Thursday, April 17, 2014

Overview: New Batlogger M Firmware -And- New Version Of BatExplorer From Elekon

From Elekon: New firmware for Batlogger M -And- New version of BatExplorer software released

Elekon has recently made a new firmware build available, for owners of their Batlogger detector. 
They have also just released a new version (update - 1.10) of their free BatExplorer software.

Elekon AG has recently released a new firmware update, for the Batlogger and Batlogger M.

Yes, you could say, it's been quite some time since the last firmware update was made for The Batlogger. I agree; however, it was well-worth the wait!

What was it like? After installing the new firmware on The Batlogger M?
Well, on the heels of my recent SM3BAT Review... I feel another analogy coming on...

It was something like adding a new piece of "Live Rock" (or a piece of live Coral) to a saltwater Mini-Reef aquarium. Quite a stretch, I know, allow me to explain...

Without getting into too much detail - When a hobbyist adds a new fragment of "Live Rock" to their Mini-Reef aquarium, there is a pleasant anticipation involved. Because of the charming little life forms (which are mostly hidden, at the start) which slowly begin to reveal themselves.
As the days progress, all types of small creatures begin to make their presence known.
These tend to be beneficial (desirable) marine lifeforms. Tiny starfish, sponges, small anemones, colonies of coral, colorful bristle worms, mollusks, etc., etc. are discovered - Much to the delight of the hobbyist. 

Well, this is what it has been like; since I performed the firmware update on The Batlogger! Since I've been fairly occupied, experimenting and becoming acquainted with the new Song Meter 3 - I've only been "discovering" the neat new features, one bit at a time. And they have basically all been fun little surprises.
Does my analogy make any sense now?
In case it does not, I shall now commence with the "traditional" report and Review.

After upgrading the firmware, some changes which are apparent straight away are:
  • The battery status indicator is now represented by a small icon of a battery. In lieu of the 4 "bars" or blocks which used to appear in the upper-right-hand section of the display. This would fall under the category of "Cosmetics and other small bugfixes" as per Elekon's Changelog.

 The new battery status indicator, upper right-hand corner
  •  They have added a new (true) Manual Time Mode. Which allows you to set the unit's time independently - In other words, instead of having the GPS satellites provide it.  I must take the "blame" for this change.Thanks Elekon! I'm very happy to see it.
  •  The unit still looks the same, while it is being charged (while not in use); however when charging is complete: The display illuminates. And displays "Charging Complete". A neat feature, I think.

I'd like to add, that I preferred the original battery status indicator - It definitely gave the user a much better idea, of just how much battery power was remaining. Another Professional has advised that she feels the same way.
The thing about general descriptions such as "Cosmetics and other small bugfixes" is that they are a bit vague. And, many little changes (surprises) may be discovered by the user, as time goes on. During the regular use of The Batlogger.
For instance, another example might be - Having a new ASCII-type "Bat" that flies by, underneath the text being displayed. Sort of like: ^o^ Pictured below is my best attempt at photographing said "bat".

New "ASCII" bat flies by...

 Then, there were the far less conspicuous changes:
  • You now need to drill down to your desired Folder, in order to locate (and playback) one of your specific recordings. Although it's been done in the name of structure and organization - This may become fairly annoying in a short time, while in the field. 
  • Elekon has added a Sunset/Sunrise Time Mode for delayed recording. This change now places The Batlogger on par with many other unattended bat recording solutions.
Upon having a quick look at just the few items listed above, you may think to yourself: "Well, that's really not a lot of changes". Please bear in mind, what I've listed above are only some minor changes.

Users of The Batlogger, may rest assured in the knowledge that the majority of changes serve as excellent improvements of the unit. Again, what we need to look at, is the online firmware Changelog
The bottom line, is - That after identifying and observing the changes, I have nothing negative to report.
The latest version of the (free) BatExplorer software, is now: 1.10 AKA 01.04.2014
Elekon's BatExplorer software is simply wonderful. When was the last time you used bat call analysis software which behaved this well?    ...Give up?

The answer is: Kaleidoscope from Wildlife Acoustics!

Aside from the fact that it currently only covers non-U.S. bat species, I have 0 / zero complaints to report in regards to the BatExplorer software.
So, Elekon took this software and improved it...

It still has the same overall appearance (which I've always been very fond of). I've always loved the colours also.
However, there have been quite a few changes and improvements made to the application.
Those of you who use BatExplorer regularly, may have learned of the new version, via the News Update dialog boxes which appear when you first launch the App. Updating to the latest version can be done directly from the application itself. Simply by clicking on the link provided.
I performed at least one of the updates, using this method - And it all went very smoothly.
BatExplorer eventually informs you, that it will shut-down the running instance of itself, etc.

I don't want to make this a boring or mundane Post; re-hashing everything that you'll be able to see yourself, after updating. In addition, it would take several pages of text...But, I would like to point out the most interesting and/or intriguing changes that I noticed.
Once again, I'll direct you to one of Elekon's links. The BatExplorer Changelog Page (the preceding link, will take you to the BatExplorer software Changelog).

  • I like the way this new version apparently analyzes bat recordings more aggressively than the previous version. You may test this yourself. Upon loading recordings from previous Projects - The software prompts you, with the option of re-analyzing the recording(s). When you do so: You will see an impressive difference between the old spectrogram and the new.
  • I like the Heat Map (it's not what you may imagine, click Here for a definition)
  • I like the new Call shapes feature (cf-e,cf-n,fm-l,fm-d,fm-a)
  • I also like the ability "to open time expanded (custom) wav files" 

Next-up: I'll be tackling the 1st firmware update released for the brand-new SM3BAT from Wildlife Acoustics...Followed by The BatLure...As well as lots of other new stuff!

Happy bat detecting!

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