View Full Version : Warning for all prop tool users.

Clock Loop
07-11-2009, 05:31 PM
I was using the prop tool (have been for a few months now) and had it loaded along with 5-6 other programs/windows....

well, when i went to save my latest code one of the many times, prop tool gave me an error, it said that it could not save the file. I sent the error to parallax, but once i closed the file and opened it again, the file size was 0, and all code lost with no backup(some programs save a backup copy of all open work when errors happen)
well, luckly I had made a cd backup 2 days prior, (other wise it would have been 2 weeks of lost work.)

I now regularly use the "archive" option under the file menu....

Since prop tool is buggy, you all should do this too.

I would suggest that parallax include some failsafe code that saves a backup of all open files under a backup name in the event of a program error/crash.
(had i known the file was 0(after error), i would have copied all code from the prop tool before restarting prop tool. (proptool didn't crash, just kept giving me errors when i tried to save, so the text was still in ram, even tho the hard drive copy was toast)


Timothy D. Swieter
07-11-2009, 06:29 PM
Good suggestion.

Timothy D. Swieter, E.I.
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Peter Jakacki
07-11-2009, 07:04 PM
I don't think that Prop tool is to blame as very often it is that microsloppy operating system or even perhaps one of those other programs to blame. I say this because I have never had a crash from Prop tool itself. Anyway, I run BST under Ubuntu these days so I wouldn't know anything much anymore about microslop crashes.


07-11-2009, 07:51 PM
I continually save my code with a numeric suffix e.g. "someprog153.spin" where the "153" is numerically increasing. I have always used this practice since I started programming back in th 70's. Saved my bacon many times over. And it also allows you to revert to older code should you introduce a bug. Windoze has meant more failures occur more often though !

Links to other interesting threads:

· Home of the MultiBladeProps: TriBladeProp (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=786418), RamBlade (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=810753), TwinBlade (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=806697),·SixBlade (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=780033), website (http://bluemagic.biz/cluso.htm)
· Single Board Computer:·3 Propeller ICs·and a·TriBladeProp board (ZiCog Z80 Emulator) (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=790917)
· Prop Tools under Development or Completed (Index) (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=753439)
· Emulators: Micros eg Altair, and Terminals eg VT100 (Index (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=778427)) ZiCog (Z80), MoCog (6809)
· Search the Propeller forums (via Google) (http://search.parallax.com/search?site=parallax&client=parallax&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=parallax&proxycustom=<HOME/>&ie=&oe=&lr=)
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Clock Loop
07-11-2009, 09:43 PM
Peter Jakacki said...
I don't think that Prop tool is to blame...

Well windowz is crappy, but since i started using proptool, it has given me more than a few major errors, for instance, if you accidentally press the F10 and F11 button at the same time, prop tool will give you a code error when it shouldn't. i know you shouldn't press f10 and f11, but its easy to do, being next to eachother.. and considering that programming something that will refuse this kind of keyboard input would be fairly easy... the prop tool DOES have bugs.

And i submit every single one to parallax. Blame windows all you want, but i have been using windows long enough to know if a program causes its own demise, or if its windows acting funny.

One thing to mention tho, is that I leave my pc on, and proptool open 24/7 (and don't allow standby/sleep/hibernate modes) because i use my pc so much, that turning it off and on everyday will cause more damage than leaving it all on.

So perhaps its something to do with the length of time your running prop tool.

Still i have run Other programs without shutting down for weeks, and they work fine. i use program firewalls to prevent malicious programs, and even keep the pc offline when not interfacing with the net.
I am 95% certain that this was a prop tool bug.

07-11-2009, 11:13 PM
I program on a Gateway 2000 with Win. ME converted to XP. I have gutted out every componant in that PC exepting the motherboard and HD, and have even mounted a prop inside it for quick programming. I added a key switch ("ignition") to start it and a light to show HD action. The PC is supprisingly fast and has had but 1 crash. Propeller Tool however has had strange errors that shut it down immediatly, but when I open it back up it has the program with a commented section at the top explaning it auto-saved it and to save it to a pemanent folder immediatly.

Why is everyone SO down on Vista (and just widows inparticular)?? It is the best OS I have ever used! It is on our Dell Hybrid downstairs and is blazing fast and is awsomely user-friendly. So why do SO MANY people hate it?!?!?

Toys are microcontroled.
Robots are microcontroled.
I am microcontroled.

If it's not Parallax then don't even bother. :-)

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07-11-2009, 11:40 PM
OK - you use Linux. BFD! Many people do not. Telling them how awesome some your lin-fu is will *never* solve their problem.

@Clock Loop - Thanks for the heads-up.


"They may have computers, and other weapons of mass destruction." - Janet Reno

Peter Jakacki
07-12-2009, 12:35 AM
@Ned - I have used MACs, DOS, Windows 3, WIN95, WIN98, WINXP, VISTA over many years so I don't know why you are getting so offended (unless you are really Bill Gates) just because I speak from my experience. Anyway I didn't say how "awesome" Linux is because I don't need to, the fact that I use it in spite of my extensive experience with Windows speaks for itself.

@Clock Loop - Perhaps Prop tool has some bugs but I found the Windows USB drivers troublesome which is perhaps what might have something to do with when you hit F10,F11 together (all thumbs? :) ).

About O/S's in general I must say that the one I always liked best was BeOS but Linux has come a long way and I have found that it has only been in the last couple of years that I would have considered Linux as a viable substitute for Windows for general PC use. Not bad at all considering Linux does not have the billions of dollars and manufacturers "cooperation" that MS has. Sounds a bit like Parallax and the Propeller, whereas other CPU users get their nose out of joint and don't want to hear about the Propeller.


07-12-2009, 01:16 AM
Younger people sometimes miss experiences older than they are. http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/wink.gif . It is not possible to press two keys in one moment. Every key pressed sends a keycode to the serial output of the keycode. Long long ago, every character output was reflected on the screen. With the modern OS'es try to output |/-\|/-\ in a loop and see what happens. Working on a computer, more than 99% of all bugs come from the keyboard side. It takes a lifetime to bring this down to, say, 70%. The problem with the bugs in modern OS is, that they often have a long history, that is, they turn out to be a consequence of strange behavior that is accepted in everydays life. Therefor it is hard to reproduce a bug and fix it. As long a the bug is not fixed and reproducible, it is hard to say: it is in the tool. As long a someone overclocks a processor, hardware failures will happen. When I started with microcomputers, we had the first 16kByte dynamic ram cards (intel chips, siemens cards) and had memory errors when a certain byte value was written to a certain address replacing another certain value. Since that time I know, that it is impossible to test a memory. And I had harddisk controllers, which formated a track when a undefined command sequence came in. And, on behalf of operation systems: when the processors had 8 bit and 64kB and no harddisks were 4000$, we had a OS called TurboDOS with multiprocessing, multitasking, highly modular, distributed, integrated message passing, printer driver and queues, ... Now, after 20 years of development, we nearly reached this level. Lagos will take some time to appear http://forums.parallax.com/images/smilies/wink.gif


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07-12-2009, 03:59 AM
I have several clean XP, SP3 installs: the prop tool crashes about every 4 out of 5 closes. And will occasionally exhibit the behaviour the OP mentions. This happens even on a totally new install of XP (with SP3) and no other stuff added or running.

I'm pretty sure what's happening as I can recreate the error -

1. Don't launch the prop tool by double clicking on the source file, use file open and browse to it.
2. Save and *then* close the file (close the tab). Save, close, and exit the prop tool in that order.

( To recreate the error, try double clicking on a source and then just exit the prop tool - even without editing, it is likely to crash. )
Print will cause the app to hang on close too if for one example you turn off the printer while it's printing, then clear the print cache, and close the prop tool. Granted, that's pretty silly, but it indicates what I describe below *)

It's easy to blame the OS, or other programs, but it's wrong to do so - it often just *seems* like they're to blame. XP at least has been hammered on *way* too much. By the time an MS OS gets past SP2, it's pretty mature. Clock Loop, which OS and service pack are you running? It's not a good sign that you can't shut down your machine. Rebooting often clears up problems and starts a clean slate.

> So perhaps its something to do with the length of time your running prop tool.

This is usually indicative of a stray pointer, more commonly called a 'memory leak'. The bits are slowly dribbling into places they shouldn't go - until the OS notices and kills your app (or doesn't notice ... and it just grows into a monster or hangs).

Look in the event log -> applications ... it will tell you more.

*) I suspect what's happening with the Prop tool is one of the most common problems in programming in general: lack of error trapping routines. (Code it fast, worry about error correction later. ... oh, job done - oh well, I guess we didn't get those error routines in.) For example, the print driver on a failed print tells the application there's a problem. The app ignores the problem at it's own peril - an unattended driver is a good way to crash a calling program. (Just think of how many times your machine seems to lock up when you get a bad CD sector (or the optical drive itself futzes out.))



Post Edited (CounterRotatingProps) : 7/11/2009 9:27:39 PM GMT

Jimmy W.
07-12-2009, 06:07 AM
While I am not a huge windows fan, I did alot of process and memory tracing work on my dev system after doing a clean sp3 install, the result is an nLite installation of windows that is a hair over 100Mb in size (103Mb on source media) before driver discrete installation, I can source this to anyone that has a LEGITIMATE copy of xp SP3 pro ( you must enter your key in the ini file) from most HP usb media on a current system I can do a complete reinstall of windows in about 19 minutes start to useable. On this install I have had 0 crashes, partly becuase alot (everything I could find,·I wont claim to have found it all)·of the buggy things have been removed, (audio, themes, help, debugging, dhcp, NLA, IE, WMP, RR, etc), I also have a small program that will turn this into a LIVE usb stick, but you MUST have all the drivers required. If anyone is interested let me know.

I hate to see people having problems with XP, I have to use it everyday, I have no choice for many of the things I have to do sadly, but adding LS and vi have really helped me deal with it. :)


07-12-2009, 06:17 AM
Just a note... I've also lost things before, mostly due to my own fault. If you happen to have Windows Vista, you might have volume shadow copy activated. In that case, you can do "Restore Previous Versions" on the file to get back older copies...

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07-12-2009, 08:37 AM
I should see what the hype is on Linux.
I am not trying to grouch around, it is just that people constantly put Windows and Vista down, and I think it is a great OS. I have had very few errors with them, and whenever I do, my work is always restored.
Then agian, maybe I am just used to it.

Toys are microcontroled.
Robots are microcontroled.
I am microcontroled.

If it's not Parallax then don't even bother. :-)

Mini-Din/PS2 connectors are for sale! 5 for $1! PM me if you wish to make an order.
Cheap·shipping unless specified!··········150 left!!··

Peter Jakacki
07-12-2009, 09:14 AM
Productivity, usability, and reliability are probably the reasons I make the choices I make because I'm not waving anyone's flag, just what gets the job done. In regards to "HATING" Windows I don't think that would be correct or implied (Vista maybe) as I have used it for many years. Given a choice it makes sense to choose the better one that suits you but most people are not given a choice or have become too ingrained into thinking that there is only one way of doing things. When we buy a PC we don't have a choice but we all pay Bill who thanks the manufacturers and customers for their cooperation and compliancy.

I have been fortunate to be able to have free and fast downloads for all those Linux flavors but there have been surprisingly few that I would choose. In terms of standouts PuppyLinux is only a 100MB install and is fast and comes packed with apps but I actually use Ubuntu now although it wasn't one of my favorites previously. I am still using Protel99SE which just would not run properly on Vista no matter what tricks I or anyone else pulled so I am running it very nicely under WinXP using VirtualBox in Ubuntu. But that's about the only real app I still run on Windows. Say, I have played with PCB/Schematic apps that run directly in Linux or through Wine, does anyone have any recommendations for any particular one especially for production work? I mostly do double-sided SMD with schematic to PCB but I prefer manual routing.

This forum is a positive forum and is all about help and suggestions and whereas we may differ on many issues we know that we are in agreement that the Propeller although not being everyone's cup of tea is a fantastic processor and plaything.