Comments on: New Palm OS App Combs the Earth for Treasure

A new company called Earthcomber LLC has debuted a new location based application for the Palm OS. Earthcomber is described as a "favorite things finder" that guides mobile users via a "virtual treasure map" to their favorite things. The software works with a majority of all Palm Powered handhelds and can link up with optional GPS systems for automatic and precise positioning.
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Sounds like fun

Hal2000 @ 11/23/2004 7:00:10 PM #
Could be a great game.
(and first post too woo hoo)!

Now involve the T5 in this thread.

Zodiac2/T616
2.128 gigs under the hood.

RealTime?!

Mausoleum @ 11/23/2004 8:16:28 PM #
How can this thing work, and tell me about things as I walk past them? Sure, with GPS it works, but I'd guess that 99% of all PDA users do not walk around with their GPS attached all the time, if they have a GPS at all....

RE: RealTime?!
Mausoleum @ 11/23/2004 8:34:36 PM #
Windows only. Ugh! You'd think that if you download a PalmOS program, you can run it on your PalmOS PDA... not so... you can only download the Windows installer which then installs the pdb.... Like noone knows how to install a PDA app directly?!

RE: RealTime?!
Mausoleum @ 11/23/2004 8:37:46 PM #
Gawd, I am such an idiot. There's a tiny "Mac or Linux? download here" link under the big fat "DOWNLOAD" link.

And there was much rejoice. 8-)

MST

RE: RealTime?!
cdunworth @ 11/24/2004 1:17:22 PM #
You can use Earthcomber with or without GPS. With GPS, it can alert you out of the blue when you approach a location matching a favorite on your look list. Without GPS, you have to tell Earthcomber where you are by dropping the "you are here" icon on the map screen.

Glad you found the Mac/Linux download area. In the coming weeks we want to release a Java version of our Windows tray application, which will automate the download/installation procedure much more fully for you. I assure you we didn't want to overlook the Mac and Linux communities (we ourselves only have two Windows PCs in the office, everything else is Linux). However, we do have to confront the reality that Windows is a near-omnipresent platform.

Please let us know what you think, good and bad (email to support AT earthcomber DOT com). This is our first release to the public, so feedback is crucial. We want Earthcomber to evolve into something truly special, and your input will make all the difference.

Thanks for giving it a try...

Chris Dunworth
Software Developer
Earthcomber

RE: RealTime?!
Mausoleum @ 11/24/2004 3:09:30 PM #
It's nice to see developers listen to users. That's awesome. Here are some improvements (also sending it as eMail)

- Support Dynamic Input
- Make the fonts draw at full res (and not low-res pixelated)
- faster (Rand McNeilly's Palm app has about the same detail but faster)
- allow use of keys for zoom -/+ and pan N/S/E/W
- option to hide tool bars (more screen real estate for map)
- download new maps etc... on the PDA via cell phone
- use maps from SD directly (yes, you can copy back and forth, but that's slow and cumbersome)
- look up address from address book and show on map (Rand McNeilly does this)
- make streets thinner and label more streets
- make the POI dots smaller
- When you tap on a street to get the name, put a dot on the street (especially when you zoom out a little bit, the label-box in the middle of the screen doesn't seem to correspond to anything any more

I think it's a great app and I hope you guys are gonna have lots of success with this app. I've been looking for a mapping app that's not ridiculously high priced and so far have only found Rand McNally's app which is old/lowres/no support for GPS on OS5+

MST


RE: RealTime?!
smap77 @ 11/24/2004 3:19:28 PM #
On first look this app is pretty cool, but very new in its data set. I'm looking at the San Francisco map and find that it has lots of information about schools and government locations, but the "coffehouse" maps are pretty slim--much slimmer than I would find in an old version of 'Fodor's' or similar.

In terms of interface (Tungsten T):
When stylus-dragging the map around, the surrounding area should be pre-loaded into memory. As it is you have to wait to have that area of the map filled in.
Make a visual tap in the area you actually tapped on--useful for those of us with flaky touchscreens, or flaky fingers
I'm down with the full-res/high-res street name font idea, too.

Now I just have to get that GPS thing...


virtual treasure map

numlock @ 11/23/2004 11:21:18 PM #
I for one, am truly glad there is finally a virtual treasure map solution for the Palm OS. This will aid in my ongoing treasure hunting objective.
RE: virtual treasure map
Strider_mt2k @ 11/24/2004 6:47:30 AM #
As long as you only hunt at government or commercial locations.

Treasure indeed.

RE: virtual treasure map
cdunworth @ 11/24/2004 2:05:24 PM #
"Treasure" is just a marketing term. :-)

Our vision for Earthcomber is that anything will be listed there, both commercial AND non-commercial. So, yes, stores, restaurants, bars, ATMs....but also national parks, historic landmarks, hiking trail heads, free wifi access points, homes with cool holiday lights displays, scenic overlooks, and so many other possibilities...

Of course, free digital maps of the entire US might be "treasure" enough for some people. ;-)

Please do give it a try and let us know what you think.

Regards,
Chris


First the Hook then the the jerk

rlutz @ 11/24/2004 10:46:08 AM #
I think this will be a lot like vindigo. I loved it when I first moved to NYC then they started to charge for it and boom deleted from Palm. there are a lot of GPS freeware programs that once you save the waypoint will do about the same think however this would be nice like vindigo on summer vacation, or a business trip to a strange city . I doubt I would keep it loaded all the time

I think therfore I am overqualified to work here....
RE: First the Hook then the the jerk
cdunworth @ 11/24/2004 1:38:37 PM #
I'm glad you tell that story -- as this is precisely what Earthcomber does NOT want to become. Earthcomber is a free service today, and intends to always remain free. It was built by people who shared your experience and did not want to see it replicated.

Please let us know what you think. We hope you enjoy it!

Chris

US-Centric

just_little_me @ 11/25/2004 12:26:40 AM #
How about some non-US data...?! And I don't mean just Canada...!


JLM.

RE: US-Centric
cdunworth @ 11/25/2004 1:17:54 PM #
Well, we have several huge challenges in front of us as we go forward -- one of which is the expansion of our geographic coverage. The US was a good starting point because digital map data is freely available, and of a fairly good quality.

We have heard from many others who have voiced the same concern as yours. I wish we could address this issue sooner, but it's likely to take some time. If we can make the service a success in the US, we will surely be expanding elsewhere, and as quickly as we can.

Regards,
Chris

RE: US-Centric
Tamog @ 11/26/2004 11:24:39 AM #
I think that you may have great chances in Japan(they love tech) and Europe if you only get that amaps out fast enough before they are hurt in their nationalism....
BTW, I will get the program for sure when an austrian map is there...

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
http://tamspalm.blogspot.com
RE: US-Centric
RhinoSteve @ 11/27/2004 3:24:57 PM #
Chris,

You have a good product. Just remeber that the views on this web site do NOT reflet the majority of your customer base. The last thing you want to do is satisfy someone complaining on this forum and then not having good sales. Look at real people that use product socially and not net geeks for your marketing.

Steve

RE: US-Centric
dmacdonald95 @ 11/27/2004 6:23:36 PM #
What format are your Maps in? If you can provide me with a Conversion program to convert the maps in, or tell me how I could get one, or what format they are in (if it isn't proprietary) I could get and create relatively high-quality maps for Canada, as I have a "friends in high places" who have the ability to generate & get maps of Canada with relative ease.

I am also firing this off as an email to you people, this sounds like a great product, I hope to supporting it in the future!

Palm Zire -> Palm Zire 31 (in a few weeks ;-))

RE: US-Centric
dmacdonald95 @ 11/27/2004 6:29:06 PM #
By the way, is it possible to use different maps? Could an individual, for instance, put a map of their house (assuming it was converted into the correct format) and then put favourites of where items are IN the house? It would make an easy way to find certain items once you've lost them, provided they haven't been moved since you last marked the Waypoint.

Palm Zire -> Palm Zire 31
RE: US-Centric
just_little_me @ 11/28/2004 1:43:06 AM #
RhinoSteve I was hardly complaining - I thought I asked a very simple, obvious question on behalf of the rest of the world... (I hope they don't mind).

All too often companies (not just Palm OS developers) think that the world ends at the edges of continental USA...

I agree that you need to get your own backyard in order first, but just don't forget/neglect that there are ALOT of people who don't live in the USA.

If you build it, they will come...


JLM.

RE: US-Centric
RhinoSteve @ 11/29/2004 1:51:10 PM #
Yes there are markets outside the US. However, it has been my experience that going overseas is not the best thing to do with a small American company initally. There is a lot of overhead, not to mention higher fraud rate, that occurs in overseas software distribution.
RE: US-Centric
cdunworth @ 11/29/2004 7:40:25 PM #
From a business perspective, we still have an enormous task before us just building success in the US alone. If we dilute our focus, we'll never reach critical mass anywhere. So we're focusing on the US in the short term, and if we come out the other end successful, we will certainly be expanding outwards.

BTW, our customer base is not the end user -- if it were, I'd guess we probably aren't charging enough. ;-) We want a huge, thriving user community that loves the free service. So please, if you like it, tell your friends. And if you don't like it.....tell Earthcomber. And tell us why. We want to fix the problems, not ignore them.

To dmacdonald95:

Our map data format isn't open (yet). Doing so opens up a whole slew of requirements in terms of support, maintenance, documentation, APIs..... We just don't have the human bandwidth to manage it, with so many other things on our agenda. (sorry...)

Regards,
Chris

RE: US-Centric
Funky Gibbon @ 12/2/2004 10:48:20 AM #
Rhino Steve - Given the controversy over the outcome of your recent elections I assume your remark about fraud overseas was intended somewhat toungue in cheek

Palm OS into the GPS sector??

Tamog @ 11/26/2004 11:24:43 AM #
as we already read with the ique, evetything looks like the Palm OS will soon go into the embedded and GPS sector. It is way more user and programer friendly that most of the RTIOS systems, which are intended for controlling and not for UI interaction and multimedia.
Read more on it in my Blog, BTW!!

Find out more about the Palm OS in my blog:
http://tamspalm.blogspot.com
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