Re: Race timing

Michael Lampi <lampi@...>

--- In SoundRowers@..., "Reivers" <reivers@c...> wrote:

The finish line is the battle zone for the volunteers. When I heard
of the timer programs[...]. One of the programs uses multiple
hand-helds to record
finishes, then when they are synchronized to the main laptop there is
a way to arbitrate or make corrections. This way you can use a
couple of volunteers doing their thing at the finish line and pretty
much capture most finishers in some way.

The finishes are easy for the hand-held. The user just taps the boat
number to capture time/place order of finish. For larger races the
user may have to page to the boat number. One of these programs is a
shareware deal. So the only expense is the hand-held. I guess that
is a BIG only.

All this is great. But Michael's observations are well considered.
I agree with him: it's just probably not time for SR to get on this
particular bleeding edge. We need a real gung-ho race director with
a stack of savvy volunteers to show us how.

Maybe we can corner Michael after a race and talk more.

A handheld PDA can be obtained quite cheaply these days, especially if
it is purchased from the used market. If the battery can be replaced
or supplemented so that it can last for the duration of the
registration process and the start and finishing of the race(s), then
it might be an option to be explored.

I have an older iPAQ and an ancient HP Jornada that could be used for
such things along with keyboards for each. Both would need replacement
batteries, unfortunately, as they would not be up to the task of
powering the PDA's for a long enough period of time. Yes, I *could*
take along their chargers and a UPS or two if that was the only
option, but that would be a pain in the posterior.

If a laptop were considered desirable for the data entry and results
editing, then we would probably be able to do that on most any laptop
without requiring the PDA keyboards - or possible in conjunction so
we could have multiple data entry positions at registration.

Zeke's program pretty much required a laptop only. I don't have one
available with adequate battery life or that is modern enough and
still expendable. A laptop at the finish line (end of a dock, etc.)
would also be a pain in the arm to hold onto.

The shareware timer programs I saw last year were pretty good, though
each had their own problems and none seemed to be able to sync with
other PDAs for merging results. Reivers, could you point me at them?

Otherwise, we do have some technically savvy folks around here who
might be cajoled into coming up with something. (Yeah, yeah. I'm a
software engineer, too, and could probably come up with something if
only I had the time.)

Anybody game to try?

--Michael Lampi

P.S. We could give this scheme a try at the winter series of races.

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