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www.undertowsoftware.com • View topic - RTN2012 - A Review

RTN2012 - A Review

A discussion area for users of RTN2012, TLDCN2011, TLDCN2010, TLDC2009, TLDCN2008, TLDCN2007 & TLDCN2006

RTN2012 - A Review

Postby RWinlow » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:26 pm

Well, I've seen all sorts of posts about the new RTN2012 program, but they are mostly complaints about this or that. I have to confess I can can give the best complainer a run for their money, but I figured I'd pull a fast one on everybody and instead of somplaining, I'll post my impressions having played with the program over the best part of last weekend. This is an unsolicited review from a fairly amateur computer person that has lots of experience RV-ing. Take it with a grain of salt.

First, the backdrop to this review.

I have been using the Trailer Life program since about 2006. I first bought it to just replace the thick "telephone-book" directory which was heavy and difficult to use. I liked the fact that TLCN allowed me to quickly search for a park, look up its information without having to go through the index, flip through the pages, etc. I didn't trust it for trip planning for the first couple of years because I though nothing could replace my maps and my sense of direction.

I kept upgrading teh program, almost every year, and by 2009 I was slowly changing my mind about trip planning. I Was getting tired of pulling out the maps, revising my trip plan, having to write down new directions, etc., so I decided to give the tl2009 a chance. Of course, being cautious, I first used it to plan a trip route that I knew very well (just to see how smart this program was). What a disaster. The calculated proposed route would take me over little roads, barely wide enough for my rig, it would have me stop in the middle of the highway for an overnight stay, take me through every toll gate on teh way, like I said - a disaster. I called the company and complained like there was no tomorrow. Of course, the poor smuck I was talking to at Trailer Life Member Services had no way what I was talking about. I doubt he'd ever seen a rig, never mind ever having driven one. And, it was apparent, he probably had never seen this program, either! He quickly told me I had to talk to teh software company and promptly transferred me to Undertow. After about half an hour on the phone, they had quited me enough to convince me that the type of proposed route was heavily influenced by the options the user selected during the trip planning. A little bit more relaxed now, I got off the phone and went back to my trip planning. Sure enough, after tweaking some of teh settings (I wish these developers gave the options in their dialogs more meaningful names), the program calculated a fairly reasonable route. Encouraged, I now started planning more of my trips with it, until a few months later it became my primary trip planning tool (though I still open up a paper atlas once in a while). I have been been upgrading teh program every year, since then, and have been pleasantly surprised (well, most of the time), with the enhancements every year, like the addition of the Exit Now points, user POIs, etc. It's against this backdrop that I can now go on with my review of TLDCN2012.

The program looks awfully similar to the 2011 version, and that's good. No new interface to learn, the commands and options are where I'm used to finding them, and the whole experience gives me a comfort feeling that is not there when companies decide to totally re-design their user interface from one release year to teh next.

Like a little kid with a new toy, I quickly looked for the new features this year.

The new 3D option is cute, but I am still trying to figure out how useful it is for me. So, I can spin the center portion of the map around in a 3d-type movie. Sure, it looks cool, but it doesn't give me any additional information about the area. I think satelite images or some other such enhancement would have been better. After only a couple of minutes, I gave up on this and moved on to the other features.

I liked it when they introduced the national weather radar images last year, because it allowed me to take a quick look at what I should expect in teh areas I was traveling. This year, with the "animate" option, I can see how the weather front has been moving in the last few hours, which gives me an even better idea if it's moving toward me, or if I'm moving away from it. The interface is sort-of funky, but once you figure it out, I think it's really helpful and even produced a couple of "WOWs", when I showed the moving clouds to my wife and my friend yesterday.

By chance, I found thet they took care of a problem that has been a pet peeve of mine for years. I didn't see it anywhere in teh literature I had received from Trailer Life, or anywhere else, which makes me wonder who decides what feature will make it into teh promotional material. Ove teh years of using teh program, I have found a few instances where at a specific location, there is a campground, a service facility and possibly some other attraction. Well, in many cases, the icons that are used to identify these locations were stacked on top of each other, many times with the campground given the lowest priority, so I could never find it. They have nnow introduced a "Park Overlap Distance" that now offsets these icons, instead of totally overlapping each other. A small change, but what a frustration eliminator for me, thanks Undertow!

Another "quietly" introduced new feature is teh "Day/Night Dimmer" option which reduces the overall map contrast. A definite "eye saver" at night.

The introduction of being able to import user POIs in 2011 was a "big feature" for me. I frequent a number of public forums where people exchange POIs and being able to use them has always been something I wanted to do. With the 2012 version, Trailer Life went a step further and added a feature I have been asking for. I can create my OWN POI points file by simply clicking on a location on the map. I can also add a caption and a short description. That's great. I don;t know if there is a limit to how many such points I can add, but I have added 1000+ points already and haven't hit the ceiling, yet. This is great. I still have some problems with "some" POI files not loading, but most of them do, so it's probably an issue with the files, they may be corrupt or domething. I will spend more time looking into it when I get a chance.

I decided to put the program through its paces by using some of my "longer" trips. It may be me, but it seems that the trips calculate a bit faster than with teh 2011 version. Still not as fast as a program like Streets and Trips, but like an Undertoe support person told me when I complained about it, this is a trip planning piece of software that considers, daily drive times, closest campgrounds, layovers, etc. not just a point-to-point route calculator. As an aside, when I was told that, I tried calculating a trip where I din't specify any campgrounds, and stop-overs, etc. and it did calculate much faster. Back to my review... I was fairly happy with teh calculated directions, but had some problems printing the directions. I was ready to give up and shut the program down (it was time for luch). When I restarted later, I saw a notice that there was an update. I allowed it to download and lo-and-behold, it fixed the problem, I could now print the calculated trip. While doing that, I discovered yeat another new feature! I can now print selected pages of my intinerary. I no longer have to print to a PDF and then delete (most) of the pages so that I can only print the one or two pages I need for the day. I wish Trailer Life told us about all these new features.

There is a lot more to the program that I have mentioned here, but I am not a writer and my poor old fingers are starting to hurt.

Let's just call this installmant 1, of many to come. I will definitely spend more time using and reviewing the program and will post my comments here.
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby IanRoth » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:55 am

Thanks rwinlow. I didn't know about half of the things you mentioned i your review.
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby jacklan » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:02 pm

Nice review rwinlow!
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby Don Bryer » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:20 am

Rwinlow, you are becoming famous :-)

Your review was linked in the undertow facebook page,

http://www.facebook.com/UndertowSoftware

Way to go :-)
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby artmart » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:43 pm

LOL... now you better go proofread it and fix the Typos!!!

Great job!

By the way, I was the one that asked for the Day/Night display. I was very pleased that they added that new option. Now, driving at night and using the GPS feature on the 17" laptop screen doesn't light up the vehicle interior!!!
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby xavier » Sun May 06, 2012 9:35 pm

artmart wrote:LOL... now you better go proofread it and fix the Typos!!!


I saw this the other day and kept it for a situation like this :-)

diction.png
diction.png (29.65 KiB) Viewed 7728 times
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby artmart » Mon May 07, 2012 4:47 pm

Fortunately, I'm not the one who gets bothered by these since I'm not the author. I think the care and thoughtfulness of grammar and syntax reflects the message of its author and others only get a sense of the author's care and thoughtfulness of the message through their writings. Being in customer support as a career for as many years I was reminded me constantly that some of the best potential programs failed because of poor grammar, documentation and the like, many times because these habits were carried into the code. Yup, it's important.

RWinlow's writings aren't bad and with only the membership of this forum as an audience, there's not much to worry about until now that the audience might become greater, but WOW Xavier, you need lots of work! Your note is obvious and deliberate and you should be ashamed that anyone else that cares that much about grammar shouldn't be considered a NAZI, since we know what no-good they were up to. I prefer grammar POLICE, not NAZI, Gestapo or any other inconsiderate organization you can think of when the need to be corrected arises. You need to think of a better cause to stand behind because the one you picked doesn't yield anything particularly positive. Okay, okay, you were trying to be funny, but hopefully you can tell the difference between my smile and my smirk.

How's that for a bunch of hooey and hogwash? Got ya, huh?!

That said, I reserve the right to copy and save that ridiculous message, but do I get to declare you the author and is it copyrighted?
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby artmart » Mon May 07, 2012 5:00 pm

Xavier, not to be outdone by any Nazi-speak, here's some German for you:

"Das Machine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren musten keepen das cotten-pickenen hands in das pockets - relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights."

or for you Internet troublemakers:

"Das Internet is nicht fuer gefingerclickend und giffengrabben. Ist easy droppenpacket der Routers und overloaden der Backbone mit der spammen und der me-tooen. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei die Dummkopfen. Die mausklicken Sichtseeren keepen das Bandwidth-spewen Hands in die Pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das cursorblinken."

Please allow these may or may not include some improper grammar or punctuation and should not be a negative reflection of the author and especially the person who posted it in this forum. I don't believe these are copyrighted.
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby xavier » Tue May 08, 2012 7:38 am

artmart wrote:Your note is obvious and deliberate and you should be ashamed that anyone else that cares that much about grammar shouldn't be considered a NAZI, since we know what no-good they were up to. I prefer grammar POLICE, not NAZI, Gestapo or any other inconsiderate organization you can think of when the need to be corrected arises.

You apparently missed the whole point and fixated on a single work. Oh, well, the impersonal nature of the internet...

artmart wrote:That said, I reserve the right to copy and save that ridiculous message, but do I get to declare you the author and is it copyrighted?

No, that "ridiculous" message is not mine, I saw it on-line somewhere and do not know if it's copyrighted.
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby xavier » Tue May 08, 2012 7:42 am

artmart wrote:Xavier, not to be outdone by any Nazi-speak, here's some German for you:

"Das Machine is nicht fur gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fur gewerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren musten keepen das cotten-pickenen hands in das pockets - relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights."

or for you Internet troublemakers:

"Das Internet is nicht fuer gefingerclickend und giffengrabben. Ist easy droppenpacket der Routers und overloaden der Backbone mit der spammen und der me-tooen. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei die Dummkopfen. Die mausklicken Sichtseeren keepen das Bandwidth-spewen Hands in die Pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das cursorblinken."

Please allow these may or may not include some improper grammar or punctuation and should not be a negative reflection of the author and especially the person who posted it in this forum. I don't believe these are copyrighted.

So, you post a message mostly in German on an All-English forum, to prove what? I have no idea what it says (and so don't most people frequenting this forum, I'm sure), Therefore, whatever effect you were looking for, is really lost on me and most visitors here :-(
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby jutravel » Tue May 08, 2012 12:13 pm

Ha, ha, ha,... Xavier I think Art got you this time :-) That's not German. Signs with these types of writing used to be on the walls of IBM back in the 50's & 60's. Although the writings might initially appear to be in German and use an approximation of German grammar, they are composed largely of words that are either near-homonyms of English words or actual English words that are rendered in a faux-German spelling.

Very well done, Art!
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby artmart » Tue May 08, 2012 1:56 pm

Got you Xavier... read it close and slow and you'll find that it's English with German overtones... Read the phrases in the proper inflections within a crowd and you should have a room laughing out loud.

Jutravel describes everything exactly. I think I've just found out Jutravel might be older than I am and I'm pretty old.

Here's a couple more that Jutravel and others might find equally humorous. Xavier, we'll learn you yet. LOL

"Alles touristen und non-technischen looken peepers! Das machinkontrol is nicht for gefengerpoken und mittengrabben. Oderwise is easy schnappen der springenverk, blowenfus, undpoppencorken mit spitzensparken. Der machine is diggen by experten only. Is nicht fur geverken by das dumpkopfen. Das rubber necken sightseenen keepen das cotton-picken hands in das pockets. So relaxen, und vatchen das blinkenlights."

By the way, the Germans also turned the tables on us English speakers with this gem. Xavier, this might help you understand my intended humor (but I don't suggest you ever associate me with Nazism):

This room is fullfilled mit special electronische equipment. Fingergrabbing and pressing the knoeppkes from the computers is allowed for die experts only! So all the "lefthanders" stay away and do not disturben the brainstorming von here working intelligences. Otherwise you will be outthrown and kicked anderswhere! Also: please keep still and only watchen astaunished the blinkenlights.

Ta-dahhhh
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Re: RTN2012 - A Review

Postby xavier » Wed May 09, 2012 2:37 pm

You got me indeed, Art. ;-)
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