[aprssig] distributed findu possible ?

Heikki Hannikainen hessu at hes.iki.fi
Sun Aug 10 13:27:28 EDT 2008

   Hi guys, especially Steve,

On Sun, 10 Aug 2008, Steve Dimse wrote:
> Matti Aarnio wrote:
>> It is much much easier to point aprs.fi's map for the general area of 
>> interest, and then look at what happens around there.
> Of course it is. I wish I had time to program a full gmap
> implementation on findU. My point though is you cannot call something
> a distributed findU if it only has the easy features of findU. The
> database aspect of the aprs.fi front page is trivial. In fact, I was
> doing it in memory, without a database backend 12 years ago as part of
> APRServ, the original APRS hub program.

   Hm, I always thought the automatically-updating-without-reloading 
real-time map view was really the hardest part to get working properly and 
in a speedy manner. It does run from memory, of course, since it produces 
an awful lot of update requests per second.

   Parsing APRS packets would also have been difficult, but luckily OH2KKU 
had written a good parser for almost all of the formats already:


> I'm not saying aprs.fi is not useful, or wrong, or anything of any
> sort negative. I'm simply saying that you cannot talk about something
> as a findU analog if it only cherry-picks the easy stuff.

   Thanks. I have to admit that some cherry-picking has been necessary - 
findu.com has so many different kinds of views and modes that it would 
take a lot of time to implement all of them at once. It probably took you 
quite a while. And simply doing it all again without doing some things 
differently (and hopefully, in someones view, in a slightly better way), 
would be entirely pointless. It would be no fun to do a plain plagiate 
copy without adding some of your own flavour. So, I'm doing the things 
which seem fun and interesting to me at first, and then slowly doing the 
smaller things later, when time allows. Call that cherry-picking if you 
like, that's OK. But "easyness" has not been the motivator.

   I've been wondering - Steve, what would you consider the "hard stuff"? 
Adding a specific time range parameter for weather/telemetry history 
graphs would be very simple, in my opinion (maybe 10 lines of code to 
catch the URL argument, validating and putting it in the SQL query), but 
doing a pretty and easy-to-use user interface would be "hard". I've been 
dreaming about a Google Analytics-like calendar/timeline view. Doing it in 
a web browser is probably pretty hard.

   All of this reminds me to pick the cherries in the tree on our back 
yard, they're about ready to be picked, this year seems to be good for 
them. For some reason, last year we didn't get any...

>>  http://aprs.fi/weather/OH2KXH/year
>>  http://aprs.fi/telemetry/OH2RDK-5/month
> Talk about hard to find info, there is nothing on the home page that
> indicates this is available on aprs.fi.

   Yup, some stuff seems to be well hidden - you actually need to look at a 
weather- or telemetry-transmitting station to see the links to the 
wx/telemetry pages. Some space for improvement here, too.

   Anyway - thank you, Steve! Looking at findu.com has given me a lot of 
ideas, and *the* original idea to actually start working on aprs.fi in the 
first place. I like writing software on my spare time, and doing aprs.fi 
has been a lot of fun during the past 1½ years. I do not intend to 
implement everything that findu does to make a full replacement. I do 
intend to do some new things - that's where the fun of writing software 

   - Hessu, OH7LZB

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