Welcome to Omnibits for Wednesday, 27 September (Day 11)


Fair warning: I haven't had coffe yet. But it's brewing :)

I've moaned & groaned about this issue before but the garthok that's been narfling the OSHD operation here is violations of Microsoft Windows' EULA, specificationlly the paragraph titled "Device Connections" (run "winver" and click on "Microsoft Software License Terms"). For Windows 7 Professional, it reads

e.    Device Connections. You may allow up to 20 other devices to access software installed on the licensed computer to use only File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services and Internet Connection Sharing and Telephony Services.

OSHD uses a peer-to-peer network (not a login domain server), so each computer on the network with network discovery and file sharing turned on is a "device connection." I have 19 computers for 4-Way: 3 judging systems, 5 copy stations, 3 transcode servers, 1 admin station (for the CJ, for browsing and printing results), and 7 jukeboxes (3 actual jukeboxes, 3 for DZTV servers, 1 for internet video generation). (3, 5, 3, 1, ... yup, 19.)

My laptop, what I'm typing this on, and do software maintenance, is #20.

The problem yesterday (and the day before) was the drop zone's VLC host computers being used to play the DZTV feed coming from the three aforementioned "DZTV servers". Some of them had network discovery and file sharing turned on. During the day they would show up on my Network list, kicking off one of my computers already on the list, rendering it useless until the next day, when everything can be shut down and brought back up.

On Monday, I lost a copy station early in the afternoon to this, and had to finish the first day of 4-Way with four copy stations.

Yesterday, I lost two: one copy station, and this computer right here, my laptop, on which I was updating yesterday's bits when I got kicked. Off. My. Own. NOTWORK

I've been assured the offending pooters have their network discovery disabled at the registry level.

But who's here to read all this technical crap? Not you! There's a skydiving competition going on out there!!! All 4-Way events of course finished late yesterday afternoon, a total of 727 jumps contributing to 730 scores for 73 teams. (There were three missed manifest calls, at least one of those due to injury.) The 8-Way briefing was last night and I expect to get the draw uploaded in the next hour or so. I might be judging some 8-Way too, insuring the 'Bits will remain as thin and dry as ever!


If you kept up with yesterday's traffic on the facing book you know what I went through with the videos I create for omniskore.com.

To recap, about two years ago Google stopped supporting h.264 video, so clicking on the .mp4 links stopped working. (I create the mp4 files from .avi files using the mpeg4 library which encodes in h.264.) So yesterday I changed my scripts and NetPost code to create and reference .webm files instead. I danced and hoo-rah'd and high-fived myself late yesterday afternoon the first time I clicked on a link on my Galaxy S8 and saw my webm file streaming in high quality.

Only then did I learn that webm is not natively supported by iOS, meaning Apple users are left out. However they can be played on iPhones and other iOS platforms with third party support.

My inclination is to leave this "as is" on the assumption that Apple will eventually come to its senses and add support for the free and open .webm format, and even if they don't, Apple/iPhone users will install whatever third-party plugins they need to make it work.

Needless to say I quite like the notion that my results pages now work with Chrome and Android. Another nice feature of the .webm format is the videos start playing immediately -- they don't wait for the download to complete. A much nicer user experience.

Here are some alternatives for you Apple / iPhone users:


8-Way scores GOING UP!!! Draws are also uploaded, you can get those by click on the round numbers in the results table header. ("TOT" gives you a PDF of the entire draw, while the individual round numbers give you just that round.)


What a great day of 8-Way so far! And I get to push buttons in Round 5 :)

Later today or tonight I'm going to share with you what I learned about a piece of information that ended up in last year's world meet report to the IPC that was pretty damaging to somebody, in the eyes of those who read it ...


Nice!!! I just judged my first Nationals jumps in 13 years. Felt great. First time using OSHD as a Nationals judge. (Seriously!!!) Thank you, Sir Randy of Connell, for getting me through your course and back on the judges list, and Jim Rees for finding an opportunity to put me to work.

Did I mention yet that you can download and use OmniSkore!HD, completely free? The whole enchilada, the fully monty, absolutely free! You can find the details here.

There are caveats, as you might expect, and for sanctioned competitions you are expected to use the traditional USB judging consoles (instead of keyboards) and purchase a license, which are very reasonably priced. But for the keyboard-operated version, where you can attach any number of keyboards to the judging computer to simulate the USB judging consoles, you can use it for whatever skydiving related task you want to: judge training, team training, weekend throw-together competitions, or even just want to help the old omni-engineer test his software, which would be most appreciated!

If you decide to take the plunge, it's also important to be aware that I'm in the process (now almost a year behind schedule -- a whole nuther story) of making a series of about a half dozen Youtube videos that cover every detail of how to use the system. Be sure to read more on that at the download link. My goal, come heck or high water, is to have those videos done by the end of this year.

And it's been done once already this year -- Skydive Spaceland downloaded, installed, setup, and operated the software for their August pre-Nationals competition, with only token assistance from me, and only the existing online videos to help.


So here's what happened at the WPC at SDC last year. After every WPC, the chief judges submit after-action reports which get compiled into a roll-up report that is submitted to the IPC where it is provided to every delegation. It's a pretty important document.

The report for the 2016 WPC -- which was in several parts, and unfortunately I don't recall specifically which one -- included some text that was critical of the video quality produced by OmniSkore!HD. I wasn't aware of it in time (!!!) to do any kind of investigation or submit a rebutal, so the damage was done. Needless to say I was not happy about it; the HD in OmniSkore!HD does after all stand for "High Definition", and I take great pride in the total quality I present to the judges. But damage was done to me, my system and its reputation.

Well, today I finally found out that it was all essentially bad communication. Karla Cole was the original author, and she's here now of course, and we discussed what happened. What she specifically experienced was a team that showed her their original video, which did not have a visible bust, and they then watched it on the judging system, where a grip was busted because it was just off the screen. For some reason this was blamed on software and "video quality", when it had nothing to do with either.

I reproduced the scenario for Karla, which is easy to do. For historical reasons, every HD television is shipped with overscan turned on. For every competition, I give an equipment requirements and setup guide to the host that includes instructions to turn off overscan on all televisions. I try to make sure this gets done when I'm on site, but in this case it looks like one or two slipped through the cracks. I turned on overscan on one of my televisions here and showed Karla how much peripheral information is lost when it's on. She now understands what happened, and most importantly, knows specifically what to require for competition hosts. Unfortunately, her report just didn't get worded carefully enough to convey what really went wrong.

So, when you download and install and use OSHD at your home DZ, donut forget to turn off your overscan!!!

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