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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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“I think it's great you guys are working things out.”

I was very careful not to say that. My relationship was ACBL was a business relationship. It ended. I bear no will. It's business. It happens. Still doesn't mean I don't want the project to succeed.

“.. 41st floor ..”

That's the Technology Committee meting, not the showdown. I still plan to do it on Wednesday. I just need to find a location. Will post here for those interested.

“technology testbed”

Don't remember using those words,

“technology fanatics and the user was going to be sold down the river”

Anything but. I'm a pragmatist. I figured that the software needed about a year of alpha/beta testing/feedback before it's ready for a final release, i.e. involve the user. I still believe that. Doesn't mean large parts can't be delivered before then, but I now have enough practical experience that delivering the cheapest, best quality product is around that time frame. Could get it done in ~ 6-7 months, but would be more expensive and not as good. Considering the pick 2 of 3: time/money/quality, I would pick money (cheapest) and quality (best). Let time slip, but make sure that there are deadlines so this is tracked.

I talked to the developer today who worked on movements until he was furloughed - he estimated around the same amount of (elapsed) time - he's retired/part-time. To get this finished, movements is critical path. So is masterpoints. Got a lot of masterpoint code done, have been since ~ 1 year into contract. What is still missing is the assignment/eligibility rules. I never got them. Should be about 2-3 pages. I've reverse engineered some. I have yet to meet a TD that knows more than 50% of these rules.

My original view on masterpoints was that ACBLscore+ needed to match ACBLscore 100%. Even down to the 0.01 level. It was a noble and correct goal. We spent a lot of time on it.

Now I'm at the point where I don't care about 0.01 discrepancies. For larger MP events, I don't care about 0.05. Sounds bad. But ACBLscore doesn't implement the specs in all case, plus I can't even get something as simple as add 4 players MPs together, divide by 4, and get the same results as ACBLscore! (There are edge cases where we disagree because of the mathematical logid in ACBLscore).

For the missing eligibility/assignment rules, I may follow someone's suggestion of just implement what I think is right and let someone challenge it later. That approach has worked “for centuries”.

So I've gone from the “right” approach to the practical approach.

“then all of a sudden next month was a total wreck”

Perhaps I should release a copy of the code delivered to ACBL, put it on the Internet (I have a license for it), and solicit feedback from users. This way you can see where it's at. I never claimed it was finished, I do claim that within a week we can put something up where ACBL can start running KOs using the software (in parallel, to get training/testing/confidence) then drop ACBLscore. That's the version that ACBL has. The version that I have (Bridgescore+) I could do tomorrow; in fact I did do a release back in September to interested districts. The version I would put up could be reviewed by those with some knowledge of the software it's replacing (sorry Greg/Uday), so that you can see where the future could have been.

I've stuck to the same story since I first wrote something. No-one has yet proved anything I've written as false.

March 12, 2015
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“Let's try again. Can you run a full KO from start to finish, over the course of two days? Including masterpoint calculation and reporting to the main office? That's what we asked you on the phone. If you have a different answer now than you did a couple of weeks ago, say it here. I wrote this down in my notes and circled it, so I don't really see how we could have miscommunicated, but anything's possible, I suppose.”

Yes it can. (ACBLscore run KO start to finish with masterpoint calculations and report to main office).

My answer is still the same - yes. There was miscommunication. Greg/Uday were confused on how masterpoints are reported/recorded. It's difficult for them because they don't know ACBLscore works, nor how Horn Lake internally processes the data.

Greg/I covered this in a subsequent phone call. He's posted something since.

As part of this, I looked over the ACBLscore+ code as delivered to ACBL back in May 2014.

Where the ACBLscore+ stands, it probably needs about a week of clean-up, if that, including removing all pair/Swiss menu items then it is ready to be released to TDs for running KOs. This would start the feedback process for TDs. The iterative feedback process is the most time consuming element towards a full final release. ACBLscore+ is behind where it should be for the feedback process. But within a week, I'd release it for KOs only. Start to finish.

It took me 3 minutes to install ACBLscore+ on my Mac, Greg had problems because he was running newer versions of many software. I took the same original ACBLscore+ source code and installed on the internet - same 3 minutes. (Takes 3 minutes to import the member database and create some test data suitable for a demo). It took 3 minutes to go from the version on the Internet to create a production version. So, in 10 minutes, I had 3 different installations - one on Mac, one on Internet (for testing/development), one on Internet (for production).

I would recommend releasing a version that supported KOs only (I have done that with Bridgescore+), get TDs to use it, initially run in parallel with ACBLscore, very quickly ACBLscore would no longer be needed to run in parallel as TD were confident in its use. ACBLscore is always available as a backup. Get feedback from TDs, incorporate into the code. Iterate. Release more features over time (e.g. Swiss).

I just wanted to clarify here, as Greg had posted a specific question that appeared unanswered.
March 12, 2015
Nicolas Hammond edited this comment March 12, 2015
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That's a step up from when I saw you getting the information from the Jeffrey's chart!

Unfortunately the DIC computer rarely has Internet access so having him/her upload th e data won't work either.

You could find another volunteer to get the information for you; but then they have to find you so that doesn't help much.

I could set up a site so someone can upload the file and the results would be on an Internet site i have and you could copy/paste from that, but we'd have to find the person; it's not much extra work for me, but seems a bit of a hassle for all involved.

The current process, bad though it is, is probably the most practical.
March 12, 2015
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A big personal public thank you to Robert Hartman and Greg Humphreys for their help in the last 2-3 days.

There is often a lot more happening in private than is discussed in a public forum.

Many of you have made unfounded, public speculation that really isn't helpful to the discourse, but we ignore you.

This doesn't mean I retract anything I've written; or am changing my position, but I want to publicly acknowledge that both Robert & Greg have gone beyond the call of duty the last couple of days.
March 12, 2015
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We've chatted about this before.

I think I even gave you the results from the Atlanta NABC Swiss in 2013 during the event, because was quicker/easier for me (I was running software in parallel).

If you can get a copy of the Game File from the director (bring a USB stick, they are used to backing up game files to a stick), it should be easy. It's a quick operation for them. It doesn't need a printer.

I've got some (free, available to all) tools on the Internet to extract data from a game file. It will only be a little bit more tweaking for me to take the game file and then print out the current leader board. You upload the file, it sends back the leader board. Then you will only need to cut/paste from one browser window to another browser window. It will be a semi-automated process. It will save a lot of the time that I currently see you typing in the player names.

If you get permission from the NABC+ Swiss DIC, let's chat during the week (I get there on Monday) and we will do a couple of dry runs. I think you have my cell #.
March 11, 2015
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Because that's the way it has always been.

I suspect Jim added a club/tournament mode to distinguish between which MP options are displayed, i.e. you have to a tournament to access menus to create a Regional event.

I suspect that colors were added to help support calls. Rather than “are you in club mode or tournament mode”, the question is “is the background red or green”. The latter is much easier to answer.

Same thing with ACBLscore+. In creating an event for a club, you can't create a regionally rated event.

My support plans for ACBLscore+ were a little different than the current ACBLscore; but that's history.
March 11, 2015
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The club/tournament mode in ACBLscore just affects the color of the background screen and the list of menu items displayed.

We have the same concept in ACBLscore+. If working with clubs we show a different menu. I didn't bother with a different background color.

But the underlying code is the same. The UI for ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ is the same - we don't change background color.

in Bridgescore+/ACBLscore+ there's more features for the DIC as well.
March 11, 2015
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“But I AM accusing Nic of NOT breaking his work into smaller projects. I don't care who your customer is. It's mandatory”

It was.

“Maybe Nic asked for a site in which he could place his latest beta version of ACBLScore+ for downloading and comments. I would have”

I didn't ask. I just did it.

I created a site for outside comments on ACBLscore+. May 2012. One month into the contract. Exact purpose was for club owners/managers/players to submit suggestions.

Separately there was a site for ACBL TDs to provide comments (didn't want to make this public).

Also, I create a site to demo ACBLscore+ at any point to ACBL, the BOD etc. etc. It was up to them who they gave access to.

“A beta version should have been available, and mentioned on the ACBL home page. A beta program is important, so that club managers like myself can see what Nic is up to and comment as he goes along.”

My plans were to start with an alpha version. 3-10 clubs. I had the clubs lined up. I wanted to do an alpha release one year into the contract after a successful demo in Gatlinburg 2013. I figured that a year of comments/feedback from clubs was about right for this type of project. ACBL said no. I still think that about a year of comments/feedback is about right.

“Maybe Nic asked to post his schedule and specifications”

I did ACBL to do certain things to help with education.

At the same time, there was a project web site that was open for comments.

“Nic says, “I'm sorry, but clubs are at the end of the list.” Clubs are all I care about.”

Whoa. Let me be very clear:

When I was working on ACBLscore+, clubs were a huge priority. I wanted an alpha release to clubs a year into the contract, and this was _before_ the TDs would have a version. There's more to learn from the clubs than the TDs. At the time this made sense, we had developers that were club owners/directors and so could ‘swim in their own muck’ so to speak. We also had other clubs that were a short driving distance from the developers. Support is crucial for an alpha release. You keep it private as there will be lots of bugs/issues to work out.

However, the contract is now over. I don't work for ACBL. I'm working on Bridgescore+.

If I were to take over ACBLscore+, in its current state, I would recommend a release to TDs, then a release to clubs. No offense, but the tournament side is currently further along than the club site of the code, mainly because the tournament version has had more exposure and testing than the club version.

“secret project manager”.

It was not a secret. ACBL even gave me a badge to wear at tournaments.

“There was no deadline for the first version. It was maybe 1 to 2 years away”

There was.

I think you keep forgetting that in January 2014 I had to put ACBL on 30 day notice to correct material breaches in the contract. After a 60 day period when these were not corrected, my company terminated the contract.

Larry: I'm actually on your side. There are some things on your wish list that were done during the ACBLscore+ contract. I see no reason for ACBL not to make these available to club owners/managers/directors. I'm telling you what they are, how to get them.

I'm trying to get ACBLscore+ to have a fair review. I think ACBL should proceed with it. That's my opinion. They can do it with me, or without me. I believe in the ACBLscore+ code - the design, the implementation etc.. I've taken what was ACBLscore+, worked on it without the restriction on ACBL for the last year, and added many features and called it Bridgescore+. Everyone who has seen it or used it seems to like it. I'm asking for ACBLscore+ to have the same chance.
March 11, 2015
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Gatlinburg is meeting highly unlikely. Pete has been great to work with, lots of his suggestions are incorporated into Bridgescore+. Same with Doug Grove, the now retired DIC of Gatlinburg. Charlie McCracken, the new DIC, has also made some excellent suggestions.

Charlie is very open to new ideas; but he is also very firm. He won't let me do anything unless he knows it works and is better than the current process. Player experience comes first. TD experience next.

In Gatlinburg, Bridgescore+ is going to be used at 9, 1, 4:45, 7:30. I'm going to be supporting Bridgescore+, and playing, most likely on a 5+ person KO team. At some point I need to eat, and sleep, and possibly have a social life. There's no time in my schedule for another meeting (I already have some). There's some new technology we're rolling out in Gatlinburg. I need to make sure it all works. Gatlinburg is a big stage to screw up on.

I'll be happy to show anyone Bridgescore+ while I'm there, and have time, but this must not interfere with the tournament operations. District 7 is looking at using this technology at all of their tournaments so educating them is my priority.
March 11, 2015
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More for your list for clubs

1. Ability to create hand records for games.

2. Ability to create hand record handouts for teaching.

3. Database of club members (not shared with ACBL)

4. Emergency contact information on club members.

5. SQL DB tools to extract information, .e.g. who played last month, who has a birthday next month.

6. Tools to extract data to Excel because I want to process SQL data myself

7. integration of ESD data, Hand record data and results in one place to generate better result output.

8. Help with best movement. (BTW, “best” is subjective).

9. Library of common ACBL material (bid NT with singleton, rulings, ZT facts, policy, scoring VP charts, club manager hand book).

10. Easily update player DB

11. Easily update Library

12. Access to all ACBL player # so if an out-of-state player comes in I can look them up

13. Support for >3 strat games.

That's all in ACBLscore+. There's probably more, this is just off the top of head. I did visit clubs. I did to talk them. I did ask what they wanted.

There are more changes come in the hardware world; they are going to be easier to implement in ACBLscore+ than ACBLscore.

ACBLscore+ does not have 2,5,9 in your list. These were not in the contract. I'm still looking at adding Bridgemates for Swiss for Bridgescore+. I had a developer (not me) write the interface to Bridgemates; it's just a question of do I want to pay him to add this feature, or write it myself.
March 11, 2015
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“1. Utility that automates posting of club results to ACBL website.”

I can't help. That's an ACBL thing.

username: gf
password: file

to take a gamefile and extract XML.

You'll need someone to write the code to parse XML and generate results.

There are other third party tools with the current environment.

“3. Advice of best movement for novice directors.”

I got ACBL to do this as part of the ACBLscore+ project.

They wrote an Excel spreadsheet.

I have an HTML page. (Movements->Recommended in Bridgescore+).

I don't see any reason why ACBL could not publish their spreadsheet.

Let your DD know that this exists and ask him/her to ask ACBL to publish it.

“4. More stable/robust link between ACBLScore and BridgeMates”

The link between ACBLscore and ESDs (all electronic scoring devices) is weak. It's an artifact of the design in ACBLscore.

ACBLscore+ has this as a completely standalone utility. Using it would be a first step towards this. ACBL has the source code.

“5. Swiss Teams for Bridge Mates”
It's on their $600K list for this year.


This is where we should be headed. That's ACBLscore+ using ESD data. I got this from WBF, not Bridgemates.

“Greg has said several times, if it is a good choice to use it, it will be used. ”

Greg is but one outside voice on a committee with no power.
March 11, 2015
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I can post YouTube videos showing this stuff.

I'm not at a point where I can release this stuff to clubs. I have no customer support staff. All I can do is show you what's currently there.

I've you are in New Orleans, I would be happy to show you, if I have some spare time.

I've released a limited release of Bridgescore+ to Districts (and Units) so that they can start KOs. The software can do a lot more, it's just a question of me supporting it. For example it could run a KO from start to finish, create the game file, but to properly support that you need a full-time support center to answer problems that can occur. I give this stuff away. I don't charge for it.

ACBL has all of this code - it's up to them to release it to you; not me. Fortunately my company has a license, so at least you can see it. Without that, ACBLscore+ would have disappeared.

I'm attacking low hanging fruit. Gatlinburg is in my District; I know the problems/issues, I want to help, I've focused on KOs/Swiss as those are the problem areas for Gatlinburg. ACBLscore does a great job of pairs; ACBLscore+ isn't ready to compete - yet. It can run in parallel, but can't handle all the exceptions that ACBLscore can for pairs. So, I'm not going to spend any of my volunteer time on Pairs. I'm going to focus on KOs/Swiss. Then perhaps Bridgemates at Swiss.

I could write the Swiss matching algorithm; but I would have to get it blessed by ACBL for use in its tournaments. Not likely at the moment. I'd much rather get an open source Swiss algorithm done (see previous Bridgewinners posts) and get a better implementation than the current ACBLscore version; make it open source so we get the best developers out there. Open source means that all other bridge programs (not just ACBL) can use it. Using other developers means I don't have to do it.

The 90-95% complete story, which many of us in computers are well aware of, is unfortunately accurate. If you have 90-95% of 50 components, you can never release. If you have 100% of 3-4 components, you can release just those components and add the rest later. Fortunately some of the components of Bridgescore+ are at the 100% state, so they can be released. In my roadmap, clubs would be last. Sorry.

March 10, 2015
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The $1.9M is what ACBL has stated.

Some of that (I don't know the amount) is for work done several years ago to replace ACBLscore with a Java equivalent. Same screens, same functionality, re-write Pascal code in Java. The work was done by a Memphis based firm that were not bridge players. Project got canned. I was given a copy of the code when the ACBLscore+ work started, but it was nothing I could use. I think there were 10,000 source files. They had done some work, there was a DB engine. I do not think that this work was ever written off. This predated the current CEO.

Some of that is for writing the original specs for the ACBLscore+ contract. This also predated the current CEO.

Some of that is the ACBLscore+ contract. I think ACBL has published the number; I'm reluctant to in case they haven't but I think it's public knowledge.

Some of it is travel for ACBLscore+ work. From memory it was $50K-$100K. ACBL paid my travel and other developers to be at NABCs etc. I had to be there for 2 weeks each time as presentation was usually on the first Monday, then meetings for next 2 weeks.

In Providence, it was announced that they spent $150K reviewing ACBLscore+. I assumed that this was legal bills (yes, it could have been that high - I know the cost on my end). It now appears that this was re-doing ACBLscore+ to create an equivalent to disprove the concept of ACBLscore+. I wish they had asked, I could have given them a demo and saved $150K. This was part of the write-off.

ACBL did use some consultants in the negotiation phase of the ACBLscore contract; but this is minor in comparison.

I assume that ACBL also had some travel costs; for example they came to a tournament in Atlanta, but this should also be relatively minor.

They should have had 3 man years of work per the ACBLscore+ contract; but I didn't see any.

So, most, but not all, was current management.
March 10, 2015
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1. Design
2. Basic infrastructure
3. Basic scoring
4. Additional scoring
5. Usability
6. Final

WIthin each phase were specific items to complete. Phase 4 had the most - 12 topics, each with sub-topics.

To confuse the matter, there were also deliverables and milestones.

Phase 3 included, “score a Mitchell movement, single section, match point, event that does not require any support for fouled boards or fouled movements. Software must use the ACBL player database for player entry and generate a game file that can be read by the current version of ACBLscore including the correct masterpoint calculations.” There was more to Phase 3.

Phase 3 was completed under time, under budget. It was shown within 1 year of the contract starting. By Gatlinburg 2013, just over 1 year, we demo-ed it again to our ACBL contact. This was a 0-299 I/N game and we used Bridgemates for data entry. Output same as ACBLscore.

Phase 4 was when we started to need the specs from ACBL.

Some, but not all, parts of Phases 4, 5, 6 are done. The parts that are not done are in different levels of completeness. There were logical dependencies from 4->5->6. If we couldn't get something in Phase 4 done, we worked on something from Phase 5 etc. About 3-4 months into Phase 4, ACBL stopped paying invoices. Not something widely known at the time. There was obviously a major impact on scheduling.

Phase 6 included demonstrating the software at a major tournament in parallel with ACBLscore. That was Dallas, March 2013. I did the first event, a regional KO. I asked ACBL if they wanted to see more. They said no.
March 10, 2015
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a) I'm traveling this week, not in office. I have the numbers, but not with me. I'd probably consider this confidential information anyway.

I tracked both man-months, and effective man-months. Previously I've stated that the output ratio was as high as 20/1. Therefore the actual man months number isn't very useful. The effective man months is far more useful. I used both junior and senior programmers, but mostly senior programmers. Mostly part-time, mostly retired, but not all. Most had to learn the environment, but not all. Nearly all were bridge players, but not all.

All had a learning curve of some level.

b) is difficult for the same reason.

I can estimate fairly accurately the amount of time that I would need to complete the tasks. I can estimate reasonably the programmers that worked on ACBLscore+, but I don't know if they are still available. For example, A is great at UI, B is great at movements, C is great at the electronic scoring devices, D worked on masterpoints, E worked on scoring, F on integrating with ACBLscore, G on Tournament Finances. I could do it all, but I'm not as good as A at UI, I suspect B will do a better job of finishing movements than me, C is far more effective than me at the code he's done, D was slow, E was good but not available much, I went through 3Fs and G got frustrated. This isn't what actually happened, but real-world examples work best. A-G are all part-time.

I know the number of lines of code, I know the hours worked, I know the approximate number of lines each person has done. From that I can work the output ratio.

This type of project management is complex.

When you look at any project, you look at both man month, and elapsed man months.

For me when I look at what is left, the longest time period is the feedback from TDs, CDs, it is not the programming time. Classroom testing doesn't work. What does work is running in parallel with ACBLscore at a tournament. Real world testing. I learn a lot more watching a TD run the software at a tournament, than in the class room. The main reason is that the TD work is interrupt driven. Although they accomplish a task in a linear fashion, they are constantly interrupted. We have to work in the environment they operate it, not an idealized world that occurs in a classroom setting.

Another time factor is support. Let's say everything is ready today. What I would not recommend is to release to everyone today. Support isn't ready. Feedback isn't there. Field testing is not there.

This is why I recommend a release now. Limited release. Get feedback, incorporate. This isn't one round of feedback with TDs. I think I suggested 3 TDs, different parts of the country. Expect detailed feedback each week. Incorporate. The software environment allows for rapid prototyping. It's not the traditional, thanks for the suggestion, we'll get back to you next month. It's more like having something ready for the 1:00pm KO when you got the suggestion at the 9am Compact KO. That's how it has worked so far. I would have to show you how this works. The feedback sessions create much better software, much better tested, and much cheaper in the long run.

Anyone who has gone through a software release should know what I'm talking about.

ACBLscore+ is a very complex piece of software (so is ACBLscore). There are over 70+ different packages that are included in ACBLscore+.

I gave estimates to Greg/Uday that were broad because the specs are no longer currently.

Let me try to give an example. Club finances were supposed to be re-done. ACBLscore+ generates XML, XML goes to Horn Lake, Horn Lake processes it. I've done my part, ACBLscore+ can generate XML. But ACBL hasn't done their part. So…. we need to do something different. It could be that ACBLscore+ creates ACBLscore Game Files, then we use ACBLscore to generate the monthly club reports as currently. This lets us run ACBLscore and ACBLscore+ in parallel. That's probably the safest. Then we could transition to ACBLscore+ generating the ACBLscore format club monthly reports. And send those. But there's testing and transition to factor in.

So, we have to look at what is practical now, not what was in the original ACBLscore+ contract. Greg/Uday wanted to know what was needed per the original contract. That approach is no longer realistic. I could say zero work is needed to meet the original contract for club finances, it's (almost) true, but this is not a practical solution.

Tournament Finances are similar. During the contract, I estimated that about 50 people would be involved, and the process would take 5 months. I don't mean that this is 20+ man years of work. What I meant is that we need to include Unit/District Treasures, several people in ACBL Finance, ACBL IT, TDs, DICS, TCs, developers, project managers in defining the scope. Changing tournament finances (or club finances) is major, major undertaking within the ACBL organization. All risks associated with releasing any new software must be properly managed.

The coding work is relatively little, my estimate of man months would be based on the people I've used before. If you hired a general programmer, but no bridge experience, you need to multiply the numbers. Some of the work is highly specialized (movements), the rest is relatively easy, but I've struggled to find programmers that fully understand finances.

Long explanation.

What is needed is a documented roll-out plan, which goes from start to finish. But the plan would be re-visited each month and revised as needed.

What you don't want is to say, “club release in 4 months”, then find out that there is delay in getting proper feedback from TDs which pushes out the club release. Managing expectation is very important. For me, a full release to clubs is the last item. Lots of reasons: need to get proper support/training ready in Horn Lake. Lots of clubs use their local TD for first level customer support, they don't call ACBL. So we need to train the TDs first.

March 10, 2015
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Security is my background. There are some (known) issues with club reports. Same with tournaments. I won't divulge.

ACBLscore+ fixed these by sending the game files to Horn Lake to go through a “Trust But Verify” process. All game files would be re-scored, re-ranked, re-masterpointed within ACBL firewall. Any discrepancies would be noted and checked. Lots of advantages, for example if there is a masterpoint bug, it can be fixed within the firewall, no need to ask 3,000 clubs to redo games. No need for clubs to create monthly MP reports etc. Players could verify the results because they would be displayed on ACBL web site. (Clubs can still display their own local version on their own web site).

Greg: you haven't seen any of this. I would have to show you a demo. Question for you: did ACBL show this to you?? If not, then this is another perfect example of why I need go give you a demo of what ACBLscore+ can do (it's in the version that ACBL has). How can you evaluate software if you don't know what it can do??? If the answer is ‘no’ - ACBL never mentioned the TBV process, or showed you how it would work - then you've got to be really carefully about commenting about ACBLscore+ and what it can do.
March 10, 2015
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There are tools in ACBLscore+ to read the various *.DAT files that ACBL uses for tournaments/clubs.

See the ‘gfprint’ repository. All code is in ‘acbldat’ directory. You can see from this that it can read all the various files and output in column format or XML. It would be trivial to go the other way (see the code in ‘gfprint’ for example of how to go the other way - this converts from a game file to XML back to a game file - very powerful tool).

I could get into details about the ATTEND.DAT file and PLAYERN.DAT file and how these are linked and how MPs are sent to Horn Lake but probably bore everyone. If you need details, let me know.

The confusion that you/Uday had is not understanding club reports/tournaments reports. Same issue is with club finances/tournament finances. Neither of you understand them or how they work in ACBLscore, or how they work in ACBL HQ. I will be happy to explain if either of you need to know. I can also explain/show how they work in ACBLscore+.

The problem that you/Uday face is that you are not users of ACBLscore, therefore although you can comment on the technical aspects of ACBLscore+, you can't comment on what ACBLscore+ does or how much more improved ACBLscore+ is over ACBLscore.

We really need to get a user of ACBLscore involved, ideally a TD who understands all that the current ACBLscore can do.

Here's another suggestion:

Ask ACBL to send a TD to shadow me in Gatlinburg.

Bridgescore+ is going to be running over half the events in Gatlinburg; how much will be up to the DIC.

The ACBL TD can report afterwards on what Bridgescore+ did, and how well it did. Bring a stop watch so each can be timed.

I'm going to be playing, as well as providing technical support for Bridgescore+, in Gatlinburg.

Compare this with New Orleans. I will guess that there will be 3 IT people in New Orleans to support ACBLscore. Bridgescore+ is much cheaper to support.
March 10, 2015
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Historically the dot-matrix used a parallel connector.

A few years ago, computer makes dropped parallel connectors.

Some TDs use a serial<->parallel connector. But then computer makers dropped serial ports.

Some TDs use USB<->parallel, but not all cables work. TDs have found the best combination that works for their machine.

When a TD goes to a tournament they bring their own laptop/printer and only use their own cables.

If a TD goes to a remote tournament, they sometimes have to use local equipment. Given the variety of cables/configurations can go back for 20 years, it can be hard.

Just trying to explain…. TDs aren't computer experts. They have to work within the limitations of the hardware they have. And then sometimes we are so used to what we have at home, that we forget the basics.
March 10, 2015
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So Greg/I talked. Here's my take:

1. ACBL has not given him the last ACBLscore+ release. This makes it impossible to for to state what works, what doesn't work.

2. Greg had reported to the Technology Management Committee in February a couple of items that have since proved to be wrong - “18 months”, “ACBLscore+ not assigning masterpoints”. Unfortunately this was information used at the meeting, and now Greg has to go back and explain this. It invalidates the committee's findings. Even worse that information is also going to be used the Board Meetings this week. Some of you thought my tone was a little harsh, but the correct way of handling this would for Greg/Uday to have shared their written conclusions with me before sending to the Committee to give me change to correct any factual errors. The problem was is that neither Uday/Greg are users of ACBLscore so they don't even know what that software does let alone what ACBLscore+ does.


Greg finally got to see a live demo of ACBLscore+.

This was whatever version ACBL had given him. It's not the latest, but it is something.

It was running on his local system.

It was amazing. “ACBL says you can't do this”. Click here. Er.. OK.

If I were going to recommend to finish ACBLscore+, we would need to do it in steps, so I write a tool that would do A. So…. look in this directory at this tool. Here's what it does, here's how it work. Well, they never told me about this. Yes, never mind. Here are steps B, C, D, E. Look at this code, look at these tools. Here is how you would migrate.

I would modularize the software and package the software differently. So.. go to this web site, this is a version of ACBLscore+ that only does this one function. Oh… I see. I didn't know this existed. This is exactly what I would have done.

Here let me show you how we handle back-end support for Bridgewinners. Yes, that's great, you need that type of admin interface. Now go to ACBLscore+ and click on this menu. Ah. I didn't know about that.

There's some features of ACBLscore+ that are turned on from the configuration menu; they are not visible otherwise. No-one told Greg.

I think Greg was surprised that the code was a lot further along than he had been led to believe. There was also a lot more support tools and infrastructure that he knew nothing about.

“ACBL never gave me a list of what it could do”.

I will reiterate the point I keep making:

No-one from ACBL has ever seen a true demo of the software, i.e. what works, what doesn't work, what work is needed to complete various parts.

You cannot evaluate software unless you know what you are looking it.

For the first time, Greg got to see a demo - and it was a brief demo. Greg would have to comment on his true first impression.

In talking with Greg, it appears that ACBLscore+ has been implemented/designed along the same design path he would have done. What Greg/Uday were thinking could be a transition path from ACBLscore+ to a final version (Greg alluded to something in an earlier post) and the steps that would be needed to make this happen, it turns out most of the steps/tools are already in the version of ACBLscore+ that ACBL has. Greg/Uday just don't know it because no-one has told them it's there. That's all good news I haven't seen their plan. I would be willing to review it before they presented it to their committee because I can provide insight into the tools that ACBL has to make a transition easier.

Greg can only look at the source code, already some of the claims in the “Gap analysis” (what's missing) he said are wrong. I have never seen this Gap Analysis, I would encourage ACBL to make it public - it was their stated reason for dropping ACBLscore+.

Greg is going to be in a difficult situation on Thursday. He wasn't given the latest source code from ACBL. He hasn't really been given a proper demo (yesterday was too brief). He can report on what works (because he will have seen it on his local system), he can't report on what's not working because he doesn't have the latest code. He can't report on what's missing, because he doesn't have the latest code. There are lots of features and capabilities of ACBLscore+ he still hasn't seen yet. He can report on the quality of the source code that he has. He will have to explain that his preliminary findings as reported were wrong.

I think this very brief demo was a small turning point. I hope so. I'm still going to hold Greg's feet to the fire if he reports something on ACBLscore+ that is factually wrong…
March 10, 2015
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I'll just address some of the issues:

“… copyright….”

The original contract took 5 months to negotiate. The wording for ownership is fairly standard. ACBL had no problem with it. They got a 10% discount, but at the same time my company had a license to the software. All common stuff.

It was only after the contract started, used outside counsel.

My lawyer still doesn't understand their outside counsel's opinion, but it was sufficient for ACBL to stop paying invoices and put the project in jeopardy.

It would be great if ACBL were to release that opinion.

I was certainly not negotiating with a child…

ACBL wanted to change the contract, and effectively remove my license, i.e. the ability to reuse the underlying software with no compensation to me. They were the ones playing hardball.

“…. stakeholders…”

The stakeholders are ACBL, both management, finance, back-end operations, support. They are all the users - TDs, CDs. Players are also stakeholders.

I talked to them all. I visited (my dime, not ACBL) clubs in different parts of the country.

When creating software, we'd create it, have TDs use it. Get feedback etc.

One year into the contract, I wanted an alpha release to clubs. ACBL said no.

“You want to demonstrate prototypes as you go along, as frequently as possible, to convince people you know what you're doing, and that you heard what they asked for.”

A prototype was put on line for management and board members before every board meeting.

“You must deliver something tangible with new benefits that weren't available before – within 6 months.”

Not sure you are asking for something to be shown now - happy to - or 6 months after the contract started.

Fast Results was the first product delivered with ACBLscore+. Demo-ed in Memphis, March 2012, before contract started. All code delivered to ACBL in April 2012.

Gatlinburg this year we will have (limited) pre-registration.

I can only control my side of the fence. I cannot control the other side of the fence for this contract. There was no-one on that side of the fence that was acting in a PM role. This was one of the risks I identified to ACBL before the contract started; they chose to ignore it.

Let me give one example, Tournament Financial Reports are a big part of ACBLscore. About 10 months into the contract we were ready to start on it. I got buy in from the customer (ACBL) to implement in Excel. Lots of benefits. We did a prototype to show how it would work. It was modular, i.e. we could use it with the current infrastructure (ACBLscore). To implement something like this would involve lots of internal resources within ACBL. After a month, nothing had happened. So I wrote up a project plan on what should happen. It was a 5 month plan - that's who long I estimated it would take to get all the various people involved, the work done. For TFR, the stakeholders are ACBL, DICs, but also include the Unit/District Treasurer, TCs etc. My plan included feedback from all of these players. After another month of nothing happening, I was politely, and probably correctly, told that this type of work was internal within ACBL (I had identified the individuals needed) and that this was their responsibility per contract. 3 months later still nothing had happened. TFR was critical path to the contract.

We had a meeting in Atlanta in October 2013. I had arranged for some TCs, TDs, DICs to give their input to the group from ACBL on TFR. They refused to meet with them. Claimed they knew better. This is the meeting where I was told, “we don't care about those people”.

I also arranged for the ACBL group (all Horn Lake based) to meet with some club owners that I wanted to use for alpha-testing. The club owner then expressed his frustrations with the current system. Two of the three from Horn Lake had never used ACBLscore, had no idea what a club owner did.

So I listened, I arranged for customer (ACBL) to hear from the stakeholders. ACBL/HS were negotiating a new contract;; the sticking point come back to the outside counsel's recommendation to redo the old contract as part of the new and take away our license for no compensation. We said no. Did not make any business sense.

ACBL's outside counsel has told them that they can't use the software (I know, very strange, but I have the email). So since then ACBL management/league counsel have done everything they could to cover up.

They had to find a reason to ‘throw away the code’.

The first review back in March 2014 (when we were transitioning the code) was very positive.

ACBL then spent $100K creating a mock-up, showing that to board members.

ACBL board members were threatened if they talked to me (ask the DD from the time), particularly if they mentioned the word ‘contract’. I think management even followed up with the threat.

I've been threatened with permanent expulsion from ACBL.

It sounds like a story you couldn't make up. Ask your DD to get a copy of outside counsel's opinion on ACBLscore+ contract. Ask your DD to get copies of emails from ACBL to me for May 2014.

Here's the problem: the ACBLscore+ code is good. Sure, there's some things that need finishing, but there isn't that much work, not when you compare what they need to do to ACBLscore to add the features the players want (features that are in ACBLscore+ because I listened to what people want).

All the tradition PM is there - at least from my end - monthly status reports etc. Warnings to customer (ACBL) that they were behind in X. If they didn't deliver A, it would impact B. Item C is critical path - we will need it a month. Item C is late, it's critical path. (One item C, a major critical path item, got delegated to a part time TD who had a couple of tournaments he was running so it would be 2-3 weeks before he might be able to start (!)).

March 10, 2015

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