Sunday, March 2, 2014

How to Manage with no Power.

Does your family have a plan in case of a power outage? Power outages can be cause by a variety of things, including storms, mistakes, and even birds. They can last for minutes, or even days. Does your family know what to do if the power goes out? Here's a few questions to consider.

1. Do you have a plan for cooking food? A propane grill, nice for summer grilling, can be used to cook a variety of foods. If you don't believe me, ask the scouts! Make sure you can cook in a way that doesn't require electricity. Even better if it is portable.
2. Do you have a way to stay warm without electricity? A few extra blankets are great. Many homes in our area have gas fireplaces which can be used without electricity in our homes.
3. Do you have water? For those of you on city water, you should be a be to use city water. If you have a well, you might need a different solution.
4. Do you have adequate lighting? Make sure you have flashlights and spare batteries. Check this periodically.

Test out you plan periodically. Pick an evening, and test out your plan, see if it works. Make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a power outage.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Version 1.6 of Ham Finder

It's been a while since I've done an update on Ham Finder here, let me give you some basic. First of all, the app is doing great, thanks to all of you who have already downloaded it! There have been over 1000 downloads, which makes this competing for my most popular app of all time, and already I can tell you there's more actual users of Ham Finder than any other app I've developed. You guys rock!

Some features that have been released, in versions 1.3 to 1.5, include some call sign help, frequency monitoring, improved logbook, tablet versions, and in general I'm working towards ADIF exporting.

Version 1.6 will include the following:

1. Users can now specify their location, useful for those devices without a GPS.
2. Working on putting things on the map to indicate where you have been.
3. Improvements in how frequency is managed.

The next big version, I am excited to announce, will contain ADIF support! I should be able to export the log to ADIF format, and I'll work on other fun stuff as well!

Bottom line, the app's coming great, and I owe it all to my awesome audience! Thanks, and keep letting me know what you want!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The 10 Commandments of Android Development

In developing Android, I've found a bunch of common mistakes that people often make. I've made more than one of these myself. While I can, and probably will talk about how to avoid each of these at some point in time, I wanted to at least point out some of the common pitfalls that people often encounter when beginning Android development.

 

 The 10 Commandments of Android Development

 

1. Thou Shalt Have no other SDK Version Targeted, except for the latest released!

2. Thou Shalt Not make unto thee any Network Connection on the Main Thread!

3. Thou Shalt Not make unto thee any Toast without .show()ing it to the world!

4. Thou Thou shalt remember thy variables, to recycle them. Neither thy Bitmaps, nor thy TypedArrays, nor thy Parcels, nor even a reference to thy MotionEvents outside of thine functions shall escape without being .recycle()d!

5. Thou Shalt never create an anonymous inner OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener class, so that thy OnSharedPreferenceChangeListener's days may be long, and not be Garbage Collected. 

6. Thou Shalt Not have any local variables inside a onDraw statement!

7. Thou shalt Not programmatically define a View, but instead shall define it via XML code!

8. Thou Shalt Not ignore the convertView of an ArrayAdapter, but shall always use it to reduce thy memory footprint!

9. Thou Shalt not forget to add <use-preferences> when thou addest new features requiring new permissions.

10. Thou Shalt Not use absolute positions, nor use Scaled Pixels incorrectly, but rather use Density Independent Pixels for thy Views, and Scaled Pixels for thy fonts!.



 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hamfinder 1.2 released!

I've recently done yet another significant upgrade to Ham Finder, and I thought I'd let you all in as to what's changed with the latest version, and give you a sneak peak as to what will be changing soon.

The biggest difference with the newest build is that I've started to work on the Log Book to make it more user friendly. It still has some work to be done, but it's definitely a step in the right direction compared to what it used to be.  The input dialog is still the same, just the user's call sign, frequency you made the contact, and a field for what you entered. Now compared to previous versions, you can actually see all of the fields entered. Also, there is now a tab selection mode, which will easily allow you to switch between the location and logbook, and any future mode which may exist.

Future versions will continue to improve on this. One of the features I'm working on right now will allow for user customization, including selecting which columns will appear, and in which order. In addition, the app will be better formatted for Tablets, as things are right now, it looks poor on a 7 inch tablet, and even worse on a 10 inch tablet. There was a major redesign in the code to allow for making a tablet version of the app easier.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ham Finder 1.1 release!

I am excited to announce the release of Ham Finder 1.1. There's a lot of goodies in this new build, and I hope you'll find them as useful as I have!

The biggest new feature is the ability to buy add on products. For right now, there are just two available products, but I hope to have many of them available soon. The two ones now are a general upgrade to remove ads, and a complete offline database of all US counties. With the offline database, you can figure out what county you are in even without an internet connection!

There are also a lot of little features in this build, like improved Holo support, better popups, cleaner displays, and overall better performance. I really hope this will make an improvement in the lives of those who purchase it!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ham Finder 1.0 release!

For the last few months, I've been working on a project, which I just released to the world today. I haven't wanted to say much about it until I managed to get it released, but as it's now out there, I figured I'd let it go!

The project is named Ham Finder. Essentially, it's aim is to be the ultimate tool to assist the mobile amateur radio operator. I have a whole bunch of things planned for it, but the tool itself is simple, and for the moment, focused on the US. That isn't to say that it won't work outside of the US, but functionality will be somewhat limited outside of the US for now.

Here's an example output of the tool. For the purpose of testing this, I spoofed the location to the White House. It shows the lat/long, grid square, county, and more.

For another example, see this view from Arlington. Note that it also gives the DXCC, the prefix (K4), and other relevant information.

For the future, as mentioned, I have quite a few planned upgrades. There isn't a whole lot that I'll commit to at this moment, but I will promise that shortly the capability will exist to get the data offline, and remove ads, for a small price. In addition, I'm hoping to improve the logging system considerable, and export to ADIF, and possible other formats as well.

If you could be kind and give me feedback on this app, I'd love to hear from you! I really am hoping to make this an awesome program, and I appreciate all of the help in knowing where to take it!


Friday, November 22, 2013

ARRL Sweepstakes

This past weekend, I participated in the ARRL Sweepstakes. Just thought I'd share my results.

  • 45/50 states worked, including all required for WAS!
  • 59/83 ARRL sections worked
  • 120 QSOs
  • 14400 points
With only spending a few hours, I was able to do pretty well. I managed to get the states I needed for Worked All States (WAS), and picked up quite a few new band/states to boot. All in all, it was a pretty successful adventure, and a fun time! As of yet, I haven't achieved WAS yet, but I'm just waiting on a few last states that I picked up during the contest. Hopefully it'll work out soon!