Locale 1.0 Rundown

Discussion in 'Android Applications Discussions' started by Fraxinus, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Member

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    So there are a lot of Locale specific threads, but they only seem to scratch the surface - very generic questions, opinions, etc. I wanted to start a thread with a little more information from someone who had the free beta version of Locale and recently upgraded to the paid version...let's start with some summary
    Current Locale Version installed: 1.0.6 (as of 2/4)
    Cost of upgrade: $10
    Cost of additional plugins: $3
    Overall satisfaction with upgrade: Satisfied
    Battery life w/ Locale: So far no noticeable difference from the beta version (1 week running). Locale seems to sip battery life to me, but I don't use GPS or WiFi to detect my location (see below for some tips on setting wide locations)
    Plugins (stock & added - shown w/ a plus):

    Conditions:
    • Battery
    • Contact
    • Dock+
    • Headphones+
    • Location
    • Orientation
    • Time

    Settings:
    • Astrid tag alert+
    • Autopilot+
    • Bluetooth
    • Brightness
    • GPS+
    • GTalk updater
    • Media Volume+
    • Missed call+ (comes w/ missed call app - lets you toggle app on/off)
    • Play sound+ (not a big fan, this plays an audio clip from a pre-defined list. All the sounds are lousy. If they could be customized this would be a nice notification for entering a situation)
    • Ringtone
    • Screen Timeout
    • Shortcut+
    • Volume
    • Wallpaper
    • Wi-Fi

    So far I have the following situations configured, though I'm still tweaking and refining (these are listed in order of precedence, as in the app)

    • Headphones - sets my media volume and launches music player when connected
    • Night_noise - goes into silent mode during certain hours during the night
    • Night_weekend - extends silent mode from Night_noise for sleeping in on weekends
    • Night_power - switches airplane mode on during the night when unplugged
    • @Work - lowers my ringer volume & posts "At Work" to GTalk while at work
    • Car GPS - when in the car dock and plugged in turns on Bluetooth and GPS
    • Drive_home - switches on Bluetooth just before I leave the office (only within a range around my commute) then switches off shortly after I reach home (time-bound)
    • Defaults - sets ringer, volumes, network connections (3G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS), screen, Gtalk status, wallpaper for default scenario

    Some thoughts/questions:
    ORIENTATION: I'm still trying to figure out how to best use the orientation condition. It's cool, definitely - I tested it by setting a condition to toggle the wallpaper when flipped on the phone's face. I thought it would be neat to set a condition called "meeting" so that the phone would go silent when flipped on it's face while I'm at work. That way, in a meeting I'd simply pull my phone out and place it on the table upside-down and have the settings properly configured for a do-not-disturb scenario. The problem is this condition will be triggered when the phone is in my pocket and I'm seated (display against my leg, leg parallel to the floor)....so...I'm still figuring out the usefulness of that condition. EDIT - see usage notes below!

    LOCALE 1.0
    I went ahead and paid for the upgraded app. So far I don't think I'm any less pleased than I was before. I like some of the new features and the app interface is slightly improved. The jury is still out on battery life. It seemed excellent with the previous, beta version and twofortyfouram claims that their upgrade only improves it. I haven't used it long enough to tell yet, but so far I think it seems comparable.

    A lot of users are complaining about the constant notification icon. I can't say this really bothers me. The developer says that due to the restrictions of Android 2.0 the only way to guarantee reliability is to have a process that requires the constantly "on" notification. They did modify the color from pinkish-red to gray between release 1.0 and 1.0.4 which is a definite improvement.

    Price! This is a huge issue for a lot of folks who think $10 is way too much for a mobile app. Personally, I disagree. The advent of mobile devices as an application platform has brainwashed consumers into believing that we should get apps with $50 quality and features for $0.99. For the functionality and pure gee-whiz enjoyment of Locale, it was worth the ten bucks to me. You will have to decide for yourself, but if you have a need to manage a lot of phone settings based on time *and* location (etc.), Locale is probably for you. Looking at twofortyfouram's feedback forum leads me to believe they are actively engaging with their customer base and a vibrant community leads to leaps and bounds improvements faster.

    USAGE NOTES:
    A couple things I've stumbled across that may be useful to you...
    • To save battery, set your location radii greater than 2000 meters. If they are *smaller*, Locale will periodically switch on Wi-fi to get a location fix. In addition, if GPS is enabled for use by other apps, Locale will activate and use it when the location radii are under 2000 meters. Otherwise it will not.
    • Conditions can now be ORed together - long press "Add Condition" which will allow you to add the same condition more than once in an OR configuration
    • When assigning the center of a location region, you can use Menu-->search to enter an exact address
    • EDIT (2/4) - just noticed an entry in my battery usage statistics called "akmd2". I Googled around and apparently this process is associated with the accelerometer that detects orientation changes in the phone. So apparently, when using any situations that modify based on orientation changes, this process will be running. While trying to figure out what it was I found a user on another forum who said that task was chewing up a lot of battery during phone idle. FYI if you're using this feature. Personally, I still haven't figured out a way to make the orientation useful. As far as I can tell the display has to be on for the phone to detect the orientation change. To me this defeats the purpose of Locale.

    That's my $0.02 on Locale (or maybe $2 is more accurate). If anyone has questions please let me know. If you all have some tips and tricks for how *you* use Locale I'd love to hear them. Cheers everyone!

    Some Useful Links

     
    #1 Fraxinus, Jan 26, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  2. Parafly9

    Parafly9 Member

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    great post
     
  3. Chief Wahoo

    Chief Wahoo Premium Member
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    Fraxinus, I have been a loyal Locale user from beta to pay version and have continued to value the application and as I have said in other threads, I now don't even notice the application.

    I do struggle with some of the settings, as you had stated.

    One thing I would be interested in is your comment on your Car situation - where there is a time component to it. How did you set that up.

    Also, and I have an open post elsewhere on this - if I am at an airport, waiting for a flight, how does "Airplane" mode help me? I would want to engage Airplane mode as soon as I am on the plane, but not based on an airport address/location. How do you use that setting?

    Lastly, what ringer volume level do you have yours set at for an "office" setting. I think I have mine very low, but wonder how to set it to vibrate. Thoughts?

    I am sure these are simple questions and hope you don't mind sharing some of your experiences.

    From a situation standpoint, just to share, I have the following:
    - Night
    - Home
    - Work Location 1
    - Work Location 2
    - Work Location 3
    - Defaults

    All of these are purely location based, and I guess I should think a bit more about how to include other situations that are more time based - this is possible with Locale, right?

    Thanks for your post and any additional thoughts.
     
  4. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Member

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    I'm typically traveling to and from work at the same time every day and I generally don't dock my Droid in the car when I do (I also have a generic car mount and haven't had a chance to DIY a magnet into it yet). Therefore I didn't bother setting this up for anything beyond time and location. I started by setting a pretty large geographic region that surrounds my home and my office with the center on roughly the midpoint of my commute. This helps avoid the commuting situation from switching on if I'm traveling and not at home. Next I set the condition 4:50pm - 5:50pm to cover my commute with a little wiggle-room. This switches my Bluetooth on so I don't have to mess with it when I'm leaving the office.

    whew, that's a tough one. I'm not sure there is a good answer for that. I don't think Locale will help very much for *such* an ad hoc situation. What I mean is, that situation is too dependent on specific, variable timing and *very* specific location (on a plane versus in the airport). What if your flight is delayed, for example? You wouldn't want Locale to switch off your phone. This may be a case for simply switching Airplane mode on manually when you get on the plane.

    My only other thought for this one is to train your WiFi settings. If you travel on flights that have onboard WiFi, and if you fly the same carrier all the time, and if their onboard SSIDs are the same for all their airplanes (and I realize that's a lot of ifs) you could probably set Locale to switch into Airplane mode whenever it is in the presence of that SSID.

    The downside to that is that once you are on the plane, you can't have WiFi enabled during takeoff and landing, just cruising, which means you'd have to turn *all* your wireless radios off, and then switch your WiFi on manually after you reach cruising altitude. So the scenario would have to be:
    • Your WiFi is on to detect getting on the plane and being in the vicinity of that network
    • Locale switches you into Airplane mode since you're on the plane
    • You have to manually switch WiFi off during takeoff anyway
    • Then switch WiFi back on, then off during landing, then back on so Locale detects that you have left the airplane condition when you deplane

    A couple things to think about, but again, I'm not sure there's a great answer for this. Again, probably just a case for manually manipulating your settings.

    Good question. When I switched from 0.695 Beta I had to remake all my situations. The volume setting appears to have changed from a 1-5 setting to a percentage setting. I have mine set to 29% at the office (that's not a meaningful number, that's just what the slider landed on). This keeps it pretty quiet but I'm typically in a quiet environment. Also, I generally have my phone either on me, or on the table in front of me, so I didn't need a lot of sound. I keep vibrate on in case it's in my pocket and I don't hear the alerts.

    Yep, you can definitely incorporate time. I've also heard a lot of folks using Timeriffic which is only time based (and is also free). I include a lot of timing into my situations. For example, my work settings are both geographically bound *and* time bound. If I drive by the office on a weekend I don't want my phone switching modes and firing off a Google Talk update that says "At Work." I also use several situations that are only time bound (nighttime silencing). You can set your time ranges to include only certain days which is really helpful to differentiate between weekday and weekend. Locale used to have a calendar condition too, but this has been removed due to bugginess. It will supposedly return when they work this out.

    Hope all that helps; cheers!
     
  5. jbsangel

    jbsangel Member

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    Can you confirm that brightness changes take effect WITHOUT having to toggle the screen on and off?

    I don't have a problem with $10 for Locale per se, my issue is that when I tested it, there were basic things I wanted to use it for that did not work correctly.

    I believe the note Locale provided for brightness changes was that brightness changes took effect after toggling the screen on and off and that was a limitation of Android. However, I have not seen this to be the case when using other applications, specifically power manager, which will set the brightness based on conditions, just like Locale.

    Also, can you confirm the behavior of WiFi? There are quite a few comments about Locale turning on WiFi when there is no condition to suggest it should be on. One or two comments would lead me to believe it is operator error, however there are quite a few comments on the behavior.
    Maybe this is what others are experiencing and why they are complaining about wifi turning on constantly.
     
    #5 jbsangel, Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  6. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Member

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    I just tested this a little bit and I found what the developer claims - the screen brightness doesn't change until after an on-off cycle. My guess about this (and it's only a guess mind you) is that the power control widget, for example, is providing direct access to the setting in order to change brightness. Locale, on the other hand, may be throwing an event that doesn't actually trigger until the screen cycles. It isn't directly setting the screen brightness, it's generating a system event that has to trigger when the screen status changes. Again, just a guess.

    Unfortunately I haven't really used WiFi much to detect my location - I prefer to rely on the less accurate network detection (I don't have much need for precision the way I use Locale). I did find some notations on Locale's site (see my first post) that indicate WiFi will switch on and off automatically if your location settings are smaller than 2000 meters. For example, if you set a region that is only 100 meters in diameter Locale recognizes the need for more accurate location monitoring and will switch on WiFi to achieve it. By keeping your locations large, it won't bother as the network detection is accurate enough.

    Also, if you have GPS enabled for use by other apps (but not currently in use) Locale will access it and turn the radio on/off if your locations are, again, smaller than 2000 meters. If you keep GPS off and only switch it on manually then you should be fine.

    If anyone has personal experience with these settings, please correct me if I'm mistaken. Everything I've researched points to this explanation though.

    EDIT 2/4 - I'm experimenting with smaller location radii and allowing WiFi to toggle. I've seen some threads on other forums where users said this didn't affect their battery life in a meaningful way. So far WiFi isn't very high up on my battery usage list...we'll see.
     
    #6 Fraxinus, Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2010
  7. jbsangel

    jbsangel Member

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    Thanks for the quick response!

    I likely won't use Locale to toggle my wifi at all, or for any location based switching, which is why I'm hesitant to buy it.

    I will use it for conditions such as to turn the brightness up when docked, keep the screen on (and bright) when docked, and to toggle my sounds based on time, charging status, and perhaps location if I can get it to work accurately.

    I don't have much need for precision, except that I work and live in the same city, so precision is kind of necessary if I want to use location based switching. Good for me that I am not really missing location based switching. It's a nice to have but not a must. I can definitely work around it or live without.

    A common thing for me to do is plug my phone in to USB when I get to work. Since I want Locale to keep the screen on and keep it bright, needing to toggle the screen on and off is just an added annoyance. If I need to toggle the screen, I might as well just toggle the brightness instead since I have a widget right on my homescreen to do such a thing.

    I have used power manager which will change your brightness based on conditions like low battery, plugged into USB or AC power, and it doesn't need to toggle the screen to do it. For that reason, I don't believe it is Android limitation as the Locale developers claim.

    I am getting ::almost:: everything I want using other applications, but I keep coming back to Locale because it seems like a 1-stop shop to do everything I'm doing now with multiple programs. It's just it doens't do it all "perfectly" as I'm able to with the other apps.

    Nothing is ever perfect, but I feel like for $10 it should come pretty close. Not that $10 is a lot, but there are few apps that cost that much and more.
     
    #7 jbsangel, Feb 1, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  8. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Member

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    Have you checked out Timeriffic? (search in the Market for that keyword and it will come up). I have no personal experience with it but a lot of folks on here say it does almost everything Locale does, just without the location-based awareness. It sounds like it might work perfectly for your purposes.

    $10 is a lot for an app. It's too bad Locale doesn't have a free version so you can test out it's functionality prior to purchasing. The 24 hour trial period for any purchases doesn't really cut it for an app that has to be tested against your daily routine. I'd say it takes at least a week to decide if Locale is truly doing what you want.
     
  9. jbsangel

    jbsangel Member

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    Yes Timeriffic is sweet and it is what I use for time-based switching. I have even donated to the developer.

    Then as I said, I use power manager to toggle the brightness and screen timeout based on battery and charging conditions.

    I would like to have locale for consolidating these two apps and to extend the potential for breaking down situations into a finer situations. For example instead of just being silent during night hours like I have with Timerrific, with Locale I could further refine this to quiet during certain hours AND plugged into power or something like that. I know the day is coming when my phone switches to silent at midnight, but i'm not actually home and in bed, but out at the bar, and then I miss a call or txt. But I just can't see paying for Locale for my type of use.

    Coincidentally, I don't see Locale in the market today.
     
  10. jbsangel

    jbsangel Member

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    edit: it is now showing up again.
     
  11. ScooberJake

    ScooberJake New Member

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    I loved Locale Beta. Loved it! Then I saw that the paid version included dock situations, so I was excited to purchase it.

    I've got to say, I have definitely seen worse battery life with version 1.0.x compared to beta. With beta, I just left GPS always on. It did great with location accuracy and battery life. The paid app now also uses Wifi to locate the phone whether I like it or not. (The user CANNOT deactivate this, even if Wifi is set to OFF in Droid settings.) This is bad news for me. My work location has no Wifi networks, although there is one really weak network from a nearby library that sometimes shows up in Wifi Analyzer. Every time I check my phone for emails or texts I try to pay attention, and it seems like Wifi is always on. Battery usage statistics show Wifi as a big user. I hate this! Why can I not just tell Locale to leave Wifi off?

    There is a feature in Locale that says if your locations are all bigger than 2km (diameter, I assume?) then it will not use GPS or Wifi to determine location. I guess that means it would just use the cell towers. But the GUI doesn't let you know when your locations are big enough. Besides, this hampers functionality of the app, requiring such large locations. Very frustrated!

    And on top of this, I think the latest update broke the location recognition. Got an update over the weekend, and now Locale did not recognize that I was at church yesterday or at work today. This worked fine last week. I've been here for a couple of hours, and Google Maps locates me correctly.

    Something is wrong. This app is going downhill very fast!
     
  12. Scribble

    Scribble Member

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    I've been using locale since Friday, and so far I like it...

    One thing I DID notice, is to be careful of Homer Simpson "D'OUGHT!" moments.

    For instance, this weekend I've been grumbling because my Weatherbug widget wasn't following my location... "GRRR stupid Weatherbug..." Until I realized I'd set locale to turn off my GPS at night to save power, and forgotten to have default turn it back on- D'OUGHT!

    Aside from that Locale has been working really well for me.

    I don't have the official car mount either- but since I normally have it plugged in and charging when I'm in the car (because I use pandora and stuff a lot) I have 2 "plugged in" conditions... One is linked to a location (home) the other isn't- The one that isn't also turns on the BT.

    So far it's been working out well.