Showing posts from July, 2021

QR Codes

 One of the most time consuming things about race timing is sorting out the timing ships. This stands regardless of the method used. Inevitably at the end of a race you have a pile of chips (potentially soggy and muddy) which need cleaning, missing ones will need to be checked for and they will need sorting into a coherent order ready to put into race packs for the next race. I manage Wild Running's fleet of NFC chips in this way, and I'd got fed up of it. I keep the chips in a large box, numbered sequentially with bib numbers. However, I use the chip UID rather than programming the bib number into the NFC chips (which is an option on Webscorer ). It gives a marginally faster read. I still needed to be able to work out which chip UID was assigned to which bib, however I did not want to spend hours sorting them, putting them into order, working out which chip was missing and reassigning chips, changing my master list of UIDs etc. Takes too long. So using an idea from Ben at Spo

Race Report - The Wild Dart Swim

Timing back to back events whilst having a day job is a bad idea. Timing back to back events whilst having a day job and very little sleep is an even worse idea. This became very apparent last Saturday morning, at about 3am as I was attempting to turn around my car on a farm track I never should have gone down. It's probably fair to say my prayer life had a significant boost that morning as the smoke rose from the clutch. It was a lesson in realising a) whilst my Skoda Octavia is good, it's no mach for a Land Rover on rough ground b) I cannot do it all by myself and c) there are going to be times when I have to trust others to put out timing checkpoints. The event had two water exits / finish lines, two transition checkpoints, and one aquathlon finish line at the end of the run. I was using two remote timing setups (phone plus speaker plus two bluetooth NFC scanners) and four bluetooth NFC scanners connected to the tablet at the finish. I was also using the finish tablet to tim

Race Report - Green Lantern

Two weeks ago I was out on a decidedly damp Exeter evening timing the Green Lantern race with Wild Running . By damp I mean torrential rain. It was a self nav slightly longer than half marathon run, around the Green Circle route which envelopes Exeter. I haven't run it yet but want to. Timing was all NFC chip based using bluetooth NFC readers as described by Webscorer here . There was one timing point on the course (two readers plus a phone and speaker), and one at the finish (tablet plus four readers). The timing point on the course was using a SIM CRITICAL , whereas the finish was using an EE SIM. Firstly a note about the SIM CRITICAL - it works, it works really really well and I'd highly recommend them for low data remote timing points. Webscorer was setup to use multi-device timing and that worked well, with live results being streamed directly onto the web. Starts were individual and activated by a runner scanning in, me manually tapping them out via webscorer. There were

Race Report - Burrator 10K

 It's a few weeks back now, but I timed the Burrator 10K with Sportiva Events . Under normal circumstances this a closed road, fast, mass start event which is done and dusted in a couple of hours. Not so in covid times. The race starts were spread out over the course of five hours, with the 10k runners starting in small waves every two minutes and the 5k runners starting after that, also in waves. As anyone who has timed any race in the last 18 months will know - wave starts, especially with a lot of people, can be a headache due to wave changes etc. This was no exception, but those changes are easy enough to rectify. The start was a point A on the map below (for the 10K) and the finish and point B, and there was no mobile signal worth talking about. Starting times were recorded using webscorer on a mobile phone. The finish line was made up of three UHF RFID readers (we were using passive tags), four floor antennas and six side antennas. Network was provided by a small consumer 4G

Progress update

 It's been a quiet few months on the development side, had a lot going on with the day job and with actually timing events (more blog posts to come on that). However, where is the project at? Well the original hardware project is on hold, somewhat indefinitely. I've still got all the kit and it works, but the next big step is integrating it with Webscorer by getting a raspberry pi to emulate an RFID reader using the excellent open source project here (if you're trying to get an older RFID reader to work with Webscorer - this is the place to look). Why the need to integrate with Webscorer? Quite simply for price and feature set, I can't produce anything remotely close. Their support is excellent, I use the software and recommend it. Which brings me to the current solution, I'm using Webscorer's recommended bluetooth NFC setup , with both a tablet at the finish line and mobile phones at checkpoints. The mobile phones are setup with multi-network SIM cards so can