Technical Issues, Problems and Solutions

The Minds On Physics Internet Modules use the Shockwave Player plugin. Shockwave Player is freely distributed by Adobe and is available for downloading at the Adobe website. Installation of the plugin is usually a very automated process. Follow all on-screen directions until installation is complete.

Old Man Shockwave is Still Kickin'

The browser version of Minds On Physics is dependent upon the Shockwave plug-in. And we'll be the first to admit that Shockwave is an old man ... but not dead yet ... amazingly. Options for browsers that support Shockwave are become increasingly rare.

For those on WIndows computers, the best option is to download the free version of Internet Explorer from Microsoft. Then install the Shockwave plug-in (available from Adobe). This works for just about everybody (fingers crossed). Other options for Windows users include installing an older version of Firefox (pre-version 52) or using the Windows version of Safari.

For those on Macintosh computers, the best option is to use the Safari browser that comes with all Apple computers. The Shockwave plug-in will work on all Mac OSX systems with Safari. The only other option that we are aware of is to installi an older version of Firefox (pre-version 52). 

In instances in which the Minds On Physics Internet Modules fails to work, the problems are almost always traced back to the Shockwave Player installation. Either the Shockwave Player fails to install, partially installs, or installs in a manner that components from previous versions interfere with the recently installed versions. 


What Doesn't Work

There are a few things that you can count on: The browser version of Minds on Physics will not work on a phone, a tablet, a Chromebook, or any desktop broswer that does not support Shockwave. These browsers include Edge, Chrome, and Firefox (version 52 and above).

The fact is that the browser-version of MOPs was made when phones had cords attached and you couldn't carry them out of the house (or the kitchen). But if you wish to get Minds On Physics working on your phone, tablet, or Chromebook, you can use one of the apps that are available in the Minds On Physics the App section of our website. These apps are distributed by the traditional app outlets - the Apple iTunes Store, the Android Play Store, and the Chrome Web Store. See Minds On Physics the App. Links can be found on the Purchase page.

If you are using a desktop or laptop computer and are tired of messing around with the Shockwave plug-in, you can download an app version. As of this writing (July, 2017), we have a complete set of apps for Macintosh computers. And we are working hard on the Windows versions and hope to have those available in the early Fall of 2017. You can learn more about the desktop apps at the Minds On Physics the App section of our website. See Minds On Physics the App. Links can be found on the Purchase page.

A Far Better Solution

The browser-based Legacy version that we refer to as Minds On Physics Internet Modules is available as a free program. In the past few years, we have converted the program to an app-based version that is available for phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and desktop computers. The apps cost $1 each and typically contain 2-3 modules of the program. We continue to update the apps so as to improve their functionality. As of this writing (July, 2017) we are in the process of completing a version 2.5 which will feature improvements for mobile devices. You can learn more about the App version of Minds On Physics at the Minds On Physics the App section of our website. You will also find direct links to the purchase pages at Google Play Store and the Apple iTunes Store.  Visit Minds On Physics the App.

Some Hopefully Helpful Resources

Information about troubleshooting Shockwave issues can be found on the internet. The following web pages address many of the issues in a very helpful manner.
This page from the Adobe website (makers of Shockwave) lists a variety of problems and links to pages that describe how to fix the problem. Problems associated with Windows XP systems, Mac OS X systems, Firefox browsers and Internet Explorer browsers are all addressed.
This page addresses problems associated with Google Chrome (and at times, Internet Explorer). The page discusses the annoying tendency of Shockwave to either crash or to become unresponsive during installation. The process of uninstalling and reinstalling Shockwave is described.
After installing Shockwave, some Windows users get a message of the type "Your computer must be restarted in order to complete the installation … ." Yet, restarting doesn't fix the problem. This page describes the problem and the fix.
Problems associated with interference between newly installed and previously installed Shockwave plugins are described. Uninstallers for both Mac OS and Windows can be downloaded.

Finally, it is possible that your Shockwave Player installation was successful and that the problem lies with the Minds On Physics Internet Modules. Typically, you will know the problem is a MOP problem because the modules load into the page. But to be sure, you can check your Adobe Shockwave by visiting the Test Adobe Shockwave page.

Other Reported Problems and Solutions

Being that Version 4 of Minds On Physics was completed re-built from ground zero, there are likely to be problems that arise associated with unforeseen and not yet discovered bugs. The space below will be used to report such bugs in the program. If a bug is discovered, report it to your teacher who will evaluate the problem and report it to the MOP coordinator. The list below describes known bugs and the current status of the solution.

  • A commonly reported problem is that the Helps and Hints button is not working. This is quite easily fixed. The Helps and Hints button opens a Help page in a new tab or window. Because the action is performed from a Shockwave file, some browsers perceive this to be a pop-up window and block the functionality. To fix this, access your browser's Preferences and enable pop-ups. If possible, simply enable them for The Physics Classroom website.
  • On most systems and in most browsers, MOP considers the answer "a" to be the same as the answer "A". And so it should not matter whether or not capital letters are used in the answer box. Yet a very rare and difficult to reproduce bug is associated with the use of lower-case letters. MOP marks "a" as incorrect when the answer is "A". If in doubt, use capital letters. There is a relatively easy fix for the problem but the fix will delay answer checking considerably so we are trying to identify the conditions (system and browser related) that cause the problem so as to apply the fix only under those conditions.
  • Under some occassions, MOP will report that the files are being downloaded from an unauthorized web server. This is actually not a bug but a protection that is placed in MOP to prevent it from being hijacked to other websites and to local servers. Some proxy servers, home networks and browsers may have to be reconfigured so as to always pull the MOP files from our website as opposed to loading them from the local cache or some other temporary location. Sorry.

If you observe any other oddities or bugs, please report the problem to your instructor who will evaluate the problem and email the MOP coordinator ([email protected]). Thank you for your help.