C_wiz: for total recall

Low cost, high performance vessel monitoring for Microsoft Windows

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- Admiral Hyman Rickover


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Build 2009122817

This build includes numerous enhancements that have resulted in a much more stable and efficient product, additional improvements in the Google Earth interface, an enhancement of the Instant Messaging subsystem that provides the ability to transmit files which adds functionality in three areas, new frame grabber and system monitoring D3s and 4 chart conversion utilities.

Further Enhanced Google Earth Interface

The Google Earth interface has been further enhanced, principally:

o A fix has been added to cater for some new eccentricities of Google Earth release 5.0 that caused distortion of the Google Earth render window when it was reparented by C_wiz, a side effect being that the Google Earth navigation controls became unusable.

o A fix has been added to cater for a bug introduced by Google Earth 5.1 that prevented zooming by mouse wheel on the Google Earth render window when it was reparented by C_wiz.

o In normal operation most Google Earth error prompts, including the hugely annoying "network link fetch error", have been eliminated.

o On the (now much rarer) occasion when a Google Earth error prompt surfaces C_wiz handles it by making sure it is brought to the user's attention and accompanies it with a Test Drive panel referring to suggested appropriate responses. The Test Drive panel also refers to a checklist of suitable Google Earth tailorings that will reduce the likelihood of Google Earth error prompts and improve performance and the user experience when Google Earth is driven by C_wiz.

File Transmission Via Instant Messaging Subsystem

The Instant Messaging subsystem in all previous builds of C_wiz only catered for the exchange of individual data items (a tachometer reading, a latitude etc) or a one line command (for example, as used by the Instant Messaging [Request] menu).

The Instant Messaging subsystem has been enhanced so that it is now capable of exchanging files of any format.

This capability is not intended for the exchange of large files (e.g. the C_wiz executable) but is eminently suitable for smaller files. Extensive testing with files up to about 60 kB has proved satisfactory.

This capability could be expensive to use due to the cost of high speed ship-to-shore Internet connections.

This build of C_wiz introduces new functionality in three areas which makes use of this new capability:

o AIS.

AIS transmissions have both navigational and ancillary components.

Until this build the navigational components (latitude, longitude etc) could be exchanged via the Instant Messaging subsystem but the ancillary components (call sign, dimensions, cargo etc) could not.

The nett effect was that a remote C_wiz station could see the position of an AIS target but could not see any AIS ancillary data in the AIS target's focal point memo - the AIS ancillary data could only be seen on the C_wiz station that ran the AIS D3 that processed the AIS transmission.

This deficiency has now been removed. Also included is a fairly sophisticated "update required" signaling mechanism via Instant Messaging commands, orchestrated by the Instant Messaging host when it detects a new C_wiz co-host.

Note that this enhancement is not just usable by AIS - it will be equally valuable when the ARPA/MARPA D3 is developed.

This capability has a low impact on Instant Messaging subsystem data volumes.

o SAR.

The Map subsystem has a SAR (search and rescue) planning and dissemination capability.

Generally SAR planning (e.g. determining drifts, search areas etc) is carried out ashore and the resultant plan (typically a detailed search pattern) is then disseminated (i.e. transmitted) to the search vessel/s which are normally on the way to, or in the vicinity of, the area of interest. Such situations are inevitably continually evolving requiring new bouts of planning and dissemination.

Until this build the SAR planning capability was reasonable (there are plans fermenting to enhance this further) but the dissemination capability was crude, requiring the use of the C_wiz email subsystem and relying on levels of expertise at both ends that are hard to maintain.

The SAR dissemination capability has been massively improved by the addition of a [SEND] button on the Map subsystem's SAR editor. When this button is clicked the current SAR plan is transmitted immediately and is automatically (instantly?) displayed on the Map subsystem of the receiving C_wiz station/s.

This capability has a low impact on Instant Messaging subsystem data volumes.

o Video.

The Video subsystem now has a [SendStart/SendStop] menu which allows the user to toggle on or off the ability to send grabbed video frames over the Instant Messaging subsystem.

When the ability to send grabbed video frames has been toggled on the user must then position the mouse cursor over the display of the video frame grabs to be sent. Sending only continues while the mouse cursor is over the display of the video frame grabs - if the mouse cursor is moved over a different display of video frame grabs then these will start to be sent.

Using the mouse cursor in this way provides considerable yet simple flexibility which at the same time limits the volume of data being sent over the Instant Messaging subsystem.

To further reduce the volume of data being sent over the Instant Messaging subsystem the user can use the new Video subsystem [Video] menu to define frequency, quality and size overrides on the video frame grabs being sent. This means that higher quality more frequent video frame grabs can be saved on the C_wiz station that is running the Frame Grabber D3/s while smaller lower quality less frequent copies can be sent over the Instant Messaging subsystem.

When sending video frame grabs over the Instant Messaging system a tooltip appears in the middle of the  display of video frame grabs being sent. This tooltip contains information on the rate at which data is being sent so the user should be fully aware he is doing something potentially expensive.

This capability has a potentially high impact on Instant Messaging subsystem data volumes.

New D3s

Two new D3s have been added to the Current D3 Library:

o Frame Grabber (S2255) which supports the Sensoray S2255 4 channel USB frame grabber. The addition of this D3 has necessitated the renaming of the original Frame Grabber D3 as the Frame Grabber (LTMM) D3.

o System Monitor which captures system performance counter data.

Chart conversion utilities

C_wiz has a "lowest common denominator" approach to the sourcing of chart images to act as visual cueing aids or backdrops in the C_wiz Map subsystem. The advantage of this approach is that C_wiz charts can be sourced from almost anywhere.

This simple approach has 2 files associated with each C_wiz chart:

o A background image (*.img) which contains the graphical content in a bitmap, run length encoded bitmap or jpeg format.

o A world file (*.cht) which is a small human readable text file which contains information such as the corner latitudes and longitudes of the associated background image.

To simplify the creation of these files a number of chart conversion utilities are supplied in a separate download at this build, (see Download for further information).

The chart conversion utilities install as C_wiz habitats, once installed all the user has to do to access them is launch C_wiz then click [File] then click [Habitats] then click the utility of choice. Each utility is fully integrated with Test Drive, a comprehensive context-sensitive on-line help facility which explains in detail the options available to the user at any point.

Extensive Stability And Performance Enhancements

General Protection Faults (GPF) and Unhandled Errors (UHE) are the bane of any major piece of software. GPF and UHE handling capabilities were introduced at build 2006112507 which enabled such problems to be managed and logged. This has facilitated the modification of some code that has largely (never say totally) eliminated such issues.

The UHE handling capability has a reasonable performance impact so the normal production executable (C_wiz.exe) is now supplied with this capability suppressed.

This, in conjunction with other code changes, has resulted in an executable with significantly lower resource requirements.

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