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Re: Thoughts on the DV-Dongle and it's associative software

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  • n3gwg
    Darren, Indeed, my hopes are similar as well of learning as much as I can and proffering up the most profitable assistance I can to others. In precedence to
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 19, 2012

      Indeed, my hopes are similar as well of learning as much as I can and proffering up the most profitable assistance I can to others.

      In precedence to commenting on the remainder of your epistle, I want to start off by saying that I have rather great respect for Robin and for Moe and the rest of their team working on their products. However, meaning to express no level of derisiveness towards Robin or Moe, I do feel that having to search and hunt for online documentation when I have just purchased a product is a bit unreasonable. That said, I did eventually get it up and running and it works reasonably (under Windows 7) for now, though I am intent upon making it work as well under Linux and eventually MacOS.

      I have no problem with the documentation not being in print format so as to save on product costs and shipping costs, but the inclusion of a DVD (weighing what, one ounce?) would have made it much easier. That said, I shall download, print, and read all of what you pointed out.

      Make no mistake, thank you for the link.

      With respect to being desirous of reading the full compliment of my commentary due to its ostensible treatise like length and form, that it up to you and I am certainly by no means offended because you are short on time to do so. Certainly, I understand making the most profitable use of your time that you feel you can.

      However, whilst some installments of my comments were intended to depict the anomalous manner in which I felt the DV-Dongle behaved in certain circumstances, I also spent some time discussing some features and improvements that you might find interesting, thus, I do hope you find time to read it eventually as it may prove enlightening to you.

      Thank you again for your insights.

      V/R and 73,

      Stuart, N3GWG

      --- In DVDongle@yahoogroups.com, "Storer, Darren" <darren.storer@...> wrote:
      > Good afternoon Stuart,
      > like most of us, I read these lists in the hope of learning a little and
      > perhaps being able to help others along the way.
      > Given that no cash is changing hands, I really don't have time to
      > mentally précis your overly verbose discourse (now demoted to a soliloquy),
      > to distil the salient points. So, in true management style, I simply
      > scrolled to the end of your note where I found a query about the
      > availability of an API for the DV Dongle.
      > The good news is that Robin and Moe have thoughtfully provided a link from
      > the dvdongle.com web site to a technical repository, where everyone can
      > freely access the API documentation (and much more):
      > http://www.moetronix.com/dvdongle/
      > Google is your friend!
      > NB. No offence intended or implied above (tm)
      > Vy 73 de Darren
      > G7LWT / AK4DB
      > On 16 November 2012 20:22, n3gwg <stuart.tener@...> wrote:
      > > **
      > >
      > >
      > > Robin, et alia:
      > >
      > > About two weeks ago I ordered and then subsequently received a new
      > > DV-Dongle from HRO (Ham Radio Outlet), and had very little success
      > > instantiating the DV-Dongle on my laptop under either Linux (Ubuntu v12.10)
      > > or Windows (version 7). After extensive testing I felt that I had
      > > determined that there was a hardware anomaly with the DV-Dongle I had
      > > received and requested that it be exchanged. HRO wanted to of course
      > > understand the circumstances that precipitated my desire to exchange it
      > > (which I felt was quite reasonable and certainly disclosed to them), and
      > > then in an extremely professional and convenient manner made the entire
      > > process super easy. I you are a long time customer of HRO's (as am I), then
      > > this is probably boring for you read as you think yourself "Yeah, yeah, HRO
      > > is so easy to do deal with and work with, what does he think everyone
      > > doesn't know that by now?" :)
      > >
      > > On Monday afternoon of this week UPS served up to me the replacement
      > > DV-Dongle (they also picked up the DV-Dongle to be sent back to HRO) and I
      > > have surely met with much greater success than I did with the predecessor
      > > unit. Notwithstanding the fact that I do believe I have a functional piece
      > > of hardware now, there are some several persistent software issues
      > > regarding the DV-Dongle's overall functionality that I will get into very
      > > soon as well as an enumerate of features I'd surely enjoy to see in the
      > > next amended variant of the DVTool software. Or, in other words, to put
      > > things in Monopoly terms, I have now passed GO and do not wish to collect
      > > my $200!
      > >
      > > In so articulating this bubbeh maisse (yiddish for disquisition), there
      > > are some several issues and concerns I wish to voice. As I do so, I want to
      > > be sure to set forth that my interest is the overall improvement of
      > > peoples' experiences with the DV-Dongle and its included software (DVTool)
      > > so as to bring greater capabilities bare within the world of D-STAR. Please
      > > do forgive my being a neophyte/newbie in terms of the DV-Dongle, but I am a
      > > well seasoned D-STAR user.
      > >
      > > I am going to discuss the experiences I had in the context of Windows 7
      > > and Linux (the specific Linux variant being Ubuntu 12.10, just recently
      > > released) as those are the two operating environments I worked with in
      > > attempting to instantiate the full compliment of the DV-Dongle's
      > > functionality. Being a Computer Scientist and a 25+ year veteran of Unix,
      > > it gives me no pleasure to state that the DV-Dongle seemed to work far
      > > better within the Windows 7 environment than it did in the Ubuntu v12.10
      > > environment. I do realize and think it is worthy of recognition that Robin
      > > did indicate to me that DVTool2.0beta5 was tested and developed (in terms
      > > of the Linux variant) under Ubuntu 11.10, so I realize some of these issues
      > > maybe unreported or even unaware to him given the later variant I choose to
      > > excise its functionality with. It further worthy of notation (and my
      > > admitting I realize) that this is beta software (hence the "beta5" label),
      > > and despite its overall qualitative nature in a Windows environment, it
      > > still is beta. Follows hereupon now my evaluation and the overall enumerate
      > > of experiences I had.
      > >
      > > Before we get started...the dreaded "disclaimers":
      > >
      > > 1) I am a consultant in my regular career and represent only my own
      > > opinion unless paid to represent someone else's. Thus, if you didn't give
      > > me cash I am not speaking on your behalf! By the way, no one gave me any
      > > cash or goodies with regards to my expression as opined in this brief
      > > epistle, thus they are entirely mine, and I presume, you will value them as
      > > being worth every penny you just paid for them!
      > >
      > > 2) My brother says that I am a man of few words...a few million! My
      > > apologies if his analysis holds true.
      > >
      > > 3) It has been rumored (though I do not believe it) that the manner by
      > > which I articulate my thoughts when in written form can seem to some people
      > > somewhat arcane, pontificous, or even condescending in some cases; however,
      > > I assure you this is not my intent and perhaps, if you think so, you just
      > > need to reread what I wrote until you conclude otherwise!
      > >
      > > Yeah, yeah, I know...another Jewish comedian, what were the chances of
      > > that happening? :)
      > >
      > > I shall address Windows 7 first, since it was the more successful
      > > environment of the two environments I attempted to leverage. I certainly am
      > > anxious to move in the direction of having an equally functional Linux
      > > based DV-Dongle environment, as I take a position similar to some of the
      > > domestic assistants I have hired over the years to clean up around my
      > > house, "I attempt in all circumstances to avoid doing Windows"!
      > >
      > > Windows 7
      > > ---------
      > >
      > > In precedence to the introduction of the first DV-Dongle into any USB
      > > port, I installed DVTool2.0beta5 and the appropriate FTDI USB drivers,
      > > however, I was never able to "open" the first DV-Dongle and could not read
      > > its serial number under Windows 7.
      > >
      > > Notwithstanding the absence of any reinstallations of software or drivers,
      > > the second DV-Dongle did in fact allow me to read it's serial number,
      > > simply by plugging it in and then firing up the DVTool2.0beta5 the same way
      > > I had with the first DV-Dongle (so I do believe the first one had some sort
      > > of hardware dysfunction). I also used the same USB cable (my own, not the
      > > one furnished with the DV-Dongle) in both cases as well.
      > >
      > > After attaching the new DV-Dongle it was able to be "opened". I then
      > > configured the software and attempted to make some contacts, which I then
      > > was told were fine except they sounded as if accompanied by a "DC hum" in
      > > the background. Upon using the "K3PDR E" link, I did hear the problem and
      > > was able to eventually fix it. That fix was going into the sound
      > > configuration menue within the Control Panel under Windows 7, the recording
      > > tab, selecting properties of the Microphone, then the levels tab, the
      > > changing "Microphone Boost" (not the Microphone slider, that was a
      > > different slider above the "Microphone Boost" slider) from +24db to +12db.
      > > Once done, this entirely resolved the "DC hum" issue under Windows and
      > > DV-Dongle functioned with rather absolute excellence thereafter under
      > > Windows 7.
      > >
      > > Enough about Windows.
      > >
      > > Ubuntu Linux 12.10
      > > ------------------
      > >
      > > The fist DV-Dongle I received was also unable to be "opened" (despite
      > > doing a "chown o+rw" on the /dev/ttyUSB0 device), or running the DVTool
      > > using "sudo sh DVTool2.0beta5.sh".
      > >
      > > Using the second DV-Dongle I received, it was recognized and I was indeed
      > > able to "open" it (I ran the tool using "sudo sh DVTool2.0beta5.sh",
      > > though I am loath to running programs as root even if it were an open
      > > source package that I have evaluated the security posture of by reviewing
      > > its source code). I was then able to receive a list of viable gateways to
      > > select from and I choose to connect with and listen in on the "K3PDR C"
      > > module first, then followed by trying the "REF020 A" reflector.
      > >
      > > In precedence to initiating any transmissions, I wanted to just listen and
      > > see how the software worked under the Linux variant that I was using
      > > (Ubuntu v12.10).
      > >
      > > Running DVTool2.0beta5 under Linux it ejaculated numerous errors not
      > > unlike that which is exemplified below. It is noteworthy that this
      > > persisted, even long after the device was connected and just monitoring the
      > > reflector (say 30 to 40 minutes later, thus giving plenty of time for the
      > > buffer to catch up). What is particularly intriguing and would even caused
      > > Mr. Spock to say "fascinating" is that the "Transmit audio buffer overflow"
      > > errors occurred in spite of the fact I had not yet even figured out how to
      > > command the software to attempt to transmit anything!!! Can we please order
      > > out for a delivery of some sanity? Super-size my order please!
      > >
      > > Transmit audio buffer overflow, dropping frame
      > > Transmit audio buffer overflow, dropping frame
      > > Transmit audio buffer overflow, dropping frame
      > > AMBE out of sync! bytesleft=4 ndx=322
      > > 0x0000: 00 00 80 9e |.... |
      > > AMBE searching for next packet
      > > AMBE out of sync! bytesleft=24 ndx=0
      > > 0x0000: 9e 8c b0 90 85 12 3f a1 a8 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |......?.........|
      > > 0x0010: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |........ |
      > > AMBE searching for next packet
      > > AMBE out of sync! bytesleft=20 ndx=0
      > > 0x0000: 00 42 81 06 00 01 00 fd ff ff ff 0b 00 ea ff 18 |.B..............|
      > > 0x0010: 00 ec ff 09 |.... |
      > > AMBE found next packet 1 bytes away (42:81)
      > > Transmit audio buffer overflow, dropping frame
      > > Transmit audio buffer overflow, dropping frame
      > > Transmit audio buffer overflow, dropping frame
      > >
      > > And then, once I did figure out how to command the software how to
      > > transmit several operators that I spoke with indicated they heard a "DC
      > > hum" on my audio both while trying the internal (condenser) microphone and
      > > a USB based LogiTech H-390 USB headset (which I since returned). In my
      > > testing using the "K3PDR E" gateway, neither the condenser microphone nor
      > > the LogiTech H-390 USB headset sounded any different, so I returned the
      > > headset as it was not what I really wanted anyway. Within the Ubuntu v12.10
      > > environment I was unable to locate any parameters capable of being adjusted
      > > that were in any way similar to those I located within the Windows 7
      > > environment, so I presume this remains some sort of over modulation problem
      > > being instigated by the Ubuntu v12.10 sound configuration and not an issue
      > > related to the DV-Dongle or its associative software amalgam.
      > >
      > > During the course of the DVTool's execution, it seemed to impel between 25
      > > and 58 percent CPU utilization (though fluctuated greatly) when merely
      > > working to receive. Moreover, this was the CPU utilization of the DVTool
      > > process, not the overall system CPU utilization.
      > >
      > > Is this normal CPU overhead for it?
      > >
      > > The target laptop which was used has an AMD V120 Processor (certainly not
      > > G-D's gift to the world of super powerful processors). Within a Windows 7
      > > environment however, the DVTool process used nowhere near that kind of CPU
      > > utilization (averaged 2% to 7%). I wonder why?
      > >
      > > When the DVTool crashed (it did a couple of times for me whilst executing
      > > within the Ubuntu v12.10 environment) it is lost all of the history from
      > > the history tab. It'd be nice if the software could periodically save the
      > > history file (if configured to do so) every x minutes so that if it (or the
      > > underlying computer or OS for that matter) crashed, the history would not
      > > be lost.
      > >
      > > When the DVTool software crashes under Ubuntu Linux v12.10 (even as far as
      > > I can see when you exit normally) it cannot be executed again until the
      > > DV-Dongle is unplugged and then plugged back in. Given that is the case,
      > > it'd be nice to have a reset button on the dongle that momentarily
      > > disconnects the +5v power for 3 seconds or that.
      > >
      > > Although, I do know people that have made such USB calbes that had such a
      > > momentary +5V USB power disconnect button, why not add that button to a
      > > future hardware revision of the DV-Dongle or the cable it makes inclusive
      > > to its package?
      > >
      > > New Improvements to the DV-Dongle Environment
      > > ---------------------------------------------
      > >
      > > Comes now; a ballot of features that I would enjoy greatly to see added to
      > > the DVTool software as soon as would be practicable (subsequent to
      > > dispelling the above entitled bugulance first, of course).
      > >
      > > Forgive me, I speak in "process signals", as I am a Unix adherent, so I am
      > > clueless what similar functionality amounts to within the Windows API. The
      > > only thing I know about the Windows API is that it changes frequently and
      > > causes much angst to developers in that environment.
      > >
      > > I'd also like the ability to change the time zone that the DVTool thinks
      > > is applicable when displaying the time in the history area, even if it
      > > differs from my system chosen time zone. Thus if my computer uses Pacific
      > > Time, why can't the DVTool software let me choose to see the logging in the
      > > history section as UTC or whatever I like?
      > > Oh, and by the way, why is it called "history"? Have we stopped using the
      > > word "log" in Amateur Radio? <smirk>
      > >
      > > I'd like the ability to send a signal to the DVTool software to command it
      > > to "press" the PTT button that I have to click with the mouse. This way a
      > > script or other driver could detect the pressing of say a USB foot pedal or
      > > that to signal it to press PTT!
      > >
      > > Here is one such company that makes a "USB Pedal":
      > > http://www.delcomproducts.com/whatsnew.asp
      > >
      > > I'd also like the DVTool software to have a section that allows me to
      > > configure in a menue a fixed set of GPS coordinates to send (lest I have no
      > > GPS connected to the computer), and also to let me conenct a GPS (via a
      > > serial port), open it, listen to it, and then transmit via DPRS either the
      > > fixed or currently listened to GPS data.
      > >
      > > I'd like to be able to leave the DVTool running when I am not home and let
      > > it record whatever audio it hears to an audio file that I could play back
      > > later.
      > > It would also be handy to be able to be connected (if possible within the
      > > context of D-STAR's protocol) to multiple gateways, leaving one as the
      > > monitored gateway that is routed out to the speakers and having other
      > > gateways recorded to an audio file that can be listened too later.
      > > I'd like to be able to "route" the DV-Dongle's audio output so I could
      > > have be an input to other software (such as Asterisk) and dial in and
      > > listen to the DV-Dongle's audio output.
      > >
      > > It would be nice to be able to switch sound input and output
      > > configurations absent the need to disconnect from a reflector or gateway.
      > >
      > > I also set a "My Message" of "PHL, PA" (which the DV-Dongle software or
      > > hardware remembered somehow), however, subsequent to amending the "My
      > > Message" and exiting from the DVTool software in a user initiated manner,
      > > it seemed not to remain persistent when the DVTool software was restarted.
      > > It would seem that placing this within the configuration screens and
      > > letting it be saved with other configuration data would be most prudent.
      > >
      > > The ability to send a signal to the DVTool to play a prerecorded audio
      > > message via the DV-Dongle (such that a sensor could impel the transmission
      > > of a prerecorded audio file). Such as, "An electricity outage has been
      > > realized, running on batteries, and please, buy a generator before the next
      > > storm too!" (based on a UPS sensor) or "the temperature at the repeater
      > > site is now over 100 degrees, D-STAR hardware getting ready to melt down"
      > > (based on a temperature sensor) or what have you.
      > >
      > > The ability to have hot-keys that play a prerecorded message ("N3GWG
      > > listening" or "N3GWG Clear"), but assigning a hot key (that I choose) to an
      > > audio file (that I choose).
      > >
      > > General questions I have
      > > -------------------------------
      > >
      > > What USB Mixer would work well with the DV Dongle that would also work
      > > with sound card packet radio?
      > > What do all the LEDs mean? It would have been quite utilitarian if the
      > > device had come with an explanation of the LEDs and what they mean.
      > >
      > > I am not an open source "evangelist" or "religious adherent", but
      > > certainly (in the instant case) see where the software's being open source
      > > would certainly impel the creation of more features. That said, if the
      > > source code were to remain proprietary, I'd be interested to see an API
      > > published so that people could easily interface to it as well. Personally,
      > > I have no problem signing a non-disclosure agreement and I'd hope that you
      > > might consider that an alternative model (letting people sign them to get
      > > access to the code, but enforcing them and expecting people to honor them).
      > >
      > > Thanks and 73,
      > >
      > > Stuart, N3GWG
      > >
      > >
      > >
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