This year Eastern States is going virtual! They will have the same great lineup of speakers and topics, all from the comfort of your home on October 3 and 4. Also, IST will be giving away a pace clock as usual! Register for the clinic to get more information on how to enter.
Normally this time of year I would be reminding you to get your timing equipment out, clean and test everything, update your computer and get an RMA from us for any items that need repaired. If you are going to be able to start your season, go ahead and do all of that! Call us at 800-835-2611 or email email@example.com. This year looks like it’s going to be very different from previous years because of the pandemic. If you are able to practice and hold meets, here are a few things to keep in mind
Learn about COVID-19
There is a lot of information out there on the virus, and it changes nearly daily. Keep up with the latest science and recommendations.
The NFHS isn’t a governing body. They can only make recommendations to the member State Athletic and Activities Associations. This means that in your state the rules may be very different. Be sure to check with your State Association or State Coaches Association for their rules and guidance. Finally, your league or district may have additional rules. Also, you will have to abide by your state government’s executive and emergency orders, so make sure you check those.
In Person Meets – Some Considerations
If you can run your meets in person, there are some things to think about. How many people will be on deck, including athletes, coaches, officials, timers and the computer operator. What equipment will need to be sanitized? Likely that will be anything that gets touched by multiple people. What will you use to clean and sanitize? Who will be in charge of making sure it happens?
Secondly, can you social distance? If not, will you require everyone to wear masks? If everyone is wearing masks, what will the swimmers do with theirs while they are racing? You don’t want a swimmer picking up someone else’s mask – that could be a recipe for disaster! Consider getting a hanging organizer with pockets, enough for each team member to have their own. Hang it on the wall behind the lanes and label the pockets with the swimmers name or a number for each team member. That way, as the swimmer gets ready to step up onto the block they can drop their mask in their pocket, and pick it up as soon as they finish the race and put it back on.
Finally, what will you do about spectators? Can they social distance? Will they be required to wear masks? Will someone be assigned to enforce mask wearing? What kind of signage will you need? What if you can’t have spectators? Can you download some crowd noise and play it during the meet? Could you have one parent in the stands live streaming the meet from your public Facebook or Instagram page?
Virtual Meets – Some Considerations
There is a possibility that meets will be run “virtually” with both teams swimming in their own pools. The NFHS and some State Associations will be releasing guidance for these meets in the coming days.
Virtual meets will still require non-team personnel. At minimum there will need to be a starter/referee, just like in a normal dual meet. You will still need backup timers and a computer operator. Check the NFHS and NISCA websites for their guidelines on running virtual meets and requirements for National Records and All America swims. That information should be coming out soon.
How will you set up a virtual meet? Will the coaches be required to release their lineups prior to the meet? Will both teams live stream the event? Will both teams swim at the same time? Alternate events so the swimmers on team A can watch team B’s live stream of the 50 free, and then swim their own 50 free while team B watches?
Who will oversee the meet results? Will both teams send results and score the meet to make sure there is agreement? How will the results get combined? Who will oversee posting the results?
How will you generate the excitement of a meet for your team at their home pool with no opponents and possibly no spectators?
There are so many things that are going to be different this year. If there is anything that we here at IST can do to help you make it run more smoothly, please let us know. In the meantime, good luck and be well!
Hopefully our seasons will be getting underway soon (fingers crossed!). In preparation for your upcoming season, it’s a good idea to prepare your computer and software so it will run smoothly right from the beginning. Here are some tips for “cleaning up” your software.
Update your Computer
If you are like me, you haven’t been to the pool in a while, or even turned on the computer you use for running meets. Now is a good time to do that, since you’re bound to have Windows updates waiting! Get your computer connected to the network and run Windows Update. Remember, their updates aren’t cumulative, so you may need to run it a couple times to get all caught up! You may also need to run Windows update the afternoon before your meet – just in case they try to sneak one in there during the meet. You can also set your update preferences so that it won’t install updates during meet times. This is important since Windows will sometimes shut off ports and networks if there is an update waiting to go in.
Clean Up Old Meets in IST Software
Now that you’re done with the season, it’s a good time to get rid of the old meets in your system. Before you do these next steps – MAKE A BACKUP. Go to Utilities/Backup/Backup, select a location (preferably a removable drive that you can keep with this season’s paperwork) and click BACKUP. That way you’ll have the data if you need to go back to it.
In MEETWARE, it’s easy to start a new season. Just go to Utilities/New Season and click SETUP A NEW SEASON. It will ask you to back up, which you can skip if you’ve already done that. Then it deletes all your meets, ages everyone on your team and away teams up 1 year, and adds your graduating seniors to an alumni roster. That’s it, you’re ready for a new season!
If you are using TIMEWARE, you can delete the meets that you ran last year. Go to MEETS/MEET SETUP, select each meet and click Delete.
Meets should be deleted periodically. You can only store 99 meets in TIMEWARE or MEETWARE, and if you don’t delete a few now and then you’ll end up duplicating meet numbers and seeing weird data.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to clean up your meet files on your Meet Manager computer. Go into your SWMEETS folder and delete any of the .gen files that are still in there. Clean up this folder. Move any old .mdb files into a different folder for safe keeping.
Clean up your computer
Once you have cleaned up your files, you can run a Windows Disk Clean Up as well. For newer versions of windows, type Disk Cleanup in the search bar to find it. Clean out all the old and temporary files. You can also defragment your hard drive (search Defragment in the search bar) to help thing run smoothly.
Update your Software
Now that you have a nice clean computer, make sure that your software is up to date. If you look at the top left of the window, you will see the software name, the version number and a date in parenthesis. Take a look on the IST website and make sure that the date on your software isn’t older than the date on the update page: https://www.istime.com/support/software-updates/. If it is out of date, click the link to download the update.zip file. Save it somewhere you can find it, and make sure it doesn’t have a (1) in the name! Then go into your IST Software under Utilities/Update, select the update file and click UPDATE. Then just follow the prompts on the screen.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Also, if you need help with any of this, or you would like a refresher course on the software please reach out. We are happy to do on-line training and support sessions using Team Viewer, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-835-2611.
Hello everyone, we here at IST wanted to take the time to address what is happening in the world right now and where we stand on the matter. First, before anything else, we hope that no matter what you are doing and or how you feel about the issues at hand, you are taking the proper precautions to keep yourself safe and healthy. There is still a worldwide pandemic going on.So, please wear a mask and bring proper protective gear if you are gathering in crowds.
With that being said, IST is a company built on serving its community and all the people in it. Our customers are people who want to better their pools to create an atmosphere that athletes, staff members, and observers can all enjoy, no matter what their background is.We share that same mentality towards the issues presented throughout the world. We don’t discriminate against who you are, and we support those who are passionate about creating a world built on equality and peace. We find the actions taken against George Floyd were heinous, and the officers who have unjustly overused their power that is meant to protect the people should have the proper disciplinary actions taken against them. There should be appropriate repercussions for anyone who takes unnecessary harmful actions towards another human being, no matter who they are and what their position is.
IST stands with the black community, as well as other communities that feel oppressed or unfairly treated, and with those who take the appropriate actions to support people in need. We support the Black Lives Matter movement and their message of promoting equality for communities that feel they are treated unfairly. That message of equality needs to continue, even once the dust has settled.At the end of the day we are all people just trying to get through life one day at a time, so why not make every day enjoyable for yourself and everyone around you?
Some of the high school seasons came to an abrupt end in March, and spring sports are non-existent. Some coaches have been thinking about ways to celebrate their Seniors who will be graduating this year. Here are a couple of ideas that we’ve stolen from other coaches!
Social Media Shout Outs
If you have social media accounts from your team you can create a series of “shout outs” for your seniors. Use a photo from the season, or maybe a photo from their freshman and senior seasons, or a copy of a senior photo if you can get one. Next, use a photo editing software package (I like MS Paint, it’s really simple!) add their name and any other relevant information. GPA, best times, records broken, where they are going to school next year, etc. Then get the senior and/or parents to sign off on the images that you are using. No surprises!
Finally, post the photo on all of your social media accounts and encourage their teammates to share the posts and their congratulations with the senior. Make sure you tag the senior in the photo. If you aren’t connected with them on social media, have one of their teammates tag them. This could be a great project for your Juniors to work on too!
NISCA Academic All America Award
If your senior has a 3.75 (weighted or unweighted) GPA and has earned (or would have earned this year) a varsity letter with your program, they are eligible for the NISCA Academic All America award. Applications can be submitted on-line. You will need the athlete’s home address for the certificate to be mailed. Also, you will need to submit a signature form and copy of their transcript.
Do you have an area outside your pool that would look good in pictures? Something that identifies it as your pool or school and gets great lighting? Glue or duct tape some paint sticks into the back of kickboards (bonus points if they are in your school’s colors) and stick them in the ground. Create a banner, sign, chalk art or other image that you can hang on a blank wall or on the sidewalk.
Let your team know about it and have them stop by (one at a time, maintaining social distancing of course) and have them take photos in front of that stop and post them on Instagram. Ask your team to tag their Seniors in their photos and comment with their favorite memories of the team.
Videos/Power Point/Prezi Presentation
Collect as many photos of the team as you can, even if they aren’t from this year. Create an “end of year” slide show that features the Seniors. Bonus points for background music.
Similarly, you can also ask your team members to send in short videos of themselves talking about their favorite memories of the team, or the seniors. Assign an underclassman to talk about a Senior so everyone is represented. Take those videos and photos and edit them into a single YouTube video in honor of your Senior class.
The year may have ended abruptly for the class of 2020, but we can help make it a little less bittersweet. Use your team’s creative energy and imaginations (and extra time) to come up with a fitting tribute to your Seniors. Have fun!
We would like to address IST’s response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. IST is located in Michigan, where social distancing has been implemented. We typically have less than 10 people at a time in the physical office. We are taking extra precautions with hand washing and cleaning of commonly touched items like coffee pots and door handles. Our employees all have paid time off available to them, and have been encouraged to stay home if they are not feeling well, and we asked them to err on the side of caution. Many of our employees can work from home, and have also been encouraged to do so. IST is in good shape financially and does not have any debt currently, so we foresee being able to rebound quickly once the emergency has passed.
We know that many of you are out of your pools and not allowed to train. If you have equipment that needs to be repaired, we would encourage you to do that now while you don’t need it for a while. We can repair all kinds of our products from pace clocks ($150-$250 depending on the clock), SWIMSTART ($200), CTI ($250) and deck cables ($75 for the 25-pin connector or $85 per lane box). The fees include the repair of anything that is wrong with the item (replacement batteries are an additional $60), plus inspection, cleaning and testing.
To get an item repaired, call (800-835-2611) or email (email@example.com) with your team name and the item that needs repair. Please also include the shipping address where you would like the repaired item returned. We will email you an RMA number and instructions for packaging and shipping the item. Once it has been repaired we will reach out to you for payment information. We can accept credit cards over the phone, checks or PO numbers (if you can get one).
From our family to yours, we hope that you stay well. We will be here and ready to go once the crisis has passed. Be safe and wash your hands!
We have recently stumbled upon the first commercial that IST produced! It is a parody of “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney”, and was released in 1992. If you look closely, you may be able to recognize a few familiar faces from the office!
If you have ever looked closely at the banana plugs on your touchpads and backup buttons, you will see that there is a ground tab on each of them.
This ground tab indicates that the ground wire (black wire) is attached to that terminal. On the deck cable, you will notice that there is a red and black collar on the plug.
For the touchpads and backup buttons to work properly, the black wire needs to plug into the black collar and the red wire needs to plug into the red collar on the deck cable. In other words, the ground tab needs to go on the black collar.
Check that you have everything plugged in correctly. Make sure that the ground tab points to the middle of the lane box, like this:
Plugging the connectors in properly means the ground tabs line up with the center of the box. Just make sure that you have the touchpad plugged into the PAD side and the backup button plugged into the BACKUP side!
What happens if the polarity isn’t correct? If it is just on one touchpad, you might see it work intermittently. Plugging in multiple touchpads incorrectly can cause interference. This can cause several to work intermittently or not at all. You may notice that your pads just don’t seem to register hits all the time. The first thing to check in that case is the plug polarity.
Repairing the Connections
If the collars on the deck cable are broken and the connections are rusted, you might want to consider replacing the boxes on the deck cable ($85/box) or replacing the entire deck cable. Especially if making sure the pads and buttons are plugged in correctly doesn’t correct the problems you are having.
Have more questions about diagnosing and fixing deck cable and touchpad issues? Look at the Tips and Technical Support page on our website for information on diagnosing and troubleshooting issues with Touchpads, Deck Cables and Backup buttons. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page:
As always, if you need something repaired, give us a call at 800-835-2611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get an RMA number. Deck cables, backup buttons and touchpads all have a 2-year warranty.
Many of our products come with cables that connect them to other items – the cable from the CTI to the computer, the CTI to the scoreboard, Deck cable to the CTI, etc. Often if there is hardware issue, the likely culprit is a cable or connector on a cable. Cables have a 2-year warranty, so if it is less than 2 years old let us know and we’ll get it fixed or replaced.
If its more than 2 years old, you have a couple options. You can purchase a replacement cable from us, or you can clean or replace the cable yourself. Here is what you need to know about the various cables.
Our scoreboard cables look like phone cables. A word of warning – THEY ARE NOT! If you look closely at the connectors on both ends of the scoreboard cable, you will see that the wires are in the same color order from left to right on both ends of the cable.
For example, blue, orange, orange striped, green. If you look at the ends of a phone cable, the wires from left to right are blue, orange, orange striped, green on one end and green, orange striped, orange, blue from left to right on the other end. This cable switches the polarity, which isn’t a problem for the phone company, but is a big problem for your scoreboard! A normal phone cable will not allow your scoreboard to get communication from the CTI.
If you need to replace the cable to your scoreboard, you can use a phone cable, but you must make some adjustments. Get an RJ11 connector and an RJ11 crimper tool. Cut off one end of the phone cable and strip back a little of the jacket. Insert the cable into the new RJ11 connector, making sure that the colors in the new connector match the order of the colors in the other end from left to right. Press them in and use the crimping tool to keep them in place.
Sometimes the issue isn’t in the cable itself, but in the connector. If you look at the RJ11 connector you should see strips of shiny gold on the end.
If you see dull gold or green, your cable needs to be cleaned. You can use a product called CRC Contact Cleaner (available at Lowes, Home Depot and WalMart or on our website). Spray the contact cleaner onto the connector and scrub with a pipe cleaner until it is shiny again. You can also clean the connector in the CTI and end of the scoreboard the same way.
Our older CTI’s have a 25-pin to 9-pin serial cable.
Most computers no longer have serial ports. These cables require a USB to Serial adapter. If you have a failure of the cable from the computer to the CTI, the adapter cable is the first thing to check. These are available on our website or at your local computer store. Make sure when purchasing the USB to Serial adapter cable that it is compatible with the version of Windows on your timing computer. If that doesn’t work, then you will need to replace the serial cable. You need a 25pin male to 9 pin female serial cable. These are available on our website, at a local computer store or on Cables To Go.
Our newer CTI’s have a USB cable from the CTI to the computer.
This is called a USB-A cable. It has a square connector on one end and a regular USB connector on the other end. They are commonly used for printers. You can purchase them from our website, at a local computer retailer or online.
One common problem found on the CTI is that one of the pins in the 25-pin connector has been bent or pushed in.
If you see a pin that is not completely straight and even with the others, you can gently pull it out or straighten it using a pair of needle nose pliers. If the pin is broken or missing, you will need to send the CTI back to IST for repair.
Our deck cables can’t be replaced by anyone but us. However, you can replace the 25-pin connector if you know how to do that.
It is important when replacing the 25-pin connector that you get all the wires back into their correct places. If you are going to replace the connector yourself, please contact IST for a wiring diagram. You can also send the deck cable to us for repair. Replacing a 25 pin connector costs $75. Call 800-835-2611 or email email@example.com for an RMA number before you send it to us.
TOUCHPADS, START CABLE, BACKUP BUTTONS
Look at the plugs at the end of your touchpads, start cable and backup buttons. Those 2-prong plugs are called “banana plugs”.
Keeping your cables clean, dry and free of kinks will help extend their life. If you have cables that need repaired or replaced give us a call at 800-835-2611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to help!