|By Chris Pollach||
|October 20, 2012 09:22 PM EDT||
At the last Ottawa Sybase User Group (OSUG) meeting we had a surprise guest presenter arranged by OSUG president Chris Pollach. This also included a demonstration of a special PowerBuilder application that was written to – you might not believe this – run and emulate any standard NHL Hockey Scoreboard. Yes, you read that correctly, interface to a very complicated score board hardware system. Obviously, this is not your average PowerBuilder application but one that long time PB enthusiast Chris Pollach likes to show case as Chris has always maintained that “you can build any type of Windows application using PowerBuilder”! To that end, Chris has proven that aspect over and over again with applications like multi-media players, Application / DB Server Monitors, SQL Extraction & Analysis utilities, DataWindow Changer, Code Commenter, MS-Agent, O/S System Resource Introspection, and many more bizarre applications that most people would not at first consider PowerBuilder for.
This system is another excellent example of what Roland Smith of TopWiz Software likes to say “Anything is possible given enough time, money and Mountain Dew”! In this case, we have Mr Jeff Courtice of CourByte Consulting Group Inc who pushed the outside envelope of what typical applications PowerBuilder developers might build. Jeff, a long time PB consultant in Canada’s National Capital area who has worked on elite PowerBuilder applications like Elections Canada System that runs all federal elections right across Canada - decided that he wanted to take a break from these high-end business systems and build something that he wanted PowerBuilder to solve. In his case, after being involved with minor hockey due to his son’s participation in the sport and Jeff’s frustration with dealing with the various scoring systems decided to “build a better mouse trap” in the form of more intelligent scoreboard application software!
A few years ago Jeff decided to start an application that would emulate a hockey scoreboard as he found in real life; as these systems can be quite varied, hard to learn for the novice, poorly documented as their operation and offer no proper training along with their products. To this end, Jeff built a PB application that would visually display the various popular scoreboards including their control panels. Then the application would guide the user through the mechanics of how that scoreboard worked and allowed the student to actually score a virtual game and see how the scoreboard would react to the various inputs. In a few months, Jeff had a basic emulation working of a typical scoreboard. With this early success, Jeff decided to continue his endeavour adding more scoreboard types and better simulations. Then, another revelation occurred to Jeff ... why not build his own scoreboard and challenge the actual manufactures of the current hardware! To this end, Jeff decided to build a new product called Time-Keeper Professional or TKP for short. Thus Timekeeper-PRO ( TKP) was born and is a software program developed in Powerbuilder 11.5 and SQL Anywhere 11 to run on a standalone computer in the timekeeper/scorekeeper’s booth in hockey games. It will perform the role of expert timekeeper/scorekeeper where none exists. Timekeeper-PRO was designed from the ground up to be a simple to use tool that would automatically make any timekeeper/scorekeeper an expert without having to know the myriad rules of hockey as they apply to off-ice officiating. Many seasoned PN developers do not realize that simple RS232 serial port communication can be accomplished in PB by using the FileOpen, FileRead and FileWrite built-in commands. You can actually open any PC’s COM port via the FileOpen command and then read and write data streams to any device listening on the port. Typical devices could be cash registers, RFID programmers, security systems and oh, of course – hockey scoreboards.
Anyone who has ever been involved in timekeeping and score-keeping in a hockey game when the game gets intense and there are many penalties being tracked concurrently knows that the job can get extremely difficult and pressure packed. Timekeeper-PRO’s approach was to simplify the timekeeper/scorekeeper’s life is straightforward. Simply enter data corresponding what the on-ice referees say and the software will do the rest without any knowledge of the rules. Among many other features, TKP will automatically track offsetting penalties and will automatically determine such things as when an extra player is required to sit for another player’s penalty. TKP will automatically generate the game-sheet thereby eliminating the need to hand scribe the information during the game. TKP clearly displays time remaining for penalties that are not displayed on the scoreboard – ie – off setting penalties and it will automatically adjust them when necessary as goals are scored. TKP also has an integrated communications component responsible for distributing near real-time game statistics to registered email recipients and to league websites.
Over the course of the TKP development process a separate initiative was undertaken to design and build a fully functioning and complete electronic scoreboard to be controlled by TKP. This was undertaken as joint venture between the Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE), Algonquin College and Courbyte Consulting Group. As part of the College’s Electronics Technologist program, four electrical engineering students were tasked with the job of designing and building the scoreboard. They were successful in their task and were awarded first place amongst all Ontario colleges participating in the OCE program. In addition to building a full sized scoreboard (12’x5’ and 300 lbs), a mini-scoreboard was also designed and built to use as a proof of concept and also as a sales tool for displaying at trade shows where space is expensive and most often at a premium.
Timekeeper-PRO has now been extensively tested at the junior hockey level where the frequent need for tracking multiple penalties and goals is prevalent. Timekeepers that have assisted in the testing of this revolutionary new product have been amazed at the power of the product and often are heard to say “that it’s about time a product like this was developed to make timekeeping and score keeping a less onerous task”. Jeff has now decided that not only does he have a product that can easily control any major commercial scoreboard system – he now has actual scoreboard hardware that he estimates could be built at a fraction of the price many commercial systems are priced at today. To this end, Jeff is now talking to potential electronic manufactures that might be interested in taking on his design.
The latest version of TKP has even grown the functionality further by allowing the application to post the current hockey game statistics to the internet where Jeff has another PB application that can display the current game vitals on his website, email parents who cannot attend that their son or daughter has scored a goal and even print out official game reports that can be sent into the various hockey leagues. Jeff also has a “ton” more ideas for this unique PowerBuilder application for sure and OSUG members were exceptionally impressed with his system. Even SAP Sybase Technical Evangelist John Strano in attendance at the last OSUG meeting was also suitably impressed over Jeff’s scoreboard application.
For more information on the TKP application, have a look at the YouTube video of the actual TKP application in action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNleZ2gqUdM. To experience the actual TKP training emulator application, have a look at this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPUboSNegSI
Also, feel free to drop Jeff an email as well for more information on TKP (http://www.timekeeperpro.ca) or to just cheer him on in this unique endeavour!
Regards ... Chris
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 7, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 376
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 7, 2016 02:45 PM EST Reads: 144
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 7, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 562
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 7, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 365
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 7, 2016 01:30 PM EST
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Feb. 7, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 347
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 7, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 349
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 7, 2016 10:15 AM EST Reads: 118
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 7, 2016 07:00 AM EST Reads: 125
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
Feb. 6, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 724
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Feb. 5, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 788
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 2, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 414
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Feb. 2, 2016 04:30 AM EST Reads: 853
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
Feb. 1, 2016 05:00 AM EST Reads: 941
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
Jan. 31, 2016 09:00 PM EST Reads: 728
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
Jan. 31, 2016 07:15 PM EST Reads: 1,148
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,221
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Jan. 31, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 814
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
Jan. 30, 2016 07:45 PM EST Reads: 792
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...
Jan. 30, 2016 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,271