PocketTimer Pro User Manual

Input / Output


Input (also called Downloading, Importing, or Reading, depending on the context and one's preference) and Output (also called Uploading, Exporting, or Writing, depending again on the context and one's preference) are all controlled in the Input/Output section of the Settings (accessed from the Options Menu).


No matter which method you use for input or output, the software provides different filenames for the different files: Categories, Racers, Results, Raw Times, and Adjusted Times. Categories and Racers are typically files which you will import when you start setting up for a race; you'll probably wish to export the Racers file if you have made additions or changes on race day in the software itself. Results is a file that can only be exported. As described in the Results chapter, the "extension" of the name is important, because it determines whether the exported results are in HTML or simple text format.

Raw Times are the times that you actually recorded. If your race involves handicaps, either by category or individual, then Adjusted Times are the times adjusted with the handicaps. If you want to export the times into another program (such as some program running on your desktop computer, or perhaps a website), the Adjusted Times will be the file you want to export and then import into that program or website. But it's also a good idea to save the Raw Times as well, because if you want to re-import them back into PocketTimer Pro, that will be the most useful form. And you can in fact import Raw Times into the software. You might do this if you need to re-score at some future time (perhaps after discovering some kind of error). The ability to import Raw Times into the software also gives you the opportunity to combine times recorded on different devices (perhaps on different aid stations). Each of those devices can export their Raw Times file, and then you can import them one by one into a "master" device which will then have all the times to work with. Note that to do this on race day will either require that each device has a removable SD card, or that each unit has access to the Internet; no direct device-to-device transmission is supported.

There is only one filename supported for each function, but you can have up to six races. The way the software works is that if, for example, your results file is named results.htm, when you export the results for race #2, the file is automatically renamed results_2.htm.


There are two issues related to all forms of input. First, when you import data into the software, whether times, categories, or racers, you will be given the option either to replace all the existing entries, or to merge your imported data with the data that exists. The latter is particularly useful if you are adding race-day entrants that you enter on a computer to racers already imported into the software, and is also invaluable if you use multiple devices to time a race (either devices at multiple finish line "chutes" or from different aid stations) and want to combine the times for the final scoring.

Second, in order to accomodate users around the world, using any language or alphabet, all input to the software is done from simple text files using something called "UTF-8 Encoding." If you don't know what that is, but all your names just contain "plain" characters without accents (much less characters like 史蒂夫), then don't worry about it, because in that case, "UTF-8 encoding" is exactly the same as simple "ASCII", which is what you find in a standard text file. The only thing you'll need to make sure is that your files are really plain text files, and not Word files or Excel files or anything else. Programs like Word typically offer you a choice to save files as simple ASCII text files. From Excel or the like you'll typically need to "Export" the data into a tab-delimited or CSV ("comma-separated values") file; either one is fine.

If you are working with names with accents like "González", or are using a different alphabet entirely, then if you don't already understand UTF-8 Encoding you need to read this Appendix.

There are four possible sources for input:

SD Card is either an actual removable SD card (only present on some devices), or a "virtual" SD card, which allows you to exchange files with a computer, but only when the device is directly connected to the computer. The software looks for the files in a folder named PocketTimer Pro on the SD card; you'll need to create that folder if it doesn't already exist. If you have many race day entrants, you may find it faster to enter their information on a laptop computer (using the format described in the Racers chapter), and then adding those names to the pre-entered names that you imported into the software before race day. This will be the only method to do so if either the Android device or the laptop does not have Internet access from the race site (if they both do, then the other methods of input will also be available).

Dropbox is a free cloud service which we believe offers you the simplest (least effort on your part) method of saving files on a computer and then importing them into the PocketTimer Pro software. You can read more about our support for Dropbox in this Appendix, where you'll also find a link to set up your own free account if you don't already have one. The first time you select Dropbox as a choice for Input (or Output), control will transfer to a Browser on your device, where Dropbox will ask you to log in (if you are not already logged in to Dropbox on that device) and then to grant permission for PocketTimer Pro to access Dropbox. Once you do, Dropbox will create a folder named PocketTimer Pro in the Apps folder of your Dropbox folder (which exists in the cloud and also on any computer that you connect to your Dropbox account). Now (assuming you have installed the Dropbox software on your computer), you'll be able to simply save files into that folder, where they'll be instantly uploaded to the Dropbox cloud and ready to be imported into PocketTimer Pro on your device.

http (Web) allows you to access publicly accessible (i.e., not password protected) files on your (or any) website. If you choose this method of input, you also fill in the HTTP URL value, which will be the full URL of the directory (folder) in which the files you are going to import are located, e.g., http://www.stevenscreek.com/android/PTProTest (yes, that's real, and you can try importing sample files from there if you wish). "http://" is optional; you can omit that if you wish (the software will add it back for you). Now if your category filename is categories.txt, when you try to import categories, the software will look for the file http://www.stevenscreek.com/android/PTProTest/categories.txt, and download it if it is found.

ftp allows you to access files which are located on a website, but in a password-protected area. ftp input requires you to fill in the FTP section at the bottom of the settings screen with four pieces of information:


Output Method offers you four ways to export data from PocketTimer Pro:

SD Card saves data to the device's SD card, whether it is a real or "virtual" card. Connecting the device to a computer then allows this file to be transferred to the computer. As with input, if you want to do this at the race site, but either the Android device or the computer does not have Internet access, this is the only way to transfer data from one to the other. You might use this capability, for example to transfer the results to a computer and then display them on a large screen. The files are saved to a folder (which will be created if necessary) named PocketTimer Pro on the SD card.

If you save the results to a file on the SD Card, you can then print the results using Google's CloudPrint software.

Email lets you use the email software on your device to send the file (as an attachment) by email. If you fill in the Email To value, that value will be automatically filled in in the "To" line of the software, but you can change it (or add other recipients) before you actually hit "Send."

Dropbox uploads the file to your Dropbox account, into the PocketTimer Pro folder in the Apps folder in your Dropbox folder. Once there, it is automatically and instantly downloaded into any computer which is connected to that Dropbox account (and which is online at the time, which may eliminate a computer at the race site).

ftp uploads the file to a website, using parameters which are discussed above in the Input section. If you want to upload results to your website during or after the race directly from the software, ftp offers you the most straightforward way to do that, and, if there is a sufficient break in the finishers, you can even do repeatedly as the race proceeds and the finishers cross the line. Or, in a 4-lap race, you could upload the 2-lap results partway through, and then upload the final results at the end. The web page which is created by the software includes a "time stamp" so that viewers can see exactly when the last update occurred.

Note that all forms of output except SD Card occur "in the background", so you'll be able to continue doing other things (including timing the race if it is still going on) while the upload happens. Upload is usually fast, of course, but if you're uploading via a cellular connection, and the cell signal is weak, it can take much longer. You'll hear a "Whoosh" then the upload is complete.

Also note that your data is always saved to "temporary" files on the device every time you make any change (record a time, add a racer, etc.). So your data is always safe even if you run out of power or the device crashes for some reason. However when the race is done you should definitely upload all the data as soon as you can (times and results for sure) in case something else happens (like you lose the device or drop it in a toilet).

There are three general settings which apply to all types of output:

Group Multiple Times is a special feature which puts all the times for a single racer (assuming there are more than one recorded time per racer) on one line. So instead of an output file that looks like this:


The file will look like this:


Field Separator (the character that separates different items on the same line) can be either tab or comma. In general, if you will be importing the data into some other software, either one works the same. For input, PocketTimer Pro accepts files which use either of these forms of field separator.

Line Ending is relevant if you will be reading the file on a computer. Your choices are LF ("Line Feed", typically used on Unix/Linux and Android devices), CR ("Carriage Return", typically appropriate for Macs and iOS devices), and CRLF ("Carriage Return/Line Feed", appropriate for Windows). For input, PocketTimer Pro accepts files which use any of these forms of line ending.

Read the other sections of the manual:

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Stevens Creek Software