I‘m a liberal leaning outdoorsman attempting to open the minds of right wingers to the idea that libs fish too. Anglers come from all walks of life, left, right, and center. Not everyone who fishes for bass is a redneck fond of Nascar, country music, and religiosity. Expect posts about largemouth bass fishing, techniques, reviews of lures and other products, but not any condemnable conservative rants. I hope to inspire the online angler community to dial down rhetoric which will do more harm than good to our sport.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

• Review: FOL2002 Fishing Log Software

FOL2002 by MCM Software

I won this piece of software in a contest at a fishing forum I am no longer a member at back in October of 2006. For some reason, my review isn't listed on the site, perhaps because it wasn't as positive as they'd like a review to be for a site sponsor. How's that for bias? I'll try to remember what I wrote.

The first problem I had was that it was Windows only software and I am an avid Mac user. Granted on current Macs, running Windows under emulation or booting into Windows natively on an Intel Mac is a cinch. At the time I won this software, Intel Macs were just a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye so to speak. Still, it's disappointing that there isn't a Mac native version of this software. Strike one.

I had to go with an installation in Win 2k under Virtual PC for Mac. Installation was simple enough off of the provided cd. I rate my computer skills higher than a lot of the users posting reviews at that site. Let's just say IT departments hate that I run circles around them. As you read this article, remember that I'm no novice. As a Mac user, I also have higher standards when it comes to the quality of software I use. I guess I can't expect much from a developer who is hosting on Tripod.

I entered a lot of my trips into the log. At the time, I was doing a lot of fishing. You can store a lot of data in these logs. The idea is to keep track of your outings and use the data to find any patterns. You can also add photos of your catch related to each log.

I did not like this piece of software though. It's a clunky data entry app. Let's go through the problems. Creating a new log was not easy at first. The instructions included with the disc were minimal, so I had to rely on a little intuition. This app, however, is not very intuitive. Creating new logs still got on my nerves even after doing it a few times and getting back to the main log window after viewing some other tab or data was not intuitive at all. Several tabs and buttons made no sense to me. Why have them?

In any data entry app, one expects that hitting tab sends you to each field sequentially, not across to a random field in no particular logical order. It was a pain in the butt having to stop and click the field I needed each time I entered new info. Time is very valuable to many folks and I just spent too much time going from mouse to keyboard and back again for one entry that it was ridiculously painful. The actual fields were all on one page, but appeared very cluttered.

Adding photos was easy enough, but the app doesn't let you resize the photo or resize the window the photo is in. You get to see half a fish in a reasonably scaled down photo (much less than 640x480 dimensions). Remember, I'm on a Mac. Graphics is one area we excel in. Zooming in or out either made the photo too small or too large. You can't slide the photo side to side or up and down to view the rest of the photo.

The app would have been a lot easier to use if certain data were remembered similar to the way web browsers retain browsing history. I'd have to go back and type in certain special lures and try to remember weights and sizes all over again each time I caught something with that lure. It also has a spot for moon phases and it would have been nice if the app had an online feature to load the moon phase automatically based on the date. I kept having to look up detailed moon phase info. The developer has a moon phase calendar link on the site. Should be an all in one deal included inside the app. No extra hoops to jump through necessary. Go to the site. The lunar phases are for 2006.

Don't get this app unless you enjoy manually entering every little thing in no particular order. I don't know who made this thing, but it looks like they just threw it together without thinking about how the end user was going to enter the information. It looks almost like someone's first Windows app they've ever written. You could do a much better job of keeping a fishing log with MS Excel or even typing it up in your word processing app of choice. At least those apps have a useful find feature. The search feature in this app is not that great. The developer has not made any major revisions since 2002.

The idea is good, but the implementation was very bad. Don't rely on this app to do what you think it should. Someone please write something better. This developer either doesn't care enough about the app or simply doesn't know how to code.

The bottom line:
Clunky and tedious data entry app