Winner Winner

Mobile and Desktop

Winner Winner

I'm a strong believer in Developer Communities and have been answering development questions online since the days of Usenet and BBS and have continued doing so through CompuServe, MSN, AOL and now I contribute to a number of different user forums on the internet. I have learned a lot from others and so I feel an obligation to share with others. I have also been very active over the years with Developer User Groups in Calgary and in the past, ran the Calgary Delphi User Group (loved Delphi) and I've helped run the Calgary .Net User Group for many years now. I've given tons of presentations over the years and in the past, we used to give out more door prizes then we do today. It isn't that companies don't want to sponsor user groups and give out free swag, but we just found that things have changed and it has become more difficult to hand out door prizes. We use to request evaluation forms at the end of a meeting to give to the speaker and we would use those to draw from for the door prizes, but now no one carries a pen anymore, and frankly no one wants an evaluation to fill out up or read anymore so we sort of lost our means of drawing for door prizes. We looked at using our Meetup sign up sheet but some folks sign up, but don’t attend, and some folks don’t sign up but attend so things usually breakdown into a bit of a frenzy of figuring out what names to add, who isn’t here etc., so not the easy flowing process we would like. I had built some custom hardware devices which had built in WIFI access points so folks could use their phone or laptop and connect to the device which would then randomly select winners, but in large groups we ran into problems with the number of folks trying to connect to the device.

The problem is how to easily and quickly allow people to enter for door prizes at the end of a presentation or really for any other door prize or raffle scenario.  Years ago, I wrote a number of apps which used Bluetooth and we had to be mindful of some of limitations of early Bluetooth such as the limited range and security issues, but now Bluetooth 4.x has enough range to cover pretty much any room you would present in, and a number of the security issues have been dealt with.  Some of the security improvements are around discovery and pairing.  Now discovery is typically disable unless the user configures the device for discovery mode and pairing is now a very obvious process.  The idea is to take advantage of Bluetooth and Discovery mode so that at the end of the meeting we ask users who are interested in entering the draws for door prizes to put their phones into Bluetooth discovery mode such that we can use Winner Winner to scan for their phone and of course we mention to practice hex and that no pairing is needed.  Now this sounds great so far, but there is still a problem, if you scan for Bluetooth devices you will get back all sorts of Bluetooth devices including headset, keyboards, mice, etc, but with Winner Winner you can filter a Bluetooth scan to look for specific classes of devices.

For example, let me walk you through how I would use Winner Winner at a meeting, and for this example we'll say it is being held at a local library.  Our room holds about 60 people, and at the end of the meeting we ask everyone who is interested in entering for the door prizes to put their phone into discovery mode and not to pair with anyone. Inevitably someone mentions that they don't have their phone with them or that it has run out of battery and ask if they can use their Surface or laptop, no problem we can simple add those device types to the list of scanned devices in Winner Winner's setup.  We then start the Winner Winner scan, and it enumerates all the devices within range which usually means we also pickup some phones, or tablets from other people in the library who are sitting near our room, no problem we can disqualify those devices with a quick swipe to the left of that device in the list and it is now marked as disqualified.  There are a couple of settings in Winner Winner that apply to the drawing of winners, first there is an option to limit a winner to a single prize and second, we can set an optional timer so that we can give a winner some period of time to claim their prize.  If the timer goes red, we can swipe that prize to the left to remove it and redraw it.  To eliminate any confusion as to what prizes have been handed out, we can swipe the a winner to the right and it is then marked as awarded.  Winner Winner can run on just about any Windows 10 device that has Bluetooth, I usually use my Microsoft 950XL phone and run Winner Winner using Continuum with projection system so everyone can see the process and can see if their device is entered and who the winners are.  The whole idea is to make this easy, fast and smooth as after the presentation most people are now in 'go home' mode so we have limited time and attention to make this work and Winner Winner achieves this for me and can for you as well.