Android Phone for NexRad and Navigation

Discussion in 'Vendors' started by wingwing, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    just wondering..I think it would be useful.. don't know why I didn't think of it before.
    ..wondering if anyone else thinks it would be useful too?

    Currently, when you select DESTINATION , the only two choices offered are "Navigate To" or "Show Map".
    It seems to me like if you were interested in that destination, you might want to know the forecast there too?

    I do a fair amount of cross country riding and nearing the end of the day I think this would be useful to know if "pressing on" or "staying put" would be the better choice.

    So how about two more new choices?.. something like:
    "Destination Forecast Hourly" and "Destination Forecast 7 Day".
    That would be two taps total for the weather at your destination..
    ..or, since your last Destination is always sorted to the top of the list,
    I think it could even be just a voice request;
    something like: "Computer, say weather at last destination".

    I don't think it would be too hard to implement, but it would require a fresh download on your part..
    .. maybe 4.20?

    If I make the change, then after you select DESTINATION,
    you would see something like this:
    [​IMG]

    What say ya'll ?
    If no interest, then I will leave things be...
    .. or maybe just wait for the next scheduled release in the fall.

    Thanks for looking.
    Your comments and suggestions are ALWAYS appreciated.
    PM's or post here..

    Dennis
    #41
  2. ssevy

    ssevy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Southern Adirondacks
    Okay, first of all, I am a newbie to my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone, and am constantly finding myself closing screens and doing other unexpected things, so some of what I am about to share may simply be my ineptitude using a smartphone. In any case, here goes:
    I just returned from a 10 day ride through NY, PA, WV, VA, MD, then back home through more PA and NY. My Galaxy S3 is my first smart phone, and I found the weather radar very useful on day 2 of our ride, when we were dodging thunderstorms most of the day. Unfortunately, using the smartphone as a portable GPS has one major flaw, which is screen brightness. I kept my phone in the clear window of my tankbag, and really could not see it unless I stopped and cupped a hand over it. Having used an inexpensive Garmin auto GPS on my bike in the past, I found that screen to be brighter and easier to read.
    I also got a message that the server was unavailable, or some other line like that, about 50% of the time when I was trying to use the program. I ended up using the maps app built in to the phone, as it always worked okay. Unfortunately, it only keeps the display on when you have it in navigate, and I wanted to use the map view, but had to use the navigate view instead or the screen shut down.
    While I hate Google maps online, as it always seems to freeze and/or lose a bunch of my route when I am making a new one, the ability to drag to diferent routes rather than the suggested one is an essential feature if one wishes to avoid riding interstates all day, and something I really missed with both the map app and your software.
    I also wish I could enter the destination by typing rather than only by voice. I have to admit the voice entry worked pretty well the majority of the time, but it sometimes didn't understand.
    I ended up using the phone's built in map app to make my next day's route each night, by entering my destination and then finding better looking secondary roads along the route, and writing a turn-by-turn route on large index cards for my tank bag. (I had done a similar process at home for the first day's ride, using the Delorme Gazetteer for NY, which is an awesome and easy way to build a great route.) Zooming out to see if I was staying somewhere in the vicinity of the blue route line kept me going in the correct general direction. I then used your app to check the live radar each day to see how things looked before setting off.
    For my needs, I would like to see the ability to drag and change a route to build it, and then a button that puts the actual turn by turn directions on the phone screen in huge and highly contrasting letters (in landscape view), with the distance until the next turn underneath. No maps or pictures, etc., just the simple arrow indicating direction of upcoming turn, and the distance left underneath. Probably way to much to ask of a $12 app, but you did ask for suggestions.
    #42
  3. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    Yes, thank you for the detailed report.
    I'm a bit sorry you saved it all up for AFTER your trip. Had you contacted me more often (during the trip) I could have saved you some frustrations.

    Some of your issues are due to your newness with the Android OS.
    .. some are limitations of the current technology
    .. some are limitations of my software.
    I'll try and separate the issues and address each one individually.

    .. If you have the time, please read this: I call it <<Everything Android>> and it is a great place for people who are new to Android to start.. even "power users" might pick up a trick or two. The most common "trap" is using the back key too much. I call it "the hammer" because yes, it will get you back but often times too far back. With EMFB there is really no reason to use the "back" key. There is a button for everything.
    .. that is good to hear. It is my primary goal that EMFB keeps your ride safe.
    In a side by side comparison, I agree that a stand alone GPS is brighter than most cell phones are. But I have used my cell phone as a primary GPS for something close to 50,000 miles and for the most part it is very usable. Yes, high noon I have to shade the screen. That phone you have has an awesome display and I've read more than one review praising it's outdoor brightness.
    Questions:
    a) are you sure you had the brightness turned ALL the way up?.. if you leave it on "automatic" sometimes it still does not turn up all the way.
    b) was the phone plugged in while you were riding or running off battery?... some phones will dim as the battery discharges.
    c) do you have a screen protector on the phone?.. that is the biggest contributing factor to the screen appearing "dim" outside. If you have a screen protector AND clear plastic for the tank bag, then I'd be surprised if you could see it at all.
    I do not have screen protector on mine; it makes it nearly un-usable outside.
    Please check and tell me which version of EMFB you are using (tap and hold the EXIT button and the version will display on the first line). If you are still using version 4.18 then there is an easy fix and that is upgrade to version 4.19. Shortly after the release of 4.18 several people reported right away they were having connectivity issues with Samsung phones... it only seemed to affect Samsung phones for reasons unknown to me. I made some change in the code, released it as version 4.19 and in every case, it fixed the connectivity issues. I posted an update in the PLAY STORE and in this thread last month. See this post: http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19135669&postcount=33
    If you HAVE already updated to version 4.19 then I'm at a loss to explain your connection issues. No one else is reporting that at this time. Please, let me know?
    That is another setting on your phone. Some phones allow complete control and others only partial control. In either case there is an easy fix.
    If your phone allows complete control you should find a setting either in DISPLAY or DEBUG that says something like "keep display always on when charging". If youre phone does NOT permit that, then the other alternatives are:
    a) Go to Display and set the time out to the highest setting. For most Samsung, that is about 30 minutes. That means you only have to tap the phone ONCE before 30 minutes expires to keep the display on.
    b) If your phone does not natively allow you to adjust the time out, you can download any one of several FREE apps from the PLAY STORE that will keep your display on for as long as you wish.
    Something is wrong with your PC or your connection. Google Maps never freezes on me. I pre-plan many detailed routes using it. I often get asked for some "back roads" way to Key West since I live and ride in Florida a lot. When asked, I share this Google MY MAP I made. It was very easy to create by dragging the lines around. I'm at a loss to explain why Google MY MAPS does work for you..
    See if you can see this from your BROWSER.. http://goo.gl/maps/z7QOY
    My software, EMFB does NOT create routes by dragging lines. Even the Google MAPS for Android phone does not do that. There are many requests for that feature, but currently it does not exist.
    There are however some easy workarounds (I'll get to in a bit).
    if you had contacted me sooner I could have helped with that. The easy answer is yes it does. If you speak something and it does not get it exactly, just tap the blue window and the keyboard will pop up and you can edit what you said with BIG easy to see letters. If you don't wish to speak something first, just tap and hold the DESTINATION button and it will bring up a list of previous destinations.. tap on any one of those and either change it or erase it completely and type in what ever you wish. As soon as you tap either NAVIGATE TO or SHOW MAP that info gets entered into the EMFB previous destinations list. (and that is another piece of what I alluded to above about regarding "easy workarounds" .. more on that below).
    ok.. keep all that in mind but lets use EMFB to "keep" the list for you.
    Whenever I plan a complex route for my next day I look at the roads I want to travel like you do. I read into EMFB the names of towns along the way. Just speak it, say show map and if it was "right", then use the task manager key to switch back to EMFB, tap "TRY AGAIN" and say the next waypoint. In this manner you can create your "index card" route in EMFB. You can save up 50 waypoints in this manner. Then, as you ride and reach your waypoint, just "tap and hold" DESTINATION, find the next waypoint on your list and either tap SHOW MAP or NAVIGATE TO.
    An alternate method if you carry a small notebook is drag and plot the whole day on GOOGLE MAPS (the on line version).. save that to my MAPS and then using your Android GOOGLE MAPS select "MY MAPS and your course will be there. Tap the compass icon and you location will be super imposed over the route. All you have to do is stay on the line.

    Actually, I use a combination of those two methods.
    I have the MY MAP saved but then I use the DESTINATION button to select from my previous spoken list and then select NAVIGATE TO. Using the task manager button on your phone, you can be viewing the GOOGLE MAP line but listening to the GOOGLE NAVIGATE turn by turn directions.
    They are not always "EXACT".. but if you drew the line from A to B and spoke your DESTINATION from point A to B, they will very very very close.
    It is much easier to do than to explain.
    Once you've gotten the hang of using MAPS and NAV as described above, you can further add to the mix and have the EMFB RADAR display working at the same time. Remember, your phone is a GREAT multi-tasking device.. you don't have to limit EMFB to see how how things are before "setting off".. you can in fact have MAPS, NAVIGATION and EMFB RADAR all running at the same time and using the phones task manager key (that little box-in-box looking thing) you just tap to change the view. (I keep all three plus have music running too.)
    If MAPS or NAV tell me "continue for 15 miles" the first thing I do is switch to the RADAR view to keep an eye on the storms.. NAV will still keep talking to you in background.. and when she says get ready to turn I either switch to her or to my custom MY MAP..
    .. again, much easier to do than to explain.
    Me too!.. but not possible at this time. Google MAPS on line lets you do that, but Google MAPS for the phone does not... believe me, EVERYONE is asking for that.. Google is aware and hints at "working on it" in the developer forums.. but bottom line is "no can do at this time".
    not quite there yet either.. BUT you can get close:
    a) go into your phone DISPLAY settings and change the FONT size to HUGE.. that will help A LOT.
    b) now when you are in the MAP view, switch from MAP to "DIRECTIONS LIST".. that gives you turn by turn with the mileage at the top.. you'll have to update that as you go if you want the miles to go to change.
    The main MAP automatically provides "time" to go.. that works for me.
    again, thanks for the questions and suggestions.. we are in agreement on those and as soon as the technology is available I will do my best to incorporate it into the EMFB app.
    I'm already working on creating custom routes by just speaking but that's a ways off yet to be truly stable and helpful.

    I guess this would be easier if I could hold "seminars" on how to best use all this stuff.. but as you said:
    "Probably way to much to ask of a $12 app".. :-)
    ... all kidding aside.. at the bottom of the EMFB help screen, is my direct phone contact info.. I usually check that and answer questions within a few hours.. unless I'm in the hills riding. then it takes a few hours longer.
    (I'm leaving for month long trip next month.. still checking all the time but be patient if I don't get back to you right away.)

    I could have provided some advice to resolve most of what seemed to disappoint you on your trip..
    ... no, not all, but most I think.

    Feel free to contact me anytime if you have a question or if something does not seem to work as expected..
    .. surely, that is worth the price of admission.?

    Thanks again, and if you don't think EMFB is worth the purchase price,
    just let me know the name it was purchased from and I should still be able to issue a refund from my end.
    If that is not to your satisfaction, send me your address and I'll send you a check.
    I only want happy customers.. I do this for fun and to share what I know.

    regards,
    Dennis
    #43
  4. ssevy

    ssevy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Southern Adirondacks
    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for the quick and very detailed response. Other vendors could learn alot from you!

    Again, I apologize for some of the questions, as getting used to this device is a bit frustrating at times, and I am learning something new nearly every day! You are certainly correct in that unfamiliarity with the workings of the device itself is a contributing factor to my problem. I will read the resources that you listed and keep at it, but in the meantime, I did respond to some of your questions below for clarification and to possibly assist others.

    Again, thanks so much for the program, and your time answering questions!

    #44
  5. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    Try completely disabling WiFI when you're out riding..

    I've been looking for anything that might help..
    have you seen this regarding the Samsung III ?
    http://androidcommunity.com/verizon-galaxy-s-iii-wifi-notification-bug-wont-go-away-20120712/

    short of it is:
    .."To make matters worse if you select the option to “always connect” to open WiFi hotspots it will connect just as it should, but here’s where the annoyance becomes an actual problem. If you select always connect yet the phone doesn’t know the password, the device disables your data connection while trying to connect and once it fails the data is not re-enabled. You’ll still get phone calls but all data is stopped until you notice the problem. The Verizon Galaxy S III will just be running in circles looking for an open WiFi connection."

    thanks, I'll keep looking...
    Dennis
    #45
  6. Humpy

    Humpy love them giblets

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Fort Collins, America
    wingwing,

    Awesome app. I'm going to download it & start playing with it today. Love the idea of a all in one devece, MP3, GPS, phone, weather... Reminds me of when hardware companies used to make you buy a scanner, printer, copier, fax machine when all use pretty much the same hardware. Hats off to you.

    quick question:
    I have a Moterola Droid X which I will replace soon with either a Galaxy SIII or a HTC One X; if I install it on my current phone will I need to repurchase the app. or can I transfer it over once I get the new phone?

    Either way, it's going on my current phone soon!
    #46
  7. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    thank you thank you..
    I've heard that HTC One X is an awesome phone but have not had a chance to play with one yet.

    You only have to purchase the app once... "it" then belongs to the gmail account with which you purchased it..
    ..i.e. .. if you are BobJones@ gmail.com on the Droid, as long as keep that same name on your new phone as the primary account, then you can just go to the PLAY Store and install it on the new phone..

    Thanks again and let me know if you have any questions...

    Dennis
    #47
  8. SE Steve

    SE Steve Super Noob

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    So Cal
    Wow just installed this on my razzr google maps is way faster.

    I used my phone in an aqua box on my last trip it over heated anyone else have this problem?
    #48
  9. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    I run mine in an Otterbox all the time and it does not overheat..
    I've not tried to run it in an aqua box..
    ..is that air tight?
    Dennis
    #49
  10. SE Steve

    SE Steve Super Noob

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    So Cal
    Yes and water prof.
    #50
  11. SE Steve

    SE Steve Super Noob

    Joined:
    May 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    So Cal
    I'm going to try the aqua box pro20 next
    #51
  12. ssevy

    ssevy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Southern Adirondacks
    Wow, everyone with a Samsung better stock up on any aftermarket cases, etc., asap, as it sounds like Apple's win in court might shut down some of their models. A billion dollars in fines! I'll bet the folks at Otterbox cranking out all of those cases made a quick phone call to China saying "hit the stop button"! Of course, since those cases probably cost them about 50 cents each to make, their losses won't be so bad I guess.
    #52
  13. mikejohn

    mikejohn Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,216
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    so instead of a Tom Tom, which android would you suggest i get , i need some schooling:D, i thought about a tablet, one not as big as the apple
    #53
  14. ssevy

    ssevy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Southern Adirondacks
    I was hiking yesterday in the Adirondacks, and there was no access to cell towers. The maps application on the phone showed me as a blue pointer as always, but since there were no cell towers, apparently it couldn't load the maps, so the thing was useless. I know my older Magellan GPS unit only has enough capacity to load detailed maps of a certain size, and once I get outside of the area I downloaded, it just shows generic maps with no details. I don't think any cell phone is ready to replace a dedicated GPS unit in the backcountry, and I can carry extra double a batteries for the GPS, but can't easily and inexpensively do this for the phone. Since I am new to smart phones, I may be missing something here, but it appears that no cell coverage means no maps downloading to show your position.
    #54
  15. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    Do some more reading...
    You can pre-cache very large map areas to your phone.
    I've got the entire Smokey Mountain Park in mine plus most of central Florida and large areas of the desert south west..

    I've replaced all my Garmin stuff a long time ago.

    ..or keep your separate gps if you feel more comfortable.

    Dennis

    [QU OTE=ssevy;19498164]I was hiking yesterday in the Adirondacks, and there was no access to cell towers. The maps application on the phone showed me as a blue pointer as always, but since there were no cell towers, apparently it couldn't load the maps, so the thing was useless. I know my older Magellan GPS unit only has enough capacity to load detailed maps of a certain size, and once I get outside of the area I downloaded, it just shows generic maps with no details. I don't think any cell phone is ready to replace a dedicated GPS unit in the backcountry, and I can carry extra double a batteries for the GPS, but can't easily and inexpensively do this for the phone. Since I am new to smart phones, I may be missing something here, but it appears that no cell coverage means no maps downloading to show your position.[/QUOTE]
    #55
  16. ssevy

    ssevy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Southern Adirondacks
    Thanks Dennis, read I shall. How do you deal with the battery life issue?
    #56
  17. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    On the bike, I charge it as I ride.
    ..I also carry a spare high capacity battery in case my charger goes bad.

    With two batteries, just using the gps I bet you could go a week..
    ..TURN OFF the cell phone radios in the wilderness..
    ...they use the most juice.
    Now all you have to manage is the gps and display..
    .turn it off when you're not looking at it.
    Dennis
    #57
  18. SprocketTX

    SprocketTX Bull in China Shop

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    137
    Location:
    Forney, Texas (DFW area)
    Went to buy and saw the 9/1/12 bit about the NEXRAD Base and Composite server being offline. Any update to this? Accurate radar is what I'm looking for...
    #58
  19. wingwing

    wingwing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    119
    thanks for checking and I'm glad my "heads up" warning is working..

    The NOAA server outage could not have come at a worse time for me..
    ..I'm spending this fall in the mountains of N.C. enjoying the mountains and great riding..
    ..I won't be home (back to workimg on EMFB) until almost Thanksgiving.

    Please stay tuned and I'll post when I've fixed the problem..
    ..EMFB is the best and at least you know I'm not a scammer..
    ..who else would post on the store "stop, don't buy this"

    Thanks again,
    Dennis
    #59
  20. SprocketTX

    SprocketTX Bull in China Shop

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    137
    Location:
    Forney, Texas (DFW area)
    Thanks for the update...

    For those of us with pre-Thanksgiving NEXRAD needs :D, any suggestions on the "next-best" solution?
    #60