One Year Old! – 2021-12-01

Our first year after go live

I can’t believe a year has passed already. November 30th, 2020 we released the newly compiled MacENCx64. 

And what a wild ride that release date was! The website crashed, we had a glitch in the coupon codes, and it took a week to clean up the mess. 

But we did it. And since then we’ve pushed out four releases  (9.1, 9.2, 9.3, & 9.3.1).

Most of those included bug fixes but we did add quite a few feature enhancements and improvements:

New Features

  • Added the ability to dock the Overview Window to the bottom right corner of the Chart View Window. This makes for easier and seamless navigation (Pan / scroll). You can still tear it off and relocate. You can set or reset the dock in Preferences => Dock Overview window to Chart window
  • Persistent Selection for View -> Objects -> Restricted Areas. Removes last of the purple spaghetti hash on some NOAA cells.
  • New 14-day trial function provides full feature set. No more crippled DEMO version. One version now supports Licensed Owners and folks who’d like a full featured sea trial.
  • Add persistent SHOW/HIDE for the Navigation window.
  • Automated Update / Upgrade Feature. Get notice or check for new releases and auto install.
  • Persistent Selection for all other View -> objects items. Now your settings stay from session to session.
  • Added Show Any Scale option in View-> Objects. Lets you turn off scale matching for display and shows all objects regardless of scale.
  • Contact Support link in Help menu brings you directly to our support desk portal.
  • New View=>Object toggle “Caution Areas” removes purple hash on some NOAA update charts.

Improvements

  • Updated to current version International Hydrographic Organization presentation library improving objects on ENC charts and supporting latest changes.
  • ENC Performance Improvement! Improves screen drawing rate up to 44% for some charts. Reduces lag on user interface while scrolling and panning.
  • M1 Universal Application is finally here. One App to rule them all! MacENCx64 works on intel & Apple Silicon (M1) Macs. (And you should see how fast she runs on an M1. OMG!).
  • Zoom, Pan, and scroll improved: Works just like Apple Maps! Two finger pan, pinch to zoom on trackpad, scroll to zoom on mice.

We’ve been pretty quiet since then but actually pretty busy behind the scenes. I thought it’d be good to commemorate our first year in business with some updates and forthcoming features.

What's next?

There are so many areas ripe for improvement (it’s an awesome list of goodies) but we feel some key areas are the most important right now:

Charts! (and more charts)

Many of you remember the old Navionics charts which were reasonably priced and had world wide coverage. We took a terrible hit when Navionics shut down reseller support and all macOS support. 

Since then we’ve been driving to find alternatives to give everyone better options. 

Our primary supplier, ChartWorld has charts but they are typically for commercial application and really costly.

We have negotiated a dealership arrangement with ChartWorld and are busy implementing a fully automated download / installation feature.

These will be ChartWorld branded charts that are much less costly than the National Hydrographic Organization charts they normally sell. 

For those folks who’ve bought ChartWorld products, you know how complicated it is to register User Permits, download purchases, unpack them, add chart permits, and install into MacENCx64. We feel your pain! 

So, the new deal and feature will streamline all of that. We’ve built a new back-end service to help us manage chart accounts. Once set up, you can find ChartWorld branded charts on a soon to be released NavStation.net chart store. 

The huge improvement is in the app and in the back-end server. 

Once you purchase, we’ll provision everything for you. When ready, inside the app, you will be able to see your content and do a 1-click install of your chart subscriptions. MacENCx64 will do the rest, download, unpack, install… all of it. We will also have updates automated as well. The key thing is: less Techie Stuff and more planning and sailing!

The ChartWorld branded charts are still being expanded. Today’s offering is principally in Northern Latitudes but we expect more catalogs to come on line in 2022. 

Even MORE charts

Ok. This one is still under construction so I can’t name vendors. I ~can~ say we are working on a way to bring full world coverage in a single subscription! This will allow you to browse charts while on-line and pull down an off-line selection good for 90 days. Any place, anywhere in the world. Just grab the region you plan to traverse, download, and go. 

Refresh when you need, as frequently as you need. More details to come.

Advanced Weather

MacENCx64 has standard GRIB support via saildocs but there are many other options out there. We are working to implement Theyr High Precision Weather data into MacENCx64. We are talking much higher resolution weather detail BY FAR, and the Theyr precision models for greater accuracy. Check out what they have here: Theyr

Relentless pursuit of performance improvement

We are actively researching ways to improve our chart rendering performance. There are still a few software tricks we are looking at to help here. We’ll release them as we get them. 

We are also thankful that Apple is dramatically improving processor performance with the M1 Apple Silicon. The first generation M1 really makes MacENCx64 shine. The new Pro and Max are another level all together, seriously. If you are contemplating a new Mac, we highly recommend Apple Silicon. It is a stunning achievement and leaves Intel Macs in the dust. We are convinced this is the future for Macs. We will always support both as long as Apple does but the new M1s… OMG!

Either way, we are working to make MacENCx64 smoother and more responsive.

Roadmap

Sounds like a great set of features but I think I can hear a collective: WHEN?!?  Out there.

OK, here is the roadmap:

2022 1st Quarter (early)

New CharStore, ChartWorld branded charts, Automated Chart Accounts. 

2022 2nd Quarter (mid)

Double secret world wide chart subscription ability

2022 3rd Quarter

Theyr High Precision Weather integration

 

I’ll blog about the releases the closer we get to them. 

Thanks to all for a great 2021 and best wishes this holiday season

Hoping you and yours have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season. 

See you in 2022 with new goodies for all.

Warmest Reagards & Happy Sailing!

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