PDA

View Full Version : SafeLog Pilot Logbook review


flyboyqw
6th Jan 2015, 04:36
I didn't find much reviews of SafeLog by Dauntless Software, so I thought I'd write one after one year of usage. I have the Windows edition only so I can't speak for the IOS or Android version.

-Adding block/flight times is buggy. Using the drop down box is downright slow, and entering a number using the keyboard will give you 05 if you enter 00. Furthermore, if you entered a number the box will be blank until you refresh the screen. If it can't even get the most basic functionality right, then it doesn't give much hope for the rest.

-It automatically updates at startup, blocking usage for a few minutes, depending on how much it wants to download.

-Slow interface.

-If the app cannot connect to the SafeLog server, the whole thing is frozen.

-Regularly crashes during an update cycle.

-If you want to check your flight time limitation currency, you have to be online. Good luck with that at FL350.

-If you want to change the program settings you have to be online. WTF?

-For about one year long, you had to be online to see the graphs of hours per month/year as well. Go figure. That has now finally been fixed.

-You have to be online if you want to export to a printable format. Not an issue in itself but this is extremely slow. Getting the exact format you want will take several hours because this process is very slow and you will have to try several iterations.

-Logbook entries are not sorted in the same way they are added and uses start time instead. So if your first sector starts before 00:00 UTC, you will have to manually shift it up so it is the first of the sectors you fly that day. Very annoying.

-Unintuitive interface as a red cross means the field is already filled in, and a green box means an item is missing. Also, where to add a license expiry date is hard to find. Hidden under some unrelated tab.

-No warning messages when a license is about to expire or a flight time limitation is about to be busted. You have to be online to view this anyway, so the whole feature is useless while in flight.

-If you contact support you better be sure you are nice to them. If your tone even hints of sounding annoyed, you will get an annoyed reply in return.

All in all, much frustrations so not worth it. Funny thing is that it didn't used to be that bad but after a major update was made last year, things went down hill. Note that most of these issues have been reported to the developer more than 6 months ago, but not much has changed.

Good things? It works, if you are patient.

I am going to try mccPILOTLOG now. I heard good things about it.

skycruiser65
27th Apr 2015, 09:01
Even if this post has been last edited a few months ago, I want to keep it update, since the topic itself doesnīt gets out of date.
I recently subscribed to SafeLog, initially for 1 year. Till now I was running a quite oldfashioned Logbook software on a windows computer, but with no support for handheld computers and systems other than Windows, so I was looking for a software, meeting nowadays requirements (and of course legal requirements as well).
I got in contact with Dauntless in order to transform my old logbook, which was availabe as csv file, but could not be imported into SafeLog until being transformed, regarding columns, comma settings etc.
I was in contact with a guy, who initially made this for me, but with the second mail and questions arising, since the help section of SafeLog didnīt give me the necessary answers, got more and more unpolite, and instead of just replying to my questions, he was posting childish youtube videos and spreading insults.
This story ended in a way, that mental integrity of this guy had to be seriously objected, rather praising himself as a mixture of Nero, Napoleon and others, just to mention some and talking about nothing else than his "excellent" work, he is providing. Eventually he kicked me out of SafeLog with the money refunded. The way this guy behaved fails to be commented in any way, probably a small volunteer. And this points to Dauntless, who appears absolutely not seriously having such a bad support and a website, which rather has got the appearance of Scientology or a casino, adressing to gamblers.

But no criticism with a positive result at the end - I followed the recommendation of mccPILOTLOG and thus I found the software, which fullfills all my requirements. The guys there are really professional offering import and transformation function for nearly all logbook formats (including SafeLog;-)), Roster import supporting all availabe rostering platforms and ready anytime to widen this to any not yet supported airline. The only restriction compared to SafeLog - mccPILOTLOG doesnīt (yet?) feature a webbased platform, so as a "master" client one has to run the software on a Windows or MAC machine, with "slave" clients running on all handheld/mobile platforms known. With flights logged on a mobile device, after syncing it, the main logbook is updated and with a sync pushed from the mobile device, the updated logbook appears on the device as well.
Even the price (69€ for full edition) is much more attractive, compared to SafeLog, which has to be subscribed again and again, with ca. 69€ just offering a 3-year subscription.

dauntless
29th Jun 2015, 16:32
Hello There - We're the makers of Safelog and we just ran into this little hornet's nest of criticism here. Sorry for taking so long to respond as we just found this.

Please let me address the second user first. As we have tens of thousands of users and in our history we have as far as I know only had anything remotely approaching this level of difficulty with one single individual, identifying "skycruiser65" as Mr. Peter W was not hard.

Let us give you a little background about him: he came to us with an rather obscure old logbook format and asked us to help him transition this to Safelog. We agreed to give this a try even though he had purchased only an inexpensive a single year's license (our policy at the time, since relaxed, was to require at least a three year license for transitions and to ask for custom programming time, such as his task required, to be billed directly to the user - we let him know this but told him we'd do it for free as a favor) and even though this would, as we explained to him, would require considerable custom work on our end that would essentially be done just for him as a favor. Our team spent over a 20 hours (including a full Saturday) deciphering his outdated data file and transforming it into a format that could then be imported into Safelog in the way that he so chose.

Pilots have come to us with data files from over two dozen other logbook formats, and we give them a CSV file back as this allows them to match columns in their old format to the columns they choose in Safelog; we have a series of videos showing this process for those who need help with it and the vast majority of users go through it without incident. That we directed Mr. W to these videos to help him match his fields to his chosen Safelog setup is apparently the source of his discontent. Amazingly, despite agreeing to do all this custom programming work for him, including **manually fixing hundreds of lines of his logbook which had extremely poorly formatted data due to his poor recordkeeping** that would not lend itself to machine processing and easy import, Peter demanded his money back because he could not be bothered to actually do the necessary steps to actually get his data into Safelog. Given how we had bent over backwards for him and cleaned up his data for him, we were dumbfounded by the apparent lack of consideration in his request.

With regards to the first user, please allow me to make a few comments and corrections. I am responding with regards to the PC version that the user claimed to use.

First, Safelog doesn't automatically update at startup, nor does it "block for a few minutes." If you so choose, you can set Safelog to synchronize your data with our central servers at startup but this is purely optional. For a brief period of time, there was a small technical bug where users of a few firewall systems had a bit longer delay at startup-- this was tricky, since such firewall systems were sending us false signals that we had reached our servers and were waiting for a response. This issue has long been addressed and is totally fixed. We apologize for those users affected by it nevertheless. For the update of the app itself we use an unobtrusive industry standard third party update tool that gently lets you know that an update is available and allows you to update the program or not at a time of your choosing.

Second, with regards to the speed of our interface, I welcome all users to try this themselves to see. Generally, we have no complaints from our users, but we can always do better. Recently, we overhauled our flight entry UI a bit to more quickly allow for quick copying of duty, block, and flight times and the response has been very positive (this usability change has made it to all of our platforms except iOS, where it will be available with the next update very soon).

"If the app cannot connect to servers the whole thing is frozen." Perhaps this gentleman was referring to the aforementioned brief period of time when a few users had this firewall issue and we apologize to him if this was the case, but in general Safelog absolutely does not need an internet connection for day to day use. After initial setup, there is honestly no reason to ever synchronize your data again if you don't want to, though for reasons of security, redundancy, and use of other devices, most users do this occasionally. A typical synchronization takes between 10 and 40 seconds.

That said, yes, for some things like settings changes (done very rarely, in practice) you have to be online. Why? The answer ironically is in Peter W's comment. Safelog provides a FULL LOGBOOK EXPERIENCE on all of its client programs: PC, Mac, iOS, and Android plus our SafelogWeb portal. Our competitors (such as mcc) offer only "thin clients" that provide very little on mobile devices and leave you completely stranded if your main PC is stolen or destroyed. Safelog by contrast works in a way that every client app has all of your data and its architected in a way that should you say, lose you laptop or your iPad, you'll only at absolute most lose the very last data that you entered (but didn't synchronize). To make this system work, it's in your best interest that Safelog looks the same wherever you use it; therefore, the setup feature is centralized to ensure that everywhere you use Safelog looks identical and that your data is consistent. With safelog, if you're at your hotel in Dubai and want to change how your logbook works, that's no problem - it's right there regardless of whether you use the mac, pc, android, or iOS version. With our competitors, you can't make such a change - you have to wait until you get home to your stationary PC. With Safelog also, let's say you dump your Pc and Mac entirely in favor of an iPad -- it's all still there. It all still works. You are not tied to one platform. Safelog is in effect "futureproof" this way. Let's say you got a new device or platform - let's say you got a mac after never ever using a mac. It takes about a minute to download the mac app (free) from appstore and install it on your new mac. It prompts you for your Safelog username and password, and, after a brief sync, all your data is there.

It also means that you can actually *see* your full logbook (not just summary totals) no matter where you are when you use Safelog. Any device and no internet connection required.

Graphs and charts - please check out our graphs and charts features- they are by far the most powerful, varied, and capable of any of our competitors, and are available offline or on in all of our client programs. We've yet to see a competitor's mobile app that can do more than the simplest of charts in their mobile version With us, you get a complete graph and chart engine on every platform with the full complement of dozens of charts, plus our powerful totalling engine. No online connection for any of this.

Safelog features more printout options than any other logbook system. In the months after the first post was written, on user request we added numerous report and printout modes that can be done offline. This was we agree an important addition and we've been absolutely thrilled to report that we've not had even a single request from our users about printing since we did this; it's been a smashing success.

"Red cross means field already filled in?" It took us a while to understand this, but apparently he is objecting to a a quick-erase/clear button that appears when some text is typed in certain places - this allows you to quickly delete some text if you realize you wrote in the wrong row or want to "zero" it. We have never heard of any objections to this as it's pretty much a design standard (in iOS and Android such buttons are now ubiquitous), but we'll have a design meeting about this to see if we can do better and/or to make this more clear.

Please note that mccpilotlog doesn't even have a native mac app (oh sorry, they have one in 'beta'). And, last we checked, their basic PC client app is based on the Visual Basic 6 (VB6) programming language. VB6 is a programming tool released in 1998 and for which microsoft ended mainstream support for in *2005* (and extended support for in 2008). This should give you some sense as to why they are so quick to push "lifetime" licenses; the history of eLogbooks is littered with one-technology-only ponies that were not built, as Safelog is, on a more progressive, long-term, open architecture, leaving users stranded when building that "second system" proved a wee bit tougher and more expensive than the original developer intended. As we said, there's a reason that we have reverse engineered over two dozen obsolete and competitor logbook formats to help users migrate to Safelog.
What my technical gibberish about "VB6" means is that Safelog is built to be there for you in the future on matter where technology in general or your personal technological choices go.

In 2015 alone, over 250 mcc users took advantage of our transition service and came over to Safelog. If we have disappointed a few individuals here who went the others way, well, that's our failure and we will try to do to better in every way in the future.

Sorry for the long post and thank you for listening. We don't do everything right, but we do make a heck of a good product that is sometimes misunderstood. We'll try to be better with making ourselves and our offering clearer in the future. If you doubt any of what I'm saying, please remember, Safelog is free to try (up to 10 flights) on our website and you can try the free demo on any platform you want (or even multiple platforms at once to see how it all syncs together).