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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New Computer Program Designed To Streamline Results

By Marianne Love Correspondent

Recording results didn’t go well at the end of last year’s Triathlon, so race officials and Coeur d’Alene computer guru Brian Travis have found ways to fix the problem.

Travis, who developed the Coeur d’Alene Triathlon web page, has come up with a computer program to streamline last-minute record-keeping and enhance web page information.

Some of last year’s problems were organizational, according to race director Lee Brack. Contestants having two different numbers during the race caused confusion with finish-line recording.

“Some timing of the splits was off because on one of the legs you either see the race number or maybe only see the marking on the body,” Brack explained. “In so many instances the numbers were not the same.”

He added that sometimes the writing got sloppy and numbers didn’t always match the tags pulled from the competitors.

This, combined with a computer glitch, caused officials to still be double-checking triathlon statistics while awards were being announced. The old scoring program worked well with a an IBM level 286 computer, but last year’s crew used a newer, more powerful 486 computer to get more speed, Brack said.

“The program developed some problems because it is an older database and some of the updates were probably made with clock speed computers,” he explained. “It ate statistics for two women’s age groups. The whole race had to be reconstructed on a new computer afterward.”

Brack said more care will be taken this year to record times on a physical timing sheet before plugging them into the computer.

Since last October, Travis has been developing a computer program to make things work “a heck of a lot easier.”

“The program will constantly check that no duplicates were entered. You enter birthdate, not age,” Travis explained. “It calculates everything for you. These little things will make a big difference.”

If all goes well, the new program should make for a smooth ending to this year’s triathlon activities. Travis said the software has the potential to handle races the size of Bloomsday, provided the equipment is fast enough.

“I think you can tell that I’m excited about it,” Travis said.

, DataTimes

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