Monthly Archives: October 2014

Whooo Hoooo!

Readers of America, Event Directors from all around the world, and anyone else interested in the best registration and timing software in the universe (that would be Good Times, btw):

Our software engineer team just informed me that Good Times has just processed its first split time record in a chip-timed event.  It’s in a very early, early, early alpha-stage.  But that’s great news!

Happy Halloween (almost anyway.)  Good Times Software on Facebook, Good Times Software on YouTube.

Splits can be painful!

Chewbacca doing the splits.

Chewbacca doing the splits.

Seriously, readers, if I were to do the splits you’d have to bend my legs manually and force them into position l like poor Chewbacca in the picture above.  (Star Wars did not grant me permission to use Chewbacca in my post.)  Besides the pain, I just might be permanently contorted if I were somehow able to get into the splits.  I’m pretty flexible, too, moreso than the average person I believe.  But not down there in those nether regions.

My customers often laud Good Times Software for being flexible, too, in addition to easy to use.  But we’ve known for far too long that Good Times needs to be able to do the splits (the other kind of splits, not what Chewbacca is doing!)  And it just hasn’t been up to the task.  Well that’s about to change!  Our next major release will provide the ability to time splits for RFID (chip) timed events.

It would be great if splits were easy to handle in software, but frankly it’s going to be a bit of a pain.  The concept is straightforward enough: allow for an unlimited number of timing spots along the course of an event to be treated as a “split” time.  Each split will need to be defined (is it a 1 mile split, a 5 mile split, etc.) and then printed on results reports, personalized results stickers from the kiosk, etc.  But in practice it’s hard to accommodate for some of the complexities.  For example, what if the split is “shared” along a loop-style course?  In other words, the first time a participant crosses the split treat it as a 1 mile split, but the second time they cross it treat it as a 5 mile split.  Or what if (heaven forbid) a participants drops their iPhone, crosses the split location, goes back to pick up their iPhone, and crosses it again?  Ahhhhhh… the challenges of writing software to accommodate for the unpredictable!

So stay tuned, readers, and I’ll make sure and post again with an update on our progress.   This is a must-have type of capability especially for supporting the larger and more professional running events.

In the meantime, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, and of course our Website!

Advanced Race Timing Tool for IPICO Sports Integration

With the release of Good Times Software version 3.7.2 comes a new analysis tool to help race timers using the IPICO Sports chip timing system efficiently analyze the underlying raw data generated on Elite Readers.

This is an advanced feature, and will be confusing for anyone who is unfamiliar with the IPICO Sports Elite Reader file format.  For the sake of this blog post, I’ll simplify: the IPICO Sports Elite Readers generate a “First Seen” date/time stamp and a “Last Seen” data/time stamp each time any race participant approaches and then departs a timing mat.  It’s these date/time stamps that are crucial in calculating a participants time.   For example, at the start of the race a participant may approach the starting line, standing on a mat, and then leave the starting line when the gun fires.  In this case, the “First Seen” data is thrown away — it’s unimportant.  But the “Last Seen” data is very important, as timing software will use that date/time stamp when calculating the participants finish time.  Then, when the participant approaches and crosses the finish line, another set of “First Seen” and “Last Seen” data is generated.  In this case, the “Last Seen” data is thrown away — it’s unimportant.  But the “First Seen” data is very important, as timing software will use that data/time stamp to compare against the participants starting time as it calculates a chip finish time.  Hope that makes sense!

Working with all of this data can be complicated, no doubt.  But the Analysis Tool in Good Times Software version 3.7.2 allows you to cut through much of the complexity, and perform various calculations.  You can load up the entire contents of one or two Elite Reader files, filter by Chip ID, select rows to calculate time differences, etc.  When developing Good Times, we used to do this sort of analysis to validate our timing algorithms, but had to use external tools to load up the data, copy/paste into Microsoft Excel, write the formulas to do the calculations, etc.  It was a burden!  But burdens be gone!

Please like us on Facebook, check out our YouTube Channel, and visit our Website if you haven’t done so already.  Also, I’d be happy to include you on one of our upcoming webinars.  If you’re interested in that, just contact us and we’ll get you registered.