History of Flying Feet Computers and the Time Machine
Flying Feet Computers and the Time Machine all started as a result of David Ranney forming a timing company called Flying Feet Race Services (formally Moving Legs Compuer Services). And in 1998 Flying Feet Race Services merged with AA Sports. We began offering computerized registration, timing and results about 16 years ago and we were being used by most of the big races in Seattle and were timing races as far away as Montana. In the past we have timed the St. Patricks Day Dash (our biggest race with about 13,000 runners) and the Seattle Marathon for 7 years.
This leads me to how the Time Machine was developed. In order to have accurate results people must be assigned to do the 'tic sheets' or what is call select timing. These people stand at the finish line and write down the race #'s of the runners and their corresponding time. They obviously can't get every runner but they can get enough to help make sure the results are accurate when tabulated. Ever since we have done computerized results this function has been a problem. No matter how accurate the people doing the "tic sheets' were, it just wasn't good enough to have accurate results (at least according to my standards). So what I needed was a hand held battery operated timer with a ten key keyboard which could be down loaded into my (or any) computer. With a device like this it is possible to record more than twice the number of times with an accuracy of with 1 second.
David also was never happy with the existing timing devices. He looked in every magazine & computer store for an existing device he could adapt but could find nothing. He called every existing timing device company and asked them if they were going to make a select timing device. They said that it would cost too much and no one would buy it. At one time David purchased a Hewlett Packard programmable calculator, but found it severely lacking. Because he wanted the most accurate results for the runners, David decided that he had to develop one himself. David had the good fortune to hear about a Boeing engineer who said he would help me develop this machine. His name was Don Lee. He has literally developed the Time Machine from A to Z. All David had to do was to give him the idea of what I needed. Don not only implemented these ideas but went the extra million miles and added feature after feature which makes the Time Machine the unequaled timing device that is available today. It has been used in most of the big events in the country and is getting more popular with the schools timing their cross-country and track meets.
Flying Feet Computers continues to furnish timing equipment (the Time Machine) to schools and timing companies around the world.
David Ranney, president
David has spent his entire life playing tennis (he started playing tournaments when he was 10 years old) until he was out of college and then spent many years teaching tennis up until he moved to Seattle. There he started a computer race timing business (see History of Flying Feet) during which he saw that the industry needed a better timing device. At present, he is teaching tournament Juniors how to maximize their performance in tennis using mental techniques (see www.maxtennis.com) and playing as much tennis as possible. Since merging with AA Sports, he also works with them on the timimg of races.