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The Blancmange

BSA Acknowledges ScoutNET Training Record Issues

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Unfortunately their response was the equivalent of "pilot error."

 

http://scout-wire.org/2011/10/25/learn-how-to-make-your-training-records-stick-2/

 

Of course, it has nothing to do with having a counter-intuitive user interface or other design problems. Instead, people who are well-versed in just about every other common office program are simply not paying attention to the right way to use it.

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This has been universally known throughout the professional ranks for a number of years. This is the second time this presentation is being made as a web meeting. To see the presentation, go to: www.scouting.org/training

 

National is revamping ScoutNet and supposedly a new system will be rolled out next year some time. Not sure how it will affect training records initially though.

 

There is a lot of material for those who enter training records into the current ScoutNET at the right of the page at: www.scouting.org/training

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My advice if they are getting a new system:

 

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PRINTOUT OF YOUR CURRENT SCOUTNET RECORDS ON HAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

(And I am shouting at the top of my lungs on this one ;) )

 

I know you are suppose to get training cards, but some councils have not issued cards every time. Also I know between moves, I have sadly lost and misplaced some records, and other stuff. One reason why SCOUTNET was created in the late 1990s (1997 or thereabouts were the pilot councils, August 1998 mandatory for all council and national operations EXCEPT Supply) So that records will move with you as you move to different councils. Trust me that didn't happen, don't remember how many times I did YPT and have to come up with records.

 

 

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I tell the boys the same thing - get a copy of your Scoutnet records when you are at the Scout Shop / Council Office. Check them against your blue cards.

 

For my Eagle candidates, I tell them to start cleaning up their records at least 3 months early to be safe (especially for those how are 17 years old).

 

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National presented Bill Gates with the Silver Buffalo a couple years ago.

 

Why doesn't someone at National ask Bill to do a good turn and help with the BSA's horrible IT?(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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'Rat,

 

If memory serves, a few months back, they got an IT professional to be CIO, and not another professional scouter. I believe the new guy has a good rep in the field.

 

That said, while I like promoting from within, and the BSA does just that,you do need experts to do some things, and sometimes they have to come form outside the organization. I know the guy in charge of selecting and implementing SCOUTNET in 96 -98 time frame had no IT expereince being a SE who got promoted, and used a company that has an IT rep of low bidding, giving a "beta" version, then starts adding fixes that companies need to pay for. One of my coworkers quit the IT sector to become a DE, and at PDL-1, had the chance to talk to him about SCOUTNET implementation. He said there would be problems due to his lack of experience, and the only folks to OK were supply who didn;t implement SCOUTNET.

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Thanks for the background, Eagle92.

 

Homegrown/lowest bidder/promote-from-within IT usually results in user pain and extra work for everyone. In the end, it's no bargain. Glad to hear National hired someone from outside.

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In http://www.scouter.com/Forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=330019 I posted about how I was trying to figure out how to interface with ScoutNet so that I could build a better interface tool. To date, I have received no official reply. No emails, no letters, no phone calls -- I gave them all of my contact information so if they haven't gotten back to me yet it's because National doesn't want to get back to me.

 

Perhaps some day they'll leave the Cone of Silence and Get Smart. (If you remember that TV show, it'll be funny.) ;)

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so if they haven't gotten back to me yet it's because National doesn't want to get back to me.

 

To play devil's advocate - wouldn't it be irresponsible for an organization that stores personal, demographic information for millions of past and current youth members, and additional information on adults, community organizations, etc - to provide information on "interfacing" with that database to every Tom, Dick or Harry that contacts them online?

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So, The Blancmange, you're saying that Google and Facebook should stop allowing websites to interface with Google and Facebook accounts? ;) Because those monolithic companies do publicly provide information on how to interface with those accounts.

 

ScoutNET already requires passwords. Any program that interfaces with it has to provide the correct passwords (which already exist and are already in place). I just think that ScoutNET itself isn't really secure and that National is relying on that old "security through obfuscation" technique instead of actually fixing whatever problems exist. Either that or even National doesn't really know how it all works anymore, so since they can't fix whatever problems exist they're just trying to roll out something new then migrate all the data from the old program to whatever they come out with next.(This message has been edited by BartHumphries)

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Hi Bart - I think you were talking to me?

 

you're saying that Google and Facebook should stop allowing websites to interface with Google and Facebook accounts?

 

Well, I would like that, honestly. But, if it bothers me enough, I can always opt out of my account. But that's not really what we're talking about, is it? What you're saying is that essentially Google and Facebook have an obligation to provide APIs for their software. They decided it was in their best interest to make such APIs available. But the BSA, which is in a radically different market, decided that it is not in their best interest. Frankly I agree.

 

So you're saying that Amazon.com should provide you with the means to write a superior interface to their backend database? After all, the passwords already exist... (?)

 

I agree that ScoutNet probably isn't a model of security in software design, but that doesn't mean that the BSA should disregard whatever secure measures might currently exist, and open it up to anyone...

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You're right, I meant KC9DDI. By the way, is that your call sign? I'm KJ6BWB for Bart. Anyway, I think that if they allow *some* third parties to create superior interfaces to the database, they should allow *other* third parties to create the same thing. At the very least, they should at least let me know what would be required to be considered to be one of those competing third parties. They're obviously not "selling" particular markets since all of the current competing products are competing geographically and for troops/teams/whatever, so it's not a standard franchise situation where they are legally bound to not allow a competing player into the area where someone has already purchased a "monopoly" (such as Southern CA where the Domino's Pizzas are privately held and corporate Domino's aren't allowed to open in the franchised Southern CA market).

 

I'd love to know, would it require a payment? How big would the payment be? Would it be a flat rate or a royalty on programs sold or both and if a flat rate would it be a one-time fee or a yearly licensing fee or what? And would anything be different if I gave the program away gratis to make it easier for troops (and packs/crews/whatever) to keep records on their people?

 

I'm kind of offended that I haven't received any reply at all. I wouldn't mind signing an NDA -- I've signed plenty of those before and I know how and when to keep my mouth shut, but this complete lack of a reply in any form is somewhat irksome and indicative of larger problems beneath the surface, in my opinion.

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Eagle92 if memorey serves they hired an IT guy before Linda moved on,(not that she was in charge of IT) perhaps shortly after the last Jamboree. Did that guy quit since then and be replaced? From what I can gather the IT dept. has not been staffed by actual IT folks. Hence the need for 'developers' to have issued upgrades to fix the bugs in Scouting Community while they played with that software package and then abondoned it while it was stil in use.

 

I hope that if they do migrate to a different software that they do so with a redundant backup copy of the database first. I know first hand some of the problems with training records is the folks entering them wrong.

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"I'm not sure how my post could be interpreted to say that." Yes, I already said that I put in the wrong name. I'd change it, but the edit time on these posts is rather short. :)

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