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Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 23rd 03, 05:00 AM
Kevin L. Bachler
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

I encourage my students to go to certain tournaments by copying and pasting the
TLA and sending it to them by email. For example, I wanted to tell them about
some tournaments coming up in Wisconsin. But Wisconsin shows 4 events in CL,
and 0 online.

What gives?

Kevin L. Bachler

  #2  
Old July 23rd 03, 05:50 AM
Greg Wren
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

Yeah, Texas shows 0 future tournaments online. Clearly they are not keeping
it up.

"Kevin L. Bachler" wrote in message
...
I encourage my students to go to certain tournaments by copying and

pasting the
TLA and sending it to them by email. For example, I wanted to tell them

about
some tournaments coming up in Wisconsin. But Wisconsin shows 4 events in

CL,
and 0 online.

What gives?

Kevin L. Bachler



  #3  
Old July 23rd 03, 03:07 PM
Kevin L. Bachler
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

In article , says...

Kevin L. Bachler writes:

I encourage my students to go to certain tournaments by copying and pasting the
TLA and sending it to them by email. For example, I wanted to tell them about
some tournaments coming up in Wisconsin. But Wisconsin shows 4 events in CL,
and 0 online.


What gives?


As with MSA, there is no automated process in place to transfer TLA's
from the in-house system that prepares them for the magazine to the website.

As I understand it, the TLA's have to be heavily re-edited from the format
that is used to get them ready for the editorial department to the format
that is used on the website.

It may be more efficient (and possibly even faster) to redesign the whole
TLA process than to put more bandaids on a process that was screwed up in
the first place, long before the Deb Sherry issue.

A redesigned process would IMHO include the ability for organizers to enter
their own TLA's online and see how they would be formatted for Chess Life.

It would likely be a multi-step web input form, but once the data is coded
into categories it would be fairly easy to prepare a PDF file to send back
to the organizer as a close approximation to how it would be typeset in
the magazine.

Once a TLA has gotten through the authentication/approval process (whatever
that needs to be), there is no reason I can come up with why it couldn't
be uploaded to the website during the next daily cycle, as we are now
doing with updates to the US Chess Life member/PIN records.
--
Mike Nolan


Such a process would take a while. Seems to me a simple interim process is to
cut and past from the document that was used for Chess Life into FrontPage or
some other html editor, change the font, and be done with it.

Kevin L. Bachler

  #4  
Old July 23rd 03, 04:37 PM
Kevin L. Bachler
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Posts: n/a
Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

In article , Kevin says...

In article , says...

Kevin L. Bachler writes:

I encourage my students to go to certain tournaments by copying and pasting the
TLA and sending it to them by email. For example, I wanted to tell them about
some tournaments coming up in Wisconsin. But Wisconsin shows 4 events in CL,
and 0 online.


What gives?


As with MSA, there is no automated process in place to transfer TLA's
from the in-house system that prepares them for the magazine to the website.

As I understand it, the TLA's have to be heavily re-edited from the format
that is used to get them ready for the editorial department to the format
that is used on the website.

It may be more efficient (and possibly even faster) to redesign the whole
TLA process than to put more bandaids on a process that was screwed up in
the first place, long before the Deb Sherry issue.

A redesigned process would IMHO include the ability for organizers to enter
their own TLA's online and see how they would be formatted for Chess Life.

It would likely be a multi-step web input form, but once the data is coded
into categories it would be fairly easy to prepare a PDF file to send back
to the organizer as a close approximation to how it would be typeset in
the magazine.

Once a TLA has gotten through the authentication/approval process (whatever
that needs to be), there is no reason I can come up with why it couldn't
be uploaded to the website during the next daily cycle, as we are now
doing with updates to the US Chess Life member/PIN records.
--
Mike Nolan


Such a process would take a while. Seems to me a simple interim process is to
cut and past from the document that was used for Chess Life into FrontPage or
some other html editor, change the font, and be done with it.

Kevin L. Bachler


What I meant by the above was that it would take awhile to implement. I am all
in favor of using technology to improve the situation.

Kevin L. Bachler

  #5  
Old July 23rd 03, 05:58 PM
Mike Nolan
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Posts: n/a
Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

Kevin L. Bachler writes:

What I meant by the above was that it would take awhile to implement.
I am all in favor of using technology to improve the situation.


I think your point was clear enough.

I haven't done a systems analysis, so I don't know how long it would
take to implement a new TLA system, maybe a month or two. Unfortunately,
a problem seldom gets 100% of the attention it takes to produce something
a complete solution before some other crisis needs similar attention.

And every problem is IMPORTANT to somebody! Membership processing
can't wait, tournament ratings can't wait, producing the next rating
supplement can't wait, generating membership counts can't wait, producing
labels for Chess Life can't wait, counting the ballots can't wait,
the Delegate Call can't wait, the EB newsletter can't wait, etc.

If everything was fully functional and modernized, there would STILL
be a new crisis/deadline every day, because the USCF is an information
and time critical operation.

Repair/replace is always a tough call, made tougher because SOME kind of
bandaid approach is probably necessary to keep (or more likely return)
the TLA system to at least marginally operative status. (To be honest,
I don't even know just how broken the TLA system/process is, though
anecdotally it sounds pretty messed up.)

The problem has been that for most of the last decade that the bandaid
quick fix is often ALL that has been done. Far too often the fix has
been yet another labor-intensive and often at least partially redundant
task. And people wonder why it seems like the office is overstaffed.

These are the types of issues that I hope get discussed at the MIS
workshop in LA. That workshop is at 4PM on August 7th, a time
specifically chosen so that it can run late.

At last report, George John did not think he would be able to attend the
LA meetings to run that workshop, so it seems that Gary Prince and I
may be running it. That could be entertaining! :-)
--
Mike Nolan
  #6  
Old July 24th 03, 04:24 AM
RSHaas
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

George, join the rest of us and let your membership expire. Send HQ a message.
(RSHaas)
  #7  
Old July 24th 03, 05:44 AM
Mike Nolan
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

"George John" writes:

You have done an excellent job of describing our current situation. Given
the fact the our leadership has failed to commit the necessary funding to
the critical and urgent upgrades that are needed,


I'm not sure I entirely agree with your second sentence. While the
isn't an explicit capital budget, you are aware that some funds are being
allocated to systems hardware and software development (perhaps both
tardily and too sparingly) and that some things are getting done.

MSA is one example, updates to US CHESS LIVE is another, and barring
a problem in testing them the ratings supplement files for August should
be up on the website within a day or two.

Could progress be faster? Probably, but there is a limit to how many
mission-critical systems can be repaired or replaced at a time. And
they're ALL mission-critical to someone.

And here's the biggest problem. The USCF has old hardware, old software,
and virtually no documentation as to how things are supposed to function.

So, as things break (and something seems to be breaking down on nearly a
daily basis, the phrase "camel's back" comes to mind), Gary and his staff
can either go through the learning curve to first figure out how things
used to work, then figure out what's broken, then restore things to status
quo ante, or he can take a different tack, do a quick rewrite of the broken
elements if not the whole thing, and quite possibly do the job both
faster and cheaper. (And yes, some staff and USCF members will likely
complain about how "that's not the way we've always done it!")
--
Mike Nolan
  #8  
Old July 24th 03, 07:32 AM
Greg Wren
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

Well duuh . . back to the subject: How long does it take to "copy" a TLA
from the CL TLA list and "paste" it to the web?

"Mike Nolan" wrote in message
...
"George John" writes:

You have done an excellent job of describing our current situation.

Given
the fact the our leadership has failed to commit the necessary funding to
the critical and urgent upgrades that are needed,


I'm not sure I entirely agree with your second sentence. While the
isn't an explicit capital budget, you are aware that some funds are being
allocated to systems hardware and software development (perhaps both
tardily and too sparingly) and that some things are getting done.

MSA is one example, updates to US CHESS LIVE is another, and barring
a problem in testing them the ratings supplement files for August should
be up on the website within a day or two.

Could progress be faster? Probably, but there is a limit to how many
mission-critical systems can be repaired or replaced at a time. And
they're ALL mission-critical to someone.

And here's the biggest problem. The USCF has old hardware, old software,
and virtually no documentation as to how things are supposed to function.

So, as things break (and something seems to be breaking down on nearly a
daily basis, the phrase "camel's back" comes to mind), Gary and his staff
can either go through the learning curve to first figure out how things
used to work, then figure out what's broken, then restore things to status
quo ante, or he can take a different tack, do a quick rewrite of the

broken
elements if not the whole thing, and quite possibly do the job both
faster and cheaper. (And yes, some staff and USCF members will likely
complain about how "that's not the way we've always done it!")
--
Mike Nolan



  #9  
Old July 24th 03, 05:10 PM
Mike Nolan
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Posts: n/a
Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

"Greg Wren" writes:

Well duuh . . back to the subject: How long does it take to "copy" a TLA
from the CL TLA list and "paste" it to the web?


The short answer is: I don't know, though I suspect it is a bit more
complicated than a simple cut and paste operation between two programs
on the desktop.

There are at least two steps here.

1. Converting the TLA data from an in-house format to HTML.
2. Transferring the HTML-ized TLA to the web system.

That also doesn't take into account however the web page is organized to
handle indexing of TLA's by state, which is probably independent of
the act of physically transferring TLA's either one at a time or in bulk
to the web server, which I assume is at the Parsippany co-location host site.
--
Mike Nolan
  #10  
Old July 24th 03, 05:23 PM
Bruce Draney
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Default Why Don't the Online TLA's Match Chess Life?

Greg Wren wrote about TLAs:

Well duuh . . back to the subject: How long does it take to "copy" a TLA
from the CL TLA list and "paste" it to the web?


Perhaps, "How many USCF staffers does it take to copy a TLA from the
CL TLA list and paste it on the web?"

10
1 to finish up the outside freelance work before any USCF work gets
done.
1 to fire the best TLA person in the organization.
1 to hire someone who doesn't know what she is doing to replace the
person who was the best TLA person in the organization.
1 to initially mess up the rough draft of the TLA.
1 to go back and correct the initial messups but only 3/4th of them
1 to spend all day trying to reach the ED who is in California, Florida
or Arizona, no one is entirely sure.
1 to feed the hamsters who will only power up the office technology
systems by running after being fed.
1 to send angry letters to organizers claiming they messed up their TLA
when it was really the USCF office that messed up their TLA.
1 to spend the day perusing the phone book looking for the best Chinese
takeout restaurant in the New Windsor area.
1 to write official explanations explaining why USCF is incapable of
promptly updating the web TLAs.

Best Regards,

Bruce
 




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