SPORTS SOFTWARE AND COMPUTERS


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TOPICS

  1. Should you use sports software?
  2. Web Page Design
  3. Why Free?
  4. User Interface
  5. Computers and Airline Reservations
  6. Fry's False Guarantee
  7. Increased Use of Sports Software
  8. AOL

1. SHOULD YOU USE SPORTS SOFTWARE? (1/22/98): To answer a question with a question, "Is it easier with or without the sports software?" We get calls from people wanting highly specialized software to meet their highly specialized requirements. Frequently, we suggest software that would meet most of their needs, but not every unusual requirement. Too often, the response is that they will continue to do everything the old way if the software does not do everything they want. They want custom-designed software that would be prohibitively expensive. They should consider a program that does much of what they want, and manually do the rest, instead of manually doing it all. Consider all the trade-offs: time, cost, effort, results. Then decide if you should use software, and which software to select.

2. WEB PAGE DESIGN (1/4/00): The criteria we used for our web pages are: fast loading, easy to navigate, pleasant appearance, easy to read, complete useful information about our software. Of course trade-offs are involved. Fast loading required no graphics, so some appearance was sacrificed.   Some people like the yellow background, at least one does not. The extensive menu may be too detailed, but it does allow you easily to find a desired topic. We would appreciate your comments and constructive criticism to help make our web site easier to use and more informative. Please e-mail any and all suggestions.

3. WHY FREE? (11/12/98): Much effort and many years have been devoted to developing the best possible sports software. We have been told that our software makes the best schedules and is easy to use. Our main goal is to see the software used as much as possible. We found that many are hesitant to invest much money to try sports software. We concluded that offering the software free would overcome this barrier. You no longer have to think about paying $500+ for software, or paying an annual fee. Your only consideration now is whether or not the software helps you, and you can try a complete program (not a demo) free. If you like the program, you can continue to use it free. Internet now allows us to distribute our software easily, quickly, and inexpensively. We hope that we are making  an offer that you cannot refuse.

4. USER INTERFACE (11/12/98): The user interface (what you see on the screen) is the same or similar for all our software. After using one program, the other programs will be even easier to use. We have such a large variety of sports software, that it will be available to easily meet most of your needs.

5. COMPUTERS AND AIRLINE RESERVATIONS (1/22/98): I want to make an airline reservation, so look on travelocity.com to find all the fares and all the flights. I call America West and am quoted $352. The next day I call to make the reservation, but their computers were down. Per their suggestion on the phone, I look at americawest.com. I find a much better flight. I call AW and am told that the flight I want does not fly on Saturday, even though their web site shows it. I now am quoted about $620 for the other flights. I protest that I was told $352, and they find a $490 fare. I have spent several hours trying to get the AW flight, and now it is 3 hours before the 14-day advance fare is not available. I call United and get a better schedule for $350.60, in about five minutes. I overlooked that flight because internet showed a different airport. What I learned:
a) You should know all the fares and flights before making a reservation.
b) Internet flight data can be incorrect, even from an airline's own site.
c) All commerce (reservations) seems to stop when the computer is down.
d) Try not to wait until the last hour.

6. FRY'S FALSE GUARANTEE (1/22/98): I bought computer memory for my laptop from Fry's Electronics. They guarantee to "cheerfully refund" your money if you find a lower price. I do, within the required time period. I go to the store, talk to three people, send 2 FAXes to the store manager, and a FAX to the CEO. Despite meeting all their stated requirements, they refuse to refund the $65. I make a quick internet search and find there are many other unhappy Fry's customers. I have spent more time and effort than the $65 warrants, but Fry's should be required to do what they promise. I have filed a complaint with the CA Attorney General, and with the credit card company. To be continued......

CONTINUED (5/6/98): The CA Attorney General (AG) web site said they would contact a company to help resolve a problem. The AG sent a letter fairly quickly, but just to me to say they received my letter and would keep it under advisement (budgetary limitations). Fry's Electronics never did respond to my letters, FAXes, or phone calls. I had paid by VISA and requested a refund from my bank. It took several months, but my account was recently credited with $65.

Was all the time and effort worth it? Probably not, except in the satisfaction of knowing a small injustice was corrected. Two lessons were learned:
1. Try to buy from reputable places. I never had problems with K- mart or Home Depot, when returning something.
2. Pay with a credit card. That is better to resolve a dispute than legal action.

CONTINUED (6/25/95) : It's not over till it's over. The credit card company says it cannot resolve this type of dispute and returns the $65 to Fry's.

CONTINUED (7/13/98) : After several more FAXes, I go to the store and talk to the manager. He makes a lame excuse, offers $30 credit to keep me as a customer. I say $40, and he agrees. The end of an unpleasant experience.

CONTINUED (7/20/98) : Randy Fry (GM & EVP) sends nice letter of apology, 6 months after he was contacted about the problem. Better late than never.

CONTINUED (1/4/00): A man bought two $899 air conditioners from Fountain Valley Fry's, returned them, and was charged about $270 (15% restocking fee). The man now is suing, alleging that Fry's return policy omitted any information about the 15% restocking fee (contrary to CA law). Apparently, Fry's has no blanket policy, and actions are random and arbitrary.  Both Orange County (CA) stores have an unsatisfactory business performance record concerning consumer complaints, according to the Better Business Bureau. [A Fountain Valley Fry's manager  kept his badge under his tie so I could not see his name. This also was noticed in a San Diego store.] 

7. INCREASED USE OF SPORTS SOFTWARE (10/18/99): A survey of the use of recreation facility software applications from 1994 to 1998 shows large increases. Much business-related software use increased about 100%. Facility scheduling software use increased from 39% to 61%. Tournament software use increased from 42% to 58%.

8. AOL (7/30/02): You probably have heard many bad things about AOL. Unfortunately, they probably are true. We have had problems sending e-mail, access to our web site, our web site being down, web site files lost, the counters wrong and AOL unable to fix their own counters, customer support that courteously does not address the problems, no way to get help from those with authority, unreasonable terms of service that interfere with our use of the internet, too many interruptions of internet connections, etc., etc. We started some web sites on AOL many years ago, so it is difficult to change URL now, because we are well placed in the search engines. Changing e-mail addresses also can be a problem. We suggest you carefully select your ISP and make sure the price and service meet your needs, before you get locked in with them. Also, if you have a web site, you may want your own domain name. It is a little more expensive, but you have the flexibility of changing hosts without changing URL.
AOL cancelled all web site support, causing many problems for us. We will cancel our pay account, and switch to a free e-mail account. (10/31/08)


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