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 Automated "Save for later" problem 
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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:59 am




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Post Automated "Save for later" problem
AFAICT, using the "Save for later" button once in a while when solving a large puzzle may serve three purposes:

  1. You can log out and do something else, then log back in and continue without having to start from scratch.
  2. If the browser window is closed by accident or the browser crashes, you can get back to the puzzle and find it in the state it was in when you last used "Save for later".
  3. If you get stuck in a hard puzzle and there's a "fork in the road" where you can't refute any of two possibilities using just you head and pen and paper, you can save the current state (which you know to be correct barring any prior mistake on your part) and then explore one of the possibilities until the puzzle is solved or you end up in a situation where a correct solution isn't possible. In the latter case you conclude that the possibility you explored is incorrect so the other one must be correct, and you revert to the "fork" situation by reloading the page (using F5 or the browser's reload button).

I enjoy using the "Save for later" button for all three purposes, and in the third case it is of course important to not press the button while exploring a possibility. If you do, and the possibility turns out to be incorrect, it may be very hard to tell exactly which numbers you entered as part of the exploration and should now remove and which were entered earlier and should be left alone.

I got stuck in "fork in the road" situations in both the 9x9 and the 10x10 puzzle of today, 13 December 2011. In both cases I pressed the "Save for later" button and explored a possibility that turned out to be incorrect. In the 9x9 I tried to revert to the "fork" stage by using my browser's Reload button, and in the 10x10 I tried the same thing by pressing F5 on my keyboard. In both cases, however, a lot of numbers I had entered since last using "Save for later" reappeared when the page reloaded, not just the ones I had entered before using it. (Also, the information "Your solution last saved at: [time]" disappeared when the page reloaded. I can't remember right now if that normally happens.)

I never encountered this situation before: Until now, reloading the page always meant that the puzzle reverted to exactly the state it was in when you last used the "Save for later" button. I don't know if there's a glitch in the system or if this is meant as a new feature, much like Autosave in a word processor. I can see how an automated "Save for later" feature would help if the browser crashes and you haven't used the "Save for later" button recently, but I think the problem I just described is bigger than that benefit.

I wonder if anybody has had the same experience with the "Save for later" button recently. Maybe it has to do with my system (Firefox 8.0 on Windows Vista Business SP2)? And maybe I'm the only one who "cheats" by using "Save for later" when stuck in a puzzle? [unsure]


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:20 am




Posts: 422
Location: Canada
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:43 am
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
I'm also using Firefox 8.0 but on XP. I've come across the same problem before where it starts to autosave. I haven't noticed exactly when it happens or whether it happens all the time, but at least you know you're not alone! I've taken to using the print screen function instead. Would be nice to figure out what's happening though...


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:25 am




Posts: 422
Location: Canada
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:43 am
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
Ok, I did a bit of testing because I remember something else weird that happens. If I click on "Clear All Cells" once, it will ask if I want to clear the cells again whenever I press the spacebar. Same thing with "Save for later". After you press it once, if you press spacebar, it will save again. But I thought I remembered that it didn't always happen. If you click somewhere else on the screen, the problem goes away and you can press spacebar without anything happening.


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:55 am




Posts: 192
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
sneaklyfox wrote:
If I click on "Clear All Cells" once, it will ask if I want to clear the cells again whenever I press the spacebar. Same thing with "Save for later". After you press it once, if you press spacebar, it will save again.

You found it! To avoid repetitive strain injury, I navigate and fill in the puzzles using the keyboard rather than the mouse. It isn't possible to delete wrongly placed numbers using Backspace or Delete, but the spacebar works as a deletion key. I was not aware that it has now also been assigned the function of repeating a click on "Save for later" (or "Clear All Cells") so you don't have to use the mouse for that purpose.

sneaklyfox wrote:
If you click somewhere else on the screen, the problem goes away and you can press spacebar without anything happening.

Yes, it works that way on my system, too. Thank you very much for having taken the time to find the solution to my problem. You did quite a nice bit of troubleshooting making the connection between your own "Clear All Cells" experience and my verbose report about the seemingly automated "Save for later". [smile]


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:37 am




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
sneaklyfox wrote:
Ok, I did a bit of testing because I remember something else weird that happens. If I click on "Clear All Cells" once, it will ask if I want to clear the cells again whenever I press the spacebar. Same thing with "Save for later". After you press it once, if you press spacebar, it will save again. But I thought I remembered that it didn't always happen. If you click somewhere else on the screen, the problem goes away and you can press spacebar without anything happening.

Yes, when you click "Save for later", that button has the "browser focus".
Pressing the spacebar when a button has focus will actually click that button
(so save the numbers again).

I'll see if I can automatically put the focus back to the page itself (i.e. the puzzle)
after "Save for later" is used (same for the "Clear" button).

Patrick


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:39 am




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
bram wrote:
It isn't possible to delete wrongly placed numbers using Backspace or Delete, but the spacebar works as a deletion key. I was not aware that it has now also been assigned the function of repeating a click on "Save for later" (or "Clear All Cells") so you don't have to use the mouse for that purpose.

Not specific to those buttons, it's a browser function (i.e. this will work on any website).

Backspace should work as "Undo" though (so could be useful for backtracking from
"short forks"), let me know if it doesn't.

Patrick


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:31 pm




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Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
I've now changed it so the "Save for later" button does not keep focus after you use it.
So right after clicking "Save for later" you can continue to use the space bar.

I've also made it so the last saved timestamp is shown when you load a puzzle.

Now the page is loading slowly because it is timing out on loading Facebook stuff
(code that determines if you're logged in to Facebook or not). For the past couple
of hours, the number of puzzles solved via Facebook has gone down to zero.

If you look at their developer page, to check the "platform status", you see this
"response time" graph:
Image

Yes, very useful [glare]


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:54 pm




Posts: 192
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
pnm wrote:
I've now changed it so the "Save for later" button does not keep focus after you use it.
So right after clicking "Save for later" you can continue to use the space bar.

I've also made it so the last saved timestamp is shown when you load a puzzle.

Thank you for these fixes/improvements, and for the explanation of browser focus. Could you please change it so "Clear All Cells" doesn't keep focus either?

pnm wrote:
Backspace should work as "Undo" though (so could be useful for backtracking from
"short forks"), let me know if it doesn't.

It doesn't at the moment, and I'm not sure it would be a good idea. Here's why: In some puzzles I've discovered in the end that my solution wasn't correct but at the same time I've had a hunch that I didn't go wrong very early on and so may be able to save the day by deleting and replacing only a small amount of numbers rather than starting from scratch (much like jomapil's recent experience).

In such a situation, even if the misplaced numbers were entered at a late stage, they aren't necessarily the most recently entered numbers, i e, a couple of inferences may have been made since entering the wrong numbers that are perfectly valid because those inferences (and the numbers placed according to them) aren't dependent on the wrongly placed numbers. If so, what you want to do is not necessarily undo all of the most recent "moves" in reverse order but rather try to identify just the wrong ones and correct them. Now, if you move the orange highlight to a number you suspect of being wrongly placed and press backspace to delete it but what actually happens is that the most recently entered number is deleted rather than the highlighted one because backspace works like Ctrl+Z rather than like the Delete key, you would feel that you're not really in control of the puzzle.

I see the point in having the option of undoing operations in reverse order, especially when exploring "short forks". But in order to keep the possibility of using backspace as Delete, it might be a better idea to add an "Undo" button to the "Save for later" and "Clear All Cells" buttons. That one would of course also have to be kept from keeping browser focus after you use it [tongue]


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:09 pm




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Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
bram wrote:
Could you please change it so "Clear All Cells" doesn't keep focus either?

Ah, right, of course, will do.
bram wrote:
possibility of using backspace as Delete, it might be a better idea to add an "Undo" button to the "Save for later" and "Clear All Cells" buttons. That one would of course also have to be kept from keeping browser focus after you use it

Maybe Ctrl+Z then for undo, and backspace will be a plain delete. I'll see.
Patrick


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Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:13 pm




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: Automated "Save for later" problem
bram wrote:
Could you please change it so "Clear All Cells" doesn't keep focus either?

Ok, that should work now also.


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