Montebello Software announces Ascent v1.3

April 5, 2007 in Software (E)


Montebello Software has released version 1.3 of Ascent - an application designed for the Macintosh to help cyclists, runners, and hikers train better by organizing activity data and presenting it in useful ways. Using Ascent, you can download activity data directly from your GPS into the program, and immediately begin analyzing your activities as they are presented to you in various graphical and textual formats.

In addition to direct GPS sync, Ascent can import .tcx and .hst files exported from the Garmin Training Center application. It can also import and export files encoded in the standard GPS Exchange format (.gpx). A new feature in v1.3 allows Ascent activities to be saved in Keyhole Markup Language (.kml) format for import into Google Earth and other applications supporting this format.

Ascent follows the multiple document architecture of Mac OSX. The default view of each document contains groups of activites that are organized by weeks, months, and years. Activities can be cut, copied, and pasted between documents. The browser includes search features that allow activities to be instantly found by typing a few characters of their title, user-supplied notes, or user-entered keywords.

Data managed by Ascent includes GPS location, speed, altitude, gradient, heart rate, cadence, pace, time in heart rate zones, activty type, equipment, effort, disposition, and weather. Data for each activity can be displayed in the Main Browser, Detailed (Graphical) Activity Window, or in a Summary Window that graphically displays the data as weekly and monthly totals.

Ascent's "Animation" feature lets you re-play the activity so you can review in detail your performance during any segment of the activity. The advanced animation features of Ascent are unique among products of this class. Activities can be played back in real-time (or faster than real-time, playback speed is adjustable), forward or reverse. Heads-up displays show instantaneous data values (speed, graidient, heart rate, cadence) as the animation proceeds. Multiple windows showing paths overlaid on maps, or data graphs against altitude, can be animated simultaneously and Ascent's core animation engine synchronizes the display.

Version 1.3 adds many new features and enhancements. The Main Browser is now completely configurable. Columns may be added, re-arranged, removed, or adjusted in width. Activities can be sorted by any column's data. Activities can be organized hierarchically with yearly, monthly, weekly totals, or can be displayed in a "flat" mode by week, month, or year. All browser settings are saved persistently, per document, so customized data displays can be created, saved, and recalled.

Also new in Ascent v1.3 are features to export activity data from Ascent and into Google Earth, where 3D "fly-by" playbacks of the activity can be viewed. Additionally, Ascent activites can now be saved individually, or packaged (using a single menu command) into an email message for sending to another Ascent user.

Ascent's activity graphs have also been enhanced in v1.3. The extensive set of graph settings are now saved persistently so the the last settings are always used when returning to the program. Drawing performance is now significantly faster in the graph views, especially with multiple-hour activities with many thousands of data poitns.

Another new feature in v1.3 is the inclusion of contextual right (or control-click) menus that are now available in the main views. The most commonly-used commands are now available in these menus for quick access and improved workflow.

Ascent v1.3 now also include a new, simpler drag-and-drop installer, as well as an auto-update facility that checks for program updates at user-specified intervals. If an update is available, the user can choose to immediately install the update (which is handled completely automatically), or to be reminded later that the update is available.

Montebello Software creates applications and utilities optimized for the Macintosh platform. It was created in January 2007 with the release of its first product: Ascent.


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