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Old 12-07-2007, 02:22 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentDC
I have a contact at TealPoint, and I'll point him to this thread (he's actually one of the devs).


Thanks BrentDC for this link. Talk had quieted down a little on your TealTalk forum, so it's good to find a group of really technical users to keep the momentum going here.

First, some background on TealScan:

Ever since NVFS came out, we've been building a wishlist in our heads of utilities we wished existed, such as tools to help track down NVFS crashes, corrupted databases, and such. Some such tools exist here and there, but many are missing or are lacking features we wanted, so we decided to write our own utility that handled all this functionality. It is of course still an early version and stuff we're doing is very tricky, so the usual disclaimers apply.

Unstable Background apps

The background app scanning lists to see what apps have registered for system notifications through a direct function pointer, but have not protected their application databases or have not locked any code records. We still need to do further testing on this feature, but we think the info it's returning is fairly reliable. It's possible that a few developers copy their relevant callback functions to separately allocated locked memory chunks (which we currently cannot track), but for the majority of apps, an unprotected database or unlocked records indicates a real problem.

Updated Application tracking

A couple of other apps try to inform you when updated applications are available, apparently through user reports or scraping of online web sites. TealScan takes a different approach that is intended to give more accurate information from a wider spectrum of software. In TealScan, individual users contribute to the online database whenever they download a new database themselves. Part of the download link actually uploads (anonymously) version and creatorid information for one or two apps on their device. We've seeded our current database is over 2000 entries from apps we've batch loaded into the simulator, and the list will grow as the program is used.

While this means that the database is slow to grow when the base of users is still small, it guarantees more accurate information than hand-typed user submissions and includes apps that may not be available at the big download sites.

For example, our online database is also used to do orphan data/prefs tracking (more on this below). In doing online testing, we found that one similar product that relies on manual submissions incorrectly lists CreatorID of almost every TealPoint product, starting them all with TIxx (with a capital 'i') instead of Tlxx (with a lower case 'L'). The latter is correct. Other CreatorIDs there are attributed to the wrong program, or list inaccurate guesses for a file's purpose, making their database unreliable.

In TealScan, we want to take a different approach, limiting manual input to keep the database as accurate as possible. We match CreatorIDs to actual filenames, not user-submitted descriptions. We let the program user make the judgement on whether a potential orphan file is deletable or not.

Database downloads

Database download problems we've seen have been almost exclusively due to bugginess in Palm browsers. When you download a database, TealScan just creates a URL and passes it to the browser for download. Different versions of Blazer, however, have numerous lame bugs, from misidentifying the file type and/or size to crashing if a filename in the http header is (correctly) enclosed in quotes. The URL is also very long so that can cause problems if the browser is badly written. If you run into a problem downloading the database, please email us the specs of your exact device and browser and we'll have you try some alternate URLs to see if we can work around the problems.

Orphan data

By 'orphan' data in TealScan, we mean any app that creates data or a prefs entry that is of a different CreatorID than the main application. There are occassionally valid reasons for doing this (such as data shared between programs), but most of the time it is poor programming in our opinion. Because of this, data that is marked as "orphan" does not always indicate that it can be deleted (maybe we'll reword it as "potential orphan" to be clearer) but if it positively matched to an app you know you've stopped using, then it can be deleted.

If you find more instances of orphan creatorIDs, please let us know so we can add an entry in the database to link them to the correct "owning" app.

Future tools

We're currently renaming the "updates" tab to "tools" and are in the process of adding special handy tools like ones to replace area codes, lock program resources, or delete PIM entries based on content, date, or size. Give us feedback as this continues on what further tools to add.

Contacting us

The best place to reach us in on our tealtalk forum, as that is the one we check regularly.

Thanks,

-tex
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:53 PM   #32
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Tex,

I just joined the tealtalk forum over at yahoo. I'll comment further there once I'm approved. In the meantime, How do I submit problems/observations? for instance, LauncherX skins do not have the same creator ID as the app although they all do start with LX. Even the standard skin is LXS5 while LX is MjXX.

Also I have yet to be able to export a memo of the maintanance scan. each and every time it seems as if it is frozen, although I can press the home key to get out of the app.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:54 PM   #33
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Sounds good... would it be possible, in the Orphan section, to have orphan files whose creatorID is "owned" by a file association or another creatorID be listed as something else? I have around 100 files in my "orphan" section, most of which are support files for apps currently on my device. This is fine for me as I know what these are, but I can just see someone going through and tossing out all those files, only to discover after the fact that they just threw out all their support files, bookmarks, documents, etc. See Uninstall Manager for an example of how to do this (and see TrackerDog for an example of the Application Tracking you're talking about, including pitfalls created by CreatorID collisions, tvers typos, etc.).
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:09 PM   #34
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Does the current Orphan tracking compare the Creator ID's of Oprhaned files on your device, then compare it with Teal's known Creator ID Database, to tell you what the Orphaned files belong to (even if you don't have that app currently installed). If it does that, then that's pretty nifty!

Also, any chance of crash tracking, with a human-readable reason why something crashed?
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:24 PM   #35
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Hmm... I wonder if it is possible to create an ovly resource for common crashes that explains the crash in plain english.
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:29 PM   #36
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I was almost thinking like having a DB of known crash occurences, and if the debug text is "VFSDbCache.c Free Handle",TealScan interpreting VFSDbCache problems as PsysLaunchDB corruption, and saying,"Try Restoring PsysLaunchDB from a earlier backup, as the crashe you experienced is common with PsysLaunchDB corruption".
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:33 PM   #37
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What would be even BETTER is a utility that keeps a DB of known crash types and automatically applies the fixes In your instance, keep a shadow copy of PsysLaunchDB, and revert to it after reset whenever the above crash happens.
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Old 12-07-2007, 03:43 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Em
What would be even BETTER is a utility that keeps a DB of known crash types and automatically applies the fixes In your instance, keep a shadow copy of PsysLaunchDB, and revert to it after reset whenever the above crash happens.

That would be great!!!! The one caveat is that it should warn you/ask you before applying any fix.
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Old 12-07-2007, 04:21 PM   #39
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Hey CD, I tried exporting a Memo in the Maintenance area, and it said it exported it, yet when I went to the Memo app, it wasn't there
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:40 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentDC
Hey CD, I tried exporting a Memo in the Maintenance area, and it said it exported it, yet when I went to the Memo app, it wasn't there

Yes the same thing happened to me. I found that I had to limit the items I checked in that tab in order to get that confirmation dialog.
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Old 12-11-2007, 01:52 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentDC
Hey CD, I tried exporting a Memo in the Maintenance area, and it said it exported it, yet when I went to the Memo app, it wasn't there


There's a bug in the memo export in that if you have no memos yet (the memo database doesn't exist) that the program will not be able to create the memo, nor will it issue an error.

The report is also created as a single memory chunk. It might fail if it's too big. We'll have to check up on that as we've never tested it for maximum size.

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Old 12-11-2007, 01:59 PM   #42
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TealScan Error Tracking

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentDC
I was almost thinking like having a DB of known crash occurences, and if the debug text is "VFSDbCache.c Free Handle",TealScan interpreting VFSDbCache problems as PsysLaunchDB corruption, and saying,"Try Restoring PsysLaunchDB from a earlier backup, as the crashe you experienced is common with PsysLaunchDB corruption".


This is possible, but it would be difficult to do and not mislead people more than it helps. A lot of the errors PalmOS reports are too generic to be of much use (chunk overlocked/underlocked, free handle, etc) and only a few come to mind that are attributible to anything specific. Trying to do too much risks the same problem with the creatorID database, namely that giving a lot of information of questionable reliablilty is not always better than giving less--but better--information in the end, no?

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Old 12-11-2007, 02:05 PM   #43
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I see your point, that might be rather hard to do because of questionable error reporting, but maybe instead, just logging the crashes, and telling the user which app crashed, and when? That would be less helpful, but better than nothing.
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:16 PM   #44
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TealScan Orphan Tracking

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrentDC
Does the current Orphan tracking compare the Creator ID's of Oprhaned files on your device, then compare it with Teal's known Creator ID Database, to tell you what the Orphaned files belong to (even if you don't have that app currently installed). If it does that, then that's pretty nifty!


Yes. When TealScan finds a file on the device, it first looks for an app with the same CreatorID in both RAM and the /Palm/Launcher folder on the card. If one is not found, it then checks the current database to see if the file's creatorID is associated with a known app. If it is, TealScan checks for the existence of that app as well. Only if neither app is not found will it put the data file on the orphan list.

When filling the orphan list, TealScan uses the application name of either the "owning app" or "associated app" if either is found in the database. This means that you can have a left over data file or preference item from an app you no longer have, and TealScan will still be able to tell you where it came from if it's in the database. This is probably the instance where you can most-safely delete an orphan file--when TealScan can identify an application, and you recognize it as one you once ran but no longer have.

In response to the prior poster's question about extra orphan entries, this should not occur once those data files are linked to their owning apps in the database. If data files are appearing in the orphan list while their "associated" app is present, we need to manually add entries in the database that link those files to the apps that use them.

Please send us:

1) Name of the "associated" application
2) CreatorID of the associated app
3) Name of the data file(s)
4) CreatorID of the data file(s)
5) TypeID of the data file(s)

... and we'll add the link to either the main program or the database. In the case of the LauncherX skins, Launcher X has to be able to identify the skins itself, so it has to use either the Name or TypeID if the CreatorIDs are all different. We can figure it out with a few examples.

thanks,

-tex
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Old 12-11-2007, 02:28 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TealTex
Yes. When TealScan finds a file on the device, it first looks for an app with the same CreatorID in both RAM and the /Palm/Launcher folder on the card.

I keep al ot of my apps on my card in other directories. I can map up to 31 other directories to be recognized by LauncherX in the LX prefs. I believe ZLauncher also does something similar.

I also use Powerrun which moves apps and their associated files to the palm/programs/powerrun/<appname> directory on your card.

So any chance of getting a pref to map other directories in which to search for apps, or better yet, something like trackerdog which has an option to search entire card for apps, with another option to exclude certain directories (such as backup dirs) The better way to implement this, if you are going to is to let the user browse to the directory they wish to exclude and let the program insert the path, otherwise there is room for a lot of error as in trackerdog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealTex
In the case of the LauncherX skins, Launcher X has to be able to identify the skins itself, so it has to use either the Name or TypeID if the CreatorIDs are all different. We can figure it out with a few examples.

thanks,

-tex

LX skins all have a notation of typeid=LXSS/LX** where * may be anything (LX, S5, Bh, etc) not sure what this means, but I hope it is helpful.
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Last edited by cyberdude : 12-11-2007 at 02:31 PM.
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