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AndFlmsg; attaching forms to text msgs? sent messages not always listed as sent


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi everyone,

This started after I had what seemed to be a clever idea the other day when attempting to check into local net using practicing with an ICS213 form on Winlink via Telnet and discovering that the internet was down (Winlink is the locally preferred system; and no, have not yet figured out how to make Winlink connect with the radio for packet use....Fldigi is easy in comparison) .

What to do....  Aha, grab the Android phone, open, fill and save an ICS 213 message and then send as a text message attachment.  Sending ICS forms as Gmail attachments via AndFlmsg has always worked.  Why not text messaging? There is the send by text option on the program.    All seemed to go well from the sending side, however, our Net Control, reported that the text message arrived stripped of the ICS213 attachment,

The first version of AndFlmsg was about 2 years old.  Afterwards, wanted to try again with different message formats, but attempting a long press to open any of the saved messages on the phone was met with a black screen.  The phone gave an error msg indicating a file difficulty.   I deleted the old Andflmsg version and installed the most recent version.  Messages now appear per usual (sort of, see below). Happily the list of all sent messages that were there before the software was reinstalled showed up after the reinstallation.   I then tried a text attachment again using my own phone number, same result.  It was removed.  Interestingly, in checking the message attached to the outgoing file it appeared as several lines of html code instead of the filled form.

Before proceeding further, it seemed prudent to perhaps ask whether sending any of the forms from the library attached to a text message is fact feasible. 

I also checked whether the new version would send via Gmail attachment.  That worked fine.  What I observed, however, was the "SENT" tab did not seem to bring up the list of sent messages when they were sent as attachments.  They oddly were still in "OUTBOX." However, when selecting "SEND ALL MESSAGES,"  the phone brought up the familiar sounds of MT64_2000LG, the messages disappeared from the" OUTBOX" and appeared in "SENT MESSAGES."  That is a change from the old install which would list messages sent via Gmail as well as a tone mode. Interestingly, all the test messages that I sent on the newer software, did seem to be listed under "LOGS" even when they stayed in the "OUTBOX."   If of any use, the phone; low dollar Nokia, with Android 9.

Any enlightenment as to using text or as to why emailing a message does not seem to transfer it from "OUTBOX" to "SENT MSGS", gratefully received.  Kind thanks in advance.

73s to all, KI7MBR Ole

p.s. Noted the hew "antenna" icon across the top of the screen when program is activated.   Nice. :)


John (vk2eta)
 

Hi Ole,

Just to make sure I got it right you were trying to send the html form in an SMS and it stripped the form content out, is that correct?

Let try to reproduce and I'll come back to you.

Regarding the moving of messages from outbox to sent folder - only when sent over the radio - this is by design, but I can change it for all methods of sending. In facts it makes more sense in hindsight.

73, John (VK2ETA)


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John, 

Affirmative on the text software removing the html attachment.  I can retry and send the error message if you wish.

Interesting on the "outbox to send folder."  As I best recall, the earlier version transferred everything over irrespective of how it was sent.  I usually used Andflmsg for checking into our local nets when travelling to visit my late mother.  It always worked, even with an old clunky Moto G.  After being sent via Gmail, the messages as I best recall,.showed up in the sent mail folder.

Thanks for your assistance.  73 KI7MBR



On Sat, Sep 26, 2020 at 2:59 PM John (vk2eta) <vk2eta@...> wrote:
Hi Ole,

Just to make sure I got it right you were trying to send the html form in an SMS and it stripped the form content out, is that correct?

Let try to reproduce and I'll come back to you.

Regarding the moving of messages from outbox to sent folder - only when sent over the radio - this is by design, but I can change it for all methods of sending. In facts it makes more sense in hindsight.

73, John (VK2ETA)


John (vk2eta)
 

Hi Ole,

SMS sending of Flmsg messages most likely never worked or worked only on the earlier versions of Android as the Flmsg messages are treated as attachments and the SMS application (at least on my phones) only allow sound, pictures and videos to be attached to an MMS. 

So to send as an SMS the app needs to treat the data as plain text and not as an attachment.

I will add in the share dialog an option to send the data as plain text as well.

Regarding the move to the Sent box I can't recall having that done automatically on a "Share" action as there is no confirmation of positive conclusion of the action. So if the user cancels the share action the message would still be moved from Outbox to Sent folder. That's what I remember anyway, but I can claim a fainting memory here..hihi, so you might be right that it was behaving the other way initially.

I will check if it is practical to have a dialog to ask the user if after a share action he wants to move the message to the outbox.

All the best,

73, John (VK2ETA)


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Thanks greatly for the clarification. That explains why it was converted to text. Will look forward to the addition. 

That sorta seems to correspond with what I have noted about Winlink.  In the few times I have attempted to use its forms, it converts data in the form to plain text, seeming to follow a line numbering system based on the boxes in the form. 

Here's a question, if I send a message via SMS using NBEMS andflmsg and it goes out as plain text, then presumably the receiving party could bring it in to either NBEMS fldigi/andflmsg or Winlink for forwarding?

Thanks again and 73s,  KI7MBR Ole'


On Sat, Sep 26, 2020 at 10:19 PM John (vk2eta) <vk2eta@...> wrote:
Hi Ole,

SMS sending of Flmsg messages most likely never worked or worked only on the earlier versions of Android as the Flmsg messages are treated as attachments and the SMS application (at least on my phones) only allow sound, pictures and videos to be attached to an MMS. 

So to send as an SMS the app needs to treat the data as plain text and not as an attachment.

I will add in the share dialog an option to send the data as plain text as well.

Regarding the move to the Sent box I can't recall having that done automatically on a "Share" action as there is no confirmation of positive conclusion of the action. So if the user cancels the share action the message would still be moved from Outbox to Sent folder. That's what I remember anyway, but I can claim a fainting memory here..hihi, so you might be right that it was behaving the other way initially.

I will check if it is practical to have a dialog to ask the user if after a share action he wants to move the message to the outbox.

All the best,

73, John (VK2ETA)


John (vk2eta)
 

Hi Ole,

Yes, if sent as plain text it can be re-built into an Flmsg message at the other end.

Here the "wrap" format has the advantage over the "raw-Flmsg" format to retain the file name as originally created.

The file can then be imported in Flmsg at the other end exactly as if it was sent over the air.

In fact when you select a message to send over the air the app creates a wrap file automatically and sends the text content of that wrap file.

By sending the message by SMS we would just uses a different type of radio..hihi.

73  John


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Thanks greatly for the clarification.  Will give it a go.  73s, KI7MBR Ole'


On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 3:11 AM John (vk2eta) <vk2eta@...> wrote:
Hi Ole,

Yes, if sent as plain text it can be re-built into an Flmsg message at the other end.

Here the "wrap" format has the advantage over the "raw-Flmsg" format to retain the file name as originally created.

The file can then be imported in Flmsg at the other end exactly as if it was sent over the air.

In fact when you select a message to send over the air the app creates a wrap file automatically and sends the text content of that wrap file.

By sending the message by SMS we would just uses a different type of radio..hihi.

73  John


John (vk2eta)
 

Ole,

Can you please give this pre-release version a test please: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gAumNltqWsBbZ1Q82D3RmZToQi4xxaNo/view?usp=sharing

Installed as the original app. All settings and messages should be retained.

Upon pressing the share button the app now proposes three options:

1. For printing
2. For sending as attachment (eMail...)
3. For sending as plain text (SMS...)

The bottom formats (Wrap, raw-Flmsg and HTLM) remain the same.

So for sending as an SMS you can select option 3 above (plain text) and either raw-Flmsg or better in my opinion WRAP as this way pasting the text into any file and importing into Flmsg will result in the correct file name to be created at the receiving end.

Please note that currently the app will include a subject of "Message <Original file name>" if the format selected is NOT Wrap as it allows the receiving end to identify the message. That can be changed of course.

Now working on automatically moving the messages from Outbox to Sent folder.

All the best,

73, John (VK2ETA)


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Be glad to try it out.  MIght be a day or two?  73  KI7MBR


On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 5:49 PM John (vk2eta) <vk2eta@...> wrote:
Ole,

Can you please give this pre-release version a test please: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gAumNltqWsBbZ1Q82D3RmZToQi4xxaNo/view?usp=sharing

Installed as the original app. All settings and messages should be retained.

Upon pressing the share button the app now proposes three options:

1. For printing
2. For sending as attachment (eMail...)
3. For sending as plain text (SMS...)

The bottom formats (Wrap, raw-Flmsg and HTLM) remain the same.

So for sending as an SMS you can select option 3 above (plain text) and either raw-Flmsg or better in my opinion WRAP as this way pasting the text into any file and importing into Flmsg will result in the correct file name to be created at the receiving end.

Please note that currently the app will include a subject of "Message <Original file name>" if the format selected is NOT Wrap as it allows the receiving end to identify the message. That can be changed of course.

Now working on automatically moving the messages from Outbox to Sent folder.

All the best,

73, John (VK2ETA)


John (vk2eta)
 

No problems Ole, when you can.

73, John


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Thanks greatly! It worked a treat.  Yippee! The menu was straightforward enough that even an IT challenged sort such as myself could follow it.

To test, filled out out an ICS 213 using "Test 1, Test 2....Test n" for the fields, also autofill time & date, and my call sign and location.

Then forwarded it to myself via SMS (screenshot attached) and Gmail.  Solid results both times.  Please see below.

73s, KI7MBR  Ole'  :)





=============================
[WRAP:beg][WRAP:lf][WRAP:fn NOCAL-20201002-231743Z-5.213]<flmsg>2.0.4
:hdr_fm:21
NOCAL 20200210231813
:hdr_ed:21
NOCAL 20200210231743
<ics213>
:inc:6 Test 1
:to:6 Twst 2
:p1:6 Test 3
:fm:6 Test 4
:p2:6 Test 5
:sb:6 Test 6
:d1:10 2020-10-02
:t1:5 1616L
:mg:6 Test 7
:s1:6 Test 8
:p3:6 Test 9
:d2:10 2020-10-02
:s2:6 Ki7mbr
:p4:6 Carson
[WRAP:chksum 1C87][WRAP:end]





Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Addendum; it just occurred to me that this adds some very useful flexibility.  Such as; moved the message from the SENT box to the OUTBOX, and hit "TX OVER RADIO" and...it did its thing.  Thus, once a message exists in Andflmsg, it can be re-sent as needed via SMS, email and radio.  Very cool.  73s KI7MBR Ole'


John (vk2eta)
 

Hi Ole,

Glad it worked. What you describe was the original intent of the share function. It was also seen as useful if wanting to forward a message received in the Inbox to the internet. 

Here is a newer version that prompts the user for transferring the message from the Outbox to the Sent folder upon returning from the "Share" action. This only occurs if sharing from the Outbox folder: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xXfMlu-IXJpkuVkH7pt3S0JuJ84OlLWu/view?usp=sharing

So if you want to send both over radio and internet/SMS, just share it first, then reply No to the prompt and then do a "Send over Radio".

Alternatively, "Send over radio" first followed by opening the Sent folder and sharing from there. Either will work.

When you confirm it is working I will forward it to Dave for update of the Sourceforge repository. 

I am happy to see other persons test this too by the way.

All the best,

73, John (VK2ETA)


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 10:10 PM, John (vk2eta) wrote:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xXfMlu-IXJpkuVkH7pt3S0JuJ84OlLWu/view?usp=sharing
Good morning John,

Last night I checked into the local radio club net, apparently successfully, using SMS and Winlink to send an ICS 213 form.

The file version used was "AndFlmsg-1.3.11RC2-20201002.apk"  which shows up on the phones screen as "AndFlmsg Version 1.3.11 RC1, 2020-09-29."

On SMS,  for transmission I selected "SHARE" > "for sending as plain text (SMS...)" > "WRAP" format.  It worked. Bingo!

For Winlink (Telnet), connected phone to computer with USB cable >, opened Winlink > generated a message > attached the file by browsing > posted to the outbox > send.  Again, bingo!

Also just tested tx/rx from phone to adjoining 6" Samsung tablet (AndFlmsg Version 2017-05-05).  First attempt at full phone volume created error msg "Last_Bad_CrC_Rx' file.".  Ooops, lower the speaker volume.... Second attempt with ~3/4 speaker volume came through ok; both as text in the initial window and the full ICS213 form in the received window.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.  Happy to be of assistance.  I mentioned the five-way capabilities (SMS, Winlink, email, two radio) on two smaller local nets last night (local club and adjoining county ARES) and will share with Oregon ARES District #1 this week per your ok.  That ARES group encompasses a six county Portland OR greater metro area, thus want to ensure I have my facts ok.   Also, after last night's briefing on the net, got an invite from our local radio club to present a "how to" session sometime via Zoom.   As my nephew in Ottawa might say, "cool beans!"

Thanks again and 73,  KI7MBR Ole'


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Apologies.  Thought that I had loaded the latest version that you'd sent and then realized,   ...um,... maybe not. 

Will delete program from phone, load the latest and try again.  73,  Ole


On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 10:40 AM Ole Helgerson KI7MBR via groups.io <olehelgerson=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 10:10 PM, John (vk2eta) wrote:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xXfMlu-IXJpkuVkH7pt3S0JuJ84OlLWu/view?usp=sharing
Good morning John,

Last night I checked into the local radio club net, apparently successfully, using SMS and Winlink to send an ICS 213 form.

The file version used was "AndFlmsg-1.3.11RC2-20201002.apk"  which shows up on the phones screen as "AndFlmsg Version 1.3.11 RC1, 2020-09-29."

On SMS,  for transmission I selected "SHARE" > "for sending as plain text (SMS...)" > "WRAP" format.  It worked. Bingo!

For Winlink (Telnet), connected phone to computer with USB cable >, opened Winlink > generated a message > attached the file by browsing > posted to the outbox > send.  Again, bingo!

Also just tested tx/rx from phone to adjoining 6" Samsung tablet (AndFlmsg Version 2017-05-05).  First attempt at full phone volume created error msg "Last_Bad_CrC_Rx' file.".  Ooops, lower the speaker volume.... Second attempt with ~3/4 speaker volume came through ok; both as text in the initial window and the full ICS213 form in the received window.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.  Happy to be of assistance.  I mentioned the five-way capabilities (SMS, Winlink, email, two radio) on two smaller local nets last night (local club and adjoining county ARES) and will share with Oregon ARES District #1 this week per your ok.  That ARES group encompasses a six county Portland OR greater metro area, thus want to ensure I have my facts ok.   Also, after last night's briefing on the net, got an invite from our local radio club to present a "how to" session sometime via Zoom.   As my nephew in Ottawa might say, "cool beans!"

Thanks again and 73,  KI7MBR Ole'


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Got it sorted out ok. I think.

Phone version says; AndFlmsg Version 1.3.11 RC2, 2020-10-2

Tested sending ICS 213 again by; SMS, Winlink, Gmail and speaker to mic (phone to tablet)

SMS; shows up as text just like before
Winlink; opened the attachment before sending; looked like the SMS version, e.g. simple text
Gmail; Html form with all the lines and boxes showed up per usual
Phone to tablet (spkr to mic); it took three tries.  First attempt; incoming email messages on the tablet beeped and caused an error.  Second try, the phone hiccuped during tx for whatever reason; maybe something had tied up the internal processor, creating a timed out msg on the receiving tablet.  Third and fourth tries were successful with two differing forms.  Moral of that story; Android devices are generally good, but bumps in the road can happen.

Hope useful.

73, KI7MBR Ole'


On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 12:25 PM Ole Helgerson KI7MBR via groups.io <olehelgerson=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi John,

Apologies.  Thought that I had loaded the latest version that you'd sent and then realized,   ...um,... maybe not. 

Will delete program from phone, load the latest and try again.  73,  Ole

On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 10:40 AM Ole Helgerson KI7MBR via groups.io <olehelgerson=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
On Fri, Oct 2, 2020 at 10:10 PM, John (vk2eta) wrote:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xXfMlu-IXJpkuVkH7pt3S0JuJ84OlLWu/view?usp=sharing
Good morning John,

Last night I checked into the local radio club net, apparently successfully, using SMS and Winlink to send an ICS 213 form.

The file version used was "AndFlmsg-1.3.11RC2-20201002.apk"  which shows up on the phones screen as "AndFlmsg Version 1.3.11 RC1, 2020-09-29."

On SMS,  for transmission I selected "SHARE" > "for sending as plain text (SMS...)" > "WRAP" format.  It worked. Bingo!

For Winlink (Telnet), connected phone to computer with USB cable >, opened Winlink > generated a message > attached the file by browsing > posted to the outbox > send.  Again, bingo!

Also just tested tx/rx from phone to adjoining 6" Samsung tablet (AndFlmsg Version 2017-05-05).  First attempt at full phone volume created error msg "Last_Bad_CrC_Rx' file.".  Ooops, lower the speaker volume.... Second attempt with ~3/4 speaker volume came through ok; both as text in the initial window and the full ICS213 form in the received window.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.  Happy to be of assistance.  I mentioned the five-way capabilities (SMS, Winlink, email, two radio) on two smaller local nets last night (local club and adjoining county ARES) and will share with Oregon ARES District #1 this week per your ok.  That ARES group encompasses a six county Portland OR greater metro area, thus want to ensure I have my facts ok.   Also, after last night's briefing on the net, got an invite from our local radio club to present a "how to" session sometime via Zoom.   As my nephew in Ottawa might say, "cool beans!"

Thanks again and 73,  KI7MBR Ole'


John (vk2eta)
 

Hi Ole,

Thank you for the testing. Glad it's working. 

Android is not designed as a real time o/s so the "garbage collection" (i.e. the periodic memory clean-ups) can cause temporary freezes.

Few competing apps running at the same time, plenty of memory and fast processors do minimise these effects significantly.

I will update the documentation and submit the new version this weekend for Dave to publish. It will be functionally identical to the RC2 version you tested.

Good work with the ARES groups and good luck with your presentation.

All the best,

73, John


Ole Helgerson KI7MBR
 

Hi John,

Last Thursday during our ARES "Great Shakeout" earthquake exercise, I used the AndFlmsg ICS 309 form on the Android phone to record radio communications.  I learned a couple of things

  • having a digital copy to review on a large screen provides an unforgiving review for catching typos and  omissions (whew)
  • proof reading is a good idea before sending
  • the entire form sent ok via Gmail, though one person's browser, an Apple I think, would not open the form.  On the my W10 machine, the form opened with Firefox, Chrome and Edge.
  • What about SMS?  The transmission reverted back to lots of random appearing letters and numbers with a couple of clues as to the form id. 

Had some spare time Saturday to test sending forms via SMS.  Went down the list of ICS forms on my phone, filling fields in each form with "Qwerty"  or similar.  Results: only about half or less of the forms sent the data ok via SMS, the rest sent random appearing alphanumeric characters.   The ICS 309 was curious.  I redid the test today to be sure. After filling the header and "Prepared By" then adding only one line of data at the top of "Box. 5,"  the data went ok by SMS.  With six lines of data entered, it reverted to strings of alphanumeric characters in the SMS message.  As a test address I used my own mobile number.

Dunno here what it means, but I hope useful info.

73, KI7MBR  Ole


John (vk2eta)
 

Hello Ole,

I tested both the wrap and raw format with "share as plain text" and sent to another phone by SMS. I used an ics309 form and filled up 5 lines of the form, plus the incident field with data and in both cases i got a successful transfer.

My suspicion is that this is related to the limit of the number of characters which can be sent per sms (each sms can only send 170 characters and to get around this telco limitation the phones will send multiple smss and reassemble them into a single message on the receiving side).

To verify this can you please disable the compression option in the Settings/Data exchange/Use Compression.

I think the random characters you saw is the Base 64 compressed text (On by default).

With compression  off you can see what is missing in the received message.

Based on your results we can take it from there. Thanks.

73, John


John (vk2eta)
 

Hi Ole,

Further information on this.

Your message may well have been received over SMS properly. Let me explain.

The default in Andflmsg for the setting "Force compression" is off.

This means that when sending a message the app will only compress if it saves transmission characters.

This only occurs when the size of the message reaches a sufficient size.

This explains why one liners are sent in clear text and larger multiline ones are compressed.

A compressed messages has all its data part, not the header (form and filename for a wrap format, origin  etc...) enclosed by the following strings: "[b64:start]" and "[b64:end].

As long as your received wrap message ends with [WRAP:end] it arrived complete and can be imported into Flmsg.

See example below.

Now this feature may not be desirable and can be removed for sharing messages. In fact if the format selected is Raw-Flmsg it should not be compressed anyway.

So I need to change a fee things.

Let me know if that is matching what you see.

All the best 

73, John

P.S. example of compressed message:

[WRAP:beg][WRAP:lf][WRAP:fn VK2ETA-20201019-232421Z-6.309]<flmsg>2.0.4
:hdr_fm:22 
VK2ETA 20202010143605
:hdr_ed:22 
VK2ETA 20201910232421
<ics309>
[b64:start]
AUxaTUEAAAHKXQAAQAAAHRpJxkUc2oFaGiqydn0/YEiMK9k1sYkDs5np+eAXLy1e
NkkmcwMdr3pHnojcVE0MzU0qxWqI6FbymGRx9U6x+Ovg8/PngIU4bZhr/ug1jooH
Jsnuo0i4mSPZeiLttnvJUa8yPV8x2bZZl97HbCCGWodo8fjG/7yZwxs3+0hV4hSf
lmwpDA==
[b64:end][WRAP:chksum 26C4][WRAP:end]