old user login = dividing by zero ( slooooooooooooooooooooow )

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  • Updated 2 years ago
To whom it may concern,

Logging into eternagame.org on mac sierra safari takes 23+ seconds, plus additional 30 - infinity seconds load time for all home page content ( i.e. not loading the top mastering eterna options, though once it did render them ). 

same system, firefox, waited 3-4 minutes waiting on log in, gave up, no successful login.

Will try on another computer some time. Tried with new user, login is almost instantaneous.

Therefore, possibly something to do with preloading all user content on login? Consider loading only credentials, home page on login, and doing staggered load for past completed puzzle history, labs, etc.? I don't know how it works or if this is remotely related to the issue, just a guess. Or perhaps related to old users starting on cmu server, and a port gone awry? Again, I am saying words which I only know a little about, so someone who devs the devvy devviness will have to evaluate and propose a solution.

A) If a new user has this issue, who also has a lot of completed puzzles, labs, messages, comments, or other user content ( as opposed to a new user with little content ), then that would suggest it is an issue with loading user id'd content on login.

B) If an old user has this issue, who has submitted relatively little content, that would instead suggest it may be a port or other issue.

=> This is an issue because our institutional knowledge in old players is indispensable, as the learning curve to switch labs is steep, and they went up the smooth learning curve, not the cliff for new users. And if they try to log in after some time, to find login, page loads, and even external page links ( e.g. to the wiki ) to take forever to load, they will surely never make it through labs, and the barrier to entry will further decimate an already niche user base.

I tried to review results on my old synths for example, and gave up on most of them loading, though some did get there. I tried playing new player progression puzzles, as well as the first recommended puzzle in mastering section, and submission likewise took forever. In the first case I gave up, in the second I waited the 30 seconds out of curiosity, and did eventually see the puzzle submitted.

While I would not be surprised if using a newer, non retina, or non sierra os computer functioned better, the fact that the new user account loads instantly and my old account takes forever, makes me suspect something endemic to eterna's code, and therefore potentially fixable. :)

Next time I try to log in at another computer, I will update if I get different results.

Anyone else who has slow loading, please feel free copy and paste this form into your comment with any info you want to share. I put my own results in.

operating system: mac sierra
browser: safari ( firefox never got past login )
old or new account: old ( brand new zero submission user 1-2 seconds )
many or few puzzles / labs / comments submitted: many ( puzzles, labs, & comments )
time to login: 23-30 seconds
time to load home page: 4 seconds - 2 minutes, gave up on loading Mastering contents
time to submit completed puzzle: 30+ seconds - gave up
time to load labs results page: 2 - 4 seconds ( lab with 1 sublab loads fastest, lab with many sublabs slowest, suggesting loading any quantity of content in this system is not being handled efficiently )
time to load synth results: 3-5 second average, one never loaded ( gave up after a minute or two )

It appears that the primary issue is the handling / loading of larger quantities of data, regardless of datatype, and subsequent consequences may be disproportionately affecting those who have submitted more content. But then, I have no idea, so good luck!

:)

Cheers,
 ~ elves


p.s. several seconds is too long also, just in case those times look short compared to the others. This is the age of instant gratification, and slow loading videos and websites are simply abandoned for other immediately accessible content. So, while this might not seem high priority compared to having a generally functional system ( good job! ), please be assured that few people would have the patience for this. For example, I find it frustrating enough that if I don't get another computer to load the pages faster, I will probably not have the patience myself, despite caring very much about the project.
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machinelves

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  • hopeful!

Posted 2 years ago

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LFP6, Player Developer

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Hey Elves, good to see you around.


I have noticed increasingly slow loading times, but honestly hadn't connected the dots pointing it towards loading old user data - that actually does make sense. I'll try to do some digging once I have a little time to see where exactly the slowdown is stemming from - would not be surprised to see some extremely large, inefficient API request or few.

This is definitely a significant issue, thank you for bringing it up. I personally have a limited amount that I am able to do right now, but hopefully I can at least get the process rolling to get it resolved.
(Edited)
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machinelves

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You too, LFP6! :)

I am delighted to hear you have some good clues as to what might be going on, thank you for considering the issue.

Please don't overextend yourself, we all must take good care of our primary responsibilities and self care. :) I am really grateful for the time and immense work you have already given.

And as time is available, anyone who can solve this problem will vastly improve accessibility to the players who have submitted the most content, and I think we all know what that means to the longevity of the project.
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machinelves

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A special side note to those who are not having slow loading times:

If you get a chance to fill out and comment with the short form I provided above, that information will still be helpful to us, in narrowing down the cause of the issue, even if you yourself do not have the issue.
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Alright, so I don't think this is what I expected. The login doesn't have any data associated with it, so that definitely doesn't follow my hypothesis. The side_project_roadmap and get_labs_for_my_lab_cards queries seem to be taking ridiculously long and don't seem to be carrying that much data or require a ton of processing. So this isn't really what I expected.

I just tried what you did with both my current and test account (the latter barely used), and I definitely see the issues that you're raising. While I don't see times anywhere near what you have (puzzle submission and login times at 15 seconds, home page winds up being probably ~30 seconds which I can almost deal with), using a fresh account is maybe 10 times faster on all counts. I wouldn't be all too surprised if the increase in time that you see is due to the fact that you've used your account more (ie, played more puzzles).

Something must have changed server-side in the last couple weeks to couple months (I believe this slowdown is that recent). I don't have the access to do any further debugging myself, but I'll try to run this past Omei to see if he can get a message to the dev team about this.

Thanks for your patience with this.
(Edited)
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Using Win10/Chrome myself
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machinelves

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Wow, that was a fast and helpful place to start investigating, thank you so much LFP6!!

Getting the confirmation that it is not only my computer helps, even if we aren't sure what is going on yet.

Any magic Omei & other devs can apply to divine the source of the issue would be most appreciated. 

For my own part, there is no rush. But if I am not alone in this, then I am sure other players might appreciate if this were to be addressed whenever possible.
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Just talked to Hoglahoo in chat. He said that he's seen a significant slowdown in load times over the past year or two, 5-10 seconds per page. 12-second homepage load, 27-second login, and 22-second puzzle submission. Not crazy based on his activity, but notable nonetheless.
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machinelves

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Thanks LFP6 & Hoglahoo, this is helpful data indeed. :)
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Omei Turnbull, Player Developer

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Hi Elves!  Good to hear from you!

Here's my results for the survey:

operating system:
 mac sierra version 10.12.5
browser: Chrome
old or new account: old 
many or few puzzles / labs / comments submitted: many 
time to login: 10 seconds from clicking login to home page appearing
time to load home page: 10 more seconds for home page to completely fill up
time to submit completed puzzle: 15 seconds 
time to load labs results page: 1-3 seconds 
time to load synth results: This one can be really variable, because there are three possible different browsers, with different sets of capabilities, each with their own capabilities, that can get invoked.  It used to be that you could only look at results for one puzzle at a time (the Flash browser). but now, there are a lot of links that bring up the legacy HTML browser, the one whose heading looks like this.

If you get that one and it is loading much data, you can be in for a very long wait, regardless of your machine.  It's always been that way; it never really got finished, and no work has been done on it for years.

Compared to my "typical" expectations, I would say this is a little faster than average.  There are times when I experience unusually long delays, most often when submitting puzzles.  But they are the exception rather than the norm.

Can you try with Chrome and see if that makes any difference?  I don't know about the Eterna site as a whole, but I do have access to the analytics for the new HTML browser, and it shows 95%+ of users their using Chrome.  I don't have high hopes for this hypothesis, because I occasionally fire up Safari and Chrome for Eterna, and have not noticed a big performance difference.  But it is one way your experience might be slower than mine.
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Omei Turnbull, Player Developer

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@machinelves Comparable developer tools are available under Firefox.  Go to the menu, select Developer/Toggle Tools.
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machinelves

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@whbob Thank you for the note about not being able to upgrade to current flash version on firefox lest eterna stop working altogether - this is interesting, and suggests the issue here really is the platform being implemented in flash which, as I suppose everyone has already said, either needs a refactoring or replacement / upgrade. 

@Omei Thank you for providing that clarity about the old browser loading up under certain circumstances. Thank you for the note about Firefox dev tools. I have used it only on occasion, and just tried logging in and observing the console tab during site nav:

A) Clicked on puzzles link:

A1) Every tab or page load seems to have this kind of error as the first output:
   TypeError: document.body is null

   [Learn More] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Reference/Errors/Unexpected_type 

   all.js:75:328

   n/< http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js:75:328
   k http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js:74:206

A2) The next console output is a track pageview beacon that gets sent, and this appears for many or perhaps all pages.

B) Clicked to load puzzle, got these errors:

B1) SyntaxError: expected expression, got ','[Learn More]  8008251:71:50
https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/JavaScript/Reference/Errors/Unexpected_token

B2) The character encoding of the HTML document was not declared. The document will render with garbled text in some browser configurations if the document contains characters from outside the US-ASCII range. The character encoding of the page must be declared in the document or in the transfer protocol.  8008251

C) Clicking on random pages got me these:

C1) Setting throttling cookie: __utmt
      
C2) The page was reloaded, because the character encoding declaration of the HTML document was not found when prescanning the first 1024 bytes of the file. The encoding declaration needs to be moved to be within the first 1024 bytes of the file.

D) Clicking on labs, and loading results from second from top lab:
http://www.eternagame.org/web/browse/7559749/

D1) Script stopped loading, here is pic of dialogue box followed by error:


Error: Script terminated by timeout at:camelCase@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:11414
css@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4:6962
f.fn[c]/<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4:29383
access@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:13373
f.fn[c]@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4:29112
_fnScrollDraw/<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:5545:36
_fnApplyToChildren@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:5725:8
_fnScrollDraw@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:5544:4
_fnCallbackFire@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:7064:16
_fnDraw@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:3779:4
_fnFilterComplete@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4397:4
_fnSort@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:6312:5
_fnInitialise@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4839:5
DataTable/<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:9006:5
each@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:11774
each@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:8302
DataTable@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:8579:3
BuilderBrowser.prototype.on_build/</<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:38738:36
o@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:14728
add@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:14948
ready@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:8352
BuilderBrowser.prototype.on_build/<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:38736:16
get_synthesized_results/</<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:36282:18
process_response@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:26219:16
get_synthesized_results/<@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:36281:16
success@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:23643:22
o@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:14728
fireWith@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:2:15502
w@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4:12470
d@http://www.eternagame.org/workbranch_medicine/frontend/eterna.min.js?ver=23121222542386:4:18318
  eterna.min.js:2:11414

        
=> I don't know if any of this is relevant or if I am missing where I should be looking to observe the issues. Is the last one (D) related to the issue you explain with falling back on the old browser, or is this something else? I don't know if all the constant reloading due to lack of declarations is also slowing it down? Perhaps not the primary issue, but also doesn't seem like it would help it go any faster. 

Also I assume you are busy, so there is no rush to reply or parse through all this immediately - I am just slowly marching forward as I myself have time. ( i.e. I may not always be able to reply immediately myself )
(Edited)
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whbob

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@elves: Someone with HTML experience might make sense out of your screen capture.  
Your browser appears to be correct, the game page does not explicitly declare character encoding.  Looking at that page with my dev tools, I see that character encoding in the game page is in the metadata as UTF-8. Your Firefox is not recognizing the metadata or not getting far enough in the code to read the metadata?  Comments anyone?

Because it is a large database to load, it has been common for me to see a warning window asking if I want to kill the request or continue.  Pressing continue each time the window appears will get the page loaded.  Maybe once the page is loaded, it will read the metadata?  Try the continue thing and let us know if it finally loads.

Thanks for your patience.
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whbob

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@elves: I just noticed the url that you used above " http.. www dot eternagame dot org slash web slash browse slash 7559749" .  When you click on lab archives and click on Review Results the response is doomed:(  Omei, in two posts up, explained ... that button tries to get data by project number and it can't.  It reverts to an unstable old legacy browser with poor response to loading, scrolling etc.  

Instead of the "Review Results" button, please try the "lab info" button next to it.  That will bring you to the sublab page where you can click on one sub lab button and get to the new browser.

That should load faster and respond faster when scrolling.  

This isn't a solution to all of you problems, but not using the review response button should be one less distraction for us to deal with.       
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machinelves

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@whbob thank you very much for these comments. That is very interesting that FF fails to read the metadata - I noticed it explicitly said it was not within the first 1024 chars or something - is it possible you are seeing the declaration, but that it is embedded further down than normal? Or that you have a default rendering that injects a standard when none is declared? Completely guessing here.

Thanks for the note on pressing continue - at the time, nothing happened. I found later this was because even though I had default flash settings 'ask to enable', it did not in fact prompt an ask for flash, and therefore failed to load the page even after clicking continue. I don't know about the metadata at that point. I do know that when I enabled flash to all across the board, then reloaded the page, I was granted access to the puzzle, and don't recall seeing the error again. I posted screenshots of page loads and puzzle submissions in posts below - you may have to scroll slowly and click view more or whatever it is to expand other forum posts.

Thank you very much for the clarification on avoiding old lab result rendering, this was a really clear phrasing that helped me grasp better how to avoid that particular issue. All my tests and screenshots below are for puzzle submits, logins, and home page loads, and I'm glad to know what to do about avoiding long lab results loads.

Thanks very much!!
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Brourd

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It's rather unfortunate that you're dealing with these login issues. An idea I've been thinking of could be the root of the problem may actually have something to do with the contents of your profile page. For Omei, he has a couple lines of text and a link to some website, and while it takes probably less than 20 seconds or so to actually log into Eterna, most page transitions are fairly smooth, and the contents take a bit to load up, but that's unrelated to the webpage. However, my profile page consists of a phrase an old professor of mine uses, and that's about it.

Your profile page on the other hand contains numerous embedded images, which is similar to hoglahoo's profile page, and I suspect that other players with a bunch of stuff on their profiles may experience some slowdown as well. Granted, this is just a random theory with very little actual evidence to back it up, but you never know.
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MasterStormer, Player Developer

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It just prints the data that it gives. My question is, how long does it take there? If you wanna be specific open the network menu and hit F5 then to record exactly.
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machinelves

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I did not feel it was necessary to do that, as I said it was fairly instant. Opening up dev tools, and looking at Network feedback, it took 1.69 seconds without and 1.79 with the uid. Why do you want to know? I am not sure I understand, so I will appreciate any context or explanation you can provide, as any hunches may help us further along.
(Edited)
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MasterStormer, Player Developer

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That makes 0 sense, although I already reached the conclusion that it will make 0 sense when I did my test of it.

The whole page is the result of your project sidemap or whatever it is called. So, obviously, it calls the server with the request for this data. However, instead of taking 30 seconds, it took 2. Maybe the 30 seconds we see in your screenshot is inflated by multiple requests happening simultaniously?


EDIT:
Wait, could you send the entire url of side project roadmap, including the blacked out stuff? It has 2 things in it- uid, the thing that I can see when I go to your profile, and rnd, which is a random thing for tracking requests as far as I know. Maybe because of rnd it is different, or maybe it has a parameter I don't know about?
(Edited)
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machinelves

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Aha! Thank you so much for the clarity on the purpose for this experiment. Indeed, that is odd, and a great discovery to add to our clue pile. 

I would guess the rnd value is a benign factor to force reload of the page with fresh incrementation of roadmap progress ( i.e. not loading precached page with outdated roadmap completion status ), but since I am not a backend programmer, I cannot say for sure, and I seem to recall random numbers also being used for uid login authentication in some systems, but I may be totally wrong here. So I will need to perform an experiment first to confirm, and then may be able to provide this. Alternately, you can experiment on yourself, assuming there is a non negligible difference in load times for you between the two access points, albeit not as severe as my own.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7821434/what-purpose-is-of-rnd-parameter-in-http-requests

So fyi, I will get back to you on this, and thank you very much for this interesting and potentially informative investigation path!!
(Edited)
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hoglahoo

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Another tidbit for you clever people: I reset my profile page to default plain jane and it took 28 seconds to get logged in and fully load the home page in chrome.  28 seconds in firefox as well.  changing my profile page back now to all the little frills and doodads since it appears to make a negligible difference in loading times
(Edited)
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machinelves

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Workarounds

In trying the player puzzles in addition to the 10 step tutorial walkthru, I realized something I had forgotten: that previously the puzzle submission took long enough that I did not wait to see it officially submit, and rather just closed the window and went on to the next. 

So, I don't know whether puzz submit was always very slow and I just got around it by doing this, or if it was a bit slow, but not as bad as it is now. Some folks have noticed things being slower perhaps with certain flash changes.

For example, I came across this while looking at player puzzles:



I do recall in the past of course larger puzzles taking longer even for simply coloring nts.

This also made me realize that the tutorial progression funnels you into waiting for submit completion, rather than being able to close out the tab as described above.

Index Tutorial Puzzles?
Therefore, perhaps a workaround could be making the tutorials available in an indexed link list, like how the labs and player puzzles are all accessible via direct link and indexing.

Being funneled into the guided and gated tour is an understandable UX approach, and I think ( correct me if wrong ) that the gating to access to features would still stand, since it is based on completion of certain puzzles? If there is concern about a user skipping ahead and only completing a few of the latest puzzles to get lab access, for example, then you could set a gate of needing to have completed x amount of puzzles, or even the explicit list of tutorial puzzles or sections ( if it is not already this way ).

Workarounds in Summary
My current workarounds to old users having slow load and submit times, and overheating, are as follows:
  • Overheating :: Do not use mac laptop, even if it is mbp dual processor with 16GB ram.
  • Slow Load, Submit, Etc. :: Play another game on another device or have something else to do while waiting. 
  • Slow Player Puzzle Submit :: You don't have to wait for player puzzles to fully submit, you can close the window and you still get credit & points. I tested this thoroughly yesterday. This may not work on labs or puzzlemaker, I haven't tried, so copy your sequence before closing a still-submitting page there, to be sure you don't lose your data. This could be applied to tutorial puzzles, but then you are booted from your 'next' button carousel/funnel into the proceeding puzzle, and have to nav back probably thru your home page. Still, if that takes less time than waiting for the submit, at least that may be an option. Note that I haven't tried this on the tutorial puzzles, so I don't have a confirmation whether your place in the progression gets submitted or lost, if closing out early.
  • Slow Tutorial Submit :: Create an indexed direct link tutorial puzzle list so that we can close out without waiting for submit feedback.
(Edited)
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hoglahoo

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regarding the Slow Player Puzzle Submit, I don't find it necessary to close the window.  Continuing on with the workaround in a new tab seems to be just as fast for me and eliminates any credit or points risk associated with closed the window
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MasterStormer, Player Developer

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I honestly can't believe I forgot to mention it, but if you want to be in the chat, you could go to irc.eternagame.org, use the ios app, or use a mirc setup like @hoglahoo.

(p.s. hog said he has problems with irc.eternagame.org, and he is on firefox. so if it takes a suspiciously long amount of time to connect, check if you have an error in the console (f12), because that means it decided to stop trying to connect)
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hoglahoo

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My problem with irc.eternagame.org is most likely related to a firewall according to LFP6 based on some troubleshooting he did for me the other day.  Also, I have no trouble with it when I'm on a machine that doesn't go through the firewall
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Omei Turnbull, Player Developer

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While I was investigating the possible cause of Wednesday's service outage, I stumbled across the fact that the Apache logs were filled with warnings that the connection to the memcached process was failing.  To make a long story short, the memcached is a dynamic cache that is intended to provide fast results to common database queries, improving average query times.  That process wasn't running, and apparently hasn't been running for a long time, because there was nothing about it in the server setup documentation the current devs inherited.  So Nando started it up, and I verified that the warning messages went away.

My own impression is that it has actually made a performance improvement.  Most noticeably, I haven't seen any of the intermittent long (~30 second) delays that I have previously observed in the Chrome debugger, where the browser is just waiting for the server to return the first byte of response data.

I am sure that this is not going to fix everyone's performance issues.  But I am curious to see if anyone else thinks there has been some improvement starting about noon today (PDT).  It may just be my wishful thinking. :-)
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machinelves

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Wow thanks Omei, that sounds like a good find. High five! I tried to log into eternagame.org which took 32 seconds, and also load the home page 33 seconds. I cleared my browser cache & cookies, and same situation.

I noticed specifically that login and home page load is faster with users who contain little data, whether new or old, e.g. few or zero puzzles solves, lab submits, comments, messages, etc.

I also tried deleting all saved eterna settings in macromedia's flash settings panel, but login and home page were still same slowness

Therefore I am sorry to report that from my current observations, unless there's some other cache I need to flush, this has not yet affected my 30 sec login and home page loads.

Thank you very much for finding and solving this issue though, because I am sure others will benefit from the fix. It sure sounded like a possible culprit to what I was seeing, so I was happy to try it out.
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whbob

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@machinelves: I am curious to know if the server upgrades that have just been completed has made any difference in your Eterna experience.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it has :)
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Just wanted to give a quick update! It seems that our recent database upgrade may have resolved a majority of the performance issues we've been seeing as of late (long story short, our database server was old and had less resources, and appeard to have bottlenecked incoming request - which all came to a head in an influx of website timeouts, especially with the increase of submissions in openCRISPR).

Crossing your fingers that this will get us back on track - please post if you continue to have performance issues. I'll try to monitor performance over the next couple weeks, and resolve this issue if things seem to be going smoothly.
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