Garmin: New features and capabilties for G3X


G3X 2-screenThe software update theme continues this week as we address some recent software upgrades to the G3X system. Last month, version 6.40 was released, which includes many new features and capabilities including support for GTS 8xx traffic systems, the option to display the G-meter on PFD, the option to display track-up orientation on the PFD HSI, added support for GNS 480 MapMX data and more. Get this update free from the Garmin website!

Here’s a closer look at what you’ll get with the new G3X software:

The G3X can now interface with the GTS 8XX traffic systems, allowing the G3X to display traffic information for transponder-equipped aircraft in your vicinity. To assist with traffic advisories, aural traffic alerts are possible as well.

Another new feature is MapMX, which is now available when using the GNS 480 as your external GPS navigator. This feature allows the G3X to display a more accurate flight path on the moving map page, including procedure turns and holds.

G3x_track_hsi_2displayYou can also now display the HSI instrument on the PFD in a track-up orientation. Put simply, this feature automatically rotates the HSI to put the aircraft’s ground track at the top, which lets you fly with the course pointer at the top of the instrument regardless of crosswinds. In this screenshot, you can see that a 26-knot direct crosswind is trying to push us off course, but the HSI has rotated to show the ground track at the top; magnetic heading is still available on the heading tape at the top of the display. This handy feature can help reduce the pilot’s workload by taking the guesswork out of wind correction angles, which makes following the desired course a “breeze”.

G3x_g_meter G3x_g_meter_setupFor those who are looking to be a little more adventurous, we’ve added a large, easy-to-read G-meter to the PFD. The range of G values displayed on the gauge can be configured to match your aircraft, and there are indicators to show the maximum positive and negative G’s recorded since last being reset by the pilot.

A tribute to Bob Moog

In the mid-1960s, Dr. Robert Moog unleashed a new universe of sounds into musicdom with his invention of the electronic analog Moog Synthesizer. The timbre and tones of these keyboard instruments (true works of art in and of themselves) would come to define a generation of music, featuring heavily in songs by The Beatles, The Doors, Stevie Wonder, Kraftwerk and many others.

When people hear the word “synthesizer” they often think “synthetic”—fake, manufactured, unnatural. In contrast, Bob Moog’s synthesizers produce beautiful, organic and rich sounds that are, nearly 50 years later, regarded by many professional musicians as the epitome of an electronic instrument. “Synthesizer,” it turns out, refers to the synthesis embedded in Moog’s instruments: a network of electronic components working together to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.

With his passion for high-tech toolmaking in the service of creativity, Bob Moog is something of a patron saint of the nerdy arts and a hero to many of us here. So for the next 24 hours on our homepage, you’ll find an interactive, playable logo inspired by the instruments with which Moog brought musical performance into the electronic age. You can use your mouse or computer keyboard to control the mini-synthesizer’s keys and knobs to make nearly limitless sounds. Keeping with the theme of 1960s music technology, we’ve patched the keyboard into a 4-track tape recorder so you can record, play back and share songs via short links or Google+.

Much like the musical machines Bob Moog created, this doodle was synthesized from a number of smaller components to form a unique instrument. When experienced with Google Chrome, sound is generated natively using the Web Audio API—a doodle first (for other browsers the Flash plugin is used). This doodle also takes advantage of JavaScript, Closure libraries, CSS3 and tools like Google Web Fonts, the Google+ API, the Google URL Shortener and App Engine.

Special thanks to engineers Reinaldo Aguiar and Rui Lopes and doodle team lead Ryan Germick for their work, as well as the Bob Moog Foundation and Moog Music for their blessing. Now give those knobs a spin and compose a tune that would make Dr. Moog smile!

Sharing Rich Content From Your Android Apps, to Google+ and Beyond

Many developers have been using Android’s share intent to help their users share content with others, directly from their apps. With the recently-launched ShareCompat library, you can now help your users share rich content with their friends (like images and videos) more easily, and the items they share include attribution to your app. All you need to do is add a few lines of code!

I’ll walk through a few examples that use Google+ as the application handler, but of course, these share intent improvements can work for any service. Popular apps like Foodspotting, Pulse News, and Shazam are already using ShareCompat to help users share rich content with their Google+ circles. You can check out this photo album to see how they are all taking advantage of the new library.

Creating the Share Intent

If you’d like users to be able to share text from your app, start by building the following intent:

Intent shareIntent = ShareCompat.IntentBuilder.from(ShareActivity.this)
   .setText("This site has lots of great information about Android!")


Here, I passed text and a URL to the setText method, and I used the setType method to identify the content as “text/plain.” The intent builder can then pass this information to the application that’s doing the sharing. Additionally, I used the setPackage method to specify the application that I want to handle it. In this case, the Google+ application is specified.

The Google+ share box with pre-populated text and link snippet.