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Cracking Nuno

I was quietly browsing the internet the other day and came across a website which offered me a ‘cracked’ version of Nuno Navigator. This struck me as interesting so I promptly downloaded a copy and got the team here to have a look at it. I was actually quite intrigued to know how it had been cracked. In some ways I was quite flattered. Nuno does not really cost very much but someone had still gone to the the trouble of hacking it.

While the file was being examined I went off to see if I could find other free downloads of cracked versions of Nuno. Turned up a couple more. Now these all came off sites that were offering an awful lot of software by way of free downloads. In fact there appeared to be most of the applications that we more usually pay for. Someone has been doing an awful lot of hacking license enforcement systems.

imageFirst result back from the labs was that the certificate on what claimed to be the Nuno installer had changed. This is pretty easy to check for yourself. Right click on the file and then select properties. On the tab labeled ‘Digital Signatures’ you should see that the file has been signed by CherSoft. These signatures are pretty reliable. If it does not say CherSoft then it has not come for us.

The particular file we were looking at what signed with the name ‘Softdeluxe’. I have no idea who this is. We are not entirely sure what the file does either. It contains a couple of GUIDs which pop up in malware reports. It also contains a link to the Nuno download page. Best bet was that it would install something that you would imageprobably rather not have on your computer and then take you to our website or even just download the genuine Nuno installer.

The next one we found was even more exciting. This was signed by ‘EliteCom LLC’ and appeared to be a disguised installer for Filehunter-win32.exe which very much looks like malware – a Trojan of some sort. There are many warnings on the ‘net about this one.

We checked a couple more ‘free’ downloads and concluded that no-one had hacked Nuno but that there was quite a bit of social engineering going on. The main theme appears to be one of tempting you with a free/hacked/cracked download. By the time you discover you are not getting what you hoped for it has installed something malicious. They are not even picking on Nuno especially – pretty much any current software is getting the treatment.

So anyhow, if you want to download Nuno then come to our website. If you have any doubts about what you have downloaded then check the digital signature. This is what they are for.

Touchy, Feely Nuno™

Windows 7 supports touch screens. Ok, that’s not very big news, touch screens have been around for a while. Wikipedia tells me that touch screens date from the 60s. Not sure about that but they certainly crop up from time to time in museums, train stations and the sort of demos that look a bit forced. Overall I’d admit to being only peripherally aware of touch screens up to the day I encountered an iPad. Multi-touch, high resolution screen, quality software and suddenly it all makes sense. So much so that using the iPad touch screen felt natural within minutes.

Now sadly Nuno™ won’t run on an iPad (or maybe it does – watch this space) but there are some nice PCs around with touch screens and we figured that Nuno™ should be right at home with these. I find with charts in particular that I really want to reach out and touch them. Once you start doing this on a screen then there is no looking back. The touch screen doesn’t have to the replace the mouse and in many ways makes a nice addition to it.

Technically a touch screen, by default, drives the software a little like a mouse. This means that many applications, without modification, can already be used with a touch screen to some extent. Of course there is always scope for tweaks and improvements. As programmers we can accept the default behavior (ok sometimes) or dive in and create custom touch screen code. The diagram below shows what we have come up with in Nuno™. This seems to work quite well. There may well be refinements in the future.

Gestures

P8052682I have been experimenting with an ELO 2242L 22” Touch monitor which is great fun although I can’t decide which way is best to mount it. Upright works quite well but is a bit tiring to use after a while. Might even cause the dreaded Gorilla Arm. Lying flat (the monitor, not me) is also quite good but it won’t naturally just lie on a table. Would be really nice to make a custom table for it although the ultimate chart replacement screen will probably need to be two or three times as big. Might even have teak edging.

Elsewhere in the CherSoft research labs we’ve been looking at a Motion J3500 tablet PC. This is a very nice bit of kit. Outdoor viewable display and generally pretty tough and portable. I could image using it ashore for planning with a keyboard, mouse and so on. Then taking it aboard and just using the touch screen to control it. The built in GPS works well so along with the automatic route tracking functionality in Nuno you can have a solution that really will just work. I guess in some ways this would be like having a plotter except of course that you could check your emails and browse the web in-between times. It features hot-swappable batteries too which is a pretty neat trick.

Nuno™ 2.5, the touchy, feely edition, will be out any day now.

Going to Mongolia

If you have checked the Nuno™ website lately you may have noticed a link on the main menu bar entitled ‘Mongolia’. We are supporting a team of young lads (Josh, Dan, Oli, Ollie & Rory) who are driving across Mongolia. This is a thoroughly worthy endeavor on its own. The guys have 10,000 miles or so of deserts and mountains to cross in a small underpowered van that they put together themselves. Nominally it’s a competition but really it’s about the sense of adventure, tackling the difficult and working as a team. The guys are also raising money for charity and if that were not enough they will also be donating what is left of the van and their equipment to the local communities around Broke YakUlaanBaatar (assuming they get there).

 

The Mongolian dessert has some remarkable similarities with the open ocean. It is a vast undulating expanse where you can go days without seeing even a hint of another person. Another commonality is that your cell phone won’t work. What has this got to do with Nuno™? Well we have fitted the team’s car with a Skywave satellite transceiver. This is nifty bit of kit which combines a GPS with a mechanism for sending and receiving data, worldwide, via satellite in a very cost effective way. There is an awful lot you can do with this and we are working at integrating it with Nuno™. For now the Mongolian Rally is a trial. The unit is set up to send back a position every few hours so we can track their position. They can also send and receive short messages. The Inmarsat ground station passes data back and forth to a CherSoft server and then we can make good things happen.

Here are some of the features we are planning:

When you are on-board you can connect Nuno™ to the Skywave box and use it as a positioning device. You will also be able to send and receive short messages - like a global SMS facility. Friends will be able to track your position on a dedicated web page – you only give the password to the people you want to see this.

When you leave your vessel you will still be able to track its position, on Nuno, using messages via the satellite network and the Internet. So straight away we can set up a virtual boundary fence and send an alert (SMS/email) if your anchor drags or someone moves your boat.

The unit supports a variety of sensors and these can be configured to keep an eye on things while you are away. Messages will be sent at regular intervals or immediately if an alarm is triggered:

imageBattery voltage with a trigger if it drops too low

Bilge alarm

Entry alarm triggered on doors or hatchways

Smoke/fire/gas alarm

Ignition alarm if someone tries to start the engine

 

There is a lot of useful functionality here. Can’t tell you any exact prices at the moment but despite the high-end sophisticated monitoring and messaging it will not be high-end prices.

In the meantime one of our trial units has just crossed Europe and is now bouncing its way into Asia. You can check their progress here. Good luck Josh, Dan, Oli, Ollie & Rory. Be safe and have fun.

Nuno who?

Nuno™ Navigator is named after the 15th century Portuguese explorer Nuno Tristão. This Nuno was one of Prince Henry’s most valued and trusted captains. And this Henry was none other than Henry the Navigator, arguably one of the fathers of modern navigation.

Nuno is notable for his explorations of the West African coast which helped established Portugal as a leader in the emerging colonial world. Previously no one had attempted to venture out to this region which had been dubbed the Ocean of Darkness. Many terrifying myths surrounded it with claims that monsters swam in the seas and the overhead sun made the seawater boil. If a ship was lucky enough to survive these hazards it was only a matter of time before they would reach the edge of the flat world and plummet into the abyss. Nuno was only marginally perturbed by this but did realize he was going to need a good ship.

Typically the vessels used for long voyages were slow, heavy and not very maneuverable. This was no good. Nuno wanted an agile boat that could sail up rivers. Fortunately Henry stepped in with his newly designed Caravel sporting a dashing lanteen rig. Later this type of ship would be used to discover America and become the exploration vessel of choice but first of all Nuno took a prototype to Africa.

His first trip was to Capo Branco. The furthest any European had been beyond Rio de Ouro and a significant step across the Ocean of Darkness. Now I should mention at this point that although Nuno was heroic in many ways that one of the reasons he was doing this at all was to catch slaves. This sort of thing was quite acceptable back then (or at least it was mostly acceptable by most people except the slaves) so we will try to not let it distract us from the good bits which are about navigation and exploration.

imageNuno did three subsequent expeditions each time pushing further south and pushing the limits of exploration and navigation. Beyond Capo Blanco was the Bay of Arguin. On his third expedition he reached the border of Senegal and announced that he had discovered sub-Saharan Africa. With his fourth and final expedition in 1446 he got south of Cap Vert and may have discovered Guinea-Bissau. There is some debate about this. However, wherever it was that he actually rolled up, there were also a lot of poison arrow wielding locals. They justifiably took exception to the slave thing and promptly killed Nuno and his crew.

So bold, innovative, adventurous, pushing the limits of technology and a great navigator. We like all these things. Many years ago we named our professional navigation system after Henry the Navigator so it seemed appropriate that our next generation system should be called Nuno.

The Wikipedia article on Nuno is a bit dry but informative.

These days Nuno has a couple of statues to his credit. A naval frigate was named after him and he has appeared on Portuguese coins and bank notes. My favorite is this article explaining how an abandoned statue of Nuno was found after the war in Guinea-Bissau and moved into the city. I will visit this one day and in the meantime can anyone send me a photo of it that I could post here?

The Nuno License REvisited

P7062614We discussed software licenses in general a while ago. This was followed by a blog which explained how the license for Nuno works. Now that the UK version of Nuno is launched we are keeping the license mechanism pretty much the same but it seems worthwhile to run over it again. Just what does it cost and what do you get?

Software licenses can be a bit of a minefield. With Nuno we have tried to keep everything simple and sensible. We are also trying to provide a deal which is fair, understandable and does not contain any ‘gotcha’ clauses that mean you end up paying more than you expected.

The US version of Nuno sells for $100, the UK version sells for £120 inc. VAT. The UK version costs a bit more because we need to add VAT and also because we have to pay for the chart data. Here is how it all works. UK prices are in brackets (like this) and include VAT.

Summary

For an initial outlay of $100 (£120) you can have a license for a state of the art navigation system and a one year subscription to full support and update services. After a year you can choose to renew your subscription for a further $50 (£60).

If you want to know more; keep reading.

How to buy Nuno

On the Nuno website you create an account and pay for Nuno with your credit card, debit card or PayPal. This gets you a license to use Nuno and a subscription for a year.

How to get Nuno and Install it

You may have already downloaded Nuno to try it out before you bought it. If not you can download it now. This will be the very latest version. As soon as Nuno starts up on your computer it will ask you for your account logon credentials. This is the same email address and password you used to create your account. Nuno will use these to activate over the Internet. Once activated Nuno is fully functional.

You can have Nuno installed and activated on two computers at the same time. This is so that you can have one PC for route planning and another, maybe a laptop, for use at sea.

You can install Nuno onto a new computer. If you are lucky enough to upgrade your computer then remove Nuno from the old one, install it on the new one, set up your logon as before and you are away. Use the Import/Export facilities to transfer your overlays.

During the next year

The subscription is valid for a year and entitles you to the following:

You will be able to use our chart updating service. This is basically just one click to update all your charts.

You will be notified of any updates to Nuno.

Occasionally we find bugs or problems in the code. More often we want to roll out a bunch of usability and implementation improvements. You will be able to download, install and use the new version of Nuno with these fixes and improvements.

In the next year we are planning to add several new features including AIS support, S63 (commercial, encrypted ENC), auto-helm and a rolling road (whatever that is). You will be able to download, install and use the new versions of Nuno with these new features. Recently we added support for Active Captain to Nuno and all registered users got this as a free upgrade.

If you encounter any problems or have any issues you will be able to contact us directly and probably have your question answered by one of the programming team.

After a year

The subscription expires in a year.

At the end of the year we will invite you to renew your subscription. This will cost just $50 (£60). If you renew your subscription then you can carry on with all the good things I have just described for another year.

Expired subscription

You can still use Nuno. It is yours to keep and use whenever you want.

If you ever lose your copy of Nuno you will be able to log into your account and download a fresh copy.

You can still update your charts but not via the update service. You will need to download updates directly from NOAA and then install them manually.

You will not be able to upgrade Nuno. Activation will be frozen at the latest version on the date that your subscription expired.

Small Print

This prices are all correct as of July 2011. We reserve the right to alter them at any time. This does not mean we are going to suddenly start charging a fortune but it does mean that there may occasionally be some changes to account for inflation and the likes.

Elephants in Marine IT & Electronics

18aMarine IT & Electronics (MITE) is a bi-monthly journal published by The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology. The Institute is an august professional body. Established in London in 1889, they claim to be the leading international membership body and learned society for marine professionals. Over 15,000 members worldwide.

Certainly they get my vote because they have been reading the Nuno™ blog. The other month we were ruminating on big screensand Kevin, the editor of MITE, picked up on this to produce a very nice article interestingly entitled "How to fit an elephant on a 19-inch screen” for the June/July edition.

Nuno™ Know How

Imagine your computer just crashed. Maybe you don’t need to stretch your imagination too far for that. They crash, they run out of battery, they get unplugged and sometimes they are simply switched off. The thing is, in this imaginary scenario, that you need Nuno back up and monitoring the route you are still trying to follow. No problem. Start Nuno. It comes back up just as you last saw it and everyone can get back to what they were supposed to be doing in the first place.

Ahem. Did you see what just happened then? Nuno went back to work like it is supposed to. Maybe I should mention what didn’t happen. You didn’t have to reconfigure the GPS connection. You did not need to reload charts, open a file, recover your route, change a setting or anything. It just worked. Whenever something is changed in Nuno it gets written to the hard disc. Sounds simple but many computer programs don’t do this. Instead you get questions like ‘Do you want to save your file?’. With Nuno we figured that being able to restart easily was a really useful feature so we built it in right from the start.

imageRestartablilty (I may be making up words here) is a big reason for needed multi-level undo and redo. This is a lot less simple. Well, it is simple to use but a real bitch to write the code for. Thing is, without the document style ‘file’ and ‘save’ if you accidentally delete all your work then it is gone forever. And that is not a very friendly thing for a program to do. So instead we implemented the ability to ‘undo’ your last change, or the one before that, or any change since you started Nuno. You can also ‘redo’ any changes that you undid.

 

For even more restartability you can get Nuno to start as soon as you power up your computer.

This method is the same for XP, Vista and Windows 7

First get a copy of the Nuno Navigator shortcut:

  • Click on the ‘Start’ button
  • Click on ‘All Programs’
  • In the list which appears scroll to ‘Nuno Navigator’, left click to expand
  • Select ‘Nuno™ Navigator 2011’, right click, choose ‘copy’.

Then open up your Startup folder. This is where you put shortcuts for any application you want to start up as you log on:

  • Click on the ‘Start’ button
  • Click on ‘All Programs’
  • In the list which appears scroll to Startup, right click and click on ‘Explore’.

In the Explorer window you have just opened , right click and choose ‘paste’.

The Nuno™ Navigator 2011 shortcut should now appear in the Startup folder. It will start automatically when you log on.

Great British Nuno™

Why is Britain called ‘Great’. I kind of quite like it, but isn’t it a touch odd? Why don’t we do this for other countries? I mean ‘United’ States is ok if a bit functional. But how about going the whole hog such as Marvelous Mexico, Fantastic Canada or Affluent Switzerland? A more serious minded colleague tells me that technically the country is called ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’ which as country names go has got to be about as long and pretentious as they get. Apparently the ‘Great’ bit was introduced to distinguish it from the, presumably less great, Brittany (which is now part of France). Alternatively ‘Great’ has its origins in 1707 when Britain became greater by incorporating Scotland. None of this has anything to do with Nuno except that we like to say ‘Great British Nuno’ and sort of imply that the ‘great’ bit is somehow connected with the Nuno bit.

Nuno 2.3 with UK charts is now launched. This really is UK and not just GB because these charts go all the way around Ireland. Check out the coverage here. Here’s how it works. When you download the Nuno installer it does not come with any charts at all. So when you run the installer it will ask you whether you want to use the US or the UK chart data sets.

Nuno_Type

 

  • If you want to change your mind you will need to uninstall Nuno and then re-install it.

 

  • If you have purchased a license then you should choose the chart set that corresponds to the license.

 

 

 

Installation finished. Fire up Nuno and you will see there are no charts installed. The World Vector Shoreline will be there but that’s about all.

image

 

Next job is to go to the support pane and hit the Update button in the ‘Chart data updating’ section. This will go an fetch a complete set of charts; either the UK or the US set depending on your choice while installing. This will work even if you are using Nuno in the trial mode.

Fetching the charts may take a while, there are quite a lot of them.

While you are at it you may as well hit Update for the ActiveCaptain data. This is really quite small and won’t take anywhere near as long.

 

Once the clunking and whirring has finished all your data will be up to date and you are ready to go.

weymouth

Happy sailing. If you get a minute, please tell us what you think about Nuno.

Using Nuno™ in the UK

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use Nuno™ for UK waters? Ok, not great for everyone, but pretty good if you happen to be sailing around the UK. So, good news for UK sailors, we’ve got a set of charts for the UK.

After months of intense negotiations with the UK Hydrographic Office we have secured a deal to use ENC charts for UK coastal water. This is the same chart data as would be used by an ECDIS. Now of course Nuno™ is not an ECDIS, if it was then it would be very clunky to use and we’d charge you a fortune. Instead Nuno™ is easy to use and very cost effective. That may sound like vaporous sales talk but consider that this same set of ENC data, 485 cells, would cost you thousands if you bought them for an ECDIS. We are only going to charge you £120 (inc VAT) for all those cells plus the magnificent Nuno™ Navigator application. That has got to count as cost effective.

Here is what the coverage area looks like:coverage

ActiveCaptain has pretty good coverage:ac in uk

All the usual chart features are there:usual

The chart data comes with this disclaimer:

"Chart material has been derived in part from data that has been obtained from the United Kingdom Hydrographic office (UKHO). The UKHO does not sponsor or endorse the product and the UKHO and its licensors make no warranties or representations, express or implied, with respect to the product. The UKHO and its licensors have not verified the information within the product or quality assured it. © British Crown Copyright, 2011. All rights reserved.”

Updates will be available every three months or so.

Nuno with UK data will be out in just a week or so. Watch this space.

Version 2.2 Update released

There were a couple of nagging issues that we felt we had to fix so we have released a small update.

This update fixes the following issues:

  • Application Support Center reports that a new application version is available even when the application is already up to date
  • Chart updates may be missed if you stop Nuno while it is updating
  • Application sometimes fails to exit if you try to stop Nuno while it is updating