26 July 2012

ARRL Extra Class License Manual 10th Ed software *crash*

When was the last time you bought a piece of software and it didn't do the most basic functions it is intended to do?

I've run into bugs but the basic functionality at least is there.  I can't think of any time it wasn't.  Until today. 

You see a sibling unit sent an Amazon gift cert for my recent birthday.  I applied it to purchasing ARRL's "The Extra Class License Manual" (Tenth Edition).  One of the things I like about the ARRL manuals is that it comes with software to "flash card" the exam questions and generate practice tests.  I used it to upgrade to General, and the SCSon used it to pass his Technician exam

I loaded the software and set to take a practice exam to learn where I am today and what I need to study.  But starting the practice test, it gave an error message "questions.xml file is missing" and the program crashes.

The real question is how did this happen in the first place?  Verifying the release candidate does the most basic functions, preferably on a machine that has never had the application installed is pretty close to the top of the release verification checklist.  How could they miss it?

An interweb search did not turn up any other hints.  I don't know how I could be the only one to have this problem, but I do have that reputation ;-)  I seem to encounter problems others don't.

The rest of this post documents a work around for anyone else that runs into the same problem.  No need to read on unless you face the same issue.

Tried unloading and reloading a couple more times, and tried it on a Win7 laptop with the same results.

Searching the disk indeed turned up the questions.xml file in directory "c:/program files/ARRL/extra".  While the questions are in the "extra" directory, the application is one up in "ARRL".  As a guess, I copied questions.xml up to the same directory as the app and now it works.

BTW, my "assessment" test scored 36/50.   Thirty-seven required to pass.
Missed it by that much!

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