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JudoGeek Blog - Welcome to 2011 Lance Wicks
Lance Wicks
Kiwi,
Judoka,
Geek,
Husband
Daddy!

JudoGeek Blog

Welcome to 2011 

Happy New Decade everyone!
2010 was a good year for me, 2011 I am intending to be even better.

This year I have lots planned already and lots I am adding to the plan. Between running my own business, running several Judo clubs, creating an academy, running a bunch of Judo websites and projects, doing a research project and continuing my education I expect to be swamped!

I shan't dwell on the work stuff on this blog, but will share a little about the Judo and Lance stuff here.

The first goal I have scheduled in the calendar is to run the Portsmouth Coastal Half-Marathon on February 13th. It coincides with when my fellow New Zealander Judoka Mahana Clutha competes in the World Cup in Austria.
I mention that because I have decided to use the run as a fundraising opportunity for Mahana. Sadly Judo in New Zealand does not get the millions of pounds that other countries (like Britain) get for example. So every trip is a huge investment, and it all comes out of the small amount of money Mahana has. To have a shot at the 2012 Olympic games, Mahana has to earn as many points at the international level that she can, so lots of trips. Just budgeting up to April is several thousands pounds.

So this is where you come in; you can have a huge direct impact on the hopes and dreams of a young Judo athlete! I am running 13 and a bit miles, if everyone who reads this blog threw a pound per mile Mahana would be able to easily pay the airfares and entry fees for the european leg of the World Cup circuit.

You can easily donate, it only takes moment online with Paypal. It would really mean a lot to Mahana and to me if you could donate something to the cause. Just click the button below and give what you feel comfortable with.

Click here to lend your support to: Half-Marathon for NZ Judo and make a donation at <a href="http://www.pledgie.com" target="_blank" >www.pledgie.com</a> !

(The 13 miles is not all I am doing, there is the 60+ miles a month in training.)

It is not all for the fundraising, I initially started running again in part because I intend to get the points for my competitive 3rd Dan this year. So, I needed to burn some calories, get the spare tire under control, get some lung capacity and pretend to be fit again.
So (if you are in the UK) you may get to see me turn purple as I fight for points for my third this year.

As well as this, I want to work more on www.judospace.com and helping more coaches get academic knowledge of Judo coaching. I am also practising what I preach in this area and have accepted onto the EJU Level 6 coaching programme, which is a Masters programme from University of Rome Tor Vergata. This will be challange for me as there are only two native English speakers on the course (including me!). All this goes along with running and coaching three Judo clubs and also trying to grow the Hampshire Judo Academy project. My rough goal is to be working closely with 6 young athletes by the end of the year (with more involved of course).

In August, I plan to attend the www.judoresearch.org research symposium held during the World Championships and present my www.rwjl.net project, so I have lots of work to do there.

Then there are all the other projects I have on the go and also in my mind. I am going to get all my various blogs and podcasts and other projects onto a schedule, so that although the projects may move slowly they will move steadily. www.dojolist.org is a priority as I have let it slip lately. :-(

So, 2011 is looking like a very busy year for me. My hope is that it will be even better than 2010 and it’s already looking like it will be.
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A quick update... 

So, I looked at this site and realised that my last post was in AUGUST! Wow, didn't realise I had let it slip quite so bad. Anywho... so I thought I would put a quick summary of whats been going on, on the blog.

1. Working hard.
So, you know I run my own company right? Well, I do enVirtua. It's a wonderful thing running your own business, all the challenge, all the reward! Unfortunately it also includes all the stress, long days (and nights), lots of travel and it generally making you do things you never thought you'd do or would have to do.

I'm not knocking it, the cloud backup slash virtual network shared drive has started to grow in popularity which is good as it looked like it wasn't a winner for a while there. And I have been swamped with good work for over a year now. So much it is affecting how much more business I can generate (as in new clients) it's a wonderful curse to have!

2. Judo is taking over whats left!
So, for a longtime now (since I left Edinburgh almost), my coaching was pretty much short burst and my focus was theoretical, academic and geeky (websites). This has all changed over this year.
I now coach not one, not two, but THREE Judo clubs now! Kids in Alresford, Students in Southampton Solent and adults (military) at HMS Collingwood. And I should probably mention the soon to start after school club at the local Junior School.
Add on top of that my http://www.rwjl.net Judo research project, which I will post about at some point and also trying to help a young New Zealand Judo athlete... well, it's chewing up the remaining time pretty well.
Again, it's a great curse to have!

3. Getting fat!
People, I have a problem, I'm in my late 30's and I drive a computer for a living... and the result is I'm increasingly a tub of lard. :-(
More accurately, my BMI is rather higher than I like, or a doctor would like. I'm not fit and I feel it. So I am running again.
Being the type of guy I am, I've signed up for a Half Marathon in February. I am also signed up to a training programme from Jeff Galloway which I am following using RunKeeper. It maps and tracks all my runs, so people can stalk my panting around the village. :-)

What else.... loads of stuff, but for now that will do.

Oh did I mention RWJL? BLog post to follow soon. ;-)
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DojoList 0.7.0 

Last night (23 August 2010), I released DojoList v 0.7.0 via the http://dojolist.org website. DojoList is my Open Source Judo club database system I have been working on for a while now.



V0.7.0 is the first update since 0.6.0 back on April 20th. It has been slow progress as other projects have taken much of my time. All the code as I have written it has been powering http://dojolist.org so I am fairly happy with the stability. So far I’ve not had any big data loss incidents.



In the DojoList 0.7.0 release I have added:



* Sorting of the data
* Data Validation
* Draggable marker on map (during create and edit)
* Ability to delete and replace in edit club logo
* GUID for each dojo
* Source url for each dojo in XML data
* RSS feed of updates
* SW Version embedded in XML data file



I also fixed some bugs:



* 4: XML data file too popular in Google
* 6: Dojo test causes <Dojo/> artefacts
* 9: Unable to click on map markers
* 10: Accented characters in dojo name prevent edit
* 12: RSS feeds do not update properly



In the next release I plan on adding the following features:



* Improved data validation
* Update date field on each dojo record
* Training session rating of level
* Ability to upload photo of the coach



Of course there will be bug fixes, both of those found already and those that will no doubt show up.



Summary:

It has been a slow development iteration this one, but it’s been a good one for me personally. I have learnt a lot and found the system even better. The system now incorporates data from http://judoworldmap.com and also from the rather rubbish British Judo Association “Find a Club” database. I can now finally find a club easily in Britain when I am travelling on business.

I have started planning on how to sync data between installations, that will I think be the main feature added in the eventual v1.0.0 release as it will require a lot of work.

In this release I enjoyed working out how to do the draggable map markers, which now update the latitude and longitude of the club. Data validation is proving interesting; it needs more work, but has been interesting to explore. The system has both server and client side validation. The PHP code checks for valid data and I am using the jQuery validation plug-in to make the validation experience a bit nicer on the client side (server side was painful as it was rather user unfriendly).



In the next few months I want to improve the installation process. To make it less manual and to check that all the pre-requisites are there. Preferably to adjust to cope with systems without all the modules required. Specifically this may be relevant for the internationalisation code.



The aim originally was very much to make the system work on pretty much any cheap hosting package. The initial versions I think retain that, but I know that 0.7.0 for example does not work on one of my target servers (cheap IIS hosting). And I have struck problems on another server too.



Finally, the big change I want to see happen with the project is that it goes from being a one man band to being a community developed project. To this end I added some basic info about the project on the ABOUT page of the website, created a mailing list too. Of course all the source code, bug tracking and planning was available freely online. But I want to go beyond “available” to a point where there is two way traffic. I push code and pull code from others.




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DojoList and other Judo coding. 

Hi all,
just a quick update to say that I have pushed a new feature out onto www.DojoList.org the last user visible one before the 0.7.0 version shall be released. I have one backgroiund feature to add, but in terms of what you see, it's ready.

What I have added is draggable map markers. So that when you are creating a new Dojo, or editing an existing one you can simply drag the marker on the map to get it 100% accurate to the location of the dojo.

I've been working on and (mainly) off on this one for a while. It needed me to move those pages away from the Mapstraction library to using Google Maps direct as Mapstratcion does not currently support the GEvent feature I needed.

Adding this feature took longer than I wanted, mainly because work on it got sidelined by other more important things... and more interesting things. Sorry. But it's there now and I think it means a lot. I know that the BJA for example are trying to replicate what DojoList does, and one of the issues with any dojo list app is that addresses and physical locations don't always map up.
Now if you use the DojoList code, you can have the address find the general location of your Judo Dojo, then just drag the marker on the map to exactly where the Dojo is. Click submit and job done! Give it a try and let me know if you find a bug anywhere ok. :-)

Outside of Dojo List, I have been working on all sorts. Not least of all a trip to Malta to help on the education of some Judo coaches. That has even more work for me to do, mainly audio and video editing... which takes forever!

The other big drain on time/energy for working on DojoList has been a new project I am undertaking. It is a research project for the 2011 International Judo Researchers Symposium, which is planned to happen at the World Judo Championships in Paris next year.
I am looking at researching ranking systems and ranking systems in Judo. Specifically, the IJF ranking system and comparing it to the ELO Ranking system. So I have actually started by writing some software that will run a ranking system using ELO using the current IJF ranking events.
It is now in a private Beta state, it is working and producing interesting results. Needs a lot of polish of course and the research itself needs doing properly (i.e. researching systems and writing it all up into some sort of paper), before Paris, where I would very much like to present it as a work in progress.
After London 2012, I would like to complete it and present the final results and maybe even (with some help) get it to a really good level.. maybe/hopefully to a level where it'll get published in a journal perhaps?

So thats one of the reasons (beyond work, life, Judo, etc) that is slowing progress on www.dojolist.org

If you have an interest (or expertise) in DojoList or in ranking systems please drop me an email ( lw@judocoach.com ) and let me know... all help or encouragement is appreciated I can assure you!! :-)

Till later,

Lancer
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DojoList Progress 

This is just a small update on my DojoList project, to let people know what’s been happening in the background.

My time/energy for working on DojoList has started picking up again after a self-enforced break from the code I took a couple of blog posts ago. I am now working on the 0.7.0 version of the code and it is coming along slowly but surely.

One of the big reasons it has been slow moving forward is that I've been working with others on some important additions and ideas for the system. Specifically the "sync" idea.
I would like DojoList to be a system that can send and receive data from one installation to another. For example, I already read data from http://judoworldmap.com into http://dojolist.org as the data there (like mine) is creative commons licensed. But my initial hack at this is one-way and just pulls data from the front page.
We (Ulrich, who runs Judo World Map) have been talking about how we might structure things so that should someone update a Dojo I have imported from his site, that update is automatically feed back to his site so that the user updates in one place but the changes appear everywhere.

A good example case would be this. Your area association might install DojoList on the area website, maintaining a list of clubs in your region. It is an accurate list because it is local clubs and the clubs visit the area website, so updates get made.
The National governing body also installs DojoList, but rather than re-enter and re-manage the clubs from your region they point their DojoList installation at your area installation and hey presto, all your local clubs are listed on the national website. When you change training times on the regional site, it updates the national site too. AND (and this is where it gets tricky) if you happen to update the national site, it updates your area site.

So you have a two way sync, and everyone gets better information. Of course it's proving tricky to work out how to do this. I have been making some changes to DojoList to make it possible. This has included the creation of a source URL field to show where the site came from originally and a GUID (Global Unique ID) for each Dojo (I am also adding a "last updated" field). The next step is to build the mechanisms to sync changes between sites and test the daylights out of it!

I've also been working with the biggest list of Judo Clubs out there to see if DojoList could work for them which is exciting. We are not quite there yet, but it's looking promising already. I have worked with them to massage their data into the format that DojoList understands and they are working on a test installation... exciting!

Another feature I have started thinking about, but not started working on is the ability to filter results. So for example to be able to include only Dojo from your country, state/county, city or suburb. This I think will be important when looking at sync too. If your national or regional body in say the USA wanted to pull clubs from DojoList.org they probably don't want the clubs from the UK on the list. So it would be good to separate out the clubs based on their lat/log and use only those within a defined space.

There are some big issues to be thought through around sync, more and more the more and more I think about it. For example, perhaps someone deletes a Dojo off one website, but only because it's from a different organisation from yours. Do you then sync that deletion? What happens if that dojo is on 3 other sites? Does it sync back to the original site? Lots of questions to answer.

If anyone has some experience in distributed systems syncing data like this I'd love to hear from you.
On that subject, I'd love to hear from other Judo interested developers who might have smarts to add to the project. It's open source, so the code is available on github for anyone to start tinkering with. I'd love it if some more people discovered the project and sent in ideas, patches, new features, etc etc.

Also, I'd love to help anyone who is interested in using the system on their website. Be that to replace an existing database or a site with no list. Actual live usage finds more bugs, points at more features, answers more questions about what people want. So, if you fancy having a DojoList install of your own, please let me know.

Also, the more people the merrier. So far I have been working, on the whole, in isolation. I'd love for this project to become a real community project. I know there are plenty of Judo people in IT out there. I'd love to bring some of them together around this project, so again drop me an email. Coders, testers, documentation, translations, etc etc it is all there waiting for someone to give it a go.

The 0.7.0 release will be coming shortly, which will have some of the new idea in it. I want to then crank through 0.8.0 and 0.9.0 and get to a 1.0 version in the near future (a couple of months). That'll need to be pretty stable and solid, so I'd love any help I can get.

Lance
lw@judocoach.com

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