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The infamous FAQ

WARNING: all instructions given below are only valid for the latest version of Speleobase!

Q: I have a problem or a question?
A: Read this FAQ. If your problem/question is not described, read the HELP of SpeleoBase. If you don?t find the answer there, then email me... and I will see what I can do.

Q: I can?t open that f***n HELP because I can?t get SpeleoBase running.
A: Hummm... you got a point there. But maybe you could just go into Windows Explorer and doubleclick the SPELEOBASE_EN.HLP file.

Q: Why did you write this program?
A: I wrote it for myself, since I?m exploring caves and I needed a tool to manage them and to make reports that I could pass to other people. I wasted time doing this in Excel first. And I hate Excel.

Q: So why are you offering it (for free) to the world??
A: Because if I can use it, then other cavers can use it too. And there are hardly any comparable programs to be found on the internet. And asking money for it? No, not my style.

Q: Will you make SB available in other languages as well?
A: No. Every language makes it a more work and more difficult to maintain the program for me; I don?t have time for that. English and French must do, I'm sorry.

Q: Can I open the SB files in Excel?
A: Yes you can. But, you will not see the contents of all "memo" fields since these are fields of unlimited length and Excel can?t handle them. And it is a risky business!  So, don't do it.

If you want to transfer SB data into Excel or another Windows application, then just use the "Export to CSV" function in SpeleoBase. This will create a CSV file that can easily be imported in Excel or so.

Q: Do I run any risk when I open SB Files in Excel?
A: YES. Never, ever SAVE these files back to SpeleoBase in a DBF format or you will loose everything that?s in them. You can first save them as a normal XLS file, preferably *not* in the SpeleoBase folder but in one of your own folders. Then you can do what you want with them.

Q: Will SB run under Linux or Mac?
A: No.

Q: Will you make Linux or Mac versions?
A: No - I don't have a Mac or Linux machine *and* I don't have the time.

Q: Will it run under Vista?
Well try it and let me know. I don't have a computer with Vista here, so I can not test it. I would suggest that you do not install it under the "special" Vista Program Folders. Just installed in something like c:\speleobase. Ugly but that's the best way to avoid a lot of permissions problems.

Q: Can I run SB from a CD-Rom?
A: No. Don?t waste your time in trying. SB needs to be able to *write* to the files and will always open them in read/write mode. Since files on a CD-Rom are only "Read-only", this will not work. But it can run from a USB Flash drive!

Q: I want to install a new disk or I want to buy another PC. How do I transfer SpeleoBase?
A: Congratulations! Before tearing your old PC to pieces; make a backup copy of the entire SB folder and subfolders (you can do this on any medium you like, even a CD-Rom).

Copy (Windows Explorer will do fine for this) the whole lot to your new hardware. You can even put it in another folder or on another drive.

(In case you used a CD-Rom for the transfer, all files will be "read-only" now: in Windows Explorer, right click on the SpeleoBase folder, choose Properties, uncheck the "read-only" box, then OK. It will ask if you want to change this for all subfolders and files below SpeleoBase; answer yes.)

If you are using SpeleoBase 2.7 or higher, that's all there is to do. If you open Speleobase.exe, it will run. If you are using an older version, you will have to re-install SpeleoBase with the most recent setup file that you find on my website. When it asks where to install, point it to the folder where you have put the backup copy on your new hardware. No panic: you will not loose your old data. That?s all folks!

Q: I have followed your procedure, but my old harddrive was C: and my new one is now D:, so all of my links are invalid.
You can edit all links one by one of course. But, if you have many caves, this is quite a job. In the Tools menu, you will find an option "Convert links". You can use it to do a search/replace operation on all links. Make a backup first!

Q: I want to see a lot more features! Will you do this please?
A: Nice try. Remember I?m a very busy guy ( busy with caving, mostly). But you can always send me your suggestions.

Q: I want to print my reports to PDF. Can SpeleoBase do this?
A: Yes, but it doesn't seem to work on all PC's. In that case:  Find yourself PDF creation software on the internet, there are a lot of shareware,adware and maybe even freeware solutions to be found. You need something that you can install as a printer. All you have to do then is select this printer when printing.  Tip: try http://www.primopdf.com/ which is totally free and no nag-screens nor banners

Q: Can I create different sets of datafiles (e.g. per country) of my own?
A: No. SpeleoBase has its own set of files and you cannot create your own. Everything will be stored in one file and some subfiles. You can apply filters to view in the cave table only records that match your criteria (e.g. a particular country).

Q: But this will result in huge files! I?ve got thousands of caves!
A: So what? You can store up to records in the file, and the size doesn?t matter a lot in these days of big multi-gigabyte harddisks, doesn?t it? But yes, more caves will slow down certain operations such as browsing in the cave table, printing, etc... Handling a couple of thousands of records will however not present any problem at all.

Q: Can I share my caves with my friends?
A: If you just want to inform them of your latest discovery, then you can *email* them the print-out of a cave (an email function is provided). The email can even contain all of your link files (pictures for instance) as attachments. If they are also SpeleoBase users, you can export the cave(s) to a "SpeleoBase" type of exportfile that they can import. Read the HELP.

Q: I?ve read the HELP. I?ve created a nice exportfile and my friends have imported it. But now they don?t have those nice pictures I had made links to.
A: The files you link to, are *never* transferred. You have to transfer them manually. The Email function is a good way to do this. Your friends have to install the files onto their PC. If they want the links to be valid, then they have to put them in the same folders as you had.

Q: Why can?t SpeleoBase do this for me?
A: By now, you should know that you can link your caves to any files that can be in any folder on your PC (think of the links as links in a website, to other html files or pictures).

So what you are asking is that I should provide a function that will recreate all these folders onto your friends PC, and put the files in there. What if the folders already exist? What if your friend has files with the same name? What if your friend is working on a W2K, NT or XP machine and has not the authority to create/change folders or files? What if you have put your files in a system folder that your friend will most certainly not have nor will he ever be able to use it, such as: c:\documents and settings\yourname\my documents? What if your friend just doesn?t like to see his nice well-organized file-and-folder structure turning into a mess after importing your files? What if you are working on a disk D: and he is using disk C: ?

I guess you get the picture?

Q: So is there no hope for me then?
A: Maybe there is. I suggest you put your link files in folder(s) that are subfolders of SpeleoBase. When you link to them, SpeleoBase will create "relative links". You can now easily give your friend a copy of the entire subfolder and ask him to put it under his own Speleobase folder. Since the links are relative, it doesn?t matter if your friend has installed SpeleoBase on another drive or in another folder than you have.
And maybe one day I will even let SpeleoBase do this work for you... but only if the files are linked by relative links.

Q: I have discovered a cave in the Republic of Bananas but I can't enter it because the country doesn't exist in SpeleoBase!
Open the Maintenance menu, choose "Maintain country codes" and create the country.  Or maybe it already exists, but it is deactivated. Activate it.

Q: I want to enter cave length/depths in Feet, Inches, Yards, Gallons, Ounces and Tasmanian miles.
Sorry. SpeleoBase is a civilized program. It uses only metric and no folkloristic units.

Q: Hey take it easy guy! Who do you think you are?
My name is Paul De Bie, I was produced in 1960, a very good year.  I live in Belgium, married with Annette, two nice daughters and a dog.  My job has something to do with computers, though I'm not really a programming freak because... I like to go caving a lot more!  I have been caving since 1980 now, and I can best describe myself as a caving addict.  I like physical and sporting caving, but I'm also into cave photography, surveying and cave protection.  I am the chairman of a club "Avalon", and webmaster of this site.  I speak Flemish (something like "Viva boema, pattaten met sossisen") so that's why English and French translations in Speleobase might sometimes be a bit ... well huh..., wrong!

Q: Uuuhh? Caving what's that?
Caving is crawling in around in wet and dark mudholes. And if this explanation doesn't suit you, then read our Caving FAQ


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