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SteveLewis

VATSIM Problems tonight (May 16)

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Tonight I was flying STL-DEN to position myself for tomorrow's Ozark Virtual Fly In. I departed KSTL normally and Mark Brummet was the controller on duty. No problems with departure. Mark did his usual great job. My problems came when I switched to ZDEN.The controller was supposedly on voice (DEN_V_CTR) but never answered up. I attempted to contact him by typing and just as I did, the network must have frozen up. I was tracking the HYS VOR and couldn't disconnect the VOR track because of the freeze. So there I was doing 360s around the HYS VOR at a 90 degree bank angle. Then the +/- 6,000 fpm fun began. I actually got out of that and it settled in at FL350 and heading 260. But, the SBHost box was still frozen up in mid transmission and would not respond to any keystroke. Nothing I could do would change it or send the message. (I don't think it was my PC because I just upgraded to a P4 2.4G with 533 FSB & 512 Mb of PC2100 SDRAM.) I couldn't CNTRL-ALT-DEL or anything. Flight Sim 2002 was running, however. I finally managed to get the a/c at FL350 heading west and the clock in my Ozark MD82 was running normally. Only, I couldn't get control of anything. After 15 minutes of futility, I just held the start button in for 5 seconds and my PC turned off. When I restarted it came up normally without a ScanDisk. I will attempt to fly the OVA fly in tomorrow but who knows what fun will happen. Why is it that when the network slows down due to traffic(?)or whatever the problem is, you have to wait for one key stroke to take effect before you hit another key??? If you hit multiple keys as I did it just takes forever to get out of it and it may as well have frozen up. :-mad Steve Lewis (OVA142) KCLE

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FYI, the network (VATSIM) doesn't slow down.. at all... nada... If you're having problems, it's YOUR connection to the Internet or YOUR computer... please DON'T blame the network, as you cause very hard working people on the network team to blow a gasket everytime we read stuff like this...Mike

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It's sure funny that the only time I have these problems is when I'm flying on VATSIM. I had the same problems with my old computer. Don't just blame me either. I'm just saying I had a problem and the network (or my PC) sure did a dump whenever I tried to contact DEN_C_CTR. IMHO, there's always been some problems with the connections/network or whatever with SATCO/VATSIM. Great idea. Just doesn't work as advertised all the time.

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The network didn't do a dump.. it's working fine.. it has been working fine.. your PC or your local network (ISP) did a dump.. please don't blame the system for failures that are local to a system or ISP.Mike

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Talking to the TWVA guys on their forum, we tend to believe that it was a Roger Wilco problem. All my problems began immediately after I attempted to contact DEN_V_CTR on RW. Then I attempted to contact him normally with the keyboard. That's when the SB Input box froze in mid-sentence. I couldn't complete the message. I couldn't get the SBHost box to minimize or go away or anything. The aircraft continued to fly so I hardly see how that was my PC or my ISP. I'm on a cable modem and haven't had any ISP problems yet. I had RW set to slow modem as directed. SquawkBox performed very well all during my flight until the moment I described.I'm not trying to blame anyone or anything. I'm trying to figure out the problem I had so it won't happen again.

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Steve:I know it can be frustrating when your machine locks up in the middle of a flight (it has happened or will happen sooner or later to EVERYONE). I think what Mike is trying to say here is that it is virtually impossible that it's caused by the network. If that were the cause, we would have people screaming their heads off at our Network and Development departments because it would be affecting many. I know you don't think that the network is targeting only one individual. VATSIM's network has been running now for nearly two years and over 16,000 hours with barely a hiccup in over a year (I'm talking about the network itself and its software and not individual servers which do go down from time to time). You should start by examining the most obvious causes which in these cases almost always are found on your local machine and what you happen to be running or doing at the time it crashes. I was flying last night probably at the same time and in the same area where you were and I had no problems whatsoever with my network connection or with SquawkBox. To be sure, there are problems with RW and people's local networks. I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong on this (I am not an expert or even a novice when it comes to networks) but RW was developed at a time when few people had hardware routers and LANs. The type of problem you relate about Denver Center not hearing you are oftentimes attributable to someone's router settings (or lack thereof). It doesn't have to be your router (you may not even have one); another person on the channel can be causing you not to be heard. One of the things that we can all do to help alleviate this problem is the trick of setting RW to slow modem which is why we are advising everyone to do that. All it takes, however, is one person on a channel not having his set properly. None of that, however, is related to the network itself.Take a careful note of what you are running in the background and exactly what you do when this happens. Its almost a certainty that the root of the problem lies there. Good luck with it and I hope you are able to solve it.Best Wishes.George S. MarinakisVP Conflict Resolution (VATSIM6/VATGOV8)VATSIM Board of Governors

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George, I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was blaming any one individual in particular or VATSIM. It certainly wasn't the guy manning DEN_V_CTR last night. As an engineer by training, I was stating a problem that occurred and what was going on at the time the problem was incurred. That doesn't point a finger at anyone or anything. My PC itself didn't totally lock up. My MD82 continued to fly straight and level at FL350 at 260 true. The DME to the VOR continued to change so it wasn't as if my PC totally froze up. The second hand on the clock on my panel continued to move. When this happened, the HostSB.dll box and SB box were frozen and I had no mouse cursor. Possibly that locked up on me, I don't know. I couldn't make contact using Roger Wilco or by typing a message because the message box was red(like when you type in something) but it never completed the message I was sending to DEN_V_CTR. I only had the following programs running: FS2002, ActiveSkyWxre, SquawkBox, Roger Wilco, Rundll32, Explorer, and Systray. Possibly (?) ActiveSkyWxre was downloading data at the time and caused a problem. Probably not but who knows? Anyway, I'm trying VATSIM again tonight. I'll be flying from DEN back to STL as OVA142 for the Ozark Virtual Fly In. We'll see what happens. Thanks for your comments.Steve

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