Monthly Archives: June 2014

Race Results Stickers

Stickers.  Yes, the joyful little things from childhood… in fact, I was just telling someone the other day that I think it was around the age of 10 that I stopped liking stickers.  Maybe that’s typical for people: you like stickers as a kid, and then they sort of lose their appeal.

But wait!

Within the last two months, I’ve seen no less than 3,000 fully grown and mature adults clammering around in huge lines to get stickers.  Yes, stickers!  Seems like all the craze up here in my neck of the woods is to get your own little sticker with personalized race results right after you cross the finish line and head over to the timing company’s results kiosk.

What is the big deal about the race results sticker?  I’m not quite sure I’ve figured it out yet, readers.  But I’ve jumped on the bandwagon, and soon we’ll be releasing another version of Good Times Software that supports a multi-computer Results Kiosk, complete with support of…  wait for it… stickers!

The idea is simple: runners finish their race, and walk over to the results kiosk.  They enter their bib number on the USB number keypad, and a sticker with their personalized results prints immediately before their very eyes.  The sticker has a logo (an option), plus all of the stats for the participant: gun or chip finish times, paces, current overall placement, etc.

One last thought… those 3,000+ adults asking for stickers at some of these races I’ve attended were extraordinarily environmentally friendly!  I didn’t see one sticker lying on the ground.  What was the destiny of said sticker then?  You be the judge: a refrigerator door?  the trash?

Thanks for reading.  Please visit our website at GoodTimesSoftware.com, or you can find us on Facebook, or even on YouTube.  Have a great day sticker-lovers of all ages!

Oh, the memories!

Readers, I’ve been out of the “Event Director” stage of my life for a few years now, and focusing on the software side and growing the Good Times business has been tremendously fun, challenging, and rewarding.  But yesterday I had a call where I was essentially being asked to be Event Director, and I must admit it was a refreshing change of pace!

There’s something exhilarating about working together with other people to take a heap of puzzle pieces and somehow put them all together just right and see a successful event happen right before your very eyes!  Sure, you have to deal with the headaches but the reward of a job well done makes them all worth it.

Even in the earliest of planning stages and asking questions about expected volume of participants, course layout, number of events, volunteer coordination, signage, backup plans, timing strategy, registration strategy—all of that is simply fun to discuss.  Well, it is to me at least!

Speaking of planning stages, where are you in the planning of your races for the rest of this year?  The end of June is quickly approaching, and late summer and fall race planning is hopefully in full swing for you.  This is a great time to consider Good Times software for your race registration and race timing needs.  Call us, and we’ll be happy to give a live webinar to show you the software and how easy it is to use.

You can also check us out on Facebook, or YouTube.

Have a great weekend!

Timing a Race and Avoiding Unnecessary Issues

Readers… While working in and around the race timing field for quite some time, I’ve come across numerous pitfalls that lead to inconveniences at best, and epic failures at worst.  Some I’ve shared with you in other posts.  But here are a few that some people simply don’t think of that are simple to avoid:

(And these apply mostly to the timing crew, but lessons can be learned for everyone!)

1. Screensavers

Have you ever been timing a race and at a critical moment in time you look down and find your screensaver running?  Many people password-protect those things, and even if you know the password sometimes the delay in unlocking the screen can cause issues.  Don’t use screensavers on timing computers!

2. “Sleep” Mode

I guess this is a similar issue to what you can encounter with Screensavers.  But some computers are set to go into “Sleep” mode after a certain amount of time idle.  Worse yet, I’ve seen some simply hibernate or shutdown!  You sure don’t want that to happen in the middle of a race.  Make sure you disable this sort of thing altogether.

3. Running Windows on a Mac

Well this isn’t inherently bad; I do it myself, and quite successfully I might add.  But when you’re running Windows in a “Virtual Machine” such as VMWare or Parallels, you have to remember that some things on the Mac may affect things on the Windows side… like the clock on Windows syncing up with the clock on the Mac.  Or the Mac “hot corners” that are still active even when you’re in your Windows session.  So pay attention to how your Virtual Machine software interacts with Windows.

4. Brightness

Automatically adjusting brightness is a nice “feature” of modern operating systems.  But if you turn it off, make sure you know how to manually adjust the brightness of your display before you get out and start working a race in the sunshine!

5. Windows Update

Oh, this is my favorite.  I’ve been a victim of this one numerous times, fortunately not during a race though.  And I’ve taken measures to make sure it never happens again.  But with the Windows Update set to Automatic, it’s liable to start updating at any time.  Furthermore, even if you’re not actively updating software during a race (what a no-no!) maybe you did recently and upon a reboot you find yourself having to wait 15 minutes while Windows applies its updates.  You definitely do not what that happening as a race is about to begin.

 

Those are just a few things.  There are more–plenty more.  Just be careful, and think about how you have your computers configured.

Please check us out on Facebook, and visit our YouTube Channel for some great intro videos to Good Times, and plenty of How-To videos.  Call us at (877) 244-5484 and we’ll setup an appointment for a free product demonstration.

Timing Races: Multiple Races

Timing multiple races (the kinds that usually occur on the same day, at the same venue, with different start times, but ultimately are all part of the larger “event”) is one area where I consistently see timing software handle it in different ways.

One approach is to have all individual races wrapped up under a single event.  For example, consider an event, “Run With The Beatles” (guess readers know what I’m listening to right now) that actually has a kids 1-mile fun run, a timed 5k, 10k, and half-marathon.  With all of those separate races wrapped up into one “event,” software that approaches it this way will usually have separate Divisions for each race.

The approach we take with Good Times is a little cleaner.  Each individual race is what Good Times Software considers an “event.”  That’s right, each race has its own Event Profile (options, timing system, rules, age brackets, etc.) and actually maintains a separate set of participants for each of those events.

You see, with this cleaner approach also comes a much more intuitive way to use the software and produce results for your participants.  When information for multiple races is intertwined with each other and tied to a larger single “event,” managing all of the settings, rules, reports, participants, etc. can really become tricky.  And why?  The result ends up being the same!  If I can do something with the same or less effort, in a much more organized way, and produce the same results then I’m going to do it!

And that’s exactly what we’ve done with Good Times.  Not just with how we handle timing multiple races, but with everything we’ve built: the software has been built from the ground up to be intuitive and handle all of the complexities easily so you (the timer) do not have to worry about it.  After all, all we want you to worry about is impressing your event directors and participants with timely, accurate results and a successful event!

Please check out some of our YouTube videos, or better yet Contact Us for a free demonstration so you can see, I mean experience, firsthand how easy we’ve made it for you.

Ask Me For A Demonstration!

All… every time I do a demonstration of Good Times, it becomes more evident to me how much my prospects appreciate it.  Sure, screenshots and videos are valuable to get an overview, and even for reference down the road.  But a live product demonstration… priceless!

Let me prove it to you.  All you have to do is just ask me.  Visit our Contact Us page, or just call me at (877) 244-5484.  I’ll set it up, and you’ll walk away with not only a good product overview but the best possible details you can use to envision exactly how Good Times will meet your specific race needs.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Upcoming Features in Good Times Race Timing Software

Readers…before I get started, allow me to explain visually the recent delay in blog posts:

20140520_193335

Florida

There, that should do it.  Now you know why I haven’t posted for awhile!  It’s rough, having to travel to Florida and spend time on a beach.  Oh well, someone has to do it.

This will be a brief post, but I just wanted to share a couple of the things next on the slate for release within Good Times.  First, is the ability to support Teams.  When considering how to time a race, one must also consider how to score teams.  A few different basic team scoring rules exist, and then even a couple of those have different nuances.  Like most of our new updates, we’ll probably role this out iteratively supporting the basic functionality first and then more advanced functionality thereafter.  For now, you can anticipate that during registration (either by importing a batch file of pre-registered participants, or via manual race-day registration) you’ll be able to specify a team assignment for each participant.  That also implies that an Event Profile will need to provide a way to setup team names, and team scoring methodology for the event.  We’ll also deliver results reports with team information.

Another update is to the IPICO Sports chip timing interface.  We currently lack the ability to setup an unlimited number of splits.  Splits are important in timing a race, so we know we have to provide this.  Some of the larger races have numerous splits.  Splits can be complicated though, especially when split locations are shared more than once on the same track.  This can frequently be the case during track and cross country events that are setup in a loop configuration with runners crossing the same split at the one mile mark, two mile mark, etc.  The complexity lies in the fact that you can’t just pull a single chip time for a participant when they cross that split; you have to determine which of potentially multiple occurrences of a chip time you have for any given runner, and then correlate that to the proper split location.

So stay tuned, and as always you can expect more great things to come in Good Times!  Please visit us on Facebook, or see our YouTube Channel for many videos.