About two days after I posted about my inability to get past Vasoline in RockBand, I finally made it through. I was having trouble with the hammer ons which appear throughout the song. I didn’t do that great but at least I made it through and moved on.
This evening was the first chance I really had to play again so I went back to work on the medium tour. After knocking out a couple songs, I ran into another stumper – Metallica’s Enter Sandman. I have been frustrated with the Rock Band guitar and I think we need a replacement. You really have to press the strum bar hard to get it to register which can be very tiring when playing sequences of rapid notes. After failing 3-4 times, I decided to try the Guitar Hero II Explorer guitar. It really is much easier to play and I made it through Enter Sandman without any problems. Yep, we need to get a new Rock Band guitar.
After finishing Enter Sandman, I also completed “Highway Star”, “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, “Train Kept a Rollin'” and “Green Grass and High Tides” without any problems which completes the Medium solo tour on guitar. All I have left to play are some of the songs on the bonus tour as well as some of the songs we have downloaded.
I was listening to the TWIT podcast the other day and they mentioned something called Cradlepoint. Apparently Cradlepoint is a new gadget which will allow you to turn your cellular broadand device into a WiFi access point which a bunch of people can share. This is a very interesting concept. I have an AT&T Laptop Connect Card for work and it is really handy, I use it all of the time. At least, I used to. I have a problem now when I insert the card into my PC slot, my computer blue screens.
I am now using a Sony-Ericsson Z750i which was given to me by one of my contacts at SEMC before I went to Japan (the Z750i is a GSM phone which supports the 200 MHz band which is available in Japan) to connect to the Internet. I took the SIMM card out of my PC card and put it in the phone- everything works as it should. Need to do a little more testing with it for I claim victory nit so far, so good.
I can see using something like Cradlepoint when we arte somewhere WiFi isn’t available but it seems like a “nice to have” versus a “must have”.
Last night I enhanced the swimmer data model so additional information can be captured. The swimmer record now support five (5) optional fields which are under the control of the site admin. This is similar functionality to what the user profile provides. Both the User profile and Swimmer profile optional fields hve been enhanced to support required, optional, and yes-no fields.
I also made a bunch of other minor tweaks to various things as I get ready for Swim Team registration on the 13th. Our team registration will be the smoke test of the system.
The Swim Team Overview, the first page the plugin presents to end users, has been updated to do something useful. It previously had some placeholder text on it. Now it reports the active season and the number of active swimmers per age group.
Yesterday I completed the first pass of exporting a LSC Registration Pyramid SDIF file. Since I only have the demo versions of the Hy-Tek tools (Team Manager and Meet Manager), I sent the SDIF file to the support contact I have been working with at Hy-Tek. Meet Manager can’t read the file which makes sense because it contains roster information, not meet entries. Team Manager can’t read it either because it doesn’t import SDIF. Great. It turns out Hy-Tek really only supports a subset of SDIF. Now what do I do?
When I first started looking into this problem, I found a couple other similar applications which manage swim team rosters and meets. One was from EasyWare, the other from WinSwim. I tried to import the data into WinSwim and didn’t have much luck. I then sent the file to their support e-mail address and hoped I had simply made a mistake in my SDIF file. I got a nice reply stating that WinSwim didn’t support the LSC Registation Pyramid and suggested I structure my file a little differently OR use their ASCII import method.
The ASCII import method didn’t look too difficult but instead of tackling it last night, I played Rock Band with my son. I am really glad I played Rock Band instead of working ont he plugin! This morning I woke up to an e-mail asking me to download and try a new version of WinSwim which support the LSC registration pyramid. Yeah! I installed it and imported my sample data without any issues. How cool is that? Unless I run into a problem, I expect our team will make an investment in WinSwim instead of Hy-Tek.
Today I finished the first pass on generating an SDIF file for the roster. I sent it to Hy-Tek and it doesn’t import. Great. Apparently they don’t seem to support all of the SDIF specification, just some of it. No mention of that anywhere on their web site.
On the plus side, I found a better version of the SDIF specification on the WinSwim web site. If I can get WinSwim to digest the SDIF file I generated, I may push our team to use it.
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.
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.
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.