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Secret Technology Committee Minutes Uncovered

Those of us following the technology developments at the ACBL were disappointed by the brevity and lack of detail of the minutes from the committee's first two meetings of the ACBL Management Technology Committee. A source deep inside the ACBL told me there might be a story here, so I did a little digging. It turns out that what we have been given is a sanitized version of the minutes; a minute-by-minute account of the meetings was actually recorded. With a little daring and ingenuity (think the scene in Mission Impossible where Tom Cruise breaks into CIA headquarters, except with SCUBA gear, since ACBL headquarters is basically underwater now) I was able to obtain the full versions of the minutes.

I sent the minutes to Nicolas Hammond to see if he had any comments. He sent back a rather lengthy reply. Unfortunately, I was unable to upload it to the Bridge Winners server; I kept getting an error message saying "Input exceeds capacity of Internet." I'll see if Greg knows what that means. 

So here they are, the complete minutes of the first two ACBL Technology Committee meetings.

ACBL Technology Committee Meeting I, 6 Jan. 2015

9:59 am

The 4 staff committee members arrive in conference room.

10:02 am

Windows 98 update install on conference room computer finally finishes.

10:03 am

Attempt to launch Google Hangouts. Nothing happens.

10:05 am

Reinstalling Chrome.

10:07 am

Still downloading Chrome.

10:09 am

Got Hangouts working! Join Hangout. Only 2 of the 6 outside committee members are here.

10:11 am

Greg joins Hangout, apologizes, says he had trouble getting Hangouts working. (Don't tell his bosses at Google!)

10:18 am

Everyone has gotten Hangouts working and has joined the meeting.

10:19 am

Robert welcomes everyone and thanks them for serving on the committee.

10:20 am

General Counsel Peter Rank rushes into conference room. He says ACBL does not own rights to Hangouts, so we can’t use it.

10:21 am

Meeting postponed while legal issues are sorted out.

11:13 am

Meeting resumes. Outside counsel agrees this is serious issue. Has allowed us to continue meeting if everyone signs waiver indemnifying the League against any action by Google. Everyone agrees we must come up with an in-house solution to control our own videoconference destiny.

11:18 am

Everyone has signed the waiver, so meeting continues. Robert turns floor over to Tony Lin for brief opening remarks.

12:36 am

Tony finishes opening remarks.

12:37 pm

1 hour break for lunch.

1:42 pm

Back from lunch. Problems again getting Hangouts started.

1:48 pm

Hangouts working. 3 outside committee members still missing.

1:54 pm

Everybody's in the Hangout. Meeting resumes.

1:55 pm

Discussion of the technology projects and priorities facing the ACBL. Robert emphasizes that we need to control our own destiny and do as many of these things in-house as possible.

1:58 pm

Updating/replacing ACBLscore. Committee agrees this can be done in-house.

2:02 am

Improve and expand results reporting, including ACBL Live. Committee agrees this can be done in-house.

2:03 pm

Work on cashless entries and online registration. Committee agrees this can be done in-house. Greg asks about using the Bridge Winners entry system. Everyone laughs and agrees ACBL can do much better job than Bridge Winners.

2:05 pm

Greg and Robert perform impromptu version of “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.” Everyone agrees that while Greg’s singing and dancing are superior (he moves surprisingly well for a guy his size!), the ACBL is clearly better equipped to take on online entries.

2:09 pm

Data center. Committee agrees this should be kept in-house.

2:10 pm

Online partnership desk. Committee agrees this can be done in-house.

2:11 pm

Fixing damage caused by flood. Committee agrees this can be done in-house.

2:12 pm

Re-routing gas pipeline that was exposed during flood. Committee agrees this can be done in-house.

2:13 pm

Curing cancer. Committee agrees this can be done in-house.

2:15 pm

Robert suggests they form sub-committees to tackle each issue, asks for volunteers.

2:22 pm

All committees but one fully staffed: no one has signed up for ACBLscore committee. Robert asks again for volunteers. Long silence. Uday’s Hangouts window freezes.

2:24 pm

Robert says he can sweeten the deal: 1 gold masterpoint or 1,000 online masterpoints to anyone who joins the committee. All hands fly up. Robert chooses six members for the subcommittee, all of whom choose the gold masterpoint.

2:26 pm

Meeting adjourns.

 


ACBL Technology Committee Meeting I, 27 Feb. 2015

10:01 am

All staff members of committee in conference room. Starting up new videoconferencing program, which we are apparently calling ACBL Face2Face.

10:02 am

ACBL F2F isn’t responding.

10:03 am

Now monitor has gone black.

10:08 am

Computer is smoking. Ken runs for fire extinguisher.

10:13 am

New computer set up, using Hangouts this time.

10:14 am

All members present. Only one other computer damaged by ACBL F2F. Meeting called to order.

10:15 am

ACBL F2F is clearly now the top priority. Ken and Bruce have “blank check” to set up a committee to review ACBL F2F and assess its viability. Additional committee created to assess the assessment. Formation of committee to assess the committee assessing the assessment tabled until next meeting.

10:16 am

Robert stops meeting briefly to show off picture of him wearing his new gold and diamond medallion, which he intends to use as his new Facebook profile picture.

 

10:18 am

Ralph asks how much the medallion cost. Robert: “The initial estimates were about $1.5M, but all told it ended up around $1.9M.” The committee strongly suggests that he never let anyone see either the medallion or the photo.

10:20 am

Motion to adopt minutes from previous meeting. Uday asks if that means the publicly disclosed minutes, or the other minutes. “What other minutes?” Robert asks with a wink. Everyone laughs.

10:22 am

Bruce announces major upgrade of computers at ACBL headquarters thanks to large donation of Commodore 64s from wealthy ACBL member.

10:25 am

Greg’s wife turns on the shower in the background. At the sound of running water, all members of the ACBL staff grab their belongings and jump up on their chairs.

10:27 am

Peter Rank knocks on door and announces that Nicolas Hammond is here to see the committee. There is some excited murmuring from the committee members.

10:29 am

Turns out “Nicolas Hammond” was a piñata Robert had made in the (surprisingly lifelike) likeness of Mr. Hammond. The committee members in Horn Lake seem to very much enjoy taking turns whacking it. Everyone goes berserk and a melee ensues when it finally bursts open and they discover that the treasures inside are replacement parts and ink ribbons for dot matrix printers.

11:06 am

Committee settles down and begins discussion of ACBLscore+.

11:08 am

Greg says ACBLscore+ is much further along than they thought. It can run a KO from start to finish and run a pair game unless there are irregularities.

11:09 am

Everyone on the committee is very excited by this and suggests we switch to ACBLscore+ for New Orleans NABC.

11:10 am

Greg says it still needs some work and a lot of testing.

11:11 am

Everyone on committee looks confused.

 

Robert asks, “So, is it ready to be used or not?”

Greg: “As a replacement for ACBLscore? In a couple weeks? No.”

11:12 am

Committee agrees to scrap ACBLscore+.

11:13 am

Committee begins discussion of ACBL Live.

11:15 am

Tony gives brief update on progress since Providence.

12:52 pm

Tony finishes his update and begins a demonstration of ACBL Live.

12:55 pm

Uday notes that the dates are being displayed out of order. Tony says this is a minor bug and will be fixed by New Orleans.

12:56 pm

Russ points out that you still can’t navigate easily to see the results of other sections. Tony says this is a minor bug and will be fixed by New Orleans.

12:57 pm

Merlin asks why the Leaderboard function doesn’t appear to be working. Tony says this is a minor bug and will be fixed by New Orleans.

12:58 pm

Robert asks why the detailed hand results are available on some pages but not others. Tony says this is a minor bug and will be fixed by New Orleans.

12:59 pm

Jay points out that the masterpoint awards do not appear to have been updated with the 2015 changes. Tony says this is an ACBLscore issue and he will talk to Jim L. (I’m not even going to try to spell it.)  

1:01 pm

Ralph asks if the reliance on Jim for maintaining ACBLscore is still an issue that warrants further discussion about replacing ACBLscore.

1:03 pm

Tony looks at Robert. Then continues the ACBL Live demo.

1:04 pm

Jay asks how long after the game ends we can expect the results to be available on ACBL Live. Tony says within minutes.

1:05 pm

Greg asks how they plan to test this. Blank stares from everyone on the committee. Tony says this is a minor bug and will be fixed by New Orleans.

1:06 pm

ACBL Live demonstration completed.

1:07 pm

Robert proposes they agree on a strategy for the open meeting in New Orleans.

1:09 pm

Uday suggests having Greg do as much of the talking as possible. Everyone agrees.

1:10 pm

Robert thanks everyone for attending, and mentions how much he’s looking forward to New Orleans, especially since it has been so cold in Horn Lake this winter. Tony says this is a minor bug and will be fixed by New Orleans.

1:11 pm

Meeting adjourns.


 


  

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