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somewhat let down

DIGIT

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16 replies to this topic

#1 HowCold

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 12:38 AM

I'm a new user of the labJack Digit data loggers.

 

In reference to the software made available for this logger I can only say that it is dismal. It really is not up to standards with respect to the hardware.

 

Anyways, having purchased several loggers, bought a PC (as there is no Mac software) and downloaded the data.

 

Wonderful I thought ! - Not at all.

 

The software absolutely does not manage the data conversion correctly. All the data has a " " (space) instead of a decimal point and this resulted in the loss of all the data accuracy after the decimal point.

 

Great, over a months worth of data collection lost !!!

 

I just cannot believe that whoever put the Digit on the market did not bother to check that the software was a minimum usable in an easy way.

 

Dismal, and I am strongly regretting the purchase.

 

 

To the point; does anyone have a failsafe data download method for the Digits that can be used by shop floor staff ?

 



#2 LabJack Support

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 05:10 PM

Sorry about the trouble.  Downloading data is certainly a basic function that we want to be a foolproof as possible.

 

You said that all your downloaded data has a space where it should have a decimal point.  Is this the way it downloaded, or after opening in some other program?  Can you attach a file here so we can look at it?



#3 HowCold

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 12:38 AM

In most of europe "," are used for decimals. Imagine what that means to a csv file.

Otero does not tailor for this (and other things). And even if it is possible to set a different delimiter Otero will occasionally reset to standard settings without warning.

The software is just messy, i doubt it was designed for public use. And if it was the specs were not given reasonable attention from interface poibt if view.

What is really needed on the shop floor is a plug-it-in and pull-iut data solution. Not this misteriously named "otero" example of bad coding.

Sorry for harsh comments but try explaining to a shop floor worker how to use it and you will immeadiatrly understand me

#4 LabJack Support

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 04:07 PM

We have had a lot of positive feedback for Otero, but as a new product from USA the sample size is smaller in Europe, so although we have not had previous negative feedback we take your concerns seriously and will look at what we can do about them.

 

The documentation for Otero is on the following page.  If any controls or indicators are unclear, this page is a good place to post a comment about that:

 

http://labjack.com/s...lications/otero

 

 

To download data, you just go to the "Data" tab and click "Download Data".  The default delimiter is Comma due to demand from USA customers, so if you want Tab delimited at this time you have to change that pull-down before you download.  Or just download again after selecting Tab, as the data is not erased by downloading but rather by the user telling it to be erased.

 

 

A few ideas to try and help you:

 

1.  We could add logic to Otero to detect if Windows is set for Europe and if so default the delimiter to Tab.

 

2.  We could add logic such that Otero automatically creates a backup of each data file it downloads.  That way if you delete or corrupt the data file somehow you could go find the backup that Otero made for you.

 

3.  Seems like we should be able to fix a file where the decimals have been saved as commas.  If you import such a data file into Excel with comma as the delimiter, each data value will be spit into 2 columns so we can combine them to fix the file.  Send us your data file and we can look at it.

 

 

BTW:  Otero is a County in Colorado, USA.



#5 HowCold

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Posted 10 December 2014 - 05:59 PM

"To download data, you just go to the "Data" tab and click "Download Data". The default delimiter is Comma due to demand from USA customers, so if you want Tab delimited at this time you have to change that pull-down before you download. Or just download again after selecting Tab, as the data is not erased by downloading but rather by the user telling it to be erased."

The above supports my comment: try explaining this to a shopfloor worker...

Why not just seek out what the decimal delimeter is set to and by default propose a logical alternative? This will work in any location (ie if the decimal is set to "." set the delimeter to default to comma, for anything else use tab)

Another illogical example is the automatic software update check on Otero startup, its a nuissance and PC's out in the field (not shop floor) often don't have internet.

Your hardware is great and easy to use; why kill the experience with this bad programming?

#6 LabJack Support

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 10:36 AM

How about item 3 in post #4?  Can you attach your data set that you are concerned is "lost" so that we can see if we can fix it?  At this point we don't have any reason to believe that lost data is a risk.

 

 

 

Why not just seek out what the decimal delimeter is set to and by default propose a logical alternative? This will work in any location (ie if the decimal is set to "." set the delimeter to default to comma, for anything else use tab)

 

That is what we will look at per item 1 in post #4.  If there is a specific registry key to determine the system delimiter rather than just region, we will use that as you suggest.  This does seem like a good idea, so are glad you brought it to our attention.

 

 

 

 

"To download data, you just go to the "Data" tab and click "Download Data". The default delimiter is Comma due to demand from USA customers, so if you want Tab delimited at this time you have to change that pull-down before you download. Or just download again after selecting Tab, as the data is not erased by downloading but rather by the user telling it to be erased."

The above supports my comment: try explaining this to a shopfloor worker...

 

Our typical customers are engineers and scientists, so Otero provides all the options they might want, but once we take care of item 1 from post #4 then the instructions you can provide to anyone are simply "To download data, you just go to the "Data" tab and click "Download Data", without the extra comments.

 

 

 

 

Another illogical example is the automatic software update check on Otero startup, its a nuissance and PC's out in the field (not shop floor) often don't have internet.

 

We have not received feedback about this from others, perhaps because few have run Otero on a machine without Internet, but we will check it out.  I would think that if Otero does not find the server for new version info, it should simply proceed and run normally, so if it is not doing that we will fix it.



#7 HowCold

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 02:05 AM

For the file; I have fixed it myself.... 7 times - man was I happy of the wasted time

 

Rather than look for a registry key, write a decimal number onto a temporary file, read back the file as text and grab whatever is in the "decimal" spot. Fool proof.

 

The internet raises a warning that has to be cleared. I see no reason what inappropriate messages be raised "EVERY" time the Otero is run.

 

Another curiosity is that the data of any DIGIT must be written to a local file before a sample graph can be seen in Otero. If I understand that data must be "read" from the Digit to be displayed (and this is a form of download) why must this process pollute a local PC hard drive when all the user wants to do is see if  it is necessary to download the data ?

 

Not to mention that - against any logical convention for user interfaces - the magical double-click on the Digit name is required to be able to change the name. There is absolutely no screen indication that the name can be modified. You know something like a indented box with a different backdrop (like you have on other fields).

 

About the customers, never read anything about the typical customer, just read about what the Digit could do. Hence Otero should tailor to this somehow.

 

I'm sure that there is a belief that Otero runs wonderfully for your current customer base, but would you not want to expand that to others ? And do the others have to go to college to understand your software when in reality they are using the hardware? 

 

Do you need further example to highlight how messy this piece of software is ?



#8 LabJack Support

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 03:41 PM

I am glad that you have been able to fix the files, so that although inconvenient at least the data is not lost.

 

Rather than look for a registry key, write a decimal number onto a temporary file, read back the file as text and grab whatever is in the "decimal" spot. Fool proof.

 

The internet raises a warning that has to be cleared. I see no reason what inappropriate messages be raised "EVERY" time the Otero is run.

 

Not to mention that - against any logical convention for user interfaces - the magical double-click on the Digit name is required to be able to change the name. There is absolutely no screen indication that the name can be modified. You know something like a indented box with a different backdrop (like you have on other fields).

 

The first 2 we discussed yesterday, and the last item is straightforward feedback, so we have already compiled a new version 1.49 that addresses these 3 items.  See the Otero change log here:

 

http://labjack.com/s...otero-changelog

 

A new exe for Otero V1.49 is attached to the main Otero page:

 

http://labjack.com/s...lications/otero

 

Download Otero_149.zip.  Unzip it to get Otero.exe.  Move this new exe to the folder where the current exe is located to replace it.  On a 64-bit machine the typical folder is:

 

c:\Program Files (x86)\LabJack\Applications\

 

The first time you run this new version you will get a warning from Windows that "The publisher could not be verified ...".  Uncheck the "Always ask before opening this file" box and then click "Run".  The program should start and you can look at the upper left of the window to confirm that it is v1.49.

 

 

Another curiosity is that the data of any DIGIT must be written to a local file before a sample graph can be seen in Otero. If I understand that data must be "read" from the Digit to be displayed (and this is a form of download) why must this process pollute a local PC hard drive when all the user wants to do is see if  it is necessary to download the data ?

 

That behavior is on purpose.  We wanted to minimize the chance of confusion leading to losing data, so make the safe choice and just save the data right away.  I will make a to-do to re-evaluate this behavior, but no plans to change it at this time.

 

Do you need further example to highlight how messy this piece of software is?

 

We welcome all feedback.  Thanks.



#9 LabJack Support

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Posted 19 January 2015 - 08:10 PM

Please see the new version of Otero (v1.50) and new version of Digit firmware (v1.21).  Many of these items have been improved over the holiday season.



#10 HowCold

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 03:54 PM

"Many of these items have been improved over the holiday season."

 

Can you be more specific, I have spent a lot of time getting the previous version working and am not inclined to change SOPs just because of a generic sentence like the one above.



#11 LabJack Support

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 10:03 PM

The key advantages are:

  1. Firmware now recovers from a power loss event, such as replacing the battery, without having to re-connect it to the computer and erase + start over again.  Obviously it can't log data without power, but (starting with firmware 1.21) it continues logging when power is restored. The real-time clock will simply be "behind" by the amount of time the battery was missing.  It will also note the time when the power was restored, so you can see in the downloaded data what/when battery removal occurred.  You can see this feature in action by setting the log interval to 10s, let it log a few data points, then un-plug the battery for a minute or two, and plug the battery back in, and download the data after that.
  2. Non-critical logging parameters are auto-saved. It's not necessary to erase & restart logging when only the name is changed.  Due to this firmware improvement, we were able to remove the 'Apply' button from software entirely.
  3. The RTC is automatically synchronized with the computer when logging begins, so the 'Synchronize' button was also removed from software.  We realized that 99% of people will just sync before logging starts, so software does this automatically now.
  4. Software settings are remembered between closing/opening.  This makes it so that USA customers don't have to always change to °F before downloading the data, and international customers can change to tab delimited, and not worry about it flipping back to comma, etc. The default delimiter for international is still tab, and the default for USA is still comma, but in the event that someone wants to change it, they will only need to change it once.
  5. Temperature, Light, and (Humidity) data are logged during USB operation.  Prior to firmware v1.21 the Digit-TL/(TLH) would store "blank" or null readings during USB connection, and this led to confusion, so it now logs data continuously regardless of USB operation.

See below screen captures of Otero v1.50.  It's largely the same as before, but it looks cleaner, and the Data tab is less cluttered as well.

Otero%20v150%20Config.png

 

Otero%20v150%20Data.png

 

For more details, see the Firmware change log, and the Otero change log

http://labjack.com/s.../firmware/digit

http://labjack.com/s...otero-changelog



#12 HowCold

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 03:25 AM

I'm not sure the (3) RTC automatic re-synch is such a wonderful idea.

 

The Digits are used to measure temperature when crates travel. Who is to say that the computer used to pick-up temperatures half-way thru the travel is using the same time-zone as initially set on the digit?

 

The RTC auto-synch asks for generating confusion.

 

Plus RTC is such a fundamental aspect of the Digit's operation, I'm surprised that someone decided that "any value" could be used without the "owners" approval.

 

We cannot use the Otera in these conditions, have to stick to the old "abysmal" software.

 

A real pity



#13 LabJack Support

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 08:31 AM

 

 

Who is to say that the computer used to pick-up temperatures half-way thru the travel is using the same time-zone as initially set on the digit?

The time is not synchronized with the computer in any circumstance except data erase.  Thus, any number of computers in different timezones can download and view the data without changing the RTC.

 

 

 

 

without the "owners" approval

The owner is typically the person who will click "Erase & Restart Logging".  The only circumstance where I think the owner might ask someone else to erase the data(rather than just downloading it) is if you have some procedure that calls for it?  You can change the procedure to not erase the data though, if the log interval is 1min or greater, since memory will last for at least 60 days at a 1m log interval.  That is, a 1 minute log interval gives the owner a full 2-4 months of time(depending on log items) before an erase is necessary.



#14 HowCold

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 12:41 AM

Ok, I did not note the subtle "when logging begins" meaning the RTC is reset "only when the Erase & Restart logging" button is pressed.

 

Goes to the point that the Otero software remains a mix-up of features that really bring back to the fact that this software was probably originally built to test the DIGITs in R&D.

 

Maybe time has come to stop incremental improves on this and start fresh with something that does not require thoughtful understanding of wordings.

 

After all the DIGITs are a great piece of HW, and the SW is just a let down.

 

Although there is improvement I'm not going to rewrite SOP (this was already a pain due to the previous version) to adjust to the quirks of the current version of Otero.

 

 

And just a point to note, the images above state Otero v1.5 on the top left and there is a wonderful Otero v1.49 on the top right. Version control ?



#15 LabJack Support

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 07:27 PM

 

"Erase & Restart logging" button  ...  requires thoughtful understanding of wordings.

We agree, this button has been renamed in v1.53 to be more descriptive.  Button now reads "Erase Data & Begin New Logging Session"  Hopefully that helps.  If users are still unsure about the functionality of the button, it's further described in our online documentation for the program. http://labjack.com/s...lications/otero

 

 

software was probably originally built to test the DIGITs in R&D

This is true, but we do the best we can with what we have available.  At the time of release (and even now), it's difficult for us to dedicate large amounts of time to creating an entirely new program, especially since we provide the software for free.
 

 

And just a point to note, the images above state Otero v1.5 on the top left and there is a wonderful Otero v1.49 on the top right. Version control ?

The screen capture was taken on a beta version which was ahead of the current release version, so that's why the difference there.  To avoid this problem in the future, the program no longer reports the version number if the software is up-to-date.

 

Version 1.53 will be available in our main installer shortly.  Until then, you can find Otero_v153.zip at the bottom of this page listed as a File Attachment.



#16 HowCold

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:57 AM

 

software was probably originally built to test the DIGITs in R&D

 

This is true, but we do the best we can with what we have available.  At the time of release (and even now), it's difficult for us to dedicate large amounts of time to creating an entirely new program, especially since we provide the software for free.
 

 

 

 

2 points;

 

- You do realise that without the Otero program the Digit's are useless ? So lamentations that it is free are totally out of place. 

 

- How would you like your customers to say "we do the best we have with what we have available" and only pay for half the price ?

 

 

 

Come-on ! The Digits CANNOT sell without software because they don't work without the software (this by design).

 

So take a professional approach to the software that is designed for your Digit users - not your lab technicians.



#17 LabJack Support

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:48 AM

As always, we welcome your constructive feedback.  As reflected in this thread we will continue to make any changes that the consensus agrees are positive.




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