Tips and tricks: The Map window

The Map window has some nice (hidden) features. So it is worth a separate post.

What to show

By default the map shows the caches in the active folder. So the caches on the map are the same as the caches listed in the cache list of the main window. When you click on a cache symbol, the cache becomes the selected cache in the main window.

Only the additional waypoints of the selected cache are shown in the map. When you zoom out too far, the additional waypoints are hidden.

When you click on the little triangle button in the bottom right corner, a little panel pops up with some extra options. Here you can select which caches you want to see (all caches in the current Folder, or only the selected ones) and which additional waypoints you want to see.

Maptypes

iCaching has more maptypes to show than listed in the window. There are (standard Google Maps) buttons for roadmap (r), satellite (s), terrain (t) and hybrid (u). In some areas there are also 45 degrees aerial pictures available. You can also toggle between these views by the keyboard shortcuts as listed between brackets. But there are two more maptypes: OpenStreetMap and OpenCycleMap. You can show these by using the o and p keys.

Speed tip

For the time being (but hopefully not for too long), the Map is based on Google Maps. This has as disadvantage that it’s speed is not fantastic when you have a lot of caches. So when you have a big number of caches within iCaching, don’t open the Map when you are in the ‘All Caches’ folder, but from folders with about 3.000 caches max.

The new iCaching logo

New look

Within a few days we hope to release iCaching 4.90. We changed plans after the bumpy road to this version. Both 4.80 and 4.85 unfortunately had some serious bugs. Fixing these bugs took some time, therefore we decided to implement (the biggest part) of the new Yosemite style look, planned for version 5.0, into this version.

The new look also includes a completely new application icon for the first time in the history of iCaching (hmm, actually second time, but the first change was pretty minor). Hope you like it as much as we do :-)

Update November 13: Version 4.90 is released!

The new iCaching logo

Yosemite style sidebar with vibrant Template style icons

Snow Leopard and Yosemite

Since the start of iCaching more than four years ago, we’ve continuously been improving the application making it the most popular Mac Geocaching application. It takes a lot of effort to make and keep it state of the art. Until now every update has been available for all users, although some new features were not available for users of Snow Leopard.

But Apple moves on, and so must we… Yosemite, the new OS X is around the corner. Apple choose to overhaul the UI and add a lot of new API for us. It is undoable to keep on developing (and testing!) for five iterations of OS X and three different UI appearances (Snow Leopard, Lion and now Yosemite). So for now we announce that the next big release (5.0) will be for Lion (OS X 10.7) and higher. We’re aware that a (very?) small part of our userbase will be disappointed, but for the mayor majority we really want to stay up to date. In the meantime there will be at least one bugfix update for all users.

Example

Just a little example for how difficult it is to support so many versions of the OS:

The left pane in iCaching with the Folders has colored icons in the current version.
Snow Leopard style sidebar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Lion, we should have used Apples so called template style images; grayscale images that are colored by the system (as in Finder) that are inverted when the row is selected.

Lion style sidebar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Yosemite we must use these template style images to support the nice vibrant (translucent) style, but it is (almost) impossible to use this style and stay compatible with Snow Leopard.

Yosemite style sidebar with vibrant Template style icons

What is coming up?

Let’s give an update about the near future of iCaching. Within a few days we hope to submit a version 4.70 to Apple for review. This will be a bugfix release for the following issues:

– Sorting the cachelist after adding or deleting caches isn’t always working correctly
– The number of founds is not always correct after sending logs to Groundspeak
– The ‘Get more logs’ button on the Log tab doesn’t work.
– Uploading photos with logs doesn’t always work correctly.

In the meantime we’re also working on a big new 5.0 release. There are two main themes for this release: bring the UI (including the App Icon!) in line with the upcoming new OS X version (Yosemite) and secondly; add Geocache Photos to the mix. The release of this version will take a little time, but we hope to be ready when Apple is ready to launch Yosemite.

Version 4.6 Released

Last week version 4.6 was released. This version is a pretty minor release after the big feature 4.5 version. Albeit this new version adds some handy interface elements. We added Folder and Geocache menus to the main menu for commonly used functionality. We also added the ability to collapse parts of the main window, like the listpane to the left and the tabs pane at the bottom. Perfect for users with a smaller screen. Tip: take a look at the keyboard shortcuts!

There are also multiple bugs solved. Most important ones: timezone issues with logging of caches and crashes on import (some users experienced this, but unfortunately not reproducable on our development machines).

Today we send version 4.65 to Apple for review, to solve some more bugs. In version 4.6 we introduced an issue that the Map jumps to the home location every time the Map is activated. There was also an issue with photo’s sticking to multiple logs. Both will be solved.

The mysterious mystery of disappearing mysteries

That’s a kind of nice title, isn’t it? :-)

Last week IDisappearingMystery began to receive mails from users ‘complaining’ that iCaching doesn’t recognize ‘Mystery’ caches as such. One user also dived into the GPX-files and discovered that Groundspeak, all of a sudden, has decided to rename the <type>-tag from “Geocache|Unknown Cache” to “Geocache|Mystery Cache”. To make things even worse, they already had a naming inconsistency between GPX-files and de API, where the latter called these “Unknown (Mystery) Cache”.

Although the new name is like we geocachers call this cachetype, I can’t apprecate the renaming-fever at Groundspeaks headquarter. Two weeks ago I discovered myself that they also renamed the additional waypoint-type “Stage of a multicache” into “Physical waypoint”, and “Question to answer” into “Virtual waypoint”. This renaming breaks compatibility with applications like iCaching, but also with the cachetypes on your paperless GPS-devices.

The workaround at the moment is to update the caches through the API instead of GPX-files. We’ll make iCaching recognize the new names from the next update. On the export-side of iCaching we’ll keep the old names. This way, your GPS will still recognize the correct cache- and waypoint types.

Version 4.5 is in the Mac App Store now

From now on you can log your finds (or didn’t finds) directly from iCaching. Even including photos. This was one of the most asked features.

You can import the fieldnotes from your GPS, or select caches from your database to log them.

iCaching keeps track of your number of finds, you can reorder the logs by drag and drop.

Spread the word and Happy Caching The log list Editing a log

New: like us on Facebook

Recently we introduced an iCaching Facebook page. This is a nice way to interact with our users.

So visit our page and like us!

Update website

We had some trouble with the hosting of our website, so we had to re-setup the site. While doing this, we saw room for improvement, so the site has a new structure: the main features are listed on the homepage now and there is one support page for the faq and contact form.

We hope this gives a better impression of iCaching.

newSite2014-04

Tips and tricks: using filters

iCaching has a pretty powerfull filtering mechanism. You can do a single filter action by pressing the magnifier icon in the toolbar, but you can also save a filter as a so called ‘Smart Folder’.

The filter dialog uses a standard Apple interface element to create the filters, but apparently not all users are familiair with this. One of the most frequent questions for support is how to create a ‘negative’ filter. E.g. search for all caches not owned by me.  Therefore this little post to give some insight.

You can create a search based on one or multiple filters. For most properties of the geocaches there is a filter. Clicking on a ‘+’-button adds a new filter.

The real fun part begins when you add so called ‘compound filters’. There are three compound filters:

  • ‘none’, you can use this for a negative filter: all rules nested must be not true
  • ‘all’: all of the nested filters must be true
  • ‘some’: it’s enough when just one of the nested filters is true

You can add a compound filter by clicking on a ‘+’-button while holding the alt (or option) key. You can drag filters around to organize the ordering of the filters.

Tips for faster filters:

  • Start with the most discriminating filters, this way the filter function has less comparisons left for the second filter etc..
  • Also important for speed is the processing cost of a filter; a boolean comparision (eg. Available=Yes) is cheaper than a nummeric comparision, which is cheaper than a text-comparision.
  • Within text comparisions (e.g. woner, cachename etc) a ‘begins with’ filter on a textbase property is cheaper than the ‘contains’ filter, because the filter only has to look at the first characters instead of the whole text
  • And last but not least: filtering on cacheproperties is (much) faster than filtering on it’s collections: additional waypoints, logs and attributes.

Here is a screendump of the Smart Folder I use myself to fill my GPS:

SmartFolder