I was being entertained at Goodwood races

  Forum Editor 16:16 30 Aug 2004

yesterday. I don't go racing that often - not particularly interested - but I was intrigued to notice that all the on-course bookies were using laptops - most of them with special keyboards. The betting slips were being thermally printed, and the whole thing seemd to work pretty well.

I got chatting to one of them (bookies, not betting slips), and he told me that it's a requirement for all on-course bookies in the UK. Each pitch on every course has a power supply, and all the computer records must be made available on demand to the authorities. This has been in effect for some time, but the latest innovation is that all the machines are linked wirelessly to a central computer on the course, and the information about the odds given on every bet taken by every bookie on the course is used to calculate an official Starting Price for each horse in each race before the race is over.

The final decision is made by a team of specially trained 'Starting Price Validators'.

None of this helped me to win any money (I didn't, all day), but it struck me as a powerful example of the use of wireless computer technology. There I was, on what must surely be one of Britain's most beautiful racecources, surrounded by Sussex downland at its best, and all around me computers were recording the day's betting transactions via wireless network adapters.

  €dstowe 16:34 30 Aug 2004

I've just bought a house near Goodwood. Must go to the racecourse and have a look. Usually when I go to the races (not very often) I go up on to the Crundle (the hill just to the south) and watch from there.

"None of this helped me to win any money" - the only people ever to win in betting are the bookmakers.

  Forum Editor 16:45 30 Aug 2004

The friends who took me racing also live near the course - about three miles away. Each time I visit them (usually in August) I'm struck by the beauty of the area.

  AndySD 17:52 30 Aug 2004

Crundle Hill??? I thought it was Trundle but I have been know to be wrong. My parents lived in Harting so I love to visit that area.

  no-name 18:01 30 Aug 2004

I also live quite close and AndySD is correct - Trundle Hill - click here for some history.

  Brian-336451 18:04 30 Aug 2004

I grew up at Tangmere quite close to Goodwood and used to walk the hills including the Trundle which is an old Iron Age hill fort.

I sincerely hope it's North of Goodwood failing that tectonic plates have moved a bit sharpish and we didn't notice a thing!

Or are you just testing us?

FE - lucky man - from Bangladesh, Goodwood is just a pleasant memory.

By the way, is the photo in PCA of you genuine? Reminds me of Lawrence Dalaglio - roughy toughy. Is that you? If I'd known, I'd have been much more polite :-)

  Forum Editor 18:07 30 Aug 2004

does anyone have another example of how computers and/or wireless computing have permeated other areas of our life - perhaps those that have hitherto avoided being affected by technology?

  georgemac 18:09 30 Aug 2004

goodwood racing - is that not where the festival of speed is held anually - real racing is done with fast cars, f1, imagine getting into the paddock there with all the computing power and real time telemetry from the cars, now that is wireless technology at it's best!

Glad you had a nice day, no bank holiday here, have had workmen in today, ripping out the shower room, tiling ahead for me this week! Have also just ordered 1 GB of PC3200 so the upgrading is about to start again!

Weather pretty crap up here, hope it was better down your way, and glad you had a nice day.

  €dstowe 18:30 30 Aug 2004

Trundle/Crundle - slip of the fingers and not checking before I posted. Thanks for the link, no-name, interesting!

I'm not sure whether it is located north or south I was basing that on the fact that looking directly away from the racecourse you see Chichester - which is, of course, south. I think it might be west, actually.

Goodwood horse racing course and motor racing course a different places. Quite close to each other though.

F.E back to the subject, how about surveying? I've noticed instead of theodolites and such stuff, surveyors now use a whole raft of computerised, satellite sensitive and/or controlled equipment which seems to take all the skill out of it. It appears that it's a case of point your laser "thingy", consult GPS or something and enter the results into your laptop.

  VoG II 19:44 30 Aug 2004

Not exactly wireless (as conventionally understood) and no laptops involved but...

Over the last few years Waitrose supermarkets have been rolling out QuickCheck click here

Basically you need an account card (although you do not need to use this for payment). On arrival at the store you swipe your card and this releases a hand-held (wireless!) scanner for use during your shopping experience. As you select items from the shelves (or counters) you scan their barcodes using the scanner. You place yours shopping in "bags" that you place in your trolley before you start.

When you are finished, you go to the QuickCheck paypoint, scan in a "Finished Shopping" barcode and place the scanner in a receptacle. The machinery whirrs away and presents you with the total (which incidentally you can get as you shop by pressing a button on the scanner). Insert your debit or credit card in the QuickPay machine and you're done. Wheel trolley to car and place your "bags" in the boot.

This saves unloading your trolley onto the cashiers conveyor belt then repacking your goods into carrier bags to take to the car.

There are humans on hand in the (rare) event that something won't scan or whatever :o)

  Forum Editor 19:45 30 Aug 2004

has benefited enormously from the advent of satellite technology. It's now possible to establish the precise elevation and location of almost any spot on the surface of the planet. People use hand-held devices to track their progress when walking or driving in wilderness places - such as featureless desert, or in my case the outer reaches of North London.

Computers are monitoring movement along the whole length of the San Andreas fault using laser technology. An area of Yellowstone Park which is causing concern is being satellite monitored - there's an enormous lake of molten magma under the park, and it's on the move up, causing the land to 'dome'. There are fears that a super volcano could erupt in the area, resulting in devastation within a 1500 mile radius - a serious matter indeed, but one that might not happen for a long time, or at all.

Most active or semi-active volcanoes are now monitored by computer technology, as are most tectonic plate boundaries.

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