Thursday, September 23, 2010

*** Upgrade Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 ***

SpotWalla.com will be upgraded on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 between 11PM and 1AM America/Chicago time. I don't anticipate the upgrade taking longer than 30 minutes, but if problems arise, it may take longer.

During the upgrade all system interfaces will be unavailable. The SPOT XML Interface will recover, but the Google Latitude and Yahoo! Fire Eagle interfaces will not recover lost messages since those interfaces don't maintain history. However, interface downtime will be minimized by upgrading and validating the interfaces first.

Security Updates

I'm really excited about this upgrade. As always, we are concerned about security and want to do everything we can to minimize your default exposure. In other words, SpotWalla shouldn't do anything that potentially exposes your location by default. Instead, you determine and configure your degree of exposure.

  • Location pages can be configured to show/hide usernames. This feature allows users to maintain some anonymity when joining public location pages.
  • Users will be able to choose which message types (e.g. Ok, Help, Custom and Tracking) update their location on location pages. For instance, if you use Ok messages to mark where you spend the night, you may not want to update your location on public location pages with that location.
  • Trips have always been public by default. Not anymore. By default all trips will be hidden (i.e. not shown in any home page searches). The user will have to explicitly make them public.

Usability Updates

SpotWalla is a highly configurable system. Most of the complexities are present because we want you to have complete control of your degree of exposure. Because of this, the configuration screens for trips, device security, etc can seem overwhelming. This upgrade doesn't eliminate any of the security options, but it does make some things easier.

  • The Google Maps API (GMAPI) Version 2 is now deprecated. All GMAPI customers are encouraged to port their applications to GMAPI Version 3. This version has made it easier behind the scenes, but as a user you shouldn't notice a huge difference.
  • As part of the GMAPI upgrade, a new traffic layer is now available in the trip viewer, embedded trips, location pages as well as the last location widget. Traffic information is not available in all areas or at all zoom levels. The traffic information displayed is current as of when the page was loaded. For more information on coverage areas see: Google Maps Traffic Coverage Area.
  • Trips now use track dots by default.
  • A zoom parameter has been added to the trip embedding functionality.
  • We've added support for the <label> HTML tag. This tag makes it easier to select checkbox and radio button elements in forms by allowing you to click anywhere on the text (or label) associated with the checkbox or radio button. In older versions of SpotWalla you had to click on the checkbox or radio button itself.
  • A Test Interface button has been added to the device's Interface screen. For SPOT and Google Latitude users, this button allows you to test the interface immediately. In older versions of SpotWalla you had to wait for the next polling interval to determine if the interface was configured properly.
  • Elevation data is now available for all locations in SpotWalla. We've added support for a new Google service that allows us to acquire elevation data for each location. A background process will run periodically and update a location's elevation. Preference will be given to new locations, but eventually all locations will be updated. Elevation data is viewable on the device's Browse screen and will be included in all downloads - GPX, KML and CSV.
  • Last location information has been added to the left pane of the trip viewer.
  • Users can now join a location page from the location viewer.
  • Create a secure zone while browsing a device's messages.

So this is what's in store for everyone after the upgrade on October 8th. I hope you find these updates useful.

Y'all have fun!