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View Full Version : Important topic for those who had sam's club difficulties


dmprantz
01-19-2012, 02:11 PM
If you had issues, please go to the following URL and follow the directions. KCBS appears to be trying to resolve some of them.

http://www.kcbs.us/news.php?id=450

dmp

Smoke Ring
01-19-2012, 02:40 PM
I entered my team information, then the site timed out before I was asked to pay. I went back to start over and got a message that my team name or member number has already been registered. I don't know if I'll get an email to pay or if I'll be able to call the office tomorrow, but I hope my team gets into the contest 5 minutes from my house.

Update-I got screwed. There was one team registered when I went through the previous steps and after calling the 800 number on the site I was told that I wasn't registered. By the time I got back through, the contest was full. What a crock of ****. Two damn years in a row we've been screwed out of competing in our hometown by ****ty technology. Here's an idea for the KCBS, get a website that can handle the traffic this is going to generate. What a joke. Woodbury, MN here we come again. This pisses me off beyond all measure.

I would like to clarify what happened last night with the Sam's registration and set the record straight. We host the kcbs.us website on our server. Yes, during heavy traffic the server was slow and sometimes timed out. But, you and many others were able to successfully get in and submit a registration. However, many people were getting the message saying they were already registered. I spoke with one person this morning who successfully submitted a registration 8 times in the first 3 or 4 minutes and got the already registered message every time. The same thing happened to me when I tried to register. I tried again 3 or 4 times and kept getting the same message that I was already registered so I thought the registration must have gone through and I just didn't get to the payment screen.

I have access to the database where MMA stores the registrations so I checked the database to see if we were in it. The only entry I found in the database was my registration from last year. All of last year's registrations were still in the database. At that point I knew what was happening. When a team that competed in a Sam's event last year tried to register they were getting the already registered message. Teams that didn't compete last year were having no problem registering. All the teams getting the already registered message kept retrying adding to the server overload.

I looked at the kcbs.us files on the server and saw that the file containing the code to check to see if a team was already registered was updated around 8:09 so MMA had figured out what was happening and fixed the code. Unfortunately by that time some of the contests were already full.

Most of the registration problems had nothing to do with the server. It actually handled the load better than last year. The fact that so many people were able to get in and submit a registration, even though they got the already registered message, confirms that. But, when they kept retrying it made the bandwidth situation worse than it should have been. A lot of people were calling the KCBS office but there was nothing the office staff could do about the situation. They weren't managing the registration process, MMA was.

Another problem that occurred was that if you successfully registered after a contest reached the 30 team limit it put you on a waiting list. Once you were on a waiting list it considered you to be already registered if you tried to register for a different contest.

I just want to let everyone know what actually occurred last night and where the problems were. Yes the server was slow under the heavy load but it never "crashed" as some claimed and people were getting through and submitting registrations. To reduce the server load, we even shutdown the Smoke Ring website from 7:30 to 8:30. The problem is that the registration process was poorly thought out and inadequately tested.

Garry

DawgPhan
01-19-2012, 02:49 PM
that is ser lolz.

why would you even use the same database table for contest registrations from last year?

Smokin' Bad Habit
01-19-2012, 03:01 PM
I have access to the database where MMA stores the registrations so I checked the database to see if we were in it. The only entry I found in the database was my registration from last year. All of last year's registrations were still in the database.

(copied from above)
so only you were in the data base or everyone?

Mod edit: I added quote tags to the quote above for clarity

Smoke Ring
01-19-2012, 03:29 PM
I have access to the database where MMA stores the registrations so I checked the database to see if we were in it. The only entry I found in the database was my registration from last year. All of last year's registrations were still in the database.

(copied from above)
so only you were in the data base or everyone?



Everyone from last year was there. That's why people were getting the already registered message.

Ron_L
01-19-2012, 03:31 PM
Thanks for the background, Garry!

dmprantz
01-19-2012, 03:44 PM
Thank you Garry. I mentioned previously that I thought that was the problem, and apparently I nailed it. I'm glad it got resolved relatively quickly. I just posted this to get the word out so that teams could try to find a resolution.

dmp

bover
01-19-2012, 03:48 PM
The problem is that the registration process was poorly thought out and inadequately tested.


I'm really hoping the Technology chair on the BoD receives this assessment. There was plenty of time for MMA to QA this and certainly no excuses as to why these incredibly large gaps in logic were not addressed.

If this is how they code registrations for a single series of events, it kind of makes you wonder how they'll do on the development of the online team/judge registration utility that was mentioned in the latest BoD meeting notes doesn't it?

DawgPhan
01-19-2012, 04:04 PM
The best part is that this isnt a technology issue. This is something that they could have avoided entirely. instead they were lazy w/r/t testing and design and it screwed over some of their members. mostly the members who supported this series last year and helped enabled a second year.

dmprantz
01-19-2012, 04:11 PM
Another comment to make here. There are lots of ways to design a database. I wrote a rather lengthy post on it not too long ago, but if it's done properly there is nothing wrong with using the same database for multiple seasons of a single event, and in fact many would consider it a database failure to not do so.

One project comes to mind where I wrote a system and maintained it for three years. The system had "seasons" much like here where an event occured in a given year and the same client could not have the same event happen twice in one year, but twice in different years was okay. If I had tried to create a seperate database or table for the second year, I probably wouldn't have been around long enough to finish that second year. The key is to design your constraints and software appropriately.

dmp

dmp

Lake Dogs
01-19-2012, 04:23 PM
Last database I designed from scratch was..... Wow, it's been a little while, 1993 for a company that I cannot tell you, but the database was too large for anything then or now, we housed it on a Cray originally, 64bit O/S before anyone knew what that was, with 1.45 Petabytes (that's not a typo) originally before anyone knew what a Gigabyte was much less a Terabyte, in 1994 when we got it up and crankin'... Of course, we aren't in KCBS's budget either... Because our data ages out after 12 years we're only up to 1.8 Petabyes now, thank goodness!!!

Yes, design appropriately.

kihrer
01-19-2012, 04:37 PM
I have no idea what kind of bandwidth MMA has available for the KCBS server. Maybe it was a bandwidth issue. I'm still thinking that the number of people actually hitting the site last night wasn't that large. I work in higher ed and twice a year we have several thousand students trying to register for classes all at the same time (even though we stagger by grade or we would have tens of thousands) much like we were trying to do last night. We prepare for those two times a year by ramping up to handle the demand at peak. Our environment is built to handle the worst case scenario to ensure fairness and to cut down on complaints.

I was one of those individuals registering 3 or 4 times because I never made it through the entire process without it timing out. Since I didn't know if I was registered or not, I kept trying. Based on my first post to this site last night at 8:29, I know the server was still struggling at that time. I did make it in and according to KCBS was the 5th person registered for NJ but I certainly didn't know it at the time. Fixing the database issues will be a big help but if something isn't done about the bandwidth and the timeouts, next year will bring more of the same complaints.

Jorge
01-19-2012, 05:11 PM
Multiple devices, from the same IP probably didn't help either...and there were a few:) One member/team drawing the same data as 2+ teams in some cases. Lessons learned for sure.

Ron_L
01-19-2012, 05:32 PM
Multiple devices, from the same IP probably didn't help either...and there were a few:) One member/team drawing the same data as 2+ teams in some cases. Lessons learned for sure.

We had two Macs, two iPhones and an iPad at the ready :redface: We didn't need them since I was able to connect with only minor waiting. Once the database issue with last year's info was figured out it went smoothly. I'm not sure why some folks were getting timeouts and others, like me, didn't have issues. It may be tied to local bandwidth or tied to a specific ISP.

Muzzlebrake
01-19-2012, 08:09 PM
We had two Macs, two iPhones and an iPad at the ready :redface: We didn't need them since I was able to connect with only minor waiting. Once the database issue with last year's info was figured out it went smoothly. I'm not sure why some folks were getting timeouts and others, like me, didn't have issues. It may be tied to local bandwidth or tied to a specific ISP.

that pretty much sums up my experience too. I didn't fins it to be a big deal at all. In fact I had more difficulty with getting "server is busy" messages here last night than I did on the registration page

boogiesnap
01-19-2012, 08:17 PM
i really have to say, sam's put up 1/2 a million(i'm not a walmart fan btw)in prizes ALONE, and this is the best KCBS could come up with for them?

i mean, really? really????

good lord what has happened?

in retrospect sam's prolly doesn't care how the registration process went for US, but still, are there any farkin professionals out there?

Ron_L
01-19-2012, 08:29 PM
This was posted on Facebook a bit ago. Good news for those who are on a waiting list and want to move to an open local.

Your feedback regarding the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour registration has helped us try to improve the registration process. In an effort to improve the current waiting list system for local event registration, teams are now able to remove themselves from a previous waiting list when they attempt to register for a new event that has open positions.

Simply click on the local event that is open, fill-in the required fields and agree to the on-screen prompt that will ask you if you wish to register for the new event. At that point you will be registered for the new event and removed from your previous waiting list.

If you would like to remain on your current waiting list in anticipation that a spot may become available, simply do nothing, you are on that waiting list.

Thank you again for your feedback.