Old  April 8th, 2003, 6:53am     #1
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MySweeps in a Nutshell - Updated & Revised 7/8/04
What is MySweeps?
MySweeps is a feature that permits you to save a list of your favorite sweepstakes. Once a sweep is added to your list, it will appear in the MySweeps section:

http://www.online-sweepstakes.com/mysweeps/

where your entire list can be sorted by entry frequency (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Single entry, etc.) and any of the other ways in which you can sort sweeps anywhere else on OLS (currently by expiration date, expiration date [reversed], newest [date added to OLS] sweeps first, oldest sweeps first, highest rated, and by the most recent sweep notes). As sweeps expire (daily, just after midnight Pacific Time or 3am Eastern Time), they automatically get removed from your saved list.


Paid Subscriber version vs. the Free version of MySweeps
There are now 2 separate versions of MySweeps, the free version which is available to all registered OLS members (free), and a new version for OLS members who have a paid subscription (sometimes referred to as a premium membership).

The free version of MySweeps will enable you to save up to 500 (currently) sweeps to your list and includes all of the features mentioned on this page unless specified otherwise.

Currently, the main differences between the free and paid-subscriber versions of MySweeps are that as a paid-subscriber, you can save an unlimited number of sweeps, the date & time you add each sweep to your saved list is recorded, and MySweeps will keep track of the date & time of your last entry as well as the total number of entries made for each sweep.


How do I add a sweep to MySweeps?
On the left side of the main link in every sweepstakes and contest listing, you will see one of the following images:

<--- This image indicates that you DO NOT currently have this particular sweep saved. Clicking on it will add this sweep to your list, changing the image to the green checkmark. This is the default image displayed next to all sweeps, because it indicates a sweep that you HAVE NOT added to your saved list of sweeps.

<--- This image indicates that you DO currently have this particular sweep saved. Clicking on this image will bring up a dialog box, confirming your choice to remove the sweep from your saved list. Once confirmed, the sweep will be removed from your saved list and the image will change to the red minus sign.


***VERY IMPORTANT*** It is extremely important that you realize exactly how and when changes are actually saved on the server.

In the past, changes were not actually saved until you specifically went to the MySweeps section after making them- anytime you loaded any MySweeps page, it would check for any changes you might have made and save them if there were any.

Now, the system will check for any changes every time you load ANY web page in the OLS sweepstakes directory. You DO NOT need to specifically go to the MySweeps section for your changes to be saved.

The easiest way to tell when you have made changes to your MySweeps list is by looking at the total number of sweeps that you have saved with MySweeps, which is displayed underneath your username in the upper-left corner of almost every web page in the sweepstakes directory [ie. MySweeps: 323]. If the number is red, there are changes that have been made and not yet saved. If it's black, all changes have already been saved.

In addition to your MySweeps total turning red whenever you make any changes that have yet to be saved, a green floppy disk icon will appear near the top of the web page, in the space between your username & MySweeps total on the left and the "DISPLAY:" and "SORT BY:" selection menus on the right side of the web page. Clicking on the disk icon will save your changes and reload the current web page. Your MySweeps total will be black, and the disk icon will be gone, indicating your changes have been saved.

As long as you can remember to just load another web page in the OLS sweepstakes directory after making any changes to MySweeps, you shouldn't normally have any problems saving your changes, you really do not have to think about it anymore than that. The only potential complication that I am aware of *might* occur if you are making changes to your list of sweeps in more than one browser window at a time, while going back and forth between them. Most changes will still be saved and there's really only a small chance that something might be missed, but, just in case, you can always click on the green disk icon to be absolutely 100% sure that any changes you have made on a web page are saved exactly how they are shown at the time. If you are making changes in more than one browser window at a time, clicking on the disk icon to save your changes is the only way you can be 100% sure that your changes are saved exactly as intended.

Logging out through the sweepstakes directory by clicking on the logout image in the top-right corner will save your changes before logging you out.

Just remember that changes are saved as you change web pages in the sweeps directory, and you should be fine.


**Paid Subscriber Tip** - you can manually change the total number of entries for any sweep by simply clicking on the total number itself, and filling in the resulting textbox with whatever number you want.

**Paid Subscriber Tip 2** - if you inadvertently delete a sweep from your list (confirmation is required), you can always restore it without any data loss (date & time of last entry, total # of entries, etc.) by just adding it back to your list before you load another OLS web page (which will cause the changes, in this case the removal of the sweep, to be saved).


Backup Feature
To make a backup copy of your current list of sweeps, you can click on the "Backup" link that you will find next to your MySweeps total while your in the MySweeps section. If you have a previously saved backup, the "Backup" link will have the total number of sweeps that are saved in your last backup next to it.

Clicking on the "Backup" link will cause a "Create New Backup" button to appear, and if you have previously made a backup, the number of sweeps and the date & time of that last backup will be displayed, along with a "Restore From Backup" button.

Creating a new backup will completely overwrite your previous backup. Whatever you have saved in your MySweeps list at the time, is exactly what will be backed-up.

If you are a paid subscriber, or if you are a free OLS member and your current MySweeps total plus your backup total equals 500 sweeps or less, you will have the option of having the sweeps in your backup being added to, rather than replace, your currently saved MySweeps list when clicking on the "Restore From Backup" button. In other words, you will have the choice of either adding your backed-up sweeps to your current MySweeps list, or replacing your current list with your backup.

Dialog boxes seeking confirmation, along with instructions, will appear when you click on either the "Create New Backup" or "Restore From Backup" buttons. No changes are made without confirmation through the dialog boxes, clicking on "Cancel" in said boxes will always cancel any backup or restore operation.

Backups are stored in a separate area on the server than the current MySweeps lists are. But they are stored on the same server so the additional security they provide is somewhat minimal. There are several other, behind-the-scene safeguards in place to ensure both the integrity and security of everyone's MySweeps information on the server. So much so, in fact, that it's probably a waste of time even thinking about it. Even in a worst-case scenario, only 1 day's worth of changes would normally be lost- the same that could be said of any other data that is saved and stored on the web server (sweeps, posts, etc.).


Member Options
In the "Navigation Menu" in the upper-right corner of every web page in the OLS sweepstakes directory, you'll find a "Member Options" selection underneath the "MySweeps" selection. Selecting this option will take you to web page that gives you a couple of options.

At the top of the page, you'll find several buttons.

"Delete MySweeps" - permanently erases your entire list of saved sweeps, after confirmation from a dialog box that appears.
"Clear MySweeps Cookies" - deletes your current MySweeps cookies (your saved list remains unaffected). If you ever have problems adding or removing sweeps, it's good idea to try clearing your MySweeps cookies.
"Delete All Cookies" - deletes all cookies that have been set on your computer from Online-Sweepstakes.com. If "Clear MySweeps Cookies" doesn't work, or you have other problems like being able to log-in, try this. You will have to login again of you delete all of your OLS cookies.
"View Cookies" - displays all the Online-Sweepstakes.com (OLS) cookies that are currently set on your computer.

BTW, logging out from the sweepstakes directory will also delete all OLS cookies from your computer, after saving any changes you might have made to your MySweeps data.

The first option (after the initial row of buttons) will let you turn MySweeps "on" or "off". You can always change it back and forth, and you will not lose any sweeps from your MySweeps list in doing so. Basically, turning MySweeps "off" will prevent the "add" and "remove" MySweeps images (see How do I add a sweep to MySweeps? above) from being displayed in the sweep listings.

Paid-subscribers have an additional option in the form of a checkbox that says "Check this box if you're having problems getting MySweeps to work, or if you'd just prefer to use the basic, free version of MySweeps. You'll still be able to save an unlimited number of sweeps as a subscriber, you just won't be able to use the more advanced features." Checking the box and saving your options will change the version of MySweeps that you use, from the more-advanced, paid-subscriber version, to the more basic, free version of MySweeps that is available to everyone. The one exception being that as a paid-subscriber, you won't be subject to any limits on the number of sweeps that you can save.

If, as a paid-subscriber, you have any problems getting the more advanced version of MySweeps to work correctly in your browser, or if you would just rather not use the additional features, checking this option to use the free version of MySweeps is recommended. You can switch back and forth, and you will not lose any MySweeps data in doing so.

The last option, "Number of Sweeps per Page", allows you to set the number of sweeps you'd like to display per page while you're in the OLS sweepstakes directory. You can set it anywhere from 10 to 50 sweeps per page, the default being 15.

(continued...)

Last edited by Brent; July 8th, 2004 at 6:21pm.


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  Old  July 8th, 2004, 6:19pm     #2
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Known Browser/Operating System Compatibility Issues
MySweeps works well, and in most browsers. Both the free and paid-subscriber versions should work for just about everyone as long as you have a relatively recent operating system and web browser. Because of browser limitations, WebTV users and Internet Explorer for Macintosh OS 8.1 to 9.x users (I believe) are limited to the free version of MySweeps.

For Window PCs, just about any browser versions made in the last several years should work perfectly fine, however, it is highly recommended that you keep your browser and operating system up-to-date with the latest updates and patches. Internet Explorer 5.5+, Netscape 6+ and recent versions of most any other browser (Opera, Mozilla, etc.) should work well. Upgrading to the most recent version of your browser of choice will solve most browser incompatibility issues.

For Macintosh users, most recent versions of most browsers should work fine (IE 5.2.3- I believe, Netscape, Safari, etc.). The one exception that I am aware of is Internet Explorer for Macintosh OS 8.1 to 9.x users and the paid-subscription version of MySweeps.

The WebTV browser simply isn't capable of using the advanced version Of MySweeps, and I suspect the same is true of Internet Explorer for older Mac OS users, based on what I've heard.

I don't have a Mac (or an older Mac) to test things out (IE on the Mac is not the same as IE for Windows PCs), I have re-written some of the code to make things simpler and to try a few different ways of doing things, and I have gone over ever inch of code with a fine tooth comb. According to all the information that I have been able to get my hands on, it should work for IE 5+ on the Mac. I'm fairly sure IE 5.2.3 for Mac OS X works fine now, and I believe it's now just IE 5.1.7 (and earlier versions) for Mac OS 8.1 to 9.x users that have problems with the code for the paid-subscriber version of MySweeps.

If I hear differently, or as I learn more, I'll update this guide. But I honestly can't think of any reason to believe that the advanced, paid-subscription version of MySweeps will work for your current browser/operating system combination in the future, if it doesn't work now. Particularly in the case of WebTV and the Internet Explorer for the Macintosh. Microsoft has announced that they weren't going to develop IE for the Mac any longer: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/product...d=faq#features


Trouble Shooting Guide
If either version of MySweeps doesn't work in your browser, or if you have any sort of problems, try these steps:
  • Windows users - In the browser window with the problem, hold down the Ctrl button, and then press the F5 key. This will force your browser to do a full reload of the web page and associated files. Some keyboards let users assign functions to the function keys. Look for an "F Lock" or similar key if you the web page doesn't reload when hitting Ctrl + F5 together in the browser window.
  • Macintosh, other operating system users, and Windows PCs that still have problems after trying Ctrl + F5 in the first step above, should clear your browser's Web cache or Temporary Internet Files. For Mac users it should be similar to the following: PREFERENCES > WEB BROWSER > ADVANCED > EMPTY NOW, for Internet Explorer for Windows users: Tools > Internet Options > Delete Files..., other browser should have similar options.
  • Try logging out and back in, try deleting all your OLS cookies from the Member Options[/] page, try closing all browser windows and restarting your browser, try restarting your computer.
  • Check to make sure both your operating system and browser are up-to-date, preferably to the very latest versions but at the very least updated with all the latest security patches and updates.
  • If you're using a pop-up blocker, try adding OLS (online-sweepstakes.com) to your 'whitelist'. OLS has never and will never serve popups and some pop-up blockers may block the method MySweeps uses to set cookies in Internet Explorer for Windows browsers.
  • Your browser must accept cookies and allow javascript to run for either version of MySweeps (as well as a lot of other features) to work.
If, after trying all the suggestions above, you still can't get MySweeps to work, there's probably a program running on your computer or a setting that's preventing it from working. Unless you're using Internet Explorer for Mac OS 8.1 to 9.x, upgrading your browser to the most recent version should fix any problem with MySweeps that you might have. Internet Explorer for Mac OS 8.1 to 9.x users will either have to switch to another browser (like Netscape) or switch to using the more basic, free version of MySweeps (paid-subscribers will still be able to save unlimited sweeps) under your Member Options page.


MySweeps Image Problems
Due to a bug in the Internet Explorer browser (I've also had it happen to me using Netscape as well), the MySweeps images (the green checkmark indicating a saved sweep and the red minus sign indicating a sweep not saved to your list) will occasionally disappear or not appear at all. Usually this happens after clicking on the images. To fix it, clear your browser's web cache or Temporary Internet Files. For Windows users, try holding down the Ctrl key and then hitting F5. (see the troubleshooting list directly above for more detailed instructions)

Pictures Are Not Displayed on Web Sites in Internet Explorer - http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=283807


Windows Browsers - Download
Macintosh Browsers - Download

Reporting Problems
If, after following and trying all the recommended steps in the Troubleshooting guide, you still have problems using MySweeps, please provide all the details you can (operating system/browser type and version, a good description of the problem, any error messages you may see, etc.) in the form of either a post in the Online-Sweepstakes.com forum, or a Private Message to me, Brent. The more details you can provide, the easier it will be for me (or anyone else) to help you figure out what's causing the problem. Most any problems can be solved by just following the steps in the Troubleshooting guide above.


Brent


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