OK, today I hauled butt out of work to drive 60 miles to
umpire , only to be greeted by a torrential downpour and have to drive 40 miles back to my hometown to play the game! We started about 8:45 and were done around 10:30. I got home, ate, and here I am.
All of that after being at the fields last night until 11:30 because after I umpired 1 game, they sent 2 more to our fields! They ended around 11 and we had to clean up the snack bar.
Of course, the day before I umped too!
Just an average all-star season I suppose!
How is your all-star season going?
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Worlds Greatest Equipment Manager
We have the best equipment manager on the planet! He has worked thanklessly and tirelessly (ok maybe he got tired, he looked it anyway) to make sure that every player had the proper size uniform and each team had enough equipment to play. Another thing he is; a master of The Bargain!
We budgeted $800 to get one lock upgrade at our snack bar. We needed a way to track who was coming and going and decided a great idea would be a lock w/ a code that we can download information from. We chose the Trilogy 2800 because he got 2 for less than our budget!!!! Great idea right????
ummmmmm……If you had asked me four hours ago I may have said no, but now??? Sure it was fabulous!
The Set Up
OK, so programming a basic code into the locks was a piece of cake! Simple entry similar to what you would do on any device. But, this lock comes w/ a sophisticated software that allows you to program all kinds of neat stuff! The software? Piece of cake! I had every team programmed w/ a different code and ready to upload to the lock in no time. I was even able to restrict entry to the teams to the hours of 5:30-9:30 so they can’t get in during the day when nobody is around.
Sounds simple right?…SURE!!!!
The software comes w/ a D9-2 pin connector that communicates w/ the lock. You are simply supposed to plug it in, click the button and boom! About a week ago we plugged it in, clicked the button and…………………….waited………………….waited……………..waited………………….ut oh.
OK, guess we will have the actually read the manual! I hate manuals! Checked the manual…nothing. hmmmmmmmm…..
OK, let’s check one of the 5 bulletins that came w/ it since the manual was printed. On the 5th one I found a clause that said that some modern laptops are not truly RS232 compliant on their D9 serial adapters and don’t provide the proper voltage needed for this lock! In addition, you can run a loopback test to see if your laptop is compliant. (This is where I say 2 hours in, if we had read the thing in the first place we wouldn’t have been two hours in…but I will ignore that part for humor’s sake!)
What do we do? We run a loopback test……fail….fail….fail…..fail…..fail. hmmm….I guess we have one of those non-compliant serial connections. Why would they build it this way? I have no clue. So what do we need? A “proprietary” cable of course!…I go home and search for it online. How much???? $150!!!!! HOLY COW!!!!
OK, this can’t be. Our equipment manager, who also happens to be a very handy guy, he installed the locks, new PA speakers, and much much more, mentioned that he didn’t think that cable was anything special. It was simply a cable to convert a USB port to a serial port. Why do I need this if I already have a d9 connection? That is a question for Dell I guess. The more I thought about this, the more I agreed. So I headed out to Office Depot for a cable….no longer stocked. Oh, no problem, Radio Shack will have it of course..wrong!
I had to go to the local Bad Boys Computer store, and they had it. The good thing about this was I was able to ask the technogeek working there if he thought it would work or if I would need their $150 cable! He was fairly certain, as we were, that there would be nothing special about it. I came to learn that the d9/usb adapter actually came w/ software and a driver. Pretty cool, and pretty sure it would work.
So what do I do? I trudge on over there tonight, determined NOT to be defeated by a lock! I install the cable, install the driver perfect, no problems. Hook up to the lock, run the loopback test..fail..fail…fail….hmmmmm.
OK, what is up w/ that? I really have no idea and almost am willing to surrender to the $150 cable! (this cable cost $29.99 at the computer store btw) But what kind of example would I be setting for my kids if I simply gave up? The game wasn’t over yet!
What did I do? I checked the com ports under the devices settings in the my computer properties. The device was set up as com 16, I needed it on one of com1-com4. After some manipulation I was able to get a successful loopback test! Yippee! I had the polarity wrong and also had to reset the port to com2 but I was able to get the thing to work!!! WOOHOO I WIN I WIN the Little League Coach WINS!!!!!!
The locks are actually great. They have features that allow us to limit access and track who is coming and going. I suspect that cases of hamburgers will no longer be walking out of the snack bar any more. Here are the features we chose to use:
1. Restricted entry times for team parents – This allows them to enter only when other’s are around
2. Individual tracking codes for each team – We know who is coming and going
3. Full access 24/7 for board members
4. Special code for the city to get in
When all is said and done, these will be a great addition to the league. I think we will probably install one on the equipment room as well and then maybe gloves and balls will stop walking out.
Have you faced a technical challenge as a volunteer? Post a comment below and let us know about it.
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