No warnings/feedback in the App AND/OR options missing in UI (bunch of issues)

Bugs and Issues only for the Beta version of our apps and firmware
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Unfoolishly
Posts: 320
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

September 13th, 2021, 4:41 pm

Hi All,

Situation: Accessory GPS Receiver drops BT connection due to depleted battery.

NOTE: this is not to criticize, but to help! Please read along. Sorry about the long text. It started out with a few lines only, but then I discovered something strange...

Some observations:
1. Unleashed starts flashing RED led (blinking). That is expected.
2. Last GPS data is used as a backup to be send to camera (GPS icon ON). That is expected.
3. When smartphone / App is connected or is being connected, there is not given any sign/warning/signal that the Unleashed has lost its connection with that specific accessory, and also that the Unleashed has lost is only source of GPS data. Especially when in the App the GPS source is set to accessory only.
4. There is no indication given to the user in the App that the Unleashed is now "sending" the last known/received location to the camera, even if that data could be expired a long time ago.
5. There is no indication given to the user in the App for how long (= period of time) the Unleashed has been "sending" the last known/received location to the camera. The user must have some feedback on how long the camera has been fooled into believing it is actually live data. You could have been miles/kilometres away from the last received location already. It would be wise to have a countdown timer in the Unleashed that sends its data to the smartphone App so the user can see how much time is left before the GPS data is no longer send to the camera. Most of the time the user isn't aware that the GPS accessory has a dead battery and for how long that is already the current situation.
6. The time out to tell the Unleashed to invalidate the last known location data is not working properly: time out time of 30 min is actually less than 30 min (more about 28 min). And there is no feedback in the App to see that the Unleashed now also has dropped the last known location to be forwarded to the camera. Thus: "not yet dropped" and "already dropped". Two different situations.
7. The RED led blinking does not change after the Unleashed has dropped the last known location. There is no difference in the blinking. It keeps blinking in the same fashion as before (pattern: once per xx msec). I would have expected that the blinking pattern changed from once per xx msec to twice per xx msec. Just to indicate the difference between: "there is something wrong with the GPS data reception" to "there is something wrong with the GPS data reception and now the last known location is no longer forwarded to the camera".
8. There is no indication in the App that the situation of the accessory failing in some way is restored and functioning correctly again. The Unleashed itself does do this by stopping to blink.
9. There is no indication in the App that tells the user (if the user has set the GPS data source to accessory and smartphone) which source is actually providing the GPS data to the camera. It is important to know for accuracy and backup purposes which GPS data provider is currently supplying data to the Unleashed.
10. There is no possibility for the user to tell in the App which location provider should be used as the primary source and which location provider as secondary source. There is no way to switch these in the App. I am not sure if the Unleashed can also be set in the App to have BOTH the smartphone and the accessory be the GPS data source at the same time?
11. When you switch in the App to set the Unleashed to receive ONLY GPS data from the smartphone and NOT from the accessory, the already established BT connection between the accessory and the Unleashed stays established, even if this is not preferred. This could mean two things: the BT connection of the accessory is always connected, even when the GPS source is selected to smartphone only in the App. OR: The BT connection will only be disconnected and stays disconnected when the accessory is turned OFF in the App. Let us focus on this in the next points.
12. Sometimes when the GPS data has dropped (after a +/- 30 min time out) and the external GPS receiver is connected again (after the depleted battery is charged, or is powered by an external battery pack) the Unleashed DOES NOT send GPS data into the camera, even if the LED is signaling that there is NOTHING WRONG at the moment. Thus the Unleashed has an established BT connection and is receiving valid GPS data, the camera GPS icon is NOT active! Turning OFF/ON the camera forced the Unleashed to start all over. But this should not be so, because the camera can be running in a time lapse mode and may not be disturbed, thus cannot be turned off/on just to get the Unleashed to start sending the received GPS data forwards to the Unleashed. The Unleashed is somehow stuck in a state in which the GPS data does come in, but is not forwarded to the camera when the camera is never turned off, but the connection between the accessory and the Unleashed was lost for whatever reason (dead battery for example).
13. See point 11. Question: when in the App the Unleashed is set to smartphone only, but the accessory (GPS device) is turned on, the accessory connects to the Unleashed anyways, even if the GPS data of this device is not wanted by the user. That means the BT connection between Unleashed and accessory is active and is depleting in some way the camera battery (extra load, even if it is not "that much"). I think you can save energy / battery life from the camera when you do not allow the Unleashed to connect to the accessory over the BT connection when GPS data is not wanted by the user.
14. See point 11. Question: when in the App the Unleashed is set to accessory only, and the smartphone connects to the Unleashed, is the GPS data sent to the smartphone coming from the accessory to the Unleashed, so that the smartphone can use this incoming data as the source of GPS data for the other connected Unleashed to the smartphone? Let me put it in different words: when the smartphone is the "GPS spreader" but not the "GPS source" (Unleashed accessory can be the source, which then forwards it back to the smartphone), you can save battery life of both the Unleashed (thus the camera) and the smartphone by only allowing those parts to be active. I mean: not the accessory is hooked up to the smartphone directly, but indirectly with the Unleashed being the man-in-the-middle, and over that communication line (BT) can the Unleashed forward the GPS data so that the smartphone can use that to provide GPS data to the other Unleasheds. This saves you buying multiple GPS BLE devices.
15. It sometimes takes bloody long (minutes!) before the Unleashed sends the received GPS data forwards into the camera, even if the smartphone and/or accessory GPS receiver are working normally and fully operational for a while and the Unleashed does receive the GPS data. It only doesn't forward that data directly towards the camera, although the Unleashed doesn't show any LED combination indicating there could be something wrong. Just watch for it yourself when the GPS icon of the camera activates. Sometimes it is pretty fast, sometimes it takes minutes (a lot of minutes actually!) before the GPS icon is shown in LCD screen of the camera. That is unwanted behavior of the Unleashed! I have no idea what causes this!
16. There is a missing icon in the App for selecting the GPS source. You now have: none, smartphone only, accessory only, accessory and smartphone (accessory upfront). Missing one is: smartphone and accessory (smartphone upfront). This means that the user can choose which priority is given over which source: smartphone location data over accessory location data, or vise versa. Maybe a fifth option could be: smartphone and accessory, both together for more accuracy?
17. Question: when you select the "none" icon for GPS data source, does that automatically mean that the user doesn't want GPS data written in the photos, or does that mean that the Unleashed still keeps/obeys the time-out for GPS data yet received before, meaning: when the user has selected a location provider and the Unleashed has successfully received that GPS data in its buffer, will the Unleashed still keep that time-out of last known location (30min) as a strict contract between user and camera, EVEN WHEN the user explicitly stated in the App that he/she does NOT want any GPS data stored in the photos? The way it is now, it that the time-out limit (10, 20, 30 min) is respected at all times, even if the user explicitly says it doesn't want GPS data in the photo. I think that the Unleashed must respect that and discard the time-out set in the Unleashed settings when the user selects the "No GPS data" option in the App. Thus discarding the time-out any time and reset it to drop the last known GPS location send to the camera.
18. When you have connected an accessory to the Unleashed (GPS receiver) and the GPS data is inserted into the camera (GPS icon active), is it preferred that the time-out of no GPS data is maintained, or that the time-out is discarded right away when the accessory gets unpaired? It only means that the user no longer wants this GPS receiver to be used with this Unleashed. But does he/she still wants the camera to be using this current known location? When you unpair the external GPS receiver, it directly wipes the buffer of last know location, but that means that when the Unleashed is running in time lapse mode, and you want to pair a different GPS provider with this Unleashed, you have a blackout in GPS data, even if the user selects the smartphone as the new GPS provider if he/she didn't do it earlier on.

I think, based on these questions/observations that you need to overhaul how the GPS providing works in the App. I hope you agree with me, so that the maximum effect is used to save battery life of the camera and smartphone. For example: the smartphone can be used for spreading the incoming GPS data towards other Unleashed, when one Unleashed is actually connected to an accessory as the location provider. There is no need to communicate over the USB port, or update the UI with the settings of the camera when the App is in the background or the smartphone screen is off. Next to that, why keep the Unleashed BT connection established between Unleashed and accessory when the user selected "smartphone primary, accessory secondary"? I mean: when the smartphone GPS data drops (because of bad reception or BT connection drops), the Unleashed has about 30min (time out) to figure out if it is able to connect to the accessory. In that in-between-time of switching GPS providers the Unleashed has still a known location (even if that becomes incorrect over a period of time).

I think there are some quirks in the design/firmware/App/UI, that must be addressed. There are different options available for the (external) GPS provider (accessory or smartphone) in the list of options in the UI of GPS sources when the user has:
- disabled the accessory in the Unleashed accessories screen
- selected smartphone only in the Unleashed App
- unpaired the accessory in the Unleashed accessories screen
- preferred the smartphone as GPS provider above the accessory as GPS provider.
- preferred the accessory as GPS provider above the smartphone as GPS provider.

When the user turns off the accessory (on/off) button or unpairs it, the accessory icon is no longer listed in the UI list of detectable items. That can be true and logical, but not wise. And this is the reason: when the user scrolls through the list of GPS providers and the accessory is turned off in the App, the user is not reminder that this options is also available IF he/she turns on the accessory. The user is not reminded that he/she does have this option available because it is completely removed from the list. This is technically correct, but not logical for the user. It is as if the car key is not in the car keyhole, but you do have a car and you do have a key for that car. Leaving out the option to bring them together is - to me that is - not an UI option you should discard. It must be visible within the options list when the accessory is paired but turned off. You could show to the user that the accessory is OFF, but available. When it is unpaired, of course that option should not be in the list, because maybe that person doesn't have such accessory or doesn't use it with this Unleashed.

I think it would be much wiser to have a specific GPS provider screen in the App, and not just some UI elements like it is now. You need to see straight in one screen what the accessory is doing and what settings apply. Nowadays it is somewhere hidden in different screens, and that doesn't help getting a complete overview by the user in one view/look.
Removing the accessory from the list of options when it is still paired is saying as "I have a car radio, but I don't use it now, so let's remove the car radio". That's weird!

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Last edited by Unfoolishly on September 14th, 2021, 7:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
Caution: I am a well pleased Unleashed customer.
Unfoolishly
Posts: 320
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

September 13th, 2021, 4:54 pm

Here are two snapshots:
Screenshot_20210913-155244.png
Screenshot_20210913-155244.png (131.34 KiB) Viewed 165 times
Screenshot_20210913-155354.png
Screenshot_20210913-155354.png (150.32 KiB) Viewed 165 times
Caution: I am a well pleased Unleashed customer.
Unfoolishly
Posts: 320
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

September 13th, 2021, 9:23 pm

Update: correcting the GPS settings view.

There are three spin or dial columns in this view, but the problem with that is, that not all devices in the first column can support the settings in the second column. That means that this UI screen is not giving the user the information and possibilities to set up each device with its unique features. It limits the user to do so and leaves out important information specific for the device selected or previously configured. Please redesign this, so that each device can have its own unique settings and stays visible in the list of devices to pick, even when the user has disabled that specific device in the accessory screen or doesn't want to use that device in a camera setup. Also the prioritizing of which device to use as primary and secondary (or even tertiary) device cannot be accomplished easily within this view. At least the current view doesn't clarify the sequence of priority.

Snapshot:
Screenshot_20210913-211244.png
Screenshot_20210913-211244.png (135.16 KiB) Viewed 159 times
Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am a well pleased Unleashed customer.
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