This page is intended to be a compilation of answers to support questions / comments I receive. I'll usually paraphrase several similar questions and try to give a good answer that covers it in a broader way. I try to give my answers in simple terms and have provided just a little bit of "techy" detail for those who are interested.
Sorry to hear that you're having this problem.
If you've forgotten your username or password you can click the button to reset your password and retrieve the username provided you remember the email address you signed up with. Please try this first.
If you have multiple email addresses and don't remember which you used it is ok to try this with different addresses. If the email address you are typing is not in our system it will say so on screen. If the password reset accepts your email address please give it a minute or two and double check your spam folder before reporting a problem.
If you're still have a problem it usually boils down to one or two things. The first one being the username. Be sure you are typing that correctly. Often times people have created a unique username and forget this and try and put in their email address where the username goes. If you don't remember your username and you clicked the forgot password button your username will be included in the email. Please double check that you have the correct username before reporting a problem.
Another problem though less common is having the wrong password stored in your password manager or auto fill. This often happens if you memorized it on one device and then changed it via another. It is usually easily corrected by being sure you actually type the username and password yourself, do not let the autofill complete it. After you type the correct username and password your device should memorize the new one.
I originally thought of these apps as working on a mobile device like my own iPhone. These mobile devices have what are called "Location Services". The locations services can utilize built in GPS and cell towers to determine physical location. Both of these are subject to conditions like cloud cover or being indoors which can influence the accuracy of you device providing your location.
Another very common problem is if you are using a laptop or desktop computer that doesn't have true location services built in. Typically in these scenarios your web browser reports its location to my app from your cable or DSL modem. And those modems get their location from your internet provider. These providers don't often give your actual location, instead it can be their corporate headquarters or a hub location in another city. This can be seen in other websites when you try and shop at your closest store and it gives you a store you know is not really the closest. This happens at my house on my computer. I use Charter cable and if I try and shop the HomeDepot website and look up my closest store it shows me a location in a city over 2 hours a way, when in reality there's a HomeDepot 20 minutes from my house.
To combat the location problem for computers with inaccurate modems I have added some new preferences. If you create an account in the system the Boil Temp app can use your sugar shack location found under Profile/Preferences. And the Sap Flowcaster can use the locations of your registered sugar bushes in the Maple Logs program.
Well...how accurate is your local weather man? We might be using the same data. I'm not a meteorologist, I pull the weather forecast data from known services like; The National Weather Service (US), Environment and Climate Change (Canada) as well as a commercial source called DarkSky. As far as the actual weather goes, my app can only be as accurate as the forecasts provided by the weather services I'm using. If I could really predict weather with 100% accuracy I probably wouldn't be working on this app.
If you are comparing the Sap Flowcast side by side with another online forecast app, keep in mind I display the weather forecast in a way that makes sense to a syrup producer. What we care about is the previous night low, followed by the daily high. Most weather forecast applications show that data exactly backwards. Of course we've all gotten used to reading it that way, but I think my display makes more sense for our usage.
Note also that the forecast app relies on your location to get your local forecast from the services as I just described. Check out the FAQ on this page about location accuracy for more info if you suspect that you aren't getting the correct local forecast.
Finally the bucket icons are the only real prediction my application is making given a known weather forecast and they are a work in progress. The icons are displayed from calculations made by my app using data provided from the Maple Logs program. If you wish to see the bucket icon predictions get better please participate in providing your sap collection logs. I started collecting logs and weather related data in the 2018 season. At the time I last updated this FAQ, Feb of '20, we are just approaching the 10,000 mark for our collection logs. While that seems like a lot we can still use many more. Several more seasons of data from more diverse locations with accurate collection logs will just help this get better.
And remember though, the weather forecast itself is not guaranteed, and the bucket icons will always be a calculation based on past performance for a similar weather pattern, the icons are also not guaranteed. Just use them as another tool in your arsenal, and a guideline for yourself as you go about your sugar season deciding when to tap and how often to empty your buckets.
SapTapApps.com is a website made up of "Web Apps". Web Apps and specifically "Progressive Web Apps" is a relatively new concept that Google really started promoting to developers around 2016-2017. In simple terms they are programmed like web sites, however they are meant to behave on mobile devices in a way that is more app like. You can add a Web App to your home screen by visiting the site in your browser and choosing the option to add it. You can then launch it from an icon and close the WebApp like you close other apps.
Since I started working on SapTapApps around that same time I decided to go this route. It means I only have to make a single app that works for everybody instead of a separate one for iPhone and Android and there are other benefits to computer users too.
Over time I will continue to make my app more "Progressive" and we can expect the devices them selves will interact with them better. Google is all ready way ahead in this department. Some android devices will prompt you to install a web app when you visit it as well as they seem to be opening the Play Store for listing these types of apps. Apple seems to be on board now too with supporting many Progressive Web App features but I think it will be longer before you see them list it in the Store.
Upon creating an account you must validate your email address. This helps me keep the system clear of
hackers and other bad guys who would end up posting bad data. If you didn't get your confirmation email
message this usually has to do with spam filters or junk mail filters. It's unfortunate that we all have
to have these types of filters but they do sometimes block messages we care about. Check there first.
Also double check that you used the correct email address, typing errors happen to all of us.
If you're certain you used the correct address and have checked you junk/spam folders, just shoot me a message in the feedback form. If I hear from you that way it's as good to me as if you verified your address and I can activate your account.
It is usually very accurate but there are some variables to consider.
First of all I didn't create the actual mathematical formulas involved here. There are formulas for the boiling point of water based on atmospheric conditions and elevation that are well known and published in scientific journals and educational books. I don't even have to write code for the math involved in calculating the boiling point of water. There are libraries that programmers can use to call functions to do common math routines like this for us. For details on the library I used check out the section in the about page. So this part of the calculation is very accurate.
Secondly the temp app relies on your location to get a barometer reading from a weather station nearby you and it relies on location to look up your elevation to make an adjustment for that. These things are determined by your location services on your mobile device. Make sure that is accurate and check out the other FAQ on this page about location accuracy. Assuming your mobile device's location services are accurate and there is a weather station relatively close to you the temp will be accurate.
I show the location of the weather station used on screen. It is possible that your closest weather station just isn't close enough to you and that the barometer reading between you and that station just differs too much, so use your judgement there. By default I use the closest US/Canada government supplied feeds because of their accuracy. I also offer an option in your preferences to choose from an alternate data feed. So if the default source isn't close enough try the alternate OpenWeatherMap, it usually has closer observations that are provided by the community of users with personal weather stations. They have algorithms to check for accuracy so these are usually pretty good too.
Finally because the location services are using Google maps to determine your elevation this affects the calculation. According to the USDA a 500ft difference in elevation causes the calculation to adjust by a full degree in fahrenheit. I display the elevation provided by Google along with your boiling temp. Google maps are usually pretty good but if you know that the elevation presented is wrong you can set your own elevation in your preferences also to make the calculations more accurate.
Some people will make mistakes or follow directions wrong that's just a fact when gathering data from the public like this. I like to think I don't have any malicious users on the system that are trying to post fake data but you never know. If a collection report looks really off I assume it's just a mistake.
Regardless of the intent of how data got here I have to assume that yes there will be some bad data and I don't want bad data influencing other users analytics reports or the flowcast models. So I have had to use some algorithms for calculating what is called the "Standard Deviation" and to get rid of data called "Outliers". For my calculations that also means I'm usually throwing out some good data along with the bad unfortunately. But I never actually remove data from the users logs or from displaying it on any of the map pages. You may see some obviously incorrect logs. What a user recorded is always present, but I exclude this outlier data from being part of any calculations that may affect other users calculations.
The more data we collect the better the distinction will be for the good data and the analytics and flowcast models will just continue to be more accurate.
The short answer is that it can't. At least not yet.
SapTapApps is a web app which is run from a web server, not downloaded from an app store. As such the code used relies on the capabilities of your web browser on your device or computer. At this time no browsers have access to built barometers yet as the technology is relatively new. The organization that develops the standards for the languages used in web browsers, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), has several draft documents for the capability now. Typically the web browses like Chrome and Firefox will adopt early versions of this before it's official. When they do I can start working with it myself. I'm keeping my eye on it.
You don't in the traditional sense. SapTapApps are 'Web Apps' and as such they aren't in the Apple or Google stores. See the FAQ on this page about that subject.
To install a Web App you simply choose to "Add to Home Screen". The procedure differs a bit between the iOS and Android devices but, it's similar enough. You visit the site in either Safari or Chrome and you select the menu option to "Add to Home Screen".
Fortunately now for most Android/Chrome users you will automatically be prompted to do so. This is a newer feature of Progressive Web Apps. Apple hasn't adopted this yet but at the time I write this they have announced they plan to support many other features of progressive web apps. We'll have to see if they auto prompt to Add to Home screen. Meanwhile it's a simple procedure on iOS. In the middle of the bottom menu of Safari there is an icon that looks like a square with an upwards arrow in it. Click that, you may have to scroll right, but "Add to Home Screen" will be one of the options. Thats' it you've installed SapTapApps.
Like many of you all, I'm a hobby sugar maker who loves being outdoors. And truth be told I all ready spend out of pocket money buying supplies to make the syrup which I don't even sell. SapTapApps started out as yet another maple syrup related hobby that I put online for free, and I was able to keep it that way for a few years with the help of some very generous donors.
In the 2019 sugar season the servers that host my apps got very busy from about mid Feb to end of April which required spending more money for bigger servers. As well the weather feed from Dark Sky and the mapping features from Google started to cost money. They both have a free tier which our traffic easily exceeded in 2019.
It was very clear in mapping out usage trends and donation trends between 2017 to 2019 that the next season would cost too much money out of pocket for me to afford.
It benefits all users of the apps if more users contribute data so I didn't want to cap the number of users or throttle usage in anyway. I also really did not want to junk up the user interface with advertisements that truthfully would just slow down the app.
So starting in 2020 SapTapApps is charging a small subscription fee of $1.99/year in hopes to cover its costs. I hope you'll all agree with me that the nominal per year fee is a good value for what I'm providing in the apps.
Special thanks to those of you who did donate in the past. And to those of you choosing to subscribe now thanks for helping keep SapTapApps going.
I've heard from folks who accidentally put in a duplicate record or made a mistake that they wish to correct. This is something you can easily fix yourself, all though it's not obvious to see how especially on a mobile device.
When viewing your logs, there is a button labeled "View/Edit" all the way over to the right of each log line. Depending on your device you may have to scroll or swipe to the right. Typically when on a smaller mobile device not all the information for a log line is viewable at first. You need to swipe to the right to reveal the collected weather data and the volume/tap/day calculation as well. Alternatively if you don't have your device orientation locked into vertical/portrait mode, rotating it to be horizontal/landscape may show this extra data and button as well.
Click the "View/Edit" button to the far right of the line you wish to change or delete. The next screen you get will be just like the screen you used for a new log entry but it will have all the data for the log you are wishing to edit. If you just want to make a change go ahead, adjust whatever you need to and hit Save at the bottom. Or if you need to remove the record completely there is a Delete button you can click. Be careful when deleting this is permanent, and because of that you will be prompted with a message asking if you are sure.
Still have an unanswered question. Ask me via the feedback form.