Thursday, June 09, 2011

Lost treasure

Earlier in the year I was hunting through some folders on my hard drive and discovered an unreleased version of my Morse training program MorseGen. I had no memory at all of having updated it so I had no idea whether I had finished or tested the update. The main changes from the last released version 1.4 appeared to be that there was now a batch mode for creating recordings to play on an MP3 player and a "Common words" mode. This jogged my memory as to the reason for updating the program. A couple of years ago in QST there was an article which suggested that in order to be able to copy Morse at high speed you should learn to recognize the sounds of complete words not just individual letters. So I had added the ability to play random selections from a list of some of the most common words and CW abbreviations.


Today I placed this new version of MorseGen on the G4ILO's Shack website. The previous version is still available to be downloaded in case the new one has problems. My interest in programming has now fallen to absolute zero and I no longer even have the development tools used to compile MorseGen so this is definitely, without argument the last ever version.

This is actually a bit of a nuisance as the new version seems to have a small bug. Occasionally, in Random QSO mode the program will halt with an error message "List index out of bounds." You have to close the error message and continue. I'm guessing that I added some QSO templates and the random number generator sometimes generates a number that is more than the number of templates. If so, this would be easy to fix if I still had the development tools. But I don't, so I can't, so tough luck! But no-one has any grounds for complaint because MorseGen is free!

Despite the bug, I still think MorseGen is a useful program. I often use  it whenever I get the urge to try to improve my Morse reading skills. Admittedly it hasn't done me any good, but I think that is more due to something peculiar to my brain that is just incapable of mastering the code. Over the years since I wrote the first version of MorseGen I've had many emails thanking me for it so it appears that it does work for people less Morse-resistant than me!
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