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OMNIPONG: Software for Tournaments

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Topic: OMNIPONG: Software for Tournaments
Posted By: stiltt
Subject: OMNIPONG: Software for Tournaments
Date Posted: 08/29/2013 at 2:10pm
Omnipong is a web based tournament manager that is going steps ahead to help tournament directors and competitors: http://www.omnipong.com" rel="nofollow - http://www.omnipong.com .

It allows processing results and reporting them to USATT in a much quicker way while competitors can enter events in the area of the portal dedicated to them without mailing nor emailing anything.

Omnipong has been mentioned a few times in the past but we never had a formal discussion about it and the fact forum members Alphapong and CKrum recently put light on it in the http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=61885&PID=744768&title=la-open-2013-au#744768" rel="nofollow - 2013 LA Open thread encouraged the present one. Also another thread related to a local tourney announcement contained a mini discussion about it and the posts below surrounded with 2 red lines are moved from there.

The same Sunday 9/1/2013 as the LA Open was not even over we were in awe watching results published in real time as the competition was still going. Sunday night we had it all! Alphapong rightly said "CKrum is the man!" and for sure it's our pride to have him joining the forum and teach us about the software.

Welcome CKrum and thank you for bringing Omnipong to the TT community.


PS: I moved an additional post from that tourney announcement thread to edit it into this one so it appears at the top.
("I know somebody who's going down Big smile.")




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Replies:
Posted By: Vince64
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 1:04pm
__________________


Right now were the only two entries. looks like we will meet in the finals of all the events we entered. Lol. You might as well enter the open singles to.

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Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 1:15pm
I received the email from Jerry; most players will enter the tourney emailing their entry via the pdf form he sends out: uploads/17211/2013BellevueFallOpen.pdf" rel="nofollow - uploads/17211/2013BellevueFallOpen.pdf
I stopped doing it that way because the omnipong solution is so convenient and elegant.



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Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 1:22pm
I have not seen the back scene of omnipong where tournament directors do their thing; I wonder what are the tools helping them to report the matches to usatt; hopefully one day everybody uses ominpong and rating on usatt website are updated no later than the Thursday following the tourney.


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Posted By: Vince64
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 1:50pm
All the results are entered into the omnipong program. There's even a box to check wether you want the results sent in to the USATT. Jerry sends the results electronically the day after the tournament ends. The delay in getting the ratings processed is that the tournament report has to be sent via regular mail. Nothing gets processed till they get that report.


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 2:03pm
by regular mail you mean a physical envelope containing the tournament report printed on paper? if yes it sounds so archaic.



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Posted By: mjamja
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 3:43pm
If I am not mistaken, the tournament report includes a check for payment of all fees due to the USATT.  Nothing gets processed until the check gets there.  I do not think there is a way to pay electronically. 
If I am wrong, I would like to know about ways to speed up the process.
 
Mark


Posted By: Vince64
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 3:49pm
Yes good old Pony express mail. The report consist of the players list, match slips of all matches, Membership renewals and new members joined, Money from renewals and rating fees, and last but not least but the most important of all is the signed waiver releases of all the players saying they wont sue the usatt if they get a boo boo while their playing. Pretty much hasn't changed since I used to run the tournaments in Seattle back in the late 80's.


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 3:50pm
now I get it; their  "* missing tournament report only" really means "we did not cash our check yet"...

thanks for the info.

usatt accepts paypal for memberships so it should not be a problem for them to allow tournament directors to pay the fees that way.



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Posted By: Vince64
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 3:53pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

If I am not mistaken, the tournament report includes a check for payment of all fees due to the USATT.  Nothing gets processed until the check gets there.  I do not think there is a way to pay electronically. 
If I am wrong, I would like to know about ways to speed up the process.
 
Mark
They could set up a pay pal account for payment to take care of that part. You are right thou. Nothing get processed till the money and ALL the signed waivers of liability get there.

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Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 08/30/2013 at 4:03pm

http://2216.119.100.169/membership/paypal-membership.shtml" rel="nofollow - http://216.119.100.169/membership/paypal-membership.shtml
http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/USATT/Join-Today" rel="nofollow - http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/USATT/Join-Today (paypal link at the bottom)

a little buried on the site (NGB menu on the top right) but well in place.

I wonder if usatt would be legally protected with the scans of the waivers and other documents all assembled into a pdf file.



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Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/14/2013 at 11:47am
Hi there. Sorry I am a bit late to the party, but I just noticed this thread. Thought I would give a quick description of how OmniPong handles things for the USATT, which seems to be the area that really slows down tournament processing. Since I am a bit of a procrastinator myself, I added in features that would take care of all of that stuff automatically.

After a tournament is finished, and the results have been uploaded from the Control Desk back to the website, OmniPong can create and submit electronically, everything that is required to get a tournament processed. This includes the following items:

- The Results File, which is sent to NATT for processing.

- The Tournament Report, which recaps the memberships that were sold, along with the $7 processing fee for each player. This report shows the total that needs to be paid to USATT, as well as the 15% membership discount that the club gets to keep.

- The Player List, which lists each player that participated in the tournament. I think this is to cross check against the Tournament Report.

- The USATT copy of the Membership Applications. These also need to match up with the Tournament Report.

- And last, but certainly not least, it can make the payment directly to the USATT using their PayPal account. You can also have a credit card on file with them, and have them charge that for the fees.

The original waiver forms do need to be mailed to them, but as long as they have everything else, they will not hold up the processing of a tournament waiting for them, so they can be sent regular mail.

This system allowed me to send everything in for the LA Open on the Tuesday following the tournament. It was actually ready on Monday, but I wanted to check on one result that I knew had to be wrong (and it was).




Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/14/2013 at 11:54am
Here is a screen shot from the LA Open, showing the menu for the USATT functions, and how the PDF of the Tournament Report looks.

uploads/26525/USATT_Tools.pdf" rel="nofollow - uploads/26525/USATT_Tools.pdf


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/14/2013 at 1:40pm
Thank you so much for the valuable information; as a fan of the site and always wishing like many usatt members to see the records updated on their page as quickly as possible, I wish usatt folks encourage tournament directors to use omnipong as their favorite tool to process tournament results and report them.
If there are no objections I will create a thread dedicated to omnipong and move to it the related posts in this one.


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Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/14/2013 at 2:20pm
Hi fatt,

Thanks for the support. It might good to start an omnipong thread, to keep it more organized.

__________________


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/14/2013 at 2:47pm
done.



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Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 1:58am
Originally posted by CKrum CKrum wrote:

...

This system allowed me to send everything in for the LA Open on the Tuesday following the tournament. It was actually ready on Monday, but I wanted to check on one result that I knew had to be wrong (and it was).
If a tournament director sends everything on the Monday following the event (we assume nothing's missing and the competition happened during the weekend), what are the chances ratings get adjusted on http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Ratings" rel="nofollow - USATT's http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Ratings" rel="nofollow - website the following Thursday? (I do not remember if in the case of the latest LA Open the results were published on the 5th or the 12th).



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Posted By: frontosa
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 2:27am
The ratings for the LA Open came out the following thursday Sept. 5th.


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 2:41am
4 days after the tourney: totally breathtaking!

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Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 7:11pm
I would not expect Omnipong to give random people access to the Tournament Directors' tools; my question are:
What are the credentials Omnipong requires to give people the tools to manage USATT sanctioned tournaments? or would the direction of one successful USATT sanctioned tournament and the related records be enough for somebody to be welcome to use those tools?


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Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 7:35pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

Originally posted by CKrum CKrum wrote:

...

This system allowed me to send everything in for the LA Open on the Tuesday following the tournament. It was actually ready on Monday, but I wanted to check on one result that I knew had to be wrong (and it was).
If a tournament director sends everything on the Monday following the event (we assume nothing's missing and the competition happened during the weekend), what are the chances ratings get adjusted on http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Ratings" rel="nofollow - USATT's http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Table-Tennis/Ratings" rel="nofollow - website the following Thursday? (I do not remember if in the case of the latest LA Open the results were published on the 5th or the 12th).


The odds would be pretty good.  My results sometimes get processed within a week when I send them in via regular mail. 

I'm curious how Craig gets the membership forms to them.  I'm assuming that he scans them in.

I believe Len in Hawaii scans in all necessary forms, pays electronically, and has everything to USATT/NATT the night of the tournament.  You can do it if you are willing to go to the trouble.  Personally, I've not been willing to go through the extra effort.  After spending the time getting everything ready, two days running the thing, posting results on Facebook and the club website (something I'd need to continue to do even if I used OmniPong), quite frankly I'm not inclined to add one more chore to my list on Sunday night that people can have their ratings in four days instead of 11 days.  Perhaps if more players volunteered to help run things I'd be more inclined.  :^)  But frankly, what's the rush with getting your new rating?  Seriously.  I don't really get it.  I understand the complaints when a month or so passes but not really 11 days.

That said, if using Omnipong allowed me to do that with no extra work, I'd have no problem doing it. Craig sent me the software almost two years ago, but that was when I was just starting to run tournaments and didn't have my head fully around the process.  So I chose to copy the "tried and true" method used by those before me.  But now that I have more experience and now that Craig has refined the software even further, I'm inclined to take another look.  It really does seem to be an excellent system and I really like the real-time reporting of results.




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Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 7:54pm
Will the readers of the facebook account and club's website upset when they figure they need an extra click to see the results in omnipong?

The way I understood it we do it once in omnipong and then we can link to it wherever we want, even while the tourney is ongoing; I remember when alphapong posted that http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=61885&PID=744768&title=la-open-2013-au#744768" rel="nofollow - link , all events were not over yet but we could see some results already entered.

What I do not remember is whether the software builds a pdf on the fly or not when we click on one event; can we have empty slots as the server builds a pdf with the partial results it has at the moment in the middle of the event? anyway I am being borderline nitpicking here, just wondering.



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Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 8:57pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

Will the readers of the facebook account and club's website upset when they figure they need an extra click to see the results in omnipong?


The Phoenix Club has the record of all their tournaments online for at least the past ten years.  It would seem a shame not to continue that.

My main purpose of having a Facebook page is to provide an avenue to promote our tournaments and to get more people paying attention to them.  The whole "like" & "share" thing provides (at least I hope it does) an opportunity for tournament sponsors to get more exposure.  My goal is to use facebook to bring more sponsorship to our small  tournaments by showing them the exposure that they get that goes beyond just those people who attended the tournament and beyond the date of the tournament.  And frankly, I suspect that players like that their friends can comment and share photos of their photos.

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:


The way I understood it we do it once in omnipong and then we can link to it wherever we want, even while the tourney is ongoing; I remember when alphapong posted that http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=61885&PID=744768&title=la-open-2013-au#744768" rel="nofollow - link , all events were not over yet but we could see some results already entered.
 

I like the idea of putting a link on Facebook to direct people to realtime results online on OmniPong.  That's more traffic for Facebook.  :^)  But I'll still have to post all the pictures manually and may want to post the results in text form manually as well once the tournament is over.
https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixTableTennisClub" rel="nofollow - https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixTableTennisClub

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:


What I do not remember is whether the software builds a pdf on the fly or not when we click on one event; can we have empty slots as the server builds a pdf with the partial results it has at the moment in the middle of the event? anyway I am being borderline nitpicking here, just wondering.


I think maybe you misunderstood my issue.  I pretty much have zero issues with OmniPong or what it does.  My issue is simply doing extra work just to get ratings turned updated in less than a week as opposed to 11 days. 




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Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/15/2013 at 9:59pm
Got it.

In your 3rd quote I was not writing about your issue anymore. I was just interested in one of the features that might exist or not (pdf built on the fly with what's available).

What would the result of a vote be if you were asking all tourney competitors (whether they are members of you club or not) their preference between the 2 following options?
1) facebook/club website updated monday night and ratings updated 4 days later on usatt
2) facebook/club website updated right away, sunday night, and records updated 11 days later on usatt.

I know what would my answer be: "I was there Saturday and Sunday all day; I am recovering; I want to take a shower, get a massage from my wife and go to sleep; I don't need the pictures right away Sunday night".

You already made the decision: the sponsors are to be taken care of  first via the immediate fb/club website publications and that is not unfair.

----------------

to an omnipong specialist I would ask: if the data entries are quickly made after the end of the matches as the day(s) go(es), how long does it take to an organized person to wrap it all up and send all required information to usatt once the whole the tournament is over?




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Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 12:33am
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:


1) facebook/club website updated monday night and ratings updated 4 days later on usatt
2) facebook/club website updated right away, sunday night, and records updated 11 days later on usatt.


If anybody asks me about getting ratings updated faster my answer will be simple.  Come back behind the desk and start pitching in.  :^)  As it is, I can't recall any player complaining to me.  I do have one board member who would like it to be faster - and he does pitch in - but so far never on Sunday afternoon/evening.




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Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil


Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 12:36am
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:



to an omnipong specialist I would ask: if the data entries are quickly made after the end of the matches as the day(s) go(es), how long does it take to an organized person to wrap it all up and send all required information to usatt once the whole the tournament is over?



For me the big question would be how are the membership forms and tournament report handled?  The "best" way would be if the forms are electronic to begin with. Then with Paypal, everything can be sent electronically before you leave the venue.  Scanning in forms would be second best and possibly OK if integrated well.



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Jay Turberville
www.jayandwanda.com
Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil


Posted By: gatz
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 12:50am
This only works for US tournaments?



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Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 2:08am
Originally posted by gatz gatz wrote:

This only works for US tournaments?



I'm pretty sure a lot of it is geared toward U.S. tournaments.  Things like the ratings, automatic downloading of the current ratings and so forth. So you'd probably lose significant time-saving functions if used for non-U.S. tournaments.  But I'd think that there would still be a good chunk of the software that would be useable outside of the U.S. 


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Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 2:57pm
Hi Jay,

OmniPong does create PDF's of the membership applications electronically, based on the membership option that is selected for a player. It gets the rest of the information from the player's profile. It can handle all of the various possibilities for memberships, including waiving the fee for members of foreign associations, and when players have already paid at a recent tournament that hasn't been processed yet.

OmniPong will send the membership apps via email to USATT, along with the Player List, and the Tournament Report, which are also created electronically.  OminPong also generates the Player Copy and Club Copy of the membership applications.

Attached is a copy of how my membership application would appear, if I was buying a three year membership. This can be cut in thirds, and you can give the player their copy at the tournament, and keep the Club copy for your records.  The USATT copy is a hold over from when I used to mail them in.  It is now unnecessary, since OmniPong emails all of the membership apps to the USATT.

The biggest issue is getting players who sign up on line, to fill out their entire profile, so the membership app is complete. If a TD is getting entry forms by mail, they can update the player's profile from that. I am going to come up with a reminder email for players buying new memberships, if their profile is missing information.

Also attached is a copy of the Tournament Report that was created for the LA Open. This is what gets emailed to the USATT, along with the other items.

uploads/26525/Membership.pdf" rel="nofollow - uploads/26525/Membership.pdf
uploads/26525/Tournament_Report.pdf" rel="nofollow - uploads/26525/Tournament_Report.pdf



Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 3:19pm
The USATT says they will process a tournament for the current week, if they receive everything by Wednesday.  If they receive it after Wednesday, it will be processed with the next week's batch.

The only time they might have to delay the processing on their end, is if they are involved in a large tournament, like the Nationals, or the Open.


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 3:25pm
As Jay mentioned, OmniPong is really geared towards US tournaments, since that is all that I have ever run. However, It has been used to run several non-sanctioned tournaments. As long as the basic structure of a tournament is similar, I don't see why it couldn't be used for non-US tournaments.

I did take French, German, Russian and Spanish in high school and college (MANY years ago), but I don't think it would be sufficient for me to try and translate OmniPong into another language!


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 3:44pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:


The way I understood it we do it once in omnipong and then we can link to it wherever we want, even while the tourney is ongoing; I remember when alphapong posted that http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=61885&PID=744768&title=la-open-2013-au#744768" rel="nofollow - link , all events were not over yet but we could see some results already entered.

What I do not remember is whether the software builds a pdf on the fly or not when we click on one event; can we have empty slots as the server builds a pdf with the partial results it has at the moment in the middle of the event? anyway I am being borderline nitpicking here, just wondering.



OmniPong creates PDFs of the results as part of a 'Publish' step. Usually that is done after the tournament is over, and the results are Uploaded back to the web.  However, they can be done at anytime during the tournament, assuming you have an internet connection, and can access the OmniPong website.

You just do the Upload step whenever you are so inclined, and then perform the Publish step. All of the results up to that point will then be available online.

Another nice feature, is that the results page and player list for your tournament, can be integrated directly into your own website very easily, so that you don't even have to go to OmniPong to view them. That is what I do for the LA Open, and other TDs have used the feature as well.


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 4:14pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:


to an omnipong specialist I would ask: if the data entries are quickly made after the end of the matches as the day(s) go(es), how long does it take to an organized person to wrap it all up and send all required information to usatt once the whole the tournament is over?



The results for each match/group are entered immediately after the matches are done. This is necessary to determine who is advancing to the next round, and who the winners are. So by the time the tournament is over, all results have been entered, and are ready to be submitted.

I always go back over each match card, and compare the scores to what was entered. It is actually not as bad as it sounds, and only took me two hours for the LA Open. It is well worth it, IMO, and helps catch scores that have been entered incorrectly, and it can even catch where the wrong player has been marked as the winner. This can happen in a round robin, where neither of the two players are advancing, so it could go unnoticed.

After that, it is literally push one button to send the results file to NATT, one button to send all the reports to USATT, and one button to make the payment, if you are doing it by credit card or PayPal.



Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/16/2013 at 8:11pm
For those interested, here is a link to a PDF of all the screens in the OmniPong Director Access system. It is part of a User's Guide I am trying to put together. There is just a generic description below each screen shot, but you can get an idea of the features it has.

Let me know if you have any questions about anything you see, and Happy Viewing!

http://www.omnipong.com/director_screens.pdf" rel="nofollow - http://www.omnipong.com/director_screens.pdf


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/17/2013 at 1:46am
This is gold and so self-explanatory; thank you for sharing.

Can players pay their fees to the tournament director through PayPal? if yes, how could OmniPong protect the tournament director (to encourage him/her to use PayPal) so the PayPal fees are paid by the player in case (s)he decides to pay "for goods" instead of "for family and friends"?




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Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/17/2013 at 3:37pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:


Can players pay their fees to the tournament director through PayPal? if yes, how could OmniPong protect the tournament director (to encourage him/her to use PayPal) so the PayPal fees are paid by the player in case (s)he decides to pay "for goods" instead of "for family and friends"?


Players can pay their fees by PayPal or credit card directly to the TD's PayPal account. You just need to put the email address associated with the PayPal account into the 'Online Account Info', under the 'Payments' section of the setup 'Options' (B-5 in the pdf).

To accept credit cards, you need to be sure you have changed your PayPal account type from 'Personal' to 'Premier', otherwise you will only be able to accept PayPal payments. It takes 20 seconds to do, and there is no cost to do it, so I am not sure why they even bother.

Trying to pay the fees using the 'family and friends' method doesn't work with credit cards, and would probably end up getting you into trouble, if you get caught. Trust me, PayPal keeps an eye on those free transactions to be sure they are not being abused. You pretty much just have to look at their fees as a cost of doing business, and decide if the convenience is worth the cost.  You could always bump up your admin fee a buck or so, to cover the cost.


Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 09/17/2013 at 3:58pm
Originally posted by CKrum CKrum wrote:

You pretty much just have to look at their fees as a cost of doing business, and decide if the convenience is worth the cost.  You could always bump up your admin fee a buck or so, to cover the cost.


Yep.  We add in an automatic $2 fee which is pretty close to the average PayPal fee for tournament entries. 

I'll be looking over the PDF file more closely and probably contact you about running our upcoming Valley of the Sun tournament with OmniPong. If not the Valley of the Sun, then the next one.


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Jay Turberville
www.jayandwanda.com
Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/17/2013 at 4:07pm
That sounds great Jay. Be glad to finally have you on board!


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/17/2013 at 10:26pm
Originally posted by wturber wturber wrote:


Yep.  We add in an automatic $2 fee which is pretty close to the average PayPal fee for tournament entries. 


To handle this situation, I added an additional field to the Fee section of the Setup, for a fee that kicks in just for online payments (see revised B-6 of the PDF).


Posted By: ybok
Date Posted: 09/18/2013 at 4:41pm
So what software is used to actually manage the matches?  For example, setting up the events, printing the match sheets, recording the scores, etc?

If it is included in omnipong, then I don't see it.

Thanks


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/18/2013 at 5:50pm
I suppose we need to be in the "director's access" part of the program. That probably requires a paid license (here we are ). If this is correct I am wondering if there is a trial version of the software, what kind of service subscription is available ($ per tourney or per time period?) and how does tech support work: are unlimited email based tech. supp. requests allowed while the subscription is on?

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Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/18/2013 at 6:34pm
Originally posted by ybok ybok wrote:

So what software is used to actually manage the matches?  For example, setting up the events, printing the match sheets, recording the scores, etc?

If it is included in omnipong, then I don't see it.

Thanks

The software that actually runs the tournament is the OmniPong Control Desk module. It is a windows based program, written in the same language as the web based system, although a much older version. It interfaces with the web, and allows you to transfer information back and forth between the two systems using download and upload functions.

So the tournament is originally set up online, which allows players to enter and make payments through the Member Access system. Then, when it is time to run the tournament, all of the information gets downloaded to the Control Desk module.  The computer running the Control Desk only needs internet access for the download and upload functions. It does not need it when running the tournament itself.

The Control Desk is where the draws are generated, the matches scheduled, match cards are printed, results entered, etc. After the tournament is over, the information is uploaded back to the web, so that the results can be published, sent to NATT for processing, and the reports for USATT can be created.

The version of the program that I used to create the Control Desk does not have any licensing fee, which is why I continue to use it. But it also does not allow me to use all of the cool new features in the more recent versions.  The Control Desk is written in version 6.0 (from back in the '90s), and they are now up to version 17.1! Rewriting the Control Desk program in the newest version, would require a one-time license fee of $50 for each copy. Unfortunately, I may be forced to go that route, since Windows 8 has changed the way they handle printing, which is not supported by version 6.0.

Here is a link to the user manual for the Control Desk program.  It is an update to an older version that I used before I created the web based system, so there will be some slight differences. I kept it as close to the old version as possible, so that people who were already using OmniPong would have an easier transition to the new system. Many thanks to Charlene Liu, from the Maryland TTC, for doing the updates! Documentation is the last thing we programmer types tend to work on:

http://www.omnipong.com/control_desk.pdf" rel="nofollow - http://www.omnipong.com/control_desk.pdf





Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/18/2013 at 7:16pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

I suppose we need to be in the "director's access" part of the program. That probably requires a paid license (here we are ). If this is correct I am wondering if there is a trial version of the software, what kind of service subscription is available ($ per tourney or per time period?) and how does tech support work: are unlimited email based tech. supp. requests allowed while the subscription is on?


Currently, I am not charging anything to use OmniPong. It has been more of a hobby, and labor of love, which I am happy to share with others. I enjoy seeing more and more players register as Members on a daily basis (four more since I started this post). And I have been getting requests from more TDs for information about the system. I have set up 24 Director accounts to date.

At some point in time, when I am satisfied with the state of OmniPong, my thought is to have something like a per player fee of, say 50 cents. That would provide full use of OmniPong, and unlimited support. Being a programmer, this kind of thing is not my strong suit, so I am still looking at different possibilities.

There are so many enhancements I want to add to the system, that I'm not sure where to start. Integrated Club and League management modules are high on my list of priorities. Also finishing up the ability to run Team events. The question has always been finding the time to work on things.




Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/19/2013 at 1:51am
About the league module:

Some of my best tt years were when I was progressing fast, 1400 to 1800+ in a couple years; during that period I was playing leagues religiously at the Boeing club hosted weekly at an elementary school; Joe Romanosky and his predecessors had run continuously the league for 30+ years. Before leaving the Seattle area to join sunnier latitudes, Joe had given me the following document that explains well the format of the league. The software on his laptop was sorting players according to their league rating and the total number of players was divided in 6 groups, every group playing on 2 tables. We typically had 5 to 7 players per group.
The graphic below shows the order of matches that is imposed and designed so people do not play 2 matches in a row and do not wait too much either. Everybody has to play 4 matches, no more no less, no matter the number of players per group; the winner in each cell is simply circled.
The design was ideal for the 3 hours play time (+ 1 hour warm up/sign up) we had.
Obviously I am biased toward the system because I had so much fun but it's not perfect; the only problems we had were players not showing up after checking in over the phone or somebody showing up late to be gently added, making some matches already played not in the new list (the only bad one is when "upgrading" a group from 7 to 8 people when the 3 1st matches are already played; in all other possibilities the 1st 3 results can transfer to the new list) but counted in the ratings adjustments anyway. I bet some severe leaders would find a simple and elegant solution to both problems Tongue.
I am not sure how well known that system is so I wanted to share the idea.








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Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 09/19/2013 at 2:05am
Originally posted by CKrum CKrum wrote:

...
The computer running the Control Desk only needs internet access for the download and upload functions. It does not need it when running the tournament itself.
...
Will people in the future have the choice to run the control desk or doing everything online if they have connectivity during the tourney? Maybe you have already made the decision to discard the ultimate web based solution because a lack of connectivity during the tournament could make people erroneously associate OmniPong's design with the occurring chaos (?)



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Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 09/19/2013 at 11:35am
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

Will people in the future have the choice to run the control desk or doing everything online if they have connectivity during the tourney? Maybe you have already made the decision to discard the ultimate web based solution because a lack of connectivity during the tournament could make people erroneously associate OmniPong's design with the occurring chaos (?)


Very few venues I have been to have had reliable internet service. Most don't have any, but I think that is slowly changing. I almost always end up using my phone as a hot spot, when I want to access the web.

Even with a reasonable connection, I don't think I would trust it to run a tournament. I always have a backup computer with me, loaded with the Control Desk program, and I make regular backups to a thumb drive during the tournament. If the main computer dies (which hasn't happened yet, knock on wood), I can fire up the backup computer, stick in the thumb drive and restore the most recent backup. Then I just need to re-enter the results from the most recent matches, and I am hopefully caught back up.

If something happens to the internet connection, or the server fails, there would be no way to recover. That would indeed cause chaos, and there is usually enough of that at a tournament already. Also, I have found that running a program that is installed on the computer is generally faster than using something that is based in the cloud.


Posted By: stiltt
Date Posted: 01/12/2016 at 2:17pm
so with the end of railstation and the advent of simplycompete, how does Omnipong's future stand for tournament registration and reports? will Omnipong interface with simplycomplete so those who are used to Omnipong do not have to swallow another learning curve?

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Posted By: wturber
Date Posted: 01/12/2016 at 2:51pm
Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

so with the end of railstation and the advent of simplycompete, how does Omnipong's future stand for tournament registration and reports? will Omnipong interface with simplycomplete so those who are used to Omnipong do not have to swallow another learning curve?

From where I sit, it seems that there is a very good line of communications between USATT and Craig.  My strong  bet is that this will be pretty seamless for OmniPong users. 

It is also possible that USATT required SimplyComplete to use the same input format as was used by RailStation.  


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Jay Turberville
www.jayandwanda.com
Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil


Posted By: skip3119
Date Posted: 03/07/2016 at 11:05am
Question:  How much does it cost to use Omnipong?

Thanks.


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skip3119


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 03/07/2016 at 11:23am
Originally posted by skip3119 skip3119 wrote:

Question:  How much does it cost to use Omnipong?

Thanks.


Hi Skip,

Thanks for the interest in OmniPong!

OmniPong costs fifty cents per player who participates in a tournament, assuming you are satisfied with the results. That includes everything, from access to the website, the Control Desk program, PayPal interface, submitting results and reports to USATT, training, etc.


Let me know if you have any other questions.

Craig


Posted By: skip3119
Date Posted: 03/07/2016 at 11:37am
Originally posted by CKrum CKrum wrote:

Originally posted by skip3119 skip3119 wrote:

Question:  How much does it cost to use Omnipong?

Thanks.


Hi Skip,

Thanks for the interest in OmniPong!

OmniPong costs fifty cents per player who participates in a tournament, assuming you are satisfied with the results. That includes everything, from access to the website, the Control Desk program, PayPal interface, submitting results and reports to USATT, training, etc.


Let me know if you have any other questions.

Craig
==============================

Thank you very much for the information. 50 cents per player, that is practically nothing:  For a great software like this.  

One more question:  
For a club which has never used Omnipong to run the tournaments before, is there an "Initial Setup Cost"?


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skip3119


Posted By: CKrum
Date Posted: 03/07/2016 at 11:49am
Originally posted by skip3119 skip3119 wrote:

==============================

Thank you very much for the information. 50 cents per player, that is practically nothing:  For a great software like this.  

One more question:  
For a club which has never used Omnipong to run the tournaments before, is there an "Initial Setup Cost"?


Thanks!

No setup costs. The best way to get started is to send me a copy of an entry form for an upcoming or prior tournament. I can use that information to set up the Director account, and add the tournament so you can see how everything looks.


Posted By: angelleye
Date Posted: 03/15/2019 at 2:50pm
@CKrum, you still around?  I know multiple tournament directors trying to get setup with OP and can't seem to get a reply..??



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