Friday, April 27, 2012

Attention: Developers Of Bat Call Analysis Software

Attention: Developers Of Bat Call Analysis Software - Just FYI: If you have ever considered having your software tested and reviewed (on this site, for instance): Then, I'd say that now would be a good time to contact me.

The weather in my area, has just recently reverted back to Winter-like temperatures and conditions. I also believe that the wind has been one of the main things keeping the bats from hunting.
These current weather conditions have delayed the natural "start" of "Bat detecting season" here in the Northeastern United States.
This would simply be the most opportune time for me to focus on software reviews. I have recently learned of a few more (brand-new) bat detectors being announced/released this year. Once the new detectors start popping up - I'll be focusing my time on the detailed and thorough reviews of each of them.

It appears that we will have at least another week of this weather...Which reminds me:
As I've stated before, I consider Winter to be a good time to go over the bat recordings/sonograms collected during the warmer months. And, to also make attempts at species ID.

Of course, lots of people enjoy bat detecting for different reasons. I even know of a popular kit provider, who enjoys the simple pleasure of detecting bats in "real-time" - Just for the aesthetic quality of their communications. Simply listening to the detector-converted sounds of local bats as they go about their nightly activities. And, who would disagree? Not I.
But, for me - I suppose that in time... (eventually) the ultimate goal, is the satisfaction of identifying the species that was recorded. This is what makes bat detecting exciting and challenging for, let's say, an intermediate-level, or even well-experienced hobbyist.

While we're on the subject...
The "distillation" and polishing, of the raw data (recordings) acquired with detecting devices - Generally requires a few steps. A typical work flow might be as follows:

First, locating the actual bat recording, amidst the (usual) copious amounts of: Background noise, false triggers, and long recordings of non-bat events, etc.
Second, editing the bat call: In my particular case, this consists of cutting/pasting into a new audio file; choosing the desired file format to convert or save the sound file in, naming the file, and utilizing relevant information whenever possible (date/time/temp/weather) in the file name.
Third, using your favorite software application to create a sonogram.
Fourth, (and finally) measuring/comparing the resulting sonograms to: Notes, known sonograms (confirmed bat species), and so forth... In an effort to determine exactly which species of bat you've recorded.

For many, (myself included) the basic steps outlined above are simply a labor of love. But, we shouldn't ignore the fact, that there are quite a few software applications out there; which can make this process a lot less tedious. This is an exciting prospect. These are valuable, time-saving software packages that have built-in bat sonogram libraries. Very neat!

Of course, having an extensive library of confirmed bat calls, at your disposal, provides a tremendous advantage. I've glanced over quite a few of the currently available programs. Each application (manufacturer) has their own method, of providing the end-user with the means to ID the sonograms they've acquired. Some software packages are a bit more automated than others.

Most of these software packages are not cheap! Especially the good ones! (of course).
Therefore, I thought it would be nice, for my Readers to have access to reviews of some of these applications - To aid in making decisions on which one to purchase.

Again, there quite a few out there. I do know for a fact, that many bat equipment (and software) manufacturers check this site from time-to time.
So, rather than contacting each software developer individually - I decided that this simple blog post should work well enough. I have, in fact, reached out to a bat software developer once. But, was did not receive a reply.

Although I've touched on this a bit, in an earlier post -For those who were wondering - I currently use Audacity (free), and BatScan from BatBox Ltd.
BatScan is very inexpensive, and very simple to use: I like it!

It's always nice to have a thorough review available; to inform and give a potential owner a clear idea of what to expect. I'll admit, that I have been curious to know which applications work best. I was just visiting some bat product Websites recently... Especially, NHBS
My renewed  interest, of the subject of bat call analysis software, was a result of coming upon the software offered Here. This package sells for ~ $100 less than the call analysis software that I originally had my eye on (last year).

So, we'll see...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just A Quick Post

Regarding the EM3, from Wildlife Acoustics - A neat feature, which I just started to use - And found to be very useful, is the ability to scroll through the current (recently recorded) sonogram; by using the Left/Right Arrow Keys.

The upcoming issue of The Journal Of The Wildlife Sound Recording Society, will feature my slightly different (polished) review of The D240X from Pettersson Elektronik.

 Happy bat detecting!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Best-Selling Book On Bats: Bats - John D Altringham

I just learned that two of my favorite retailers have merged: Alana Ecology and NHBS. This is pretty neat!

Below, is the link to a new best-selling book on Bats:

NHBS - Bats - John D Altringham

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Long Overdue Status Update...Plus "This & That""

I'm sorry that there haven't been many posts here lately - The good news, is that I expect to start posting more frequently again soon.
I'd like to thank those of you who have e-mailed me directly, to ask how I've been, etc.
I appreciate it!
I'll be replying back to each of you, directly; in the very near future... For now, here's an update:

Well, to make a long story short - The factory that manufactures the medication that helps control my chronic pain, closed down, to make improvements: Both to the medication itself, and to their production systems. The entire USA was affected by this. My Doctor(s) have been doing their best, to prescribe me with substitutes - None of which work as well as my usual medication. As a result, I've been having to cope with unusually high pain levels (24/7). Which, in turn made me unable to post to the blog as much as I would've liked to.

The factory has re-opened, but there will still be delays, in me getting my prescription filled; etc., etc. But, I'm looking forward to getting back to my previous level of day-to-day functioning. And, back to more frequent posts.

"This And That" ---

In the meantime, I've been continuing to test bat detectors whenever I can. The two units that have seen the most testing; have been the new EM3 from Wildlife Acoustics and The Griffin from BatBox Ltd. The new EM3 is the detector that is (still) officially on "The Test Bench"... I plan to post some of the resulting sonograms; from these early season bats.

My next post, will compare data from 4 bat detectors, and how they perform when attempting to detect the ultrasonic (or, more accurately: near ultrasonic) songs of Orthoptera (singing insects).

Happy bat detecting!
And, best regards,

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The (latest) New Firmware (Ver. 22) - For The BatBox Griffin -

The BatBox Griffin - Well, the (latest) new firmware (Ver. 22) installed just as smoothly as the previous firmware updates. Less than 10 minutes for the whole procedure. The unit powers itself off automatically when finished. It completes the upgrade process upon the next power up; and that's it. The unit is behaving normally. For BatBox Griffin Owners, here is the Firmware Update Web Page.

I have to say, that in general, I do enjoy BatBox's new firmware upgrades! It's great to see the changes that are implemented - Both major and minor.
The weather is fairly nice this evening - Conducive to bat flight, in other words. So, I was in a hurry to put the newly upgraded unit into commission (on my back window sill, for now).

I've printed out the documentation, and I'm (anxiously) reading it now. It is provided in Microsoft Word format; and is entitled 'Notes For Firmware Upgrade 0022' So far, I'm impressed with what I've read.