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  1. musk's Avatar
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    #41  
    Quote Originally Posted by jdiwnab View Post
    An update has been submitted that includes this fix, along with constellations and filtering stars by magnitude.
    That's wonderful news--the two features I most wanted to see. Thanks!

    I think this app is a bargain at $0.99 USD and I'd easily pay more for more features. To anyone who feels "overcharged", consider that the old Palm OS Planetarium app was $30. This is the first astronomy app for webOS and I'm thankful to have it.
  2. #42  
    Quote Originally Posted by luau joe View Post
    However, I should think that serious star gazers would not be relying on their little cell phone to tell them where their stars are.
    It's not a matter of telling you where the stars are; it's a matter of planning observing sessions and then using them in the field. I have, for many years, run astro programs on my Palm; one of them can also be used to control my mount. The reason I bought a Pre (instead of an Android or a iPhone) when my old TungstenTX died was so that I could continue to use some of my old astro progs. The idea of a good astro program for WebOS was and is very appealing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdiwnab View Post
    I just wish people would tell me, "hey, when I try to set my location manually, it won't let me enter anything" rather than say it's false advertising. There is a big difference.
    Actually, "Alice C" told you last week in the reviews, 4 days before I did. The blurb continued to say that it was possible to change the location. It wasn't. Whatever it is, that is certainly not "true advertising", is it?

    However, as you say you "just wish people would tell" you:
    I have just installed the updated version. I did manage to toggle GPS off and set my co-ordinates manually, exited preferences, then the main screen still reported that it was getting GPS co-ordinates, then the whole caboodle hung. I tried to fire it up again and it has failed to load. Twice. (I suggest that 10 minutes is sufficient time to wait before giving up!) I have just rebooted the phone in case something was interfering. No change.

    So, instead of having bought an app that would only work with GPS, I now find that I have bought one that doesn't work at all.

    Over to you.
    Last edited by Tetenterre; 09/21/2010 at 02:20 PM.
  3. #43  
    I've just seen this:

    Quote Originally Posted by musk View Post
    have fond memories of the Planetarium program on Palm OS (sadly it doesn't run in Classic).
    That is not entirely true. Although v2.4 does not run, v2.3 runs just fine. I know this because it's what I am using at the moment.
  4.    #44  
    Tenenterre,

    I have found what you are talking about. I didn't see it when I was putting the finishing touches on 1.2.0 last night because I was doing some last minute tweeks in the emulator without my cable to use my phone. Turns out that there is a script execution time limit. Drawing lots of stars would run over this, but the emulator is fast enough that it wasn't doing that. It appears not to start because the OS kills the start up script.

    I have pushed out an update that addresses this issue specifically. I tested extensively this time with my phone. It will take it a long time to draw, but it defers execution so that no one function runs over the time limit.

    It seems strange that the drawing code is taking up to 20 seconds, when it is just drawing a circle on a canvas. The complex math to determine where to draw 3000+ stars takes 3 seconds, tops. I'm going to be looking into SDL and PDK sooner than I had planed, I think.
  5. #45  
    jdiwnab,

    I have just downloaded v1.2.1 -- at last it's usable! Thank you.

    A request: Please can we have the option of E-W reversal to enable easier matching of the screen-image to the sky (this is, after all, the usual convention for star charts). At the moment it's a bit like looking at a celestial sphere from the outside.
  6.    #46  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tetenterre View Post
    jdiwnab,

    I have just downloaded v1.2.1 -- at last it's usable! Thank you.

    A request: Please can we have the option of E-W reversal to enable easier matching of the screen-image to the sky (this is, after all, the usual convention for star charts). At the moment it's a bit like looking at a celestial sphere from the outside.
    Hurray!

    Thank your for your patience.

    This is a feature I am looking at adding. Trying to decide what kind of interface to do this, but it is in the pipeline.

    I draw the chart that direction because I figured that people wouldn't hold their little phone up like a normal star chart. But several people want this, so I plan on adding it.

    I wish I could do a hybrid SDL/Mojo app now, because the drawing is so slow that I would like to make it native code but I don't want to have to create my own menus and UI handlers for preferences and such. This would also assist with zooming, as the time lag there is a huge thing preventing me from actually doing it.
  7. #47  
    I know some of these things have already been asked, and that some may be a long time coming, but here goes anyway...

    Suggestions/requests for improvements:

    E-W reversal, so that the star patterns look the same as they do through the unaided eye and binoculars.

    Zooming: Needs to be sorted out for a number of reasons:
    - Do not increase star size -- just the space between them
    - Bring in fainter stars so as you zoom in, so that the overall star density remains approximately similar.
    - make it easier to keep an object centred while zooming

    Centring: Either enable centre to be lockable, or make it easier to centre an object, or both.

    How about, say, single-tap to centre an object, double-tap to bring up information (or vice versa)?

    Rise/Transit/Set times for all non-circumpolar objects; Upper and lower culminations for circumpolar objects.

    User-defined Objects: 5 to 10 objects that can be user-defined by input of orbital elements, to enable user-selected comets, asteroids, etc. to be plotted.

    Toggles/Options:
    - Constellation names (3-letter only, e.g UMa, CVn, Cas, Sco)
    - Constellation lines (some of us don't like these, especially if they differ from the ones we grew up with)
    - Constellation boundaries
    - Solar system objects
    - DSOs by catalogue (Messier, Caldwell, Herschel 400; probably not worth having the entire NGC)
    - DSOs by magnitude
    - DSOs by type (gal, OC, GC, ENeb, etc)
    - Rigel QuickFinder and Telrad reticles (or user-scalable reticles)
    - Horizon (+ colour choice)
    - Ecliptic (+ colour choice)
    - Milky Way isophotes
    - Sky background colour (blue/black)

    With that lot in and working, I suggest that you'd have a piece of software worth at least 10x what you are currently charging, and one that would be valued by the amateur astronomical community.
  8.    #48  
    Thank for for your very comprehensive list, Tetenterre.

    Some of these are in the pipeline, some I hadn't thought of, and some look like they will have to wait until I learn OpenGL/SDL and make a PDK based version. See my comments below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetenterre View Post
    E-W reversal, so that the star patterns look the same as they do through the unaided eye and binoculars.
    This is probably the next thing to add, or the one right after that.

    Zooming: Needs to be sorted out for a number of reasons:
    - Do not increase star size -- just the space between them
    - Bring in fainter stars so as you zoom in, so that the overall star density remains approximately similar.
    - make it easier to keep an object centred while zooming
    I agree. I worked out a demo in a browser version (that uses similar code and good for testing), but when I ported to the phone, it was way to slow to be usable. This is probably what will wait for a PDK version. With the draw routine taking 20 seconds, zooming would be painful, as I have to redraw. For now, I am just expanding the image produced.

    I do plan on fixing some of the zooming anchors. Right now, it seems to anchor to the top left corner. I want to anchor to the middle of the gesture. This would be before or right after the E-W flipping.

    Centring: Either enable centre to be lockable, or make it easier to centre an object, or both.

    How about, say, single-tap to centre an object, double-tap to bring up information (or vice versa)?
    This would probably be easier with SDK/OpenGL, so I could smoothly animate and zoom in on things. Double Tap would probably zoom, based on how I've seen other apps (on the iPhone) do it.

    Rise/Transit/Set times for all non-circumpolar objects; Upper and lower culminations for circumpolar objects.
    I've been looking to this for solarsystem objects like planets. I hadn't thought of doing it for other kinds of objects.

    As an amateur astronomer, I do not know a formula to solve for these. I also don't know the common conventions on which ones to calculate for. Is there a formula, or should I just calculate it until I see it above/below the horizon? Do you usually calculate the following two events, or the one before the current time and the one after the current time?

    User-defined Objects: 5 to 10 objects that can be user-defined by input of orbital elements, to enable user-selected comets, asteroids, etc. to be plotted.
    This might be a long way off. I found formula for orbits of planets, but I barely understood them. I don't know if they would apply to asteroids, comets, or satellites.

    Toggles/Options:
    - Constellation names (3-letter only, e.g UMa, CVn, Cas, Sco)
    - Constellation lines (some of us don't like these, especially if they differ from the ones we grew up with)
    - Constellation boundaries
    - Solar system objects
    - DSOs by catalogue (Messier, Caldwell, Herschel 400; probably not worth having the entire NGC)
    - DSOs by magnitude
    - DSOs by type (gal, OC, GC, ENeb, etc)
    - Rigel QuickFinder and Telrad reticles (or user-scalable reticles)
    - Horizon (+ colour choice)
    - Ecliptic (+ colour choice)
    - Milky Way isophotes
    - Sky background colour (blue/black)
    For constellation names, I was thinking the name, now that I see how many names are out there, it would be good if some names where shorter.
    Constellation lines are globally toggled off. Are you refering to turning them off more selectively?
    Constellation borders are doable. I found a database that had this data (thankfully).
    I never thought of turning off solar system objects, as they are usually the most interesting things to observe, but I suppose I can make it a setting.
    DSO's are about the third thing in my list of things to add. I'm not sure what the interface/details for them will be, but I'll keep your suggestions in mind.
    I'm not sure what you mean by the recticles, unless they are essentially cross hairs. If so, then that will probably wait until PDK, so I can overlay easier.
    I don't have the horizon because that is the outer border of the map. I'll add in something if I make it to 3d, so you can orient yourself easier.
    I am not sure how to calculate the line of the Ecliptic, or how to draw it accurately with the curves available to me.
    What is the Milky Way isophotes? Is that essentially the background of stars representing where the Milky Way is in the sky?
    I suppose I could add a color picker to the background, but I don't know if there is a good standard UI, or I'll have to make one.

    With that lot in and working, I suggest that you'd have a piece of software worth at least 10x what you are currently charging, and one that would be valued by the amateur astronomical community.
    I was thinking (after hearing several people say that they'd pay a lot mroe for more features), that, after I have enough stuff, like from this list, that I'd split JdiSky into 3 versions, a free version that has about what you have now, maybe minus the tap for info, a normal version that would have a fair portion of this list for the current price, and a pro version that would have just about all the rest. I don't know when any of that might happen, or how much I'd charge, but that's the plan.

    As for features that would probably be pro only, it would probably be DSOs, user objects, constellation boundaries (maybe), and some color customizations. I would probably sell it from 5-10 USD (current pricing is 0.99 USD). But that would probably be *after* I have a PDK version.

    I can't commit to any feature list, though, and defiantly not any time lines or pricing. The last time I did, I promised better zoom, which turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it could be.
  9. m13kyf's Avatar
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    #49  
    I think the app they use in the latest apple adds is Starmaps

    I have purchased your app jdiwnab. It would be great if the map was more 3d so when it uses the gyro in the phone to rotate the map to help you lcate what a star is that you can see in the sky then identify it on the phone.
  10.    #50  
    Quote Originally Posted by m13kyf View Post
    I think the app they use in the latest apple adds is Starmaps

    I have purchased your app jdiwnab. It would be great if the map was more 3d so when it uses the gyro in the phone to rotate the map to help you locate what a star is that you can see in the sky then identify it on the phone.
    I'm currently researching PDK apps, along with SDL and OpenGL. From what I can tell, it looks like I would have to create all my own menus and such, along with code to figure out what was pressed in those menus. I essentially loose any advantage of what I have already created, outside of the datasets and drawing calculations. I am thinking that, until we can have hybrid apps (WebOS 2.0), I might not bother with PDK, except as a side project.

    Regarding pointing the phone at the sky to identify things, I have mentioned the difficulties there involve hardware, rather than software. I could tell, with the accelerometer, what vertical angle the phone is at, but I couldn't tell North from South without a magnetometer (essentially a digital compass). iPhone 3GS and newer, and some Android phones have them, but the Pre does not. So those really cool apps that have you point your phone at the sky and see what is there is quite impossible with current hardware.

    Sorry to disappoint you, m13kyf.

    jdiwnab
  11. #51  
    Quote Originally Posted by jdiwnab View Post
    As an amateur astronomer, I do not know a formula to solve for these. I also don't know the common conventions on which ones to calculate for. Is there a formula, or should I just calculate it until I see it above/below the horizon?
    There are algorithms in Peter Duffet-Smith's Practical Astronomy with your Calculator
    and Jan Meeus's Astronomical Algorithms.

    Also as an amateur astronomer, I found these books invaluable until decent planetarium software (I use Guide) became available. I have both somewhere; I'd be happy to email with anything you want (PM me with details and an email address).

    This might be a long way off. I found formula for orbits of planets, but I barely understood them. I don't know if they would apply to asteroids, comets, or satellites.
    Orbital elements will enable you to plot anything.

    Constellation lines are globally toggled off. Are you refering to turning them off more selectively?
    I'm referring to turning them off independently of constellation names (and borders, when they come).

    I never thought of turning off solar system objects, as they are usually the most interesting things to observe, but I suppose I can make it a setting.
    Solar system observers keep telling me how interesting they are (and I must confess that this very close opposition of Jupiter is fun) but, as a DSO observer, I merely find the brighter ones to be irritating sources of localised light pollution.

    DSO's are about the third thing in my list of things to add. I'm not sure what the interface/details for them will be, but I'll keep your suggestions in mind.
    Thanks.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the recticles, unless they are essentially cross hairs. If so, then that will probably wait until PDK, so I can overlay easier.
    The reticles for the Rigel QF and Telrad are concentric circles. The QF ones are 0.5* and 2*; I think the Telrad's outer one is 4*.

    I don't have the horizon because that is the outer border of the map. I'll add in something if I make it to 3d, so you can orient yourself easier.
    Ah, not quite what I meant; I was rather hoping that the map would become full screen (surely the programming would be easier?) , so we can also see (if we want) what is just below the horizon).

    I am not sure how to calculate the line of the Ecliptic, or how to draw it accurately with the curves available to me.
    Great circle passing through (0h, 0*) ; (6h ~+23.5*) ; (12h 0*) ; (18h, ~-23.5*) (Epoch of date).

    What is the Milky Way isophotes?
    Lines of equal brightness. Analogous to "contour lines" of brightness.

    I was thinking (after hearing several people say that they'd pay a lot mroe for more features), that, after I have enough stuff, like from this list, that I'd split JdiSky into 3 versions, a free version that has about what you have now, maybe minus the tap for info, a normal version that would have a fair portion of this list for the current price, and a pro version that would have just about all the rest.
    Sounds good! I'd not use it (I use ancient and trusty SS2K) but there may be demand for an LX200 interface with the Pro version; not sure how you'd test the water. Planetarium has it; AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK $none$ $of$ $the$ $iPhone$ $or$ $Android$ $astro$ $apps$ $does$ ($but$ $please$ $do$ $tell$ $me$ $if$ $I$'$m$ $wrong$).

    I would probably sell it from 5-10 USD (current pricing is 0.99 USD). But that would probably be *after* I have a PDK version.
    Seriously, if you have all those features, I'd hapily pay a tenner for it!

    I can't commit to any feature list, though, and defiantly not any time lines or pricing.
    Understood.
  12. #52  
    Hi jdiwnab,

    In general I really do like your most recent update v1.2.1. As a very casual night sky gazer, I find most useful the feature to only display objects greater than a user defined magnitude. The feature really does render a much more realistic display, making identification of what I am seeing in the night sky much easier. I also like the ability to switch on/off constellation display.

    However, whatever happened to the display of prominent star names? Is there some way you can toggle on this feature, or auto-on when you toggle-off constellation?

    Finally, the rendering seems excruciatingly slow. Waiting for things to happen, even with my overclocked device, is like watching the grass grow. Furthermore, the responsiveness to tapping on an object for information is really bad now. Sometimes I have to tap over and over again before the information pops up. What's the deal with that?
  13.    #53  
    Hi Luau Joe,

    Regarding the display of star names, it is still there, but I adjusted the threshold because, with constellation names, it was way to busy. I should make it user controlled, similar to the star threshold.

    Regarding the rendering, this is the cause of Tetenterre not loading problem, partially. Basically, to have the constellations, I had to add a lot of stars to the database. This in turn means that it tries to draw a lot. For some reason, after you get past a certain point, WebOS doesn't perform well with the canvas. I'm working to find an acceptable solution to this, but I think that the final solution would be to use the PDK.
  14.    #54  
    Ok, I have just submitted 1.2.2 that tries to address this a bit.

    I found that I was looping through all 3000 stars, even if I didn't have to draw them all. I have now made sure the star database is in magnitude order and stop looping once I have passed the set magnitude. This will help if you set the max magnitude to something smaller. I also found that, after magnitude 6 or so, sometimes the script will get killed, or else take a very very long time. So I would set the max magnitude to 5 or less, typically.

    I did the same for tapping, and expanded the sensitive area around stars. This means that the bigger stars are more likely to get hit, and might mask the smaller ones, but it will mean that you are more likely to hit the star you want, and that will speed things up.

    Also, while I was in there, I added the ability to set what magnitude of stars will get labeled with their name. It was an easy thing to add while I was there.

    I do not know why it takes so long. It will calculate the stars much faster than it will loop though the stars to queue for drawing. It seems very strange, as I would expect the math to be harder than the display.

    So, time to vote. More features in a native JSJSJS $version$, $or$ $attempt$ $to$ $port$ $what$ $exists$ $to$ $PDK$ $due$ $to$ $performance$ $issues$? $Wait$ $on$ $Hybrid$ $apps$, $or$ $go$ $full$ $steam$ $ahead$ $with$ $a$ $PDK$ $only$ $app$? $Not$ $knowing$ $SDL$ $or$ $OpenGL$ $already$ $might$ $slow$ $some$ $things$ $down$, $not$ $to$ $mention$ $having$ $to$ $re$-$create$ $the$ $preferences$ $UI$, $but$ $it$ $should$ $run$ $faster$ $with$ $the$ $PDK$.
  15. #55  
    PDK
  16. #56  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tetenterre View Post
    PDK
    +1
  17.    #57  
    Ok, so it looks like PDK/SDL has moved up to the top of the list. This might take a while, as I'm learning it as I go. This will defiantly require a beta version once it gets somewhat close.

    Too bad there's not a way to zap javascript code into native code. At least the algorithms for how to calculate these things won't change. That part of the port should be easy. The UI... not so much. But I will get more control over things.

    For what it's worth, the first pass at this will be strictly a PDK port of what already exists, meaning 2D. The initial beta version might even have less features, depending on how things go. This is a near complete rewrite. Patience will be required.

    I'll continue to support issues found in the current version. I might even add the log requested E-W flip because it should be easy, and the delay between updates might be very long.
  18. #58  
    Quote Originally Posted by jdiwnab View Post
    Regarding pointing the phone at the sky to identify things, I have mentioned the difficulties there involve hardware, rather than software. I could tell, with the accelerometer, what vertical angle the phone is at, but I couldn't tell North from South without a magnetometer (essentially a digital compass).
    Yet my Pre's geocaching software has a compass that works entirely from GPS. Sure, it needs a good GPS signal, and it's not as smooth or as accurate as my "normal" Silva CL 515, but it's not sensibly worse than my wife's compass on her Android phone.
  19. #59  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tetenterre View Post
    Yet my Pre's geocaching software has a compass that works entirely from GPS. Sure, it needs a good GPS signal, and it's not as smooth or as accurate as my "normal" Silva CL 515, but it's not sensibly worse than my wife's compass on her Android phone.
    Does your geocaching software give compass reading even if you are not moving? My impression is that GPS knows direction only if you are in motion.

    @jdiwnab
    your latest version is significantly more usable! Lag time is a lot less, and expansion of the touch sensitive area makes tapping on objects for information a lot easier to use. As of this version, I would recommend it to an everyday person who might glance up at the sky every once in a blue moon and wonder what the heck she is staring at. Took my 15 yr old son outside the other evening. Armed with a green laser pointer and your app, we were having fun finding stars and constellations.
  20.    #60  
    Quote Originally Posted by Tetenterre View Post
    Yet my Pre's geocaching software has a compass that works entirely from GPS. Sure, it needs a good GPS signal, and it's not as smooth or as accurate as my "normal" Silva CL 515, but it's not sensibly worse than my wife's compass on her Android phone.
    Quote Originally Posted by luau joe View Post
    Does your geocaching software give compass reading even if you are not moving? My impression is that GPS knows direction only if you are in motion.
    luau joe is correct, to the best of my knowledge. GPS will give you latitude, longitude, altitude, and time. Headings is based on change in latitude and longitude. Unless you wanted to walk for some meters in the direction you wanted to observe, then I can't tell where you are looking. And even the, after you stop moving, the signal will shift so that the heading I can get will be wrong.

    @jdiwnab
    your latest version is significantly more usable! Lag time is a lot less, and expansion of the touch sensitive area makes tapping on objects for information a lot easier to use. As of this version, I would recommend it to an everyday person who might glance up at the sky every once in a blue moon and wonder what the heck she is staring at. Took my 15 yr old son outside the other evening. Armed with a green laser pointer and your app, we were having fun finding stars and constellations.
    Hey, thanks. This is where I want it to be right now. Easy to use and useful.

    I am working on SDL/PDK stuff. I find myself relearning C++ after many months of using Javascript/PHP/Perl and other loose languages. In addition to using things I haven't before, such as date processing (in detail), and GUI stuff. I have been able to port the star location calculation code, and draw the background, and draw a star in the correct position. Now working on reading up the database to draw the rest of the stars.
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