#725 ✓resolved
integrale

2.0.1 still getting "Unknown error sniping on ..."

Reported by integrale | February 24th, 2009 @ 01:53 PM | in 2.1 Release

Today I had three eBay items for sniping in the cue. And all three still ended with an "Unknown error sniping on ...". I had the same problem with at least the last three versions, which means the beta11 and beta12 and 2.0 final. With the 2.0 I did a fresh install, which means, I removed the profile directory .jbidwatcher to assure that there is no error occured by a corrupted file in the profile directory. I use it actually on a Slackware Linux 12.2 box, but the errors occured also on WinXP were i was running the beta11 and beta 12. I always used the .jar file to run JBidwatcher on WinXP and Linux. I'm from Germany an logging in over ebay.de and I'm using 10 seconds as sniping time, which worked a while ago very well. I hope that all information you need is included and that you can read the rest out of the errorlog file and the show last error files, which I put together in one file.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Bjorn Gustafsen

    Bjorn Gustafsen February 25th, 2009 @ 12:00 PM

    I'm getting a lot of failures as well..here is typical example:

    
    Thu Feb 19 23:02:39 PST 2009: We appear to be waking from sleep; networking may not be up yet.
    Thu Feb 19 23:03:01 PST 2009: Failed to load from server! 
    Thu Feb 19 23:03:01 PST 2009: Communications failure talking to the server. 
    Tue Feb 24 13:00:09 PST 2009: We appear to be waking from sleep; networking may not be up yet. 
    Wed Feb 25 09:53:17 PST 2009: Preparing snipe. 
    Wed Feb 25 09:53:18 PST 2009: Loading bid request... 
    Wed Feb 25 09:53:19 PST 2009: Done loading bid request, got form...
    Wed Feb 25 09:55:17 PST 2009: Submitting bid form.
    Wed Feb 25 09:55:17 PST 2009: Firing actual snipe. 
    Wed Feb 25 09:55:18 PST 2009: Done submitting bid form. 
    Wed Feb 25 09:55:19 PST 2009: Unknown error sniping on 1795 George III threepence 
    Wed Feb 25 09:55:19 PST 2009: Failed to load post-bid data. 'Show Last Error' from context menu to see the failure page from the post-bid page. Wed Feb 25 09:55:19 PST 2009: Loading post-bid data.
    

    Some of the snipes work.. a lot don't ..pretty frustrating as no confidence in reliability..10 second snipe firing

    using JBidwatcher (2.0.1-825) Macintosh - leopard os

  • Therese Telepski

    Therese Telepski February 26th, 2009 @ 01:23 AM

    As mentioned several times before a snipe time of ten seconds may fail for a couple of reasons, not the least important of them being ebay's response time.

    Please try with something around thirty seconds.

    You may think for yourself about which kind of bids are mainly occuring during the last minute and who will win it especially in case that two identical bids (or varying less than 50 cents) do occur.

    Sincerely,

    Therese

  • integrale

    integrale February 26th, 2009 @ 02:40 AM

    Okay, I will play around a bit with the snipe time. But as I mentioned above, I was working with ten seconds snipe time for a long time, and had no problems in the past. Did something essential change which could cause the problems now, maybe also on eBay site? I would additionally have a few questions about the time syncing. How often is the time synced with eBay? Just once at starting JBidwatcher or more often? If it's just once per JBidwatcher session, would it then be possible to implement something which syncs the time i.e. three minutes before a snipe to prevent problems with drifting pc clocks? Is there a site at eBay, where I can see the actual eBay server time, so that I can check if it's drifting after a couple of time compared to my JBidwatcher session? When I log in over eBay.de, because I'm a member of eBay Germany, with which server will the time be synced, with the time of the eBay.de server or the time of the eBay.co.uk server, where my bid will be placed (if I understood that correct)? Or are all eBay servers exactly synced, so that there is absolutely no time difference between the servers. Is there a possibility to sync the pc time with the eBay server time?

    I know this are a lot of questions, but it would be really cool if someone would have tthe time to answer them.

    Thanks in advance, integrale

  • Therese Telepski

    Therese Telepski February 26th, 2009 @ 01:51 PM

    eBay in the last days is showing its f...ing new Beta format on more and more pages without at least me having recognized a system behind which pages are in new and which in old format.

    Time sync per my knowledge is done regularly; Morgan will be able to tell more about intervalls.

    When you scroll down the eBay start page completely you should find a link called 'Official eBay time' or something like that. For Germany it's: http://viv.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI....

    The ebay servers are syncronized, of course taking into account local time differences. The time shown on ebay.xyz actually isn't a problem as long as JBW has a record on when exactly an auction ends in its local machine's timeframe and that time doesn't differ to much from the official timeservers' figures. The reason JBW doesn't wait for a specific time on a specific server, but triggers some events when the locally stored snipe time is reached -- regardless of what time actually is shown in NYC, London, Berlin or Moscow.

    Sincerely,

    Therese

  • integrale

    integrale February 26th, 2009 @ 02:47 PM

    Hi Therese,

    A big thank you for the fast response and taking the time to answer me. The link to the official eBay time was obviously to easy to find for me ;-) Sorry, but there are still questions open for me and if you are not tired to answer my questions I would be happy if you could also answer them. What makes the difference between the new Beta format and the old format of eBay pages regarding to JBW. As you probably already noticed, my English is not the best, and therefore I would be pleased if you could write the following sentences of your previous post in a few easier words. "The time shown on ebay.xyz actually isn't a problem as long as JBW has a record on when exactly an auction ends in its local machine's timeframe and that time doesn't differ to much from the official timeservers' figures. The reason JBW doesn't wait for a specific time on a specific server, but triggers some events when the locally stored snipe time is reached -- regardless of what time actually is shown in NYC, London, Berlin or Moscow." I think I didn't catch what you wanted to explain me with that, sorry.

    Thanks in advance, integrale

  • Morgan Schweers

    Morgan Schweers February 26th, 2009 @ 03:13 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “open”

    Greetings,

    @integrale - I'll answer some of that... eBay's new format pages are really substantially changed from their current normal pages, unfortunately. I already took some steps to make JBidwatcher better handle the new pages, but eBay has changed them yet again since I did that. It's certainly understandable that they'd tweak the new pages before they release it, but it does give me heartburn. :)

    Some of the changes that JBidwatcher is having trouble with include: the seller name and feedback information has been moved, the high bidder information has been removed from the view item page (!), in some cases the sellers item description is hosted on a different eBay site and embedded using an iframe (they're doing this for security reasons)...

    Most of the time, this stuff isn't a serious concern. The seller name gets lost for a bit, for example, and JBidwatcher has trouble determining if you're the high bidder (which can be much a more serious problem if you're using multisniping), and cached copies of the auction are less useful.

    What @Therese was trying to say, I believe, is that your computer's clock doesn't have to be second-for-second synchronized with eBay's time. JBidwatcher will determine the difference between eBay's time and your local time, and adjust accordingly. This usually works for small differences (a few seconds off, maybe up to a minute). If your clock is substantially off from eBay's time (more than a minute), then JBidwatcher's ability to precisely snipe gets progressively worse.

    JBidwatcher doesn't snipe by grabbing the time from eBay constantly, and firing when that gets to a certain time. It snipes by getting the time from eBay once every 30 minutes, figuring out what the difference between eBay's time and your local time is, and then when your local clock time + (difference with eBay's time) reaches the snipe time, it triggers. (In actuality, it fires 2 minutes early to get the bid confirmation page, and at the snipe time it just submits the confirmation page.)

    I believe that your issue, and Bjorn's are that your computers are too far out of sync. It's clear that JBidwatcher placed the pre-snipe successfully, so it's likely that your clock is not more than 2 minutes off from eBay's, but is at least 10 seconds off. From what I can tell in your case unfortunately JBidwatcher thought your time was off by only about 1 second. (It started firing at :56:12, when the item ended at :56:23, which is 11 seconds early instead of 10, suggesting that JBidwatcher believed the time-delta was 1 second.)

    I hope that information helps.

    -- Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  • Morgan Schweers

    Morgan Schweers February 26th, 2009 @ 03:25 PM

    • Tag set to failure, snipe, unknown

    Greetings,

    @Bjorn - I also would like to see your error logs, or what the 'Show Last Error' had, to see if it was also a timing error. (In your logs, JBidwatcher started the snipe exactly ten seconds early, so it thought there was no time difference between your computer and eBay. Unfortunately, if the error was that the item had already ended (no way to know without your logs), then your computer was in fact more than 10 seconds off.

    If you can share the amount you bid, as close bids often fall afoul of eBay's minimum bid increment policy, it's also entirely possible that JBidwatcher bid on time, but simply didn't recognize the underbid response page.

    Again, logs and information about the bid that failed all help identify the problem. In @integrale's case, the log is very clear about what went wrong. Your (@Bjorn) log snippet doesn't give me enough information to diagnose the problem.

    -- Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  • integrale

    integrale February 26th, 2009 @ 04:57 PM

    Hi Morgan,

    I'm very happy about your fast answer, thanks a lot. Due to my JBW issue I checked or better observed my computers time today, and figured out that it's a bit too slow. Compared to a radio controlled clock on my desk, it's round about a minute late in a half day. Could this be the problem? Would it be enough to set the time once per day, let's say at switching on the computer, that JBW can handle the time difference? Or would you say there is a necessity to set it more often? Is there a possibility to syncronise the computer time with the eBay time? Do they have a public time server which provides the eBay time?

    But one thing I don't understand: Why does it matter how big the time difference between eBay time and my computers time is. Isn't it just like subtracting to times from each other and take the difference for JBW to recalc the actual eBay time out of the local computers time? Why does it only work if the difference isn't much more than a minute?

    Again, thanks in advance, integrale

  • Morgan Schweers

    Morgan Schweers February 26th, 2009 @ 06:37 PM

    Greetings,

    @integrale - The reason it matters is that JBidwatcher's correction for the time delta is approximate. It's based on discrete intervals of time-comparison with eBay's server. If the clock deviates by varying amounts (sometimes running fast, sometimes running slow) as is often the case for clocks that drift quickly, JBidwatcher's not going to know until the next eBay time sync. Even then, it tries to average the time difference (delta) with the amount of time that it takes to retrieve a page from eBay, so it's not over or undershooting.

    Because of this averaging and the discrete interval between time updates, there's an error range. Much like surveys, which have a (e.g.) +/- 3% error, JBidwatcher has a percentage error range for the time deltas. I don't know what that error range is, and I think it varies by network connection (DSL, Cable, etc.), but it's definitely present. So if you picture it as 1% of the delta, then if your clock is 2 minutes ahead, JBidwatcher could be +/- 12 seconds. I believe the error delta is generally lower than 1%, and most people's clocks don't drift as much as 2 minutes, but as an example it should be clear what I'm describing.

    Thus, I can usually say that it'll correct for 1-15 seconds pretty consistently, and I feel somewhat comfortable up to around a minute. However, if your clock is drifting such that it's several minutes off, the odds are that JBidwatcher's correction is going to be wrong again by the next time it tries to determine the amount to correct.

    The amount it's going to be wrong by is what I meant by 'progressively worse'.

    Some people actually turn off JBidwatcher's time sync option (File | Configure, General tab, 'Time Synchronisation' checkbox) and just use a Network Time Protocol program to keep their clocks in sync with the same atomic clocks that eBay tries to keep in sync with. They have software which 'corrects' their clock about once an hour, and so their computer clock is never more than a second or so off from eBay.

    I don't really recommend that as it's not terribly easy to set up on most platforms, but several advanced users wanted it as an option and so it's available.

    Thus, if you have a low-latency connection to the Internet, and a system clock that doesn't drift much, you can try very low second snipes. Most people, however, shouldn't try to do that as their connection latency is high, and their clocks are not so precise.

    This is why JBidwatcher has a 30 second default snipe timer; it's pretty safe for the 90% case.

    -- Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  • integrale

    integrale February 27th, 2009 @ 04:21 PM

    Hi Morgan,

    thanks again for your detailed answer.

    Today I observed my computers clock and figured out that it seems to be a bit crazy. I synced the time exactly to the radio controlled clock on my desk, was sitting about two hours in front of my monitor and surfing a bit around. From time to time I had an eye on the clocks and it didn't differ at all after this two hours. Then I put it more than an hour into suspend to ram, and again after waking up the time was correct.

    So I thought I was wrong with the assumption that the clock is drifting. But at the later afternoon, when I wanted to check my Emails I recognized that there suddenly was a time difference of nearly a minute. After syncing the time again to the clock on my desk it was drifting again.

    So it seems that my clock is really drifting, but unfortunately not in a linear way, which makes it very hard for me to fix.

    Ideas how to solve the problem (except exchanging the board) are welcome :-)

    Nevertheless I tried to snipe some items this evening. Therefore I synced the time again a few minutes before the auctions ended and additionally synced manually the eBay time in JBW. I also increased the snipe time from 10 to 15 seconds. The snipes worked and I could win some auction. This helps if I'm in the near of my computer and know and remember when a auction is ending so that I can sync the time shortly before the end. But if I'm not at home then I think JBW will be useless for me at the moment.

    So again @all, any suggestion to solve the problem is welcome. Is the time on a mainboard generated by a discrete component which can be easily changed or is it just a part?

    One last question: Do you know a web-address of the atomic clocks that eBay tries to keep in sync with?

    In the end, where it seems that the failure is on my site and not a JBW issue, the ticket can be closed from my point of view.

    Thanks a lot, for the great support. You are doing a great job!!!

    integrale

  • Morgan Schweers

    Morgan Schweers May 16th, 2009 @ 03:58 AM

    • Tag changed from failure, snipe, unknown to @moved, failure, snipe, unknown
    • Milestone changed from 2.0 Full Release to 2.1 Release

    [milestone:ID#38598 tagged:"@moved" bulk edit command]

  • Morgan Schweers

    Morgan Schweers February 14th, 2010 @ 01:00 AM

    • State changed from “open” to “resolved”
  • Jim Baker

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