posted by seamus5 on May 17, 2012 | 14 comments
Hey guys! I just wanted to let you know about a technical problem that I have been having. It happens when I'm doing a review test. I'm using an iPad 3. But, when I take the review test, sometimes the test square will be blank white with the word 'undefined' in the top left-hand corner.

When this happens, it's like Safari crashes. I can't do anything with it, and the only way to solve the problem is to close it by going to the home screen, tapping and holding on the app icon and hitting the black X.

I hope you're having a great day!
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murrayjames on May 17, 2012 | reply
This has happened to me too (Windows 7, Chrome).

I think David said this was due to definitions for some of the test questions being incomplete.
seamus5 on May 17, 2012 | reply
Interesting. I wonder why this has not happened before? It's never been a problem but today, all of a sudden, it is been happening almost every time I have tried to use the review tests. I have actually turned the function off in my account, otherwise I would never be able to look at any of the pop-up pages if the test came up automatically!
trevelyan on May 17, 2012 | reply
@murrayjames, seamus5,

Yes - the problem is related to the system wanting to test someone on a specific word, but not having the necessary information. If there are multiple testing options available we try to switch to a test that takes advantage of whatever information is there, but we can't guard against all edge cases and still give people control over customizing their test options.

In an attempt to solve this, I've just followed drummerboy's advice and put in a quick interstitial page that will prompt people to provide missing data for these words instead of just throwing up an error page. Hopefully this will make it clearer to people what the problem is while giving them a workaround. Let me know if you guys run into any trouble with it.

seamus5 on May 21, 2012 | reply
Hey David! I just wanted to give you some follow-up regarding the solution. I encountered it in the test just now. It popped up with an option to fill in some missing data. I put it in the data and click update, but I got another Spinningwheel that never moved onto the next part of the review test. The good news is that there was still an X to close out the review session in the top right-hand corner, so the app did not freeze.

Hope this is helpful!

BTW: would you preferred these things to be posted here, or to have an email sent directly to you?
murrayjames on May 21, 2012 | reply
I'm getting this too. Entered some pinyin and clicked "Update Vocabulary List", but it stayed stuck on that screen. Does the pinyin need to be in a specific format?
trevelyan on May 22, 2012 | reply
@murrayjames & @seamus5,

Are these problems persistent for you guys, or are they one-time issues that go away the next time you open the review? i.e. do you need to do a soft reset on Safari to make the problems go away, or just closing the popup and reopening it solve the problem?

What the javascript does is make a connection to our server to request the next question. If this request gets interrupted or dropped by the network for any reason -- which has happened to me once too -- you'll just see the spinning button and then nothing else. It should be a pretty rare issue though.

Anyway -- it would be good to confirm whether or not these problems require a soft reset to solve on your machines in order to try and figure out what the exact problem might be and how we can work around it. We should probably code a listener that will catch failed attempts to fetch questions and reissue requests after a certain number of seconds have passed.
murrayjames on May 22, 2012 | reply

I do a lot of reviews, and I've only had this problem once. Must mean the database is up to date. No soft reset necessary; after X'ing the popup and reloading the lesson page everything was fine.

It is helps, the culprit was 康师傅 from the Elementary "A Betrayal of Family" lesson :-) I've added the word to my private word list and will see it comes up again.
seamus5 on May 19, 2012 | reply
Since this fix, I have not been able to use the review on my iPad. Everything comes up like it should with the 'before we continue..." text and the 'x' in the top right to close the session. However, I am only getting a spinning hamster wheel of indecision.... no review questions.

I did find that a soft reset of the iPad did resolve the issue. Do we know what causes this? Is there something I can do to prevent it?

Thanks for the help!

trevelyan on May 19, 2012 | reply

I've just tested on our iPad using your account and have not had a problem using the review. This is clicking on the "Review" button in the Study Center and going through your default vocabulary that is scheduled for review.

Question: are you still getting this issue now, or did the soft reset of the iPad resolve the problem completely? If the latter, the issue was likely that your iPad had cached the older version of the javascript and incompatibilities between those two versions were causing problems.

Please let me know if you are still having this issue anyway, and - if so - how exactly you are launching the review.
seamus5 on May 20, 2012 | reply
No, I have not had the problem since I reset my iPad. From what you are saying, this is something that I will have to do regularly if this becomes a problem? It only resolution instead player out the cash, and only way to do that is to reset the iPad?
trevelyan on May 20, 2012 | reply
No... if you haven't had any problems since the reset it should just be a one-time thing. The reset would have removed the old javascript from your browser cache and forced it to download the new javascript, which seems to be working fine.

If you do run into any more issues you aren't sure about, send me an email directly and I'll deal with them ASAP, since you'll be reporting unknown issues.

trevelyan on May 25, 2012 | reply
Updating the Review tool - things may be funky for the next hour or so (May 25th, 5:00pm). Will post here with an update when finished.

UPDATE: the first round of changes are in the system. These change the pinyin test from focusing exclusively on tones to swapping out more complex phonetic changes as well. Am not happy with the quality yet, so it isn't implemented for everyone yet. The rest of the review should be back to normal though.