Feedback from Nissim Kanekar
0. It would be useful to have a link to the relevant help file on the PST easily
accessible on each page.
1. There seems to be no way to copy old proposals to new ones, which is a very useful
feature as authors, setups, etc are often common between proposals
2. The Submit/Print/Edit buttons are extremely small. Similarly, Save/Delete/Cancel buttons
very small and close to each in the Sources and Resources sections. And, of course, the
bug report button is terrifyingly tiny.
4. Authors :
The "Add author" feature may have problems. I ran two searches for "Chengalur"
and it didn't find any authors in its archive (just returned the original page after
I clicked on "Search"). I then ran the search again and it found Chengalur. I then
ran a search for "York" and it returned the following names, the last two of whom
were apparently listed because they're from York University. It would be better to
just specify a last name search (changing the button to "Add Author".
5. It would be useful to have a short help for each key-button (e.g. the above "Add"),
describing what clicking it will do; this could appear on running the mouse over it.
Some keywords seem to have this while others (e.g. on the Science Justification page)
6. Science Justification :
The "Science Justification" buttons are unclear. I first uploaded a PS version of
a proposal; it did not show this to me in the "File Preview" window. The only way I could
view it was by clicking on the "Download" button. This seems strange, given that I had
just "Uploaded" the PS file. If only PDF proposals are to be uploaded, this should be
specified, perhaps in parenthesis next to the heading "Justification File". If not,
acceptable file types should be specified here.
I next uploaded a PDF file; each page of this was displayed in the File Preview window,
which is nice. However, clicking on each panel of the "File Preview" window did not
display the page in question, rendering the Preview window somewhat irrelevant (as one
can't read the text in the panels anyway). The only way to view the uploaded file
seemed to be by clicking the "Download" button. This appears to convert the file to PS
format, apparently using XPDF, with the fonts sometimes garbled in the resulting PS file.
This is a serious problem if the plan is to request PDF files. The Adobe Acrobat Reader
(which is free and public) should be used, as it doesn't have problems with font
It's also important to have a "View" button, to just view the uploaded file.
Finally, shouldn't there be a "Save" button somewhere, to save the Scientific
Justification ? Or is the file automatically saved after it's uploaded ? This was
unclear to me.
7. Sources :
I tried to search for TXS0311+430 (a target I've observed with the GBT before)
using the NED/Simbad search and it could not find it. I immediately went to the
NED page and looked up the source (also to check if the NED and Simbad were down
or something) and it found the source immediately. The Simbad link was also up
at the time. I later tried searches for well-known sources like 3C286 and 3C295
and kept getting messages like
"Target '3C286' not found in NED and SIMBAD."
This makes no sense. If the problem is that the link is down, the error message
should say this explicitly (the link was not down, incidentally). Else there seems
to be a problem with sending the source name to NED/Simbad. I also kept getting
the waiting message "Waiting for 188.8.131.52", which I assume is some kind of a
server. It's possible that the server was down (I pinged it and didn't get a response)
but the error message should then state this, rather than claiming that the source
in question wasn't found in NED and Simbad.
8. GBT Resources :
I tried entering frequencies that were above and below the frequency range of a
given receiver into the Rest Frequencies box. When trying to save the resource group,
it caught frequencies that were above the allowed range but did not catch the ones
that were below the range. Specifically, I entered 0.600 GHz and 0.925 GHz for the
PF1-800 receiver and got the warning that frequencies should be below 0.92 GHz.
I then changed the 0.925 GHz to 0.855 GHz and the setup was accepted, although it
contained the rest frequency of 0.600 GHz, which can't be observed with this receiver.
I tried the same thing on the C-band receiver, entering frequencies of 1 GHz and 7 GHz;
again, the 7 GHz received a warning while the 1 GHz passed smoothly.
Most observing programs (except for pulsar observations) use time resolutions in
seconds rather than milli-seconds.
It would be useful to specify somewhere that it's 1 spectral window per polarization.
In place of asking to enter a desired frequency resolution, it would be better to
have a popup window providing options for the number of channels. This would
immediately let proposers know that some observing setups will not work, instead of
having the proposal be rejected at the technical review stage.
I then tried to enter a Spectral Processor setup for the Q-band receiver. I was asked
to choose between 128, 256 and 512 Phase bins for the SP. After choosing 512 bins and
saving this, I checked the saved version of the resource and found that it had saved
"Square" (the entry for the next keyword, "Polarization mode" !).
9. Sessions :
The layout of the "Sessions" dashboard is not very useful, as one can only choose
between Source Groups and Spectroscopy Groups and not from sub-levels (i.e. pairing
individual sources within a source group with individual resources within a spectroscopy
group). This seems rather easy to set up and would be very useful; all it needs is
to allow sub-levels on the "Available Sourves" and "Available Resources" entries.
This should allow the selection of individual sources/resources or ALL sources/resources;
the latter should be the default option (as well as the first selection in the sub-level)
but one should definitely be allowed to select individual sources as well. Right now,
the selection procedure for Sessions is very clunky, at best.
The entry "Repeat" should be re-labelled "Number of sessions" or something similar.
Right now, entering 1 in the Repeat box produces a single session, which is not
a repeat !
10. There seems to be no way to view the final proposal ! I tried to print it, with the
button "Print" at the top of the cover sheet but got a response "Coming Soon" !
It's critical to have a "View Proposal" button on the cover sheet. In fact, the
structure in the old PST (choices between viewing the full proposal, the science
justification and the cover sheet) would be absolutely fine here.
- 02 Nov 2007