Saturday Morning at Long Beach

Posted by Iannucci | 4/17/2010 | , | 3 comments »
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Good morning from beautiful Southern California, which because of the proximity to the beautiful Pacific Ocean will always be just as beautiful as any other universally-proclaimed beautiful facility elsewhere.

After re-reading my own post from last night (yes, I do read my own press - ahem) I realized it was sorely lacking in any journalism-ish-ness. So today I decided to represent THE FANS by speaking truthiness to power, or whatever that phrase is, and taking off my shoe and pounding it on the table of the IndyCar.com braintrust and demanding to know what in the world is UP with Timing and Scoring being all effed up much of the time.

And by shoe-pounding I mean humbly asking in polite and respectful tones.

Turns out these folks actually should have some sympathy for the predicament, because they're trying to bring the data that anyone walking pit road can see to the internet without the benefit of having a stable and proven interface. In simple terms, it's kinda like they're trying to teleport the Jeff Goldblum scoring data and putting him all back together covered in flies. And as you've seen, the results can be a bit grotesque.

As it was explained to me, all of the scoring data is collected by an application known as "Result Protocol", which is fantastic for providing trackside information but has no compatible web interface. Due to constant feature updates this tends to wreck the interface that the IndyCar.com people use on the web site, and you the consumer suffer the consequences. All this time everything looks wonderful for race teams and IRL officials.

The solution likely will be to find some type of scoring system that already has a designed and supported interface (wait...I see your glazing over again). Let me try that again - they need to have someone who can properly control both telepods, flies and all. In the meantime know they are "getting hammered" from people complaining, and are trying to constantly monitor every session, even entering manual codes to try to correctly display stuff during sessions. And as an IT guy by trade I can tell you "manual" is a practically four-letter word.

Bottom line: it's not the fault of the web sites designers - it's someone else's for buying a timing and scoring solution that doesn't "solve" all of the IRL needs. With several thousand fans following even the Lights events the web presence is only going to be leaned on more and more by fans. And if the sport is ever going to have data shown on other sites (i.e. VERSUS or ESPN) this issue might want to be bumped up in priority.

In the meantime, they appreciate your feedback and believe me they're fully embarrassed and not happy with the situation.

3 comments

  1. Doug // April 17, 2010 11:57 AM  

    Like the Tandy pic. Nice touch, that. Glad to hear the league knows that there IS a problem, just wish the solution would arrive faster.

  2. toomuchracing.com // April 17, 2010 12:25 PM  

    Jeff - thanks for asking and feeding it back to us, and yes they should make it a priority.
    There's more to it than T&S though, there needs to be work done on the audio/video side too.

  3. The SpeedGeek // April 19, 2010 10:17 AM  

    Good to know they're working on it, even if I'm not as enraged as many other folks. As I always say, if you told my 15 year old self back in the early '90s that you'd be able to watch both video and live timing and scoring via the computer in your basement, you'd have first confused me by knowing where my computer was and then you'd have completely blown my mind. Even if the T&S only works half the time, that's still half more than I would have dreamed possible.