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Discussion Starter #1
I REALLY /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif like the Active Topics feature, but it has me somewhat confused /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif as how to maintain control of the span of time it is checking.

Usually, when I log in and select Active Topics it shows the last Date/Time I logged in, which may include several hours of topic additions that I have already seen, since I probably was logged on for many hours the last time I logged in.  I tend to log in and check the list every few minutes to few hours over several hours... (sometimes all day long).  That is really okay because, in the displayed list of topics, the topic names are in bold type face for the threads that I have not seen the latest additions to, and the ones that I have seen are in the normal lighter face type.  Sometimes the list is quite long, but I really don't care about that because of the bold/normal type face differentation.

I am usually surfing other web sites, doing research for some project, or maybe perusing Google Earth.  Or I might be using Excel or Word, or writing software in Visual Basic (might also have been playing Solitaire a while... well sometimes too long a while!/Providers/HtmlEditorProviders/Fck/FCKeditor/editor/images/smiley/msn/embaressed_smile.gif)  I periodically come back to MLS and refresh the Active Topic list.

I know I can set the time span to different specific periods using the dropdown list in the upper right corner.  That is (mostly) okay also.  I use it if the list gets too long with topics I am not at all interested in (I cain't read'em all!) and selecting to view only the last 30 minutes or 6 hours, etc. shortens the list.

But recently I have noticed that if I have left the timing selection to be the last Date/Time I logged in, it sometimes changes the Date/Time to some other Date/Time.  Like it might start with 'yesterday' (what ever the date was) and say, "05:30 PM", (the last Date/Time I had logged in) then after a few hours it changes that to 'today' at say "02:30 PM".  Then, a little later it changes again to another Date/Time.  But I have not logged out and back in again.

I don't mind this behavior, as it is often quite helpful in shortening the list of topics!  I just have to make sure I check the whole list before I do a refresh or I might miss some updated topic.  But I would like to know what causes this behavior so I can have some "control" of it.

I have not found any relationship as to what I was doing or how long it was between my "refreshes", and these "automatic" changes.  I have logged out of my account, terminated the browser and started over and sometimes the Date/Time does not change.  Other times all I did was leave the computer for a while and when I come back and do a Refresh the value changes.

Similarly, sometimes I set the "period" to, say the last 12 hours, then a logout and restart does not affect that setting and sometimes it reverts to the previous log-in time or some other specific time of day, (but never a different "Period").

Maybe it is associated with how long I am logged out, or maybe I happen to log out during a refresh of the web site and that happenstance affects whether I see a change.

This is not something that "MUST BE FIXED/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif" as it is not something that is "broken", nor without simple work-arounds that I have control over (select the time period myself), though sometimes the available "Spans" are not exactly what I "want"./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif  Sometimes I'd really like to set it to "4 hours" as "2" is not long enough and "6" is way too long.  Not that "3", "5", "7", and, well, all the other possible "number-of-hours" would not be some number my brainbox might decide would be "better" than "1", "2", "6", "12", and the other predefined values.

Given all my babbling... is there some place to learn how this timing of Active Topics works?

Thanks!
 

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Charles:

Same behavior here.

Like you, I almost always use "Active Topics (Since) . . . ". The previous incarnation had persistence; that is it remained on either the specific time span selected or on "Since Last Visit". The selection persisted whether logged in or not and I had a couple of bookmarks that also went back to different previously selected time spans or "Since Last Visit". This feature is basically the same as previous except it now has no persistence.

Now, it can and does actually change the time span it uses in the interval between selecting the time and clicking on "Active Topics". Sometimes just selecting a time span causes the page to reload with topics in that time span and sometimes it doesn't. Since I'm one of the last persons in the country with no access to broadband, this really tries my patience when it loads the Active topics that posted in the last 15 minutes when I wanted the last 6 hours. I have to try to get it to load the time span I want again and sometimes several times.

I've posted this problem on the "Feedback" page. If you go there and vote for it, it might bring it nearer the top of the stack to get attention.

Happy RRing,

Jerry
 

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All,

Keep in mind that not everything that you put into the feedback will make it into existence.  Some items just won't be feasible in the new system, some items will.  Some items are in my control, some are not.  Sometimes I'm going to have to say "no" for one reason or another. 

The behavior of the active topics page is one item that is not within my control.  I can request that the developer of the new forums make modifications, and have on several occasions, but that does not guarantee that the requested changes will happen.  It's very much like calling up Microsoft and telling them that you want the next version of windows to run more like a mac.  They're not going to drop everything and work on your suggestion.  If they deem it a change that could be of benefit to a good percentage of their customers, and more customers than just you have requested it, they will work it into a development schedule and slowly add it into the product.  It won't happen tomorrow if it happens at all.

You all need to keep giving this new system some time and learning it's nuances much the same way you did with the old.  Some stuff is going to be different and won't ever be the same.  You're talking apples and oranges here.  They're both fruits and both are good, but they have differences.  Color, texture, taste, smell, etc. You can't make an apple into and orange and vice versa.
I wouldn't call what you're describing here a "problem", but a difference, and many of the items that have been added to the suggestion box are similar in nature.  I'm doing what I can to make things as familiar as possible, but you just have to accept that some stuff is going to be different.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Shad:  No problem.  I am NOT complaining or even requesting a change.  I posted this simply to see if someone else might have noticed the same behavior and maybe figured out the WHY of the behavior... I might just be missing something or maybe my particular setup (browser/operating system/Internet connection) is not quite "right".
The fact that someone else has noticed the same behavior means it ain't just ME...and I feel better (somewhat... maybe... I guess/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif ...).

I realize that there are some things that you have direct control of and some things that you don't, but I have no idea which is which (and you may not be aware of them all either).

Maybe the designer of the Active Topics feature never intended the user to log-on and stay there refreshing the list for hours on end; they might have thought people would only log-on, select Active Topics, read a few and soon log-off.

Sure, it is "different" than the old way, but that doesn't mean it is bad... just different.  I am not even sure if I want it "fixed" as I am not sure what the problem is right now.  It still might be the designers plan to work exactly like I am experiencing... maybe I just don't understand it yet.

Personally, I miss the auto-refresh feature of the old system, but can certainly get along without it.  If I can gain an understanding of the present behavior such that I can control what is happening (or it can control what I perceive!) then there is probably no problem at all.  Until then, it is perplexing and I shall continue to gather circumstantial evidence as to what the behavior is.  If I figure something out, I'll post it here and I hope that if someone else notices a "cause and effect" relationship in the behavior they will let us all know.

Obviously, Jerry wants some change and I can understand his problem and why he wants a change.

Jerry:  I have not noticed the page update if I re-select the same time span from the drop down box.  It only reloads the page if I change the selection in that box.  I assume you are using the mouse to select a time span, but I have never experienced it selecting a different span than what I clicked on.  Long download times can be a killer to the pleasure of a web site and if it selects the wrong span for you that can certainly be frustrating.  I will try to monitor the persistance of my selection in the time span list and see what I notice in it.  Presently, for me, if I shut the computer all the way down, and restart, the selection always comes back to the last log-in time.  But, then I also run some utilities OFTEN that clear junk from my computer and they may be altering some cookie that is storing the selection.  Maybe your computer has a program (anti-virus, anti-spam, etc.) that is periodically finding the cookie (or whatever) and erasing it "for you", resulting it the seemingly random changes.  Maybe???

I am reminded of a couple of "ol' adages" that I thought up over the last few years:

Remember, computers are neither smart nor dumb...
They are just plain MEAN!

Take heart, the computer is just an interim solution,
until we perfect the pencil and paper.

/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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Semper

Might I suggest trying the "Not Read" screen accessed via the Forums Toolbar (i.e. the light-grey toolbar located below the green rule on most all of the forum screens). it may serve your purpose better.

When you use this screen it lists all active topics currently on the forums that you haven't  looked at yet. Once you've opened a topic from this screen, and then returned to the Not Read screen, using the Back function of you browser, that particular topic you just opened is no longer listed. This may come closer to what your looking for.

There are differences between this screen layout as opposed to the Active Topics screen, for instance the topics are not grouped into their respective forums. Although in the Topic column the follow information is listed Topic Title (Subject), Topic Author, and the Forum Name in which the topic resides, all of which are active links, which take you to their respective locations accordingly.

An additional feature of this screen is that you can re-sort the records using the Column Names (i.e. Topics, Replies, Views, & Last Post) in the table header.

Another feature of the Not Read screen is, if you use the Refresh feature of your browser, any topics that now qualify for display because of new content will be added to the table.

Take a look and see what you think.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, Steve.  Yes, I had considered the "Not Read" list, but I don't have time to read EVERY post to all the forums.  And now that list (for "ME") is up to 6 pages and I just don't have enough interest in most of the subjects listed there to go open every one of them just to remove them from the list.  If there was some way to mark them all as "Read" I would do so and start fresh.  But as this web site picks up, I would probably have to do the same at least once a day to keep up (and always wonder if I have missed reading the ONE really interesting post because I missed it when I set the read markers).

The "Active Topics" list is pretty good, I just have to pay attention to the "Span" selected, so if it changes I can take it into account.
 

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Dwight

In answer to your question I was selecting Verdana as the font and xx-small as the size, but because I've got my browser text size setting set to Larger it looked OK on my end, but since you brought up the question it seems not to be the correct choice. The reason that I did that was the default choice in the MLS full-text editor (i.e. Arial, blank size) dosent respond to my browser text size setting (i.e. mine MS/IE v6.0, O/S: MS/Win2K v5.00.2195 SP4).

I've also noticed on my system trying to use the view menu and text size option to change the setting doesn't work all the time, but if I use the CTRL key + mouse scroll wheel it will respond.

Also there is a difference between the reaction to the text size setting. The text up here that I've typed using the MLS full-text editor responds to a browser size change. However the test table text down below doesn't, I think that is a result of using the copy/paste from MS/Word and deciding not to clean the incoming stuff with the MLS full-text editor option when prompted. All these little things to learn about. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

So here's a test that I did tell me which of the following is the smallest best choice to use. Also does it come out the same way when you copy/paste to MS/Word on your system.
 
From MLS Full-text Editor text area, browser text size set to Larger
 
MLS Editor default font & size (Font: Arial, Size: Blank, Browser Text Size: No response)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Arial, 7pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: xx-small, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 7.5pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: x-small, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 10pt) (same as the old MLS default)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: small, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 12pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: medium, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 13.5pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: Large, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 18pt)
 
 
From MLS Full-text Editor Preview screen using the forum Preview button & not the Editor toolbar Preview button, browser text size to larger
 
MLS Editor default font & size (Font: Arial, Size: Blank, Browser Text Size: No response)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 7pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: xx-small, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 7.5pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: x-small, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 10pt) (same as the old MLS default)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: small, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 12pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: medium, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 13.5pt)
 
MLS Editor (Font: Verdana, Size: Large, Browser Text Size: Responds)
(copy/paste to MS/Word = Verdana, 18pt)
 

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As an experiment, I've added an auto refresh on the forum. If you let your web browser sit on the active topics page for 10 minutes, it will refresh with the latest posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This new AutoRefresh seems to be refreshing the wrong pages.

I open the Active Topics page in one tab of IE7 and then open new tabs for each topic I wish to read... I do this in one scan of the Active Topics page.  Then I go read each of the newly opened tabs and close each them when I am done with them.  Some I leave open as reminders to either reply to them or maybe to open links to other sites that are listed in them.

I have noted that sometimes one of these pages will refresh all on its own.  I think it is the last one opened, but I am not sure of that.

It might be the cause of someone else's frustration listed in another thread (I don't remember which) wherein he complained that he was typing and the page refreshed and he lost everything he was typing.

???
 

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This refresh thing is becoming annoying. I am reading down through a topic (may be 10 minutes) and it refreshes and dumps me back at the top of the topic. I have been interuppted and lost my place. I need to scoll back down through it trying to figure where I was. Eventually I will just close out of the site and go somewhere else. I truly don't understand the need to refresh anything.
 

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I have disabled the refresh.  I forgot you guys were a bunch of windbags that took forever to reply..  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif  I will look for another solution that will only do the refresh when the active topics list is displayed.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks!  Some of us are slow readers too!

Actually, I have come to pretty much like the way the present Active Topics works without the auto-refresh.  I just click the refresh when I come back to the tab I have it opened on.  The only thing I have lost is my using it to tell me when a fixed time period has passed, but I have other ways to do that if I really need it (I wrote my own alarm clock program a long time ago and I can set it to buzz at me on whatever interval I want!)

I think I have figured out the reason the time limit of the Active Topics search changes sometimes.  It is because the server has logged me out because of my own inactivity in viewing the site and when I click on the refresh button I get logged back in automatically, but then the search date/time updates to the previous time that occured.  This is why it looks so random.

The question I have though is what is the server's inactivity timeout?

I have also noted that sometimes I miss a topic being updated, so I periodically change the time to "Yesterday" and see all the things that have been added and sometimes there are topics that were updated that I missed.  I have tried leaving it set to "Yesterday" but my the end of the day the list can get quite long and it takes a while to update the screen.

Is there a way to force it to revert to the last log-on time instead of the predetermined time spans?  Or set it to a date/time I type in?

The only way I know is to log-off, and exit IE-7 and then restart it completely.  And sometimes I have to do that more than once before it forgets the "Yesterday" setting and reverts to the last log-on time.
 
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