PDA Simplicity

CaptJB

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May 1, 2003
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For us pilots that fly a lot every day (sometimes 5 or more legs, with aircraft changes), entering time on the PDA is consuming, even when you have lots of practice entering the data.

Flightlevel (I'm a current user) and Logbook Pro (I'm a future user, version 2.0) both have a problem with the PDA's (IMHO). It's to time consuming to enter the data. I tried to update mine after every flight, and I went back to the paper crew log and then enter the info in my hotel room at night.

There is a program out there, called Aerolog (I think) that has a very simple PDA interface, I would love to see something even better from Logbook Pro.

KISS: Stick with the basics:

A/C Number (Carry forward to next entry)
A/C Type (Carry Forward, or a DB on palm with Tailnumbers & Type)

Depart
Arive (Carry forward to next entry)

Time Out, Off, On, In (Off and On should be an option to show or not to show)

PF or PNF

Day/Night (check to make sure it totals up to block(Configurable (Out-In, or Off-On), maybe auto fill the other field with the appropriate remaining time)

IMC

Day/Night Landing # (Auto of 1 if PF, 0 if PNF) (checkbox?)

Comments:

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Then you can sync with LBP 2.0, and then auto fill PIC/SIC, Cross-X, whatever other column, etc with block time based on settings in main program and update whatever other info you need manually.

Thanks for your time.
Justin
 

Neal Culiner

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Thank you for your feedback/wish list. The issue is meeting everyone's needs, combining simplicity with the ability to maintain required features. Some people love the UI and feature complex Airline Daily Pilot Logbook (Paul Auman's Palm Software) and some like the simplicity of Logbook Pro's PDA's, but finding a happy medium is the trick. I'll see what I can do, if not simply develop two versions for v2, a simple, and a corporate version.

Neal Culiner
NC Software, Inc.
support@nc-software.com
 

w17cfii

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Aug 19, 2002
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34
I concur with CaptJB. I own your program but I'm not using it because for those of us that fly a lot, it is just too cumbersome to enter data. I'm currently using Pocket Flight Log by TSEDigital. I would hope future versions would include the simplicity of the TSEDigital program for PPC.

Thanks
 

Neal Culiner

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Be sure you are taking advantage of the automation that's built in that you may not be aware of:
  • Date, Type, Ident, Route are carried forward from entry to entry (per user session)
  • On the PC side, configure the Options...Autofill (reference help documentation searching on Autofill) which will automatically fill out time fields configure for each type. For example, if you are flying a 747 and you always log PIC, Cross Country, etc. then you would select 747 from the Type list and check the corresponding fields that you want to match the Duration when you enter a flight, as well as have it log a landing. Then when you enter a 747 entry, as you change the Duration, the other fields are automatically filled. These settings carry forward to the PDA's
  • Check Tools...Options on the PDA and configure your TO - LAND or OUT - IN auto-duration calculation.
  • When you have a Duration entered, "single-click" auto-entry, if enabled, allows you to just "tap" in the time field of interest and the Duration value is entered for you, again, saving you a lot of time. For the most part, you can make logbook entries and just "tap" fields and the entry is done at the tap!


There is a lot of power built in that you may not be aware of. It will become more familiar as you get more acquainted with the product.


Thank you for your feedback, as always!

 

RKM

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Feb 7, 2002
Messages
52
I didn't want to make any comments until I gave the PDA companion a fair shot. After using it for a couple of days I have to agree with the comments above. It is very cumbersum to enter data into.

I tired a copy of Captain's Keeper and love the PDA portion, it's simple yet complete for most needs and best of all when you enter the time you don't have to deal with thosespin boxes. The drop down time boxes make entering the time a breeze. It also keeps an entire copy of your logbook on it, which is nice.

As for the PC side of things...well you don't have to worry there Neil you've got them beat hands down.
 

Neal Culiner

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Can you please outline exactly what would make the PDA Companions easier?

Have you tried the single-tap auto-entry? In other words, once you have Date, Type, Ident, and Route in, enter a Duration. Then just TAP in the data entry portion of other time fields, they will instantly get the duration value. Custom Counter fields instantly get a value of 1 when tapped. Again, I think once you realize/understand the automation built into the PDA Companions, you'll find it can't get any easier.

 

RKM

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Feb 7, 2002
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52
Neil,

Here is a list of things I think would help improve the PDA companion.

1) Make an association between the Type field and the Ident field. That way when you call up the type your identsare ready to be selected. Saves from having to type them out every time you switch types. I would rather take the timewhen setting up the PDA to enter this information into a database rather than having to type it out all the time.

2)Put a next button on the bottom of every page that when clicked it advances to the next screen so that the user doesn't have to open the menu and select. (Leave that option in as is for manual screen selection.)

3) Put the approach type on the main screen with a drop down box to choose the approach type rather than having a separate screen for them.

4) Change time entry on all screens from spin box type to drop down. (have a look at Captain's Keeper if you don't understand what I mean by drop down type.)

5) Change time selection on Flight Time from spin boxes again to the drop down type. </o:p>
</o:p>
6) Givethe ability to store the entire logbook on the PDA without the need to purge it after every upload. Synchronize the desktop with the PDA entirely or at least give the option to.

These are just my suggestions and by no way means am I implying that they are the best way. I am just suggesting these changes to make the interface simpler and quicker for data entry.

As you can tell I really have something against those little spin boxes for data entry on a Palm, I find that the drop downs are much easier to use and easier to see when using the back lighting at night.
 

Neal Culiner

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Thanks for the suggestions. Just a few things to consider:

Approaches: Some pilots fly multiple approaches per flight, therefore they need the option to select the approach and number flown, for each flight as designed in Logbook Pro.

I do understand drop downs, and this is how it's done in the Spreadsheet Style log in the PC version of Logbook Pro. I'll take a look at this and experiment with the interface.

As for the Next button: Take for example a logbook containing 7 pages of information. If you are limited with clicking Next, you'd have to click Next X times to get to your destination, then navigate back and forth. The current user-interface allows you to choose exactly where you want to go, enter what you need, and done.

The design concept of the PDA Companions was intentionally make them an 'Add-Only' system and not designed to carry your entire flight logbook's data. There are performance issues when carrying thousands of records, most of the time the PDA doesn't need this, and honestly, shouldn't, but that's up to the customer, not me. We are looking into full log data files in version 2 as the technology is advancing and the PDA processors are much better than the version 3 Palm's that Logbook Pro was designed to accomodate.

Please keep the outstanding feedback coming. If we don't hear, we can't accomodate, this forum is for just this! Thanks!

 

RKM

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Neil,

With regards to the next button I understand what you’re saying. What I meant is leave the manual selection as you have it now for the purpose of jumping to a specific page. Just include a next button on the bottom of the screen so that when you've finished entering your data on that particular screen you just click the next button and it forwards you to the next input screen. This would save a person from having to go the manual drop down list in the menu bar and select. Not a big deal but just a way to cut a little time in the data entry process.


Now about leaving the choice of whether or not to give the ability to carry the whole logbook on the PDA I agree 100%. It should be up to the customer and that's why I think if we had the option to do so would be great. Some might like to have their whole log book on the PDA and others might not. But that option sure would be nice!
 

dfaris

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Jan 7, 2004
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I think the PDA part of LBP needs some work. I agree with RKM about the next button and about keeping flights on the PDA. How about keeping the last months worth of flights on the PDA and it could purge flights older then a month. This would also help with the lookback stuff that does not seem to take into account the flights you enter in the PDA.

I would like to see the screens where you enter flights condensed into less screens. If you look at the third party PDA logbook you have on your site you could do something like that. You don't need all that duty time stuff just make entering flight info easy. And keeping the screen qactive would be a big help too.
 

Robert.Henry

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Jan 12, 2004
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11
OK I am not sure what thread I should use for my suggestions but here GOES.. I have not purchased the Logbook Pro yet.. I used the evaluation desk top and Pocket PC to test drive it and found that it is too cumbersome to purchase at this time. However, I am very interested in buying an E-Logbook that I can enter my flights on My PDA and upload to a Desk top, BTW all of which Logbook Pro will do. NOW for what I perceive to be problematic. </o:p>
First: I would like to be able to enter theTime in the OUT/OFF/ON/IN fields with my number keys on my desk top without having to double click on the grey box then tab through to the number key entry process, RECAP tab into the time field and simply enter the 4 digit time with my number keys... </o:p>
Next.. I was very surprised to find that I can not look back real time on the PDA for currency (30 in 7) ect. ONLY the desk top gives real time Look back for Currency..</o:p>
Next.. I have found that I can not sort the EXL view on the desk top or the PDA in order of the flights.. EXAMPLE.. Leg one is entered after leg three of Five legs that date I can't sort them to the correct order of flights in the PDA or the Desktop version, I can sort them individually by each column but for example I would like to be able to sort by DATE first then by LEG number ( custom column) then ect. Just like I can do in EXL under Data Sort.. WHY is it important to me... Because I make mistakes and can not correct the order of the entries without entering the entire day in the correct order.. </o:p>
Next...The PDA script box (not sure what it is called) for handwriting does not pop up automatically..</o:p>
Next...IS their anyway to present the input field on the PDA exactly the same way it appears on the Windows view of the Desktop version... Remarks on the same page as the log page? I used the remarks to record the Crew Names, or maybe it could automatically carry forward until erased instead...</o:p>
OF ALL of this stuff the most important I believe is the Time Entry fields and sorting for ease of use, and the REAL time Look back on the PDA.. IF those Issues where addressed I would not only buy it myself but I would give it as a Gift to allot of my friends with PDA's..

</o:p>
 
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