I'm going to vent pretty strongly right now ...

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I'm going to vent pretty strongly right now ...

Postby billvelek » Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:20 am

I'm extremely pissed off right now, and maybe it's my fault or maybe it's not ... but I think the lack of clarity in the BTP program, and its deplorable lack of documentation, is certainly much of the blame. I have been asking ... almost pleading ... for better documentation since I bought this program in October. I have given plenty of valid examples where adequate documentation would be helpful, and sometimes virtually essential. I have invested, at the very least, some dozens of hours of correspondance on this forum trying to solve bugs, make valid suggestions, and just plain 'learn the program' -- an investment that I don't really mind so much except it irks me that I feel like I'm working on a 'beta' program when I expected a complete working program from the minute I paid good money for it. Now, this really is a kick-azz program, and I know Jeff and company have been great in trying to fix bugs, etc. But it's experiences like I am having right now that make me want to put my fist through my monitor.

A couple of nights ago, I spent the time and effort to very carefully calibrate my vessels and my stove (I didn't bother with the propane burner outside because it is influenced so much by the outdoor temp, wind, and how much I turn up the gas). Anyway, in order to calibrate my stove as a heat source, I figured I first needed to calibrate my vessels. Yep, I have two different kettles -- a 5 gallon stainless steel pot and a 7.5 gallons aluminum turkey fryer -- and I calibrated each of them separately as a 'vessel'. THEN I calibrated the stove. I also very carefully calibrated my mashtun, and I even calibrated my thermometer before doing any of the above. Carefully put all the data into BTP and I thought I had saved all of them in a template file; at least that's what I had tried to do, as one of our other members had suggested -- listing all of the vessels and heat sources on a single template and then deleting what you aren't using for that session ... or something like that.

Anyway, I come back from work tonight, start up BTP to design a recipe for tomorrow, and low and behold ... my vessels and heat source are no where to be found. I've opened up every file I can find in the folder I'm using for this, and 'nada'. Naturally, when I cleaned up a few days ago, I tossed the scrap paper with my calibration notes/figures. So now I'm sipping on a VERY stong egg-nog, trying to decide whether to stay up late to spend a couple of hours to redo all of those calibrations again, or do I just say "screw it" and run the program without the calibrations (which I've already been doing for the past two months anyway).

I know that no one out there can help me. I also know that I might as well do the calibrations now as later, although I'm very tired.. But this is utterly ridiculous. Maybe it was my fault somehow, although I know that I made a very deliberate effort to save this data somewhere somehow, and actually believed that I had. Now I'm not a stupid person, and I can usually get the hang of something eventually, but maybe I'm the kind of person who just needs written instructions. So I'm asking one more time -- Jeff and company -- for some reasonable instructions that people expect to get when then buy anything.

I mean ... really ... can anyone blame me for being F#$^*&G pissed off???

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Postby bzwrxbz » Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:51 am

I would be upset as well if I lost all of my calibration data. My condolences.

I have used beersmith and promash, and i must say that "intuitively", BTP is pretty easy to use and understand in most aspects and in comparison to the other programs. Perhaps you should try beersmith and promash and see how easy (or not) they are to use.

The only thing I can suggest, is that you need to be paranoid about losing data. Being a programmer myself, I am forced to be this way (making back ups, checking the integrity and validity of code and changes). So, I make small changes, and test a bit for a sanity check. This goes for all other data as well, get an external drive, and make backups every two nights or so. There have been a couple times in my life when i have lost everything on my primary hard drive.

IMO BTP has come a long way since I first bought it, and it seems very stable. I know that documentation can be important, but if i were to place it on a priority list, I would make it near last due to the fact that it changes or is added to with every new feature... and at this point of the game, there are some new features that I would like to see moreso than a full help file.

A suggestion.. do a search for a "*.btp" file with a modification filter for the day you last changed the file... or over the last few days or so. Search your whole hard drive... it may have been misplaced.

that is my 2cents!
cheers!
Last edited by bzwrxbz on Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby slothrob » Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:05 am

I believe that when you select "Save as Template..." the program defaults to "Template" as the name for the file. Try searching for a file named "template". Also, be sure to check the appropriate boxes when saving a template file in order to save the information you wish to include in the template.
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Maybe this will help

Postby Brant » Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:12 am

Bill, I'm the one who recommended using a template to save your equipment, and I can promise you that it worked correctly for me. This is a stretch, but maybe it will help: Read this message I posted http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2530. And then open the folder(s) you save recipes in and look for a file named whatever you called your template file, but which might be missing the .btp extension. If you find it, just rename the file to add ".btp" to the end of it, and then it will suddenly appear in File / Open Template. If this in fact turns out to be your problem, then perhaps we should change the subject line of that other message to remove the word "Minor". ;)

And, personally, I'd prefer Jeff spend his time tweaking the software for a while longer than to start writing extensive documentation, especially as long as this support forum exists, and Jeff and Lathe chime in with help from time to time.
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See if you can duplicate this error re saving calibration

Postby billvelek » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:06 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I pretty much tried everything, including looking for files using Windows Explorer, etc., rather than just relying on BTP. But before you posted your replies, I did a little very straight-forward experiment that I had intended to post here and ask if you folks have the same problem; this not only shows a bug if it happens to you, but demonstrates for 'bzwrxbz' that if, in fact, there is a more proper way to do this, then BTP isn't as intuitive as s/he thinks:

First, for the record, I have a default set in BTP so that when I start it a default file opens which contains, among other things, a vessel with calibration data.

Okay, we start out clean; no BTP files open whatsoever.
I click to start BTP, and my default file opens with the ingredients display;
I select 'vessels' for my display, and there is my mash tun listed;
I highlight my mashtun, and click 'Edit' to bring up my calibration data;
I make a change -- let's say I double the width and then click on another field -- I see capacity double and heat coefficient drop, so BTP obviously sees the change;
I click on "OK" which presumably makes the change 'effective', and closes the 'edit' window;
I then immediately click on 'File | Save' on the menu and a 'Save As' window pops up with the same file name already entered and highlighted in the 'file name' field; I click "Save" and BTP tells me that I already have a file by the name and asks if I want to replace it. I click "Yes".
I then immediately exit BTP: I click the red-X in the upper right corner, and a window pops up: "Exit Beertools Pro?" and I click on "Yes".

Now, as far as I'm concerned, that's what I probably did the last time I worked on this when I entered all of my nice new calibration data. Okay, now let's see if we can see if my mashtun is still twice as wide per my last change.
We start out clean again with no BTP files open whatsoever.
I click to start BTP, and my default file opens with the ingredients display;
I select 'vessels' for my display, and there is my mash tun listed;
I highlight my mashtun, and click 'Edit' to bring up my calibration data.
I check it and see that the ORIGINAL width is still there, and that BTP didn't save squat from the last change. And I have also tried to find the file where I have widened my mashtun, but can't find one.

Now, maybe it is because I didn't save the data using the "Save As" command, or "Save As Template" or "Make Default", but it sure as hell appeared that I had at least saved it. And if I need to actually be saving it in another way, there is no documentation to tell me and there is nothing intuitive about it, either.

Now, I have gone through the above steps about a half dozen times with the same result each time, so I am positive about what I have just posted. I am running Windows XP Media Center and BTP v.1.0.18.

Cheers.

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Postby bzwrxbz » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:24 am

I tried as your outline has suggested... and it works as I expect.

If i change the width on the vessel AND I do not tell BTP to make the new settings default, the new width should NOT show up when I reopen BTP.

Now, when I reopen the file that i just saved with the new width, the new width does show up in the vessel I had modified for that file.

I think that if you want something saved as default, you have to explicitly tell BTP to do this. It can not know on its own whether you want to make it a global without explicit instruction. It is my belief that this is the way it should work.

If I want to save a file, I tell it to do so.
If I want something to be a default, I tell it to do so.

Is there something I am missing?

cheers!
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Postby bzwrxbz » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:34 am

This does bring up the question again about whether vessels need to be made default, by default. LOL

But, these are software philisophical questions that I am too tired to explore at the moment (persistence, portability, modularity,etc) :wink:

cheers!
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Re: Maybe this will help

Postby billvelek » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:38 am

Brant wrote:Bill, I'm the one who recommended using a template to save your equipment, and I can promise you that it worked correctly for me.
What was the exact procedure that you used to 'save' it? (See my last post, above.) Did you use the 'save as' or 'save as template' command? Maybe that's what I need to do; I'll try that in a few minutes, although I don't see why that should make a difference, ... and if it does it is surely a bug.
This is a stretch, but maybe it will help: Read this message I posted http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2530. ... snip
Actually, I had already discovered that problem over a month earlier (November 27th) and we discussed it in this thread http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2277 (scroll about half way down). That's why I've used Windows Explorer to look for the file.
And, personally, I'd prefer Jeff spend his time tweaking the software for a while longer than to start writing extensive documentation, especially as long as this support forum exists, and Jeff and Lathe chime in with help from time to time.
Well, when we were working on just getting the program to function (i.e., get rid of some real bugs), then I certainly could agree. But we seem to be well beyond that now, and they are working on some improvements or new features, I guess, which excites me, too. But someone who buys this software today deserves to have better instructions (at least "adequate") to get started without the need to have to resolve issues in this forum. Documentation isn't going to help me near as much as someone who has just purchased it. They could be brewing in the middle of the night, run into a snag, and THEN what? ... get on-line in the middle of a brew session and rummage around the forums for a couple of hours or maybe post a message on this forum and possibly wait four or five hours for an answer? What software have you ever PAID for and had to do that? I mean, just to get started we are asked to calibrate our stuff; fine. A newbie attempts to do so, has no earthly idea what "deadspace" is on the calibration page, and can't find word one about it in the documentation. There are other similar 'fundamental' things missing from the User's Guide which have been brought to Jeff's attention. I would think that 'fundamental' changes could be made almost immediately, and as a temporary fix until a .pdf file is eventually made; I can't see how such changes would take more than a few minutes each.

Cheers.

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Postby slothrob » Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:01 pm

Perhaps for now we should have a FAQ section where we can post more explicit instructions for certain tasks as questions arise about them.

Meanwhile, "Save"/"Save as" is for saving Recipe files.

"Make Default'' is for saving a file as a Default setting.

''Save as Template'' is for saving a file as a Template.

"Save" will not save a Template or Default file you are editing as a Default or Template, but as a Recipe, since the program assumes you have edited that Default/Template into a new Recipe. If it didn't do this, when you edited the Default and hit Save, it would overwrite the Default file with your latest recipe.

Be warned, if you tick a lot of boxes when you save a Template file, you will overwrite any recipe data in the areas checked when you apply that Template to Recipe. Learn to use this function before you go crazy with it or you'll be rewriting a lot of recipe files.
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Reply to bzwrxbz

Postby billvelek » Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:58 pm

bzwrxbz wrote:I tried as your outline has suggested... and it works as I expect.
It works? ... or it works as you expect? Just for clarification, what did it do when you followed MY steps -- exactly? That is an important question, because if your system reacted differently, then there must be something wrong with my operating system or computer. However, I sense that you chose to use a different approach -- one that you would expect to work according to your logic -- although I can't see how I was wrong to expect the data to be saved somewhere when I took the steps to do so, received no cautionary instructions from the program (e.g., "Are you sure you don't want to make this a default", "... make this a template", or whatever), and have no guidance from the User's Guide. So, ... in retrospect ..., having lost important data that I had every reason to believe was saved, I should just slap my forehead and call myself a dumbass because I was not mindful, at the moment I did my save, that this was actually a default file which requires a special procedure -- a different manner of saving ... regardless of the fact that I might or might not want to make that my default.
If i change the width on the vessel AND I do not tell BTP to make the new settings default, the new width should NOT show up when I reopen BTP.

Now, when I reopen the file that i just saved with the new width, the new width does show up in the vessel I had modified for that file.

I have not been able to do that. Okay, I have a recipe called "Dirtiest Blonde" that I copied from my favorites list on BeerTools.com ... and after making some changes such as setting vessels, etc., I saved that as a new recipe and also as my 'default'. I have just checked BTP and the vessel settings match on both my 'default' and on my 'recipe'.

Now, after shutting down BTP to start from scratch, I restart it;
My default appears and I follows all of the steps mentioned above. Now, even if I didn't decide to save my change as my new default, the change should have been saved somewhere, ... right? So I restart BTP, and the default doesn't show the change, so I 'open' the recipe: "Dirtiest Blonde", and it STILL doesn't show the changes. So where do I go to find them. I'm sure that this is exactly what must have happened to me when I saved my calibration data.
I think that if you want something saved as default, you have to explicitly tell BTP to do this. It can not know on its own whether you want to make it a global without explicit instruction. It is my belief that this is the way it should work.

If I want to save a file, I tell it to do so.
If I want something to be a default, I tell it to do so.

Is there something I am missing?

cheers!
I understand all of that, but if there is some magic incantation ... it should be in the User's Guide. :D But seriously, do you think it should be necessary for a user to have to experiment so much to find out how something as simple as saving files should work? And don't you think that if I click "Save" and am asked if I want to replace a file and I say "Yes", that it should happen? ... and that it should be saved SOMEPLACE, even if I might have momentarily forgotten that I was working with my default settings (which, I guess, we always are, aren't we?)? I just don't see this as being so intuitive that it is my fault that I lost my data.

Cheers.

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Reply to slothrob

Postby billvelek » Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:09 pm

slothrob wrote:Perhaps for now we should have a FAQ section where we can post more explicit instructions for certain tasks as questions arise about them.

Meanwhile, "Save"/"Save as" is for saving Recipe files. ... snip
I ... DID ... use that command, and the new vessel dimensions were not saved in the recipe. If vessel changes can't be saved as part of a recipe, then we need to be TOLD that ... so that we know to save them elsewhere, or whatever. That's my whole point; BTP appeared to be saving my data SOMEPLACE ... because it asked me if it was okay to overwrite a file ... but I can't find the dadgum stuff anywhere. That makes this one of the most "User UN-friendly" programs I have ever used. And I''m not trying to ruffle the feathers of the loyal following; I like BTP, too. I think it is an excellent program in many respects, but it still has some shortcomings. I also know that Jeff and company are working hard to fix things. That doesn't mean that my gripes are any less legitimate, or that they shouldn't be brought to Jeff's attention, etc.

Cheers.

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Re: Reply to slothrob

Postby slothrob » Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:23 pm

billvelek wrote:
slothrob wrote:Meanwhile, "Save"/"Save as" is for saving Recipe files. ... snip
I ... DID ... use that command, and the new vessel dimensions were not saved in the recipe. If vessel changes can't be saved as part of a recipe, then we need to be TOLD that ... so that we know to save them elsewhere, or whatever. That's my whole point; BTP appeared to be saving my data SOMEPLACE ... because it asked me if it was okay to overwrite a file ... but I can't find the dadgum stuff anywhere.


I'll have to double check this on the Mac. I don't believe my copy of BTP acts this way. But I'll check specifically for vessel dimensions.

If I open a new recipe, getting the default settings, edit this file and hit save, a window appears that allows me to choose where I want to save the file, including a name that BTP defaults to the name of the recipe. I hit Save (or OK) and the file is saved. If the name is the same as an existing recipe, it asks if it's okay to replace that file. If I say ok, the saved file is that new recipe.

This is my standard way of entering a new recipe, and it seems to have worked dozens of times (at least for ingredients and schedule information) since I've started using Default settings, and I've changed vessel dimensions at least twice since then.
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Re: See if you can duplicate this error re saving calibratio

Postby bzwrxbz » Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:13 pm

billvelek wrote:Okay, we start out clean; no BTP files open whatsoever.
I click to start BTP, and my default file opens with the ingredients display;
I select 'vessels' for my display, and there is my mash tun listed;
I highlight my mashtun, and click 'Edit' to bring up my calibration data;
I make a change -- let's say I double the width and then click on another field -- I see capacity double and heat coefficient drop, so BTP obviously sees the change;
I click on "OK" which presumably makes the change 'effective', and closes the 'edit' window;
I then immediately click on 'File | Save' on the menu and a 'Save As' window pops up with the same file name already entered and highlighted in the 'file name' field; I click "Save" and BTP tells me that I already have a file by the name and asks if I want to replace it. I click "Yes".
I then immediately exit BTP: I click the red-X in the upper right corner, and a window pops up: "Exit Beertools Pro?" and I click on "Yes".

Now, as far as I'm concerned, that's what I probably did the last time I worked on this when I entered all of my nice new calibration data. Okay, now let's see if we can see if my mashtun is still twice as wide per my last change.
We start out clean again with no BTP files open whatsoever.
I click to start BTP, and my default file opens with the ingredients display;
I select 'vessels' for my display, and there is my mash tun listed;
I highlight my mashtun, and click 'Edit' to bring up my calibration data.
I check it and see that the ORIGINAL width is still there, and that BTP didn't save squat from the last change. And I have also tried to find the file where I have widened my mashtun, but can't find one.

Now, maybe it is because I didn't save the data using the "Save As" command, or "Save As Template" or "Make Default", but it sure as hell appeared that I had at least saved it. And if I need to actually be saving it in another way, there is no documentation to tell me and there is nothing intuitive about it, either.

Now, I have gone through the above steps about a half dozen times with the same result each time, so I am positive about what I have just posted. I am running Windows XP Media Center and BTP v.1.0.18.

Cheers.

Bill Velek


Let me clarify... I did exactly as you did, and got the same exact result as you did (no new vessel values in my default startup). But, this is what I expected.

I did not tell BTP to make anything default, so this means when I clicked on File/Save, I expect it to save the file, and nothing more.

It is my belief that you expected it to make the new vessel values default, but, since you did not explicitly tell the program to do so, it only saved the file you were currently working on. This is what it did for me.

So, the question becomes.... what happened to data in the file that you saved? Once you find the file (from your original post, I am not sure whether you had found it or not), and it must be there somewhere, you can make it the default, and all will be well.

But, our situations are not exactly the same... I am running on a PC. So, there may be some MAC only type issues that you are having with not being able to recover saved values from the recipe.

I will think about this some more...

cheers!
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Postby slothrob » Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:39 pm

I think Bill's on a PC.
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Postby bzwrxbz » Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:13 pm

You are probably right... It would not matter anyhow.

cheers!
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