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View Full Version : The "virtual dog" ate my homework


gypsy fly
03-07-2009, 03:30 PM
It's week 9 and we're a week away from finals. Those students that are trying to save a failing grade are coming up with all kinds of excuses.

I have two who blame Alice for loosing their work. One claims that Alice hangs up on his souped up quad-core Vista. Pobre mio!! He has to step down to a "old" 32-bit XP to even get one good compile.

Bottom line is that these are two of the 18 that's blaming Alice for loosing their homework or project.

Are there bona fide Alice 2.0 or 2.2 bugs that can be used as homework handicaps?

Got any good quotes to quell the excuses?

rich0e0rick
03-08-2009, 12:25 AM
well, i know that vista used alot more ram power than windows xp does, and back in high school we only had xp and even then alice would crash (every so often) but alice saves the project every 15 minutes unless that function is diactivated...so..when it crashes, why not just go find the file and restart from there? you would only loose fifteen minutes of work ....

i never owned vista so i cant tell you for sure.
i also doubt they would just randomly come up with an excuse like that unless something simiar happened though

MY guess would be that alice crashed enough to get them pissed off into not doing the project, or inspired them into that line of excuse...

i suggest waiting for someone to coment that uses windows vista, this is only my opinion

hope it helps

:D:D rick :D:D

x2495iiii
03-08-2009, 10:12 PM
I've used multiple versions of alice. There's only been ONE time that my project has ever been corrupted to the point where a lot of work was lost and I've since come up with a way to fix/avoid that bug. Now, I've had it crash every so often and had it close randomly plenty of time as well, but the crashing doesn't corrupt the project and Alice only closes randomly if you're trying to stream video from the internet while its open. Put bluntly, there's nothing hideously wrong with Alice, its like using a power drill, there's a right way to use it and a wrong way. Usually if something bad happens, its not the drill's fault, its the person using it.

DrJim
03-09-2009, 11:30 AM
While I basically agree with x2495iiii, I will also note that - given the choice - I'll run Alice on my XP laptop instead of my Vista machine and I also don't run Alice 2.2 at all (though I have copied the walking characters into my Alice 2.0 library).

Alice really has some strange bugs, plus as a program gets larger the "memory leak" problem gets worse. Add that to the fact that backwards compatibility is a general problem with Vista vs XP - and you do get an annoying number of problems. Not bad enough (IMO) to be an excuse for not doing an assignment - but I'd really hate to do a timed test.

gypsy fly
03-20-2009, 03:43 PM
I fianlly got a full copy of the aforementioned student's project. It's over 17MB. It has at least 50 object, many of which are in action.

This was some grand production!

alzeih
06-04-2009, 05:36 AM
Have had a lot of issues with Alice 2.0 crashing and/or corrupting alice files - highly frustrating for students being made to use this for lab work!

As far as my experience goes, the 2.2 version is much more stable. Sadly our netBSD lab setup and lack of any 2.2 source (that I am aware of anyway) meant this wasn't an option.

So it depends on which version of alice they are using.

dejohnso
06-25-2009, 11:20 PM
I run some summer camps using Alice and I have never had a camp where at least one student did not lose their work due to a corrupted save. I now ask them to make checkpoint saves under different names fairly often. This was primarily Alice 2.0 on a Mac.

ghosn
10-24-2009, 02:22 PM
This is the bane of my existence :) I have taught Alice to high schoolers for a few semesters now and it ALWAYS happens. Our first big project is a 1 minute animation with no interactivity. This tends to involve numerous objects and some kids get carried away with the scenes (mind you, some are pretty intricate and cool looking)

Here are the problems I have faced and have witnessed them myself in my side projects and from the students:
a) older computers will lag and eventually freeze sometimes corrupting even the backups
b) worlds not working on one computer but working on the original workstation
c) Alice crashing or better yet shutting the computer down after gobbling up all the virtual ram

So i have gotten all the excuses but I tend to believe them because of my previous experience. What I do is I observe them in class and see what kind of progress they are making in class and a gauge whether what they are saying is true or not

My favorite was a kid who was making up some work at home...
Student: "Sir my files are corrupt and wont open at home"
Teacher: "That can happen. Bring the files in to school so we can try them on another PC"
Student: "They're gone!"
Teacher: "Gone? How? What about the backups?"
Student: "Yeah, they just got corrupted and disappeared!"

So that was an obvious "dog ate my hw" to me
Generally though I give them plenty of leeway due to the propensity of Alice crashing

zarfang8
12-03-2009, 04:36 PM
I have only ever had problems that i can remember with Storytelling alice, except for one thing. When I use the Video Exporter, It shuts down. Are they trying to export Videos?

bclamore
12-10-2009, 02:16 PM
I teach a tech class and use Alice. For the most part the students like Alice, but about 20% of the class reports having "lost" their world file at least once. When I ask them what they mean by "lost," I get various replies:

"An object in my world is missing."

"I got an error message when I tried to open my world, and now my world opens to just a blank world. All the objects are gone."

"My world crashed the whole Alice application."

Is there a maximum world or object size users should know about?

x2495iiii
12-10-2009, 02:36 PM
Depends on the machine. On a slow, outdated school computer I was able to handle a 20mb world with 4 full length songs on it (.mp3 format) without bugs or lag.

On my home computer, I can handle more, but I'm not sure how much more, as I usually keep my worlds under 20mb so I can post them.

My suggestion is to stay around 20 mb. Any larger is taking a gamble (with the risks being slowness, and possibly bugs like the ones you mentioned).

If you really like adding extra objects to your world and feel that large files are necessary, absolute maximum should be 60mb, with any offscreen objects' isShowing properties set to false.

BenMcLean
12-21-2009, 10:24 AM
Are there bona fide Alice 2.0 or 2.2 bugs that can be used as homework handicaps?Yes there are! I just got an A+ in my Alice class, but I think I'm the only one. Everybody else had homework late. Bugs in Alice plagued the entire class all semester. They can cause your program to be unsavable and/or corrupt/ruin existing work fairly easily, especially if you try a larger scale project. It's less of a virtual dog and more of a virtual hellhound of the Baskervilles.

MrMoke
12-28-2009, 02:01 PM
I did encounter some unusually strange problems when attempting to use Alice 2.2 on a Vista Laptop, but they were mostly related to scrolling features in the IDE itself.
I have been testing 2.2 on a fresh install of Windows 7 that I built over the holidays, and it seems to be working very well. No problems so far.

In my classes I usually do what dejohnso suggests by adding a series number to the name as each new feature is completed. Makes it easier to use as sequenced presentations in following semesters. To minimize storage, I also limit the number of copies in the Backup folders to two, and regularly delete the backup folders for the lower sequenced versions.


fileName01.aw2 / no backup folder
fileName02.aw2 / backup folder with two backups max
etc...

Ayyamana
01-07-2010, 09:02 PM
I've had a similar problem, which made me lose a project that used over five hours of my time.

My school's computers are messed up, and one froze while O tried to save this massive file.

I had to ctrl alt dlt it, and when I tried to open it up the next day, Alice couldn't read it.

The backup wasn't worth anything, it had the first five minutes of the file.

Moral of the story: Use e-mail to backup projects.