Two good things I did last week - A) I tested the program in UTF environment - it works; Vietnamese language supported, - in order to suggest using my program to local foreign communities here in Moscow; and B) I have made a census of Moscow courts by means of the WIKI courts database. Such a tool (courts WIKI) had been added to the program at the very beginning (4 years ago) , now it seems right time to analyse the results. It seems to be the best data ever collected on Moscow courts. It struck me not so long ago when I read on New York park courts system that one can play tennis 8 months in New York for 100$, 20$ for pensioneers, 10$ for juniors, and there are 600+ courts available for that in parks of NYC. I wrote about that in our Motivation forum. It would not be easy to make people believe that. We have had a long tradition of making back-to-back comparisons with America in Soviet times, saying "they have to pay for medicine! for education! for electricity! etc.. we are lucky not to live there!" Here we are in 2010. There are (according to our WIKI database) 650 courts in Moscow, 33% of these are indoor courts, 40% are open clay courts. These courts are located in 140 addresses; they can be categorized as follows: A) courts available for hour rental at commercial price (summer 2010): 25$/hour for open clay courts and 45$/hour for indoor courts - 44%; B) V.I.P courts available to club cards owner and/or for prices starting from 75$/hour - 11%; C) courts belonging to city stadiums, prices starting from 15$/hour for open and 30$/hour for indoor - 24%; D) courts belonging to various city owners (institutes, plants, municipal bodies, etc.), usually available through phone calls, pricing from 15$/hour for open courts, - 7 %; E) courts owned by tennis schools, mainly not available for hourly rent - 6%; F ) parks courts, prices ranging 8$/hour to 15$/hour - 3%; G) courts owned by closed institutions, used by their personnel and friends - 3%; H) free, wild, abandoned courts - 2%. So, there is not much to compare. Playing full summer season (April 15 - October 15) here at least once a week, (25 matches) makes 50 hours, 20$/hour average, you are at 500$/season, paying 5 times more (and playing probably 2 times less) then anyone similiar in NYC.
Moscow, May 2010. -- I can't stand making another vivid comparison : you're operating an old-fashioned nuke core and slowly putting off the graphite rods.. What happens? Neutrons become extremly multiple, reactions grow exponentially. -- That's how warmth and sun affect us in May, tennis amateurs in Moscow. No more solitary voices in the dark: "Hey, is there anybody out there? [.. = another idiot like me to pay 150USD for couple hours in a cold pumped structure just across the Moskva river?] Indeed, there is no better time to come and see how the Kleo's Famous Tennis Match Machine works. It's appalling, those powerful Linux server guts push Apache throttle up in the red sector..
Well, not so good in St.Petersburg. The second largest, 4-million city in Russia has had already something long-standing for tennis amateurs - creyda.ru; to me, this is a dull example of static content, nothing interactive. But it's got history, and all active tennis players are there , so chances for their migrating spontaneously were low... An unless really big money were spent, or some influential propaganda were triggered, or creyda.ru were fell to ashes by local executive branch, - Motivation is doomed in this city. However, there is a promising start in Kiev. I like how things go there . In 4 months, they have got 30 active players. We have just started a 3-months-long ladder tournament, a club T-shirt to winner, just to get more players involved.
Who benefits most from this program, this is an active and enthusiastic tennis beginner, most probably in late twenties or early thirties. These guys may progress very quickly in tennis, because their health conditions, muscles, ancles, heart, lungs - everything is ok, and given all the free time and enough money to spend on tennis, this yearns results. Most likely, years can completely erase this enthusiasm. Enjoy it from time and play mere 12 matches in twelve months, this is what I can see from statistics of over-forties people like us. So, having all these sorts of public around in one room may cause trouble, for sure. There are ways used to set back the tensions by creating a cold and formal atmosphere of IDs, I even saw a site where a profile photo was a must, and a new player was supposed to come and make a photo at the office so they all looked the same. This is what I think is completely boring; we do not have any ID requirements at all, instead, we all know each other by nicks. If you like it, you may put all this info into the profile, give photos, too; but one is not required, all that he or she wants is find a match opponent.
In late 2007, I /so to say/ cleaned the perl code and submitted it under GPL to SourceForge http://sf.net/projects/tclub It takes a while to install and configure it on a Unix server, and I believe the instructions are good enough for the task. One good thing about that release is that I put all strings into a single file, so that translating the interface into another language is just a matter of translating all strings and putting them as a new file. As two years passed since then, the current version of the program which is running on Motivation site differs much from the one released in 2008, as I wrote more lines of code and generally refurbished the outlooks. However, the older one containes a lot of useful code so anyone experienced in perl may need little time to use it for a start up of their own projects, let's see, in bowling, table tennis or snooker.. (?), to say nothing of tennis. So far, so good, I leave this intro and will follow the narration, starting from this year, under a different title: Cloning.
One may say "10 million people and only 100 players - this is not a good statistics at all". Partially agree with that, but keep in mind that only one of 7 people who join the club profile list by registration would start actually playing (15%). So we have now 170 player profiles , 120 profiles active (that is, visited the club in last 30 days), of them 96 played at least one match; in order to get the club rating calculated, any player must amass at least 24 rated matches in as many as 104 weeks, i.e., must have a rated match played at least once a month in average; so the rating as actually caluclated for 30 players, each one, in average, playing some 40 matches a year; these are the "core" players of club, 25-30% of it.
-- this picture shows the number of visitors (green) and pages seen (blue), daily average, for the past 12 monthes. The stats for both have grown 200-300 percent.
Currently, according to the DB of four years in Moscow lounge, 133 players have together played 1792 matches in singles and /only/ 21 matches in doubles; of these 1800 matches, 82 per cent were "rated" matches; the match is rated if A)at least two full sets were played B) the match is first or second individual (i.e. non-tournament) between the same players in the ongoing year. So we do not rate one-set matches, that is, do not take into account one-day tournaments. Instead, we do two or three "long" tournament every year, with usual best-of-three-sets matches. Such tournaments would not be possible without a software that imposes flow control upon the routine of matches assignments, dates, negotiations between players. We have used it for 12 tournaments, and now the thirteenth is under way.
I must admit that I have never made any good web design in my life /and probably never will/, so whatever was the substance under cover, the cover looked a) chaotic b) unprofessional. I didn't even try to use CSS, just printed lines on screen. Many times I was ridiculed by the ungrateful users, saying, hey, this site of yours looks so bad, you must be an idiot. Then I say, - maybe you know a webdesigner who would do that sort of work for free? Now, stop talking uselessly and enjoy what you have so far. So it lasted about three years, and last summer as we had had around 100 actively playing people, and adding new fuctions created a load on the site, it became obvious that some changes had to be made. I rewrote the engine again calling the new interface a 'MINI' to mention that it's less consuming and more fast; in the same time, heavy use of css and mootools was to add better looks to it.
- this picture shows how dramatically the load dropped after the MINI interface was used starting January this year; and monthly numbers for visits remained generally the same, but the traffic was reduced 10 times.
As a nuke reactor needs a mass of radioactive stuff for operation, so my new program needed a a big city for a start. I was lucky to have a 10 million Moscow, Russia around, with its hyper-expensive courts and short summer. I visited a nice tennis forum where I had myself made a few acquaitances before and left a link to my site, just saying something. In two weeks some 20 or 30 people joined, which was a big progress, and the "reaction" has been self sustained ever. Though some additional services were not present at that time, but generally the program has now the same meaning as it had four years ago. That is, to organize players and keep record of the matches, then to form a bulk of statistics from the matches and to calculate a rating.
This is a comment. Ok, back in 2005 I was developing a huge web application for an institution to control their disbursements. Following a tedious TOR, in half a year a 30,000-line chunk of perl was written while gradually I was musing over how effective these IT technologies would have been if applied to fields other than money spending.So in spring of 2006 I partly rewrote the disbursments engine to add a support for flow control that occurs in amateur tennis society. Let's say, how effective is waking up and calling on the forum, hey, is there anybody to play with me today? In percent, that figure is 10. But if one gets in use of a specific interface and puts an ad with desired match proposal, this message deliverd to other player by email through subscription, then empirically this figure rises to 60-70%! Here we are with a 70 per cent chance to find a partner for a close date, almost never missing good weather conditions and playing a mean of 40 matches a year. This is statistics taken from now 4 years of it.