How to tell which group is running?

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Anthony Porta
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How to tell which group is running?

Postby Anthony Porta » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:15 pm

Hey guys and gals lets see all your ideas about how to tell from far away which group is running?
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Mike Nakata » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:24 pm

some kind of visual on top of the motorhome.....like a flip book with heavy pages and able to be changed with a stick.... with run group numbers would be great...

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Stephen Yeoh » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:12 pm

Need multiple approaches - I like social media as one option - good for some. Maybe PA and/or FM radio transmission.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:46 am

We can do a color flag system like PCA. If we can make the flier reflect the color group as well that would work well in remembering what color is what. Of course also a corresponding number on the flag too. This would work with either format we decide to run including practices.

1=green
2=red
3=blue
4=orange
5=purple
6=black

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Last edited by Jonathan Lugod on Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Anthony Porta
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Anthony Porta » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:42 am

I have no idea how much work it would be, but how about a cell phone app?
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Lauren Kane Porta » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:01 am

Anthony Porta wrote:I have no idea how much work it would be, but how about a cell phone app?

I looked to see if our new website platform has the ability to send text messages, and it doesn't look like it (I'll have to do more research). There's no point to an additional app that's not our website, and since our site is mobile friendly, it would be a waste of money in my opinion. I think you're looking for just a system to send text messages out instead of an app.

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Anthony Porta » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:03 am

Lauren Kane Porta wrote:
Anthony Porta wrote:I have no idea how much work it would be, but how about a cell phone app?

I looked to see if our new website platform has the ability to send text messages, and it doesn't look like it (I'll have to do more research). There's no point to an additional app that's not our website, and since our site is mobile friendly, it would be a waste of money in my opinion. I think you're looking for just a system to send text messages out instead of an app.


Texts... Thats a great idea.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby George Schilling » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:15 pm

Assuming live timing is now repaired and will work moving forward, wouldn't that be as good as any form of notification? It is automatic, doesn't required any additional outside inputs, and doesn't rely on someone remembering to perform additional task(s). It's the KISS method.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Anthony Porta » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:41 pm

George Schilling wrote:Assuming live timing is now repaired and will work moving forward, wouldn't that be as good as any form of notification? It is automatic, doesn't required any additional outside inputs, and doesn't rely on someone remembering to perform additional task(s). It's the KISS method.


But it's been down during some time for each of the last few events. In addition people don't have memorized what classes run when. Like differentiating between group 2 and 3 etc.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Bill Martin » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:15 pm

Anthony Porta wrote:Hey guys and gals lets see all your ideas about how to tell from far away which group is running?


What would be your objective? Under the current format with only four groups, if you're not running and not working, it's pretty easy to assume what group is. Who's the customer for this information?

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby George Schilling » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:24 pm

Anthony Porta wrote:But it's been down during some time for each of the last few events. In addition people don't have memorized what classes run when. Like differentiating between group 2 and 3 etc.


When the groups run is listed on the top of the results. Knowing human nature, something that happens automatically is going to be much more reliable in the long run despite the recent failures of the system.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:28 pm

Bill Martin wrote:
Anthony Porta wrote:Hey guys and gals lets see all your ideas about how to tell from far away which group is running?


What would be your objective? Under the current format with only four groups, if you're not running and not working, it's pretty easy to assume what group is. Who's the customer for this information?


Since there is no break between run groups 2 and 3 it can appear to "blend" that might cause people to arrive late to work or grid to run. I can see it being a minor issue but would be nice to know while in paddock.

I liked the PCA flag system when they remembered to change the flag colors. It would make sense IMO only to have one flag vs their 4 flags up system.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Bill Martin » Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:35 pm

Jonathan Lugod wrote:Since there is no break between run groups 2 and 3 it can appear to "blend" that might cause people to arrive late to work or grid to run. I can see it being a minor issue but would be nice to know while in paddock.

I liked the PCA flag system when they remembered to change the flag colors. It would make sense IMO only to have one flag vs their 4 flags up system.


But workers need to know when it's time to show up, not when their work group is already underway. The only source of that info is currently the PA. Not that many people seem to listen to the radio. Do we have PA coverage over the entire site, even when noisy cars and neighboring karts are running? Can we? Wireless speakers at the back of the paddock perhaps? I don't know if that would be a big deal or not.

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Rick Brown » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:12 pm

Bill Martin wrote:
Jonathan Lugod wrote:Since there is no break between run groups 2 and 3 it can appear to "blend" that might cause people to arrive late to work or grid to run. I can see it being a minor issue but would be nice to know while in paddock.

I liked the PCA flag system when they remembered to change the flag colors. It would make sense IMO only to have one flag vs their 4 flags up system.


But workers need to know when it's time to show up, not when their work group is already underway. The only source of that info is currently the PA. Not that many people seem to listen to the radio. Do we have PA coverage over the entire site, even when noisy cars and neighboring karts are running? Can we? Wireless speakers at the back of the paddock perhaps? I don't know if that would be a big deal or not.

Is this really a problem? Kinda falls under personal responsibility to me. We don't really seem to have an issue filling the grid or getting the workers out on time. With two grids, you have nearly an hour to get your car into grid. We have the PA and radio, we start announcing workers and next group about 15 minutes before they are due. With two grids we start announcing to get people in the 2nd grid almost immediately. Flags only work if they can be seen from all of the pits.

Effectiveness of the PA is in part dependent on course/grid/pits layout. Sticking the motorhome at the far end of the grid with pits on the other side makes penetration difficult. This should be part of the course design, not just the course, but grid & pits and motorhome location. Sunday worked out nice with the motorhome to the right of the start and finish, closer to the pits and allowing us to easily run cable to a speaker at the other end of the pits. We've tried wireless speakers and they were crap, nowhere near the claimed power. You really need something with a small generator, real amp with wireless or FM receiver, and speakers. We have the old portable amp (has one bad channel, but only need one) and extra speakers, just need another generator and a method to connect. It would fit on a small cart you roll wherever you need it.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Randy Gonzalez » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:17 pm

I'd probably prefer an old school analog method. Autocross is my escape from technology, and because my phone hooks up to my car, I typically turn it off at events.

A flag is very simple and only requires a glance towards the motorhome to answer the question. The only problem is making sure somebody changes it (I guess that could be part of the next session's grid responsibility). Although, once it's changed....you'd be late, so who knows if that's really the right answer.

If we really want a tech solution, I was toying with an web site concept a few years back of a common chat type of app for people going to an event. It was supposed to be like a Facebook type of feed, but more of a location/event based....the feed is "fed" from people at an event (not necessarily friends on Facebook or whatever). The idea was based on the "flash mob" concept. Basically, somebody creates a "Mob" for an event (or whatever) and anybody can post in the mob. No user registration or accounts required, so anybody can wander in and post (who knows if that's a good idea or not). I originally came up with the idea so that we could all trash talk each other at autocross events without having to all be on Facebook, or Instagram or whatever. The basic idea is that the "Mob" exists for a common experience (i.e. an autocross event), and then it's done....back to your life. Mobile browser based (no app to install).

I wrote a quick prototype over a weekend a few years back, but it's basically functional and maybe could be purposed for this type of live communication: http://squawkmob.com
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Bill Martin » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:42 pm

Rick Brown wrote:Is this really a problem? Kinda falls under personal responsibility to me. We don't really seem to have an issue filling the grid or getting the workers out on time.


First part of that is up to you guys at the top. Relying on people's sense of personal responsibility sounds trendy, but when they fail to meet your expectations what we get is: "We can't start until you guys show up -- you're holding up the show."

But on the other hand, that mostly applies to the old system where we're shut down and on hold to get a new group running. The current hot-change isn't so vulnerable to a couple people showing up late. Regardless...if you need and want everyone to show up on time, flags aren't the answer.

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Eric Wong » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:22 pm

It's tough to hear the PA in most of the paddock area; so maybe setting up some boomboxes to 90.9 FM will help.
I can leave my windows down and radio blasting 90.9 FM when I'm working or wandering about; but it doesn't help when I'm running.

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Rick Brown » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:24 pm

Randy Gonzalez wrote:I'd probably prefer an old school analog method. Autocross is my escape from technology, and because my phone hooks up to my car, I typically turn it off at events.

A flag is very simple and only requires a glance towards the motorhome to answer the question. The only problem is making sure somebody changes it (I guess that could be part of the next session's grid responsibility). Although, once it's changed....you'd be late, so who knows if that's really the right answer.

If we really want a tech solution, I was toying with an web site concept a few years back of a common chat type of app for people going to an event. It was supposed to be like a Facebook type of feed, but more of a location/event based....the feed is "fed" from people at an event (not necessarily friends on Facebook or whatever). The idea was based on the "flash mob" concept. Basically, somebody creates a "Mob" for an event (or whatever) and anybody can post in the mob. No user registration or accounts required, so anybody can wander in and post (who knows if that's a good idea or not). I originally came up with the idea so that we could all trash talk each other at autocross events without having to all be on Facebook, or Instagram or whatever. The basic idea is that the "Mob" exists for a common experience (i.e. an autocross event), and then it's done....back to your life. Mobile browser based (no app to install).

I wrote a quick prototype over a weekend a few years back, but it's basically functional and maybe could be purposed for this type of live communication: http://squawkmob.com

But you still need your phone with you or close by. I often leave it in the motorhome. When working on a vehicle, I take it out of my pocket and put in the vehicle (or on a work bench or leave it in the house) so I don't sit on it. The PA, when it can reach everybody, is most effective in my opinion if you want "old school analog".
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Randy Gonzalez » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:31 pm

Rick Brown wrote:The PA, when it can reach everybody, is most effective in my opinion if you want "old school analog".


I know we sometimes broadcast on that FM transmitter....is that on all the time?
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Jonathan Lugod » Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:34 pm

We could incorporate it in the drivers meeting to tune to 90.9 to stay up to date on the event. I think most don't know (especially newbies) that we broadcast via FM Radio. National has a dry erase board on the trailer where they write which FM frequency they are using.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Eric Wong » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:22 pm

I've been tuning to 90.9 at the December and January events. I only remember seeing it posted during registration at the last El Toro event back in September, and my car at the time did not have an antenna.

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Danny Castillo » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:34 pm

I like the simple sign on the timing trailer idea. It could be a calendar style flip chart on a hook.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Rick Brown » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:42 pm

There is a small dry erase board in the motorhome, just need to remember to get it out.
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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Quoc-Viet Dang » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:45 am

Couldn't hear the PA from the starter position on Saturday morning due to wind - just fyi.

rechargeable air horn for indicating worker change over/check-in. wooo wooo. it's okay to blow sound just 5 small times a day right?

https://www.amazon.com/Ecoblast-Rechargeable-Signal-Safety-Sports/dp/B009LNUISQ/

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Re: How to tell which group is running?

Postby Rick Brown » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:54 am

Quoc-Viet Dang wrote:Couldn't hear the PA from the starter position on Saturday morning due to wind - just fyi.

rechargeable air horn for indicating worker change over/check-in. wooo wooo. it's okay to blow sound just 5 small times a day right?

https://www.amazon.com/Ecoblast-Rechargeable-Signal-Safety-Sports/dp/B009LNUISQ/

There's one or two of those in the motorhome, also.
Since light is faster than sound...many people look bright until they speak...


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