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RDSS Info, Reference How to obtain RDSS2, get started and learn to use it. (Video and other tutorials)

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Old 12-29-2008, 06:23 PM   #1
Ted Craven
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Release Notes - Version 0.98.5

Hello Folks,

It has been a long time since I released an update to RDSS but I have one available now - for those who would like it. And I must explain that last qualifier "for those who would like it". I really can't consider this a formal update with the same status as previous updates. This new version (V0.98.5), while introducing the new toteboard module, wider screens and a font Zoom control (and other bug fixes) - none-the-less is actually somewhat less stable than the current version you are all using (V0.97.9) and I would normally not release such an update until I had stabilized it a lot further than what it is.

Perhaps some more explanation is in order, (but for those who don't care about my excuses, just go straight to the RDSS Download page and get the new update: www.PaceandCap.com/rdssdownload - remember, you need to be set up for RDSS to access this page).

OK - everybody knows that the biggest complaint about RDSS (aside from why does it not get ALL the winners ), is that it crashes from time to time, usually when moving from race to race, or from card to card. Most often, it is quite stable when doing a single race - if you closed the software after each race, before moving on to a new one, it would likely never crash, big pain though. This is because RDSS occupies a LOT (too much) of Windows memory to display all the pretty colours, various tabbed screen displays, etc. With the addition of the toteboard module, especially with the wiring required to route the live odds to EVERY screen (even if you don't see that right now) - RDSS kind of went to the brink of how much memory it was consuming, and you can push it over easily by running other memory intensive apps at the same time, like Microsoft Office apps, web browsers, whatever. Depending on how many horses are in a race, you may be able to successively load 3 or 4 races in a row before the software will simply die with no warning. No worries - just open it up again and continue on where you left off.

However, this is not what I consider 'stable' behaviour and I have been working at basically tearing the software down and rewiring it up again in a fairly major way in order for it to be SIGNIFICANTLY less memory intensive while still snappy and colourful. That will allow me to complete the software with all its subsequent bells and whistles (e.g. charts, models, bookkeeping, graphs, printouts). The version I am releasing here IS NOT that version! This new version today is an interim update which some few testers have been enjoying a lot, but which is still the old software with more stuff bolted on top of it. The NEW RDSS is still in my shop with its guts on the bench, and still a few months work away.

So - if the current version of RDSS you are using (i.e. V0.79.9) is working fine for you and you have no need of the additions being released here or do not suffer from the bugs I am addressing, or if you are concerned about how less stable it may be - PLEASE - do not download and install it just because it is new. And if you do install the new version (0.98.5) and you don't like it or if it crashes too much or doesn't fit well in your computer monitor display - just re-download and re-install the previous version (0.79.9).

That said, some of the additions are kind of neat and I will describe them a bit further below (toteboard connection, wider screens, Zoom larger fonts, relief from error messages for those who happen to have both PP and PP+Charts data accounts).

The latter half of 2008 has been a bit of a difficult time for me for a number of reasons and I've made a separate post about that. I would have liked to make a video tutorial about the stuff in this release, but I am also planning to take some time off (January 2009) to recupe and recharge, and it seems that it has been almost beyond my powers to actually get this version out and documented such as it is, so the video tutorial will have to wait for a month or so. I invite everyone to just play around with it and find out what's going on.

AGAIN - if this new version gives you any troubles at all, just abandon it and re-install the previous version overtop, and continue as you were. For this reason, the previous version (0.97.9) will continue to be available to download from the RDSS Download page.

Now, let's look at what's new or changed, in the next post!

Ted
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Old 12-29-2008, 06:52 PM   #2
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New or Changed in Version 0.98.5

1. RDSS ToteBrowser (Live Toteboard Connection).

RDSS can now connect to Brisnet's SuperTote toteboard stream to display Win, Place and Show pool amounts and Win Odds. No Exacta payouts (and thus odds) yet but that plus Daily Double, Pick3 and 4 will pays, and synthetic Trifecta projections are in the works. The tote stream also allows us to know Minutes to Post (MTP) for every loaded track, Late Scratches for the current race and Mutuel Results the second the race is Official. We also have an interesting readout named Tote Xray, which is an exploratory work in progress formula (top secret) intended to shine some light on ratios between the WPS pools and revealiong supposedly 'smarter money' (if such a thing exists, which some people swear does not...). Possibly useful on Foreign or First Time Starter horses or those with long layoffs - but never an excuse for not exercising normal race analysis. If anything, consider it a corollary to your other readouts - especially when a horse is a longshot.
Note: in this version, the RDSS ToteBrowser is available to BOTH the PP only and the PP+Charts data plans. In future versions, the ToteBrowser will require a subscription to the PP+Charts data plan (e.g. at such time as I get the Result Charts integrated with the software, models, bookkeeping, etc).

Also, you need a Brisnet account, which is free. You can sign up here.
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Connecting to the RDSS ToteBrowser. Find the new Supertote button on the RDSS Desktop (lower left of the screen). Once per day, login to SuperTote using this button, click on the 'Start SuperTote' icon, supply your Brisnet User Name and Password, then close the RDSS SuperTote Login window. You don't need to (actually cannot) work with SuperTote via this RDSS window - you just need to login once per day. RDSS interacts directly with SuperTote servers and displays the toteboard in its own customized, built-in ToteBoard browser. It's the same data and you can compare RDSS tote browser data to Supertote displayed through your normal browser at any time. If the numbers are off a bit, just refresh both RDSS' browser data and Supertote through your normal browser and they will be in synch again. RDSS refreshes the totestream data every 60 seconds until 3 MTP, then every 30 seconds after that.

With the tote connection established, when you open a card of races the Card Summary screen indicates which race is the current race with a small horse icon next to that race. The MTP for the current race is also shown in the Open Cards list in the Sidebar at the left for all open cards, and the list re-sorts itself with each tote update so that the nearest races are on top - never miss the 2 MTP cutoff again! (I'm still working on the sultry voice announcing '2 minutes to post...'). With a Card Summary scren displayed for a given track, you can tell if a successful connection exists by the text appearing in the lower left of the Summary screen: "Toteboard connected". If you get a different message, it could mean: SuperTote is not yet active for that track or any tracks (e.g. too early in the morning), you did not establish the RDSS -> SuperTote connection, you are not connected to the Internet, etc. You can always test if you should be getting anything from SuperTote by loading SuperTote in your normal browser and seeing if the data you're looking for is available there (http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/totedb/tracks.cgi)

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When you open a given race, tote information displays in 3 places for the current race:

- the new Toteboard Tab on the main Entries screen, at the bottom to the right of the Tandems Tab
- in each horse's Past Performance header section - Current Win Odds
- in the BL/BL screen in a new Win Odds/Live column at the far right (depending on your screen width and font Zoom setting, you may have to scroll horizontally to see it...)

On the Toteboard Tab - the RDSS ToteBrowser display - you see the same list of horses as on the main Entries screen. If the tote stream indicates any scratches, those betting interests are marked as scratched. Note: if part of a Betting Entry is scratched but the other part is not (e.g. #1A is scratched but #1 is not), neither will show as scratched on the ToteBrowser because the betting interest is still alive on the toteboard. I will fix this in future releases with the further addition of a more complete Scratch routine (i.e. for all races on the card, not just the current tote race). Currently, please check your normal source for scratches and manually scratch any such part-entries.

On
the RDSS ToteBrowser display, the Morning Line Odds, Win Odds, Tote Xray and Win Pool columns are colour coded and ranked showing the top 3. The Tote Xray column displays rankings a bit differently. This readout shows a 'magic number' indicating ratios between the WPS pools and win odds, with 0.0 being top ranked and the rest showing the % deviation from best (like the Perceptor readouts). The 0.0% or #1 rank is oftentimes also the favourite and so is not shown in RED as usual, as this is less interesting than the 2nd, 3rd and 4th ranked, which are in turn coloured RED, GREEN, YELLOW. However, when the top ranked horse (or top several ranks) is also offered at decent odds around 2 MTP or later - AND there is some confirmation from your other handicapping analysis (unless a First Timer Starter, Foreign or long layoff horse), consider paying much close attention. I have also found that it pays to know exactly which horses are in the top 3 Current Odds, even if those odds are longer, as the Top 3 odds horses win a very high percentage of all races. Aside from the foregoing comments on the Tote Xray readout - well, it is a work in progress, needs more statistical study, but is possibly an interesting tool to be used as a compliment to your other tools. It really only becomes meaningful closer to post time when there is a normal amount of money in the pools for the particular track, and of course odds can change very close to post time (though ratios change less). It is a proprietary readout, so I don't want to go into any further detail about its derivation - but use your eyes...

Note: if no numbers display in the WPS pools columns, or in the Win Odds column (and consequently if no Tote Xray numbers appear), this may be due to no pool data availability via SuperTote. If you want to, please compare SuperTote in your normal browser to the RDSS ToteBrowser numbers to see why data may not be appearing.

On each horse's PP header, the Current Odds are shown colour coded for the top 3 ranked. On the BL/BL screen, the top 3 odds are also colour coded and the Minutes to Post count-down displays in the Win Odds/Live column header.

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When the race result is Official, on the ToteBrowser screen, a bell will 'ding', the Official Results button will light up in RED and the Mutuel results will display automatically. If you have joined a card of races part way through, you can get the previous race results by going to that race, switch to the ToteBrowser tab and click on the Official Results button (no need to load the PPs to accomplish this). Please note: when you close a card of races, or exit RDSS (or are thrown out due to a crash...), you lose any totestream info as this is only retained (for the moment) in computer memory, though you can still check the previous race results again as described above.

Finally, as I mentioned above, the infrastructure of the ToteBrowser connection will give us, in future
(i.e. after I further rework the memory internals of RDSS...) the means to study Exacta and other exotic payouts, calculate effective odds for multiple horse bets and exotic combinations and numerous other useful tools. With a Chart data plan, real-time results will update wager decision models, track profiles, factor models, your basic bookkeeping. The mind reels...

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Old 12-30-2008, 03:23 PM   #3
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2. Wider Screens / Zoom Font Setting / Screen Sizer

I have reworked the various window sizing routines so that they respond to the actual width of your computer monitor. Likely this could use some more finessing, but if you have a 1280 x 1024 screen resolution, or 1440 x 900 or 1650 x 1050 or variations on these, most of the data screens (not the Data Centre) will now stretch from one side of your monitor to the other. You get the maximum screen real estate by toggling off the Sidebar (using the Sidebar toggle button in the Toolabr across the top of the software).

One of the uses of wider screens is to provide space for more columns of data on some screens (e.g. the new Live Odds on the BL/BL and later all screens). Another use is when you change the new Zoom Setting for fonts, found in the Configure window. When you zoom the fonts, say to 110%, the data will extend a bit further to the right than it did originally, and also each running line (in PPs and Analysis screens) is a little higher so less than 10 lines may be visible in any of the 2 or 3 panels you are used to.

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Depending on what font size you are comfortable with, and what screen height you have available, you may be currently using 2 or 3 panels of information in each horse's Past Performances (e.g. foregoing the 3rd Analysis panel in the bottom position). You can use the Screen Sizer icons at the top of each horse's PPs to split the rest of the screen in 2 or 3 equal panels - to help experiment with the best layout for you. You can also manually resize each panel using the splitbars which you grab with your mouse and drag up or down. The positioning of the splitbars (and thus the 2 or 3 panel settings) is remembered until you change it again.

Hopefully this will help a bit with the oft reqeusted 'too-small-font' syndrome for some of our aging eyes! For example, I normally use a 22 inch monitor and have my Zoom setting at 115% or 120%, and display 3 panels of data for each horse (i.e. including the Analysis panel at bottom). Sometimes when I have more than 8 lines in the Analysis bucket, I switch to the central Analysis Tab where I can see all the lines on a full screen. But when I eliminate down to below 8 lines, I revert to watching the Analysis panel in 3rd (lowest) position on a given horse's PP page.

I note that at some Zoom settings, some words or data values get clipped, or the Visual Running Style designations no longer line-up accurately over the related Call points. I'll work on these details!

In summary re screens and fonts: previously I tried to fit all data within the confines of the lowest common denominator screen setting of 1024 x 768 (1024 pixels wide, 768 pixels high) but this is just not enough to do what I want to do with RDSS. From this point forward, you will get a MUCH better experience using the software, and be able to make use of all the available data, if you have as wide and as high a screen as possible. I would recommend 1280 x 1024 screen resolution as a minimum. I will be adding some more customization settings to each data window, so you can toggle some columns on or off, spread them out a bit if you have horizontal space, etc.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:46 PM   #4
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3. Registration Window.

I have added to the Registration window the ability to choose between multiple RDSS Data Plans if you have signed up for both plans (i.e. both PP only AND PP+Charts). Previously, this caused an error message from TrackMaster's server. Now you can simply select which Plan should be the default. If you are not registered with TrackMaster for both plans, you will not be able to choose - you just get the one you have.

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This problem arose because some users started off with the PP+Charts Plan then decided they didn't want to pay for Charts when RDSS is not yet making the fullest use of that data (i,e, right now you can only get Charts for a given Past Performance line - not for current races). Or conversely, you may have started with PPs Only, then decided to upgrade to Charts+PP, as you might well consider in light of future RDSS versions requiring that data Plan for using the new ToteBrowser.

Also on the Registration window is now displayed the actual Machine ID code (a 10 digit number in the lower 'Your RDSS Software License' section) for your computer, which RDSS uses during its registration process and to lock the software to your computer. This number is just for reference during any correspondence we may have about which of your computers are active for RDSS, or which computers may be obsolete or no longer used for RDSS (when you uninstall the software, my server does not get notified). If you know you have stopped using RDSS on a particular computer or replaced it, I would appreciate if you simply send me a list of all currently valid Machine Ids you have on all your active computers. In practice, this will only really need to happen if I notice you are trying to register RDSS on a 4th computer (according to my records) as you are permitted up to 3 computers of your own. In that case, I might request that you tell me which Machine ID is no longer valid, and I'll update my records.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:53 PM   #5
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Miscellaneous

Speculator160 mode versus Validator4 mode is now designated on a race's title bar as (S) or (V) instead of (Spec160) or (Val4).

Note about the Data Archive for 2009 files.

If you install this new version of RDSS, when you load it up it will create a folder for your 2009 data files downloaded from TrackMaster, e.g. \rdss\data\PP\2009\ (analogous to the \2008\ folder). If you choose to NOT install this new version, you will need to create this folder yourself before RDSS can store the downloaded 2009 data files properly.

To do this, go to your Windows Explorer, navigate to \rdss\data\PP\ folder and create a new folder within the \PP\ folder (i.e. next to the \2008\ folder).

That is all the enhancements or changes included in this release. I know there are a number of other things that have been reported are requested to be added but they will have to wait until a subsequent release and my updated foundation for RDSS' internal workings.

Best wishes to all for a prosperous New Year, and thank you all for your support!

Ted
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:56 AM   #6
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Please Note:

It seems my Download instructions were perhaps not the clearest. There has been a rash of downloads of the old version (0.97.9) probably because folks thought that was where to get the new version.

I modified the Download page so that the new/current version is shown where you normally expect it - in Post #1.

Unlike previously, I am leaving the old version still available in case people experience too many bugs with the new one, or the screens seem unsuitable with your computer monitor, etc.

If you downloaded the old version again by mistake, please try again in the RDSS Download Page Post #1 and see if that works better.

Sorry for any confusion!

Ted
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