PIM changes not registering?

announcements (new versions, changes, bugs, installation problems...) related to program MARK

PIM changes not registering?

Postby Rtridactlya » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:13 pm

I am wondering if anyone might have insight into a weird new problem I had today! I was teaching a lab on closed capture modeling (using Huggins p and c) that I have taught many times before -- it is the first lab my students do in Mark, so it serves as our introduction to the software and parameter indexing. I had them work through the indexing using the PIMS, but no matter how they indexed the parameters, when they ran the "current model," it defaulted to the initial PIM structure (p(t)c(t) -- i.e., model MBT in CAPTURE notation). This was happening on 16 different computers simultaneously, so it was not an isolated incident. Even weirder, when we switched over to using the Parameter Index Chart instead, that worked just fine (!) -- unfortunately, it is somewhat less intuitive to first time indexers.

I am really confused -- everything worked flawlessly back in the fall. Maybe there's a new software incompatibility on our lab computers? Or I am missing a new feature where PIMs have to be confirmed before the model is run? I'd be grateful for any advice or suggestions.
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby cooch » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:26 pm

Rtridactlya wrote:I am wondering if anyone might have insight into a weird new problem I had today! I was teaching a lab on closed capture modeling (using Huggins p and c) that I have taught many times before -- it is the first lab my students do in Mark, so it serves as our introduction to the software and parameter indexing. I had them work through the indexing using the PIMS, but no matter how they indexed the parameters, when they ran the "current model," it defaulted to the initial PIM structure (p(t)c(t) -- i.e., model MBT in CAPTURE notation). This was happening on 16 different computers simultaneously, so it was not an isolated incident. Even weirder, when we switched over to using the Parameter Index Chart instead, that worked just fine (!) -- unfortunately, it is somewhat less intuitive to first time indexers.

I am really confused -- everything worked flawlessly back in the fall. Maybe there's a new software incompatibility on our lab computers? Or I am missing a new feature where PIMs have to be confirmed before the model is run? I'd be grateful for any advice or suggestions.


Bret Collier contacted me at one point several months back with this same sort of problem (don't recall if it was closed captures, or not, but the basic description of 'the problem' was the same). And, of course, I was completely unable to replicate the problem. The one thing it sounds like you have in common is -- computers in some sort of networked teaching lab. If you 'get the PIMs to stick' on a standalone computer, but 'not stick' in the lab, then, seemed to be the case for Bret, the problem is some weird interaction of MARK and something changed on the networked teaching lab computers.

Not very helpful, I know (i.e., not a 'do this, and your problem will be solved'), but it is more than likely due to something weird about how the computer lab machines are set up.
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby cooch » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:32 pm

On a technical level, if I had to hazard a guess, its probably a .tmp file 'write' permission error. What happens if people try on the Desktop (as opposed to some 'class subdirectory')?
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby Rtridactlya » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:50 pm

I first had them try working from flash drives (which seemed to cause lots of spontaneous abortions, even though it worked fine when I tested it on my machine), then we switched over to working from their "user" directories. I can try having them work from a non-nested directory right on the C drive instead, if there's a chance that might work -- the only problem is that later classes end up overwriting earlier students' work, but they should be saving all of their files onto a flash drive at the end of each session anyway.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby bacollier » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:22 pm

cooch wrote:On a technical level, if I had to hazard a guess, its probably a .tmp file 'write' permission error. What happens if people try on the Desktop (as opposed to some 'class subdirectory')?


Yes, I ran into the same problem in our computer lab here at LSU for known fate, but I was able to replicate for cc, RD, and multistrata as well, PIMS only as DM does not seem to be affected. Under my administrative pw, if I installed MARK onto a lab computer, when I logged in, then it ran fine as I was admin. But, for our students, working under their anyone can log in username/pw combination ("C:\Users\StudentName\whatever') caused issues as all the students had the exact same problem you described (that I emailed Evan about).

We gave the students read/write admin to a specific computer they would use for each class, and then logged in and re-installed MARK under that admin, that seemed to solve the issue (at least last semester, untested so far this one). That was a short term solution, I think longer term we are going to set up a single class log in, with full administrative rights on all computers that bascially opens up to a blank desktop with just a few things on it.

\bret
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby cooch » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:56 pm

I guess I've never run into this in our teaching lab, because I have the students do everything on the Desktop, and then simply copy files to a USB drive when they're done for the day. I'd suggest that if you have students work that way, then chances for problems are reduced...a lot. Any number of applictions seem to have issues with directories and subdirectories on networked machines -- invariably due to admin permissions and all sorts of weirdness. Working straight from the desktop is a far simpler solution than having to delve into account management policies on a networked lab setup.
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby Rtridactlya » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:43 pm

UPDATE -- I've got a bizarre new piece of data on this issue:
We updated Mark to the latest version on all of the lab computers, and I had my work-study student go test out a few of them during the week, making sure to work from a Desktop folder; everything seemed to be working fine. In lab yesterday, a few of the students were still having the problem with their PIM numbering not registering. One of them noticed that when he TYPED IN the new index values (as opposed to right-clicking and asking Mark to make them constant, time-dependent, etc.), the machine wouldn't register them during the "current model" run. He was convinced that this only happened when the typed-in values were "off-center" -- I haven't had a chance to investigate whether typing them in the center really does produce different results. Using the right-click menu definitely solves the problem, though -- which is how my work-study student and I usually work with the PIMS, explaining why we didn't have this problem during testing. Does this make any sense whatsoever?
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby cooch » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:04 pm

So, here is what you've stumbled onto. If you manually enter the PIM index values, and left-justify in the cell during manual entry (say, by entering a value, and then tabbing from cell-to-cell and entering another number), then the values 'don't stick', as you originally described. But, only the first time you run that model. If you try re-running it, it will probably have things right. Or some version thereto. Its a weird bug that sems to arise only the first time you run the model , and if the PIM values are all left-justified in the PIM.

So, some comments:

1\ I suppose it is a bug (Gary can decide if its worth fixing), but a weird one that only seems to happen if you manually enter the values, and leave them *all* left-justified. I suspect that is a VisualObjects quirk that could be remedied by having MARK auto-center all numbers in the PIM when the model is submitted. Again, Gary can advise.

2\ you can center the values in the PIM cells yourself, manually, simply by toggling the values up or down, using the plus/minus keys in the PM. If you do this, it centers all the PIM numbers, and then things run as expected.
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby gwhite » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:16 pm

I've posted a new version of MARK on the web. I was able to duplicate this problem by keeping all the PIMs open after changing with manually entering values. I added another update command to the sequence before a model was run, and that seems to have fixed the issue.

Very interesting to me that this bug has never been noticed before. It is logical that it might show up in a teaching lab where students would manually modify the PIMs and then leave them open. I think one of the reasons I've never encountered the error is that I generally tell students to change a PIM and then close it to save memory, because eventually if you get big enough PIMs, you run into memory problems.

Gary
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Re: PIM changes not registering?

Postby cooch » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:21 pm

I just mirrored the new version of MARK on the PhiDot server. So, you can either download it from Gary's site, or here: http://www.phidot.org/software/mark/dow ... /setup.exe
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