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Everything posted by Mr17Hz

  1. mdrejhon, You've clearly put quite a bit of research into this... I will put more research into the particular devices that you've mentioned. Ease of use and setup will be the most important factor because most dropzone's don't have technical staff on site with time to hack around on things that break - If I can find a solutions using a FitPC that is under $300 and easy to set up and use, then I'll go that route for new installations. I appreciate all of the feedback and suggestions. Matt Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  2. Unfortunately I have yet to find a solid state computer that is under the $300 price point and will handle the high resolution of an HDTV. It's also important to get one that can be setup for a portrait display instead of a landscape display; which generally needs to be done at the video card driver level... but the point is, it's a great option that wasn't around a few years ago. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  3. I have just published videos that demonstrate some of the flight manifesting and monitoring capabilities of RealDropzone. You can view them by clicking here, and then browsing by Category. The Categories Flight Manifesting and Manifest Monitor will contain the videos that demonstrate the capabilities that you mentioned. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  4. Actually, a second monitor can be difficult to work with; particularly because you’d need to get that second video card, and an extra long VGA cable. Skydive Chicago is currently using low def TV’s modulated and wired, but they had also only been using it for student manifesting through last year. When the new season starts I’m going to try to talk Rook into picking up new HDTVs because you can get way more information on them, and you can also pick up solid state computers for around $300 that have no moving parts, are about twice the size of a cell phone, and will connect to the data wirelessly (no wired RF cables saves a good deal of time and money) – you’ll only need to wire 110AC to the location where you want the displays… As for your HTML templates, the solution that I have in place right now isn’t quite as flexible because it doesn’t use tokens so you can’t alter the columns displayed – just how it looks visually and how much to display on the same screen.. However, it wouldn’t be much to change it, in fact, one of my most recent projects was re-doing the Skydive Radio website; and I used similar token based replacement techniques to display show data which is now being stored in a relational database system allowing pages to be generated dynamically. Here is the template defined for the SHOWS page: {ShowDate} - {ShowTitle} {ShowDescription} Show Duration: {ShowDuration}  File Size: {ShowFileSize} Download this show...    Full Size Image...    Discuss this show... And here is a link to the page to see how it’s rendered: Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  5. Great input, mdrejhon. Your comments give me a lot of encouragement because RealDropzone has all of the features you’ve just defined. (I assure you they took more than a few minutes to implement!) I don’t have this information on the website yet as I’m making videos “In order”, so to speak – and obviously manifesting is one of the last things that happens at the dropzone. I actually just recently created videos that demonstrate manifesting Tandems, but I haven’t gone over any other jump types yet, before I can do that I will need to train in setting up jump products and pricing. I will likely publish these videos (I’m up to video number 54, I think 1-38 are on the website already) in the next day or two. At that time you can get a preview at how manifesting works and how easy it really is. Until then (I still need to render the high res videos into flash which takes a bunch of time), here are some screen shots to tide you over: Take a look at how data transfers from when it’s entered on the website: To when it’s worked with in the office for group reservation changes / additions: To when it’s used for check-ins: To when it’s manifested via drag / drop: To when it’s displayed on video screens: The dropzone allows for easy check-in of customers as they arrive at the DZ. As soon as they’ve checked in as experienced their names appear in what is essentially an “available to manifest list”. Tandems, AFF/AFP Students, and Experienced jumpers appear in different lists. Manifesting is as easy as dragging and dropping people from each one of these lists. For some lists, such as the tandem student and AFF / AFP students, hold slots are placed for instructors / videographers based on the type of jump being made and an available instructor must be dragged and dropped to the held slot before the flight registers as scheduled. Additionally you can set up “permanent” groups to manifest people as a group, such as teams. Permanent groups allow you to identify team accounts to be used for jump tickets as well as separate pricing. In addition to permanent manifest groups, which are saved from day to day, there are also “temporary groups”. A temporary group is assigned by selecting names from the available to manifest lists, associating them together loosely by giving them a group name. You can then drag and drop the group onto a flight for the remainder of the day; or edit the group at any time. In addition to manifest groups, there are ‘flight groups’. Flight groups allow you to identify people who are jumping together for just a single load, and optionally what kind of jump it will be. These flight groups are blocked together in the manifest display. The ‘RealDropzone Manifest Monitor’ software is essentially a locally hosted website that is designed to be viewed in full screen mode and refresh automatically. Its template is in fact a set of HTML and CSS documents that a dropzone could choose to modify, and of course the product name is mentioned at the bottom in a copyright line for traveling jumpers to see and spread the word Depending on the money that a dropzone wants to spend on hardware, this information could be displayed using old low def TVs, computer monitors, or high-def televisions. You can fit a lot more information on a high-def television because the smaller text is still readable and you don’t have flicker problems due to interlacing. Additionally, even if a dropzone doesn’t want to spend a dime on display hardware, jumpers can still get to manifest information! Because the service is a website; it can be accessed by anyone on their wireless laptops, and even on their iPhones and other internet capable smart phones. Skydive Chicago is closed for the season, so you won’t see any names or flight info, but check out the following URL using the default settings (the query date of 01/01/0001 means to use today’s date). To see where you could find LIVE SDC Manifest information online: One capability that I would like to add but it will not likely make it into the product until at least next fall is the ability for organizers to do their own manifesting on their laptops, provided that everyone they’ve manifested have already checked-in for the day and have money or jump tickets on their account. This will make it much more likely that you’ll see additional jump type information on the manifest display because it won’t just be up to manifest workers to get it there, but instead responsible volunteers. If you look at the screen shot of the manifest monitor above, the instructor / videographer area of the display is replaced with group jump detail. I won’t have the screen shots done with fun jumpers in it finished for another week or so, but I’ll be sure to update this thread when they’re ready. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  6. The point is more this: If the software is more efficient then the DZ is saving money. In order to be a successful business decision the software needs to save them more than $0.25/jump. I was never expecting the jumper to be paying $0.25 on top of their ticket. Just some people don't consider that everything in business has a price affixed. -Michael Again I want to stress that the pricing being quoted is no longer accurate. Licensing has been adjusted to weigh heavier on Tandem Reservations than Experienced jumpers. For many dropzones this will result in similar prices; however it will depend on tandem / experienced jumper ratios. I have recently published the official pricing which will be used across the board to all dropzones except for the two that have been participating in beta testing. Alongside the pricing document you will find very clear justification for the cost, as well as an excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded for the purpose of experimenting with your own business numbers. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  7. I appreciate a more realistic look at what the actual cost of the product is. I quit my very comfortable salaried job to start RealSkydiving 3 years ago. The fact is, by spending the last three years working on RealDropzone™, I’ve given up about $250,000 in income. I’ve been picking up contract jobs here in there to help with cash flow, but I’ve been turning down a good majority of the opportunities that have come my way so that I keep my time free for additional product development. I don’t expect to ever see that income that I passed up again. I passed it up. You see, I’m not doing this for the money; I’m doing this for the satisfaction of giving back to an industry that’s changed my life perspective in a number of ways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m doing all of this from the kindness of my heart and don’t expect to see some financial return for my investment. I expect RealDropzone license fees to pay back over time, but not right away. Maybe after I’ve got 30-50 dropzones running the product, and 5 years go by… Even then, I don’t plan on sitting on my butt watching subscription fees come in: that income will be reinvested into product enhancements and other software initiatives that directly target the Skydiving industry. Plus, every new customer means increased product support and hosting costs. I have a decade’s worth of projects in my head. From social networking components, to self manifesting on your iPhone, to lobbying the USPA and other industry organizations into establishing and backing non-proprietary document and communication standards for keeping track of data like membership, as well as the capability for packers to electronically sign repack dates. Fact is, half of the potential for technology to improve our sport over the next 10 years hasn’t even been envisioned yet, because the technology doesn’t exist. As an example, think about the potential for when RFID (radio frequency identification, the same technology used in ipass / ezpass / mobilepass) tags get to be pennies a piece, and readers get down to a few hundred dollars each. A zone reader could be placed at the border of your landing area and in the plane’s door – so that simply stepping into the plane with a USPA ID Card (which would have a passive RFID tag in it) would manifest you for that load. And if you land off – staff in the office would instantly know that you did not land on the landing field. RealSkydiving is going to be around for a while, producing solutions that everyone can benefit from. The product being offered at this year’s PIA Symposium is nothing more than a first step. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  8. Actually, I've been working on this software since 2006, nearly 3 years have gone by. It has over 5,000 hours of my time invested in it. Skydive Chicago and all of their staff have been extremely helpful in identifying requirements and beta testing the many components of the software, many ideas and features have been scrapped, and many new ideas and features have made it into the product since creating the first specification. The Dropzone Management product itself isn't my end game, my long term goal is the means to allow dropzones to sell tickets on travel sites and other ticket broker sites cost effectively, to increase overall publicity to the sport, and to allow pay-per-sale based online advertising capabilities for dropzones. My means to do so is to first have software at 40-50 dropzones around the US that will allow the transactions to happen electronically (very cost effective). I feel a large contribution to the decrease in growth in our sport has been because dropzones are no longer advertising through effective means. I write more about this in the following article: I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2009 PIA Symposium. Matt Christenson Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  9. Good luck with that. I agree. Once you've got the early adopters (evangelists) on-board, this may be appropriate, HOWEVER, when you are going after first customers, the value of several reference accounts (in both reputation and free-bug-testing) is HUGE. My advice: Waive this fee for the first 5 clients (and cut the per jump cost) Turn it into an earn-out for the rest. The pricing previously posted in this thread is not the pricing that I decided to go with. Also, moderators had previously requested that I not post or discuss pricing information on, and so this information will be available only on the product's website. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  10. RealDropzone will be officially public on February 1st of this year. RealSkydiving will have a booth at the PIA Symposium in Reno, NV. I will be in Reno from Feb 6th to Feb 14th, and will be able to demonstrate the product. Additionally, just a few hours ago I switched over from an old product site that had not been updated in some time, to a new one at At this new site you will find a variety of documents, as well as HOURS of training videos that demonstrate the use of the product. At the time of writing this there are 39 videos in total, however I will continue to be making more videos to demonstrate the capabilities that I have not already covered. I expect there to be over 100 videos, and a dozen or so additional documents available before the Symposium. Cheers, Matt Christenson Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  11. Some dropzone's are lowering prices. Skydive Chicago had to increase prices in the spring by a dollar, to I think $26 per jump. A few months ago they lowered all ticket prices to $20 for the rest of the season. Part of this is of course trying to keep business as the season gets colder, but if it wasn't for the decrease in gas price they wouldn't have gone that low. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  12. Sorry, I do not care to pay your bar bills. Drinking booze is not required for you to do your job in a not for profit organization. I understand that it is a volenteer position. I also understand that you volenteered to fill it. I am not in any way saying that we don't all appreciate your ability to volenteer. That is what not for profit organizations are all about. All I am saying is that a $35 per diem is pretty much a standard for out of town business travel in any organization, and that it is more than enough to fill yourself with healthy food. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  13. $35/day is what the IRS allows you to expense per day without providing actual receipts for out-of-town business travel. This is pretty standard. At most places you can get your breakfast for free at a hotel (already compensated for), lunch for $10, and dinner for $20, with $5 to spare. This will average out through the week. To be honest, I will very rarely spend the entire $35/day I'm allocated for business trips. The only time I have needed more than this is when I travel to areas where I must pay for transportation to a place where I can eat - or where my only option is the overpriced hotel restraunt. USPA makes it a point to schedule events at a location where $35/day is very reasonable. With this kind of money you can eat a heathy, full meal - three times a day. Most organizations will pay more than $35 if you take the time to provide receipts for all of your meals, and are able to provide legitimate supporting evidance that Red Lobster's serf and turf of the day was in fact your only reasonable option. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  14. If this was recently installed, make sure that the voltage is correct, there are 110v motors, 220v motors, and most motors support BOTH, however you need to remove a pannel and change some wires to indicate what your input voltage is. Second, check the voltage on its way to the motor and make sure it's what you're expecting. A few poorly designed systems will change from 220 to 110 when a relay goes bad in the control box... If the motor is only getting half the power it needs it would explain the buzz. Relays are ussually only $15 to replace and can be shipped overnight in most places. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  15. I've got a dropzone manifest software product that I'll be going public with very soon; I'm currently beta testing it, you can find some slightly outdated information up at, depending on your situation, I may consider you for a beta; email me at [email protected] - at this point I don't plan on going public with it until Feb 09 at the 2009 PIA Symposium. The product is significant, I have personally spent the last 2 years of my life investing into it. If you search the forums on here for RealDropzone you're likely to find other posts where I describe capabilities. It handles everything from the first time a potential customer visits your website to each time they manifest. Matt Christenson Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  16. I know this is a dead thread because it's been proven that this was not his chute... but as far as the date on the chute, consider this... Put yourself in the criminal's shoes. If you pull this off you're going to be $$$ richer... UNLESS you get caught. If you purchase a recently manufacturered parachute which you intended on leaving behind for a quick escape; it would be MUCH easier for the FBI to trace the origin of the parachute... Someone would have known someone that would have known someone who owned that chute... And it takes money to keep people quiet. It wouldn't suprise me at all if an old parachute was chosen on purpose. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  17. If you have any control over the architecture of the general site, I strongly suggest checking out DotNetNuke,, which provides a content management system with a whole slew of modules already available that are likely to solve your problem without writing any code. Specifically, you can set up a page using the User Tables module that will allow them to enter information and will send you the results. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  18. Do you still need help with this? Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  19. Okay, I'll bite... What's stopping you? Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  20. I thought this would be a fun statistic. Can you see a walmart or sams club when you exit the plane at a DZ? Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  21. Prepare for the worst. You never know when you'll become victim to one of those 'random security checks' ;) Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  22. Mr17Hz

    Skydive Chicago

    This used to be my home DZ. Now it's my home.
  23. If you're going to quote me and make assuptions why don't you quote me in context. I specifically included the word mounted for a reason - because it could be mounted in a way that the mounting would not add any safety risk. I didn't say anything about any psycological safety risks. I also didn't say that it would be mounted as seen in the photograph. It is small enough to be mounted in a specially designed helmet or box in such a way that it would not increase that helmet's saftey risk (weight or snag) or size. As for the quality comment of not looking good on TV but maybe just something like YouTube; no shit! If you wanted that kind of a camera you would probably fall into the "people interested in flying camera" cagagory, wouldn't you? Cheap quality low hassle narrow angle footage at no inconvenience can still collect more visual information durring a jump than jumping without a camera. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  24. I don't remember siting sources or stating fact. Everyone else reading this has the same capability of viewing my profile and deciding for themselves what my opinion on the matter is worth. I saw a neat gadget that has previously not been available, and brought it to the attention of others. Hundreds of people claimed that audible altimeters were a safety risk when they came out; that was their opinion. Some argue that configuring the audible to sound only when it's 'too late' is a passive safety device. A camera with no spacial or weight issues lends itself to fall into a similar catagory if used as a passive data capture device, and not for the purpose of taking pictures. Lives have been saved by the data captured and posted on sites like Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.
  25. I would have put this in the camera section, but it's the kind of camera that people not interested in flying camera would be more interested in... small and self contained at $120, it's quality isn't anything to brag about but it could be mounted with almost 0 added safety risk and record potential malfunctions, etc.. Matt Christenson [email protected] - A new breed of dropzone manifest software.