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View Full Version : Still having problems loosing data...GRRR!


Rob
06-24-2008, 08:40 PM
:mad:Hi Donna,
Well, after thinking my problems with loosing data when I tried to upload the file back to my laptop to print out from pda, I'm back to loosing the data. This has got me so frustrated I'm ready to chuck the entire system and go back to pen and paper. I can do a sample report at home and everything works just fine. When I go out on an inspection, do everything the same and poof, data disappears once I try to transfer back to the laptop. I am using the HP ipaq 2790 and an HP laptop with Vista. I even bought a new pda (couldn't return my old one as I bought through Tiger Direct) and the new one does the same as the old. I'm pretty certain I've got my sync settings correct as I have no problem setting up the file on my laptop and then seeing it appear on my pda and can even open and enter the data on my pda. Like I said, I can do a sample inspection at home no problem and see the data come back into 3D when I open the pocket 3d .rce file.
I'm now thinking the problem may be one of two things. One, I'm wondering if the problem might be that I have several different files/forms set up ready to use on the pda. I have the normal residential extended ratings file, a duplex, triplex, condo and apartment files. Is this a possibility? Do I have too many data files on the pda?
Second, could it be a power problem? It usually takes me at least 2 hours to enter the data on the pda. Often I don't plug in the pda or my laptop at the job site. Should I have the pda plugged in to an outlet when I transfer the data back to the laptop?
I hope either you or someone else on the board can help.
Thanks,
Rob

Donna
06-25-2008, 01:50 PM
Hi Rob,
Sorry to hear you've been having trouble. Since you mention the device is an iPAQ, first make sure you've downloaded any updates for the device from HP just to make sure it's not some issue HP has fixed (for instance see http://www.3dinspection.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220 )

If you close and reopen the report on the device before connecting to your main computer, does the report reopen with the data there? Or is it missing at that point?
Are you clicking File > Save periodically as you work on the report?
Are you adding or copying headings and subheadings on your device when working on the report?

If the amount of free memory is low or marginal, that could cause problems. If there simply was not enough storage memory, you normally should get an error that would let you retry the save (so you have a chance to clear some files or move them off the device first). However, if the device runs out of memory for actually running the program and open report, it's possible the OS itself might not be able to run properly and could lose data that way. Regular windows is the same way- if it completely runs out of memory to even run properly, screwy things can happen. However, it's pretty rare to completely run out of memory on a regular computer. It's probably much more likely on a small pocket PC type device. So memory usage could well be somehow related to the problem.

You might want to note how much free memory storage and running memory you have on the device after starting a report and saving it. If you do have a lot of forms on the device, you might also see what happens if you only put one form group on for awhile. Or else consider putting all your forms on a memory card, thus leaving all the memory on the device itself free just for running and saving your reports themselves. You might see if that seems to make a difference- if so, then it might be running memory related.


Not being plugged into a power source shouldn't be an issue, unless you never saved your file and the battery ran so low that the device lost power and shut itself off (which would lose whatever you had open but hadn't yet saved). However, any saved files should generally still be there.

Rob
07-14-2008, 09:21 AM
Hi Donna,
Thanks for the suggestions. In answer to your questions:
I haven't tried closing and reopening but will next time.
I typically don't save as I go.
I don't copy heading or subheadings when working on the report
We did remove all other types of forms and reports from the pda and only had the one I needed for the job. This seemed to fix the problem for about a week, then without warning it happened for the next two reports I did. I think it has to be a memory problem as you've mentioned. I will try your first two suggestions and see if those combined with only keeping the files on the pda that I need work.
Thanks for the help.
Rob

Rob
07-23-2008, 12:22 PM
Hi Donna,
Ok, I have removed excess files from the pda, tried saving as I go, reopening to see if the data is there and anything else you have suggested and the #?%* thing still looses the data! Here is an account of exactly what I do when I use the program. I should start off by saying that because I have totally lost faith in the program's ability to work properly, I now enter the main parts of the inspection, that take the longest to do, on both the pda and my laptop. This way at least if I loose the data I don't have to redo the entire report, only that part that was entered on the pda and not the laptop. For example I will do the outside of the house when I arrive and then once inside and set up with my laptop, I will enter the same data into 3D.
Before I leave my house I set up the file, send and verify it went to the pda ready for use and close out of 3D on my laptop. I don't even open the 3D program on the laptop.
I arrive at site and do the outside of house first entering data on the pda. I save and close the program and then go inside. I set up my laptop at the kitchen table and plug into an electrical outlet. I reopen the program on the pda and finish entering data for the inside of the house. Once I have entered all data on the pda, I save and close the program and then reopen to make sure the data is still there. I place the pda in the docking station and wait to make sure it syncs. Once I see the sync arrows I open 3D on my laptop. Now, here's where things either work or they don't. If I haven't already worked with the file in 3D, I open the pocket 3d file and bring it into 3D. Sometimes, I can see all of the data I entered on the pda right away. Other times I have to merge to bring the data over. The other scenerio is when I try to merge, I see one of the check mark boxes checked and then it disappears along with everything that was entered on the pda. I go back and look on the pda and the only data that is there is from when I originally set up the file in the Office Management area of the 3D program, Client name, address, fee etc...nothing that was entered into the pda remains even though I had entered and saved the data several times while doing the inspection. If I see that all four boxes have check marks while merging, I don't loose the data and everything works just fine. I never know when it is going to work properly. In the past 24 hours I have done 3 inspections and the program hasn't worked properly yet two days ago it worked. As you can imagine, this is so frustrating. I am at the point where if I can't get this problem resolved, I will not renew my subscription and will look for another program to use to do inspections. I hope you can help as I really do like your program when I can get it to work.
Rob

Donna
07-23-2008, 01:29 PM
If you use a laptop along with your PDA, you could also do a section and covert or merge it into the regular report on your laptop, as you go along, while your pocket report is open. That way there's no double-entry, even if you use both computers. However, what you say about it reverting back to your original report doesn't make any sense if you are saving as you go, *unless* you are pre-starting your report from your main computer to send to pocket, and later somehow ActiveSync is getting confused as to which report is newer and somehow transferring the original file over your final one on the device. You might check your ActiveSync Tools > Options settings for conflict resolution to make sure it always prompts you or sends files from your device to your computer and not ther other way around if it thinks there is any conflict. Or else, make sure you KEEP your pocket report open on your device when you sync, until you know for sure that it converts over properly- that way worse case senario if ActiveSync brings back the original file for some reason to the device, you can alway re-save again your open report so you don't lose anything.
What did 3D tech support say about it when you contact them directly? They should be able to offer more peronalized help with figuring out what is going on, or reviewing your steps, then just posting on a user forum like you've been doing- where help or ideas would definitely be more limited. I hope you've been contacting support about the problem, but you've never said anything about it.

Rob
07-23-2008, 02:25 PM
Hi Donna,
Penny here for Rob. He has now left for yet another inspection. Very busy week! :)
We have sent same messages to Heather at tech support. She and other tech support people have offered similar advice regarding possible problems with the pda, active sync and vista. Trust me when I say we have tried everything that's been suggested. We are greatful for the support we've received from you and the tech support folks but we just can't seem to get this problem resolved.
I am interested in what you've said about merging the report as he goes along. I can't say that we've ever tried that. Are you saying that he can leave the report open on the pda, have the main file open on the laptop and select "Merge Pocket 3D" more than once? Hmm...we thought you could only convert or merge once? What you're saying makes sense and it would certainly solve the problem of having to enter data twice; however, if we could solve the problem of data being lost, he could go back to entering all data on the pda with confidence, which is the most efficient method.
I understand what you are saying about the Active sync settings and will check as soon as he gets back with the computers.
I know he has tried keeping the report open on the pda and syncing and still it looses the data. I am pretty sure it disappears off the pda even with the file open so when he tries to save it, there is nothing there.
As Rob said, he really likes the report 3D generates. It is the best one out there. That's why we keep trying to get this to work!
We look forward to your reply. Thanks, Penny

Donna
07-24-2008, 11:11 AM
If the report is kept open and the saved file disappears, then File > Save in the report would re-create it again with your current data.

But in case it's a syncing issue, perhaps you could consider using a memory card to save your reports instead. That way it would eliminate syncing possibly overwriting a final report with a file from your main computer. Here's info from an old topic:
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USING POCKET3D WITH A MEMORY STORAGE CARD

GENERAL - TRANSFERRING FILES TO AND FROM YOUR MEMORY STORAGE CARD
ActiveSync only automatically synchronizes files stored in your Pocket PC's My Documents folder and its subfolders with your main computer (when "files" are set to synchronize). Since a storage card is a separate entity altogether, this means ActiveSync does not automatically synchronize files stored on it.

Thus, the best way to transfer files to and from a removable memory storage card used in your unit is to simply use an inexpensive card reader with your main computer. Windows automatically recognizes a card reader as an additional drive when available, which you can in turn access from 3D or other programs. You'd simply transfer your memory storage card from the unit to your card reader and vice versa whenever needing to transfer or update files you store on the card.

Alternatively, you *can* also Explore your unit from ActiveSync to access files stored on your memory card, and then manually copy files back and forth to a folder on your main computer's hard drive if desired, but since this would be a manual process involving navigating, copying, and pasting your files, using a card reader is a better and easier method.

There are a couple different ways you can use the extra memory in a memory card along with Pocket3D:

A) STORING YOUR POCKET FORMS ON YOUR MEMORY STORAGE CARD (Recommended method)
When starting new reports in Pocket3D, a Pocket PC generally shows you any forms available in your main memory, built-in storage (if available), and removable storage card (if already inserted prior to opening Pocket3D). That means that if you simply save all or most of your Pocket forms on your memory card, they can be available for starting new reports without using any of your units main memory, which could then be reserved for saving final reports. (Note- if your forms are so large that you generally can only save a single report in main memory, then it may be best to also save the report on the storage card to avoid running out of memory as you complete your report. See Cautions below)

To compile your forms directly to your memory card, simply set your compile folder in the Custom Form Studio to your memory card drive letter. (Note: If preferred, you may also create a folder on your storage card for storing your forms since Pocket PCs will generally automatically detect files within one folder level in your storage memory. Additional folder tiers are not detected however.) While your storage card is in its reader, in the Custom Form Studio, just click File...Set Pocket3D Compile folder, select the drive letter Windows assigned to your card (and open a desired folder if applicable), and click OK.

Then right-click your various form groups and compile your forms for Pocket3D as usual, and your Pocket forms are set to your compile folder location, in this case the card reader.

Note: If you use this method, then whenever you recompile your forms, you'll want to make sure you have inserted your storage card into the card reader before doing so (and that Windows assigns the same drive letter). If the compile drive or location doesn't exist (i.e. your storage card is not present in your card reader) when compiling, your Pocket forms will simply be compiled into your main 3D folder instead. If this happens, insert your card reader and memory card as needed and recompile for Pocket3D. You can always verify the .3DC forms date has been updated by starting a new report on your unit after reinserting the storage card. And of course it's always a good idea to create and convert a test report whenever updating forms.

Note: Your storage card must be inserted into your Pocket PC prior to opening Pocket3D in order for the files to be displayed by your unit. If files don't show up, simply exit Pocket3D, make sure your storage card is inserted first, and then reopen Pocket3D.

B) STORING FINAL REPORTS ON YOUR MEMORY STORAGE CARD
If desired, you can also choose to save final reports onto your storage card instead of in your unit's main memory, either as a separate option or in addition to forms as described above. Keep in mind that when you save reports in regular main memory, then ActiveSync can automatically transfer them to your unit, whereas saving them on a storage card requires that you manually transfer your card to your main computer whenever you need to convert reports (usually more often than updating forms)

To do so, after starting a report in Pocket3D, click File...Save and then on the Save As menu, change the "Location" to your storage card memory.

When ready to convert your report, simply transfer the storage card to your card reader on your main computer. Then, when choosing File....Convert Pocket3D Report in the main report writer, you can simply change the Look In prompt to your card reader drive letter to find and select your report.

Cautions
- As a word of caution when using memory cards, one should take care NOT to remove the card while a Pocket report you've saved on a storage card is open on the unit. Before removing a memory card you've saved a report on, be sure to completely close the report and Pocket3D first (give it a few extra seconds afterward as a precaution). Otherwise, if a memory card is removed or wiggles loose while a report is open, the unit will lose its connection and likely corrupt the open report file.

- Also take care that you have plenty of memory available for saving your reports, whether on a storage card or in main memory. If there is insufficient memory for saving a report, you may get an "Error Saving IO Exception" message or "NullReferenceException". IF you were not closing the report and it is still open in Pocket3D, it may be possible to preserve it by using File Explorer to delete other files from your storage card to free memory and then Save again. However, if the report was exited, it will be truncated and cannot be reopened or converted. Attempting to reopen a truncated file in Pocket3D may cause an "Error reading string: IndexOutOfRangeException" message and attempting to convert such a file may produce "Runtime error '-2147023504 (80070570)': The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable" or similar error in your main program. Such a file is not recoverable since part of the file is physically chopped off and missing. As a precaution you may want to use File...Save before closing your report. And don't forget to periodically remove old report files from your unit or storage memory.

- Don't save reports on a storage card if you've inserted images directly into them from Pocket3D. When converting, the program looks for any images to be in the same location as the report .RCE file itself. Any included images not there will be missing when the report is converted. Since you can only insert images that are located in your Pocket PC's My Documents folder into a Pocket report on your unit, those images would not get stored with your report on a memory card (unless you moved them there manually using File Explorer), and therefore would be missing from your converted report. You can of course always insert images after converting a Pocket report.
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On your Pocket PC, you can view what items are open in memory and your memory usage by tapping Start...Settings, System tab, Memory icon.

"Storage Memory" is only used for final saved files that are not open.
"Running Programs" shows what is running at a given time, including any open reports. If you need more memory free, you might be able to close or Stop programs. Or.. switch to each program in turn to exit them.

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On your Pocket PC, you can also view a list of your files themselves and delete or move them using File Explorer. Tap Start...Programs...File Explorer.

Or if your unit is connected, files stored in your units My Documents folder usually can be quickly accessed from your synchronization folder shortcut on your Desktop.

To access other files stored elsewhere on your unit or memory card, while your unit is connected, you can "Explore" your unit (Mobile Device) from ActiveSync or My Computer, and move or delete files that way.
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If you pre-start Pocket inspections from Office Management, simply follow the instructions for sending your forms to the memory card by setting the Pocket3D Compile Folder to your card reader drive and compiling for Pocket3D.

Since Office Management always pre-starts pocket inspections in your 3D Compile Folder location, both your forms and prestarted inspections would then automatically go to the card, ready to open or start as desired.

Just remember to insert the memory card into your card reader before compiling pocket forms or pre-starting your inspections, and also to convert Pocket inspections directly from your memory card reader as well.

Take care that Pocket3d is always closed first (and wait a few extra seconds for any final writing to complete) before removing your memory card from the unit.

Rob
07-24-2008, 04:04 PM
Donna,
With your help we finally resolved the problem! It was in the fact that we had an improper setting for conflict resolution as you suggested. We had "replace data on device" checked instead of "replace data on desktop". Imagine, all this time and that was the issue. Rob did a 4-plex apartment building today. He did one unit at a time, merging from the pda to his laptop after every unit. Everything worked perfectly! He kept waiting for something to go wrong but, nothing did.
We still have one question. Why doesn't 3D pick up a change in the data entered on the pda after it was merged? For example let's say you initially you entered somethng on the pda and merged to the 3D report on your laptop. Later you discovered what you had initially entered was incorrect and changed it. Merging again will not bring over the correction. You have to enter directly into the 3D report on the laptop.
Is anyone interested in buying a slightly used pda? IPAQ 2790b. We have an extra one for sale.
Thanks again for your help! You have no idea how much it is appreciated. Penny
:):):)

Donna
07-25-2008, 10:43 AM
Fantastic! Sometimes is the simple things that make you go round in circles, thinking it has to somehow be more complicated.

As for merging, obviously you wouldn't want information duplicated twice, which is what would happen if it was able to combine information in both places (since changes could be made in those fields in main program once you've convert). So it only merges into empty fields, since the most frequent use is the inspector completes a section, converts it, making any further tweaks to that area in the converted report if needed, continues inspection on the device in another section, then merges that in to the main computer for further tweaks, and so forth. Others just wait until they are completely done on the pocket and convert once. The pocket documentation topic about Merging explains further about how it works.

If you have already converted from pocket and changes were only made in pocket and you just want to simply convert it fresh, then just delete your converted .r3d report file and you'll be able to convert it fresh.

You might want to post your info about your extra iPAQ for sale on our Hardware forums in a fresh post.

Donna
07-25-2008, 10:44 AM
You also could just delete the information from the field in your laptop and then I believe it would convert that field over again.

inspectorzu
08-24-2008, 10:35 PM
I wish I had seen this thread before today. I had three inspections today that I thought I had pre-loaded into my Ipaq. When I was out I noticed they were not there, so i just created three new reports and did my thing. When I got back and connected to my computer, all three reports were blanked out by the software trying to create new reports.
I have Vista and can not find anything in Activesync that says "tools" to change the conflict settings. I only see "view conflicts" which is empty. Does Vista have another way to access that area to make a change?

Update; I found it! Once you open active sync, double click the device. Go to "Mobile Device Settings" Then select "Manage a Partnership". Change "Replace items on Device" to "Replace items on Desktop". Then click "Save".
Now, even if I don't sync new reports to the pocketPC, the desktop has to accept whatever is in the pocketPC. No more lost reports!