Pros and cons of the NASA Pallysport timing and scoring program
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  1. #1
    200 square left STPRadmin's Avatar
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    Default Pros and cons of the NASA Pallysport timing and scoring program

    Inquiring minds want to know how this comes together for the rally volunteer. We are searching for a better way to do timing and scoring, and the volunteers are integral to a successful scoring program. This was brought home this year at STPR, and we want to make it easier. We have a line on some relatively inexpensive 7" tablets that could work.

  2. #2
    NASA Rally Sport grassroots!!! Anders Green's Avatar
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    1) 919.697.5282

    2) Which part of "the scoring system"? As in nrs.com/the_confusion_behind_the_rally_scoring_system

    3) So many training videos. Limited selection:
    http://www.nasarallysport.com/d734/VolunteerTraining
    http://www.nasarallysport.com/d734/rallyscoringtraining

    The main con is you're not going to be able to replace three decades of experience with Timewise clocks. Training reduces this con, but doesn't eliminate it. Not until it has been in use for several events. If the software does "feature X" but you haven't taught people about "feature X" then in effect feature X isn't there. You can tell people there's a manual hard button to capture split times, but if that person gets swapped in the field and doesn't tell the next person, well, they won't know.

    As far as the Android software goes... it's public and available to loads of devices via the official Google Play store because NRS believes things we build should make rally better. Over 1,000 people have installed it around the world.

    The Nooks have been used at 12 rally events now, so the number of people who are familiar with them in the US is slowly growing. The user interface has evolved a lot (and still is) based on user feedback. Hopefully some of them will chime in with their "first timer" experience, since that will be most relevant to you. Some have been frustrated by dealing with new hardware/software while in the pressure-filled situation of working a rally control, many found it so easy to use they had no comments on it at all. (As in "I did my job, the device did its job, therefore all I have to report is rally cars are awesome".)

    Using any electronic device there will be issues of power. Have spares, and plan to charge, and it works out.

    Anders
    Last edited by Anders Green; 06-28-2015 at 09:16 AM.
    NASA Rally Sport Director
    Your question is probably answered in Rally University.

  3. #3

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    Meredith,

    I think you would be wise to use Ander's software. While I haven't actually used his nooks in the field, I have tried early versions out at Rally WV HQ. Also many of the PRIMO peple have used them. Ask Kent and Sandy Gardam for their input. Kent is definitely old school, but I think he has used the nooks on Sandblast and Magnum Opus. Should give you a prospective on "can old dogs learn new tricks".
    Paul Jaeger
    KC8YRY
    PRIMO Stage Crews
    For a good time call PRIMO

  4. #4
    your other left, you idiot
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    Default It works

    I just used the Nooks at Magnum Opus.
    For the first time.
    "Training" was in the field, and I had to teach some with no prior rally experience, who were almost as old as me.
    They work. And a LOT more reliably than some of the vintage RA stuff.
    The app is available to load to your smartphone to experiment with.
    We were in an area with no cell coverage (kinda like some places at STPR), so sweep could not electronically (magically) upload the times from our Nooks to the great scoring in the sky. Thus they had to swap Nooks with us, so they could then upload results when they had coverage...
    Even though Anders is an engineer, us regular folk can understand and use the Nooks.

    press on,
    just a poor, dumb, Michigan(now Wisconsin) navie
    KC8YHT
    jimmy

  5. #5
    200 square left STPRadmin's Avatar
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    How many tablets per stage? I think we are using 2 time wise per stage. These will be new with about an 8 hour battery life with use. Unfortunately, they come in pink, purple and blue. Not really manly colors. Meridith

  6. #6
    R4Vlg>TREE
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    Cherry blossom red (pink) is the ordained color of Subaru Tecnica International, and is considered a masculine color. I see no problem here.

  7. #7

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    Here's the feedback I sent Anders after MO:

    This past weekend I had the chance to use the Nook for the first time to run starts (3 stages) and finishes (1 stage). I found it challenging at times, and thought I would provide a bit of feedback.


    My first problem was with durability. I think I managed to break the screen before the first stage started (bottom inch of the display quit working, and then the touch functions were horribly unreliable). As a result, I found that the touch screen wouldn't register a touch reliably. I ended up having to hand count down about a third of the cars on SS3. At one point, since I was repeatedly touching to try to get times logged, I accidentally took it back to the home/main screen and was forced to hold the start until I could at least get back to a screen with a clock. This did cause a minor three minute delay in the middle of the stage.

    This brings up my first improvement: Every screen should have a current time clock on it. Especially the main screen. Even if we can't figure out how to use it, or if it stops recording touches, if it has a visible clock, we can use our backup paper logs.

    Saturday, I got a replacement nook and was back at a start.

    The first stage (SS8) went relatively smoothly for me. The nook worked well, and only a couple times did I have issues with it picking up touches, or touching too many times. For me, being relatively young (38), and in tech, the app does seem well designed and I can navigate around to make it do want I wanted at any of the start or ATC screens.

    SS11, we had rain, so I had to add the ziploc over the nook. I filled it with air, but being that ziplocs are not really designed to be balloons, I found it lost air over time, and the second half of the stage was much more difficult with many more false touches.

    The last stage of the weekend for us was SS13. Here we got the chance to work our first finish. Dave took the FTC, and I was at flying finish. Due to the narrow, high-speed finish, I had to stand on the edge of the road to see the cars approaching, then move up to countdown and mark the finish. Here, the touchscreen was really problematic, as I had to always look down to see where to press, while trying to watch the car and get my "mark" correct as they barreled across the line at 80+mph. Also, since at a finish you only have one chance to mark the correct time, you need 100% reliability in your stopwatch. I had a plastic bag over the nook again, for dust and rain, and ended up missing 3 cars out of 20...a pretty high failure rate. And this was a relatively easy finish, with two minute windows and no cars closer than a minute together. I'd think on a long stage where you get cars stacked up, the problems would be even worse.

    My last issue with the finish application was the interface to edit numbers. I found, more than once, that I ended up in the wrong time entry, and sometimes even edited that number before I realized it (and I was just recording sequences, as I had no chance of catching bike or car numbers). I think an automatic sequence number or some other identifier on each entry would be helpful to make sure the time entry that pops up in the edit screen is the one you want. Also, having larger/fewer entries in the finish log for the active screen would reduce the chances of getting into the wrong time. If we had 4-5 entries on the main finish screen, and could tap the bottom (like at the start) to get a "full" log screen, that would be better.


    Thanks, and I hope some of this is helpful in improving it for future rallies.

  8. #8
    50 caution yump
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    I had no previous training or anything and started using them the first time after playing with it while waiting for the cars to arrive at 2014 ESPR at a stage start. I found it very easy to use though we had no weather or dust issues. I was able to teach a few others and they seemed to understand the usage easily. We never had power or any other issues and I found it helpful and easy to use both days. At Magnum Opus, we had issues with glare (was competing) seeing the countdown clock on at least one stage...

  9. #9

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    The app itself seemed to work great. Easy to figure out (being "techy"). It was just the device used that gave me issues with entering (Nook). From playing with the NASA app on an android tablet and my phone, works awesome. As fast as your little piggies can move. Be nice if there was a way to use your own tablet or smartphone, and export the data (bluetooth/NPC) to the crew collecting it.
    Max - Black Hole Racing
    2012 Ram 3500 - hotel/tow/service/99/HR2/Behemoth
    84 GTI #758 - gone but not forgotten

  10. #10
    NASA Rally Sport grassroots!!! Anders Green's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racinkid13 View Post
    Be nice if there was a way to use your own tablet or smartphone, and export the data (bluetooth/NPC) to the crew collecting it.
    This totally works, by the way. Uploading from any device all goes to one central spot. So if you had a huge bright tablet and used that, when it uploaded (either via they sweep's hotspot or your own 3G) the scoring guy would get it right next to all the other data from the "official" Nooks.

    Anders
    NASA Rally Sport Director
    Your question is probably answered in Rally University.

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