Web Paint-by-Number Forum
Topic #210: Hint button
By Wombat (wombatilim)

#1: Wombat (wombatilim) on Feb 1, 2010

I noticed Jan's news item about the L or ? keys being used to show a hint, but could never get it to work. Today I realized it might be just broken in Firefox (3.5.5) and gave it a go in Safari, and it worked great. Is this not working in Firefox for other people, or is it some combination of the plugins I use with it that's causing this to break?
#2: Teresa K (fasstar) on Feb 1, 2010
Wombat, I had noticed that sometimes the "L" worked and sometimes it didn't. What I realize now is that I had been switching between IE Explorer and Firefox depending on the type of puzzle I was solving. When Firefox did an update, I started having more problems on this site. So I gave up and tried out Google's Chrome. I love it! So much faster, it handles Javascripr more efficiently. I haven't had any problems, and the "L" key works just fine, as does everything else. And review say Chrome has better security built in.

#3: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 2, 2010
Is that firefox on Windows? I use firefox on the Mac and never have problems. When the L key doesn't work, do the other key shortcuts work, like S for save, and the H and V line drawing commands?
#4: Teresa K (fasstar) on Feb 2, 2010
When I use Firefox on Windows, the H and V work and I can save with the S key. It is just the L key that doesn't work. But I'm mostly using Chrome now, because it is so much faster and all the shortcuts work.
#5: Byrdie (byrdie) on Feb 2, 2010
I'm using IE7. All my shortcut keys work consistently except, the few times I've tried, I've never gotten the L or ? to work. When I've tried I get the java logo with an exclamation mark (error) in my system tray. I'll have to try again just to confirm this is still the case - I haven't tried in awhile.
#6: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 2, 2010
Very odd. Requires study.
#7: Byrdie (byrdie) on Feb 2, 2010
It worked today on my laptop but I'm not sure I've tried it there before. Haven't had a chance to try on my desktop yet.
#8: Wombat (wombatilim) on Feb 2, 2010
I'm using Firefox on Mac. The other shortcuts work... most of the time. The L never works. The others either all work or all don't, and usually if they're not working it's because I've been switching tabs a bunch, and clicking the "save" button usually makes the keyboard shortcuts work again when that happens.

I'll give it a try with my plugins disabled and see if that helps.
#9: Wombat (wombatilim) on Feb 2, 2010
Disabled all of my plug-ins and add-ons, and the L key still didn't do anything when the other shortcuts worked fine.

It may be time to just start using Safari for webpbn, since that does work fine.
#10: Byrdie (byrdie) on Feb 3, 2010
Just tried on my desktop (using IE7) and it worked there as well. No issues to report here, then.
#11: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Feb 6, 2010
The L feature doesn't work on Firefox as far as I have been able to tell. I might start using other browsers (other than IE) since they seem to work well and don't crash as often.
#12: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Feb 13, 2010
"L" works in Firefox 3.5.7 on win XP.
I thought it was broken, too, having never gotten it to work (since I only ever used it when really stuck and bored). Then I thought it was random after trying it on my own puzzles. However it just seems to have basic line logic behind it. If you're waiting until you're stuck to use it, it might just not be finding a hint for you.
Try it at the beginning of a puzzle to see if it will find something for you.
#13: Teresa K (fasstar) on Feb 13, 2010
I just opened Firebox 3.5.7 on WinXP and started up the sudoku puzzle and tried the L key. Nothing. I started to solve the puzzle and tried the L key again. Nothing. I waited to see if it needed more time. Nothing. I made sure my cursor was over the puzzle and that I had just clicked on the puzzle.

Jan, I checked the java error console. First I cleared it, then I pressed the L key. This is the error message:

Error: fm[fi] is undefined
Source File: http://webpbn.com/jsz/helper_reg.js
Line: 99
#14: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Feb 13, 2010
Ok, I just tried again, this time on one of Teresa's puzzles and got:
Error: pbn.line.er[d] is undefined
Source File: http://webpbn.com/jsz/helper_reg.js
Line: 88

which is:
pbn.line.re[d][i], pbn.line.er[d][i], this.ic[d][i]);
in the function:
Helper.prototype.linesolve= function(d,i)

*However*, when I loaded one of my unpublished puzzles, the helper worked fine.
--Also a published one.
#15: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Feb 20, 2010
"L" consistently works with my own puzzles in Firefox, but with nobody else's. In Safari (the Win version) it works with anyone's.
#16: Adam Nielson (monkeyboy) on Feb 20, 2010
I just started using Google Chrome. I love it. It is faster, it loads puzzles of every size quickly, the larger puzzles seem to fit better, it has never frozen or shut down on me, and the L feature works (not that I ever really use it, but it's nice to know it is there).
#17: Joe (infrapinklizzard) on Feb 20, 2010
I run through my own puzzles to make sure they work before I publish them. After making small changes to make a puzzle work, I run through it from the beginning to make sure nothing important has changed (like it suddenly becoming incredibly easy through a new avenue of attack). It is a pain to go through all the tedium of finding all the line logic to get to the interesting parts, so I use "L" to quickly find the next trivial logic.

I only use the helper for the first quick check. It only says that it is solvable, not whether it's tedious or not.

I almost never use "L" on anyone else's puzzles, which is why it took so long for me to find out it's broken in Firefox.

I find it interesting that it works with mine, but not with others'. Does this mean that the helper routine downloaded is different between the two?
#18: Jan Wolter (jan) on Feb 24, 2010
Yup, that must be it. There is a separate module that is not normally loaded which contains the "helper". This is also used by the "hint" button. If you are an administrator or if you are solving one of your own puzzles, then the "helper" is preloaded and enabled. When you ask for the first hint, the helper is supposed to be loaded. But apparently that isn't working. So it works for people on their own puzzles, and it works for me, but not for everyone else.

So now at least I have a pretty good idea of what the problem is. Hopefully I'll find time soon to fix it. Thanks to all who posted their diagnostic experience and error messages.

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