WE’RE A BIRD newspaper, not a computer newspaper, so we don’t often include articles on information technology (IT – if that’s what they still call it.)
But this week we’ve made an exception, as you’ll see when you read Tony Edwards’s piece on page 19. Tony’s article is about being points secretary of the National Bengalese Fanciers Association, an organisation that chooses to spice up its show season via a points competition between exhibitors. Now, points competitions tend to be absorbing and fun for adherents and almost totally opaque to outsiders (a bit like IT, in fact).
So I’ll admit freely that, clearly though Tony expresses himself, I’m not sure I could sit down and write a precise summary of how the NBFA points competition works. Nor could I exactly explain each bit of computer calculation that Tony uses to work out who’s in first, fourth and forty-fourth place. But that doesn’t matter, because what’s plain is that Tony can extract more interesting information, more easily, from his mass of show results, than he could have done without the help of this software.
In other words, it works. In Tony’s project, he has enjoyed the help of his computer-savvy son Richard, and it strikes me that there are probably lots of points secretaries (or membership secretaries or treasurers) around the country with basic computing skills, who could make their job easier with a bit of help from a spreadsheet whizz like Richard. Managing a points competition might make a perfect college project, for instance – even a school project, for all I know. Spreadsheets can seem daunting, but in making “software tools” the crux is to explain, clearly and patiently, what you want and whether or not the software is doing it. Leave the techie stuff to the expert.
Enjoy your birds this week.
In the September 24, 2014 issue of Cage & Aviary Birds, why grow a crest on a budgerigar? Sam Wildes explains the variety’s attraction and profiles some of his examples
A nifty spreadsheet or two made Tony Edwards’s life as NBFA points secretary an awful lot easier
Let’s stick to our current ideal standard for Yorkshire canaries, say Steve Dominey and Bob Pepper
Plus lots more, including club jobs, humour, fancy pigeons and outside aviaries