SDIF Checker!

I have been trading e-mail with a support guy at Hy-Tek regading Team Manager’s ability to import SDIF.  After our dialog, I am not sure Team Manager can import the roster I am trying to generate.  It can import results but based on the samples Hy-Tek sent me, it isn’t clear if it will deal with the D1 and D2 records or not.  Since they won’t send me an evaluation version, only the Lite version which doesn’t support SDIF import, I have to sending them my SDIF file for them to import and see what I get back.

I am also looking at WinSwim which actually looks like a better solution for most club swim teams.  WinSwim also offers a really useful SDIF Checker which will help me out greatly.  Using the checker, I should be able to send Hy-Tek what I believe is a good SDIF file.

It really boggles my mind that Hy-Tek is the defacto standard when their tool is so hard to use and to get data in and out of.  Convincing our team that WinSwim may be a better choice for us will be no small feat.

Specification Inconsistencies

I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the plugin but got back to it last night and am really trying to get the roster export completed.  It isn’t hard but it is tedious as there is lots of data to output in the SDIF format.  I am close to being done and found an inconsistency with the D1 record.  It allocates 12 characters for the USS# field however the USS# field is 14 characters long.  Since it looks like it is only mandatory for submitting data to USS, I may omit it.  I also sent an e-mail to Hy-Tek to see how they handle it, we’ll see if they respond.  For now I think I will omit it and move on.  I need a copy of Team Manager to test with – that is my next dilema.

Back to work on the plugin …

I am back working on the plugin after almost a three week hiatus.  I went to Japan on vacation for 10 days so the time leading up to our trip and the week or so afterward were both busy getting ready to be gone from work and dealing being gone from work.  Japan was great and we had a wonderful time.

Now that I am back, I am working on the plugin again.  I have a April 14th deadline of sorts as that is the day our swim team registration ocurrs.  Most of what is necessary for registration is already working so I think I am ok but I really want to nail down this Hy-Tek import stuff.  I found a few bugs in the roster and profile code from when touching the data as an admin but now that those bugs are sorted out, I can truly focus on the export function.

In the time I have been gone, WordPress has released verion 2.5 which is a fairly significant change.  I think I will wait to deal with upgrading WordPress until after I work out the export function.

Stumped by Vasoline

Rock BandI would consider myself a very casual video game player, I don’t play very much, probably between 1-2 hours a week at most.  As I have posted before, I like playing Rock Band and have slowly been working my way through the solo tour.  I finished Easy a few weeks ago and started playing on medium.  I have played quite a bit of Bass on medium with a co-worker on the Xbox we have in our office but very little Guitar on medium.

So I have been chugging along, playing 2-3 songs here and there and doing reasonably well – 4 or 5 stars, consistently better than 95% even 100% every once in a while.

Yesterday I was watching the Memphis-Texas game and during half time thought I’d play a little Rock Band and knock out another 2-3 songs.  That was my plan anyway.  Until I got to Stone Temple Pilots’ Vasoline.  I simply cannot play this song.  It is the first song on Medium where you really need to be able to do Hammer Ons, a technique which I tried to get my son to explain to me but I just wasn’t grasping what he was telling me.  After failing half a dozen times, I decided to try the training mode.  It didn’t help me much so I went back and watched the tutorial.  Ah, I finally grasp the concept of the hammer on. 

Unfortunately, grasping the concept doesn’t directly translate into the ability to execute it.  I went back to the training mode but still wasn’t very successful.  I decided to give up and went back to watching the Texas-Memphis game.  Blah.  Maybe I should try the drums again!  Nah, I stink at the drums – I need to get the hang of this.  I don’t have any expectations that I will be able to play Guitar on Hard or Expert but I do think I should be able to finish the Medium tour.

Dell Lattitude X1 thoughts

I use an HP nw8240 laptop as my regular machine but I didn’t want to haul it to Japan with me.  It is pretty heavy and I wanted something  simple to use to have something to access the Internet with if I had the opportunity.  One of our IT guys loaned me a Dell Lattitude X1 to take with me.  It is a pretty nice little machine and perfect for what I was looking for.  It isn’t much bigger than the portable DVD player I own.  One of the things I really liked about it was the built in SD and CF card slots which worked great to unload the memory cards we use with our cameras.

Now that I have it, I don’t want to give it back!  I may see if I can buy it from my company – we are able to buy assets which aren’t being used any more for pretty reasonable prices.

End of the road for Villanova

Villanova UniversityMy Villanova Wildcats came up shorts against Kansas last night.  It was a stretch for then to beat Kansas as good as Kansas is this year but I had hoped they would play better than they did.  They looked a step slow across the board for most of the game.  Kansas didn’t give them many open looks and the few they did get, they didn’t convert.

If Scottie Reynolds sticks around for next year, Villanova should be pretty good.  They still need a real big man though.  Until they get one, I don’t think they can be much better than a top 20 team.  Still a good year all things considered, better than expected and nice to see them in the Sweet 16.

Now that Villanova is out, I am rooting for the Tarheels (which I do anyway).  Living here in the Triangle, you have to a have a local affiliation and the Tarheels are mine.  My wife got her MBA from UNC so we have a legit connection.  😉

Back from Japan

I am back from our family vacation to Japan.  We had a wonderful time and I will have to post some pictures soon.  We spent 2 1/2 days in Tokyo then 6 days in Okinawa where my sister lives.

Tokyo is an amazing city.  I have been to lots of the big cities (London, Paris, NY City, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas) over the years but Tokyo is by far the biggest city I have ever been to.  We stayed at the Marriott Ginza and during our brief visit saw Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Palace, the Tokyo Zoo, the Fish Market and a few other things.  The Fish Market was amazing, it appears very chaotic but is almost ballet like in how things move around.  Worth doing if you find yourself awake at 4:00 AM (like we did) and you are close (we were within walking distance).

Okinawa offered a different aspect of Japan.  While it was far more densely populated than I expected it would be, we were able to see and do quite a bit.  It would have been very hard to do Okinawa on our own so I am glad my sister was able to be our tour guide.  Of particular note was Shurijo Castle, the Aquariaum at Ocean Expo Park, and a Whale Watching Tour.

Travel was pretty easy – we flew American Airlines from Raleigh to Tokyo via DFW and JAL between Tokyo and Okinawa.  We had to change airports as JAL doesn’t fly between Narita and Okinawa but outbound it wasn’t a big deal since we were in Tokyo.  On the return we had 3 hours to change from Haneda to Narita but other than I ran out of Yen to buy bus tickets with, it was no problem.  3 hours is about the minimum to make the connection, we didn’t have a lot of time once we got to Narita before our flight boarded.  We flew back through Chicago and had a 4 hour layover which we passed in the Admirals Club.  Every year when it is time to renew my AA Club I question whether it is worth it or not but several times a year, particularly if the family is with me, I am really glad I have it.  Wednesday in Chicago was one of those days.  Passing 4 hours in the terminal with 4 kids and our stuff would havenot have been a lot of fun.

So we are home no worse for the wear – need to adjust to the time though.  I am still a bit off, Japan is 13 hours ahead of the east coast.  All for now, more details as I upload pictures to Flickr.

St. Joe's and Va Tech wins push VU out?

Villanova UniversityVillanova’s NCAA hopes took a turn for the worse yesterday when both Va Tech and St. Joe’s won. As much as it pains me, I can’t argue with St. Joe’s – they needed to beat Xavier and they got it done.  I’m not so sure about Va Tech although if they beat UNC today they will be in for sure.  CBS and ESPN show Villanova out and Va Tech in.  If Va Tech loses today then I think their profile isn’t that great – I live in ACC country and they ACC is UNC and Duke and then an enormous gap to the #3 team.  I am a Tarheel fan so rooting for them today isn’t a problem for me.

Off to Japan

On Sunday I am headed to Japan.  Although I travel internationally for work quite a bit (3-4 times a year), I have never been to Japan.  My sister and her husband live in Okinawa so we are going to visit them before they head back to the US later this year.  We are going to spend a couple days in Tokyo before heading to Okinawa.  The kids are thrilled – this will be quite the experience for the six of us.  I can’t imagine doing this without Frequent Flyer miles – it would cost a fortune!  All those trips on American Airlines come in handy when it comes to a trip like this.  I am crossing my fingers for a safe and uneventful trip.

Fixing Broken iTunes Compilations

I have been trying to import a bunch of songs from Guitar Hero III into iTunes and have them appear as single album. While it worked great for Rock Band, I couldn’t get it to work for Guitar Hero III.  After messing around with every logical control available with Get Info, I finally found a post which explained it.  Changing the Album Artist field to Various Artists did the trick and now I only have one Guitar Hero three album in the album view instead of one for every song!