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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions handled by our support staff. We've also added seom some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions.

Note: In these answers we will follow a few shorthand conventions for describing user-interface procedures. Key combinations will be presented like this: Ctrl+Alt+Delete, which means that you should press and hold down the Control key, the Alt key, and the Delete key at the same time. Menu selections will be presented like this: File->Open, which means that you should open the File menu, and then make the Open selection.

  1. What version do I have?
  2. What hardware do I need?
  3. What operating systems will it run on?
  4. What are the known bugs?
  5. Can I try before I buy?
  6. Can I add my sponsor's logo to the printouts?
  7. How can I send out confirmation letters?
  8. How do I backup my data?
  9. How do I use more than one computer at a time?
  10. I can't print my confirmation letters.  What's wrong?
  11. Some fields in my confirmation letters contain junk.  How come?
  12. Not all of the confirmation letter is printing.  Some fields are missing.  What's wrong?
  13. How does the timing work?
  14. How do I set up the computers for a networked solution?

What version do I have?

You can find out what version you have by looking at the Help->About window.

The time field on each program file has been set to the version number.  For example, the program files for version 4.07 will have a timestamp of 21-Feb-1998 4:07 am.   Similarly, version 4.04 has a timestamp of 18-Jan-1998 4:04 am.

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What hardware do I need?

Of course, with any software, the most powerful machine will provide the best results (pun not intended). The minimum machine we have used is listed below. Naturally, your mileage will vary.

Processor: 486 DX2/80
Memory: 12M of memory
Free Disk space: 10M

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What operating systems will it run on?

We have had sucvess with the following:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • WIndows 2000
  • NT 3.51
  • NT 4
  • XP

We recommend downloading and trying the software before you buy.

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What are the known bugs?

The following is a list of some known problems with our software; we are working to correct them for a future release.

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Can I try before I buy?

Yes, you can.  We have a demo version of the software which you can download. It comes complete with the results for the 1997 Grundig/UCI World Cup race at Wellington.   You can create your own races but you will be limited in the number of entrants you can add.  And all results printouts will mention the fact that the software is unlicensed.

You may not use the demo software to produce results for a race.  There are additional features which are available only to registered licenses.

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Can I add my sponsor's logo to the printouts?

Yes, but only to the results.  To do this, use Options->General Options command and set the Header/Footer and enter the values.  The units are in millimeters.

We have found this work best by pre-printing the logos on the paper which will be used for the results.  Otherwise, the results take too long to print as the printer struggles to cope with the graphics.

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How can I send out confirmation letters?

Most racers like to know that you've received  their entry form.  This is particularly important for those events which do not allow entry on the day of the event.   We recommend that you send confirmation letters to the racers as soon as you enter their details into the system.

To send confirmation letters, select Reports->Confirmation Letters.   You can then select a range of people or just people entered after a certain date.

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How do I backup my data?

The files you want to backup is race.db and race.log.  You won't be able to copy these files if the database is open, so you'll have to close the application first.   You'll want to keep these two files in sync and not mix them with previous backups.

You can also backup your results during the race.  But in the current version, there is no way to restore them.  But should you have a problem during the race, contact us and we'll see what we can do to restore what you have already saved.

To backup your results to disk, use the Results->Backup results to disk command.  Then save the file in a safe place.

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How do I use more than one computer at a time?

The demo version does not allow data to be imported from other computers nor does it allow for multiple connections to the database.

The licensed version of The Racing System can import data from other systems.  And if you purchase the database server software, you can connect together as many computers as you wish.  That way, you can have some people checking the results as they are being entered.  We find that to be the most efficient method.

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I can't print my confirmation letters.  What's wrong?

At present, confirmation letters letters can only be used with Microsoft Word.  If there is sufficient demand for other word processors, we'll release non-specific versions.   Please feel free to let us know your preferences.

The following is a list of the common errors and the solutions for each one.  If your error message doesn't appear below, please contact us..

  1. "Microsoft Word Err=1065, The document name or path is not valid." - This error message usually means that MS Word could not create a new document from The Racing System template.  Ensure that the file "Race_sys.dot" exists within your MS Word template directory.  If you cannot find this file, you should be able to download this file from the website.
  2. "Microsoft Word Err=1005, This bookmark does not exist." - It probably means that the bookmark being printed does not exist within the template "Race_sys.dot" but the list contained at Setup->Bookmarks indicates that the bookmark is to be used.  Either amend the list or modify the template.

    After the Microsoft Word error message appears, don't click OK.  If you wait a bit, the The Racing System will time out waiting for Microsoft Word to complete the last command.  It will then display a message telling you what bookmark was causing the problem.  If you do click OK straight away, the confirmation printing will continue.
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Some fields in my confirmation letters contain junk.  How come?

If you're trying to print confirmation letters, and you're getting stuff which looks like this:


The Racing System uses Microsoft Word to create confirmation letters.  The template used is race_sys.dot.  Within this template are bookmarks.  A bookmark identifies where various information should appear within the letter.  You can specify which bookmarks are to be used and which are to be left out of the letter.  If you're seeing stuff like the example above, chances are that the bookmark by that name is not enabled.  See Setup->Bookmarks for a list of the enabled bookmarks.  You should be able to find the one which is causing the grief and enable that bookmark.  Alternatively, you could remove the bookmark from the document template.  You should keep a copy of the original template in case you need to reuse that bookmark at a future date.

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Not all of the confirmation letter is printing.  Some fields are missing.  What's wrong?

If some fields of the confirmation letter are missing, then perhaps you have overlapping bookmarks. For example, if the Full Name and Race Numbers are not appearing at the top of the page, but the meeting name is, perhaps the meeting name bookmark overlaps with the other two bookmarks.

To test for this condition:

  1. Start Microsoft Word for Windows.
  2. Do a File->New .
  3. Choose the race_sys template.  If you don't see that template listed, then see below.
  4. Check the bookmarks using Edit->Bookmarks.
  5. Select each bookmark in turn and click on the Go To button.
  6. If you find any overlap, repair it and try again.

As a last resort, grab a copy of race_sys.dot from the website and use that. Remember to place it in your Word for Windows template directory.

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How does the timing work?

In all the races we've done with The Racing System, we've never used an external timing source.  We've never found it necessary.   Instead, we use the computer clock for all timing and coordinate with any external source by manual methods.  Quite accurate synchronization can be achieved this way and with enough precision to satisfy any normal requirements.  We have also found that less complexity means less that can go wrong on race day.

We use digital watches for our timekeeping.  A timekeeper takes a watch to the start line and records the time at which each wave starts.  The finish line computer is then synchronized with that timepiece.  Each team of timekeepers has a digital watch which has been synchronized with the computer.  During the race, we compare our results with the results produced by the commissaries who usually record their times from the big timing display that the audience watches.  We've never been wrong.

This is not to say that we will not provide an interface to an external clock.  If you need it, we'll do it.  Just give us the specifications for your system.

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How do I set up the computers for a networked solution?

It is possible to use more than one computer at a time.  But you need a database server.  Here are the steps to keep in mind when you're setting up your network.

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This page last updated: Thursday, 02 March 2000
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000-2014 Dan Langille.  All rights reserved.