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Old 28-01-2009, 18:07   #1
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Alpha testers wanted

G'day all!

A brand new ENC (vector) chart navigation application for Windows and MacOS is looking for alpha testers. If you are interested in navigation, software and have a bit of a daredevil in you - apply here.

This is a first attempt at letting anyone not related to the product take a look. To be sure, application is far from complete (it is, essentially, an ENC viewer). If you try it, you *will* encounter bugs - this is the nature of Alpha stage products.

We are looking for your feedback. It is still very early in development cycle and your feedback will most certainly have a real and significant impact on direction the project takes.

We know that more features are missing than can be counted. What we are looking for in particular is feedback on the features that are currently in the product. Some of the areas that need an outside expert user look are:
- Chart display correctness.
- Chart color and symbol selection and readability.
- Operation on various hardware and OS platforms.

The application is currently available for Win32 (Windows 2000/XP, potentially Vista, we are looking for Vista testers) and Mac OS (Intel only, no PowerPC support) 10.5 Leopard (10.4 Tiger needs testers as well).

If you like what you read and want to risk it - visit download area at Polar Navy . Download is "by invitation" and access keyword is ALPHA1.

Thanks all
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Old 28-01-2009, 18:28   #2
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I would feel a little more comfortable if the site was more than a download. I think the chances are pretty high that you are legitimate. But I'm having a hard time considering downloading and installing software onto my computer where I really cannot determine the source. My apologies if I sound a little too pessimistic. I hope you understand.

I really would like to try the software. Does anyone know of software out there that can detect root kits, spyware, trojans, viruses or other malware before installation?

Any software "geeks" have any suggestions on how we might try this safely?

I think it would be gentlemanly to give brak a cautious benefit of the doubt first.
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Old 28-01-2009, 18:39   #3
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I have some of the same concerns. By trade, I am a SQA Engineer so I work with stuff like this all the time. I would be interested, but would like to see a NDA first.
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Old 28-01-2009, 19:03   #4
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Interesting point, in all honesty this was not an issue we considered. The site is about as good as it can be under these conditions. We are a *very* small project with very limited resources available to anything but core development.

Hopefully, some more daring soul on the forum might take a risk and share the experience with others. After all, nothing else can establish (or break) a product, project or person's reputation

P.S. On a separate note for anyone that took a plunge, the application package does not include any charts. ENC charts are available for download from NOAA website at Electronic Navigational Charts: NOAA ENCs®. Once downloaded, charts can be placed in any location on your hard drive, and opened using File-Open menu item. The primary chart file that needs to be selected is the one with extension .000.

We are working on better (or any) documentation
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Old 28-01-2009, 19:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
I would feel a little more comfortable if the site was more than a download. I think the chances are pretty high that you are legitimate. But I'm having a hard time considering downloading and installing software onto my computer where I really cannot determine the source. My apologies if I sound a little too pessimistic. I hope you understand.

I really would like to try the software. Does anyone know of software out there that can detect root kits, spyware, trojans, viruses or other malware before installation?

Any software "geeks" have any suggestions on how we might try this safely?

I think it would be gentlemanly to give brak a cautious benefit of the doubt first.
Download AVG Free edition. You should really be running something like this to begin with AVG won't pick up EVERYTHING but it is better than most paid programs. In 5 years I have never had a problem with Virus's, Trojans, Spyware or Adware, and you should see some of the sites I am required to visit and download crap from!

There is actually a suite of programs I run(All Free) for anyone that is interested. AVG Free, Spyware Blaster, Spybot Search and Destroy and Adaware. Keep them updated and you shouldn't have to worry about to much.
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Old 28-01-2009, 19:31   #6
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My computer and I are still alive.

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Old 28-01-2009, 19:33   #7
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this is pretty bare bones.
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Old 28-01-2009, 19:58   #8
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It is safe everyone.

Runs ok on my Vista Machine, No lag even with other major memory eaters open(photoshop, dreamweaver, FireFox), so it seems it is resources friendly which is an extremely good thing.

Extremely basic at this point but something worth keeping an eye on the development of. Maybe others could comment on chart correctness, I know what I am looking at but my son is the charts expert.

Brak so you know I am running a 1 1/2 year old Gateway laptop, 2 gb ram, core 2 duo centrino processors under Vista. Now with that said I NEVER have problem with software on this machine, Gateway built around Vista as opposed to building a machine then customizing Vista to work with it. Others may not have the same results because of that.

I would suggest one thing when I opened the chart it as zoomed all the way in and looked like a blank chart, chart Cell Number was US2EC02M, maybe 50% zoom upon opening
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Old 28-01-2009, 20:09   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
and Mac OS (Intel only, no PowerPC support) 10.5 Leopard (10.4 Tiger needs testers as well).
Brak

This is what I am running:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro4,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 800 MHz
Boot ROM Version: MBP41.00C1.B03
SMC Version: 1.27f1

Michael
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Old 28-01-2009, 20:21   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MV View Post
Brak

This is what I am running:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro4,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 800 MHz
Boot ROM Version: MBP41.00C1.B03
SMC Version: 1.27f1

Michael
What MacOS version do you have? Are there any issues (aside from the lack of features, of course? ).
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Old 28-01-2009, 20:22   #11
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I would suggest one thing when I opened the chart it as zoomed all the way in and looked like a blank chart, chart Cell Number was US2EC02M, maybe 50% zoom upon opening
Thanks, this just went on feature list for Alpha-2.
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Old 28-01-2009, 20:33   #12
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What MacOS version do you have? Are there any issues (aside from the lack of features, of course? ).
10.5.6

I just need to play with it and get the maps working.
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Old 28-01-2009, 20:52   #13
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It is pretty bare bones right now. The display is OK. It's far too static and the interaction with the map is almost nil. I can't say that much as far as feedback other than it does not do very much and even the zoom is limited. It loads one map fine but I can't tell if it deals with the .001, .002 and the updates properly. If it only loads one cell at a time it is pretty much worthless. The ability to manage many cells and have a greater user defined features is more to the point of what it has to do and do well. To do that requires a spacial index and many ENC applications fail because they don't. It also requires graduated detail levels based on scale. Those features are also required when you display more data. In the end you need to be able to load 30 cells, merge updates and be able to pan and zoom easily plus inquire all the details in the map data that are not featured as yet. That only will make a decent viewer.

It did install fine, it is small, it's not meant to be really usable and it meets those criteria handily. It really has a very very long way to go. If the finished product was 100 miles away from the start I could still see the parking lot.

There really is nothing about it to dislike just not enough to bother with for a few more releases.
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Old 28-01-2009, 21:03   #14
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Thank you for the review.

To a few specific points in your reply:
- Updates are loaded automatically (i.e. 001, 002 etc are applied if available)
- You can load multiple cells, though at this point application administratively limited to 10 cells at a time. You should be able to pan and zoom using both keyboard and a mouse. Keyboard shortcuts for zoom in and out are keys 1 and 2, panning is available by either dragging the screen with the mouse or using arrow keys. Hold the "shift" key when using arrows for faster movement. Chart can be rotated by pressing 2 and 3.
- Objects on the chart scale automatically (we tried to reduce the need for user to configure layers). More objects will be visible as you zoom in. Some of the chart clutter can be removed by turning off certain object types in preferences dialog. We would appreciate feedback on scaling - it needs to be refined. If you prefer certain types of objects to be shown or hidden at a different scale than they are now, or the behavior of the scaling to be entirely different - let us know. This is one of the primary objectives of the Alpha 1.

- Information about chart objects is available by clicking on them (information window has to be open for the data to be displayed, it opens by pressing Ctrl+I on Windows or Mac+I on Mac).

And yes, help is on the feature list for Alpha 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
It is pretty bare bones right now. The display is OK. It's far too static and the interaction with the map is almost nil. I can't say that much as far as feedback other than it does not do very much and even the zoom is limited. It loads one map fine but I can't tell if it deals with the .001, .002 and the updates properly. If it only loads one cell at a time it is pretty much worthless. The ability to manage many cells and have a greater user defined features is more to the point of what it has to do and do well. To do that requires a spacial index and many ENC applications fail because they don't. It also requires graduated detail levels based on scale. Those features are also required when you display more data. In the end you need to be able to load 30 cells, merge updates and be able to pan and zoom easily plus inquire all the details in the map data that are not featured as yet. That only will make a decent viewer.

It did install fine, it is small, it's not meant to be really usable and it meets those criteria handily. It really has a very very long way to go. If the finished product was 100 miles away from the start I could still see the parking lot.

There really is nothing about it to dislike just not enough to bother with for a few more releases.
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Old 29-01-2009, 00:19   #15
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It is bare bones but it will provide a simple way for me to have a lot of charts for backup and special purposes. Now I've got to figure out exactly which charts are the ones I need.

Is there some place, other than taking up space on this board where we might send comments and suggestions for features? Will you be informing alpha testers of upgrades and improvements via some simple email or website? I'm happy to try it out because it satisfies one of my needs for backup charts but I'd prefer to not use up too much "sailing space" for software discussions.

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