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A Replacement for MobiPocket is Here!


Lil Devil
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In addition to all the other wonderful features of GPX Spinner, it can now write a set of HTML files, suitable for synchronizing to a Palm or Pocket PC device.

 

I probably need to make the feature more prominent, but you will find a checkbox at the bottom of the form labelled "Generate HTML files for synchronizing to handheld devices."

 

A future version of GPX Spinner may do the rendering on the server-side, but for now you can do it yourself using your favorite web synchronization software.

 

Enjoy.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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I've been using Plucker during development of Spinner.

 

The search function in Plucker is really cool. icon_cool.gif

 

Now that I've got (this version of) Spinner done, I've downloaded iSilo and will play with it next. Then I'll play with AvantGo! which looks to be web-based, but I'm not sure. Once I've played with them all, I'll make a recommendation on the Spinner page as to which I think is better.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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What you have so far looks excellent! Much better than the Mobipocket route.

 

I do have some suggestions, not much time right now, but a couple:

  • In Spinner, a seperate varible for size? Or would that be needed. I know of some multis that are micros.
  • How hard would it be to implement a list of the nearest caches on a particular cache page like that "Palmable" example you showed us?
(edit: forgot LIST-END)

 

Keep up the excellent work! Heck, with something like this, Jeremy could drop the eBook selection on the queries.

 

CR

 

72057_2000.gif

 

[This message was edited by Sissy-n-CR on January 07, 2003 at 05:28 AM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Sissy-n-CR:

In Spinner, a seperate varible for size? Or would that be needed. I know of some multis that are micros.


Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. I'll change it so any micro sized will use the designated symbol.

 

quote:
How hard would it be to implement a list of the nearest caches on a particular cache page like that "Palmable" example you showed us?

Actually I'm planning to do that. I even have some of the code that was used on that other site. I just need to wrap it in to my other code.

 

quote:
Heck, with something like this, Jeremy could drop the eBook selection on the queries.

I've already edited my PQs to not send the eBooks. By the way, if you don't include images, Plucker dbs tend to be a few kilobytes smaller than an eBook for the same info.

 

I'm also working on a small change that will make it easy to include off-site images, but not off-site pages. That would make searching for caches like this possible (the picture is a major clue and the cache is dadgum near impossible without it. I know.)

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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Lil Devil,

 

this is great! icon_cool.gif

 

Just gave it a try and created the channel in AvantGo. Perfect!

 

I only have problems with accented letters such as é, à , ç, etc... (In Belgium some people speak French icon_wink.gif ): an "é" shows as "é", etc... I have no idea whether the problem lies in the GPX file, or in IE op the Pocket PC, or wathever... I'l have to find it out icon_confused.gif

 

Thanks a LOT anyway!

 

Jiheffe

 

Don't Dream It... Be It!

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I think you're doing an excellent job on this project.

 

I've changed my queries, as well. No need for those eBooks

 

The "nearest caches" will be a great additional.

 

One issue I have, and it's not really a complaint and I know you can never please everyone, is the fact the header information takes up so much room. If I had my druthers I'd remove the graphic for cache type and put cache type and size all on one line kind of like this:

Type: Traditional Size: Regular

 

I'd move the coordinates to be on the same line, but keep them in bold.

 

Maybe even put the owners on the same line as the cache name, but with a no-wrap tag so it'll break cleanly.

 

All of this so we'd not have to scroll to see more of the description. However, even if this isn't changed, this will still be my choice for taking my cache pages with me.

 

Keep up the good work!

 

CR

 

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I received my Palm a few weeks ago for my Bday and have been reading all the threads regarding pda-caching. It all went right over my head.

 

After taking a look at your site, I think that this will not only fill my need, but its laid out in such a way that a non-techie like me may even be able to get it to work.

 

Thanks.

 

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.

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Originally posted by Jiheffe:

I only have problems with accented letters such as é, à , ç, etc... (In Belgium some people speak French icon_wink.gif ): an "é" shows as "é", etc... I have no idea whether the problem lies in the GPX file, or in IE op the Pocket PC, or wathever... I'l have to find it out icon_confused.gif

 

Hi again, Lil Devil!

 

I first mistakenly posted the problem was in the generated HTML, but this is not completely correct.

 

There is a problem with the way 8-bit characters are encoded in the GPX files, and these characters are also falsely displayed in EasyGPS. So I suppose the solution must come from the GPX encoding itself?

 

Thanks a lot, I just dumped MobiPocket from my PDA icon_biggrin.gif

 

Jiheffe

 

Don't Dream It... Be It!

 

[This message was edited by Jiheffe on January 07, 2003 at 02:09 PM.]

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What an excellent util spinner is. I've tried a couple of different versions of the same GPX and I seem to get the same zip file in the end.

 

Is there a problem replacing the zip on the server if there is already a file of the same name??

 

Thanks again! Mobi may be gone!

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I'm using AvantGo (and I'll admit I know next to nothing about it) I've been up and down their website and can't find whatever it is I need to do to get my spun file on my ppc... I also see the link from Spinner for the Handheld Device Synchronization Instructions, but I don't know what to do with it icon_frown.gif please help...

 

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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quote:
Originally posted by Time Travelers:

I'm using AvantGo (and I'll admit I know next to nothing about it) I've been up and down their website and can't find whatever it is I need to do to get my spun file on my ppc... I also see the link from Spinner for the Handheld Device Synchronization Instructions, but I don't know what to do with it icon_frown.gif please help...

 

_"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow_

 

http://www.mi-geocaching.org/


 

You don't get your Spun file to your PPC. Spinner creates two things: a file to be uploaded to your GPS, this you download. The other is the HTML--a small web site if you will--which is hosted on his site. You can see this site if you've told spinner to make the HTML, but clicking on the link... (I don't have this in front of me as I'm at work and don't have a GPX file to spin.) ...anyway, it's a link to take you to the INDEX of your HTML files. You can look through these files if you like.

 

The main thing is to go to AvantGo--something which I know nothing about--and point it to these indexes. If you can get AvantGo to download some webpages to your PPC, then you can do this. Otherwise, ... ~shrug~ ...someone else will have to help.

 

Hopefully, I didn't just confuse you more! If someone else hasn't straighten this out by the time I get home, I'll go into more depth.

 

CR

 

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I got it now! It's called creating a custom channel...

 

O.K., how about getting the HTML index file to replace the GC with a meaningful code? I see the options for Waypoints & Descriptions...

 

Thanks again.

 

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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I got it now! It's called creating a custom channel...

 

O.K., how about getting the HTML index file to replace the GC with a meaningful code? I see the options for Waypoints a Descriptions...

 

Thanks again.

 

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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quote:
Originally posted by Jiheffe:

 

There is a problem with the way 8-bit characters are encoded in the GPX files, and these characters are also falsely displayed in EasyGPS. So I suppose the solution must come from the GPX encoding itself?

 


 

This problem has been bugging me for quite a while. Here is what I have found so far:

 

The characters are actually 16 unicode characters that are transformed into 3 8 bit ASCII characters using UTF-8 transformation.

 

The Latin codes are used for European languages. See the preferred code for quotes, apostrophes etc. They are 16 bits under the latin charts on this page.

 

More info in the unicode faq.

 

Apparently it is up to the software that reads the UTF-8 file to display the characters as best can be with the fonts the software has available.

 

As near as I can tell there are no unicode fonts for the Palm. It would be nice if there was a software package(GPX Spinner...hint) that converted the unicode characters to the nearest Palm font equivalent.

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quote:
Originally posted by John E Cache:

The characters are actually 16 unicode characters that are transformed into 3 8 bit ASCII characters using UTF-8 transformation.


 

Not necessarily only 3 characters, though 3 is what you get if it's a character in the ISO-Latin1 charset.

 

quote:

Apparently it is up to the software that reads the UTF-8 file to display the characters as best can be with the fonts the software has available.


 

Actually, it's a requirement to be considered a compliant XML parser to be able to deal with UTF-8 in one way or another. Passing it along unmodified is not dealing with it.

 

quote:

As near as I can tell there are no unicode fonts for the Palm. It would be nice if there was a software package(GPX Spinner...hint) that converted the unicode characters to the nearest Palm font equivalent.


 

All Palms except Japanese ones use ISO Latin-1 as the charset. Anything that's not in that range would have to be expunged, but it's unlikely that there are many of those characters on most caches anyway.

 

warm.gif

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So glad not to have mobipocket anymore what a pile of doggy doo that was.

 

Two suggestions (building on my intense lazyness)

1. A page where i can setup 5 spins to run one after another as I have 5 pocket queries allowed.

 

2. A way for the system to remember all 5 and fire them of with one button press.

 

then I would hardly have to do anything...marvellous!

 

Thanks for the work.

Chris

 

Bear rescues a speciality!

London & UK Geocaching Resources: http://www.sheps.clara.net

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....lildevil's spinner page at 4 pm pacific on January 8. Is the server on overload?

 

I looked at it briefly the other day and am ready to try it out.

 

I grabbed Clayjar's Cache Watcher when I was at Lildevil's page the other day. It works well..resides on your hard drive and gives a nice treatment of a gpx file.

 

Looking forward to seeing lildevil's work.

 

Ron

 

I've never been lost. Fearsome confused sometimes, but never lost.

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First off, yes I know Spinner is down right now. My whole server is down. I don't know why. I'm out of town on a business trip and I can't even connect through my back door. Perhaps when my wife gets home tonight, she can help me fix it. Otherwise it may stay down until Friday evening. Many, many apologies. (The server, which runs a dozen other web sites, has been 100% reliable for over a year. Then as soon as I leave town...)

 

By the way, this also means most of my email is held up. If you've sent me an email, I haven't got it yet.

 

In the meantime I'll try to address the other issues y'all have brought up...

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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For Palm, my vote goes with Plucker, hands down. After comparing many different attributes, I found all 3 pretty much the same except for two areas: Cost and ease-of-setup.

 

iSilo costs $17.50, while the others are free.

 

For someone who has no prior familiarity with any of them, Plucker and iSilo are easy to set up. AvantGo was way too involved. And I didn't like having to give an email address and choose a bunch of interests. When I did get it working, I was bombarded with advertising and "Preview Channels" that I don't want. I even had trouble completely removing AvantGo from my system.

 

If you are already using a web synchronization program, you might as well stick with it. But if you are just starting out, go with Plucker.

 

For PocketPC handhelds, however, the only options I've seen are iSilo, AvantGo, or IE's offline viewing ability. I would stay away from AvantGo's aforementioned obnoxious advertising, and IE's offline feature does not compress the pages like the other programs do. Therefore, I would go towards iSilo, even with the cost.

 

These are of course my own opinions. Your mileage may vary.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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As John E Cache and Fuzzy mentioned, the problem with certain characters showing up incorrectly is an ASCII vs. Unicode problem. The GPX files are in Unicode, and the cache pages need to be in ASCII for proper representation on a handheld.

 

After researching this today, I think I know how to fix this, but the Perl 5.6.0 that I'm running on my server doesn't deal with Unicode very well. Perl 5.8.0 works much better, but another script I'm running on another site slows down terribly when run under the newer Perl. I'm working with the author of that script to fix the problem. In the meantime, I have installed Perl 5.8 on my PC so I can experiment to solve the Spinner problem.

 

If anyone out there has any specific Perl experience in Unicode/ASCII issues, I'd love to hear from you.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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You're right, CR, I can never please everyone icon_razz.gif

 

For the cache type graphic, there is an "alt" tag in there with the text you want, so if you disable images, you'll just get the words. (At least in Plucker, not sure about the others.)

 

I tended to design the formatting towards nice appearance and minimal wrapping of fields, as opposed to using fewer lines. I will look into some minor changes, though.

 

I did write the program to use easily-editable templates for all output, so maybe in the future I could let you format your own pages exactly the way you want them icon_rolleyes.gif

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Lil Devil:

You're right, CR, I can never please everyone icon_razz.gif

 

I did write the program to use easily-editable templates for all output, so maybe in the future I could let you format your own pages exactly the way you want them.


 

That'd be cool. Could have a standard template that is used unless someone sends one of their own.

 

Looking forward to it!

 

CR

 

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Thanks for your comments, sbell111. I tried to make it very easy-to-use, but I think the biggest problem right now is documentation. dadgum it Jim! I'm a programmer, not a writer! I will continually work to improve things in that area. Feel free to ask questions in the meantime. That will tell me where my documentation is lacking.

 

Also in the ease-of-use category is Chris's desire to be lazy. I have a couple of ideas on how to accomplish this. First, I am going to make it so if you submit multiple GPX files contained in one ZIP file, it will combine them all into one GPX file and palmable index. That should actually be pretty easy to do, and is on my To Do List.

 

Another idea I have is to configure a Pocket Query to email its results to user#domain@gpxspinner.com or something like that. Then when Spinner receives it, it will do its stuff, based on some pre-configured settings. It will then take the user#domain part of the email address, change the # to an @, and email the files to you. Totally automatic. This is on my Wish List.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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Another idea that is on my To Do List, is to compress/render the cache pages on the server for you. This way you would only have to download a 100-300 KILObyte document file, instead of 1-2 MEGAbytes of web pages, which just end up being compressed into a small document file anyways. This will be especially helpful for the bandwidth-challenged.

 

This feature will be really cool when combined with the email feature mentioned above icon_biggrin.gificon_cool.gif

 

Plucker and iSilo both have rendering engines that I can download and run on my server, whereas AvantGo does the rendering on their server. And AvantGo has a Custom Channel Policy that is ridiculous, IMO.

 

In the future I will probably implement both the Plucker and iSilo engines, since they're so similar in implementation.

 

Once that is done, I may decide to block direct access to the cache pages. While The Powers That Be have not asked me to do so, they have voiced some concerns that would be mitigated by such action.

 

Hmmm. I don't want to sound like TPTB are against Spinner. Actually quite the opposite. They see it as a "helpful resource" and "look forward to seeing its continued development."

 

So, I highly recommend that those using Spinner to create cache pages for your handheld, go with Plucker or iSilo. Besides, wouldn't you rather supoort a small developer, than a big corporation? icon_eek.gif

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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My wonderful and lovely wife was able to help get Spinner back online a short time ago. Apparently my house had a power outage today, and for some reason the server's BIOS went into "safe mode", wanting to confirm the CPU speed. It had the correct speed showing, she just had to hit Enter a couple of times.. icon_rolleyes.gif

 

This weekend I'm going to buy a UPS for the thing.

 

Sorry for any inconveniences.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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Very nice, Lil Devil. I've been running some stuff on Avantgo for a while now, but decided to go with Plucker for your GPX Spinner. Works fantastic. Spun my Pocket query under it's file name from GC.com, & for some reason, it synched into my Clie' under another totally unrelated file name, but it's all there & runs flawlessly. I've never run Plucker before, so I'll have to get used to it & get my preferences set, but a definite improvement over mobipocket. Thanks for all your work & sharing it with us. icon_wink.gif

 

Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.

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About GC.com concerns: I too have had concerns about this. I've felt it awful generous of GC.com to offer something so powerful as a nearly complete record of a cache. I can see some rival coming along and using queries to data mine the whole site. Then what struck me was the fact the author of the cache has copyright to the cache description and whatnot. That other site could be shut down posthaste. Besides, GC.com still retains the ability to log the find, etc.

 

[Note: I think I remember reading a statement on GC.com about the cache owner retaining copyright, but after a brief search I can't seem to find it. I might be wrong on that, but it wouldn't make sense for it to be otherwise.]

 

About blocking access to the intermediate webpages: Personally, I wouldn't mind as long as:

  • As mentioned about there is a way to taylor the pages to suit the individual.
  • the site stays responsive to our needs, i.e. just like you're doing by providing us with a choice of quality products to work with.
  • The emailed solution for automation is responsive.
  • We have the ability to also Spin files at any time.

 

A concern about Spinner: Have you thought about the possibility of Spinner becoming popular enough to tax your server? Have you thought about the solutions for this? The great thing about the internet is it's ability to disperse power over a broad area. Have you thought about releasing a mature Spinner to be installed other user's machines so what happened yesterday wouldn't leave us all dead in the water? It could be a knocked down version that only spins files and makes the HTML pages without the extra ability to generate Plucker or ISilo files, or the automated emailed file generation.

 

I see this fast becoming a "killer app" in the caching community.

 

CR

 

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quote:
Originally posted by Sissy-n-CR:

_A concern about Spinner:_ Have you thought about the possibility of Spinner becoming popular enough to tax your server? Have you thought about the solutions for this?


 

This is exactly why I didn't follow up my MobiPocket-to-PalmDoc conversion script with one to do GPX-to-PalmDoc: I anticipated that the GPX-to-PalmDoc conversion would be at least an order of magnitude more popular.

 

So, I've been playing with ways to move the load to the client side where it belongs; that's what the "Another way to play with GPX files" thread is all about. GPX Spinner is a much-needed application, and I'm definitely not trying to say anything bad about it here, but as far as I can tell, the only thing it can do that you can't do with an XSLT stylesheet is output a set of HTML pages from a single GPX file.

 

The only drawback, of course, is that XSLT can be hard to write, but that will become less of a concern if I can build a library of stylesheets and maybe write some tutorials.

 

warm.gif

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I need to go get plucker and see what it looks like synced up to my Palm, but having just spun a file I am very impressed. I like the different options of indexes, and having used Avantgo in the past I don't think using plucker will be that much different.

 

Very Cool! Especially in light of problems I have been having with my other queries. Thanks for the work put into this!

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Yea I got my spun file on my palm I did a small booboo when I just changed the file names in my custom channel and it over wrote my previous file Woops icon_smile.gif

 

So I just need to make new channels for all my queries.

 

I might take a look at plucker, last time it still wanted pyton on the box. If they got around that I would be willing to give it a go over Avantgo.

 

-Robert

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About GC.com concerns: Their biggest concern seems to be the source of the data that you receive from Spinner. As long as all I'm doing is reformatting the data that you yourself received from GC.com, then they're happy. It's when someone stores the data, and re-publishes it for anyone to view or download, that they get upset.

 

My plan to Spin LOC files based on data collected from other GPX files is on the edge, but as long as I date-stamp my data, and not use it if its too old, then they're ok with it. I won't be creating HTML pages based on LOC files, however. I don't think much data will get too old, considering that GPX files containing over 9,000 caches have been submitted to Spinner in just the last 3 days. That's over twice as many caches in all of California!

 

About Spinner taxing my server: I hadn't thought about that until last night after I announced that it was back up. The resulting deluge of users, along with background processes still rebuilding things after the power failure, did in fact bring the system to its knees. I was able to delay the background processes until the pent-up demand passed, and that helped a lot. It was certainly am eye-opening experience! icon_eek.gif

 

That's a good reason to go with the email feaure I mentioned before, that would move most of the load to the middle of the night (in theory), and make it more sequential. Oh, and yes I would retain the ability to Spin files on-demand.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by LilDevil:

For _Palm_, my vote goes with _Plucker_, hands down. After comparing many different attributes, I found all 3 pretty much the same except for two areas: Cost and ease-of-setup.


 

I followed your advice. I removed Avantgo and loaded Plucker.

 

I did have a problem getting the hints to work until I got the link depth correct.

Seems to be working great now.

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LilDevil,

 

Thank you for this excellent tool. I used it for the first time today to batch change icons, as well as provide the html data on my Palm using iSilo, with no problems. It actually took less time than getting MobiPocket completely off my PC and Palm.

 

Again, thanks, thanks, thanks, and thanks, from each of the team members.

 

-Craig/TeamCNJC

 

... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took off through the thorns, chest high, ...

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....for your contribution to Geocaching. I enjoyed using Brian's Palmable program at Pathetique until it got nixed by geocaching.com.

 

I'm assuming the gpx capability being offered by Jeremy will ensure longer life for your application.

 

It is working well, with the Plucker I installed though I made that installation harder than it had to be when working on Plucker's home page.

 

Personally I found the Avantgo easy to load URLs to, but I blew it off my Visor Prism and have not been able to download it again for some reason to my computer, so I am glad Plucker is working.

 

Anyway, it has given me renewed reason to take the Prism along on cache hunts again and the linked hint and last few logs are a bonus!

 

Thanks again Lil Devil....hope you continue to enjoy lookin for my caches!

 

Ron

 

I've never been lost. Fearsome confused sometimes, but never lost.

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I just posted an update to GPX Spinner that fixes several issues, most importantly, it will no longer hang when you submit a GPX file that contains a cache whose name consists of only numbers or symbols. That durn smart-truncation routine was going into an endless loop icon_rolleyes.gif

 

The full release notes are here.

 

Next up: A fix for the unicode problem, and nearest caches.

 

Lil Devil lildevil.gif

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Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

Just finsihed installing Plucker and using your GPXspinner site to create my Syncable html...

Having used Mobi for a while with many frustrations....

WHOAAAAA

 

What a dream, you have done a FABULOUS job and the whole crew thanks you from the bottom o' their rotten li'l 'arts!!!

 

Beautifully done...Most impressed...Blown away...Did I mention we like it??

 

Now a little question for ye?

Is it possible to use GPX files in Streets and Trips??

There was a guy up in Canada making S&T files. Was extremely handy for viewing all the caches nearby on a standard map.

 

Whoaaa

Thanks ag'in,

If'n yer nearby Beaverton or Nanaimo, BC...Let me know...Th' Cap'n owes ye a drink or four...

 

THANK YOU!

 

Keep yer sail 'igh, 'nd move swiftly,

:D Captain No Beard and the Pi Rats

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I had difficulty getting it to work with Avantgo at first. The filename I chose to use the first time was "home 1-11-03" (without the quotes). I was able to view the page online at Avantgo, and the GPX Spinner app loaded onto the Palm okay; but it displayed "file not found" when I clicked on it. After three tries, I changed the filemname to "home" and it worked great. I'm not sure if it was the space, the hyphens, or what, but Spinner didn't like the first filename. I've used spaces in other Avantgo filenames without problems.

 

I really like what you've done. The sorting options, the hint links, and the way you've formatted the information are all great!

 

Worldtraveler

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quote:
Now a little question for ye?

Is it possible to use GPX files in Streets and Trips??


 

I think this question has been raised elsewhere by Markwell as well. I sometimes bring my laptop with me, and plug my GPS into it, using Streets and Trips 2002 to track my route. I need a way to convert the GPX file into a comma delimited file. I used to be able to convert a LOC file into one of these, by opening it in geobuddy, saving it as a CSV and then transfering all the data to S&T. Now geobuddy gives me an error on LOC files that have been converted from GPX files.

 

Any suggestions?

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quote:
Originally posted by DenaliNW:

I need a way to convert the GPX file into a comma delimited file. I used to be able to convert a LOC file into one of these, by opening it in geobuddy, saving it as a CSV and then transfering all the data to S&T. Now geobuddy gives me an error on LOC files that have been converted from GPX files.

 

Any suggestions?


 

http://gpsbabel.sourceforge.net

 

It's supported CSV for a long time and S&T2003 support was added just a few weeks ago.

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For us poor slobs who have PDA's with limited memory, we thank you for letting us ditch mobipocket!

 

I used to use AvantGo as well, but those preview channels irked me. I now swear by Plucker.

 

Thanx!

 

-Doc Ott

A day without thermonuclear fusion is like a day without sunshine.

MIGO_logo_animated88x31.gif

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I really like this new utility. The best thing about it is the re-gen of the GPX with the Icons and the Waypoint changed from the GC#### to a recognizable shortened name. In Utah, with almost 800 caches within 100 miles of my home, trying to determine which cache you are looking for next just by the GC # can be quite difficult. Between this and fizzymagic's gps2html, I have ditched MobiPocket completely.

 

Any chance of making this a utility that runs on my own PC? And, howabout putting the symbol generated in front of the GC # on the index pages so that we can see at a glace what kind of cache they are?

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