Thursday, March 24, 2011

Raise a Pint to Curlcast!

Partly because of the feckless approach TSN has chosen to take to the Women's World Championships, I have found myself trying to use the Women's World Curling Championship site to follow the activity.
And I thought TSN was feckless! After some really good experiences relying on the Scotties and Brier websites, I am appalled at how bad the above site was.
It frequently timed out or reset connections for no reason I could discern. Its layout is just stupid; on the Canadian sites, the current leaderboard is replicated or easily available on almost all the scoring-related sites. Not on the above site. In fact once you navigate past the main page it gets hard to find the leaderboard.
And the most appalling! And most important. The live scoring system was horridly unreliable - it is the site you can be most certain, late in a draw and late in a match that you worry about, and it is sure to become unavailable. It either just does not show up or tosses connection resets in arbitrary ways.
This system is reported to be run by I have no idea whether the problems were theirs or the overall site's, but it made the system utterly unusable many times.
Contrast this to CurlCast, which you can see here in action at a championship in Canada, and I bet you will see an immediate difference. The layout is logical, and the partitioning they pick works because it is generally pretty reliable.
My guess is we have some historical differences here. CurlCast was not so great in its first incarnations, though its mere existence was great. The Euro version has to be a lot better in its initial incarnation exposed to Canadians to be acceptable. CurlCast has benefited from years of users complaining, and their responsive improvement, but why cannot the Euros learn from this. Are their licensing, or fee, or local government restriction, issues that stand in the way of propagating growing excellence?
BTW - one question I had about CurlCast was why they were rather slow to update some numbers; at the Brier I found out why, and my guess is the restriction will not last long. They keep learning.
And also BTW - I asked a question of the CurlCast team about some numbers that seemed illogical to me - why in one match Craig Savill had been scored 18 shots in a match while Brent Laing had been scored for 20. This seemed pretty illogical to this unthinking mathematician as Laing's shots follow Savill's. My guess is a curler, thinking about the question for a few seconds, would realize what was in the response I got not ten minutes later: Savill threw his rocks in the tenth end through the house, and Laing actually had to make a play, and the scoring system does not assign a score, sensibly, to throwing a rock through the house. I was impressed - the CurlCast team is on the job.
I have not bothered to raise a complaint directly to the Euros, as I am not sure who would be the target. But they should find a way to get less than four or five years behind Canada.
To the degree to which the CCA has helped CurlCast so improve, another pint!
And let us hope and assume in Regina we have Canadian standards!



At 3/24/2011 2:01 p.m., Blogger Erich said...

I definitely agree. The site is absolutely worthless.

Man könnte meinen, es sei das erste Mal, dass man eine WM aktuell dokumentieren müsste.



At 3/24/2011 6:45 p.m., Blogger Alan Adamson said...

Das meine ich auch.

Und fuer mich auch ist es eine Schade, weil meine Frau Oestericherin ist.

At 3/24/2011 6:56 p.m., Blogger Alan Adamson said...

Oesterreicherin. Oopss.

At 4/03/2011 9:13 a.m., Blogger Bernie said...

I too definitely agree. There was a time that Curlcast was a useful tool in getting curling stats, results etc, not any more. It is user unfriendly and designed very poorly. They should have paid someone to do their website rather than have it done as a grade school project!!

At 4/03/2011 9:49 a.m., Blogger Alan Adamson said...

@Bernie Well I was actually raising a pint in (limited) praise of Curlcast, having seen whatever was used at the Women's Worlds. (It was a fresh grade school project, unexposed to any complaining users.) OTOH when it worked it reported scores with draws and hits broken out, which was a nice feature.


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