PC App Version 1.1.6 is Now Live!

We have just released version 1.1.6 of our application for desktop PCs! There have been some bug fixes including fixes to position reporting and issues with GPS logging. The GPS system has also been overhauled for improved accuracy when using external GPS devices. Now the PC app should have as good of an idea where you are as your phone does!

In addition to the bug fixes, we have added some new features. You can now clear all alerts easily from the settings window, and you can toggle the debug mode on in order to collect logs from the settings window.

If you have further questions about this version, please send them to our support team at support@active911.com.

Stay Safe!

iOS Version 1.5.15 – Background Location Reporting

Hey everyone, we just released iOS Version 1.5.15 to the App Store and I want to give you an overview of our latest feature, Background Location Reporting.

This new setting, “Background GPS” can be selected below the old GPS setting, which we have renamed “Foreground GPS”.

IMG_0001

There are 3 options available for this setting.

By default, this option is set to “Off”, so the app will behave as it always has unless a new option is selected.

IMG_0002

The first option that can be selected is “Precise Accuracy”.  This will likely increase battery usage by a fair amount, but will give the most accurate position and update the most frequently.

While “Precise Accuracy” is on, a blue bar will appear when Active911 is backgrounded, showing that Active911 is still broadcasting your position updates.

IMG_0007

The other option that can be selected is “Reduced Accuracy”.  This will use less battery, but also update less frequently, only triggering a position update if you have moved 500+ meters.

(For more technical information on the iOS feature we use for “Reduced Accuracy”, see this page)

While “Reduced Accuracy” is on, there will not be any indication to the user while the app is backgrounded since we are only accepting passive updates from iOS.

Important Notes:

This new setting only applies when Active911 is in the background, it has no effect on the position reporting when the App is open, the Foreground GPS setting still controls that.

Because of strict controls in iOS, the app must be opened once in order to initialize this kind of background reporting. This means that, if you reboot your device, the Active911 app must be opened at least once before Background GPS will start working again.

Also, if you are ever stationary for more than a few minutes, the app will stop reporting your position until you start moving again. Therefore, you may disappear from the map, but then reappear when you start moving again.

Website Improvements – Add a device to pagegroups from the device tab

Hello everyone!

Today we pushed an update to the website that should help with device administration. After talking with a few administrators, a source of pain was adding new devices and setting them up with the appropriate page groups. Previously, that required adding each device, then going to the groups tab, finding each group they needed to be in, and adding them.

With the updated website, you will be able to add/remove groups from the device when creating or editing it from the device tab.

PC App Version 1.1.3 Released

We have released Active911 for PCs version 1.1.3 today which contains the following improvements.

  1. Bug fix for the a disconnect issue causing the app to stop receiving alerts on some PCs.
  2. Bug fix for missing initial location.
  3. Bug fix for losing data when the app exits incorrectly via a force quit or crash.
  4. Bug fix for inaccuracies when using the ruler to measure distances.
  5. Removed everyone from list of pagegroups that can be joined.
  6. Added feedback when attempting to join or leave a locked pagegroup.
  7. Added improved logging in order to improve user experience. (We only receive logs when you manually sends them to us.)

Product Manager: March News and Updates

Hello everyone!

This month we have been working on a couple of cool features that we are not quite ready to announce yet. One of them is an integration and the other is infrastructure work that will make Active911 more stable and performant. I’ll go into more detail about the benefits and reasons for this infrastructure work in a future post, but we are investing much of our development effort into making our service able to survive anything short of a global catastrophe (and stay fast doing it).

While working on those two projects, we have also been working on squashing bugs, bringing the Windows apps up to speed, and giving the idea portal some much needed attention.
– We have a Windows PC release lined up for tomorrow, with another beta coming shortly thereafter. There will be a post about the new release once it is released.
– We have an Android Beta nearing release that has some bug fixes related to: switching device codes in the app, GCM registration errors, the alert title being stored as a response, and difficulty reading some pages in dark theme.
– We identified and fixed a bug in our current iteration of map data sharing where pre-plans and resources you should have been able to see were returning errors instead.

We have significantly upgraded our idea portal. It is directly linked to my workflow (making Active911 the best it can be through feedback and prioritization) and the steps we take to define features and requirements. As we proceed through the steps of making ideas and features reality, the portal will stay up to date and email you if anything you care about changes. It is fully searchable, has extensive filtering, and content suggestions to reduce duplicate entries. For an idea you choose to follow or vote on, you can see comments and receive updates as the idea flows through idea generation, planning, scheduling, and delivering. You will also be able to tell how likely an idea is to be picked up or offer suggestions when you think our assessment is wrong.

The portal has been set up to accept your Active911 username and password. It can currently be found at ideas.active911.com. For a few weeks, I would like our more involved community (twitter, forum, and blog readers) to give constructive feedback before we integrate it into the idea tab of the website.

In this initial stage, I’ve upped the number of votes each person has, from 2 to 10. The max a person can vote up an idea is 5 votes, so you can choose to vote heavily on two ideas or dabble with many different ideas. If you think any of this should be adjusted or tweaked, please leave feedback on the forum.

Upcoming:
Windows PC: In the upcoming beta we addressed difficulty in obtaining logs, poor GPS reporting while moving, and added a clear alerts button. We’ll also be working on adding a view for directions like the other clients have, which should make it into the beta after this one.
Windows Phone: Our Windows Phone is sluggish and overall not where it needs to be. We are correcting that and it is getting a lot of much needed work.
iOS: We’ve found a couple of bugs we are fixing for the next release, as well as reporting location while the app is backgrounded:
– Google Maps can cause the iOS app to crash when too many devices are present on the map at the same time. (If you are encountering this, apple maps will not crash)
– Responses are not properly saved when the app is starting up from being force closed OR background app refresh has been turned off. (If you are encountering this, leaving your app open in the background with background refresh on will resolve the problem until the next release)

Emergency Reporting: Thank you for all the feedback on the forums. We are still talking and figuring things out, but it looks promising.
Misc: After reading through all of the current ideas, there was a lot of feedback for additional icons and colors, as well as non emergency messages and custom ringtones/sounds. We’ll be thinking about how to do these. Feel strongly about which one should be first? Go vote!

CM Security AppLock AntiVirus disabling Android Notification tones

Within the last couple of months our Support staff has had numerous Android users contact them about their phones receiving Active911 alerts without audible notification. A majority of those users had an app called “CM Security AppLock AntiVirus” installed on their device.

Within the settings menu of that app is a “Notification Manager” option. One of the features of that option is titled “Notification Cleaner”, which you can use to set notifications for apps on your phone to “Don’t disturb”. If Active911 is on the “Don’t disturb” list, your phone won’t ring when you receive an alert through Active911. Android users not getting sounds on notifications should check to see if they have CM Security installed on their phone, and if they do, they should make sure that Active911 isn’t set to “Don’t disturb” within the “Notification Cleaner” feature of the app.

There are other security and anti-virus apps available for Android devices that might function in similar ways. If you have other security/anti-virus apps installed, we recommend checking the settings within those apps to make sure they aren’t blocking notifications from Active911.

Here is how to take Active911 off of the “Don’t disturb list”.
Here is a screen shot of the main CM Security menu. Use the icon on the top right with three horizontal lines to access the settings:
CMSecurity1

Here is a screenshot of the settings menu within the app, where you can find the “Notification Manager” option:CMSecurity2

Once you’ve selected “Notification Manager”, you will be taken to the following screen. Choose the gear icon near the top right:
CMSecurity3

On the following screen, make sure the “Don’t disturb” option isn’t turned on for Active911:
CMSecurity4

New Update Now in iOS Beta

With this update we focussed on adding a couple of new feature as well as fixing some of the most common issues that you have brought to our attention. Here’s the complete list of things that have changed, added, or been fixed:

  • Added MODAT ringtone
  • Fix for infrequent crash related to assignments
  • Fix for cases where text in detail section (Description/Notes) could be cut off if it was too long
  • Change to screen timeout setting – now it won’t keep defaulting back to the “never timeout” option
  • Changed the list of responders (in alert details) to keep the full list of everyone who has responded (previously they would disappear from the list as soon as they responded to a different alert)

Please let us know if you have any issues with the latest Beta. We appreciate all your feedback!

 

Regarding the Brief alerting outage

We had some alerting functionality broken from 11am to 1pm this morning.

The issue originated with our SMS messages being marked as spam for some of our Canadian Departments. We needed to make some adjustments on how our SMS messages are sent to those Canadian departments.

To do that required an update to one of our database queries. When updating the query we missed updating the user that was performing the query, causing some alerts to drop when being sent from our devices and the website.

Once we were told of the problem, we diagnosed it and updated the permissions within a couple minutes.

Response Button Issues

We have been investigating slow response issues over the past several weeks. In the course of our investigation, we found several issues that we are resolving:
1. Our Android Client acts particularly slow when it is attached to multiple agencies and is starting up after being force closed. It is missing an optimization at startup that we are working on adding to the app. We will begin beta testing it as soon as it is complete and will be released shortly after we know it will not introduce any further problems.

In the meantime, if you are experiencing slow reactions when the app is first opened, leave it open in the background.

2. The other issue was in our server that communicates to the apps. We introduced a bug that could cause a delay of 10-30 seconds between when it received a request and when it would give it back to the app. We fixed this bug last night, so it is now working as we expect. We will be adding monitoring to the affected servers so we will be aware of any future slowdowns and be able to fix them much faster.

Android Rollback

We recently released an update to the Android app that, among other things, slightly changed how device responses are recorded. Unfortunately, this caused a bug for some of our users where the app crashed when responding to an alert. We pushed out an update to try and fix the bug, but it hasn’t worked for everyone. Since alert response is one of our core features, we’ve rolled back the Android app until a proper resolution is found. The update we rolled back had a couple of minor fixes aside from the responses change:

  • There was a bug where sometimes opening an alert from the cadpage-style popup would open the wrong alert data. This has been reintroduced. If you experience this bug you can re-open the app from the home screen, or switch to a different notification style.
  •  The map layers interface was polished. It has gone back to a separate screen instead of a pop-up drawer. This is a cosmetic change and shouldn’t affect anything else.

We’re currently beta testing a version of the app that fixes the response issue. If you experienced crashes when responding to alerts after the latest update (or ever), and would like to help test the fix, contact support.