Contact Photo Degradation

Discussion of EssentialPIM for Android and synchronization
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rick.ca
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Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

Environment

EssentialPIM Pro 9.3 on Windows 10
EssentialPIM Pro 5.7.4 on two Android devices with 2-way synchronization:
Galaxy Tab S2 (SM-T810) on Android 7.0
Galaxy S7 (SM-G930U) on Android 7.0

Issue

Contact photos progressively degrade, apparently on each synchronization, and syncs occur regardless of whether any changes have been made to the affected records. A minority of images are unaffected, unsurprisingly for some since they are simple icons, but there is no such explanation for others.

The issue has existed as long as I can remember—for years. After replacing all of the icons, usually several times over several days, the degradation stops at a point where the photos are crap but the thumbnails/icons are still distinguishable from one another. I've learned to live with that. This time, however, the degradation has continued several times until most of the affected images are completely obliterated.

I'm not sure how to describe the effect (moiré pattern?), so here is a sample series of images:

sample degraded 1.jpg
sample degraded 1.jpg (48.34 KiB) Viewed 565 times
sample degraded 2.jpg
sample degraded 2.jpg (46.2 KiB) Viewed 565 times
sample degraded 3.jpg
sample degraded 3.jpg (37.87 KiB) Viewed 565 times
Actions Taken

Disabled syncing by any other accounts (Google, Samsung, etc.);
Deleted any contact records existing in other accounts;
Disabled 'Use EPIM system account' and equivalent set by other apps;
Deleted all contact images from native contacts app (existing by virtue of above options);
Converted all source images to 256px BMPs and reloaded to contacts.
Smaller images made no difference, so they were replaced with 720px JPG's.

Findings

Exactly the same degradation affecting the same records occurred at the same speed (1-2 days) when, to the best of my knowledge, only EPIM was able to affect the contact records. Since it seemed to have no impact, I re-enabled 'Use EPIM system account' for EPIM only. This was no surprise, as this should be an automatic function under the sole control of EPIM. Indeed, it functions flawlessly, providing my email and phone apps with instant updates of EPIM's degraded contact images. :roll:

I'm at wits end. Any insight or help welcome. BTW, it has occurred to me that some random Android weirdness causing this on one device would be sync'd to all devices (and then repeated by the same bug?), thereby appearing to be a sync issue. I know and fear the solution to that problem, so I really can't bear to think about it unless I'm positive EPIM is not at fault.

For now I have disabled Contacts sync and hope that I can manage without it until a fix is found.
Last edited by rick.ca on Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

admin
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by admin »

Thanks very much for the very detailed description of the problem. Can you confirm that if you do say five to ten consecutive syncs one right after another without touching the contacts, you will be able to notice that image degradation effect?
Android version of EssentialPIM. Keep all your data in sync!

rick.ca
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

Thanks for your response.

I synced each device 7 times, alternating devices except once (which made no difference). There was no noticeable degradation. I should mention the last change I made after replacing the photos and doing this test was to archive some records, edit others, compress the data file, then sync. I suppose it's possible that removed some random glitch in the data that was causing this problem.

But I doubt it, for two reasons. First, this behaviour is consistent with my previous experience of the degrading stopping and then restarting at some indefinite time in the future. Second, the contact syncs took 8-12 minutes each for the Tab S2 and 2-7 minutes for the S7. In my experience, it normally takes only seconds to complete the entire sync when there is nothing to sync. When the sync appears to be "stuck" on contacts this long, it has been a good indication the photos are being degraded. So something remains seriously wrong.

BTW, several syncs were interrupted by a lost connection (WiFi is strong) before all contacts were saved (according to the error message and progress dialog that appeared). I repeated these.

I hope this means something to you.

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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by admin »

Thank you again for providing us with valuable details. Will check out what could be causing degradation and also the issue with connection. Will attempt to address both of the problems in the next app's update.
Android version of EssentialPIM. Keep all your data in sync!

rick.ca
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

Thanks.

FWIW, an update: After my last post, I re-enabled contact sync for a time (can't remember exactly how long). I just noticed the degrading has begun:
sample7.jpg
sample8.jpg

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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by admin »

Did you happen to notice as to when this started to happen this time, after which actions? Is there a list of steps we could follow to try to reproduce the issue?
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rick.ca
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

Sorry, there's not much I can to add. To be clear: I had disabled contact syncs to preserve the images. I re-enabled to update some contact records, and left the sync enabled—for some hours, but less than a day. I didn't notice any degradation immediately after the initial update, but did later, as illustrated. My devices had remained connected to WiFi throughout, but no contact records where changed. I disabled contact sync again at the time of my last post, and it has remained so.

BTW, you should know why I do that: 1) it takes at least an hour to replace all the photo, and 2) each sync is unbearably long when all the contact photos are being updated. It didn't occur to me before, but this may be why AEPIM intermittently refuses to display contacts—it can't when contacts are being updated by sync.

What I find strange, as I mentioned before, is that contacts (apparently all of them) are updated even though none of them has changed. I don't know if this would have continued rapidly (as in the recent past) or haphazardly (as in previous times). In any case, I've never been been aware of doing anything that might have triggered the problem.

I wonder about the significance of the fact I have experienced this issue for years, and apparently no one else has ever reported anything similar. It suggests something unique on my end, like some anomaly in my data file. But I suppose if the program runs amok rather than correcting, reporting or crashing, it must be a software issue, right? :)

I'm willing to re-enable contact sync to produce log data, but I'd like to know that would be of use before I go to the trouble

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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by admin »

And you only sync WinEPIM with AndroidEPIM, there's no other synchronizations involved on either of the sides?
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rick.ca
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

There are no other devices involved.

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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by admin »

I mean synchronizations, not devices. Like there's no Outlook Contacts sync with WinEPIM or Google Contacts sync with AEPIM?
Android version of EssentialPIM. Keep all your data in sync!

rick.ca
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

Sorry, no other syncs.

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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by admin »

Thank you, will investigate this issue.
Android version of EssentialPIM. Keep all your data in sync!

rick.ca
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Re: Contact Photo Degradation

Post by rick.ca »

Issue persists in version 9.4. Android version unchanged.

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