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Cachemate 3.1


Maeglin
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CacheMate 3.1 was released today. This version adds serial port settings for connecting GPS receivers, as well as a few enhancements and bug fixes. They are as follows:

 

- Fixed support for Tungsten T3 virtual Graffiti area (was a little wonky before)

- Support for landscape/widescreen devices

- Ability to prepend log notes template to any existing text

- Option to preserve old category of merged LOC/GPX records

- Moved cache name to first line of logs exported to MemoPad (so it shows as the title)

- Fixed batch plugin export button (didn't move when display resized)

 

An enhanced version of the iQue mapping plugin is also included, which will allow exporting multiple waypoints at once. It also makes use of another new feature in 3.1, allowing it to verify that it is actually running on an iQue before it is made available.

 

Along with the new release, a plugin listing page is now live on the site. It will list any new or updated plugins available separately from the main CacheMate download, the first of which allows uploading of waypoint data to Garmin GPS receivers (I'll be able to do one for Magellan devices as soon as I can get one of those to test with).

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It should come out right after the Garmin plugin.  :)

... which is already there, in case you missed the last part of the original post :)

 

Magellan's protocol is completely different, though. It's an extension of the NMEA protocol, and requires a two-way conversation between the GPSr and the PDA. That, plus the fact that I don't currently have a Magellan unit for testing, is making it take a while. I currently have 2 Garmin units, a GPS III+ and Rino 120, so the Garmin plugin went fairly quickly (a couple days of coding, and it was done).

 

Unless I can get a loaner locally from someone I know, it'll probably be next year before I can get a Magellan unit for testing.

Edited by Maeglin
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OK, now that I've had a chance to play with it, it's clearly a big help to me, but I've got my list of additions. ;)

 

- Transfer all bookmarked caches (add button to bookmark screen.)

 

- Transfer caches from "nearest" with an option as to how many (I carry over 1,000 caches in my unit, but my GPS will only hold 500 tops.)

 

- Add an option to select cache icon type. Being able to see the icon would be nice, but I could get by with just a code if I had a table to reference. I think such a table already exits.

 

The other wish list item is a desktop interface that allows working the database on the desktop itself and syncing with the PDA. Much like Address book does. That way you have your home system to use for categorizing and reading up.

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OK, now that I've had a chance to play with it, it's clearly a big help to me, but I've got my list of additions.  ;)

I was actually already thinking of adding export buttons to the bookmark and nearest cache lists, but wasn't sure what the demand would be. I guess that question has been answered ;)

 

I was also thinking about limiting the number of items in the nearest cache list to a couple hundred anyway since, for one thing, the Palm OS list control starts to break down when you get many more records than what you currently have in there. If you make decent use of categories and search filters, think that would work well enough?

 

As far as the waypoint symbol thing goes, the tricky part is mapping form the longest list down to the smaller one, and getting everything matching up correctly. There is one master list that most of the newer units use, but there's also data formats used by other models that use a subset of that symbol code list, or different lists altogether. All of this is mixed into the (currently) 15 different waypoint data formats that are in the Garmin protocol. If you ask the device, it'll tell you what it supports, and that's what I do. Same thing happens with Magellan, but it's less specific about what symbol codes are used where. I can try a symbol selection in a later version of the plugin, but it'll take some thinking.

 

As for the desktop interface, the database as it is right now doesn't lend itself immediately to normal synchronization (as the Address Book does). The backup that currently happens is built into Palm Desktop, and only copies the database from PDA to PC, unless of course you've wiped your PDA and then it handles restoring all of that. Adding a conduit and desktop companion would require changes in the way CacheMate manages the database (particularly in deleting records), and trying to make everything work properly in all cases (with or without the conduit) may get a bit hairy. That's mainly why I've been avoiding that one.

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The number of caches to limit the nearest caches list to could be added to the search filters selection area, allowing the user to choose. Or maybe add a max distance from option (unless it's already there, haven't looked at the software in a while)

Gecko's 'transfer from nearest' idea sounds like a good idea even though I don't use the transfer feature I can see it being very useful while traveling.

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The number of caches to limit the nearest caches list to could be added to the search filters selection area, allowing the user to choose. Or maybe add a max distance from option (unless it's already there, haven't looked at the software in a while)

It would actually be possible to do both. I'd have to look at the code again for storing filter criteria to see how I'd store them, but it would be pretty easy in the GUI and in the step of actually applying them to add two fields to the search filter... one for a max # of records, and one for a max distance. If nothing was entered or the value was at or less than zero, then no filter would be applied.

 

Then, the only question would be on the distance units... I support 3 for display, but may just decide on one (kilometers, maybe) to simplify things for the filter. If you need to use a different unit, there's always the distance converter plugin ;)

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If you make decent use of categories and search filters, think that would work well enough?

Nope. I'd need either maximum find or distance. Both would be better. ;)

 

Then, the only question would be on the distance units... I support 3 for display, but may just decide on one (kilometers, maybe) to simplify things for the filter. If you need to use a different unit, there's always the distance converter plugin

I'd advocate using the unit selected as preference. You could always convert before feeding it to the filter.

 

As far as the waypoint symbol thing goes, the tricky part is mapping form the longest list down to the smaller one, and getting everything matching up correctly.

Yeah, I figured as much, that's why I suggested a code number or other "less user friendly" option. I don't think I'd use more then 2-4 codes tops (closed cache, open cache, point). Actually, if there was a way to set the code based on category and "found" flag that would be really cool - that way I could set symbols based on if I found it or not and what kind of cache it is. Rather then prompt the user, this would set in the preferences. That way it wouldn't be too bad to look up the code numbers in documentation and forget about it.

 

I did notice that you have placed GPS settings in your main program, yet garmin doesn't allow you to set them. I guess those settings were left over from the "get location from GPS" feature. No harm, just a bit messy.

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I did notice that you have placed GPS settings in your main program, yet garmin doesn't allow you to set them.  I guess those settings were left over from the "get location from GPS" feature.  No harm, just a bit messy.

The Garmin GPSr or the Garmin plugin? As far as the plugin is concerned, I'm going by the docs for their serial protocol, which specifies 9600/8N1 and doesn't give any room for adjustment (not that I've seen, anyway). That is, as opposed to the NMEA specs, which does give some lenience (sp?) when it comes to baud rate.

 

Since the Magellan protocol is an extension of NMEA, what I'll probably end up doing for that is have the plugin use the stored GPS serial preferences that CacheMate uses/edits. I may or may not duplicate the dialog box in the plugin.

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It should come out right after the Garmin plugin.  :P

... which is already there, in case you missed the last part of the original post ;)

 

Magellan's protocol is completely different, though. It's an extension of the NMEA protocol, and requires a two-way conversation between the GPSr and the PDA. That, plus the fact that I don't currently have a Magellan unit for testing, is making it take a while. I currently have 2 Garmin units, a GPS III+ and Rino 120, so the Garmin plugin went fairly quickly (a couple days of coding, and it was done).

 

Unless I can get a loaner locally from someone I know, it'll probably be next year before I can get a Magellan unit for testing.

I can write the Magellan plugin if you want, since I use them. :P Just let me know when the plugin docs are available. ;)

 

--Marky

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I can write the Magellan plugin if you want, since I use them. ;)  Just let me know when the plugin docs are available.  :P

Actually, things have changed... I've got a Magellan Meridian on the way (won last night on eBay and shipping today), so it should be soon after that that I have the Magellan plugin ready to roll.

 

The only thing not done for the plugin SDK, in fact, is the documentation. Aside from that, all there is to it is a header file with a couple data structures and some constants (launch codes, role IDs, batch export database stuff, etc.). As with any developer, though, I'm having a hard time getting around to doing said documentation ;)

 

And, oh yeah, I need to put together some simple examples, too :P

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Actually, things have changed... I've got a Magellan Meridian on the way

Be sure to write it off on your taxes. Darn that side business, you have income but you have to buy all this supporting equipment....... The company always has a loss you have to write-off :P You've already proven "profit motive" so you shouldn't have a problem there.

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Be sure to write it off on your taxes.  Darn that side business, you have income but you have to buy all this supporting equipment....... The company always has a loss you have to write-off  :P  You've already proven "profit motive" so you shouldn't have a problem there.

Oh, like I haven't been doing that this entire time (the Bluetooth GPS support being a recent example :P ).

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Oh, like I haven't been doing that this entire time

Just making sure... :P

 

Any thoughts on the GPS preferences? Seems like they should be removed and placed in the GPS plug-in. As it is now, don't I have to set my GPS to "garmin" to upload waypoints but set to "NMEA" to track location?

Edited by GeckoGeek
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Any thoughts on the GPS preferences?  Seems like they should be removed and placed in the GPS plug-in.  As it is now, don't I have to set my GPS to "garmin" to upload waypoints but set to "NMEA" to track location?

Compared to NMEA, there really are no preferences to set for Garmin's protocol (thought I already said this before... the serial parameters for that are pretty much set by Garmin).

 

Originally the preferences were for the NMEA connection for querying location but, since Magellan's waypoint upload protocol is also NMEA (or an extension of it), it makes sense for it to borrow the settings from the settings that are already maintained and used by CacheMate.

 

I'm not sure if you can upload waypoints to Garmin units with NMEA, hence the need for protocol switching. If you could, then that would simplify things greatly. On the other hand, maybe some time in the future I can extend the plugin interface to support certain input functions (like capturing position from a GPS device). Building location input support for every proprietary GPSr protocol into CacheMate itself isn't high on my list, though. That's why there are standards :P

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Is there any way you could extract the recommended parking locations and/or the various co-ords that are listed on cache pages for multis and turn them into waypoints/addresses on the iQue? This facility would be sooooooo useful and a great timesaver.

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Not sure what the chances of that would be.  The best way to go in the meantime would be to just copy/paste the coords into a new CacheMate record and export that to the iQue map system.

At the moment I use Waypoint Workbench to extract all the waypoints from the html web page (this works very well). I load this into Mapsource and then use the iQue 'mapsource conduit' to blat the details into the iQue address book. Unfortunatley (unless I've missed summat) this doesn't integrate very well (at all) with Cachemate. I'm no software engineer but as the various co-ords for multi's/parking are included in the GPX file it would be well cool to extract them with cachemate. :P

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A plugin has been released that allows uploading waypoints to a Magellan GPS receiver, and is now listed on the site. It started off on shaky ground but, after 2 days of testing and bug fixing, it seems to be a lot more reliable now. Some people may still have problems, though (a couple do, at least), and there's a disclaimer in the documentation to that effect. It should work for most people, though, at this rate.

 

At the moment, I'm looking at a 3.2 release sometime early Christmas week (appropriate timing, eh? :( ), mostly with the suggestions made so far for additions to plugin support and the nearest cache search filters. If a bug report comes in, it may be sooner, but that's the current plan.

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