Notifications/Alarms Messed Up in Version 10

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12 comments

  • Official comment
    Avatar
    Jian
    Alex,
     
    I have checked the code and the change is made around Oct. 2018, so very well be made for V10.
     
    We have got a lot of complains saying the re-alart is not a real re-alert that the timer does not reset automatically. If user has set the alert to be 1 hour long with re-alert, they expect it raise alarm every hour regardless of user action and keep alarming until they cancel the alarm.
     
    For example, if user has set timer for 1 hour and enable the re-alarm.
     
    With the old logic, user starts the timer, after 1 hour, it show the notification with “Reset” and “Stop” option. 1 hour after user tap the “Reset timer” button, the alarm will raise again, if user does not respond to the notification, no alarm will be raise. The 1 hour counts from user tap the “Reset timer” button.
     
    With the new logic, user start the timer, after 1 hour, it will show the notification with “Cancel” and “Stop” option. If user tap “Cancel”, timer will continues. The alarm will raise every 1 hour since when user starts the timer, regardless when he tap the “Cancel” button.
     
    We think the new logic fits the name better and fulfil the request from users. But it is a change in the logic and we might have bug in the code that it malfunction in some scenario.
     
    We will retest the logic again and check whether it is matching with what I write.
     
    //Jian
  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    Hi Jian,

    Yes, I guessed that those were the intentions. And at first, I was happy: yes, this will be better! No more having to reset the alarm manually every hour, on the hour, just as you say.

    But that's theory. In practice, it just doesn't work that way. Absolutely mysteriously, the alarm just starts ringing 55 minutes past the hour, or 37 minutes past the hour, whatever.

    If I may guess what the issue might be: I do not always start working at the top of the hour. For example, I may start working at 8:43, not at 9:00 exactly. What I then do, is I record the activity "Work" in ATracker as going from 8:43 to 9:00, followed again by the same activity, "Work", from 9:00 indefinitely. (So that from 10 a.m. onward, I get reminded every hour, on the hour – to take a break, go to the bathroom, whatever.)

    This used to work reliably until ATracker, Version 9, but it just doesn't work in ATracker, Version 10. It's possible that the original start of work that morning, at 8:43, remains lingering in "software memory", and so, instead of at 10, 11, 12, etc., I get the hourly alarms at 9:43, 10:43, 11:43, etc. There is no way to stop this, as far as I can tell, and it's frustrating.

    Because I use ATracker on 3 various devices (synced via Drobpox), it can also be interference between alarms set on various devices – who knows? All I know is that until ATracker, Version 9, there was never any problem with the hourly alarms on any device; they were sounding reliably and predictably on whatever device happened to be tracking the work activity.

    Thank you,
    Alex

  • Avatar
    Jian

    I think we need to investigate on the re-alarm function again and improve it to fit most user's request. We also get user's request to have different duration for the re-alarm than the original interval, e.g. task timer 1 hour and reminder every 15 minutes after 1 hour. 

    We will try to make a more generic solution for it.

     

    //Jian

  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    Thank you for that, Jian.

    I'm afraid this terrible Zendesk forum software is once again censoring my contributions here. :-( My earlier post from today still says "Pending approval". You may have seen it, but no visitor to this site can see it as of right now. Who knows how much user feedback you or other ATracker users may be missing because of this? The earlier GetSatisfaction forum was much better, although I understand it's expensive for developers.

    Yes, something definitely isn't right with alarms in Version 10. I only upgraded to Version 10 after purchasing the new iPad mini 5 a couple of weeks ago, so that's why I only reported it now.

    Earlier today, on one of the iPads, ATracker once again started generating nonsense alarms out of the blue. But even when I chose "Stop" in the notification, the alarms did not stop – neither the activity, nor the alarm. The alarm sounded again after the default time period, even though I had clearly pressed "Stop" (not just "Cancel") the previous time that it sounded.

    Alex

  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    Right now, my "Journal Entry" activity, which is timed to last 5 minutes, is popping up the alarm on my iPad like every 2 minutes, or so... Crazy – and there seems to be no way to stop this.

  • Avatar
    Jian

    Somehow now Zendesk marks your opost as Spam.

     

    I am clear the mark, but not sure what logic they are doing.  We will check the notification logic again.

     

    By the way, you mentioned the notification pop up every 2 minutes on your iPad, does the task start from iPad or other devices?

     

  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    Hi Jian,

    I have no idea where such a task starts – on which of the 3 iPads I use. I use all 3 iPads throughout the day, depending on in which room I happen to be. And some of my tasks can have several instances throughout the day. So, it could really have been any iPad that originally started that task and its alarm in the past, and now that alarm gets possibly transferred to other iPads, and it keeps ringing there.

    It does not help to select "Stop" when the notification pops up. The alarm will pop up anyway the next time again, even when the associated task clearly is no longer running on that iPad.

    This just never was happening in the first 9 versions of ATracker. Alarms were reliable and predictable then, even though I had to manually restart them every time.

    It appears that now that you have introduced "automatic repetition" of alarms, it got out of hand, :-) and when the user uses 3 various devices like I do, there is interference, and the crazy alarms ring all over the place on all 3 iPads (and rarely when they are supposed to ring!).

    This is so frustrating that I'm thinking of cancelling all alarms for all tasks in ATracker, because they appear to be useless for me at this point.

    Thank you if you can resolve this in future,
    Alex

  • Avatar
    Jian

    We have read the code concerning the repetitive alarm and web sync / Dropbox sync. We think we have found the issue, but seems it is not possible to fix in current implementation. 

     

    We are thinking to support both old and new way of repetitive alarm and recommend user to use the the old method if they have web / Dropbox sync enabled.

     

    Meanwhile, we will keep investigate on the solution if we can have the new method with web / Dropbox sync coexist.

     

  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    Thank you, Jian.

    Here is what's happening today, for example. I have the "Work" activity timed at 60 minutes, so that it alerts me at the top of every hour, as mentioned.

    As I was working this morning, the alarm sounded after 60 minutes in the first hour. Good. In the second hour, the alarm suddenly sounded at the 58-minute mark, instead of 60. How could that happen? It's a mystery. In the third hour, the alarm sounded at the 56-minute mark! Again, how could that happen? I never touched the iPad, yet after the first hour of work, it suddenly switched to 58-minute intervals, instead of ringing after each 60 minutes.

    There's no way to explain this that I can see – I definitely started that activity today only on that one iPad, so it shouldn't be a syncing issue, and perhaps it's an alarm lingering on that device from the past (from yesterday? from Thursday?). And when I started working again today, it may have reactivated some old alarm from the past at a weird time?

    Alex

  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    An update, FYI: I also worked in the afternoon today. Again, the alarm sounded correctly after the first 60 minutes. But in the second hour, it sounded after 47 minutes. I haven't touched the iPad at all during that time. So why did the alarm suddenly switch from 60 to 47 minutes? It's a mystery. It's clearly an activity defined to last 60 minutes.

    My guess, as mentioned, is that these really might be some old alarms, lingering on that particular iPad from previous days (previous instances) of work, and so now they sound the alarms according to those start times from previous days, not the start time(s) from today...

  • Avatar
    Alex Avenarius

    Thank you for our conversation on the phone, Jian, where we talked about this and other issues. Yes, your proposed solution to this (option to return to the old alarm mode) should be fine.

    In the meantime, I have found that this issue could perhaps even cause serious battery drain: that's because alarms typically light up the screen of a locked device.

    The ATracker alarms have now gone completely berserk on all 3 of my iPads. It seems like it's getting worse and worse every week, every day – I suppose the old alarms from previous days and weeks keep piling up, so that there are more and more of them with every passing week and day? ;-)

    It's rather funny. I have a task that's supposed to run for 45 minutes, and when I was running it last time, after the first 45 minutes passed, and the first alarm sounded correctly, but I needed to continue the activity, ATracker kept sounding the same alarm (and lighting up the screen, too!) every 2 minutes. Yep, that's right – every 2 minutes or so, perhaps even every 90 seconds, the alarm would pop up again... and again... and again. There's no way to stop it, if you need to continue the activity – the alarm will return a minute or 2 minutes later.

    To prevent battery drain, I have now at least banned ATracker alarms from the lock screen. But ATracker alarms themselves have become useless at this point for me, because, apart from the very first occurrence after you start an activity, they then go off at completely random times. So, I'm looking forward to the fix.

  • Avatar
    Jian

    After re-reading all the code related to the repetitive alarm, I have found the bug. Somehow the duration is calculated wrong for those kind of alarm if the start time of the task has been changed lately or the task entry is created manually with start time not same as current time. For example. if current time is 14:00 and the alarm is set to one hour. If user create or modify the start time as 13:05, the alarm will raise at 14:00, 14:05, 14:10 and so on every 5 minutes instead of 1 hour. So basically the interval will be wrong from the second alarm. It has some nasty side-effect on the sync device as well.

    It seems Apple does not have API to support alarm on T1 and then every X minutes. Will need to be creative or roll back to old logic totally.

    Sad. :( 

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