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All comments by Nicolas Hammond
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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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At the NABC, the ACBL is the sponsor, so they get to decide what happens, including use of side rooms.

They have said no to using Bridgescore+ at the event. I doubt they would let me use a side room for a demo, I haven't asked, it would be impolite.

I could show a lot more in a ‘showdown’, but the audience would probably get bored. I figured we had about an hour before boredom set in.

Everything you have asked for,

“- Tournament setup: database creations of events and players.
- Running a simple (single session) pairs event(s).
- Running a simple (single session) Swiss event(s).
- Producing the necessary printed reports or projections to show results to the players.
- Creating the necessary gamefiles or whatever to report the results back to Memphis.”

is probably best shown on YouTube videos.

I would also want to focus on some of the things that Bridgescore+ can do that ACBLscore cannot, particularly for clubs. Here's some:

1. Hand records.

Bridgescore+ can generate hand records, with double dummy analysis (DDA).

2. Integration of hand records/scores/electronic scoring devices.

All data in the same SQL database.

With ACBLscore, there are three different files and you have to use tools to merge the data.

3. Fast Automated Results.

A version of fast automated results is part of Bridgescore+. Whether this ever gets offered to clubs is a different story.

4. Modern printers/operating systems etc.


5. Projectors.


6. SQL Queries.

All data is in SQL, so you can query the data to do analysis of the players. Or export to Excel and do queries in Excel.

March 10, 2015
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Jim was very helpful to me during the project.

Jim is probably the only person who understands the entire scope.
March 10, 2015
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I was at a tournament last week in Pine Mountain, working with some of the TDs that will be in Gatlinburg.

One of the TDs said after the start of the session, “wouldn't it be nice if….”. In other words, he saw the software work, but saw a way that would be better for him.

The nice thing about the Bridgescore+ platform is that it is very easy to add new functionality. The TD's suggestion was useful, helpful. WIthin an hour I had added it. I got trained in some more intricacies of tournament management, Bridgescore+ got a new (useful) tool.

Training for the new software is very important. I've not given any formal classes. All Bridgescore+ has been hands-on training. In Pine Mountain, a TD said, I saw you do this yesterday, let me do it today. He was selling a KO. So he ran both in parallel - ACBLscore, Bridgescore+. This is exactly how I would see a roll out. Plenty of time to do both. At game time, he used Bridgescore+ to start the event. So he did it all with no training.

Training is an implicit cost of new software. TDs need to be trained. And then CDs. The easier the software is to use, the better for all.
March 10, 2015
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My version of Greg's car analogy would be this:

I delivered a box with a car on it an a sign saying “ReadMe First” that tells you how to get the car out of the cardboard box. Something like, remove these packing screws first.

Greg didn't read the instructions, took a sledgehammer to the box, and then was surprised it was full of separate pieces.

The fortunate thing about software is that you can start afresh.

Within a few minutes of being on the phone with him, we were able to get a reasonably working copy on his machine. This was a couple of minutes, not 6 hours.

Rest of this stuff technical, so switch off if not interested.

The specific problem was most likely rake. ACBLscore+ used rake version 10.1 (from memory). Bridgescore+ uses 10.3.2. Greg had 10.4 installed on his Mac. rake versions are not necessarily backwards compatible.

ACBLscore+ has about 70+ gems/shared libraries that it uses. You need to make sure that you have the correct one. For Windows, programmers, is the equivalent of making sure you have the right DLLs.

Greg shared his screen, I saw the problem, we got some of his problems fixed.

Greg, when you create a duplicate copy, change all references to ‘rake’ in the script to be ‘bundle exec rake’. In vi

%s/rake/bundle exec rake/g

This should fix the earlier version problem.

The problem that Greg ran into was a common computer problem - making sure that you have the correct libraries/commands for the code you are running. ACBLscore+ is over a year old, installing newer commands that may not be backwards compatible may not work.

Of far more concern was that Greg was not running the latest version of ACBLscore+ which was sent to ACBL in late May 2014. We verified by check the file sizes of some important files and they are different.
March 10, 2015
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I've been pretty good about estimating dates since the project started. It was a multi-phase contract. By Phase 3 we were under time, under budget. WIthin a year of start time (started April 2, 2012), we had delivered a working scoring system with pair games, electronic scoring devices, fast results. It was shown to ACBL in Gatlinburg in April 2013. Phase 4 involved input from ACBL and that is when problems started. By the end of the contract we had a working system, parts of which were incomplete, but it was ready for a staged roll-out.

Take a look at what Bridgescore+ can currently do - see the videos on YouTube,

The UI for EDMOV sucks. We need something better. EDMOV is also very powerful. In ACBLscore, movements are implemented as a pointer to a pointers to a pointer to a pointer to a pointer (5 pointers). Bridgescore+ uses 3.

I did talk to Ian McKinnon during the contract. I have two copies of his book. (One for me, one for developer). There's a lot of reading there.

Movements are sufficiently well self-contained that you would want to hire someone just to focus on movements.

Worse case scenario, I would implement the Movements code, or see if I could hire Greg to implement.

Real-world feedback is crucial to this highly specialized custom software. It is why I want to release on Day 1. Get feedback from TDs. Use the feedback to improve the product so that when Pair events are added, the TDs are more comfortable with the UI.
March 10, 2015
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Let's say finish date is absolutely everything. ACBLscore gone away.

ACBLscore+ has to have movements/EDMOV capability.

My estimate for that work is about 6 months. It include everything, from the design to implementation. We have a design. I had a part-time employee, retired programmer, club director, understood movements, he had already done some good other work on the project. He started on the work. I had to put him on furlough. I would rehire him to do the work. Understanding complex movements is not easy. Understanding EDMOV less so. My estimate is based on re-hiring him, but I haven't talked to him lately. I could do the work; but it's the type of work where you need to be un-interrupted. “It's complicated” as we say. Though I could roll out ACBLscore+ for simple pair games, it would run in parallel. You can't have it be the primary until EDMOV works.

BUT, and this is the big BUT,

I would release the code on Day 1 to replace ACBLscore with KOs. Start getting the necessary feedback from TDs.

The work on EDMOV would happen in parallel with the release. That's my plan.

What I still don't have is the best/recommended movements for BAM/Individual/Swiss.

You may not think it's a big deal, but in talking to clubs, the hardest part is in knowing what movement to run based on the number of tables, players, time constraints. ACBLscore+/Bridgescore+ fixes this - it is easier to set up movements, more intuitive etc.

So… the question is more semantics.

Roll-out: Day 1.

Last functionality roll-out: 6-7 months, assuming that time is the most important priority.

The work on EDMOV would start day 1. It can start without the specs for BAM/Individual/Swiss. EDMOV is critical path, so we would start on it without the full masterpoint specs.

Hopefully I'm making myself clear.

During the contract, there was a delay in delivery of movement specs. This happened at the same time that ACBL stopped paying, so the developer was on furlough from doing any work. We did get some movement specs - but it took several months. By then we were close to the end of the contract.
March 9, 2015
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“Does Bridgescore+ randomize the matches within each bracket at the start of the KO's?”


“Can Bridgescore+ sccept an assignment override for players with special needs, who need to be on an aisle or near an outlet?”

Yes. It's referred to as a “Stationary Table”.

“Can Bridgescore+ print out bracket sheets with the matches for round 1 already printed?”


It first prints out a sheet that contains all the information a TD would need to know to run the event manually. Say, someone spills coffee on the laptop; with the print out the TD can run the event manually (stand on a chair and announce assignments or use the rack).

It also prints out a special report for caddies; it prints it out in the format that is best for entering the data into ACBLscore. So it tells the caddies the tables to go to to pick up the information so it is sorted for ACBLScore.

It can print out a bracket sheet that you hang on the wall. I include more information in the “Press” sheet (ACBL terminology).

It can also print out the entry form for players what have played on the same team before. So they can re-use this entry form if they have bad hand-writing.
March 9, 2015
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I talked with Greg.

He was not running the last version of ACBLscore+ that was delivered to ACBL.

It explains a lot.
March 9, 2015

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