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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

One conclusion in a recent survey of LRCs was that there's not much for Recorder3 users on the NBN website.
In fact, some 14% of respondents indicated they still use Recorder 3.x, and there are presumably many more individual naturalists working away at home too. Another conclusion was that more assistance would be welcome in transferring records from Recorder 3 to Recorder 6.

So the NBN has created this new forum for those users. Some may be planning to migrate to another platform in the near future; others may not.  A number of NBN forum users have already been offering data transfer services for some time now, but we thought  a dedicated Rec 3 forum might allow all users to share their knowledge or work together to find solutions to other problems with this old, but still very effective program.

Perhaps we could start off by asking who is currently using Recorder 3, and for what purpose?

- Derby Museum (DBRC) holds almost 3/4 million vascular plant and vertebrate records in R3.3, using both a full and a runtime version   (see our flora survey mapping work at www.derby.gov.uk/flora  We hope to migrate platforms once data capture for our Flora of Derbyshire project is complete, which should be soon.)
- Derbyshire Wildlife Trust holds some 250,000 records, also on R3.3  We both recognise the need to migrate platforms in the near future but are, not unsurprisingly, rather daunted by the prospect!
We know that Recorder 3.3 is used by at least three other Derbyshire naturalists.

How about your region?

Nick Moyes
Derby Museum & Art Gallery

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

All post-1995 Staffordshire Flora tetrad records are stored on Recorder3. There are more than 242,000 of them. In the main, there will only be one record per taxa per tetrad: subsequent data for the taxon is added to the comment field. They are currently being used in the final write-up for a new Flora of the county (for which fieldwork ended in 2008). This is scheduled for publication by the Wildlife Trust in 2010.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Bit of a late reply, but we still use R3 as well, at Gloucestershire Centre for Env. Records (GCER).  We have nearly 900,000 records on R3, and are currently in the process of an upgrade.  It's rather painstaking, but the NBN checking tools in the most recent upgrade (I use the term "recent" loosely...) are fairly straightforward.  it depends how vague your original data was.  Also, we had string space errors when we first ran the NBNCheck and cleanup reports due to the sheer number of stray lines & spaces, records not attributed to surveys etc. etc.  We have now ironed out all of these, and various annoying date errors, and are onto the second stage of the preparation, i.e. assigning surveys. 

After a huge amount of deliberation (do we use hectads, or years, or decades, or names of surveyors, to create surveys..??) we plumped for names of recorders.  This, for us, was the only way of avoiding certain confusion.  I can't say whether this would work for everyone, but in order to stick closest to the Recorder 2002/R6/NBN metadata preferences I can definitely say from past experience elsewhere that using 10k squares to split up data into surveys is not a good idea.
We haven't finished (it's mostly being done by a part-time volunteer) so I can't boast that we've done it all and know it all...

I've done this before (twice!) and was hoping not to have to do it again!

Linda

4 (edited by atheta 11-02-2009 14:12:50)

Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

I use R2002 and am trialling R6, but I still use R3.4 when feeling nostalgic. Seriously though, it is still a wonderful program and the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union Aleocharinae recorder, Mike Denton, uses R3 and passes me data in R3 format. The Sorby Society also uses R3 and the same applies. I have just installed R3 on a Vista machine and apart from the issue of Vista not supporting full screen mode, the program window occupies a small area in the middle of the screen. It runs like greased lightning. I wish R6 did the same...........

5 (edited by Bob Merritt 03-12-2009 19:28:10)

Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

I still use R3 as database of choice, in preference to R2002/R6 and Mapmate which I also have.  Every year or so I have a look to see how the latest version of Recorder is coming along, and spend a week in intensive trials but, so far, I've always returned with relief to R3.   It is a sophisticated and powerful database AND it works   OK it has some gremlins (although nothing on the scale of more recent versions of Recorder) but they can all be worked around using TCL, R3's own command language...and how much easier TCL is to learn than SQL!!

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Somerset LRC [SERC] has been using Recorder since it's first release and only recently stopped using it in-house. I have just recieved the first draft of our translated data and am in the middle of installing R6. I do have a user with 200,000 + records, who was an R2K beta tester. They will not upgrade to R6 so I will have to migrate them to Mapmate. The other R3 user I have has a small number of essential records and I've not yet tackled the migration issue.
We have not used R3 in anger for some years prefering to use GIS for day to day usage. R6 will not change this much. Our real need is for better species and status clarity. R6 will be used as a repository using excel as a data entry interface.

Tony

Data Manger
Somerset Environmental Records Centre

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

We used R3.3 at Sheffield Biological Records Centre from 1991 to November 2009, but we are in the process of moving to R6 to fit in with the requirements of the YHEDN and NBN standards.

I still use R3.3 at home to manage records on behalf of Sorby Natural History Society and Derbyshire & Notts. Entomological Society. Over the years I have run it on DOS, then using Win3, Win95, Win98, and now run it via XP - it works very fast and efficiently. I keep a couple of spare XP computers in the attic - you can pick them up for about £50- as an insurance against the day when hardware will no longer run R3.

However, at the office we are all learning R6 as fast as we can! But retaining R3 for at least 6 months.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. Keep 'em coming  - we know there are lots more users still out there.

The issue of R3 not working on Vista is of concern to many people; it would be interesting to know if the same problems of incompatibility with legacy DOS problems is still the case with new Windows 7.   

Can anyone comment on this?

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

I have been using RECORDER 3.3 since 1994 and have 123,000 Kent invertebrate records and over 19,000 British Tephritidae records stored. None has been imported from other centres and so this total represents a lot of typing as well as checking site names etc from others before adding new data. I recently purchased a new computer with Windows 7 but, given how different this is from my former OS Windows 98, have not had the opportunity to see if RECORDER 3.3 runs properly. I have tried exporting some data to MapMate but this requires manually editing species names to comply with current checklists - quite a task when I have some 6,000 taxa. Furthermore with MapMate there are not the exhaustive list of synonyms present on RECORDER.

I agree with Derek Whiteley that the database is fast and I actually enjoy typing commands such as select records with sp_code starting "6447*036" etc. There is, again, the business of centrally maintained taxa names which need an individual password. I once contacted JNCC for a list of passwords to add a dozen or so species and by the time my request was received the passwords had expired!  As I do not export data to other users of the database the problem can be overcome by reassigning names for groups e.g. microfungi which I do not record.

If RECORDER 3.3. works with Windows 7 then I shall continue to use it as my database of choice.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

I always found it was worth keeping a writen record of old passwords and species numbers given to you by JNCC together with the date on which they were issued. You only have to set your PC's calendar back to that date and re-enter the number and the password to bring them back to life again. (Apparently the password was a simple algorithm based on the date, though I never bothered with trying to crack it)

A year or two back JNCC were still willing to issue a set of new species numbers and passwords, though I've not had to ask for this recently. Perhaps someone could comment if users can still get passwords and new species numbers.

There is also a simple work-around for issuing yourself a completely new species code and creating the species entry from scratch. It involves entering the species number you want to use in the Brief List window and within a couple of keystrokes you can be editing a brand new entry in the Species Information wiindow without the need of a password. I probably shouldn't recommend this route, as your data would not be compatible with other users, but I used to find it a helpful interim method of entering a species prior to getting the codes from JNCC.  I use species numbers one million and one, one million and two and so on when I need to add a new taxon, and then use Change Id to swap them over once I had a valid species number and password.

Nick Moyes

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Last evening I tried using RECOREDER 3.3 with Windows 7. Using the notes by Stuart Ball regarding configuring it for use with Windows XP (http://www.nfbr.org.uk/html/faq3.html) I right clicked the AREV icon. However most of the tabs e.g. Program, Memory and Misc were absent. When I tried opening the AREV program an error message telling me it was not a 32 or 64 bit program was displayed and I could not run it. As I have only had the new computer for a couple of weeks there is still a lot to learn about Windows 7 and I do not wish to spend valuable time on this rather than finding and identifying insects.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Thanks for reporting back on this. From what little I've read of Windows 7, it probably needs to be run in Windows XP mode, which is not avalable in the normal Windows Home ediition - only in the more expensive Ultimate and Professional editions. Has anyone tried this?

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

I suspect DOSBox (http://www.dosbox.com/) will be the way to go - it's always better to rely on anyone else other than Microsoft if you want to work with Windows... :rolleyes:

Charlie Barnes
Information Officer
Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

It is possible to create a virtual machine whereby Windows XP can be run under Windows 7 Professional. I spent a long time doing this but RECORDER 3 still would not open. Stuart Ball tells me that the problem is in the 64-bit OS. If Windows 7 is run as a 32-bit program R3 should work. I am simply going to scrub Windows 7 and install Windows XP - problem solved.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

I'm pretty sure DOSBox runs under Windows 7 - and Recorder 3 works perfectly in DOSBox

Charlie Barnes
Information Officer
Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Interesting replies. I don't know DOSbox - but having just looked it up it sounds very interesting. Can you confirm whether you have Expanded Memory available when using it this way?

I have one XP machine that R3 works fine on, and has Expanded Memory available. Another stubbornly refuses to allocate any Expanded Memory at all.  You don't notice any problem with this unless you use POP-UP lists for data entry, as I do a lot. You get halfway through a long pop-up (RP28 card) and the the system crashes each time. Very frustrating.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

It's an emulator so everything is fake - but it does emulate EMS.

You also don't need to reinstall Recorder as DOSBox can read straight from the hard disk.

Charlie Barnes
Information Officer
Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

18 (edited by TonyP 08-07-2010 12:58:14)

Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

DBRC wrote:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. Keep 'em coming  - we know there are lots more users still out there.

The issue of R3 not working on Vista is of concern to many people; it would be interesting to know if the same problems of incompatibility with legacy DOS problems is still the case with new Windows 7.   

Can anyone comment on this?

Sorry I didn't see the DosBox mention above but this might help....

I've not tried R3 on Win7 but I could. There is a possible fix that I came across the other day. It's probably worth a try although it has been developed with games in mind this may mean that the extended memory will have been accounted for which is accessed through the Arev command string as /M768 for example. This was always used by us and still is on XP. So our command prompt in the shortcut is;

C:\Arev312\AREV.EXE ,LRC /M768

This give an extension to the DOS memory of 768K which I think was the maximum allowed on machines with extra memory on a 386 PC.

http://portableapps.com/apps/games/dosbox_portable

Data Manger
Somerset Environmental Records Centre

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

The problems I experiences earlier with running R3 under Windows 7 were due the my original version being a 64-bit version. Stuart Ball told me that it runs "perfectly" under the 32-bit version. I subsequently bought the 32-bit version but found that, on trying to run a TCL sort of 123,000 records the program crashed. I have tried DOS-BOX but, as it emulates a Pentium 1 processor, find the same sort from 123,000 records takes about half an hour!

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Clemonsl wrote:

The problems I experiences earlier with running R3 under Windows 7 were due the my original version being a 64-bit version. Stuart Ball told me that it runs "perfectly" under the 32-bit version. I subsequently bought the 32-bit version but found that, on trying to run a TCL sort of 123,000 records the program crashed. I have tried DOS-BOX but, as it emulates a Pentium 1 processor, find the same sort from 123,000 records takes about half an hour!

In the above the statement was select records with sp_code starting "6447*036" which should have selected about 4,000 records from the dataset of 123,000. I have found that, under Windows 7, a shorter TCL sort e.g. select records with date_updated = "14 JUL 2010" does not cause the program to crash.

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

Clemonsl wrote:

I have tried DOS-BOX but, as it emulates a Pentium 1 processor, find the same sort from 123,000 records takes about half an hour!

There are always full-system emulators such as Qemu if Dosbox isn't enough.

Charlie Barnes
Information Officer
Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

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Re: Who still uses Recorder 3?

You could try using VirtualBox, which is a full system emulator, along with FreeDOS. There is a downloadable VirtualBox image available containing FreeDOS here:

http://virtualboxes.org/2008/01/19/freedos-10-image-released/

Charles Roper
Digital Development Manager | Field Studies Council
http://www.field-studies-council.org | https://twitter.com/charlesroper | https://twitter.com/fsc_digital