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 Post subject: Go diagram advice, please
Post #1 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:29 am 
Oza

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Over the years I have used various ways of inserting diagrams into go books. It seems that go programmers have not evolved at the same pace as the rest of the e-world and so I seem now to be left high and dry with no sensible way to produce diagrams.

I understand that is there is no incentive for developers. Go books are no longer popular in any format E.g. at one extreme I have an e-book that sells about 9 copies a year. Paper seems more popular, but you are still looking at 100-200 copies a year except for beginners' books. So there is little reason for a developer to expend energy on a rather tricky aspect of programming, especially as the "market" almost demands that programs be offered for free.

Still, I'm hoping there's something out there that I've overlooked.

The situation is that I am a Windows user. I do have a Mac but I don't like it. I have therefore used GoWrite2. But it's not maintained and has now become unusable. The latest Java update has wiped out the Java Virtual Machine connection this program relied on (and Sun are threatening even harsher constraints on Java later this year), and my Norton anti-virus keeps quarantining GoWrite as unsafe anyway (it also acts like a Rottweiler with Kombilo and is very sniffy about most other go programs mainly because of "fewer than 5 users" and the like). I have thus been stranded 98% through a book for which I had used Gowrite.

I have tried switching to SmartGo, but the Windows version is no longer developed and I can't get diagrams to work properly anyway. Even when I do produce a diagram it's in EPS form which Windows no longer allows to be incorporated in Word documents because of security problems. It's possible to convert an EPS file to, say, png, but that conversion work is a major hassle - the book I'm working on now involves well over 1,000 diagrams.

A further constraint is that CreateSpace requires diagrams to be at least 200 dpi (with the annoying niggle that it rejects some diagrams for being 199.9 dpi). Few programs produce diagrams at that quality. There is also, in the particular case of my present book, a need to keep file sizes down because of an upper limit on text+files package size in CreateSpace (but with GoWrite it appeared I might squeeze under that comfortably enough) and I am also using smallish diagrams, so anti-aliasing and sharpness are a must (SmartGo would offer that quality it seems - GoWrite still needed to be tested but it's worked for bigger diagrams).

Trying to switch back to an older 32-bit machine as a way to get GoWrite to run again is probably too much hassle for me, especially as that could be undercut at the next update.

I am aware of LaTeX, but I don't want to learn a new programming language. I also have no desire to buy any fancy programs because they would cost more than I'd ever get out of the book.

I've thought laterally of solutions such as printing text only and offering sgfs for the moves and mark-up (we all know what would happen if the whole thing were offered as commented sgfs or as a pdf; videos are also out of the question) but that doesn't seem very practicable, though in this case (which involves playing through lots of complete games from diagrams) it may actually be a plausible solution.

In any case I'd love a book properly printed with diagrams even if it's only for my own shelf. Any specific suggestions would be welcome.

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Post #2 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:48 am 
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Last year I had the same trouble with GoWrite not getting on with Java. It was a pain that I accidentally fixed by installing a few things to use the Kotlin programming language. I doubt that kind of route is what you're looking for. Sadly I don't think there is a real alternative to GoWrite. Maybe you can inspire somebody to write something.

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Post #3 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:03 am 
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I have to say, I have been using GoWrite2 on and off for the last few years on Windows and Linux and I have zero problems with it. Everything works completely as expected. I even installed it a few days ago into a new laptop running Linux by downloading the raw .jar file. Works as expected.

I do know my way around a terminal and I do some programming on the side, but I'm not an expert. Haven't had to modify the code at all or do anything as ridiculous as fire some Kotlin in there (I mean, wth)? I just download the latest available .jar file and make sure Java is in my path and then do:

cd /path/to/jar/file && java -jar GoWrite2.jar

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The latest Java update has wiped out the Java Virtual Machine connection this program relied on


What do you mean wiped out the connection? Doesn't the Windows .exe for GoWrite come packaged with its own JRE?

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and Sun are threatening even harsher constraints on Java later this year


You mean Oracle.

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my Norton anti-virus keeps quarantining GoWrite as unsafe


You could turn Norton off and rely on Windows anti-virus, along with a web extensions like uBlock. I find Norton, or any 3rd party anti-virus, overkill in this day and age if you don't access dodgy websites and don't have the need for Enterprise-strength risk assessments or insurance stipulations... But that's just my opinion I guess.

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Post #4 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:58 am 
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I feel your pain.

At the moment, my Go diagram-producing technology consists of Drago's ancient printing feature directed to the Windows 10 "Print to PDF" printer. This only works on my work PC, my home PC just produces blank PDF pages (or blank printed pages, if I direct it at my physical printer) and so, if I do want a hard-copy of a position, I make a PDF at work and email it to myself for printing that evening -- hardly optimal.

Perhaps there is software to render PDF to an image format that matches your specifications?

The alternative is a hand-crafted SVG file that I made as an experiment to see how reusable I could make such a file -- i.e., isolating the drawing elements (board, coordinates, stone shapes, ...) from the actual position content so that anyone could edit the latter.

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 Post subject: Re: Go diagram advice, please
Post #5 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:21 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Norton anti-virus keeps quarantining GoWrite as unsafe anyway (it also acts like a Rottweiler with Kombilo and is very sniffy about most other go programs mainly because of "fewer than 5 users" and the like).

Consider going without Norton. These antivirus programs can themselves be considered malware. For security, I rely on a hosts file along the lines of https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts, Windows Defender and uMatrix for firefox. Plus reasonable behaviour such as not downloading executables as much as can be avoided.

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I have tried switching to SmartGo, but the Windows version is no longer developed and I can't get diagrams to work properly anyway. Even when I do produce a diagram it's in EPS form which Windows no longer allows to be incorporated in Word documents because of security problems. It's possible to convert an EPS file to, say, png, but that conversion work is a major hassle
EPS is a vector graphics format, isn't it? I wouldn't convert that to png, but perhaps to svg. There are programs which can be automated to do batch conversions, and there are online web converters such as https://cloudconvert.com/eps-to-svg. Does that site seem helpful?

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Post #6 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:52 am 
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Dear John,

I feel your pain. I ran into the same problem, but I now use a Mac, thanks to my wife, who made us an all Mac household. There is a kind of solution on the Mac.

Apple offers a download which installs a version of Java that works with programs, like GoWrite, that require an older version. I downloaded it in the spring and, indeed, GoWrite works fine. So far, so good. :) Also, the bundled Preview program will convent EPS to PNG. :)

I say that it is a kind of solution because now other programs that use Java don't work on my machine. I even update Java, to no effect, because Mac ignores the newly installed Java.

I know that there are Java workarounds. I have a program that comes with its own Java version that it calls directly. I have also heard that it is possible to have multiple versions of Java installed to handle this kind of problem, which is not new. I'm sorry I did not try that before using the Mac download.

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Post #7 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:58 am 
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I'm not at home right now but I'm almost certain that the version of Java required is irrelevant and that GoWrite2 should run on any version from 6 onwards, and should run with OpenJDK from version 7 or 8 onwards. I believe I'm currently running GoWrite2 with version 10 of OpenJDK with no problems whatsoever, clean as a whistle.

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Post #8 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:22 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
Dear John,

I feel your pain. I ran into the same problem, but I now use a Mac, thanks to my wife, who made us an all Mac household. There is a kind of solution on the Mac.

Apple offers a download which installs a version of Java that works with programs, like GoWrite, that require an older version. I downloaded it in the spring and, indeed, GoWrite works fine. So far, so good. :) Also, the bundled Preview program will convent EPS to PNG. :)

I say that it is a kind of solution because now other programs that use Java don't work on my machine. I even update Java, to no effect, because Mac ignores the newly installed Java.

I know that there are Java workarounds. I have a program that comes with its own Java version that it calls directly. I have also heard that it is possible to have multiple versions of Java installed to handle this kind of problem, which is not new. I'm sorry I did not try that before using the Mac download.

This is kind of OT, but since MacOS is UNIX-based, it is fairly simple to have several versions of java installed and switch between them. Of course it requires some knowledge, but with Mac it is much, much easier to achieve than with Windows.

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Post #9 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:23 am 
Judan

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My version of GoWrite 2 says this.

Version 2.3.46

Java version 1.6.0_65-b14-468

It stopped working after a MacOS upgrade which installed Java 8.

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Post #10 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:25 am 
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tj86430 wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
Dear John,

I feel your pain. I ran into the same problem, but I now use a Mac, thanks to my wife, who made us an all Mac household. There is a kind of solution on the Mac.

Apple offers a download which installs a version of Java that works with programs, like GoWrite, that require an older version. I downloaded it in the spring and, indeed, GoWrite works fine. So far, so good. :) Also, the bundled Preview program will convent EPS to PNG. :)

I say that it is a kind of solution because now other programs that use Java don't work on my machine. I even update Java, to no effect, because Mac ignores the newly installed Java.

I know that there are Java workarounds. I have a program that comes with its own Java version that it calls directly. I have also heard that it is possible to have multiple versions of Java installed to handle this kind of problem, which is not new. I'm sorry I did not try that before using the Mac download.

This is kind of OT, but since MacOS is UNIX-based, it is fairly simple to have several versions of java installed and switch between them. Of course it requires some knowledge, but with Mac it is much, much easier to achieve than with Windows.


That may be the best solution for both John and me. (John also has a Mac.) If I could only uninstall the Mac "fix".

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Post #11 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:38 am 
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GoWrite2 version 3.0.17 and later support as far as Java 10. See forum announcement. I just tried it. It's fine, though in one of my Virtual Machines it has some minor re-rendering issues. Note that 3.01.17 (as of this post) is more recent than the latest 'stable' Windows version, so you have to scroll down on this page to get to the developer builds to get it: https://gowrite.net/GOWrite2_download.html

I do prefer just launching the jar file with the version of java I want rather than using the .exe, but I am experienced with Java and so it's not the best way for everyone, necessarily.

The GoWrite2 forums themselves aren't dead, so you could ask the author any questions there.

But I'm already off track. When we have the most profilic English language go author on the planet saying technology is getting in the way of writing books, we should try to do a little better than say 'read this and fix it yourself'.

We need a short-term workaround that gets him and other authors going, plus some longer-term plans to improve the ecosystem so that people who just want to create some diagrams and publish have some options. Honestly, if it means I donate some money to Yishn to help get Sabaki into a first-class authoring tool, just to have another option going forward, there are worse things I could be doing, but that's long-term.

John, if we can get GoWrite2 working for you, what other obstacles remain? Do you have a lot of existing diagrams that need to be converted from one format to another quickly with special requirements that aren't supported by say, cloudconvert.com? Or do you want us to just do a bunch for you so you don't have to think about it (or pay for it)?


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 Post subject: Re: Go diagram advice, please
Post #12 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:00 am 
Judan

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Calvin Clark wrote:
When we have the most profilic English language go author on the planet saying technology is getting in the way of writing books, we should try to do a little better than say 'read this and fix it yourself'.it)?


Hear, hear! :D

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Post #13 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:12 am 
Oza

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I'm certainly delighted at the response, thank you, and can sense there may be a way forward. Separately from this thread, Anders Kierulf has explained some things to me about SmartGo, and I'm hopeful that that will offer an ideal option.

It's going off at a tangent, but there are lots of programmers here who write for other users rather than just themselves, so, as a reminder of the sort of idiots you have to deal with, it may be worth repeating what I said to Anders. I will quote my own e-mail:

Quote:
I have written programs to handle sgf files before but I have never implemented the diagram feature and just added letters to move nodes. GoWrite appears to use my method, too, and creates diagrams on the fly rather than embedding them as separate diagram nodes in the file (it also uses PM[ ] and FG[ ] which I’m not familiar with, but letters are attached to moves via L[ ]). So I “naturally” expected SmartGo to do the same, but now I understand that you use the separate node.

That was a further clue. Previously when I saw all the moves to the end of the game given after I inserted a diagram, I assumed that really was the end of the game and so it never occurred to me to press the advance-one-move button. Now I discovered (accidentally, actually, by clicking everything in sight) that it is really an advance-one-node button, though I can’t help observing that the hint box for it actually says “Next move.”

It’s often assumed that problems between programmers and users arise because programmers have to be literal, but in my experience it’s the other way round and it’s the users who are the literal ones, like me. I remember running a network in our news room and having to deal with people who couldn’t cope with the instruction “Hit Enter.” They said – correctly – there is no “Enter” key on my keyboard.


I hasten to add that my decision to click everything in sight, although it seems to be the routine mode for young people, is for me a mark of desperation.

But I'd still like to have GoWrite working. Again as a guide to the sort of problems ordinary users have, I tried installing the latest version again and when I run the setup program, the following is what I get. First, I know I have Java installed (64-bit and 32-bit) and working. But the message below refers to a JRE and when I try running GoWrite I get a different message telling me no usable JVM can be found. The program doesn't tell me what a JVM is, or where I can get one, nor does it tell me what the difference between JRE, JVM and Java is. Really, really helpful. Looking these things up via Google is not specially helpful either, as you just get swept away by a tsunami of even more technical jargon, all interlaced with a galaxy of caveats according to whether you're using Windows, Mac, Linux or Strawberry Pie.

I'm not quite an ordinary user, in the sense that I can write quite complex programs in more than one language, and used to be pretty nifty in assembly language in my TRS80 days. I can therefore sense I may need to do something like set up an Environment path, but nowadays I just haven't got the time or the patience to sort out problems, so I steer well clear of things like registries.

Somebody kindly mentioned a command line instruction that may be what I need, but I'd appreciate a bit more detail as to when and how and why I use it, please.

Incidentally, I not only did not know there was a GoWrite forum, it would never have even occurred to me to look for one. But I'm always caught in that trap. E.g. I dither about going into London to a shop that might be closed. My daughters don't even stop to think - they just whip out their iPhones and look it up. I've got an iPhone but I'm missing the link between brain and hand and phone. (And what you might not understand is that I actually feel blessed :))

I'm off to Scotland again soon, so may not respond to any replies here at once (parts of Scotland, too, are blessed with lack of wifi, and this year with a lack of midges). I was there last week and marvelled again, of course, at the mountains and sea, and haggis for breakfast, but most of all at empty parking spaces. At St Andrews, where the Pro Senior golf tournament was on, there was ample FREE long-term parking in the centre of town. I almost wished I'd done the two-day drive by car instead of spending six hours on the train. We pretend we've become more civilised over time, but where Byron was inspired by Lochnagar, I'm getting excited over a parking space...


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Post #14 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:20 am 
Judan

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JVM = Java Virtual Machine (I think ;))

We seem to be entering the age of the acronym. Will the OED ever catch up? :lol:

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Post #15 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:40 am 
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Maybe asking Lauri Paatero directly for help may be your best option, he is rather helpful.
https://www.suomigo.net/wiki/LauriPaatero

Rumour: Whenever Oracle took over Sun, many of the developers transitioning to pastures new forgot how to speak english

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Post #16 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:58 am 
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Ok so I'm sure that we can get John up and running again with our collective brainpower.

First, to clarify some terms you mentioned John:

  • Java is a programming language that was invented, partly, so that programs could be portable across different operating systems and architectures without having to re-write large portions of the program. So, the JVM was created as a specification that tells us how we can run machine-independent code (in this case called "bytecode") and thus create machine-independent programs.
  • The JRE is an environment that provides the minimum amount of stuff that enables us to run a Java program. It contains an implementation of the JVM and assorted libraries and configuration files.
  • The JDK is the development environment that contains compilers and debuggers, as well as the JVM and JRE, in order that normal-looking Java code can be compiled to machine-independent bytecode, in order to run on the JVM, in the JRE runtime environment.

So, JVM is the "engine" that runs the bytecode, JRE is the runtime environment required for us to run Java programs, and JDK is the development environment required to develop and compile Java programs.

The first step I would take is to see if your computer can "see" your Java installation.

Press the Windows key, and scroll down to 'Windows System' and select the Command Prompt. Alternatively, press the Windows key, and type 'cmd' (without the single quotes) and you should see the Command Prompt application icon appear in the menu, and you can click that to start it.

Now type:

Code:
java -version


And you should get one of these two screenshots or similar:

Image

Or this one:

Image

(Continued in next post)...

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Post #17 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:33 pm 
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In the first screenshot, the computer sees your Java installation, and that is fine. So, if you get this message, GoWrite2 should also be able to see your Java installation, and we will need to pause here to ask some more questions if this is the case.

----------

But in the case that you get the second screenshot, which means that your computer cannot see your Java installation, then you will need to follow the steps below.

Firstly, a slight tangent. Programs that require other programs to run (as is this case here, where GoWrite2 requires a JVM to run, the JVM effectively being a program called java.exe), the programs search for these other programs on the PATH (or sometimes path, or Path, it doesn't matter).

The PATH is a colon-delimited or semicolon-delimited list of filepaths to an executable. For example, if I use LaTeX, and if I want my document processing program (e.g. TeXstudio) to find the executable to run the code (which if I choose PDFTeX is pdftex.exe), then my software program (TeXstudio) will seek out the executable in the PATH. This is the same as we are doing here: by typing
Code:
java
, the software program (Command Prompt) is seeking out the executable called
Code:
java.exe
in the PATH. If it finds it, it returns the result of the command line argument we provided, which in this case is
Quote:
-version
.

The second screenshot means that Command Prompt could not find java in the PATH and therefore does not know what you mean when you type java -version. So to correct that, we will need to add java to the path ourselves.

So hit the Windows key and type 'env' (without the single quotes) and select the option for Edit the System Environment Variables. You will get a System Properties dialog box. Then, select Environment Variables as I have done in the below screenshot:


Image

Then, you need to select the Path, then select edit, then select browse, then you have to search your computer for your Java installation! :D Actually it shouldn't be tricky, you should select This PC > Local Disk C: > Progam Files > Java > jre_version230492834 (or whatever) > bin. Select this folder as I have done in the screenshot below. If you have a 32 bit JRE, then you will need to seek out the bin folder in your Program Files (x86) directory, not your Program Files directory.

Image

Then you should close Command Prompt and reopen it. Type java -version and see if it outputs the first screenshot. If it does, then you can try to install GoWrite2 again.

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Post #18 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:32 pm 
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Jujube's Java summary is useful.

I was able to reproduce one of the errors John reported, the one where it says a suitable JVM cannot be found when launching GOWrite.

Technical Overview:

It's a 64-bit vs. 32 problem. GOWrite.exe is using registry calls to find the Java installation. But using sysinternals procmon I can see it is only looking in the 64-bit HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE tree for them, not in WOW6432Node, which is where the 32-bit version of Java would put its keys. So if trying to run GOWrite.exe (i.e., clicking on the icon that is installed on the desktop), a 32-bit JRE won't be found, but 64-bit ones will be. I tested Java 8 32-bit and 64-bit for this, since I had previously verified that Java 10 works.)


So the combination that yields the best results for me so far on Windows 10:

Java 8 64-bit from the manual download page:

https://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp

GOWrite2 version 3.0.17 (Development Version) from https://gowrite.net/GOWrite2_download.html


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Post #19 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Idea 1.

Command to convert a directory of .eps to .svg files from a windows batch file:
FOR %%G IN ( *.eps ) DO CMD /C "C:\Program Files\Inkscape\inkscape.exe" --file=%%G --export-plain-svg=%%~nG.svg --without-gui

Idea 2. ( more advanced & vague)

Could do sgf -> eps -> svg -> doc for all 1000 diagrams in one step with a Window automation/scripting tool, e.g. https://www.autoitscript.com/ to externally control SmartGo/Inkscape/Word etc.
WinActivate("SmartGo")
Send ( "!fd{TAB 6}^v{ENTER}" ) ; Export Diagrams

The effort of creating such a script for one book may not be worth it, but may pay off across multiple books.

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Post #20 Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:53 pm 
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Bill Spight wrote:
My version of GoWrite 2 says this.

Version 2.3.46

Java version 1.6.0_65-b14-468

It stopped working after a MacOS upgrade which installed Java 8.


Remind me: Was there a reason that the 3.0 GOWrite versions weren't working for you?

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