Time for something new

Good Day, Readers!

This last year has been a busy one here at Good Times Software, yet that’s no excuse for not having more blog posts. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that we’re proud to inform you we’ve launched a new version of our website! The new website is optimized for mobile devices and is easier than ever to use. Additionally, Good Times Version 4.4 is live and available for download. This version addressed a couple minor issues with our supported international data formats, and introduced new features like: a default Custom Output report, better integration with RunSignUp, and the ability to turn off “strict” data validation rules.

Please take a moment to visit and like us on Facebook.  And if you haven’t checked out our YouTube Channel, please do so now.  We have many how-to videos and helpful information to get you up and running on Good Times very quickly.  Have a great and healthy summer!

Foreign Language Support comes to Good Times

Hello, Guten Tag, Hola, and こんにちは!

On this fine day, we’ve released the race timing software Good Times Version 4.4 which now includes foreign language support.  What does that mean?  It’s simple: numbers, dates, times, and currencies can now be entered and then subsequently displayed in their native language format.  And that’s big news for our international customers!  (Thank you for your patience for this software release.)

We in America are so used to our way of doing things in race timing software and in other applications as well… writing numbers like “5,280 feet in a mile.”  And we write currency or money values like “Those shoes really cost $79.99?”  Our dates are even written with the month, the day, and the year as in 06/27/2015.  And here I sit at about 2:15pm writing this blog entry.  That’s the way the rest of the world writes these things, correct?

No!

In fact, most of the rest of the world do things another way.  For example, in numbers they use a comma where we use a decimal.  For example, 5.230 is five thousand two hundred and thirty.  Additionally, 6,20 is six point two zero.  And, like our military friends, the rest of the world commonly uses the 24-hour clock and ditches the old AM/PM.  It’s now about 14:18 local time.

With this release of Good Times, we’re finally allowing our international users the ability to use numbers, currency values, and date/time values in their local language format.  Good Times uses whatever “Regional Settings” is setup in Microsoft Windows.  Regional Settings (accessible via the Control Panel) is what tells Windows what language to use, and therefore, the formats applicable for dates, times, currencies, numbers, etc.

We currently are not modifying Good Times to display text in multiple languages.  And honestly, that’s not high on our list of priorities yet.  Race Timing Software everywhere seems to be doing just fine with English as the primary language for display purposes.  Print = Print, First Name = First Name, and so forth.  So please don’t expect to see anything except English in all of our windows, informational messages, help documentation, etc.  Of course, if I had a volunteer to assist… 🙂  (Hint, hint)

Please take a moment to visit and like us on Facebook.  And if you haven’t checked out our YouTube Channel, please do so now.  We have many how-to videos and helpful information to get you up and running on Good Times very quickly.  Have a great and healthy summer!

Happy Holidays!

Just taking a moment to wish all of my customers and other friends of Good Times Software Happy Holidays!

It’s hard to believe the new year is almost here.  This time of year is our major development cycle, with quite a few updates in the works already.  We just released Good Times Version 4.3, which for the most part was just minor release with no big changes to write home about.

Version 4.4, however, will hopefully have significant changes to write home about — even if your home is in Portugal, Indonesia, Chile, or other parts of the world.  Yes, readers, that’s a big fat hint!  Who says race timing software can’t be exciting?

Happy New Year!  Please like us on Facebook, and remember  you can watch training and how-to videos on our YouTube Channel.

Where did summer go?

Sorry for the lengthy delay, readers!

Summer has seemed to slip by, which means that race timing software companies everywhere will be getting back into their heavy development cycles.  They never cease, of course, but after a busy summer customer enhancement requests tend to fill up the docket of new work to be completed.  So, that’s what I’ll be doing!

It was a good summer with many new races and customers, all working together to pull off some terrific event for runners.  My only bad experience was one race with terrible weather, and I was actually performing the timing.  Lesson learned: never setup your race tent in low lying areas.  Here in Montana, we call that: A River Runs Through It.

My hope is to get back into writing more soon.

Good Times Version 4.2 Released!

Good Times Version 4.2 has been released!

That’s great news for race timers who desire to use the MYLAPS Sports Timing interface.  With the addition of support for MYLAPS equipment, Good Times provides even more flexibility.

We already support the IPICO Sports chip timing system, and the way Good Times works with the MYLAPS equipment is very similar.  In fact, any of our customers who use the IPICO Sports interface will be comfortable getting the MYLAPS interface up and running.  The basic idea is this:

  1. Setup MYLAPS Exporter Files in System Preferences
  2. Configure your event  to use the MYLAPS chip timing interface
  3. Specify any processing rules (e.g. Import Ranges) for each Exporter File deployed at your various timing locations (Starting Line, Finish Line, Split Location, etc.)
  4. Time your event!

Good Times will automatically poll the MYLAPS Exporter Files in the same way it polls the IPICO Sports Elite Readers.  (Technically speaking, it’s not the same way, it’s quite different actually.  But to a user of our software, the behavior and utilization of the Time Entry window is essentially the same.)

Race timers, go have yourself some MYLAPS Sports Timing fun with Good Times!  Visit our YouTube Channel for more information, and like us on Good Times Software on Facebook, please.  Happy Timing!

Chip Timing: MYLAPS Sports Timing

Well this is exciting news!

Good Times v4.2 is in public beta, and proudly supports the MYLAPS bib tag system.  For quite some time we’ve only supported IPICO Sports RFID / Chip timing within Good Times; adding support for the MYLAPS Sports system gives our race timer customers even greater flexibility and choice.

For now, we’re only supporting the MYLAPS exporter files.  At some point I fully expect to support real-time (TCP/IP) connectivity to the MYLAPS Decoders and Toolkit software, and perhaps even support the use of Microsoft SQL Server-based exporter data.

Because we like to keep things simple to use in Good Times, setting up MYLAPS as the chip timing system for an event is extremely similar to setting up an event to use IPICO Sports.  Check out our YouTube channel for videos on how to use IPICO, and soon we’ll have videos showing how to use MYLAPS.  But the concept is the same: Setup the MYLAPS exporter files in System Preferences first.  Then, setup your event to use MYLAPS and select the appropriate exporter file for the timing purpose (starting line, finish line, split location, etc.)  Add any rules Good Times should use when processing the exporter file (like import ranges) and that’s it!  Then, when it’s time to time the race, Good Times will pull data from the appropriate exporter files and process results.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Also, please take a look at our YouTube Channel and our Facebook page.  Gotta love those likes!

Race Timing Software Update

Readers, my apologies for not writing more often!  Race Timing Software doesn’t interest everyone, nor does timing races, running races, or even watching races for that matter.  But these things do interest a large audience, and me not posting for so long is unacceptable!

Spring is well underway and that means helping customers get ready for their events and even timing numerous events myself.  In the next two months, I have one computerized select timing event to time, and four chip-timed races.  Almost each race will involve a packet pickup time the day before, very early mornings, timing area setup, and of course, FUN!

What good is all of this if it isn’t FUN?  Good Times Software is easy enough to lighten the burden on race timers.  And that makes me a “fun enabler!”  Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee fun, but I can sure hope you experience as much of it as I will.

Good Times Software version 4.1 is nearing completion, and is going to introduce integration capabilities with RunSignUp.  RunSignUp does a terrific job at hosting online event registration.  In fact, they’re my current favorite and proud winners of my “two thumbs up.”  Please make sure you take some time to visit their site, and consider them for your next event: RunSignUp.com.

Initial integration capability is focused upon the downloading of Participant data.  Registered participants at RunSignUp can be imported into Good Times using the Good Times Import and Export Wizard.  Good Times users will have the option to download Participants and either:

  1. Replace all participants in Good Times with participants from RunSignUp
  2. Add new participants from RunSignUp without modifying existing participants in Good Times
  3. Add new participants from RunSignUp as well as updating existing participants in Good Times
  4. Just update existing participants in Good Times without adding new participants from RunSignUp

It’s flexible, powerful, and like everything else in Good Times: easy.  I’ll be releasing a video on our YouTube channel when we get closer to general release.  In the meantime, please visit us on Facebook and give us a “like”; I’d really appreciate that!

Ready, Set, Go: Timing a race starts with planning!

Readers, I’ve been charged, tried, and convicted of being a planner.  But when timing a race, I’ve seen success skyrocket as a result of being a planner.  Go figure!

I’ve seen my fair share of races where a good strategy for registration and timing takes a back seat to nearly everything else.  Think about it: how good is the registration process online, and in person?  How smoothly run is the bib or packet pick-up?  How often do you see lines of people waiting for no reason other than a poorly designed flow through registration and T-shirt selection?  And what about races which fail to post result times as runners cross the finish line, or even on the same day for that matter?  And are times always accurate, or are they “slightly” off?

Let’s face it, all of these things deserve careful forethought and planning.  Participants often judge a race not by just how well they ran it, but by how well the organizers managed the event.  And I haven’t found any sponsors yet who are terribly pleased with doling out cash to an event that is simply, well, poorly executed.

Wow, this post seems like such a downer–my apologies!  I wish I could say Good Times Software is here to rescue every event planner, organizer, and timing staffer from the misfortunes of poorly planned events.  But alas, we’re simply a piece of the puzzle.  But I think we rock in the areas we focus upon!  Yes, I’m biased, but my customers have great things to say and that makes me proud.

I’d like to share an online webinar with each of you.  In fact, I’ll not only show you Good Times and how it can help with your registration and timing woes, but I’ll give you my best practices recommendations for any part of your event… we’re here to help!

If you haven’t checked out our YouTube Channel, please take a look.  It has numerous How-To videos.  Also, I’d appreciate a like on Facebook from you and your friends.  I promise to like you back!  Have a great rest of your winter (it’s quickly fading!)

Here we go again! Race Timing Software’s busy season

It’s February 9th, and the busy season is upon us.  Yes, it certainly does seem early but this is the time of year when event directors, planners, and timers begin their biggest tasks of organizing a fun and busy summer full of races.  For race timing software providers like Good Times Software, that means we’re busy: making sure our customers are updated, trained, prepped, and ready to go.

It also means we take time to put finishing touches on any significant updates and software releases deemed essential to our customers.  I’m proud to announce that since Good Times Version 4.0 was released a few weeks ago, we’ve had nothing but positive feedback.  We’re still cranking away on a few items in demand and will hopefully have them out over the next couple of months.  And as always, that makes me extra excited—it’s good to see the registration and timing software that is Good Times evolve and continue to get better and better.

Also coming up is our Winter 2015 promotion.  Details are forthcoming, but if last year’s Winter promotion was any indicator I’m hoping to make an even better impact for prospective customers this year.

Please take a moment to “like” us on Facebook, and make sure you visit some of our how-to videos on our YouTube Channel.  These videos are great ways to see first-hand how Good Times works.  But they aren’t as great as participating in one of our live webinars.  Contact Us, and tell us you’d like to do that—we’ll get you registered right away!  Thanks for reading.

New Version(s) Released

Good Times Software is pleased to announce the general release of Good Times version 4.0.  Version 4.0 offers a substantial number of product enhancements and features to make registration and timing more powerful and easier than ever before!

As mentioned in a previous post, we’ve also made available a “scaled down” version of the product suitable for smaller events where Computerized Select Timing is sufficient and RFID / Chip Timing is unnecessary.  In reality, it’s not scaled down that much; RFID / Chip Timing is disabled, along with the ability to use the Custom Output Designer.  And we’re offering it at a very reduced rate.  Please visit our Buy Now page for more information.

Many of the new features in version 4.0 are applicable to chip-timed events only.  The biggest of these is the support for chip-timed Split Locations.  For larger races, participants expect their split times!  And it’s not unusual to see a few split locations.  Good Times allows timing staff to easily define split locations (location, distance, type of split — either cumulative or segmented) and then setup timing equipment at each location.  When timing the race, Good Times will pull in times from those split locations just like it does for the starting line and finish line.

Another major enhancement that all our customers will appreciate is a completely overhauled Import and Export Wizard.  We no longer require import files to conform to the Good Times Standard .TXT format.  With Good Times version 4.0, custom files can be imported.  Users will enjoy a snazzy interface that loads up a sample of their input file, and allows them the ability to tell Good Times which fields are which (e.g., First Name is in column 3, Date-of-Birth is in column 10, etc.)

We’ve also added 146 more countries for international addresses, made some enhancements to how we support IPICO Sports’ Elite Readers, fixed a few bugs, and optimized other boring things that most of you probably wouldn’t find the least bit interesting!  Our customers received detailed Release Notes fully documenting all of the changes.  Would you like a copy of those Release Notes?  Then become a customer now!

Please like us on Facebook, and check out our YouTube Channel for how-to videos.  And if you have any questions, give us a call at (877) 244-5484 or use our website to Contact Us.