AutoDownload Release Notes
The main reason for this release is to fix a problem with downloading SI-Card 10 and 11 into AutoDownload if the course has more than 30 controls.
Maximum team size has been increased to 9. The style sheet (autodownload.css file) used for the html results is now only generated if the folder that the results are saved to does not contain a file with that name already. This will stop any customised style sheets being overwritten when results are generated. We’ve also fixed a few little things.
The main reason for this release is to fix the problem introduced with station firmware 580 and reading SI-Card 10 and 11 download data from printout/master stations into AutoDownload. We’ve also fixed a few little things and added more help based on your feedback.
In the main this is just to get all the little fixes we’ve done out there. Nothing major was wrong with the previous release but as always you should upgrade before your next event, after all your licence fee includes all updates.
One item worth knowing about is that the grids now remember their position when you go in and out of sub-views. So for example if you are looking at a list of entries and pick one toward the bottom of the list to go in to, when you come back out to the list it will refresh as before, but the scroll bar will remember its position. This request was actually made about five years ago, so thank you for your patience! It’s not that we’d forgotten, more that we were getting all the items in place for it to be possible.
You can now have controls with a bonus or penalty time on free order sections, and you can also have mandatory controls on score courses. If there are any more combinations you think we need here then just let us know.
A raft of improvements have also been added to the sub-stage reporting. Predominately this is for Gravity Enduro events, but can be used for any event where there are several stages within a single download. Also for Gravity Enduro users you now have your own event template.
Before you rush and get the new version, as there have been some changes to licensing and new licence keys will be required to work with the existing software. Visit http://www.sportident.co.uk/autodownload/replacementkey.php and have your existing licence key to hand. If you can’t get this to work for whatever reason then just let us know and we’ll send your key by email.
One to watch is when you first start-up the new version you will have your old licence key in (which is no longer valid), so when it is has finished the database conversion it may appear as if your old events have all gone missing. Fear not, when you put in the new licence code they will appear again.
Aside from the major work on the software, we have also (finally...) done some work on a user guide. Aside from maybe being the easiest way to get to know the new features, it covers best practices for troubleshooting etc. It’s worth a read even if you think you know the software as you may find out something you didn’t know. For example, you all know you can open as many instances of AutoDownload as you want don’t you? Or did you? It amazes us how many people don’t know this despite it being on the help on the opening screen. As always feel free to give us feedback on the guide, anything from typos to what else you want to know. You can get it here: http://www.sportident.co.uk/autodownload/information/AutoDownloadGuide.pdf
Now on to the software changes; the biggest change we have made is to Event Type. Event Type is now not saved into the Event, and has effectively become Event Template. You can now mix and match settings across any Event creating weird and wonderful combinations, only subject to the limitations of your licence. Other changes in this area include some re-labelling, for example when choosing Orienteering age classes e.g. M35 etc this is now referred to as “English Speaking Orienteering” rather than “BOF” which is more correct as M35 etc are used in Ireland, Australia and the US etc. Membership Type for orienteering is still “BOF” because this is correct for the UK, but please contact us if you want your membership type correctly labelled and validated.
You can now remember more than one set of database settings. If you have more than one set it won’t automatically pick it on start up, instead you will be prompted with a drop-down list to choose from. Obviously to start with you only have your one existing setting so on first use your will not see this, it will go straight in to that database.
At any point you open a database which needs updating in structure (patching) then you will now be prompted if you want to continue and you are reminded to be patient. With the event type restructure in this release this could be a bit slow if you have a lot of events. The reason you are prompted is you may be trying to keep a certain database compatible with older software for any reason; to be honest this is more a feature for us to help support you so we can keep certain databases compatible with live software at the same time as we develop further.
On a related theme, the startup splash panel is gone. The main reason this was added was because many database patches running made it appear that AutoDownload wasn’t starting up. Now because it may not even open a database on first load and because you are prompted on patching anyway this isn’t really needed. Instead you will see AutoDownload start-up in a slightly ghost-like way until gradually everything is in place.
We’ve added a new feature to the Event and Multi-Stage home pages, which actually if you do everything correctly you may never see. If you make a mistake setting up an event it is designed to show you in red on these screens what you have done wrong. A simple example is if you have added a score course but you haven’t added any lateness penalties to it. Please let us know if you have any ideas for “gotchas” which we can add to our checks.
Another major change you will immediately notice is some UI improvements:
- “Back” is now “Up”, this is more strictly correct as it didn’t go back to the previous screen, but more up a level in the menu. Also Event Home now added when below event home which effectively clicks up multiple times until it gets to the event home page.
- A toolbar is now available top right with various common buttons e.g save, delete etc always there. In the “User Interface Options” you can choose whether you want labels or not on here.
- The left hand panel now only contains navigation items. Items on here that were not navigation items have either moved to the toolbar e.g. Delete or as a button into the main panel e.g. Recalc event. This may take some getting used to but we think it’s better once you do.
- The Help panel has now been removed from the bottom of the screen and instead a floating popup panel comes up which can be resized etc. We have also revamped much of the help contents. You launch the help panel from the toolbar.
- You can now make any screen “Full Screen” from the toolbar which hides the navigation menu and the title bar, just leaving the toolbar and the main content. However this is never automatic – so for live results etc you need to select this manually. Once you are Full Screen as there is no title bar to move the window a little drag icon appears top left to allow you to move it.
- Advanced navigation menus changed so that clicking advanced doesn’t effectively take you to a sub view which you have to come back from. It now toggles between advanced and basic options, it should be intuitive.
- Add/Modify Event and Multi-Stage are now wizards to cope with the myriad of options and these have back and forward buttons hence the need to distinguish from previous back button. You can press save at any point during the wizard which (if valid) will save and take you out without having to visit every page. As a general rule the pages increase in complexity as you progress through the wizard so the most common options are on the first page.
- Many buttons now have keyboard shortcut associated with it which can be seen by hovering over with the mouse. These are turned on in the “User Interface Options”. The same button will always have the same shortcut key so where you see e.g. the save image it will always be Ctrl+S. The previous enter key shortcut has been removed, this could have been ambiguous as to what it would do and led to some not ideal situations for example on List Entries you had to have the search button being a “Big Button” so it would take the enter key in preference to clear criteria. From our experience losing this enter key will be annoying for the first couple of uses, as you are used to using it, but actually once you get used to the new shortcut keys they are much better.
- Printer selection has been changed from the standard Windows panel, of which some of the options were ignored anyway, into our own custom panel. This means any print job can now be sent to a Windows printer, a serial printer or saved to a PDF file, and you can choose familiar options such as Large Fonts or Narrow format for any print job, however please bear with us while we continue this work as not all print jobs look any different if Large or Narrow are selected, we will work away at this as we go forward. You will note from this new panel that we have the GeBe serial printer now working with AutoDownload, but use the recommended “Drip Feed” option. Please let us know if you still have trouble with this.
The Edit Splits screen has had a major facelift, as has the way credits are dealt with which will affect free order sections especially e.g. score courses. Any inserted credit will stay between the two downloaded punches it is put between. So for any free order control if you need to put the control in a specific order (maybe you need to do this to make the punch valid for certain courses) then you can “Insert Below”. To help with this unvisited controls appear at the end of any section in which they are valid, for example any missed free-order controls in a Linear with free order course will appear at the end of the relevant section rather than at the end of the course where they may not be valid. There’s a lot more on this in the user guide.
Splits print now observes “Narrow” print, or more accurately now supports wide (i.e. when narrow is unticked) for use on A4/A5. You should find your existing selected splits printer has been converted to narrow automatically, but bear in mind when setting up any new computers that you must select narrow if you are using a till-roll style printer for splits printing. If you want to use A4/A5 printing it is designed for A5 landscape, but could be used A4 portrait where it will leave the bottom half of the page unused – you could pre-print some club/organisation advertising here.
Imports of entries now don’t automatically create any missing courses or classes. The idea always was that it would do this so you could import these first, then import or type in the course details to update. However, we have had a number of support requests where people have set something up in the courses/classes which is different to what the planner and/or entries secretary had in mind and this functionality has just confused them. So now it will be reported as an error if the course on any entry in the file doesn’t exist. The only time now a course is automatically created outside a course import is when importing relay gaffles. If you have any thoughts on this please let us know.
When adding an entry the various buttons to search the SI-Card Archive by card number, or membership number etc have been replaced by a simple search button (with standard shortcut key). This should intuitively get any missing details from the archive that it can and can be used to back-fill missing membership numbers etc. There is also a new screen under Entries/Advanced to help back-fill missing membership numbers by listing those who are missing them.
Previously there were four event restore screens if you had a multi-stage licence, one each for single event and multi-stage of both new style and old IOF style. This has now been replaced by a single screen which auto-detects which backup file you have. This also applies to restoring a single event into a multi-stage now there is one option not two. You can also now backup and restore the courses in the new style, as well as backup this can be used to copy course data between events.
There is now a choice of “Disqualify Reason Model”, the two initial options are “Orienteering” and “DNF Only”. These effectively existed before but tied in to event type which of course is now exposed to all. Orienteering model should be obvious, but you would use “DNF Only” for a Cyclosportive for example where cyclists don’t want to be bothered with m1, m2 etc, these just all get reported as dnf. The orienteering model has also been much improved, - you can now have reported wrong controls e.g. w7, missed sequences e.g. m4-8 and retired (“rtd”).
There has been a subtle change to the way the Event maximum duration and earliest punch works. Any safety data punch outside of the event “punch window” will now be reported as 00:00:00 which effectively is pre-event e.g. registration punch the day before. For orienteers seeing any punches at this time almost certainly means you’ve got your earliest punch time wrong. To help with this we have added a new orienteering evening event template, generally we have found evening/night events are when the earliest punch time is not set-up correctly. Related to this for those who put on >24hr single stage events the “Week” long event has now been changed to just “6 days” and there is a new “3 days” option; these are all about getting any registration punches set correctly as 00:00:00. If you put on these sorts of events and want more details please contact us.
If you run events with pairs or larger teams (all with SI-Cards) then there is a big change to download – the whole team does not have to be present at download all at the same time, you can now download each member individually. You will also find the entry view has changed to make it easier to add and remove members of the team.
The “Mark as Downloaded” option has been renamed to “Lost Card” because that’s really what it was used for. It and “Remove Download” have also now moved in together under the raw data screen which is retitled “View Downloads”. This is necessary because of the teams download change above as you need to be able to do these functions for a partially downloaded team.
The course checking types of “Linear with Butterfly” and “Linear with Figure of 8” have both been merged into “Linear” – a simple linear course is effectively a course with only one variation. You now specify all variations explicitly which means you can have any type and combination of variation types such as one man relay or combinations of multiple variation types e.g. a butterfly first then a figure of 8 later. Old events should be converted correctly, and for new events you can either import from course planning software (using IOF XML), type in by hand, or if you have a simple butterfly or figure of 8 which would’ve worked under the old model we have provided buttons to create these variations automatically using the existing logic. You can now also have variations on the linear sections of a “Linear with free order sections” course.
We’ve had a hidden feature for a number of years which we have used ourselves for large orienteering events called “View Restriction”. It is designed to protect users from themselves, so that somebody working on e.g. enquiries can only get into the screens they need to. We’ve now made this public – see “User Interface Options”. To turn it off and allow everything just select the blank row from the drop-down list. This applies to the computer/user account it is set on not the entire database.
For our friends north of the border we’ve added a new category type of “Scottish Schools” and renamed the existing model to “English and Welsh Schools”. As it’s a long time since any of us went to school we need feedback on these. So is it right Welsh schools have the same model as England? What about Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and anybody else? We also have a model called “BOF Schools Hybrid” – which allows English/Welsh School years and English Speaking Orienteering (M35) – would something similar be useful outside England and Wales? Or should all schools orienteering support conventional orienteering age classes for adults? Does anybody use the schools category outside of orienteering?
If you have a commentary licence, then note that there is more handling for start punches which should be seamless apart from the fact that start control numbers are now important and you should make sure start controls all have the same number (which is a different number to any control or finish or clear/check) and this number is set-up in the Control Master. We are now recommending all Control Masters have codes when using commentary, and when you have not done this a warning is put out on the Event home page.
Deleted punch colour has been changed to grey from red. Now red colours are wholly reserved for problems, whereas of course deleted punches are usually solved problems! Grey is usual for a disabled item in Windows.
One of the changes to the structures adds country code to the card archive so you should reload the whole archive for best behaviour.
In a previous release old score courses may have lost their points on conversion, please accept our apologies for this. The offending bug has been fixed so any old database that hasn’t yet been past this point will now be converted correctly, but sadly any points lost cannot now be recovered automatically.
Please have a good look at the new software before you use it for a real event, so you are familiar with some of the functions that have been moved, and double check the way you do things is still possible on the new models. Any feedback you have is gratefully received.
One more thing you can do now is to automatically obtain demo licences for more advanced features of the software online, via the normal demo licence screen. So if you were thinking about having a relay or using the commentary features etc then please help yourself. Just remember to keep your main licence key to one side to put it back in afterwards.
The main change is a fix for British orienteers for the Yvette Baker Trophy, for scoring of second and subsequent teams within a club. There are also a number of other minor bug fixes.
The only significant change is that you can now add bonus points for clearing a score course within the time limit.
There are also a number of minor bug fixes, including:
- Dropped “st”, “nd”, “rd” and “th” from position when printing results on narrow format.
- Changed delimiter between race and bib number on CSV import/export to underscore from colon to stop Excel getting confused. However import still accepts colon for backwards compatibility.
- New “Simple” Commentary view added which doesn’t attempt to work out elapsed time or position – useful for simply seeing who is coming next through a spectator control.
We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all that upgrading to new versions is included in your annual (or 5 year) fee, and that if you keep up to date then it helps us to help you. We did have a few problems with the last release with database patching from older versions which we didn’t find out until some of you reported them. While we do intend that the patches do work from older versions obviously we can’t test against all older versions from the last 6 years so please do upgrade to this release soon and check it starts up ok.
The release is primarily a bug fix and improvement release. To the casual observer there is not much that has changed, but it is very much worth upgrading to get all the improvements.
An important thing to mention is we are now de-cluttering a few of the menus by moving some features to an “Advanced” sub-menu. So if you are looking for a feature you knew was there before and there is an “Advanced” menu that’s probably where it is. As the name suggests these tend to be the more unusual features.
There have been a few bugs with leg times being reported incorrectly on splits when there are optional/extra/missing controls and also there was a bug with two or more excluded legs in a row where a control in the middle was not punched. There were also some difficulties with some of the exports e.g. OE compatible with excluded/optional/credited controls. We think we’ve corrected all of these now, please let us know if you think otherwise.
One new feature worth pointing out is that you can now read a download master station or printer station as a slaved station. This is useful if you want to read a printer station and you don’t have the appropriate cables, but you do have a connected download station. We would however always recommend reading such a station directly connected where possible as the performance and reliability is considerably higher.
If you have a multi-stage licence and you have multi-stage events which are a bit more complicated than combining the same course or class on every stage then there are some new options in the multi-stage class configuration. For orienteers there is a new sample file for combining a first stage of age classes with a second stage of colour coded courses (in the AutoDownload program files folder as before). If you use an old file for an upcoming event you may find it doesn’t do what you want any longer. Contact us if you need help with your event.
For a bit of fun you might want to look at the new “Single Leg Times” report under the “Results” “Advanced” menu. Its original purpose was to produce transition times for adventure races, triathlons etc, but it was used at the Scottish 6 day orienteering to produce the results for the all important run-in time competition.
If you run team based score events (i.e more than one SI-Card per competitive unit) then you will find more options for allocating points if you turn team punch combination to “Lazy”. This is the start of more development on team based punching options. This is quite specialised so I won’t bore the majority of our audience – contact us if you want more information.
The other main thing you will notice is that the installer has more than doubled in size. We’ve added a lot more debug information into the released version to help with any problems in future. We hope you agree with us that the extra file size is worth it for this information.
We’ve been busy over our quiet time in winter (and spring!) developing and testing new features. Some may not be instantly obvious to the eye - much of the work is behind the scenes adding performance and robustness. As always with a release this time of year it is wise to have a look before your event, and check you understand our changes and give you time to ask us about anything you don’t understand or perhaps doesn’t work as you would hope.
The first thing to note is that the database upgrade may take quite a while on first load so please be very patient. In particular if you have any relay events in your database then these will take some time.
The biggest change is that the backup and restore of events is now via a new mechanism. Previously we used a slightly extended version of the IOF XML schema for orienteering, but we found as we expanded the functionality that the extensions had become anything but slight, and that as we support more sports that some of the orienteering model wasn’t perfect. We still very much support the IOF XML standard, and indeed this change will allow us to refocus this part of the software to do exactly that, rather than mutating it for purposes it was not designed for.
We will continue to allow old backups in IOF XML to be restored, but you now cannot backup using this format. So on the menu on the opening screen you will now find a slightly bewildering four import/restore options – old and new for both Single and Multi-Stage (if you do not have a multi-stage licence you will only see the two). The old ones have now got “(Old style)” in their names so you can see. The new ones are referred as “Restore” rather than “Import” – there is a technical difference which we won’t bore you too much with, but what you will notice is if you try and restore an event which is already in the database it will tell you and ask if you want to restore as a copy. If you try and use the incorrect restore option for the type of file you have it will hopefully detect this and prompt you as to what you have done.
The copy event has changed to remove the options on what to copy, this may seem a retrograde step, but the options were related to the sections of IOF XML which of course are not present in the new way of restoring a copy. However we have added new functions to remove all downloads and to blank all start times, which should allow you to get your copied event exactly how you want it.
The new backup and restore still use XML files, just different format, but they are automatically zipped and unzipped (we could’ve done this with the old files, it just never occurred to us before!), so you will see .zip extensions now instead of .xml.
As we now are planning to move away from exporting our own IOF XML extensions, effectively making all exports tick the “Strict IOF Format?” box, then we need to know if you are using any of our extensions in your own software – if so please let us know. We didn’t want to just take them away without asking.
Many other changes of which the following are the highlights:
Start and Finish controls now have their own entries in the Control Master list. This should only really affect you if you want to give your start names for the start lists (i.e. for more than one start location), or if you want to use a start or finish other than a start or finish SPORTident unit (e.g. a control code), or if you have commentary. For commentary you should set the finish code into the Control Master, and while you can have different codes (up to 5) it obviously makes sense to give all your finish units the same code. You can also add your clears and checks to the master list if you so wish.
On importing CSV entries via our own AutoDownload format you now have a set of options as to what to do with the file e.g. “Update Existing and Add Missing”. Previously it wasn’t clear what would happen if the entry already existed – see the help on this screen for more detail on the process.
For Orienteering events that are not class based (most) there is a new results printing option – “Course/Age Class” results. Previously there were options to print by Course, or by Age Class (which are worked out automatically by the list of Age Classes who had competed on each course). The new option combines both to save on paper – primarily it is course results but after the age class is the position in that Age Class on that course. The narrow version of the results printout (for till-roll style printers) has been tweaked to make space to print this column.
We’ve added a new option on the Entries screen, to limit the number of entries returned. This is primarily for use with the sort order of “Most Recent Download”, but actually we thought it made sense to always limit the number unless you really wanted to see all. This has now replaced the previous prompt when you carried out a search which returned a large number of entries.
On the Download screen there is a new option in the menu (on the left, not in the main list of download options) for “SI-Card Data Dump”. This is designed primarily for downloading SI-Cards used to wake-up SPORTident stations while checking control placement etc. It does not write any data to the database, merely dumps the contents of the SI-Card to the selected printer, it does however look-up any controls in the Control Master list and display details, so if you have a replacement code then this can verify the replacement has been entered correctly.
The SI-Card number is now validated so that invalid numbers are not allowed. Such numbers will be cleaned up as part of the database upgrade (unless downloaded, but how can they be unless you clicked Mark as Downloaded?...). This change shouldn’t really affect you, but just be aware of it when getting a list of entries from an online provider etc that some people may have mistyped their SI-Card number.
There is now an option when selecting the printer for splits print to choose a serial port. This is designed to work with the mini-printers that come with the SPORTident Printout station. It is always our aim to ensure that the equipment you purchase can be used as flexibly as possible and this is a significant improvement. These printers are suitable for the smaller events where printout speed isn’t so critical and the good news is that no change is necessary to the configuration of your mini-printer. AutoDownload assumes that the printers are configured at 4800 baud, the same speed required for use with the Printoutstation. HOWEVER, at the time of writing, the GeBe printer which most of you have, will not work with AutoDownload. Be assured that we will continue to work on this to find a solution. In the meantime, if you have a Seiko, Martel or Able printer, you can use this function.
We continue to recommend SQL Server 2005, as it is the version that requires the same version of Microsoft.NET as AutoDownload uses (2.0). The latest version of this is SQL Server 2005 SP4 – we always test on the latest versions so it would be wise to keep yours up to date. We simply use Microsoft Update to do this. If you prefer to run on a new version of SQL Server, we have now added support for these. We previously added support for SQL Server 2008, but with the latest version of this – SQL Server 2008 SP2, the install commands had changed so we have updated to support that. Also released is SQL Server 2008 R2 – this is very confusing as one would assume R2 and SP2 are the same thing, but they are not. SP2 is the latest version of 2008, but R2 is actually SQL Server 2010, but apparently there were not enough new things in it to give it a whole new year number. If you wish to use either of these later versions of SQL Server you will need to have previously installed .NET 4.0 and if on Windows XP you will probably need Windows Installer 4.5.
If you are using SQL Server 2000 then you will find that the previous update did not run correctly.
The most important change is that there is a fix for downloading the backup memory of a printout or master station. A small number of card 5s wouldn’t have read properly and would have disrupted records around them. I know some of you have been reporting missing records for a while now so firstly thank you for your patience and secondly please try the new version and tell us if you are still experiencing problems.
The most noticeable change is to some of the course checking. There are two new course checking types – linear with free order sections, and “figure of 8”. Hopefully the former is self explanatory, the latter has several names but is a variation on the butterfly loop principle where rather than a single central control the loops work with a start and end control with a feedback loop to get back to the start. If you are in any doubt as to what this is you probably don’t need to know!
We haven’t got to the bottom of some of these newer loop variations yet, for example we don’t yet allow two butterfly loops within each other, a combination of butterfly and figure of 8, or one man relay style loops. We have some ideas on how to address this but we want your extreme examples of what you want to achieve.
In the meantime, we have added a new screen when the course is one of the looped types to show you the permitted variations - this is primarily designed to show you AutoDownload has calculated the variations you expect before download occurs.
An upshot of the new course checking modes is that you will see that a control now has a control type, which was originally brought it to identify the difference between linear and free-order, but it has also mopped up whether a control is optional or mandatory for linear courses. So if you need to make a control optional for whatever reason this is subtly different now.
For those of you who have used the Multi-Stage start calculator we have made some changes to this, in particular to the schema. So if you have an existing configuration file it won’t work any longer – contact us for more help on this. The reason for the change is that there are a few new features which made us realise what we had before wasn’t quite the best structure.
Some of you who’ve been a user for a while may remember we used to have settings for what Splits Printer to use on the same screen as the database settings and this was then changed so it asked you every time you entered the download screen. We now has a hybrid of the two, you can change this at the top level via the new “Printer Settings” screen, but it will still do it through the download screen. The reason for doing this is so that you are not asked to pick a printer when printing splits manually from the entry screen, this seemed like a bit of a waste to be asked every time, but getting rid of this one needs a way to be able to change it without connecting a master station.
Also on the printer front, everywhere you select a printer without a specific AutoDownload setting for which one to use should now default to whatever your default Windows printer is.
There is a new sort on the List Entries screen by most recently downloaded – easy to find the person with the problem who has just downloaded.
For a multi-stage event there are some improvements to the splits printout and an option to print all previous days’ splits as well – designed for things like Mountain Marathons.
There is now a Live Results screen for Relays.
The safety check has had further speed improvements.
The two major items on the list for this release I know some of you have been waiting for a long time, so thanks for your patience.
The first item is a new mode of course checking – “Linear with Time Penalties”. If you mark a control as optional you can specify a penalty for missing it. You may want to use this for schools orienteering events rather than having mispunches as unclassified results. You can mix and match controls so you can still have mandatory controls i.e. if missed then no result and optional controls with no penalty.
The second item is there is a new screen available from the top level - “User Interface Options”. The first two options that are available are to turn on keyboard shortcuts and which side of the screen buttons should appear. AutoDownload has always been designed to be simple to use and to be as close to a very simple web page as possible. The simple theme involved not doing any “magic” keyboard strokes which the user didn’t understand, but of course web browsers do have some keyboard strokes, so there is a compromise to be had.
If there is a single active button on a screen the Return or Enter key will push it, be aware of this when for example saving a new entry the Enter key will save this without prompting – very fast to use but potential for being pushed in error. The other shortcut is Alt+Left Arrow will push the back button, this will also be activated by the appropriate button on a 5 button mouse if you have one.
The button alignment was always designed to be on the right to create physical and mental separation between the menu on the left and the active screen on the right. However some of you have said this involves too much mouse movement, if you are one of these you can now decide to align your buttons on the left.
The UI options are saved on a per computer, per user basis, so for example you might decide that the query computer on your download network will have keyboard shortcuts on but the basic download user will not.
Please feel free (as always) to give us feedback on these items, they are early days. We do plan on adding other ones such as font size.
A few other items of note:
A new option for deleting all courses is now available, and deleting an individual course is now done on the Modify Course screen for consistency.
Some work has been done on improving reliability on reading a master station or printer station, so if you have been using SiConfig for this please have another go and tell us if you think it is now reliable.
If you have a Multi-Day/Stage licence you will see it is now referred to as Multi-Stage throughout, rather than Multi-Day – even for orienteering we now regularly see these events are multiple stages per day rather than simply one a day.
There are also many other small fixes too numerous to list here.
Not so much of an essay this time around, but there are lots of little tweaks to improve performance and usability.
The most noticeable change you will see on any screen where you connect to SPORTident hardware. Previously we introduced a tick box to specify if you were still using BSM <= 6 i.e. the older style stations that require a magnet to switch on. We have now changed this to a drop down with the two choices in. This might seem strange, but we are just seeing the prototypes of new stations which have a subtly different command set – basically we are future-proofing ourselves by allowing more options for hardware type to be added to this list. Your previous selection in the tick box has been remembered into the new drop down so you shouldn’t have to pick this on your first use.
If your event has race numbers, now the top box on the search entries screen is race number. This makes sense as if you are using these you are most likely want to search by them. However it does take a bit of getting used to so apologies for that.
The safety check has had more improvements. The slaved station read is now further improved in reliability, we are very happy with this now. Also you can read a master station directly for more speed and reliability; if such a situation arises that you need to (it did for us...). Also if you have still have trouble reading a station from AutoDownload and want to use SiConfig, there is now an option to specify you are reading a control and to specify a number for it.
If you use the schools kit with the mass start key, then when you read the backup memory into AutoDownload it will now read the mass start time and offer to set it for you.
For BMBO users some more improvements have been made to membership checks. Hopefully these should be self-explanatory.
If you are using SQL Server 2000 (MSDE) then you will find that the previous update did not run correctly. There are also a couple of minor bug fixes so it is worth upgrading even if you are not using SQL Server 2000.
We’ve been busy again developing new items. Many of these only really apply to larger orienteering events as they have been developed to help our support of the JK Festival over Easter. We’ll concentrate on more general items first and then come on to these more specific items.
Firstly, apologies to any club affected by poor performance on download. This version addresses that issue. It wasn’t noticeable on our testing at the end of winter development, but on some slower servers on larger events looking up mis-punched controls (e.g. when trying to see which course was done automatically) was quite time consuming.
Reading of slaved stations for the safety check has had a bit of an overhaul and should now be more reliable.
On setting up a course you have always been able to specify a control code instead of a start or finish box, but now you can specify to use one, the other, or either. This is useful if you manage to program one of two boxes incorrectly!
The HTML export screen has changed from a myriad of tick-boxes to a drop-down of the various formats. We hope this makes things clearer.
For BMBO (formerly TCA) events, you can now import the new style membership archive (see help on screen for how), and you can perform a membership check to see if everybody’s membership is valid (for insurance purposes).
Safety check screens now include a course/class summary – very useful at a glance for seeing if all the little ones are back ok.
Hire card list print format has been improved.
A printed report of courses and controls is now included – useful for verifying input.
You have been able to exclude splits (e.g. road crossing) for quite some time, but new for this version is to be able to put a time limit on this. So if your limit is 60 seconds and somebody takes 66 seconds then they will have only the first 60 excluded – i.e. 6 seconds is added to their total for this leg. Note this is totally optional, for traditional no limit then just leave blank. Remember the total excluded is clearly shown on the HTML export to shame people into behaving.
For events that use race numbers you can now also specify a bib number which is different to the race number. This can be useful if you have a multi-day event where bib numbers change from day to day e.g. a chasing start. Race numbers have to be numeric, but bib numbers can also contain letters.
A new report for checking the check time against a timed start is included. You specify the number of minutes before the timed start the last check was performed and it reports anyone who either didn’t check, or checked before they should have. We always recommend the last check at -1 to be most accurate (i.e. detect if somebody has gone forward one box too many since call up). If you want to use this report check your start marshals are briefed not to let anyone check until the beeper goes for the prior minute otherwise they will appear in the report!
For Multi-Stage licence holders there is a new feature to allocate start times based on prior performance. There are three models to start with: Reverse order start, Chasing start and Qualifier/Final. If you want to set one of these up, then contact us for help.
Also new for Multi-Stage is the ability to have a custom mapping of courses/classes from stage to stage – again contact us for help if you want to do this.
A new start time preference of Manual has been added. This is ignored by the start time allocator so a time can be manually allocated. For now at least, the manual time must be allocated after the main allocation otherwise you may end up with duplicates (which will be thrown out)! This will be reviewed for future. This is relevant to the Multi-Stage start time calculation e.g. you may have a helper who doesn’t want to be in the reverse order start as it will clash with their duties.
The biggest change is to do with duplicate SI-Card numbers on entry. Previously if you had tried to save an entry for an SI-Card where another entry existed for that card you wouldn’t have been able to. Now you will be prompted if you want to save it anyway, blanking the other entry’s card number. In practice we found that generally if you are putting that entry on, then it is the other entry that is wrong.
We’ve started working on improving imports; you will see improved reporting at the end of each import in this version, but this is the start of a raft of improvements so watch this space. Also in this version the course data import has had some work done – OCAD, Condes and Purple Pen imports now import better into our new Control Master list, you may have noticed that control numbers appeared missing on the splits, actually the problem was with the import. There is also a new option “Ignore Class information in file?” – this is because often the planner doesn’t set up the classes in the way the download software needs them to be and you want to ignore them in advance rather than delete them afterwards.
Under Advanced when adding a new event you will now find a new option to “Validate start times are unique on each course?”. This was the default option before, but you may have need to turn it off, for example for chasing starts.
Live Results has had a minor facelift, it should be self-explanatory. A new option for class based events to “Only show course results?” has been added.
Unusually we also have to tell you about two screens which have been removed. In the SI-Card Archive the “Import BOF Archive” has gone, you should import the BOF archive in the AutoDownload format now. Also “BOF Ranking Format” is now not relevant – the new BOF Ranking system needs the file from “Export OE Splits”.
This version includes a couple of minor bug fixes and a couple of improvements.
The biggest change is a new download mode for Master/Print stations and SiConfig – i.e. not available for direct card downloads. This new mode is called “Automatic, Non-Stop”. It differs from other Automatic modes in that if it comes across an error e.g. unknown name, it makes a default choice. This makes it ideal for downloading from Print stations when there is only one course. Note that if you use it for an event with more than one course then if it cannot determine the course it will go ahead and pick one anyway, so be aware and review your unclassified list to see if a more appropriate course can be determined by eye.
You will notice when you add or modify event the Start Time Precedences have had their text changed. The drop-down now includes what the actual precedence is as well as the name for it, so for example the previous version listed “Lazy Timed Start (punching start takes precedence if present)”, which now reads “Lazy Timed Start: Punching, Allocated”. Hopefully this is now self-documenting as to how a start time is determined.
The new archive on our website is now live, so login as before and you will get an option to download the all-in-one AutoDownload format. Note there is a minor change to AutoDownload in this version – the card status previously referred to as “Lost/Stolen” is now just “Lost” - innocent until proven guilty. On the off chance you’ve already created your own file in the new format and included cards with status “LostStolen” in the “CardStatus” column (third column) then these will have to be changed to just “Lost”.
It has been brought to our attention that MSDE 2000 is no longer available from Microsoft. We still support it through AutoDownload but the links have been removed as obviously they no longer work. If you still really want MSDE 2000 but can’t find it, contact us and we may be able to help.
We’ve been busy here over the quieter winter months improving some of the core parts of the software we can’t change during the busy season as there is not enough time for retesting. We’re quietly confident in the testing we’ve done and we feel it’s time to get it out there and seek approval for what we’ve been up to. Please have a short play before using it for an event to familiarise yourself with the new features and double check we haven’t left any bugs in there.
So what are these new features? The list is quite long so please bear with us...
The biggest change of all is we have implemented a Control Master List. We’ve tried as much as possible to leave the existing control editing screens as they are, so you can still just type a course in the same as before. However you will notice that “Published Code” now appears above the Electronic Code i.e. the other way around. This is because the “Published Code” is the link into the master list, a kind of index for the physical control site if you will. For most of you, the electronic and published codes will always be the same, just remember that the published code is the key if you ever need to do something different.
Previously you had a concept of an Electronic Code and an Alternative Code, this is now gone as the Published Code is effectively in charge, so now it is simply “Electronic Code 1” and “Electronic Code 2”. We have extended this concept and you can now have up to 5 different electronic codes. You’ll know who you are when we say somebody asked for more than 2 codes several years ago, so thanks for your patience.
As a by-product of this change, the “Control Replacement” screen is now gone. Any change to a control site across the board can now be done via the “Control Master List”.
When you add a new Event, you will see a new option. When we originally added the Event Type concept, one of the main reasons was to hide irrelevant options and simplify the event set-up. However fairly regularly since then we get asked if something is possible in AutoDownload and the answer has been “yes, but not in that event type”. So now you can see a new button when adding an Event - “Show Advanced Options”. This shows all the options you can make that could be valid on that Event Type. All that said we would expect that for most of you for most events you don’t need to go in here.
Another change at Event level is we have moved the Delete button for an event. Generally the policy always is to have a screen to view the data, and then go into a different screen to modify or delete the data. This way accidental delete or modification is much less likely. For some reason the event, the most important thing not to delete, didn’t follow this model. It now does, so to delete an Event first go into the Modify Event screen.
Feedback from several orienteering clubs on the relatively new BOF regional event structure has led us to provide more options on results. Some of these options will be available on other event types, but the discussion here is focused on choices for these BOF regional events. You have three choices on how to run these events:
- Run the event purely as a Colour-Coded based event. No Age Class related results will be available. This effectively is what was available previously.
- Run the event as a Colour-Coded based event, but also use the new option to additionally produce results by age class. This is available on screen, print and HTML. It automatically goes through each course and determines which Age Classes have competed and produces a subset of the results for each.
- Run the event as if a National event, i.e. range of Class vs Course options (NB you can now find “Use Classes” under Advanced Options in BOF Regional event type). Previously on a Class based event you could include the course based (i.e. colour based) results in the HTML and on screen, what you couldn’t do was print the course based results. We’ve now added that option.
Which you choose is up to you, we would suggest that how you take entries would be the biggest influence, if you are only taking colour choices at time of entry, then you cannot run as a Class based event.
On a BOF theme, their new rankings and results system has been implemented. As many of you will know this requires the OE style results to be submitted for all events now. Recently it came out from several of you that it could not cope with a course number of zero, which AutoDownload has always used for the first course. This has now been changed to one which should work correctly. We don’t believe this change should affect other uses of this file e.g. Splitsbrowser, but please report any unwanted side-effects.
We have implemented a new way of importing into the SI-Card Archive which is a specific format for AutoDownload – see “Import AutoDownload File”. This is a far more user friendly format if you need to create an Archive file of your own – see the example file included in the program files folder and see on-screen help. You will be able to download our master archive from our website in this format in the next week or so. You may be contacted separately asking for you to verify your club’s hire card list.
For those of you who still have old style stations, the ones you turn on with a magnet, this is an important change. Previously AutoDownload attempted to automatically detect which type you had (as per SiConfig), however this was fraught with problems, often resulting in slow read of new style stations, and in extreme cases some bad data being read in. So we now have an option on all screens where you connect to SPORTident hardware to elect whether you are using old style stations. The default is to use new stations, but your choice will be remembered (stored alongside COM port and Baud Rate). If you are reading slaved stations, you need to select old stations when EITHER station is an old one.
Microsoft marches on with new versions as well, and we have to keep up. We are running Windows 7 in the office on several laptops now, and all seems fine. SQL Server 2008 was obviously released a while ago, although at the very end of 2008 so just over a year old. If you would prefer to run this, we now include an option to install this from within AutoDownload. However we are still recommending the 2005 version.
The Inter-Club Results has now been integrated into AutoDownload and had a make-over. Find the screen for it under the Results screen. You still need a config file but the results are taken out of the Event in context automatically. We have also added the ability to have more than one club competition in the same config file; this is particularly useful for the Compass Sport Cup and Trophy competitions. The most important point of note here is that the config files are NOT the same format as before. They are similar, so could easily be confused. We would recommend using the new sample files, which will be included in the AutoDownload program files folder, but if you want to convert any old format files then you can do so by hand by comparing against the examples and the provided schema - note that XML is case sensitive and some of the attributes have changed case for technical reasons we won’t bore you with. We would recommend un-installing the old Inter-Club Results to save getting confused with old sample files.
A few quick fire points:
- The various Download options have had their names and descriptions improved, e.g. the confusing “Semi-Automatic” is now “Automatic, Manual on Error”.
- Crediting of missed controls with or without times has been vastly improved.
- A few more new orienteering colours such as Long Orange have been added to the magic course ordering list.
- Performance of the Safety Check has been increased again, this will be automatic for new events. However if for some reason you want to revisit safety information in an old event you must “Recalc” it.
- The TCA has rebranded itself BMBO (British Mountain Bike Orienteering), all references in AutoDownload have now been changed.
Those on the demo licence please note that as of this version the limit has been reduced to 20 entries per event. The previous restriction of 50 was a bit in no-man’s land, not really allowing use at a real event but perhaps dangerously tempting to do so. Essentially the demo licence now really is for having an initial play with the software to see if you like what you see. That said if you feel you need to try a full version of the product for a limited period for whatever reason, get in touch as we are always open to suggestions.
We have just started an AutoDownload FAQ section on our website which will be expanding over the next few months, and we’ve put up all of these old release notes. There’s been a lot of useful information in these and of course those of you new to AutoDownload won’t have seen old ones.
So in summary there are a lot of changes, some of our own design, but many based on feedback from you. Hopefully these meet with your approval, as always let us know if not, or if there’s anything else you think would be a good addition.
There’s been quite a bit of development, but also a few bug fixes so you should upgrade to avoid problems at your events. In particular there was a bug introduced to the Colour Standard Calculator which gave marginally incorrect times when it was integrated, thanks to the eagle-eyed amongst you who spotted this.
The major change you need to know about is the "Epoch" has been revised. The original version was designed as a simple toggle for the 12hr times from Card 5’s (which only have 12hr times), but as the software has evolved it has become more strained with 24hr+ events, and it has become clear that it was hard to understand. The new version is now called "Earliest Punch", hopefully this is an easier concept. For most daytime orienteering events this will mean no change, 08:00 will be fine. However for evening events, you should enter something closer to the time, e.g. 16:00. Don’t forget that since AutoDownload v2 you can change this time during the event and recalculate downloads, so if you find you’ve got it wrong then don’t panic!
The "Control Replacement" screen has gone unloved for too long, and has had some work done. You can now set Optional and Alternative controls across all courses from this screen, as well as the original replacement function.
You can now easily reprint splits by downloading an SI-Card again. You will get the familiar message about the card being downloaded before, but splits will be reprinted.
We have a new screen to export an XML results file specifically for Routegadget. This is particularly useful if you have any controls which were optional or credited for an individual. Please let us know if you have any trouble with it. This is one of a planned set of screens to make uploads easier to do to similar sites, e.g. WinSplits, Splitsbrowser.
On a similar vein, we have been made of aware of a bug in WinSplits Pro (not to be confused with WinSplits online), which does not read IOF XML files correctly. If this affects you, then you can use OE format CSV, or contact us to find out how to fix the problem.
A number of you have got in touch with feedback about the new BOF Schools event type, included in this release are all your requests. Hopefully these meet with all your approvals, but please let us know if there are things you think could be improved.
We’ve been working away on improving the MultiDay functionality which was successfully used at the Scottish 6 Day earlier this month. If you have a multi-day, or multi-stage event coming up soon and you want to give it a go then just drop us a line and we’ll grant a temporary licence for your event.
You will recall the problems we had a few months back with some computers and AutoDownload crashing on start-up trying to get names for the serial ports to display. We issued a fix which merely stopped the crash, but didn’t really get to the bottom of the problem. We have had a tip-off (thanks) that this may be to do with Windows XP computers which haven’t had SP3 installed, so if that’s you and you don’t have names for your serial ports then maybe installing SP3 will resolve it. Either way, it is always a good idea to keep up to date with bugs Microsoft are fixing.
On a similar note, a bug which Microsoft haven’t fixed which you may have stumbled across on XP. If you export a backup directly onto a memory stick you may have found you cannot then "Safely Remove Hardware". I’m afraid there is no fix for this, but you can get round it by not using the file selector (i.e. by not clicking the button marked "..."), but by typing into the filename box directly (or by pasting the filename in).
If you use a till-roll printer, particularly Epson or Star varieties, then please check your settings under Printing Preferences to ensure the paper is the size you are using is correct. For some reason best known to the driver programmers, they come by default to incorrect sizes. Both come with A4 length as the default which you won’t notice until you try and print a really long course’s worth of splits. The Star comes with A4 width which will chop off a large portion of the width. The Epson’s width does come set to 80mm, but I would recommend changing this to a bit less as it does otherwise chop off the very right hand edge. 80mm paper is actually very rarely 80mm wide, I just measured one here at 77mm, and the Epson driver doesn’t seem to report the printable area very well to AutoDownload. In summary we would recommend setting both to 72mm wide and to as long as they go which is normally about 3000mm.
We’re not far off deciding on development priorities for our quieter time in the winter, so if you have any feedback you want to give, now is a good time to give it.
If you are running the previous version (126.96.36.1994) then you should upgrade again before any event. We have become aware of a problem with this previous version that doesn’t affect all computers, but if it affects yours then you will get the error “Call cancelled” and AutoDownload will crash. We’re still working on why it occurs (as obviously it doesn’t occur for us otherwise we would’ve found it before!), but this new version will handle the failure and allow you to carry on using AutoDownload.
There are a few other items in the release. The first thing you will notice is that the panels on the left hand side of the screen have changed. We have added the database connection to the top of the panel next to the version number, so it is easy to tell at a glance whether you have the correct connection or not (useful if you have multiple computers which can act as the server). Also we have combined the two panels of Navigation and Actions into just the one panel. Often it was a moot point which one any item would belong in, and having combined them it still seems obvious what any item does. The main reason though is it gives a little more space on here for items as we continue to support 800x600 screen resolutions.
We are carrying on our new strategy of integrating the free utilities. We now have this strategy because the event set-up within AutoDownload is becoming ever more encompassing, and a) integration means that these utilities can make direct use of those settings, and b) using these utilities with other event software becomes less possible. In this version Badge Time Calculator, Colour Standard Calculator and Live Results are now integrated. You’ll find all of these under the Results view.
The last main item is we now have a “BOF Schools” event type. I know many of you have been asking for the ability to put school years in the age class field, and with this event type you now can. These should take the format B/G followed by the school year, e.g. B7 for a year 7 boy. Also with this event type “Club” is referred to as “School”. Please feel free to give us any feedback you may have on this, or any other item for that matter.
Before you rush off and download it though – read on. For nearly four years I’ve been saying with every release that your existing licence keys will work, but not this time! The licensing has changed with this release. As we diversify the product to meet the many varying event types we cater for at SPORTident, and yet try to keep it simple for the end user, we felt it was necessary to add which event types you need to see embedded in the licence key. So existing licence key holders will need to contact us to get a new key when you want to switch to the new version. Demo licence key holders can simply revisit the website and get a new key.
So on to what’s in the new version. We’ve been very busy here working on various improvements, some adding of new features, and some tidying up of existing ones. Firstly an apology to long standing users that a few more items have moved within the menu structure, hopefully to more sensible locations that once you have got used to them will seem more obvious.
The other noticeable general change is that the splits printer and SPORTident settings which used to be on the “Settings” page are now available each time you start a download etc. The last one used will be remembered to help the majority of you who always use the same printer and COM port, but this change will be a blessing to those of you who like to run two downloads from one laptop, or perhaps read the safety check data from a second master station whilst still downloading. The “Settings” page has now become just “Database Settings”.
Import of entries and start times have had some major work. The OE style entry import that some of you will use from some online entry providers (remember Fabian4 users can use their XML option) will now import start times if specified, and can also chose which Text field supplies the age class (if any). There is also a new AutoDownload specific CSV import, which is designed for those users who may want to import their entries after creating them in Excel or another spreadsheet application. It is expected this will be used mostly for non-orienteering events, but it is included for all in case it is of use.
You can now manually select “Mark as Downloaded” on an entry. This can be used on its own for a competitor who has lost their SI-Card (thus removing them from the safety check), or can be used to enter a result manually by then adding split times as appropriate.
For those that use the screen to add pre-entries by punching, this has been changed around. Rather than go into the standard Add Entry screen then select the option to “Read Card Number”, you now select the new “Add Entry by Punch” screen which takes the punch first, then fill in the details, and after save returns to wait for the next punch. In other words, more like the Manual Download screen except it adds an entry rather than a result. This seems a lot more obvious, I’m not entirely sure why we didn’t do it like this in the first place!
For those of you who have an event which requires badge times to be calculated (much less of you this year with the new regional event structure), then there is a new version of the Badge Time Calculator as well. This fixes a bug introduced with the previous AutoDownload release, but also adds an option to include the climb figures or not when calculating the course length ratios between Long and Short courses.
There are many smaller items, too many to list here. Hopefully you will find them all sensible and obvious. If any confusion is caused then please get in touch – the main aim of the software is still to try and keep things simple.
Also in this version, but not included in your standard licence keys, are a new improved Start Time Allocator, integrated Multi-Day entries and results, Commentary and (as we mentioned in the last release), Relay. These aren’t officially available yet, but if you have an event coming up which you would like to try one or more of these then please get in touch.
Finally one last thing: We have a new piece of software which you may be interested in called TimeMaster. It is available free and unlicensed from the same download page as AutoDownload, and is designed to mimic the TimeMaster (aka SI-Master) station. It will time-sync and clear backup on slaved stations, and also tell you how the station is programmed, what the battery level is like and what firmware it is running. It’s all big fonts and colour coded, and is designed to help SPORTident users in general with ensuring their stations are set-up correctly for events. Give it a go and let us know what you think.
This contains a couple of important bug fixes. Firstly our apologies to OCAD8 users for the bug in the import, this is now fixed. The second bug fix is hopefully third time lucky for the CSS copy on HTML export.
We've taken a look at some of the areas of poor speed and improved them; in particular the safety check is now much faster, particularly once nearly everyone is back. The number of outstanding competitors on the main event summary screen should now be very quick, even when large numbers are outstanding. Finally on this point, note the various safety check screens have moved around a bit - this is so you don't have to go through the screen which lists outstanding competitors to and from reading the check/start boxes (which should also make it faster to use).
The Import/Export screens have all been carved up and put into their respective parts of the system. E.g. Import/Export of results is now available under results. We feel this is more intuitive going forward, but apologies in the short term while you get used to where to find the screens again.
The badge and colour calculators have also been re-released. These now export the new style HTML with CSS to match the HTML results from AutoDownload.
Finally, something that is included in AutoDownload but you won't have access to! We're telling you about it just to whet your appetite. A relay add-in was written about 2 years ago but never released for one reason and another, but it is now integrated into this version. At some point in the near future this will be available by purchasing an extended licence code. In the meantime if you can't wait we are happy to give out temporary demo licences, so please contact us.
Apart from the relay extension, your existing licence keys will work as usual.
Due to popular demand the viewing and editing the SiCard Archive is now available again, although you will notice it is more complicated than before. BOF numbers/clubs and TCA numbers/clubs can now sit alongside each other.
There are also a few minor bug fixes. If you've had trouble copying the CSS file on HTML export this should now be fixed, although only some computers seem affected by this. Based on feedback version 2 seems to be very stable, so if you have been holding back upgrading to see how it is going then no need to hold off any longer!
There now seems to be a bit more information available on BOF rankings submission with the new event structure. See http://ccgi.orienteering.plus.com/rankings/html/colourcoded.html for what you have to do. From an AutoDownload perspective you should submit the "BOF Ranking Format" file for National events only, for the new style Regional events you should now submit "OE Splits Format", but select to "Include DNF". It seems at this stage nothing needs to change in AutoDownload but watch this space just in case.
For those of you with Star splits printers, you should check your paper width is set correctly as by default it appears to be set as A4 width. You will find this under Printing Preferences. A reminder to Epson users you have to check the length is not set to A4 length.
So the first question you are asking is what’s the big change that makes it version 2 and not 1.x.y? For various reasons I won’t bore you with we have decided that all SPORTident software will now be written in Microsoft.NET and not in Java, so essentially this release is the previous version translated across. There are also many small improvements, some of which I know you have been waiting for. I won’t attempt to list them here, it’s best just to get the new version installed and have a look. Please read the rest of this email thoroughly first.
The first thing to do is uninstall all the old Java programs, including Live Results, Badge and Colour Calculators, Inter-Club Results and any others you may have installed. Don’t worry this won’t lose your old events, although you do have event backups don’t you?!
As well as installing the new version you will also need the .NET Framework 2.0 (free from Microsoft) installed on each computer. The link for .NET is now available from our downloads page. You should be able to tell if it is already installed by looking under “Add/Remove Programs” in the Control Panel. If you haven’t got in installed already, you may need to install Windows Installer 3.0 and/or Windows Genuine Advantage. You should be able to find all the info you need on the Microsoft website, but if you have any trouble then don’t hesitate to contact us.
The database technology we are using is unchanged, that is Microsoft SQL Server. However SQL Server 2000 is now quite old (clue’s in the name), so if you are running Windows XP you may want to consider upgrading to SQL Server 2005 – there is a link on our downloads page.
Having said the database technology is unchanged, the database structure has. So the first point to make here is once you have installed the new version you cannot go back! The second point to make is that the new version only knows how to upgrade from the latest Java database structure, so if you are not on 1.2.17 or later then please contact us to get this installed first. The first run of the new version will take a little while to start up as it changes the database, particularly if you have lots of events, so please be patient. There is a little panel now which lets you know how it’s getting on.
A couple of minor technical observations on printing, which appears different in .NET to Java:
If you are using Epson splits printers, then for some reason best known to Epson some of their drivers set-up the paper size as A4 length. If you leave this as is you may get some strange results for splits longer than A4. Go into Printing Preferences for the printer and set-up a custom page length specifying the maximum possible (about 3 metres). If you are having trouble then feel free to get in touch.
Make sure that your default printer exists and is local to the computer it is installed on. Even if you have specified a different printer to do whichever printing you are doing, if your default printer is not present or slow to respond then your printing will be slow to start up.
Courses and Classes now sort in a way more familiar to orienteers than purely alphabetical. To make the most of this when you have National events you should use simply “1” and “2” etc as the course names (i.e. rather than “Course 1”). This should then sort them numerically. Brown, Blue etc will be in the familiar order but make sure you give the name in full e.g. “Light Green” not “LGreen”.
On a similar subject, the new 2009 style regional event colours are all supported. If on the off chance you are running a 2008 regional event before the turn of the year you should run it as a “BOF National” event to get age classes as you would expect. If you are running a new 2009 style regional event soon then feel free to get in contact to discuss it. I’m not sure anybody knows what is happening with ranking submissions at this moment in time.
We will continue to improve the AutoDownload suite of products, and as always we need your feedback to do so.
Your existing licence keys will work.
A couple of bugs in relatively obscure parts of the system have been found by the more eagle-eyed of you.
Trying not to sound like a broken record, but be reassured wheels are in motion to improve the testing process to commercial levels to avoid such bugs being released in future, it's just that these things take a little time to organise.
There are a few minor cosmetic changes to continue with the SPORTident UK integration, but there are also some substantial improvements in this version. I know a few of you have been waiting for some of these so sorry for the delay during what is our busiest time of year. We've been using it ourselves at various events we've supported over the past weeks so hopefully it is now well proven.
First up are two new download screens. You will find them under the "Other Downloads" option, called "Automatic Download" and "Semi-Automatic Download". More appropriate for bigger pre-entry events they will automaticallly save the download and print splits (if you've elected to print splits in the event set-up) if the download is valid. The two screens differ on what to do if it is not valid - the Automatic screen will simply display in large red text: "There is an error. Report to problems desk.", the Semi-Automatic screen will bring up the entry screen as the normal Download screen would for every download. Let me know what you think.
The Safety Check screens have had a bit of reorganisation. The original import of a file from SiManager/SiConfig has now been moved to its own screen, so it now matches the read hardware direct screen - i.e. down one page. Both of these screens now stay open after a read so you can read multiple files/stations respectively without returning to the main safety check page. Also you can now choose how to sort the outstanding competitors.
The List Entries screen now has a few more options. More fields are listed for each competitor found, there are more options to search by, and you can choose how to sort.
The Hire Card legend that is displayed during download now shows who the hire card belongs to. With hire cards now being registered nationally there is a chance that you try and collect a hire card belonging to another club!
If you've ever tried to void the start or end of a course by retrospectively putting in a start or finish control code you will have found this didn't recalculate start or finish times. The start or finish control codes only worked at point of download. This has now been fixed, but please be careful as this cannot be undone - that is that once the start or finish time has been calculated from that control code the punching start/finish time will no longer be there. In a future release I plan to make it so the punching start/finish are never lost whatever you do, and also to have a priority of how to choose start/finish times - e.g. top priorty is punching start, if not present then timed start etc. Watch this space...
The OE style splits export that was originally designed just for Splitsbrowser compatibility seems to be being used for all sorts of things. It's possible I will add a simple Excel friendly export in future, but in the meantime I've added a new option as to whether to exclude competitors who did not finish. These seem to upset Splitsbrowser but you may want them in whatever export you need.
On a similar vein, the OE style import that was originally designed for online entry systems is being used to import from Excel. I've changed the import slightly so that it should handle Excel's little nuances like dropping trailing commas where it feels like it. Again, I may introduce a format specifically designed for this in future.
The HTML export is now avaliable under Results as well as under Import/Export. Thanks for those who suggested this, it makes more sense.
I've tried a new piece of software called Purple Pen. It's a free alternative to OCAD for setting courses, and it is compatible with OCAD files. Its "E-Punch Interchange File" is actually IOF XML Course Data and works straight into Aut-O-Download. http://purplepen.golde.org/
There's still a few outstanding items you've asked for, I haven't forgotten, they will be included over the coming months. As always keep suggestions coming in.
The changes are mainly cosmetic, but there are a few minor bug fixes in so you should upgrade before your next event.
Some of you may have noticed that the website has now moved to be part of the SPORTident UK website. The existing links will now redirect you to the new site, and probably will do for years to come. Our aim is to make the SPORTident UK website a one stop shop for all things event timing, and you will see more changes over the next months and years.
The links in the software will now reflect this change.
This contains an important bug fix from 1.2.14.
I will be using my new role over the next few months to work on some commercial grade testing procedures to hopefully avoid such bugs in future.
New versions of LiveResults, Multi-Day and Inter-Club Results have also been released. If you use any of these you should get them at the same time otherwise you may get some funny results, particularly with score events.
The main new features in Aut-O-Download are implementation of reading SiCards in extended protocol and support for events > 12 hrs.
Extended protocol can be set into your BSM7 master stations (not BSM6) for reading out cards. This gives you several useful features. The new Card 8 and 9s which we are seeing a bit more of now, will read faster and more reliably in extended protocol (remember these cards will not work at all with BSM6 or BSF6). If you use the "Read Card Number" option when adding an entry, this will work more quickly for Card 5's when in extended protocol. Having said those things, I would say that for most of you for most applications there is no real benefit to switching to use extended protocol.
When you add an event now there is an option for Maximum Duration of the event, with 3 settings - 12 hours, 24 hours and 1 week. This pairs up with the 12 hr epoch field which was there before. The defaults are 12 hours and 08:00:00, which maintains the original Aut-O-Download behaviour. I would say for orienteers there is no need to change these settings. If you do change the settings then note the time is the absolute maximum - i.e. if you have an event which is about 12 hours long but a few competitors may take over 12 hours, you need the 24 hour option. Note that the 24 hour and 1 week options cannot be used with an SiCard 5 as these only support 12 hour times.
There are a few other minor changes:
* Score events can now have a split excluded, as timeouts for road crossings etc also happen in score events! However it will take the split from whichever control the competitor visited before, so if you're going to do this be sure as to what that control is. This could be difficult as in a score event they may approach the road crossing from both sides, therefore which will be first? As with other controls on a score event, second and subsequent visits will be discarded. Let me know how you get on with this, and any suggestions you may have.
* Race number if applicable to the event is now on the printed results and on the HTML output.
* Score penalty points, if applicable to both the event and that person (i.e. blank if zero), are now on the printed results and HTML output.
You'll also notice an updated logo and a few other cosmetic tweaks to reflect the new ownership.
Your existing licence keys will work as usual. HOWEVER - there has been a change to the licensing model, which now requires you to put your club name in to match the licensed club. So when you have upgraded on the first run you will get the error message "The club name does not match the licence key". Simply go onto the licence screen and type in your club name and everything will work again!
There are quite a few minor changes in this new version, many relate to score courses and to pairs. This is mainly because of work with the TCA and Open Adventure (http://www.openadventure.com - great events if you haven't heard of them). I will summarise the other changes first so if you're not interested in TCA, score events or pairs you can skip forward when you hit the (in)appropriate sections. Apologies if this is a bit of an essay but I've been busy!
Finally before I get into the detail I'd just like to say I've got lots of exciting things planned for Aut-O-Download 1.3. Many will be aimed at stabilising what is already there to give it commercial grade reliability, but also some new developments that hopefully you will all like. Watch this space.
The most major change is perhaps something that you won't actually notice in practice. In previous versions during the download process, once an Si-Card has been read the connection to the master station was closed while the download was confirmed on screen, this was to block any attempt by anyone else to download. Several of you reported some issues with particular laptop/USB-serial converter where on re-open of the port various funny things would happen - sometimes "Hardware cannot be found on serial port", "Input does not begin STX" etc. I recently stumbled upon such a combination and took the opportunity to investigate. My conclusion was that it's actually safer to leave the port open while details are on screen than to risk closing it and getting half messages from the master station. So the upshot is that while you're committing a competitor's information on screen, if somebody else tries to download in the meantime their card will now be read rather than ignored. Once! you have confirmed the first competitor's details the second's will be immediately put to screen - i.e. a queue of pending downloads will form in memory. I think overall this is better from what I saw, but you may now need to guard your masterstations from competitors over-eager to download!
The ECard Archive now takes date of birth, rather than year of birth. This is for several reasons, but one that will interest most people is a future plan to allow school years to be used as age classes - year of birth is not enough to be able to calculate school year. Contact us if you have any input into schools events as I know many of you run them. The SPORTident UK master archive only supports year of birth, so any import from this will assume a birthday of approximately 1st of July - i.e. all calculations for normal orienteering age classes will continue to work. This change also affects the screen under Add Entry where you can calculate age class from sex and birth date - this is now a full date not just a year.
The SPORTident (OE style) splits output now exports BOF/TCA number correctly into the Database ID field. This may be useful if you're doing any processing after the event using a spreadsheet program.
Some of you have reported that sometimes the tick boxes for Non-competitive and Manually disqualify magically tick themselves. I suspect what happens in reality is they are accidentally caught with the mouse pad on laptops while typing. I have put a confirm question on save if either of these is ticked which should hopefully stop such things happening in future.
There is a new option to "download" cards from SiConfig. Look at the "Other Downloads" screen and follow the instructions on there. I suppose the immediate question is what is the need for this - I can download cards straight into Aut-O-Download? The main reason I've implemented this is actually to aid the testing process - I can download a standard set of pre-formed problematic downloads each time I release to ensure they work. One real example I can think of why you'd want to use this is if an Si-Card won't download in Aut-O-Download but will in SiConfig (hopefully this won't happen of course!), then you can transfer the data this way.
The help panel now remembers if it was last hidden or not when you start Aut-O-Download. This change will filter into the other programs such as Live Results when new versions are released.
The new TCA age classes have been implemented. For those who don't know they are quite similar to BOF age classes, but with a few extra letters to describe combination of pairs.
Import of the first version of the TCA member archive is now available under the ECard Archive. However there are a couple of issues. Firstly the TCA "numbers" are in the format MTBxxxx whereas currently I only support numbers. So MTB0090 will be stored as 90 for the time being. This is on the list for 1.3 to be changed. The second problem is that the current membership list does not include whether the member is male or female! This is something I have been told is changing, but for now everybody will be male if calculated from this archive. Essentially while it is included really this function is still in development.
There is a new screen under the splits view for score courses - "Manual Bonus/Penalty". Does what it says on the tin really. It's not very sophisticated currently so any feedback welcome.,/
Score events now have the option to delete a split for a competitor. I don't really like this because in principle I don't think we should mess with data that's come from an electronic timing system, and it's on the list for 1.3 to come up with a better alternative (perhaps "exclude" rather than delete?). However there's a need with some score events to drop a score off rather than disqualify entirely (as opposed to linear courses where you would have no option but disqualify for any misdemeanour). To use this just click the appropriate split on the splits screen and follow the instructions on screen.
Score events previously didn't show multiple visits to the same control on screen. Any of these are now listed at the end. This may be useful in combination with the item above - e.g. if you have a score event where perhaps you need to get all the controls on one map first before getting a second map with more controls on. A competitor happens to find one from the second map while still on the first map and punches it, but then revisits it later correctly. Before you delete their first visit you can already identify it won't affect their score, just make the splits look better.
Previously pairs could be Lazy or Strict, which was either to punch, or both to punch respectively. Strict has now been extended to Strict (no time limit), Strict within 1 minute and Strict within 5 minutes, as well as the unchanged Lazy option. A requirement of all the strict modes is that only time contiguous punches are considered as being at the same control. That is, if one of the pair punches a control before the other in the pair punches the previous one, neither will be counted as a correct punch. This sounds most unlikely but in the trials of this on one occasion this did happen! I won't bore you any more with the logic of this - get in contact if you need to know more for your event.
Any punches that were excluded from a pairs download because of failing the strict punch rules are now listed. See the new option "Show Download Problems" from the splits screen.
If you are still using OCAD 8 then this is a very important update. During the adding of the butterfly loop functionality a bug crept in to the OCAD 8 import, which doesn't manifest itself until download.
Of course the butterfly loops can only be planned with OCAD 9 so this part of the system wasn't tested. As the complexity increases there comes a point in any supposedly simple software project that you have to adopt longer-winded more professional measures. For the next version I plan to do such things to safeguard against future such mistakes. One of these things will be a testing script, so all parts of the system will be tested against known good patterns. Another thing will be to change a little of the database access to ensure new fields like the butterfly loops will be maintained correctly from all parts of the system. In simple terms, I'm going to work to make sure such a bug shouldn't happen again.
Also in the new release is the option to export score course splits into the OE style CSV export (perhaps incorrectly titled "SPORTident Splits Format"). This is designed to aid setting up RouteGadget for score courses, although I haven't tried this myself. Thanks to Paul Frost for the info.
The main new feature is support for "Butterfly" loops. Some time and thought has gone into this to make it as easy as possible for you to run an event including these loops. Essentially all you have to do is enter (or import) one of the permutations and select the new tick-box for "Butterfly Loops?". Any control which appears 3 times or more becomes the centre of a loop, and any permutation of the resulting courses is valid. Removal of a leg, or other such functions, will still work. There are only two rules - the first time a control at the centre of a butterfly is listed must have its "Published Number" as numeric, and that you cannot have another butterfly loop starting when already in a butterfly loop. There is no automatic checking that competitors have actually run their correct butterfly combination, although you can check by looking at their splits (perhaps on the HTML is easiest?). I don't see this as an immediate problem at relatively low-key events, but in future ! I may add a facility to check this more easily. From personal experience of using other software for this, pre-allocating runners to a particular combination brings more problems than it is worth. I would very much welcome feedback on your thoughts and experiences with this new feature.
There are a few other small changes, mostly from feedback from yourselves. The legend "Disq" has been removed from the printed splits, just the disqualification reason is left on (e.g. dnf, m12, etc) - this is less upsetting for children on white etc to be told they've missed 12 rather than been disqualified. There is now an option on the HTML export "Simple results into index file?" - for small events you can now just have a single HTML file with all the results in - be warned the file will be quite large for big events and shouldn't be used. The last change is just a navigation one - you will now find "Download Master/Print Station" has been replaced by "Other Downloads", which will take you to a new screen which currently does nothing except give you the "Download Master/Print Station" option. This is to allow space for future development to take downloads from elsewhere. For example I will do a CSV import from SiConfig at some point.
Also released is a new version of the Inter-Clubs program. I've had a bit of feedback from a few people wanting different scoring formats to those of CSC and YBT, and I've been also asked if it was possible to use it for the Laurie Bradley Trophy - a WMOA inter-club event based on a score course. All of this is catered for now. For more information the best thing to do is to get the new version down from the link above, and read the updated documentation that comes with it.
The Badge Time Calculator and Colour Standard Calculator have also both been updated. Both had minor bugs, only affecting certain remote scenarios, but if you use these you should update to the latest versions.
First of all, my apologies for not getting on top of problems as quickly as usual this summer. I have extremely busy with other work. I've finally had a bit of time to review a few things this week, and managed to get my hands on a computer running Windows Vista yesterday to do some testing. I have subsequently released a new version of Aut-O-Download and new versions of all the free utilities such as Live Results.
As far as I know, all problems with Windows Vista, SQL Server 2005 and Java 6 (also known as Java 1.6) are now resolved.
For those of you who've struggled to install SQL Server 2005, I've now done a silent install in the same way I did for MSDE 2000. Now it is actually easier to install than MSDE 2000 as you don't have to extract the downloaded file before pointing Aut-O-Download at it. I have found a bug however with the Microsoft installer (well documented on the web), which means if you have "Microsoft SQL Server Native Client" already installed (which is part of the SQL Server install), it will fail to install SQL Server. Hence if you've had a few goes at installing it before, make sure everything is uninstalled before using this new silent install.
To further aid in this process, I've finally got the help panel to allow you to click website URL's. This was intended in the first ever version so sorry for the delay! If you visit the install database screen, there are now links in the help to get the two different Microsoft Databases.
As a result of getting this help working, there are a few more library files in the install, which means the shortcuts have changed. The new installers will put corrected shortcuts on the start menu, and on the desktop, but if you have a shortcut copied elsewhere then it will no longer work so please re-copy. I've also changed the way the shortcuts work so hopefully (no promises...) this will be the last ever shortcut change. However, for those of you who have been using Aut-O-Download since near the beginning on the same computer, there may be a library clash as a result of the new shortcuts because of very old libraries hanging around. If after install it doesn't work then uninstall Aut-O-Download and check the C:\Program Files\Aut-O-Download\Aut-O-Download folder has been removed, then re-install and it should work. Any problems with the upgrade then please get in touch.
It's my intention to turn to doing some of the improvements requested, now the immediate problems are all (hopefully) resolved.
A bug was introduced in yesterday's release into the XML imports. This has been remedied and version 1.2.9 is now on the website. Sorry to those of you who have already downloaded yesterday's release.
The main fix is import of any XML was failing to work under the new version of the Java runtime (1.6.0). There's also a few subtle improvements throughout the system:
You now have the option to specify an extension to the name of the club the licence is for. The club name in the licence is restricted to 10 characters which is still the case, but you can put any text after this. For example the fictional Bay Area Orienteering Club - previously the licence would have been for "BAOC", now it could be for "Bay Area" and one could append the text "Orienteering Club". If any of you wish to do this then please just reply with what you want your first ten characters to be in the licence and I'll send you a new licence code.
In a similar vein, the length of the club field was previously extended to 30 characters. This has now been applied to club length in the card archive and the automatic capitalisation dropped. The printed results has been modified to give more space for club name. This is partly as Aut-O-Download expands into non-orienteering events and partly because some clubs are starting to move toward using full club names (which many countries in the world do as the norm).
I recently introduced the ability to specify time output to be in hours, minutes and seconds rather than just minutes and seconds. I decided at the time this would be a global setting which was a mistake as this can be different for different laptops on your download network! I've now moved this into individual event settings defaulting to just minutes and seconds for each new event. I also found a few places which didn't respect the setting which are now fixed.
Because SPORTident Card 5's only handle 12hr times, there has always been a magic threshold in Aut-O-Download to determine whether a time is morning or afternoon. Card 6's and higher know whether it's morning or afternoon, although I choose to read them in the same way so in the event of a station being out of synch the results are consistent between the 2 types of cards. The threshold was previously set at 08:00:00 - times earlier than this are considered afternoon, on or later than this time - morning. Now you can change this in the event settings, although it defaults to 08:00:00. If you have starts earlier in the morning than this, or a night event with starts after 20:00:00 then you should change it, otherwise leave the default.
In the OE style CSV output I now output age class in the Text1 field as is the accepted norm in the UK. You may find this useful if you want to do any results processing from the CSV file.
Keep the suggestions coming.
Sorry for two releases in 7 days.
All the fixes relate to the import and export of OE200x style CSV files. On screen these are referred to as "SPORTident Splits Format" and "SPORTident Entries Format".
On import there was a bug where if you left course blank then it would create a blank course and attach the competitor to it rather than leaving the course blank (i.e. trying to leave course blank for auto-detect on download).
Import and export now both use the "Stno" (start number) field as the new race number field added in the previous version.
The export of courses vs classes has been fixed. Previously this was exporting each class as a course therefore the course comparison in both Splitsbrowser and RouteGadget was not working as it should.
Thanks to all of you who helped find these problems.
This version has been released, along with a new Start Time Allocator to match the changes. A new version of Live Results has also been launched.
The two main things in it have been on my todo list for quite a while: To be able to specify the times in HH:MM:SS instead of always MMM:SS and to be able to add race numbers.
After installing you should revisit the settings page on each computer to decide on HH:MM:SS or MMM:SS - I haven't defaulted a choice although if left blank will stay with MMM:SS.
If you have an event using race numbers then you can add these against each competitor and search for that race number on the List Entries screen. You turn these options on when setting up a new event.
I've been through all the XML import and export and found a few issues which have been fixed. Thanks to those of you who've spotted a few of these for me. Many of them were actually to do with start lists and non-punching start times which haven't been used much (yet...). Also included in the install now is the OCAD 9 DTD file. If you want to import a Course Data file created by OCAD 9 you will need to have a copy of this DTD file in the same folder as the Course Data file so I now provide it just in case you can't find one when you need to do it. This requirement is because of the implementation of DTD files by Microsoft in their XML parser and is outside my control.
Several of you commented that when doing an event using Start Time Allocation that EOD was a pain having to fill in start time preferences and envelope numbers. These fields have been relaxed to optional at all times. If you use start time allocator with both these fields blank the competitor will be allocated the same as start time "Any" and be given a time near any other club mates who also haven't got an envelope numbers. Hence you could have a start time strategy of not putting any envelope numbers in and allocating by club. The start time allocator is still very much work in progress so please give me any feedback.
A bug has been found and fixed in the SPORTident download routines - so please upgrade before your next event just in case this one in a million combination of data happens to you!
It's early days for the new SPORTident cards but I now have my hands on a Card 9. It will only work in the newer SPORTident stations (BSM/F 7/8). I've checked the download and as long as the master station is not in extended mode (which there's no reason why it would be for most orienteering) then Aut-O-Download will read these cards as if a Card 6. I've been advised by SPORTident UK that it is likely to be 2-3 years before these cards start really making an appearance at orienteering events but just in case I hope this information is useful. Perhaps if you are using a mix of BSF6 and BSF7/8 you should have a BSF6 check box so that anybody using one of these cards will fail the check process.
The new version of Live Results simply skips any courses/classes with no results as yet. I've also fixed the "Choose Courses/Classes" bug where it crashed out if too many courses/classes.
The main changes are to do with import of online entries. Thank you to those clubs who've done the hard work in trialling this. Firstly there is a new option under Import/Export called "SPORTident Entries Format" - this allows you to import entries in the same format as OE200x would. This has been tested with data from nTrees and MDOC's system. However, I would recommend to use Fabian4 because they have developed the ability to download in IOF XML format which is much better for Aut-O-Download. The information transferred will also include form/envelope number and start time preference which can be used with our Start Time Allocator software. The XML file downloaded from Fabian4 can be imported in the main Import/Export screen as an EntryList.
To match the work done with Fabian4 there is a new start time option "Any", on top of Early, Middle and Late. The Start Time Allocator has been updated to deal with this choice. You can now also pre-enter competitors with a blank e-card number leaving them to be allocated a hire card later. To see a list of those who need a hire card allocating use the "Print Hire Cards List" option under List Entries.
A few minor speed improvements have been done. The event statistics on the main event page now don't refresh by default - simply click the refresh button if you want to see them. The List Entries screen now warns you if you select a query which would result in 100+ competitors being listed - you can select to carry on or cancel.
The "List Hire Cards" screen on the archive has now been removed. This was designed to list all your own hire cards listed in the archive, but as all clubs hire cards come in from the master SPORTident UK archive the screen listed all hire cards in the UK - not very helpful!
Microsoft Vista has just been released and MSDE 2000 will not run on this. Hence I have changed a few things to make its replacement SQL Server 2005 Express work with Aut-O-Download. There is no need to upgrade to this unless your server laptop is to run Vista. Please also be aware that SQL Server 2005 Express requires the Microsoft.NET Framework 2.0 to also be installed, which may fill valuable hard-disk space on older laptops. If you want more information look at the "Install Database" screen under "Settings" in Aut-O-Download 1.2.5.
There are two main changes in this version:
1) The ability to download a SPORTident printer station, or a master station backup has been added. See the new Navigation option on the event screen called \"Download Master/Print Station\". I would recommend testing this before use for real so you can see how it works.
2) SPORTident UK have changed the way their archive deals with BOF members who have multiple SI cards registered. Previously the card with the highest number was supplied, now it supplies all card numbers. I have made a change to deal with this - previous versions will not deal with the new archives very well meaning many more finishers are not recognised automatically. With the new version you can now get a situation when you search by BOF number you may be presented with a choice of card number for the entry (this won’t happen on download as the card number is known then).
There are a few minor changes as well:
* If an SI station’s time goes out of synch there could’ve been a situation where starters after midday’s splits were different to those starting before midday (although the total time taken would be correct). This has been fixed.
* Export to SPORTident format has been changed so that a split time of 00:00 is given for an optional control missed out. Previously this would’ve exported a blank split time and SplitsBrowser would’ve disqualified the competitor.
* Note the \"Control Replacement\" screen has moved to under \"Courses\". This is to allow space for the new download master/print station option.
A few more of you are using Aut-O-Download for Regional Events, and in particular using online entry systems. Expect some new features soon to make this process easier.
Existing licence codes will work as usual. No critical fixes so there’s no hurry to upgrade.
The shortcuts for all applications have changed so any copies you have made of the shortcut from the start menu will need to be replaced. However due to popular demand the setup will now create a shortcut on your desktop as well as the start menu, so assuming any copy you’ve made there is the same name this will be overwritten for you. If you get any error to do with any aspect of producing results then it is likely you have an old shortcut hanging around.
A quick list of improvements for Aut-O-Download 1.2.3:
* Better HTML export - these now conform correctly to the XHTML 1.0 strict standard.
* Better XML export - line breaks and formatting so you can read it more easily, and email programs will no longer try to insert line breaks in inconvienient places!
* Better reporting of excluded split times - mainly for MTBO timeout legs on public roads, bridleways etc.
* Improved speed - safety check and E-card archive have had indexes added so should be more reponsive.
The main reason for the release is a bug has been found in reading SPORTident hardware in the safety check. It only applies to BSx6 stations and would\'ve only happened in about 1 in 42 cases, but it is recommended that everybody upgrades in case of problems.
Also included are a couple of improvements to the download screen. The save button has been changed from an internet style link to a large Windows style grey button. This is so it\'s easier to hit when sitting on download in a dim tent with an uneven surface for the mouse. The second improvement is to show a time taken field - useful when you\'re not printing splits. This field will not be filled until the course is chosen whether automatically or manually (time taken may depend on certain settings within the course such as excluded splits etc).
Some minor bugs in the SPORTident interface have been fixed. New style (BSF7/8) stations should now wake themselves up when reading as a safety check. Also a bug to do with occasional premature finish of safety check reading has now been fixed. Please let me know if you are still experiencing problems. The ability to bring in a CSV file from SIManager or SIConfig still exists in case of difficulty.
I have removed the read of the Card 6 personal details. This is for 3 reasons. Firstly, not many people have programmed their cards and in any case the SPORTident archive took precedence. Secondly the read of the card is now 25% faster. Thirdly and most importantly due to a change in the firmware on the new master stations (BSM7/8) the backup data is not stored in the same way as for older stations, and by reading the personal data the backup is not useable (even SIConfig does not read it correctly!). The ability to read a master station backup into Aut-O-Download has been written and with this problem out of the way should (time-willing) be released into the next version. You may want to use this either for recovering an event after a laptop failure, or to get the results out of a printer station (BSP7). Watch this space!
For Condes users the import of IOF XML Course Data now correctly brings in the points per control for a score event. Unfortunately the IOF standard does not support score events and the way we extended it is not the same as the way Condes extended it. Export of Course Data for score events is unchanged, import now takes both formats.
As usual your existing licences will work. Please ensure that any shortcuts previously copied to desktop etc are re-copied from the one created on the Start Menu. This is because of an update to the underlying libraries. You will know if you\'ve got the correct shortcut if the menu options appear in blue rather than black.
The major changes are allowing pairs with an e-card each, and support for TCA age classes. Both are options when you create a new event.
Pairs can either be "None" (default), which should work exactly as before, "Lazy" which requires only one of each pair to punch at each control and "Strict" which insists both punch at each control (inc. start and finish) within 30secs of each other. It takes the first punch time at the start and the second punch time everywhere else. To use pairs set it in the event then you will see space for and extra card number (and BOF number) in the entry form. Currently all pairs must be pre-entered, an AutoDownload option may be available in the future.
Event type is either BOF or TCA currently. Maybe more will be added in the future. There is no default for this so select "BOF" and it should work exactly as before.
For anybody who has done anything with the IOF data standard, our extended version has been extended a little further for these changes. The new version is available on the website and included in the Aut-O-Download setup.
Anybody who has registered their club's hire cards with SPORTident UK will now be pleased to know that these will now automatically be downloaded into the Aut-O-Download archive as hire cards. Thanks to Martin Stone and Mark Hawker of SPORTident UK for enabling this. There is a new screen under List Entries called "E-Card Breakdown" which shows total numbers of each card source in use. This should help anybody who borrows in hire cards from other organisations to report how many were used.
There's been a few improvements to score events, the major one being the ability to manually credit competitors with having visited a control (vandalised or failed units?). As per the cross-country courses you do it on the splits view for a competitor. All the controls not visited by the competitor are listed below their finish split - simply click the control you want to add.
I've got a few outstanding requests that I'm going to add for the next version - see the website for a list. Again I\'m trying to stabalise the core functionality at the same time as keeping all of your requests serviced. Despite the seemingly big change for pairs it was actually not that big and the download of single competitors is unchanged. On the other hand please be vigilant for bugs in this version. One known bug is download of the safety check - if you're using new stations (BSF7 or 8) then the wake up sequence doesn\'t work properly so please turn the stations on using a Service/Off key first.
There's a couple of minor bug fixes but the main changes are:
1) Station reading updated for the latest SPORTident firmware (version 5.55).
2) Club field now 30 characters. Whilst UK orienteering clubs tend to have abbreviations of 5 chars or less, foreign competitors tend not to. It's something I've been meaning to increase for quite some time!
Shortly I am going to start work on version 1.2 - the main new feature will be the ability to put pairs of e-cards as a single competitive unit, so that pairs competing on white or yellow courses can be given a card each but only one result. I'm not sure yet whether I can make this work without pre-entering the pairs - watch this space!
There's been a bug found in the new safety check feature which has now been fixed so you should all upgrade to the new version before your next event.
The only other change is a few of the navigation/action items have been moved. This is because on a small laptop screen some of them were disappearing off the bottom! They are:
1) Print results and view results under each event have been combined into just "Results". This will take you to the old view results screen and the print option is available on the Navigation panel.
2) On the entry screen the "Read Card Number" and "Sex/Year of Birth" views have been moved up to the Navigation panel from the Action panel. This is actually more correct as they take you to sub screens rather than do something to the existing screen.
There are a couple of minor bug fixes in there so you should all upgrade to it. As usual your existing licences will work. Hopefully we are getting to the bottom of all the early version bugs and the software is becoming mature.
There are a number of new features which are mainly reporting etc to do with pre-entry (i.e. Regional) events. These are:
1. Courses view now shows the number of entries/results on each course. This is designed to tell you how many maps to print but may also be useful info after an EOD event.
2. Under List Entries there is a new Action: "Print Hire Cards List". This is designed for pre-entry to give to your helpers doing hire card issue to know who is supposed to have which card. May be of use after an event to know which hire cards were used.
I've done some tidying up of the SPORTident hardware reading to hopefully make it easier to use. These are:
1. When you enter the download screen it will do a test to see if the hardware is present (rather than having to wait for the first competitor to find out!).
2. Rather than having to use SPORTident Manager to download the start/check boxes I've added a new Action "Read Hardware" under the Safety Check screen. This is partly to make it easier to use, and also because SPORTident Manager is set to be dropped and replaced. Because this is such a critical feature to work I've left the old SPORTident Manager option in for now, although it will be dropped in future versions so please use the new one and tell me if you have problems. It's been tested in pre-release by two clubs with no problems so far.
Anybody who has a copy of the Badge Time Calculator program should note there is a new version out. There was a bug with trying to calculate times when nobody ran the class.
There is a new program in the suite "Start Time Allocator". It's very much work in progress so please get in touch if you want to use it and have ideas to improve it. Basically it provides two options - export the newly allocated times to IOF XML to import back into Aut-O-Download (for a non-punching start), or export to CSV so the times can be manipulated in a spreadsheet. The latter was used for the WCH event last weekend.
The regional event side of things is basically done now. I'd like some feedback from you to know if you'd ever use it for a regional event, or would you stick to using OE200x/other? I'm contemplating changing the licensing to provide different levels - e.g. just for EOD district events a bit cheaper than now, including regional/national events - a bit more than now. Tell me what you think!
There are a few minor bug fixes and the following additions/improvements based on your requests:
1) Envelope number and start time preference fields ready for upcoming Start Time Allocator. You switch on per event if you want to use these. If you don't switch them on you'll never see them so as to keep it simple. I've also done this now with age classes vs courses so that second greyed-out Age Class field will no longer be there if you aren't using age-classes. Start Time Allocator is going to be a stand-alone program which is due for release late March. It will be free and unlicensed.
2) Disq reason now appears larger and in red so that a download official can see quickly that someone is disqualified. The biggest use of this is catching people who didn't punch the finish and sending them back!
3) Under the E-Card Archive there's now a screen to list all hire cards in the archive.
4) There's a new setting available "Win98 + Epson". One club has had some trouble with getting splits printing to work with a combination of Windows 98 and Epson till-roll printers. If you've had the same problem - either with an Epson or with another printer then try this. If you've get any more information on the problem then please let me know.
This is mainly bug-fixes and minor improvements to the age-class functionality. Thanks to the 3 clubs who acted as guinea pigs last weekend to find the little oddities.
Any more feedback on 1.1 or thoughts on possible improvements are always welcome.
The main feature of the new version is the ability to run age class based events - essentially for regional and national events. The AutoDownload function has been extended to try to work out the class once it has worked out the course. This should help those of you with large numbers of EOD competitors at regional events. There is also a BOF rankings format export, and don't forget there's a free sister application available to calculate badge times.
Some of the smaller new features include manual start and finish times (for non-punching start), using a control unit as start and/or finish (instead of start/finish unit), mass start times (per course), a full event backup and restore based on IOF XML, optional controls (low-key way of dealing with a failed unit), alternative control code (for unit replaced mid-race), entry by punch (for hire cards?), non-competitve results.
There are also many small improvements which are too many to list here.
The annual licence fee includes all upgrades and bug fix releases so download away. An existing demo licence will continue to work on the new version. The demo licence will not let you access the new age class features - if you particularly want to try this out contact me and I will grant you a short term licence to test this. Download available from http://autodownload.eirasoftware.com
When you start version 1.1 for the first time it will upgrade any old 1.0 database you are connected to. There is also a version number visible on the first screen now, so we can both be sure you're up to date. If you see an error like "No upgrade path exists - request support" - this means you are still running 1.0 on a download station while the main database has been upgraded to 1.1. This was a bug in version 1.0 to do with my future planning of upgrades! Ensure you upgrade all your computers and you shouldn't have any problems.
Most if not all the functionality that I intended to put in to the system has been done now. From here on I see the most important thing to achieve is stability. However please keep any requests coming!