12-30-11 02:22 PM
26 12
tools
  1. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Many of you know that I have been lobbying to get access to the magnetometer on the PB. I recently posted my latest attempt to get RIM's attention in in this CB thread. I can understand why RIM is not responding directly to my emails. After all, I am just one of thousands with a bone to pick and RIM would need a fully staffed complaints department to respond to all of our pet peeves. (They desperately need such a department but that's a whole other topic.) So I'm not going to bother writing any more emails.

    But I would like you to take a look at what the competition is offering in terms of augmented reality apps - !0 Augmented Reality Apps for the iPhone and iPad

    And what is the most popular app with a sense of direction in App World? Compass Pro by Skylab Mobilsystems Ltd. has been in the top 5 best sellers for weeks.

    It's dowright embarrasing.
    09-28-11 06:52 AM
  2. kbz1960's Avatar
    Yes it seems to be an apple and android world. Even all the site or services that have "download our app for your smartphone" where there are no downlads for your bb smartphone let alone a playbook.

    Sad indeed. I'm sure there are plenty of actors, musicians etc. that are better then ones pushed on us but they either don't fit the mold or don't have the right connections.
    09-28-11 07:30 AM
  3. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Yes it seems to be an apple and android world. Even all the site or services that have "download our app for your smartphone" where there are no downlads for your bb smartphone let alone a playbook.
    From a BB developer's perspective, one of the big problems is that we don't have some of tools that are required to make attention-grabbing apps. The PB has great hardware specs but if we can't get access to stuff like Bluetooth, usb, compass and gyroscope, it's pretty tough to exercise our imagination. In contrast, tools are a priority for Apple and Android -they make their devices fully capable and allow developers figure out a way to leverage those capabilities. Then they feature these trend-setting apps in their advertising strategies.
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 09-28-11 at 07:51 AM.
    09-28-11 07:48 AM
  4. pkcable's Avatar
    Getting frustrating hearing it's coming it's coming. GET IT HERE ALREADY!
    09-28-11 08:12 AM
  5. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Getting frustrating hearing it's coming it's coming. GET IT HERE ALREADY!
    I wonder what "it" is exactly. Never mind the big things. I wonder if 2.0 is really going to fix the myriad of little things that are currently not connected.

    My pet peeves
    1. Magnetometer - it's there but I can't use it because there is no API
    2. Bluetooth. it's there but you can't connect your BT headphones
    3. USB Port. it's there but no host support for external peripherals
    4. Browser favourites. they are present but you can't rearrange and organize in folders

    I don't think that any of theses things are rocket science to RIM engineers. Why wait for 2.0?
    09-28-11 09:10 AM
  6. marksasongko's Avatar
    I heard that in oct, adobe will release air 3 with support for gyroscope, magnetometer, etc, I hope rim would also update its air sdk and make air apps run as well as native apps
    09-28-11 09:17 AM
  7. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I heard that in oct, adobe will release air 3 with support for gyroscope, magnetometer, etc, I hope rim would also update its air sdk and make air apps run as well as native apps
    I too have heard that Air 3 comes with support for what they are calling "Air Native Extensions" which means that developers could theoretically write their own libraries to interface with the hardware. It all depends on whether the NDK will allow that kind of access or not. And ideally RIM would provide the native extension and put some high level hooks in the Air SDK so I don't have to bother with the low-level stuff.

    I am confident that all this will happen at some unspecified time in the future. But it sure makes it difficult to plan a migration path for my app when I don't know what RIM is going to do and more-or-less when they will do it. In the worst case, APIs won't be delivered before Googl'e Sky Map is available via the Android player and my work to date would be totally wasted. If I knew these things in advance, I could do some actual intelligent planning instead of flying by the seat of my pants.
    09-28-11 09:53 AM
  8. lotuslanderz's Avatar
    Hey Buzz. Why dont you contact Alec Saunders, RIM's new VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development.
    Alec Saunders is RIM's new VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development - BB Dev Team changes starting to make sense | CrackBerry.com

    New Beginnings @BlackBerryDev | Alec Saunders

    Looks like he responds to tweets @asaunders (see IM+ threads)
    ignites and BuzzStarField like this.
    09-28-11 10:51 PM
  9. Wolfgan's Avatar
    I too have heard that Air 3 comes with support for what they are calling "Air Native Extensions" which means that developers could theoretically write their own libraries to interface with the hardware. It all depends on whether the NDK will allow that kind of access or not. And ideally RIM would provide the native extension and put some high level hooks in the Air SDK so I don't have to bother with the low-level stuff.

    I am confident that all this will happen at some unspecified time in the future. But it sure makes it difficult to plan a migration path for my app when I don't know what RIM is going to do and more-or-less when they will do it. In the worst case, APIs won't be delivered before Googl'e Sky Map is available via the Android player and my work to date would be totally wasted. If I knew these things in advance, I could do some actual intelligent planning instead of flying by the seat of my pants.
    Interesting article on AIR extensions from Adobe. As far as I recall from leaked OS2 info, Air 3 and Flash Player 11 were included... let's hope the ability to extend AIR goes in there as well.
    Wolf
    09-29-11 08:19 AM
  10. xsacha's Avatar
    Air 3 and Flash 11 will be in OS 2.0 (as far as I can tell).
    Playbook developers are already working with Air native extensions.
    09-29-11 08:37 AM
  11. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Hey Buzz. Why dont you contact Alec Saunders, RIM's new VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development.
    Alec Saunders is RIM's new VP of Developer Relations and Ecosystem Development - BB Dev Team changes starting to make sense | CrackBerry.com

    New Beginnings @BlackBerryDev | Alec Saunders

    Looks like he responds to tweets @asaunders (see IM+ threads)
    Sounds like another possibility for communication but I don't use Twitter as I tend to use too many words. I wouldn't object if a fellow CB member were to ask if sensors/augmented reality are on Alec's radar.

    Also, I was thinking that the kind people who have purchased my app might be interested in signing the online petition. Just leave a review in App World - the rating is unimportant as long as it is at least 5 stars - and casually mention that the magnetometer seems to be a missing feature on PB.
    09-29-11 08:39 AM
  12. lnichols's Avatar
    Very sad to see that RIM won't even respond to developers who are trying to make the platform successful. If the iPad didn't have apps, it wouldn't be selling, same with an Android tablet. The Playbook is not selling because it doesn't have apps and the "full web" isn't at all full (no Silverlight). The Android player may have ton's of limitations that make porting apps difficult. Here is a developer that wants to improve his app for the Playbook, and provide an experience that rival platforms do now, and can't get RIM's support. Pathetic RIM! Very pathetic!
    09-29-11 10:20 AM
  13. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    Very sad to see that RIM won't even respond to developers who are trying to make the platform successful. If the iPad didn't have apps, it wouldn't be selling, same with an Android tablet. The Playbook is not selling because it doesn't have apps and the "full web" isn't at all full (no Silverlight). The Android player may have ton's of limitations that make porting apps difficult. Here is a developer that wants to improve his app for the Playbook, and provide an experience that rival platforms do now, and can't get RIM's support. Pathetic RIM! Very pathetic!
    "Pathetic" is a strong word and I don't want to give the impression that RIM is not supporting my efforts to improve my app. My main complaint is that they are not communicating with developers so that we can plan our strategies in any meaningful way. The re-launch is near and I have no doubt that it will have lots of goodies for consumers and developer's alike. But it takes time to bring our products to market. Surely it would be beneficial if developers got some advance notification (and, in an ideal world, early access to new APIs) so that our efforts are not at odds with RIM's direction. And wouldn't it be better if there was a formal channel so that we could communicate our ideas and vision to RIM?
    09-29-11 11:19 AM
  14. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I am getting some very strong hints that OS2 will have the capabilities that I need to implement point-and-view. Firstly, the NDK will definitely expose the sensors so that developers with more c/c++ expertise than I can write high level drivers. Secondly, there are strong rumours that the Air SDK will be upgraded to version 3.0 which will allow Air apps to access the native drivers. I am hopeful that RIM will provide both the native drivers and Air APIs wrapped up in nice interfaces so that I can tie into the magnetometer with minimal fuss. If anyone has further information (preferably confirmed), please let me know.

    So, while it's not a done deal by a long shot, a slight glimmer of optimism has returned to my countenance. I will keep you posted as things develop.
    10-01-11 09:19 AM
  15. renownedanonymous's Avatar
    From a BB developer's perspective, one of the big problems is that we don't have some of tools that are required to make attention-grabbing apps. The PB has great hardware specs but if we can't get access to stuff like Bluetooth, usb, compass and gyroscope, it's pretty tough to exercise our imagination. In contrast, tools are a priority for Apple and Android -they make their devices fully capable and allow developers figure out a way to leverage those capabilities. Then they feature these trend-setting apps in their advertising strategies.
    Wait, so does the NDK that was just released not provide this accessibility? Or is it a more demanding/not your first choice coding environment? I should probably do some research on developing for Blackberry but I don't really want to get pulled into creating apps! Not enough time.. never enough time..

    Edit: Ahh, so I think you answered my question here:
    Firstly, the NDK will definitely expose the sensors so that developers with more c/c++ expertise than I can write high level drivers.
    Last edited by RenownedAnonymous; 10-01-11 at 10:02 AM.
    Paullamm likes this.
    10-01-11 10:00 AM
  16. Spinal's Avatar
    And what is the most popular app with a sense of direction in App World? Compass Pro by Skylab Mobilsystems Ltd. has been in the top 5 best sellers for weeks.
    im a little surprised that Compass Pro is the most popular app, i searched the comments over half say of the users say its a waste of money and it doesn't work, which I can believe as the compass app that comes with the playbook barely works.
    10-01-11 06:50 PM
  17. djenkins6's Avatar
    I've been using magellan compass for directions. With latest updates it tracks along the route and pops up directions. The developers are responsive to fixing bugs and suggestions for improvement.
    10-01-11 07:01 PM
  18. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I've been using magellan compass for directions. With latest updates it tracks along the route and pops up directions. The developers are responsive to fixing bugs and suggestions for improvement.
    I'm speaking of Compass Pro by Skylab Mobilsystems Ltd not to be confused with the Magellan Compass app by o2 Interactive (which is as you say is a very good app)

    Compass pro is a simple app that uses gps headings to display directional information on screen. The app has versions accross many bb devices including playbook. It is always in the top best selling purchased apps - currently in position 5 in PB app world. IMHO it is doing remarkably well considering its modest quality. Rightly or wrongly, I used Compass Pro as a comparison with various IOS augmented reality apps that are possible on other platforms with APIs for the magnetometer. There is a stark difference between what is possible on PB versus the apps that IOS user have grown accustomed to.

    I started this thread because I was quite upset by the lack of support for AR capabilities on PB. I was in very vile mood but am feeling much more confident that my long wait is nearing an end. It looks like OS 2.0 will deliver the goods. I hope.
    10-01-11 08:41 PM
  19. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    im a little surprised that Compass Pro is the most popular app, i searched the comments over half say of the users say its a waste of money and it doesn't work, which I can believe as the compass app that comes with the playbook barely works.
    I confess that I downloaded the app to see for myself why it might be getting all those bad reviews. The fact is that it works well enough as long as you are walking at a brisk pace. You have to be very careful not to walk into things. This is a limitation of trying to get compass headings from a GPS chip. Users are frustrated by the clunky implementation and the total lack of in-app help screens to tell them how to use the app.

    Now I could try the same technique in my astronomy app but I think that it would attract a lot of bad reviews. There is no way to make it easy to use and it would not be precise enough. So I'm going to wait for the magnetometer API and implement my compass in the right way. I just wish I didn't have to wait so long!

    I would also prefer that Skylab Mobilsystems would stop selling this product to unwary consumers. His questionable marketing tricks give all developers a bad name. But that's a whole other rant.
    blemoon42 likes this.
    10-01-11 10:32 PM
  20. RedEnsign's Avatar
    I realise that this is not the original aim of this thread, but I just see red when I even hear MENTION of Skylab Mobilsystems. I tried GPS Monitor on my PlayBook. It does not remotely have the capabilities advertised. When I emailed them for support they didn't even respond to my PlayBook questions (yes, I was VERY clear that I was talking about PlayBook and not any other device). It took a number of emails for someone to finally tell me that the PlayBook version does not operate the way I was asking about. Except that is how the yadvertise it to PlayBook users!

    YES, I know that it is only $2.99 that i'm out, but there is a principal here. A ty app is a ty app! FRAUD is FRAUD any way you slice it!
    12-30-11 12:55 AM
  21. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    I realise that this is not the original aim of this thread, but I just see red when I even hear MENTION of Skylab Mobilsystems. I tried GPS Monitor on my PlayBook. It does not remotely have the capabilities advertised. When I emailed them for support they didn't even respond to my PlayBook questions (yes, I was VERY clear that I was talking about PlayBook and not any other device). It took a number of emails for someone to finally tell me that the PlayBook version does not operate the way I was asking about. Except that is how the yadvertise it to PlayBook users!

    YES, I know that it is only $2.99 that i'm out, but there is a principal here. A ty app is a ty app! FRAUD is FRAUD any way you slice it!
    I am the original poster and you are not off-topic at all. The thoughts that you expressed were very much in the back of my mind when I started the thread.

    In my opinion, the vast majority of App World developers are good citizens who just want to create great apps for consumers. Many of them are amateurs who are going through a very steep learning curve. I can accept the odd mistake being made along the way and some consumer dissatisfaction as a result their inexperience. What really bothers me is the professional developer whose only goal is to become a "best-seller" and is willing to use trickery and consumer gullibility to achieve that end. The whole field of "GPS apps" is fertile soil for these creeps.

    It should also be noted that trolls in this very forum also find this subject very useful as they sow their fear, uncertainty and doubt about this wonderful device. I fear that together, bad developers and GPS trolls, are having a major impact on consumers adopting the PlayBook.

    It doesn't help much that RIM is so slow off the mark giving reputable developers the tools that they need to defeat the bad eggs. And so we return to my original post - it's all part of my train of thought.
    12-30-11 10:06 AM
  22. anthogag's Avatar
    BuzzStarField, you should try to contact Alec Saunders in any way you can, even if it's twitter.

    I personally dislike the current GPS compass apps we have in App World. They're 'choppy' and take a while to work - why should I walk 1 or 2 blocks to get a reading
    12-30-11 10:46 AM
  23. peter9477's Avatar
    I personally dislike the current GPS compass apps we have in App World. They're 'choppy' and take a while to work - why should I walk 1 or 2 blocks to get a reading
    Anthogag, not sure you read the whole thread or other threads on the topic, but the reason for that is they are not "compass" apps at all. They use the GPS reading, which gives you only an absolute position (in 3D) on the surface of the planet, not the direction you're facing.

    Only with 2.0 will you finally see real compass apps which use the magnetometer to give you realtime information about which way the PlayBook is oriented relative to the earth's magnetic field.

    Until then, the "GPS compass" apps can do their trick only by having you walk, and computing the general direction of your travel by watching the readings which are taken every second as you move, and extrapolating in a straight line from that. That's why you have to be moving... should take only 10-20 steps from the time the first accurate readings come in, however... not 2 blocks! (But if you're around tall buildings, even 2 blocks may not be enough... GPS and downtowns don't mix.)
    BuzzStarField likes this.
    12-30-11 11:50 AM
  24. BuzzStarField's Avatar
    BuzzStarField, you should try to contact Alec Saunders in any way you can, even if it's twitter.

    I personally dislike the current GPS compass apps we have in App World. They're 'choppy' and take a while to work - why should I walk 1 or 2 blocks to get a reading
    Further to peter9477's answer, there are solutions currently available to developers like myself. A lot has happened since I started this thread. I am in the process of using an officially sanctioned API so that I can use the magnetometer in my AIR app. Regrettably, this solution won't be available to the general public until OS2 arrives in February.

    In the meantime, I am working on a completely undocumented approach that I hope to make available to users like yourself in the very near future. Actually Peter has been instrumental in helping me to create a workable roll-your-own API and I can't thank him enough for his assistance. Still, the workaround is a bit ungainly and won't be available by default in my app. You will need to read and accept a TOU screen in order to activate the functionality.

    In my opinion, this is the only correct way for developers to allow end users to use underdeveloped, imprecise and user-hostile APIs in their PlayBook apps. If you think that other developers should follow suit, you should write an email to each offending developer with a copy to RIM. I give you permission to mention my app as example of the way things SHOULD be done.

    If everyone did this simple thing, there may be a small chance that RIM will eventually release a standards guide or "style book" for the PB. Any app that does not measure up would be rejected by the App World review process. Yeah, I know, I'm such a dreamer...
    Last edited by BuzzStarField; 12-30-11 at 01:04 PM.
    spike12 likes this.
    12-30-11 12:27 PM
  25. anthogag's Avatar
    Anthogag, not sure you read the whole thread or other threads on the topic, but the reason for that is they are not "compass" apps at all. They use the GPS reading, which gives you only an absolute position (in 3D) on the surface of the planet, not the direction you're facing.

    Only with 2.0 will you finally see real compass apps which use the magnetometer to give you realtime information about which way the PlayBook is oriented relative to the earth's magnetic field.

    Until then, the "GPS compass" apps can do their trick only by having you walk, and computing the general direction of your travel by watching the readings which are taken every second as you move, and extrapolating in a straight line from that. That's why you have to be moving... should take only 10-20 steps from the time the first accurate readings come in, however... not 2 blocks! (But if you're around tall buildings, even 2 blocks may not be enough... GPS and downtowns don't mix.)


    I know they're using GPS and for that I have to move.
    12-30-11 02:06 PM
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