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Manta Technologies Inc. - Troubleshooting

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MantaNow Troubleshooting

Is Your Browser Properly Configured to Run the Manta Courseware?

All browsers support a variety of settings that affect how — and even whether — Manta courses will be displayed. The Manta courseware will work with the default settings provided by all popular browsers. It is possible, however, that you or someone else in your organization has changed a setting. If you receive an error message or notice unusual behavior, check the browser options described below to confirm that they are set as required.

Almost all problems that people experience can be fixed by doing the following:

  • Deactivate pop-up blocking. All popular browsers support the ability to prohibit web pages from opening a second window. This is called pop-up blocking. MantaNow plays all courses in a separate window, so you will not be able to take a course if pop-up blocking is turned on. Pop-ups may also be blocked by other software executing on your system. This is discussed below.
  • Allow caching. The Manta courseware fetches the graphics in a session while you are reading the first few screens. Normally, the browser will save the graphics in a cache, so that they will be immediately available when they are used later in the session. If you notice that figures do not appear immediately, it is possible that your browser is set to not save objects in its cache, but has been instructed to fetch a fresh version. For best performance, you should set the browser to allow caching.
  • Use a separate window for pop-ups. Most browsers can display multiple web sites in one window using "tabs." A browser setting may let you control whether pop-ups are displayed in a tab or in a new window. If you have such control, you should let the browser control which is used. Forcing the MantaNow window into a tab may cause the courseware to fail.
  • Allow JavaScript execution. Like most modern web applications, MantaNow uses a JavaScript program to control user interactions. If you deactivate JavaScipt, the courseware will not work. In addition, if you are using Internet Explorer, you must also permit the courseware to run ActiveX controls and plug-ins.

Do You Have a Third-Party Pop-Up Blocker Running?

A pop-up is a browser window that is opened by a Web page. For this discussion, we will consider a pop-up to be one of two types. Pop-up advertisements are displayed without warning (they are NOT displayed as the result of a user-initiated action) and are not generally part of the functionality of a Web site. These are often displayed by spyware or adware. However, many Web sites (including the MantaNow site) use pop-ups for legitimate purposes. We will refer to these as user-requested pop-ups, because they are usually displayed as the result of a user-initiated action, such as clicking a link or a button. For example, clicking the Submit button after entering your Manta signon information causes a new window to open in which the Manta training is presented.

Because pop-up advertisements have become so common and are generally annoying, pop-up blockers (software that prevents pop-ups from being displayed) have become popular. In addition, all browsers include a pop-up blocking feature. Listed below are some other popular pop-up blockers:

  • Pop-Up Stopper
  • Pop-Up Zapper
  • Pop-Up Defender
  • PopUpCop
  • STOPzilla

Many people don't know that they have other pop-up blockers on their computer, because this functionality is often included anonymously with programs and browser add-ons. For example, all of the following include pop-up blockers:

  • The Google Toolbar
  • The Yahoo Toolbar
  • The AIM Toolbar
  • AOL
  • Earthlink
  • The McAfee Internet Security Suite
  • Bellsouth's Fast Access DSL
  • Norton's Internet Security
  • Zone alarm
  • Smiley Central

The problem is that many pop-up blockers cannot always distinguish between pop-up advertisements and user-requested pop-ups and will therefore block user-requested pop-ups as well as pop-up advertisements.

If the Manta software can detect that you have a pop-up blocker running, you will receive a message indicating this when the main training window fails to display. Some pop-up blockers, however, cannot be detected, in which case you will simply never receive the window in which the training is presented. In either case, you should perform the following two steps:

  1. Confirm that you indeed have a pop-up blocker by running these Pop-up tests. (This analyzer has multiple tests.)
  2. Once you've confirmed that you have a pop-up blocker, you need to either disable it completely or disable it for the site http://www.mantanow.com. Keep in mind that your pop-up blocker could be part of a browser toolbar (such as Google Toolbar, Yahoo toolbar, etc.), part of your browser itself, part of a virus protection or security suite on your system, or a stand-alone program. Also keep in mind that you may have multiple pop-up blockers running.

There are over 100 pop-up blocking software packages, so it is next to impossible to document the procedure for disabling each one and/or indicating how to set the pop-up blocker to accept pop-ups from a particular site. You need to determine which pop-up blocker(s) you have running and consult the documentation or help facility for that software. However, one technique that works with most pop-up blockers is to hold down the Ctrl key when you click on the Submit button to sign on.

What Does Your Installation's Firewall Block?

Some firewall software will attempt to block potentially unsafe content from reaching your browser. If, after attempting to sign on, it looks like the courseware loads but then displays nothing or gives you an error message, your firewall may be blocking script code. To correct this problem, please consult your firewall documentation and set the firewall to allow scripts. If you wish to keep your current security settings, most firewall software will let you allow scripts on pages only from our domain, www.mantanow.com.

Password Issues

Most Manta customers are corporations or other organizations, rather than individuals. As a result, we assign responsibility for creating and maintaining student profiles to a customer-appointed Student Administrator. We ask for the email address of the Student Administrator at the time of purchase.

An organization's Student Administrator can create new student profiles, delete profiles, or change their contents, including the student's name, ID, and password. If you forget your password or have problems signing on, you should contact your organization's Student Administrator before calling or emailing Manta technical support. Keep in mind that your password is case-sensitive, while your company ID and student ID are not.

In addition to creating and maintaining student profiles, the Student Administrator has the ability to:

  • Change the company information, including who Manta should contact concerning the company account
  • View the status of your license(s)
  • Grant administration authority to others
  • Create custom menus and assign them to users
  • Generate student reports, including courses taken and exam results

Instructions for all Student Administration functions are sent to the original administrator and are available upon request.

The "Maximum Users" Message

Access to all Manta courses is controlled using a license key. If your organization has purchased a 5-user license for the Operations Combination Pack, for example, you can think of this as having received 5 master keys, each of which can unlock any course in the combination pack. When all five keys are being used, a sixth user who attempts to access a course will receive a message stating that the maximum number of licensed users has been reached. The student must wait for one of the active users to exit a course (and thereby free up a key) before trying again.

The Manta software will send a message to the organization's Student Administrator when this occurs. If this happens frequently, the organization should consider increasing the maximum number of users in its license.

Occasionally, a student will receive the "Maximum Users" message incorrectly. This problem can be caused by a previous student turning off his or her PC without exiting the Manta software. It can also be caused by a communication error between the student's PC and the Manta server. In any case, the key issued to a previous student was never returned. There are three solutions to this problem:

  1. Wait two hours before trying again. If the Manta server does not detect any activity from a student who has been issued a license key, it will automatically sign the student off and return the key to the available inventory after two hours.
  2. Contact your organization's Student Administrator. Every Student Administrator has the ability to recall all keys, effectively resetting the active student count to zero. Before doing so, the Administrator should independently verify that no students are currently using the Manta software.
  3. Contact Manta. While Manta technical support personnel can also reset your organization's active student count, we hate to do so. The reason is that there is no way for us to verify from the server side that no students are currently using the Manta software. Your request might cause other students at your organization to be forced off the system.

Miscellaneous Issues

Input Fields in Internet Explorer

Some customers using Internet Explorer have reported a problem typing input on exercise screens. Typed characters are being erased and no more than four characters are being allowed. Microsoft is aware of the problem and claims it is being caused by certain plug-ins, such as password-caching programs that want to take over control of every input field. Microsoft's recommended solution is to select the plug-in you think might be causing the problem and remove it. This involves closing and restarting IE. If the problem still exists, repeat as necessary until all plug-ins have been removed.

This process can take hours and remove the functionality you want for other applications. Instead, Manta recommends using FireFox or Chrome, neither of which experiences this problem. While we used to recommend IE, this is no longer the case. Both FireFox and Chrome give substantially better results with the Manta courseware.

Using Multiple Manta Windows

In an organization with a multiple-user MantaNow license, some students are signing on twice. This can be useful when the student is taking a Competency Exam and wants to review the course in order to work a particular exercise. This wrecks havoc with the MantaNow courseware.

The problem is that the server cannot distinguish between two instances of the courseware running in the same browser. A typical problem is that the student's results on the exam are improperly logged and, as a result, never appear in the Student Administration reports.

The solution, if the organization permits it, is for the student to download a copy of the Student Reference Guide (SRG) for the corresponding course. Manta approves this option because the SRG will be available to the student when back on the job. Another approved resource is the IBM i Knowledge Center.