Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

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Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian old_ac Wiseman » Mon May 29, 2006 7:01 pm

A good tasting might consist of ten bottles and six or seven people. Most of an hour is spend carefully sampling and commenting on the vintages, before this enjoyable task is supplanted by the also enjoyable tasking of drinking. As readers of this bulletin board surely know, it can be a fine way to spend an evening.

But it is very important not to become confused about which glass is which. Hence when I host such an evening, a placemat is prepared for each guest, carefully identifying the place for each glass. And I have written a small PostScript program that makes such placemats and matching decanter labels, a program that is published at www.jdawiseman.com/papers/placemat/placemat.html, with example output at www.jdawiseman.com/papers/placemat/placemat.pdf. It takes a little technical skill to operate it, but not much.

And it's free: £0 = $0 = €0 = ¥0. Of course, if you use it a lot, and wish to repay the favour by inviting me to one of your tastings, well, what can I say, other than to accept? -- but this, though desired, is not necessary.

Share and enjoy that which is, in my opinion, a useful piece of drinking technology.
Last edited by Julian old_ac Wiseman on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Al B.     » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:05 am

Julian

Thanks for posting the link to your programme. I will take a look at it sometime and see if I can figure out how to use it.

In the past, I have always used a much simpler approach and have always made my placemats using PowerPoint!

Alex
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Postby Julian old_ac Wiseman » Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:02 am

PowerPoint works, but as the example PDF output shows, mine looks smarter and more professional. If you need help ask here or PM me.
Last edited by Julian old_ac Wiseman on Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Major update to code

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Sun May 13, 2007 10:03 am

Two people complained to me that they were unable to distill the code (that is, convert ps→pdf). The error has been found, buried deep in the PDF/X standard, and, more importantly, repaired. Hurray!

Meanwhile the FTLoP software seems to have two identities for me, of which only this one is accessible to me. PMs sent to the old ID are lost.
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Numbered mats for blind tastings

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Wed May 16, 2007 8:07 pm

[Deleted.]
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A new experimental feature has been added, WaterCounts, …

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:07 am

A new experimental feature has been added, WaterCounts, on which comment would be welcomed. (Little icons representing water glasses: check one for each glass of water consumed, and you’ll know whether you’ve had enough.)
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Sat May 29, 2010 4:16 pm

This code has been through many many improvements since my post here of 2½ years ago, some of which improvements are mentioned at www.ThePortForum.com/viewtopic.php?t=175. (Admin: I ain’t watching the rules—see Mrs T on Punch on the French constitution—so just delete the link if such links are still disallowed.)

The software is fantastic, partly through the many suggestions of its regular users. You should be numbering yourself amongst same. See www.jdawiseman.com/papers/placemat/placemat.html for the full glorious latest version.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Roy Hersh     » Sat May 29, 2010 5:43 pm

Thanks for the update Julian.

A very worthwhile tool for offlines!
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Eric Menchen     » Sat May 29, 2010 6:31 pm

Hear hear! I use J.D.A.Wiseman placemats at all my tastings [cheers.gif]
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Glenn E.     » Sat May 29, 2010 9:37 pm

I use this as well - those of you who have been to my house have seen examples of what his software produces. A great aid at a Port tasting!
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Sun May 30, 2010 3:00 am

For those not yet convinced
The Manual wrote:the following link to placemats from actual tastings, or draft placemats for future tastings. Most of these were made with earlier versions of the software; some required expert use of the program’s features. ◦ 12th November 2010, Niepoort vertical; ◦ 16th June 2010, horizontal of 1982; ◦ 19th May 2010, horizontal of 1960; ◦ 14th May 2010, horizontal of 1978; ◦ 6th May 2010, blind port from election years; ◦ 17th April 2010, Warre in Sussex; ◦ 16th April 2010, exercises ahead of Warre in Sussex; ◦ 10th April 2010, a recent delivery from the SMWS; ◦ 22nd March 2010, Malvedos; ◦ 16th March 2010, a near-minimal horizontal of 1970; ◦ 23rd February 2010, Vesuvio; ◦ 11th February 2010, blind; ◦ 1st February 2010, bring a bottle; ◦ 30th January 2010, CUTwC’s decanter labels; ◦ 5th January 2010, 1985 or 1970; ◦ 13th November 2009, bring a bottle; ◦ 13th November 2009, partially blind double vertical; ◦ 28th October 2009, Portal restaurant; ◦ 23rd October 2009, Paris; ◦ 14th October 2009, AHB’s birthday; ◦ 2nd October 2009, Warre vertical; ◦ 21st July 2009, eighties night; ◦ 29th June 2009, best mature ports; ◦ 27th June 2009, at Quinta St Luiz; ◦ 26th June 2009, decent drinking; ◦ 26th June 2009, Sandeman; ◦ 13th June 2009, Fonseca mini-vertical; ◦ 18th April 2009, Taylor Fonseca Warre; ◦ 13th February 2009, Graham; ◦ 30th January 2009, horizontal of 1970; ◦ 3rd January 2009, emergency port.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Mon May 30, 2011 1:38 am

A year and several improvements later, it is still free. For most users the main change is the better defaults, though there have also been other changes making it easier to use.

Feel free to request other changes, ideally in the main thread for the software.

Share and enjoy.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Moses Botbol     » Mon May 30, 2011 7:33 am

What?
No hand drawn circles scanned and copied? [help.gif]
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Andy Velebil     » Mon May 30, 2011 8:01 am

I've used Julian's placemats a lot at various tastings, seems so has many in the trade now as well (or their own version of it) so I can highly recommend it when your doing tastings of any kind. A fantastic bit of software that Julian has kindly kept free for all to use! :thanks:
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Eric Menchen     » Mon May 30, 2011 9:40 am

I already sang praises of this above. Now I'm thinking about using this for beer judging as well. At a contest for the first round the beers are divided into flights by style, and in evaluating the flights the beers are judged and scored sequentially--no placemat needed. But when all the flights are done, usually late in the day, a Best of Show round is carried out. At this point things get chaotic and judges draw out a grid on multiple sheets of paper, writing entry numbers, styles, and notes on the grid. This takes a fair amount of time. Next time I'm the organizer or head judge of a contest, I'm going to try to figure out if I can use Julian's program on the fly to crank out placemats for the Best of Show round.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Derek T.     » Mon May 30, 2011 10:10 am

Eric Menchen wrote:Next time I'm the organizer or head judge of a contest, I'm going to try to figure out if I can use Julian's program on the fly to crank out placemats for the Best of Show round.

A suggestion: At the point you want to use this "on the fly" you will have the disadvantage of having consumed some beer, and will be amidst the chaos. It might be better to have someone who knows how this stuff works pre-primed on the general format you are looking for and then you send them an email with the relevant names/beers and allow them to produce the PDF and send it back to you by email. I know a man in Paris who would probably enjoy that challenge, provided it was pre-planned and at a convenient hour :wink:
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Mon May 30, 2011 12:08 pm

Derek is correct. With pre-planning, this can be very easy and extremely professional.

It might work as follows. In advance—emphasis, advance—the whole list of beers is put into a copy of the software. You check that list carefully. Later, at the appropriate moment, those beers then known not to be required are deleted.

Also needed to make this will be the names of the judges (assuming one set per judge), information for the header (place, date, title, and website), and knowledge of which paper sizes will be available for printing.

My contact information is at www.jdawiseman.com/author.html: email me, and I will help. There is a little trickery that can make this much slicker.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Eric Menchen     » Mon May 30, 2011 1:40 pm

Well, I was thinking of writing a Perl script to take output from the judging database and put it into the PostScript file :-) But this will still be a challenge. Beer consumption probably won't be a factor if I'm the head judge and doing this again. Last contest I was the head judge at, I judged beers on Thursday and Friday evenings, but on Saturday I was occupied just organizing things and didn't judge at all. After the last round of judging we try to get things organized for the Best of Show as quickly as possible. Names, date, etc. are not critical on the placemat. What is critical is having a layout, an entry number (center of circle), and style (circumference). A few styles have notes, also on the circumference. I'd have the printer picked out ahead of time, probably with 11x17" paper.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Mon May 30, 2011 2:36 pm

Send me an email; I will be helpful.
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Re: Free useful thing for those hosting a tasting

Postby Julian D. A. Wiseman » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:59 am

A competent programmer recently looked at the placemat software, and made a suggestion which is being discussed on TPF. It would entail a major change in the way that many of the parameters are entered by the user. Regular users, of whom some are on FTLoP, might have an opinion. If that’s you, please share the opinion.
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