May You Live in Interesting Times, Part 3

The Foucault pendulum in the lobby of the Oregon Convention Center.

The Foucault pendulum in the lobby of the Oregon Convention Center is one of the prettiest I've ever seen, but I never did figure out how the disks reset through the day.

Saturday turned out to be just as interesting as Friday was.

We began to be more comfortable with the new look of all the paper we were working with. FT is flexible about how you can print everything—we can have pods and/or quadrants and/or page numbers and/or table brackets and/or a unique bout ID number with or without an accompanying barcode on the DE bout slips. We experimented a bit with the placement of all these items to get the most helpful combination, so that everyone could use whichever bit worked best for them.

XSeed’s unique identifier is the fencer number, derived from the alphabetical list of everyone entered in the entire tournament. It took most of a day for those of us working the table side to quit having to slap our hands to stop our automatic search back up the tableau to find that fencer number we no longer needed to worry about, and a bit longer not to feel like we were forgetting something by writing only the fencer’s name on the slip.

We discovered one advantage to FT’s use of the unique bout ID when someone inadvertently handed a stack of bout slips to the wrong computer operator, who didn’t notice that they weren’t for her event before she entered them. She scanned the barcodes, which pulled up the proper bouts in the proper event, and they were all entered properly into the correct event without her having to switch from the event she’d been working in. We just have to be careful that the bout slips all end up in the correct physical folders.

Another cool thing is that FT lets you print whatever range of the tableau you want. So if we’re stopping at the 16 to move to the replay pod, we can print the tableau only up to that point, and then print out a new one from the 16. This will be handy for SN—when BC table space is at a premium, we can switch to smaller tableaux as events fence down from their original four or eight pages.

During the turn of the Division I Men’s Saber, we discovered a fairly serious bug in FencingTime (which was also a perfect illustration of why we prefer to post the pool results and the DE tableau separately). James Williams came to the BC table to complain that even though he’d won all his pool bouts, his win percentage showed on the round results as .83. It turned out that there had been a medical withdrawal from the pool before it was completed, which means that all of that fencer’s bouts are thrown out. FT did that, but when it calculated the pool results, it still figured it was a pool of 7 instead of 6. Not only was James’s win percentage wrong, but so was that of everyone in the pool except the poor guy with no wins. Dan and Joe figured out a workaround for the problem, so we could continue the event—there was only about half an hour’s delay dealing with it—and Dan added it to the ever-lengthening to-do list in his FT notebook.

The bug didn’t seem to do James any damage, though—he went on to take the gold medal. (We BC folk aren’t supposed to play favorites, but since James started fencing at the same club my daughters did, I can’t help but be pleased when he does so well.)

Late night, unfortunately. As is usually the case, the concession food we could get with our vouchers wasn’t nearly as good as what we’d had for lunch.

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