An East Coast Software Product
Software License and Warranty
The software, which accompanies this license, is the property of East Coast Software and is protected by copyright law.
(1) use one copy of the software on a single computer;
(2) make one copy of the software for archival purposes or copy the software onto the hard disk of your computer and retain the original for archival purposes;
(3) transfer the software on a permanent basis to another person, provided that you retain no copies of the software and the transferee agrees to the terms of this license.
You may not:
(1) copy the documentation which accompanies the software;
(2) sublicense, rent or lease any portion of the software;
(3) reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble , modify, or make any attempt to discover the source code of the software.
East Coast Software warrants that the media on which the software is distributed will be free from defects for a period of thirty days from the date of delivery of the software to you. Your sole remedy in the event of a breech of this warranty will be that East Coast Software will, at its option, replace any defective media returned to East Coast Software within the warranty period or refund the money you paid for the software. East Coast Software does not warrant that the software will meet your requirements or that operation of the software will be uninterrupted or that the software will be error-free.
Disclaimer of damages:
East Coast Software will not be liable for any consequential losses, including lost profits or lost data arising out of the use or inability to use the software. In no case will East Coast Software’s liability exceed the purchase price of the software.
Table of Contents
Put the CD in your drive and wait several seconds. It should start up and install itself. If it fails to do this, click on 'Start' then 'Run' and type D:SETUP in the box provided (assuming your CD drive letter is D, if not, substitute the drive letter). Click OK.
The installation consists of a number of forms that require a “Next” button to be clicked. One form requires you to accept the license agreement. On another you will be shown where the system is to be installed. If you have only one hard disk (C:) then just accept the defaults. If you have partitioned your hard disk or have more than one hard disk, you may want to install it on a disk other than C: This is the place where you can choose. It is recommended that you leave the directory or folder (the bit after C:\) at the default (Program Files \ East Coast Software \ LMS8).
This software can be removed from your computer in two ways. You can use the standard windows ‘Add/Remove Software’ feature. To do this click ‘Start’, ‘Settings’ and ‘Control Panel.’ Double-click on the icon for ‘Add/Remove Programs’ and find the Loft Management System (LMS8) in the list. Click on this to highlight it and then click the ‘Add/Remove’ pushbutton. Another way is to click on Start, All Programs, LMS8 then click on the uninstaller.
There have been many improvements and additional facilities in version 8. Updates are now automatic – you simply go on-line, ask the system to check for updates and if there are any, they will be downloaded and applied without any further intervention from you. Even better, if you are on a broadband connection and are connected when you start LMS8, the system will go and look for updates without being asked.
There is a Tip-of-the-Day form that reminds you of the many facilities available in The Loft Management System. You can switch this off when you are happy that you are completely familiar with all facilities offered by LMS8.
You may have many windows open at the same time. If you fly in more than one club, you can open the “choose race birds” form as many times as you have clubs and choose which birds to send for which club, watching the lists all at the same time. You can have bird details form and race details and choose race bird forms open all at the same time.
Pedigree cock birds are printed in blue whilst hen birds are printed in red. Where a bird is unknown or of unknown sex, they are printed in black.
The text in the boxes of the pedigrees is now not fixed size but instead is determined by the amount of text in the fullest box on the pedigree so that if you do not have a lot of text, the font size will get bigger.
On almost all forms if a ring number is displayed and you right-click on that ring number, the bird details form will open with that ring number bird displayed.
The bird details form has a page to show hatchings of that bird for the current year and for any archived years.
The bird details form has a page to show race results of that bird for the current year and for any archived years.
Bird ratings can be viewed for current season and for any archived years.
There is an option to Add/Edit your address under the Maintenance menu.
If you get problems when printing photographs on a pedigree, there is an option to try a different method of printing.
There is a new facility to repair corrupt data.
You can have your own bird photographs displayed as the system starts up or just accept the ones built into the system.
You must set the resolution of your screen to at least 800 by 600. At less than this resolution, parts of some forms will be off your screen and you will have to use the scroll bars to see all of the forms. To check your resolution, close down any open applications, right-click on any empty area of your desktop and, from the resulting menu, click on Properties then on the Settings tab. Look inside the rectangle labelled, “Screen Area.” At the bottom there are 2 numbers, x and y, in a statement that reads, “x by y pixels.” If x is 800 or larger, you need do nothing. If x is smaller than 800, move the slide bar to the right until it becomes 800 then click the Apply button. If the slide bar is already as far right as it will go and x is less than 800 (a most unlikely event), your video board is very old and cheap and will need to be changed to allow you to run Windows at higher resolutions. Talk to your local computer retailer about your problem.
If you intend to store and print photos of your birds in the pedigrees, set the number of colours as high as your video board will allow – at least to 16-bit colour. If you set it to 256-colours, you will get pretty awful prints. You’ll find the settings on the same form as the resolution above.
Before entering birds, work your way through Maintenance | Birds and Maintenance | Racing
Before entering any new birds, you should make sure that the lists of bird colours, strains, and eye colours contain those values that you are likely to use in your system. When you receive LMS, it contains a few entries in these lists but by no means all the values you may need. You can add, edit or delete values from the lists so that they reflect the, for instance, strains that you have in your loft and in the forebears of your birds. You can add an entry to these lists in the middle of entering a bird but, if you are adding a new bird or editing an existing one, the addition/change to the pick list will not be reflected in the open list until you save or abandon the add/edit and re-open it. As a general rule, do NOT try to enter new options in drop-down lists directly, go to the relevant item in the maintenance menu to add the new item.
If you intend to record racing for your birds, add the start points and the distances from your loft before trying to define any race. If a start point for a race does not exist, you must NOT try to enter it by typing in the drop-down list of start points on the “add a race” form, as you will not be able to add the distance from your loft. Abandon the add a race procedure, add the start point and distance through the “add/edit start points” form under the Maintenance, Racing menu item then re-enter the race details. You should also set up the pools that your club uses and the numbers of birds getting points that you want to use for the calculation of ratings before starting to enter race details. Also check with your secretary that the darkness allowance for multiple-day races is correct.
Since most of the things you need to do before starting to enter birds, races etc., are done only once and then rarely need to be altered, you will find them all under the “Maintenance” menu. Work your way down the maintenance menu list making sure that all items are as you will want them.
If you have an older version of the Loft Management System, you may be able to import bird details from that, provided you have a good, working backup.
If you have an older copy (versions 3 to7) of the Loft Management System and have backed up your data, you may be able to convert that data to the new version. This MUST be done before you enter ANY bird data into the new system. Once any bird data has been entered, old data cannot be imported.
Data from versions 3 to7 can be imported. Earlier versions than this cannot be converted and you will need to enter your data from scratch.
The new version stores much of its data in a very different format to previous versions.
Before trying to convert old data, look at the entries in the colours, strains and eye colours pick lists and edit the pick lists to ensure that they contain entries that you normally use. If you have many birds of strain “xyz” and many of the birds in the backup you are going to convert are of that strain and it is not in the strains pick list, then none of the converted “xyz” birds will have a strain. As a further example, let’s pick a silly colour. Suppose you have a lot of birds of a rare colour, say, purple pied and many of your backed up birds are marked as “purp pied”, unless you enter “purp pied” in the colours pick list, none of your converted purp pied birds will have a colour assigned. You will then have a lot of editing to do to get your converted data up-to-date.
After getting the pick lists up-to-date, you can attempt to convert your old data by choosing File | Restore data FROM storage and choosing the drive or directory where the backed up data resides. The system will recognise if it is old data from a previous version and will start the conversion process. You will be reminded that pick lists must be right for your data and you can exit at that point if you have not got them up-to-date. The process will take some time but you will be shown what is happening at all stages. Be patient and do not interrupt the process. You will receive a message, “Conversion complete,” when the process is over.
When the process is complete, you are not finished. There is still much for you to do. If the old data you are importing contains races and race results, the conversion process will not have calculated the velocities. What you have to do is edit each result of each race. Choose Race | Add/Edit results and, for each race, click on each bird to highlight it and click the Edit then the Save buttons (it’s the same button so just click it twice). This will calculate the velocity for each bird. If the velocities are silly – negative or containing all asterisks – you may have to edit some details of the result or even the race. Most (all, hopefully) will be correctly calculated but there may be the odd race that had a long holdover or something else that the conversion process cannot cope with. Look at the results and the race definition and make appropriate changes to get the velocities calculated correctly.
You need to check through all your birds to see that the conversion process has worked correctly. This is easy to do since all of the bird data is on the one form. Choose Birds | Details, click on the top bird in the list at the left hand side of the form and press the down arrow on your keyboard to move down the list, checking the details for each bird in turn. If you come across one whose details you want to change, just click the Edit button and change the details.
NOTE: If your computer fails to complete the conversion process, you will have to uninstall the Loft Management System, install it again and start the conversion process afresh.
When you first get LMS, as you start it up, it will display a tip of the day. This is merely a reminder of some of the functions built in to LMS.
When you are happy that you are completely familiar with LMS, you can switch the tips of the day off by selecting for that in the bottom left corner of the form.
If you have previously switched the tips off and would like to restore them, choose Help, Show tip-of-the-day on start up. You will be shown a new tip each time you start LMS until you have seen them all, then they will start again at tip 1.
You can have many forms open at once but only one form will be active at a time. You can tell which form is active by looking at their title bars; the one with the brightest title bar is the active one.
As the forms open, they will be positioned so that you can see the title bar but the last form opened will cover most of the previous form. You can place them more conveniently by grabbing the title bar (the very top part of the form) and pushing it to where is best for you. If you cannot see all of the title bars because you have a large number of forms open, if you can see any part of the form you want, just click on it and it will come to the front and be the active form.
Another method to find a particular form is to click on the Window menu item. From there you can click on any form name and it will come to the front and become the active form. From that menu you can also close all open forms quickly.
Bird colours, strains and eye colours are all chosen from drop-down pick lists. This is the place where you construct the contents of these lists. The lists are in alphabetic order.
To add a new value to the pick list, click the Add button and enter the new value in the entry field that will appear below the table. Click either Save or Abandon. Save will keep the value and add it to the pick list. Abandon will abandon the entry.
To change an already existing value, click on it in the table to highlight it, click the edit button then alter it as you require in the entry field below the table. Click Save or Abandon.
To delete a value, click on it in the table then click the Delete button. You will be asked to confirm the deletion and you will not be allowed to delete a value that has already been used in any bird details.
Note: You can do stupid things to your pick list. For example, you have entered several birds and assigned, say, Blue Cheq as their colour. If you now come to the Add/Edit colours and edit “Blue Cheq” to “Red Cheq”, all your previously Blue Cheq birds will now be registered as Red Cheq.
If you import backup data from a previous version of the Loft Management System, you must ensure that all three pick lists, (colours, eye colours and strains), contain those values that you have used in your previous version. If you fail to do this, any colours, eye colours or strains not in the pick lists will either be left blank or will contain a wrong value and you will need to edit all birds to ensure they are as you want them to be.
All your bird data can be accessed from one form. It has several pages that you select by clicking on the buttons across the top of the form. Page 1 of the form looks like this:
On the left hand side is a scrolling table showing all of the birds in your system. They are in alphabetic order of ring number. Initially, there will not be many birds here but, as you use the system, you may eventually have several hundred birds. How then do you find a particular bird quickly? Just above the table is a “seeker.” As you start to type a ring number into the seeker, you will “home in” on the required bird in the table. If you have used spaces as separators in your ring numbers, do not enter them in the seeker. Just enter the number as though it has no spaces. Suppose you want to find the bird, NEHU96TEE19636. When you type “n” into the seeker, you will be taken to the first NEHU bird. Then as you type “ehu”, the position will not change at all. The “9” will take you to, say, a 92 bird if that is the earliest 90s bird you have from the NEHU, the “6” will take you to NEHU96, jumping all birds from 1992 to 1996 and so on until you are at the bird you want. In the above example, if it were a Dutch bird you were seeking, an “L” after the first “N” would jump past all NEHU birds. Finally, when you can see the bird in the table you can click on it or you can use the scroll bar on the right of the table to move down some more. You are now at the bird you want to see. The large title at the top shows the ring number and its pet name, if it has one.
At the bottom of the left hand side is a set of radio buttons that will limit the birds in the left hand list. You can limit them to all in-loft birds, in-loft race birds or in-loft stock birds. Whenever you click on the Add or Edit buttons, the limit will revert to all birds. This is so that you can add/edit records and the parents will not be excluded because of a limit you imposed at this stage. The limit will also be removed whenever you move up a pedigree by clicking on a bird in the pedigree (page 2).
It is from this page of the form that new birds are added Birds can be assigned as in-loft, race or stock birds.; details of existing birds are edited or, if really necessary, birds can be deleted .
Adding a bird is normally done from the main bird data form. As youngsters you have bred are ringed, you can transfer them from the hatchings area to the main data area but normal set up of your system will be from the main bird data form.
When you click the Add button, the Add, Edit At any time before clicking the Save button, you can abandon the addition by clicking the Abandon button. Several checks are done before the data will be accepted such as checking that the ring number does not already exist in your system, that a hen is not assigned as a sire and a cock is not assigned as a dam.and Delete buttons are disabled, the Save and Abandon buttons are enabled and all fields are cleared for you to enter the details of the new bird.
Pick-lists. During the addition process, several of your choices will be made from drop-down pick-lists. Things such as colour, strain, and eye colour are picked like this. If you need a choice that is not in the pick-list, do NOT try to add it here. Enter a choice you do not want then, when the addition is complete, go to the maintenance area, add the option to your pick-list and come back and edit that bird to have the required option from the pick-list.
Choosing the sire and dam can also be from drop-down pick-lists of cocks and hens if they are already in your system. The advantage there is that you do not have to type the ring number again.
Tip: Add your birds starting with the oldest you have data for and work back to the youngsters. That way you need type each ring number only once – they are chosen from the pick-lists ever after that.
If the sire or dam is not in the drop-down pick-list, they can be added by clicking on the New Sire and New Dam buttons to the right of the pick-lists. If you add them this way, you must obviously go to each new bird added that way and edit its details. That is why the tip above is very apt.
Date fields. The hatch date entry field is a date and can be entered in several ways. You can simply type in the date (do not type the slashes – they will be added automatically). If the date is near to today’s date, just click on the up or down arrow at the right hand end of the date field and it will spin up or down from today’s date. If you right-click on the date, a calendar will appear, find the date you require by moving the year and the month then click on the date you require. This applies to all dates in the Loft Management System.
Sex. You can simply type in the sex, C, H or U (Cock, Hen or Unknown), or, if you successively click on the sex field, its value will cycle around C, H and U. If you are entering data for a recent hatchling, it may not be old enough to sex it, which is when you would use the U value.
In-loft, stock and race birds. Just to the right of the list of birds is a check box labelled, “Bird is not in loft.” If this is clicked on, the label will change to, “Bird is in loft” and another 2 check boxes will appear labelled, “Stock Bird” and “Race bird”. If Race bird is clicked, another check box will appear allowing you to mark the bird as Widowhood. If you click on the check box labelled “Bird is in loft”, it will change again to “Bird is not in loft” and the other check boxes will disappear. Try various clicks to find out how these check boxes work. Why allocate birds to these headings? After a while, your system will contain many birds (some people have over 1000!) and the drop-down bird lists will become unmanageably long. Several users of previous versions asked if these divisions of birds could be used in the system to shorten the drop-down lists.
Note: Some of the most frequently asked questions are, “Why do some recently added birds not appear in the lists to choose them as parents in pairings?” and, “Why do some birds not appear in the list to choose my race birds from?” and, “Why can I not vaccinate some birds?” In every case it is because the bird is wrongly assigned; it has not been marked as an in-loft bird or, if it has, it has not been marked as a race bird. You cannot race a stock bird or one that is not in your loft. You cannot pair or vaccinate a bird that is not in your loft.
Tip: Keep your lists short and up-to-date by having only those birds you actually race marked as race birds. Mark permanently lost birds, sold birds, deceased birds as not in-loft.
Short notes. You may notice that, as you enter a new bird or edit an existing one, a red warning will appear above the short note entry area. It is very important that this is obeyed. The system will allow you to add more than a “box full” by scrolling the extras. These extras will NOT be printed when you choose to print the normal pedigree. You are allowed approximately 270 characters. If you use less than a box full of print and all other birds in a particular pedigree have similarly shortened notes, the text in the boxes on narrative-type pedigrees will increase in size until the box with the largest amount of print is full.
If you want to change the details recorded for any bird, find the bird by using the seeker then click on the Edit button. Just as with adding a new bird , the Add, Edit and Delete buttons will be disabled and will not be re-enabled until you either complete your changes and click the Save button or decide that you do not want to make the changes after all and click the Abandon button.
Immediately after clicking the Edit button, all fields will be enabled so that you can change any or all of them. There are a couple of rules that you must obey when editing details of a bird.
Do NOT over-fill the short notes box. The system will allow you to do so but any extras that are outside the box limits will not be printed in the narrative-type pedigrees.
Do NOT try to add or alter pick list contents from this form. Complete your changes leaving any that require a new entry in a pick list until later, save your changes, go to the relevant pick list under the Maintenance menu and make your additions/changes there before returning to the bird, click Edit and choose from the pick list.
Do edit your bird details so that pick lists contain the entries you will require as you use the system. Do keep your details up-to-date by marking those birds that are lost or disposed of are changed to show that they are no longer in-loft birds. If you remove a bird from your race team to your stock birds, mark it as such so that it does not appear on your pick lists of race birds. Keep your pick lists as short as possible and accurate.
Birds should not be deleted because they have been sold, have died or been terminated. If you delete a bird that has flown in races or appears in any other bird’s pedigree, then “holes” will appear in your data. There is only one good time to delete a bird and that is immediately after entering it into your system. You have got into a mess entering its details and you have decided to delete it and start again. Even then, it is better to edit it to remove the errors and then save it.
Think very carefully before deleting a bird.
The Loft Management System can theoretically contain up to 2 billion birds. The only limit is the size of your hard disk storage; so do not think that you must delete birds to save space!
The second page of the main bird details form shows its pedigree to four generations – if you have data going back that far – and allows you to print any of 7 different pedigrees for the chosen bird.
Clicking the radio buttons down the right hand side of the form chooses from the pedigrees. All pedigrees are printed on A4 paper. What do those letters and numbers mean on the radio buttons? If you pass the mouse over each button in turn, an explanation of each type of pedigree will appear at the bottom of the form. The P or L at the beginning means Portrait or Landscape. The 3G or 4G is the number of generations appearing in the print out. N stands for Narrative, R for Race details and P for photograph. If you have many “Not known” entries in the 4th generation, there is not a lot of point choosing the last option – L4G. However, you can still preview it then choose not to print it.
As with ALL print outs from this version of the Loft Management System, you will be given the opportunity to preview If you choose a pedigree that prints a photo for a bird that does not have a photo stored, you will be given advice that you would be better choosing the pedigree above the one you have chosen. For example, L3GNP is a 3-generation narrative pedigree printed landscape and containing a photo of the bird. If the bird does not have a photo stored, you would get a better layout by choosing L3GN instead. Whichever you choose, after previewing the print out, you can choose not to print it or to print it and choose the number of prints you want.what you are going to print before printing it.
Some people report that their photos print upside down and back-to-front. This is a function of your printer driver. If this happens, go to Maintenance, Photo printing problems and try option 2.
You can produce the pedigree in HTML format by clicking the HTML button rather than the Print button. This is handy if you want to email the pedigree to a prospective buyer of your birds. You will be asked for a name for the file to save it under and this defaults to “Pedigree.htm”. You will also be asked if you want to email it and, if you answer Yes, the file will be attached to an email ready for you to add any message and the recipient’s email address.
Page 3 of the bird details form summarises its race history.
Each race that the bird has flown in is shown in the central table with its velocity and positions back to the loft, the club, the fed and the combine. The summary area shows how many races the bird has flown this season (or since the last time the data was archived), the total distance flown, the time taken and the mean velocity. The total numbers of points accrued and the relevant ratings. If the bird has flown in previous seasons, you can also see summaries of those season’s racing for this bird by clicking the appropriate radio button near the top of the form.
You can see the details of any race in the lower table by selecting the race and right clicking on it. This opens the race details form with that race selected.
You can print details from this page and, like all printouts, you will get a preview of what you will print before deciding to print it.
This page is for display only and none of the data can be altered.
Page 4 of the bird details form allows you to add a picture of the bird.
You must already have the picture on your hard disk and know where (in which folder) it resides. The pictures must be in one of four formats – JPG, BMP, GIF or WMF. If they are in any other format, you must use an image editing application to save your picture in one of the above formats.
Your photos can be from a digital camera, from a scanned photo of the bird or even from a normal film-based photograph developed on to a CD-ROM disk. Whatever the method of capturing the images, adding photos to your database will greatly inflate the size of files stored. Backup becomes a problem and you will not need many images before the Loft Management System will be unable to backup all your files to floppy disks. When the photos get too large, you will be told that they are no longer being backed up. If you want to be sure of secure data, you must consider using Zip, Jazz, magneto-optical or USB drive or another hard disk as storage devices rather than floppies as a backup medium.
Tip: Your photo can take up a lot less room in JPG format than in BMP format. A picture using, say, 11 MB of hard disk as a BMP can be saved as a JPG file as small as, say, 50 KB – less than one two-hundredth of the size! What is more, you are unlikely to be able to see any difference in the quality of the image.
When you click the Get a Photo button, you will get:
Choose the file type in which your photograph is stored from the drop-down list. If the photo is not in the same folder as LMS, you will have to navigate to it by clicking the Browse button. That will give you a picture of the layout of your hard disk and you must get to where you store photos. When you are there, a list of photos in the format you chose will appear in the box at the bottom left of the form. As you highlight each file in the box, a preview of the photo will appear in the top area. When you have found the photo you want, click the OK button and it will be transferred to the 4th page of the bird detail form.
Page5 of the bird details form summarises its breeding history.
The table shows the bird(s) with which it was paired, when eggs were hatched and what rings were put on the youngsters. If it was bred from in previous seasons, you can summarise those seasons by clicking the radio button near the top of the form. This information is for display only and you cannot alter any of it.
All printouts from this version of the Loft Management System are printed via a preview form. You get the opportunity to see what will be printed and you can choose whether or not to print it after seeing the preview. When you choose to make a printout, you will get the following:
Obviously, what appears will depend on what you are planning to print. If you click on the green door icon, the printing will be aborted. The magnifying glass icon alternates between a zoomed-in and zoomed-out view. If your printout will be more than one page, the “previous” and “next” page icons will be enabled so you can preview all pages. You can save the preview file and even e-mail it to someone else. However, whomever you send it to MUST be running the current version of the Loft Management System otherwise he/she will have no means of viewing the preview file. For those without LMS, a preview file viewer utility is available as a free download from our web site at www.EastCoastSoftware.co.uk. Clicking on the printer icon sends the file to your printer. You can choose how many copies you want to print and which printer to send it to.
You can get lists of the birds in your Loft Management System by almost any combination. Clicking on the relevant radio buttons and making choices from drop-down lists can list your birds in a large variety of ways.
As examples you can select all your blue, Ayton Marshall, cock, race birds or all your in-loft stock birds from the 2001 hatch year. Each time you make a selection, the number of birds in your selected list will be shown at the bottom left of the form. If you select the Race bird radio button, a check box will appear that allows you to choose further and select for widowhood. Each radio button and drop-down selection will reduce the number of birds in your list. You may even end up with a list containing no birds! Right-clicking on any bird in the list will open the bird details form with that bird selected.
You can print out any list you generate by clicking the print button. As with all print outs from this version of the Loft Management System, you will get a preview of the list before deciding to print it. You can also choose what columns you want to appear in the printed list by clicking the “Choose columns to print” button.
When you generate lists of birds, you can choose what columns you want printing. You may not record eye colour or use pet names, what then would be the use of printing those columns? The more columns you print, the smaller will be the typeface used to print them. If you are going to list, say, all your blue Ayton Marshall, cock birds, there is no point in choosing to print the colour, strain or sex columns since they will all be the same and the values will appear in the heading to the print out.
To help you decide on the columns, a running total of width is displayed and alters as you change the columns selected. The “Approximate size of text” will also change as you select different columns. The text size has an upper limit of 12-point typeface. If you decide to print all columns, you should perhaps consider issuing magnifying glasses to those who will read the output J.
You can view the descendants of any bird. Choose Bird| Offspring from the main menu. Select the bird from the drop-down list.
If you want to follow down a particular ancestry, click on a displayed bird to put the clicked on bird into the drop-down box and show its offspring in the table (if it has any). You can right-click on any bird in the table to open the bird details form with the right-clicked bird selected.
You can print any list by clicking the Print button.
NOTE: If a displayed bird has a sex of “U”, it cannot have any offspring so the table will be empty.
On the vaccination form you can choose to print a blank sheet. This can be handy when you are catching the birds to vaccinate so that you can note down the ring numbers as you catch and vaccinate each one.
The filled blank sheet can then be used to enter the ring numbers on the form before printing out the vaccination certificate and list.
Choose the birds by highlighting each one in the left hand box then clicking the right-pointing button to transfer them to the right hand box. To remove a bird from the right hand box back to the left hand box, highlight it then click the middle, left-pointing arrow. If you want to empty the right hand box, click the bottom, left pointing arrow with the bar on it.
When you press the “Print filled sheet” button the system checks that you have completed the address, vaccine make, batch number and expiry date boxes and will not let you print until these are filled. A certificate front page is printed along with a list of the birds vaccinated. This two-page print out will be shown in the print-preview form. When you click the print icon, you can choose how many copies to print.
As the print out is progressing you will be asked if you want an entry making in the permanent diary. An entry such as "All young birds vaccinated" should be made so that you can record what you have done. Besides this, you will also be asked whether you want an entry making in the pedigree notes for each bird vaccinated. If you choose Yes, a note recording the date, the make of vaccine and its batch number will be entered in each vaccinated bird’s pedigree long notes.
Adding a new race, editing an already entered race, choosing race birds and adding/viewing results are all accessed via the following form:
From here, choose the race you want and click the OK button. When the system has no races defined, such as when you first start to use it or immediately after archiving a season’s races and results, you will get the following form with no entries on it at all. In all other cases, you will get the race you defined previously and can edit it or add a new race. If you want to define a new race, choose any previously defined race then click the Add button on the next form.
This would then empty all the entries on the form and allow you to chose the race date, start point and the dates and times for clocks started, birds up, clocks opened and any clock adjustment. If you are defining the race so that you can enter birds on to a race sheet, DO NOT fill in any more than the race date and the race start point. If you are going to print a race sheet, you do not have sufficient information to fill in more than that. Think about it; it is Friday and you are getting ready to basket your birds for tomorrow’s race. You don’t know what time the birds will be released or anything else about the race. There may even be a hold over. If you fill in any dates other than the (projected) race date, the system will start the validation process and will not allow you to leave any blanks.
Even if you do not use the race sheet facility, you MUST enter your race birds that way – you don’t have to print the race sheet – so that they will populate the drop-down list of birds to choose from when entering results for the race.
The dates, like all dates in this version of the Loft Management System, can all be chosen by typing the date in (don’t type the slashes as they are added automatically), by clicking on the spin arrows or by right clicking when a calendar will appear. If you find the required date on the calendar and click on it, it will be entered into the date field.
All times can be entered either by typing the values in or by spinning up the values with the spin arrows. If there is any clock adjustment, do not forget to click on either the fast or slow tick boxes.
If you wish to record the numbers of birds entered into the races there are entry fields for the number of club, fed and combine birds. Fill in as many or as few as you wish.
There is a second page to the Add/Edit Races form that contains an area to add whatever notes you want for each race.
You can edit details of any race by clicking the Edit button. If you do this after adding results and you make changes to any dates or times, the velocities previously calculated will be wrong. Go to the results form, click on each bird in turn and click the Edit then Save buttons to re-calculate the results.
Note: All times use the 24-hour clock notation.
If there are any results for the selected race, they can be viewed by clicking the Results button.
Before you can choose race birds you must have defined a race. You probably do not have enough information about the race at this point. It is Friday and the race is tomorrow so you do not know when the birds will be released, when the clocks will be opened etc. Normally, the race definition is carefully checked by the system and many validations made to see that your entries are logical. These checks can be avoided in order to get a race definition to choose race birds by filling in ONLY the race date and the race start point. If you do this, you must NOT fill in any other dates on the race definition form otherwise the system will insist on all details being added and validated. Obviously, all required information will have to be added to get the system to calculate the race velocities, but that can be done later.
You can produce race sheets for the different clubs you fly in provided that you have set up the clubs in Maintenance, Racing, Set pools. Each club can have different settings and, therefore a different race sheet. The clubs appear in the drop-down list just under the title. Make sure you have selected the correct flying club before entering the birds. If you are choosing birds for more than one flying club, open the form as many times as you need, choose a different flying club in each form and you can select each flight of birds whilst watching all lists being populated.
You can check on any bird in either box by right clicking on it when the bird details form will open with that bird selected.
NOTE: You MUST choose race birds for the race even if you do not use the race sheet facility. Entry of results is dependent upon having chosen race birds via the race sheet facility.
The birds that you choose here are the ONLY birds that you can choose from to enter into the results. This makes the drop-down list of birds for the results form very specific to the race. The race you are choosing birds for is displayed in the yellow title area. Choose the flying club you are selecting birds for – if you fly in only one club, you will get that club by default. The birds to choose from are in the left hand box and birds that are in-loft and are race birds populate this box. To choose a bird, click on it to highlight it in the left hand box then click the right-pointing arrow. This will move it into the right hand box. The number of pools displayed are those that you have defined under Maintenance | Racing | Set pools. For each bird highlighted in the right hand box, click on those pools you wish to enter it in. If you make a mistake and click a pool you do not want, just click it again to de-select it. The cost is continually updated as you select birds and/or change pool entries.
You can remove any bird wrongly chosen for a race by highlighting it in the right hand box and clicking the left pointing arrow.
Do not forget to check the second page of the form to make the entries you and/or your secretary require being on the race sheet. Clicking the print button allows you to preview the race sheet before actually printing it. You can choose how many copies to print – one for you and one for your secretary? You can exit the form at any time and you do not have to print a race sheet. However, you MUST choose the birds for the race this way otherwise you cannot enter any results.
After choosing which race you want to enter results for, the above form appears. You can see that you have the correct race from the yellow title bar. Initially, of course, the table will be empty. If you are flying in more than one club for this race, select the flying club from the drop-down selection just below the title. To enter a result, click the Add button. Next, click on the down arrow under Ring Number and that will show you which birds you entered into this race. Click on the required bird, fill in its clock-in time and whichever of the positions in the race you wish to record. The positions you record will generate ratings dependent upon the points you have set to generate ratings in the maintenance area.
The results will be displayed in the table when you click the Save button. You can cancel an entry as long as you click the Cancel button before you click the Save button. The results will be displayed in velocity order and, from there, you can easily see when you have allocated the race positions correctly. If you make any mistakes, they can be easily rectified using the Edit button.
This form shows the ratings for all your race birds. It can show the Loft, Club, Fed and Combine ratings by clicking the relevant radio button, if you have set up to calculate those ratings. If you have any archived racing seasons, you can also choose to view the ratings from those years by clicking the Archived Races radio button and choosing the year. Use these values to help you decide which birds to breed from.
You can archive races at the end of each season. This choice is made from the Maintenance menu item. This will free up the races and results area. It removes all races and results but you can still view archived results. They cannot be edited or altered in any way once they have been archived. All ratings for all birds will also be removed.
The warnings on the archive form are self-explanatory. You can archive in the middle of a season, there is nothing to stop you, but if you do, the rest of the season will reflect an incomplete season’s results and ratings.
The menu choice to archive races and results is placed under the Maintenance menu option so that it would be very difficult or impossible to archive inadvertently.
Races from previous seasons can be viewed at any time. This choice is made from the Race menu item. They can NOT be edited or altered in any way.
Select the race to view by clicking on it in the top table and the results for that race will be displayed, in velocity order, in the bottom table.
Pairing birds is from a form that looks like this:
The sires are chosen from a drop-down list of cock birds that are marked as being in your loft. The dams are chosen from a similar list of hens. If a bird you want to mate is not in one of the drop-down lists, open the bird details form and check that the bird is marked as being in-loft and that its sex is correct. You may have left the sex as U for unknown. If the sex is U, the bird will not appear in either list even if it is marked as being in-loft. You will not be allowed to save the pair unless you have filled in the nest box number and the mated date.
You can check on any bird by right clicking on it, which will open the bird details form with that bird selected.
One area that has caused confusion in past versions of the Loft Management System is in the numbering of the nest boxes. The space is alphabetic, not numeric. This is so that you can have Stock and Race bird nest boxes if you wish. This means that the pairs can appear in what seems an anomalous order – box 11 comes after box 1 but before box 2. This is because “11” is lower than “2” alphabetically. If you want to be sure that pairs and hatchings appear in the correct order, enter 1 as either space, space, 1 or as 001 and so on. Space, 1R and space, 2R (or 01R and 02R) will ensure that 11R will not come in between these two nest boxes.
Make any notes you want to about the pair in the box that appears when the “Pair Them” button is clicked. These notes are different and extra to the notes you can make about each hatching. Click the Save button to keep the pair or the Cancel button to abandon the entry.
You can check on the ancestry - how much inbreeding there is – of the proposed pair before saving by clicking the “Check ancestry” button. This will reveal another window showing ancestry back to four generations and any common ancestors will be marked in red.
For every pair of birds that you have mated, you can record the eggs that they lay, what happens to them, what rings you put on the resulting youngsters and then transfer the youngsters to the main data file.
The rectangle at the top of the form contains information about the pair. The central table contains information about the individual layings and hatchings for the pair. You cannot add information to the central table directly. You must click on the laying you want to add information to and click the Edit button or click the Add button to add a new laying. Clicking Add or Edit will reveal the entry fields below the table into which the information can be added. To add to the pair notes at the top of the form click the Edit button, make the additions then click the Save button.
When the eggs have hatched and you have put rings on the youngsters, the button marked, “Add youngsters details to main file” will be enabled. If you click on this, another form will open allowing you to add the other parts of the information for each youngster before they are transferred. If you have rows in this table, some with ringed youngsters and others not, the button will be enabled and disabled accordingly.
When you have ringed youngsters, you can enter the ring number(s) in the hatchings area and the button labelled, “Add youngsters details to main file” will be enabled. If it is clicked, you will get:
After filling in the details for that youngster, if it is one of a pair of young, the form will open again for the second youngster. As you can see, the ring number of the youngster, its sire and dam, its hatch date and its nest box are all filled in and cannot be changed. You need only fill in the pet name, sex, colour, strain, eye colour and short notes – as many or as few of these fields as you want or are able to. When the OK button is clicked, the entry is transferred to the main file where it can be edited at any time just like any of your bird details. If you decide that it is too early to do the transfer – you don’t have sufficient information and would like to wait to do it later – just click the Cancel button and the transfer will not be made and any entries you have made on this form will be abandoned.
At the end of a breeding season or immediately before the start of the new season, you can archive the old pairs and hatchings. This choice is made from the Maintenance menu item. This will free up the nest box numbers so that details for the new season can be added. The archived pairings, layings and hatchings can be viewed by year but cannot be altered in any way.
The definition of the hatch year is important as it determines whether a bird is qualified to race in a “young bird” race or not. The hatch year for British flyers – and probably for all northern hemisphere flyers – is set as 1st December of one year to 30th November of the following year by default. Unless you are certain of what you are doing, or your secretary tells you differently, just accept the default values given.
In the southern hemisphere, it may be necessary to alter these default values. This has caused some confusion in the past. The actual year is NOT stored. The date the hatch year starts on is stored and the year is a complete year – from the date chosen to the day before in the next year. In Britain, a hatch year of X (say, 2002) starts in year X – 1 (2001) so that the hatch year is the year following the year of the start date.
Before starting to race your birds, you must work your way through the menu options Maintenance | Add/Edit race start points, Set pools, Set darkness allowance and Set points for ratings. These are all settings that you need only set once and then forget about them unless things change at your club or you join another club.
Before you start using the Loft Management System to record race details, you must enter those start points that will be used. These start points are very specific to your loft. The start points you enter here will populate the drop-down list that you choose from when entering details of a race. If the start point you need is not in the list when you are entering a new race, DO NOT try to enter it from the race form. Either abandon your race entry or enter a different start point then alter it after entering the new start point on this form:
The central table shows all details of your race start points and their distances. Details cannot be altered or entered directly in this table. When you click the Add button, the entry fields below the table will be emptied for you to enter a new start point and its distance. You can alter an existing start point by clicking on it in the central table then clicking the Edit button. Changes can then be made in the entry fields below the table. The Edit and Delete buttons will change to Save and Cancel buttons. Click the appropriate one for your needs.
Occasionally, a race start point will be made from a different place in the same area. It may be called the same name but will have a different distance. Unless you are at the beginning of a season and have already archived your races, DO NOT change your existing distance for that race point to the new value. Enter a new race start point and call it the same name but with, say, a 2 after the name. Why? If you change the distance, any races you have flown from the old start point will appear to have the wrong velocity. If you do add a second start point for an area, do be sure to use the correct one for subsequent races.
If you intend to use the Loft Management System to produce race sheets, you must fill in the pools form.
You can set up different pools, birdage and whether or not you pay the clock man for as many clubs as you fly in. In fact, if you only fly in one club and it has different birdage for national and overseas racing, you can set up, say, “<Your club name> National” and “<Your club name> Overseas” with the different birdages. This way you do not have the hassle of changing the birdage then changing it back.
To add a new club, click the Add button and fill in the blanks accordingly. To edit pools or other details for an already-existing club, select the club in the top table then click the Edit button.
You can have up to 9 pools and 3 “specials.” If you do not use all 9 pools, click on any unused ones on the right hand side of the row and hit the Del key on your keyboard. If you use any of the “specials” – you may have a NOM or a club championship (CC) – you must fill in a value for it and whether it is based on a per race or per bird basis by clicking the appropriate radio button. What’s the difference between per race and per bird? Your club may allow you to nominate, say, 3 birds for the club championship but you pay only, say, £1 for all three birds. This then, is on a "per race" basis. If you had to pay, say, £1 for each of the three birds, that would be a "per bird" basis.
Successive clicks on the entry field below the “Do you pay the clock man?” will alternate its value between Y and N. If you leave it in Y, you must enter a value underneath it. Birdage is the amount you pay per bird to send your birds to the race.
Once the settings on this form are completed correctly, there will be little need to alter them. The values entered here are used to calculate how much you need to pay your secretary when you use the race sheet facility.
On multi-day races, those from the longer distances, an allowance is given for birds resting overnight. This allowance can be altered on a form accessed via the menu item, Maintenance | Racing | Set darkness allowance.
It is unlikely that British flyers will ever need to alter the default values on this form. If you are unsure, ask your race secretary what they should be and, if different to those shown, alter them accordingly. Velocities are calculated for those longer races incorporating the values entered here.
If you race your birds, you will probably want to compare their performance with others in your loft and with those from other lofts. This part of the system allows you to set up a means of comparing birds if you are a beginner in the sport or if you are an expert. Previous versions of the Loft Management System have allowed you to calculate ratings from your birds’ race positions either to your loft or their positions in the overall race. This version allows you to have up to four ratings for each bird, a loft rating, a club rating, a fed rating and a combine rating. The system can only calculate these various ratings if you record your birds’ positions to your loft, their positions in the club, fed and combine.
If you are a beginner or you cannot afford to buy expensive birds, it is unlikely that your birds will come close to winning against combine, fed or even club birds. You still will benefit in your breeding program from knowing how well each bird does in its racing – what its rating is. As a beginner, the fastest way to find your better birds is to record their position back to your loft for each race. Those which consistently come back to your loft in, say, the first 10 birds, should be the ones from which you breed next year’s race birds. Your first bird home to your loft, may be, say, 4th in your club, 25th in your fed and 50th in your combine. It is, therefore, harder to accrue club, fed and combine points than loft points. The system allows you to choose the number of loft, club, fed and combine birds that get points. If you choose, say, 20 for club birds to get points, the first bird will get 20 points down to the 20th bird getting 1 point. However many birds you choose, the first bird will get that many points and that many birds will get points reducing by one for each place. The rating is calculated by dividing the number of points by the number of races flown then dividing by the number of birds getting points and multiplying by 10. This means that no matter what number you choose for the number of birds getting points, the resultant rating will be based on a perfect bird (winner of every race it enters) getting a rating of 10.
The form you get to choose these numbers is like this:
You can spin up whatever number you want. The recommended numbers are at the right of the spin boxes. Put a zero into any ones you do not want to calculate ratings for. It is strongly recommended that you record at least loft ratings and, as your birds improve, add the club ratings then fed and so on.
The ratings, shown on the third page of the birds details form are calculated afresh each time the page is accessed. You can, therefore, alter the positions for points values as you like and see the effect.
Some users report that they get photos printing upside-down and back-to-front or printing as only a black square or not even printing at all. This is a function of the printer driver. To try to overcome this, there is a facility under the Maintenance menu to try another option to cure your printing problems. Simply click the second option radio button. This may solve the problem.
You may occasionally get an error message when trying to access your bird details, eggs, pairs, or racing details. The cause may be a corrupt memo or BLOB file. A BLOB file is a Binary Large Object, a file where we store free-form notes about some aspects of your birds.
The error message will be something like, “Corrupt memo/BLOB file“ followed by a file name. The file name will give you a clue as to which radio button to click for the repair. If the file name starts with “ARC”, that is an archive file i.e. a file that contains previous season’s data. Simply click the appropriate radio button then click the repair button. If you have a large number of records, the repair may take a significant time. Be patient. Do not interrupt the process.
When the repair is complete, you can see which records were affected by clicking the results button. If any records were repaired, some data will have been lost, usually from the notes area of the record. You can use the results display to tell you which records need to be checked.
This is a temporary reminder into which you enter notes of things you want an automatic reminder for.
On the form there is a spin box at the top, which you set for the number of days ahead you want reminding. For example, you may want to make sure you have collected new rings before any young appear. If you click on the 'Add' button, some entry areas will appear. The first is a date spin box, which, like all dates in this version of the Loft Management System, can be spun to the date you require or you can right click on it for a calendar to appear and when you double click on any date it will be placed into the date field or you can simply type in the dates. Next, tab to the short note field where you put in words that will remind you what you want to remember. If you want longer notes, enter them in the box at the bottom left of the form. When you click the Save button, the reminder will be entered into the central table. You cannot change things in this central table. Click on Edit to do that.
Any entries you have made which fall inside the number of days you set on the top spin box from the date for the reminder will be displayed as you start up the system. For example, if you set the days ahead to 10, when the current date gets to 10 days before the remind date, each time you start the system, that reminder will be displayed. As the remind date is passed, these entries are automatically deleted. You can re-set the days ahead at any time.
A good use for this is to enter your wife’s/husband’s birthday. After all a few brownie points gained by remembering their birthday will be valuable.
The permanent diary is very similar to the reminder except that entries are not automatically deleted. You decide when and if you want individual entries deleted. It is permanent and you can view its contents whenever you want.
Entries are automatically made into the diary whenever you vaccinate your birds if you choose to do so as the vaccination is done.
This is a simple tool to show what colour youngsters are likely to derive from the mating of variously coloured sires and dams.
Simply choose the colour of the cock and hen you are mating from the drop-down lists on the left and the possible youngster colour(s) will appear on the right.
This is a tool for calculating the optimum date of pairing to gain greatest advantage in a race.
The best time to send a bird to a race is when there are 3-day old, 2nd round youngsters in the nest. Simply enter the date of the race in the top left date field and the best date of mating will be shown in the top right hand field. As with all dates in this version of the Loft Management System, you can type in the date (don’t type the slashes), spin the date up or down with the spin box arrows or right-click for a calendar to appear. Find the date in the calendar and click it.
There is an ad-hoc velocity calculator you can use to calculate those velocities not calculated automatically by the system. Use it to calculate the velocity of your birds on training flights. Its use is straightforward.
For those tosses taking more than one day, you can choose to apply a darkness allowance or not. Just click the checkbox and the calculation will be done with no darkness allowance. Click it again then click the Calculate button and a darkness allowance will be applied. If you want to apply a darkness allowance different to the 6-hour standard, just alter the spin boxes to what you wish.
This facility will take a copy of your data.. Since floppy disks are not very reliable and floppy drives are becoming obsolescent, think about using a USB flash drive. These are called by many different names such as pen drives, key drives, disgo drives etc. They are much quicker than floppies, much more reliable and have a far greater capacity. If you are using Windows XP, they are simply recognised as soon as they are plugged in. Operating system prior to Windows XP will need a drive to be installed and Windows 95 cannot use these drives.
The best time to take a backup is after an inputting session. The facility to backup data to your hard disk is included although it is not recommended that you back up to the same hard disk as the software is installed on. If you have a hard disk fault then you could lose both your system and your backup. If you have a second hard disk then that is an excellent place to back up to. It is extremely quick.
It pays to backup your data at regular intervals. If ever you lose your hard disk, all your data may be lost and this could present you with hours of work to re-enter the data.
If you take regular backups, all you need do in the event of a catastrophe is to re-install the software on your new or repaired hard disk then copy the data from your backup device to the hard disk using the Restore facility under the File menu. The only data you will lose will be that which you entered between your latest backup and the hard disk crash. If this ever happens, be sure to reindex the data after restoring your floppy data to the hard disk.
Anyone who does not backup the data at intervals is taking a very foolish risk.
This facility is provided to recover from hard disk mishaps. Very occasionally a hard disk may become corrupt or break down so that the data on it is no longer readable. If you use the backup facility at regular intervals, you will reduce the data loss in such an event.
When your hard disk has been repaired or replaced, the data may or may not be on it. If the Loft Management System has been lost altogether, re-install it from the original CD. If the System is still there but the data is gone, use the device with your backup data on it and choose Restore from the File menu. Click on which drive you have the disk in then press the OK button. The data will be copied back on to your hard drive.
To make sure that all is well, choose Reindex data from the File menu to rebuild the indexes.
If ever the data looks peculiar or you cannot find data you know to be present, try re-indexing the database. This will probably cure any problems.
If you ever receive any error message involving the word “tag”, such as Error – tag not found, a Reindex should cure the problem.
If you sell or transfer a bird or birds to someone and they also run The Loft Management System, you can export the pedigree to any portable media such as a USB drive, floppy drive or zip drive. You can also email the pedigree.
Find the bird whose pedigree you want to export – use the seeker above the list. Click the appropriate radio button at the top of the form to export via a disk or via email. If you choose the latter, the pedigree will be attached to an email ready for you to address and add any comments you want to make to the buyer.
You have bought some youngsters from a seller who also runs LMS. He can send you the pedigrees of the youngsters to save you a lot of typing.
You have to know where the pedigree resides that you want to import. It may be on a floppy, a USB drive or you may have it in your LMS folder. You can choose which factors you want to import such as colours, eye colours strains etc. by ticking the appropriate check boxes.
When you have chosen the disk on which the files reside and the folder on that disk, if that is appropriate, click the Import button. If you received the pedigree via email, it is assumed that you detached the file and saved it to C:\Program Files\East Coast Software\LMS8.
Click the cancel button if you want to abort the import.
Each time you start LMS, the picture displayed will change.
You can add pictures of your own to this display series. You will need to know where on your hard disk you have stored the photos that you want to use. The operation to add the photos is the same method as that used to add photos to page 4 of the bird details form.
When installing, one or two users have received the error message, "Invalid driver name or insufficient system resources" followed by a file name. This is caused when you have a fax allocated as your printer driver or when your printer driver has a fault or you have no printer installed.
Workaround: install a printer driver for a printer that uses paper - use the generic drivers supplied with Windows if you do not have one for your printer.
If, when opening up the system you see the error message “Database Engine Initialization Error”, “Cannot Initialize with Different Configuration File”. You are currently running another application, which uses a Borland Database Engine (BDE), and you must close this application before opening the Loft Management software.