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Everything posted by GClouse

  1. It seems to me that any an every hardware developer can benefit from the open source community developing their support software including device drivers. If I were developing some great new whiz-bang gizmo, open source woul be a no-brainer, because free development, free testing, free debugging and patching, means a more competitive product that is also more profitable.The only reason I can think of for not releasing the protocols is to protect the interests of the companies holding the copyrights to the maps.
  2. michaelnel, you should be surprised. IIS only runs on Windows, exposes low level kernel functions allowing arbitrary privilege upgrades due to the "Close integration" between IIS and Windows. The Microsoft security model, designed to protect Microsoft's profits, can best be described as "preemptive perimeter with post-active repair as a second line of defense. Apache, the most popular Open Source web server, runs on Windows, Linux, Unix, BSD MVS, OSVS, in short, everything from routers to mainframes. Apache doesn't patch into the kernel on Linux, and takes advantage of the pervasive security model in Linux. The only real advantage of IIS is a plethora of bland minimally customizable prebuilt binaries that can be purchased.
  3. I was under the impression that LightSquared is planning to use relatively low power units in urban areas operating at 1800 MHz and higher, with an effective range of about a quarter mile. They would be placed on every corner, which would provide less saturation than wirelss G routers in urban areas. The real problem is in rural areas where higher powered units will be deployed. The agricultural equipment manufacturer, John Deere, has compained that it's tests show interference with precision GPS systems used in contour farminf applications.
  4. A couple of years ago, while looking for a cache near the river in Nashville, I was approached by homeless man with a dog, who had apparently had his camp in a nearby wooded area. He politely told me that whatever I was looking for was not there. He said he occasionally saw others come to the very same spot with odd little gizmos who appeared to be looking for something. I explained geocaching to him, and afterward, with an odd expression he said "and people think I'm crazy."
  5. I have a Triton 2000 and use Linux, so I am in the same boat. The triton series uses a number of Microsoft-centric protocols/ The Vantagepoint desktop application is a dot net application that uses unmanaged code. Unlike newer models that can take a gpx file in directly, the Triton series must have the file uploaded through a complex synchronization process. I started to research the protocols and put it off due to other project. Perhaps I should work on it some more.
  6. The Magellan web page for the VantagePoint software lists the eXplorist 510,610, and 710 along with the Triton series as supported models. If the x10 units work as generic mass storage devices that would be a real PLUS!! If this is confirmed I may be looking for a 710 in the future. It would be nice as a parting gift when the triton series are discontinued if Magellan would release a firmware upgrade that adds mass storage device support on the tritons.
  7. There are several ways to do this. You can manually edit the way points in the desktop apps for your GPSr. I know this works in vantage point for Magellan units, and I am pretty sure it works with the Garmin software. It can be tedious and kind of a drag if you have a lot of puzzle cache solution as you have to re-edit every time you refresh your pocket queried. Of course you can waypoints with a different prefix, such as PZ instead of GC. as for the co-ords, converting between dd:mm:ss, dd:mm.mmm and dd.dddddd is a fairly simple conversion and most scientific calculators have the functions built-in, What I do is this: If the puzzle needs to be don on the internet or cna be done one the computer, I will solve the puzzle and put the solutioni co-ords in decimal degrees in a text file on the PC along with the gc code for the cache. If I'm in the field and working one of those puzzle caches, I just go to the settings, change to the coordinate format that matches the solutions format, and create a waypoint. The gpx file format is an XML file and can be edited with a text editor, It can also be edited programatically, scripting languages such as perl or through an xslt processor. I started to write a perle script to update the puzzle solution in gpx files but temporarily put it on the back burner due to time constraints. There are also many excellent XML editors available as freeware. It helps to get a basic understanding of XML W3school (http"//www.w3schools.com) has free online tutorials and links to some editors
  8. I've been collecting info about this since I use a Magellan Triton 2000 and haven't gotten it to talk with my Debian system at home. Here is what I've found so far. The triton uses a variant of Windiws CE core, probably mobile Core 6.5. "Core " OS versions use the CE kernel and hardware support, but hide behind a custom GUI. The Windows PC companion software, VantagePoint appears to be written in .Net with some native library usage. The usb device driver is called MUD.sys which adds two com ports in the device manager after the triton is plugged in. looking at the files in the VantagePoint program directory, I discovered a log file that had been created by the previous firmware update. The log file implied that a common remote protocol, either RAPI or possibly RNDIS which connect the Windows desktop to a windows CE device as if it is a shared network drive. Building on this info, my guess is that the Windows driver presents the gps as a networked drive and that the sound and image files for the recorder and camera are simply copied to and from the flash memory on the gps. Since it is Windows centric, I am currently assuming that way-point data on the on the gps is most likely a SQL Ce database format. Based on this info, accessing this Windows Mobile based GPS is probably just a matter of finding open source driver dupport for rndis and rapi to connect the gps as a remote drive and using an OBDC driver to read, write and update the database on the GPS. On the Linux side of things Plugging the triton into my linux box resulted in devfs creating device fields for three endpoint devices. two of which respond with abinary data when read with the cat command. After a bit of searching on the internet, I found kernel drivers for for rndis and rapi, but binary versions are not included for my distro. I also found source code for kernel drivers supporting Garmin and Navman GPSrs but I don't know which models are supported. There is also dome driver support for some Windows mobile devices, and several linux projects geared toward providing basic access to PPC and WM handhelds..
  9. Microsoft has spent truckload of money to trivialize linux. Their current tactic involves market share reports to "prove" that Linux is only installed on 2 or three percent. The problem with this type of reasoning is that it only counts units (or copies) sold and in the case of Linux, commercial sales are only a tiny percentage of the installed base. There is no way to know exactly how many computers are running free Linux Distros. I've seen estimates ranging between 10 and 30 percent of computer as the percentage of linux systems. So what we need to do to get better support from the GPS manufacturers, is to convince them that we are a significant market. After all, these guys make some excellent hardware, but they seriously are not software guys. We need to make our presence known. Ig you use linux, and have a GPS by a company that is not Linux friendly, email their support people. POint out that they don't even have to pay anyone to provide linux support. All they have to minimally do is simply publish the communication protocols. Point out they are losing sales to their Linux friendly competition. Do this in your own twords. Do not copy and passte someone elses work, so they will see there are a bunch of us out here. When the marketing people realixe they've been ignoring a large part of their customerbase, they might respond. If they dont, well, screw 'em andbuy products with good Linux support.
  10. I suspect that one reason you are seeing fewer downloads is that GPSBabel has gone mainstream. Magellan in including GPSBabel in its VantagePoint software. no doubt, many other GPS manufacturers doing the same.. They are effectively acting as your distributors. IThe Magellan software has file import and export GUI front-ends to GPSBabel.
  11. I suspect that one reason you are seeing fewer downloads is that GPSBabel has gone mainstream. Magellan in including GPSBabel in its VantagePoint software. no doubt, many other GPS manufacturers doing the same.. They are effectively acting as your distributors. IThe Magellan software has file import and export GUI front-ends to GPSBabel.
  12. My boss tolerates me having VantagePoint installed on my work PC. The only PC I use Linux at home and tried to install VantagePoint under WINE, but it didn't take. It appears to be a .NET app, so It might run under Mono on Linux, if I can get it to talk to the GPS. Magellan makes a profession grade GPS, the Mobilemaper 6, which is very similar in appearance and hardware specis. The MM6 uses Microsofts ActiveSync protocol, so I wonder if SynCe can handle it. It it can itI might be possible to kludge something up in Linux/
  13. I've owned a triton 2000 for a over a year.. Bough it used from a pawnshop for about half of the retail price. For caching, it works pretty good. I had to buy detail topo maps for it. The base map us not very useful and the detail maps each cover several states and a wider area than I would ever cache in. It gets an initial fix rather quickly, which is a good feature, and it seems to work well in most weather conditions. It has some built in paperless geocaching features allowing you upload cache descriptions and hints to the unit in separate category from waypoints. Another useful feature is the backtrack function. This allows you to create a reverse route from you current tracklog and is very useful for those times you forget to set a waypoint for your parking location.It also supports three configuration profiles (Geocaching, Hiking and Marine) which allows you to quickly switch between three customized configurations. It has a lot of nifty hardware features. built in compass, led flashlight, barometer, 1.3 megapixel camera for still and video, digital voice recorder, color touch screen, SD card slot, external antenna connector. and earphone jack. It's a comfortable form factor for a handheld. It is rugged and lightweight. The display is daylight viewable, but recessed which can make it difficult to see some situations. I don't know how it works for navigation use, since I don't have the street maps.I use a different GPS for navigation. The triton has a rather small and weak speaker, which would make voice guided navigation tricky due to the low maximum volume. Downsides: Battery life with standard alkaline batteries is abysmal and I usually use the high performance lithium disposables to get 8 hours of use. I have not tried rechargeable yet. I usually disable the compass to reduce power use. The original firmware on the gps is buggy, but Magellan has a free firmware update that fixes most of the problems. It is Windows Mobile based with a custom user interface, and I suspect the unit employs SQL CE for data storage. This means that you must use the Vantagepoint software to load waypoints and caches through the cable. No dumping a gpx file to an SD card and popping it in. The PC software is slow during transfers, occasionally goes into a guru meditation mode, and is only compatible with MS Windows. No versions are available for Mac or Linux. In addition the communication protocol appears to be proprietary and Magellan has shown no indication of supporting non-Windws OSes. (This is particularly asinine on Magellan's part as many cachers are also Linux geeks.. including me) Transferring waypoints requires the proprietary data cable, and the VantagePoint software. Pictures, videos and audio files require the use of an SD card, but locations are stored in the unit. Generally it's okay for caching, but the MSRP is kind of high in my opinion.If you can find a good used one at a hock shop for half price, and upgrade the firmware, it's not a bad deal.
  14. I have a triton 2000 also, and the spftware doesn't support flagging the cache. However, you can use the voice recorder feature to record a voice note about the find. I then delete the cache entry from gps so it won't show on the geocache list(I always sort by nearest).
  15. The gpx files are in an xml format, but the hint fields are encode using a very simple code known as "Rot13". ROT 13 is a simple letter substiturion code each letter is replaced by the thirteenth letter after the one being encoded. manual decoding and encoding is simple using a key like this: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ NOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLM to decode, find the letter on the second line and read the letter above it on the first line. What I prefer though, is to use the programg "GPSBabel" from a bath file to translate the gpx file into an html file. GPSBabel decrypts the hints by default in the html file. I also use GPSBabel to create a kml file that can be view on google earth, to aid in planning my cashing trips.
  16. I have a Magellan Triton 2000, purchased from a pawnshop for about half of the retail price. It has the Sd slot color map display, camera, flashlight, compass, barometer, thermometer, headphone jack,and a metal handle that will probably work as a bottle opener in a pinch. I seldom use the compass, because the calibration requires the GPSr to be placed on a leve surface with no iron or steel nearby, which rules out most of the readily available surfaces like picnic tables (nails in wooden ones, rebar in the concrete ones ) and roadways ( seldom level ). It does come in handy for the occasioins offset cache, but drains the batteries quicker so I usually keep it turned off. For most caches, the GPSr calculates the heading from the satellites accurately enough for most purposes. An SD card is required for the camera, and for the topo maps, and I've found the camera to be a nice feature. The flashlight, which really drains the battery, has been useful on occasion. The barometer is not so useful to me, If I still did back country hiking, it might be. The thermometer is only accessible from a hidden diagnostics mode and not really useful.
  17. robertlipe, When I downloaded the VantagePoint software for my Triton 2000, I found it included GPSBabel for Windows, complete with source.I suspect that may be the case with other GPS manufacturers software as well.
  18. As I stated earlier, I have been a Debian user for many years. However, I work in a Windows-only IT shop. About 7 months ago, I bought a Magellan Triton 2000 at a pawnshop for less that half the retail price, The Triton is Windows PocketPC based and the only way to transfer caches and way-points to the unit is through a dot-net application called Vantagepoint. The installer for Vantagepoint will not work with Wine, and since Vantage Point uses a few narive windows dlls, I have not been able to make it work with Mono under Linux. I have studied the Triton and I suspect the GPS ldata is being held hostage in a SQL-Server dot Net database on the Triton. If this is the case, it may be possible to access the waypoints, tracks, routes and caches through an ODBC driver.
  19. I've seen the ridiculous distances show when a west longitude was entered as an east one. GPX files store the co-ords as decimal degrees, with west longitudes and south latitudes as negative numbers. IF the Co-ords show the correct hemisphere and the distance is off, it might be a bug in the gps software.
  20. I have a triton, and I disabled the barometer. It still logs elevation data. However, for skydiving I suspect you will have a problem with the logged readings lagging due to the time it takes to calculate the position. If you are simply wanting an idea of accelleration and terminal speed, it might work, but the position log will probably read considerablky higher that the true altitude.
  21. If you watch ebay for a while, you can often find GPS companions for older pdas cheap. Until recently, I used a Magellan GPS Companion with a Palm M125. The GPS was $30 from Ebay and designind to clip to the back of the palm pilot. I used a free palm app called Cetus GPS for the software and it worked wonderfully. BTW, Palm M125s are dirt cheap. I find them for as little as $10 in thrift stores. They are also very power efficieny and use standard AAA batteries, a good thing because you can carry some spares and swap them out in the field, something you can't do with a lot of rechargeable PDAs. I set up a batch file to use GPSBabel to create a Cetus data file, a kml file for google earth, and an html file. Cetus GPS lets you have multiple databases on the PDA and you can move oan copy entries between them, so I would have a "caches" database with with my big list of caches, a "found" database and a "DNF" database. When I found a cache, I would simply move the cache entry to the "found" database. The "DNF" database was there for those did not finds. CetusGPS has screens for the usual info, but doesn't do maps. however it has the ability to be configured so the navigation screen will automatically seek the nearest cache. I use google earth at home with the kml files to plan my geocaching expiditions, and the html file is useful for planning as well. Pros: cheap, monochrome pdas are easy to view in sunlight, works quite well, lightweight, relatively rugged. Cons: not weatherproof, no mapping, no auto routing Now some notes on pocket pcs. particularly the older ones. older versions of Windows CE had a very limited library of applictions per version and there was almost no compatibility between versions 1 through 3. Many pocket PCs have color screens which are totally unreadable in bright sunlight, (this is true of many newer color palm pilots as well) so if you want color, look for a unit with a transflective color screen. Transflective displays, which are clearly viewable in sunlight, look gray when the screen is turned off. You don't want the type of display that looks black when the power is off.
  22. I have a Triton 2000 and when I use the VP software to transfer cache data I've noticed this. start the VP software up first, then plug in the triton, wait for it to boot. You should get an option list on the triton that includes "connect to pc", "power only" and maybe som other options. If you don't choose in 6 seconds, it will use the power only selection by default. Use the circular direction ring to move the selection up or down to highlight the "connect to PC" option then press the enter button on the triton to connect. Then you can use the Sync button to synchronize the data If you start VP avter the triton is connected, you can manually start the connection from the menu ( Menu -> View -> Settings -> Connectivity -> Enter button) to get the connection list
  23. I was in a park where there were two caches along a loop walking trail.. After finding the second one, I was about 7/8 of the way around the loop so I decided to follow the trail on around to the parking lot. Near the end of the rail, just inside the wooded area about 40 feet from the parking lot there was a couple, I guessed to be in their mid 30's goin at it on a blanket right next to the trail. When they saw me they froze with that "deer-in-the-headlights" expression for about 5 seconds, before getting back to it.
  24. I've only had a couple of owies from caching. When I was new to the sport, I was following my gps bearing down a steep slope covered with wet leaves when I slipped on the leaves. My feet flew out from under me and I landed flat onmy back. Stunned by the fall, I watched my gps, which i had tossed in the air during my ungraceful acrobatics, falling toward my face. Luck was with me that day as the gps landed with a solid thud on the ground less than an inch from my right ear. I did however bruise my back and felt the pain for about a month. On another hunt I located the cache hidden in the exposed roots of a tree on a creek bank. I opened the container, signed the log, and made my trade, then noticed that some bugs were flying around me. A swarm of yellow j ackets had built a large nest behind the cache and even though it was a cool day they covered me up. They got into my clothes and I was stung several times. One of the yellow jackets got behind my glasses and stung me just below my left eyebrow. Fortunately I am not alergic to their stings, but they still hurt.
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