Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #202: big problem
By joy tinkler (joyt)

#1: joy tinkler (joyt) on Dec 19, 2009

love the site!!! recently having problems tho, the page shuts down then immediately reloads causing me to lose the partially completed puzzle, which is very annoying. It happens after I have been on for about 3 minutes. Any ideas?
#2: Jan Wolter (jan) on Dec 19, 2009
Haven't a clue. Has anyone else seen anything like this?
#3: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Dec 19, 2009
Not me. There are times where I try and save a puzzle as I am solving it and it stalls for anywhere from about 30 seconds to maybe 5 minutes or so, but that's about it on my end.
#4: Teresa K (fasstar) on Dec 19, 2009
I have not had that prioblem. The only thing that goes wrong for me is the javascript sometimes stalls and I get an error message while solving large color puzzles (Firefox).
#5: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Dec 19, 2009
I hate firefox. I can never open any puzzle 50x50 or larger on it. I always have to use IE.
#6: Isabelle Saucier (isaucier) on Dec 20, 2009
I have the same problem as well. It reloads the page and you lose everything you did so far. If you save the puzzle at some point while you solve it, and the "shut down" happens, you are brought back to the spot you saved at.

This is very annoying, especially if you were close to finishing a puzzle. :-P
#7: Cecily (TheLorax) on Dec 23, 2009
I used to have that problem, plus the problem of just not loading at all, but unlike Adam, my problem was with IE, now that I use Firefox, I don't have that problem anymore. :-)
#8: Joel Lynn (furface1) on Dec 27, 2009
I've been having the same problem, started about 2 weeks ago, never had the problem before that. My mantra while on PBN now is "save early, save often..." I use IE.
#9: Michelle Sayles (msayles) on Dec 28, 2009
I have had a recent problem which began only in the last week. The page locks up and the only way to shut it down is through task manager. I have been trying to figure out if it is particular combination of key strokes causing the issue, but haven't pinpointed the cause. I am using IE 8.
#10: Kath Ballard (kittykat) on Jan 1, 2010
I've been having this problem for the past month or so, and mostly with the bigger puzles that take longer to load anyway. I use IE and get an error message which then causes IE to close down and restart with the last save as mentioned above.

I am getting it with #7541 for instance. Can't even get it to load! Error message reads "Internet Explorer has stoped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available."
#11: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 1, 2010
Well, I haven't touched the webpbn code for quite a while. Maybe this is a bug introduced in a recent update to IE.

If the browser hangs or crashes, that's a browser bug. Even if there is something wrong with the web page then the browser should obviously be popping up an error message instead of crashing.

I have been doing some googling trying to figure out what could be causing this, but have had no success with that yet. If I knew exactly what is causing the crash, then I could likely build a workaround into the webpbn site. But at this point I don't.

Probably I should find a computer with windows on it and spend some time using IE. Until either I find a workaround or Microsoft applies a fix, it may be that trying another browser would be the best fix.
#12: Kath Ballard (kittykat) on Jan 1, 2010
Thanks Jan. I have another 630ish puzzles to complete before this becomes a major issue for me!! :-D
#13: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jan 1, 2010
I use Firefox, and I knew my computer would not be able to handle that huge 99x99 puzzle (#7541). I tried to look at the solution, just to see what I might be missing, and my browser hung ("not responding" and I had to shut down Firefox and start again.
#14: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Jan 1, 2010
I posted this on the comment section of that 99x99 puzzle, but I always use IE for anything 50x50 or larger. Firefox doesn't seem to be able to handle the large puzzle images.
#15: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jan 1, 2010
Thanks, Adam. I'll try that next time.
#16: ant (agrest272) on Jan 2, 2010
sometimes i get that save hang that you described in #3 adam, where it takes a couple of minutes.. occasionally I'll run pings to webpbn.com during these times and get packet drops or like 2000+ms response times, so I just chalked it up to network latency or some kind of site maintenance?

i agree although i normally hate IE, it's the only browser that can handle the massive puzzles (at least when it comes to doing a 'peek')
#17: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 2, 2010
Hmmm...I normally only use webpbn either from my old Mac laptop or my linux system. Firefox on the old Mac was able to load a "peek" of the 99x99 puzzle, though it paused twice asking me if I should stop the script or let it continue. I told it to continue. (These messages say something about the "script may be stuck" but they just mean the script is taking a long time - continuing is almost always the right choice on webpbn unless you have decided you don't want the page after all).

On the other hand, all the windows machines in our house recently got a lot slower. In moments of paranoia we suspect that Microsoft sends out updates that slow down older computers, inspiring people to buy new computers, along with new copies of windows.

Once the kids are back in school, maybe I'll be able to look at things more closely.
#18: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 8, 2010
OK, I booted a computer into Windows XP and started up IE 8.

While working on a puzzle, I found that it would periodically erase the puzzle page, briefly pop up a message about IE having helpfully recovered my tab for me, and then redraw the puzzle. After this, all changes made to the puzzle since the last save would be lost. This would seem to happen quite regularly, as if a timeout was being reached.

I did some reading about this on the web. This is really just your basic browser crash, but the newer versions of IE seem to have gotten clever about recovering from crashes. It almost instantly restarts after the crash and reloads the page you were on. Hence the message about having "recovered" your tab. An error message explaining why it lost it in the first place would be nice, but that doesn't seem to be possible to get.

First thing I tried was to run the "No Add Ons" version of IE. Many crashes like this are caused by add ons. It seemed unlikely to me, since webpbn uses no add ons, but who knows? This didn't help. It seems to be a real live IE crash, not an crash caused by a plugin or toolbar.

Thinking about this it looked like some kind of resource recovery problem. It works fine for a while, but things pile up, until too much piles up, and then it crashes.

Now one thing that webpbn does that is very different from most Javascript apps is that it evaluates lots and lots of regular expressions as it does error checking. Regular expression checking is tricky, and most websites don't use it much, so it is a prime candidate for flakiness.

So I tried turning off the redball automatic error checking using the "Option" button. As far as I can tell, that ended the crashes.

So my current theory is that IE's got an regular expression bug.

If you've been having these crashes, please try turning off error checking and tell me if that solves them. If that's the problem, I can work around it. I've already done so for several other browsers with broken regular expressions, so I can do so for IE too.
#19: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jan 8, 2010
I tried IE with the error checker turned off, and that eliminated the browser crash.

I can't believe how dependent I have become on using the error checker. But I actually got through an entire color puzzle without it. :-)
#20: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 8, 2010
I've installed a possible fix. I need to check it more carefully when I am more awake. At the moment I'm somewhat confident that the crash has been worked around, but only mildly confident that error checking and the helper sre still working correctly.
#21: Joel Lynn (furface1) on Jan 10, 2010
I've had the error checker turned off forever, and I still am having crashes today, although it may be taking longer to crash than it did last week...?

Thanks for working this problem. I'm getting used to hitting the "S" key frequently, so I don't lose too much when it crashes. In fact, I had to restrain myself from saving today to see if the problem was fixed, but alas, my work was lost.
#22: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jan 10, 2010
I tried turning the error checker back on in with IE and it still crashed. Plus, the error checker did not seem to be working right, showing a red dot at times when it shouldn't. I went back to Firefox.
#23: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 11, 2010

I wrote an alternate error checker that doesn't use regular expressions after the webkit people (Safari,Chrome) broke their regular expressions in hopes of getting better scores on benchmarks. I also turned that on for Opera, because Opera has historically had broken regular expressions, though they may have fixed that in recent releases. My "fix" for IE was just to turn this on, though when I did so I found some bugs in the alternate error checker that I subsequently fixed. It looks like (1) there are other bugs in it, and (2) this doesn't actually solve the crashing problem.

If you see situations where a redball is displayed incorrectly, I'd appreciate a screenshot. These things are fairly easy to fix once I can see the bug.

The IE bug is really hard to get a handle on. Maybe I should just report it to Microsoft and hope they'll fix it, though any bug that requires that they play webpbn for half an hour before they can reproduce it is unlikely to get a high priority.
#24: Byrdie (byrdie) on Jan 11, 2010
Probably too late but my fix for the IE8 bug has been to "uncheck" it every time update tries to insist it's a "critical update." I've stuck with IE7 so far because I know it works. My friend who introduced me to the site uses Firefox but he told me about a saving issue he had a while back. Something to do with going away from his computer for a while and it being locked up when he came back. Wish I could tell you more. He has been distracted and not on the site since early December.
#25: Jan Wolter (jan) on Jan 11, 2010
Is everyone who is seeing this problem using IE 8?
#26: Teresa K (fasstar) on Jan 11, 2010
I have IE8. It crashed on me this morning while I was solving a puzzle. I went back to solve the same puzzle and continually saved it every minute, and it did not crash that time.

Also, I have not been able to replicate the error checker problem today, so maybe that one is fixed.
#27: Michelle Sayles (msayles) on Jan 11, 2010
Thanks Jan for all of the work to get this fixed. I have 2 computers with IE 8 that have been having the same issue (although one reloads, the other just hangs until I kill it). The issue seems to be greatly improved today. Previously it crashed several times per puzzle. Now I am able to complete several puzzles between crashes.
#28: Joel Lynn (furface1) on Jan 16, 2010
I am currently using IE version 8.0.6001.18702 and am still experiencing periodic crashes. (Saving often to avoid losing too much.)
#29: joy tinkler (joyt) on Feb 16, 2010
I now use Google Chrome to open webpbn, works a treat no more crashes and I dont need to turn error checker off. It also seems faster.
#30: Kath Ballard (kittykat) on Feb 28, 2010
I listened to joyt, installed Chrome and haven't had any problems for 24 hours. Yipee!
#31: Joel Lynn (furface1) on Mar 17, 2010
I noticed that I had Google Chrome on my computer, so I also am using that now for webpbn and have not had any more crashes.
#32: Sandy White (paper5) on Feb 24, 2014
My computer no longer saves my puzzles, though it tries for a long time. But now I have no idea which ones I've already solved:(
#33: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Feb 24, 2014
This problem is being reported all over the forum. Keep looking at Topic #5 "Bugs" to find updates.

(You should be able to manually mark them as finished by hovering over the name on the Puzzle List page and then choosing "rate this puzzle" from the pop-up menu. Then check the "mark this puzzle as done" checkbox.)

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