator): check the coverage maps for whether the places you're going have coverage. GPS works everywhere, but the satellite-phone system they use has limited coverage. (Why? Because the satellite you reach needs to be able to see *both* the transmitting unit *and* one of their ground stations, and they only have ground stations in certain places. That's how that system works.)
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:15 PM   #138
k7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apratt
Regarding use SOE (South of the Equator): check the coverage maps for whether the places you're going have coverage. GPS works everywhere, but the satellite-phone system they use has limited coverage. (Why? Because the satellite you reach needs to be able to see *both* the transmitting unit *and* one of their ground stations, and they only have ground stations in certain places. That's how that system works.)
Yep - looking at the map, it's a little hard to tell if it'll work for me. I'll drop them a line and see if they can provide more details for the area of interest for me. It's a "nice to have" - won't stop our little trip.

I'm a ham radio operator and understand the concept fairly well. I've worked ham radio satellites before and with the right computer program, a hand-held radio (what we call an HT - handitalkie) and a handheld antenna, I could predict & catch the satellite as it came over the horizon and then track it by hand as it went overhead to the other horizon. Best-case scenario gives you about 15 minutes under the footprint.

My best contact was when the edge of the footprint covered both AZ and Hawaii and I got into Hawaii. These are FM - if you can "see" it, you can hit it with FM and very, very, very little power. Very cool stuff but ultimately repetitive which turned into boring.

Edit: nice write-up....
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:13 AM   #139
SpotMaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apratt
I have a web page where I wrote up my experience and thoughts so far.
Very nice writeup, thanks!

I'm now also hearing officially that a "guest" login is coming. I don't know the schedule any more than any of you who have called do, however. It is my understanding that the "guest" login will give access to what you see under the "messages" tab, but not the "messengers" or "account" tabs.

One little clarification:

In 911 mode, the unit sends a message every 5 minutes FOREVER. (Meaning, until you cancel 911 mode, simply shut the unit off, or until the batteries die.)

Scheduling of the messages by type is as follows:
  • Help Mode: Every 5 minutes for 1 hour. (Actually 13 total messages. So, if you start at 1:00 PM, for instance, the last message is sent at 2:00 PM not 1:55.)
  • 911 Mode: Every 5 minutes until canceled, or the unit is shut off (or, obviously, until the batteries are dead).
  • Check in: One message repeated 3 times over 10 - 20 minutes (the SPoT Inc. backoffice filters out the duplicates). The "cancel" messages are also done in this triple-redundant way.
  • Track mode: Every 10 minutes for 24 hours (skips a send if it has no GPS fix).
Edit: One other slight quibble:

Under "misfeatures" you state: "If you aren't in any message-sending mode at all, you can't tell whether the unit has a GPS fix or not."

If you're not in any message sending mode the GPS subsystem isn't even powered on! We are not willing to waste battery power by running the GPS receiver if you're not trying to send a location.

So, if you're not in a message sending mode, rest assured, the unit DOESN'T have a GPS fix.

SpotMaker screwed with this post 01-04-2008 at 06:38 AM
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:26 AM   #140
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For those interested in SPOT and the viewing by more than the main account it looks like the gang over at Star-Traxx is already working on it.

I got this a thread on a mailing list:

Original:
In addition to the original Star-Traxx INMARSAT product we also support the
Spot and have it integrated with Star-Traxx. As an example of what can be
done, I just got back from a trip down through the Baja and used Spot to
send back position reports every 5 minutes to the rally.star-traxx.comserver.

Take a look at the detail it provided:
http://rally.star-traxx.com/rallyvie...Rider=51643303

Followed up by:
We will provide access to the Star-Traxx and rally web pages for any spot
purchased from us at no additional charge (you only need the standard
subscription direct with findmespot.com).


I couldn't find any details on the website yet but I'm definately going to be checking in on it..
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:25 PM   #141
markgsnw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspice
Take a look at the detail it provided:
http://rally.star-traxx.com/rallyvie...Rider=51643303

that URL displays just about nothing for me...I hope this isn't one of those "you must have IE version 3.7 and Windows 98 SP3 to view this site" numbers.
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Old 01-04-2008, 02:53 PM   #142
aciurczak
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Works fine for me on IE 7.0 and FF 2.0 (both on Vista Ultimate). And it's pretty darned cool as well. I wonder if they can be convinced to support SPOTs that aren't purchased directly from them, even for a fee.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:46 PM   #143
12bnkd
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Spots Responce!! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by martydallas
Well, on the Help I have my Help list with people that will call each other, so they are not all doing the samething, but as I told them If I am calling for help, I most likely need a BMW Tow, and I will not have access to a Cell Phone or maynot have coverage.

BTW here is an list of Items I would like to see them add after I used it for a week and was thinking about it on my bike.
1. I know it is waterproof but I think it should "FLOAT" as well
2. on the log-in it should have a to remember me so If I want it to I could check a box to say remember me and I don't have to type in my username and password in each time
3. I have heard your working on this but an log-in for friends to use, I think you would then a lot less "OK" pushes that way
4. On the messanger list, it reads default, well, I see you want to limit the number of emails that are going out and that is ok but I would like different list. Like "Default 1" which may have one list and "Default 2" maybe another list, and so on, this way I am not having to delete and add people to the list, or you could have a list like you have on "Messages" and I can check 10 people on that list and I could have 20+ names in that list but only 10 can be checked.
5. I would like to see an easy way to take all my tracks out of findmespost and put it in google earth if I want. That way I can keep my own map and send that to friends or family
6. on the 911, I think I would like the ability to have my help people notify that I have pushed 911.
7. once log-in there is not a contact us on there I had to go back to the first page to find this email address
8. I did not know you were limited to only 10 on the "OK" button, it would be nice to have that on the page were you are putting in the list. what is the number for help? the error was so subtile that it took a while for me to see it.
9. I understand your working on this as well, but a better way to track time? Local time? not (GMT) maybe when it displayed on Google maps it show (GMT) and say local time is ???
Here is Spots Responce :) Nice and Quick

Hi Marvin,
1. The unit does float.
2. I will let the developers know of your interest in a username/password save option.
3. The developers are already working on a way to be able to allow your friends and family view messages of your choice publicly.
4. They are also working to expand the profile options.
5. I will let them know of your Google Earth interest as well.
6. You may activate Help and 911 at the same time.
7, 8. I will let them know of your suggestions.
9. GMT to local is one of the features they are improving with the next release of the website, soon.

Regards,
Stephanie

SPOT USA Customer Service
866-OK1-SPOT
www.findmespot.com
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:35 PM   #144
markgsnw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aciurczak
Works fine for me on IE 7.0 and FF 2.0 (both on Vista Ultimate). And it's pretty darned cool as well. I wonder if they can be convinced to support SPOTs that aren't purchased directly from them, even for a fee.

OK, so I wonder if it's "sorry, Windows only"....I'm running MacOS X and Firefox. And there's about zilch for me. Zilch with Safari too.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:30 AM   #145
DeSoto
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Reguarding the guest tracking idea, here is an email answering my request for the guest service:

Hi Terry,
Our developers are working to allow you to make your tracking public without compromising your account. We plan to have it available later this month.

Regards,
Stephanie

SPOT USA Customer Service
866-OK1-SPOT
www.findmespot.com
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:35 AM   #146
Squeaky
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A friend got the same answer to his latest inquiry. Seems they've gone from "we'll look into that" to "soon" to "later this month"
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:43 AM   #147
Lucky_Devil
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Good news

Glad to see that they're responding fairly quickly.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:32 AM   #148
SpotMaker
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SPoT saved 4 lives over the holidays!

SPoT saved 4 lives over the holidays. 3 in one incident and one in another.

Press releases here and here.

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Old 01-11-2008, 11:41 AM   #149
aciurczak
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Congratulations guys, it's pretty clear this is a pretty incredible device, and I thank you for working to get it to market.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:46 AM   #150
velocitramp
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Sending an OK while Tracking

Here's one for you all. My wife and I are getting the same results with the following:

While in Tracking mode, it seems that sending an OK msg cancels the tracking feature. We tried this seperately two times each. Same results.

Anyone else experience this? Any info out there to explain this.

Spotmaker, do you have one, maybe?

Otherwise, the unit has already shown its value.

Thanks everyone.

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