A few days ago, I discovered a tiny router which I'd previously missed.
It has all the features that I like.
It runs openWRT
It has built in wireless
It can run a 4G dongle
All this means that it should be a perfect solution to supply filtered wireless access for electronic scoring.
But since the new web interface to Iscored.today came out, things have changed somewhat.
A plethora of devices suddenly became scorepads.
Devices that most people actually already own.
This is the killer consideration.
The cheapest and best compromise is when everyone has their own choice and looks after their own device.
Yet for some people, the thought of cost comes up.
I'm going to offer an example from my childhood.
The regular phone in my childhood cost 20 cents a call. But it was for as long as you wanted to talk.
These were the rules that I understood by the age of eight. It's the standard that I've judged the cost of phone calls ever since.
This is the judgement that I make in regards to value.
I can remember when long distance phone calls dropped to a dollar a minute.
Now I'm on VOIP, the costs have changed significantly. It's ten cents a phone call for as long as you like to another landline, anywhere in Australia.
My father was bought up when phone calls were much more expensive.
He has never, ever let go of that regard of the phone.
It's pretty evident because he used to only ring my landline and leave a message, despite the answering machine clearly saying DO NOT leave a message and it didn't get checked, call my mobile instead.
He would be very quick to get off the phone if HE called me and I happened to be home.
However, if I called him and said I had to go, he would immediately remember sixty things that he needed to tell me.
He refused point blank to ring my mobile number which would be guaranteed to get me "because it was more expensive to call a mobile."
I know that he had my number.
Eventually I told my father that I can tell exactly how much he values his communication with me. It equates exactly to his phone bill.
Despite being able to tell EXACTLY to the last cent if he cared to examine it, he has never ever gotten over the original concept that the phone is expensive and that calling a mobile phone is equivalent to the operating costs of an aircraft carrier.
There are a lot of people who have smart phones who would probably use them for electronic scoring if they knew how expensive it was.
In the old days, cellular data was expensive.
I remember finding out about SMS messages being charged at 20 cents a shot and I was horrified that this was being charged for as it's part of the inbuilt control messaging for GSM.
It can't actually work without it.
It's not an extra service. It's an extra charge that the telco's realised they could charge for.
SMS's make billions of dollars for telcos on a service designed to run voice.
(Vodafones "No Plan" had no flagfall and a cent a second call costs. People quickly realised that they could send far more information back and forth in twenty seconds by calling, than they could with a text costing the same amount. Vodafone cancelled the No Plan because it didn't make them enough money.) They actually told me to just send text messages on my new plan.
So yeah. I went to Optus.
About 18 months ago, almost all mobile services worth using abandoned the extortinate data services that saw some charging up to 25 cents a megabyte for extra data calls. Optus used to get away with charging $250 for a gig of excess data.
This terrified a lot of people. You've all heard about children racking up huge bills. I know one guy who bought his daughter an iphone in his name about five years ago.
I told him he was insane.
He said he wasn't and it would be fine. She was 19 and wouldn't be irresponsible.
He eventually must have forgotten about that conversation because within six months he was going off about $900+ excess data bills..
As a side note, my parents have never had mobile phones.
So now that some of you will be absolutely terrified of using this expensive data and having to sell your children for their various organs to pay your phone bill if you use your phone for online scoring, don't panic.
Things have changed in the last 18 months, so it's time to adjust your understanding of costs.
Keep in mind that in terms of your favourite child vs your least favourite child, there are NO differences in what their organs are worth on the black market.
Also, you might want to have a look at your phone plan.
Nowadays, if you are paying more than $10 for a gigabyte of data as a top up, you are being seriously taken advantage of. This is the base rate for prepaid data and it's pretty much the most expensive you can buy.
This works out to one cent a megabyte.
Let's go back to the old 160 character SMS that people were happy to pay 20 cents a shot 10 or more years ago. That's 8 characters per cent.
That same cent today buys you a megabyte of information. Wowsers.
How many characters can you fit in that? A lot.
One meg of data is about four average books.
So for the cost of one 20 cent text ten years ago, you can have 80 paperbacks worth of reading.
Does this make sense? Possibly not
So lets make it easy.
240,000 divided by 160 equals 1500.
Text messages used to be 1500 times more expensive than data.
Or you can send a 20 meg emails have that the complete text of 80 average books for the same price as a text 10 years ago.
What does this all mean?
Well, I wondered how the new Iscored.today webpage worked, so I went and tried to pull it apart. Not being a programmer, only a few things on it I could understand from reading the few code comments that were there.
So I went to the source so to speak.
My request for info got passed along to the developer and I got some figures back.
The first time you log into iscored.today, the page comes down to your device.
The neat thing is that it then resides in the cache and won't get pulled down again unless there is an update.
You could fire it up at home on your wifi at your home data costs or leech it from McDonald's free wifi.
But if you did it over your cellular data connection, it's a meg. So there's a cent.
To register each archer, it's a 2 kilobyte process.
At that point, nothing happens until all of the archers on that device finish an end.
Once all archers are scored, the entire scoresheet is uploaded.
So a full target with four archers would upload 24 individual arrow scores worth of information at the first end.
The next end would be 48 arrows worth and so on.
As you shoot more ends, the entire scorecard gets uploaded as you go until the complete scorecard gets uploaded on the final end.
It works out with live scoring that for four archers shooting a Brisbane of 20 ends, you end up with 828 kilobytes.
So there's a live scored match for 2 megabytes worth of data.
At this rate, using the new webpage, with all 30 tablets deployed on the field at Canberra Archery Club, we can score up to 120 archers LIVE for 60 cents. The next day would be 30 because the page doesn't come down again. We just saved 30 cents!
If we were paying by extortionate old Optus plan excess data rates, that would be $15 total for the club to pay.
If everyone was using their phones on their personal data.. over the two days you'd be up for a less than a cent each to cover costs.
If there is anyone here with a smartphone that thinks online scoring is too expensive in data costs, if you break one nock, you've just increased your cost for the match by a factor of at least 50.
Don't under any circumstances buy a coffee.
In an average car at cheap fuel prices, if you have driven more than 274 meters, you've paid more than the data costs of scoring an average match for you and three others.