Elite Canada 2016

Elite Canada 2016

Elite Canada is going to be at Richmond Oval February 11-14, 2016. We are still in need for volunteers. You can sign up here. Operating the music or timer, even though a bit stressful, will give you a front row seat. It is simply point and click according to the rotation schedule, sorting is already done upfront with the use of digital music.

Some statistics for the upcoming event:

  • 493 music files (over 1GB. All competition music files have been received and will be checked over the next few days. If you are planning to perform at the gala, please submit your music digitally ASAP.)
  • 25 RG clubs
  • 6 provinces (BC,AB,SK.MB,ON,PQ)
  • 8 groups
  • 122 individuals of which there are 41 seniors, 62 juniors and 19 novices

Here are a few important links:

Why email is not a good transport for music?

Why email is not a good transport for music?

Digital music has been used at major competitions for more than two years already. Submission started with ‘sneaker net’ via USB sticks to being submitted exclusively via the internet. Most clubs now know about file share services like dropbox, google docs and OneBox. However, every now and then, there are still people trying to submit music via emails. Here are the reasons why music-via-email is not recommended:

  • Your message might cause your recipients’ mailbox to exceed the storage quota. It may cause your email to bounce back. Even worse, if the recipients’ mailboxes exceed the storage quota, he/she could be prevented from receiving any other emails – thereby your action can cause problems for many others.
  • Depending on your server configuration, your message might cause your own mailbox to exceed the storage quota. If messages you send is saved in the Sent folder, large attachments to other people counts against your mailbox size quota as well. When you exceed the storage quota, you could be blocked from sending/receiving additional messages.
  • When a file is attached to message, it has to be encoded. The encoding process causes attached files to become 1.37 times larger than they are on your computer. For example, if you send a 5 MB file attachment, the attachment is sent as 6.85 MB of data.
  • Receipients of the music files usually have to delete the emails immediately due to size. With fileshare services, folders are left intact. If we encounter problems (even as late as podium practice), the host can easily copy the file(s) again from the shared folder. This is an advantage to everyone involved.
  • Time-saver for both the sender and receiver – as oppose to simply doing a folder copy and then let the computer do all the work, you have to attach file(s) to each email and you have to make sure that it is not stuck in the ‘to be sent’ status. The receiver also need to detach the files one email at a time rather than deal with it one club at a time. It may not seem a lot of time but with close to 150 participants, each spending 30 seconds, this is easily more than an hour extra that can be spent on other tasks.

Advantages of file-share services:

  • Delivery is much faster – the sending and receiving ends are both optimized for sending bigger files. Furthermore, encoding is not required. So you will find that the synching process (upload/download) takes only fraction of the time.
  • File-share services can serve as an off-site backup or a repository for the club. Running a gymnastics club takes a lot of time and effort. To be able to share files across individuals with different roles avoids most versioning problems. Furthermore, the convenience to make files assessible via any device cannot be understated.
  • If you plan it properly, common resources can be shared across the club easily – for example, parents handbook, club letterhead, contact lists, videos, picture, club logo (I cannot even remember the number of times that a club came to me looking for ‘lost’ club logo).
  • If you ever sell your business or have a new partner, having established a shared club resource already setup can reduce a lot of headaches.

Do learn fileshare services for more than just music submission! Here are links to some tutorials:

Live-score general availability

Live-score general availability

When live-score (http://www.score2u.com) was first made available, it was done for the Montreal World Cup around 2010. Since then, it has been used in GCG major events from Regionals up to nationals. It even reached as far as Estonia for Miss Valentine in the last couple of years.

Live score module is an optional extension of the standard scoring. So there is very little extra to learn except for learning the configuration and test of the internet hookup on location required to interface with the remote host. A stable internet connection is mandatory to have a stress free event.

Yes, there is an extra cost of $50 to use this optional extension beyond your standard scoring license. This per event cost is needed to cover for support, configuration, hosting, bandwidth and data storage. To ensure that we don’t hit any performance snags, I will only allow one to two events maximum per weekend. GCG events take priority and then whoever book first.

Aside from getting scores fed live to parents and fans, there are the following benefits:

  • you can position a display monitor/TV whereever there is internet connection and not limited by cable length from the scoring computer. In some events in the US, I see that scores are re-entered into a powerpoint for display purpose and that means more risk of errors and more volunteers required.
  • you raise the profile of your event and you can also link to your event / club page from the scoring panel
  • coaches / parents / officials can access the scores anytime anywhere and not miss anything
  • more information is available realtime, for example, to-the-minute ranking

Some lessor known features of live-score:

  • It has a message component that allows you to say something like “Group routines will start 11AM PST” so that you can communicate to audiences local or remote.
  • If you are familiar with html, this message can point to a logo for the event with a welcome message before the event starts
  • If you have an event site (for example, at the 2014 Pacific Rim Championship, we used a horizontal iframe to ’embed’ the real time results of the event. With this feature, you can include standard headers and sponsors to results.

If you are interested, do contact me via this contact form or message me facebook. Thanks.

Best practices

Best practices

If you use just the basic scoring program without live scoring:

  • Do you know that the program has the ability to generate test scores for every level as well as to queue them for display? This feature is important especially when you are training volunteers to set up for finals (i.e. Comp A and B, Ontario’s qualifier 1 & 2 or Special O events where scores get carried over from qualifier to the main event).
  • At least one person within the scoring team needs to understand the reports (not just how to produce it but the meaning and significance of the scores). I usually call this the sanity check. Computers are great in speeding up things but when it make mistakes, it make BIG mistakes. I remember a few years back, when we first ran the program in Quebec at Elite Canada, a gross configuration/interpretation error at the program (i.e. 16,10 was interpreted as 16,100).
  • I saw some scorers still hiding unused columns one at a time, you can tailor to the view you like by using “View” options under “Special” tab. The options and button is highlighted in blue in the diagram on the right.
  • Do let the system randomize, assign athlete ID and create the rotation instead of manually trying to do your own. It is a huge time saver.
  • Do create a PDF of your athlete list and send it out for validation. It is easier for coaches to spot problems than just one person. Adding athletes during an event is a headache and creates a lot more work.

Live scoring gives you flexibility on where scores can be displayed (as long as there is internet connection) For example, one display facing the judges, another facing the audiences and then one display in the training hall.

If you use Live Scoring:

  • When we started, we only targeted score2u.com as an optional feature. As the internet technology matures, people start to expect it to be available as well as official without errors. It is very important to keep the scores current on the webserver. Use the AA results to do an audit at the end of the day.
  • Do wait for the score to show up on the browser before closing the local display window. This will make sure that ALL scores get to the webserver instead of trying to trouble shoot and scramble later.
  • If you are using live scoring, make sure you have a good stable internet connection. Sharing totally-open WIFI with the public (and potentially live streaming of video of the event) does not work well.
  • Live score display is getting more popular and with more eyes, problems get spotted almost right away, from spelling, level, missing athlete to calculation errors. Live score is an option you can purchase or top of your basic scoring license.
  • Do use the message feature of score2u.com. (As highlighted in green in the picture on the right)
  • If you correct a score, all you have to do is to re-queue AND re-display that specific score.
  • If you change anything about an athlete, do remember to “refresh the athlete list” on the webserver.
  • It is okay to test and train but do remember to update to cleanup afterwards. You also have the option to hide an event from the public as well.

Score2u at Miss Valentine

Score2u at Miss Valentine

Score2u is proud to be reporting score live at Miss Valentine in Estonia this weekend. For live video feed, go to Miss Valentine official site.

Miss Valetine is a huge pretiguous event that includes both AGG and RG, individuals and group. At this competition, AGG uses its own scoring system. So score2u is only used for RG. RG has the FIG international competition where countries send some of their best as well as an open invitational category where aspiring high-level gymnasts are competing for the experience. Only FIG Individuals and group have finals – “max 2 per country” for individuals and “max 1 per country” for groups. Host country (in this case Estonia) has a spot guaranteed at the finals.

Because of the size of the different projectors, besides the option you are used to in Canadian events, we added more flexibility to the displaypad on the website – really large fonts with just the score and rank without any breakdowns. This is set at an individual client level and so you can set it based on a specific monitor. So if one monitor or TV is too small for the distance from the audience, you can set that monitor to use a MUCH bigger font using the dropdown on the top right corner.

Adding athletes midway through the competition is always a challenge and you need to be very careful so that you don’t loose anything. There is a step-by-step guide you can follow in the user guide.

Text messaging, FB messaging makes support so much easier. So despite the physical distance, we are closer than you can ever imagine. Thanks to Daniel Brum for being the brave soul to be onsite!